Wednesday, November 09, 2016

We the People

Eight years ago, after Barack Obama's first presidential win, our newspaper printed the headline "Change has come." When Sam came downstairs for breakfast, he read that headline, his face lit up. I cried. Today's headline was "Trump triumphs." Once again, I cried. I think 'triumphs' is possibly the cruelest word to use to announce his election. Today is no triumph. Today is a step back. A thousand steps back. Today, hate and cynicism and fear triumph. As much as I dislike Trump, what saddens me even more than his win, is the fact that our country elected him. People saw this angry, insecure, megalomaniac as an answer to our country's issues. I'm in such a stupor today I don't know how to act. I find a little solace knowing so many people share my fear and sadness and disappointment and total .... I don't even know, shock. I want someone kind and smart to tell me how this happened and that everything will be OK. I want to hug Hillary Clinton. I want to apologize to Muslims and Hispanics and my daughter and all her friends who were this close to starting their lives with a black president and a female president. I can't read the paper, I can't watch the news. I don't want to see anyone happy right now. This is a day we should mourn. It's a loss. This is grief.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Well Begun Is Half Done

Or at least 1/180th done ...

I'm not superstitious but I do think the impression on the first day of school has a big effect on the school year. OK, maybe I am superstitious. But if the first day sucks and no one wants to go the second day, you're in trouble. Don't even think about those January mornings when it's cold and dark.

But if the first day is good, like the opening sentence of a book, you're curious. Compelled. Maybe a little invigorated to tackle this new experience.

Luckily, our first day was good. We hit the streets running and at the end of the day I was pleased we made all our connections, no lunches were left behind, there were no tears (from the kids anyway) and no early morning calls from the principal or the nurse. There were rave reviews of teachers and classmates and curriculum.

How long did this bliss last?

About 24 hours.

Not even the second day of school and I hit the snooze twice. Sam fell asleep in the car on the way to school. I forgot two sets of papers. Jake forgot homework. A lunch box was lost. I think the first tears came Tuesday morning. And then Wednesday evening. Oh yes, Thursday morning too.

But as the Bible and Bridget Jones said, I will not be defeated.

Tomorrow is another day - and a Friday no less - and when I get up I'm going to heed the words of poet Mary Oliver who said: "Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields. Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindndess."

After hitting the snooze twice ...

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cue Music

Bless me Father for I have sinned. It's been 10 months since my last blog post.

So in a week we start school. And choir. And Sunday School. And gymnastics. And soccer. And dance. And hockey. I figured this was as good a time as any to add one more thing to my to-do list.

But I'm not daunted. I'm looking forward to the school year - the same way you look forward to riding the Texas Giant. Or petting an alligator. Or meeting George Bush.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Playing Favorites

So, Bryon has been traveling more than usual. In the past three weeks he has been home just a few days. And this weekend he left for another week-long trip. We said our goodbyes in the driveway. He headed to the airport. We headed to a hockey game.

As we pulled out of the driveway Abby said, "I don't think it's fair Daddy has to travel so much. I don't want him to go. He's my favorite parent."

Wait. What?

"He's your favorite parent?" I asked.

"Yes. Is that wrong?"

"No, it's not wrong," I said, "but it's something you might keep to yourself," I added under my breath.

After all I get it. Every year on Abby's birthday her Dad takes her out of school to see a movie. Once a month they go on a date to their favorite restaurant where Abby is more popular than Norm at Cheers.

I don't do those things. I only get up at the ass-crack of dawn to make her lunch and breakfast. I carry her from bed to the breakfast table. I drive her to and from school and chauffeur her and her giggling friends to soccer, ballet, jazz and gymnastics. I arrange all her play dates and sleepovers. I paint her toenails. I watch Girl Meets World over and over again and listen to Space Unicorns. I dance in the kitchen during our disco dance parties. I paint and draw and play Sorry and Barbie Bling. I help with homework and sign the reading logs. I tuck her in.

So, yeah, I guess I get it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not bitter or discouraged. After all I have a favorite child.

No, wait. I DON'T!

Each of my kids is lovable and insufferable, delightful and devilish. I hate that Sam curses like a sailor but he still holds my hand when we're together. I hate Jake's meltdowns but love that he will seek me out during the day just to say he loves me. I don't love Abby's sass, but her love of all creatures great and small melts your heart.

Over the course of the day Abby and I watched the hockey game, shopped for Halloween costumes and got groceries, and there were many times I nearly asked her, "Hey Abby. So remember that time you said Dad was your favorite?" But I didn't. I may not have liked the answer.

Maybe she prefers Bryon because despite his grumpiness and impatience he doesn't sweat the small stuff like the placement of the couch pillows or the position of the bins under the TV or all the shoes outside the basket.

Or if he's the favorite parent.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Proceed With Caution

Have you ever got back in your car in a parking lot and you can't remember if there is a parking bumper at the front of your spot? You know that feeling you have when you are driving forward anyway, slowing anticipating the jolt that may or may not happen?

That's how I feel all the time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Time, Time, Time ... See What's Become of Me

So when you have a 13 year old you find yourself in situations that make you feel old. Normally, I would say I don't feel old - except for the odd pain and creak here and there. In my head I'm the 17 year old from high school. But with a 13 year old you are reminded that although you feel 17, you are not. You may still love rock music but why does it have to be so loud. You like spontaneity - at the right time and place. You don't mind staying up late ... if you can nap the next day. You envy a diet of Fritos and Dr Pepper but really shouldn't because  ....

But the thing that makes me feel old is butting heads with a 13-year-old boy. Arguments that sound stodgy and intolerant and boring. Because I said so. Because I know better. I shouldn't have to remind you. If you only knew. When I was your age.

Ugh. I'm not sure parenting would be so hard if it didn't age you so. Suddenly there's a huge chasm between you and this person - this little person you birthed and bathed and swaddled and rocked. This little person who thought you hung the moon. Who ran to you with such excitement at the end of the day. Now this kid is saying things you don't hear in a Quentin Tarantino movie and on one hand, you understand. You really do. You were there. You were THERE. But on the other hand, Jesus, kid. I know better. Listen to me. I'm telling you BECAUSE I KNOW BETTER.

Do I let it go? Do I listen quietly and respond calmly and rationally? Do I take away every luxury the kid has and banish him to his bedroom? Do I ignore it because I went through the same thing and here I am.

I don't know.

One thing I do know. A 13-year-old kid isn't the only one with growing pains. Every time I react as a 46 year old, my heart cracks a little. Another wrinkle creases my forehead. Another age spot darkens my hand.

So, Sam. I'm doing the best I can. You are doing the best you can. While the world is shaking and crumbling and rebuilding around us can we just remember that underneath it all is good. Good intentions. Smart minds. Full, bursting hearts.

It's going to get harder. But I have faith it's also going to get easier.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Thank God It's Friday?

You know how I know it's Friday? Because my kids' lunches were comprised of hot dog buns, popcorn, old V-8, oranges and Hershey's Kisses.