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It’s been one crazy winter.
Recently, Hubby and I watched X-Men First Class, or as my husband likes to now call it, The BEST Movie Ever. Now, I didn’t really think this was the best movie ever made, but there was one scene in particular that caught my attention.
Professor X is talking to Magneto, trying to get him to control his powers. Magneto had only been able to access his powers by channeling his rage, but X suggests he finds a place “between rage and serenity” instead. Looking into his mind, Professor X pulls out Magneto’s happiest memory, a simple one where he and his mother appear to be celebrating Hanukkah. Moved, Magento replies, “I forgot I still had that memory.”
I started wondering what my happiest memory is. Is it something that I have almost forgotten to remember?
Several years ago, traveling home from college with just my dad, I asked him what the happiest day of his life was. I remember thinking it would be something like the day he got married, or when my brother and I were born, but he surprised me. His happiest day happened when I was five, my brother three, and we were on vacation in the mountains. I have a vague memory of ridding on my uncle’s shoulders and watching my dad throw a paper airplane off a mountain right before we left. It was a good, simple day.
My happiest memory? I’m not totally sure, but I know it’s not a big one, like the day I got married or the day Colton was born.
I think, maybe it’s Hubby coming home from work, packing up the baby and dog and going on walks last summer. Or hanging out at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium in Tennessee and then getting pancakes this spring. Or maybe it’s that one night this fall when Colton, Hubby and the dog were all in the kitchen with me, underfoot – a little crazy, but wonderful.
None of those days were perfect. When we went on those walks I was still healing, and they were slow and sometimes painful. That night after the Aquarium, Colton refused to sleep in his own room. That night, I’m sure Colton drove me nuts pulling out and throwing every piece of Tupperware we own.
But the feeling in that moment was wonderful.
Sure, sometimes the big things in life are equally wonderful, but I think these little moments we hardly know we remember are what makes life wonderful.
Last Thanksgiving, I was raiding my grandparents’ dresser drawers for photos to include in the book we gave them for Christmas. My grandmother keeps lots of things in guest bedroom dresser drawers – newspaper clippings, empty picture frames, thank you notes, old Christmas cards, and tons and tons of pictures. Side note: MeMe would be an awesome blogger if she understood what blogging (or the internet) was. She has years and years of photos of different holiday table displays and decorations, some she got my grandfather to take while she stood proudly in front of her dining room buffet. She’s so cute!
In my search for pictures of her adorable grandchildren, I stumbled upon something much better than thank you notes from high schoolers and random newspaper clippings. It was a Date Book, made by Hallmark for either 1948 or 1949. It was intended for a young lady to use to keep up with important dates in the lives of her family and friends, like birthdays and anniversaries. Instead, my grandmother used hers as a record of dates she went on, the men she went with, and gifts and cards she received after those dates.
It was very interesting to see who she went on dates with – some of them were names I recognized has husbands of her long-time friends. One of the funniest things I saw was a three week block of no dates, “RESTRICTION” written boldly across it. Turns out, she and her twin sister, along with another friend had left their college campus without permission for the weekend.
My grandfather, who played football in college, tells a story I love of finding out the school was going to give a new car to his head coach after a game. Prior to the game, he asked if he could borrow the coach’s car to take his girlfriend on a date. “Clanton,” the coach replied, “I only got one car, but if I had another I’d let you use it.” So, after the game, he took my grandmother out (along with another couple, I think) in the coach’s car. They drove all night and returned the car with almost no gas left in it because, “we were in college and we had no money.” My grandmother recorded this momentous occasion in her date book with, “Ray took us out in Coach Howard’s car!!!!” Gotta love the extra exclamation points. I loved seeing her note, with at least double exclamation points, when she received telegrams from him as well, most notably when he traveled all the way to Massachusetts for a football game.
The most surprising thing though, was seeing that she went on a date with another man the day before my grandfather proposed! She noted the other man was quite upset with her (wonder why, MeMe?). I did ask about all the dates with so many different people, and was informed that’s just what everyone did back then. In college, my grandmother wasn’t allowed to leave her dorm in the evening unless she had a date, and the date had to sign her out of her dorm. She says she was only ever serious about my grandfather and that everyone she went out with knew that; but, she liked going out, so if getting dates was the way to do that, by golly she was going to do it.
I looked for this book again during my most recent trip to my grandparents, but I didn’t have any luck finding it. I hope it hasn’t been hidden from my prying eyes, because I so want to take pictures of it!
A month ago, we went down south to visit my parents. We lucked out with the timing of our trip and got to enjoy 80 degree temperatures. And 80 degree temperatures mean a trip to the beach!
Side note: I went on a field-trip here in the 5th grade. A field-trip that involved getting in the mud. The mud that sucked me and another girl down so far we had to be pulled out by our teacher. I was lucky, my mud sucking trauma was fixed by a change of clothes, but my friend was sent home for a shower. Pluff mud STINKS (literally).
We also paid a visit to my grandparents, who hadn’t seen Colton in over six months. This is far too long to go without seeing your only great-grandchild.
Colton thought playing with his great-grandmother was soo much fun! Both my grandparents loved having Colton around and watching everything he did. They also told me the way he carries and pats his Blue Bear is exactly like what I used to do with my baby dolls. Cute!
A few weeks ago, we took Colton down to South Carolina to watch the Clemson Tigers play Florida State. All of my collage-age cousins attend Clemson, as does my brother, one cousin has already graduated from there, my parents are both alumnus, as are my grandfather and great-uncle.
Colton is not a fan of loud noises, and it is LOUD in Death Valley. He was super clingy for the first quarter, but really found his stride during halftime, when the bands played. I made a mistake and ran off to the bathroom with my mom and the diaper bag, while Hubby and my dad took the baby into the stadium. I came in to a very, VERY unhappy baby because PAP was in the diaper bag. We might have avoided first quarter clingy-ness if I hadn’t made such a rookie mistake.
We were able to tailgate with my uncle, aunt, aunt’s sister and her husband, my brother and three cousins. We hadn’t seen them in a while, so it was nice to be able to hang out with them before and after the game. There were lots of people to watch and entertain Colton as well, which is always a plus.
The game itself was a little scary, but we won, so all was well in the end. It was also HOT that day. Lucky for us, we were in the most shaded area of the stadium, but Colton had to take off his overalls due to heat. He was not into drinking much water, so my mom and I took turns feeding him ice from a diet coke the adults shared. He loved “eating” the ice, and I loved that it kept him cool and hydrated.
This was a great experience, and since Colton was older, it was actually a lot more fun than last year. I totally recommend doing this – with a little planning, flexibility, and enough adults (we had four!), this is a totally great, fun day!
My grandparents are typical older people. They enjoy napping, visiting friends, eating at Ruby Tuesdays, going to church and people watching. They also adore being grandparents, so it wasn’t surprising that they volunteered to pick me up from the airport near them when I flew in from college for Thanksgiving several years ago.
The airport nearest them is located near the interstate, and you have to drive down one long stretch of highway from their town to get out there. There’s a bit of a seedy stretch out there, where a very small strip club (strip shack, if you will) is located.
For quite some time, the sign outside advertized “live girls.” Apparently, my grandparents found this hysterical. “What else would they have – dead girls,” they would remark to each other every time they drove by. No doubt they had laughed about it on the way to pick me up.
Of course, we passed the strip shack on our way back to their house from the airport. But this time, something was different. Instead of a few cars simply parked in front, this time, there was a woman, a woman wearing a skin tight cropped shirt, very short and tight purple mini skirt, and thigh-high heeled boots. I would have expected my grandmother to turn her head and ignore the woman. Instead, she started yelling “I see one! I see one! I see a live girl!” Then, she did the most unexpected thing. She turned to my grandfather, who was driving, and said, “Did you see her? Did you see the live girl?” “No. No I did not.” “Well turn around,” she admonished, “I want to make sure you see the live girl!”
Thankfully, my grandfather had the good sense to just keep on driving.
This year was my very first “official” Mother’s Day, which means it was the first Mother’s Day I carried a baby around outside my body. Last Mother’s Day, I looked something like this:
At any rate, I wasn’t expecting much for the day, mostly because my Mother’s Day present (a cover for my e-reader) had already arrived and was in use, and because, growing up, my family was never one to make a big deal over Mother’s Day. The general reasoning behind that was, I suppose, the fact that we were expected to help, appreciate, and respect our mother all year round. I’m sure it had nothing to do with me burning the pancake pan in an attempt to make my parents breakfast in bed when I was ten.
Not to mention the fact that my parents were here to celebrate my dad’s birthday, my birthday, and Mother’s Day. So, even though we had cake, it was leftover birthday cake. And frankly, that suits me just fine.
My mom may have gotten the shortest end of the Mother’s Day stick this year, as she baked the birthday cake, babysat overnight, cleaned my house (yes, I love my mom!), and then had to drive five hours to her in-laws. Colton gave her some baby-love too, so I’m hoping that made up for it.
The best part of Mother’s Day was Colton’s baby dedication. This is held every Mother’s Day at our church, and all of the participating babies and parents walk across the stage, talk to our Pastor and Children’s Pastor, receive a Children’s Bible, and then are all prayed for.
My whole goal for this time was to keep the baby happy, and, since the baby is in to standing up and cruising, that meant letting him get down during the prayer.
For the past several Christmases, my dad’s parents have said they only want one thing for Christmas: nice cards from their kids and grandkids. And usually we get them for them, but not always. But this Christmas, my mom rounded up my brother, three cousins and I, and had us create a book for them.
I created the book using Shutterfly, but each grandchild had their own page where we wrote how much we loved MeMe and PopPop, what we love doing with them, just whatever we feel about them, as well as photos of each of us with them. We also had group pages for things we all regularly did together, with blurbs my mom wrote.
Needless to say, they loved it. Once my grandmother figured out what it was, she got out cards from previous years she kept, which prompted near tears for her and my mother.
And really, check out an excerpt from the note my cousin wrote, and tell me YOU wouldn’t be in near tears: “The fact that y’all were always at my sporting events and were always there cheering me on has meant more to me than you’ll ever know. Also thank you so much for raising my dad into the great man that he is today. I love my father and i admire him more than anybody else on the planet so thank you for being such great parents too. Thank for loving my mother and excepting her into your family and allowing her to become the beautiful woman she has become. I am thankful for the influence that you have had in all of our lives and I wish I could express on paper how much y’all have meant to me.” It was longer, but this is the part that really gets me.
Thankfully, my aunt and uncle, brother and I all have our own copies, so I can read this over and over.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Longbrake Living! We hope you’re enjoying the day with your family (Colton wishes you lots of wrapping paper to play with). We’ll be gone for a bit, enjoying time with friends and family, but we’ll be back soon. And now, off to kick off this time with a game of Lego Creationary!
When I was pregnant, I two baby dreams. In both of them, I had a girl.
Looking at little ruffle-bottomed outfits made my heart melt, and I had already found my dream baby girl crib bedding.
Then I found out I was having a boy.
I thought I was having a boy, and I was excited about it, but there was a part of me that had visions of shopping with a little girl, fixing hairbows and ballet class.
Nearly 5 months into having a little boy, I can’t imagine anything else. I love having a baby boy, and he is exactly what our family needed, even if he isn’t what I originally thought I might want.
- Yes, little girls may wear ruffly pants, but no one can wear plaid overalls like a little boy.
- I won’t be having any girl drama for quite a while, unless I have it myself. Boys are soo less dramatic than girls.
- I can be a football mom! Can’t you just see little Colton lookin’ cute in some giant football pads?
- I feel like camping and roughing it will be much easier with a boy.
- I don’t like bugs, but boys like bugs. Colton can be my new bug killer when Daddy isn’t home!
- This may not be true as a general “boys are this way, girls are another,” but Colton is laid back in a way that I never was; he’s just amazingly easy going, which makes him just a joy to be around, and makes getting adjusted to parenthood soo much easier.
- If I had a girl, I think I would expect her to be just like me. Obviously, everyone is there own person, and any child I have will be different than I am in several ways, but because I have a child who’s a different gender than I am, it makes me realize this more.
- This may sound strange, but I look forward to seeing Colton get married and having a daughter in law. Being a good mother in law, and hopefully having a good relationship with Colton’s wife is one of the things I really look forward to.
- When Colton goes to college, I’ll be able to quote one of my favorite lines from The Blind Side, “I want you to have a good time but if you get a girl pregnant out of wedlock, I will crawl into the car, drive up [here] and cut off your penis.” I’ve already asked Hubby for permission. He gave it, but I think he thinks I won’t say it. HA!
- But really, one of the sweetest things about having a little dude, is seeing Hubby interact with him, trying to teach him to build things, take him on the slide, etc. I have no doubt he would be equally precious with a girl, but there’s something about seeing him bond with his son that I just love.
Check out Oh!Amanda! for more Top Ten lists!
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