Posts Tagged ‘Emma’

My daughter, the budding artist

I dote a whole lot on my youngest daughter, Addie.  She is hilarious. 

But today I want to talk about Emma, my oldest.  Emma is 7 and in her 1st grade class they are learning about creative writing.  Here is the story she wrote yesterday, in perfect cursive.

A Funny Boy

I saw a Boy marry a dog.  The dogs name was Angy and the Boys name was Chester. 

Then one day the dog had a baby thats name was flufy.

She had half dog and half humin.  Then one day shy had 50.000 babys

and got married with a humin and thay all lifed happly ever aftr the ind.


Further wowing us with her talents, she asked us last night to pose so she could draw us.  My job was to sit perfectly still and smile, which I did while watching American Idol.  Then she moved on to the rest of the family.  Here was the final product.

Pencil drawing by Emma

Pencil drawing by Emma


It’s uncanny, really.  But here is what made me laugh and laugh.

Do you see it?

Do you see it?

I’m so proud of her.

Emma’s new hat.

They say necessity is the motherhood of invention. 

I don’t know about that, but one of my many missions this past month has been to make Emma a new winter hat as her old one is too small.  I’m not sure why I feel this is so important, considering it’s going to be a balmy 78 degrees today, but I just had to make her a hat.

My first attempt was knitting a hat.  Now, I’m one of those really good scarf makers.  I can whip out a scarf in no time.  But if you ask me to move away from the comfort of the boxy scarf shape, I start to get a twitch.  It’s just fear, plain and simple.  I’m afraid of messing up.  Perhaps it’s because the first time to tried to make a hat, it ended up looking like it had horns. 

Anyways, I decided to bust down those walls of fear and just go for it. 

I found this great heavy suede yarn and went to work.  No matter that I didn’t have a pattern.  No matter that I chose the wrong needle size and ended up with arthritis every night gripping my tiny needles and wrangling heavy suede.  I was determined. 

I finally finished one night and tried it on Addie’s head.  It was very tight.  So I tried to stretch it just a little and I heard SNAP!  It was the death of my hat. 

I did what any normal person would do.  I scrunched it up and threw it against the wall and stewed for an hour.  There might have been some cussing, I don’t remember. 

I emotionally healed for a week and began to think of alternatives.  For the past few months I’ve been collecting old wool sweaters from the Goodwill and shrinking them.  I had this one light green sweater that was kind of thin and girly, so I picked it up last night and plotted my attack.  After an hour or so, this is what I came up with.

Emma's new hat

Emma's new hat.


It looked way too starke and bare, so I found some embroidery floss and some yellow beads.  My daisies aren’t perfect, but I’m very pleased with the outcome. 

Emma was pleased, too.

This is right before she said "This is really itchy!"

This is right before she said "This is really itchy!"

Now to try mittens…

The English are coming! The English are coming!

Last Friday, Emma, Ginger (my mother in law) and I all went with Emma’s 1st grade class to see the Amish in Tennessee.  Along the way, Emma confidently informed us that she thought we were half Amish, because we used to live in Tennessee. 

We arrived in Ethridge and, along with the rest of Emma’s class, piled onto a giant covered wagon pulled by horses that would take us on a tour of the Amish farms.  We were all crammed onto the wagon like sardines, but the nip in the wind kept us from complaining and instead we huddled together for warmth.  Funny, we were just sweating on Tuesday. 

Emma, excited to see the Amish.

Emma, excited to see the Amish.


At first, there wasn’t much to look at.  So I looked around the wagon.  This is what I found on the floor.

Hmm.  I wonder what REALLY goes on with these tours.

Hmm. I wonder what REALLY goes on during these tours.


We finally happened upon the Amish.  Different farms sold different things.  We would roll up in our wagon/limousine, old and young would filter off and we would crowd around the different wares like vultures on roadkill.  Sometimes we’d buy, sometimes we wouldn’t.  One Amish lady had fried apple pies, God love her.  At one house, they were making molasses.  Emma and I picked our way across the muddy yard to stand in the spicy, sweet cloud rolling off the boiling sugar cane.  There at the helm of the operation was an Amish girl, maybe in late teens.  We walked over to peer at the green ooze that she was lifting off the surface.  My momma always taught me to be polite so I smiled very sweetly and said, “That’s a big job.”  She looked over at me, her gaze dragging all the way down to my blue jeans and New Balance shoes and back up to my face.  I could practically read her Amish mind.  Hussy.

Our tour guide was knowledged in the Amish ways, despite his heavy Southern accent and his hoodie jacket.  He cracked jokes like, “Sorry for the bumpy roads, folks, if you’ve got hemorrhoids, your throat’ll be hurtin.”  He alerted us when we passed an Amish schoolhouse.  Here’s a picture for the curious:

Ok, so it's really hard to take a picture from a rolling wagon.

Ok, so it's hard to take a picture from a rolling wagon.

But I did find these hay stacks interesting…and very hard to photograph.
Lots of hay.

Lots of hay.

Eventually, the tour ended and our field trip was over.  Ginger and I wanted to do a little more shopping so we drove around and visited some Amish shops.  I found one sign particularly funny.  It read “AMISH MERCANTILE.  WE DON’T DO JUNK.”  While in one of these shops, an older Amish man drove up in his horse and buggy.  He got out, entered the store and walked up to the cashier.  (I was doing a hide-behind-the-shelf-spy-maneuver)  He said in his German accented lilt, “I believe I’ll have a Mello Yello” and plunked down some coins.  I had to bite my tongue lest I laugh out loud.  I’m not sure why this is funny to me.
I dressed Emma up in some of their wares.
Holly Hobby's sister, Emma.

Holly Hobby's sister, Emma.

You’re not supposed to take pictures of the Amish, they find it offensive.  So I very sneakily took these:
Drive by shooting (with a camera)

Drive by shooting (with a camera)

Committing an Amish crime, taking a photo.

Committing an Amish crime, taking a photo.

Ginger was an obliging accomplice to this crime and drove as slow as she could.  Then we passed the horse and buggy and acted like nothing had happened.  We’re so awesome.
The last shot of the day.  So long, Amish, back to our technology ruled world.

The last shot of the day. So long, Amish, back to our technology ruled world.

What do you want for Christmas?

I routinely ask my girls this question.  Their responses change all the time and I plumb forget what they said previously. 

Last night, I asked the girls again, “What do you want for Christmas?”  Emma answered, “Whatever you want to give me, Momma.”  (God love her!)  Addie answered, “The whole world!”  I rolled my eyes, “How about you be more specific?”  She answered, “Ok, I want a real live man, ear wax and an iPod.”  Then she added, “And a pimple.”

I’m thinking she’s been fed crack.

Emma’s birthday

Seven years ago yesterday, I woke up, rolled my enormous body out of bed and got ready for my 4-day post-due date examination with my OB/GYN.  I was feeling discouraged.  I was, ironically, due on Labor Day, which had been 4 days earlier.  Also the day that my in-laws flew in, to witness the joyous occasion of their 3rd grandchild’s birth.  The most exciting thing that happened to me was my copious amounts of heartburn.

Every night, when Lance would come home, in the quiet darkness, we would walk forever, trying to coax this baby out of my swollen belly.  I was hot, miserable, sick unto death of trying to determine if the tightenings on my belly were real contractions or those stupid practice ones.  I was also feeling enormous amounts of performance pressure.  My mother in law, who hardly ever speaks her mind, had asked, ever so shyly if she could be in the delivery room with me, since she had been present with her other two grandchildren.  How could I deny that?  But I was terrified I was going to act like the movies, complete with screaming and cussing, possibly a little like Linda Blair. 

So Friday morning, when I rolled out of bed and drove with Lance the 20 minutes to the hospital, I was not feeling hopeful.  I thought this child would never get out of me, although it felt like she was sticking a hand or leg out of my…well, let’s just say it wasn’t pleasant being pregnant anymore.  We hadn’t even eaten anything yet, sure the doctor would just dig around, searching for uteran treasure and send me off with a “You’re getting there.”

At the doctor’s office, after successfully peeing in the miniscule cup and sitting in the nurse’s station, getting my arm sqeezed off with the blood pressure cuff, I looked at the nurse and I read worry.  She was worried enough at the mysterious blood pressure numbers to hunt for the doctor who took one look and sent me to the labor and delivery ward.  We hadn’t even brought my bag with us.

Once adorning the sexy gown and propped up on the hospital bed, the nurses began their search for uteran treasure as well.  They decided to break my water and used a scary looking metal ruler looking thingy.  Once my water was broken they found traces of meconium.  That’s poo, for the uninformed.  They didn’t seem too worried, but they made plans for a respiratory specialist to be present in the room upon delivery.  We, of course, were terrified.  Our main question was, what’s the big deal with poop?  The answer, she can swallow it.  We asked, what happens then?  The answer, we go after it.  Oh, ok.  Terror reached new limits in my mind.

They encouraged me to walk around, displaying my sexy body complete with an IV hookup to coax the labor along.  After 3 hours, all I succeeded in doing was ruining my house shoes with amniotic fluid.  Then began the fun.

They gave me some pitocin, to help kick start the labor pains.  (Read, a new form of torture)  I had NO idea labor pains could be so intense.  I think the poor folks next door and possibly down the hall could hear my pain.  They wouldn’t consent to giving me an epidural until I was at least 4 centimeters dilated.  I was stubbornly stuck at a 2.  Pitocin does strange things to your body, it makes the contractions incredibly hard and fierce, with only 30 seconds or so between waves.  It was, by far, the most pain I have ever experienced, both before and since.  It felt like a metal pole was being driven through my belly.

My poor doctor kept coming in to check on me, and I guess my cries in pain were wearing her down, so she called for my epidural.  I was only too aware of all the extra eyes on me during that whole painful process.  My husband, who never left my side, my sister who had my mother on the cell phone so she could experience the torture too, my mother in law and my sister in law, all watching and waiting. 

Once the blessed drugs hit my system, I was finally able to stop wailing in pain.  After several hours of no real change, things began to pick up.  Around midnight I was finally able to start pushing.  Now, for those of you who don’t have a uterus or haven’t had the experience of live birth, it’s a bit like using the bathroom, only with different, inexperienced muscles.  It’s very strange.  If it weren’t for one of the nurses, Beth, I might still be stuck in that bed, trying to figure out this whole labor thing.  Beth was amazing.  I sent her a thank you note after it was all said and done.

Two and a half hours of pushing later, a slimy creature with a head shaped like a football finally made her appearance.  They quickly cut the cord and whisked her to a table in the room, hunting for meconium.  She gave lusty wails and even stuck out her lip.  We have pictures of that pout.  She had tons of hair, gobs of it.  Perhaps that old wives tale about hair and heartburn is true. 

When the goo and poo was cleared away, they wrapped her up and handed her to me.  Lance, the dutiful father, held a video camera in our faces, catching her beauty. 

There are no words to describe the moments you get to hold your first born, or any child you’ve birthed for that matter.  It’s inexpressible.  The sense of lifetime responsibility, it’s there, but it’s tied with this strange thing called love.  That love comes from a whole new room in your heart that you never knew existed.  And it’s strong.  The kind of love where you would jump in front of a car to protect this little creature.  It’s the kind of love that sustains you during those sleepless nights where she cries for no reason, other than just to drive you to drink.  It’s the kind of love that makes you stare at her, trying to memorize each wrinkle, each delicate shade of skin.  You stare at fingers and toes, you stare at them awake, asleep.  You croon.  You sing songs, some of them made up, just for their enjoyment. 

Today Emma is seven.  Seven is offically a big kid, in my mind.  She got her ears pierced, that was her gift from us.  As a family, we spent the weekend in Atlanta, visiting the aquarium and just hanging out as a family.  We talked about how big she was, how proud we are of her, and how fast time has flown by.  She beamed, while Lance and I stole glances at each other in pain that only parents can know, that time is going by much too fast. 

The older Emma gets, the more she looks and acts like me.  She’s got her own quirks and ticks, the things that make her distinct.  But at her core, I understand her because she is a little me.  Sometimes I laugh at that, and sometimes it makes me sad, because some of those things will cause problems later in life. It’s that strong love again, I want her to be the best she can be, and sometimes that’s not to be like me.  I suppose that’s how all parents feel.

In another seven years, she’ll be a teenager.  She’ll be in love with whoever new young hottie shows up on Hollywoods magic screens.  She’ll wear dangly earrings and makeup.  She’ll shy away from hugs and kisses from me and probably insist on calling me Mom or Mother, something to make her feel older.  Another seven years and she’ll be in college, studious and opinionated.  She’ll be talented and creative.  Possibly in love for real. 

Ah me, time is a thief.

Warning! Serious blog up ahead!

You have been duly warned.

This morning, amidst the chaotic getting ready, as I was slinging cereal into bowls and ushering my girls to the table, Emma asked me a question.  She didn’t ask for cut up bananas, she didn’t ask for the Strawberry Shortcake bowl, she didn’t even ask for some juice.

She asked me, “How young were you when you stopped living with your daddy?”

Time halted for a few seconds as I processed this question in my addled brain.  “I was eight.”  I could see the wheels turning in her mind, the fact that she’ll turn seven in just a couple of weeks.  I felt the need to expound a little.  “You see, my daddy really liked something called alcohol and when he drank that all the time, it made him into a not-nice person.  So after a very long time, Gimma took us away from him to protect us.”

Emma responded, “So you really left him.”

“Ummm, well he left our house.”

By this point I was kind of shaken.  How do you explain all this to a six year old?

*Aside-this is one of the hardest parts of parenting in my opinion.  Having to explain the ugly parts of life to my children.  I remember the first time I had to explain to them that strangers could be bad people, and that’s why we don’t tell them things about us, we don’t take candy from strangers, etc.  I remember once trying to explain in a gentle way that there were children who had been taken away, kidnapped, and some of those kids were never returned to their parents and that is why listening to mommy and daddy is so important.  Their little eyes were wide open, glued to mine.  I felt horrible, like I had just shrunk the world a little, some of the majesty and glory had been taken away.  When Emma was five, I was tucking her into bed one night and she did one of her ninja-shock-Mommy-with-a-question.  “Mommy, why do you call Gimpa Joe and not Daddy?”  I answered, “He’s not my daddy, he married Gimma after I was born.”  Which naturally led to “where is your daddy?”  In my mind was a snide answer good question but outwardly I said, “Well, my mommy and daddy got divorced when I was little.”  And there it was, a new word -divorce.  Which led to explaining what divorce was.  Which then led to reassurance that Lance and I were not going to divorce.  Emma calmly told me that now she understood that Gimpa was not her real grandfather.  To which I responded that even if he wasn’t actually related, he was still her Gimpa and loved her. 

So back to this morning.  My mind is whirling away, trying to find just the right words to say in the few minutes we had left to get ready and leave the house.  I go over to the table to wipe spilled milk and Emma leans over and hugs my leg, squeezing me and says “You’re the best mommy in the whole world.”

Sometimes I’m amazed at the differences between my childhood and my kids’ childhood.  I had an amazing mother and grandmother and grandfather.  Their roles in my life almost negates the crappiness of my father.  And while it’s not something I dwell on, his absence in my life is still there.  He is in this world, walking and living and breathing, and yet he knows almost nothing about me.  He doesn’t know what kind of movies I like, what my beverage of choice is (hello, Diet Coke), he probably doesn’t even know my husband’s name.  And that is so strange to me.  Because my husband is such a fantastic father.  He knows everything about my kids.  He’s so patient with them, lets them wrestle with him after a long day’s work, will sit and read with them and tells them everyday how special they are.  And my girls eat it up. 

Once, Lance and Emma were sitting on the couch and Lance was hugging Emma, her face turned my direction.  She had her eyes closed, a small smile on her face.  Lance was telling her how special she was, how proud he was of her, all kinds of sweet things.  Her smile got deeper and deeper and you could practically read her face, how happy she was.  I went in my room and cried.  I cried because I was so happy that my girls had such an amazing father.  That already, in their short life they’ve had such a great relationship with him and you can tell they feel secure in that.  I wasn’t crying for me, I was crying in joy for them. 

Occassionally though, maybe once a year, it hits me that I’m 32 years old and have lived most of my life without a father.  My dad lived with us until I was 8.  My sister was 1, just a wee baby we all fought over holding when he packed his bags and left.  She has no real memories of him.  I wonder, is that better?  Is it better to have memories of someone who has walked out and chosen a bottle of cheap liquor over you or to just have a void of memories.  What’s better? 

I wonder, too, if I met my father today and had a conversation with him, would I like him?  Would we get along?  Would he annoy the crap out of me?  Would I hate him?  I don’t hate him now, at least I try very hard not to.  There was a time in my life when things began to define, and he happened to call me.  In that phone conversation, I told him that I forgave him of any wrongdoing he had ever done to me.  I was forgiving him because I wanted closure from all that pain and anguish and I was now in a relationship with God, who was now my Father, my Daddy.  Two weeks later, my father locked himself in a house and set it on fire.  He was drunk of course, and he made it out ok.  We haven’t spoken since. 

So here I was, wiping up spilled milk and all of these thoughts were whirling in my mind.  Emma went back to eating her Shredded Wheat and chatting with Addie. 

It’s so interesting to me how well I know my kids, and yet there is so much of me that they don’t know.  Isn’t that strange?  Emma has to ask me how old I am.  She doesn’t sit and watch my favorite movies or read my favorite books.  She never met my grandfather, who was my hero.  And I have no idea if she’ll ever meet my father. 

What a weird Wednesday!

I wish I could paint

Wouldn’t that be fantastic?  There’s so many things I would love to learn in the next few years:  how to increase in knitting (shut up, that’s important to know if you’re a knitter), what the heck risotto is, and how to paint something that doesn’t look like an anemic stick figure. 

I love art.  I love how when you look at art, it’s all done with different mediums and techniques.  It’s awesome.  It’s so…flawed, but done so well.  I love it.  I think art is just appreciating people’s mistakes.

One of my all time favorites is Natasha Wescoat.  Go check her out and then come back.  No really!  Do it, you’ll be glad you did.  Stop rolling your eyes and just do it, I’ll wait patiently…

Isn’t she fantastic?  I love the trees and flowers, especially.  Awesome.  She makes me want to paint.

I have another friend who is a real live painter.  Like, he paints for a living, in his garage I think.  His work is completely different from Natasha Wescoat, but amazing nonetheless.  His work is like a commentary on society.  You look at it and you think, you feel.  He’s awesome too.  He goes by the moniker The Amazing Tumnus.  Or you can see his other website called Saint Schizophrenia Studios.

And while I don’t have actual pictures to post here, or a link, my two most favoritist artists live in my house.  They are my two daughters, Emma and Addie.  Emma is so good at art that she won the art award last year in school and told me that her art teacher told her she was the best artist in the class.  Ahem, we may have to teach her humility at some point.  Addie is just now getting into drawing.  She makes me pose for her with different facial expressions “Smile really big, Mommy, no not like that, now close your lips but smile big, BIGGER, now close your eyes, keep them closed, you’re peeking!” (five minutes or a decade goes by) “Mommy!  Keep your eyes closed!  You’re not smiling anymore, smile big!”  All of her art includes a Jay Leno chin and a chiseled nose that ends somewhere in the eyebrow section.  But I love it. 

I wonder if artists or painters wish they could do something better too.  They may be thinking, I wish I could balance a checkbook or I wish I could make hospital corners with my bedsheets. 

I really want to paint. 

What do you really want to learn to do?