I Am The Greatest!

January 29, 2009

I jumped outta bed this morning a little after seven. Jumped because I was supposed to get up at six something to proof and edit Son’s paper I’d typed last night. Son and Daughter greeted me, and proceeded to lead me by hand and arms downstairs. “Close your eyes, Ma!”, said Son. “She can’t close her eyes going downstairs!”, Daughter replied. Son’s turn again, “You’re holding her wrong, she’s not handicapped!”

We reach downstairs, and I immediately closed my eyes to play along. The kids led me near my desk, where, I didn’t really see anything to ooh and ahh about…until.

“Hold up…who’s over there eating that big bowl of fruit?” Ever have kids eat up everything good, before you even get a taste? Well, for once, this was not the case.

“It’s for you, Ma!” And then I see and hear the big picture. Just for me…a big bowl of fresh fruit, orange juice, a big pillow against the back of my chair…and lovingly blasted on my screen in Microsoft Word lol:

thegreatest

Ahhhhhh!!! Is that the best or what?!!! But that’s not all. In the background, I could hear my girl Whitney cranking up….‘If I, should stay, I would only be in your wayyyyy…’ One of my (and their Granddad’s) fave songs, I Will Always Love You, remember?

So, you know I had to slob all over those babies *smile*, while they fussed about who’s idea it was for what. I’m hugging and kissing on them, and Son says smiling, “Don’t get no tears on me, Mama” LOL! Boy, stop trying to know me! It doesn’t take much for me to get all misty…

So, today, I bask in my greatness….so greatful for the sweet thoughts of kindness. I am sooo cheezin’ :)!

asheselah

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787360_chucksSometimes the smallest words left unspoken, ring the loudest in our children’s ears.

When I was a kid, I usually heard the opposite from elders — “Do what I say, not what do.”  The words were usually delivered with stern looks, tight lips, and a stiff index finger.  It was serious…and they meant every word.

But what was that all about?  A free pass for adults to clown and cut up, while demanding that kids do the right thing….like ALL the time…without example?  Funny.  Some of us still expect that old saying to hold true.  Sorry ppl, you can’t tell your child, “don’t gossip”, but every time they turn around…you’re on the phone with “Chile, did you hear….”  Whadya think?

Well, I asked myself the same question recently.  No serious character flaw (though, I’m still a work in progress), but my character nonetheless.  See, I’ma laid back kinda chic.  I love to just kick it :)!  I think I got it bad when I landed that cushy consulting gig, and worked from home for years.  Pajamas, jeans, tees, chucks — what?!  No more suits and pantyhose, fancy hair do’s and heels.  Just…me…workin’, but chillin’.

Little did I know, I’ve been saying to Daughter, “Do what I do, not what I say.”   Recently, I suggested several cute dresses for her to wear to church….a chocolate brown velour wrap dress, a fun plaid dress, new tights in hand.  Her response, “Well, what are you wearing, Ma….you kickin’ it in jeans?”

In that moment (kinda off subject), I remembered me at 12, 13, how…clothes were awful, ugly, out of style, embarrassing — JUST because Mom suggested it lol.  I could’ve liked it at the store, but just cos Mom said, “hey what about this?”, I would immediately reject it.  Typical pre-teen…

As I thought about Daughter’s question more, it dawned on me just how much Daughter watches me…in EVERYTHING!  Maybe cos I never wanted my Mom’s style, it didn’t dawn on me that Daughter liked mine.  Kinda flattering.  But this thing works both ways, I believe.  I told her, “you know what, I’m gonna start dressing up more.”  You should’ve seen her eyes light up…like “Ooh I’m game, too!”

Funny, the longer we parent, the less our lives remain the “main attraction”.  Living our best life is not just about us anymore….we aren’t the only benefactors.  And I’m starting to realize this more and more, as my 2 little sponges get older.  They’re soaking me and hubby up…without prejudice…the good, bad, and ugly.

I once read a saying (paraphrasing), “If there’s something in your child’s life that makes your blood boil, take a real hard look at your own.  You’ll probably see the source of the flames.  Change your life, and their’s will follow.”  *Ouch*

Without even saying, or saying not to, our children are doing what we do.  Let’s put on a great show for them, k?  I’m striving…:).

asheselah

Sometimes, it’s pretty amazing to me…what kids pick up.  Kids are like sponges…they don’t make a sound, they don’t call attention to themselves…but, all the while, they’re soaking up everything around them — conversations, visuals, etc.

Last year this time when I was taking care of “Granddaddy”, I didn’t take notice to just how much the kids were watching me in action, listening.  Well, last night during dinner, I realized they “got” more than I thought they did…let’s see.

Hubby had left for his 6p-6a shift.  Daughter and Son were doing homework at the dinner table.  I’m at the stove cooking one of their favorite meals (fish sticks, corn, rice), and Son asks, “Ma, are you going to eat at the table with us again…let me put you a chair right here?”  “That’s ok, I’ll get it, baby” I respond.  “No, I got it Ma, I’m gonna have to take care of you anyway when you get old.” Get who?  I smiled, “OK, Son. Thanks.”

Now…lol.  I’ve already spoken here about taking a break from the elderly…still working on that.  But I thought I’d take a chance, after that enlightening comment lit up my reality, to share some feelings with the kids.

“Hey, can I tell you guys a secret?”  “Sure, Ma!”  There is no better way to get my kids’ full, undivided attention, than to tell them you’re gonna share a “secret”.  All pencils stopped moving, and there were four wide-eyes staring dead at me (I’ve told my kids some interesting stories about growing up…they’re always ready for the juice lol).

“Well, you guys know that Mama’s birthday is next month, and just then…when you talked about me getting old and all…I’m…umm, kinda trippin’ cos I’ll be forty in a couple of years…What is that about?! {they laughed}…Man, I can still remember being YOUR age!”  Now, this was no where near the juicy stories I’ve told before…but they began to think and tie things together just like they always do.

Almost instantly, Son says, “So Ma, they have diapers for grown ups?”  Son comes at ya front and center, boy.  “Yeah…they’re called adult diapers.”  “And that’s what Granddaddy had?”  “Yep…he couldn’t walk anymore…couldn’t get to the bathroom, you know?”  “So, you had to see all that?”  By this time, their faces are all wrinkled up, noses squished….and I’m trying not to laugh…seeing them piece together their thoughts of taking care of me, like I did Dad.

Finally, after taking it all in and assessing the situation lol, Daughter chimes in with her resolve.  Guess she thought she was callin’ “shotgun”.  “Ok A….I’ll clean the front, and you can clean the back!”  Folks, I tell ya…we all fell out laughin!.  Then, of course, they had to put their kid perspective on it…take it to the silly-giggly level.  Son says, “Uh uh, I don’t want the chocolate, I want the lemonade!”  “No, I’ll get the lemonade, you get the turtles {candy}!”   By now, I’m dying laughing LOL!!!!

Well, it looks like I’ve got MY diaper duty coverage in the bag.  I think it’s important to instill in our children that life is a cycle.  And just like our parents cared for us as babies, there may come a day when the parent becomes the “infant”…and the roles will be reversed.

Until then, as Daughter says, “Ma, you’re gonna be a Grandmama in chucks…I just know it.”  🙂

…to face your fears.  You have to do scary things, so you won’t be afraid anymore.

~Daughter, 12

She asked me to blog these words.  Me, Son, and Daughter were walking from the food court back to our car.  I dunno.  I guess it just hit her, and I get this wide-eyed “ooh, Ma, I got a good one for you!” LOL.  You know the drill.  I can’t even remember what we were talking about.  All I know is…when little teacher asks if I completed my assignment (posting this blog), I want to get a big, red happy face on my paper (nose and teeth included lol)  :-).

Hmm….scary things.  I reeeally could go down the street with this one.  But I’ll just cover her words, and let them simmer after a high boil.  Marinating my fears in this Truth will do me some good….how ’bout you?  Got some scary things you need to do (or keep on doing)….to grow, get over it, succeed, BE?

I jotted down a few of my scary things….things I do, or want to do more often.  Looks like they ‘boil down’ to “just being Me” regardless.  Love, accept, approve…ME!

–  Letting go of the familiar/safe, to make room for the new/unknown
–  Doing things that show my weakness/vulnerability
–  Speak my Truth, no matter how others take it
–  Blogging about my fears *wink*

Your turn…if it’s not too scary :).

There’s a party going on. The doors are open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. No age limit. No cover charge. No dress code.

All it takes to get in the door? Choice and action!

A party of One. A celebration of You, and all that makes you You. And the cool thing about celebrating at this party is…even if you don’t feel like celebrating…just start singing your praises, whether you’re feelin’ it or not. Fake it till you make it. You’ll be surprised how the magic in the music will get to you :-).

This is what I try to teach my kids. Love and honor yourself. Be OK with who God made you, keeping in mind you’re still learning and growing (I’m in school with my kids, you?).

The other night I was cleaning off the kitchen table where the kids do their homework. I’m telling you…I had to stop and chuckle to myself. Sometimes, it’s funny…always rewarding to see when your kids actually listen and follow some of your advice. Put your words into action…

Above is a pic of Daughter’s school binder, the main notebook for all of her subjects. Of course, being artsy-fartsy, she decorated it with markers, colored pencils, swirly strokes. But what got me was the WORDS she wrote…

See, Daughter hasn’t always been cool with her height. She is consistently the shortest student, not in her class, but the entire GRADE. Mistaken for 8 or 9…she’s actually 12. And sometimes, all my talk about she’s wonderfully made….God making her exactly the way she needs to be for who she is….a light and flexible dancer, the crown on any cheerleader pyramid, yada yada….sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t lol.

But just look at the celebration goin’ on on her binder *smile*:
“Go Short People!”
“Short People Rule the World!”
“Itti-Bitti Committee!”
“Being Myself!”

Ahhh! Is this the best or what! That’s right, you go baby girl! Looks like she’s doing just fine getting over rude comments by other kids, and strange, doubtful looks from insensitive grown-ups.

Her celebrations…her affirmations of who she is travels with her all day to every class. She told me other students often ask her, “why you always talking about being yourself?” What an awesome opportunity to invite other kids to join the fun!

Got me thinkin…where can I post my wonderfulness…mirror, monitor?…Where could you write a few cheers that celebrate who You are, all that You are? This is the REAL party that just won’t stop, unless we do. Ashe.Selah

I Felt So Free

July 16, 2008

Twenty-one acres of wide open space, blanketed by a cloudless, blue sky. Meticulously manicured lawns totaling 330,000 square feet of grass. Six hundred and eighty six engraved bricks to peruse. Walking around alone amongst all this greatness under the (only) watchful eye(s) of the five Olympic Rings. Yeah. I would’ve felt so free too. Then again, I’m not 11. What the lol?

Allow me to explain. Last weekend, Daughter got a chance to hang with her girls at a sleepover. Cool. Now, I understand that people raise their children differently…what happens in one house may not happen in another, and vice versa. I consider myself to be a pretty groovy Mama…I try not to smother, be overprotective (sometimes this is solely my opinion lol), and daughter is still at that st(age) where she tells me everything. Super cool.

Getting my usual update on sleepover events really took a sistah back…

D: “Well, ok, we went to see Hancock, and then we jumped another movie and saw about half of it.”
Me: “Wow, so you guys left one movie, and walked into another one?”
D: “Yeah, but we didn’t see all of it…we had to go.”
Me: “Wow, so where was Ms. Mom when you guys were jumping movies?”
D: “Oh, she was in another movie.”
Me: {staying calm lol} “Wow, so you 3 girls were in the movie by yourselves, huh?”
D: “Yep. And then we went back to the house. At first Mama, I didn’t believe her, but she said honest to God…she’s not playing…you can ask my parents yourself. And then me and {the other guest} said our Mamas would have a fit!”
Me: “About what? I don’t get it.”
D: “Well, her parents told us we could walk across the street and go to the park.”
Me: “What street, what park?”
D: “Centennial Park. Ooh Ma, We went to the new playground, we walked around….we saw this homeless man looking at us….and we started to run, cos we don’t know him {laughing}”
Me: “Wow, so you 3 {11 and 12 year old} girls crossed the {a 5-lane, downtown ATL} street….and went to the park by yourselves, without any adult supervision. Wow, that must have been exciting, huh?” {heart pounding}
D: “Yeah. I felt so free.”

Huh? You know, I’m all for freedom, but where I’m from, too much freedom in the hands of an 11 year old can really spell trouble. Not that Daughter can’t be trusted — it’s SOCIETY I don’t trust. Last I checked, we live in a different day and time. The freaks come out at night, AND in the day, now. I’ve had some people tell me that I’m overprotective, or I overparent….because of my own experiences. An older dear friend said, “you think you’re protecting them, but you’re actually hurting them….living through them, trying to make up for something you missed.” Did I agree with her? No, not wholeheartedly. I’d rather hurt my kids by ensuring their safety (from negative emotional, mental, or physical influence) than to be labeled a cool, free-spirited, chilled-out parent. Think about it. What could Ms. Mom tell me if I had called her, “Umm, me and hubby just so happened to be strolling by the park and saw Daugher…arra, where are you?” According to daughter, “Oh, her parents were sleep while we were at the park.” Lawd have mercy lol. And is movie hopping something I want to teach my daughter?

Hubby and I have talked about this at length, and we’re on the same page. How would you have reacted parents? How free are you with your kids and the need for adult supervision? What age did you really loosen the apron strings? After some experiences my kids have had with people outside the fam…if they’re cool with the loose apron knots, so am I.

It was time for a break, doncha think lol :). Memorial Day weekend couldn’t get here fast enough. And what better way to spend a 4-day weekend than getting some rest, and taking in the movies with the fam.

There are some cool advantages to having a son and daughter…a complete set lol…so close in age (19mos apart). It’s called the buddy system. I got me a buddy, and hubby’s got one too. Or as we say in our house, “girl business” and “boy business”. So, this weekend at the movies, the boys broke left and saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the girls broke right and saw Prince Caspian.

Man, Prince Caspian was awesome…cinematography, costumes/makeup, the landscape of New Zealand – simply breathtaking. C.S. Lewis was a profound writer…fiction (ever read the Screwtape Letters?) and non-fiction (The Four Loves, Studies in Words, and many more). My daughter shared a beautiful takeaway with me. {Without giving away the movie}… “See Mama, children often see what grownups can’t. We try to tell ya, but because we’re little, grown-ups think we’re crazy. We’re right alot of times…we believe!” Interesting. How lovely it is to have the heart of a child…to believe beyond absurdity….that’s my desire.

OK, so here’s the highlight of the movie that did it for me. Yes, that would be the MUSIC — Aahhh! With the end credits rolling, and the theatre cleared, I stood there shaking my head in amazement. A surround sound beauty *smile*. I love it when I stumble upon great music…or rather, great music finds me and makes my world stand still. Take a listen to {drum roll please} A Dance ‘Round the Memory Tree, by Oren Lavie. He’s on my buy list. Timeless…. 🙂