The Mushrooms Said “I love you”

Today after we wrapped up our morning lessons, the littles flew up the stairs and into their rooms and all around the house in a flurry of activity.  At some point (I’m not sure when) they had consulted and decided what they wanted to do together after they were done with school.

And it wasn’t begging to play on electronics or watch a video.  That was a wise decision today.

Princess came out in my eighth grade graduation dress that my Mama made special for the occasion.  Yes, she’s three years younger than I was at the time, and yes, she is as tall or taller than I was at thirteen.  Thank you for asking.  Cooter came out wearing his repurposed and embroidered Chef shirt I made over for him from a GW Boutique purchase Christmas 2012.

They explained to me that they were opening a restaurant, and that I was to come place my order.  This was timely as it was lunch time and I needed to throw something together for their lunch, but their minds were set.  Their restaurant, my order.

Princess had set up a wooden TV tray table at the foot of the stairs complete with a menu and prices (so convenient–don’t you hate it when they don’t have the prices–that never turns out well).  She was a lovely hostess, and as I placed my order for pizza and sushi (hey, I was hungry), she wrote it all down.  She told me it would be ready soon, and I was dismissed.

I heard some hollering back and forth–it was hard to decide if this was fine dining or a diner–and some skerfuffling and a few minutes later, Princess called out that my order was ready.  I was a little taken aback, if I’m being honest here, because I thought she had told me my food would be brought to my “table.”  I expressed my concerns, and the lovely hostess apologized and said it would be brought right out.

I was sitting in my comfortable spot, when Chef Cooter brought out my tray himself.  What a good chef!  He wanted to see the joy on my face himself, I guess, which I thought was sweet until I saw the twinkle in his eyes.

What?

IMG_7173

Ah yes.  The pizza.  He had put mushrooms as the topping.  Just for me.  And I realized this, just as he was about to force feed me a “bite” of the pizza, giggling harder and harder as he approached my mouth with it.

Because mushrooms.  Just no.

As I’ve shared before, I did not care for them growing up.  Acting ugly about them or turning my nose up at them was not tolerated.  I was expected to eat them just like everyone else.  Until I was grown.  And then Mama wanted my picked off/picked out mushrooms.  She loved them, you see.  We were a perfect match when it came to eating a veggie pizza.

And Cooter knows all of this.  And he deliberately put the mushrooms on that pizza for me today.

Yuck.

And yet–

I felt loved.  So very loved.

That sounds crazy and counterintuitive, I know.  And I’ve thought about how to write about this so it made sense for hours now, and yet I still don’t know how to do it justice.

But when he teased me like that, with that giggle and twinkle in his eye–I knew three things.

He knows me very well.

He loves me so much to tease me and make me laugh like that.

He is so comfortable with me that he knows I will laugh at this thing he did and not take offense.  And he really wanted me to laugh.

As I pushed the pizza away with all the drama and disgust I could muster, we were all three laughing and Miss Sophie was dancing around, wondering what all the excitement was about.

Mushrooms, Sophie.  And so much more.

Tonight I’m thankful for the love and laughter.  For being known.  For parents who loved me and for the children who continue to make me smile and laugh and give me a reason to look forward to another day.  For their fun and creative spirits and joy-filled hearts, I am grateful.  And most of all, for twinkles in eyes and that the teasing that came with living with my Daddy is carried on, I give thanks.

May you all have someone who teases you with a twinkle in the eye and who makes you laugh and laugh.

Love and laughter to all.

 

 

A Glimpse of His Growing Up

On the way home from church tonight, Cooter and I were riding along Hamburger Highway where all the billboards and “big city” lights are.  He was chatting about his visit with his much older and cooler guy friend who was giving him advice on how to deal with our Princess and her friends.  He was happy about those words of wisdom, but even more so, he was happy that he’d had time with his older buddy.

At the stop light, he switched gears from talking about which Star Wars movies his friend said should be okay for him to see to ask me, “Hey, Mama, who is that man you always go to see at Christmas Made in the South?  The artist? What’s his name?”

I had to think for a minute, he’d changed the subject so quickly.  When I realized what he was asking, I told him.

He nodded.  “Yes,  him.  Well, he is going to be at the Peach Blossom Festival at Peachy Peach,” he said, using the nickname he’s always used for the local peach packing shed and market.

“He is?  Well thank you for telling me that.  How do you know?”

“Oh, I saw it on a poster last week at the gym.  It’s hanging up on the board. I thought you might want to know.”

Oh bless him.

When he and his Daddy took our Princess to her dance class while his big sister and I were at the vigil for Kelly Gissendaner, he saw the poster and recognized the face.  He read it, and tonight he remembered to share that with me.  It reminded me of the first time he smiled at me as a baby when we’d been apart for a few minutes–I knew he remembered me and thought of me when I wasn’t around.

That moment when you realize your baby boy isn’t a baby anymore.  That he’s growing up on you and working on being a thoughtful young man.

That moment right there.

Oh my heart’s not ready for him to grow up yet.  But since he seems bound and determined to, I’m thankful for his little loving heart.  He can be full of the mischief and is most of the time.  But tonight I saw glimpses into the one who is going to hold my hand when I get old and tell me how much he loves me and tease me about the wrinkles on my face.  It was only a glimpse as he immediately lapsed into a conversation about the two dirtiest men on earth (a video he saw thanks to his oldest sister being home on spring break-seriously one hasn’t bathed in sixty years and one in twenty, and do NOT get them mixed up) and proceeded to tell me all about them.  The little boy who doesn’t always want to shower came back full force then, and I was able to breathe a little sigh of relief.  Yes, he’s growing up, but maybe it won’t be too fast.

Tonight I’m thankful for being known and loved and important enough for my little guy to notice something and think about how his Mama would like to know that.

Wishing you all someone who knows and loves you, and who remembers to share important and not so important things with you, just because you matter.

 

Love to all.

sisters, light, and hope

she leans in close and lights the candle

as the world grows dim

but she is there

to shed light

and hold my hand

her words and her silence,

they both comfort me,

as she knows which is needed when

because

she knows

me

 

she claps her hands and

then grabs mine

she dances a jig,

leading me in a happy dance,

in celebration of the news

she is happy for me

because

she knows

me

 

she looks me in the eyes

and tells me not the words

that I so long to hear

but instead

the words

I need to hear

the ones that challenge me

to head out in the direction

I’m meant to–

not to stay here and rest

on my laurels and the couch

You can do it, she tells me,

because

she knows

me

 

she weeps alongside me

my pain is hers

she shares in my heartbreak,

my brokenness,

my loss

her tears mingle with mine

as she wraps her arms around me

and I lean in close,

comforted,

because

she knows

me

 

our days of riding bicycles

and writing plays,

playing softball

and making up games to play for hours

on end

are gone with the ticking of the clock,

the flipping of the calendar page

no more do we dream as we once did

our hearts know the true endings

and they aren’t always happy ones

and she wishes she could change

it all

because

she knows

me

 

 

and still

though we know the sadness sometimes wins,

that darkness has triumphed and can again

still

we light the candle

with the Hope that somewhere in the world

a sister will see it and find the strength to light

hers too

and then another and another

until the light shines through us all

and the darkness in our hearts is no more

 

she wants that for me, for her, for us

all of us

she loves and she is a treasure

far beyond

gold and rubies

and chocolate chip cookies

because

she knows

me

 

and being known

and loved

through everything

is the

greatest gift of all

 

Last night we lit the first candle on our Advent wreath–a precious tradition.  This week the candle represents Hope.  It is my hope that when one of us is hurting, another sister will turn to her and share her light until the one who is hurting is able to light her own.  And no one will have to struggle in the darkness alone again.  

Love and light to all.  

 

 

Our Advent wreaths.....waiting for us to share the light.

Our Advent wreaths…..waiting to share the light.

 

 

 

The One About Being Recognized

Our Princess had a swim meet today.

Out.  Of.  Town.

It was kind of a big deal.

We’ve never done this before, after all, and anytime you do something for the first time…..well, it can be a little crazy.

I was helping her pack towels, robe, water bottle, goggles, swim cap…..

and doing her hair so said swim cap would fit.  No easy feat.

I did my usual OCD round of making sure doors were locked and things unplugged and fixed my own cup of water.

And we were off.  Like a herd of turtles, as the Fella often says.

Nearly two hours later we arrived.  Big city stuff,  y’all.  Big indoor pool, with more lanes than I could count, but I’m guessing around 25.  HUGE.

We immediately discovered that those of us attending as fans had overdressed a bit.  We were dressed for the cooler weather in our jeans and long-sleeved shirts.  We stood out among the locals who knew better and were in shorts and t-shirts.  It was h-a-w-t, hot in there.

It was a lot of fun though.  So much going on to see.  So many folks to people watch.  And then there was our Princess herself.  From our seats on the upper level, we had a birdseye view of her dancing around between her heats, always the ballerina at heart.  She found friends to sit and talk and play with, and she was her usual self, full of a joy for life that I often find myself envying.

During one lull, I needed to stretch my legs.  I went downstairs, where it was MUCH cooler, and visited the little girls’ room.  There was no one else in there.  When I opened the door to exit the stall, there was a big grinning face waiting on me.  Before I could completely register who it was, this girl, who is on the verge of being as tall as I am, grabbed me and gave me a full on bear hug.

My baby girl.

“Isn’t it funny running into you in here?” she laughed.

“How did you know it was me in there?” I asked her, still a little overwhelmed.

“Well, I came in here and I heard you jingling.  I thought, ‘I know that jingle,’ so I looked at your shoes just to be sure, and there you were!” She was tickled with herself.

My jingling.  That’s how she knew me.  My special, one of a kind jingle.   That’s precious right there.  We go through our days not realizing how what we wear or put on or spray on could be imprinting someone else with the essence of us.  But it does.  The smell of Jergen’s lotion still brings my Mama closer.

A year and a half ago my oldest bought me a Mother’s Day gift all on her own, with her own money–ordered it from the internet and everything.  It was a  necklace with a charm on it that said “mama,” surrounded by sweet things that Mama’s do.  Since that time I’ve added a charm with “family” and a heart and another circle that has the names of my three children on it.  I wear it everyday, and when I think about it, I realize it does jingle.  A lot.  But I hardly notice it anymore.

Until today.

Tonight I’m thankful for my sweet girl and her love of swimming.  Just as her older sister did, she is taking me on adventures to see new places and learn new things, all because of who she is and what she loves.  I’m thankful for the gift of my beautiful necklace that describes my greatest challenge and favorite role in life, all in one–being their Mama.  And I give thanks for being accosted by a big goofy smile on a beautiful face that knows me…..because she loves me enough to pay attention to what makes me me.

May we all have someone who recognizes our jingles, and whose jingle we could pick out of a crowd.  That’s the really good stuff, isn’t it?  That’s love.

 

Love to all.