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little boys

As I sat helping my three-year-old, Littler J,  with his breakfast, his seven-year-old brother sneaked up behind him and gave him a wedgie.

“Don’t give your brother wedgies!” I admonished Li’l D, tapering off when I noticed Littler grinning. “Unless he likes it?”

Littler promptly cheered, “I like it! I like it!” and ran off to seek more wedgies.

Okay, then. As long as the wedgie-liking continues, I suppose I’ll just let them be.

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Categories: Parenting Tags:

the lost year

Sorting through old paperwork last month, I found a letter I’d received after being rear-ended. My eyes drifted toward the date. Was it January that I was rear-ended, or maybe February?

I was stunned to find that the accident had happened in September. That would have been when my oldest son was newly back to school, which I should have remembered.

Why didn’t I remember? Because I barely even noticed his school year.

I was learning about the world–about politics and history, and how colonialism didn’t disappear so much as change form; unwittingly, I’d participated. 

I was horrified, outraged, heartbroken, and more to discover virtually everything I’d ever believed was wrong. I lost myself in trying to understand all the mistakes I’d made, and how lives have been lost due to the misunderstanding of even the best-intentioned people.

I lost sight of my sons, my husband, my friends, and all manner of things that have traditionally brought me joy. I simply stopped seeing them.

That’s what that bill’s date revealed to me: how much I’d lost in a year of favoring my learning over my love.

A week or two ago, my older son curled up with me on the couch. We talked about school and all was as ordinary as if I hadn’t lost a year of such moments. I took a moment to thank God that such wrongdoings can be rectified, and commit to ensuring I never again lose so much as a month, let alone an entire year. (Sometimes, emergencies may necessitate a week or two away.)

Last night, I watched my two little boys hop-race around the house. I laughed and told them I love to watch them play.

I turned to my husband and asked, “I gave up this for a year, for Twitter?”

“Uh-huh,” he confirmed, giving me his well honed bet-you’re-sorry look.

I’m glad he was so patient, and that my sons felt my love even when I was only barely present. But these are gifts to cherish, not squander, and I mean to cherish them. 

Books can fill me with knowledge, but only such knowledge as is useless without love.

the j-blockade

This morning, my three-year-old son awakened mere minutes before I left for work. I heard Littler J whining the moment I stepped out of the shower.

“What’s up with the little guy?” I called to my husband.

“He doesn’t want you to go to work.”

A few minutes later, I put on my shoes and headed toward the front door. There, blockading the exit, was Littler J.

“Don’t go!” he howled. “I don’t want you to go!”

Leaving against his wishes made me more than a little sad. Still, I’ve grinned every time I remember that image: one little boy trying to block his mama from leaving through one big door.

His body may still be small; his will is anything but. I hope he keeps that … and also that his older brother will never be too far away to end any J-blockade with a well-timed question or two:

“Wanna play trains? They’re in the bedroom!”

Categories: Family, Parenting Tags: , ,

the pee alarm

My older son and I sat facing each other on the kitchen floor. We were as far away from his little brother as possible in our small house, and spoke softly to have more moments alone together.

“When it’s Christmas Eve,” he told me, “I’m going to drink lots of water so I can wake up and see my presents really early!”

I laughed. “I did that once.”

His face lit up. “Did you see Santa?”

“No,” I said, smiling. “I mean, I drank a lot of water to make sure I’d wake up on time. I was going to research killer whales and I really, really did not want to miss my train. My alarm didn’t go off, so I ended up waking up on time only because I’d had so much water to drink before bed. I had to pee so bad.”

“Why didn’t your alarm go off?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I’m just really glad I had all that water, because I wouldn’t have been able to go to Canada that summer if I’d awakened five minutes later.”

“Why not?”

“I didn’t have enough money for a new train ticket, and I would have missed some connections that would have left me stranded for days, even if I’d had enough money.” When one of your connections involves a tiny personal boat out to an unpopulated island, timing is key.

Our conversation moved onward, but that bit returned to me as I drove to work an hour later. It was incredibly sweet to sit with two different kids who haven’t spent much time together, yet: younger me and one of my own sons.

Sometimes Li’l D asks me, “Why didn’t you tell me that?!” when I relate this or that memory to him. I explain that most memories only float to the surface when something today reminds me of something from yesterdays. 

I hope we uncover many more such memories together, whether from our kitchen floor or wherever else the years ahead may take us.

the love

Monday was a special day for Ra, a family friend. She had lunch with my husband and our sons (among others). She and I met for dinner.

Later, she sent me pictures from the day. I giggled at one particular picture; my 7yo, Li’l D, was tickled how one letter made the difference between “your earwax” and “our earwax.”

But the other picture? It choked me right up. 

A few months ago, I wrote about an exchange with Li’l D’s first grade teacher. I explained how I wanted him to grow in two areas: critical thinking and compassion.

When I saw Ra’s second picture, I saw–blazing!–the one of those two qualities harder to measure on a report card.

Look in those eyes and tell me you don’t see it, too–the love, and the believing that whatever someone is doing, it’s all the very best they can do now.

Categories: Friends, Love Tags: , , ,

we will

On Thursday, I had an experience that kinda changed everything for me. I’m not able to write about it in detail, but the core of it was me asking:

Can you change any of what happened yesterday? No? Then what do we do about making tomorrow better?!

Yes, I wrote a sad post yesterday. Yes, it was about how much yesterday influences today, especially for people who grew up in chaos.

But, you know what? That was already the remnants of something that had to be let go, for me to move on.

Because in that moment of arguing for tomorrow (and someone going, the next morning, “DEB FOR PRESIDENT!!!”), I saw: 

This is what it means, to show care for what happens next, for everyone’s children.

My own littlest is snuggled next to me as I type this and think,

Fuck, yeah. The future’s gonna be okay.

We can–and will!–make it that way!

Categories: Reflections Tags: , , ,

my island

Last weekend,
I wrote about how much
(and why) I love
the movie
Moana

Yesterday,
I bought
the soundtrack
for commute
brightening
purposes,
but:

The best
part of yesterday,
easily, was the Moana
bedtime dance party
I had with my three-year-old

On a 4×6 rug,
we went
away, away,
laughing and
twirling
together;

on our own little
rug-island
in space and time;

Like Moana and her
(granted, fictional) villagers,
having been there once,
I will now, always
be able to find
my way
back
(home)

Categories: Movies, Music, Parenting Tags: , , ,
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