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Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Surreal Experience in the CVS Parking Lot

This is one of those strange occurrences that you can call random, but that I like to hold as a little treasure. Today I took a break from work to go get a frappucino at Starbucks down the road. I needed to pick up milk for the boys anyway, so I thought it a reasonable break. As I pulled into my parking space, I vaguely noticed a man with gray hair in a minivan talking on a cell phone. I don't know why, but he made me think of Grandpa Joe. The guy wasn't "grandpa old," just older and I don't think he sounded like Grandpa. I didn't really even see his face, so I have no idea why I made the connection. Anyway, for some reason I started to contemplate whether or not Nanny and Grandpa would have had a cell phone if they were still alive today, particularly if they still lived in the motor home. I sort of pictured them using a cell phone. Maybe they'd have one for motoring across country, but then again, they probably would have thought it too frivolous.

My thoughts moved on, I ordered my drink, I browsed CVS for milk and diapers. As I walked back to my car, within the very same block of spaces where I had been struck by the vision of my grandparents with cell phones, I saw a car with the license plate: MJVD. I actually stopped in my tracks to stare. Being a little dislexsic, I really had to concentrate on the letters to determine they were NOT the same plate Nanny and Grandpa had for years - MVJD - and which was still on the blue buick I drove in high school. Still, I was stunned.

I was pulling out my phone to take a pic for Mom when the elderly owner of the car was approaching, and rather than scare her that I was some sort of stalker, I gave up with the photo. I tried to explain why I was looking at her car, but even as I said it, I realized how silly it would sound to someone else. How she was probably thinking, well sure, there are a million license plates and some of them are bound to be similar to ones you've known. She could not have understood how this left me feeling suddenly so near to Nanny and Grandpa again. Like they had stopped by to say a quick hello. Like there was a strange vortex for a few seconds where we were somehow connecting.

I had to call Mom right away and tell her the story. Then we laughed to think about what they would have been like with a cell phone, how Grandpa would have enjoyed tasting Starbucks with me (though he would have been appalled at the prices), how he would have thought he could get Nanny to make them at home, how maybe he was trying to tell us to go play the lottery.

You can say random conincidence. But I say, "Hi Nanny and Grandpa. It's nice to know you're not too far."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Tea Parties, of a Different Kind

In addition to getting my conservative emotions riled up, all the recent talk of tea parties had me thinking of Nanny Sue and our tea parties at her kitchen table. I started drinking tea when I was probably about 4. Nanny made it with milk and plenty of sugar -- and I still like my tea this way. Her kitchen and pantry were a child's dessert heaven, stocked as they were with Ring Dings, Chips Ahoy, Pillsbury crescent rolls, Hostess cupcakes and Twinkies, not to mention Grandpa's supply of gumdrops and licorices. So there was no shortage of sweets to accompany the cup of tea.

Sometimes Nanny poured her tea into her saucer to cool faster and sipped it up. I always sat right by her side. Sometimes I drew pictures to be taped to her pale green kitchen wall. Sometimes I just listened to news and gossip she and my mom shared. She admired my long hair because her own hair never grew long after she had scarlet fever.

I can't say I really remember why we called them tea parties or what we may have done to make them special from a regular cup of tea. But tea parties are a big part of my memories of Nanny Sue. Whenever I make a cup of tea and stir in my two teaspoons of sugar (and sometimes three when I deem the cup "big" or just as a nod to Nanny and Grandpa), I remember Nanny Sue and Great Grandpa Tom and their old green house fondly.

Monday, April 20, 2009

And So I Begin...

Okay, I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while. I have lots of ideas, lots of pent-up writings, lots of opinions and ponderings, and plenty of photos. But no audience. So I have decided that's okay. For now, my blog will be for me, my own online journal until I have more of a purpose for sharing. If nothing else, it will serve as a record of parts of our lives.

So here's something I was thinking about today: how alike and how different my two boys are. Here's a comparison:

  • likes to eat crackers
  • wakes up early
  • slow eater, small appetite
  • likes to be neat and clean
  • is timid and cautious around water, even the bath
  • likes to sleep under his blankets and with his socks on
  • probably has a better vocabularly than some 6 year olds and can already spell (out, no, yes, Robby, Joey, Mommy, Daddy, Nana, stop)
  • likes to eat cheese
  • sleeps later
  • passionate eater
  • doesn't mind being messy (case in point: tonight he used his yogurt and oatmeal to paint his face during dinner!)
  • thoroughly enjoys the water, especially splashing in the bath!
  • likes to kick off any blankets and takes his socks off any chance he gets
  • makes his mind known with brief commands (mine!, stop!, wanit!)
In many ways, they are very similar too -- silly jumping monkeys who are quite the mama's boys -- but I think some of their differences are really perfect complements to each other. One likes cheese, the other crackers, and together they make the perfect snack, so to speak. Their differences also encourage each other to get out of their comfort zones. Robby sees Joey having fun splashing in the bath, so he starts splashing too. Joey sees Robby reading books all the time, and wants to try it out too.

It's fascinating watching them grow as individuals, and as brothers and companions. It makes me so happy to see them having so much fun together, being silly, Joey copying everything he sees Robby do, Robby trying to teach Joey things, an actual friendship growing. It's interesting to consider how much is related to birth order and how much to innate personality. And mostly it all just raises the question: what if we have a third child?