Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Language of Butterbean


I started this blog because I wanted to try to document the little things about Butterbean as a baby/toddler that made me chuckle.  Things that I know I'll forget as time goes on.

I have veered away from that a bit, so I thought I'd try to set this train back on its tracks tonight with a list of words from Butterbeans ever expanding and oh-so-adorable vocabulary.

Be prepared to go "awww."


Aye or Oi - hot.  I have no idea why she says it this way…but that's how it sounds to her I guess.

Issue - Bless you.

Chuck - couch.

Eeets - Eat.

Finkies - fingers.

Shawbies - Strawberries.

Puck - Cup.

Pinka or Pinkie - Blanket.

Foo-ta ball - football.  (Her Boppi's doing I'm sure.  If it were up to me, ESPN would be utterly banned.)

Mimi ah pee - This phrase could mean two things actually, depending on body language and my crystal ball.  It could mean 1) Mimi, I'm pretty or 2) Mimi, I need to pee/have peed/might have peed on your floor.

Mimi ah hunky - Mimi I'm hungry.  This is actually the first sentence out of her mouth every. Day.  And she will repeat it to me with increasing volume and gusto until breakfast is placed before her.

Ehvv Ewe - Love you.

Huck - Hug.

Ahsa Mimi? - Where's Mimi.

Mimisa seepin'/nighnights - Mimi is sleeping. (I have to admit, sometimes she sounds a little like JarJar Binks)

Kickle - Tickle. (One of my personal favorites.  Cracks me up to hear her say Kickle me Mimi.)

Sop it! - Stop it!

Buds - Birds

Gog - Dog

Gigi - her word for Granny…which is her 86 year old great great grandmother.

Pie - her word for Pap…which is her great grandfather.  Who also happens to be my Dad.

Deezus - Jesus (another personal fave)

and last but not least, what would any two-year old vocabulary list be without the following:

NO! - NO!

Surprisingly, that last one comes out pretty darn clear.

Two year olds…it's a good thing they're so cute.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sweet Roll

If she was five feet tall I'd have been surprised.

The photo is black and white, wrinkled and worn around the edges.  She is young here.  She looks at the camera with what can only be described as defiance.

She's my grandmother.

My grandfather is beside her with his arm slung around her shoulders, hat slightly askew and his lanky 6 foot 2 frame dwarfs her.

In May of this year, she'll have been gone 10 years.

My other grandmother, my mom's mother, passed away in December of that year.  It's crazy how much time can pass before you realize the importance of what you've lost.

I look back at the woman in the photograph and for the umpteenth time bemoan the fact that I really never knew her.  At least, not the way I wanted to.

Family legend has it that back when they were young, my grandfather liked his beer and she could out cuss a sailor.

I'm not sure if those are facts I should be proud of, but they are interesting.  They give a little depth to a woman who came late in life to Jesus and spent the years that remained trying so hard to live up to what she thought it meant to be "Christian."

Rigid, Southern Baptist fundamentalism? Check.

Sunday afternoon "fellowship" at the local buffet?  Check.

"Witnessing" to two young female sunbathers that they were "headed to hell" if they didn't get their acts straight? Check, check.  (True story.  The young girls were my mom's sisters.  They still tell that story to this day.)

She was a complicated woman with an entire luggage set of issues.  My cousin nicknamed her Sweet Roll.  I've never asked him why, but I'm pretty sure it was partly playful tongue in cheek and partly desperate prayer.

She could be cruel.  But she could also be outrageously generous and fun.

The pieces of her life that made her who and what she was are shrouded in mystery.   The knowledge that she had lost both of her parents by age sixteen coupled with the fact that she rarely if ever talked about her childhood helped her children and grandchildren to understand that her life had not been a Norman Rockwell painting.

At a very young age all the grandkids knew she was broken in some way because she couldn't accept love, even from us…the ones who got the best parts of her, unless it was on her terms.

She did not love perfectly.  And in my childishness…I harbored a grudge against her for that.

Because I am so very like her.

She didn't love me on MY terms…with easy hugs and quick affection.  Her way was more to drag me down to Miller's department store and buy me a new dress.  Every time she took me shopping she was screaming in her broken way, "I love you.  I have no way to communicate that with you other than this…but please, please, please know I love you and I want you to love me too."

And now, finally, I get it.  As damaged and hard as she was, every little step she took in my direction is worthy of my respect and gratitude.  Because love, no matter how it comes to us, is something to be grateful for.

Sweet Roll, it's taken me nearly ten years, but I think now I can finally put you to rest.

I love you.

Thank you for loving me.  Forgive me for not seeing?  Someday, we'll sit down face to face and laugh and cry and hug and love without fear.  Thank you for all your prayers, for taking me to church and for using what little faith you had to point me to Jesus.  I miss that beautiful, clear soprano voice, those cornflower eyes (I think Jessica got those…dang her) and trips to Duff's Smorgasbord because "Doe, Shayne's hungry."

I'm a Mimi now and I'm sure you've seen more than a few of my goof-ups and laughed and said, "Not so easy is it?"  Uh, no.  No ma'am it's not.

The dogwoods and the redbuds are blooming and I always think of you best during this time of year.  You live in the best memories of my heart, where Spring is eternal and full of promise.

You are loved and you are not forgotten.  It's ok that you weren't perfect…because newsflash…I'm not perfect either.

You were good though…in your own way…you were good.  And now, all these years later, I can appreciate how hard you tried.

Dear God, isn't it about time?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bustin' Down The Door of Fear…y'all have met Butterbean.  But I don't think I've ever introduced you to Buster.  Shame on me, I know.  I've got to pick up the slack where he's concerned because y'all…my little Buster is 47 different flavors of adorable.

See for yourself.

I mean…he's got the hair, the (mostly) toothless grin…he's got the total package.  I don't deny it.  Having beautiful grandchildren is my superpower.

And what does all this adorable-ness have to do with fear?

When Buster was about a month old, he decided to stop breathing.  He was awake, laying on his back and something happened (we still don't know what) to cause him to stop breathing.  His mother was able to resuscitate him twice.  That episode earned the little feller what would be the first of many trips to the hospital in an ambulance.

He stayed in the hospital for a week under observation and went through several tests.  He didn't have another episode like that, so the doctors postulated that he was lactose intolerant and had a touch of reflux.  While lying on his back he choked on what his little body was trying to reject.

They aren't positive that's what happened, but we went with it.  His mommy changed her diet, and things calmed down a bit.  And then, last week, out of the blue…he began having seizures.  Full on, whole body convulsing, incredibly frightening seizures.

Enter fear.

His mother has been unable to relax and get a full night's sleep.  Butterbean witnessed the first seizure and now constantly mentions that the baby has a boo boo and will point and wag her finger at the parade of doctors and nurses.  In her most serious voice she will command them to "No huwt a baby."

She's dealt with her mother's nervousness and many absences due to Buster's trips to the hospital.

And then there's Mimi.  Praying, pouting, demanding from God over and over again to explain Hisself…(like THAT'S gonna move Him to act) and trying desperately not to allow fear have it's way in her house.

Because fear is not my friend.

Oh it likes to claim that it is.  It likes to move on in with it's cousins Worry and Anxiety and lie to me that I have the right to worry and as a matter of fact, if I don't worry then I'm not being a concerned Mimi.  And then for added kicks fear likes to spread on out to all aspects of my life.

Money…you know you don't have enough to pay the bills.  You're NEVER going to have enough.  God's mad at you because you did X and so that's why you're not being blessed.

Work…seriously?  You think you can switch occupations at YOUR age?  Because of this ridiculous leap of faith of yours, this pipe dream…you don't have enough to take care of your BASIC NEEDS.  What kind of woman ARE you?  You CERTAINLY aren't creative enough to do this and you are SO SLOW…no one wants to buy your work because you are a TERRIBLE photographer.  Just give up already and go back to doing what you were doing.

Marriage…my relationships with my kids…my grandkids…my mom…my dad…and on and on and on and on.

Yesterday was a particularly bad day.  I had allowed fear to nearly paralyze me…the above phrases and more were on repeat in my mind and I literally could not move.  

But somewhere in the midst of the whirlwind…a still small voice spoke.

"Choose joy."

Choose joy?  Seriously?  Are you kidding me God?  Have You seen the wreck that is my life lately?

"Choose joy."

Funnily enough, He wasn't telling me something that I hadn't already resolved to do for myself for 2014.  New Year's day I made an inner commitment to myself…I would choose joy.

So…as weak and beat down as I felt yesterday…I stood up.  I took hold of my mind and forced myself to say positives anytime a negative thought came up.  I spoke it out loud.  I didn't feel courageous.  I felt sort of stupid for (a) allowing myself to get in that type of mental shape and (b) for having to walk around muttering things to myself.  Like a crazy cat lady.

When I got into the shower this morning I told myself out loud that I would choose joy.  I had a job to do today.  A job that I love desperately…that God gave to me.  And no, it's not easy…it's very challenging to me.  But it fulfills me in a deep way.

And it's not a job where I can walk around navel-gazing all day long.  It will literally destroy the quality of my work and the amount of my income.  So, after giving myself a stern talking to...I chose joy.

And guess what?

It worked.

Inside…the tumult has died down to a dull roar and I had a seriously good day in spite of the many challenges that came my way.

It occurred to me later this evening that my little stand had not been all that hard for me.  It just took some ah, shall we say…cojones on my part to tell fear to just shut. up.

Buster is not healed.  Money is still a problem.  Work still presents difficult challenges.  Butterbean is still an expert two year old and is totally winning the potty training war.

But so long as I choose joy…I am not defeated and there is room for Hope to work in me.

Praise God for joy.  And if, like me, you have been struggling…take hold of it with both hands.

How you ask?  Well…maybe you could:

Turn up the music and dance like a crazy person in the middle of your kitchen until you and your family are laughing hysterically.

Stand in your shower with the water and the tears streaming down your face and sing "I Will Survive" at the top of your lungs.  Gloria Gaynor won't mind.  Your neighbors might…but good ol' Gloria won't.

Go into your bedroom.  Open up your Bible and read Psalm 107 all the way through.  Let it sink in how many different ways God saves His people from their various predicaments.

Refuse to frown or grimace.  Smile at every person who crosses your path.  They will look at you like you're "special" at first, but then they'll smile back.

Last but not least…be grateful.  Somebody somewhere ALWAYS has it worse than you do.  Count your blessings and thank God for them.

You are amazing…and God has not given you a spirit of fear.  He has given you a spirit of Power and a sound mind.  So take authority over it and stop giving fear the time of day.

It's not worth it.  Trust me.

P.S. ~ The whole "Gloria Gaynor" thing…and the dancing…thing…did not necessarily happen in this house.  There are rumors, of course.  Butterbean has been bribed to silence with M&M's and Fruit Loops…so don't EVEN try to get it out of her.  She's rock solid.  Mostly because even if she did tell you…you wouldn't be able to understand her.  But a Mimi's gotta have a little insurance so…M&M's and Fruit Loops…they do a Mimi good.