boom, boom, boom, even brighter than the moon, ‘murica and all that sh!t


I really don’t care what you all might think but I hate the 4th of July.

Sorry.

No, not sorry.

I miss my brother. Today is his birthday. He should be here. But he’s not. Yeah, it’s been ten years, I know.

Whatever.

Grief is weird like that. It changes shape, but it never ends. Birthdays are hard. Birthdays are real hard. You bury your brother much too young then maybe you’ll understand. On second thought, I hope that you never do understand.

Thank goodness for my circus. They might not totally get the tears, the melancholy I feel when everyone else is waving the flags at the parades or boating and drinking or barbeque-ing or the blowing up fireworks because it’s ‘murica. But they do love me. They do care. That’s for real. We all should be so lucky to be surrounded like I was today…even when I was alone, sitting in my car at the car wash crying. I had this to come home to.

‘murica!

When I look to the sky something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I’m lost something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here

 

Hazel the First


Bill and I very soon will be celebrating 31 years of marriage, which is a pretty long time to be stuck together with one person. We have shared that day for years now with the birthday of our 4th lovely circus clown, Jodie Grace Wynonna. So it’s never really just our day. But even before Jodie, it never really was our day. We were married on the day of Bill’s grandparents’ (Momma and Poppa – Hazel and Osie) fiftieth wedding anniversary. Yeah, it was their day.

I can’t imagine being as gracious as Momma and Poppa were to share their day, their celebration with two crazy, in-love kids dressed in the OMG-what-the-fresh-hell-is-that 80′s wedding fashion. But they were. I’m so glad that they were so generous.

It was but a couple years later that I knew I truly belonged to this family I married into when Momma would address me as Teri-Toni-Dottie-Patty-Laura.

Yes!

Years and years later, I am carrying on for her, much to the annoyance of my kids, when I address them by all of their names until I eventually hit their name. Deep down I know that Hollie-Zoë-Abby-Jodie-Hazel-Fallon appreciate the family tradition. Of course they do.

Momma and her daughter, my dear mother-in-law, Mom, taught me how to properly fry chicken which is something I know Bill has given thanks for over the years. It’s not perfect or nearly as excellent as their fried chicken is, but it is properly fried chicken. Through the years, memories were made, laughter and tears were shared and babies were born…a lot of babies…

I loved Momma’s playfulness with my babies. All five of them have enjoyed her cuddles and being bounced on her knee trottin’ the pony. The awkward conversation we had where I explained to her that it was her grandson Bo’s fault that we had birthed no grandsons not so much. Still I loved the laughter we shared after that conversation.

Momma and Poppa had three children who became parents to nine grandchildren for Momma, who went on to have A LOT of great-grandbabies (I’m counting 17 but then again my math skills are seriously suspect) and 5 great-great grandchildren. All adored Momma.

Then again, what is there about her NOT to adore?

One memory I have of Momma is the fact that she always seemed to be smiling. No, not a big toothy smile. It was more a quiet smile with the corners of her mouth always upturned. To have lived as long as Momma has I know it wasn’t always perfect and rosey but clearly she lived her life with a positivity that was reflected in her quiet smile. One of many things that made her beautiful. But truth be told, my best, happiest memory was the first Thanksgiving she shared with her namesake, Hazel the Second.

Now how many 90-something year old ladies do you know who will get down on all floors to play with her carpet-crawling great-great grandbabies?

Yeah, I thought so.

I can only hope to be as kick-asstastic as her.

Hazel the First graced this world for over 95 years until today when she passed away.

Mother’s Day will be tempered with the fact that she is now part of our family’s sweet memories. For me, in the short time that I have been blessed to call her Momma, there has been many sweet memories. I will always have her to thank for knowing how to properly fry chicken and to at least try to just sit back, relax and enjoy the blessings around me (and there are a lot) with a quiet smile on my lips.

Hazel Frances Shock-Yowell, November 16, 1918 – May 9, 2014

 

just saying hi


You know how when you are having just one of those days where your head is dully throbbing or perhaps that crick in your neck is just a little bit tighter? Or maybe it’s one of those days where you are fighting that eye twitchy thingy that happens when you really don’t want it to happen. It’s just one of those days.

Then suddenly you look out the window and…

Of course you smile. How could you not. Heck, I smiled and I wasn’t even there to witness the random Smiley-face balloon that floated into JP’s Memorial Garden just outside of the NICU where I work because…WOW!

Hurray for social media! Thank you to my fellow colleague who shared this moment.

It’s been nine months.

How is that possible?

curly top


Back in the day when she was just a curly topped little moppet, Abigael Rose knew exactly who she resembled…

and she began to study her, imitate her and become her.

Animal Crackers from 1935′s Curly Top was probably her most favorite. She would strut, sing and dance under the Big Top performing this classic any chance she had. How much easier it was for little Miss Abigael with her curly top, the way she talked and the fact that her mommy insisted on dressing her (and her sisters) in overalls.

Like so many little girls for generations, Abby was inspired by that sweet, dimpled, precocious, determined child star of 23 different movies. Her mother as a little girl, on the other hand, was super impressed that this super adorable little girl grew up to be a delegate of the United Nations, Ambassador to Ghana and years later, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia. But I am super nerdy that way.

Hearing today of Shirley Temple Black’s passing at age 85 I couldn’t help but recall how much she inspired my own little curly top who was and is just as precocious and determined then as she is now. Yes, Abby remembered the same…a mother-daughter bonding moment…yay!

RIP Shirley Temple Black and thank you for the smiles, the memories and the inspiration for us all; but most of all for my own bright eyed, dimpled, determined curly top then

and now.

not creepy


It just might be a little bit creepy in the “Love You Forever” creepy mom fashion that I watched him sleep for what seemed to be an awkwardly long period of time.

Maybe.

Then again, maybe it wasn’t creepy at all.

My beautiful boy is turning 12 years old next Saturday. I drove from Manteca to Los Gatos then to San Ramon to say goodbye and lay to rest my aunt then spent the day and evening hugging my uncle, cousins, my other aunt and catching up with old acquaintances and extended family while we remembered a very dear woman who loved all with her whole heart and soul and strength. I’m very tired and yeah, I’m a whole lot of feelings right now.

No, staring at this beautiful child while he sleeps isn’t creepy at all. It’s exactly what I need.