“You never would have let ME do that!”

So today I figured out I’ve grown up a little more.

I found great joy in making a mess.   And I didn’t rush around to clean it up.

My little nephew, a precious and bright 17 month old fella, figured out that if he pushed on the handle of this–

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that water squirts out.

And that if he aimed it just so it would hit him…..or me…..in the face.

And we laughed and laughed.

And then he pushed on it again.

Before it was over, he was a bit wet, my arm was soaked and there was water all over the recliner where we were perched together quite comfortably.

And it did not bother me one bit.

Him either.

I’ve thought about those moments today, and what my own children would have said if they were watching instead of being outside playing with their older cousins or working at a job.

They probably would have looked on incredulously.

“You never would have let ME do that.”  I can hear it in my head as though it actually happened that way.

Why?  Because I have said those words so many times to my own parents.

The folks who raised me did not hang around for long.

See, there were three different couples going by the same names who resided at Blackberry Flats over the years.

First there were my parents–the ones who made me toe the line and do what was right.  The ones who stayed on me hard and expected me to do my best and pick up my room and contribute to the household by doing other things as well.

And then there were my brother’s parents.  Somewhere in the nine years between my birth and his, my folks took off and his showed up.  Oh, they were tricky–used the same names, looked very similar, but they were Not. My.  Parents.

Instead these were the folks who were less strict about bedtimes, who did not insist their son wear shoes in the middle of winter (“if his feet get cold, he’ll put some on”), and whose bedding requirements had changed drastically.  (He did not have to keep a top sheet on his bed complete with the mandatory hospital corners–bottom sheet and comforter only.  Why I never!)

And then, nearly eighteen years later, we discovered that those folks had flown the coop too.

In their places, the grandparents.

The people who took on loving my children acted nowhere near like the folks who had taught me right from wrong.  Oh, they still made my crew toe the line and pick up their toys, but these folks let these children do all kinds of things we had never been allowed too.  The woman posing as my Mama loved to let my oldest use a knife to cut up different foods when I was nowhere around.  They had tea parties and whiled away afternoons reading books and playing with cars and hoola hooping.  One time they bought a trampoline and had it waiting in the backyard for my oldest to arrive…..and then proceeded to jump with her.  Their predecessors NEVER jumped with me.

And so tonight I had a giggle, thinking about those folks and who they became.  I guess I’m really on my way, because my crew would probably be right.  I don’t think I let them play with a spray bottle when they were little.  We tried not to make messes and we stayed as clean and dry as we could and if we were going to get wet, we put on bathing suits first.  Because that’s what we do.

But now, now I’m an aunt who is fun (or tries to be) and who wants to dote and laugh and giggle over the silliest of things.  Or just sit and hold napping babies who are pretending to be asleep while I pretend I don’t know they’re awake, just so we can sit and do nothing more important than be together and love each other and create memories and stories to share for years to come.

As for these folks whom I’m raising, they’ll have good stories too–the ones who start off with my “Mama left when my baby cousin was born and some other doting, willy-nilly silly person took her place.  Looked just like her, but she was not the one who raised us.”

Yep, I like that I started that story for them today.

Y’all go do something unexpected and surprise folks who know you today.

Love to all.

 

 

 

Mama and the Little Green Frog

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This little guy was waiting on me outside the other day. He made me smile. So cute. But I couldn’t get too close. I just wouldn’t. He was precious but those things can jump, did you know?
Family lore has it that one evening many years ago (I think it’s been 41), my Mama, who was pregnant with Mess Cat, was taking a shower in our little bathroom at the old house. The bathroom had a window over the shower which they cracked sometimes for ventilation. This particular evening Mama had a guest in the shower. A little green guy just like this one. He was camouflaged by the greenery outside the window until…..
he jumped in on top of Mama.
Landed right on her.
Bless her.
She did what anyone would do–screamed and ran out of the shower as fast as she could, never mind her wet and unclothed state. I remember standing in the doorway of her dark bedroom, the light from the hall sweeping across the bed where she lay sobbing. I was four, and all I remember thinking is “Poor Mama. My poor little Mama.”

I was thinking about that when I saw this guy for two reasons.
Number one, I was not going to put myself in the jump zone. Zoom on the camera works just fine thank you very much.
Number two, I wondered at how, despite this frog story, the frog became Mama’s totem. We gave her all kinds of frogs over the years. I even made her a fleece blanket covered in rainbow frogs. And she LOVED IT. I have no idea. Maybe it’s because she was a good sport? And it just caught on?
Maybe. Because she was definitely a good sport.
It’s funny, isn’t it? The things that just are and you never think to question it. Until one day you do and you find the answers are gone with those you love.
Tonight I’m thankful for all those years Mama received our frog gifts and loved them and put them on display or used them and said they made her “very hoppy.” Yeah, not only was she a good sport she was also very punny.

Wishing you a day filled with many hoppy moments. Love to all.