When I was 12, I made the mistake of mentioning to my mom that I liked smiley faces. Everyone liked smiley faces. They were on t-shirts, stickers, and anything else that could be sold at Claire’s or The Icing.
Sidebar: You should see all the stuff you can learn by googling “smiley face”. Apparently, the image is popular with murderers who leave it as their mark. AND, there was a movie called “Smiley Face” starring John Krasinski and Ana Farris. Who knew?
That summer at sleep-away camp, I paid for my confession. While the other girls in my cabin got occasional packages with forgotten necessities and maybe a special treat or two, my packages looked like The Icing’s smiley face inventory exploded. Pens, stickers, even a giant smiley face stuffed animal that I remember being almost as big as I was. My friends from camp make fun of me to this day for those packages.
Suddenly, smiley faces weren’t cool anymore.
I get the feeling my dad had the same issues with my mom’s gift buying strategies. My dad has been playing golf his entire life, and for as long as I can remember unused golf paraphernalia littered our house: snowglobes, wrapping paper, ties, fancy golf ball cleaners, paintings.
But I’m being unfair because I, apparently, horrifyingly, have inherited the overkill method of gift giving. A friend of mine started a small collection of all things rooster that was probably much cuter before I started gifting her anything and everything with a rooster on it. I have to remind myself of the smiley face catastrophe every time I’m tempted to add to her collection. It is a constant struggle.
Anyway, today is my mom’s birthday and while I was thinking of all the ways I could pay tribute to her on the blog — and all the ways we’ve been honoring her memory since she passed away a few years ago — I realized that I have subconsciously been paying her back for the smiley face incident by ignoring any other interest she may have had and focusing solely on butterflies.
The flower girls (my niecess) carried butterfly bouquets at our wedding.
Part of my collection of butterfly necklaces. I don’t even like butterflies.
My mom loved butterflies. But now I’m beginning to wonder; she always said that butterflies reminded her of her mom. Maybe what she meant by that, is that one day she told her mom that she liked a shirt with a butterfly on it, and her mother bought her said shirt, passed word of the butterfly love onto her father, who told my dad when he came around, and perpetuated this idea that my mother loved butterflies more than anything in the world.
It’s a totally plausible theory, my mom was so averse to confrontation that I can imagine she silently cursed us as she accepted butterfly gift after butterfly gift, and wished for once in her life she would get a crayon drawing from her grandkids of, say, a truck instead of another. freaking. butterfly.
If that’s the life she lived, I’m glad I debunked the smiley face myth early. Ugh, can you imagine?
After having said all of that, of course the only blog tribute idea I came up with involved butterflies.
A quote from the column my mom used to write in Texas.
I bet you were wondering how I was going to sneak Ike into this blog post, weren’t you?
Piece of cake.