Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Little Meems decided to do swim team this year.  I am proud of her for going out of her comfort zone to try new things.  I am even more proud of her for how brave she's been and how determined she is, even in the face of...well...the girl can't swim.  She's got no game.  I keep thinking it'll happen, that she'll get it, but I'm not sure she will.

But she keeps on trying anyway.

She's the smallest one in her age group.  Not the youngest, just the smallest.  She feels a little embarrassed that the other girls are faster, but at the end of the race, she's just happy to finish.  All teeth and dimples.

In her first meet, she was so brave, even though she was so nervous she was shaking.  She held onto my hand for dear life and, at one point, fought back tears so no one would see.  But I did.  So I fought back mine too.

She's the kid that everyone cheers for because he/she is so far behind everyone else.  In the backstroke, most of the kids have gotten out of the pool, toweled off and have gotten a bite to eat before she finishes.  She looks like those old ladies you see with the flower caps swimming laps, slowly and with purpose, gracefully and in no hurry whatsoever.  Except she keeps criscrossing the pool and bumping her head on the lane lines.  In the end, everyone knows her name and is cheering madly for her -- even the competition.

The meaning of that is not lost on me, and it makes my heart hurt a little.  She, however, doesn't seem to mind.

Last night, she was bummed to hear she came in 35th in the freestyle.  Out of 35 swimmers. She was happy about finishing 32nd in the backstroke.  I didn't tell her there were only 32 swimmers.

She figured it out, though.  When she asked me, I had to tell her the truth.  She can handle it.  She nodded knowingly, sighed and declared "it's because I had to doggie paddle, isn't it?"

That, and the fact that between water in her goggles and the zig-zaggiest freestyle race I have ever seen, she got disoriented.  I know because I could tell by her expression mid-way down the lane.  It read "what the hell?  where am I?"

Oh well.  She hasn't complained, although she HAS already declared she won't be doing it next year.  But who knows??  She told me last night "maybe."

I'm so proud of her determination.  And, as much as it will be fun one day to reminisce about her "season of swimming," my hope is that it will set the stage for a sense of dedication and responsibility that will grow with her.  If quitting has crossed her mind, she hasn't said so.  I must say, I'm surprised and delighted by this tiny little girl who's so determined and brave and committed.

That's what I'll be thinking the next time the entire pool is cheering for her.

I'd like to think that's what everyone else is thinking too.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Little Meems never ceases to amaze me.  True, she is a little girl full of contradictions, and consequently, full of surprises.

But I don't know that I've ever known another child with such a capacity for love.  Genuine, honest love.  And she'll give it freely, if you let her.

Let her.

She is a sister so excited because her brother is getting his cast off.  She is a daughter who will compliment you on how pretty you look, or how handsome you are.  She is a friend who is worried about you when you get sick on the bus.  She gives compliments freely, and often.  And she means it.  She will pick you up when you fall.  And fret over your tears.  And kiss your booboos.  The victories of the ones she loves are her victories too.  And when you're sad, her heart hurts.  And she'll encircle you in her little spindly arms and stroke your hair and hold you until you can hold yourself again.

If you're lucky enough to be loved by her, you're luckier than you know.  If you're lucky enough to love her, then you already know how lucky you are.

Little Meems, when she was little

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Dozen Reasons Against Arts and Crafts

Arts and crap, that is.

I succumbed.  To the pleadings of a sweet, bored 5-year-old boy.  In the "hobby" section of the fabric store, where I had spent far too long to just pick up the thread I needed.  To reward him for his patience and good behavior, I let him browse the crafts.

Mistake #1.

He found a "weally cool piwate ship" that he just had to have.  A wooden model that you get to paint too!  For ages 8 and up!  Against my better judgement, but because I knew it would give him something to do, I bought it.

Mistake #2.

And so that leads us to mistake #3:  believing that he would be contributing whatsoever to the assembly endeavor.

Because it's for 8 year olds.  Which, even then, in  my house means "or their parents."

Mistake #4:  believing that it was as simple as following the instructions and that all prep had been done for you.

Mistake #5:  not having any sandpaper to sand the pieces that had not been prepped beforehand.

Mistake #6:  believing that the hole sizes would match the diameter of the sticks going in those holes.

Mistake #7:  jamming them in there anyway.

Mistake #8:  cursing when they break.

Mistake #9:  wasting $5 on the stupid thing.

Mistake #10:  freaking arts and crafts from the hobby section of the fabric store.

I should have known better.  This isn't my first rodeo.  Nothing, NOTHING I TELL YOU, that we have ever purchased in that section has worked out to be fun for everyone.  Not unless you consider tears and frustration and cursing and splinters fun.

Mistake #11:  Lying to him, telling him that we'll get another one.  And this time, Mommy won't break it.

Mistake #12:  Forgetting I told him that.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Aunt Diane Song

We spend Thanksgiving with my husband's family.  He has an aunt who lives in Memphis.  Diane.  I love Aunt Diane, and we always love catching up because she lives far away from us and we only see her once a year.

When Little Meems was 3, Aunt Diane really made an impression on her.  I'm not sure why, exactly.  It could be that Aunt Diane had missed the previous Thanksgiving when we had it at the beach because the travel was just too much.  So she was new to Meems, and I feel that at 3, kids start to really have an awareness for family and their whereabouts.  It's almost like that's the age they start to develop memories.

I think Little Meems and Aunt Diane must have bonded.  I can't remember fully, but my guess is there was lipstick and gum and a purse (or two) involved.  Those were the keys to her heart in those days.  Aunt Diane has two sons, and knowing Little Meems, she picked up on the fact that Aunt Diane needed a good dose of little girl.  Which is a service she could provide.

She's very intuitive that way.

We realized the impact Aunt Diane had on Little Meems once we returned home.  Little Meems made up a song about Aunt Diane.  Tuneless, and with just two words - "aunt," and "Diane."  Yes, it was the words "Aunt Diane" sung at the top of her lungs to a tune that played solely inside her head.  And since the little girl is completely and utterly tone deaf, we will never truly know what that tune was.

We soon realized she sang this special song only at certain, special, times.  

When she was in the bathroom.  Pooping.

Now, I don't know how to explain it.  Maybe the extended visit to the bathroom made her turn to song to pass the time.  Carly Simon sittin' on a toilet.  Pooping.  Girlfriend singing at the top of her lungs.  Adding a vibralto here and there for good measure.  And for specialness.  Because it sounded fancy that way.  

Never did the song get sung on shorter visits to the loo.  And never was the song sung anywhere other than the loo.  Only, only on visits to the loo for, well, it rhymes with loo.

In hindsight, it would have been nice to record that action.  However, I'm not organized enough to have the camera charged and ready to go at a moment's notice.  Bummer.  It would have been excellent material for a rehearsal dinner video.  As it stands, it'll have to settle for after dinner story time when the kids are all grown up.  

Aunt  Diane had a great attitude about her little dedication song.  She laughed.  If she felt offended, she never let on.  Aunt Diane, if you're reading this, thank you for that.  You've always been very sweet.

I just might have to sing your praises!  Wow, I hope I can remember the tune.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Meems. A Story in Pictures.

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousands words.  

In honor of her birthday month, here's what you need to know about Little Meems.  Although they're in no particular order, they tell her story nonetheless.

The End.