Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mothers' Day!

I wanted a child. I don't know why I so desperately wanted one, but I did and I couldn't have one. I tried to tell myself that it was only my nature and instincts as a woman that made me want one. I tried to explain it away by thinking that maybe I only wanted one because I couldn't have one. Regardless of how I tried to rationalize it, it didn't make my want any less or my pain any less.

Then one day I decided that I would try one last time with fertility drugs and if that didn't work, I would get the counseling I needed to get past my grief and desire. I was pregnant after the first round. Pregnancy was weird. I felt weird. I felt girly, which I also filed into the category of "weird." I cried at commercials. I fell down a lot. I got migraines. I broke my foot (that may not have had anything to do with the pregnancy.) And through it all I felt ridiculously giddy. I don't think I've ever referred to myself as "giddy" in my entire life, but there's no other way to explain it. Looking back, it was kind of disgusting. I don't know how Jimi lived with me. Then he was born 9 weeks early. He couldn't eat. Like I was a child, they explained to me that his stomach was "sick." He became swollen and lethargic. I asked if he would be alright and they told me that they didn't know. He was too ill for me to even hold that day, and I so wanted the comfort of holding my son. That night, Jimi found me sitting in the nursery, weeping into little blue onesise that might never be worn. He was barely 2 weeks old and he had already altered my life for the rest of my life.

But he did pull through. He did come home. The day we first walked through the front door of our home with our new resident in tow, Jimi and I turned and looked at each other. After a moment of grinning goofily at one another, there was a moment of uncomfortable silence. "Now what?" I asked. It finally occurred to me that I had no idea what I was doing. Somehow I managed, though. And shockingly, it all seemed to become second nature to me. I decided that I would treat my son the way I wanted others to treat me. When it comes to discipline, I hate it, but I do it, and I do it consistently, because I love him and I want him to be a kind a loving person who respects himself and others.
Because of his ability to grow a full beard, he is often asked to play Santa.
I teach him and guide him and love him and in turn, he has taught me as well. Before he lived, I didn't understand that I could love someone unconditionally. I didn't really grasp what unconditionally meant. I've explained it to him like this, "Even when I'm sad, I love you. When I'm angry, sleepy, happy, hungry, I still love you. When I put you in time out I love you. I always love you. And I'll never stop." He sometimes reminds me, especially when he just got out of time-out, that I never stopped loving him. And I assure him that it's true. I cried the first time his feelings got hurt. It hurt my feelings, too. I've listened to a chorus of children sing "Wheels on the Bus" so many times that I fear I'll go insane if I have to sit through it again, but I will sit through it again....and again...and again.... I've rejoiced over pee that "almost" made it into the potty. And I've fawned over crayon doodles of fat-headed people with swirly lines for eyes and arms coming out of their faces. I stand in amazement of my son. Like many mothers, I feel that my son is the most talented, intelligent, beautiful, and interesting child that God ever had the pleasure of crafting. And all the suffering to get him here is worth it. The sitting up late at night with him as he burns with a fever is worth it. The fight to get him out of the bathtub at night is worth it. Whatever it is, it's worth it. And there's more to come and I can't wait.
Happy Mothers' Day!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Memp-Mops

Recently, Short-Stack has created his own little imaginary characters called "Memp-Mops," who occasionally go on fantastic adventures. Some of them these classic tales are so good that I couldn't miss an opportunity to capture one on paper with the hopes of giving it to him later, like after he's already grown, to show him what he created when he was only three years old.. I grabbed a pen and paper and just let him go. Most of the lines in the story are verbatim, but sometimes he rambled on and on and I had to summarize. When he was finished, I illustrated it. 
By Levi Dylan Saunders
Adaptation and Illustrations by Mommy 
Levi told me a beautiful story about Memp-Mops, which by my own interpretation, look suspiciously like baby chicks with antennas.
They live on a rainbow "circle."
One day they fell off.
The rainbow circle came down.

But then it went away again.

Then they gathered 'round and sang "The Memp-Mop Song."

And built another rainbow circle.

But the rings fell off and rolled away.

So, the Memp-Mops went away, too.

They went to where their dad worked to sing a high-pitched rendition of "The Wey-Wey Song."

Then they went home and enjoyed their mom.

They have three legs.

SURPRISE! Another rainbow circle.

Their dad came home to see their boo-boos, which turned out to be chocolate yogurt.

Then Levi started jabbering about having three toes before becoming occupied by something else, so I guess that's it. THE END

Sunday, February 20, 2011


If my butt could glow
Like that of a fire-fly,
I would not wear pants.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Syd and the Good-Times-Happy-Childhood-Jubilee

My cousin, Syd, is an only child and therefore, by default, he was an extremely odd child having spent endless hours in quiet solitude, forced to entertain himself. I, being ridiculously strange myself, having been raised by a father who harbored a very public love for Monty Python movies, (he once printed me copy of the script to Holy Grail with the "Spank the Virgin" scene omitted) immediately recognized a kindred spirit in Syd and resolved to become friends with him. In fourth grade, I knew we were cousins but I didn't know quite how to start a conversation with him. My moment of opportunity finally came when our teacher put us in pairs, desks facing each other, to work on a class project. I drew back my leg and kicked the absolute shit out of him. He looked confused, so I smiled letting him know that my intentions were friendly. He smiled sincerely back at me in understanding and promptly returned the shit-kick. We've been friends ever since.

Me, my brother (Cletus), and Syd
 The first time I really remember going to his house for the primary reason of playing with him, I found him in his back yard, nailing the bodies of red-painted Barbie dolls to a tree. His grandmother had found them at a yard sale and decided, for some reason, to bring them home. I was just glad that he had found a use for them. Peas and carrots, y'all.

Our favorite past time was to record "radio shows" with the use of an old beat-up tape recorder. "How Loud Can You Fart" was our game show. And "A Walk in the Forest with Mr. Rodgers" consisted of a friendly male host who ventured into the woods to admire the joys of nature . . . and then horribly maul the gentle forest creatures who reside there. We had invented our own characters, one of whom was named "Crazy Ed," voiced by my brother. Crazy continues to be a point of interest to me only because my 10-year old brother had put so much back-story into the character. He was the mentally feeble (and slightly deranged) cooking show host, who in an "interview" revealed to us the source of his mental instability. He was born when he was six. Looking back, I think we were more creative then than we are now and I would give my good eye to still have a copy of those tapes. Alas, they've been missing for over a decade.

Syd had a pet in the form of a rubber snake, with a grotesquely askew lower jaw, named Frederick. And for a good year (or more) Syd carted that thing around with him everywhere that he went. Oh, the times we had. Frederick couldn't talk. He could only hiss, and only Syd understood him. And when you tried to insist that you could, in fact, understand Frederick, and that Frederick did, in fact, disagree with Syd, Syd would become slightly pissed off. Did I mention that he and I were twelve when all this went down?

We were on the verge of adolescence then. Delightfully strange and innocent, but also straddling the transition between childhood and adolescence. Eventually, the interest in creating radio shows waned and we began listening to Nirvana and Pink Floyd in my grandparents' car whenever they drug us to bluegrass conventions. Discussions became deeper as they turned to matters of life, the enigma and fear of death, and of the crushes that we had developed on each other's friends. Impending teenage angst weighed heavily on us. Somehow, though, we managed to survive it and still remain close friends. I'll be thirty this year and I'm amazed at how similar we still are, and how no matter what goes on in our lives, we can call each other and still manage to morph into those goofy kids that we once were . . . and perhaps always will be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Public Farting

I pride myself on not being such a "girl" about everything, but I would still die if I farted in public. I'm not even brave enough to attempt a "silent" one in a public area. I still, however, find it hilarious when other people fart unless it's obnoxious or repeatedly purposeful. My younger brother, who can fart at will, still doesn't understand this concept and continues to savor his farts like they're some kind of aged cheese. I swear I've caught him inhaling. And they're awful. They smell like wet cat shit. I admit it's been a humorous path. When he was in elementary school he tried to teach another kid this amazing and unique talent but the poor kid just ended up crapping himself. Some just aren't equipped to carry the gift.
Accidental farts are the best. My favorite kind occurs when someone attempts to hide one with another sound . . . like a cough . These are fantastic simply because it can't be done. You can't hide a fart noise with a cough! And of the two times that I've seen this, both guys got their timing wrong so that the fart occurred just before the loud and labored cough. If anything you've just drawn more attention to yourself. Also, if you're going to try this one, you can not get mad when the people around you piss themselves laughing. Just own it. It's great. It's comedic timing at its finest.

Another good one is when someone gets brave enough to actually try an SBD and then fails. These people hold back until the last moment, cheeks clinched as though their lower intestines depended on it, until they get so desperate they decide to "sneak one out." Sometimes, you'll get away with this one until someone smells it. And if you're a pretty girl, you can always blame it on the nearest male and I'm sure that no one will question it. But on one rare and delightful occasion, it may come out sounding surprisingly like a question mark.
But the absolute best of all are the "blaming it on an innocent party" farts. I feel I should defend myself. When I was about six, I was a pretty shy little kid and I was also extremely sensitive. While visiting relatives in Memphis, I sat on a chair with a vinyl covering and it erupted with the most assured fart blast I have ever heard. And of course I couldn't replicate it. I just continued bouncing up and down in my seat, trying to make it happen again, to prove I wasn't guilty. But it was all in vain. "You farted," said my super-empathetic father. "It was the chair," I moaned. I knew this would happen. If anything embarrassing happened in front of dear old dad he only added to my malady.
"It was you."
He smirked. "Yeah."
He finally broke me and I blubbered dramatically, "NOOOOOOO! IT WAS THE CHAAAAAIIIIIIRRRRR!!!!" Then I sobbed and raged and flailed and eventually almost knocked myself unconscious when I smacked my head on the kitchen table.
My mom, unabashed by the entire display on either side, and in true Southern woman/mama fashion, said, "Both of y'all just quit."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Defeat

The year I turned nine a pissed-off gypsy lady put a curse on me, declaring I shall never again partake in the feeding frenzy referred to as "Thanksgiving" for the rest of my life. I think I must have mocked the Halloween chalk/candy she gave me. Ever since then I have been on the verge of death for the accursed holiday every..single..year. Last year, I was bound and damned determined to enjoy it, so I popped vitamin C like Tic-Tacs and instructed the kids at the daycare where I work to stand a minimum distance of three feet away whenever they addressed me, as children are known virus carriers. This would be the year that I made Thanksgiving my bitch.
But on the night before what would have been a glorious day of victory, the black plague crept in over night and rendered both my husband and me completely immobile. Neither of us could move with out vengeful death spewing from all orifices. And George and I had eaten spicy nachos the night before, which by the way is just absolutely awesome to vomit up. Short Stack, apparently unaffected because of his mutant immune system, finally awoke and his two-year old eyes became a-light with pure joy for reasons I still can't explain. He climbed up onto the bed and began jumping up and down and giggling like this was the best holiday ever.
I had to reach for the phone and beg my mother to come and get him and take him with her to my grandparents' house, where he would no doubt discover that he'd already achieved the highlight of his day. George and I continued battling for the bathroom for several more hours. And by very late afternoon, we were feeling well enough to drink some repulsive blue Gatorade and eat a cracker. That was the extent of our holiday merriment.
I have given up hope for a healthy Thanksgiving. Wish me luck tomorrow. And Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Goats are A-holes and So are Cows

Throughout my childhood, I spent a moment here and there despising cows and goats and any other animal that reminded me that God had chosen for me to be born in Alabama. I think that's what I'd do if I hated someone....and if I had the power.....and if reincarnation exists. Mean to me in 3rd grade? BLAM! Alabama. Dated someone you knew that I liked? POW! Now you're a goat in Alabama. In your face. The dumbest state except for maybe Kentucky and Connecticut. Now I really like Alabama, but I was a dumb kid back then.
Once I stopped at a gas station after I visiting my cousin, Syd. It's located on Butter & Egg Rd. in a little area known as "Lick Skillet." I did not make that up. Anyway, as I'm going into the store I hear a loud bleat and I look over to see a goat with its head stuck in a chicken wire fence. Behind him is another goat performing what appeared to be a feeble attempt to free its friend with its teeth. I considered for a moment helping the goat out, but I learned along time ago, having grown up in the country, that goats are assholes who would rather die than accept help. So, I thought, "Shit on that goat," and continued walking into the store.
When I came back out both goats now had their heads lodged in the fence and a third was approaching. I just shook my head and ambled back inside to tell the guy behind the register, "I just wanted to let someone know that there are a couple of dumbass goats stuck in the fence next door and it looks like there's about to be a third."
"OK," he said.
OK. Conscience cleared. Now that may seem harsh, but ask anyone who raises goats. When my uncle started raising them, he at first chuckled at their idiocy and cried over the body of every little dead baby goat (apparently they die easily). But after dealing with their assholey ways for a few years his sentiment eventually became the same as mine: Shit on goats. Plus they have those weird octopus eyes. To quote Cake, "Goats go to hell." I have so many goat stories it's unreal and goats play the role of major assholes in them all.

Cows are equally stupid jerks. So, shit on them, too. My great-grandmother used to take me to visit her neighbor's cows. I guess she just thought I'd enjoy it and it got me outside for a little while. I loved it until the day I was petting a baby cow and it began to lick me. Cow tongues are long and weird and before long that little calf was trying to suck my whole arm down into its mouth. I was probably four and therefore terrified that my short sweet life was about to be ended by a carnivorous cow. I don't really remember how it ended, but I know that I've never much cared for cows since then. And I live out in the sticks, so there's cows everywhere. It seems as though they know that I don't particularly care for them. I guess they sense it and I think they may be psychic because they know when I'm approaching. I can be driving blissfully down a scenic country road and I happen to turn my head. And there's a cow. Pissing. A horrible, strong stream of cow piss. If you've never seen this consider yourself fortunate. Because its disturbing to say the least. Nothing like a steady stream of cow piss to ruin your day.