Emilyism Number One


The population of our little farm town is about 1,600 people.  I know my address, but I couldn’t tell you anyone else’s.  People are directed to locations around town by landmarks or by where someone else live.   Turn right at the water tower.  Or just past the Methodist Church.  Or next to where the Dahl’s used to live.  In fact, I live in Mrs. Slater’s old house.  If anyone were to ask, that’s what I would say, “Mrs. Slater’s House.”  Mrs. Slater taught second grade for probably close to 50 years.

Today, our little town was hopping.  It was community garage sale day.  People from all over the area come to our town for this.  There are hundreds of garage sales and the Booster Club sells pork chops sandwiches and brats in the park.  Yep, probably close to 500 extra people are milling around our town for the day.

T, Lola, and I went to the city to buy our week’s worth of groceries.  $256.00 today!  It costs a lot to maintain this family.  I tried to turn on the radio for our drive, but the local Cumulus stations were not broadcasting.  There had been a storm last night, and I imagine a tower was  struck by lightning.

This afternoon, Emily mentioned the non-working radio stations to me.  She had an interesting theory.  Oh, and I hesitate to even write this.  Please keep in mind that she is 17, and such a sweet girl.  She is innocent and certainly gullible!!  BUT…she is so smart, too.  She just got her ACT scores back, and they were fantastic!  Anyway, here goes.  Emily said that she thinks the reason we didn’t have radio signal today was because there were SO MANY people in town today.  She theorized that so many people driving around had interfered with the radio frequency.  I simply stared at her dumbfounded. I went on to ask how she thought cities like Chicago were able to get radio transmission with such a large population?  She said, with a straight face, that they “use different frequencies. ”  Wow….did I ever laugh!

Oh, boy, is she ever like her mother.  You’ve heard the Dumb Blonde Jokes, right?  Well, we fit the bill!  In fact, I have a friend who winks every time he is telling a joke, being sarcastic, or teasing.  He winks to cue me in.  I believe every damn thing anyone tells me.  Example:  Last week the kids convinced me to eat smoked turkey on an oatmeal cookie.  It was terrible, but they told me that they had tried it and found it to be a really delicious, unique taste combination.  Man….  If anyone ever offers you turkey on oatmeal, don’t try it.  It was horrible!

Yes, my Emily is sweet and precious, but her gullibility and innocence scare the hell out of me!


Shhhhhh….. Don’t Tell Anyone.



My family is a bit different.  Ahem…  Maybe we are a little crazy.  Yeah…I don’t think there is any room for doubt on this one.

Sometimes we have tried to be normal.  It just never really works for us.  There were a few years there in the middle of all this that I was super-duper normal.  Hey, I was the president of PTA for a few years.  I drove the right car.  I wore the right clothes, and so did my kids.  Ugh….trying to force myself to be a soccer mom for the sake of my kids really sucked.  Things are a lot better now.  My kids know that I’m nuts, and they’re good with it.  In fact, we all thrive now on being ourselves instead of  cookie cutter versions of…..  What???  What is it I thought we were supposed to be?  A modern-day version of the Cleaver Family?  Maybe that’s it.  For a while, it was important to me that “others” perceived our family as GOOD.  Now, it’s important to me that MY FAMILY perceives our family as GOOD.  I like that a lot better.

I wonder why I used to care so much about what others thought of my life or my family?  We’re nice.  We don’t break the law.  We keep our home and lawn are well maintained.  Why did I care that others saw us “Perfect?”  First of all, why would anyone take time to contemplate me or my family?  And….if they did, then they really should be worrying more about their own lives!

I suppose it started out with the Mommy Thing.  I wanted to be/seem like a good Mommy.  I worried about looking presentable when I dropped my kids off at their morning preschool.  I made sure to “get to know” the other mothers.  I wanted to fit in so that my kids would be well liked and accepted.  I wanted my kids to fit in.  I remember when Andrew (now 22) began to have play dates with kids from preschool.  One mother confided in me how horrified her dear little son had been when he had been visiting another child’s home, opened the refrigerator, and saw……BEER.  Oh….My….God!  I practically scoured the house for incriminating evidence before that little boy came to play with Andrew.  I was scared to death that he would go home and confess some kind of outrageous behavior to his mother.  I will say this, though, by the time Lola entered preschool, my attitude had definitely changed.  I would have laughed at any little, prissy mommy who was afraid of the fact that her dear, protected child had been exposed to the mere sight of beer.  I probably would have asked if they had offered her kid a beer.  Is that what got little Johnny so upset?

It feels so much better this way.  It is so freeing not to constantly worry about what others are thinking.  Of course, I want to be a good person.  I want my kids to be good people, too.  That does not mean that I want them to live their lives looking over their shoulders to gauge everyone else’s opinion of them.  I am a good citizen, and I want my kids to be as well.  Having said that, I can honestly admit that I would NOT want to be our neighbor.  There are too many of us.  We own six cars.  There is always music playing, either on the stereo or someone playing an instrument.  Someone is always coming and going….up and down our driveway.  Our family is always busy.  Our house is like a zoo.  Although six people live in our house, most often there are many more than six just hanging around.  When I retire, I want a quiet place without all of this commotion!

This morning didn’t start out much differently than so many other Saturdays lately.  T, Andrew, and I all woke up fully dressed in the living room.  We had a slumber party, but didn’t even know it!  We had all fallen asleep in various places while watching a documentary on Hiroshima.  It was 6:00 a.m. when we woke up.  One by one, we wandered out to the kitchen.  T started a pot of coffee.  Andrew made eggs.  The noise woke up the other kids who thought nothing of coming downstairs to see us all dressed in rumbled clothes from the day before.  This  is a typical Saturday morning in our family.  On Friday nights, we often just drop to sleep wherever we happen to land.  T and I are worn out from the work week.  The older kids are out later on Fridays, and we attempt to wait up for them.  Most times they come home to find us crashed.  When I woke up on the couch this morning, the first thing I did was a mental count of my children.  Had I talked to each of them as they came home for the night.  Yes.  I remembered.  They were all safe.  All was well.  As strange as it is to wake up dressed and on the couch, I love these early morning moments.  There is no rush to get ready for work.  Who cares if I didn’t take a bath before bed?  I can take a Saturday morning bath and relax.

I love the freedom of a crazy family and a Saturday morning.  Everyone has scattered from the kitchen now.  They’re all doing their own things.  T is playing slots on Facebook.  Now that I have harvested my Facebook crops, I can write.  Andrew is loudly playing his guitar.  He and Lola just returned from their trek around town exploring the variety of garage sales on this Community Garage Sale Day.  Emily is out at garage sales, too, with a group of friends, and Luke is already working on a side job he picked up to earn some extra college spending money.  I need to let these moments of peace and “all’s right with the world” wrap themselves around me.  All is good…..good enough.   So I will relax and be happy.   I will take a deep breath and be thankful for these wonderful people in my life.