Family Stories

1987 — There was a commercial on TV for “Spring Shadows Glen,” a hospital designed for teens with drug and alcohol abuse problems. Colin asked me, “When is Danny going to Spring Shadows Glen?” I told him that it was a place just for teens with problems. And Colin said, “Danny does have a problem. He’s mean.”

1989 — Paul had a really tough time learning to talk, but he could make simple signs that we taught him to make communication a little easier and to make his needs known. The first two signs he learned to use on his own? “More” and “cookie,” which was also his first two-word phrase. Prophetic.

1977 — When we brought Kendra home from the hospital after she was born, Danny came running in to see her, but stopped when he heard her crying. He asked what was wrong and I said she was hungry. He ran to the kitchen to get her something to eat and when he came back, cookie in hand, he took one look at her breastfeeding and exclaimed, “She’s eating YOU?”

Our DisneyWorld Vacation in 1995:

Megan’s favorite thing to say on every ride: “I’m ready to get off of this ride.”

Paul’s favorite thing to say on every ride: “Can we go ride the bus now?”

We stayed at a really amazing Disney Resort Hotel. When it was time to go home, Colin said, “I’m ready to go home, but I sure wish we could take this house with us.”

When we had breakfast with Mickey Mouse, Paul, of course, kept trying to get Mickey’s attention. He kept yelling, “Mickey! Miiiiiiiiickeeeeey!” Megan finally deadpanned, “Paul, Mickey can’t hear you. Those great big ears are fake.”

While we were in Orlando, the NBA Finals between Orlando and Houston were taking place. We drove home and the goal was to make it in time to watch that game at home that night. As we were on the way, we stopped for snacks. As we got back on the road, Colin said, “This is perfect. I’ve got my coke in one hand, my beef jerky in the other hand, my chips in my lap, and tonight I’ll watch the Rockets become win the NBA Championship.” And that’s exactly what happened!

1986 — Colin and Shantelle were watching while I was changing Sean’s diaper and Colin said, “Girls don’t have a penis, right, mom?” “Right, Colin.” “And girls don’t have little balls eeeeever, right, mom?” “That’s right, Colin.” Then he said, “Girls just have — I can’t think of that word what it is that girls have.” “It’s called a vagina, Colin.” Colin thought a minute and then said, “Does Shantelle gots a vagina?” “Yes, Colin, she does.” “Can I see Shantelle’s vagina?” Shantelle spoke right up, “Nope. I left it up in Kaci’s room!”

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Megan was going to start preschool when she was 4 and we talked a lot about it ahead of time and she was looking forward to it. On her first day, she woke up and came running downstairs and said, “Today I’m going to pretty school!”

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1992 — One day Megan saw me cooking, actually using pots and pans on the stove. Since this was usually something Tom did, she was surprised. Her mouth dropped open and she said, “You’re cooking? Aren’t you afraid the fire will hurt you?”

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I didn’t allow the kids to say, “Oh my God” or just the word “God” as an exclamation. I told them to say “Gosh” instead. One day Danny and Kendra were having the usual car battle of Danny telling Kendra to leave him alone. Kendra said, “You’re not the boss of this whole world. Gosh is the boss of this whole world, right, Mom?”

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When Kendra was little, she was always around nursing mothers since I was a La Leche League leader. It was only natural that she would “breastfeed” her baby dolls by sticking them up under her shirt. Still, I was a little surprised to walk in one day to find her breastfeeding Danny’s Incredible Hulk doll.

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Once when Kendra was a teen, she was particularly mad at some horrible rule made by us, and she stormed off to her room, screaming, “You must have found me under a rock because no one as nice as me could be born to parents as mean as you.” I laughed, but she didn’t really see the humor.

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Danny was just two when he came home in from outside where I had seen him talking to our next door neighbor, Marge. He asked me if I had any scratch. I thought I was just misunderstanding the word as I kept asking him to repeat it. Finally, I asked him what scratch was so that maybe I could figure it out from his description. He said, “I not sure, but Marge makes the best cookies and she said she makes em from scratch.”

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Brigid was very happy the day she became a teenager. A couple of weeks later, she had her first period. She was less than impressed by this event. She kept saying, “Eeeewww!” We tried to talk it up to her by telling her that it was a very big girl. We said, “This is part of what happens when you get to be 13!” She thought for a minute and then boldly announced, “Then I am 14 now!”

Kyle and Kendra were playing in the backyard when Tom put out a metal pan with food for the dog. He warned Kendra, “Now you walk around that pan,” meaning, of course, for her to be careful not to step on it. He looked outside about an hour later and there Kendra was — walking in a circle around and around that pan.

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When Danny was little, he loved the television show called “Emergency” and he would always pretend he was a paramedic. He would take my blood pressure and yell out, “BP20” and take my temp say yell, “temp 43.” With numbers like that, I was bound to be dead, but he always started an IV of ringers anyway.

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One day I asked Colin if he wanted a grilled cheese sandwich and he said, “No, I want a boy cheese sandwich.” It took awhile to figure out that he wanted a cheese sandwich on untoasted bread. But all that time, he had thought I was saying “girl cheese sandwich” and he figured an untoasted one must be a boy cheese.

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1989 — I told Sean he was pretty and he said, “No, you’re pretty. I’m adorable!”

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1990 – Colin took a drink from Sean’s glass and Sean started complaining about the germs. Colin reassured him, “People who sleep together have the same germs, so its OK.”

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1989 – Sean said, “I’m smarter than Colin cause he called a sack a bag and I know its a sack so I’m much much smarter than Colin.”

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1989 – Sean did something and Danny threatened to tell Mom. Sean said, “Hey, I thought we were brothers!”

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1993 – Sean and Megan were looking at old photos and Sean saw one of his baby pictures and told Megan, “Look, that’s me as a newborn.” A few minutes later, Megan saw a recent photo of herself and said, “Look, that’s me as a oldborn.”

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Tom brought home a carton of egg nog and Megan said, “Oh boy! Christmas milk!”

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1985 — When I tell Colin something he doesn’t want to hear, he says, “Don’t say me that.”

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1990 — We were all sitting in the car waiting for Tom so we could leave and Colin let out a long tired sigh, to which two-year-old Megan melodramatically replied, “Tell ne adout it!”

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1992 — I was changing the windsock on the playscape and Megan asked me what it was, so I told her. She said, “But the wind doesn’t even have shoes!”

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1992 — Tom showed Megan a pot of soup he was making and she said, “Oh, that’s ‘GUSTING!” We’ve been saying “gusting” for “disgusting” ever since.

Danny went to a preschool at a church. One day, he got in the car when I picked him up and he was telling me about a song they learned about Christ winking at him. “Winking, Danny? Like with his eyes?” Danny shrugged and said, “I guess.” I asked him to sing it for me. “I can do all things through Christ who’s winkin at me.” “Danny, could it be, ‘I can do all thing through Christ who strengtheneth me?'” “No, I don’t think so. You didn’t say he was winkin at me.”

 
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2002 – Megan asked why Lincoln was assassinated. She thought for a moment and then asked, “Was he killed before or after he freed the slaves?”
 
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When Danny was 8, for Mother’s Day, he gave me a really pretty card with two dollars inside.
 
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One of Paul’s favorite shows in 2000 and 2001 was Blues Clues. The star of Blue Clues was Steve. Well, “Steve” quit the show and what they said on the show was that he had to leave to go to college, so his cousin took over. Paul didn’t take it very well. One day, a couple of weeks later, we were just all sitting around in the kitchen and Paul suddenly got all sad and teary looking and he shook his head and said, “I soooooo sad.” I asked him why and he looked at me like I had lost my mind and he said with an inflection of “duh,” “Steve not coming back. Go college.” We all commiserated with this sad event. Several months later, we were talking again about work and school and Colin was defending himself saying, “I am working AND I’m going to college.” You could see, without understanding why, a lightbulb go on in Paul’s head. Excitedly, he asked Colin if he saw Steve. Colin said, “What?” Paul said, “Steve go college. You see him there?”
In 2002, Paul went with his 8th grade class to visit San Jacinto College as part of Career Day. When he got home, I asked him if he saw Steve there. He said, “Yeah, he was eatin’ lunch.”
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2002 – Lonnie is well-known for, among other things, running out of gasoline. On October 12, the family gathered at Grandma Alice’s house to celebrate her birthday. After the party, Lonnie was driving home when he noticed that his car was almost out of gas. He saw a gas station down the road and he coasted on fumes into the station and right up to the pump. He was so proud of himself for not actually running out of gas — well, not to the point of having to buy a gas can to add to his collection in the garage. He jumped out of the car to pump the gas, only to discover that he had pulled up to the wrong side of the pump. His car wouldn’t start again since it was completely out of gas. So he had to go buy a gas can and put in enough gas to allow him to turn the car around. As he was finally hooked up to the pump and sitting in his car while it gassed, there was a tap on his window. It was his brother, Rudy, who had run out of gas a few blocks away. At least Lonnie has a spare gas can!
 

 

 

When Danny was 3, we were in the car one day and we were between songs We always sang in the car — favorites were Lukenbach, Texas, Rhinestone Cowboy and Thank God I’m a Country Boy. Honest. But one day, just out of the blue, he said, “Proxy’s black and so is Duane.” I said, “That’s right, sweetheart, and what color are you?” He said he didn’t know and I told him he was brown and that was because he was Mexican. Then he got real happy and he said, “Yeah, and so is Kendra (he never called her Kaci back then) and so are you! But not Lonnie, right?”
 
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When Brigid was 11, Kendra bought her a Barbie phone. It was so cool. It had voice mail from Barbie or Skipper. And if Brigid dialed numbers, Barbie would talk to her. And it would also just randomly ring and Barbie would say something like, “Let’s go shopping this afternoon!” One day, Brigid was playing a video game when the Barbie phone rang. Brigid picked it up and impatiently said, “I can’t talk now. I play game. Call me later.” And she hung up on Barbie!
 
Colin was eating his cereal one morning when the Today show came on the kitchen TV and Willard Scott started announcing the people who were celebrating 100th birthdays. Colin’s eyes got wide and he said, “There are people who are a hundred?” “Yep, there are.” With complete awe, he said, “Wow — they must be REALLY tall!”
 
Danny, Norris and Lisa were all playing one day and Lisa bragged about her recent vacation to DisneyWorld. So Norris said, “So — my family went to vacation one time, too.” Not to be outdone, Danny said, “So — I spend night at Mamoo’s house.”
 
The 4-year-old class at Emerson Unitarian Church always acted out the story of Palm Sunday every year. It was mainly done in silence. Basically, the teacher read a story of what a good person and teacher Jesus was, and how he rode into town on a donkey, and all the crowd waved palm branches and sang “Hosanna!” Most of the kids wanted to be the donkey or, a distant second, Jesus, because everybody else was just the crowd. But at the age of 4, Colin was extremely shy. In fact, the entire year in that class, his teachers had never heard him say a word. So imagine their surprise when, as they were explaining how the Palm Sunday play would go, Colin raised his hand and said, in his little husky voice, “I know that song.” “What song?” “Hosanna.” “You do? Do you want to sing it for us?” “Yes.” And he stood up and went to the front of the class and solemnly sang, “Ho Susanna! Oh, don’t you cry for me for I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee!” How his teachers kept from laughing, I will never know. But they DID let him play the part of Jesus. I think they were  a little worried that, if his was part of the singing crowd, he would lead them in a rousing rendition of Oh Susanna!
 
The first time Megan ran away from home, she was 12. She left a note saying she was running away, but we could leave food and presents under the big tree at the end of the cul-de-sac.
 
Megan wanted to order pizza one day and I told her I didn’t have enough money because someone had stolen ten dollars from me. She went up to her room and came back saying she’d pay for it. She handed me a ten dollar bill. Since she was pretty young, I asked her where she got a ten dollar bill. She said that she had saved a dollar here and a dollar there and saved it up.
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2005 – Brigid had just finished breakfast, but she was already pestering Tom to give her lunch. Finally, in desperation, Tom told her, “No, Brigid. N-O.” Brigid replied, “Yes, Daddy. A-E-S. Yes.”
And no, that’s not a typo. That’s the way she spelled it.