Logical Conversations


When I was in about 4th grade at a small town public school a girl showed up and she was very ‘cool’.  She had cool clothes.  She was mouthy & disrespectful.  And, when I hung out with her on the playground she told me that she was allowed to cuss and swear at home.  Being raised in a Christian home the idea was shocking.  All of my friends had Christian parents.  But, it was also tantalizing.  She was from a different world.  I had to learn more. So, I hung out with her for about a week.  She shared her favorite curse words.  I said “Yes, I use those too.”  She said “I cussed my sister out.”  I said “Oh, I do that.”  She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said “Really?  Tell me what you said.” I thought quickly.  There were only a few cuss words I even knew existed.  Finally, I settled on just repeating the few I knew.  I finished my made up tirade and looked at her.  She was smirking. She was not convinced and I was embarrassed.  I did not hang out with her again.  The whole experience was short lived, but I still remember it to this day.  As the years went by I realized the importance of friend choices.  I’ve always had amazing friends. *blessed*

Probably in the 5th grade the word ‘weird’ caught on.  Everyone was saying it.  I decided I’d say it too.  A girl has to constantly work on keeping her coolness up.  I started using it at home the first day I decided to introduce it into my vocabulary.  My father said, ‘What does weird mean? What is the definition?’  My sisters and I looked at each other.  Um.  “It means strange”.  My dad said ‘Go get the dictionary and look it up.  You shouldn’t say words you don’t know the definition of.’.  I still remember looking it up and reading the short definition. ‘Weird – magical or unearthly.’ I have even told my kids that definition without looking it up.  Funny how that stuff just sticks with me even years later.

Not long after that, maybe a year or so, I decided that ‘sucks’ was a word I should include in my vocabulary.  Other kids at school were saying it.  And, I heard it often enough that I could make it sound normal in conversation.  I started small.  I used it in group settings of friends.  No one batted an eye.  Excellent. I’d pulled it off!  My ascension to coolness was on its way!  I continued to use it out of my parents earshot.  It became engrained in my speech.  One day my sister and my friends were at my house.  I was probably in 6th grade by then.  My sister said something and I replied loudly “That sucks!”.  My dad looked at me.  I instantly got red.  I was in for it.  I knew it.  My dad sat down and said “Do you know what sucks means?”  We said “yes, it means like awful, or stupid or something.”  He said, “no.  It comes from a sexual reference” and he went on to explain.  My sister, my friends, and I just stared at him. What was he even talking about?  It may have that meaning to some people, but it certainly didn’t to us.  In fact, why was he trying to be so logical about the whole thing?  We were simply being cool and using the common lingo.  I remember staring at him and thinking ‘this conversation is really bizarre.  I am never going to remember this and it’s not a big deal if my friends & I are saying cool things. I can’t wait to be a parent so I can just let my kids do whatever and never correct them about stupid stuff.’

Now, I’m a mother.  I have three amazing children.  And, every once in awhile they say something or do something that brings out the logical conversation moment.  Just the other day they all three downloaded a fun new app all their friends are playing.  It’s called “Make it rain”.  They asked me.  I looked at it.  It seemed harmless enough.  It’s actually pretty lame.  They constantly have to ‘fling’ money on their screen.  Each of them was trying to outdo the others and their friends. Whatever. No biggie.  It’s not like they are sending inappropriate photos or anything.  My husband was in the kitchen while they were talking about it and he said ‘wait, it’s called what?’  My oldest said (slowly for his poor OLD dad to hear and understand) ‘Make it rain’.  My husband said ‘Do you know the what the phrase make it rain means?’ and he began to explain that gang bangers use that term in how they spread money to strippers.

And, immediately I left the room to go in my own room and have a chuckle at this full circle my life has had.  From the pre-teen to teen who was positive logical conversations would have no bearing on my life (and yet I remember them decades later) to the parent who explains things logically in hopes that it will make a difference somewhere in the kids’ brains.  Sometimes yelling is the go-to, but sometimes I try to sit down and be calm and logical so the kids might listen.  We will see.  They just might…

Gardening


My mother always had the most amazing yard.  It didn’t matter what the ground was like or what she picked to grow – she had the ability to make anything come up beautiful.  I do not have that gift.  In fact, my husband calls me “The Plant Reaper”.

But, we’ve moved into a house that hasn’t had anyone taking care of the front yard for a bit. Basically, there were multiple dirt patches that obviously were gardens and we decided we should fill them.  The conversation between my husband and myself went something like this:

H: We should plant something out front so it doesn’t look so barren.

Me: I agree.

H: What do you want to plant?

Me: *blank stare*

H:  What kind of flowers and stuff?

Me: Bright and cheerful ones that will still grow when I don’t remember to water them…?

H: I’m not sure that’s a thing.  Let’s go to the garden center and see what we can find.

So, I followed him to the gardening center.  We looked at tons of plants. He hemmed and hawed about the cost of mulch, planting soil, and rock.  Then, we went to look at plants.  He pointed out cactus (ew!) that would grow nicely in the environment I described.  He also pointed out some bush type plants that I didn’t love either.  He kept asking “do you like this?”  And, I kept looking around feeling lost and wishing I could call my mom.  She was aware of my gardening lameness and would have told me exactly what to plant – or even better she would have had me plant something great and then come over to be sure it survived.  Finally, I picked out a few things and we made our way to the register.  The first line was really full, but there was a little grandmother like woman standing at the other register.  We made eye contact and she waved us over.  We stood in line and she looked at me and said “Do you want to know a secret? Want to know what plant is really cheerful and bright and its nearly impossible to kill?”  I’m sure my expression was total amazement as I nodded yes.  She left her register (there was still no one else in line) and took us out to the garden.  She helped us pick lots of seriously beautiful flowers.  She patted me on the back and said “these are not any work at all.  Just put them in the ground and you can simply water them when you think of it and they come back every year!”  Daisies.  I love daisies.  Who knew they were low maintenance?  We also got some snap dragons.  By the time we finished I had tears streaming down my face and she just smiled and patted me and rang us up.  My poor husband didn’t know what to make of the tears so he just got the car.  When I got in he said “Don’t worry about it – this store makes me want to cry too”. HA!

We spent most of Mother’s day weekend planting my cheerful flowers.  The front of the house looks like someone lives there now!  And, what a fun splash of color.

flowers

 

There’s still so much to do, but I feel like we’ve made serious progress.  And, I feel like I may need to go visit the garden center every once in awhile now too.

 

Selling Memories


This weekend we had an estate sale to clear out a lot of my mother’s things for my dad because he’s moving to a smaller house.

The amount of stuff my mother had was unbelievable.  We all knew she had a lot.  We’d even seen all the stuff at various points of our lives.  But, when we pulled it all out and compiled it – the sight was amazing.  In fact, the task seemed overwhelming.

estate1

We decided to have a two day sale.  (In retrospect we should have had a three day sale, but hindsight is 20/20 so whatever).  We had flowers from four weddings, huge amounts of Christmas decorations, more wicker basket options than you’d find at any home store, an entire library worth of books, and the most insane amount of fabric you could imagine. Those were the main items, and then we still had toys, games, clothes, furniture, and household items.  My sisters and I added a few of our own things to sell and we all plunged in head first.

flowers

A small amount of the flowers we had.fabric

 

A corner of the fabric section

What I found the most amazing (aside from the billions of items we actually had for sale) was the different emotional response we all had to selling off items our mom picked out for us and for herself.  There were very specific varying degrees of attachment and response.

1. Detached except for a very few select items.

This was me.  I have very little attachment to things.  I love photos and memories.  I don’t need the physical item to remember and I don’t feel any closer just by having those items around.  After I made the first sale I teared up.  I didn’t want the stuff, but it was hard to see people walking off with my mom’s things. And, I caught my breath when my old cabbage patch kids were pulled out of the bin. I distinctly remembered working hard to earn the money to buy them and the site of them brought immediate memories.  But, it wasn’t difficult for me to set aside the nostalgia when it came time to do what we needed to do.

2. A blend of attached and detached, but reasonable.

My little sister was all about letting go of things and cleaning out for my dad.  But, she was also honest about grabbing things and saying “I know it’s completely unreasonable, but I want this and am not letting it go.” She only did it a few times, and a few times she would say something like “I really want to keep that, but I can’t use it and don’t need it.

3.Attached to every.single.item.

Our oldest sister struggled each time someone bought something.  She’d go take things out of people’s hands and say “sorry, that’s not for sale.”  She would recount stories of items and half the time I’d forgotten the story until she shared it again.

It was amazing that we were all raised in the same house and had such varied responses.  We all saw different value in all the items.  It wasn’t a matter of who was right and who was wrong.  It was just an excellent study of the differences of humans in the same situation.

The one thing for sure – we were all emotionally drained by the end of the weekend.  We knew we had a big job and we did it.  I’m so thankful it’s over.

girls