Say You’re Sorry.

 

Did you know? When you are surrounded by other humans, there is often trouble.

It’s a rotten world.

Ok, that might be a bit of an overstep. I mean, we have wonderfulness, here in this world. We’ve got purple Spring flowers. We’ve got funny cat videos. We’ve got chocolate. We’ve got people who are kind and loving and generally peaceful.

But also? There’s rottenness. I’m sorry, but we all act rotten every once in a while. You know you do. Don’t argue.

The other day my husband came home late from work. Dinner had been served. The dishes cleaned. We had “moved on with our lives,” and he was not too happy about this. Also, I think he was hungry, so you know. That doesn’t make for a good behavior sometimes.

Anyhow, he came into the living room where I was participating in my nightly ritual of folding ten million clothing items, and asked, “Is there… food?” He tilted his head towards the kitchen. “In there?”

I smiled and said, “We already ate, but I’m sure there’s something.” And he responded with this gem:

“WHAT. LIKE AIR? ” And stomped off.

The husband. A master at the one-liner. I snapped a pair of underpants and felt my insides simmer.

Now, granted, usually I have leftovers. But tonight’s meal had BEEN leftovers and we had hoovered them. All that was left was a sad carrot stick and some… Air. So, perhaps I should have, as the Dutiful Wife, made him something. Yes. Totally,  I should have done that because that would have been the nice thing to do. I totally didn’t. I forgot because my brain gets wispy after 7 pm.

But also? The AIR comment was a bit uncalled for. Don’t you think? I mean… how rude.

Sorry-ness usually happens because two people are involved. Usually. It doesn’t occur all alone. I mean, rarely does a rude tree in the forest and everyone else around him heard it, because RUDE.

Ok, I don’t really know if that analogy works, but bear with me.

My POINT (thank goodness, I know) is that … Brian felt tired out. He came home late which means, work, you know. I think he goes into that building sometimes like it’s one of those Roman coloseums. Except no real lions or spears or death. That’s a plus.

But, I could have at least left him some applesauce. Everyone deserves applesauce after a hard day at the coloseum.

So, later the husband approached. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m grumpy.”

“Me too,” I responded, vaguely. This kind of answer is totally superior because it doesn’t really elucidate if I am SORRY or I am GRUMPY, therefore I have TOTALLY STILL HELD ONTO NOT HAVING TO APOLOGIZE.

And so therefore…

I WIN THIS ROUND. I TOTALLY WIN. I WIN AT BEING MARRIED!!!!

Ok, now that THAT’s out of the way, it’s possible I also muttered,
“I’m sorry too. I love you. Here’s some applesauce. And I put some cinnamon on it.”

AND WE ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

Until the next opportunity for saying “sorry” occured. Which was probably within a twenty minute time span. That’s how we roll.

Also, I must share with you this little preshusness:

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I found this in Blonde’s backpack. It seems his buddy had the HORRIBLE AUDACITY to correct my eight year old on cultural relevance. Therefore… I think there must have been an argument.

An eight year old version of an argument goes like this:

Blonde’s friend: Sate Patrc Say. YOU DON’T KNOW.

Blonde: Yes, I do.

See:

YOU. DON’T. KNOW.

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I know. It’s totally got you on the edge of your seat, doesn’t it? This could be a script for The Good Wife, I tell you.

So… Blonde’s friend wrote him a little apology note. Which is adorable.

We can learn a lot from the eight year olds. They get mad, about holidays mainly, I think, and then they are over it.

I’ve watched my six year old go through all five stages of grief about some horrible thing his brother did to him in thirty seconds. Seriously, you could feel the wind off of those stages. He whipped through them. It was awe inspiring.

But perhaps… this just sums it up best.

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The End.

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Princesses and Pirates and Popcorn.

Ok. I guess you could say I am a Princess kind of person. I don’t necessarily like pink or tea parties or even tiaras (those are fun on birthdays because then people bring you presents) but if I had to choose…

It’s really by process of elimination. I cannot climb ropes. I don’t like high places. I certainly don’t get all this general swashbuckling about. It’s beyond me. I might be able to swash or buckle, but certainly not both at the same time.

I can rock a mean black eyeliner though. And an eye patch. But that’s another post for another day.

Last week I had two extra boys at my house. We were busy. It was a Star Wars day, which meant we were playing Star Wars legos and Star Wars tag and Star Wars bikes and Star Wars pretty much anything as long as there could be a Luke and someone with a blaster. Steve the cat was Chewbacca. I always got to be Leia. That kind of thing.

It was all fun until that dreaded time after lunch where everyone gets Tired of Each Other.

And then, that’s when I decided to snag them with my Secret Weapon: Princesses.

I know. I know it’s a stretch, stay with me.

I explained that I had been asked to review THIS, which I brandished at them with much flair, and Princessey splendour.swan-princess-dvd-754x1024.jpgThere was some silence. And then I offered popcorn, and they shrugged and said, “Ok!”

I know. This doesn’t sound very promising but here’s the deal: I love watching movies with my kids. And I grew up on Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty… and let’s just say those don’t get a lot of play at our house. And this afternoon, my boys sat and watched a princess become a pirate and this was what they did:

 

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They were totally into it, y’all. Total silence. Except for small-boy inhalation-munching of popcorn.

And also this: WHY is there a basket of laundry in EVERY picture I ever take? Curse you, laundry. Diva photo-bomber.

 

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The movie had pirates. It had weird beasties. It had high seas and music and adventures and also some moments where we all got the giggles. I snort-laughed at one point. That is a really, really huge compliment, by the way. It means I am invested in the pirates and beasties, which doesn’t happen all time when watching with my boys. It also means I need to work on my social cues, but that’s another post for another day.

Hey, Swan Princess, who knew?
It was all rather surprising.

Popcorn, a movie, pirates, princesses, and a basic lesson on how we shouldn’t pile on expectations. Done. All in one afternoon.

 

An open letter to funerals.

 

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I sat down to write this morning with about sixty ideas on my mind. There’s a lot out there to discuss. First of all, it’s very important that I try to figure out Pokemon Go. Mainly so I can make fun of it.

But yesterday, our family went to a funeral. And I want to talk about it. My dear friends Christy and Karl – well, Karl lost his dad. Rather unexpectedly.

Don’t you kind of hate that? How we say, “lost”? Like, he just wandered off in Walmart, somehow, and we’ve been searching for him over in the pet food section, but really, sweet Jim was just perusing the candy aisle… And it’s all just a big misunderstanding.

This is the permanent “lost.” Jim is dead. Nobody ever says it that way. I know. It sounds harsh. The truth of it, the new-reality of it is harsh too. The world has been de-Jimmed and it’s very hard.

As far as funerals go, this was a tough one.  At one point, Christy, who was asked to sing one of Jim’s favorite hymns, found herself whisper-sobbing the final verse. A few women in the congregation sang  it for her. I just sat there and ugly cried. It was that kind of funeral. This family has been through a lot. That’s kind of like saying that that final trip on the Titanic was stressful. They have dealt with pain and loss and just, well, aching LOSS, and it’s enough. I have received texts from Christy for months, explaining other heartaches. Other losses, and I want to text back, to both God and Christy:  “Enough. ENOUGH! I think you have your QUOTA! God! Are you listening? Enough for them!”

Ok, two problems with this:

  1. Texting doesn’t really adequately do it. When dealing with searing loss and pain a text message is like, offering an alcoholic a cup of tea in rehab. It’s sweet,the thought is kind of there, but mainly it’s JUST NOT REALLY ALL THAT HELPFUL.
  2. God understands “enough” but it’s not like He says, Ok, I will VERY EVENLY SPLIT ALL THE BAD STUFF around with all the people in the world. I know. I kind of wish He would operate that way? But who am I to try and manage God? I can’t remember to pay the utility bill on time.
  3. But, really, would it not be COOL to have a way to text God??? (That’s three things. I know. So, once again, really pounding home that I am not the best candidate for helping manage the world.)

So,  as for my letter to funerals? Well, it would go like this:

Dear Funerals:

You are there to help us understand someone we love has gone. We don’t want to really get it, especially when the loved one has been so, well, here for so many days of our lives. He just called us last weekend, did you know? He had a joke to share. He was here, with us.

And now, he’s not.

And I guess I thank you, funerals, for helping us understand that.

But really? I want to thank you for something else.

The food. I want to thank you for the food.

I know. This makes me sound kind of like a candidate for yet another anonymous recovery group involving lots of eating, but listen. I thank you for the fudgy brownies and the pulled pork and the jello. The jello! I want to thank you for the piles of chips that my kids don’t ever get to eat at home, but get to eat at funerals. Funeral chips. They bless my children, in all their powdered, preservatived cheesy glory. Poor chip-less children.

I thank you for macaroni salad and that weird green pudding thing with the marshmallows. I thank you for coffee in styrofoam cups. I thank you for sloppy joes and lemon bars and for the Boston Cream poke cake that the pastor’s wife makes.

I thank you for lemonade and broccoli with bacon bits and crinkly paper napkins that don’t really do it when your kid is covered in barbecue sauce and cream cheese frosting.

I thank you for the sweet church ladies who cut slices of walnut cake so large they weighed the plates down as people carried them to the table, ready to slide off at any moment, heavy with glistening frosting and nuts and sweetness. I thank you for watermelon and cheesy puffs and cucumbers sliced thin, drenched with onions and sharp vinegar. I thank you for the pies, all the mysterious quivering salads that we try to eat with plastic forks.

I thank you for the look of concentration on my six-year-old’s face as he lifted a vibrating pile of orange Jello to his mouth, brow furrowed as it slips through the tines of the fork, all the while. He keeps trying.

I thank you for funeral food. Because we all sat down and talked, and ate, and Christy and I actually got to take a breath and laugh a little and share a really amazing brownie with homemade fudge frosting that was pretty much the answer to all the world’s problems.

Or not. Fudgy frosting is not the answer. Jesus is. But, for a moment, as we both nibbled at it and discussed our kids and life and parenting and just everything we haven’t been able to because we live far away… I thank you for that brownie. I thank you too for watching Karl and Brian pickup the needle of their friendship and place it right back down again where they left off (after at least two years) and chatter on about God and faith and blessings, even. Blessings. And how God has provided. Even after Karl saw his father go in the ground.

Blessings. The sweetness of the pie, after watching our fathers, and our brothers, go in the ground.

During Jim’s funeral, Karl spoke, and told us, “My dad always told his wife she was pretty,” and tears filled my eyes, up there in the church. And down in the church basement, Brian turned to me as I was shoveling something in my mouth, and said, “You look pretty.”

Probably not, with chocolate frosting competing with the lipstick, but you know. It made my eyes fill up again.Which blew the mascara, and, you know, the pretty thing was highly subjective at that point. But I believed him. I believed him. And I marveled at it – how a funeral of a good man could help me remember the good man sitting next to me.

And how funerals make us remember brothers who have died and how we miss them and how we thank God for them. And all the other things we forget to thank God for, like life, and sobriety, and small annoying children.

And girlfriends, who get our savage sense of humor, no matter what. And accept texts as the main mode of communication.

And, as God is my witness, that poke cake. I will always remember that poke cake and thank God for it. It was just basically holy.*

Thank you, funerals. For helping us to sit and talk over bad coffee for a bit. For helping us see the big picture, after all. That we all end up in a box, draped in flags or memories or both.

And that we are all so very loved. And it will all be okay.

Sincerely,

Momsie.

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It is my brother’s birthday tomorrow. I miss him. And yes, it’s possible I made my friend’s father in law’s funeral all about myself. That’s my thing. I am very, very good at it. But, knowing Christy, she will smile. She’s very patient with me.

*Oh my GOODNESS, DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I didn’t even see it MYSELF! I PUNNED but WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT. That’s it. I have arrived. Pulitzer material, I tell you.

 

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You had me at scones.

So, it’s the first week of summerrrrrrrr!

Cue the marching band and glitter unicorns and general merriment!

So far, at our house, aka Party Central,  we have:

  1. Cleaned all the things. Momsie has kinda decided to clean the entire house with all the things in the house clean too. Everything. Everything must be all sorted and organized and my goodness people I can’t stop.
  2. The rather unfortunate side effect of all this super cleaning frenzy thing, which I kind of look at as nesting only really really late in the game, is that my poor preshus little darlings HAVE TO CLEAN TOO AND THE PAIN. THE PAIN.
  3. Yesterday we sorted all the Legos by size, use, and color, people. If that doesn’t deserve a parade I just don’t know.
  4. Then, the little one got sick. Must have been all the cleaning. He opted out of the All Things Shiny plan yesterday by copping a fever and this horrible phlegmy cough that sounds kind of like the “Bring out your dead!” scene from Monty Python. (If you know, you know. If you don’t, don’t ask.)
  5. So, now Red is glazed out watching the Netflixes and eating popsicles and is surrounded by sheets, towels, buckets. Evidently, when someone gets sick, I like to swaddle them in towels and buckets because vomit. Vomit will happen.
  6. And yea, I know. A fever and plague-cough doesn’t usually mean puke, but it does if you’re Red. The little angel. Puking is one of his love languages. I don’t really know what that means.
  7. Oh, and also this:

 

IMG_5482.jpgMy sweet friend Alissa brought these by earlier today.  Those buttery, flaky bits of goodness are scones. And she brought an iced coffee because CAFFEINE. Notice the cup. She knows my maturity level.

My other friend, Jenna, has taken the Blonde for the afternoon, because, well, he might have to clean something if he stayed here with me, and I think he hit his quota with all the teeny tiny Legos in all the teeny, tiny the boxes, yesterday.

When I had kids I found this new form of female that I never really knew existed before: The Mom Friend.

Before kids? I figured the mom friend just was, well, kinda consumed with Mom-ing and we would sit around and compare baby wipes and stuff. I know. I had no idea.

Because you know what? Mom friends actually DO sit around and compare baby wipes! Baby wipes are important!

And also: they tell each other their fears about their kids and what to pray for and how they sometimes feel a little lonely and how they hate their non-ready for tank tops arms even though they are TRYING but by God the last time they did their arm workout they couldn’t lift the Cheerios box the next morning, and Lord have mercy the babies might have starved to death.

They talk fears and anger and sex and raw stuff. And they laugh.

And then there’s this:

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My friend Christy sent me this the other day. I had texted her that I was at my happy place, The Walmarts (sarcasm! It keeps me regular!) and she sent me that. I did the snort-laugh in line behind this one guy who was purchasing about 50 cans of cat food. He was one of us, a cat person, you know? Basically harmless. But he just glared at me after I snorted and then my children started asking if they  could pleeeeeeease have one of the sixteen million right-at-child-eyeline chocolate sugar things because they are starving, STARVING and only a jumbo Reeses will fix it, and I had to get my Mom game face on and shut ’em down. So I never got to tell her thank you for the snort laugh.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Mom friends are NEEDED. Like vitamins. And long walks. And occasional binge watching of Tiny House Hunters. I need these things. They re-set, recalibrate, and reward.

Thank you, Mom friends. You had me at scones. YLN9yCl.gif

 

 

Lean into the curves.

On May 9, two of my friends died. Totally unrelated events. Yes.

It’s sort of a given that I am not a big fan of May 9 anymore. That date is so done. It’s right up there with December 7 – which as we all know is the day before my birthday, but also, did you know? It’s the anniversary of Pearl Harbour, and I have been watching all these World War II documentaries on the Netflixes lately, and I’m done with December 7 now.

Also, 4/20. As a teacher of high school and college English? So done with 4/20. Those of you who are saying, “What? What’s with 4/20? It’s April? A nice, spring day, so what’s the deal?” I envy you. Hang out with some college kids for a bit and experience the total twit-fest that is a classroom on a late afternoon on April 20th, and you know.

Anyhow. Here I am, being all snarky and funny about my friends dying.

Not a funny thing, death. Never, really. Unless, of course, you find yourself grieving two fellows who had biting wit and humor that could slay,  I tell you.

Death came too soon. I wanted more time. I am sure their family feels the same.

My friend Maurice, “Moe” died at the solid age of 89. Moe was in my special group that I belong to, the one where there is bad coffee and lots of talking about recovery. It’s a sort of anonymous thing, but you can find us listed at the beginning of any phone book, if you’re wondering. Moe always sat at the head of the table, the big Don of the group, and he would lecture us to go to meetings and not drink in between. He used to always say, “I’m not better than anyone here. And I’m no worse,” in his gravelly, soft voice. He could have read a page from the dictionary, and we would all sit up a bit straighter and listen and nod. We all adored him.

He was my hero.

I took my boys to his visitation, and told his wife – “See those two boys over there? Yea, the two that are now running up and down the hallway in a totally inappropriate way for a visitation? Anyhow. They are here with me today because of Moe. I am here today because of Moe.

She laid her hand on my cheek and smiled and said, “Thank you for telling me that.” I wiped tears away, and she smiled through some of hers, and it was so good to be able to tell her how I felt.

And then I high tailed it out of there, because my children and visitation services can only last so long together in the same room.

And then there is Carl. Or Doc.

Carl was a professor of English at the college in our town,  and I had the immense pleasure of teaching with him for a few years. I was convinced that he might just be one of the smartest people I have ever known. However, he also had a rather crazed affection for Monty Python and Sponge Bob, which kind of softened the blow of his sharp intellect. Upon first meeting, I could have very well been totally intimidated by him, but within about twenty minutes of our greeting, he had me laughing so hard I was crying.

Doc loaned me The Big Lebowski video. Of course he did. I still have it, and I think I don’t want to return it.

And, he loved my boys. He always made a big deal out of Halloween on our street (I live across from him and his lovely wife, Kristine), which was fine by me, because I think any sort of dress up in Star Wars costumes is worth celebration.

Also, Carl loved cats. Cat people, as all cat people know, are singular folk.

Carl told me once that I should write a book. And, I did what he told me. Carl didn’t mess around with words, so if he told me to take up opera, I would do so.

Carl had a scooter that he would jet around town on, and my god, the man could corner on that thing. I can still see him, hunched down over the handlebars, leaning into the curves and leaving us in his dust.

He was my hero.

And yes, I am sure there is a big lesson here about living life to the fullest and helping others and leaning into the curves and all that but today?

Today, I just really miss them.

 

 

You’re Welcome

Linking up today with Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300

 

I give you…

The suspect:

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And… the merchandise in question:Screenshot 2015-01-09 08.32.58

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, the Accomplice:photo 1(Well, not really, but he looked cute in this picture, so I included him.)

 

Red recently had a major meltdown because I wouldn’t let him have a candy necklace for breakfast. Red is usually quite an affable fellow, sweet-natured, kind, loves to give kisses, throws his arms around me and tells me he wuvs me, oh heck I just don’t even know, his adorableness has just kinda has paved the way for him in life so far…

Except when it came to the Battle of the Candy Necklace. Which lasted: All. Morning. Long.

I don’t really know why he decided this necklace was the Holy Grail, but he did, and I spent an entire morning with a nutball kid who was jonesing for some sugar and string and my GOSH it kind of blew my morning right outta there.

After a long morning of epic, Days of Our Lives, mascara running drama and pathos, he finally decided he was through and wanted some oatmeal.

The kid came downstairs from his room at 8:37, all swollen and snotty, sauntered into the kitchen and said, “I’m done fussing. I was sad but I am done now.” I eyed him over my eleventh cup of coffee and wondered, Can I go take a timeout in my room now? Maybe I could stay up there long enough to read a magazine and catch a nap? I could really use a nap.

I gave him oatmeal and decided to actually heat it up again, as opposed to the cold gruel (or not gruel at all) I was considering for him. I know. This is not the right thing. The right thing would have been no breakfast, or perhaps bread and water and some shackles, but I was weak. The sobbing. Please. No more of the sobbing.

I spooned it up for him, and he took a long shuddering breath, and I said, “Well, thanks Red for getting over your fuss.”

He looked at me. “You’re welcome, mommah.”

Later that day, I relayed this story to some friends of mine. We moms do this all the time. Or at least I do. I share stories and I hope, maybe, that the sharing will maybe smooth over the deep down fear that I am doing this all wrong and my children are going to end up on one of those posters you see at the post office.

And you know? They laughed, and they got me to laugh. And we shared some similar stories. And I sighed a little and felt a small bubble of grace leave its comfort in my soul.

My mom friends get me, and we are welcome to share, and sigh, and even cry with each other.

Or laugh. We laugh a lot.

We are welcome to come over for coffee and sit in our frazzled state and yoga pants, as our children crawl over us, and share our horror stories, or the cuteness, or even the sadness that we are going through. We are welcome to share even when we are so not sure that all this parenting stuff is even POSSIBLE for us – it is just so hard sometimes…

We welcome each other with open arms and lots of hugs, and one friend gives me copious amounts of coffee and lets me in on a big secret: Welcome to Motherhood. It’s not for the faint of heart.

Good thing we don’t have to do it alone.

I tell my friend, as she hands me yet another cup of piping hot coffee with hazlenut creamer, “Thank you.”

She smiles, and says, “You’re welcome.”