Memories, Parenting, Shared Stories, and Growing Up

My daughter turned nineteen yesterday. That now means I’m officially a parent of those who are exclusively adults.

With the kids in my life getting older it beings back a flood of memories from the time I was a little bit older than two years, to my childhood, and somewhat embarrassing and adventure filled young adulthood.

I hope that all adults, especially those with children, and I mean children of any age, can remember way back when. I don’t mean like those memes you see on Facebook that say “When I was a kid we jumped off of cliffs, played with guns and live hand grenades, went swimming in snake infested rivers, stayed out until dark, exclusively dined on fried food and sugar, and put our hands into garbage disposals, used chain saws unattended, and we’re still alive. Kids these days are spoiled assholes.”

Having children brings up random memories. Sometimes these are fearful. Sometimes they bring a sigh of relief because your child is not doing the same thing as you did. Sometimes they are happy, or bittersweet because of a time you loved that will never be again.

Yesterday I thought about how I waited on the front porch of our house with my mother and my brother Valentine as we watched my three older brothers walking off to school. They were fourteen, thirteen, and nine. Val was almost five. I was almost four. I remember telling my mother that I wanted to go to school. Val was silent on the issue. He’d already started to read on his own and had no plans on going to school. Not ever. He never told my parents so he missed his opportunity to be an exclusive self learner. I didn’t learn to read until I was six and didn’t master it until I was about eight.

I thought about how much I like my daughter’s boyfriend, and my son’s girlfriend.

And the most random memory came into my head. I dated a guy named Orin once who was nice. He had a dog who was nice and a nice sense of humor. His home was nice. What wasn’t so nice was the fact that his sister lived with him. Gertrude seemed nice at first despite the fact that she was loud and exceptionally out spoken. But then it got weird.

Wherever I went with Orin Gertrude would be there. When Gertrude would talk Orin would stop whatever he was doing and give her a dreamy look. Gertrude was the expert in everything and he would defer to her on everything. She monopolized every conversation. Eventually everything we did was what Orin and Gertrude wanted to do. In fact that only reason I think I was around was because Orin didn’t want to have sex with his sister. She already had dibs on all of the other girlfriend functions. It was like dating married man who brought his wife along, only weirder. So the last time I saw him I invited him for cocktails. I said we could do something afterwords. A few nights before I told him that I was bothered that Gertrude, or Gertrude and her boyfriend were always along. I wanted some time with just him. He brought Gertrude along. As we sipped our drinks Gertrude talked and Owen gave her dreamy looks and said nothing out of his goofy love stuck smile. I left after I was finished with my drink and never saw him again.

I’ve told that story to my kids. They think it is exceptionally creepy. Siblings are great. Just not like Owen and Gertrude.

This morning my daughter Clara and her boyfriend left for a camping trip on the north coast. I thought of a camping trip long ago with my friend Amelia.

I was living in Sacramento. Amelia was living in Las Vegas. So we met half way in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, where the highest mountains in the lower 48 are. We were at Devil’s Post Pile, an amazing geological formation. As we set up our tents I heard seals. This was great. Last time I went camping on the beach we heard seals too.

I said to Amelia, “Do you hear the seals?”

She said, “Those are mules.”

Then I remembered we were three hundred miles from the ocean, and in the mountains.

I’ll attribute my memory fade to a four-hour drive in my sports car with the top down. Brain bake. Or maybe it was just me, because sometimes I’m like that.

Amelia is still in Las Vegas being fabulous. I’m still living near Sacramento.

Amelia and I are still having adventures. I heard the seals, aka mules, years before I ever had children. Now Amelia and I have grown daughters. I think our hearing is a lot better now. Parenthood will do that to you.

By the way, I haven’t heard seals in the mountains since then.

I was also with Amelia on my 19th birthday one hundred and forty years ago, but I won’t tell that story today.

In both storytelling and parenting use what you know. Use the truths from you experiences to teach your children. Entertain them with your stupid stories so maybe their stupid stories won’t be so stupid.

We all connect through our stories. Our stories make us who we are. They are something we can share at no cost, except maybe a little embarrassment.

I love to listen to stories and memories others have to share. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting around a campfire, strolling through a museum, or hanging out at home. What matters is that we listen with open minds, open hearts, and a sense of humor. And add in some love.

Yes, even Vampires, despite the misinformation out there about us, know about love. We know a lot about love – and stories. So be like a Vampire and tell your story and collect stories from others. You’ll thank me for it later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vm darling girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vampire Diary: In My Youth

Dear Diary,

Who is the man they call Disney?

What magic does he use to lure children to his kingdom? What is this mouse who surrounds himself with princesses? And then there is a tale of a man who eats nuts and mice who dance at Yule time. It is no wonder that children bury their heads in their phones to escape the relentless call of these fiends who prey on children disguised as friendly lovers of animals and happy music.

I was on my front porch trying to get my cats to come inside when a small girl ran down the street with her small dog. Her name is Emily. Most girls are named Emily. I asked this Emily if she knew of the Disney Kingdom and if she had heard of Disney’s princesses.

She said, “Everyone loves the girls in Frozen, or Belle, or Cinderella, but I like Repunzle in Tangled. I like Jasmine too, in Aladdin. Mulan rocks it too. Hey, have you seen Robin Hood the fox? I love that one.”

I told her I had not. She shrugged and ran on with her dog. Then she ran up to me again and said I had to see Finding Nemo. What is Nemo and why does one need to find it? I just smiled without fangs and waved the child on her way.

When I was a child of her age, maybe about nine or ten years old my uncle brought me out to see a show of fire eaters, and men who did slight-of-hand magic. After one produced a monkey who danced, my uncle burned a large group of his rivals alive after impaling them on pointed stakes. Severed heads of men with gaping mouths and sightless eyes were placed on the side of the road as far as the eye could see. My uncle laughed and slapped me on the back. That night I crept into his room and cut out his heart. He looked at me with wide eyes and I told him that he gave my family a bad reputation. My father had told me that reputation was as valuable as an intact soul for a Vampire. I have since learned how right my father was.

My uncle’s daughter, my cousin, was a princess. She told me that she was going to run away with her lover. I told her to go. I told her that I would keep her secret. She looked kind of like the one they call Snow White, only her name was Dashi and her lover was not a singing dwarf, a prince, or a huntsman. He was a Vampire of noble birth who could read, and write. Dashi said she was going someplace where people did not fear Vampires. I told her good luck and laughed like a man. She took her father’s heart and put it in a box, then put the box in a bag and took it with her.  Then I felt bad. I went to the kitchen and drank blood from the arm of one of the girls who helped with the evening feasts. As I lay my cold bloodless cheek against her warm chest she stroked my hair and told me that I had done the right thing. Later my father, realizing I was upset and confused brought me the dancing monkey. I never saw my cousin or the box with my uncle’s heart again. My father was finally King of the Vampires.

Ten years later I controlled the kingdom. But I did not have dozens of princesses. I did not even have a queen. Lovers yes, always, but no princesses. I did not create a cult of children who lived in fear of their step mothers and…how I miss my Baba. She would tell me stories of cunning princesses who cut off the heads of men and drank their blood. These princesses were motivated by revenge rather than romance, but Baba said romance is like a drizzle of honey, or warm fresh blood on a cold winter day.

Why do the children of men fear Vampires so much while their very souls are being sucked out by a mouse? I do not understand.

As for the monkey. He did end up with his own princess. A few years later I gave him to a girl who took me to her bed. It was a fair deal. I turned her into a Vampire. I hear she lives in Seattle. I wonder if she still has the monkey.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I watch as the kitten plays with his mother. He is almost grown now but my love Gillian says he will always be her baby.

I look at Gillian and wonder if perhaps…

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Gillian stayed the day with me. As we lay in bed, in the darkened room, I asked her about a childhood memory. She said it was so long ago, but I kissed her neck and told her to remember.

She laughed and told me how she liked to sit with the women who did needlework. When they would prick their fingers on the needles she would lick off the blood. What precious memories my love has.

I saw Emily and her little dog again today. She laughed and waved at me.

“Have you seen the bald eagle?” She was so excited to tell me about this bird.

“No,” I said. “Is is part of the mouse clan?”

“It is real. Right at the end of the street building a nest in the big digger pine tree,” she said with wide eyes. “I can’t bring Rufus down to see her because he’ll bark.”

Then she laughed and skipped away, without a mouse, or a phone, or a princess. She was just a little girl, like little girls who watched birds eight hundred years ago.

I will watch for the mouse. It will not take Emily away to be a princess, or I will have that mouse heart in a box.

I am no longer Vampire King but I will protect my own. That is something I do understand.

~ Vlad

 

blue cat

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/childhood/

No matter where you are, you’re somewhere.

I find myself frequently returning to the theme “You might not be where you wanted to be, but maybe you’re where you should be.”

Yes, I’m the first to admit that I do not believe in the whole predestination school of thought. The first time I heard about it was in a Presbyterian church while my brother Val and I were hidden in the rafters ease dropping, something we frequently did when we were children. My brother took it seriously for about 5 minutes. I didn’t make any sense to me at all. I couldn’t see our existence as one huge “Damned if we do, damned if we don’t” ordeal. It just didn’t make any sense. I was a child who lived by the rule of free will. I was also, and still am, a rule follower which shouldn’t make any sense but that is another blog post.

Anyway, early on I also started to get my romantic streak. That was a good thing and a bad thing. I saw the world as a big romantic adventure. Not so much romance with a man, but the notion that there was beauty in everything and the world was bound to just keep getting better. I knew I’d grow up to live a life surrounded by roses and parties and lovely times because THAT was my destiny.

I’d spend hours looking at books with beautiful pictures and reading lovely fairy stories. But at the same time I was drawn to anything to do with disasters, ghosts, murders and ghoulish things of all sorts (go figure.)

When I grew up things changed. The lovely order of the rose gardens and adventures hiding out in places my brothers and I shouldn’t have been, turned over to real life. There were a lot of adventures both good and bad. There were dangerous and foolish adventures. Nobody had ever told me of the disappointments and heart-break and frustration of the adult world. I flew through life until… all the frustrating weirdness led to my husband and that led to my kids. Now it seems like everything is all falling into place. I feel as if this was meant to be. Of course in all of the alternate and parallel universe places I also frequent it could have been different. I think of that a lot too. OK not that much, but when I write i have to get ideas from somewhere. Why not get them from my own dusty brain drawers?

So no matter where you are, you’re somewhere. When I was a child I knew I could be anywhere. I’m finally realizing that I was right.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vm darling girl

 

Additional information: Along these lines I found myself answering to a writing prompt on The Matticus Kingdom (a blog you should follow). As usual I wrote about a man who found himself not with the woman he imagined being with but with the woman he should have been with (and it was a good thing.) I keep doing that when I write. Life it like that. So is fiction. Go figure. http://thematticuskingdom.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/prompt-finish-the-story/

Also, you might like this story about time travel and Vampires and my family. It kind of sort of goes with this theme. Go to the link for Cockroaches of the Space Time Continuum. https://vampiremaman.com/2014/04/03/cockroaches-of-the-space-time-continuum/

This post was inspired by a prompt. Then again, everything is kind of a prompt – the prompt of life… HA HA HA

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/adult-visions/

 

 

A little help from my friends…

As a child I never asked for help. At least never with anyone outside of my family.

I’d be the kid in the back who watched and waited and figured, or not, things out by myself. Asking for help showed weakness. It kept me open for attack. It was uncomfortable. And if it was an adult they would look at me with those big adult faces full of bumps and wrinkles and veins and red eyes and expect me to talk to them.

The only people I’d ever ask assistance from were my parents (sometimes), my brother Val (always) and the Elders who were like my grandparents (always). To everyone else I had to prove that I didn’t need them. Don’t ask me why. I was just that kind of child.

I grew out of that. I don’t see adults in such a horrible ugly light anymore (at least most of them).  Never the less, I don’t like asking for help. Being an independent woman in my world, the world according to Juliette, has always been first and foremost.

Those in my world, the world of the modern woman, as well as the Modern Vampire and well, a lot of different types of beings, requires that one depend on themselves.

BUT, that said, I knew early on that my kids would have a lot better time in life if they DID ask for help. RAISE YOUR HAND and ask your teacher for help. Ask me, ask your dad, ask your uncle, ask your Grandmama. By asking for help a kid interacts, learns, explores new options and generally has more fun.

Asking for help is a good thing. It can open doors, open jars, open friendships, open minds and open hearts. And giving help does the same ten fold.

It is still something that doesn’t come easy for me, but my kids… they’re not me…at least in that way.

But one thing I’ve learned that is so important is “If you don’t ask, the answer will ALWAYS be NO.” So I tell my kids to always ASK, because most of the time the answer will be YES.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

moth

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/daily-prompt-self/

The Butterfly Effect – Musings on Parenthood

The Butterfly Effect

I was asked to join a blog tour along with a group of talented poets, artists, writers, photographers and those promoting peace through sharing art, words and good deeds. 

Juliette’s Thoughts and Musings on the Butterfly Effect and Parenting and Life…

The Butterfly Effect is what happens when one act of kindness, and act of peace or an act of passion causes another positive change, and like symbolic butterflies they go into the world and quietly bring hope and change. Just as your children will someday go out into the world and spread their own wings and make change.

My earliest memories are of drawing on paper.  I drew a giraffe and it didn’t turn out very well, so I changed it into a table with an umbrella over it. I think I was 3 years old. My mom kept the drawing. I love my mom. I’m still drawing.

I’m an artist to the core of my soul.  I’m a curious collector of oddities (both objects, experiences and people). I read. I discover. I write. I design. I act. I live as I wish (well, I pretend I do). And I use the word “I” a lot, or at least I used to.

Then I met a remarkable man who thought I was funny and a bit odd and a lot sexy and smart and ….I liked him a lot too because he was smart and sexy.

And that would have been fine to have stayed that way…

Until we had a child.

I never knew I could love as much as this. Both the man and the child. I never knew we could love as much.

I never knew what an amazing journey parenthood would be.

When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.

Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.

Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.

So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life? 

  • Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
  • Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
  • Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
  • Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
  • Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
  • Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
  • Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
  • Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.” 
  • Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
  • Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
  • Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
  • Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
  • Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of  judging your friend.
  • Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
  • Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
  • Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
  • Teach them to pay if forward.
  • Teach them that their opinions are valued.
  • Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
  • Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we won’t talk about them.
  • Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
  • And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it. 



Visit the Blog Tour (there is some exceptionally cool stuff there):

June 9th http://www.shevata-cccole.blogspot.co.uk/

C.c.Cole

June 10th http://deannnative.posterous.com/

DeAnne Townes Jr.

June 11th http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com

Niamh Clune

June 12thhttp://mapelba.wordpress.com/

Marta Pelrine-Bacon

June 13th http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com

Tonia Harris

June 14th http://deannnative.posterous.com

De Ann “Native” Townes Jr.

June 15th http://nicolesmith.mosaicglobe.com/

Nicole Smith

June 18 https://vampiremaman.wordpress.com

Juliette Kings

June 21 http://sooziebird.blogspot.com/

Susie Bertie

June 25th  http://feetfirstbook.wordpress.com/

Beverley Ann Hoyle

June 27th http://debsbookreviews.blogspot.com

Deb Hockenberry

June 29th http://girlseeksplace.wordpress.com

Brianna Solkowski

Check it out and let’s make this thing go VIRAL!

More:

http://ontheplumtree.wordpress.com

http://niamhclune.wix.com/plum-tree-poetry#!Home/mainPage

Tweet: @PlumTreeBooks #poetry on the Plum Tree with @NiamhClune The Butterfly Effect @PlumTreeBooks #poetry on the Plum Tree with @NiamhClune The Butterfly Effect. http://ow.ly/blCQv

Check out the exceptionally beautiful Butterfly Effect: http://issuu.com/plumtreebooks/docs/the_butterfly_effect?mode=window&backgroundColor#222222

Note: My point of view and opinions may not reflect that of the others in the blog tour. Their opinions might or might not reflect mine. But I respect their right to their opinions and creative talents. I respect that in everyone who visits my blog. My father taught me to always say and live these words: “I will defend your right to say ANYTHING and express your opinion, even if I don’t agree.”  

Hugs and thanks for visiting. Don’t forget to FOLLOW the Vampire Maman BLOG for more exciting Vampire Fun (among other things). Click on “like” if you like it.

It’s going to be an exciting summer! And let me know what you’re up to! I’d love to see what you’re doing/thinking/creating/imagining too!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman