What April Fool’s Day Means to Me

1. Whoopie Cushion
2. Fake Melted Ice Cream
3. Exploding Can of Chips
4. Rubber Earthworms
5. Water-Spraying Bowtie

I’m not kidding when I tell you this was my youngest daughter’s packing list for Spring Break. We were leaving the eternally chilly Midwest for a few days under sunnier skies and much warmer air. Our destination: Fort Myers Beach. Our arrival: The Night Before April Fool’s Day.

You see, this timing is important to note and precisely the reason she did not want to arrive ill-prepared for shenanigans on the silliest day of the year. So she packed up her pranks and tricks to unleash on her grandfather all day long today here in Florida where my stepdad and my mother “snowbird” every winter.

To be honest, I’m not much of a Florida fan. It’s where everyone I know flocks for Spring Break, yet the mystique is lost on me. I don’t tan. I don’t swim. I don’t like humidity. What saves Florida for me are the great beach bars with their endless rum-based cocktails. Include the umbrella, please, and hold the sand. I’ll sit right here at the bar and admire the Gulf and the adventurous parasailers from a nicely air-conditioned building, thank you so much!

While I’m not enamored with Florida, this set of my parents has been coming here for years. So I do end up visiting here on a fairly regular basis like I’m doing this week, with The Precious Pair, of course.

As I’ve made it perfectly clear before, I am not your mom. But she is mine. Who? The lady born on April Fool’s Day 79 years ago today…

When I did a quick Google search to better understand the origin of April Fool’s Day, I didn’t learn anything definitive about it. Historians don’t agree about how it started, but it has certainly stuck with us in modern times and many media outlets and companies try to trick us every April 1st. Maybe you have already fallen for something today? I’ll have to report back about how the gags we packed will go over. Hopefully, no one will get kicked out of the condo for messing too much with the old man who lives here! My mother, on the other hand, will surely enjoy watching her youngest granddaughter play all her tricks. It should make for perfect birthday entertainment.

I’m willing to bet most of you can relate to the fact that she and I are very different people. My Mom and Me.

– She’s conservative. I’m moderate and even borderline liberal about several topics.
– She worked in accounting and bookkeeping for most of her life. I picked words for my career.
– She still has a flip phone. Yes, you heard that right. I am an iPhone aficionado, and I’m trying desperately to get her switched over.
– She likes cats. I really don’t, except for My Remy who passed away last fall of a heart attack. But he acted more like a dog trapped in a cat’s body. He probably deserves his own blog entry someday.

I read an article recently stating that most people begin to adopt and notice similarities to their parents around the age of 33, especially when it comes to the language, expressions, interests, hobbies, and quirks your parents have. According to this statistic, I’ve had about 13 years of experience and practice acting like my mother.

We all say at some point – “Don’t let me turn into my parents!” It’s common, and I’m sure my own children while in their teens and young adulthood will feel the same. However, fortunately for me, I have a strong relationship with all my parents, and I have no fear or shame about turning into any of them.

As an example of my mom and her quirks, she has a theory for various types of itches you might have. Yes, strange, I know. If your hand itches, you will be getting some extra money soon. (I love it when my hand itches.) When your nose itches, it means you will be kissing a fool soon. (I’m not kissing anyone these days.) And now that I’m writing about itching, I’m starting to itch all over, so I’ll move on from this illustration. The crazy thing is, now I share these same theories with people when they’re scratching their hands or their noses. So I must believe they’re true.

And what’s not to believe about what my mom tells me? She has always been straight with me. Brutally honest at times. In fact, on a recent phone call, I blew up at her about that straight-forward style. We were discussing my recent dual home sale/home purchase situation. I explained to her I had found a practically perfect house in the exact local area I had dreamed about for years. Then the barrage of questions began.

“How much is it?’
“Is it worth that price?”
“Is that price in your budget?”
“Are the stairs really steep?”

This whole line of questioning hit a nerve with me, and I lost my patience.

“Why do you have to be negative about something I’m so excited about?” I challenged.

She defended herself, “Well, I’m not trying to be.”

And I’m sure she wasn’t. This scenario shows yet another difference we have. She is quite practical. I’m hopelessly creative. She is also a multi-property owner, so it’s in her nature to ask questions before buying. She owns several homes right here in Fort Myers, Florida, including the one where we’re staying now — with not only her and my stepdad, but also Dora the Cat and “Sexy Rexy” the Corgi.

While we are split on cats, my mom and I do align about dogs. She has her second Corgi currently and has inspired us to get our own this summer as a companion to our 7-year old pug. (See previous post – “The Pig in My Blankets”) My first-ever family dog as a young child was Sandy, a sheepdog mix. She was white and fluffy and you could never see her eyes; they were always buried in fur. One of my vivid memories of Sandy and my 30-something single mom at the time was a camping trip we took when our beloved pet clashed with a skunk. Rather than sleeping with a stinkbomb for the rest of the trip, my mom launched into problem-solving mode, and we found a grocery store and purchased blue laundry detergent and red tomato juice. We bathed her in both, and when combined with her white fur, she looked just like an American flag. God Bless the USA and Sweet Sandy.

Back to today – April Fool’s Day and my mom’s 79th birthday – we are making our plans for the day. We’ve decided on some sea-shelling on the beach, shopping, a stop for ice cream, and shrimp scampi for dinner. And beach cocktails are for certain – pink wine is her favorite. I feel super blessed that we get to spend this special day with her. You see, since I left for college at 18, we’ve never lived again in the same state. For part of each year, we are in neighboring states so we are able to visit a few times. But in the winter months when they fly the coop, we are separated across many miles, and we go several months without seeing each other. My kids get older and taller while Mom and I get older and shorter – shrinking seems to begin already in middle age! So physically we do change, yet our bond never does. We are close for life.

My mom has been one of my biggest lifelong fans and supporters, and this past year I have needed a LOT of fan support! Thank you, Momma. You’re the best and you’ve made me want to be the best I can be, too, even with my flaws and failures. But you will probably respond to that comment by saying I don’t have those because that’s what Moms do — they overlook our goofs and pick us up and dust us off and they love the crap out of us no matter what.

Happy Birthday to my mom – also known as Grandmaw – born on April Fool’s Day, but, trust me, she is no fool.

From Florida this time,
Meesh

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