August 31, 2008

Cold Fried Chicken

It's funny the places your mind wanders when you can't sleep or get comfortable in the middle of the night, a frequent and understandable circumstance with me lately. Especially since all three boys stayed at Mimi's last night and everything felt so out of balance and off and like limbs missing again despite the wonderful quiet and calmness this morning.

I found myself thinking about one of my very first childhood friends and staying the night at her house. They had a book-filled shelf in their kitchen and on one of the shelves were two tiny jars that contained my friend's and her little sister's umbilical cord stump. For breakfast one morning we ate cold fried chicken straight out of the fridge and I had never known you could eat fried chicken cold. And it was good. Her parents were cool and drove a Trans Am and let us dance to Prince in the living room and also took us to Dairy Queen one day where I had my very first Blizzard. Chocolate covered cherry. They would go on fun family vacations to Florida (we never went on vacations unless it was to visit family in the hills somewhere) and my Mom would feed their fish and hamsters while they were gone.

One day her parents got a divorce and all I knew that meant was they were moving far away and I never saw her again.

Another friend a couple years later was an only child and she had Guess jeans in every color. She could listen to music in her room with her door closed and even had a tv. Her Mom made tuna sandwiches, which I also had never eaten before, and she would cut them in perfect squares. She would also boil bones on the stove from the Beef Mart for their dog. The house always smelled like boiled dog bones. And one night I slept over but woke up in the middle of the night really homesick and my Mom came and got me.

Later on, her parents got a divorce, too.

I probably would go home every time from those friends' houses and tell my Mom all the cool things they had that I didn't. The things their parents did that mine didn't. And life can always seem more exciting and fun when it's not your house and not your family.

But, looking back, my house was always safe, and I always had plenty. More than enough. I hope my boys, and soon- little girl, feel the same way. I hope our home and our arms are ultimately the only place they truly want to be, in the end. I hope their hearts always have that compass that points to the stuff that really matters.

That's if I ever let them go to a friend's house. We're still working on that.

29 comments:

  1. Safety is a wonderful feeling, isn't it? I have similar memories of going to friends' houses with cool parents who let us stay up all night and be really loud, but as I got older, those friend started showing up at my house for dinner, sometimes on a nightly basis. And God bless my mom, she never once complained, just set out extra plates, and it was then that I started to figure out that the cool parents were not always the stable ones, and my friends knew that every night, we'd sit down at the dinner table and eat a home-cooked meal as a family. And like you, I hope I can be that mom. The one who has structure, safety, and who never minds feeding an extra mouth or two.

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  2. I know exactly what you mean. And I hope the same for my kids. I know I feel safe and secure in my home and I can only imagine my kids feel the same way.

    In some weird way I feel even more safe and secure now that I'm the parent. Isn't that strange? Like giving my kids the safe home they deserve - the good stable happy home with two parents somehow makes me feel safer. Maybe it's healing that little girl who didn't have such a safe and loving home.

    Beautiful post.

    Nell

    PS
    I had some bad experiences spending the night with friends so I doubt we'll allow it with our kids. I'd rather have them "miss out" on that then be scarred for life because of anything else.

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  3. Safety is so important, and as a teacher I realize just how many kids out there DON'T have it. so sad.

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  4. Sounds like a lovely childhood! I'm sure you're creating the same loving home for your kids.

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  5. yes, we are usually the ones hosting sleep overs rather than letting our kids stay somewhere else.

    i have distinct memories of sleep overs and my friends homes as well. you are right, it is always exciting and new but when it comes down to it home is the only place i wanted to be!

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  6. Oh my, yes, sleep-overs were such a big part of growing up. Totally true that it was always a big adventure...new food, new "stuff". But it's hard now to imagine letting my kids sleep over somewhere else!!

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  7. This was always the same with me...other homes seemed so interesting and fun, but their families slowly broke apart, one by one.

    I'm thinking the only place I'd ever let my boys spend the night would be yours, but otherwise I think we'll just host. ;)

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  8. It's funny the things you appreciate when you're older that didn't seem so appealing growing up! I try and remind myself that just because I don't feel as "perfect" as some of my friends and coworkers look, it doesn't mean that's necessarily the case.

    And oh, I don't even want to think about sleepovers! :)

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  9. I think of things like that, too. How much I always wanted to go other peoples house because it was a lot more fun, but they always wanted to come to mine.

    It is hard these days to let your kids sleep over at someone elses house.

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  10. I just love this post. I have the same kinds of memories of thinking things were cool at other people's houses. But in the middle of the night, I often had to have mom come pick me up. I felt the very best at home.
    I want that for my boys too. A safe haven, a refuge, all that good stuff.
    Lovely post.

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  11. I only allow children to sleep at my house. I get weirded out when the other parents jump at the opportunity and not even know me, or what I believe in.

    I don't care that my oldest is in high school, it's my rule.

    My kids understand. I can't say completely, but they do.

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  12. I was totally that kid Erin is talking about and hope that when X is older WE will be that safe house for his friends to come to. In fact that is one of goals daily as I look at our journey in raising him up.

    But OMG! All boys THREE boys?! gone overnight?! holy smokes! ;) I bet she looooooved every second!

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  13. This post sure brought up a lot of memories for me. It's different looking back on all of it.

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  14. oh how i love and understand this post....beautiful.

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  15. I know what you mean- my mom was a SAHM, and I was always jealous of the kids that 'got' to go to daycare, because I saw all the cool playgrounds & fun toys they would get to play with there... but now, looking back, I'm so thankful for her sacrifice, and now that I'm a SAHM/WAHM (I work in an office at a camp & take my baby with me), I hope I never have to send him to daycare. :)

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  16. You were very fortunate to grow up in such a stable home. What a great way to be able to look back on your childhood and what a different world we would live in if everyone had had that!

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  17. Sorry we didn't go on that many exciting vacations. That is the one thing I really regret. I love cold fried chicken too. Great post.

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  18. I know just what you mean... I felt like it was sooo unfair to not have all the cool toys or awesome vacations as a kid sometimes but in hindsight I'm so glad my parents took care of me in all the important ways!

    I appreciate it so much more now as an adult- and a mom.

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  19. I loved going to friends houses to eat their sugared cereal. My mom wouldn't buy sugared cereal. ;) But, my sweet mom came to pick me up so many times in the middle of the night b/c I was scared and wanted to be at home. After I ate all their food. ;)

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  20. Isn't it always true how we seem to think life is always better for somebody else? The reality is that many of us have some of the best lives ever because of the safety, love, and laughter in our own homes. Thanks for the reminder that while others may seem like they have it all, I'm pretty darn lucky with my wonderful marriage, two wonderful children, a beautiful house, and a job that I enjoy.

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  21. I understand. I always thought so many of my friends had so much more than I did, and that their parents were cooler and not so strict...

    But looking back, I had plenty. I didnt have to worry about stability and safety. I had both parents. It was good, you know?

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  22. Oh, I feel the same way about wanting my children to feel so safe and welcome at home. I always thought that home just sort of happened. Now, I know there is much work involved. But, oh, it such good work.

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  23. What Erin said is so moving, I hope to be that house. I always wonder about this, how Cricket will value what he has and what he doesn't. I can only hope for the same he comes to the same revelation at a much younger age than I. I was always so homesick, my parents came to get me many a time!

    But is it me or is the thought of eating cold fried chicken while staring at an cord stump kinda gross?

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  24. You're stirring up childhood memories here.

    I have learned from other moms that it's not only my kids, but all children tell their parents that they are the strictest parents of anyone they know. Maybe it's a badge of honor. :-)

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  25. Sometimes we go through that with our kids. They always want to be at other people's houses and not have their friends here. It sometimes hurts my feelings, but really, I'm sure they just want to be away from their siblings for awhile, lol.
    Just last year I went through that with my 15yo son. We didn't give him enough, etc. yesterday he came up to me with a bombshell. How wonderful we are as parents because "You get it."

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  26. I remember reading this post and I'm a little floored that I didn't comment the first time.

    I have some really 'cool' memories of friends and their parents, who are now divorced too. But come to think of it, it was usually JUST the Mom or Dad, not both, that the memories center around. Interesting.

    And yes, fried chicken is QUITE good cold. ;)

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  27. Oh and Thanks for linking up today Steph!

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  28. Today (Aug 31, 2010) Elaine is having a fun link up for old posts in your archives- Check it out!

    Steph

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  29. It's amazing the things we remember, All of the "cool kids" from my school ended up so different from me and how I wanted my life to be.

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