The Green Glass

Without fail every breakfast, lunch, and dinner served at home during my childhood started out with an argument between my brothers and me.  It was an ongoing battle.  The bickering had to be ended by our parents.  A precursor to the days of the TV remote fights that would last hours after the favorite show was over.  We fought over a Tupperware green cup.

“I want The Green Glass!’  “I want The Green Glass!”  “I want The Green Glass!”  “You had it last time!”  “I did not!”  “No!  It’s my turn!”  “No!  It’s my turn!”  “You already had a turn!”  “I haven’t had it in FOREVER!” 

I can’t tell you why The Green Glass was the best glass.  It just was.  Milk, juice, water, Kool-Aid all tasted better coming from The Green Glass.

Somewhere during the move from my childhood home to the house my parents now live in, which happened when I was in seventh grade, The Green Glass went missing.  It became a distant memory as the TV remote wars started.

Until a week ago.

I was rummaging for something in my mom’s cupboards when I found a stack of Tupperware cups.  The Green Glass was on the top of the stack.  My heart skipped a beat.  I smiled.

Me: MOM!

My mom: What?

Me: You don’t need these glasses anymore do you?!  I can take them off your hands!  I could always use more glasses for the boys!

My mom entered the kitchen.

My mom: What glasses?

Um.

Me: These.

I held up the stack.  My plan might be blown.

Me: You already have a whole bunch.  I can take these off you hand.  All I really need is one.

My mom: Do you really think it’s fair to take The Green Glass without discussing it with your brothers?

Me: Yes.  I’m the one with children.

My mom: And you’re going to share with the boys?

Me: Um.  Maybe.  Sure.  Why not?

My mom: (rolled her eyes)  Fae, you just want to beat your brothers.

Me: But MO-OM!

The Friendly Giant walked in the room, removing his sun glasses.

The Friendly Giant: Hello, Everybody!

Me: Hello, Dr. Giant.

He gave me a smile and a backwards nod to acknowledge my immediate acknowledgement to his allusion.  His eyes went straight for the stack of glasses.  Hiding them would be too suspicious.  Caught.

The Friendly Giant: The Green Glass!  Mom, can I have that?

Me: NO!  I’m the one with kids!

My mom: No.  They’re mine. 

She sighed and left the room.

Me: They will be mine.  Oh yes, they will be mine.

The Friendly Giant: Fat chance.  She loves me more.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

The Green Glass.  Front and center.  Because it’s special.

Back then they didn’t make blue but a type of orange or else we would have fought over the blue one too.

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10 things about my Dad

1. My dad’s a storyteller.  It’s why I want time alone from him.  To hear his stories.  It’s why he was so good at police outreach.  People love his stories.  It’s why the community college wanted him without a degree.  Because he taught so well.  Through stories.

2. My dad’s favorite colors are red, white, and blue.  Which is to say, he doesn’t have one but is willing to pacify his young daughter who was trying to draw something for him.  Some dads lie to please their kids.

3. He’s a lone wolf.  He wishes my baby brother and I didn’t inherit that.  We also inherited his run-towards-trouble, not away from it.  He wishes we didn’t inherit that either.

4. He’s had a mustache since he started college.  My mom has been asking for him to shave it for years.

5. He wanted to be a cop ever since he was a little boy.

6. He never drank.  He never smoked.  He was always a Good Guy.

7. He worked for Pepsi before he was a cop.  He raised us all to be Pepsi fans.

8. I have complete faith he can fix anything.  Even when he grumbles that he doesn’t work on foreign cars.

9. He keeps mints in his pocket so he can give them to my boys.  Just like his grandpa did for him.

10. A few stories:

When my dad was three, his family lived at the top end of a T intersection.  Before work, his father would move my dad’s little sister from her crib to the master bed to sleep with his mother.  My dad woke early and turned on the TV to watch Howdy Doody.  One morning, my grandpa left for work.  My dad raced to watch Howdy Doody.  Someone ran the stop sign and plowed into the family home.  The car landed on my dad’s empty bed.  My dad regrets never sending a letter to Howdy Doody thanking him for saving his life.  Also when my family lived at a T intersection, my dad parked his squad car in front of the house, so if someone ran the stop sign, s/he would plow into a car, not my bedroom.

My dad tells how he and I sat on a bench once, eating ice cream.  “I feel sorry for grown ups,” I said as I swung my legs.  “Why?” my dad asked.  “Because your feet always touch the ground.  You never get to rest.”

The year they rereleased Snow White in the theaters when I was a child, my dad bought a poster.  He hung it up in my room one night when he got off his midnight shift.  The first thing I saw when I woke up was that poster.

When I went to college, I cried the night before I left because who would hug and kiss my dad in the morning before he went off to work and to say goodnight since my brothers were practicing teenage boy jerks.

It’s hard to stop the stories because there are so many.  He has shaped my life.  I turned to him when I questioned my faith because I knew he would be honest with me.  I turned (and still do) to him when I questioned a moral, a philosophy, a law, a political stance.  One of his favorite past times is to play devil’s advocate to me, especially when he can push me to annoyed anger, and then I yell “better a bleeding heart than none at all.”  He enjoys when he can trip me up with a riddle or a joke, miming reeling in a fish when he has me on the hook.  (I’m more fun to sport because I fall for less than my brothers.)  He’s my dad. 

My dad and me.

Note: Not only was I an ugly baby but way too skinny.  What where those people doing to me?

15 Things I’ve learned from my Mom

1. Cake is a good breakfast.  Eggs, flour, milk.  What more do you need?

2. Always save room for dessert.

3. Boys are impressed by the perfect spiral.

4. When parenting, say “no” only when you have to.

5. Never throw a jar of Vaseline or nail polish in a fit of anger.

6. PMS is real.

7. There are no boy toys or girl toys.  There is no men’s work or women’s work.

8. The world is shades of grey.

9. You have kids to have an excuse to play as a kid.

10. Stay married long enough and your husband will give in and let you decorate the house however you wish.

11. It’s ok to take a little credit for how your kids turned out.  You started them on their paths.

12. If you have a favorite color, it will seep into every aspect  your life.

13. Beware of street poles.

14. You’re never too old to learn something new.

15. The more skin the male on the cover is showing, the “better” the book.

 

My mom and me

Favorites

When asked who are mother’s favorite is, my brothers and I respond different.  They say me.  I maintain its Face.  When she is in the room, we all say a different sibling.  Because it’s fun to irritate my mother.  But truly it’s Face.  “But he was in trouble the most!  I punished him the most!” my mother says.  True, but if I had done any of the things he had done, I would have been locked up in a convent until I was 18.

When we are asked about our dad’s favorite, we all look at each other and shrug.  I don’t know.

***

When talking to other moms, the discussion of favorites comes about.  Usually to deny favorites or secretly admit them.  I always boasted, “Tornado A’s my favorite!  He can’t run away or back talk!”

Guess what.  He can.  Which means I need a new catch phrase.

“It changes from minute to minute.”

***

Tornado E: You look like a zombie.

He was immediately demoted to below his brothers.  Since it was the *Very First* thing he said today, he was demoted beneath my books, chocolate, and hot showers.

Tornado S: Wow!  Mommy, you cleaned the whole house!

He was immediately my favorite because it was said without sarcasm and with enthusiasm.

Tornado A ran and hugged me.

He was immediately my favorite.

Tornado E: Mommy, you make the best breakfasts!

Tornado E was immediately my favorite.

Tornado E: Mommy, your tummy is bigger than daddy’s!  You have a fat tummy!  (Tornado E  was immediately demoted under his brothers.  Again.)

Tornado S: Mommy, you’re fat!  (Tornado S was immediately demoted with Tornado E.  If we had a pet, they would be beneath the pet.)

Tornado E: And you have a fat butt!  (Laughter from both boys)

Tornado S was demoted beneath books, chocolate, and hot showers.  Tornado E was demoted beneath books, movies, all desserts, hot showers, and Disneyland.

And in *my* defense, I am NOT bigger than the ex.  I do NOT have a bigger gut than the ex.  And my pajama pants make my butt look big.  AND all of this happened in the first hour of the day!

My Mom: Well, in their defense, Fae, you could stand to lose five to ten pounds.

My mom was now demoted beneath the boys, my father, my brothers, my sister-in-law, my friends, and my favorite grandma.

Tornado S: HUG!  (He wrapped me into a bear hug.)

He was now my favorite.

Tornado A hugged me.

He was now my favorite.

Tornado E waited until the boys are doing something else and hugged me.

Tornado E: I love you, Mommy.

Tornado E was my favorite.

Look at that.  Three favorites.

And my mom is still demoted.

Points of Interest

  • I wanted to pack up as much stuff as possible the night before, but my parents decided that all we needed to do was put in the car seats and load the big bags.
  • The mini van was more narrow than my SUV.
  • I was ready at 6am.  They were ten minutes late.  I could have slept in ten more minutes.  Ok. Now I’ll drop it.
  • “Wow.  You should go away more often.  I’ve never seen your house this clean.”  “You’ve never visited at breakfast before the tornadoes are loose.”
  • I can now cuss only in my mind while I struggle to strap boys into seats on a bench slightly too narrow.
  • Best line: “I think your son just got the clap.”  My brother took them to the bathroom at a stop.  “Tornado S laid his junk right on the urinal.”  There is only so much theory teaching I can do.  By the way, Friendly Giant, do you mind teaching them to shake too?
  • My boys are completely melodramatic.  “My back hurts so much.  I’m going to die.”  “I’m so cold.  I’m going to die.”  “I’m so bored.  I’m going to die.”  “It’s so fluffy.  I’m going to die.”  (Their reference.  Not mine.)
  • It’s totally weird to find yourself getting excited like a homecoming when you no longer live there.
  • Two story suite.  A room with two queens and a crib for the boys and me.  The hide-a-bed in the living room for The Friendly Giant.  A loft room with a CA King for the parents.
  • Being a loft means there is a half wall at the head of the bed, overlooking the living room.  Up popped a very blond head with sparkling eyes and a mischievous smile.  My heart stopped.
  • And my dad laughed.
  • Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken.
  • Thanks to The Violinist for getting us discount tickets at Disneyland.
  • We would have been the first ones there except for the free breakfast.  FREE breakfast.
  • First ride: Star Tours.  I got the before and after interview on the Flip.
  • Thanks to the BFF for teaching me to snag Fast Passes and to hold them and snag when you can.
  • Both boys were tall enough for Star Tours, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
  • I’m going to say this just once. *I* did not lose any boys on my watch, in my zone, no matter how many I had.
  • Tornado S decided he will never do again nor should the party do again  Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Haunted Mansion.
  • I found my new hobby.  Building light sabers.
  • My family lacks communication when we are tired and hungry.
  • Nothing is more fun than the Buzz Lightyear ride with the boys.
  • To the jerk who stole a light saber from our stroller while we were in a ride, you suck.  I hope karma kicks your ass.
  • So maybe leaving the park at dinner time *was* a good idea.  I still didn’t have to like it.
  • S’more bark and the discussion on how we can make it at home.
  • Disneyland TWO DAYS IN A ROW.
  • Tornado E was just tall enough to do Indiana Jones.  He freakin’ loved it!
  • He also bought a necklace.  I call it creepy.  He calls it Frank.
  • Tornado A loved The Tiki Room.  And blue grass.  Go figure.
  • When we’re not tired and hungry, my mom and I kick @ss as a team.
  • My dad and I left the park after lunch for “naps.” But Tornado A fell asleep as we walked to lunch.  He slept through lunch.  He was not interested in napping again.  Far from it.
  • On the other hand, the older boys slept for an hour and half, and I had to wake them up.
  • Last ride on Star Tours, Tornado E was the rebel spy.
  • More souvenirs.  Little things.  I should have bought the boys more Star Wars cars.
  • The ice cream parlor was closed!  WTH!
  • The fireworks were awesome as usual, but Tornado A prefered to snuggle up in my arms and ignore them.
  • Getting out of the park was a b*tch as usual.
  • The weekend was much too short.
  • I didn’t get to see the BFF.
  • Tornado E came down with a fever on the way home and blamed the Friendly Giant for turning on the AC and making him sick.
  • I slept so very much.  Jane Eyre can’t be that boring.
  • Now that I think about it.  I should have bought more.  They have a website, right?

Off her meds

Me: Hi-

My Mom:  Did you get a hold of your father?!  Why didn’t you call right after I called?!  If he doesn’t buy it now, he won’t buy it at all!  I want that iPod!

Um, hi Mom.  How are you?  How was your nail appointment?  Guess what your grandsons are doing.

Breathe.

Me: I didn’t call right away because I was in the middle of making breakfast and scouring the kitchen.  Since you asked me to talk to Dad about your Christmas present, let me do it my way.  If he doesn’t get it today, there are other days.  If he doesn’t get it at all, you can buy it after Christmas.

My Mom: I need it for line dancing classes!

I think she growled.

Breathe.

Me: Ok, Mom.  I’ll take care of it.  How are-

My Mom:  I have to go.  I’m going to help your Grandma make pizzelles.  I’ll talk to you later.

Me: Ok.  I lo-

Click.

What the f-k was that?  I didn’t give a sh*t about her Christmas present.  She should have made a list weeks ago.  And if she wanted my help, then she should let me do it my way.

I dialed my cell phone.

My Dad: Hel-lo

Me: Hey.  I’m calling about Mom’s gift.  I was going to be sly and subtle and awesome, but she’s nagging and yelling.  She’s set on bitch-

It clicked.

The pieces all fit together.

The nagging.

The picking of fights.

Her need to dictate a solution for whatever problem I was facing.  Forcefully.

Expressing her every opinion about every subject.  Forcefully.

The last time I noticed this I told my dad, “She’s set on bitch.”  She overheard.  She was unhappy.  But it turns out she had gone off her antidepressants.

Crap.

Me: She’s off her meds.  Again.  Isn’t she?

My Dad: (sighs) Yes.

Me: Why?

My Dad: She hates taking so many pills.

Me: I get that.  But she can’t be happy this way.  She makes us miserable.  She’s miserable.  Doesn’t she see she has a problem?

My Dad: She does.  She just doesn’t want to take pills for the rest of her life.

Too late for that.

Me: Then she needs to see a therapist.

Silence.

That was the problem.  She wouldn’t.  And she would keep hurting, following dark paths that I had already traveled.  With any luck, she would never go as deep and dark as I did.  But I hurt for her.  She’s my mother.  She didn’t deserve to be in a dark place.  But she wouldn’t seek help.  She didn’t think “talking to someone” (said with a sneer) would help.

Me: So want to know what she wants for Christmas?

A late apology

“Hello?”

“Hi, Mom.  I’m sorry.”

“What for?”

“Remember the time I was about two, and I walked away from you and Dad when we were at the state fair, and you had to split up to find me, and a ten-year old girl found me and sat down with me to wait for you guys to find me, and Dad found me first, and you came with two huge, young security guards.  I’m sorry for that.

“I’m sorry for the time that I walked away from you at the county fair at two and half.”

“You walked away from us the next year after that.”

“Huh.  I don’t remember that.  I do remember walking away from you in Vegas at Circus Circus.  I’m sorry about that.”

“You were three.  We turned around, and you were gone.”

“You lost your contact.  I knew it was going to take a while, so I decided to go back and look at the doll I wanted.  But I’m sorry any ways.  I’m also sorry for all those times I walked away in stores.”

“The worse part is you never looked lost, so no one knew.  It was always hard to find you.  That’s why we trained you guys to come to the whistle.  If they had leashes, back then-”

“Harnesses, Mom.  Not leashes.  But I’m sorry.”

“So which kid did you lose?”

“Tornado S.”