family


So I happened upon this video the other day, and it prompted a writing idea…

Watch:

Here’s my take: these babies are my sister and me. I posted the vid on Facebook the other day and asked her if she knew why these babies are us. She did the quick take, surfacy answer: “Because you’re always messing with me.” However that is not the reason.

Nope, these babies are us because I’m the one always trying to laugh and find the bright spots in life, while having to deal with her emo-ness. (Watch those babies again and tell me that you don’t think that dark headed baby is emo!). My little sister has always been so much more emotional than I am. I’m not saying that I’m the good-mood girl and she’s not — because she’s the “good time girl” — but the fact is, I’ve always felt like I had to help her stay happy. When she’s gotten mad at me, that madness lasts and lasts, and sometimes feels like it will never end. And, I have to laugh, pretending that the madness doesn’t hurt. I’ve become so good at it, that it’s second nature now; an unconscious act that I don’t even pay attention to.

Until this past week when she really hurt me, and I can’t find the “sunny,” bright side of the situation. I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually, and I won’t hold it against her. But right now, I can’t. I love her more than life itself, and I’ve only ever wanted to take care of her. When we were little, I was her translator because no one could understand her speech. We got through our crazy-mama’s craziness together; we lost a brother together.

But through all this, I’ve always known that I had to be the “happy” one. If I was too sad about something, it made her sad, and I didn’t like it. (I still don’t). Back to the baby video, though….the dark-headed baby is fussing some, and the light-headed baby keeps laughing, totally ignoring the moaning his/her counterpart. The conversation probably goes something like:

Baby 1: Don’t leave me.

Baby 2: Haha…I love you. We are best friends forever.

Baby 1: I will always be afraid you don’t love me.

Baby 2: I will never stop loving you.

Baby 1: Even if I do stuff to make you mad or hurt your feelings? Or if I make you feel left out of my life most of the time?

Baby 2: Yes, even then. I will never stop loving you. I might get mad at you sometimes.

Baby 1: You will get mad at me?

Baby 2: Yes, look how you’re eating my arm? I will get mad at you. But I will always love you.

Baby 1: Forever?

Baby 2: And ever!

Baby 1: heehee….

So, for my baby sister….here is some musical advice from me to you:

Keep on the sunny side!!

I won’t be breaking your heart!

I wish for you to know this about yourself and how much you mean to me:

But this is probably what she wants to say to me:

All in all….sisters fight over silly things sometimes. Our feelings get hurt, and it’s always the “last straw.” This tiff will pass and I’m sure we’ll learn something about ourselves, but the hurt I’m feeling right now is pretty strong. Maybe the songs are really for me and not for her. Maybe I’m trying to say that I’m still laughing, but look in my eyes — I’m just too stupid to cry.

Teaching makes me so tired. Some days, I’m so exhausted by 1:30 that I don’t know if I’ll make it the rest of the day. But I do. I’m not doing any heavy lifting — nah, nothing fun like that. No, my brain has been differentiating, counseling, instructing, herding cats (my students, of course), nagging, reading and writing. Phew…I’m tired all over again!

So on days like this, I need a little pick-me-up. TV? No. Exercise? I wish! Nope…I think about my little children in a Proms & Potties episode!!1

Proms    travel-the-world

Okay, well, Jake is a junior in college and doing well. He’s all on his own — except he refuses to try to find a job. But…he’s finding free things to do, mooching off his friends, and living on the measly $100 I give him each month. But he wants to leave me. Yep, he called last week to say that he wants to study abroad (cue the crude “I-hope-she’s-cute” joke). First, it was South Africa; then, Ireland; my favorite, New Zealand; settled on London. Yes, I’ll let him go–that’s my job. But I’ll cry and worry every day. Wonder if he’ll call or forget his raincoat. What if he doesn’t meet any friends? Or what if he gets mugged? Or worse, what if he gets a job, loves it, and gets an offer to move there. Can I be a separate-continent kind of mommy?

Potties    

Just like Jake, Lily has started leaving me. We went to the bookstore a few days ago, and the LilyBelle said she had to go to the bathroom. I told her to wait because I had just sat down…and SHE SAID, “I’LL GO BY MYSELF”!!! Yep, I couldn’t believe it either. After the go-to-the-bathroom-by-myself incident, she spent the night with our next-door neighbor. Then, I had to take her to a basketball game with me (I had gate-duty); Lily satbag-leaving-little-girl-lost-train-running-Favim.com-469424 with some of my students, found a friend she knows, and proceeded to run around for an hour meeting new people, seeing one of her teachers, and hugging on the teachers I work with. I didn’t see her for the two hours I was taking up money.

 



So…even though I’m brain-dead practically from teaching all day, my sweet, sweet babies always give me much more to think about. I can deal with it. Hopefully!! 😉

Today, my sister and I were able to spend the whole day together — alone. No silly husbands. No interrupting kids. No fussy mother. Just us. It was beautiful! We talked about stupid sister stuff, like how hard being married is and hopes for our kids. We reminisced about younger years (“Do you remember…?”) and tried to get each other to remember long-lost events and people.

But the thing that I loved the most was hearing her be that little girl I remember so well. She never knew how much I envied her carefree view of life — finding joy in little things like gossip and getting an autograph of a famous person. She’s able to talk to anyone about anything — and in that way, she reminds me of my grandmother. I remember being in awe that she could connect with whoever she came across — my sister has always been like that. Fearless. I still envy her ability (but don’t tell her!)

It’s hard growing up and growing apart. But we’ve come to appreciate our relationship so much more now that we are old (and she grew out of my shoe size!). It’s cliche to say that your sister is your best friend, but in my case, it’s true. She’s the only one who I want to share my good and bad times with because i know she won’t judge me —and if she does, I’ll just remind her of this:

(She slurped this down in like three seconds and said: “Oh, man…I hate the bottom of the glass!” haha…)

So, my LilyBelle has made a new friend with the little girl next door. In my mother’s words: “You can’t keep them apart.” –She just made an observation that now that they’ve found each other and are old enough to walk back and forth to each other’s house, they want to be together ALL the time! In the last three weeks, I’ve had “company” — Every. Single. Day. Every one. I think it’s driving me nuts! haha….

It’s fun noticing how Lily changes with this little friend. I don’t work at the school she attends like I did with Jake, so I don’t get to see her interact with kids her age. I see a little of the I-want-to-do-things-my-way attitude that every child has, but I also see a little girl who watches out for someone else and wants to please. They are funny together, and it’s nice to see Lily be able to share her toys and share her time with someone other than me. But she can be bossy — she just doesn’t have to win, a trait I find refreshing. She seems to understand the purpose of sharing.

I don’t remember Jake being like that. I think when he had friends over, he was content to play something totally different than his company. He’s always created his own little world and didn’t care if anyone followed or if he was alone. It helped me when I was in graduate school — I could get my homework done! — But now that I’m thinking back, this might make me sad.

Dern it….why do kids always have to be so weird? heehee…

**Well, I didn’t mean for this to be a Proms & Potties story, but it turned out that way! 😉

I think I’ve written about one of my favorite shows before: Raising Hope. It comes on Fox, Tuesdays, although because I TIVO it, I don’t know what time! Anyway, I was catching up with the last two weeks, and one of them was called “Spank Butts, No Spanks” where the main character, Jimmy (baby Hope’s dad) had to decide if he was going to spank Hope for disobeying. I loved this because Jimmy parents told him about the “one time” they decided to spank him and “look how well you turned out”! haha…The spanking incident is recounted and Jimmy, even though he can’t believe they spanked him, thinks it wasn’t so bad. But he can’t make himself spank Hope.

This whole episode reminds me of the Kevman, and how he’s had such a hankering to spank Jakey-poo and LilyBelle. It kills me because he threatens them all the time (well, not Jakey-poo now, of course), but he never did. He always chickened out. I think it was because he didn’t want to hurt them (I, on the other hand, am the spanker in the family. A pop on the tush has gotten me out of some rocky situations; however, they were/are few and far between). But the Kevman just can’t bring himself to do this. I find this an endearing trait in my sweet-sweety.

Here’s the link to the episode on FoxTV — I can’t find just one clip from YouTube. If you watch it, the twist should crack you up — and you’ll be able to see what the dude I married is really like! 😉

On Friday, I went back to the wig shop for some head coverings that are more comfortable than sitting around in a hellish fake wig all day long. The sales lady was just as nice as the first time I went in and sympathized with me dealing with my hair loss. After buying a few things, she gently suggested that I go to Walmart or Target to buy some scarves and hats to get me through until my hair starts growing back. I did and found several cute things (I’ve probably already written about this, but my short-term memory fades in and out).

Anyway, after wearing some scarves over the weekend — and, according to the Kevman, looking like a freaking piratess or gypsy (if only I had my eyebrow pierced and wore long, dangling earrings!) — the LilyBell HAD to have a scarf to wear, too! So, we bought her one, and now she won’t take the damn thing off!!!!

But, she’s too cute, right?? 😉

Today is a Proms & Potties exclusive, with the theme of writing!

Potties

I had a chance to talk to LilyBelle’s kindergarten teacher yesterday; a conversation that enlightened me to the wonder that IS the LilyBelle! haha….Her teacher, Ms. Avery, told me that the class had written a leprechaun story, and Lily just wrote on and on and on. Lily piped up and said, “Yeah, I wrote three pages front and back. I just couldn’t stop the story.” Her teacher laughed and said she told Lily that she was going to “be a writer just like her mama.” I took that complement and laughed with them.

LilyBelle really has amazed me at the skill and determination with which she approaches writing. It’s almost as if she zones out as she’s crafting and meticulously sounding out each sound she hears in words. She shows no fear in using “big” words — anything that is in her speaking vocabulary, something that I think is pretty high, but that’s probably because she’s a girl, right? She is as comfortable composing digitally with iPod apps as she is  with pencil and paper.

Proms

I can’t help but compare her writing and language to Jakey-poo at the same age. His writing was through elaborate storytelling using action figures — hours of playing with Batman, the Joker, and Star Wars characters. Did I capture those like I would now? No, because at that time, video-taping wasn’t available on my phone or at the drop of a hat. What did I miss out by not recognizing these storytelling techniques? He had problems writing –handwriting included — but he would stop himself from coming up with ideas, wait until the last minute to finish a writing assignment, and convince himself he couldn’t do it anyway. It wasn’t until his sophomore year of high school that he felt remotely comfortable with writing — and this was on the side. He’d had a pretty bad break up and began writing poetry (he called what he was writing, songs, though). He started posting some of them on his Facebook page when he was a senior, and, because of the feedback he got from his friends, he’d edit, create, and post more. He finally started a blog on Tumblr last spring where he reviews new music and movies and posts more of his songs. So, he’s come into his own with expressing himself, and has told me he’s mastering my art of waiting until the last minute to write a paper for class and still get a decent grade (I’m not sure he would actually beat me on that one, though! haha

Observations

As I talked to Lily in the car about her story, I found out she hadn’t read to anyone in the class — just a quick conference with her teacher. But what I see from Jake is that feedback and audience matter. I know this as a writing teacher, but still struggle with how to manage this in a class of 32 students. But I will conquer this demon of mine and stop being lazy about finding the answers. Jake didn’t share his writing until he had an audience other then me, and Lily won’t keep writing if she doesn’t have an audience; and if the audience can’t be at school, then I’ll make the audience her family. Or, today, her audience will be my community of Slicers. I’m deconstructing her writing and what I think I can learn from it to help me be a better high school writing teacher over at my UNC Charlotte Writing Project blog if you’re interested in that.

VoiceThread

I had LilyBelle make a VoiceThread of her leprechaun story, and she gave me permission to share it here on my blog. So, I’m posting it and hope that some of you will make a comment at some point in her story (the last page seems easiest). The thread plays automatically, but if you want to comment on an individual page, just click the Add Comment link. The four icons are: telephone — call a number to record your message; webcam — you can videotape your comment; microphone — you can record your comment; letter A — you can simply type your comment. Lily will be able to hear/read your comments — and you can hear/read others comments just by clicking on their picture. If you want to hear her story, just click the picture below and it will open the VoiceThread page. I hope this works because she really needs an audience!!

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