Dec 082009

Monkees…I’m back. Wow, I missed you even more than I imagined I would. I was so excited to write to you again this morning that I woke up at three and couldn’t fall back asleep. Which is fine except that by the time my kids wake up at 7, waddle downstairs, and ask for breakfast, I’ll have to tell them that mommy’s too tired because it’s been a really long day. And they’ll look confused and hungry, as usual. Consistency is important in parenting.

Anyway, I wrote many drafts of this post which explained how thankful I am to the guest writers for their brave and beautiful posts and how humbling all of the comments about me and Momastery were…but then I remembered another sign Bubba posted on our wall at home. It said “Don’t be humble. You’re not that great.” I think that pretty much sums it up. So… moving right along.

Friends, I’d love to tell you about the book proposal, but I can’t, because I’m too worried about Lou.

I’ve never met Lou. I’ve never even emailed Lou. But I really like Lou. I wish I could put Lou in my purse and carry her around everywhere with me. Like so many of you, Lou is always offering beautiful and loving blog comments and everybody needs some of those in real life. Also, if Lou were in my purse, every time I lost it I could yell “OH LOOOOUUUUUU… WHERE AAAAARE YOU?” And she could yell back “WE’RE OVER HERE G!! UNDER THE LAUNDRY PILE! And that would be so fun. Anyway, I don’t think this is actually going to happen. But the point is that I really want to make Lou happy. And Lou once suggested that it’s important to lighten things up periodically on Momastery because who wants to be part of a Revolution if the Revolutionaries aren’t constantly laughing? Nobody fun.

I think Lou is very wise. So Lou, today I’m gonna take us back to our Momastery roots. We’re gonna keep it real, Lou. How about some GOOD OLD KITCHEN HUMOR to give ourselves some breathing space?

You Monkees know Caren, right? She’s my cousin who has posted so honestly and bravely here about losing her dad, my Uncle Frank. Caren has a whole lot of amazing family left on this side, though. She has a sassy, hilarious, stunning sister named Ali and a gentle giant of a brother named Frank. Caren has a loving husband named Todd and a Gap baby with jet black hair and sky blue eyes named Amelia.

And Caren’s got a mother of a mother named JUDY. Aunt Judy to you.

I’m not sure how to describe Aunt Judy. Let’s put it this way. If Judy likes you, you’ve got it MADE. If she doesn’t like you…you’d best be ON YOUR WAY. Quickly. Because Judy is gonna tell you how she feels. And you’re gonna listen. And one more thing. If you’re hungry…Judy’s not your best bet. Judy makes me look a bit like Rachael Ray. We have this gene in my family which causes us not to be able to cook or follow simple directions. Also to be completely unable to think anything through in a practical manner. I come by all of that genetically. Here’s proof.

One day, when Caren was a child, Judy decided to “make a cake.” We have no idea what inspired her. Before this day Judy had never even “made a sandwich.” Before this day Judy had never even MADE A PURCHASE AT THE GROCERY STORE. Those of you new to Momastery will be tempted to assume that I am exaggerating. I assure you that I am not. Anyway, for whatever reason, on this day, Judy was determined. Caren, who was ten years old, was to be her assistant. Poor Caren was terrified and horrified and tried her hardest to remember all of her emergency numbers and the locations of the family first aid kits.

Now please understand that the cake Judy was determined to bake was a Jello No Bake cake. So really, the “baking” just meant pouring and stirring.

Judy poured the milk and the jello powder into the crust and then picked up the box to read the next direction. She said the following to Caren:

“Step Three. Cover and tape the cake on the counter.”

Judy looked down at Caren’s impossibly huge brown eyes which were twitching in anticipation of impending doom.

“Well, why are you just standing there? Go FIND SOME TAPE!”

Caren scurried away and ransacked the house. No tape.

Fearfully, she returned to Judy and said “Mommy, I can’t find any tape.”

And Judy said,“WELL. THEN. Go to Gramma’s house and get some tape from her! HOW THE HECK IS ANYBODY SUPPOSED TO BAKE AROUND HERE WITH NO TAPE? GO!” Also, Judy never says heck.

So Caren ran down the street, busted into my grandma’s house and breathlessly requested tape. My grandma asked her why she needed tape. Caren said “We’re trying to make a cake!” And my grandma said “Oh. All right then, it’s in the office.” Because, you see, my grandmother has never made a cake in her life either and wouldn’t have the slightest idea that tape was an unusual ingredient.

So Caren grabbed the masking tape, ran all the way home, busted through the door and yelled to her mom “Mommy , I got the tape!” Caren was quite proud to have made such a huge contribution to the cake baking.

So Judy called her over to the counter and told her to start taping. Judy and Caren used an entire roll of masking tape securing that cake to the counter. When it was completely covered and secured beyond a shadow of a doubt, Judy picked up the box and read to Caren:

“Step Four: Place cake in freezer.”

Judy and Caren stared at the cake that they had just spent 15 minutes taping to the counter.

Then Judy started using some VERY OFF COLLAR language that I can’t really post here. Caren remembers the tirade as including lots of loud requests for intersession from Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

At this point Caren picked up the cake directions with trembling hands, in hopes of finding a clue.

After a moment and several silent prayers Caren said in a teeny weeny voice:

“Mommy? Step three says cover and TAP the cake on the counter.”

It’s true. Every word.

Do you understand me a little better now?

Dec 112009

Christmas 2003


A couple of years ago, in an exasperated moment, I challenged you with a question. I asked if you had a role model anywhere or if there was anyone you admired enough to want to emulate. You gave the quiet, teary eyed answer, “mom.” I was pleased to hear that but could not have believed then, amidst a crisis, that in the blink of an eye you would become everything she stands for and share the skills that make her so special to everyone around her. Your sensitivity and ability to become genuinely absorbed in others is a mirror of your mom. And it seems to come so naturally. It as if the things that made her so special were just waiting to be born again in you.

It began to show with your students but there can’t be much doubt that it was a birth that made it so evident. Chase has brought out the best in a lot of us but none more than you. Sometimes when I watch you watching him I see a twenty-seven year old Patti Kishman Doyle connecting her heart and soul with her baby. Sometimes when I see you and your mom together with Chase I can barely tell you apart. Sometimes I wonder if one or both of you will burst from being overjoyed. I just can’t imagine what your mom feels when she watches you. She must see herself. She must be so proud of you and so proud of herself.

It is important to have magic in your life and to believe in that magic. My magic has always been Patti Doyle. Now she and I get to relive her youth. That is a magic gift to give. Thanks for the magic and for bringing so much to us of yourself and your marriage and your baby. And thank Craig for being a strong husband and a sensitive, attentive, involved dad.

Is this a great life or what?

Dec 112009

Chase’s first grade class is studying Needs and Wants. Yesterday, he brought this classwork home in his folder:

In case you’re having trouble reading…the assignment says “My mom or dad would like________” and in the blank Chase wrote: “JUST 2 MINUTES OF PEACE” and then as if this wasn’t enough information for his teacher about the climate of our home, he added an illustration of a woman screaming “AAAHHHHHH!”

I just thought you should see this in case you were considering taking to heart any of my suggestions about finding peace for yourself and peace for your home.

Why does the boy feel he needs to share publicly all of our little family “situations?” He ALWAYS does this. I have no idea where he gets that.

Here’s to wishing for JUST TWO MINUTES OF PEACE for you this weekend.

Also, this is the second post of the day, check below for a letter from Bubba.

Love, G

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