A Very Short Story About The Little Brother Who Loves His Big Brother (and tries to hang on his every word ;) ) …And the Vast Difference Between 18 and 9

I was washing my face last night when The Baby walked (a little sulkily) into the bathroom, but obviously with some news he needed to share with me. I asked him what was up.  He announced to me that one of Mini Me’s favorite musician’s had died, and he asked me if I already knew that information.  I told him I did.  He stood there for a minute and we looked at each other.  Then, with complete and total veneration for his musician-big-brother (and said big brother’s sadness over the loss of Chris Cornell),  as well as  a little bit of rockstar-little-brother-EGO, The Baby says to me: Yeah. I’m pretty sure it was the guy from Radiogarden. 

(Yes, I whispered Soundgarden ūüėČ )


Two Jack’s and a Jen (Conclusion of The Contest)

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*Please read “The Contest” prior to reading this story, as this is the conclusion…..

Mini Me and I flew back to Atlanta from Boston on Saturday, August 8, to get ready to leave for Nashville the next day.¬†¬† We were bouncing off the walls.¬† Only 20 Vault members won the contest.¬† Each winner got to bring one guest.¬† This meant that there would be 40 people, plus The Dead Weather. Oh. My. God.¬† I kept trying to calm myself down.¬† On Sunday, the weather was nice in Atlanta, so I got on my giant round float in my pool for a couple of hours before we left for Nashville.¬† I thought the down time would be good for me.¬† I could relax and center myself.¬† Not happening.¬† I was so excited I could not see straight.¬† Mini Me and I left Atlanta around 4:30, which was 3:30 Nashville time. We made it in under 4 hours-record time for even a lead foot. ¬†We were staying at the downtown Hilton,¬† which is not far from Third Man. ¬† We were exhausted.¬† The traveling from Boston to Atlanta the day before and the driving from Atlanta to Nashville had worn both Mini Me and me out.¬† We ordered $75 worth of room service for dinner. ( I told you I absolutely loooove room service, dahling.¬† It’s easy and I don’t ever have to leave the damn room. ) If we were going to party with rock stars, we may as well party like rockstars!¬† We made our plan to get up early so we could primp and look perfect to meet the one and only Jack White, then we went to bed.

In the morning, Mini Me got ready quickly.¬† He doesn’t really need to primp.¬† I changed clothes 5 times.¬† I finally decided on something hip yet not too old, with Mini Me’s help and a little eye rolling. ¬†My heart was starting to beat faster and I was starting to get nervous.¬† I am an extremely star-struck person.¬† I am not sure why that is.¬† I have always been this way.¬† I always wanted to be a star, but every time I would go out on stage, I got this same feeling and I would shut down.¬† I took a breath and decided that a second cup of coffee was not¬† the answer.¬† We packed up our stuff and called for the car and headed downstairs.¬† We would not be coming back to the Hilton after Third Man.¬† We would be driving back to Atlanta.¬† We were a little early to Third Man.¬† They had re-done the store since we were last there, and it was larger and there was more to look at, so we walked around and looked at things we might buy after the listening party.¬† Somehow, Mini Me and I ended up being first in line to enter the listening party, and our photo was put on Third Man’s official Instagram page.¬† One of the employee’s came up to me and asked me if I minded if they put our photo on their Instagram page.¬† I said, “Of course not! Please! It’s not already on there?!”¬† We were treated like rock stars.¬† The guys and girls who work for Third Man walked around and made sure that we had everything we needed at all times.¬† Did we need something to drink? Something to eat? Our wish was their command.¬† We got a full tour of Third Man Records, which was a lot like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.¬† I have never been in a more fun place in all of my life.¬† When it was time to listen to The Dead Weather’s new album, Mini Me was first in line to enter Jack White’s famous Blue Room. ¬†This room has a giant elephant head hanging on the wall.¬† Jack White was on the show “American Pickers” and that is where he found this elephant head.¬† The Blue Room is where you can occasionally go hear live music at Third Man Records. ¬†I was not with Mini Me when he entered¬†the Blue Room.¬† I had befriended a girl from Birmingham, Alabama, and her 7 year old son, as well as some other people, and I had been chatting with them.¬† When Mini Me walked through the door of the Blue Room, Jack White¬† was standing there to shake his hand! He shook Mini Me’s hand and said “Jack” as to introduce himself.¬† Well, you know that Mini Me’s name is Jack too.¬† So Mini Me shook Jack White’s hand and said, “Jack” back to him.¬† This kind of stunned Jack White and he did not know what to say.¬† We think he thought Mini Me was being a smart ass.¬† Since I was not there to interject, “He means his name is also Jack”, nothing else was said and there was just awkward silence.¬† So….we moved on into the Blue Room and all sat down. ¬†There were bean bag chairs and sofas and other chairs.¬† They had a bar set up in there.¬† It was 11:00 in the morning, and nobody was really drinking–like heavily drinking. ¬†So we sat. And we waited.¬† And oh yeah, they had taken my purse and our phones at the door.¬† We could take no photos or anything since the album was not going to be released until September–they could not risk anyone having a recording device in the Blue Room.¬† So we are awkwardly sitting there with no devices to play on.¬† How weird that is.¬† Anyway.¬† I think it may have been Ben Blackwell, Jack White’s cousin and right hand man, who introduced the album and it started playing.¬† Then Jack White started circulating and talking to people.¬† The music was really loud.¬† I looked over at Mini Me and said, “Are we dead?”¬† He said, “No, Mom, I don’t think so.”¬† “Okay”, I said.¬† I smiled at him.¬† My heart was still racing.¬† The next thing I knew,¬†Jack White was standing in front of me, handing me a glass of champagne.¬†¬† As of August 7, 2015, I have been sober for 13 years.¬† When I first got sober, I made deals with myself.¬† Ridiculous deals like “I will stay sober until something horrible happens like……” and so far, nothing that horrible has happened.¬† Another deal happened to be, “I will stay sober until my favorite rock star hands me a drink”….Well….fuckety fuck me.¬† Here I was. This was never supposed to happen.¬† Here I was, sitting in a bean bag chair, with Jack White the Beautiful, staring me in the face, handing me a glass of fucking champagne.¬† I had very little time here, people.¬† VERY LITTLE TIME. ¬† Like less than 20 seconds.¬† You have NO idea what things were going through my head.¬† Yes, I will tell you.¬† Things like:¬† He is NOT hitting on me.¬† This will not end that way.¬† Yes, he is in my top 5 freebies. Hell, he is 4 out of 5 of my top 5 freebies, but¬†this¬†was not going in¬†that direction! It was 11:00 in the morning.¬† Shit.¬†I had totally not expected this.¬† My KID was sitting RIGHT THERE for the LOVE OF GOD. HE WILL BE A TATTLE TALE. ¬†And OH MY GOD NO! I CANNOT DO THIS! I DON’T WANT TO DO THIS TO¬†MY FAMILY OR¬† MYSELF!!! OK.¬† I really knew the answer from the minute I looked up at Jack White, but, the reality is that all of that really did go through my mind because I am HUMAN.¬† But WAIT!!!¬† should I take it and say thank you and set it down beside me and just leave it? Hell no. That was¬†not the answer either! I looked up at Jack White and I screamed “NO THANK YOU” because the damn music was so loud, he could not hear me otherwise.¬† He gave me an oddball look, but¬†took his champagne and moved on. ¬† I was completely deflated. ¬† I absolutely must find a way to let him know the reason why I could not accept the champagne.¬† I could not let him think he had a Bible beater in his coveted Blue Room! Don’t get me wrong.¬† I am a spiritual person, but I would rather Jack White know that I am sober than think I am a Bible beater any day of the week, and I will not apologize for that. ¬† A little while later, I got my chance.¬† Since Mini Me is a musician, he often looks like one too.¬† That day, in August, he happened to have on a black leather jacket.¬† So did Jack White, by the way.¬† Jack White came and sat down by Mini Me, which put Mini Me between myself and Jack White.¬† The music got a little quieter and I knew it was now or never.¬† Jack White had his right arm around Mini Me and was leaning in, talking to him.¬† I put my left arm on Jack White’s arm and leaned in behind Mini Me’s head.¬† “I NEED TO TELL YOU SOMETHING” I said as loudly as I needed to.¬† Jack White leaned in so closely I could have kissed him if I had drank that damn champagne.¬† Well, if I had drank the whole bottle of it, maybe I would have. (Lucky for everyone involved, I did not)¬† Anyway. So I said, “I HAVE BEEN SOBER FOR 13 YEARS!” and with that information, Jack White threw his head back and laughed and he looked at me and said, “AND OF COURSE I WOULD BRING YOU A DRINK! I AM SO SORRY! BUT I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! HANG ON JUST A SECOND, ” and with that, he got up and walked over to the bar and brought me back a Coca Cola.¬† The can said “Sis” on it.¬† I thanked him and he and Mini Me chatted.¬† I do not normally drink regular Coke, but you can bet your ass I drank that one.¬† I also brought that damn can home with me and it sits next to my side of the bed.¬† Jack was posing for Polaroids and Mini Me and I got one with him.¬† I then took the opportunity to tell Jack that Mini Me’s name was also Jack.¬† He started laughing, remembering how Mini Me greeted him at the door of the Blue Room.¬† He asked me my name.¬† When we were getting ready for the picture, he said, “Well, we will call this one ‘Two Jack’s and a Jen’ “.¬† A little while later, I had the chance to talk to the girl I had befriended from Huntsville, Alabama.¬† I was telling her about the champagne.¬† She asked me why I gave it back and I told her.¬† She said, “Wow.¬† Just Wow. Well, I have 3 months sober.¬† I saw you give it back and I knew then that if he brought it to me, I could give it back too.”¬† Then it was my turn to say, “Wow. Just Wow.”¬† With 13 years of sobriety, I don’t really think about it all that much sometimes.¬† Especially when I am off doing stuff with my kids.¬† That entire day had been completely off the chain.¬† I was so glad that I had been able to give the damn champagne back to Jack White–not just for me and my family–but for that girl and her family.¬† It just goes to show that my actions do affect others–no matter where¬†I go.¬† I need to remember that.¬† Mini Me and I rode back to Atlanta that day on an adrenaline high that got us almost all the way home, then reality set in and we all know that reality bites hard.

The Middle Child

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I must introduce you to The Middle Child.¬† You have met Mini Me and you have sort of met The Baby.¬† It’s simply not fair for me to leave her out, for that is certainly giving power to the middle child syndrome, and I try very, very hard not to feed that.¬† I do not see how it is exactly possible for there to be a middle child syndrome at my house, being that Mini Me is a boy, and a rockstar and all that he is.¬† And The Baby is a boy, and, well, he is SOOOOOOOO much younger than the other two that it’s just not like there should really be any competition! The Middle Child, or Eliza, as she prefers to be called for some reason–perhaps because it is her name–is damn near perfect in most ways, so far as I can tell.¬† She makes nearly perfect grades.¬†¬† I am not bragging, people.¬† I am merely stating facts.¬† We find her to be beautiful.¬† She is compassionate and sweet to the point of sometimes making me want to puke.¬† I do not mean this in a mean way at all.¬† Anyone who knows me, knows good and well that, well, I am not that sweet.¬† Never have been, never will be.¬† Again–merely stating facts, people.¬† The Middle Child has this beautiful, angelic voice–again, not from me.¬† She sings pretty much 24/7, 365.¬† Full on,¬† natural vibrato.¬† Singing is her thing.¬† Like laundry is my thing.¬† In case you do not already know this, I am in surround-sound pretty much all of the time, except when the kids are at school.¬† When they are at home, Mini Me is usually playing the guitar and singing downstairs with a microphone and amp.¬† The Middle Child is upstairs, belting out Broadway show tunes at the top of her lungs.¬† The Baby may or may not be playing the drums alongside Mini Me.¬† Sometimes I am in serious need of a Xanax milkshake or perhaps, a straight jacket. ¬† But anyway, back to The Middle Child.

First of all, The Middle Child made me crave only sweet foods the entire time I was pregnant with her.¬† I think that is why she is so sweet.¬† With Mini Me, I had to eat at Rio Bravo at least 3 times a week.¬† I think that is why he is such a sassy pantalones. Also, The Middle Child only made me gain 27 pounds! 27. Whereas Mini Me put a whopping 65 pounds on my butt that was damn near impossible to lose.¬† Hell–The Baby put 80 on me, but he had an excuse of me not having a thyroid anymore, so it wasn’t actually his fault.¬† Is it ever The Baby’s fault?! Hahaha.¬† I know, I know. None of that is anyone’s fault but my own. ¬†¬† I thought that The Middle Child was going to be born on September 11, 2001.¬† I begged her to wait, so she politely did.¬† Mini Me and I had gone to Madison that morning and turned around and came right back.¬† That day was so horrible.¬†¬† The Middle Child waited until early in the morning on September 15.¬† It was a Saturday.¬† There was no drama.¬† No rushing around.¬† No Atlanta traffic.¬† We timed my contractions and left Alpharetta in plenty of time to meet MiMa and PaPa (JC’s parents) at Northside Hospital, so they could take Mini Me home with them.¬† Eliza McKenzie Boyanton made her way into this world later that morning.¬† Forgive me people.¬† It is written down in her baby book exactly what time she got here, and no, I can’t remember the exact time right now! YES, I can remember the exact time Mini Me and The Baby were born.¬† I don’t know WHY that is, but it just IS.¬† Maybe it’s because Mini Me was the first child and we had a flat tire on 285 on the way from Atlanta to Athens–that’s an entirely different story.¬† And with The Baby….his birth story is full of nothing but drama,¬† and that’s an entirely different story, so it’s not like I just forgot when The Middle Child was born because she is The Middle Child!¬† She came into this world without any fuss.¬† Literally.¬† She refused to cry.¬† They did everything to try to make her cry.¬† She would not.¬† So, they gave her an Apgar score of 9 instead of 10.¬† Probably the only time she will never get a perfect score.¬† I remember them handing her to me.¬† I held her and looked down into her blue, blue eyes.¬† She was serene and sweet and everything beautiful.¬† She had a head full of black, curly hair!¬† I wanted her to have curly hair like her Daddy.¬† Unfortunately, this did not last, but she did have some curls for a while.¬† Mini Me has always had my straight-as-a-stick hair.¬† Mini Me came to see her.¬† He was a little less than thrilled.¬† He had wanted a clown, not a sister.¬† Seriously.¬†¬† We had known for a long time that she was a girl.¬† When we told Mini Me that he was going to have a baby sister, he got very upset and said that he had wanted a clown! WTF?! A clown? I hate clowns! I am scared of clowns! Most kids are scared of clowns! It was then that I started to be concerned that perhaps Mini Me might have some….well, some issues…..but, alas, he does not.¬† At least none of the psychopathic nature.¬† That we know of.¬† Yet. I don’t think he does….

We brought The Middle Child home and she was just so calm.¬† I was so not used to this.¬† She slept.¬† She slept in her moses basket.¬† Alone.¬† And we could swaddle her and put her in it awake and she would go to sleep with no crying! She was the baby I had read about in books! I did not think this baby actually existed!¬† Mini Me had been the baby from hell.¬† Seriously.¬† He refused to sleep. Ever.¬† And NEVER in his bed or his cradle or his car seat or his bouncy seat or any other damn thing that would hold him except MY ARMS or OUR BED.¬† The only problem with The Middle Child was that she wanted to sleep all of the time.¬† When I would nurse her, she would fall asleep and stop nursing.¬† I would have to undress her to try to wake her.¬† Mini Me would be tearing up the house, drawing on the walls, unrolling all the toilet paper–anything he could do while I was trying to feed The Middle Child.¬† Finally, I gave up and quit nursing.¬† The Middle Child would drink a whole bottle before falling asleep. Bingo.¬† Don’t even ask me in the comment section why I didn’t pump.¬† Re-read what Mini Me was doing while I was nursing and re-think before you ask that question.¬† The Middle Child had a mat she could lay on, with a thing that hung over her head that would light up if she batted it or kicked it.¬† I would put her down on the mat and turn around 5 minutes later and she would be on her side, sucking her thumb, sound asleep.¬† When she was a baby, sleeping was her thing.¬† One day, when she was in her bouncy seat, in front of the television–yes, I was that mother–Mini Me was sitting right next to her.¬† Like right up in her grill next to her.¬† I was folding laundry in the hallway.¬† I heard screaming.¬†¬† I came flying into the den and asked Mini Me just what the hell was going on.¬† “Her hitted me, so I scwatched her,” he said, with absolutely no remorse whatsoever.¬† I looked at The Middle Child, who was still screaming like a stuck pig.¬† She had a big, fresh scratch right down the middle of her forehead from her hairline to her nose! She had not actually hit¬† Mini Me.¬† She was in the bouncy seat and had her arms extended and was bouncing. And, if you remember, I said he was all up in her grill.¬† He was sitting so closely beside her, that when she extended her arms, she popped him with one of them.¬† I tried to explain this to Mini Me.¬† Actually, I am 99.9% sure he knew it before he scwatched her.¬† In fact, he probably planned the entire event.¬† Anyway, what it got him was in trouble, of course.¬† Mini Me was actually very protective of The Middle Child.¬† He did not want any other kid to touch his baby.¬† Ever.

The Middle Child did not walk until she was 15 months old.¬† She did not have to.¬† She was a mess when she ate anything at all.¬† We could always put her in her crib and tell her “night night” and she would go to sleep with absolutely zero crying.¬† When she moved to a toddler bed, she would stay in it.¬† No chasing her around the house like we had to do with Mini Me.¬† No screaming and fighting night after night.¬† When she moved to her big girl bed, she would just disappear when she got sleepy.¬† We would find her, sound asleep, in her bed.¬† Where did this dream child come from? How did she come to me? I had no clue.¬† I certainly did not deserve her!¬† Mothah loves to tell stories about how I was the child from hell….now you know where and why Mini Me got his name.¬† One day I will write about Mothah and why she is Mothah and not Mother.¬† I may not know where this child came from, but by God, I was going to keep her! I also wanted to keep my Mini Me.¬† Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved his sassy pantalones self!¬† I know I write a lot about Mini Me and his shenanigans.¬† There is a lot of material to write about!¬† He is a really good kid.¬† I am really not trying to give you the wrong impression.¬† He loves fiercely.¬† He is very passionate about his beliefs and his strong personality is what is going to take him very far in life.¬† I am so very proud of him that I can make myself cry if I think about him for more than 30 seconds.¬† And I am equally as proud of The Middle Child.¬† I can also make myself cry if I think about her for more than 30 seconds! And the same is true for The Baby!¬† They are all three so very different, yet I love them so very much and more than I ever thought was possible for me to love anybody.¬† I will say; however, that I am so very glad that they are different.¬† If I had three of Mini Me….well…..it might drive me to drink! Three of The Middle Child…..I might be puking from all the goodness and sweetness all the time! and three of The Baby? the constant talk of video games and redundant questions might put me in a straight jacket in a matter of hours.