15 May 2010

TOP 10: lessons from melanee

# 7 -- "A place for everything, and everything in its place"

I can remember being about 4 or 5 years old, faced with the arduous task of picking up my room. I would lie down on the floor in the middle of a pile of Barbie accessories and pretend to be asleep in the hopes that someone would feel sorry for me. It’s funny to hear Mom talk about how ridiculous she thought I was in those moments, because I thought the plan was pretty brilliant. For so long she had been trying to teach me the value of a clean room—how peaceful it is, not to mention how easy it is to find what you’re looking for.

In the last two years I have finally learned for myself just how important it is to have, “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” Don’t get me wrong; I am still an artist who at times thrives on organized chaos. However, as my life is shifting from a reactionary one outside of my control to one where I have a certain degree of autonomy and decision-making weight to throw around, it’s becoming more and more important to have a safe, relaxing sanctuary. As it turns out, this is characteristic of many Cancers such as myself.

Also, fact: there’s nothing better than crawling into a bed with clean sheets.

11 May 2010

TOP 10: lessons from melanee

# 8 -- if you sign up for tap class, you're going to tap class

I took dance lessons from the time I was three-years-old until I was a sophomore in high school. I’ve always loved ballet, and I’ve always been incredibly serious. It makes sense. However, I’ve also always loved the IDEA of being very carefree, silly and exciting. I am not these things. I do try to be these things from time to time, though. And when I was about 7, I decided I wanted to take tap lessons along with my ballet classes. Gee, wouldn’t that be fun?
            Well, no, Lauren, it wouldn’t be. Mr. Tony has more personality in a single wave of his jazz hands than you’ll ever have in your life… and right now you’re only 7! Welcome to a completely miserable experience for the child who was asked by a classmate, “Why are you sad all the time?” (I’m not sad all the time; I just have a very intense resting face.)
            I wanted to quit more than anything. I hated every second of it. I hated Mr. Tony for wanting to be my friend and talk to me. I hated being asked to smile repeatedly. I hated the fact that we were dancing to the Inspector Gadget theme song. But Mom saw not a miserable little girl. She saw an opportunity for a life lesson. When you make a commitment, damn it, you’re sticking to it.
            And that’s what I did. I have the recital pictures to prove it. (Courtesy of Mel herself). Sparkly red velvet romper and matching cap. It was a horrible experience. But I know that I am a much better person for all the torture my mother put me through.

10 May 2010

TOP 10: lessons from melanee

# 9 -- an eclectic collection of music is the spice of life

One of my earliest memories (which I’m certain has nothing to do with the fact that it was captured on film) is of singing Wynona Judd into a remote/ “microphone” with my mom. I was probably 2 or 3 years old. 90s country was so awesome. But I shudder to think of the person I would be if all I ever listened to was country music.
Thank you, Mom, for taking us to the opera and the symphony and the N’Sync concert. Thank you for putting on James Taylor and the BeeGees. Thank you for letting me sing, “Bring me two piƱa coladas…” when I was a wee babe. Thank you for tolerating me when I come home and put on Lightning 100 in your car… even when Bob Dylan is wailing and you kind of want to shoot me. You’ve only got yourself to blame.

09 May 2010

TOP 10: lessons from melanee

# 10 -- enjoy special cereal

The Horton household didn’t see Fruit Loops very often when I was growing up. I know some kids had it much worse than we did, but we always had a pretty healthy kitchen. However, vacation was a time to throw whole-grain and high-fiber to the wind. A time for what we call “Special Cereal.”

As soon as we got to the beach (I’m speaking in past tense, but we still do this) the first order of business was to go to the grocery store and stock up for the week. This is one of my favorite times with my family. Logan grabs the biggest box of Lucky Charms he can find, Daddy finds some strawberry frosted PopTarts, I usually go for some obscure microwavable pastry that’s never as good as I want it to be. Mom will typically stick to her Oat Squares. Maybe some Honey Nut Cheerios if she’s feelin’ crazy.

What I love about all of this, though, is that Mom has shown her love for us in even such subtle ways as this: I’m not going to let you eat junk all the time. But you’re special enough to me that I’ll let you break the rules sometimes because it’s important to have fun and enjoy little things. 

08 May 2010

she got it from her mama

“Love begins at home. And it is not how much we do, but how much love we put in that action.” –Mother Theresa

Tomorrow is mother’s day, and I am missing me some Melanee. Finals are keeping me in Louisiana this weekend, but I would much rather be in Nashville with the mama’s in my family celebrating the legacy of beautiful women I come from.


For years I have sworn to myself that I would never “become” my mother. We struggled for the last several years I lived at home particularly hard. I know that most girls fight with their moms. I also know that Melanee and I have completely opposite brains that have a lot of trouble communicating sometimes. I was awful to her. I’m not proud of it. But there has been some pretty incredible restoration in our relationship in the past several years. She is a beautiful mother, wife and person. And she has taught me a lot more than I care to admit sometimes. 

I realize now that becoming Melanee wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. So tomorrow, on Mother’s day, I will begin posting the top 10 lessons I have learned from my mom in my 20 years. They will get progressively sweeter, so beware. By the time I am finished with my top 10 I will be back home to celebrate my mother in person.