Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"We Gotta Blow It!"

My mom takes Saralynn to school each morning and picks her up each afternoon, which is a huge blessing for me. I work about 30 minutes out of town, and it's just alot easier for my mom, who works about 3 blocks from Saralynn's day care, to be her transportation there and back. Mom has a story most every day of something cute Saralynn said or did on the way to school, and yesterday was no exception. The story below:

There is a set of older apartments about a block from day care that they pass heading to school. Saralynn knows where she is just about every step of the way, and when she gets to the apartments, she knows she's close. From a distance yesterday, Mom could see the blinking lights warning of a fire truck ahead, and since Saralynn loves cars, planes, trucks, etc., Mom showed her the lights. She thought it was a police car at first, but soon realized it was a fire truck. As they inched closer to the apartments by way of the light that had now turned green, Mom noticed that one of the units was smoking. It didn't take Saralynn long to realize that, either. "Look, Mimi! It's smoking! We gotta blow it!" Those precious words from that precious heart and mouth were followed by many puffs of her own breath hurled in the direction of the smoke itself- sweet little thing was helping the firemen by blowing the smoke herself. I thought it was too precious not to share, and preserve here.

Happy Tuesday! And, if you see something smoking today, do your part- blow it!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Coming this weekend is a day that we take time out to remember our mothers and all they do for us. In my opinion, every day should be a day we remember our moms, but taking special time out on this particular day is extra-special for them. In honor of my mom, I thought I'd list out something special about my mom for each year she's been a mom. (Yes, that shares my age, but she's worth it.) :)

1. My mom cries at the drop of a hat. And over anything. Some people call that a curse, but I call it a blessing. She cries when she's happy, she cries when she's sad. She cries at songs, commercials, TV shows, words spoken to her... just about anything, and I think it's great. She's taught me how to share my emotions, because I'm just like her.

2. My mom is a fabulous cook! She laments that she doesn't cook enough, but man when she does, you know it. Some of my favorites: her squash casserole, corn bread with actual corn in it, and buttermilk pies (not necessarily together, but man, oh man, is her cooking good!)

3. My mom plays the piano, organ, and handbells. I have many fond memories of sitting on the piano bench beside her as a young child, watching her fingers move over the keys as she played and sang along. She taught me to harmonize as a child by playing something on the piano and singing a harmony, asking me to sing what she was singing and not what was being played. She has accompanied me on the piano many, many times over the years when I've sung in various capacities, and I always count it an honor when she does. We've sung together a few times, and though I wish it would happen more often, she seems much more content to play for me while I sing. I hope to never take that for granted!

4. My mom made my Halloween costumes when I was growing up. The most memorable for me was my yellow Crayola crayon costume, complete with the triangular-shaped hat for the point of the crayon. Her taking the time to make something for me instead of buying something off a store shelf taught me what it means to sacrifice her time for me. I hope to one day follow in her footsteps and learn to sew.

5. My mom takes care of my grandparents in such a loving, compassionate way. They are both slowing down a little, and though they are still mostly self-sufficient (or at least able to rely on each other most of the time), she still visits often and does for them whenever they need something. She and Saralynn visit most every Friday, and she does anything they need her to do. I only hope to be the same blessing to she and my dad when they grow older and need me to care for them.

6. My mother is a wonderful friend. She has numerous friends that love her and appreciate her, and I'm glad to say I'm one of them! She still keeps up with childhood friends and teachers that have moved away, she is ready and waiting to help any of her friends whenever they need her, and she knows she can call on those friends to do the same for her. I hope I'm that same friend, too.

7. My mom is a wonderful wife, and a great example to me of what a steadfast, praying wife looks like. She loves my dad fiercely, and does all she can to support him in anything he does.

8. My mom collects cookbooks, and if you've ever been to our house, you notice. She has them lining many of the walls, and loves to use them as often as she can (see #2).

9. My mom sat up late at night with me numerous times during my school career, helping me with project after project on which I procrastinated. She read chapter after chapter of book after book out loud to me so I'd be ready for the next day's test, and as patiently as she could at 1 AM would nudge me back awake so I'd listen. I also remember vividly a Spanish flag that had to be drawn and colored by hand for which she was largely responsible.

10. Mom's birthday is in December, so she spent most of her childhood having her birthday presents and Christmas presents combined together. She tells that she would pick out one present from under the tree to open as her birthday present. I tell this to say that this makes her enjoy any and every present she is ever given. She's gotten the dutiful towels for Christmas, vacuum cleaner for her birthday, and anything in between over the years, and loves it, and usually cries (see #1), grateful for it all.

11. On the note of presents, my mom started a tradition with us years ago that I love: she buys and wraps a pair of pajamas for us that we open every year on Christmas Eve. Then, of course, everyone sleeps in their pajamas and awakes on Christmas Day to see what else is there, but the pajamas are somehow always the icing on the cake. She thought for a bit this past year about not doing the pajamas, but about that same time, Garrett shared an email with us about his favorite family traditions, and mentioned pajamas on Christmas Eve, so the tradition continues. He's only been around for almost 7 years, but it's part of him, now, too.

12. My mom kept every piece of paper Matthew and I scribbled on. Every. One. Bulletins from church that, with the help of the golf pencil on the back of the pew in front of you, kept us quiet during many a sermon are now safely packed away in boxes along with all of our artwork, noodle paintings, and tissue-paper crafts. She even still puts the gold spray-painted noodle stars and glitter-covered egg-carton bells we made in preschool on our Christmas tree. Of course, some may be removed in years to come to make room for Saralynn's pieces of art if necessary, but for now, she proudly displays them all.

13. My mom waited up on us all the time when we were growing up, sitting on the couch waiting to be sure we'd made it home ok (and on time). She always took time to listen to every detail of every date or fun night out with friends, no matter how long the stories took.

14. I have fond memories from my childhood of waking up on Saturday mornings to the sounds of Barbra Streisand playing from our record player. I would wake up and go find Mom, usually in the kitchen or reading a book, crawl up in her lap, and enjoy the last few sips of her Russian Tea (she'd always save me the last few sips- after it had cooled I enjoyed it).

15. In order to most efficiently communicate with my mom, you must be on her right side. She has a hearing loss in her left ear that makes it almost necessary to be on her right side when carrying on a conversation.

16. Like her daddy, my daddy, and me, Mom is left-handed. However, anything "domestic", i.e. cooking, ironing, sewing, etc. she does with her right hand- because her mom taught her.

17. Mom decided to be called Mimi by her grandchildren because of a story a friend told her years ago. This friend contended that if a child can say "Ma-ma" they can say "Mi-mi". Makes sense, right? Well, our precious Saralynn called my mom "Ma-ma", too, for the first few months she could talk.

18. To Saralynn's defense, my mom does just as much for her as I do. Because I work out of town, Mimi takes Saralynn to and from day care each day, which is her special time with Saralynn. They always have such good stories to tell us from their travels together. So, she really does have two "Ma-ma"s.

19. The day Saralynn was born, Mimi took her turn seeing her while I was recovering from my c-section, and she sang "Happy Birthday" to Saralynn. So special to me!

20. She also made up the melody to a "song" for Saralynn while we were in the hospital that will still to this day cause Saralynn to calm down when she's extremely upset. I'm hoping to get the song on paper one day so it could be used for any big part of Saralynn's life- a wedding song, etc.

21. My mom cried the day I tried on my wedding dress. That's how I knew it was "the one". I'd tried on others that were pretty and that she liked, but when I walked out of the dressing room, she cried (again, reference #1), and we left shortly after that with the dress.

22. I take great delight when people tell me I look like my mom. Most of the time I hear that I look like my dad, but will hear every now and then that I look like my mom. My mom with her long hair in high school and early 20s was beautiful (and still is), so it is a compliment to me to hear that I look like her.

23. My mom took a week of her vacation each year while Matthew and I were in middle school to go and cook for our youth group at Camp Cherokee. The kitchen had no A/C, it was hot in July, they went to bed after midnight and hit the ground running at 4:00, and they cooked for 200-plus middle-schoolers and their counselors, but Mom will still tell you those are some of her fondest memories. My parents have always supported us in our endeavors, but it always made me feel like the most special kid at camp because I had my whole family there- we looked forward to it every year!

24. My mom loves children- not just her own, but children in general. She always took her turn teaching children's choirs, Mission Friends, GA's, and whatever else was needed when we were small, but even as we grew up, she would always willingly take a turn substituting for a children's choir or in the nursery.

25. On the note of nursery, I can always count on my mom to come down and check on me to make sure we have enough nursery volunteers when my director on duty rotation comes around. She and Dad both will rock and play with any fussy baby, watch anyone that might unfortunately have to be separated from their class for a few moments of cool-down time, and will always compliment this kids' cute outfits and wish them a great Sunday afternoon.

26. Mom holds onto every birthday card, Mother's Day card, and any other card we ever give her (see #12). She taught us long ago to put the year in the card so when the recipient returns to the card to read it later, they have a reference point to know from which time the card was sent or given. I still do that to this day. I'm not as good as she is at keeping up with the cards I receive, but you can bet she knows where most of hers are.

27. I fondly remember Christmas when I was in first grade. I went to a private school that year, and my class consisted of 5 Japanese children, some of whom didn't speak English well. In an effort to bring some of our Christmas cultures to life for them, my mom brought the fixings to make gingerbread houses to school, and we as a class made them. I'm not sure if those kids remember that Christmas, but this one sure does.

28. Mom also went with us on Mission Tours with our choirs from church each summer. One summer in particular, after I'd completed 10th grade, our group went to Canada. We were always gone over the July 4th holiday, and this particular year, we were still in Canada on the 4th. Thus, no fireworks and celebrations. So, my mom made a flag cake, complete with strawberries and blueberries, so we'd have a little bit of home while we were outside the country on Independence Day. Everyone in the choir loved it, and I loved my mom for being so thoughtful.

29. My mom gave birth to both her babies with no medications whatsoever, which makes her my hero. My body was not meant to birth no babies, Miss Scarlett, but Mom did it with great resolve and determination, bringing both Matthew and I into the world in somewhat record time. She was by my side all day as I struggled to bring Saralynn into the world, and told me how very proud of me she was after my c-section. She reminded me that Saralynn and I were both safe and healthy, which was most important, and she was right. Mom to the rescue of a new, exhausted, hormonal, and overwhelmed Mommy.

There are so many other things I could write about my mom, but since I've narrowed it down to one memory for every year she's been a Mom, this brings the list to a close. All I can say in the end is I hope one day to be half the mom to my own children that she's been to me. She's my mom and my best friend all rolled into one, and I am so proud to be her daughter.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you!