Feast of Love

I love to watch Bo eat.

Is that weird to say?

But I do. Some of my favorite times during the week are when MB is in school and Bo and I have lunch to ourselves. He has some pretty strong preferences in terms of food. He prefers chicken [in any form] and detests pasta [in any form, including mac n cheese]. But when he finds something he really likes, he eats it with gusto. Sometimes, like today, he even pulls on his hair in sheer delight.

And for dessert? A game of peek-a-boo. Only he pats his head instead of his eyes.

Love.

This.

Baby.

The Three Trees and Me

Just before Christmas, a friend from Bible Study recommended a children’s book called The Tale of Three Trees.  This is the same friend who originally recommended Jesus Calling to me, so I asked very few questions and thanks to Amazon Prime, this book arrived on my doorstep approximately two blinks later.

I quickly found out that my friend obviously has no regard whatsoever for the fact that I am hysterical level-five crier complete with the ugliest ugly-cry-face ever. I’m still trying to get through that book even once without tears. I have tried all my tricks, including mentally making my grocery list while I read. Nothing has worked.

Allow me to summarize.

Three small trees on a hill dream of the amazing things they will become when they are grown. One wants to be a treasure chest, one wants to be a sailing ship fit for a king, and one wants to be the tallest tree in the world and point to God from its place on the hill. Years pass, and when the trees are finally cut down, they are each disappointed by their apparent fates. The first tree is made into a feed trough, the second is made into a simple boat, and the third is cut down for scrap lumber.

Eventually, though, they realize that God has fulfilled their dreams in even better ways than they could have imagined. The first tree serves as Jesus’s manger. The second tree is the boat from which Jesus calms the mighty storm, and the third becomes the cross where He is crucified.

I, too, am one whose life has turned out far differently than I ever imagined.

My dreams for myself when I was younger were decidedly less amazing than these. In first grade, I wanted to be a maid. In fifth grade, I remember shocking my teacher by telling her I wanted to be an obstetrician gynecologist [can’t imagine why she would have been shocked by that!] after watching a few too many episodes of The Cosby Show.  In high school, as an editor on my school’s newspaper, I imagined buying The Nashville Graphic and being a newspaperwoman. Being an educator wasn’t really on my list of career choices until I’d already been teaching for two years, but by then I’d caught the bug.

I never considered that I would be a stay-at-home-mother.

Never.

Never.

Never.

Sometimes still, I catch myself thinking: what am I going to be when I grow up? This can’t be it. Even though I love it, it lacks the…I don’t know…paycheck? office? pencil skirts?… I once envisioned I’d be enjoying.

And then I think, let’s see:

I wanted to be a maid. Check. Only there’s much more joy in folding my babies’ socks than in folding a strangers’.

I wanted to be an OBGYN. Well, I birthed two babies, endured many failed fertility treatments and two miscarriages. It doesn’t give me an MD, for sure, but then, I never really liked the sight of blood anyway. Check [ish].

I wanted to be a newspaperwoman. Instead, I blog with no deadlines. Check PLUS!

I wanted to be a teacher. And I am. Only now I teach more than American Literature, and I don’t get angry parent phone calls. Check PLUS PLUS!

So I don’t get to wear pencil skirts, or go on lunch dates to anywhere besides Chick-Fil-A, and my life is definitely not as I had imagined.

It’s better.

This Ain’t My First Bodeo

Except that he is my first Bodeo.

My first and only Bodeo.

Can I tell you how hard it is not to spoil this child rotten? There is nothing I wouldn’t give him.  So far he doesn’t ask for much [except Nutter Butters–this remains an issue], but I foresee some problems if he stays this precious well into his second year.

Do you see those cheeks? It’s impossible to be in close proximity to them and not bury your lips in them.  He has not yet decided that this is repulsive to him, but when that day comes, I can tell you: I will take to my bed and cry.

So far his words consist of:

Bye-bye [which he says with the southernest of southern accents]

Mama [melts my heart]

Uh-uh [while he shakes his head at the mashed potatoes I’m advancing toward his face]

We’re still working on uh-oh. He’s got the uh part and can occasionally say the oh part, but not in context.

So there you have it. And now he has poops, which I don’t even mind changing, because that means I get to kiss him all the way to the nursery and back.

Big Girl

On this cold wet morning, MB wanted to wear her brown ballet flats to school.

No, sweetheart, I said. It’s rain coats and rain boots today. We can pack your flats in your backpack.

When I came back from brushing my teeth, she had packed her shoes in her backback, gone in the hall closet, put her rain boots and rain coat on, and was standing by the front door.

Wow, Mary Bullock! You’re such a big girl!

YEP! she said.

Do you want to make your own lunch, too?

Nope, she said.

Oh well. A mama can dream, right?

When I was a little girl

On Christmas Eve, in an attempt to get MB to go home and go straight to bed, I told her a story from when I was a little girl. We’d been on our way home from our grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve, and through the backseat window, we could see a blinking red light in the sky. Our brothers convinced Jen and me that it was Rudolph!! and that Santa was on his way to our house, and we had to hurry hurry hurry to get home and in our beds.

Mary Bullock has since requested this story around fourteen thousand times, often several times at once. Again! she says. Again!

I think this is when it finally dawned on her that I was once a little girl like her. Of course, I’d told her this before, but I think she thought it was only true like Dora Saves the Mermaid Palace is true.

So the other night lying in her bed, she says Mommy, can you tell me a story from when you were a little girl? Only she says widdle durl and it breaks my heart in the best way a heart can be broken.

I was caught kind of off guard. I mentally catalogued my little girl stories:

Should I tell her the one where I lit matches on the side of the house? [spanking]

Or, the one where I shaved my legs when I was ten? [cut my legs up plus spanking]

Or…the one where Jen and I got in a fight over a pair of Wonder Woman underoos and I actually slapped her in the face? [didn’t even need a spanking I felt so bad]

The list of acceptable stories for telling started to look quite slim.

So I told her about my Grandma taking us on picnics and fishing in the river by her house.

Did you stick your legs in? She wanted to know.

I think we did, I said. Seems like something I would do.

Then I told her about baking my first apple pie with Grandma when I had the chicken pox in the fourth grade.

Have you ever made an apple pie? I asked her.

No, she said. What’s chicken pox?

It’s when you get these itchy spots all over and you have to stay home from school. If you’re very very lucky, you get to stay home with your Grandma, and she teaches you how to make an apple pie.

And then, because I am me, I was crying over that apple pie, and my Grandma, and that picnic by the river with homemade fishing poles.

On second thought, maybe the spanking stories would be better.

Late Christmas Present

Did I tell you guys about my late Christmas present? You’re never going to guess what it was, but go ahead and try.

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Did you guess a new water heater? YOU DID!? Amazing.

It’s so awesome. It has such high-tech features as a tank that is not busted and creating a waterfall in our garage!

And it only cost me nearly all the records of my school and teaching lives.

Well, that and [what is, to us] a very large chunk of change.

But that last part’s just money, right? [FYI: my very malnourished money tree is now snarfing at his desk at work.]

The loss of my papers was a big deal to me. My file box was the first thing I dragged [screeching] out of the lake garage when I realized that the situation was a bit more disastrous than a few drips. I have taken that box with me to four cities, through every move I’ve made in the last sixteen years. I’m attached.

Well, I was attached. Most of it is now garbage.

Some of it was garbage to begin with.

But I did so enjoy the trip down memory lane while riffling through my waterlogged writings.  My favorite bits were the not the parts where the teachers gave me praise, surprisingly. The comments I love most include ones where one teacher warned me against being trite [oh! I need that as a daily reminder in so many areas of my life!], and another told me that with a little more effort, my paper would have been quite excellent.  Ok. I also loved the giant As. Not so much the Bs. Criticism is so much easier to take when an A is attached, don’t you think? [Are you reading, Leeeeeeee?]

So now they’re in the trash, and I’m almost recovered from the violent attack on our checkbook.

Almost.

Hula Hoopin 101

[Edit: Lee has brought some necessary edits to my attention. Changes in Mary Bullock’s speech should now more accurately reflect what was said.]

I think she might have gotten this from Max & Ruby, but I can’t be too sure because mama has reached her saturation point with Max & Ruby, and all episodes now sound thusly:

Wonk Wonk Wonk? Wonk Wonk Wonk Wonk Wonk?

And then my mind wanders.

Wait. What were we talking about?

Oh yes. Hula Hoopin, by Mary Bullock.

Step #1: Pick up the hoop. Pit up da hoop!

Step #2: Prepare to Spin. Pwepauw to ‘pin!

Step #3: Ffffff……I forgot. I fuh dot.

[There was no mention of a #4, and I did not argue this point.]

Step #5: Wiggle! Wiggle! Wiggle! Widdle! Widdle! Widdle!