Tag Archives: Mom

Use Your Imagination (but for Mom’s sake, not too much)

8 Jul

While at my parents’ house a scene unfolded that I desperately wanted to share with you.  So, I rushed to my camera to grab a picture so you all could enjoy the moment as much as I did.  But alas, the battery icon flashed and then the whole thing went black.  No picture.  Only memories.

So, instead I had my Mom take this photo of their patio. And together, you and I can reconstruct the moment.  Are you ready?  Okay.  Here we go.

Here’s the scene.  Mom and Dad’s patio.  Notice that window in the center?  That’s my Mom and Dad’s bathroom.  Their only bathroom, but I suppose that’s another story.  It’s a beautiful June day – no heat, no mosquitos, no rain and so the windows are all open.

Now, see the little ladder under that window?  It’s an old splinter-in-the-toe three-step model.  We’ve had it forever.  I don’t know why it sits there, maybe for instances just like the one I’m about to describe.

Okay, here’s where you have to put your imaginations to work.  Imagine that in the center of the patio is a folding table where the five big boys are coloring Star Wars pictures.  They’ve been at it for a while because Gramma Jan set up an incentive system to promote coloring within the lines.  When they have completed a picture they may bring it to her for analysis.  If the picture has no colored wax escaping its borders the artist earns two stickers.  For those pictures where the crayon is contained for the most part, but could have used a little more fine motor attention – one sticker.  And those who rushed to bring a picture for grading without completing all sections, or scribbling are sent back to try again.  It is serious business.

All this occurs as we were trying to prep Mom and Dad’s house for a surprise party and 38 guests, so time is of the essence.  Mom just got to a point in her delegation and accomplishments where she feels it is okay to leave us all to our own demise devises and shower.

So, now you’re up to speed.  Do you have everyone in their places?  Boys at the table coloring.  Mom behind the window attempting to shower.  Ladder innocently taking up it’s space in the universe.


Owen gets up from the table, freshly colored artwork in hand, and goes over to the ladder, climbs up two steps and says,  “Gramma Jan?  Excuse me, Gramma Jan?  Are you in there?”

And instead of ignoring him, which I’m certain is what any of the rest of us would have done, Mom replies, “Yes, Owen?”

“Gramma Jan, how many stickers for this picture?”

Then my mother, who’s patience I did not inherit, peaked through the curtains and said something like, “Um, just a second Owen, I need to get my glasses back on.  Can you hold it a little closer?”

“Is it worth two stickers, Gramma Jan?  Is it?”

Mom, still undaunted by her probable nakedness or the trivial nature of the request, goes on to analyze the picture while holding the curtains around her face like some medieval wimple.

But then Abraham came to the rescue, and brought this whole ridiculous scene to a close with the following advice, “Owen, you can just go in there.  The door’s not locked.”

Day by Day by Day . . .

2 Jun

Today is our parents’ wedding anniversary.  They were never huge celebrators.  Every once in a while Stacy and I would get some hair-brained idea to do something for them, which usually turned out pretty lame.  One year we took an old bread basket we found in the basement and embroidered their wedding date into the woven surface.  The term ’embroidered’ here is about as loose as the stitches in the project.  It was pretty special.  Mom probably still has it hanging up somewhere near her desk downstairs.  So Mom, please feel free to toss it any time you like.

Don’t you love their wedding photo?  Mom’s all white with just the right amount of black accent on the super trendy glasses and Dad’s got that completely groovy Bang Shwoop.  Love it.

Also, look closely at the candelabras.  Do you see it?  Look again.  Yup.  Bulbs.  Real, live, electric candles.

Mom and Gramma made the wedding dress.  I think she told me it cost $12.  That was so smart.  I cannot tell you how many times my sister and I have talked about the stupidity of spending hundreds of dollars on a wedding dress that we would only wear once when we could have had something beautiful, and simple, and white for much less.  So, in order to take down the cost-per-wear on ours we have each donned them at least one other time.

On our fourth anniversary I was cleaning out the cedar closet (I know, romantic, right?) when I saw mine hanging in the back.  I had just lost some of the baby weight from Thomas’ birth and so I decided to see if it still fit.  I was so excited when it zipped all the way up that I ran through the basement toward the backyard where Jerry was mowing (much like my parents, we seriously know how to live it up on our anniversary) and I knocked our poor seven month old son right over with my train.  And that, my friends, is one of the reasons you should wait until after you are married to have children.

Stacy put on her gown at our house last summer while Mom and Jerry were out building a retaining wall.  We were so excited by its ginormousness and her teeniness that we ran out side to show them.  That’s when our new neighbor across the street finally came to introduce herself.  And to warn us never to come near her or her family.  No, not really, but seriously, can you imagine having us as neighbors?

It’s safe to say that our love of everyday joys comes from our parents.  It wasn’t the wedding itself that was important.  They didn’t focus on the dress, or flowers, or cake and punch reception in the church basement, but in Christ joining them as one in heart, body and mind.  Mom and Dad’s anniversary always reminds me that marriage is about the everyday.  Their marriage is no different on June 2 than it is on the other 364 days of the year.   I don’t know if that’s why they don’t make a big deal about their anniversary, but it seems like a valid rationale to me.

Happy 14,244th day of marriage, Mom and Dad!

Alfred Hitchcock, My Mom’s Not Scared of You.

7 Apr

After a somewhat exuberant family dinner Stacy and I each grabbed a hungry infant and retreated to her peaceful living room while the men took the boys outside and Mom and GG tackled the dishes.   We were enjoying a little sister banter when Mom called calmly from the kitchen, “Guys, what do you have that we could use to get a bird out of the house?”  It took a moment for the implication of her request to hit us.  Her tone didn’t lend itself to aviary intrusion.

But then it sank it.  “THERE’S A BIRD IN THE HOUSE?!?”  That very important question was quickly followed by a series of other seemingly important, yet unanswered questions, like: “WHY IS NO ONE FREAKING OUT?!?”  “IF THERE’S A BIRD IN THE KITCHEN SHOULDN’T THERE BE MORE YELLING” and “WHERE’S THE CAMERA?!?”  You see, my sister and I prefer a bit of drama with our, well, drama.

Since Mom gave up on either of us helping her in any productive way she enlisted the help of my sweet husband to find her something useful.  By the time we go into the kitchen  this is what we found:

Mom with a spatula.  Maybe she was out of control.  It appears she was trying to flip the bird.

GG was holding the curtain.  We never asked why.  Maybe she was scared.  That’s what I would have done.

Jer brought Mom a bucket from the bathtub toys.  This seemed to instill fear in the bird’s heart.  Or wings.

Now, here is where Stacy and I really failed.  We took pictures, but we didn’t have the foresight to video the event.  Video documentation would have made all the difference, because I don’t think anyone will ever be able to fully comprehend the nearly placid state of our mother throughout this entire event.  Calm doesn’t even begin to describe her demeanor.   This task seemed no more alarming or unusual than starting a load of laundry.

But maybe this little dialog from the event can shed some light on her relaxation. Please excuse the excessive yelling by Stacy and I.  In the interest of conveying the truth capital letters must be included.
Mom: It flew in. (I’m pretty sure she wanted to follow this with, “Duh.”)
Jerry:  A sparrow, maybe?
Mom: No, it’s a Snow Bird, like the one in our house yesterday.

Yup.  You read that right.  Her house.  Yesterday.  Bird.

Well, now that we’ve established that Mother is a Bird Removal Professional here’s the proof that she knows her business:

The most effective tool proved to be the bucket used in conjunction with a minnow net, also from the bathtub toys.

“Bye-Bye, Birdie.”

If I were you, Bird, I’d stay outside.