Sunday, May 9, 2010

Grand Mother Memories

Tonight I found an old journal of mine, one that I used to write in on my trips back and forth to Manhattan from Glens Falls. I must have come home for a Mother's Day weekend as there was no date of this entry but I listed out all of my favorite childhood memories of both of my grandmother's and my mom. I laughed and cried as I read through them. These lists have jogged my memory for the better and it reminds me that the things we treasure the most are moments in time rather than material possessions.

We all met at my Grandma LaSarso's house today to pick and choose our favorite things as her house is on the market. The boys divided up all of Papa LaSarso's treasured car collection, we all took utensils and cookware in hopes that her spirit will work some magic in the cooking process. I am blessed to have her bedroom furniture and the buffet that matches the dining room table she had already gifted me. As I looked through some old family photos I noticed that the table my family shares meals around is the same table that my mother grew up sitting at. I am so blessed to have these heirlooms and a lifetime of memories.

Gram Center, aka, Gracie
The distinct smell of stale cigarette smoke, coffee, butter and a gas stove
The sound of Star Trek playing in the background of the kitchen
A loaf of Villa bread always on the counter
Having to walk to Price Chopper to buy Lard for her spaghetti sauce
Big tins of olive oil
Bingo chips
Mint green paint
The pathway of slate steps in the backyard
Rose bushes
Flowery house coats
Red fingernails
Cool lemon Sunshine brand cookies
Spending afternoons on her porch
Sitting on "The Wall" in the backyard
Visiting Mrs. Tucker
The sound of the washer and dryer in the bathroom off of the kitchen
Her rhaspy, throaty voice
The way she sat in a chair. Hunched over with her hands between her knees. Not lady like at all:)
How excited she got when she won bingo.
Her cane
The cupboard in the den
Soap Operas

Gram LaSarso aka Barb aka Betty aka Duma (because she was always doing too much)
The clean bleachy smell from under her kitchen sink.
How she always gave us OJ and milk in their respective glasses with our breakfast.
The time Sarah and I slept over and all I packed in my suitcase was my tea set and Barbie clothes so I had to wear one of her nightgowns to bed.
Christmas Eve with the TV screen covered in wrapping paper.
Tommy and I discussing in a hushed whisper what restaurant we wanted to go to after church on Saturday nights.
Sleeping upstairs but being very afraid of the framed picture of Jesus and the closet with the accordion-fold door.
Getting to sleep on the cot with the flowery padding from a summer lounge chair as the mattress.
Taking walks through the dirt path and around the block.
When Papa FINALLY unearthed the wagon from under the porch after a long winter.
The kitchen wallpaper: giant flowery turquoise blue and green pattern.
The basement ceiling covered in old postcards and newspaper clippings.
When Papa would make us a snow hill in the backyard to sled down.
The purple cup she used to make gravy in.
Her jewelry box.
The entire wardrobe she handmade for my Cabbage Patch Kids.
The Little Drummer Boy record, mostly just for the cover art.
Spending hours looking at photo albums.
Her banana cake with chocolate frosting, lemon meringue pie, knuckla soup, knadel, potato salad, rice pudding, chicken rice soup, cheese sauce and scalloped potatoes.
Richard's bowl of peas at Thanksgiving.
Papa's injured bent finger and how it felt on your back when he hugged you.
How she and Papa saved all of their proofs of purchase to get s the cardboard house with shutters, the Snap doll (of Crackle and Pop), and my Tickle Me Pink t-shirt.
All of the glass jars of nails, screws, and things that were under the stairs in the basement.
Taking me to her AARP and 60+ dinners with Margaret and Walt Wall.
Hearing people call her Betty.

My Mom
The pots and pans that hung on the wall in our 3rd Street house.
The room that Tommy and I shared at 3rd Street that overlooked the backyard.
Summers spent at Nancy Bryants and when I fell down the hill through the raspberry bushes.
The belt that I wore with the change purse attached which held my milk money.
Reading me Christmas stories from the back of her McCall's magazine.
The small blue overnight suitcase that I used for my dance recitals.
Crying with me when we lost Kit the cat.
Doing yoga to the Suzanne Somers record.
Making me Play-Doh from scratch.
Bringing home diapers from Rite Aid for my Cabbage Patch Kids.
Begging me not to give into the mean kids.
Looking through her high school scrapbook and realizing that she wasn't always just my mom.
Letting Sarah Barlow and I stay in our PJs and watch movies the entire day.
Getting excited over Tetris.
The doomed family trip to Vermont where we ended up eating at Wendy's and basically having it not meet anyone's expectations.
Giving me my own junk drawer in the kitchen.
Taking me to the Joy Store to buy new Girl Scout badges.
The Chapman Museum at Christmas
Crazy flea circus stories.
Going to see the premiere of The Muppets Take Manhattan with Tam, Jer and Diane.
Warning me not to cry at Benji, that it would turn out okay. I cried hysterically anyway.
When she bought me the Madonna inspired wooden circle belt and funky earrings at a bazaar with Aunt Wanda to cheer me up when I had the chicken pox.
Letting me make believe with Andy and the fact that I was certain I was invisible when I hid under the dining room table.
Picking out wallpaper
Hand-drawing my visuals for elementary school projects.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Life's bounty

Here's the thing, I've never been happy with my body. Well maybe on my wedding day I was happy with it, I had been consistently working out and simply had all the time in the world to focus solely on myself. I remember thinking how will I ever keep this up when we have kids, I felt it was a temporary moment and that I would slide back into a mostly sedentary life. Sure enough, the children came and as we adjusted and re-adjusted finding this "me" time was nothing short of impossible as a working mom. I finally took hold of the reigns a few weeks ago and now my mom and I have found this new routine of strength training every Monday and Wednesday at 6:15am, on the off days I jog on the treadmill. I feel so alive and happy and finally in control of my life again. I am learning to really enjoy the treadmill and running, it's such a fantastic outlet and most days I actually crave it. This is huge for me, I usually feel like I am gasping for breath and that my legs might just fall out from under me, but as that lessens my confidence grows. It's simply part of my life now, it's essential to make the time.

I have made a promise to myself that I will never say "I'm so fat" or "I hate my body" in front of my kids. I am not using a scale, I am not obsessing over a number, I am simply obsessing over me, my health and my family's wellbeing. I rejoice in the fact that Luke loves hummus and Ellie screams for avocados and apples, they don't know what McDonald's or Burger King are, they get excited for soup from Panera Bread. I want to keep their appetites as healthy as they are now, I don't want them to be tainted by greasy fried food and happy meals. Some may think this is snobby of me, or that I'm not any fun, but I want them to find the fun in the sandbox and on the playground and occasionally with an ice cream cone or a slice of pizza. It's all about balance and moderation and lifestyle.

We walked to the farmer's market this morning, Luke helped me pick out the potatoes and carrots, the eggs and apple bread, he'll help me make dinner tonight and we'll all feel blessed with the life that we're cultivating.

Even if it most of it ends up on the floor.