I have enough of this early morning artwork to cover my nightstand three inches deep, so I don't have to dust. I just recycle. Dust is recyclable, too, right? How else do they make those cute little dust bunnies that people like me keep around the house?
My kids are the best at giving homemade gifts. Eve gave me a half-eaten carrot and a pine cone wrapped up in a paper towel that she stabbed with a marker. Natalie gave me a piece of paper that she had scribbled all over, in a way that maybe only Jackson Pollock could understand, before cutting it into four-hundred pieces, putting it into a make-shift envelope that consisted of so much tape that I had to channel my inner-Hulk and rip it open and then watch the confetti rain down all over my bed. It was the most difficult puzzle I've ever had to clean up. Daniel is always making me knives out of popsicle sticks, probably because I'm always losing knives. When they say it's the thought that counts, that's a hell of a Rorschach test.
Those were just some of the gifts I received today. I cherish them wholeheartedly before I throw them away because I know when they get older, they won't want to make their Mommy her own popsicle knife to throw away anymore. They'll just ignore me, except when they ask why they are the only kids who don't have an iPad yet, and I'll remind them that not long ago, nothing made them happier than the day I brought out the thirteen toilet paper tubes I had been saving up in my bathroom with permission to make as many binoculars as they could, enjoying the looks on their faces when they finally understand what an odd number means. Yes, sure, the number 3 is weird looking, I guess. Why do you keep asking me that?
In fact, when we visited Matt's mom on her birthday last month, Daniel decided he was going to make Mimaw a present. Before we left, he came downstairs with his gift and not to be outdone, the girls followed suit. I know Mimaw was impressed with Dan's offering, which was a box with no lid that contained about nine sheets of white paper, one crayon, and two sticks of gum. It was loosely wrapped in construction paper, but was apparently too loose because the crayon and gum had gone missing on the ride there. (They would later be recovered melted and chewed, respectively, both on the floor of the van.) Mimaw was so very excited and said, "How did you know I wanted white paper?" Daniel's response: What for?
Natalie wanted to give Mimaw three boxes of crayons she had found in her room, but I convinced her that Mimaw was only one person who probably only needed one of each color because the last time I checked, she was not ambidextrous nor had a third arm. In order to one-up Daniel, she put the box of used crayons into a slightly larger lid-less box and removed two sticks of gum from the wrapper before tearing them in half so there would be FOUR pieces of gum. And then she loosely wrapped the masterpiece in construction paper. Mimaw, bless her soul, put one of these pieces in her mouth.
Eve couldn't find a lid-less box anywhere, so she filled up a paper lunch bag with various things she knew Mimaw would love. Like, used Chapstick- the kind with teeth marks and balm stuck in the lid; the hair bow she was wearing on the way to Mimaw's house; a ribbon that came off of a Christmas present; beads from a broken necklace she found on the way to Mimaw's house; sticks of torn-up, wrapper-less chewing gum. Mimaw also put one of these pieces of gum in her mouth because she either likes the combination of wintergreen and bubblegum, or because she is a gracious recipient. Or maybe wintergreen and bubblegum is really the best unexpected idea ever, like peanut butter and bacon hamburgers.
But seriously, my grandkids of the future, you can never go wrong with a Taco Bell giftcard in case you're wondering. I have enough gum and paper around here already.
Natalie is a pretty good gift giver in other ways around the house. She has been using her new mop almost daily in the kitchen while saying things like, Dreams are not something to wait for, they are something to work for. Like I'm going to work to be a good mopper!
(Don't ever say I got in the way of my kids' dreams.)
Mom, I don't want to be a lawyer anymore. I want to be a vet. Or a waiter. Well, Nat, whenever I finally fall down the staircase (after tripping over the piles of crap that I've left on stairs 4-8 for the past three weeks, hoping that someone, anyone, in our family would take the time to notice and gather their belongings from said piles of crap and put them where they belong) and I am laid up with a concussion and a broken leg, then you can try out the waiting profession on yours truly while I continue to perfect the art of run-on sentences.
And if I were in a position where I couldn't move, I'm convinced that Natalie would pull up the Monopoly board to the couch and stay there all day and night to keep me company until she brutally bankrupted me. I don't know if I should leave those piles of crap on the stairs anymore. I'm not sure I could take being incapacitated and subjected to any more Monopoly. I finally went bankrupt this evening in the game that we started with her a week and a half ago, and by that point, I was just hoping I'd land on the hotel at Marvin Gardens with $14 to my name and only a handful of properties that weren't already mortgaged. I take back everything bad I ever said about Candy Land; I'll take Gramma Nutt any day to Rich Uncle Pennybags.
My dreams are far removed from those of the aspiring veterinarian or waitstaff, although I think I kind of qualify as both. I just want a refrigerator door full of homemade condiments in Mason jars and a garden full of vegetables. Aside from none of my loved ones having cancer or Taco Bell bringing back green onions, I don't know what else could make me happier. I'm pretty much there on the condiments (because nothing is more miraculous and satisfying in the kitchen as watching egg yolks and oil turn the beautiful white emulsification known as mayonnaise) , but only just beginning with the produce. In the past, I've only grown what can be grown hanging out of a Topsy Turvy planter (tomatoes! And I'm the only one who likes tomatoes! Which has always been fine for me because that means I get more tomatoes!), and some herbs on my deck. But I want to be one of those people who plant too much zucchini and then come summer bitch about how they have too much zucchini.
We have some really good friends who came in and put these bad boys together so I can get my bitch on this summer. If you look closely, you can see some broccoli and cabbage plants in the bed on the right, which makes me both happy and gassy just thinking about harvesting them.
My thumbs have traditionally been more like Judith Light in some bad made-for-tv movie about wives that poison their husbands (I've killed MINT before!) but I'm hoping that they'll turn green with a quickness. Because I want to be that neighbor who is forcing zucchini upon you.
I don't really want to be the crazy neighbor who walks to the bus stop in her pajamas, but some things it's too late for. Maybe it's because I had officially crossed that line this morning when I put on a shirt, a sweater, a coat, my shoes and stepped out into the absolute balm of the twenty-five degree morning before getting halfway to the bus stop and realizing that I still had my pajama pants on. And they weren't actually the kind of pants that could possibly go with any outfit, except the ones that you are clearly sleepwalking to the bus stop in. Red, plaid flannel, high-water pants do not go with latte sweaters and forest green coats. They go with hair rollers and robes and slippers, and I'm only about two steps away from showing up to the bus stop in the full outfit if I get woken up too early tomorrow. Which I most certainly will.
Stand back, paparazzi.