Mom Gave Me Cardboard, Again

toys r us blog pic

First time parents are nervous. Typically, the fears are: ‘make sure you’re supporting the baby’s head, don’t’ drop the baby, and my favorite, I don’t know what the baby wants we’ve tried everything.’ Time goes by…days turn into weeks, weeks into months but slowly the parents begin to understand the needs of their infant.

Somewhere between a couple of weeks and months down the road the house is suddenly filled with every kind of toy, almost ever made. From a red rubber hammer to a soft floppy doll or those colorful rings that every child must learn to stack before crawling.  Look back, this little tiny person is management material.

Your once uncluttered home is now a toy factory. But, the children are entertaining themselves with pots, pans, the plastic bubble wrap the toy came in or the ready-made fort built from the washing machine and dryer boxes.  As a consumer, it seems to me that I’m really buying bubble wrap and cardboard. Maybe this should be the gift? What did the retailers sell me?  Consumerism and consumptionism…they got us through the kids. Who’s in charge here? This is what got me thinking.

We sorta had a stock pile…and were well on our way to filling a small warehouse. You see, we were on the second kid and this one was a boy. So on top of the stuffed animal collection, pretend kitchen stuff that she will eventually want a dishwasher or cleaning lady for, and the dolls that had all those clothes and shoes, yet ,they were never going anywhere…the house was overrun. Expensive colored plastic that played annoying music or grinded you’re gears with the pulsing sounds of sirens from a truck of some kind. So I asked myself why are we doing this. Looking back…I think my concern was becoming a toy hoarder. Is this possible? Hmm, this phobia should hit the medication market soon.

I decided the second kid would never learn where or what the Toys R’ Us store was. Oh yeah, you read it right. We let the “The Boy” think the stores were only in the United States. As a family tradition, we  always toy shopped when we visited the States but as for home, “So sorry honey, Canada just doesn’t have one.” His sister, well she was old enough. She kept her mouth shut…cause we bribed her. “The Boy” was clueless for years and the store was far from the house. We saved a lot of money avoided the endless sounds of whinnying and never missed the pleading, “I want that! Can I have that please, oh please?” That bit of drama passed right on by our house.

So when the “The Boy” was about five we took him to the newly built “Toys R’ Us.” He was so excited a store finally arrived in Canada.  Ah, the simple pleasures of life.

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A time for everything…

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I started the blog “Life Changes” because I learned to adapt, accept and be thankful for life’s sudden changes. The thing with change is that you never get what you expected. Time has taught me to receive change and discover the treasure that God has buried inside the pain of the new thing.

The pain, two powerful words that require endurance, encouragement and finally acceptance. And, within that rests the new thing…a new perspective on life that springs from the waters of your tears. I spoke with “Mommy” on the phone that Saturday night, not so long ago, and she delivered sharper lines and her sense of humor should have been playing at a theater near you, but it would have to be rated R…for keeping it “Real.” I hung-up the phone never thinking that would be the last call where things were the same.

The next day, Sunday morning…no answer…called and called again – nothing. By mid-Sunday afternoon…the ambulance arrived. Diagnosis, “Mommy” had a stroke and she will never be the same. Tears, shock, disbelief, one more adjustment in life to make, dazed,  confused, angry and so wounded. How will “Mommy” come out of this? To describe the initial prognosis as challenging would require one to also believe that Niagara Falls is a great spot for surfing.

But, “Mommy” struggled, rested and never regressed. Her strength came like soft silent mist above the midnight waters slow and seemingly unsteady. Suddenly, “Mommy” stood on her own, walked without assistance, repeated what she heard us whispering downstairs in the kitchen, and reminded me a couple of times about something that I forgot to do. Slowly, she was coming back. I embraced the “New Mommy.” Sometimes she is sad, angry, frustrated but still very funny and  sharing a catalog of new stories. When “Mommy” was young she only wore red nail polish and there was some guy named “Allan G” that she loved before my father, wonder if Dad knew about him…hmm what’s the back story there?

The page turner, my parents had their own “Fast & Furious” moments shall we say. “Mommy” was Daddy’s “Ride or Die Chick.” Red nails clenched and arms  wrapped around his waist, hanging on the back of his red motorcycle cruising the streets. Now, this explains a lot! “Ride or Die Chicks” have stamina, endurance and tenacity. Once, I accepted the pain of change and uncertainty, I received my gift from God…the “New Mommy.” This much I can tell you not everything can go in print.

Life Changes…into memories

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It started as a random memory. Just a simple thought that went through my head. Really, I don’t think it took more than five seconds. For the sake of continuity, I will call it a “Tid-Bit Memory.”  I know you have had them. A moment from your past creeps up and makes you smile, laugh or take a small breathe and shed a tear. My “Tid-Bit Memory” shocked me and I haven’t been able to stop laughing.

Many, many, years ago, I was about 10 when my mother took me out for dinner and then to enjoy one of her all-time favorite TV shows/event. A live, two-hour all smash-down WWF event at The Gardens Arena. Now, you have to understand something I had absolutely no idea how this was gonna go down. You see the one thing I feared, my mother would get all caught up in the wrestling drama forget where she was and bust-out her Incredible Hulk imitation, for real!

The arena was reasonably full but there was definitely more men than women. We got our share of attention and stares. I remember the gentleman sitting a couple of seats down from us. He was captivated and in total disbelief watching my mother’s imagination come alive as she too punched, kicked and screamed at the air, thinking, believing and hoping she was the one in the ring. Oh, yeah wheeling the opponent around by the hair, dropping him on the canvas and the grand finale…jumping in his chest to stop him from breathing. Yes, this has been Mom’s fantasy for years. I know my mother enough, that she would want  some sort of spandex outfit, definitely in red and a number one on her back, why not…got to have an ego if you want to go a couple of rounds in the ring!

I have to admit when we first arrived it was embarrassing. Mother and daughter chill’in at the WWF on a Friday night seems odd. But watching mom enjoy herself, not a care that the entire arena was either ogling or rubbernecking at her wild antics, while I learned that men appreciate cool women.  Mommy has a bit more grey now, adorable wrinkles, walks a bit slower, but I know she is still a cool feisty chick!

Life Changes…and Grandma’s adivce

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Most people when they think of  “Grandma’s advice” it’s wholesome, pure and rich with life experience. Without a doubt, “G” would always make  sure that the proverb, tale or hard truth would be of benefit to the grandchild because one day “G” will be gone. But her love and advice will always remain. Doesn’t that sentence evoke the aroma of “G’s” homemade goodies?

One day, I really don’t know when, but “Sunshine,” my daughter, was about 10 and we were visiting “G.” There we were three generations, chilling in the family room folding laundry and watching the Young and the Restless, “G’s” favorite soap opera. One of the lead characters, “Sharon” had an affair and her husband didn’t have a clue. Something happened, not sure what but “Sharon” started to feel guilty and decided to confess the affair to her husband.

Tension mounts. TV husband walks through the door after a long day at his imaginary worldwide industry job where he is the president. Pours himself a drink, sits in his favorite chair and “G” bust-out with, “Sunshine” don’t you ever do that. Never ever you do that.”

For the life of me I couldn’t imagine where my mother was going with this outburst.  It’s just daytime drama. Why are you so involved? I know you know these people are not real. “Sunshine,” God bless her heart, thinking the same thing as me, “Oh, no Grandma, when I’m married I would never cheat on my husband. I would never do that!”
Faster than “Usain Bolt” “G” claps back with, “What, I don’t mean that. Don’t you ever tell! Just shut your mouth.”

I am not going to touch on the moral aspects of this story. I’m still struggling with the fact that “G” is a “Playa.”