Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Mommy Rae, 39

Emily: Mommy, what's your middle name?

Me: Rae. R-A-E

Emily: R-A-E. Okay. I know your last name H-U-*-*-*.

Me: Good job, spelling, Em!

Emily: And, how old are you?

Me: Super old. 3-9. 39

Emily: 3-9 (still writing on her doodle board).

Andrew: It's going to be a long time before you're a grown- up, Emily. You have to have lots of birthdays before you're a grown- up.

Emily: Like, 10?

Andrew: 11!


Me: Slow down, y'all. You don't want to be an adult just yet, do you?

Emily: Yes! When you're an adult, you can do whatever you want!

Me: I don't want you two to be adults. Can't you just stay my babies?

Emily: No! We want to be grown- ups. You can have another baby.

Andrew: Or, Emily can grow up and have a baby for you. Only Emily can have babies because she's a girl.

Mommy Rae Hu***, 39

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Traditions

The preacher's message at church yesterday was, in part, about the traditions, mostly of the non- biblical origin that surround Easter. It was spot on, which then got me thinking about the traditions we have come to enjoy as a family.

Coordinating outfits
White shoes for Emily
Overstuffed Easter baskets
Peanut butter eggs
Church at Darlington with GiGi, Aunt Windy, and Uncle Tom
Squirming and wiggling in the pew through the cantata
Running down the ramp
Egg hunt at church
Family picture by the flowers and the stained glass...

While we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, we celebrate life-- life that we have through Him-- both here and in the hereafter.

Monday, November 17, 2014

On the Backs of Angels

I thought this was going to be the hardest, most challenging part of my Monday...

...until I got pulled into family tree/heaven/nature of angel's traffic jam on the drive home.

Emily: I am making cards. I am going to make cards for Great- Granny for Valentine's Day.

The voice in my head: Oh, how sweet. She's thinking about Great- Granny. Ah, shoot. I haven't called Grandma back yet. Valentine's Day? I can't even start thinking about Christmas yet.

The voice that speaks out loud: That's sweet. Great- Granny will love it.

Andrew: Is Great- Granny in heaven with Jesus?

Me: Well, baby. One of your great- grannies is in heaven but not that Great- Granny.

Andrew: Which one is in heaven with Jesus?

Papa's mama.

Andrew: Papa's mama?

Me: Yes. Remember, we all have mamas. I am your mama. Great- Granny Nettie is Granny's mama. But Papa's mama, Great- Granny Retha, she's in heaven.

Voice in my head: That's a lot of mamas for a four year old.

Andrew: Papa's mama is in heaven.

Sad Me: Yes, baby. She's in heaven.

Andrew: How did she get there?

Me, idling:
She went to be with Jesus.

I know. But how did she get there?

Me, still cruising with the easy explanations:
She just went there.


Me, pushing the gas a little: The angels showed her how to get there.

Andrew, revving the motor: How?

Me, running out of theological gas:
I don't know exactly.

Andrew, undeterred: Did she ride on the angel's back?

Picture in my mind: Grandma smiling, riding on an angel's back...

Voice in my head: Have they covered this in Sunday school yet? Maybe we shouldn't have skipped church yesterday (and last week).

(Minutes pass and we drive-- in silence).

Finally, voice coming out of my mouth: Andrew, what are you thinking about?

Andrew: Christmas lights.

Got to love the speed at which the mind of a four- year old changes gears.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Beautiful Woman

As a little girl I was fascinated with this lady. I loved her pearl earrings, her pearl necklace, her perfect red lips. She was beautiful, and she sat, in her perfection, on a shelf, just out of reach, in my Grandma Retha's living room.

Lots of beautiful things lived on shelves in my grandma's living. Photographs--so many photographs-- in black and white and shades of brown that we were all we knew in 1980. Glass figurines of animals, random plastic toys that had caught my grandma's fancy at some point, baby dolls of all shapes and sizes. Oh, the baby dolls. And, bronze baby shoes for all seven of her children, bronze baby shoes that I now realize she must have scrimped and saved for. I confess I was ever only really interested in one pair, though-- the pair with the torn toe worn by my daddy in 1953 as he stood by a teddy bear and 1939 Ford.

Lots of things lived in my Grandma Retha's house, a house that grew in rooms and contents over the years. The house, built of cinder blacks, changed in color, too, although the pink years were my favorite. Each room, from floor to ceilings, was packed with treasure untold. Some might say it was hoarding, but I always saw each stack or pile as carefully picked and arranged with purpose by Grandma. Each piece had meaning and mattered. Why wouldn't I? That was how she treated each of us.

Despite the way the house morphed with the years, the shelves never changed and neither did the location of the beautiful woman who lived on the shelf.

I would search for her...

And, I would find her there, just like I found myself in my grandma's house every summer before I was ten--until about five years ago, when the woman began to live on my shelf.

That's when my grandma gave me the object of my childhood desires.

She gave it to me when she still knew who I was, before the Alzheimer's stole her away...

With a little research, I learned that my beautiful woman was originally created to be a vase-- a head vase, to be exact. These head vases were popular in the 1950s when florists would fill the small opening with flowers.

I guess I'll never know who originally filled this vase with flowers. I'll never know know how my Grandma Retha acquired this beautiful woman, if someone, like my Grandpa Junior, gave her flowers to woo her.

What I do know is that today, on the day of my grandma's passing, I am filling the vase, not with flowers, but with the petals of memories with which I am left holding...



bits of time

that together form the bouquet of my memory and love for her...

Little tiny glasses that were just the right size for us

Beauty pageants and underwear crowns where there was no winner because we were all too beautiful

Ice cream from the freezer with the magic top. It must have been magic because how else could you explain the way she could open the top, slip out ice cream cups, while never losing any of the stacks of stuff that sat precariously on its top?

Closets in every room, holding everything you would ever need and which probably already had your name on it. If the closet was full, might be hidden in her bedroom that was protected by a padlock on the door.

Baby dolls of all shapes and sizes, in glass cabinets, complete with certificates of authentication

Real babies, the ones of her own flesh and blood. At last count she had 42 babies, grandbabies, and great grandbabies. Many of us are lucky enough to remember her calling us baby.

And who else will ever call me Lucy?

Buicks of various models with no car seats and boosters, each with a pillow that would boost Grandma high enough to see above the steering wheel and help her maneuver past the bad men who lived in the house just after you came down the hill. All of us kids would hunker down in the back seat, hiding from the bad men every time we drove past that house.

But we were never too scared because, even if the door lock on the house was shaky, we knew everybody in the neighborhood knew Ms. Retha had a shotgun waiting on the other side.

We drove--

To the post office, Box 863, where she picked up piles of mail, including the latest Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes offer from Ed McMahon. Grandma saved them all because she was going to win big.

To the Hardee's where cousins fought over whether they were related or not.

To the Dime Store where I can't remember what we bought, only that Grandma always had the change for it.

She also always had a cure for it, too. Whatever it was, a little aloe vera, a little vinegar, a Hershey's kiss.

I still remember the shock of finding out what was really in the "chocolate" she dipped and in the pill bottles where she stowed the evidence.

We all have our vices.

So Grandma's was a little snuff, and I guess you could say her other vice was loving too much.

She loved us all with a fierceness that was comforting if you were the one she was protecting, biting if you were the one she was attacking. You didn't mess with her children, and forget ever thinking you were good enough for them because, well, you weren't.

Regardless of what she ever said about Grandpa Junior, we all knew it came from the same place everything else Grandma ever said came from-- a place of love.

She gave me my first love-- my daddy-- and I will never think of Valentine's Day without recalling how she always called my daddy "her Valentine."

The wood stove, her tiny feet, the bobby pins placed just so, biscuit pudding, chicken pastry

I remember.

Playing in the grove of trees by the road, the snowball bush by her bedroom window, the well- worn path to the store

I remember.

Pentecostal revivals, The Price is Right, General Hospital, Hee Haw

I remember.

And, it's in the remembering that I realize there's a beautiful woman who lives on my shelf, but an even more beautiful woman who lives in my heart.

Rest easy, Grandma.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What a ride!

Back in the day, on our tricycles we did play.

Then we turned four and wanted more.

Can you tell we are excited about the bikes we have sighted??

Now down the street we ride, as Mommy's heart swells with pride.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What a DINOmite pair...

We are on day two of being snowed in and the house is becoming increasingly smaller.

I started the day realizing that my plan to let cartoons babysit so I could sleep a little longer wasnt' such a good idea.

I stumbled downstairs and whipped up three bowls of cereal. Just as I was about to enjoy some flax and almonds (left over from my last health kick), I saw Emily take a nice, big bite of it, which she promptly spit back into the bowl.

Good morning.

I am now seeing the reason everyone is calling this snow event: Snowpocalypse 2014.

From used cereal, I went on to utter such phrases as:

"If you don't get down from there, Pluto's going to get it!" (As I held Pluto hostage).

"Drew, get out of Emily's space." (Repeated at least 10 times).

"Is that poop in my carpet?" (Yes. Yes, it was).

"No, you can't go outside and play, but I will feed you." (They accepted the offer).

The day wasn't supposed to go down this way. It's February 13-- the day of their class Valentine's Day party.

But, I should have known that nothing short of a snowpocalypse would occur when I actually had Valentine's ready almost a full week ahead of schedule.

The upside is the Valentine's are safely tucked away in a bag-- ready for the glorious day when preschool reopens.


Since I have nothing but time today, let me take you inside the creation of said Valentine's.

It's really a tale of love (and a little woe).

Here we are, ready to start. We only argued for a couple of minutes over who had the most dinosaurs. Then, perfectly in line with their personalities, Emily hoards hers and Drew lines his up.

Drew enjoyed picking just the right dinosaur for each of his friends.

Emily was equally as intentional as she picked just the right pair of socks for each of her friends.

Check out our "Hope you have a DINOmite Valentines' Day" and "Valentine, I think we are quite the PAIR" Valentine's!

In case any of you out there are thinking that this is just a little too sweet, a little too perfect, a little too Pinterest-ry...

Just wait.

There is a darker side to this tale of Valentine's love-- the woe, the low...

The tug- of- war over socks.

The meltdown over the Spiderman smack down.

The covert bagging operation.

The Olympic diversion.

Whoever said love never means having to say you're sorry has obviously never undertaken a craft project with 3 and a half year old twins.

I don't have any socks or dinosaurs to offer you, dear reader. Obviously, all of the ones I did have were claimed and fiercely guarded. I do, however, have a tip for making those cute printables you see everywhere.

While there are lots of free printables out there, I couldn't find just the right one for the DINOmite Valentine.

I stumbled upon a blog that suggested using PicMonkey. I've raved about PicMonkey before, but I love it even more after discovering how I could turn a jpg like this:

Into this:

The whole process took less time than breaking up a fight over a stegosaurus.


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