The Name He Gave Me

Apparently my name is hard to say.  Over the years it’s been mispronounced or misunderstood quite a few times.  (Somehow on more than one occasion, the person on the other end of the phone has thought I was saying “Pat.”  How you get Pat from Tara, I got no idea, but there it is.)

Perhaps the most distinctive memory I have of my name being mispronounced was when I was in the sixth grade.  There were a handful of us who went to a different class during fourth period, but when our teacher was out, we went back to the other classroom because they didn’t get a substitute teacher.  On this particular day, the teacher who wasn’t crazy about our presence in her classroom decided to make it a point to explain why my name should be pronounced TAR (rhymes with car) UH.  (“The R-uh controls the A.  Always.”)

Ummmm, not how I was raised, but whatever.  I wasn’t one to rock the boat at all, but I remember my good friend, tired of the whole thing, saying, “Mrs. M, Tara could write XYZ up on that board and tell us that’s her name and it’s pronounced Ta-ruh, and we’d have to say it that way.  Because it’s her name.”

I don’t remember the outcome of the day, probably because I was mortified, but I do remember feeling relieved that the day was over and thankful to my friend for speaking up on my behalf.

Cooter seems to struggle with the pronunciation himself, as he is stuck on a short “e” sound instead of short “a.”  But whatever, he gets the Mama part right, so it’s never really been an issue.

Or so I thought.  He informed me Monday that “since your name is too hard to say correctly, I’m going to call you Timothy.”

And so he did.

“Timothy, is this the right answer on this math problem?”

“Timothy, it’s not funny.”  (Because I was laughing and soon he was too.)  “Everything okay in there, Timothy?”

“I’m ready for lunch, Timothy.”

I think the real clincher was on Tuesday when, after we went to vote, he was telling his sister “NO” to all of the candidates she could think of to list.  “What?  Do you want President Obama to stay President another four years?”

“No, I don’t.”  He turned to me. “Timothy, the one thing I’ve learned in my life about politics is you can’t trust any of them.”

Oh me.

I suppose it will sound strange if we go out in public, and he calls for “Timothy” and I answer.  The thing is we have a lot of pet names in this family, and I kind of love that this is one he picked out all by himself for me.  He smiles when he says it–oh that smile–and he never says it in anger.

So yeah, I’m okay with that.

Besides, I remember my Mama’s answer when someone asked about what her grandchildren called her–her grandmother name.  When they asked, she looked real thoughtful, smiled really big, and said, “You know, I really don’t care what they call me–as long as they call me.”

And so with that, I’ll be Timothy as long as Cooter wants me to be.

It’s growing on me.  Just like he did about nine years ago.  Right there in my heart.

Love to all.

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from Romeo and Juliet

 

 

ode to a q-tip

This morning as I was getting ready it appeared that I had run out of q-tips, and this distressed me greatly.  For two reasons.  One–I really thought we had more.  (Does that ever happen to you?  You KNOW you have more of something, it’s just out of sight.  Or gone…..Just me? Oh, okay.) And two–there is NO substitute for a q-tip when you need one, is there?  I mean, that’s just something that cannot be replaced.  And so, when I did find my stash, I held one in my hand and gave thanks that such a thing exists.  

ode to a q-tip

aren’t you an interesting

thing?

basically a paper stick

with two poofs of cotton,

one at either end

and yet,

try as I might,

I cannot replicate or

come close to creating

anything that can do

what you can do.

you are very task oriented

and yet you have ventured out

beyond the ear department

not because you had to

but just for the fun of it

I suspect.

that fine point of cotton is

the best

at cleaning up

sloppy manicures.

we have even painted with

a few of your friends–

those were fun and unusual

works of art,

a lot like you.

but I think my

favorite thing about you

is that each time I use one of you

a little bit of a rebel comes out in me

as I hear my Mama’s voice

“don’t EVER put ANYTHING in your ears…..”

and yet, there’s a whole section

in the store

devoted to

things you put in your ears,

devoted to YOU…..

you remind me that grownups

say the silliest of things

to get their points across–

and that

is

perfection

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Dreams Come True, The Highway Don’t Care

Y’all know that Taylor Swift song–The Highway Don’t Care?  Oops.  Just found out it is really attributed to Tim McGraw.  But she sings in it and she’s Taylor after all (I live in a house dominated by females who LOVE TS, so my apologies, Mr. McGraw).

The song basically says that despite all that is going on in this person’s life, the highway don’t care.  Life goes on, sweetie, the highway don’t care.

So today has been the official launch date of dreams coming true.

*insert MAJOR happy dance here*

My oldest took a selfie with me on Sunday before she headed back to college.  “Next time we see each other, you’ll be a published author.”

She’s stretching it, but I’ll take it.

And smile really big.

The littles heard me talking about it, so I told them about the e-book and my story.  They were quite excited.  They love books, and we always talk about the authors and illustrators, so they can relate and, unless I am way off, I think they are just slightly impressed.  I can put together a full meal complete with dessert and I get nothing, but this–this, they get.

Cooter asked if I would be signing “my” book.  Funny how much they pay attention.  They’ve been to a book signing on more than one occasion and made friends with the authors–Karen Spears Zacharias, Ann Hite, and Renea Winchester–and all of those beautiful people became our friends.  So the bar is set very high about how this should go.  I explained to him that I wrote a story in a big book with lots of stories by amazing writers.  He looked at me and asked again, “Are you going to sign your book?”

So if you see my name in Sharpie on any electronic device around here, you’ll know why.

(He insisted, for goodness’ sake!  And have you seen that face?  Oh me.)

The thing is my life changed a little today.  A dream came true.  And I’m so tickled I can’t contain the joy.

But like going to school on your birthday and having midterms, life goes on.

First up Miss Sophie did not tend to *ahem* all of her business on our walk this morning.  So I felt the need to watch her like a hawk when we were back in the house.  She doesn’t have accidents often, but if she doesn’t go and I miss her signal (and she’s so subtle sometimes, that one), well somebody’s gonna have a mess to clean up.

Second our Princess accidentally poured almost an entire bowl of cereal WITH milk in her lap, all over her gown and robe and the table and the floor and the *sigh* fabric covered chair.  What do you know?  I was watching the dog like a hawk and STILL had a mess to clean up.

You know why?

Because the Highway don’t care.

We got through that, and I told the littles we needed to get lessons done before we could take on the task our Kindness Elves left for us. (We have Kindness Elves visiting us from England this year–when we wake up in the morning they have a suggestion for us about something we can do to scatter kindness.  This idea came from Imagination Tree.)  They suggested we make cookies, Maemae’s cookies, today to share–in honor of my story in the book (recipe included).

The littles were eager to get on to the cookie making portion of the day, so math happened.

I sit with Cooter to *ahem* encourage his little second grade self.  We are doing some review work right now.  He came to this word problem.

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We’ve seen this kind before, with smaller numbers.  But it never fails to crack Cooter up, and I’m thrilled that he finds it funny.  Dear Saxon, you have my homeschooled boy thinking that public school is really wacky with some of the things you say are in the classroom store.  Today he giggled so hard over eggs and rolls being in the classroom store that I had a hard time bringing him back around.

And then there was the sock question.  Y’all know those things are the bane of my existence, right?

The question was: Five pairs of socks were moved from the washer to the dryer.  When the socks were dry, only eight socks came out.  What happened ?

So I’m not really sure where Saxon was going with this line of questioning.  I mean, I know the math–10-8=2.  2 socks were missing.  But oh the joy that boy brings me!  I looked at his answer, and he had written, “NOTHENG.”

Okay, spelling’s not his forte, but you know what?  He’s right.

And Saxon, you know why he’s right?

Because this is NO BIG DEAL in our house.  It happens all the time. What would be a shocker and need answering as to what happened is if ALL THE SOCKS that were put in the washer and dryer came out SAFE AND SOUND and MATCHED.

Notheng, indeed, my boy.

He cracks me up.

He’s also slower than Christmas despite being motivated.  Not because he doesn’t understand but because he has so much to talk about.  Important stuff.  Star Wars.  Minecraft.  Interesting dreams. Dogs.  Cats.  Mushrooms.  Anything but math.

But they got it all done.

And it was cookie making time.

I know I’m already up for the Worst Parent award, so I will go ahead and confess that mine have never really been a part of the cookie making for very long at the time.  Either they get bored waiting on pans of cookies to get done to be refilled, or they make me so crazy that I thank them for their time and move it along.

Sad sad sad.  I’m sorry, crew. I’m trying to do better.

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So today I got one pan done and then left them to it.  I rerolled the dough as needed, but I let them cut and have fun.  I really did.  I kept my mouth closed and let them enjoy.

It’s Mama’s recipe and in memory of her anyway, so it was appropriate.

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Oh but was it an adventure!

I learned something very interesting.  I apologize to my Bubba, because I guess we never made cookies together.  At least I don’t remember him doing what Cooter did today.

It was a simple task really.  I have my Mama’s little boy and girl cookie cutters.  I handed each child their gender cutter and let them go to town.

And I have never seen as such.

I walked over to get a pan to put in the oven and–
Y’all.

Legless gingerbread boys.  Headless ones.  Ones with half a body.

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The girls were quite lovely.

Hmmmm.

Cooter.

Seven year old boys and cookie cutting are an interesting combination.

I finally asked that they cut out whole people as I wanted to have some to share (that was the idea, right, Kindness Elves?).  I asked that there be no more body part cookies.

Which sent the boy into fits of giggles.

Oh me.

He even suggested we could share them like that–as puzzle cookies or something.  *sigh*

The Highway don’t care, y’all.

(And yeah, I did pretty much laugh a lot this afternoon.)

All in all a good day.  Despite running a few minutes late everywhere I went and losing an earring in the process (the hazards of wearing clip-ons I reckon).  But I was given grace and my friend helped me look for my earring (found it), so all in all–

the Highway might not care but my friends and family do.

It’s been a special day.  A busy one.  And one that I won’t soon forget.

But here’s the lesson I want my children to hear whenever they get around to reading this–

First, our washer eats socks.  Don’t use socks for math problems.  Ever.

Second, if the dog doesn’t go, watch the cereal bowls, not her.  They are committing hari-kari around here.

Third, it doesn’t matter how wonderful life is going for you, or what awesome things are happening, life is still life–filled with bumps and bruises and logs in the road.  It’s never going to be perfect.  But it’s what you do with that–that’s what makes it special and beautiful and awesome.  Even in the midst of spilled cereal and lost earrings and body part cookies–keep smiling. It’s never that serious. That’s what deserves the happy dance in life.

Fourth, even when everything seems to be falling apart and the Highway ain’t listening to you or your woes at all–there is always someone who will.  A friend.  A sister.  A brother.  An Aunt.  You are loved.  From both sides of the veil.

Don’t let anything or anyone steal your joy.

And that’s why I’m still doing my happy dance with the book pulled up on that e-reader with my name scrawled across it in permanent ink.

Ha.

Tonight I’m thankful for all of you.  Thanks for sharing the journey and for caring, even when bowls and puppies and earrings and the clock and the Highway don’t care.  You do, and that makes all the difference in this world.

Love to all.

 

(If you’ve missed the link for the free copy of the book, click here.  *insert shameless self promotion here* 🙂  Thanks to all who have already gotten it.  It’s free until December 4th.  After that, it will be $1.99 and all proceeds will go to a program for children’s literacy.)

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This right here–MAJOR happy dance.  Oh, and the author whose name I share a line with–she’s my Fairy Godmother.  HOW PRECIOUS IS THAT?  ❤

Shoes That Make Me Wonder…..and Old Habits Die Hard

So ummm, yeah, I’m back.

Old habits die hard y’all.  All day long while I’ve peeled peaches and prepared meals and done our OutandAbouts, I’ve found myself thinking about what I was going to write about.  I paid close attention  to those around me and the insects and the sunshine, looking for that story that begged to be told.  I can’t turn it off.  (And I’m not sure I want to.)

Anyway, in the midst of it all, these shoes stayed on my mind.

The mystery shoes--have no idea where these came from y'all.

Y’all.

I may have waited too long to rejoin my household and attempt to put things in order.  (Okay, right, busted–as much order as I can manage, which isn’t much.  I tend to get a bit distracted by the words in my head at times.)

So yesterday evening as we were heading out the door, I was grabbing a pair of shoes from where we pile them by the garage door.  (Yeah, we’re that family–kick our shoes off at the door.)  I noticed that pair of tennis shoes.  As I headed out the door, sliding my shoes on at the same time, I called out to my family–“hey, whose shoes are those?”

We loaded up in the gomobile, and the Fella told me that he found them under Cooter’s bed.  I looked at him over my bifocals.  Do what?

“Really.  Under his bed?”

He nodded.  Well, what on earth.

Y’all these are not Cooter’s shoes.  He doesn’t wear that size shoe yet.  And they are not our Princess’ either.  It’s been a while since she’s worn that size and they are in way too good a shape to ever have been on her foot.  She’s rough on shoes–just sayin’.

So I’ve been speculating.  When Cooter told me they came from his closet I thought, well, maybe they are some the Fella’s sister passed down from her boys.  Except, of course.  For.  The.  Pink.  Stripes.  Ahem.  Not her style or theirs, I’m thinking.

So while I’m not as troubled at finding a pair of girls’ shoes under my little guy’s bed as I could be in the future, still it’s got me befuddled and bamboozled.  Where on earth did these shoes come from?  They’re really nice and in good condition.  Makes me almost wish Cooter were color blind so he’d wear them in the next couple of years.

Ah, but no.

So that’s been my laugh and “head shaker” for the day.  And I couldn’t wait to share it with all of you.  If any of you know whose shoes these are, do tell.  In the meantime, I’m wondering what little girl showed up at home with no shoes and Mama didn’t call me asking why.

And since I promised myself, my people, and all of you that I was cutting back, I’m even going to hit publish without editing and re-reading for the next two hours.

Wishing you all just enough mystery to keep life interesting.  Love to all.

I Want the Caramel Flavored Fluoride Too!

Whoo.  What a day.

We worked hard to get in as much of our studies as we could before heading out for dentist appointments.  Me and the littles.

I used to love going to the dentist.

That ceased two and a half years ago.

I got my first cavity. Ever.

I was so mad.  I figured it was the fault of the new mouthpiece I wore for TMJ.  I blamed it so hard that I quit wearing it then and there.  And after getting the filling, I definitely was NOT happy.  I remember going back to Mama’s to pick up my littles and almost drooling on Daddy in his hospital bed as we talked.  I felt sure my mouth was sliding off my face.  It took forever to regain feeling.  Have I mentioned that I was NOT happy?  Not one bit.

I tend to stress before the appointments now.  Yeah, Anxiety Girl shows up in all her glory.  Even more so when it’s my children’s appointments.  What they don’t tell you as folks are congratulating you and oohing and ahhing over your sweet new baby is this:  “Congratulations, you have now become responsible for someone else’s teeth.”

Whaaaaaa?

It is hard enough to obsess over my own, but now, I stress over what the dentist or hygienist will tell me about my children’s teeth, which of course is ALL MY FAULT.  It’s enough to make me lose sleep and gain weight.  (Oh if only I could switch those around!)

So of course, it makes sense to schedule all three of us together at the same time in rooms next door to each other just so I can have all the stress and anxiety and worry hit me in the head all at once.  Might as well.

Oh boy.

So today Cooter sat in with me while his sister had her teeth cleaned.  While I was having an x-ray done, he slipped into the other room for his cleaning.  Our Australian dentist came in to check my teeth and gave me the report on the littles.  I held my breath.  Which isn’t easy to do when someone has their hand in your mouth.  Seriously.  Try it.

“No cavities.”  The whoosh of relief might have fogged up his glasses just a little.  “However, you need to help Cooter just a little bit with his flossing maybe if that’s possible.  He has some spots where cavities could develop.”  I sighed.  Yeah, I figured.  Okay, we can do that.

Bad news sounds so much better when delivered with an accent, you know?

I love my hygienist.  We have known each other for years.  And for two people who only see each other about twice a year usually, we keep up with the important stuff in each other’s lives.  No small feat considering I’m rendered unable to speak legibly during much of our time together.

Today we talked about weddings and death, stress, yeast, grandchildren, and the holidays.  When my little guy came in–the same one she guessed the gender of when I was pregnant with him–she smiled.  Since she was giving me my fluoride treatment, the two of them talked.

“Did you get your fluoride treatment?” she asked him.

He nodded.  (Boy, speak up, she can’t hear the rocks in your head.  But I was unable to get the words out.)

“What flavor did you choose?  Strawberry, bubble gum, mint, or our new one–orange crush?”

He looked around for a minute, thinking.  “Ummm, caramel.”

She and I both burst out laughing.  (Mine was through my nose–very attractive.)  “Really?” she asked.  “Are you sure?  Caramel?”

He nodded again.  “Yes.  It was caramel.”

I reached over and mock-punched my hygienist.  “Girl, you been holding out on me?” I said.  Only I’m pretty sure it came out, “Durrr, uuu biii ooin ow a e?”  Which of course she interpreted (she’s just that good), and she started laughing too, pretending to fend off my blows.  She called out to her friend and co-worker next door and asked.  Turns out he’d had the new one.  (Yeah, there was no caramel.  But what a concept!)

So of course, after my treatment was over, we all taste tested it to see if it did indeed taste like caramel.

I couldn’t tell, I was jazzed up on the mint.  (Never choose anything other than mint.  It just doesn’t feel clean otherwise.  I know this from experience.  Trust me.)

When we left with our “supply” bags in tow, my two proudly showed me their “treats.”  I love this dentist.  They used to give out “toys” from the treasure box.  Now they give out Chick-Fil-A coupons.  THANK YOU, DR. K!   As we left with smiles and good reports and hugs with my friend and hygienist, we all felt pretty good about ourselves.  We were cavity clear, headed to CFA for free food, and full of relief that we’d eked by one more time.

It’s a good feeling.  I intend to enjoy it.  At least for the next five months and twenty-nine days.

Happy Brushing, y’all!

In honor of my hygienist/friend whom I love, here’s a little giggle and a shout out to those great people who help us keep our mouths clean.  😉  Thank you all.