Happy As a Seagull with a Cheeto

PC: Instagram @mvm_frankfurt

Spring Break when you live on the beach means you get to entertain a good bit of company. In my case, it was teenagers who live forty-five minutes and a quarter of a tank of gas away. I’ve had a lot of visitors this week…mostly sandy-footed shower-takers and sun-kissed beach-worshippers who need power naps, and yes I loved every minute of it. Read more

Last Christmas

I have three Best Christmas Ever memories.

Christmas 1972, 1975, 1972

Going to my Grandma and Papa’s house for Christmas every single year. (I don’t remember a single childhood Christmas in my own house) All the cousins came too, so when you walked into the living room on Christmas morning, the presents Santa left for everyone literally covered the entire floor. At least… that’s how I remember it. Read more

Haberdashing

PC: Instagram @kositcheks

I was married to two very handsome men in my life and neither one of them ever owned a suit. I come from a small town, so did my two husbands, so I’d have to say that was probably our main problem. Tailored suits weren’t part of anyone’s fashion repertoire in those Tastee Freeze communities we grew up in, unlike, say, the Levis jeans and Guy Harvey t-shirts we most often see Florida panhandle boys wearing. For the boys I loved, dressing up meant wearing a Columbia shirt and Dockers, for goodness sake. Read more

Late

Homecoming Court 2017, with @molly_goodson, who made the night delightful!

All over the world at any given moment there are billions of people missing someone they’ve lost. Tonight, that was us.

Float-building with dad. Parade driving with dad. Tie-straightening with dad. That was our week, only the dad wasn’t with us. It’s hard, if you don’t know. Most don’t.

His Bio for the Homecoming Court read that he liked surfing, snowboarding, and being Captain of the Swim Team. It also read – in its original form – that he was the son of two people instead of just one, but that part was edited out. Maybe it was too much to ask to include it. Maybe it didn’t seem as important to someone else. Maybe it made those folks uncomfortable. Read more

The One Hundred Dollar Migraine

PC: Instagram @iammariovee

The bill for us to dine tonight in one of the best restaurants in town was well over $100. It was an evening supposed to be spent in a quaint corner booth in the darker back rooms of a steakhouse, one of those places that always has an hour or more wait to get in. We had important adult things to discuss, some exciting news to share, and a few of us hadn’t seen each other in awhile. You can imagine my frustration when the baby at the table next to us fought his mother like an angry little tasmanian devil and screamed his bloody head off as he tried to claw his way out of his baby carrier. Read more

Oyster Culture

Website: www.frankabbott.com Instagram: @frankabbottphotography

PC: Frank Abbott Photography

I have two vivid memories of my dad saying to me, “You’re gonna have to learn to do this by yourself.”

The first was riding a bike and his exasperation came from having to give me a hundred pushes but then also having to catch up and run behind me as I peddled. He held onto the back of my bicycle seat with one hand, trying to keep up, exhausted after just a few hundred feet of that nonsense. (And once we’ve all attempted that awkward move ourselves as parents, we realize that crap’s for the birds.) Well, my dad figured out that pushing off of the curb with one foot provided the launch I needed and when coupled with a bike that was just a tad too small for me, I had the foot reach I needed to keep myself from falling over. Necessity breeds invention, so they say, and he stopped having to wear himself out while I, like every other child in the world, learned to ride a bike.

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Mommie Dearest

Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, 1981, Paramount Pictures

A lonely, steaming plate of fresh waffles topped with warmed maple syrup, a dollop of melted butter and three delicately sliced fresh strawberries sat on a bar all alone this morning near it’s companion, an ice cold glass of milk. I waited. I paced slowly, sipping my coffee and trying not to lose my temper on an otherwise beautiful Sunday morning. Then I lovingly beckoned, “Breakfast is ready my darling boy!” Still, the waffle sogged and the butter congealed as one minute and then ten passed. Quickly cooling under the ceiling fan, the spritz of whip cream also dissolved.

I made my way into the dark room where I knew he was awake. I mean, it was at his request that I made the damn waffles in the first place. He was texting, covered up under a mountain of blankets, snuggled in for the long haul…which reaffirmed to me that he was at least three steps (pee, put on pants, make a cup of coffee) behind the stage in his morning where he would actually sit down and eat. I decided instantly that I would never cook for him again!

He saw me sending him the laser eyes and exclaimed, “What? It’s been like two seconds!” I turned and left, saying nothing, but speaking volumes. Several minutes later, I heard him call from the other room, “Thank you for breakfast, Mom. It was good.” Only I know that it wasn’t.

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My Mama’s Pajamas

Me and Mom, August 13, 1971. PC: Greg Moore

There I was again this past week, a few days before another Mother’s Day with zero inspiring ideas for how to show my precious mother how much I love her. Friends, she is damn hard to buy for. Trying to come up with some bright, creative idea to buy? or do? or a place to go see? The same burning question posed itself when we talked on the phone the other night: “Mom, please tell me what I can get you for Mother’s Day.” The best she could come up with was, “I need some pajamas, I guess.

Ask anyone who has lost their mom…What would you give for another chance to do something for, to say to, or to show to your mom what she means to you?  I think about those people and that loss all the time and it makes me ponder the opportunities I am still lucky enough to have. I want to make it all count. I don’t ever want to reflect in wonder, asking myself, did my mom know what she meant to me? I don’t ever want my mother (or anyone I love) to feel like I don’t get it. I do. I recognize that my life is full of people who do so much for me and at a minimum I need to be that kind of person for others as well. Thank you and I love you, or some sappy Facebook post (we all do it!) with a nostalgic picture go a long way but if we can do better, I think we should. Read more

Rumspringa: A Study of Wants and Needs

PC: Instagram @munsookwan

Don’t let the drab black bibs and the bonnets fool you, the Amish have good taste. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. What they lack in fashion choices and modern conveniences they more than make up for in their flair for custom homes with trendy designs. I visited Lancaster County recently and yes, I was one of those people, the touristy outsider rubbernecking from a charter bus as these quiet, private families made their way home (via horse and buggy) from church. They fascinated me. Their pallid homeliness baffled me. Their penchant for volleyball made me laugh. And their gorgeous homes with the wrap-around porches and the detached 3-buggy garages left me a little envious, to be honest. One thought came to mind, “Ya know, at the end of the day, we all kind of want and need the same things.Read more

The Trenches

Because he couldn’t open ALL the bags of popcorn in the store. PC: Instagram @kirstmccall

There was this one time many years ago, I was unloading groceries from the car, plastic bags dangling from both arms as I tried to backwards-kick the passenger side door shut. My toddler sprawled out in front of me right there in the grass, draped across my feet, and began to wail because he couldn’t have a popsicle out of the grocery bag at that precise moment. I took my dominant leg and scooped him up with it like an excavator at a demolition site, moved him expertly to the side and dumped him right back in the grass where he kept on wailing. I glided past him and into the house, catching the eye of my judgmental neighborlady in the process, who I’m sure thought she was sure she just saw me kick my kid. Read more