Whoa Mama

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Our family is like so many others of the new millennium. To the letter of the law and following the traditional, write-it-in-the-front-of-the-family-bible family, we aren't all that big. Pretty average.

When you delve into the must-come list of attendees at family functions, the people we'll-make-time-to visit, and/or it-wouldn't-be fun-without people, we get rather obscene in size. We've got the steps and the half's and the might-as-well-be's. The never-was, should-have-been and where-did-they-come-froms.

It is dreadful to try to explain if someone really asks "so how are you related"? Besides I'm never really sure I owe those folks an answer always. I just want someone to walk away with the understanding that we just are.

The kids have grown up with lots of women they call Grandma. Grandmas Marcia, Mare, Julia, Patty -sorry Patty, but "Grandma" works for them and it is a high title :-), Rosie. Always with deference to ones that they call just "Grandma" (my mom) and "Grandma Wilks", who they don't get to know. Loads of aunts and uncles and "aunts" and "uncles". Cousins translates into we like them a whole lot and hopefully we'll see them at holidays.

One night Sammy at age 8 had a diatribe recently about who, how and why. We gaped at his articulate analysis and insight. To sum up, he knows where his blood lines are and are not, but he's real clear on who his family is. He, like us, has love for our family in all of the forms they come.

I treasure it all. So as this crew of love continues to expand, I have to share that it seemed like 2 weeks ago that we had these little fellows:

But that would be impossible, because here they are today:

Monday, September 19, 2011

it comes to this

if we can do this:

then why in the name of all that is holy and scientific and intelligent, does beast cancer screening look like this, but without that smile.

Friday, September 16, 2011

just really really funny thoughts

Sam went to a friend's house after school, which was met by a chorus of boo's by the twins. "Why can't we have more playdates with friends??" So I had to explain that they have a buddy every where they go and Sam doesn't tote around a guy his age all the time.

We got home and they launched into a series of games and fantasy play in the backyard. They had some spinning game, something with Pokemon cards on the slide then there was a spontaneous obstacle course with an upturned soccer net. That required some significant grass stains all over the new school khakis. There were challenges that included moving sticks and dodging wiffle balls.

This game evolved mysteriously into the net as a giant monster mouth operated by one while the other threw a ball into the "mouth". If the ball went in, the thrower. in a curse of twisted logic, had to dive in to get it before the jaws snapped shut on him. If the net edges popped apart, the roles reversed.

They had each other in stitches. Yet, still I was a neglectful mommy for not delivering friends to them.

Later I got peppered with deep thoughts that started with:

A: Mommy, I know why girls don't take their shirts off.
Me: yea? why?
N: (gesturing with two pointer fingers to his chest) these!
Me: Yes, women keep their nipples covered (may I get a holla for crossing over the precipice of anatomically correct verbiage)
N: Why are the pimples (clearly he didn't pick up on the vocab lesson) private on girls but not boys.
Me: I don't have a good answer for that.
A: Do you need to think about it?
Me: No, it is just that way where we live. Not everyone around the world thinks that they are private.
A: Like in Africa?
Me: Well, yes and in France and Martha's Vineyard.
(they brightened up at this)
N: Did you do it when you were there?
Me: No.
A: Why not?
Me: I just didn't.
A: (almost instantly, in a very matter-of-fact tone) I would have.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Forgive a Repeater

I cannot remember if I've ever written about this, but it's timely so:

My young parents were too young to figure out the root cause of the issue, so at 20 & 21 they were going to welcome their second child. They are both wonderful parents and quite remarkable considering their ages. It recently stopped my in my tracks when I realized that my parents were my age when they divorced. I was a senior in high school.

I digress.

With this pregnancy, my mom went into preterm labor and not for the first time. Her doctor, a wise, educated man, told her to go home and have a shot. My mother didn't drink. My mother listen to her doctor. If one was good then two must be better. My mother got drunk on shots. Then (try to contain your shock) she went into full on labor. She was 26 weeks along. For those of you playing along at home, this is 2/3 of a full term pregnancy, and arguably before there are eyelashes.

So that baby was born 14 weeks premature. That is a full trimester plus before this chicken was fully cooked. The grandparents were called. The grandparents came. My mom's folks came from 3+ hours away. My dad's folks came from about 5 miles away.

My mom's dad told her that she had to name that baby because she wasn't going to live. My parents named that baby. They had that baby baptized. That baby was 2lbs and 3 oz, or half of a bag of sugar my grandmother likes to say. My dad stretches his hand out to say that that baby fit, in fetal position from tip of the thumb to tip of the pinky finger. With very little substance, that baby had a dixie cup on her head to hold the needles in place, plus the feeding tube inside the isolette, where there could only be sterile contact through hand holes.

Remember that the grandparents came. The country grandparents came and cried and prayed. The city grandparents came and cried and prayed, after they stopped to take the edge off. The hard working, proud, strong, Irish grandmother was no more equipped than anyone to hand this. The Manhattan did its job and she marched into the hospital to see her son, his wife and this baby.

One look through the window and she blurted out, "SHE HAS NO ASS!! SHE HAS NO ASS!!"

Well, I've made up for it.

In 1972, I had no business surviving, to say nothing of surviving without any disabilities from heart or lung to motor function to immune system. But here I am.

I love this story for the respective strength and personality and love of my grandparents. But I love the stories from the weeks following when my dad (age 20) would leave his pizzeria job, take the bus down Delaware, get a transfer (raise your hand if you've *Ever* gotten a transfer), and run to the hospital. He would come up a rub my back. Preemies need human contact, but it has to be sterile and within the isolette. So he could put a couple fingers on my tiny back, while watching the clock so that his transfer didn't expire. Then he would run down and catch the bus to Buff State to go to class. By the way, all of this was while my mom (age 20) was home with a toddler and one car, coming in to see me and feed me when she could wrangle my brother in her post-partum state.

So to all of the parents who never knew love like the love of their child, whose strength of character and fathomless devotion arrived with your babies, this is for you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

before the coffee

what do you think about when you wake up in the morning?
your day?
your job?
us too.

at 6:30 a.m.
A: oh. I hope that Mrs. S takes the paper off the new job today.
Me: huh. (first cup of coffee still 3/4 full)
A: since the beginning of the year she takes a paper off one of the jobs on the list. I hope today she shows us a new one.
We went on to discuss the merits of one 2nd grade job versus another.
Ten minutes before this he was sleeping.

at 6:40 a.m.
S: Mommy, what time are you picking us up today?

at 6:45
N: Can we have cake for breakfast?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

What we did over summer vacation

On the latest return trip, I asked the boys to make a list of everything they could think of that we did this summer. This was one boy's list, spelling not corrected. Italics are my commentary.
  • Cookies for Breacfast (thank you, Aunt Jessi!)
  • Seaport
  • Aquariums
  • Hidden Valley Farm
  • Darien Lake
  • Slept in a tent
  • Choir Camp/Retreat
  • Drive in movie
  • Smurfs
  • Sam give the Didjto Noah and I
  • Daddy first one to get murdered (at "Murder Day" at camp)
  • Swim, Pops pool, Darling pool, cuca lake, rushfurd lake, lake erie beach, ma (Massachusetts) con (Connecticut) beach
  • Soccer
  • Tee Ball
  • umbrella factory
  • LaSalle and Caz sprickler swimming

These are all the things one boy came up with and it didn't include, some other high points for his brothers and him. The list is in no particular order and doesn't necessarily pertain to all, but you get the idea of what kind of crazy or summer was packaged it!
  • baseball practice with the Buffalo Bisons
  • one 7 y.o. beating a 12 y.o. at chess
  • tons of backyard soccer
  • Sam's first 9 holes of golf
  • smores
  • trip to the farm
  • rides on four wheelers
  • more boogie boarding that should be legal
  • birthday parties
  • training wheels off the bikes

  • winning the championship and the defensive MVP trophy
  • making (that I know of 2 double plays)

and now we are back to school!