Tag Archives: Life

Summertime

Summertime makes many of us think about being a kid.  The days lasts longer, afternoons stretch in to early evening and  we ride our bikes after dinner.  It’s easy to see why when the weather gets warm our minds drift towards our childhood.  Summertime epitomizes the innocence of youth, the freedom and the recklessness and the joy we miss in the day to day of adulthood.  I can almost bet it has been too long since you have gone down a hill on a bicycle with your hands in the air.  But that feeling of being just a little bit scared and a lot excited – that’s summertime.

As a child I never thought about being a kid.  In fact, summertime was quite the opposite.  Summertime meant I was getting older.  I was no longer in eighth grade, I was a “freshman.” I no longer swam 8 and under, I was a 9-10. Last year’s bicycle was too small, this year’s bikini is even smaller.  Summertime was a hot and sweaty reminder that I was growing up.

This summer began with a trip up to DC. My grandmother has recently moved from Florida to DC to be closer to my mother.  We were heading up to pick up her car as she has decided her driving days are better left in Florida.

I was in the back seat between the girls.  They were both asleep.  Mike was driving in silence.  I had an overwhelming feeling of being an adult.  I wasn’t the just the older sister anymore.  I was a real grown-up.  My two children, my sweet husband, going to visit my great-grandmother, I’m not sure what it was but I am certain the warm, night air played a part in evoking this feeling of passage.

The following morning I’d get a phone call that would solidify this feeling.  As I was riding in silence with my family my father was being admitted to a hospital after a heart attack. In the following 72 hours he would discover he needed bypass surgery and I would board a plane with my youngest to meet him at the hospital.

Little girls do not drive to the airport at 5:30 am bound for a hospital.  Young girls do not have conversations with their kids, apologizing for missing the last day of school party.  Mothers of only small children do not ever have the chance to hear their oldest daughter say “Mom, I would do the same thing if I were you, Dad and I will be fine here.  Go.” Young women do not  close their eyes in a hotel room near a hospital, begging for sleep that will never come, praying that their father will be awake in the morning.

I am growing up.  And so are my parents.  And their parents.  And so are my children.

This summer started like the summers of my youth.  I got a little bit older the minute the temperatures started rising and the swimming pool opened.  Unlike those summers from long ago – I don’t have my eyes on next summer already.  I’d like to stay right here for a bit, where the days are long and the nights are longer and my family is all around me.

I’d always imagined that the winds of change were cold and blustering. But I think change comes in with the wind of summer thunderstorms.  The warm sun on your shoulders and the welcomed shift in humidity makes you forget that the changes started with thunder and lightning.

Lucy did not suffer from the same sleeplessness.

Lucy did not suffer from the same sleeplessness.

Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts over the last week. My dad is a champ. His surgery went “as well as a bypass can go” according to his surgeon and he is already home. Here’s hoping the rest of the summer has fewer surprises.  

A very, very big thank you to MQD for holding down the fort at home.  You are such a good dad and an even more wonderful husband.  Your support makes it easier for me to be the mother and the wife and the daughter I want to be. xo  

Damn Kid

I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened before.

Some evenings bath time at our house is more like a drive-through car wash than a leisurely play time with tub toys.  Lucy is stripped down after dinner and I pop her in the tub.  I leave the warm water running and I don’t plug the drain. We get in and we get out.  It’s not a party. It is as utilitarian as a diaper change. Get clean and get moving. We have books to read and nighttime games to play.

Tonight Lucy Goose was standing in the tub all soaped up.  She was having a good time.  She grinned right through the hair washing.  With one hand under her armpit I reached over to the towel bar for a washcloth when I was suddenly soaked.

If you have ever lived with someone that likes to leave the faucet/shower lever on shower when they get out than you know what happened.  The sudden water in the face can be a rude awakening.  Wiping water from my eyes and with soaking wet hair I turned back towards the faucet and I saw her.  She still had her hand on the lever that switches the water from the faucet to the shower.  I quickly pushed it.  The water resumed coming from the faucet.

The bath that I had planned on being quick just got quicker. I’ll  just get the soap off and whooooosh.  Water in the face.  Again.  This time she was laughing.

So, help me.  This kid is so bad.  And I usually love it.  But man, I was annoyed. I finished washing the soap off of her.  But I did not brush her hair.  I showed her, huh?

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The Birthday Week in Review: Or All the Shit I Learned in One Week of Being 37

I have been 37 years old all week. So far so good.  For the record – you can teach an old dog new tricks. I present to you a recap in pictures of all of the things I have learned this week.

20130508-204258.jpgThis old dog has learned to love running.  I have spent the winter and early spring on a treadmill, running only two days a week and trying to be kind to my body but it was time to get outside before the summer sun prevented me from hitting the streets.   Wanna see me in all my spectacularly slow glory?  Hillsborough Running Club.  Good people, good routes, meeting right near a little street with particularly good beer, bbq and coffee for sale.  Wednesday nights, be there or be square.  I make dinner for the family and roll out.  Solo.  In the evening.  I might not make it inside a bar, but I park right near one and that is good enough for me.  It feels good to be out, to have plans that do not involve the kids or a meeting or a chiropractor appointment.  I have never been such a joiner before but stay at home motherhood has me signing up left and right.  Give me a schedule, give me somewhere to be and I am on it.

I am learning to love running.  So much so that I got a tshirt and a bumper sticker.   Running might be my new favorite band.

I have learned that I can clean my entire kitchen floor and run my vacuum in less than three minutes.  I have fallen in love with the steam mop.  It does nothing on the dog hair front but it steams the dried up yogurt right off of the floor.  (Sidenote: Fisher eats everything that hits the floor and some things before they even land.  But he’s not a fan of yogurt, hence the dried up yogurt.) How do I clean my entire downstairs while the human wrecking ball that is Lucy is tearing around the house? Simple.

The kid can climb.  Up.  And up only.  She climbs up on to the table and she stands there in stunned silence.  I have approximately three minutes to pick up all the tupperware from the cabinets she has emptied, return the board books and the stuffed animals to their cubbies and sweep, mop and vacuum before she gets bored and begins to bellow, begging to be returned to the floor so that she can climb up again.  She stands and watches.  The faster I move the more rapt her attention.  Three minutes.  I learned it only takes three minutes to get “company clean.”

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I am a bit of a neat freak in the house.  Note that I said “in the house.”  When I was a teenager a perfect punishment would be the afternoon my father said “C’mon, we’re gonna clean your car.”  Not only was I not going anywhere in said car, but I would be standing in the driveway with my father while my secrets were revealed.  Coca-cola cans and fast food trash, overdue library books and too short skirts were pulled from under the seats.  In spite of the fact that I ended up with a clean car (my father can make a 1981 Dodge Aries station wagon sparkle, y’all!) this was not enough to make me enjoy this ritual.

I am still not a huge fan of cleaning my car. I am better than I was.  I try to pull the trash out of the side door cubbies while I pump gas.  I don’t let the kids eat in the car  often. My car is no longer the trash can on wheels it once was, but it isn’t pretty.  For years my car has been a collection of Diet Coke bottles, peanut M&M trash and outerwear that I brought along to make me feel like a better mother.  No one ever wears the sweatshirt, but dammit you had better bring one.

I have learned to love water.  No more Diet Coke cans for me.  I cleaned my car out this week.  I might have had a few water bottles in there.

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I have made peace with the fact that my car is messy.  I am what I am, I guess.  Speaking of making peace with who I am and where I am in my life – I am Sporty Spice, guys. I wish I was Scary, I would love to be Posh and the red hair dye of my early twenties reveals my deep-seated desire to be Ginger.  But I am Sporty Spice and there is no denying it. This week I learned I can put my jogging stroller on my bike rack!  I can take Lucy running on the downtown route I love without cleaning out my trunk to make room for the stroller!

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I might have been outrageously excited.  I just might have run four miles only to find that Lucy was passed out and I had no choice but to keep cruising around downtown. Lucy napped through the library, the post office and the co-op grocery store.  And I learned that even when you are winded and you’d like to sit on your ass you will keep walking if it means your kid will keep sleeping.

20130508-204323.jpgI had a good week.

I learned that I can clean my shed with help from Lucy.  I can keep her from drinking from the gas can while organizing bungee cords and rakes.  I learned that eating clean is swell in theory but that it is totally possible to eat an entire red velvet cake almost by yourself and not feel bad about yourself at all.  I learned that sucking it up and committing to a nap schedule really will make for an easier bedtime routine. I learned that oven baked chicken is fine and dandy but pan fried in Panko is really where it’s at. I learned how to use two of the thingamajigs on my bicycle multi-tool.  I re-learned the finger tip drag freestyle drill and how to maximize the efficiency of my stroke (say that with a straight face, I dare you.)

IMG_4985 copy And perhaps the most shallow but the biggest immediate change – I learned that cutting off all of my fingernails did not make my typing any better. But it will mean that Sporty Spice won’t spend two hours a week fixing her damn nails anymore.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.  Not when there is so much more to learn.  Happy Birthday week to me.  May the learning continue…

 

 

Watch & Learn

It was quiet.

I know better than to ignore the quiet.   Screaming.  Whining.  Yelling  Slamming.  Banging.  These are the sounds that say “Yep.  We’re all fine, Mom.” But quiet?

Quiet means you’d be smart to hightail into the room where your kids are playing and be prepared to freak out.

I was folding laundry in my bedroom.  Glamorous life, I know.  Lucy had been wandering back and forth between my bedroom and the living room making the “enh enh enh” sound that means “Pick me up and carry me around. There is nothing wrong with me but I am bored.” I had decided to tough it out.  I would just finish this last load, put it away and then I’d make up for not providing a challenging and age-appropriate activity for six minutes of the poor kid’s life.

But then it got quiet.

I made the foolish choice.  I folded like mad and decided to ride it out.  When I left my bedroom I had half a mind to just go straight to the kitchen for a Magic Eraser.  There was sure to be crayon on a wall.  I’d be grateful for crayon and not Sharpie.  Or maybe there would be a dumped over dog water bowl.

Much to my surprise my sweet girl was sitting quietly on the couch with the dog.  She pointed as soon as I saw her.

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Her point was not at me.  It was at the television (which had been muted, so I didn’t realize it was even on.) She pointed.  And she didn’t move.  She sat like a stone and watched.

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You recognize the start of those happy trees, don’t you?  My sweet girl that doesn’t watch television because she is shy of 16 months old and I am afraid I will turn her brain in to oatmeal or, even worse, create a kid that is incapable of amusing herself without a screen, was watching TV.

But not just any TV.  She was watching Bob Ross.

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And I hope I didn’t ruin her because I sat down right next to her and said “Check this out. First he covers the whole canvas with Liquid White.  Watch and learn, kiddo. Watch. And. Learn.”

She was mesmerized. I can’t blame her.

Poetic License for Bloggers is called Bullshit

Poetic License – the distortion of fact or narrative to tell a story or evoke a feeling. It’s cool.

I mean, poetic license is cool when you are writing a poem. But blogging or a personal narrative? I call bullshit on “poetic license.” I call the stretching and fudging of truth and fact bullshit when you are telling a “true story.” And man… that is just too damn bad.

Sometimes when something happens to me I start to write a blog post in my mind. I ramble on in my own personal little stand-up routine. Occasionally I get to laughing and I realize that the “punch line,” the part that made something really, truly funny… it didn’t actually happen. And I am left with what could have been funny “if only…” But more often than not what makes it funny is if I stretch the truth about how I think or feel on a subject. A spider in my medicine cabinet can get really funny if I couple it with a crippling fear of spiders. But I am not scared of spiders. At all. It is kind of funny to realize that I am standing in my bedroom fresh from the shower and all the blinds are open if my neighbor moonlights as a cabana boy, not so much if it is the seven year old son of my best friend. You get the picture.

Today I tore open the top of a PowerGel with my teeth (because working out like such a bad mamajama that you require PowerGels means that you no longer use scissors! The brute force of your own teeth will work just fine, thankyouverymuch.) I squirted the Vanilla tasting snot-like substance in to my mouth, waiting for the promised immediate burst of energy and thought to myself:

PowerGels taste like shit. The horrific taste helps make me certain that it is entering my blood stream and getting shit done! Just like tossing back hard liquor – I wince and think good lord, that was heinous. And that is how I know for sure that it is going to fuck me up.

Only that last part is not true. At all. I might have been the only college undergrad that didn’t hate the taste of booze. Not even Scotch. Sure, I am not wild about the lowest of the low. The bottom-shelf, plastic bottle of rotgut and I are not fast friends – but I can guarantee you that it is not as horrible as a PowerGel.

But the trouble is the blog post that starts “So, I ate a PowerGel today and man, did I wish it was a mini bottle of vodka” isn’t very funny. Although, now that I have typed it out perhaps I am on to something. I can see how a quick shot of vodka midway through the bike portion of the sprint triathlon might actually kick my ass in to high gear. It would at least help me out in the fearlessness department. I have a moderate fear of riding my bike really fast downhill brought on by one too many late-night crash and burns in college. But I suspect once the shot wore off my run would certainly suffer – unless there was more booze and a pizza at the finish line. Again, I think I might be on to something.

I will be 37 in 19 days. 9 days before that I will swim 250 yards, bike 10 miles and then run 2 more. It’s no Ironman. Hell, it isn’t even an Olympic distance triathlon. But it’s further than I have moved my ass in a long, long time. And it is a first for me.

A few years ago at the bottom of a bottle of wine I confessed to Mike that I wanted to get married before I was 35 so we could try and get pregnant before I was an “elderly gravida,” a wickedly offensive term for a woman over 35 who is pregnant. We pulled it off. We got married 7 days before I turned 35 and I am fairly sure that we were pregnant by my birthday. Take a newlywed couple that has been living with their five year old daughter and give them a hotel room and an open bar and they can make a baby pronto. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

36 passed in a blur of breastfeeding and tears and sleeplessness and finding my groove. If 35 was the Year of the Newlywed and 36 was the Year of the New Stay At Home Mom, what I am calling 37? Beats me.

I can tell you this. 37 will not be the Year of the PowerGel because they taste like shit. I have a sneaking suspicion that in retrospect 37 will be phase one of Turn in to a Bad Mofo Before I Turn 40. I will continue to work on a catchier name. I have 384 days before it is over.

Sorry this wasn’t really very funny. Or insightful. Or poignant. Y’all seem to like the funny and the sad. You especially love the embarrassing. So, I offer you this. My pinhead is disguised by my widow’s peak ordinarily. I’m glad swimming caps are not required for all trips to the gym or my effort at picking up gym moms might be fruitless. I mean, would you go on a Mom Date with this girl?

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The Space to Breathe

Some days are just like every other day. You wake. You go about your routine. You look at the clock and the time ticks by, sometimes quickly, sometimes painfully slowly, but the day carries on and before you know it you are brushing your teeth and preparing to climb in to bed and do it all again tomorrow.

Yesterday was an odd one. I did things I don’t normally do. Some of those things were very small but when I stepped back from the day and sized it up they all added up. And this morning, I feel different.

I sat down yesterday morning with a newspaper. I did not open my laptop and have coffee. I sat down with the paper. A real, live newspaper. I fear Chapel Hill News is suffering if they are delivering their paper for free to neighboring towns. I can’t count on this paper sticking around in printed form if they have resorted to giving it away but I will enjoy it while it lasts. A newspaper and a cup of coffee. That was unusual.

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Later in the morning I met a new friend and her son and we walked and talked. I was late. I am never late. I cancel if I am going to be late. I was late. That is unlike me. And I did not take a single picture. I did not check my phone. Also not typical behavior. We walked and talked.

She mentioned the paralyzing freedom of having every day be so full of options. I’d not considered that fully before. The lack of structure that can be present in the life of the mother who chooses to stay at home – it can have an almost crippling presence. “But you can do whatever you want,” a friend might note. Not really. Somedays I do not do a damn thing that is “what I want.” And yet daily I am overcome with gratitude. I am all at once living the life that I have chosen, that I am deeply grateful for, and not actually very free at all some days.

Later in the evening I did another thing I rarely do.

I stopped and had two beers at a local bar in town. “Have a seat,” said a gentleman as he slid over and offered me a bar stool. It had been so long I almost said “Oh, no, no.” I couldn’t possibly sit down. I didn’t have that kind of time. I would just stand, drink a beer, and hightail it home before Lucy woke up or MQD called or … or what? I turned in to a pumpkin?

I slid in to a barstool and I felt my shoulders get lower. I felt my back get longer. I was relaxed, in my element. It had been too long. A man introduced himself, “I am Jerry, by the way.”

I smiled. “The ByTheWays, I know a lot of your people, a friendly bunch you are. I meet a ByTheWay almost everywhere I go.” He paused. And then he smiled. I apologized for my flip remark. “I spent a decade behind the bar and I have a canned response to everything, I am sorry. I haven’t been out in so damn long that that is all that’s coming to me now. Forgive me?”

We chatted about kids and our quaint little downtown. The fellow to my left interrupted me, eventually. “What are you now? Just a housewife?” I felt myself stand up straighter. “Yep. And it is fucking awesome.” I could see that he was disappointed. I think he’d been trying to rile me up and I didn’t bite. I threw him a bone. “You? What are you? Just an asshole? A prick? What name do you prefer?” He seemed pleased with himself, he’d gotten under my skin.

I smiled again and let him down easy. “I’m sorry… but you have got to be kidding me. “Just a housewife?” Come on, man, it is the 21st century. Cut the little woman some slack.” I turned to Mr. ByTheWay and said “It was really nice to meet you.” I turned back to my right and said “And you, watch your mouth,” flashing him a million dollar smile.

20130411-122721.jpgI joined my girlfriends outside and laughed some more. We talked about our kids. It was easy. It was awkward for me to realize that I actually enjoyed sitting at a table with a bunch of women having easy conversation just as much if not more than the jocular and sometimes acidic back and forth of strangers at a bar. While outside a friend mentioned a tattoo I’ve had for years. A devil-woman, nursing her baby. I got it ages ago to symbolize the union between the hell-raiser I had been and the mother I was becoming. A timely reminder that I do not have to choose. The comfort I feel at a table of women does not negate the entertainment of a seat at the bar.

It is good to do the things that we do not usually do. Read the newspaper. Turn your phone off. Go ahead and be late. Stop for a beer.

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This morning I went outside to water the flowers and said “C’mon, Goose, we need to hurry up.” Hurry. Towards what? The next task? I stopped. I poured some water on her feet and she laughed. I took a picture of the snapdragons quickly and then I put my phone inside. We sat on the deck. I don’t know for how long.

If I am quiet in the coming weeks, do not be worried. I am going back to school.  I have enrolled in a self-taught, self-guided and intensive course on the Art of Relaxing. Wish me luck.

 

Big Books

This post is dedicated to the lovely Sara at Laments and Lullabies. 

She is the Salt to my Pepa, the DJ Jazzy Jeff to my Fresh Prince.  

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Last week I was in the car with my girls and their friends, two older girls from down the street. Butt jokes were being made.  Naturally.  One of Emily’s pals says “I like big butts and I can not lie!”  Emily, too young to have ever heard Sir Mix-A-Lot at her eighth grade formal, began to guffaw. I am not certain where her friend had heard it but before I could stop myself the rest of the song was tumbling out of my mouth “You other brothers can’t deny that when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face you get sprung!!”  I may or may not have been dancing in my seat.  The girls in the backseat were laughing.  But her friend in the front seat was giving me the side eye.

“I love that song,” I said.  I hit play on my CD player and because Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back is the first track on Monster Booty Jams and because that CD has lived permanently in my car for a decade I knew it would immediately begin to play.   The girls got quiet and listened.  “This song is the best,” I said.

“They only talk to her, because, she looks like a total…” and I hit stop.  “Actually, this song might not be a listen-to-it-with-someone-else’s-mother kind of song.”

So when the picture above came through my Facebook feed I was primed and ready for a Baby’s Got Back inspired giggle.

And just like those kids in my car I really need only the smallest amount of encouragement.

My friend, Sara, said “You other readers can’t deny.” (Yeah, that’s right.  My pal, Sara, of Laments & Lullabies fame!) And we were off to the races.

Day 97 of This Book Will Change Your Life told me to become a rapper.  Ummm.  Done.  Check, Checkity check check… the MIC!

Me: When a book walks in with a nitty gritty theme and puts those word things in my face I get sprung!

Sara:  ‘Cause you notice that book was stuffed, Deep in the shelves of learnin’, I’m hooked and I can’t stop turning, Pages, I wanna get with ’em … And take their ISBNs

Me:  Oh. My. God. Becky, look at that book. It’s SO good. It’s, like, on the best seller list. But who even reads, anyway? They only buy it because Oprah said so.

Sara: Slow in the middle but it’s got a lot of plot.

Me:  I’m tired of magazines. Saying paperbacks are the thing. Take a librarian and ask her that – she says microfiche are where it’s at!

Sara: So, readers! (Yeah!) Readers! (Yeah!) Has your library got the book? (Hell yeah!) Tell ’em to stock it! (Stock it!) Shelve it! (Shelve it!) Check out that hefty book! ‘Brary got books!

Me: So you can’t put down that novel, to get fed your kids got to grovel. But the novel don’t care if your house is a hovel. My intellect don’t want none unless you’re classic lit, hon!

Sara:  But I gotta be straight when I say I wanna *read* Till the break of dawn Book’s got it goin’ on…

Hermit Crab Love

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Sleeping in her chick and bunny pajamas my little girl looks so vulnerable.  Babies, by design, are fairly dependent little creatures.  But when they are asleep I think they look like hermit crabs without their shells.  Any moment she will rise up on to her knees and crawl in to a painted shell.  She will cling to the side of a cage in the hopes that a 9-year-old girl on vacation will pick her to take home.

I watch my hermit crab baby sleeping and I think about how lucky I am. I watch my big girl ride down the street on her bicycle and I think about how quickly the time goes by.   Almost 18 years ago I met a boy in a bar and then it turned out he was the cook at the restaurant where I got my first job as a bartender.  Ten years after that my wondrous Emily June came in to my life.  I moved to Chapel Hill and got reacquainted with some old friends who happened to meet a boy at a dog park.  A year after that I needed a smile and they sent me out to dinner with that boy from the dog park.  He became the man that would be by my side forever.  I dreamt of the little boy that would join our family.  And that little boy was Lucy Quinn. (!)

The world is so huge.  Today’s challenge reminds us that there is 1 chance in 89 billion that life would have involved into mankind. There is 1 chance in 6 billion that your parents would have met. The book reminds us that we are all lucky to be here and suggests we show “cosmic humility.”

I am surrounded by reminders of cosmic humility.  My three biggest reminders are walking, breathing, loving examples of luck.  I want to believe that my children chose me.  I want to believe that MQD is my soul mate.  But in my heart of hearts I know that it was chance.  In this great big, huge world these three are mine.  They flesh out the living, breathing organism that is my house, my family, me.

Today I am in awe.  Cosmic humility doesn’t even start to sum it up.

Do the Right Thing

I had one of those moments today where I was forced to make a choice in a split second.  I had one of those moments when neither option is really what I want but the confines of time and the number of arms I have forces me to choose.  I did the “right thing.”  But it didn’t feel good. It did not feel good at all.  And my heart still hurts.

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I have told the story here before of how I fell in love with Fisher.  I have admitted that he sleeps in my bed with me. But I have never spoken of the way he tears my heart out of my chest every so often, mostly because I like to try and forget.

He will hop down from the bed and then be unable to move.  Or he will be in the midde of jumping up on to the couch and he will collapse.  A seizure, says the vet.  They do not happen often enough to establish any kind of pattern.  Blood work comes back fine.  No known cause.

His legs crumble beneath him.  He begins to pant and drool.  His eyes look deep in to mine as if he is frightened.  He doesn’t move.  It lasts for a minute, maybe two.  If I am alone with him I hold him in my arms and tell him that I love him and that he is okay, that he is safe.  If I am with MQD or my ex-husband I bawl and sob and say “Is he okay? Do you think he is okay?” repeatedly until I am kicked out of the room.  (I will wait here while you make a mental note – Kelly in a crisis, bad idea unless she is the only adult present.)

This afternoon marked the first time that Fish had an episode while I was alone with him.  Alone with him and Lucy.

Fish and Lucy like to look out the window in the afternoon and wait for the school bus. When it is warm they stand at the door.  When it is cold they stand and look over the back of the couch.  Today we were all snuggled on the couch, Fish with his feet over the back of the couch, Lucy Goose right next to him.  They were watching, waiting for the school bus.  They might have stayed just like that for the thirty minutes it would take for Emily to get home.  I considered reaching back behind me to grab my phone and take a picture of these two but I feared my movement would disrupt this quiet calm.  So, I just watched them.

And then his legs folded under him and he curled in to himself.  Lucy was quick to take advantage of this chance to climb on to his back.  And this was my moment.  My split-second “what the hell should I do now?” moment.  I wanted to take my sweet ten-year-old boy in my arms and hold him, shh-shh him and tell it was going to be okay.  He was scared, he is just an animal.

In that moment, though, we were all animals.  All three of us.  And I chose Lucy. I don’t think I should get a medal for having the presence of mind to grab Lucy and hold her away from my ailing dog.  Anyone with a pet knows that a good dog, even a great dog can be squirrelly when they are frightened.  I could pet his head.  I could shh-shh him but I could not hold him in my lap.  I could not hold him because I had this wild thing of a 13 month-old in my lap instead.  And my heart broke in to a million pieces.

20130304-194359.jpgThose big brown eyes.  The same eyes I fell so hard and fast for long before I became a mother they tore a hole straight through me.  “It’s okay, big boy.  I am right here.  I am just keeping Lucy Goosey safe, baby boy, keeping her from bugging you, okay?  But I am right here, I promise, I am right here.”

I must have told him in a thousand different ways that I wasn’t going anywhere and that I was just holding on to Lucy to keep her from bothering him.  But I knew even as the words were falling from my mouth that it was not completely true.  My big boy was hurting.  And I was protecting my baby.

It was the “right thing.”  But it did not feel good.  It did not feel good at all.

Minutes went by and his breathing steadied.  I sobbed the ugly tears on the phone and Fish calmed down.  So, eventually, did I. The school bus came at 2:37 and Fisher jumped off the couch like nothing was wrong.  Cautiously, I opened the door.  He’d either take a few steps and slow down and I would know that this time, this time was different, or he’d leap off the porch to cover his big girl with kisses.

He leapt off the porch.  I leaned against the door frame and watched those two run up the front hill, all zig-zag across the flower beds.  Lucy pressed her face against the storm door waiting for them to come up the front steps.  And just like that today was exactly the same as every other afternoon.

So help me, if these kids are not the death of me, this dog will be.

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No jokes about whether or not I am of “sound mind”

And to my oldest daughter I leave my shoe collection.

Day 92 suggests you go ahead and write a will right there on the pages of the book.  It is silly, listing your prized possessions, your CD collection, your tupperware, your debt, your secrets…

Once again this ridiculous book is synced up with my “real life” in a way that I was not prepared to think about.  Sometimes I move through a day and I consciously choose not to think about it, not to write about it, not to process it.  This is still a step ahead from the Ignore This Necessary Part of Life Altogether method of my youth.

A few weeks ago we sat down at the kitchen table and we filled in the blanks. What will happen to our kids if something happens to us?  Our life insurance policy would cover our house, right? None of this is fun.  None of it is “best case scenario.” None of it is “happily ever after.”

I still don’t want to write about it.  It took me two weeks to open the legal envelope from the lawyer’s office and review the final draft.  I did it this morning.  With a princess pencil.  It didn’t make it any easier.

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