When I was your age, there were no such things as blogs. At least not that anybody knew about! There were computers, but we didn’t have one. Computers at the time were these honking, massive things, and they were always accompanied by a burning smell. I liked that burning smell. Electrical smells were not new to me because your grandpa worked at a place called Amherst Electronics when I was very little, and I have fond memories of going to work with him in our gargantuan white van with the rotating round table in the back, the one Dimpy dubbed ‘The Love Machine’– the one Aunt Missy backed out of the driveway on Sunshine Drive in Sweet Home, busting in the metal fence gate, when she was about four years old. I was in the passenger seat of the van, screaming, as she mischievously put the key into the ignition, turned it, and pulled on the lever that made the van move in reverse. That was only one of my many adventures with Little Mischievous Missy!
The moral of the story, my little ones: Sisters Take You Places! Below is the anthem for my sister, and for you two, and for sisters everywhere… Oh the places you and your sister will go!
Dads take you places, too. Dimpy took me all kinds of places. My favorite places to go with my dad were his work places. I loved going to work with my dad. That was when we got to ride in the car and eat crap food. That was when I really felt like I could kick back, forget the stresses of life (like homework and bad grades) and relax! I remember a lot lot lot of things about going to work with my dad. Like the big space between my dad’s teeth, his beard and his poofy black hair, and his Hawaiian-themed shirts. Your Grandpa, Bill, was a pretty cool dude, even if he has to have a name like Dimpy now. Grandpa Cool Dude was even in a band called The Employeez once, and, from what I hear, they were really good and probably could have been eighties gold or a one-hit wonder if Dimpy and Gramma Sue had not had me! I guess I was the eighties gold and the one hit wonder, instead (followed by the other three other golden oldies, your aunt and uncles). His band wrote this song called “Soap Opera Sweetheart.” That was a good predictor of your mummy’s future, I think.
When my dad would take me to work with him at Amherst Electronics, that is when I encountered eighties electrical appliances for the first time. He would take us into this room with an electrical board that had crapload of buttons, and he would sing this song about a Button Man. It’s called “The Button Factory Song” so it’s no surprise that it’s all about a guy named Joe (like Uncle Joey!) who works in a button factory, who has a wife and two kids, and a family. Then one day his boss comes up to him and he says, “Hi Joe, are you busy,” and Joe says, “No!”, so the boss tells him to push the button. First with his right hand, then his left hand, then his foot, and so on and so forth until Joe ends up having to push the button with his nose and his hiney and whatever else he wants him to use. Well, Joe finally decides he has had enough of this, and that’s how the song ends. Joe finally tells his boss that, YES, he is busy.
Dimpy would sing this with us and we would get to try to push a button with our elbows and ears. Dimpy was the song man. He taught me rhythm and blues, and songs about button operators that I can pass down to you. Some people call this a “formative education.” I call it Best Dad In The World. What did I learn from Button Man Joe that I want to pass onto you: push buttons. Push buttons and never stop pushing buttons. But don’t push buttons just because your boss tells you to push them; push buttons because your gut tells you to do it. I know that two daughters of mine will always know just which buttons to push. But if you’re anything like your mummy, you might want to work on your timing. Bad timing can mean a lot of Trouble.
Dimpy was the first person who taught me how to push buttons. He loves to push buttons more than anyone I have ever met in my life– except for me! He taught me everything there is to know about pushing buttons. He also taught me how to get Mike & Ikes out of a gumball machine in an electric shop. Your grandpa is a good man.
The Mason Household got its first computer in the 90s, when Dimpy and Gramma Sue needed one to handle accounting for their automotive supplies company, M&M Wholesale. So if my mom had wanted to write a note to me for me to read over lunch, she would have had to do it on a piece of paper. She did this– she put post-it notes with smileys and hearts on them in my lunch bag. If I were packing you a lunch right now, that’s what I would be doing, because I love to write on paper to you, but writing to you here is fast and I can include music and pictures. I hope you like it. We can try to ignore the fact that it’s called a “blog,” a word I have always found to be phonologically unpleasant, and we can think about it for what it is really: a weblog. A web log of love.
Hexlings, when people create web logs, they do so to share their experiences and to stay connected with loved ones. Why else would someone create a blog? Oh, maybe because they love a subject. And it’s true– some yuckheads do it to self-promote, sell products, and make money; but dudes like your mummy do it to share love and life and love of life. It brings us joy. And most dudes who are passionate about a subject, by the way, are really motivated by love: subjects are manifestations of our internal passions for life and for other people. Those who love to read books about love, for example, love doing so because they have experienced love or they wish to experience it. When you love to watch shows about teen romance, like Elanah does, it’s because you have a romantic soul that yearns to love and express love. That’s the best way I know how to explain why people write blogs.
Speaking of loving souls, my loving soul loves your loving souls. You have loving, complicated souls, which is why you are passionate about ninjas and what happens on the playground at school. Bloggers (let’s call them love loggers) keep a log of their life experiences to share with their most precious and beloved ones. For me that’s easy to figure out– duh… you! Sometimes, people who write blogs do so to share their lives with people from whom they are separated. Since I am going to be separated from you, at times, my most precious loves, I need to keep a love log to connect with you across the miles and to remind you as often as possible that you are part of me, you are part of my life, and that we are always a family.
Being physically apart from the ones you love and need most can be extremely sad and painful; that’s why social media can feel like a miracle. As silly as it sounds, sites like this one and like Twitter, and such, can be portals for families to stay connected. This is our portal, our family portal. The Hexling Portal. If someday you end up loving to write as much as your mum loves to write, maybe you’ll have your very own weblogs of love. Who knows! But if you do, you know I’ll be your number one reader and responder.
What I know is that when I am gone this summer, I am going to be talking to you and seeing your precious faces all the time, but I will not be able to hold you and touch you and hug you. This is going to be very hard for all of us, especially Mummy, because I need to snuggle with my hexlings; hexling hugs have healing powers. I don’t have anything to say that is going to fix it or make it better but I started thinking about how I have dealt with not being able to hug my lovies when I’ve been here on Madison Street. Figuring that out was easy: I hug my pillows.
Thinking about my pillows got me thinking about bear hugs, which got me thinking about an old friend from my childhood. One I used to hug all the time. Sometimes multiple times a day. My Night-Night. I haven’t told you about Night-Night until now. Night-Night was a bear that I was given when I was a wee one. When Night-Night was given to me, he was a creamy yellow color and wore a faded pink pajama suit, that made me think of a sailor suit, complete with a night cap. His round ear popped out of one side of the pointy hat and the other ear was hidden inside it. Night-Night went everywhere with me. He was cool to the touch and soft against the face, and his slippered paws were round. He had a mouth you could stick a finger in and he wore a lacy bib on his front with stars and a moon on it. My favorite part about Night-Night was his droopy, dreamy eyes, tear-filled. They always looked sad, and that suited me. He was a teddy bear with empathy. I felt like he always understood me whenever I felt sad. And it felt good to me to have him and to hug him whenever I needed one.
Your Aunt Missy also had a bear. I bet she still has him, in fact. I don’t recall her bear’s name but I know she had a Gund bear. It was big and naked. No pajama sack. All bear fur. Black eyes. Furry. Floppy. Missy used to cry into her bear; crying into her bear was tradition. I know this because I saw it first hand, many times, the last of which being just a few Christmases ago, when I found her crying on the floor of her old bedroom on Chasewood Lane, burying her face in her Gund bear. It was then that I knew that bears were magical. Heavenly, even. For they bring comfort to us in our neediest moments. Hexlings must have Gund bears, like their Aunt Miss, to hug, hold, and cry into.
I know you have a lot of stuffed animals, but I have decided to give you each a bear from me. You two are my little bears from heaven, and I want you to have a mummy bear.
What’s a mummy bear? A mummy bear is a bear that you hug whenever you need a mummy hug. Now of course you can always get a mummy hug. Because mummy hugs never stop happening. They are all around and always available. And when I’m away from you, whenever you need a mummy hug, you can Facetime me and I will wrap my arms up around you and hold you. But if I’m away, you can only feel that inside your mind. Sometimes we need physical touch to go with the heart touching. You will have Momma Si and her big, strong arms around to hug and hold you when I’m not there, but that doesn’t take the place of mummy arms. Keep your mummy bears close to you, hold them while you sleep, and whenever you wish you could hug mummy.
When I took you two to my class a few weeks ago, during Shakespeare Week, I asked each of you to draw Shakespeare with colorful chalk. You both did, and, Darah, when you wrote the name Shakespeare, you wrote it as Shacks Bear. I thought that was so clever.
Shakespeare brings me comfort, much like a teddy bear, and this summer I am going to be around Shakespeare almost every day, so I’ll have my Shacksbear and my hexlings to comfort me. Shakespeare and teddy bears have something in common: they are for everyone and they are ageless. You’re never too young and you never grow too old for either of them.
Shakespeare’s kind of weird: he’s very old and very young at the same time. We had such a wonderful time on Saturday, celebrating Shakespeare’s death/birth day.
It started with Elanah and me traveling to Iowa for her dance competition and it ended with us making a first attempt at watching Gnomeo and Juliet on my computer. You played with your paper Shakespeare puppets, we picked out tea cups for you, and you made Sushi Shakespeares out of the sushi Mummy was eating. The cake I ordered was totally groovy, just like you two, and we had a fun family day, together.
I cherish my time with you. We have so much fun on our adventures. And Mummy Bear loves you so.
I know you’re already asleep but in the words of Shacksbear, “flights of angelbears hug thee to thy rest!”
Sleep well, my heaven bears.