I am a sucker for nostalgia, in case you didn’t know. I like ephemera; I like old pictures; I like things that don’t exist any more like rotary dial telephones and film strip projectors; I like things that remind me of my childhood. Just the other day I saw a piece of framed “wall art” (sarcastic quotation marks intended) at Goodwill for $4.99. It was the exact same Autumn-themed collage that my Mom had in our old house for most of my childhood. I was really close to buying it….then I remembered that I never liked it.
Recently it dawned on me that my nostalgia will (of course, duh) not be the same as my kids’ nostalgia. Specifically, my hometown IS NOT their hometown. The BeAGoodFamily lives in the Chicago ‘burbs. I am from Wisconsin. BAGD is from a few (depending on which answer he gives) places in the ‘burbs or Iowa. Like most young house-hunters, when we bought this house, we just kept driving until the houses got cheaper. We ended up HERE. HERE is fine; its a really nice city with lots of park and rec services, culture and festivals. Its a fine place to grow up, but I am not nostalgic about HERE. Its just where I live now. But I realized the other day that HERE is my children’s hometown. They will say they are from HERE. They really are from HERE!
HERE is their hometown! Just like I travel 50+ miles to attend the 4th of July parade in my Hometown and would whoop and holler of someone mentioned its name on the TV, someday my kids wills will wax nostalgically about HERE! Duh!
So, maybe its time for me to start cultivating some nostalgia about HERE, on their behalf. A few months ago I bought a scrap paper lot at the flea market held at the HERE High School. I liked it because it was from the 1950′s and was a bunch of old hand written receipts for linoleum and fuel oil. I didn’t have a plan for it, I just liked the old-timey phone numbers and how the bills were made out to “Geo.” and “Wm.”. I realized today that all the receipts were from local 1950′s HERE businesses, on their letterhead. Perhaps I could turn this pile of scrap paper into a nostalgic memento for the kids to look back on fondly someday?
So, tonight, Geetle and I picked thru the 100 or so scraps of paper and found the ones we liked best. We used Mod Podge and decoupaged them haphazardly to a 3ft x 2ft piece of wood. It made a really interesting art piece for the wall, we think. Geetle liked that one of the receipts was from the City of HERE, for a parking sticker and that one of the bills came from a contractor named “Heine” (which she was pretty sure was the same as “Heiney,” which we all know is the same as butt). I liked that we could place the slips of paper in a way that showed the street and HERE’s town name.
Our first piece of HERE nostalgia, on behalf of future Geetle, Pookie and Giggles.
The late pick-up kids at camp were going to watch a movie today. Pookie got wind of this and was beginning to get upset when he found out he wasn’t included. To appease him, Geetle told him we’d watch a movie at home tonite. This was untrue but at the time she thought it would keep home from getting upset. It worked….at the time.
As she found out later at home, that’s robbing Peter to pay Paul because Pookie remembers these “promises” and will not let them go. He harped and wailed for over an hour on the subject while I made dinner.
Geetle apologized and told him she was wrong, which only led him to change his wailing to “Geetle was wrong! No movie tonite!!”. Commence hour 2 of wailing.
We talked about how these things affect Pookie and how we can’t tell him untruths just to keep him quiet. And how its hard to watch, but we have to teach him to deal with disappointment. She told me she understood and that she wouldn’t just ssy things to make him happy when she knew they weren’t true.
But then she also told me he was sad when the camp bus drove by the mini golf course this afternoon. …so she told him we’d go mini golfing on Monday.
Giggles decided to wear a Santa Claus hat to summer camp today. No reason. Just because. This greatly distressed Geetle. She made me a list of why I should not allow it to happen. #1, its too hot and her head will sweat. #2, they are going on a Field Trip today and she will probably forget it at the park. #3, its no where near Christmas.
At the root of all these complaints is just one thing, and Geetle finally admitted it. Geetle is afraid that people will look at Giggles in her Santa Claus hat and say “Yipes, look at that kid in the Santa Claus hat. Her sister must be a weirdo.”
This has happened before and I understand the basic equation here. Its human nature. We don’t want to be made fun of…for any reason…even just being related to or associated with someone who is “weird.” What I don’t get is……while Giggles is unique, dramatic and a performer…she is not our classically defined “weirdo” around here.
Let’s just say it. Pookie is our weirdo. By any definition, by any yard stick….he is a weirdo. He says weird things. He does weird things. Mystery solved…he is a weirdo! But, like I told Geetle when she was complaining about Giggles, who cares!?! Everyone fits someone else’s definition of weirdo. I brush my teeth with hot water…weirdo! Geetle nibbles around the edges of cucumber slices only eating the peel…weirdo! Pookie pulls his socks up as high as they will go when he wears shorts, even if he makes a mistake and wears socks of 2 different heights….weirdo! BAGD likes to carry around a stack of 8 books, read 10 pages in each and then move on to the next…weirdo!
As I was delivering my “Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior” life lesson, I couldn’t help but think….is she really that concerned about Giggles, or is this a veiled reference to Pookie that happened to be provoked by that Santa Hat and manifest itself as a complaint against Giggles? Geetle has never said that she is burdened by Pookie and his quirks. NEVER. But is that because she really isn’t or because she is afraid to tell me that she is? I mean, I would cut her some slack if she said she was. We already do make accommodations, even though she may not know it. We purposely separate Pookie and Geetle’s classrooms at school so that she gets her independence and can step out of their shared shadow for the bulk of her day/week. If she told me that she needed some space from him, I would make it happen. I really would. I understand and know it doesn’t mean she is quitting him. It means that she is reserving her energy for the long game, just like me and BAGD.
But for now, why is she so focused on how Giggles embarrasses her? Is it really Giggles? Maybe it is just a “ugh-little-sisters!” thing. But if its not, I need to make sure.
If you have Autism,
and your sister says “hey Pookie go ask Mom how to turn down the volume on the new TV,”
And you go find Mom and ask her that exact question…
You might be ok at this communication thing.