Posts filed under ‘Letters to My Kids’
“When you remember me, it means you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are.
It means you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles stand between us.” — Frederick Buechner
FAMILY GENEALOGY ACTIVITY:
How do you want others, your family to remember YOU?
Your life, and memories are precious! Leave a legacy of love for your family with one of the following ways to prerserve your memory:
*Create a scrapbook with photographs, momentos, written comments, newspaper articles, recipes and other special items. Invite your family members to add to the scrapbook.
*Create a journal of important or memorable events in your life. OR purchase a journal– some journals include questions or prompts to write about, that can be helpful. A journal can be composed of written entries or may be a visual journal with photographs or clip art.
*Create an online blog, pinterest page, or use other social media to connect with family members and save precious memories
*Create a CD of music–especially music that was important or meaningful to you
*Reach out to family members to share, talk, play games…form a connection so they feel welcome to ask questions
ANY MORE IDEAS? PLEASE SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! Thank-you 🙂
When my kids & I were homeless, I would tell stories to help pass the time & to give them something to think about other than our tough situation… Those stories brought us closer together and have become a part of our family’s oral history. “When Lola got Jealous of the Hamster” is a favorite that I hope will one day be told to future generations (smile)….
Lola, our adorable but rambunctious Dalmatian, was our first pet and used to being the Queen of the house. She wore the big,black patch over one eye and ear like a crown. She didn’t have to work hard for attention and had the whole house to herself. Aaaaah the life! That was, until, the hamster was carried through the door in a little white box…a small box that seemed to take up the whole room & push Lola out 😦
The hamster was named Cesar, and he invaded the house like a Roman army. He got his own suite perched high on the mantle, with a view of his new kingdom. He slept all day in a mountain of sawdust, curled up in a ball of black & brown fur, his tiny claws curled into small pink hearts. “Ooooh cute!”,they said,”Isn’t he just precious?”
Lola used to be precious too. Now when she curled up on the couch,in a ball just like the rodent, all she heard was “Get down!”
And the hamster pooped all over his cage, tiny black pellets no one seemed to notice. But when Lola had a small accident & pooped in the house, she was yelled at then put outside on a chain. Lola hated being outside, all alone.
Even worse, that hamster would run in a plastic ball all over the house…kicking up pellets, and was rewarded with treats from the kitchen. Everything Cesar did was sloo cute! Lola tried to be cute but she got in trouble- chewing up the couch cushions & making the living room snow got her sent outside. Digging through the neighbor’s garbage & bringing home the best morsels didn’t even get her a thank you- she was given a bath & all the delicious smells washed away. It just wasn’t fair!
So Lola thought of a way to be just as cute as the hamster… She stuck her long nose into the plastic running ball & tried to squeeze inside. If only she could fit, the Family would surely say she is cute too! Uh oh…Lola’s nose got stuck. She pulled & yanked but could not get free. Lola frantically ran across the house, whining for help but no one came. All that running made her thirsty so she had to get a drink … Cool, refreshing water bubbled from the porcelain fountain in the bathroom. Slurp! Slurp! Slurp! Water sloshes everywhere but still the ball would not come loose.
Trash always made Lola feel better so she thought just a taste would help this miserable situation. Lola tipped over the garbage, knocking the lid off, then lunged..there were leftover wrappers with gooey crumbs and sweet smelling brown slime to explore… Only the ball got in the way. Lola swung her nose to the right,tipping more garbage on the floor. Then she swung her nose to the left, knocking over another pile of garbage. Try as she might, the ball would not come loose. Lola was starting to get worried. She did not like being a hamster a d wanted to be a dog again.
When the Family came home, they were shocked to see such a mess: Lola was floating across puddles of toilet water on a raft of garbage. And her nose was stuck inside the hamster ball, her silly pink tongue licked eagerly but couldn’t reach these forbidden delights.
The Family triedbto pry Lola’s nose free but not one spot slid out. What to do? Power tools! Z z z z went the buzz saw. Z z z z z the buzz saw gained momentum, leaping out of the hand like a small tornado! Z z z z the buzz saw cut through the chair. Z z z z the buzz saw cut through the ceiling (explaining the large crack that is there to this day). Z z z z finally the buzz saw cut through the plastic ball & freed Lola. Woof! Woof! She said with relief.
Cesar was cute… He curled in your hand & ate treats you fed to him. He had the softest fur and winked when he was happy. But Lola was no longer jealous… She was a dog, and never wanted to be a hamster again. She rolled over to get her belly scratched, and thumped her tail in delight…later she would plot to get in the garbage, and find a morsel for Cesar, they would be best friends.
In Our Hearts, 2006.
My nephew was playing with his Iron Man truck that he got for Christmas..on an important mission to stop the “bad guy” from destroying the world.
He tells me the truck has “Mistletoe”.
I give him a funny look and ask what is that. He says “Missile Toe is what you use to blow up the bad guy.”
In Our Hearts, December 2011.
I’ve received the Ancestors Approved award from Footsteps of the Past. Thanks for thinking of me, this is an awesome idea!
I’m suppose to share 10 things about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me and share this award with 10 other bloggers…(deep breath) so here goes!
1. I found the ancestor of the slaveholder online, and our paths crossed doing genealogy… We shared alot of the same curiosity and love for our families. She apologized for her ancestor’s role in slavery and it came to me so strongly, it’s not your fault–you weren’t even alive then. It was an amazing place to be, coming from two very different families, but both standing together in this moment in time as equals, and being able to answer questions for each other.
2. I am always humbled, touched and heartened to meet with or speak with the Elders in my family…your life stories and memories are precious. Thank-you for taking the time to share with me ❤
3. Surprised to find traces of my ancestors in the faces of my children..and enjoying watching our family grow and become more diverse
4. Absolutely blessed to connect to my cousin Nile, she is my sister and my friend. I enjoy our conversations and adventures digging up family history.
5. Humbled to visit Moundville, Alabama, and learn about the Indians who once lived there, and what life was like long ago. My uncle said our Indian ancestors were farmers and lived between the Warrior and Cohabee (Cahaba) Rivers…close to this area. http://moundville.ua.edu/
6. Really proud to share our heritage for nationality day at my son’s preschool! I dressed him up as a farmer with blue jeans and a straw hat, with a boll of Alabama cotton tucked in the front pocket.
7. Always surprised when a small tidbit of information turns into a huge lead where I find a lost relative or uncover a hidden story
8. Still wondering about my mysterious Ford relatives in Perry, Dallas and Jefferson Counties (AL). Have not found one trace of my great-grandfather, Pettus Ford…one day I hope to meet more of my Ford relatives!
9. Open to learning more..and I love to hear about other families and their stories.
10. I want to encourage my relatives to contact me if you would like to share something or post here.Some ideas: photos, favorite memories, favorite verses/song lyrics/Scripture, recipes, your hopes/dreams, what you would want future generations to know about you…this page is for you!
Many Blessings, In Our Hearts
Visit Footsteps of the Past: http://footstepspast.blogspot.com
My kids are excited to welcome their new Baby sibling into the world this December, what a blessing for our family.
My son, now 10, has all sorts of questions:
“If the Baby gets any bigger, Mom, will you explode?” (Then he tries to feed me candy and junk food just to see what will happen!)
“When the Baby goes potty, where does it go?” My kids love this question, it sends them into uncontrollable fits of laughter. Sometimes I wonder if children are to train adults to be “potty trained”–not the other way around. Meaning that children show us that we need to stop taking life so serious and just to laugh! For a child, silliness is the best way to release burdens and worries, making the heart so light that it bobs in the chest like a balloon caught by the wind.
“Mom, if the Baby kicks hard enough, can he poke through your belly?”
My daughter, has a better strategy–when she wants something, she simply leans next to my belly, pauses for a moment and then with absolute seriousness informs me “The Baby said…” I know my daughter will adjust well to a new sibling because the Baby always agrees with her!
And then, there is this: I had just finished eating dinner when my stomach began to bubble loudly.
My daughter stares and her mouth drops in amazement. She says, “Mom, the Baby is burping!”
My son, a scientist by nature, came over to investigate. His small hands pressed against my rounded belly..anticipating…then gurgle, gurgle!
“He is burping!” My son says in wonder, “Maybe you shouldn’t drink so much pop.”
I thank God every day for my precious children, and look forward to the many adventures we will share.
Love you Kiddos ❤
xoxoxo Mommy xoxoxox
To Dad, Happy Father’s Day
To a six year old, the 12 foot statue of Big Bird
Towering in the middle of the department store
Looks as fearsome as any prehistoric beast
I am terrified of his massive size,
His eyes are black as hornet stingers.
I have nightmares about Big Bird coming to life,
The linoleum quakes beneath his massive orange feet
The classical music they play in the store, is lost
In the high-pitched furor of his tweet
Big Bird plucks me up as if I am a worm,
Opens his razor-sharp beak
Then hurls me into a tunnel of blackness…
I wake up kicking my legs against Big Bird’s fleshy tonsils
It was just a dream or was it?
A yellow feather escapes from beneath the covers,
Tickling my toes.
I don’t care if I wear the same socks and underwear
‘Til all that remains is a few stretched threads—
I am not going in that store
Until Big Bird is roasted and served with gravy!
Then one day, the inevitable happens,
“Time to get you some socks and underwear”
I begin to tremble from head to toe
Big Bird stands guard over the pink polka dotted panties,
He’d wait until Dad announces my size
Then decide I have grown just right, my stick thin body filling out
My clumsy feet now tearing holes through my socks
Yummm, tender morsel…
In one gulp, I’d be done for!
I am not going. No way.
I will wear my brother’s underwear if I have to!
Dad can’t understand why I am being so stubborn,
He thought little girls like to go shopping,
That he could bribe me with an ice-cream cone
I am not going, no way!
Well, I really like bubble gum ice-cream…
How about the cone with the chocolate chips….
Maybe I will dangle one toe into the store,
Squeeze my eyes shut and make a run for it.
As Dad and I walk into the store,
Big Bird’s massive head turns towards us,
His eyes fix onto me like poisonous stingers
A booming voice fills the room
“We’re going to get you some jungle underwear today.
You know, like Tarzan wears. How about size ‘gorilla’?”
I did not know anything could be worse than Big Bird,
Now Dad is embarrassing me in front of everyone
Talking about “jungle underwear”
I wish Big Bird would swallow me up!
I dash into a rack of clothes as Dad loudly proclaims
“You know Superman wears jungle underwear…”
When I peek out, Big Bird is laughing at me.
Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?,
I beg, I don’t think Mr. Hooper sells
Socks and underwear in his store,
I will be safe there.
Dad starts to whistle as he walks down the aisles,
Big Bird winks at me, opens one yellow wing wide
I hide in his downy softness,
While Dad picks out my “jungle underwear”.
Then Dad and I leave the store walking side by side,
I run to keep up with Dad’s long stride
The plastic bag of “jungle underwear” and socks
Bang against my hip with every small leap
I imagine the ice-cream cone that will soon be mine,
Topped with banana, popular in the jungle.
In Our Hearts, © 2010
I love you, Dad!
I inherited my gift of storytelling from my Dad, who is always making up funny stories and jokes.
Dad never knew how terrified I was of the Big Bird statue in the store (as a child), I would never admit it… I lost that fear when Dad started talking about “jungle underwear”. My Dad is always cracking jokes but with a straight face, so you tend to believe him until you are caught up in one of his tall tales!
My Dad is a wonderful grandfather to the kids. He sneaks them ice-cream for breakfast when he is babysitting, and lets Nora read to him all day (she is like a school teacher, ordering Grandpa to sit on the couch then piling up the books!). He plays board games with the kids and takes them to the library or garage sales. When I get home, the house is a mess, and everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else… It is the best feeling to sigh really loud, and act all stern (hiding a smile) and feel the sense of “home” surround me — worn in all the right places with love. Kids clean up. Make Grandpa a lunch for work (and put a cartoon inside his lunch bag just as he did for me as a child). Ready for another adventure?
I pray my kids will be able to see Grandpa, and the rest of the family soon. Circumstances have kept us apart but God will bring us back together (Isaiah 49). Happy Father’s Day Dad! And to my children, I love you always ❤
I was working on this blog when it occurred to me the amazing adventure I have taken to retrace our family’s history and record these stories you are reading. I know one day you will have questions and want to hear these stories…and this journey will bring us closer as a family.
I thought of the night your cousin Nile, and I, sat in your cousin Dugga’s living room. We huddled together to listen to his stories of the Martin family. He remembered people and events that had been lost until his raspy voice recalled memories, and brought them to life in his stories. I grew up in Minnesota, not knowing of Dugga until I traveled to Selma as an adult. Though years and distance had kept us apart, when I was finally able to meet Dugga, it was as if there was no distance or years apart…the very stories, and connection between family had drawn us together. I know too, this will be for you…
So I am beginning a section of “In Our Hearts” to write letters to you, my precious children. And I hope to create a journal you can look on years from now, and know how much I love you…and know what an incredible family you have!
Love, xoxoxox Mommy xoxoxox