Valentines and Date Night (Jesus-Approved)

It is no secret that I think most holidays are contrived by the powers that be to boost the economy through the sale of needless crap that does not actually mean that a person loves you.  There is most likely a Kay Jewelers in every mall in hell.  Gifts do not equal love.

Say that in your head one more time because it is important.  Gifts do not equal love.

Loving behavior equals love.  Lots of loving behaviors.  Over time.  And rocky terrain.  And loving behaviors on sunny days and during the fun stuff and in the middle of all of the excitement too.  Lots and lots of loving behavior equals love.  Gifts do not equal love.

I will, however, make an exception to my rant to allow sarcastic valentines to squeak in.  I can definitely get on board with these.  I might even go so far as to say that these valentines would count as a little bit of love.  May I suggest a few that should be sent from my family?

From Kid E:

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.08.46 AMFrom Kid D:

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From Kid C:

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From Kid B:

images-3From Kid A:

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From Sheepdog:

images-5 An+honest+valentines+day+card_6664bf_5000992

Now that’s what I call love, folks.  Lots and lots and lots of love.

*****

A few weeks back I went online and purchased tickets to a predicted train wreck of a movie for Sheepdog and I to see this Valentine’s weekend.  The very popular book series that inspired said film had proven to be a key ingredient to a very memorable vacation for us a few years back in Cabo San Lucas.  Given that we are not going on that trip to Mexico this year, and the fact that Sheepdog tethers himself to the thought of that week as if it were an actual life source, I figured I would throw him a bone(r).  Mr. Grey will see you now.

And then I thought it would be nice to invite my sisters and their husbands to the theater as well.  So I texted them about it.

50 Shades text

Between happily married, consenting adults, that is.

Wish me luck for tomorrow.  Sheepdog’s not going to need any.  He’s got 50 Shades of Lucky coming his way.

You Are My Mother

My three sisters and I usually go in together on group gifts for all of the major holidays.  This Mother’s Day was no exception.  We got Mom a new beach cart – sweet, right?

The deal is that we also send her our own cards.  However, I frequently forget to mail mine.  This Mother’s Day was no exception.  To make up for it, I wrote my mother a song, sung to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine,” originally recorded in 1939 by the Pine Ridge Boys from Atlanta, with a copyright 1940 by Peer International Corporation, words and music by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell.  P.S.  I’m going to butcher all of that right now.

You Are My Mother by Stacy Swiger

The other night, mom, as I lay (not) sleeping
I dreamt I mailed your Mother’s Day card
But when I awoke, Mom, it was still on the counter
So I hung my head and I cried
 
You are my mother, my only mother
You make me happy (well, most the time)
You’ll never know Mom, how much I love you
Because I forgot to mail your lovely card
 
I’ll always love you, because you’re my mom,
You grew me in your baby oven
You changed my diapers, you kissed my boo-boos
You were the first to give me unconditional love(n)
 
You are my mother, my only mother
You make me happy (well, most the time)
You’ll never know Mom, how much I love you
Because I forgot to mail your mediocre card
 
You taught me so much, like “please” and “thank you”
You taught me how to write my name
You taught me how to cook, and bake, and sew things
You showed me that having kids can drive a mom insane
 
You are my mother, my only mother
You make me happy (well, most the time)
You’ll never know Mom, how much I love you
Because I forgot to mail your bush-league card
 
You survived my teen years, then planned my wedding
You watched my kids when I went back to work
I am so sorry for the times I hurt you,
When I was selfish, annoying, or a jerk
 
You are my mother, my only mother
You make me happy (well, most the time)
I’m telling you now Mom, how much I love you
Oh, I’m so happy I never mailed that effing card!
 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM!

 
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Happy Birthday, Kid A!

Seventeen is the atomic number of chlorine.  It is the seventh (lucky) prime number.  When you turn seventeen you can see an R-rated movie or donate blood.  It is the year when Harry and the other wizards came of age.  “Seventeen” is a song by the band Winger.  And it is the total number of syllables in a haiku (5+7+5).

Today is Kid A’s 17th birthday, so this one’s for her…

Born in a blizzard.
Middle name rhymes with “fire.”
You made me a mom.
Parenting Experiment #1

Me with Parenting Experiment #1, January 1996.

Happy 17th Birthday, Kid A!

I love, love, love (most of the time) navigating this crazy, winding path of mother and daughter with you.  My birthday wish is that you will always remember what brings you peace and happiness, and that you make time for whatever it is each and every day.  I love you unconditionally, forever and ever.  xo Mom

It All Ends Today

…or so says the tagline to the latest and final (sniff, sniff) movie, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (which releases today), based upon the epic book series by J. K. Rowling.  Unless, of course, we are mistaken about that because they found a way to cast a Confundus Charm over the entire world… now wouldn’t that be something?

I have always been extremely affected by books and movies and television, so it is natural that their conclusions would move me monumentally as well.  I know that they are manufactured, but they could be real – good fiction is always based in reality – and regardless, through reading about or watching them, they have allowed me to be a part of their life lessons.

I learned about the joy of realizing your true calling from Sam Malone (“Boy, I’ll tell ya… I’m the luckiest son-of-a-bitch on Earth,” as he shuts off the lights in the bar) and the meaning of life according to Cliff Clavin (“comfortable shoes”) and Carla Tortelli (“having children”) during the final episode of Cheers.  I learned about letting true friends know that they will remain in your heart even when you follow different paths in life (the “GOODBYE” stones that Hunnicutt left for Pierce to see as he flew off in the chopper in the M*A*S*H finale).

I learned from Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King that you sometimes can but you can’t always go home again, for when they returned to the Shire – free of their youthful innocence and ignorance – it was a very different place than the one they had left.  I learned that war can be necessary even though it ends childhood and tears friends and families apart, and that power will corrupt almost everyone, from The Hunger Games trilogy.

I was reminded that relationships are complicated and the “right” guy is determined by the beholder (Team Kellan!, I mean Team Sheepdog!) and that everybody comes with a list of pros and cons from the Twilight books.  And Friday Night Lights’ Coach Eric Taylor and his football motto “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!” couldn’t show me any more simply that winning is not the true indicator for success, and that family should always come first.  The Cosby Show taught me that families should dance together often, preferably to cool jazz music.

And perhaps most importantly I learned from the conclusion of Zoey 101 that sometimes 16-year-old girls get pregnant and it is incredibly important to be a good parent to your teenager and talk to them about sex and responsibility and how bad choices can end your career before it really even begins (empathetic shiver! for both of the Spears girls).

I am smarter than all of you. Oh, and my parents are dentists.

So it is actually Thursday night and Kid A is leaving now dressed as Hermione to attend the midnight-ish viewing of the last Harry Potter film with her friends.  Kid B was so excited that she made wands for them out of actual trees for Kid A and her friends so they could use them when they dressed up for the premiere (I am telling you that these kids are B.O.R.E.D.).

Sheepdog, Kid B and I are looking forward to a Sunday afternoon IMAX showing of the movie, where I hope to be as moved as I have in the past by the creativity of those who write and make these incredible stories.  The Harry Potter books speak of unconditional love and selflessness as the ultimate weapons against evil.  I think that they are pretty good at warding off the everyday icky as well, so I’m going to stick with them.

After Sunday I will say, “Nox!” to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, so I can make room in my heart for new, even more imaginative tales and more importantly, the lessons that I can learn from them.  And so the end is actually the beginning.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

From L to R, the wands of Cho Chang, Padma Patil, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter (made by Kid B)

I am Rich

I promise that I will not bore you with all of the sappy details of my Mother’s Day haul, but suffice it to say that I am a very rich woman.  Rich with love, and all of the stuff that really and truly matters (except on the day that the mortgage or the car payment is due, huh?).  I was not with my family on the actual holiday, so I had all of the loot from my kids waiting for me when I got home.  I cheated and went through everything when they were at school so I could be ready to feign excitement over the crappy gifts and rein it in on the ones that really make me bawl my eyes out when they eventually got opened in front of them.

I truly treasure the gifts that measure them when they are little (tiny handprints with poems, school pictures of the kids with little notes reminding me that time goes by so quickly – all the stuff that I later save in their Boxes of Love in the basement) because I can look back and actually see how tiny they once were, but honestly those gifts are kind of boring.  I am a big fan of the practical gifts, like paper flowers that have chores written on the back which I can trade in when I need help, but they get used quickly and destroyed immediately by the giver so I won’t cheat and use any more than once.  I’d have to say without question that my favorite Mother’s Day presents are the things that show each kid’s personality and really remind me just how different each of my kids are.  I was not disappointed even one iota this year.

One of my kids found a song that makes her think of me (WRONG! if you are humming the Elton John classic “The Bitch is Back”), learned to play it on the guitar, then performed it for me.  Another kid just went with the classic “I Love You” and a big hug, testing my constant assertion that I do not ever require a gift from them on any of the mother-honoring holidays (I swear I don’t).  Another gave me a full bouquet of the aforementioned chore vouchers.  The other two gave me a bunch of presents that they obviously made with love in school.

One of my all time favorites is the fill-in-the-blank questionnaire.  I look forward to these every year.  Some gems from this year’s batch include:  Her favorite food is real food (as opposed to fake food, or did he mean carbs, which I haven’t had in three weeks and I miss so much), Mommy and I like to ride the thing with the brown seat (a horse?  the car? sorry, no clue), and My mommy is the greatest because Daddy is the greatest too! (focus, kid, he has his own holiday in a month).  I particularly loved the drawings that went along with Kid D’s present.  On the one of what I supposedly looked like when I was six (his age), had me clearly wearing red stripper platform shoes.  Apparently, he is a little more like his Daddy than I even imagined.  He also scored big points with the topical and complimentary one that said “My mother is good at bloging.

Sucking up on Mother's Day. Mom says, "Do This." Kid replies, "OK." Oh, so this is fictional.

You can't spell for crap, but you get my age correct? Osum.

My heart is full every day, even if my patience bucket is not.  Each one of these presents shows me that my kids are learning that you should let the people who are important to you know that they are important to you in your own way.  Do it with words, pictures, music, a love note, a hug or a smile.  Do it on Mother’s Day, on their birthday, but also do it today and next Monday and again on the fourth Thursday in November (oops, that’s Thanksgiving – but you get my point).  Do it in your special way and on your own terms, because unconditional love has no rules.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…