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Full Attention

Upside-down

Doesn’t anybody ever pay attention to what the other person is saying anymore? I get frustrated and aggravated when I have to tell the same thing over and over and over again to one of my kids. Then the next day, or the next time I talk to him or her, they totally don’t recall the conversation at all. Then I repeat it again, all the while wondering if I’m getting their FULL ATTENTION this time either. What do I have to do? Slap them, stand on my head, and then shout into a megaphone?

I am definitely NOT alone in this either! I was in the Chinese buffet again that I visit almost weekly. I found out that I have many kindred spirits. A dad-and-son duo came in & sat down, approximately same age group as my kids & myself….son gets phone call; tells dad to go ahead & start without him & then heads outside. The dad just sits there, for 13 minutes (I paid attention….ok, ok, so I’m nosy) until son comes back & asks why he’d not yet visited buffet. Dad matter-of-factly replied, as if rehearsed, “Son, you have been taking me out to lunch every week for the past few years since your blessed mother passed. It used to be dinners but now it’s lunches. I appreciate it but every week during our time together, you get up & go outside at once or twice to talk to someone else. If you don’t want to spend this time with me, then take me home now.” Then they went to the buffet. It was time for me to leave when I heard the son’s phone go off again, but I’d already gotten up and was heading out! Phooey, dunno how that story ended!

This isn’t just about me, you know! It’s all these electronics that everybody seem to be plugged into. They seem to be more entrancing than I am. Even if it WAS about only me, I can honestly and sadly say that it isn’t even only about my 3 offspring that are all constantly ‘tuning me out‘. It’s other members of my family too, along with friends, neighbors, co-workers. Nowadays the only way I seem to get anybody’s FULL ATTENTION is through my writings on ‘social media‘….especially if I make somebody angry! HAHA

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Easter Loneliness

Easter Kids

 

I certainly didn’t anticipate having an overwhelming sense of loneliness on this Easter Sunday, but the day unfolded that way anyhow. The kids are all working today; the tourists don’t care if it’s a holiday or not so the theme parks are gonna be ‘business-as-usual’. My two oldest kids and my daughter-in-law work at the so-called ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ so I’m sure that they are making Magical Memories for folks from all over the globe, while my youngest son is in Pennsylvania showing whatever movies are popular on this particular weekend while his fiancee spends the day with her family. Today is the day that my Mama is meeting her very first Great-Grandbaby so I’m pretty sure that she’s having the most fun of all! One of my brothers is spending his evening at Medieval Times in Chicago. Seems an odd choice for Easter but today also happens to be his daughter’s birthday and that was her choice of entertainment this year! My other brother is undoubtedly spending time with his family.

Last night we had an early Easter dinner at our house, just the four of us that live here in central Forida: my daughter, my son and his wife, and myself. It was a pleasant evening. We enjoy ‘potluck dinners’, each of us bringing our usual favorites to share. My son has a birthday in a couple of days so we’ll go out somewhere to eat then. I enjoy both, being surrounded by my little family at the house with our favorite foods, and also getting to have the treat of going out someplace nice and letting somebody else do the cooking and serving and cleaning! I really miss my youngest son especially during these ‘family’ times though. The fun just never seems complete without ALL of them!

The photo that I’ve included is from an Easter Sunday when we were living in Ft. Walton Beach, FL and their dad was stationed at Hurlburt Field. The kiddies were ages 4, 5, and 7 at the time. It was fun getting them dressed up for church but they didn’t stay clean for very long! That’s probably one of the reasons that this is one of my favorite photos….because they’re all smiling at the same time plus they’ve not yet dirtied their clothes. I miss those days, even though I did 3-5 loads of laundry daily!

When I was young, Easter dinner was quite the big event. After church we would have a huge dinner at our house or Gramma’s or my Aunty’s (the three of them took turns each holiday) and would include my brothers and I plus my eight cousins. There’d always be an Easter egg hunt, which was usually won by my cousin Ronnie or my brother Alan. The feast was always delicious and plentiful and marvelous. That’s because my Mama and Gramma and Aunty have always been the World’s Best Cooks! Holidays in my childhood were fantastic and among the best of my memories. I’ve always tried to instill holiday traditions within my own little family but we’ve usually lived far from my kin and cozy hometown where I grew up so I’ve had to make our memories more ‘portable’, as we moved from Texas to Hawaii to Florida to Indiana and back to Florida, then to Georgia and now back to Florida again. My kids have had more than two dozen homes. I’d only had two until I left for college! I really miss having the large family get-togethers but am glad that I get to keep in contact with all of my cousins anyway.

My Easter loneliness is about to come to an end….all of this reminiscing has brought joy to my heart and a smile upon my face. Now it’s nearly time for my darling daughter to arrive home from work. On Sundays she drives the special Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom so I look forward to hearing what cute little ‘critter stories’ she has to share today!

“Boy Hungry”

Jerry-age 3

It’s been nearly 32 years since the 1st time I gave birth. Even tho I didn’t think so at the time….the nurses exclaimed that it was a simple and relatively easy delivery. Of course I thought they were nutso, as I suppose most women that were experiencing labor pains would; but in hindsight I suppose that 2 hours of labor could’ve been much worse. I certainly wanted to kick the butts of those well-meaning nurses that told me that I’d soon forget the pain when my newborn would be laid into my arms. Well, that was certainly NOT TRUE! Not true at all….I’ve never forgotten the pain. Yes, it was worth the pain; but the memory of it does not go away. Nor does the memory of that teeny tiny little fella trying to nurse as I was learning to breast-feed him. For the next several months he was constantly a hungry boy!

My 1st child wasn’t much of a talker. He spoke so few words that we were concerned enough to have Speech testing done at the U.S. Air Force clinic at the base where hubby was stationed. After several visits to the Speech Pathologist, tests including x-rays and ultrasounds and even putting mirrors down his throat, it was determined that there wasn’t any physical reason that he wasn’t talking. The doctors said that he probably just wasn’t ready! This was frustrating because he was now 3 and his year-old sister was already putting together complex sentences. Of course he understood everything; that wasn’t at all the problem. When he did speak, for some reason he referred to himself in the 3rd person….ALWAYS. I haven’t any idea where he got this from or why he did this. It was kind of funny but at the same time NOT something that I wanted to encourage. So instead of using his own name, he called himself ‘Boy’. Several times daily he came to me and said: “Boy hungry” or “Boy thirsty” or “Boy need potty”! At least he WAS talking a bit and his Speech teacher told us to encourage even this small amount.

About a year later his speech SUDDENLY improved as though he just woke up one morning and decided that it was time that he had a lot to say! It’s 3 decades later and he still talks constantly. I’m not kidding; I’m very serious! From the moment he wakes up in the morning until his head hits the pillow at night, my oldest child talks and talks. His wife would surely agree!

Over the years, we’ve often teased him with “Boy hungry” at times. Of course, there have also been occasions when he was trying extra hard to get himself invited over for a meal (he lives 5 miles away) if his wife was working the evening shift at her resort or some other reason….so he’d use the old “Boy hungry” excuse on me too because he knows that it always puts a smile on my face!

As an example, tonight when he called….he wanted to know what sort of plans were being made for his upcoming birthday next week. Obviously he wants to go out to eat! Not surprisingly, this ‘hungry boy’ works in the Food Service Industry, as a trainer at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and has luckily managed to remain at a healthy weight. During his two days off, he’s usually baking ‘goodies’, constantly trying to invent new recipes….all of which I get to ‘sample’! Anyway, his wife is off of work the day of his birthday and they have out-of-town plans for that day. But the following day is his other day off and he is really really REALLY hinting at wanting his Mama to take him out to eat too. Even tho he’s gonna be 32, and nobody knows him like his Mama, I am wondering if this boy HONESTLY thinks that his hints are subtle?!?! Finally, I stop his prattle and say, “Awwww, what’s the matter? Is Boy hungry?” We laugh. I love these memories and I love this Boy, my first-born!