Posts Tagged ‘love’

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.

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Ornaments…

December 15, 2009

I wrote this a few years back.  It’s one of my favorites…..

Ornaments

As I lay on my sofa the other night, looking at our beautiful Christmas
tree, I was really moved by the ornaments. 

There are ornaments on there from when my Uncle Roger was in the Army.
 He was one of the lucky ones that made it home safely from the Pacific
Rim, delivering a box of Chinese lantern ornaments to my mother.  We’ve
have had those on our trees since I can remember.  My Uncle Roger, Aunt
Maggie and cousins are on our tree…

There are ornaments on our tree that my grandmother made and some she
taught my siblings and I to make, which are also hanging there.  We
learned our sewing stitches making them.  I called her the other day
and she had just spent the day making her “to die for” homemade fudge
and baking banana bread. She will be 91 in January, is nearly blind and
is my only surviving grandparent.  My children are lucky enough to have
four grand parents and three great-grand parents.  “Grandma Iowa” as my
children affectionately call her is on our tree….

There are ornaments on our tree from various journeys that have been
made by us, my mother, and my mother-in-law. We get them on business
and family trips.  There is the bear from the Navajo Nation, the
steamboat from Seattle, the glitter fish with glasses from North
Carolina, and the phone booth from London. There is the gold ball from
my best friend’s wedding. The world is on our tree….

There are ornaments that are made by my children.  There’s one with my
daughter Nina’s foot prints on it from her first Christmas.  There is
the Nutcracker made from the toilet paper roll, the Wreath with my son
JP’s picture in the center, the Joy one made with dried beans and my
son Grant’s picture in the “O.”  There’s a snowman with Theo’s name and
“2003” marking her first Christmas and reindeer ears made from brown
construction paper.  Our future is on our tree…..

I look around at the other ornaments, through the golf cart, Cherokee
angels, retro glass ones and Santa Claus (that I have had since I was a
kid), and I see one kind of tucked back in the tree.  It is the bell
with the date, July 6, 1996 on the back.  It is the favor from our
wedding.  The love of my life is on our tree….

I think of how rich our lives are and have been….to have traveled the
world, to have our health and to have family and friends that have
filled our home and our lives with the warmth of their light, love,
laughter and joy and I know that we are truly blessed……..

Merry Christmas

 

 

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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