Archive for July, 2011


Menfolk: It Is Now Safe To Come Out From Your Hiding Places

July 30th, 2011 at 7:14 pm » Comments (6)

I tell y’all everything. Everything of significance. And if I can’t for some reason, I find a way to hint at it until I FEEL as if I have. Or to tell you without being specific. But I can’t just disappear, have a horrific week, and then return and pretend nothing went down. It wouldn’t be right. Y’all probably wouldn’t ever notice, but it would matter to me.

Confession (not that I regret this, in case the word ‘confession’ implies regret):

Earlier in the week I went OFF on 3 different men in 24 hours. 2 of whom had it coming for years, and 1 who was completely innocent, and trying to help, and he got an immediate apology. (Oops. I did regret that one.)

 

There’s something to be said for just ‘losing it’ like that. I’ve never watched an episode of “Snapped.” Have y’all? It mighta looked like the beginning of one of those shows, though.

One of the 3 men asked why I was ‘using’ anger to get a certain response. As if it was just a big dramatic manipulation. As if I do that. (I don’t.) I felt my forehead start to ache as my eyes got even bigger and crazier and I yelled, “I am not USING anger. THIS! IS! ME! BE!ING! ANGRY!”  And that’s the problem with habitually not showing anger when you feel anger. When you finally DO because you cannot take it anymore – it is unrecognizable to other members of the species.

I didn’t think I was a volcano type OR  someone who ‘stuffed’ problems and feelings. Really, recent seismic explosions notwithstanding, I still don’t. Usually, I take whatever amount of processing time is necessary, then return to calmly communicate whatever is wrong and work it out. I intentionally wait until there are almost no feelings or emotions left that would cloud the conversational clarity or make the other person uncomfortable. (there’s something weird with that, I know. I just hate to inconvenience people, ever.)

So this was a particularly opposite response for me. The fallout has yet to be determined. That night, I got only 3 hours of sleep and was so out of it the next day that I needed my mom to drive the boys and me to swim lessons and back. She offered, and I was so grateful, because I could not possibly drive.

Also? When I am sleep deprived, I spit when I speak. Every few minutes I’d say something that made NO sense, because I also cannot think when I am too tired, but then I’d have to mop off my face or my child, or my mother’s arm, or whatever else I’d just spat upon. Fortunately, I thought this was hysterically funny because if I hadn’t, it would have made me cry.

Then, after that 24 hour period, I was a bit afraid of myself. Like the Incredible Hulk. Like, what the HELL have I turned into and will God protect the Menfolk Of The World from me until I return to normal? And WILL I return to normal? And do I even want to return to normal? Because, DANG there are really some things finally maybe getting resolved in my life right now huh we’ll see. And all of that.

I’ve never seen anything “Incredible Hulk.” Except Caden-7yr’s underwear. If that particular analogy didn’t make sense.

 

And there we have it. I was hesitant to blog. In the interest of blog-honesty and for the safety of the Menfolk, and all, in case there were any hanging about. But I think I’m fine now.  I’m not mad or tired or spitting.

I’m betting episodes of “Snapped” never end well.

But let’s not dwell on that.


What Y’all Believe

July 28th, 2011 at 7:13 pm » Comments (2)

I wrote about what I believe here, and some of y’all did the same thing! Here are links to the ones I know about. If you have done this and your name isn’t here, let me know so I can add you, please! Reading these was exactly what I needed tonight. The hardest part of the last week was NOT the moment I got tree-loppered. Who would have guessed? Anyway, thank you all. Your creativity, humor, wisdom, values, and love shone through in your lists.

 

Mother T

jan

Mysti

 

Becky, Sara, and Jennifer Sullivan added theirs right in the comment section.

And then I read this post at My Garden Hat and my heart broke and I stopped thinking about my week completely.

 

(I just really love y’all.)


Monday Is Looking REAL Good

July 24th, 2011 at 10:41 pm » Comments (11)

The other day I accidentally bumped into Caden-7yr and smashed him into the living room wall. I’m like that. He’s like that. So we collide a lot. But it was his turn to be indignant since this time it was my fault, and he said, “Mom. You are so ROUGH. You walk rough.  And you even drive rough. That HURT.” I apologized and tried not to let him see me roll my eyes, because he is exactly like me in this regard, and next time it’ll be him smashing me into a wall and I’ll be expected to be nice about it since I’m the adult.

As a kid, I always wanted to be graceful. It was the little girl ballerina thing, I suppose. And all those years of ballet had me deluded into thinking that sometimes I actually pulled it off. But no amount of ballet can override my particular combination of clumsiness and a lack of self-preservation.  Some weekends just pick you up and spit you out in such a way that you realize that of course graceful and you do not really mesh. That was my weekend. (Hope yours was different.)

I had a REAL good reason for weedeating my left foot on Saturday until it oozed with red, whelpy slash marks.

I was at my mom’s and had earlier (so in character) broken off the plastic guard thing that prevents you from easily weedwhacking your feet to pieces.  We had discussed breaking out the Hello Kitty pink duct tape and putting it back together. But… eh. Instead, I just wore my tall pink rain boots (with short denim shorts, no less, so I’m really driving down the home values in my mom’s ‘hood). This works GREAT. Except. You do look like an idiot.

Not that I really care.

So when it needed to be done again, on Saturday, and I didn’t HAVE the tall pink rain boots with me, I just figured I’d be careful.

Because, I’m SO generally careful and all of that. Who has time to break out the pink Hello Kitty duct tape and put the plastic guard thing back on, when you can just lie to yourself and SAY you’ll be careful?

My mom suggested I borrow her tall rain boots. I didn’t. I mean, I WOULD because I’m all for a lame excuse to share cute footwear, but my mom has teeny feet. (I did not, prior to my hacking off the flesh on my left foot. They are arguably smaller now, though.)

Anyway. That’s how I came to be wearing cute flip flops when I hacked my left foot to pieces in my mother’s backyard on Saturday. I put the weedeater back in the garage and limped to the front porch where my mom and Caden-7yr were sitting.

Caden-7yr says, “Weedeater isn’t working, huh? It sounded weird.” He has a bored, squinty look on his face, from the brightness of the afternoon and from analyzing the sounds of yard tools in the area.

“That’s the sound it makes when it rips flesh from bone.”

“YOU DIDN’T WEAR MY BOOTS?”

“No. They don’t fit.”

“How do you KNOW?”

“Because your FEET are smaller than MY feet! Your shoes are smaller than MY shoes!”

My mother is bent forward, examining the slash marks. “Well. I’m suprised we didn’t hear you scream.” (She meant that nicely. In case it’s coming off kinda NOT, she really was concerned.)

“Yeah, it was more one of those quiet, tension filled growly noises that starts here-” and I tap my stomach and demonstrate the sound of gutteral, restrained anguish. But I don’t get it quite right so I do a few more.

“Oh, those.”

THAT was yesterday. It seems so long ago. My foot looks much better today. Today I decided I would prune the crepe myrtle closest to the garage. Nothing scares Mike more than a tree or shrub or vine that is too close to the house and might do damage. (Except conversation with ‘feeling’ words, but you know what I mean.) I’ve been meaning to take care of the encroaching tree and haven’t. And Mike would have done it if I’d asked, probably, but if someone was going to do this, it should be the one who occasionally has read up on pruning, lopping techniques, and tree crotches. (No, I’m not proud of that. That phrase totally icks me out.)

So I got to work.

I got out the big, long handled lopper things and a ladder.

(already this sounds REALLY bad. I know.)

I’d done pretty well. But there was this one really fat branch, pretty high up, and coming off the trunk at an odd angle. Everything on it was dead. It needed to go. I sat on the top of the ladder, branches all around me, and positioned the blade. I was so focused on the cutting that I didn’t really notice that the big long handles were actually on either side of my body.

That would be an important thing to notice. And then to FIX.

But I learned soon enough, because as soon as I cut through the branch, those big handles slammed into both sides of my rib cage with bruising, crushing intensity that kinda TOTALLY convinced me I’d never make that mistake again. I dropped the loppers, slumped forward and held myself up with my feet propped against the tree. I made this horrible dying cat meow sound and my eyes filled up with hot tears, and I stayed there waiting for the pain to go away. It did. Mostly. It was pathetic, that scene.

I finished what I could, went and asked Mike to cut a few more branches. He asked if I was all right, noticing perhaps that I don’t normally hold my ribs in place. I said I was fine and didn’t explain. How do you explain that? “Well, honey. It was sort of like the saw the woman in half magic trick, but it’s not magic, and you use loppers, and you don’t need an assistant… and it helps if you can meow.”

I’m mostly fine. Except for the bits of raw foot flesh and the crushed, bruised feeling when I breathe, I’m really pretty good.

Rough weekend, yaknow?


Oh So Important, This Stuff

July 21st, 2011 at 1:00 pm » Comments (22)

i believe if you toast pecans, they taste 700% better.

i believe in pulling the Most Obnoxious Child In The Room in for a hug, because even if he’s being particularly unhuggable – it’s probably what you both need. (reconnecting.)

i believe in praying before you even wake up fully, and pretty much not ever stopping – just pausing. (reconnecting.)

i believe in my phone being just that - my phone. Not a ‘here, you can play a game on it’ child toy-like thing. Amuse yourself with your own imagination and brainpower instead, sweet child, as there are no games on it anyway.

i believe firmly in scheduled “down time.” sitting in the sun in the backyard staring off at nothing IS important. It’s when I daydream, pray, write scenes in my head, live.

i believe in honesty. the sort where you try to be as honest as possible deep within your own thoughts about things no one else will ever hear. the things that you could lie to yourself about if you really wanted to, and no  one would know… i try hard not to, even if it hurts more. (and it always hurts more.)

i believe in nice sheets, good shampoo, and well-made machines. i do not believe in clothes, jewelry, shoes, or purses with status symbol type branding all over them. ( i don’t care if you wear them – but it all just makes me feel silly.)

i believe in nice, manly arms. but not if they are purposely flexed for my benefit. in that case, no matter how nice the arms, i do not like them at all, and instantly i do not like the man. i’m funny like that. (parking lot at gym incident solidified this view this week. still cringing over it. i mean, what do you say? besides, ICK?) mike might be an exception. i don’t know. he’s not prone to random flexing, which is fine.

i believe in feeding birds and killing spiders.

i believe in kids’ blindfold lunches. At least twice a year. i think my mom started this when she wanted the boys to try hummus.

i believe in the importance of not needing other people to positively define or appreciate you. if you really need this… what happens when they stop? (and they will.)

i believe in cheap mascara and expensive moisturizers.

i believe in friendship, although i’m not very good at it. i don’t like to assume people like me more than they’re willing to say, so i often mistake friendly interest for politeness. (but i’d always rather do that than mistake politeness for friendly interest.)

i believe that anything you’re tempted to pay retail prices for can and will be found on ebay for far less, if willing to wait.

i believe in shoes with bows, clothing with lace, and lip gloss with sparkle.

i believe in adrenaline, sweat, and sore muscles.

i believe it honors God to love your life and the people within it.

i believe that when you find jeans that actually fit, you pay whatever is necessary and you buy at least two pairs (and maybe four) because this is a miracle from God and it may never happen again for the rest of your life.

i believe that kids playing electronic game type things is a privilege that should be limited to small amounts of time and yanked away forcefully at the very first hint of entitlement or whining.

i believe in avoiding those programs that tell you what key words people use to find your website. it’s depressing how many people search ‘naked kick boxing’ and even more depressing that they all end up here.

i believe in a ‘no whining’ policy. if someone whines, mike and i ask for a ‘non-whiny voice’  before we’ll even listen. whining is never rewarded or even heard here becuase it’s not a recognized form of communication. Elevate your style, child,  if you want to be heard. (brutal, i know.)

i believe you choose your emotions. no one makes you feel upset, happy, sad, encouraged, or rejected. someone else might have done something and then you CHOSE an emotional reaction as the appropriate response. big difference.

i believe in tough-love gardening. if it can’t come back each year (and preferably multiply), then I’m probably not planting it and fussing over it. If it’s a delicate plant with special water/sun requirements, I have no use for it.

i believe in the idea of preserving a slice of family history through the snippets that are blogged.

i believe i am often guilty of alternately taking myself too seriously, and then not taking anything seriously enough. Guilty of overreacting one minute over nothing, and under-reacting the next over something quite significant.

i believe it’s more than a little bit self-absorbed to write 850+ words about what you do and do not believe. but blogging always seems a bit self-absorbed and here I am anyway, and with an embarrassingly long list of archives over there on the right. i’d hide them if i were more tech-y and I knew how, because it’s getting kinda showy. it’s getting kind of “I Have Been Blogging Since The Advent of the Internet, I Am THAT Old.”

Despite that last part, I don’t really believe in getting worked up over age and aging. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day.

Anyway. I’d love to hear your beliefs.

 

 


So Peaceful We’re Attracting New Bird Species

July 20th, 2011 at 2:14 pm » Comments (6)

Yesterday’s spa treatment for the boys was a complete success. Naps everywhere. Rested, content children.

I was standing in the kitchen finishing dinner preparations when Seth-5yr – rested and content – came in and saw me chopping veggies. His contentedness evaporated.  ”What? Are? You? Doing?” he asked, his eyes wide and concerned and he put one hand on my hip, reaching out to make contact in this moment of personal stress.

“I’m making dinner.”

“But…? But what will I eat for dinner?”

This might not make sense to you. But it made perfect sense to me. Seth-5yr was genuinely concerned about his next meal because if I was cooking, then it automatically follows that he will not like it and will have to seriously negotiate his way into an alternate meal plan that is more acceptable to him.

I was cooking, therefore, he feared he would starve. Lovely.

Because he’d napped and was really only trying to honestly problem-solve the issue, I laughed at him and told him it was dad’s call, since I wasn’t going to be home. He looked relieved at this.

Mike must have said something to the kids about this, because all three of them told me how great dinner was and thanked me for cooking. That does not EVER happen. Usually, I’m lucky if 1 out of 3 chokes it down without too many complaints. 1 out of 4 if Mike is home. Today Caden-7yr asked for leftovers for lunch, and I’m not even kidding about that.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I made the kids egg/bacon/cheese burritos and Caden-7yr came to the table and – before sitting – touched the bacon with one very skeptical finger and asked, “Mom, did you try your hardest to make the bacon soft? Because it’s crispy, and I don’t like crispy.”

I looked at him. I inhaled. I exhaled. Like they make you do in yoga. Very cleansing-like. “Caden-7yr. I am going to set the timer in the kitchen for 5 minutes and if you are ready to come back to the table with a different attitude when you hear it go off, you may come out of your room. If you need more time, then you should stay in there.”  My words were slow and quiet and the other two boys were big-eyed and extra polite.

“What? I just asked if you tried your hardest? That’s all!”

I pointed to his room before he could start quoting scripture about doing all things as if unto the Lord, including cooking bacon to the perfect standards of a finicky 7 yr old.  I did not yell at him that I was a fish eating vegetarian type and he was SO lucky to even HAVE bacon. I needed those five minutes.

THAT is what it is usually like when I cook around here. Children are horrified and fear for their futures, or they find fault with the food before even tasting it.

Yesterday was one peaceful ride, though. Caden-7yr discovered his newfound love of raw broccoli and ate it off everyone else’s salads as well as his own. Mike generously gave his up for the child.

It was a  GOOD afternoon/evening around here yesterday! Also, hummingbirds spotted for first time at this house. Hummingbirds make everything better, right? We put out feeders and I have waited with total impatience at the window, awaiting their return.

Strangely, even though we didn’t Spa it up today, the peacefulness has held on. The boys are being kind to each other without my asking and no one has gotten seriously hurt (besides Caden-7yr’s usual ramming into walls and doorframes), and they all went to sleep for their naps again today without any problem. I don’t know how long this can last. But I REALLY like it.

I bought a really cute apron. I might cook more.

In which case, we’ll need all the peace and naps and kindness we can get.


Sweet Dreams

July 19th, 2011 at 1:21 pm » Comments (7)

When the kids nap, I re-charge. It is the special time of day in which I read, write, ignore the laundry, water plants, pluck eyebrows,  and avoid considering plans for dinner. It’s not a terribly productive time period, but it is crucial nonetheless.

Ethan-11yr does not nap. He has Quiet Time, which involves silent activities in his room while his brothers nap. Caden-7yr is transitioning out of napping by “trying” to nap for 45 minutes and then reading after that until Seth-5yr wakes up. This way, if he is so tired he needs a nap (still quite frequently), he gets a good nap because he’ll fall asleep in those 45 minutes. If he doesn’t need one, no biggie.

Either way, the house is silent and I am at peace. It happens every day. It’s glorious. Beautiful. I have no idea how so many of y’all do it any other way.

Yesterday no one napped and it made me crazy. Today, I planned.

After swim lessons, when the boys were all wrinkly and cold and hungry and whiny, I suggested an at-home spa treatment. (the irony here being that I personally HATE spa treatments, but I didn’t tell them this.) The boys could have a warm bubble bath, chamomile and lavender (sleep inducing, I”m so sneaky) bath salts, Elmo bath color tablets, etc. Then I would wrap them up in their terrycloth bath robes (with a planetary or  dalmatian theme) and blow dry their hair before tucking them in under their favorite chenille blankets.

I had three VERY enthusiastic volunteers for Spa Day.

I have three VERY tired, clean little boys right now, starting on their naps/Quiet Time with all signs pointing to extreme success/peace/silence/sleep/thank GOD.  They have been pampered right off into dreamland.

We might need to do this more often.

 


Reconstructing The Events of Last Night

July 18th, 2011 at 2:33 pm » Comments (8)

Today I had the two little guys at the doughnut shop while Mike had Ethan-11yr at the orthodontist. We were all so very tired.

I looked at the boys and asked them to tell me EXACTLY what had gone on the previous night. All I could remember was one kid ending up in bed with us, one kid claiming he had a dream about a house explosion, and someone was sneezing in the hall – all of which meant I got hardly any sleep.

They filled me in. It was Caden-7yr who came in with the house explosion dream. I responded with the BEST EVER technique for What To Do When Your Kid Has a Bad Dream. Seriously, y’all. File this one away. In the times we’ve done this, no child has EVER come BACK and said that he had the dream again. It kills the bad dream. It’s the bad dream exterminator. The kid will NOT come back in 45 minutes and say he’s had the dream again.

Ready? Here goes. You ask the kid to tell you the dream. Then you empathize. Hard to do while trying not to wake up, but still totally doable. THEN. You ask the kid to come up with an alternate ending that is not scary. If the child cannot do this, you do it for him, but tailor it to the kid’s personality and age. I asked Caden-7yr what could happen instead of the house exploding when he walked into it and he cried on my shoulder and said, “i don’t know.” So i said maybe when he walked in, the surprise is the house is full of balloons and ice cream cones and puppies. And then you pray over the kid and tell him to go away and that’s it. Ta-DA.  With practice, you can do this without even waking up.

After Caden-7yr came in with the bad dream – and it was exterminated-  and he went back to bed, someone else came in. I thought for sure it was Caden-7yr and this was weird because that technique has NEVER failed in the 4 years or so we’ve been using it. So I grabbed him, threw him to the middle of the bed, and went back to sleep and didn’t find out until Doughnut Time that it was actually Seth-5yr and not Caden-7yr.

“What? OH! Okay. That makes sense. Geez, that reminds me of the dad in the Bible who can’t tell his sons apart when they come to his bedside to talk to him.”

Caden-7yr put down his chocolate covered doughnut hole and is clearly offended with me. He said, “WHAT? YOU MEAN THE STORY WHERE THE MOM HELPS THE ONE SON LIE TO THE DAD ABOUT WHO HE REALLY IS AND THAT WAY HE GETS ALL THE GOOD STUFF AND THE PRAYER  AND THE FOOD AND THE ANIMALS AND HIS BROTHER GETS, LIKE, NOTHING? OH! MY! GOSH! MOM!!! DID YOU SAY IT’S LIKE THAT BECAUSE I AM ALSO SO VERY HAIRY? AND ONE OF THE SONS IN THAT STORY IS VERY HAIRY, LIKE ME, AND–?”

He quit talking because I was crumpled into a snorting, laughing ball on my side of our yellow booth.

I pulled myself together and wished I were better at analogies, because they do tend to go off-target so often. “Um… really it was just that I couldn’t tell my sons apart, I’m sorry, and NO, all those other details were not, um, considered, and you are not hairy.”

Caden-7yr is NOT hairy, or overly hairy, but he thinks he is. He seemed to accept my answer. But he still raised his eyebrows at me, and then held his knee up so that the sunlight streamed through the window behind him and illuminated a few blond leg hairs on his knee.  Seth-5yr and I nodded that yes, we see the knee hair.

Seth-5yr said, “Yes, that is hair. But have you seen Dad’s yegs? He is not hairy. HE IS FURRY.

What a sweet brother who will clearly define your  hair relativity issues. (And not steal your birthright.)

 

 

UPDATED: how is it possible for all of us to be THIS tired, and then to take these same children to morning swim lessons and then my mom took them to a splashy fountain-y place even though she was lovingly concerned for their tiredness levels and I was heartlessly all, NO, MOM. LET”S MAKE THEM FALLING DOWN TIRED, PLEASE, AND THANK YOU, I”M GOING TO TARGET and now it is naptime and these 2 always nap and WHAT? NOT TODAY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We slept, like, 4 minutes last night between house explosions and hallway sneezes?


Battle Lines, DRAWN.

July 16th, 2011 at 8:46 pm » Comments (6)

Ethan-11yr is home safe from camp. I missed him terribly. His precious Mickey Mouse voice is back. His perpetually stick-uppy hair is back. His sweetly freckled face and deep brown eyes are back.

And yet?

I am so irritated with him I’m in the other room so that I don’t get in his beautiful little face and GRIPE.  (And what a lovely homecoming that would be.)

Last year I overwhelmed the child with stamped, addressed envelopes for about 12 people and I hoped he’d write everyone letters in the oh, SIX days he’d be gone. I was a camper. I did it. I still have the embarrassing letters I wrote to my grandmother on Garfield stationery to prove it (because my sister ended up with them, and she’s the last person you ever want to be in possession of anything embarrassing, because she’ll NEVER throw it away). And last year, Ethan-11yr tried hard with my request but only wrote a few letters, for which I applauded the effort.

This year, I told him I thought I’d asked too much of him last year and was only giving him THREE stamped, addressed envelopes but please, please, please, if you only write one letter, WRITE YOUR MOMMY.  I got in his face with the Big Eyes as I said those 3 words. He laughed.  He agreed. He got on the bus after he AGREED to write his mommy.

I should have had him sign a contract. In hindsight, I realize that was the smart thing to do. Verbal agreements are supposed to be legally binding, just like written agreements, but really? The power of the written word means so much more, and this is no exception. If I’d whipped out a contract and a pen before letting him get on the bus, instead of the Big Eyes, I think the results might be different. (His friends would have teased him on the bus for the next 4 hours about why his crazy mother forced a contractual agreement on him in the parking lot, but WHATEVER. Those scars would heal.)

I wrote letters. I asked his brothers to write letters and they did a great job. I sent him emails and set it up so that family members could also send him emails. I SHOWERED that sweet baby in mail.

I picked him up today from the church parking lot and he sleepily told me about camp. Halfway home I asked if he’d written me. I thought for SURE he would say yes. Or I thought he’d say yes, he mailed it but it hadn’t had time to arrive yet. Or that he just hadn’t mailed it (like last year) and he’d give it to me when he unpacked. Last year’s letter is so precious. It’s hanging on the laundry room wall, and I re-read it occasionally and smile because it’s just THAT cute. It consists of 3 sentences, 4 misspelled words, 1 sketch of his cabin, and the words ‘I miss you’ written in truly deplorable handwriting.

The answer was no. HE HAD NOT WRITTEN THE MOMMY. He changed the subject and started talking about his plans for next year when he’s at camp and i’m thinking, WHAT? OH, NO! Who says you’re going to camp next year, dude? YOU DO NOT GET TO GO TO CAMP. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS THERE, AREN’T YA? YOU BROKE THE “I WILL WRITE MY MOMMY” AGREEMENT, BUSTER.

I did not say this. I couldn’t decide at the time if it was reasonable. I could practically hear the Internet saying, “eh. He’s a boy. What do you expect, Kels?” And then me saying, “I EXPECT THE CHILD TO HONOR THE AGREEMENT AND WRITE THE MOMMY A SHORT, PRECIOUS LETTER FOR MY LAUNDRY ROOM WALL BECAUSE I AM AN EMOTIONAL SAP, THANK YOU, BUT I REALLY AND TRULY AM.”

And? I DO expect that. That was not too much to ask. This child may not ever go to camp again if he does not grasp the seriousness of this issue with me. Non-negotiable, this one. Pick your battles, right? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do as parents? I PICK THIS ONE.

He has the disadvantage I suppose, of having a mother who loves written words, and the sharing of them. If someone takes the time to send me a note, an email, a text, a letter… that’s everything. That’s the way to get to me, every time.  (The spoken word, not so much. Call me, but I won’t answer.) I’m fascinated by you creative types who go above and beyond and do funny, smart, artistic, musical, informative, poetic,  persuasive, things with written words. Puns were the preferred language of my word-loving, humor-loving, newspaper editor grandfather. It’s just part of who I am. The women in my family are all like this, to a degree, sharing a history of language-based family culture.

The absence of the expected, agreed upon written word from my baby way off in another state… it mattered, and it mattered A LOT. 

So. Camp was a huge success as far as Ethan-11yr is concerned. As far as I am concerned, that’s lovely, because he’s never leaving home again without a signed contract stating he fully understands the All-Consuming Importance of the Mommy Letter and further, that he is willing to forfeit all perks of normal carefree boy life if he fails to send me a minimum of 3 sentences via mail.

He just went out to the backyard, acting like a carefree boy who is glad to be home –  which is the only reason I am not standing in the laundry room with him right now pointing out Last Year’s Letter and going completely, well, postal, on him about all of this and making him wish he were still at camp.

But there’s always tomorrow for that. And the whole next year, actually…

 

 

 


Oh, it’s ME, not them. RIGHT.

July 15th, 2011 at 12:26 pm » Comments (5)

I’d like to write a post about how adorable and loving and sweet my children are. Because they really are. I’m feeling guilty for all the posts about when they’ve been so much less than adorable and loving. It seems to be getting out of balance. Like I’m only telling the awful stuff. And leaving out the cute.

I’ve thought that for a few days now.  And so I’ve looked for the cute.

There IS NO CUTE.

I think it’s gone.

Or, worse,  my ability to see it is gone.

I’ve turned into one of those weary mothers with bad hair who cannot see the beauty and sweetness in children, i just KNOW IT and it happened right here, this week, on this blog and it’s all documented in the archives for all of us to refer back to, GREAT.

There was one of those mothers today at Chick Fil A. She had three cute little girls with big, blue eyes and she was hard at work on her laptop. Every time one of her kids needed something, she snapped about how there was no point in her being there if they were going to keep talking to her. The kids stopped talking to her.

I felt badly for them, but I wondered if I’m not exactly like that mom sometimes. Seth-5yr announced loudly the other day, “My mom is MEAN.” He was cheerful about it. He didn’t mean right that second. I asked him what he was talking about and he said, “Mom. Sometimes you ARE. That’s all.” And then he shrugged.

It’s my job to parent him in a way that he thinks this at least occasionally. I know. But I was still surprised to hear him broadcast his findings to everyone in the church parking lot.

So maybe they are a little stir-crazy and hard to manage.  But maybe that just means I need to get a little more energy going and catch UP to them. Try harder.

I just told them to set up the Slip n Slide and I’d join them. Not that I WANT to. I just really don’t want to be that mean mom today, or the one who doesn’t have time to listen to her kids. I GET to stay home with them and am so honored that this is my life. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing than figuring out how to mother these particular kids. Even if it means swimwear and hurtling across a wet piece of plastic that is dangerously close to dog poo.

They’re probably still cute, these kids.

I just need to get out there and get close enough to see it.


What I Learned Last Night

July 14th, 2011 at 8:38 pm » Comments (9)

Maybe it was the waterboarding. Maybe it was the insanity caused by two boys overcompensating for their missing older brother with too much extra drama and energy. Maybe it was that Mike was out of town and so all the extra kid stuff was all on me and oh, I don’t know.

For whatever reason it seemed a good time to have a glass of wine after the kids went to bed. Even though I never do that. Even though I really don’t even like wine because it tastes fruity and I don’t like fruit.

Maybe because I don’t drink, I’m really quite bad at it.

All was okay at first. I got started on the novel that’s been swimming around in my head ever since the day I suddenly realized I KNEW why women sometimes fall in love with scary, mass-murderer death-row convicts they’ve never met.  Seriously. I KNOW why.* (No, I won’t tell you. Yet.) Haven’t you always wondered, though? The day I figured this out, it instantly became a scene in a future fictitious piece that finally started coming together last night between sips of pinot grigio.

The writing went really well. When finished, I should have turned off my computer. Instead, I shopped. I am NEVER allowed to drink a glass of wine and then online shop again.

Apparently that’s all it takes for my latent desires to buy very trashy lingerie to come out, full force. (I didn’t even know I had those.) Sexy lingerie, sure. No problem, bring it on, and let’s buy in bulk because you can never have enough. That’s one thing. This is oh-so-very-much-another thing.

This morning I checked my confirmation email from the website to see exactly what it was I’d purchased. I could only sorta remember, and what I was remembering seemed a bit… unlikely. I was probably remembering wrong.  And then I made a loud, horrified squawky sound when I saw the photo of electric blue satin-y trashiness with a uniquely placed lace-up detail. Classy.

I clicked away from the email quickly and thought, I am teaching the 3 yr old class in CHURCH on Sunday. About JESUS. And I’m feeling REAL CONFLICTED since it seems I got drunk and bought hooker panties.  Sunday School teachers do not DO that.

I absolutely cannot remember what I was thinking or why it seemed like a decent buying decision  at the time. Surely I had a reason.

Anyway. I’m done. Interesting experiment, less than positive results. I’m back to Diet Coke.

*I’m not looking for a lover on death row. In case that isn’t clear. There’s trashy and then there’s TRASHY and I’m fairly certain that I can’t be quite that far gone, even if I have more than one glass of wine. Not that I’m finding out.