Posts Tagged ‘laughter’

8 Year Olds…..

March 27, 2011

Big Daddy’s  man cave is full of estrogen.  He’s been relegated to the livingroom to watch march madness and  has to side-step tissue paper and nail polish. He’s not happy but it’s Glamour Rayz birthday, so he’s taking one for the team.  A big one. It’s a spa party sleepover. Ten 8-year-old girls had hair done,  cucumber facials, hands and feet painted, with glow-in-the-dark polish no less. Luckily, since it was a spa party, I served veggies and fruit, along with the chicken on-a-stick. We diverged slightly with m&ms and cheese doodles, but hey they’re 8.

After cake, presents, and a great deal of screaming and giggling, the posse changed into the pjs and ambushed Big Daddy’s man cave with sleeping bags, stuffed animals, and a whole lot of pink. More pink that should ever be allowed in a man cave.  Big Daddy staggered out, “You could have warned me!” “I was going to, but they’re moving too fast. It’s the sugar,” I holler as I run down stairs to contain the madness.  We settled in to watch “Ramona and Beezus.” I’m thinking this is a good movie to hold their attention, so  dim the lights and I park it on the chaise with one of the girls, hoping to catch my breath……

Then Butter Face the Wonder dog comes in and unlike Big Daddy, he isn’t happy about the raucous in the man cave and is not trying to take one for the team.  He saunters over everyone lying on the floor and lies directly on my niece. He likes her sleeping bag. She is NOT pleased. I grab his collar and try to get him to lie on his dog bed behind the Big Daddy’s man chair.  His does his doggy circling thing, but then makes a bee line for my niece.  He has to be escorted from the room. Reset.

Things were going well and then there was some wigglin’ goin’ on down in front. Then there’s more.  I look and one of the girls has slithered into the bottom of her sleeping bags head first and is waving her hand out of that little hole where the zipper starts. And then she sticks her head out of the hole and smiles.  I would have told her to settle down, but I was too busy laughing because she looked like a TOTAL nut cheesing with her head sticking out of her pink camouflage sleeping bag (Pink camo is whole ‘nother blog topic for another day, but I digress).  I get the stink eye from the Pink Ladies for disturbing the movie. Meanwhile “Camo Girl” is still flapping like a bird down. “SHHHHHHHH, quiet down in front!” Order restored. Again.

There’s a scene in the movie where Ramona is talking to her childhood friend, now teenage crush, Henry.  At which point, the girl I’m sitting on the chaise with, who is a tom boy through and through, is the chillest kid on the earth and one of my favorite kids in the world, calmly says, “Sometimes girls get shy about talking to boys when they get older.”

Surprised and amused by the statement, I say,”Oh really, ya think so?”  She replies,”Yep, but they’re easy to talk to when they’re your boyfriend.”

I chuckle. “Really?” and jokingly ask, “You have a boyfriend?”

She nonchalantly replies, “Oh yeah, I have two.”  My jaw drops,” Two???!!!” I started laughing so hard with my mouth closed so as not to disturb the movie that I was shaking.

“Michael and David.  And I’m thinking about gettin’ another one.”  I busted out laughing to the dismay of the Pink Ladies.

Trying not to totally blow my cool, I replied, “well, don’t spread yourself too thin…..”

She shrugged, “hmm, maybe.” 

I’m out.

-Sufficiently Spa’d Out at the Edge

Big Daddy and the Little Man

April 10, 2010

They say you marry someone who is like your parent of the opposite sex. It’s true, sort of.  The two men that I have loved most in my life couldn’t have been more different physically. My dad, aka the Little Man, was 5’6″ and dark chocolate brown. Big Daddy is 6’2″ and lightly toasted. But they were  both cut from the same personality cloth–caring, generous, loving, loud, vibrant, youthful. Good souls, both of them.

You could hear my dad laughing from a mile away. He was smart and funny and very easy-going.  He had a temper, but it never flared for long especially with me, as daddy’s girl.  With the batting of my lashes, I could get off punishment sooner rather than later.  He was always dressed to the nines in suits, or in tennis clothes, or dressed to play in his garden, socks on with his sandals.  When my Dad turned 50, my mom got him a green plexiglass skateboard that he would ride around our neighborhhood on. That was him, that was the Little Man.  My best friend.

When Big Daddy and I flew home so that he could ask my dad if he could marry me and meet the rest of the family, they took an instance liking to each other.  Well, almost instant.  As a member of a large extended family, the test for Big Daddy was meeting the crowd and withstanding the pressure.  If the Little Man, the aunts, uncles, and cousins (and there’s a ton of them) cracked on him, then him, then he was in like Flynn as the saying goes.  If they didn’t and didn’t talk to him much, we wouldn’t make it. Big Daddy took the razzing in good spirit, so it was decided that he was a keeper.

Big Daddy’s relationship with his dad was tenuous at best.  But he and the Little Man’s relationship blossomed.  My father taught Big Daddy how to cook.  They shared a deep love for music, for sports, for bar stools, for life, and for me.  My dad loved him just as much.  And I loved Big Daddy all the more for loving my daddy.

On one of our last trips home before we were to be married there, the three of us were getting into my dad’s car.  He asked me to drive, so I took the keys.  When we got out to the car, Big Daddy went to the back door to allow the Little Man to sit in the front.  After all, he was the elder and Big Daddy was raised right.  But the Little Man grabbed Big Daddy’s arm and said, while pointing at me, “No, you sit up here now.  Your place is beside her.” I beamed for the both of them.

 While we were growing up, the Little Man always said that he didn’t want any crying, that he wanted us to have a party for him when he died. My brothers, sister, and I dismissed it as crazy talk.  But when he died in 2000, that’s exactly what we did.  We celebrated a life well lived with great food, great drinks, great music, and lots of dancing, with family, laughter, and love. 

Just as the Little Man wanted.

Mini-Me….

November 24, 2009

This is Mini-Me(this photo was taken in the UK last year), the second child in the Jenkins Brain Trust.  He was in rare form this morning, which I suspect is from the Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house yesterday, which he was ecstatic about. I think he woke with the joyful lingerings of yesterday’s food coma. He’s in a great mood for rising at oh-dark hundred.

First he came out in his gym uniform, which was fine except for my bright orange ankle socks he was sporting, which are definitely not part of the dress code.  “Uh, what’s up with the orange socks?” “I don’t have any clean socks”, he says. I laughed because he had done his laundry.  He disappeared, came back, and then said, “No one has mentioned anything about them so far today, so I think I’m good.”  Hunh??? “Except me, nut! Go change your socks.”

So he changed to white ankle socks.  I had to ask if they were clean.  He smiled a sly grin and replied that they were.  Normally, one would think I wouldn’t have to ask such a question, but after experiencing sheer mortification a few years ago, when Mini yelled across the gym one night after basketball practice that he’d worn the same socks three days in a row, quite pleased with his declaration, I ask. Often.

We brought leftovers home from dinner yesterday and Mini wanted to take them for lunch, so I told him to pack his lunch in his bag. “Mom, they don’t fit?” “What do you mean, they don’t fit?” I turned around from the dining room table to see my son trying to fit a 6-cup container that was half-full with dark chocolate mousse in the bag, on top of a 4-cup container full of mashed sweet potatoes and was about to put in a side of brisket in to round out the meal if he could have jammed it in there.  That’s my boy. After I stopped laughing, “Uh, son, perhaps you should use smaller containers and not try to take meal for a family of six for lunch. Just a thought. “

After we got that sorted, he was sitting in the living room, waiting for his oatmeal to be ready, whistling, whistling, at 6:15 in the morning, and loudly, never mind the three other people sleeping in the house.  Really????!!! “Dude, how about a little louder, I don’t think our neighbors can hear you.”  He flashes me his pearly whites.

He loves to make me laugh by hugging me and shaking my belly, which I remind him often is the fault of he and his sisters.  He gets me this morning and we both burst out laughing. He gives me big hugs and kisses me. So much for being quiet.

Mini-Me is my first true foray into motherhood. I had cared for my younger sister, and taken care of my step-son, but this was truly my first.  I remember the moment when he and I met for the first time.  I mean really met.  The delivery room was quiet.  Everyone had cleared out; no nurses, no doctor, no family (the crowd that had assembled for his arrival had by then dispersed). It was just him and me, staring at one another. It was like nothing I had ever experienced nor ever would again. He is my first.  We smiled at each other.  In love.

Mini will be twelve in a few months, is 5’2″ and 125 lbs. My own personal sumo wrestler.  His voice is starting to change, he has the beginnings of a mustache, and it seems like every time he wakes up he’s taller and his shoulders are a little broader. He has always been an affectionate child and I relish in those moments because I think someday perhaps he’ll be too cool to show me any love.

I take him to the bus stop.  As the bus pulls in, he opens the door and gathers his things. “Love you mom,” as he closes the door.  I roll down my window, “Have a good day.”  He turns to look at me, runs around the front of the truck, puckering up as he rounds the headlight, gets up on his toes, and kisses me, not caring about the other kids watching. “I love you, infinity to the infinitieth power mom!” He turns to get on the bus. I smile.

Pure Joy…..

And We’re Off….

November 23, 2009

The holiday season has begun. Halloween is one of my favorites as are Thanksgiving and Christmas. It does drive me crazy to see Christmas decorations up before Halloween. Joseph and Mary didn’t do that much pre-planning for the arrival of Baby Jesus. They hadn’t even made reservations at the Inn. It’s offensive, really.

Being the modern American family, we have dinner with my family the Sunday before Thanksgiving and then head to my in-laws in Connecticut for actual T-Day. So we get a double dose of tryptophan and indigestion to start the season off right. Woo Hoo!

Neither my children nor Big Daddy have spent Thanksgiving any place else other than Connecticut for their entire lives. It was in the bargaining agreement when we got married. My peeps get Christmas day.

My children start talking about Thanksgiving right after they finish all of their Halloween candy on November 1st. They talk about their cousins that they are dying to see and hunker down with for some serious video game playing (Connecticut in November, need I say more?!), Shopping with “Ma,” and Thanksgiving dinner.

I picked my youngest son up from the bus stop the other day and all he said when he got in the truck was, “stuffing,” which took me a minute to process. My eldest starts to run down the menu from memory on a daily basis like he’s getting ready for a pop quiz; Turkey, stuffing with chestnuts and sausage, mashed potatoes, candied yams, mac n’ cheese, collard greens, green beans, mashed turnips, homemade cranberry relish, and canned cranberry sauce, because, really what is Thanksgiving without ridges on your cranberry sauce? To top it all off, there is red velvet cake, and a selection of pies and ice cream. This has been the menu since I don’t know when. Any mention of deviation from said menu is met with everything from quizzical looks (Has mommy hit her head or something?) to angry glares (Surely you jest, woman!).

I’m looking forward to the car ride with my family oddly enough. Our truck is basically a moving Best Buy with all of the electronics on board-mp3 players, ipods, DVD players, Gameboys, DSs, and laptops. But we’ll also talk and laugh, retelling family stories that get bigger and funnier every time they’re told. On the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, without fail, one of the girls will ask, “How much longer?” My husband will sing Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits at the top of his lungs, followed by a little Earth, Wind, and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Corrine Bailey Rae, and Laura Izibor. After one pit stop for food, bathroom, and fuel, we trudge our way up the Jersey Turnpike. I’ll take the wheel after the Turnpike, and bring us on into Connecticut.

I love Thanksgiving because it is a time to, get together, eat and just be. We don’t have to worry about whether someone will like their present or if it is the right size or color. It’s time to reflect on the year that has swiftly gone by, to reminisce, to love, be loved, and to laugh.

It is a time to be thankful for the richness of our lives.


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