My mom is 32 years older than I am…always has been. It’s a fact. So it makes sense that we aren’t always on the same page about things. Lately we’ve disagreed about church attendance and appropriate levels of dating anxiety, just for example. But tonight at HyVee (and you guys, just to add to the collective goodwill in Springfield toward this grocery store: it is the shit. [ps Mom wouldn't enjoy me saying "the shit." Sorry, FLJ.]), I caught a glimpse of one way in which we are 100% alike.
We met at HyVee after work for some shiny new salad bar. This was Mom’s first venture to The Store. After we ate, we explored the aisles and walked away with some treasures (most notably: Nut Thins. THEY HAVE BBQ FLAVORED NUT THINS THERE. See: “the shit”). On our way out, we spy a cell phone in the parking lot. For a minute or two we plot what to do: leave it there in case they come back? place it on top of the car it’s next to? take it inside?
One thing I know for sure: many of my RA-friendly tendencies came from my mother:
The craftiness and impulse to make things for others.
The good-kid social butterfly-ness.
The impulse to help people, even when I don’t have to.
Those instincts came into play for both of us tonight, and we walked the phone back inside to the customer service desk. And wouldn’t you know it…there’s a lady there (older, a bit scattered, and, if the aforementioned car was actually hers, a bit of a hoarder) looking for her phone. The HyVee guy behind the counter makes the connection, and Mom and I—much like an overly-enthusastic Kristen Wiig character farce—go, in unison, “YAAAAAY!” Just as excited as we can be. In the front of HyVee. Not an ounce of shame.
(In our defense, it’s rare to so immediately experience the happy ending to a random act of kindness. And also we’re weirdos.)
This, I owe to you, dearest mother. Some of my favorite parts of myself: the part that returns the cell phone, and the part that isn’t afraid to say, “YAY!”
Hey, you guys! It’s officially summer. Pineapple Whip is out and June is here. Please enjoy this super-long classic musical video to get you in the mood:
My brother’s birthday is June 1, the kick-off to the summer birthday season (which includes mine on July 5, whatever whatever). Daniel’s turning 33.
Very very grownup we are. (So much that he was excited to catch the new South Park after our family bday dinner at Maria’s. Love it.)
Haters gon' hate.
I was thinking about the many important lessons I have gleaned from Daniel over the years:
→Don’t wear red socks. Just, ever.
→Chew with your mouth closed. Just, always.
→Learn all you can.
→The bitches who are mean to you in middle school won’t matter in 10 years.
→But being a smart kid will pay off eventually.
→50% of what I know about music: Nirvana to Miles Davis.
→I had my first white russian ever, while watching The Big Lebowski, one time when my parents were out of town. This was my big-brother college preview, to teach me to be smart with alcohol. (Enough years have passed that I’m happy to make this public. Also, I was always smart with alcohol in college. Too smart. So. Statute of limitations.) This is the best story.
→He also warned me to stay away from the KA house, which I did. Until I dated the house director at age 25. Some lessons you have to learn for yourself…
→Try something new in your 30s. My brother discovered he’s a rock star by starting a band with his friends, though he never really thought it would go anywhere. Now The Jakebrakers have a live CD and play all over town. And they’re awesome. They have groupies.
Yesterday I had lunch with mom & dad, and then we visited my grandparents’ graves at Greenlawn (Grandma Ilene & Grandpa Fred, mom’s parents). Such a lovely, odd tradition: placing plastic flowers at the graves of long-gone loved ones. It’s nice to look around and see so many colorful markers saying, “someone remembers you.”
Grandpa Fred, circa 1942
Made me realize how much I miss having grandparents. Some of my friends still have them around, and I find myself feeling jealous for the baked goods, unconditional love, outdated humor and homegrown wisdom that grandparents provide. (My parents will be good at all those things. But don’t get any ideas.)
I miss having a place to go, and a couch to sit on, where I could just BE and everything else in my life could pause. (Sounds like therapy, huh? Sort of.)
Life paused and was put in perspective. My grandparents showed me that life went on a long time before I got here, and (if I’m lucky) my life will go on a long time after right now. Life is short and life is long.
And I could always count on good snacks… with Fred & Ilene it was Cheez-its, ice cream, stovetop popcorn; with Jimps & Audrey it was packaged soft chocolate chip cookies, angel food cake, garden green beans. (Not necessarily at the same time.)
I love this photo from Thanksgiving 2006. It shows off my best “mom, why are you taking a picture right now?” face. Just hanging out with Grandpa Fred — who is no doubt being hilarious and a little offensive.