Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Mom was awesome!

And she still is.

You want to know why?

I bet she's wondering.

I am guessing that right now, she's reading this thinking, "Oh crap...what is she going to post about me?"

Well, Mom, I have to thank you.

I had an awesome childhood. The kind where you play outside, get dirty and get creative with the crap around you. I didn't have a TON of toys, but I had siblings, a bike and an imagination. A very odd, but creative, imagination.

I spent many summers taking care of my younger brother and sister while both my parents worked their asses off creating a living for us all. You never really know how hard it all was until you are wearing their shoes. As a parent now, I appreciate all that effort and strive to have my children have a similar childhood. One that doesn't revolve around WHAT I can buy for them and how much I can buy but maybe how I can help them discover how to be creative to make what you want and be happy with what we have.

There were many summers spent many riding our bikes up and down the block, with the neighbor kids, playing all SORTS of games that had nothing to do with video games or purchased toys (Ok, well I guess we had to buy a bike at one point). In fact, the only TV I really watched was Days of Our Lives (shuddup, it was the time Marlena was possessed and that's when EVERYONE was watching...duh). I probably spent more time reading than was considered normal, but the library was my favorite place to go.

There would be kickball in the middle of the street. Baseball in our backyard. Swimming in the pool down the street or running in the sprinkler all day. We would sneak into my parents room, looking for loose change, and walk to the drugstore to buy candy.

We had our own Olympics in the backyard (complete with "prizes" and medals. And a ceremony.) Dad would set up a tent for us to camp in the backyard. I created a family newspaper with our weekly updates...that may be a little nerdy to admit, but once I'm in, I'm ALL in. (I'm thinking the weekly updates were results on a soccer game or a dinner Mom made that we did/didn't enjoy).

My best friend and I would sell lemonade for a dime in a neighborhood full of people that worked all day. I think we had 2 people buy our lemonade. We would also ride our bikes around like they were cars and actually got into a "real" fight over who would date Joey McIntyre (bleh...what was I thinking?!)

My siblings and I would play work, restaurant (involved me creating lunches that consisted of mayonnaise sandwiches and pickle sandwiches. Yum...), we would make whatever we lacked. Our Barbies needed a dream house? Screw going to the store. That's what cereal boxes and Sears catalogs were for! Cut a Barbie sized hole out of the side for a door and cut out a bed, some pictures and other items to tape inside her house as furniture. Best Barbie mansion ever. Barbie needed to date? Why purchase a Ken doll when your brother had a Barbie-sized G.I. Joe? (10 times hotter in my opinion.) Or a skipper doll with a VERY short haircut. It may sound creepy now, but back then it seemed perfectly normal.

My sister and I had a game. Our FAVORITE game to play every summer...I would still play this game. You grab something tiny. Like a Lego. Make it a green Lego. Then you both face the house and one of you throws it HARD behind you. Count to 5, turn around and start hunting. The first person to find it gets a prize! The prize- you get to throw it next! Woo-hoo!

My sister and I also had the Dirty Dancing routine DOWN. If you don't know the "routine" I'm talking about, (because you live in a hole) it's the one at the very end. "I had the time of my life..." Get it now? We had the tape and practiced in the backyard for hours.

Ok. Maybe I'm not the MOST exciting person you will ever meet. But I had fun. My sister is probably slightly embarrassed to have this on the Internet. I didn't put in any pictures. You're safe.

We weren't able to buy everything we wanted, and while I'm sure I didn't appreciate it as a child, I love the fact that we had to be creative and came up with our own games. Sure there are toys that I was attached to and have fond memories of, but the best memories were the games we made up.

And I realized that if the power went out for some odd reason, my kids would be kind of lost without their TV. I didn't realize how much we depend on it. I remember when the power went out when we were younger, my Mom taught us how to play poker. We played for pennies and had a blast. I remember wishing that the power didn't come back on, ever. (Except at night, when it was 108 in the house with wearing 6 wool sweaters to bed. But we did camp out in the living room and that's always a fun time.)

I want my kids to have the same imagination, creativity and fun that we did. Those are the memories I keep close and they are my favorite ones to look back on and smile about.

I'm lucky that I have a husband who had a very similar childhood of being creative, just in a different fashion. I am not one to mess with scorpions. They can keep those stinger things. Or torch frogs with WD-40 and a lighter. He's from Arizona and a boy, so that explains a lot. =)

So I have to thank you Mom. You gave me a wonderful childhood that makes me smile when I look back and you made me want the same for my kids.

See? All is good.

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