Hoss has a fantastic memory and he soaks up information like a sponge. He remembers the words to songs, lines from shows and movies and every book he ever hears. He is definitely an audio learner. Sometimes he gets a word or two wrong. Perhaps it’s his hearing loss. Perhaps he just inherited his mama’s gene for not being able to correctly hear the lyrics to a song. Either way, it provides some pretty funny moments. Those of you who follow me on Facebook may remember some of his Christmas Song lyric misunderstandings from this past year…Feliz LaDeDa, Scooby Doin’ Alright, Silas Night and of course the reindeer Vixen who he renamed Fix-it.
Of course he’s known his animal sounds for years, but he’s recently added more terminology. For example he now ‘whinnies’ like a horse, ‘caws’ like a crow, ‘clucks’ like a chicken and, most recently he ‘prays’ like a donkey. Now the first time we heard him say he was going to ‘pray’ like a donkey, Boom started to correct him; to tell him donkey’s BRAY, not PRAY. However, Hoss quickly proceeded to demonstrate how a donkey prays. He in no way is being disrespectful or sacrilegious. In his little mind, if the sound a donkey makes is called ‘praying’, then this must be what it means. I threatened Boom within an inch of his life if he corrected Hoss before I got it on video. I will miss these precious and hilarious misunderstandings!!
I present to you, especially those of you familiar with braying or praying, Hoss demonstrating a Donkey ‘praying’.
When we first moved to the farm I was nine years old, it was the middle of the summer. It was hot. I hated the farm. I grieved our old house. Seriously, I cried for weeks. Every night. I had no friends to play with. I had no where to ride my bike. I hated my one closet room. There was no cool basement. There was no ditch to play in. The people we loved would never drive all the way out here to see us! (It was only five miles, but it seemed like 500.) I did not want to move to the farm. Fall and winter did little to change my mind. It was grey and bleak and quiet and cold and wet. Spring was never coming. Then one day in late January, little sprigs of green started popping up in the front yard. LOTS of them.
Turns out there were thousands of jonquils in our front yard. They just happened to be a flower I dearly loved. They used to grow wild on the vacant lot across from our old house. Now I lived in a house with a yard full of them. My heart began to soften towards the farm…still didn’t love it, but there was a bright spot.
Now days, if I were a betting woman there are two things I would always bet on.
My Mama and Daddy’s front yard will be full of jonquils in full bloom no later than Valentine’s Day.
The flowers may have bloomed, and we may have had some warm days, but winter is NOT over.
We have taken pictures in the jonquils every year since Boom was a baby.
I love them and look forward to taking the pictures every year!! This year is no different, so I made the boys take their annual pictures in the jonquils. Boom has promised he will come home from college when they bloom so I can still take pictures. I’m going to hold him to it!
As our spring schedule begins to fill up with baseball games, practice, school events, Easter plans and the many activities of daily life, it is important to stop and smell the flowers. I look at these bright beauties as promises and reminders. God is still in control and His timing is perfect. I don’t always understand it, however it is perfect none the less. For now the jonquils are blooming and the temperature is dropping. Winter is not over, but spring is in the air!!
Just in the last year or two has Boom been assigned school projects that he needs to do at home. We haven’t had typical science fair type stuff. We’ve had things like ‘build a board game based on a book from this list’ and the most recent one ‘write a narrative for a robot then build the robot’. The problem with these school projects is that they do a portion of it at school and a portion of it at home.
For example, when it was board game project time, Boom chose and read the book at school. Then he wanted some help with the board game part. I hadn’t read the book, never mind that he chose a book of poems!!! What teacher does that to a parent? I managed to download it online and we came up with a concept, but I’m honest enough to admit that the night before it was due, we called GrNanny for reinforcements. Mostly so we wouldn’t kill each other! Boom and I are a lot alike and that can sometimes be a challenge.
This past week the school project was the robot project. Now I know for a fact that this project was assigned back in January. Other parents had posted pictures of their kids robots on Facebook for weeks. Not Boom. We waited until the VERY last minute. His narrative was that the robot interacted with an app. You downloaded the app, put the robot on your car and then programmed into the app your destination. The robot would then safely guide your car to your destination. Ya know, since not everyone can afford a self driving Tesla! Good concept, right?
Well, he wanted his robot to be kind of techy, so his idea was to go to the public library and have one 3-D printed. So, at the very last minute on the very last day, he said it HAD to be done. GrNanny, Boom, Hoss, and I loaded up and off we went. Boom got the robot he wanted picked out and started. The librarian who set it up said it would take 56 minutes to print. It was just before 5:00 and the library closed at 6:00. Whew! Except that 45 minutes later, it was only 37% complete and it wasn’t looking like the robot he had chosen. Now let me just say, when the library closes at 6:00, what that really means is that at 6:00 the lights are out, people are out, doors are locked and employees are gone. There is no grace period or exception offered for a 10 year old who needs something for a school project the next day and is in tears and devastated as his whole vision for his school project has been obliterated because they somehow managed to screw up their process. GrNanny and I were happy campers. Let me tell ya!
So, we left, with half of a wrong robot and a very sad Boom. After supper, we brain stormed different ideas and had a semi plan. GrNanny started pulling out different components that might work and Boom assembled them the way he wanted. Glued together, spray painted gold, add some googly eyes and a baseball cap and this was the final result!!
The final component was to figure out a way to attach it to his remote control car so he could demonstrate his narrative and actually make it look like the robot was driving the car. Hot glue to the rescue!
Needless to say it was past bedtime by the time all was finished. In hindsight, I should have asked Vince to take Hoss home and put him to bed. He was just so entertaining though. He totally adapted his routine to an all robot themed routine. He is Boom’s very best cheerleader!! Here’s just one of the MANY robot dances he did for us.
As creative and crafty as I am, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t love school projects so far. However, I always had parents who thought outside of the box and helped me come up with cool ideas and then actually helped me to pull them off. Boom has a fantastic imagination, so it is a pleasure to make his creations a reality to the best of our ability. I dread the days he no longer needs me to do that, and the days that he is grown and school projects are merely a few pictures in my memory. My greatest pleasure is being their mom and helping them make their dreams a reality, even if it’s not the way they envisioned. That’s just good parenting, teaching them to roll with it and look at things from a different angle. Life doesn’t always go the way we envisioned, but you know what? If the good Lord gives you another day, you gotta get up and look at it from a different angle and do the next thing.
See that darling lady in the wheelchair in the middle of that picture? The one with her mouth open because she wouldn’t quit talking long enough to take a picture? Well, that’s my Nanny. The genes from her side of my family are very strong, and so is the heritage. This was the very last family picture we took with her. Hoss had been home from Vanderbilt for 3 days. She loved her family, but she ADORED her great grandchildren!!
Nanny retired from JCPenney when it was still at East Gate Mall. She had a best friend named Ruth Wright who was a good 10 years younger and was also retired from JCPenney. I called them the Golden Girls. I don’t know how things work when you retire from JCPenney now, but back in their day, you got to keep your employee discount. Forever. No matter the sale price.
There came a day when Nanny could no longer see well enough to drive but she was plenty spry enough to want to go and Mrs. Ruth was more than able to drive, so go they did. Occasionally I would happen upon them on an adventure, usually going 25 mph in a 40, totally oblivious to the mile of traffic backed up behind them, wearing their cataract sunglasses and headed to lunch. They were wild things.
A couple of times a year JCPenney would have an associates shopping day, where the Golden Girls could get a little extra percentage off. Well, now. They were there! Those two women could spot a deal a mile away. They would hit the sale rack, get their associate’s discount, the extra special one day only discount, and sometimes combine it with a coupon from a mailer. Y’all, they would get things no one needed just for the thrill of the deal. Nothing made them more proud than to get a $40 item for $5.27.
Just like any good southern Golden Girls, they would cap off their day by having a leisurely lunch. It was a treat for them to ride the escalator up inside JCPenney and make their way across the mall to the Piccadilly. Now you know how hard it can be to navigate a cafeteria full of tables and chairs while carrying a tray with a plate of food and a drink, so you can imagine doing it when you are in your 80’s and not quite as agile as you once were. Good conversation might have also played a factor in not always being fully aware of your surroundings. Add to that a shopping bag with your latest treasure from JCPenney and a sensible black handbag that smells like Freedent chewing gum and you will totally be able to understand how Nanny became a thief.
You see, when she sat down with her lunch, she could not find her silverware on her tray. She was almost certain she had grabbed one of the napkin wrapped bundles, but there was not one on her tray. Chalking it up to having been distracted, a helpful waitress quickly fetched her a roll of silverware. After lunch, Mrs. Ruth delivered her safely home where she sat down in her chair, propped up her feet and may or may not have taken a little nap. Only later in the evening, when she unpacked her shopping bag full of “I don’t know who needs it, but it’s only $4.62” goodies did she find her silverware from the Piccadilly. Apparently, in her effort to navigate the dining room while toting and talking she had tipped her tray enough that her original silverware had rolled into her shopping bag! She was horrified that she had “stolen” the silverware and promptly returned it on their next Golden Girls adventure. Still, we teased her about there being easier ways to get new silverware than stealing it from the Piccadilly one place setting at a time!
Fast forward a good ten years. Hoss eats lunch at the dining hall at school everyday. He’s not the picky one, so he loves the variety. One day last week there was something on the lunch menu he didn’t think he would care for and he had been begging to take lunch like his Bubba, so I sent him lunch. ABC’s and 123’s with meatballs, some grapes and cheese and some mini chips ahoy. I DID NOT send a spoon because they have those at school. He loved it! It was the thrill of his week. As soon as he got in the car he told me all about lunch. As soon as we got home and I opened his lunchbox, I realized that he may not have had the privilege of really knowing Nanny, of eating her cooking, hearing her hum while she washed dishes or playing with extra dough while she made biscuits, but he absolutely got her genes. And that is the story of how Hoss became a thief.
Sometimes as a Boy Mom I have to consciously remind myself that I am not raising little boys, I’m raising men. It’s easy to do everything for them. I want to take care of them because they are MY babies and it’s truly what I love to do. However, some day, they will need to know how to take care of themselves and hopefully they will want to pass along some of the memories made and things they learned from their mama.
They are learning to contribute to the household chores…getting clothes out of the dryer, unloading the dishwasher and putting away the clean dishes, wiping down their bathroom vanity with Clorox wipes and taking out the garbage. In defense of my washing machine, I do not encourage their participation in that chore. Ain’t nobody got time for a flood, money to repair a washing machine or money to buy new white clothes to replace the load that had one red sock….nope. Not gonna happen.
Recently Boom has showed an interest in cooking. Now he may be the pickiest eater on the face of the planet. He has very few food groups: Chicken, steak, pizza, fruit, ice cream and chips. He is PICKY!! What does he know about cooking? NOTHING! But then I remembered another crazy nut who happens to be one of the best cooks I know.
JR learned a lot from my mama, who is a wonderful cook, and from my Daddy who is wonderful on the grill. JR has combined the heritage of good cooking he was raised with and his willingness to try new things in an effort to replicate some delicious dishes at home. For example, he grew up eating prime rib when we were out to eat, but I only remember mama cooking it at home a handful of times. JR has taught himself how to prepare a prime rib at home and when he fixes it, well, just pray for an invitation. I’m not lying…it’s so so good. I’d venture to say cooking has become a hobby he truly enjoys and I know it has been an honor for him to be able to prepare meals for his love in the past nine months while she has been recovering from childbirth, open heart surgery and gall bladder surgery.
I grew up in various kitchens with one grandmother or another, my aunt or my Mama making memories and learning to cook. So I decided to encourage this new interest from Boom. Someday he may need to know how to feed his family! We started to get out the ingredients and I often play music while I cook. I hit play on my Boom’s Tunes playlist and the rest is history. Anyone who’s seen Boom play ball knows what he does when there’s music playing. Doesn’t matter if he’s on the side lines or the pitcher’s mound. When he hears a beat he just can’t contain himself. Guess what? He does the same thing when he’s cooking!
So yes, it takes longer when he helps and it is definitely messier, but it is also much more fun. You almost never make priceless memories when you insist on doing everything by yourself!