Lady Godiva / Father of my Children

This past weekend, we flew to West Texas to visit my family and to attend the 6th annual, grownups-only Halloween costume party hosted by my brother and sister-in-law, and several of their couple friends.  My parents usually attend.  I remember the year they won the best costume contest as Old Hippies, but I’m not certain they were actually in costume.  This year, however, they chose babysitting our kids over attending the party with us.  Come to think of it, my other brother also bailed, so now wondering if had something to do with not wanting to be seen with us . . . in the costumes we chose.

Anyway, when Steve and I received our invitation and learned the theme of this year’s party was Twisted Fairy Tales, we first thought of Little Red Riding Hood, with me as big bad wolf/granny (seven other couples in attendance at the party settled on that idea).  Then we considered Hansel and Gretel (someone twisted that pair into spiky-haired, tattooed bikers).  We didn’t want to leave out Mary had a little . . . ham.  Remember Scout’s ham costume in To Kill a Mockingbird?  (Come on, read a book why don’t you.)

Then we thought, what about Lady Godiva? Though not a fairy tale, per se, legend has it that the wife of a lord named Godiva, in the 11th century or thereabouts, protested her husband’s oppressive taxation of the townspeople by riding her horse through the streets of Coventry, England in broad daylight wearing nothing at all!  And if that lovely naked lady on horse-back, clothed only in her long golden locks were instead a big guy with a hint of 5 o’clock shadow, the fairy tale/legend derails into something . . . well something dreadfully wrong. And that sounded like fun.

Once we had chosen our twisted fairy tale costume idea, Steve visited the ballet store to purchase his full-length leotard, size Men’s XL, then commenced watching his girlish figure throughout the next week, so as to squeeze and cinch himself nicely into it.  I, in my supporting role as m’Lady’s horse, would be donning unflattering, plush, and slightly stuffed, equine attire and therefore would need no such discipline.

On the night of said festivity, we planned to sneak out through my parents’ back door to avoid our children’s astonished and confused eyes.  We failed.  Although their father was technically fully clothed — albeit in flesh-colored spandex — and all special areas of his body were strategically hidden by the ankle-length wig, I still hoped and prayed the almost certain damage to their tender developing psyches would not be permanent.

Upon arrival at the party, we maneuvered our way through the pinches to his bottom and the punches to my belly to having an incredibly fun night!  (What is it about a stuffed, plush animal suit that makes people want to punch and poke the poor vulnerable human being inside?)

I hate to boast, this to the ladies, but you haven’t fully lived it up until you’ve Texas-two-stepped with a six-foot-three, two-hundred-ten-pound, half-Chinese, former varsity athlete, in blonde wig and nude bodysuit.

Thank you for listening. — Twyla

Fog in the Park

One day, last week, we awoke to fog.  After Steve left for work, the kids and I went about our morning routine and finally ended up strapped into my SUV on the way to the elementary school drop-off.  As is my habit when there’s somewhere to be and a certain time to be there, I drove hurriedly by the park at the end of our alley without observing its beauty.  But my peripheral vision caught the difference brought on by the fog that morning, and I took notice.

Although it meant the children might be tardy, I pressed the brake, reversed, and pulled to the curb.  “Look at the park, guys,” I said, and picked up my cell phone/camera.  The three of us got out of the car and stood gazing into the park from its edge in wonder.

The trees were draped in fog and glistening in diffused sunlight.  There looked to be some heavenly beings gliding around inside the cloud that had descended to earth and settled in our neighborhood park.  Angels?

We bunched together, leaned in, and squinted.  Were they moving slowly toward us?  Surely they would come out of the cloud to greet us, smile kindly on those of us created a little lower than they.  Would they bring us some news from paradise, a message from God?  Would they offer us a hint of what to expect?  Perhaps they would produce for us a vision of our family, ourselves in 10 years . . . 20 . . . 50.

We peered and waited in silence.

After a little while, the kids and I got back in the car, returned to our thoughts of the day at-hand, and continued our journey . . . to school.

Thank you for listening. — Twyla

Is This my Sweet Angelic Little Flower?

Hubby and I were just thrilled and oh so proud when our daughter ran over to us, from the face painter’s table at our neighborhood fall festival, as Darth Maul. (According to Wikipedia, he’s a Dathomirian Zabrak Sith Lord, master of double-bladed lightsaber combat, warrior of the Nightbrother clan on the planet Dathomir during the last days of the Galactic Republic . . . from Star Wars, in case you didn’t know.)

I try pink bows, ballet slippers, and frilly dresses, but this one is a slugger on the diamond, a menace in cleats and shin-guards, and bold enough to show up on pirate and princess day, the only female pirate in pre-kindergarten.  Aarrrrgh!

And she is beautiful beyond any words.

Thank you for listening. — Twyla

While At The State Fair

While at the State Fair of Texas with my husband, kids, and brother-in-law, I thought about joy.

Children really know how to experience joy.

We grownups can enjoy ourselves, of course, but it’s so hard for us.  We have distractions, inhibitions, worries, images to maintain, work-outs to avoid, boiling pots to watch, bread to win, bacon to bring home, nests to feather, and Joneses to keep up with.

Sometimes, I think I’ve forgotten how to experience the joy I came by so naturally in childhood.  That’s when I look to my kids to help and teach me.

Here I am on a fast ride with my kids.

In this picture, her face says she’s having the time of her life.  His expression is that of sheer terror, mixed with a little motion sickness.  But unlike most grownups, he’s facing fear and doing it anyway!  When I first saw this picture, I zeroed in on myself.  I was distracted by the way I looked here.  I didn’t like it in the least.  Here’s an exhausted, yet exhilarated, middle-aged mom, a size or two larger than she wants to be around the middle, with smile lines, and finger nails in desperate need of attention.  (My kids are six years old, so it’s been exactly that long since my manicure routine ended.)

But then I looked a little closer . . .

I saw my un-manicured fingers wrapped around her soft, precious, skinny arm.

I saw his sweet, grubby, little hand gripping mine for all life’s worth.

Joy.

Thank you for listening. — Twyla

SLIDE SHOW!  Please click here to view my 3-minute slide show of our trip to the State Fair of Texas:  Music Credit:”All This Beauty,” The Weepies