Monday, July 29, 2013
I hope it was a great day.
I so appreciate a true story, the real truth, and I understand. As much as I want to bake a cake and light candles and all that--we get tired! There's softball and work and this summer is flying past, and there are many birthdays in August.
Alicia, I got to know Dannell by living with her. We did for years. And kind of the same with Joe. His family lived far from here, so he'd come for long weekends and time in the summer and stay with us.
You and I never lived together, and had zero sleepovers other than family weekends at the lake, and that's different.
I love how we finally really got to know each other: You were planning for natural childbirth, and so I gave you some old homebirth newsletters for entertainment. And then in a bit you shared your blog with me, which I have devoured ever since. I loved getting to know you that way--you were so observant and really funny besides, and your affection for Dan was evident, which always makes a guy's mom happy. And then when this blog was a few months old and I was writing about your baby, I sent the address to you.
It's a weird, technology way to get to know each other, but I'm nothing but grateful for it.
Every day for the last what? dozen years? You've been nothing but nice to me, even though I'm your mother in law and probably irritating as hell at times. You're kind to my little kids all the time--even when they're rowdy and foolish. To Dad, you are nothing but sweet, and you're good to Dan and are a crazy good mother to those little blonde boys we both adore.
Happy Birthday and of course it's true: The whole family is better because of you. Thanks for being ours. love, Val and Jay and everybody.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Jay's parents, sixty years.
Some pictures from the party:
Nothing changes. Kids are still crazy--but that's the good part.
It was true, too.
And this going on smack in the middle made Little Jay laugh right out loud with me when I showed him, "Now we'll zoom in."
As if he needs any help smiling, but it's a nice thought. Oh my goodness.
Mom and Dad--Congratulations on your anniversary. This whole wild family loves you so much, and wouldn't even be here without you.
love always, Val and Jay and EVERYBODY
My Aunt Anita and Uncle Roger hosted this picnic at their house. It's beautiful there at their big farm in the woods. My cousins took us on a ride on their John Deere Mule or Gator--whatever it is. It was great for going up and down the hills, loaded up with all of us in the back.
The woods are lovely--my cousin pointed out things through the trip and at the last part she said, "This is my favorite part, the most beautiful place." She said it had never been logged, so there was little brush and the tree canopy arched high above. Sound was muffled, and on this overcast day it was weirdly green, felt like the bottom of an aquarium.
Sitting in a pile of my cousins, all of us crowded together, listening to their voices, I felt very lucky to have grown up with people so good-natured and kind.
It's good we have each other.
My sweet cousin had an album from my grandparents' 25th anniversary celebration back in 1966. It's quite a treasure, photos and cards, and as she paged through it she said, "They must have not let us kids sign the guest list."
I was confused, "Honey, you weren't even born. You didn't even have any little hands to write with."
A look came over her face, and we laughed our heads off--she was remembering their 50th anniversary celebration. Wow how many years went by.
Her little boys are the ones who made a bet with my mother last spring when they were cleaning out the garage. One of them asked if he could go look in the old outhouse?
My mom said he should ask his Grandma (her sister.)
He said, "Oh she'll never let me. She'll say, "There might be wild animals in there.""
My mom doubted that, "Oh she will not."
"Yes she will! I'll be you a dollar that's what she says!"
So they bet.
And when Aunt Pat came back he asked her, "Grandma, can I go look in the outhouse?"
"Oh no. There might be a skunk in there."
My mom said the kid leaped in the air, arm over his head and hollered, "Skunk! Technically a wild animal! Pay up! Pay up! You owe me a dollar!"
Oh my goodness.
He said, "This is Missy's made-up game. She makes up the rules."
In a few minutes she said she was cold and asked Dan to take over pitching and said to him, "You know the rules, right?"
Dan said he thought so, and her husband howled, "They are MADE UP rules."
It was a great day, and thanks to Roger and Anita and their family for hosting us all, and to all my cousins, uncles and aunts: Thank you for your friendship and love. love you all so, Val and all the rest
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Today was the day the wisdom teeth came out.
I used to think this was somewhat of a racket, an invented problem. Now I'm not sure. Jay's wisdom teeth finally caused him trouble in his thirties and it was a tough surgery. His upper sinus cavity was punctured in the process and he had a nasty infection. Mine came through but had to be pulled by the dentist eventually because of decay.
So anyway, Maria has had one hurting on and off for about six months and today was the day.
She survived quite nicely. I knew she was no longer under anesthesia when she peeled her eyes open and noticed I had on her shoes. We have identical pairs. Hers are one size bigger, but that's not even necessary because we have the same size feet.
Then she said, "And you took both pair to the wedding. Do you even know where yours are?"
I knew she was going to be fine.
On the way home there was a bout of intense nausea--drenching sweat, white lips. I pulled the car over fast so she could puke on the grass, and she knelt there for a while until she felt better but never did actually throw up, so that was good. A guy came out on his deck and watched us closely. I know he was completely baffled.
(If a car stopped in front of my house and a girl fell out, ripping bloody gauze out of her mouth, and knelt there while a lady hovered around and brought her a bottle of water, I'd be wondering too.)
As the hours went on, she felt better and better. I ran to the store and fetched her prescriptions and also pudding and jello cups and Gatorade.
Heidi and Kirsten and p.j. came for supper. They heard their dad was grilling burgers. (Kirsten stays with Heidi when Joe is traveling so she can help out with the child.)
Well, after supper ALL the kids were ON these stupid pudding cups like white on rice. No, you can't eat them! They're for Maria who had oral surgery today.
STEP AWAY FROM THE PUDDING.
Little Jay was perched on the washing machine next to the fridge, "No pudding for YOU."
Jay was there and he started laughing, "That's in a song! It is! What song is it?"
Heidi laughed too, and knowing the loud bands her father used to enjoy in his youth snarled in her best rocker voice, "NO PUDDING FOR YOU!"
I said, "Pink Floyd? They didn't do much screaming, did they?"
Maria got on her little device and found the song within a minute. Brick in the Wall--the line is at the end.
The other line we always laughed about in that same song was this one: "Hey. Teacher. Leave those kids alone."
Yes, indeed. No pudding for any of you except Maria.
Maria? This little ordeal was not fun, but you dealt with it well. Tomorrow will be a better day.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
At the resort pool, smoking is fine IN the pool. There's a swim up bar. Kids dragged a big lawn chair off the edge, and nobody cared.
We observed and ordered chicken wings. They came with fries, as well as rum and coke. Or plain coca cola lite if you prefer. (I prefer.)
The parents eventually dealt with the lawn chair problem. (Lawn chairs are not great rafts, as it turns out.) It was fine.
Pictures from the ocean:
We were here to attend a wedding on the beach and celebrate, in a place on this planet it almost didn't even seem real. The bride and groom are both good-natured and gentle. I can see why they fell in love.
Congratulations, guys. Best wishes always.
And then we came home.
We came home to a house full of people happy to see us, happy kids, bouncy dogs. One very much great part about going away is coming home again.
love you all so, MOM
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
We picked it up at the bakery and the baker seemed just as amused by his creation as he did last year.
It was a different baker, but he brought it out and asked, "So who is Julia?"
And then he peeped the lid open so she could see the gorgeous face of the Bieber, and she gasped and grinned, and so did he.
Oh, to be nine.
Well, I didn't even know what to say about that, not knowing the man personally.
I waved my hand and said, "Ach, he's Canadian."
For some reason, she found that hilarious, though I don't know why.
This buddy was here too, and his parents even stayed for cake.
Okay, this rowdy scene is my grandbabies playing Don't Break the Ice.
Only with these guys it's: Yes Break the Ice Fast.
Time for gifts. I told her because she received that gorgeous doll in the mail from one set of grandparents, and her other grandparents and me and Dad all went together to buy her that blessed Nintendo 3DS, there might not be many gifts to open.
Did she understand that?
Well, there were other gifts too.
Julia? My baby girl? I have described you as the maraschino cherry on top of a big sundae of family, and that is you: the grace note at the end, the fancy curlicue that makes everything complete.
I love your chubby lips and your weird, goofy nine year old teeth. I love your long fingers and toes and your greenish-gold eyes. I love your energy and scrappiness, your loud laugh, your big heart.
This family is just right because you're here. We're so lucky and we know it.
Happy Birthday. love forever, Mom and Dad and everybody