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Reindeers & aliens

In first grade, my class dressed up as reindeers and did aerobics for the school’s Christmas show. Dressing up was bad enough for me; I did the bare minimum workout, and totally sat out the neck rolls, despite glares from the adults in my life. 

I’d decided that getting in trouble was better than doing all that ridiculousness.

Last night, at a weekend Cub Scout event, my eight-year-old was expected to don a costume with the other members of his pack. He wailed and railed against it. He said he’d rather not have candy than gain it by wearing “the stupid costume hat.”

Even when he did finally put it on, he sulked in our tent for a full ten minutes. After he emerged from the tent, he continued to sulk–mightily–straight through photos and the beginning of trick-or-treating. 

He eventually decided that candy was worth wearing the hat, but I’m kinda glad it took him a little while to get there. His obstinacy tickled me, bringing me to imagine my mom was right there with us. 

I envisioned her laughing with my husband and saying, “I didn’t hold it against her. I told her she’d get her own taste of it someday, and here she is! Here she is.”

Thus were Christmas then and Halloween now woven together … and my mom, gone in body for more than seven years now, no less powerful a presence in her reluctant reindeer’s heart.

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soul-level sighs of satisfaction

Yesterday mid-morning, my three-year-old son and I went to meet up with some friends at a family event in Newport Beach. Littler J, who usually naps in the early afternoon, was so beat that he ended up falling asleep ten minutes into our drive.

By the time he’d finished napping, our friends were on their way home. The event was nevertheless a joy. It was full of small, sweet moments, individual and collective.

Individually, I especially enjoyed watching Littler eat his pizza. First, he strips off the cheese. After he’s eaten all the cheese, he plants his face directly in the center of the triangle and begins gnawing down. As if watching him savor a piece of pizza in this way weren’t adorable enough, this inefficiency leaves him with a greasy orange beard that makes me giggle. Read more…

becoming ours

Before I was a parent, my apartment was filled with plants. After I became a parent, remembering to water them fell further and further down my to-do list. Eventually, I had no more plants left to water. I stored their pots behind my rental house and thought I might fill them someday. Maybe.

Today, my older son (Li’l D) and I each picked up a plant at our favorite botanic garden. D was so disappointed there weren’t more full-shade plants there that I offered to take him to a nursery.

He was overjoyed to see all the plants at the nursery. Unfortunately, his little brother being undernapped, we had to make our trip a quick one.

Each of us picked out one plant. After buying them, we loaded them in our car and headed home. Read more…

little boys laughing

I awaken at 3:30 each weekday morning, do an hour of work, and then spend one rushed hour getting ready with my kids. I’m then in traffic for an hour or so before beginning my full workday.

Yesterday, I had an early doctor appointment. Instead of rushing out the door, I spent two and a half hours hanging out with my kids. I helped my older son, Li’l D, scramble an egg before snuggling with him on the couch and reading Charlotte’s Web aloud. I walked him through homework corrections and then, after my three-year-old (Littler J) was really awake, laughed at the sounds of my little boys racing through the house while hollering their mirth.

I grinned the whole way to the doctor’s office. It was just such a perfect morning!

After my appointment, I called my husband to tell him how it’d gone. It turned out he was at the grocery store on the same block as the doctor’s office, so I met him in the store. I savored the weight of Littler’s hand in mine as my husband pushed the shopping cart. Littler made an adventure of even a shopping trip, so that I beamed the whole way through the trip. 

As we parted ways in the parking lot, I told my husband that the morning had been absolutely perfect. I said I’d have to make a point to do this more often on the weekday. Once a month, maybe?!

I grinned as I began my late drive to the office.

Nine years ago, before I had an inkling I was on the verge of parenthood, my perfect morning involved a couple of hours of World of Warcraft and then a six- or seven-shot latte en route to work. On the very best mornings, I’d spend a little time staring at the ceiling and daydreaming about the weekend, too. 

My perfect morning is so much different now than it was then. It’s busier and louder by far now, but, oh! It is ever so much more full of love, and–best of all–little boys’ peals of laughter.

small steps toward justice

Two years ago, I submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice.

My older son’s school had recently changed owners. I was sad to see the old owner go; she’d been so sweet to both my sons. On the other hand, she’d had to close the school baby room, which meant I’d had to move my then-infant son to a school that cost more than twice as much.

The new owners would be reopening the school’s baby room. If I could move my younger son back there, I’d pay half as much for his daycare. I was relieved by the prospect.

Unfortunately, two factors converged against his enrollment.

First, he’d recently been diagnosed with a severe egg allergy. Where he went, so went his EpiPen. Read more…

good company

D’s 5th birthday

Three years ago,
my oldest son celebrated
his fifth birthday
with friends.

I was
so thankful
he didn’t know
what it meant to be
one of the odd ones.

Today,
he celebrated his
eighth birthday, still
side-by-side with
the little boy
from his 5th
birthday
pic.

He’s lost touch
with the little girl,
but:

It’s okay.
He’s not
keeping
track.

He’s here,
now, and just
so happy to be
here, now, in such
good company.

Categories: Family, Parenting Tags: , , ,

quality

As I watched
my little boys wrestle
from inside one of
my favorite shirts,
I was certain
I’d never
wear the shirt
again.

Lo, it was not so!
I’m wearing the shirt today,
and it fits just the same
as if it hadn’t been used
for a wrestling match.

That, my friends,
is quality.

Categories: Family, Parenting Tags: ,
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