Friday, September 9, 2011

Characteristic Traits of September: Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

 Dearest Ellie Girl,

I need to start off by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY to your Daddy and my amazing husband!!!  

I can’t wait to have a wonderful weekend of celebrating!!!  And you being quite the sweet eater these days Ellie (fruit snacks top the list and we all know how you love ice cream), a Dairy Queen cake is on the agenda!

Your Daddy was sweet enough to help me out by giving me one trait that describes me today (as your Poppy and Uncle Ryan could give details about me growing up).  So here’s what he had to say, “Princess!”  It’s his nickname for me on a few occasions if I forget that we didn’t recently win the lottery!  At this particular time, I was giving him my Christmas list (I know it’s only September but I LOVE Christmas… the smell of fall in the air makes me think of the holidays around the corner and getting gifts are almost as good as giving them).     

Honestly Ellie, if I had to describe myself in one word today, it would be split (or torn).  I have such nostalgic feelings this time of year about work (transitioning you back to day care and starting to teach in the fall after such a wonderful summer together is just plain hard and I said the same thing this time last year!).  I constantly question if I am making the right decisions.  After losing your brother, I try not to take any of your first moments (or any of your moments really) for granted.  I know how fast time goes (11 days went by in the blink of an eye), and I know how fast you can lose what is most important.  Balancing, Ellie, really is an act and it’s a job when you have children.  I hope when you are grown that you admire the independence I have and you don’t resent the choices I made.  For you Ellie are also having a bit of a time right now… my school year started off rough when you had a bad cold and fever on my first day.  Usually, it’s me who takes off and takes care of you but when you have a 145 pre-teens anxiously waiting to meet their new teachers, the first day off isn’t an option.  You broke my heart as I left… you cried in this pathetic sick way with your Dad and I cried the whole way to work.  But you are a quick healer (knock on wood!), and you rebounded by day 2.  But still these days into the first month back, dinner is hard...  I think after a day with the sitter, you tend to get angry when your Dad and I cook dinner and try to eat a meal, as you want our full attention (but please try to understand that we need to eat too and we just want you to join us!).  But later in the evenings are the best… after our walk, you bring all your stuffed animals to show your Dad, you get very goofy, and you settle in to use your imagination (and did I mention that we recently had to get a second toy basket for the living room?  Your stuffed animals and books, which you play with them all, have taken over our downstairs!).  

Being the oldest, I think independent is the best word to describe me as a baby (or at least according to my baby book that I went through when I was home).  Being the oldest (or the oldest take home baby in your case sweet girl) has its advantages.  Since there are no other children to share the spotlight with, you tend to get full attention and do things fast (like talking).  I am most impressed with you these days as you have officially learned the word “YES!” and "Pretty!" (Which you say if I pull out a pink shirt from your closet to wear for the day… I think you are beginning to understand how to pick out your own clothes!).  

I love how positive you are and you are a girl who knows what she wants.  Don’t ever lose that strength!

I am off to bed as school has me going in a million directions this month.  And an outbreak of shingles, yes sadly I am only 31, has made me a bit uncomfortable and I need to figure out how to relax now and then and not sweat the small stuff.  I love you Ellie!
Love, Mom

And now from your Mimi…

Hi Ellie,

I know this is going to be a fun weekend in your house being it is your daddy’s birthday and Penn State is playing the University of Alabama and the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing their first regular season game against the Baltimore Ravens!    I also know it’s going to be a fun weekend in your house because your daddy answered your mommy’s “tell me what you think is a strong character trait about me” correctly!  He definitely gets a high-five on the “princess” answer Ellie!  He couldn’t have nailed it any better!  I would have said “excitable” for your mom but princess works too!  Which reminds me…. I do have two specific memories of your mom’s “excitable” trait that I want to share with you Ellie, one happened when your mommy was 5 years old, and the other happened when you mommy was 28 years old!  The first memory took place on Christmas morning 26 years ago.  Santa Claus had come during the middle of the night and covered our floor with oodles and oodles of toys and games.  As your mommy bounced down the stairs and scanned the whole living room to see what Santa had brought, her eyes zeroed in on a present leaning against the far wall.  Racing over to the large orange saucer, she delightedly and excitedly exclaimed quite loudly for all to here, “Look Mommy, Santa brought us a Lid! (It was actually a sled!)  She didn’t care, it could have been an old boot and she still would have been happy!  The other excitable memory I want to share with you Ellie happened Christmas morning 2 ½ years ago.  Your mom and dad were visiting us here in State College and like every other year, your mommy got up before the sun rose.  Poppy and I decided to give your parents some personal time to exchange their Christmas gifts with each other before we joined them.  And of course your mommy’s enthusiasm always carries through her voice so we could hear their exchanged conversation from our bedroom, which is located at the other end of the house.  I took a fit of the giggles when your mommy “excitably” said, “Holy crap Justin,… are these real???” when she opened a box holding a pair of designer sunglasses!  A “princess” she is…. And we wouldn’t have her any other way!

Now for me Ellie, I asked your Poppy for a character trait that he thought would best describe me.  Poppy is a wonderful man because he didn’t just give me one trait… he gave me a half dozen, all very sweet ones too!  I will tell you the first one and the last one.  His first answer to me was “thoughtful.”  When I asked him what he meant by it, Poppy said that when I send greeting cards to our family and friends he noticed that I always write a personal message in them and he thinks people like that.  This comment made me feel happy Ellie because 1.) Your Poppy noticed and 2.) He validated that a personal message can brighten someone’s day!  The other trait Poppy gave me wasn’t a specific word but rather this:  People would know what kind of a person you are Mic by looking at how well you raised our children and who they became.  Ellie, I was in awe of his sincerity as this is a compliment every mom would be honored to hear at some point in her life… but in all honesty, I cannot take all the credit.  You see, your Poppy also played an equal part in raising two beautiful, intelligent, driven, humorous and loving children, your mommy and your Uncle Ryan.

My weaknesses are your Poppy’s strengths and his weaknesses are my strengths.  We didn’t always agree on one another’s methods, and a few times our choices were trial and error but as they entered adulthood, your Poppy and I can say that we are extremely proud of your mommy and Uncle Ryan, their accomplishments and the goals they have set for themselves as well as the kind and caring individuals that they truly are.   I, or rather we, happily look forward to watching and participating in their futures!  And yours too Ellie!  As you grow, you have been showing us some of your characteristic traits too, which your Poppy and I find very endearing!  1.) You love to tease, 2.)  You love to make people laugh, 3.)  You love to be in charge!

Now it is my turn to give myself a character trait.  Hmmmmm.  Tea Drinker?  Yes.  Short attention span?  At times.  Dreamer?  Yes.  Gullible?  OK.  Spiritual?  Without a doubt.  Caring?  When needed and even when not needed.  Picky?  Depends.  Patient?  With children.  Optimist?  Yes.  Wishy-washy?  99% of the time.  Happy?  Pretty much always.  But I guess the one trait that I would say most describes me is: I have a hard time saying the word “No.”  Ellie, I tend to be a people pleaser and because of that I don’t ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  So many times I find myself in situations where I am asked to do something for someone and most of the time I am happy to oblige, but those few times that I don’t really want to do it, I still will and of course always say “Yes.”  That is when I tend to stress myself out, and the only way for me to de-stress is to call your mommy, vent my situation, listen to her tell me that it will work out like they always do, take a deep breath and then let it go.  (I designated your mommy as my Go To Person because she is my twin when it comes to this trait!)  Another reason why I chose to tell you about this trait Ellie is because I tend to avoid any if not all confrontational situations.  I tend to agree with people even if I know they are wrong.  If someone told me today that the sky was purple and they were absolutely adamant about it, and even though I know the sky to be blue, if it was that important to them to be right, I would say ok.  Now if it is something that could be harmful or hurtful to another… that would be a different story.  I find that I can be pretty happy in any given situation Ellie so it is more important to me that all other people are secure in their happiness first.  I can adapt.   On a 1 to 5 scale, one being “top notch” and five being “possible discard”… my chosen trait is probably a low 3, high 4.  This isn’t a bad trait to have Ellie as kindness and sincerity can be found throughout it, but its intentions don’t always pan out in the way they were originally intended even when your heart is in the right place.  So even though this trait of mine hasn’t changed over the years, I am still young enough to continue working on it and not quite old enough to give up on it!

So I guess the lesson to be learned here Ellie can be found in the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change:
Courage to change the thinks I can:
And wisdom to know the difference.
This was another prayer that your great-great Gram Mundy chose to live by and encouraged us to do the same.

How about next week Kimberly we give Ellie an additional list of our favorite things and not so favorite things that will give her an even deeper understanding of who we, her mommy and her Mimi, are.

Till next time Angel Child.
Love Mimi

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