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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Butterfly hover over my mother, tell her that I... oh forget it Butterfly, I'll tell her myself!

"Hey Jerkfaces, it's my birthday!" (My mom would never actually say that because she's a lady.)

Was this before or after Uncle Chuck flushed your half of the last stick of gum down the toilet so he wouldn't have to share?

See that grace? Those beautiful lines? I inherited none of that.

When I was in 2nd grade we constructed these cards for Mother's Day based on a sample that our teacher brought in, and we all had to make a version of the same card, which featured a butterfly and a flower. Because I have never been one to go along with the crowd, it infuriated me that my mom would have to get the exact artwork that another mom was going to get. BECAUSE MY MOM IS BETTER THAN YOUR MOM AND YOU'LL NEVER CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE, SORRY.

1992. Dad is most likely telling you how gorgeous you are, because that's what you are, and that's what he does!

The worst part was the little poem that we had to copy from the chalkboard onto the card. It was so awful that to this day I still remember it: "Butterfly hover over my mother, tell her that I dearly love her." I know, it's gag-inducing. So, I started on the dumb card, while gnashing my teeth and doing a lot of loud sighing and generally making it known that I was not happy. I did my best though, because we were going to be graded on how well we matched the sample. (Do you realize how unbelievable my 2nd grade teacher was? Who GRADES a 7-year-old on how accurately they copy something made by the only adult in the room?)


I was always the class jokester but also had/have the additional joy of being an over-thinker (though I prefer the term "deep", as in, "You are SO deep and introspective!" and not so much as in, "You are deeply disturbed and clearly have too much time on your hands"), even back then.

1981. The Alamo. Remember? (Get it?)

So, while everyone else was having a good time coloring and cutting up construction paper, making the same card like they were little robots, my brain was looping these thoughts over and over: Butterflies can't even talk! If I'm leaving it up to a non-talking butterfly to TELL my mom that she's loved, it does not reflect well on me as a daughter. Whose idea was this? Where is that red marker? If the poem mentioned a talking parrot, that would make so much more sense. Or a woodpecker. At least they can tap out a message with their beaks. Does mom know morse code? Just about anything would be better than a non-verbal butterfly. Where is that yellow marker? Whose idea was this?

1983. h Xavier Roberts (with his arm around me!) Mom, and Missy with the cool rainbow shirt), Xavier is the inventor of Cabbage Patch Kids. Back then they were called "Little People" and you could only "adopt" them at a place in TN called Babyland General, which was made to look like an entire birthing unit. The little nurse in his hand is mine. Her name was Adele Phyllis (I didn't pick the name, just the doll!) and one of her little ass cheeks got signed that day by Mr. Roberts himself. Just look at him, he's as cute Adele!

When I gave my mom the card and told her how annoyed I was by the idea of an insect passing along MY affection for her, and that all the moms would be reading the same meaningless poem and would have the same kind of flower on their cards; she took in what I was saying and then genuinely told me how much she loved everything about the card, even that poem. Suddenly I didn't really care that there were 25 other moms getting the same card. My mom, THE BEST MOM, loved it!

1989. The Hallmark Maven, aka Boss Lady. She will crack the whip, and not in a good way.

1989. The Maven's assistant working hard at the after school job. I just finished putting together that entire display with the one token dude we had working there. Lucky for me he was hot and a gentleman at that, so he did all the heavy lifting; because honey, trust me when I tell you that I spent too much time on my hair that day to work up a sweat installing ornaments in freaking July.

I knew it wasn't because she believed that there would soon be a butterfly with a voice box and a heartfelt message to share while flapping it's pretty little wings, but it was because I made it especially for her, and did my best.

1991. Dad, Lowell Davis, his rooster & Mom

That is just one of the eleventy-thousand reasons why I love my mom, THE BEST MOM, whose birthday is today.

Fanilows! This was the night we saw Barry Manilow for free. Also known as the night I told JJ that Barry was, ahem, playing for the other team. While I was destroying all of her fantasies, I went ahead and broke the news about Santa Claus not being real. Then we had lots of drinks at Buck Bradley's, the finest (and longest) bar east of the Mississippi!

I'm not balancing a boot on my head, though it looks like I am! On your & Missy's 1997 trip to visit me in New York. "Hey Mom! You said you'd buy me some shoes for my birthday! These are the ones I really want!"

"Those? But they're so ugly! I'm going to need something besides this Balthazar lemonade to drink if you expect me to fork over that much cash for shoes that are so offensive to my eyesight."

Three tequila shots later... (just kidding!) Look at those new shoes! Thanks for buying those even though they were a lot of money and you thought they were truly and horribly disgusting. They actually lasted for years and I wore them all over NYC like I owned the joint!

1997. All that ugly-shoe shopping is stressful! Mom getting a snack (most likely rugelach) at the famous Russ and Daughters Deli in NYC.

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!

Missy, Mom, & Me at one of the million shows we've seen here in Chicago and (mostly) in NYC. We're total show whores (though my mom would never put it that way, because, like I said, she's a lady!).

No butterflies were harmed in the writing of this post.


Dad said...

You never, ever, stop amazing me! I always enjoy reading your blogs, even though most of them are way over my head, but THIS one about your mother is so fantastic! Like you and your sister, Mom is a fantastic person and it warms me so much to see how much LOVE, RESPECT, and CARING you have for her. She is my world and you and Melisa are part of her, therefore both of you are part of my wonderful world too! Mom is lucky for having you two as daughters, and I'm even luckier for I have ALL THREE of you!

Julie, thank you for being!

I love you! DAD

Melisa said...

LOVE the post! Nice job!

And I'm going to have to get copies of those photos at the top...

My favorite non-Mom photo is the one of you leaving the shoe store in victory. That afternoon was hilarious!

Suburban Scrawl
Remembering Ruby

Jenny said...

OMG! I am overwhelemed with all this love! What a family! What a Syl....Thanks, Syl for raising such a great daughter(s)!

Rob said...

Wow. I really wish I had a relationship like that with my mom, or heck even with my family!

my brain was looping these thoughts over and over: Butterflies can't even talk!

Yes, Obi-wan, the nerd is strong in this one! :)

Melissa said...

Great post! Happy Birthday to your Mom!

Ree said...

Happy Birthday Jules' Mom!

Sauntering Soul said...

Awwwwww what a sweet post! And great comment from your Dad too!

There is also a Babyland General in Cleveland, Ga. which I've visted (I didn't even know there was one in TN). My dad is a professional photographer and Xavier Roberts saw a photo of his in a magazine that he wanted for a lawsuit he was involved in. My dad worked out a trade: his photo in exchange for my own Little People doll. I went and camped out to have Xavier sign my doll on her butt and I got a poster of him laying on a huge bed that he signed. Please realize when I camped out to have a doll signed I was only 12 years old.

Happy Birthday Jule's mom!

Mom said...

Well you are something else. I am overwhelmed with your remembering so many details. It made my heart burst. And I cried thru it all. We still have a great relationship and you do put up with some things I do an say and you tell me what you really feel. Not many parents can be as blessed as your Dad and I. You and your Dad tease me a lot but deep down I know that I do count, and have made you and your sister great people. Remember I love you very much and I think you are the "coolest" and most giving person I know. Thanks for your deep love.


Stacey said...

Happy Birthday Syl!! My money's on your mom still having the butterfly somewhere.

Melissa said...

Your mom thinks your the coolest. Ok, that has got to be the sweetest thing ever!!

Melisa said...

Stacey: ROFL...I'm sure you're right. It's there, SOMEWHERE!

Suburban Scrawl
Remembering Ruby

Aaron said...

Happy bday Aunt Syl. It was great to see you over turkey day!

I promise to try singlehandedly keep my side of the family in touch!


Jules said...

@Dad: Thanks for such a sweet comment! You've been outnumbered by our estrogen for many years but have been able to more than hold your own. I'm glad you keep reading my blog even though some of the post are probably a little more information than you may have wanted to read... but you truly know who I am as a person and that's why I'm never worried you guys are going to judge me or take things too seriously. You & mom rock!

@MistaSista(just kidding): That day in the shoe store WAS hilarious. Poor mom. She never had a chance against my skills of persuasion. It's great that she's such a good sport. I've been told by Donna that we HAVE to get back to NYC very soon so start saving your pennies (You too, mom).

@Jen (AnastasiaBeav): "What a Syl!"... truer words have never been spoken!

@Rob: It wasn't always smooth, but we've been lucky! Yes, I do have a bit of an overthinking problem... which as I've written before probably means that I'll spend all night thinking about why that is.

@Melissa & Ree: Thanks, ladies!

@Sauntering: I think he started the Babyland Generals in GA, didn't he? Your similar story is so cool-- any pix? This must have been in the same time period, as it wasn't long before the handmade ones switched over to the plastic-faced Cabbage Patch kids.

@Mom: Of course Dad & I tease you but that's only because Missy is your favorite daughter (just kidding). Missy & I are lucky to have parents like you guys; and of course you count-- you're the heart of the family! I love you very much, too.. and I'd never send an insect to tell you that. xoxo

@Stacey: You know my mom all too well. Naturally she still has it "somewhere", as Missy said, one of her favorite phrases is, "It's here... somewhere!"

@Aaron (My fave cousin): DUDE! I'm totally working on a post about you, which should be up later this week. xo

Jules said...

Eric, Brian & Rich: What I wrote about Aaron being my Fave cousin is only because, you know, we're bonded like sibs. You guys are my favorites too, but in a different way.... ;)

Kalynne Pudner said...

I'm not sure if you're the Jules who commented on my blog report of the son hitting the small tree thing ...but if you are, thanks for stopping by! And whether or not you are, your blog is priceless - especially this post. I hope one of my five daughters does something half so sweet and funny someday.

Jules said...

Hey Kalynne! Nope, it must have been a different Jules who commented on your blog... but I'll be sure to stop over! Glad you enjoy my blog and this post in particular. I'm sure your girls will do plenty of things like this!