To understand me, you have to know MamaTurtle.
She’s the driving force behind nearly everything I do.
She’s the one who made me pay my 6th grade teacher a dime every time I said “shut-up”. Thank you, Mom… it’s stuck.
We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so she was forced to be creative. She once cut liver up and fried it trying to make us think we were eating chicken nuggets. Every so often she’d take us to the store, give us each $1 and call it “Fend For Yourself Night”. WE LOVED IT!!! What could we buy for dinner for $1?? Should we pool our money and see if we could buy dinner and dessert?? Should we stay on our own?? It still makes me giggle to think of us walking around the store inspecting everything (how she had the patience to wait for us to decide I’ll never know!).
People ask me how I’m so creative with food or can make meals for the 4 of us for so little money. It’s because of Liver McNuggets and Fend For Yourself Night. Thank you, Mom.
People also ask me constantly how I learned to decorate cakes or where I took classes. Nope, I watched my Mom. She didn’t have any fancy tools or gadgets, but somehow that plain little cake would transform into a Rugrat or Mickey Mouse with just a butter knife and a toothpick. I’ll never be that good.
I think the recurring theme with my husband and the spouses of my siblings, is “oh my word, how can you people celebrate everything??”. They have no idea. We’ve scaled it back, honey. Honestly we have. I remember celebrating National Pig Day, having split pea soup for Eric Clapton’s birthday, green eggs & ham for Dr. Seuss’s birthday (she still did this this year with only 20 year-olds at home!). Valentine’s dinner was not only heart-shaped everything by candlelight, but it also included homemade heart-shaped boxes filled with homemade truffles. Easter was 4 or 5 baskets each. There were 6 kids in my family, so you can do the math. Everything was special and everything was worthy of a celebration. I’m tame next to her, I promise you.
One year for Halloween, there wasn’t money for costumes so she took 2 large stuffed animals and cut a slit up the back, took the stuffing out and put me and my sister in them. They were fabulous. And not only did she do that, but she saved them for 30 years and put our daughter’s in them last year when they were the same ages we were. I don’t know if that’s sweet or weird, but we’ll go with sweet for this post.
Growing up we had Family Night once a week. If it was your turn you got to pick the meal and the evening activity for the family. It was wonderful and special and one of my favorite memories growing up. I’ve attempted to start it MANY times with my own family and we always get a month or two in and burn out somehow. I don’t know how or why this happens to us, but I’m even more confused by how she managed to keep it going all those years. Thank you, Mom.
This post could go on for days if I tried to explain to you every reason why she is just so gosh darn special. And you probably still would just smile, but not really get it.
People ask me why I do everything I do and it’s not because I’m trying to live up to her. Trust me, that would be quite a lofty goal. It’s more that I want to do everything in my power to make sure my kids remember their childhood as fondly as I remember mine. I want them to grow up and think of their Mom and not have a thing to say except, “I love her so much”.
Oh yeah, and she’s stunningly beautiful too.