Monday, May 25, 2009

Peanuts and Crackerjacks

Sounds like new nicknames for the boys! ha!

They're taking us out to the ballgame, because it's T-ball season again! This year, Kieran plays for the Red Sox...but he says "some socks are stinky" so he prefers the team to be called the Eagles. And Connery? He thinks he's on the team, too. Not that he expects to bat or catch the ball. But he wants a shirt and hat, and he likes to run around on the field. And we let him.

Here is a video that will be replayed on ESPN one day, I'm sure. But don't worry. We'll stay away from the steroids. He'll get to the majors on chocolate milk and good ol' Flintstones. And Daddy's good coaching.

(His "homerun" after which he slides into home. He does that every time. Tonight was the first time he wore his baseball pants, which he requested just for this purpose.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thou art thy mother's glass...

Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee Calls back the lovely April of her prime. ~William Shakespeare

My grandmother with her mother (1937)..................... Me with Kieran (2005)

When my first son was born, I gave my mother a series of four photos. And for my first Mother's Day, she gave the same photos to me. They show
my great-grandmother with my Gran, my Gran with my mother, my mother with me, and me with my son. Photos taken almost 70 years apart, proving five generations of Momma's.

I know the names of ancestors going back several generations. "Ancestors" always seems like such a formal word to describe the people whose eyes, hair, freckles and mannerisms might explain me. So I'm thankful to have a photo of my great-grandmother Stella Frances holding my grandmother Helen Louise. Frances is young here and looks so much like my Gran
did as a teenager. Gran remembers very little of her mother, since Frances died of tuberculosis when Gran was only six. She told me once that she does remember running through the house and being told to be quiet, because her mother was sick. She remembers peeking into the room and seeing her mother in bed. I wish she had happy memories of her mother, or that I had the chance of ever knowing her either.

The candidness of this photo strikes me. My Gran so young.
Twenty, I think, with her new baby. My mother. The summer of 1956, soon after my mother learned to sit up. My
grandmother tells the story of giving birth to my mother at home during a harsh winter in the mountains of Tennessee. The doctor arrived late, after my mother was already born, and not having a scale to weigh her, he guessed that she weighed about the same as a five pound sack of sugar.

Seventeen years later, a few months after my mother and father married, Momma was helping cook supper in
the kitchen and told my Gran, "I think I'm pregnant." Gran stopped cooking, smiled big, turned to her and said, "I think I am, too." A couple of months later, my mother's sister Rhonda announced that she was pregnant, too, and the three of them were pregnant together. I was born in April of '74, my uncle John was born two weeks later, and my cousin Brian was born two months later. They raised us like little triplets. John was the seventh--and last--of Gran's children ;)

Here is my young Momma. In her short shorts and ponytail. Holding a very cute, fat, redheaded baby. Two years before, she and my dad dated and broke up. Then she and one of my uncles were in a terrible car wreck that almost killed her. As she woke in the hospital, she asked for my dad, so of course, they got back together ;) They married in June of 1973, and I was born the following April, so they didn't have much time to be newlyweds before they became "three of us." (Don't worry. I've done the math on that one, and it's all good. ;) What I love about this photo is my mother's sweet smile. I know that smile.

And if you look carefully on her right hand, she's holding my pacifier, or my "fooler" as my other Granny called it. Just a couple of months after this photo was taken, we moved to Germany. My family said goodbye to me and Momma at the airport, (Daddy had already shipped over) and after my mother boarded the plane with me, my Granny looked down and saw that she had my "fooler" on her finger. Granny cried all the way home, not knowing that Momma had another one on the plane.

And the lineage continued when I gave birth to Kieran. It's hard to describe how instantly I felt that I was doing something for my mother, my Gran, my Frances...and our many mothers before us. Not in honor of them, but for them. Something they started and that I was now continuing. I never anticipated that I would feel that way. That's the meaning of legacy, after all, right?
Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past. Now my journey, my adventure, my blessing is that each day, I shape what exactly I hand down. A sense of humor? Love of the grass under my feet? Stories of life in the country? Good looks? ;) A killer work ethic? Amazing recipes? ...I'm not always sure that I'm doing my job well (especially with the whole 'cooking' thing). But I'm so thankful to have the chance.

The boys are intrigued by these photos and aren't quite sure whether to believe me when I say that the babies are me, Ba and Gran. Connery shouted, "There's all the babies! And all the momma's."

All the momma's.
And I smile, looking a lot like my own Momma did when she held me in that rocking chair.

Friday, May 8, 2009

See Mommy Laugh

So what exactly do the boys see when they look at me? Of all the things I say. Of all the things I do with them. What sticks out in their little 4yo and 2yo minds?

I stole this idea from another blogger. 'Cause it's fun. And just in time for Mother's Day. 25 questions about Mommy...

1. What is something I always say to you? K: You love me. C: Hey.
2. What makes me happy? K: When you told me to clean up and I do it. C: Me.
3. What makes me sad? K: When I don't listen to you. C: Him. (p
oints to Kieran)
4. How do I make you laugh?
K: When you do [See photo.] You know what makes me laugh? When you say 'monkey head'! (Hits his head and laughs.) [Note: I never do that.] C: Hahaha
5. What do you think I was like as a child? K: (shrugs shoulders.) I don't know. C: Hahaha
6. How old am I? K: I don't know. How old is Gryphon? (Me: six) How many is Sweets? (Me: 12) How? Does Sweets have 12 birthdays? (Me: What if you had to guess how old I am?) C: I don't know. Eleven! Thirty! K: Thirty-one.
7. How tall am I? C: This big. (Points to bag of chips.) K: (stretches his arms up and down)
8. What is my favorite thing to do? C: Um (growls) K: Having students.
9. What do I do when you’re not around? K: Go to work. We don't know what you do when we're not around. 'Cause if we watch you we do know, and if we don't watch you we don't know. C: I don't watch you.
10. If I become famous, what will it be for? K: So everyone in this world can know you. Everyone in Africa. And ... C: And I'm not in Africa. K: and in Alabama... C: Mommy, I need to go potty. (for the third time)
11. What am I really good at? C: You. Me. K: Having a car.
12. What am I not really good at?
C: You're not good at your car. K: Standing on one foot for a long time.
13. What is my job?
K: Your job is to tell us what to do. C: I don't know.
14. What is my favorite food? C: I don't know. K: Pickles! [Um, actually. I don't like pickles very much.] C: Tell me what your food is. (Me: Chili) C: (pauses) I'm going to tell you your food is. Do you like pickles? Do you like jelly beans? Do you like candy? Do you like pickles? Do you like coffee? Do you like my head?
15. What makes you proud of me?
K: When I, when you, when I, when you clean up a mess and I didn't tell you to, and you listened, that makes me proud. C: Me!
16. What makes me proud of you?
C: Him (points to Kieran) K: Nothing. When I listen to you.

17. If I were a cartoon character, who would I be? K: Princess Leia. No, Wonder Woman C: Wonder One, Mommy, Wonder One.

18. What do you and I do together? C: Boat! Potty! We do potty! K: Nothing. Stay home together!
19. How are we the same? K: Because we all have Patel in our name. C: With the part [I have no clue what this means.]

20. How are you and I different? K: Because we don't have the same name. You're Amy, he's Connery, I'm Kieran, Daddy's Sandy. C: Two! [Again, only Connery knows.]
21. How do you know that I love you? C: Cause. K: Cause we listen to you. Cause we just do.

22. Where is my favorite place to go? K: School. C: I don't know. School.
23. What is one thing you wish you could change about me? K: So you can be a boy.Aand Daddy can be a girl. Let's call Daddy Amy when he's a man and call you Sandy when you're a lady. Is that a good idea? It's a silly idea. C: Here's a rocket!
24. What would I do with a million dollars? K: (giggles. giggles harder.) I am a stone. C: I don't know. K: I want you to ask me. Pay a million. (giggles.)
25. What do you wish you could go and do with me?
K: Go to work a lot and have doughnuts a lot. C: I'm gonna be right back.

Well. I certainly learned a lot about myself. I'm thinking that each Mother's Day, I will ask them the same questions to see how their answers change each year. But someone will have to remind me to do that. Because--as you can imagine--my mind is not entirely stable.

Gonna run and learn to stand on one foot for a long time now. Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009