Posts Tagged ‘Nostalgia’

Do A Little Dance- June 1, 2014

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Growing up we did not plan the summer until we knew the date of the dance recital. Recital week was intense, long and wonderful. It began with days of rehearsals on a wooden stage in a high school auditorium. It ended with dinner and milkshakes at a Darryl’s restaurant. There were years as a teenager when my mom and I wheeled in a rack of costumes. A rack. Pink and tan tights. Tap shoes. Pointe shoes. Headpieces. Tape for blistered feet. Sequins. False eyelashes. Makeup and hairspray stashed in a Caboodle. The recital of course was after a year of competition weekends, Nutcracker Christmases and classes at least four days a week.

Amy Dance Collage

That was dance. A past life. A life before leaving home and becoming an adult.

This weekend we carefully timed Charlotte’s nap, reviewed lengthy emailed instructions from the dance studio, charged the camera batteries, printed our tickets and packed a bag.  I wrestled my squirmy three-year-old into new tights because she ruined the other pairs. I fluffed her tutu. I made a decent attempt at putting stage makeup on a child that kept rubbing her eyes and licking off her lipstick. We bought the DVD and had a bouquet of flowers ready.

I sat in an auditorium and watched my life come full circle. On either side of us were my parents. I mentioned to my dad that I was learning how expensive this hobby is. He laughed. He said, “You remember the recital when you had TWELVE costumes?!” It was fourteen. At least fourteen.

We watched the extraordinary dances of the teens with at least fourteen costumes and far more talent than I ever had. Then the prop volunteers brought a “house made of straw” a “house made of sticks” and a “house made of bricks” on to the stage. With a sweaty hand I grabbed my husband’s and swallowed hard. You could hear the collective “Aw!” of the crowd when they saw the tiniest dancers take the stage. When the lights came up you could see their pig ears and tales. The “Three Little Pigs” dance began. I grinned so hard my face hurt.

This group of tutued, highly distracted three-year-old’s mimicked their teacher standing off the side of the stage. They ran from house to house per the song’s lyrics. The most memorable bit of choreography was when they pointed to their chins for the line, “not by the hair on my chinny chin chin!” If only they could remember to do it. It was the cutest chaos I’d ever seen.

I was so proud I could barely breathe.

Will she do this for as many years as I did? Maybe. Maybe not. That’s okay. Today I sat with my parents and my husband and got to see my child’s first dance recital. That’s worth the price of fourteen-hundred costumes.

dance collage


Fetch Happened- April 30, 2014

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Life got so much more “fetch” ten years ago today. I have loved all the anniversary articles this week. “Mean Girls” is one of my favorite movies, ever. I think people misunderstand this. They think that means I like other teen movies that are dumb and not nearly as clever. I don’t think any of us realized Tina Fey’s incredibly smart movie would be such a cult classic.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Do you wanna do something fun? Do you wanna go to Taco Bell?!” If you’re someone awesome you respond with “I can’t go to Taco Bell. I’m on an all-carb diet. GOD, Karen! You’re so stupid!” If you’ve ever yelled out, “She doesn’t even go here!” We can be friends.

When my husband and I watch “Superbad” I laugh and shake my head. I say “There is no way boys are that stupid!” He says, “Oh yes they are! Guys that age think that if they supply the booze at a party, they might get laid.” It’s funny because it’s true. When we watch “Mean Girls” he says “There is no way girls are that mean.” I say, “Oh yes they are! Girls compliment you to your face and then turn around and talk about you behind your back.” It’s funny because it’s true.


I find myself watching the 3-year-old class and wondering which among them will be the impressionable follower that is a Gretchen Weiners. I don’t think her father, the inventor of the Toaster Strudel, or some future breakfast pastry, would be too pleased to have me speculate about his daughter. I wonder which child is so ditzy she will ask questions like, “If you’re from Africa, why are you white?!” That would be a future Karen Smith, breast meteorologist. It may become apparent in a few years who the little Damiens will be. You know, almost too gay to function. Of course we all wonder how often our child will be personally victimized by a Regina George.

What will I do when I notice my daughter being hurt by the queen bee? What if my kid sadly decides it’s better to be with the Plastics hating life, then outside? As Cady Heron will tell you, being with the Plastics is like being famous. What will I do when my darling daughter leaves the real world and enters girl world? What if my child is the queen bee and is making other kids feel bad? Now kids have the Internet instead of Burn Books. Everyone can read what the mean girls say. What do I do when kids get mean?

Maybe I’ll show her Mean Girls. I teared up the first time I watched it. I know what you’re thinking, “Cried?! At Mean Girls?!” Yeah. When Tina Fey’s character Ms. Norbury says to all the girls in the Junior class, “You all have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.” It struck a chord with me. I remember hating that in high school and middle school. I hated saying “bitches” too. It bugged me. It’s like the girls were saying it because the guys were. Girls disparaged their own gender. It was wrong then, it’s wrong now. I don’t want that for my child. Since “Mean Girls” I have never called another woman a slut or a whore. I mean, unless it’s to say “Boo! You whore!” but, that’s so fetch.

mean girls


Penis Parties- April 7, 2014

Monday, April 7th, 2014

This weekend one of my best friends loaded her luggage in my Jeep and we took a road trip to the beach for the first time in awhile. Sara and I were off to celebrate another long-time bestie, Colleen. After a string of jerks  Colleen found Thomas. I knew when I met him that he was one. I was very fortunate to be able to go to the party since my aunt and uncle live a mile off the island. I was five minutes away from Henry if he needed me. It was the first night I spent away from my little 5-month-old.

photo (91)Kissing the bride.

Of the girls in our grade in the sorority, I was one of the first to get married. Let me assure you, I didn’t plan for it to be that way. Before I met Greyson I was convinced I wouldn’t get married until my 30’s. Love changes the best laid plans. It’s hard to believe it will be nine years this month. Colleen is one of the last to get married. We laugh about the differences between planning a wedding at 23 (me) and at 32 (her). For example, Colleen bought her own awesome Jimmy Choos to wear down the aisle because she makes her own money and she can. I didn’t ask my parents for Jimmy Choos since I was only two years out of college, poor and counting on them to pay for everything. I wouldn’t change anything, but don’t tell my parents or my husband that I do envy the maturity of Colleen’s wedding.

This is the only photographic evidence of my bachelorette party that I will share. It is edited to protect your fragile eyes. Yes, it is a blinking penis necklace.

bachelorette necklace


My party consisted of dinner, then a game of “Pin The Penis On The Hunk” and so many shots. So. Many. As each friend walked down the aisle, there was some ridiculous celebration or another. One girl wore a “Suck for a Buck” t-shirt covered in Lifesavers. For another friend we hid paper hearts with guys in bars and the bride had to go up to them and ask if they “had a heart on.” Some cowboy beefcake stripper boarded the party bus for my sister. The stories go on and on. All of these were during my twenties.

This weekend we had the privilege of staying at a family friend’s beautiful island mansion. We strolled on the dock, went out to a nice dinner and stopped at one bar. It wasn’t crowded. We danced for a bit, had a few drinks and were back at the house by 11:45. There was only one penis thing. A penis cake. This one had fondant and was baked by an actual chef. We laughed, remembering ten years ago when we bought some Betty Crocker mix and baked penis cakes for another friend.

I looked at Colleen’s happy face and realized this is so much better. We were silly college girls, then funny twenty-somethings and now we’re experienced. We’re wives, divorcees, mothers, professionals and still friends.

I looked at the cake and thought about that stupid blinking necklace and said, “You know, my relationship with the penis has changed now that I wipe a tiny one all the time.” The passage of time, penis by penis.


Candidate From My Past- February 6, 2014

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

The news that former American Idol runner-up and Raleigh native, Clay Aiken was running for congress in North Carolina brought a smile to my face yesterday. I watched him in numerous TV interviews during his media blitz. His red hair, familiar native twang and sparkly eyes reminded me of another time. A quirky phase I went through in my life.

His campaign announcement video via You Tube

I have already voted for Clay Aiken. Oh, yes. I was one of millions who voted for him back in 2003. My roommate and one of my dearest friends, Sara and I shared an apartment near campus. I was 21. I turned 22 that summer. We were college seniors who were just a summer semester away from graduating when we watched every episode of American Idol. Okay, I made Sara watch every week because I was captivated by this kid from my home city.

He had a nice singing voice. We were just two years apart in age. I knew some people he knew and he just seemed like a really nice guy. I loved seeing a hometown kid succeed on the nation’s most popular show. I joined the message boards and encouraged Clay support with my AIM icon. I bought the Rolling Stone magazine with his picture on the front and made Sara go to a Kelly Clarkson/Clay Aiken concert with me where I may or may not have bought a t-shirt. I understood why girls were all about him. He was non-threatening and charming. Unlike some of the “Claymates” however, I was not surprised when he came out a few years later after his fame from the show had faded. I was happy for him that he felt like he could say that he was gay and be who he was.

Am I a little embarrassed of my silly infatuation in 2003? Of course. I was a little too old for that. But, I think the reason I had a summer fling with Clay Aiken was that subconsciously I was clinging to my last bit of lighthearted, teenage fun. Voting for a contestant on a reality show was a welcome distraction from my first real-world scary, frustrating job search. That was the summer I ended my internship, finished my final classes of undergrad and had interviews for a real jobs at TV stations. That was the summer I said goodbye to my college friends and moved back home with my parents because that’s where the job was and I had no choice but to face the startling, adult reality that I had no money and no where to go. Little did I know, when summer turned to fall I would fall in love with the man who would eventually become my husband. I quickly left the room at my parents house for an apartment I shared with him. Stashed in that girlish closet were old prom dresses, sorority photos and even a Clay poster taped to the inside of the door where no one would see the evidence of my fandom.

photo (75)Me and my husband in Oct. 2003

Yesterday, the 32-year-old woman that I am now rocked the baby and wiped the nose of the three-year-old I have with that same man I met the year Clay Aiken became famous. I reminded my husband that he went with me to see Clay at the NC State Fair and the Raleigh Christmas Parade back then. He laughed and rolled his eyes telling me that he must have really been in love to have done all of that. We watched one of his interviews  last night and listened to his views on issues he wants to address as a potential congressman.

I can’t vote for or against Clay this time. I live one district away, but I wish him luck and thank him for bringing back memories of a funny, fleeting time in my life. I wondered how his political career would pan out and wondered if I would remember the day he announced he would run for office. I think this may be a funny, fleeting time in my life too. It is the first week of my life as a stay-at-home mom. I’m sure I’ll look back fondly.

Good luck Clay. While you campaign to get voters to mark your name on a ballot, I will always remember when Ryan Seacrest campaigned for you and I called a 1-866 number over and over, just to be a silly girl for just a few months longer.


Being Santa- December 30, 2013

Monday, December 30th, 2013

being santa

It was fourth grade when I figured out the Santa Claus thing. I was nine. I had my suspicions when I was eight and in third grade the year before. I needed to get to the bottom of the innocence-destroying rumors that run rampant on elementary school playgrounds. I wanted to know the truth behind the claims I’d heard from peers that Santa was just your parents. You remember these kids. They were somehow older and wiser, a little more battle-hardened. They often had older siblings and knew about things like firecrackers and french kissing. I was determined to snoop enough in the attic and pretend to be asleep just long enough to hear my parents heading upstairs when they thought my sister and I were asleep.

After that Christmas I faked it for my younger sister’s benefit for several years. Sometimes we watch old home videos and she says “Wait! You knew about Santa then, didn’t you? You were just faking it!”

My parents were amazing Santas. Incredible. The Christmases of my childhood were magical and wonderful. Our Santa had our toys assembled and on display in the living room each Christmas morning. Our Nintendo was even set up and on the TV ready to play. Every child should have a dad who opens the door when it’s time to go to bed just in time for sleigh bells to chime. One year there were reindeer hoof and sleigh sounds over our heads, coming from the roof. I kid you not. It was awesome.

For my daughter’s first Christmas we got to be Santa! I got to display her toys and set everything up just perfectly. Each year since I have planned out how presents would be displayed for maximum excitement impact and better Instagram pictures.

photo (74)Santa 2013

But, I have to admit one thing. A little part of me was sad that it wasn’t really Santa. It was me. The parent. It was completely and totally confirmed then. No fat, jolly man with magical reindeer brought me presents. He won’t bring my children presents. I have to imagine that’s how 11-year-olds around the world feel when an owl doesn’t deliver their letter from Hogwarts on their birthdays. They know in their rational minds that J.K. Rowling wrote those wonderful stories and they wouldn’t get to go to platform 9 3/4. But, there was always a little hope. Now, it was now confirmed.

I don’t ever want to know how the bell ringing was timed so perfectly or how the sounds of reindeer were over my head. I don’t want to know. Ever. It takes away a little of the magic for me. Now, I will come up with my own ways to make Santa magic. This year “Madeline,” our Elf on the Shelf made counting the days until Christmas fun for our daughter. Hanging her princess dress-up clothes from the mantel to display over her toys was fun too. It’s a little absurd how much thought I put into how to display my kids’ presents from Santa.

I just want to help them believe as long as possible, maybe even have a small part of them get a little sad on their child’s first Christmas.