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Sunday, October 6, 2013

31 Days: Silly Songs, Amazing In-Laws, and Charlie Parker

I may be crazy.

I'm pretty sure that I am.  

I am giving the hubs access to the blog. The ability to say anything he wants to the world.

I have a little case of the nerves over this.

Nah, not really.  We're all crazy and weird, why not share it with the world, right?

As we continue 31 Days of Family, I had to include him.  He has a unique perspective because he comes from a very small family, and his first encounters with my large and noisy family didn't discourage him.

I'm going to make a shameless request here...  If you're reading my 31 Days Series, I would love it if you would leave a comment. I love hearing from you and I know you're out there, I see you in my blog stats! (Ok, end of shameless plug...)

Don't forget to catch up on the past posts HERE.

And, don't forget to get your most pinnable posts linked up to THE Pin It Party while there is still time.

Now, without further adieu, meet Rex, otherwise known affectionately as The Hubs!


“Do you know anyone named Charlie Parker?”  This was the funniest, most embarrassing, and perhaps scariest question I’ve ever been asked…but I’ll get to that.
I grew up in the most conservative of homes.  Vanilla was a daring flavor.  Conservative.  Mom and Dad were amazing parents, and I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for anything…it’s my story after all; however, to say I was sheltered would be a colossal understatement.  My family was quiet, calm, and predictable.

Amy and I started dating in 2002.  We had both been previously married.  My divorce was the most traumatic thing that my ultra-conservative family had ever faced.  I’m sure they were nervous when I began to date again.  Amy’s family was like nothing I’d ever known.  Her family is HUGE (by my standards anyway).  The first time I met her family in July, 2002, was interesting to say the least.  We drove to her parent’s house in Mt Pleasant, TX, for the Fourth of July weekend.  When we pulled up I was greeted by her parents, who were standing on the back porch looking like the farmer and his wife from the iconic painting “American Gothic”.  All my future father-in-law needed was a pitchfork.  We entered the house and I met a sister and her husband and two of their daughters, a brother and his wife and one of their daughters; and within 5 minutes the group of 11 were whisked off to a local restaurant.  This group was LOUD!  This group had BIG personality.  Despite my conservative upbringing I fell in love with this group and my soon wife-to-be even more (I met another sister, brother-in-law, and 3 more nieces/nephews –to-be by the end of that weekend).  This group of people did a lot to bring me out of my shell.  They taught me to loosen up and have fun.  They allowed me to truly be myself.  They may have created a monster!

Amy and I each brought a son into our marriage.  Matt and Christian became best friends while we were dating…over 10 years later this hasn’t changed.   My new-found sense of family (fostered by Amy’s family) led me to interesting father-son interactions.  The conservative guy was gone.  I made up tons of silly songs about the boys…so many that the boys to this day don’t know the difference from songs I made up to actual nursery-rhyme songs (they’re a little warped in that regard).  Matt (now 15) and Christian (now 13) still sing many of these songs to this day.  These two boys grew accustomed to my silliness; sometimes they weren’t sure when I was being goofy or needed to be taken seriously.  This caused many hilarious moments over the years.  I built a fort in our back yard when Matt and Christian were 6 and 4 years old, respectively.  Our back yard was not completely fenced in at that time (across the back only).  One fall day the two boys were playing on the fort where they’d been pouring buckets of water on each other’s heads.  I stuck my head out at one point and hollered for them to strip down buck-naked on the back porch before they came inside (so they wouldn’t get the house filthy with muddy clothes and shoes)…and I went back inside without further supervision or explanation.  I mean, that was straight forward enough for a 6 and 4 year old, right?  What could go wrong?  I got busy and actually forgot about them (Dad of the Year!!).  About 45 minutes later I hear Amy laughing hysterically.  Matt and Christian had stripped down and continued to play on the fort.  Our back yard backs up to a busy road that feeds multiple subdivisions, and this fort was designed like a tree house (several feet off the ground)…so lots of folks could see these two kiddos playing buck-naked like a couple of Aborigines.
Just doing as they were told. 

Caleb came along in 2005; now we had a truly blended family.  He grew up on silly songs just like his brothers.  Now, every family with small children uses some simple non-offensive term for a child’s private part(s).  Boys for instance, often are taught to refer to their business as a tee-tee.  Harmless, innocent, simple…but not very original, right?  And that’s where the aforementioned Mr Parker comes in.  When Caleb would get out of the bathtub as a little boy I would sing one of my silly songs (that had been sung to Matt and Christian when they were little)…the song “We Wraps Him Up Like an Eskimo” was a big hit at our house.  One night I told Caleb to get his PJ’s on…he preferred to run around naked laughing hysterically (don’t all little boys…why is that?!).  I made the comment, “You better get your Charlie Parker covered up buddy”.  And the name stuck.  His boy-business was Charlie Parker from then on.  I know…it’s awesome! (I mean shameful…this IS my wife’s blog after all…shameful indeed).  One day when Caleb was 5 years old I was picking him up from daycare after work (Church daycare, mind you).  Caleb’s teacher said he’d had a good day, but asked if we knew anyone named (you guessed it)  Charlie Parker!!  I stammered and said, “no”, and got out of the daycare with my child as quickly as possible (before the Church deacons and possible Child Protective Services swooped in).  A little family discussion that night settled the matter; but it remains a funny memory for our family. 

We know how to laugh at ourselves.  That’s important.  My family is my rock.  They will always be the people I most want to be with.  My extended family took this vanilla conservative guy and showed him it was ok to be silly.  They loved me unconditionally, and in the process made me a better man.  I’ll cherish the silly songs, and I’m sure I’ll come up with a few more in the years to come. 



Isn't he sweet?

I really am surprised that we didn't scare him off.  

What he doesn't mention, is that once we got past my parents on the porch, we entered the house to see my family lined up in a receiving line to meet him.  They all had huge grins on their faces, and he literally had to go down the line and shake hands or get a hug.  I was slightly mortified.

And, I don't think that we had to do much to show him that was okay to be silly.  He was already pretty good at that on his own!


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