I Can Handle That!

fireflies, grandparentingWe’d be happy to watch the kids for an hour tomorrow night,” I said to my son.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wanted to jump after them like fireflies in a dark sky, placing them in a glass jar with the lid shut tight.

Instead, the offer to babysit flew away from me and into my son’s grateful hand.

“Thanks, Mom. We’ll drop them off at 6. We won’t be more than an hour. 7:30 okay?”

7:30? What happened to an easy hour with three little boys: 1½, 3, and 4½? Just enough time to give them a cookie, read them a book, and offer a bottle and a sippy cup before their mom and dad retrieved them.

“Oh no!” I said loudly on his way out the door. Continue reading

The Son Also Rises

http://lovingchristministries.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Sweet-Baby-Boy-Featured-Image-700x250.jpgI look at him across the table, thinking, who is he? Who is this tall, intense, handsome, stiff, strange man sitting with me at La Provence, eating his asparagus quiche daintily as if it were made of flower pedals?

I’ve known him for more than 30 years – intimately – and I truly have not a clue who he is. It was so much easier, when he was my baby boy, and even when he was a burgeoning almost-teenager, still giving me hard hugs at night. He told me stories about his war games with his best friend back then, and his dreams of being an importer/exporter, even though he had no idea what that meant. He was chubby, with a wonderful chuckle and a dimple as wide as a dime. Continue reading

Back to the Future, 1968

back to the future, babysitting, 1970I needed the money, so I accepted the request. The two little Beemer boys were hellions, but the good news was that Dr. Beemer and his wife didn’t need me until 7 o’clock. I’d let the kids watch their favorite show – Gilligan’s Island – feed them some cookies, and then get them to bed by 8.

Gulligan's Island, babysitting

So this is the tale of our castaways,
they’re here for a long, long time.
They’ll have to make the best of things,
it’s an uphill climb.
(Gilligans Theme Song Lyrics | MetroLyrics)

I walked over to their house at 6:55. Hard to believe that that they lived right next door. Once I went inside that house, it was if I were miles away. Mrs. Beemer came to the door a second after I rang the bell. I was sure she couldn’t wait to get out of there. She was not in control of that household. Neither was the good doctor. Continue reading

What’s in the Middle of your Middle Name?

http://www.etsy.com/market/distressed_letter?ref=l2Many middle names arrive in the middle of confusion, compromise, and even confrontation.

Take my middle name.

Well, for the first 30 years of my life, you couldn’t have taken it, because I didn’t have any.

When I became sentient enough to realize that unlike my friends (Beverly Lynn Pooling, Julie Glory Wyckoff, Barbara Ann Bancroft) I had no three-word-title to deliver on the right hand side of my school papers.

Just plain

Pamela Wight.

When I was 6, I asked my parents what my middle name was. They did that “parent look” over my head, the look that said “don’t say anything,” and just replied, “You don’t have one.”

When I was 9 I asked my parents why I didn’t have a middle name. They did that parent look again, but this time I stomped my foot and demanded an answer.

My mom explained, “when you were born, your dad and I couldn’t agree on what your middle name should be.”

Dad added, with love in his eyes, “so we agreed to give you NO middle name.”

Boy, that made me mad. So glad the argument turned out well for them, I thought, but what about me? I explained these feelings to them, as only a 9-year-old can, something like, “BUT I WANT A MIDDLE NAME NOOOOOOWWWWW.” So they calmed me with compromise.

“Pammy,” my dad said earnestly, “when you’re old enough, you can decide your own middle name.”

Wow, that stopped my protest immediately. Really? My middle name could be anything?

My mom, seeing how much pleasure this idea gave me, said over my head and into my father’s ear, “let’s see what she wants it to be right now. Why wait?”

So they asked me what I’d choose for my middle name. I thought, and thought, and thought carefully for over a week.

Pamela Thankful

Pamela Thankful

middle name, alphabet, T, thankful

Then I came back to them and announced that my name was now Pamela Thankful Wight.

Uh oh. That parental look across my head occurred again. After much “discussion” (me crying and they pleading), we came to a compromise. When I turned 15, I could create a middle name for myself, no matter what it was, and that would be that.

Well, six years later, I approached my parents on my birthday and said, “Okay, I’m ready.”

They didn’t know what I was talking about! They had forgotten about my middle name.

I certainly had not.

I choose the perfect name. I heard it sung, over and over again, by the Beatles. The girl they sang about was beautiful and romantic and desired.

That would be me.

“My middle name,” I declared, “is Michelle.”

Pamela Michelle

Pamela Michelle

Well, you’d think I’d said, “Ungrateful,” or “Freaky,” or “Drugs & Alcohol,” because my parents hated the name “Michelle.”

“You only like it because of the Beatles. Wait a few more years, then decide,” my dad said.

“I will never NOT like the name Michelle. Pamela Michelle Wight. It’s perfect!” I argued over and over, but to no avail.

So for the next 15 years, I had no middle name. Not for all my college applications, nor employment applications, nor even on my first mortgage statement.

I was Pamela “Nameless” Wight.

Until I met my guy who became my forever mine.

And guess one of the first things he did, after he declared undying love for me?

He gave me a middle name.

middle name, alphabet, S

He began calling me Pamela S. Wight.

As soon as we began to co-exist (and then legally marry), he filled out our rental apps, taxes, insurance forms, school release forms for our kids, etc., etc. with his name and mine: Pamela S. Wight.

Only one slight problem.

To this day, he has still never told me what the “S” stands for.



Why I Hated Halloween

Grinning Halloween lantern vector illustration.I wasn’t the kind of parent who produced daily  science/art/math projects for my children, or thought up of special field trips once a week, or was creative in any way.

In my mind, that meant I didn’t stack up any “good parenting” awards. I hated working on anything “arts & crafty,” which included just about everything except reading a children’s book out loud.

So when school began each year, and the air became crisper, leaner, more aromatic, I began to gnaw my fingernails.

Halloween would arrive sooner than I wanted, and any time was too soon.

Because I hated Halloween.

I just wasn’t good at it.

“What can I be this year? young daughter would ask by mid-October.

And every year, I’d respond the same: “A gypsy?”

Halloween, costume, gypsy costumeI have photos of her when she was 4, and 5, and 6 (and beyond!) wearing one of my old patterned skirts and a worn down shirt, strands of costume necklaces, a bunch of bangles, a neck scarf around her head, and lots of red rouge and lipstick.

Viola! A gypsy girl.

My little boy, however, came home with tales of his friends’ moms making them elaborate ghost costumes, or turning them into Luke Skywalker, or even worse, fashioning cardboard boxes into honest-to-goodness real looking silver rockets.

“No,” I always stated. Sadly, yet defiantly. “Your mom doesn’t do that.”papter bag, Halloween

So most Halloweens, my boy insisted on wearing a paper bag over his head, with holes for the eyes, and a pair of my old cowboy boots.

“I’m a monster,” he’d insist, year after year.

But the year our family splurged for a vacation to Hawaii, I got clever.

Not artsy crafty, but clever.

I came home with children-sized Hawaiian shirts, grass Hula skirts, and plastic leis. When I showed the kids their Halloween costume the third week of October, the expressions were less than enthusiastic, but they appeased me and wore them on the 31st.

Halloween costume

Happy Halloween…?

That was the year my boy’s best friend’s mom sewed her little guy a huge green Tyrannosaurus outfit, the kind that could win a ‘BEST KID’S COSTUME IN THE WORLD’ award. Trexbig

My daughter’s best friend’s mom dressed her little pumpkin in a glittery pink and purple fairy queen outfit with gossamer fairy wings and sparkly silver shoes that lit up when she walked.

My children came home from trick or treating early that year, claiming they were tired, no joyous shouts as they counted their candy treasure.

I suggested they change best friends.

Then I castigated myself for not being a good creative parent.

However …

            Every October

                         I read to my kids

                                    a LOT of terrific Halloween books.

That should count, shouldn’t it?

Halloween books, Halloween