Are We Sure About This?

ballet

Mom had me in ballet lessons when I was six and let me just tell you, I could twirl!

I practiced at Miss Peggy’s dance studio and eagerly awaited “The Recital”.

On dress rehearsal night we performed our songs to an empty auditorium in order to get a feel for the stage and I felt a little let down.

All that practice to dance in front of NOTHING?

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My Mom assured me that tomorrow would be the REAL performance and there would be all kinds of people, but it didn’t do much for my enthusiasm level.

The next day I pulled my white tights on like the trooper I am. I shimmied my way into my sparkly yellow leotard and I dutifully stepped into my fluffy tutu.

I did not want to go to this recital….but it was too late. I couldn’t possibly break the news to my Mom now. She couldn’t wait to see me shine on stage like the star I am and I would not disappoint her.

I pulled my long gloves over my arms and found each fingers proper slot.

Sigh.

I tip tapped my shoes out to our enormous van and climbed in.

ballet

As we pulled away Mom kept glancing at me in her mirror and before we even left the neighborhood she said, “Kathy, you look sad! Are you sort of feeling like you might want to just skip the recital?”

I nodded apologetically and she was all, “how about we just stay home…”

And I blinked in disbelief because we were not the type of folk to skip out on recitals and game days at the last minute. In fact, back then…the child wasn’t really given a choice.

“Um, okay.”

“Are you sure? I mean it’s up to you!…if you want to go to your recital we still can.”

And I was all, “No dear sweet Jesus heavens ABOVE, let’s stay HOME!”

But I said it much nicer than that and she triple checked I was sure about the decision and I. was. SO. relieved. Even though I felt a tiny bit bad about disappointing her.

Years later I asked her about that night. “Mom, you remember that time you let me skip my recital and we were ON our way??”

And she was all, “Ohhhh yes! I had to pack you up in that van and Dad was so sick. I couldn’t stand to leave him knowing he could have a seizure at any moment. His cancer had gotten to a point where at any minute a good day could flip to a bad day. I thought if we could go to your recital quickly with your sisters in charge at home, maybe we would be okay. It was just awful. When I saw that you were having doubts and you said you wanted to skip it I. was. SO. relieved! Even though I didn’t want you to feel disappointed.”

Amazing the things we are willing to endure to avoid disappointing one another. Sometimes it’s worth it to have that little “Are we sure about this?” conversation. And sometimes that conversation is just one you have with yourself.

ballet2

Mom Front And Center

Navy In 1970

My Dad listening to sweet jams while deployed in the Philippines in 1970. Sexy lady posters to his right, but that’s my mom front and center.

I sent this photo and caption to my Mom and sisters this morning.

My Mom responded with, “Hey. You meant to say sexy lady posters including mom front and center.”

The sexiest of ladies.

Of course.

love letter from mom

Writer’s Workshop: STOLEN During Recess

praying for your sins

 5.) It happened during recess….

Two Jesus inspired posts in one week…you guys are LUCKY! Or blessed. Or both.

The Catholic school I attended in 1st and 2nd grade shut down before 3rd grade and my mother reluctantly enrolled us in a public school. Since Dad died, there was a bit of financial pressure involved there and sending all of us to a public school was a heck of a lot cheaper then enrolling us in another private school.

Imagine my dismay when I got to this new public school and realized there was NO PRAYER.

No prayer??

That’s right.

No.

Prayer.

I don’t know how those heathens expected me to study in a room without Jesus, so I brought Jesus to school with me. I had received a gorgeous, shiny, glistening rosary from my mother for my First Communion. I brought my expensive looking satin box to school with me and placed it at the corner of my desk,

I smiled at my friends as my beautiful beads sparkled.

Yes friends. Unlike you, I am a child of God. Do you see my rosary? I am a chosen one.

My friends liked my rosary so much that when I came back from recess after just one day on display, it was gone. STOLEN during recess.

I was crushed. I had not expected this kind of violation even at a public school.

After some silent prayer asking Jesus what the hell I was supposed to do now that my expensive/special item was stolen (not to mention the ultimate of punishments from my mother should she find out)….I heard his voice loud and clear, “My Child, Go forth and confront the guiltiest looking person in your class”.

So the next morning I did.

It was Lonnie.

She had asked me about my rosary and I mistook her inquiry as a desire to get right with the Lord. Instead I sold her on the idea of having a rosary of her own, so she took mine.

Before class began I nestled in next to her at her desk and I was all, “sigh…today is such a terrible no good very bad day…”

And she was all, “oh really why?”

And I was all, “Welllll…my beautiful rosary has been taken. It meant so much to me because, Jesus. And also because my Dad gave it to me before he died and it’s one of the last things I had to remember him by”.

(I said a quick Hail Mary for my lie, but it was a desperate time. I felt sure God would understand.)

Lonnie shifted and I leaned in a little closer and quietly whispered, “you know Lonnie? If you thought my rosary was pretty and wanted to bring it home to show your mom, I wouldn’t even be mad at you. I would just want you to bring it back.”

And Lonnie was all, “Really?”

And my brain was all “Oh hail no girl, I KNEW it was you, PLEASE BRING IT BACK!!!” but my mouth said, “Mmhmm…promise.”

Lonnie brought the rosary back the next morning without the satin case and I was so pleased to have those sparkling beads back in my clutches that I didn’t even care about the missing satin case.

Well I did care a little bit because my rosary fit so perfectly into it’s expensive looking case, but I had my rosary! I brought it straight home and never brought Jesus to the classroom again.

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) Describe what you thought living on your own would be like after you graduated high school.
2.) Write a blog post inspired by the word: adventure
3.) Show us a before and after.
4.) 10 things you’ve learned from reality tv.
5.) It happened during recess….

Add Your Link:




Writer’s Workshop: Friendship They Gave

2.) A childhood friend.

When you’re seven and your Dad dies you will grow up with a very close group of catholic school friends. You will fight with the girls in your class at first recess and be best friends again by second because that’s how girls are. Your class will know about your Dad because all of them were there when you gave your report on brain cancer and all of them feel adequately sorry for you.

You will be glad to have your best boy cousin Matt in class with you every year because his laughing eyes are family and he’s one of the few who feels the magnitude of your loss with you. His loss too. Erin Freeman’s friendship was the gift you received when your goofy parents became friends with her goofy parents and because of this she is precious to you.

When you are in seventh grade Miss Davison will talk to the class about strength and overcoming obstacles that help you to grow as a person. She will ask the class if any of you knew of someone who lived with intense pain or faced obstacles, but stayed positive despite it all and showed tremendous strength. You will raise your hand and you will tell her all about your Dad and his pain and how strong he was.

She will say “thank you!” and “that is a terrific example!” and then she will say “so he’s okay now and he overcame and everything is great!?!”…and your face will turn red. The entire class will laugh out loud, because they know everything is not okay. And you will feel embarrassed because you thought she knew. You will start to cry right there in front of everyone even though you’re too old for that now and the funny girl is not supposed to cry.

You know your friends are laughing because they’re uncomfortable and not because you were stupid to use your Dad as an example of strength when he didn’t survive, but you will still feel stupid for using your Dad as an example strength…because he didn’t survive. You will feel alone and embarrassed beneath the laughing friends and you will want to go home.

When you least expect it you will feel a hand on your shoulder. You will look up to see Erin Freeman who is not laughing but is quietly asking if you’re okay. And you will love her for that moment. That moment that made you feel less alone and less stupid.

As an adult you will believe that if only one wonderful thing came of your goofy Dad’s friendship with Erin Freeman’s goofy Dad, it was the foundation of friendship they gave their daughters that would one day result in one little girl’s hand on the others shoulder.

And you will be grateful for the gift.

When You’re Seven And Your Dad Dies: Second Grade
The Funeral
Extended Family
The Manger
Metamorphosis

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) What were you blogging about a year ago today? What has changed?
2.) A childhood friend.
3.) A hobby you would pursue if you were the type to pursue hobbies.
4.) A trend you’re not much a fan of.
5.) Something your child did or said this week that made you smile.



Hard To Imagine

Maile: Do  you miss your Dad?

Me: mmhmm.

Maile: Do you wish you could see him?

Me: mmhmm.

Maile: Did you get to say good bye?

Me: Nope.

Thinking…

Me: Well I suppose I did, but I didn’t know I was saying goodbye.

Maile: You didn’t know he was going to die?

Me: Nope.

Me: Even if they told me, I didn’t really understand what that meant. That you never get to see that person again.

Maile: Well I understand.

Me: Yeah…it’s just when it happens to you it’s kind of hard to imagine.

Maile: I would pretty much cry every day if it happened to me.

Me: Yeah…I pretty much did.

Bless her heart.

Writer’s Workshop: The Limo Ride

2.) Tell us about a time you got to ride in a limousine.

When you’re seven and your Dad dies you will have nothing to wear to the funeral. You will have worn your best church dress to the prayer service the night before and anyone who knows anything about fashion knows that you CANNOT wear the same red dress to your father’s funeral that you wore to his PRAYER SERVICE! And since your mother does not think about these things ahead of time and plan accordingly, you will settle for last year’s church dress that has been washed one too many times and feels a little uncomfortable.

You will forget all about your fashion conundrum when you catch wind that a LIMO will be picking you up at church and will escort you to the funeral. A LIMO! Suddenly this whole funeral doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all if you get to ride to the church in your very first limousine!

But when the limo ride comes you will note it is not as long as you had imagined. You will shrug your shoulders and snag a seat next to a door because you know limos have electric window openers and if there’s one thing you’ll look forward to on the day of your Dad’s funeral, it’s watching a window move up and down and up and down with nothing more than a push of a button. Except that the electric windows on this short limo seem to have broken because they stop moving up and down altogether.

Your mother will look at you with relief that you are able to find delight in windows and limousines on the day you will be burying your Dad, but she will wish you could be just a little less squirmy since this is still not such a great day for her. She will distract you from the broken magic windows by telling you to take a look out the back window and you will see all of the cars following. She will want you to see that tribute to your Dad. You will count the six police cars escorting the nearly two mile long procession. The cars seem to go on forever, but you will lead the pack in your limousine!

You will feel glad to have your sisters and brothers, your cousins and school friends all together in once place. You will tiptoe around gravestones and you will hope to stick around long enough to watch that big box get buried because then you will know for sure he’s not coming out of it. Your Mom will hound you to get back in the limo and you can’t help but feel like she particularly does not want to stick around to watch the big box get buried.

So you climb back into the limo wearing last year’s church dress that has been washed one too many times and feels a little uncomfortable and you will be annoyed.

Because if you’re going to be escorted to and from your Dad’s funeral in a limo when you’re seven year’s old, it better darn well be an extra long stretch limo with working electric windows…otherwise the whole thing just doesn’t seem worth it all.

When You’re Seven And Your Dad Dies: The Funeral
When You’re Seven And Your Dad Dies: Extended Family
When You’re Seven And Your Dad Dies: Second Grade
When You’re Seven And Your Dad Dies: The Manger
When You’re Seven And Your Dad Dies: Metamorphosis

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) An Easter memory.
2.) Tell us about a time you got to ride in a limousine.
3.) Show us what Spring looks like in your neck of the woods!
4.) 5 things you should never say to your mother.
5.) What did you cook that nobody liked?



Writer’s Workshop: My Parents Met At Dairy Queen

5.) How your parents met…

My parents met at Dairy Queen. My Mom worked at the local restaurant when she was a teenager and my Dad frequented the hot spot. I don’t know when burger joints and diners and seeing everyone you knew when you popped in for a milkshake stopped being a common occurrence, but I have to say I feel like I missed something special. I imagine it was exactly like the movie Grease…letterman jackets, fancy glasses, side burns, and a jukebox. What more could you ask for?

While my Mom was working one evening my Dad approached her about a sign they had hanging in the window. He had a girlfriend who collected posters (of ice cream cones apparently) and he wanted to surprise her with one. I imagine it looked something like this:

vintage dairy queen poster

Mom drove a hard bargain and sold the sign to the young fellow for 25 cents.

When Dad returned the following day he overheard the day manager complaining about the missing poster. The manager was upset that someone would just give the poster away and said when he found out who did it, he would fire her. Dad was not about to cost this (striking) young lady her job! When he saw my Grandma pull into the parking lot to drop my Mom off for work, he rushed out to meet her and WARN her!

Mom wrote up a receipt for the poster proving she did not simply GIVE the poster away, but that she sold it for an incredible profit and therefore was able to keep her job.

I don’t know what was happening with Dad and his poster-loving girlfriend, but he was spending his evenings at Dairy Queen making sure my Mom still had her job. He was deeply concerned and felt terrible for the trouble he had caused and I guess double checking that everything was okay…every night…was just the reassurance he needed to know that everything was going to be okay.

And then he broke up with his poster-loving-girlfriend.

And then one night he overheard Mom arranging a ride home with a co-worker so he piped right in and offered to take her home. Mom must have been quite comfortable with him at this point (what with all the burger eating and poster buying), so she happily accepted. One ride turned into two and two into three and before you knew it, Dad was driving Mom home fairly frequently.

On one particular ride home he pretended to run out of gas, Mom suggested they walk to a home nearby where they could see a man working in his garage but Dad insisted they stayed put. Perhaps if they waited awhile (alone in the dark), the gas that had evaporated to the sides of his tank would somehow collect back into the tank and allow his car to run. Sure enough, after a bit of talking Dad was able to get his car moving down the dark street a bit (away from the man tinkering in the garage), but only managed to get a few blocks before he ran out of gas again.

It was here that he was finally able to sweet talk a first kiss out of my composed (but giddy) mother and the rest is history.

His poster loving ex-girlfriend walked away with a 25 cent sign, but my Mom got the guy!

12 years later they had six kids and boy are we glad he picked her. God knows what kind of home decor we would have been exposed to with the poster-loving girlfriend as our mother.

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Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) Incorporate the phrase “stop looking at me like that” into your post.
2.) Write your own “Dear Abby” letter. (inspired by Good Day, Regular People).
3.) Show us something you wore.
4.) The award for best and worst Oscar moments goes to…
5.) How your parents met…