Squarespace Blog / "aymee danger"

Mentoring Monday: The people you might not (or won’t) get to meet.

If you havn't noticed.. Aymee has totally stepped up and taken over the Mentoring Monday posts... and i gotta say im loving these little letters to Maddie... hope your enjoying it too!The people you might not (or won’t) get to meet.Dear Madeline,There are so many important people who you will meet in your lifetime. The first being your dad and I. Then you’ll meet and grow up knowing your grandparents, aunts and uncles (and pseudo-aunts & uncles). You will take them for granted because you will have always known them. But there are some people you might never get to meet in person or get to know. Someday, when you’re old enough, we will have the conversation about death so you will understand this better. But there are/were people in our lives who are very important to your dad and me; people who were a constant in our lives and whom we sadly took for granted as kids.My grandmother, your great grandmother, is one of those people. She is my mother’s mother, and currently lives in sunny Florida with my aunt.She was born January 3, 1925, which means she lived through all the amazing historical times you will learn about in history class: the Great Depression, WWII, the legendary 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s. As I’m writing this, she is 85 years old. Betty, as she is frequently called, always has a smile on her face, and gives the strongest bear hugs of any five-foot woman I’ve ever met. She would also always accompany her hugs with an eager kiss to your cheek, leaving a bright pink lipstick mark. When I was a kid, as we’d drive away after visiting her at her house in St. Louis, she would stand on the front porch and wave until she couldn’t see the car anymore: every time, without fail. These things I took for granted as a kid. But I now know the bear hugs, the kisses, the lingering wave--those were all expressions of the deep vastness of her love. She now has Alzheimer’s disease, which makes it hard for people to remember things. The farther back the memory, the easier she can remember it. But she’s starting to forget some of her later memories. Unfortunately, one of the memories she will have trouble remembering as time goes on will be that she has a beautiful great granddaughter whom she undoubtedly loves very much. Currently, we talk often enough that she not only remembers I’m pregnant, but calls to ask how you are. She is very excited to meet you, and I hope your dad and I can make that happen. It will prove difficult, because we live on opposite ends of the country, but one lesson I want to teach you throughout life is never say never. No one knows what the future holds: anything can happen.Another person I took for granted as a kid because he was always around and available is my grandfather (my father’s father), your great grandpa. This is a rare case where you can use the word never. I regret you won’t be able to get to know your Great Grandpa Jones personally because he died a few years before you were born. But he would love if I show you pictures and tell you stories about him—so I will.He was a simple, quiet, happy man, who always wanted to spread smiles to everyone in the room. He loved having the extended family over for holidays; the house buzzing with kids while the parents sat around the kitchen table, in the living room, or on the breezy back porch and chatted about life, and played card games. I will eternally remember him lounging back in a chair wherever he sat, enjoying a cigar, trying to make us laugh. “On the shores of Gitche Gumee, by the shining Big-Sea-Water…” he would recite epically. As a kid, I had no idea what it meant (it is “The Song of Hiawatha,” a famous 19th century poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Song_of_Hiawatha) but he loved to recite it. It wasn’t until recently that I began to understand him. He was always a distant family figure, and I regret that now. We were two generations who loved each other, but didn’t know how to relate to one another. You will have people like this in your life too. They will generally be older; your dad and I, your grandparents, your teachers, etc. You might have trouble understanding them because you have not yet seen what they have seen: life experiences you are years away from that make them who they are. I promise you: this will become easier to understand as you get older. In the meantime, it is our job to relate to you, because we have been through what you’re going through. It is our job to make sense of this crazy thing called life, and lead you through it safely.              Everyone involved in your life is looking forward to developing these kinds of memorable relationships with you. Much like how our grandparents loved us so deeply, and how we often didn’t understand just how much, your grandparents will love you the same. They simply cannot wait to see you, hold you, and watch you grow. Each of them is a different person who will show their love in different ways. Their limitless love will make a lasting impression on you, and you might not understand it until you have children of your own.Love,Mom
Another edit from me: Aymee... Maddie - ugh... this post killed me in all the greatest ways possible... eyes welled up with tears through the whole thing... As you know, I feel the same way about my grandpa - and my memories of him are so clear... i can still smell him. A mix of tobacco, zippo, and oil... mmm such a wonderful scent. Too bad they dont sell it as cologne. It literally breaks my heart that I will never see him squeeze on the boys... he would have been so proud of me... 2 boys in his sea of 5 girls. Such a mans man... ugh... i wish. i wish. i wish... I love you mimi and maddie, your not even here and I already love you... and miss you so so much... im homesick for the fact I havn't gotten to rub your mamas belly... and kick my hand and watch you wiggle about... and i miss you because i know i will not get to see you NEAR as much as I want to... think of me as the ultimate "god" mother... I will shower you with gifts, so youll know im always thinking of you even though im not there... and ill make your mommy ALWAYS show you pictures of me and the boys so you don't forget us... and maybe even tell a few embarrassing stories so your mama can giggle... i love you both dearly... mama - give maddie a little squeeze for me... or a wiggle? Or a hand kiss? I dunno whatever you can do to let her know im thinking of her ;) Love you. Amber
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Mentoring Monday: How to Relate

How to Relate?My mind constantly wonders about what kind of person my daughter will be. For most of the questions, I don’t care about what the answers are specifically. I am just excited to find them out because I look forward to getting to know her as a person. Will she be boisterous like her parents or the opposite of us: shy and quiet? Will her favorite color be something like pastel pink or neon orange? Will she be a picky eater like her dad, or eat anything put in front of her like her mom? Will she be straight or gay? It’s these kinds of questions I look forward to watching her figure out the answers for herself, all the while daddy and me loving and guiding her along the way. But I realistically know it won’t always be that romantic. There will inevitably be questions she answers that we will have to work hard at understanding. Answers that will make us wonder, “Where’d she get that from?” Answers that will cock our heads to one side and crinkle our brows upward, much like this:What if she has no interest in baseball, but likes football (we’re not at all football fans)? ...Okay, so we learn to like football. What if she doesn’t understand our passion for music and arts, but instead is equally moved by agriculture? …Then we learn about agriculture with her, and encourage the passion even if it’s not our own. What if her favorite band is Insane Clown Posse or she’s into crunk core music? …I have to be honest: I shudder at this one--not sure how to bridge that gap.It’s easy to fantasize our children-to-be being like us; being interested by the same subjects we are. Partly because we understand no one better than ourselves and partly because it’s romantic to think we’ll relate so intimately with someone we already love so much. Surely we rub off on our kids. For proof, you don’t have to look any farther than the mirror. We have, to varying degrees, already started to become our parents. But it is inevitable that our children will throw us personality curveballs, just as we did to our parents.The greater question is, “How will I relate to my child’s interest when I’m not naturally interested in the subject? What efforts will I have to make to relate to Madeline; to get inside her head and more adequately understand where her head is; what she is going through; how she is feeling when I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I’m only 25, and I say all the time, “I just don’t understand kids today.” I sound like my 85 year old grandmother. But it’s the same every time there is a generation younger than another with a culture all their own. We use our experiences to relate to others, but this is a fallible tactic. Our experiences are, more often than not, different from those of others. And instead of trying to see the world from their eyes, we try to understand them from ours.How many times when you were a kid did you say to your parents, “You just don’t understand?” And how lost and alone did it make you feel? It’s true: they didn’t understand (insert Fresh Prince comment here), and neither will we unless we use a different approach. The thing I will have to remember when I get frustrated because I just don’t understand my child is that when you break it down, she’s going through the same phase that I did: it’s just that she has different influences (parents, friends, culture, interests) that color that phase than I did. A co-worker and friend of mine told me early on in my pregnancy, “Don’t ever forget what it was like to be a kid.” That is quite possibly my favorite advice so far. When I want to say, “Oh grow up,” when she’s being juvenile and trivial, I need to remember she’s trying to (grow up, that is). I need to remember that what she’s going through, no matter how dumb it may seem to me, is a huge deal to her because it’s the biggest deal she’s had to deal with yet. The tribulations of youth pale in comparison to adult responsibilities when you’re an adult, but when you’re a kid, having the right clothes, the right friends, etc. is necessary for survival: emotional survivalBecause all you know at that point is emotional survival.This mentality will also come in handy when all she says is, “No,” and “Mine!” When you are used to the world as you know it (your home and parents) revolving around you, sharing is a strange and frustrating concept to try and wrap your little head around. And although I will persevere in my dominant role as parent, and as impossible as it may seem to keep cool while she goes through her bratty stage, I must remember that the defiant “no” is her exercising her first revelation of free will and independence: qualities I want her to have to become a strong confident woman.
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Mentoring Mondays: The Whoa Moment...

Another amazing post by future Maddies mama... Aymee. Loving your posts mimi... :)The “Whoa” MomentI don’t know about you, but every once in a while, I have moments where the earth seems to stop spinning on its axis and the gravity of a situation hits me hard. This usually only happens during major life milestones. Graduating high school, getting married, turning 25: these are all instances where, for me, time stopped for a moment and I thought to myself, “whoa.” Either the reality of being pregnant hasn’t hit me yet, or I am very serene about it. I haven’t been able to decipher which one. Adam seems to be breaking this “oh my god” freak-out moment into smaller, more manageable panics and lubricating them with whiskey. He says I was born to be a mother. Yes, in a scientific sense: this is what I’m designed to do, and so maybe that plays a big role. Because this is my most primal purpose, I’m not having that moment of “whoa? Has nature taken over and put my conscious on autopilot? What I fear is that I’m not taking this seriously enough. As soon as I typed that out, I realized how ridiculous that is. I’m on my second baby book, I religiously follow the dietary suggestions, track weight gain, exercise with the proper restrictions/precautions, I read and play games with my unborn child for brain stimulation. But at the same time, I haven’t had that world-stopping moment. In the first trimester, I would say, “It hasn’t hit me yet because I need to feel her kick.” But that wasn’t it. I’m now in the third trimester where she kicks all the time, and it’s still so surreal. It’s like a movie; as if any minute now, a director will yell “Cut,” the walls of my apartment will part to reveal a set with cameras and crew, and someone will bring me bottled water and powder my nose.              Throughout most of my childhood and teenage years, I was so focused on growing up that I didn’t often stop to smell the roses. My first “whoa” memory is sitting on one of hundreds of plastic folding chairs in the middle of the UMSL gymnasium floor amongst my peers, a sea of red caps and gowns. The gym was humming with over a thousand people, students, teachers, parents and other family, talking all at once. After the speeches, I watched as one by one, each row was lead up to the stage. As I was standing in line on the ramp next to the stage, waiting for my name to be called, I thought, “This is it.” The only chapter in my life I could remember was now closing and another chapter was opening before me at the other end of that stage: one that held mysteries as deep as the ocean or space. They do a good job of trying to prepare you for what’s on the other side. I had a plan for my future; I had it all figured out (ha ha). But no one can accurately convey what it will feel like in that very moment when all you know is ending.              My next “whoa” memory is from my wedding day (I had two that day). I especially love these for obvious reasons. Adam and I both woke up that morning without an alarm clock, refreshed and relaxed. Adam wanted to do nothing that day but keep relaxing until the big event, so he went and did his own thing while I made last minute errands and preparations for the wedding that night (this is my version of relaxing). After decorating the club with my mom’s help, I picked up the flower to wear in my hair from the florist and leisurely got ready at my apartment. In my perfect black strapless satin cocktail dress with tiny velvet polka dots and vintage heels, looking and feeling like a million bucks, I got into my car and drove to the club. On the road, everything seemed to slow down. The air felt heavier to breathe. My skin tingled. I felt like I was floating. I don’t remember the song on the radio now, but it was perfect for the moment. These were the last few minutes of my life that I would be a single woman. After that my life would never be the same, and I knew it. Much like graduating high school, I didn’t know what lie on the other side of that stage. But Unlike graduating, I knew Adam was a part of that unknown and that made it less scary, and more exciting. As I pulled into the parking lot of the club, life came back up to speed. The night went on as planned. The crowd waiting outside was let in and the tiny club packed wall to wall with friends, relatives, and even a few strangers there to see the bands. There was that humming again. The hum of a hundred or so people talking at once. It was time to start the show. I began looking around for the people we needed: our friend who was to marry us—check, my mom (and maid of honor)—check, Adam’s best man—check, and Adam…where was Adam? The room started to spin. I saw a sea of faces but not the one of my fiancé. An ounce of panic started to boil in my stomach. And then at that very moment, I heard “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys (our intro music) replace the hum of the crowd. The room stopped spinning, and at the center, right in front of me, was Adam. Our eyes locked, and we both smiled a smile that I can only imagine happening again when we hold Madeline in our arms for the first time.              Maybe I’ll have that “whoa” moment when she’s born and we lock eyes for the first time. Oh god, I can’t wait.
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Mentoring Monday: Does this make me a Grown Up?

Adam is having a bit of writers block lately so meet Maddies mama, Aymee! (Or in my house known as MiMi... ) She has so graciously stepped up to fill his spot for awhile... Yay! Love you Aymee! Hope your enjoying your baby bash!
What separates the young adults from the full-blown adults? At which point do you cross over? Is the right of passage turning 18? Moving out on your own? Buying your first car (when you buy it, not your parents)? Having a child of your own? When you buy a home?Age 18 separates minors from legal adults. But as we all know when you’re 18, you’re still just a kid--but with legal responsibility for yourself, the right to vote, and the right to buy cigarettes. I was a mature, responsible 18 year-old, but still a kid nonetheless. When I turned 25, I had one of those “oh my god” moments. I realized I was now a quarter-century old (not saying that’s old, just that it’s a milestone), and that I was in a new age box: no longer 18-24, I was 25-30. “Holy cow!” I said to myself. I reflected on my past, and made decisions about my future. What it this transition that made me a grown-up?” I have felt like an adult for a little while now; getting married, moving all over the Midwest, paying bills, etc. But I’m about to turn 26 and still don’t feel the term “grown-up” applies. I feel like a twenty-something; a twenty-something with a husband and daughter.  That’s not weird to think about; it’s the grown-up part. Grown-ups are those we look to for guidance on how to do this thing appropriately named growing up, mainly because they’re already there. My mom’s a grown-up. My boss is a grown-up. …Or are they?As a kid, you assume an adult knows all the answers. But it’s so not true! Adam was once told (about parenting) that adults don’t know all the answers. But you take what you know and try to direct your child in what you think is the best direction. We’ve still got no clue what we’re doing! Were still carefully stepping around in the dark, making decisions about moving forward into the unknown. Only now, there are less people offering to guide us and more people looking to sell us a map, and we are expected to make the right decision. Not one of us has had a miraculous transformation from child to grown-up. We’re the same children we were before; only now, we have become more confident with walking around in the dark.So maybe that’s the answer to my question. Maybe having a kid does make you a grown-up, but we don’t see the transformation from our point of view. Maybe the transformation can only be seen from the eyes of the ones we are now leading: our children.
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Mentoring Mondays: Too Fast.

Adam is having a bit of writers block lately so meet Maddies mama, Aymee! (Or in my house known as MiMi... ) She has so graciously stepped up to fill his spot for awhile... Yay! Love you Aymee! Hope your enjoying your baby bash!Dearest Madeline,We are currently two and a half months from meeting you. You kick, punch and twirl all the time, and I love it. Since I haven’t yet seen you, nor can I hold you, feeling you move is the next best thing. And to feel your movements get stronger each day tells me you are growing stronger which is exactly what every mother wants: to know her child is healthy and that things are going well. Every day I daydream about holding you, dancing with you, feeding you, bathing you, playing with you, reading to you; the list goes on and on. A wise man once said, “You may think about your parents once a week. Your parents think about you every day.” I used to laugh at how true that is while thinking of your grandparents. Now it’s my turn to be chuckled at.It feels like just yesterday I beckoned your Dad into the bathroom of our tiny apartment in Richfield, MN and pointed to the pregnancy test.“What does that mean?” asked your father. I smiled, and pointed to the instructions on how to read the test. “But what does it mean?!” I laughed and said,“It means you’re going to be a daddy.”“Oh baby!” he cried, collapsing into my arms. Sharing company with finding out you were a girl at the 20 week ultrasound, and getting married, that was one of the coolest moments in my life so far. Nothing I have ever done can compare with you.At least once a day I say or think, “I can’t wait until August.” But lately I’ve been trying slow myself down. You see, I am so excited for you to be born, much like how excited you’ll be for your birthday or the first day of summer vacation. I’ve been there, anticipating those kinds of events; they increasingly permeate every thought you have until the moment arrives. Almost to the point that the time leading up to the awaited event is lost forever because you’re so focused on what is to come you forget to remember the present. I have the rest of my life to enjoy teaching, learning from and sharing with you. What makes me slow down, and actually makes me sad is knowing I only have two and a half months left (at most) to enjoy the experience happening right now: being pregnant with you. Even if we have another child, I will never experience this again because you are the only Madeline Belle Thurston. Already, you have your own personality that surpasses the walls of my womb. Already, I am in awe of you. And already, you’re growing up too fast.Love, Mom
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