Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fear This

Just a few minutes ago, and while I was enjoying the quiet and drinking my coffee, JT clomped downstairs wearing his Indian costume and shouting, "I'm JT. Fear this. I'm JT. Fear this." It would seem that my weekend may contain greater adventure than I expected.

I like to think that the Mama who washes the clothes, feeds the boy, reads the daily story, and otherwise makes life warm and cuddly should have just a bit less to fear......I guess that I'll find out.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Prep School Moment

When presented with the test this morning, several of the seniors in my American Government class were disappointed that there were no multiple choice questions. In every other school in America, the multiple choice is the dreaded part of the test. But not here.

I do so love these kids.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Real Life Conversations, Part IX

The scene: 6:45 am Thursday morning. JT is under the quilt in his bed and I have arrived to scratch his back and wake him up.

Mama: Good morning muffin.

JT: no actual words, just some snorty pig grunting sounds

Mama: What are you thinking about for breakfast? A waffle, a bagel with cream cheese, oatmeal, or cinnamon toast?

JT: (Rolling over) I'm thinking bed. I'm thinking nap.

Okay then.

A Crack in His Armor

JT was a bit of a handful while doing his homework last night. He was sassy and messing around, and generally trying to see if he could get his Mama's head to explode. Suddenly, he burst out, 'I cried on the playground today. Because of Mommy. Because she doesn't live with us anymore."

And of course I was speechless for a moment before I recovered and offered all that I could: I know that it's sad, but Mama will always be here and both Mommy and Mama love him very much.

And at bedtime, when he was washed and smelling sweet and all tucked under the covers, I gave him a last kiss and said, "I love you lots, sweet boy." A friend is staying with me and I had planned to pop out and run an errand. But my little boy said, "Please don't go run your errand Mama. Please stay. It's makes me scared to have you leave at night."

So of course I stayed; it wasn't even a question. I'll run my errand today. It's a small price to pay to help JT begin to regain his confidence, his peace of mind.

I didn't do the damage here, but I will do everything I can to fix it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Make mine a latte

Yesterday I picked JT up at the top of the hill, where the kids who leave at 3:05 wait for their mamas. When I arrived, he said goodbye to his teacher, Mrs. C. and then, while she could still hear him he said to me, "let's go to Starbucks, Mama, I need a cup of coffee." I laughed and said, "you don't drink coffee," to which he responded, "Yeah. I do. I need a latte."

So Mrs. C now knows the task she faces. And, of course, we went to Starbucks and had a tasty after school treat.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Misapplication of the Golden Rule

JT: This kid at school talks all the time and he annoys me when I want to get work done.

Mama: Well, maybe school is hard for him. Maybe you should be a good friend to him.

JT: Why? He's not a good friend to me.

Mama: Well, you'd like him to be a good friend to you, so maybe you should show him how to be a good friend by being a good friend to him. You know: treat him as you would like to be treated.

JT: Well, I'm going to treat him like he treats me, because that must be how he wants to be treated.

Conclusion: 6 year old logic is a powerful force to be reckoned with.
I'm not sure that I'm up to the challenge 100% of the time.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Not Feelin' the Love

I was already running late this morning when I got to River Road and discovered that it was closed. No warning of the closure and no reason (unless you count the fact that this is a personal vendetta issue between me and the NJ DOT). That meant the alternate route with every other driver in New Jersey plus the Bound Brook traffic circle. So now we are getting to school late, just as all the students arrive and there is my boy, smackin' his gum and singing Eric Clapton songs at the top of his voice.


Sunday, September 24, 2006


I have been toying with trying out the prompts over at Sunday Scribblings ( and my friend S gave me the push yesterday. With a prompt like 'instructions', the timing seemed perfect.

For the past four months, I have been looking for an instruction manual for the human heart. One that will pinpoint the day and time that I won't hurt anymore; with an exact guide to the moment when sudden sadness will no longer over take and sometimes overwhelm me. I'd like an instruction book that tells me when it will all be okay again.

Saturday was the autumnal equinox, a day of the year when the light and dark are exactly equal. It's a good time for reflection and new beginnings. A time to think about where I've been and where I am headed. A time to write my own, admittedly imperfect guide to my imperfect heart.

So I took a walk in the woods and I collected some red leaves and for a while I just breathed deeply and tried to clear my mind. And then I decided to write the beginnings of instruction manual for my heart, thinking about something to let go of and something else to let in. I thought about what I need to let go of ---- the hurt, the anger, the sadness, and the disappointment about the failure of my relationship with Lisa. I could do with less of that. And I want to make room for happiness, for new experiences, and for overwhelming joy to make a return to my life. I'm ready for some more good things.

This isn't quite the instruction manual that I envisioned when I first thought about it. It will require greater patience than I sometimes have with myself. But it's a start and that will do for now.

Oh Boy

We had supper last night with A & M and A's cousin T. I think that it is generally agreed that T likes to show off her remarkable array of talents. And last night we got to see how effectively she can knot the stem of a maraschino cherry while the stem is in her mouth.

Countless beer-soaked hours have no doubt been spent honing this most imposing skill. And it is impressive.

Goodness only knows where such talents can take a girl.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Most Toothsome

I went to the dentist yesterday. Unless nitrous oxide is offered the moment that I walk in the door, dental check-ups are so not my favorite activity. The last time I saw a dentist was 2001. Two things brought me to my dental knees. Thing one was the boy, who no longer believed my claim that "yes, Mama does go to the dentist." Thing two was the persistent pain from the last wisdom tooth I have left in my mouth (and don't think the irony is lost on me). It started hurting in June, when Captain Fun hit the road and honestly, I was in so much emotional pain that I just embraced the tooth pain as part of the package.

Now I am an otherwise responsible girl, so it's not like I had skipped out on my brushing and flossing duties. I want to keep these teeth. But I did not feel a great need for cleaning and polishing.

But the emotional pain is receding and it's time for the dental pain to go. So I sucked it up and went to W's dentist. I am pleased to report that the tooth cleaning went just fine and --- hallelujah --- NO CAVITIES.

Still have to have the wisdom tooth pulled. Yucky. But I'll be working on a plan to make sure that I can get a lot of nitrous oxide out of the deal.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Show Mama the Housewares

The last time I had a Crate & Barrel this close to where I lived was 1989, when I was young, young, young and living in the cradle of civilization we call Los Angeles. Now at the more ripened age of 38 I have been blessed again by the God of Housewares. Crate & Barrel in Bridgewater opened yesterday, less than 8 miles from my home. So I stopped in to touch stuff and admire the goods.

I picked up a few treats and admired the lovely newness of it all. The arrival of C & B will add substantially to the quality of my life. And I'm sure that JT will come to dread the announcement that we are stopping by Crate & Barrel on the way home from school.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Can I Still Get the Tom Ka Gai Soup?

I have followed the news of the recent military coup in Thailand waiting to hear the Bush Administration weigh in on this issue. They have yet to say anything of substance, though it is technically a coup against a democratically-elected government . The post-coup stability in Bangkok (especially the stability of the markets and their currency), the bloodless nature of the coup, and the world's mostly ho-hum attitude, suggest that most observers think this coup was okay; even desirable.

In fact, the deposed Prime Minister, who is now in London, was generally regarded as a corrupt and unsuitable leader. But he was democratically elected, a fact that the Bush Administration often suggests is the solution to political troubles elsewhere. I am a big fan of democratic elections, but I also understand the limits of that system. Some nations make bad choices (Iran in 1982....when the people democratically elected to give all their power to religious authorities) and some people aren't especially prepared to make good choices (the Philippines, Kenya, Russia, Bulgaria....this list goes on and on). Democratic cultures take time to develop and sustain and it won't just happen because the American president says it's a good thing.

But we haven't yet learned this lesson and countless Iraqi civilians and American soldiers serving in Iraq are paying the price for the Administration's ignorance. Honestly, there is just no excuse for it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Favorite Part of the Day

Every night at supper we discuss our favorite part of the day. Today, my favorite part of the day was when JT sat down to do his homework and read to me all of the words on the spelling assignment. Sure, they were simple words. But he carefully sounded them out and read each one correctly. It made my heart sing and when I told him how proud of him I was, his smile just filled the room.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Real Life Conversations, Part VIII

JT: If I finish page one of homework in less than 15 minutes, than I have to complete page two.

Mama: Okay.

JT: I don't want to do page two.

Mama: Well, how long will it take you to finish page one?

JT: It won't take long. And then I'll have to do page two.

Mama: Sounds like you'll be doing page two.

JT: Well, we could just tell Mrs. Carcich that it took me more than 15 minutes to finish page one.

Mama: That would be telling a lie. How do you think Mrs. Carcich would feel if we lied to her?

JT: Well, I'm not going to tell her that I lied. So she'll never know.

Let the record reflect the fact that he was ready for a career on Wall Street or being a lawyer at a very early age.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In Which Our Heroine Conquers Her Fear of Building Small Toys

In our home, Mommy always handled the heavy-building duties of parenthood. She built baby JT's crib and from then on, all the Lego projects, the castles, and endless other toys with small pieces and smaller instructions were assigned to Lisa.

But since Mommy is no longer handling parenting, building projects now fall to Mama. Thus far, I've been able to manage the job. I am a whiz with all things Playmobile. But yesterday, after we secured two Bey Blade toys as a reward for JT's help with the playroom cleaning frenzy, I feared that the jig was up.

We came home from Toys R Us and JT retreated upstairs. I poured myself a glass of iced tea, wished for something far stronger, spread the pieces out on the dining room table, and faced the job at hand. Within the hour, we had ourselves two perfectly constructed toys. JT happily launched them throughout the house.

And I congratulated myself on managing yet another of the unexpected surprises of single mama-hood.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mama Cleaning Tsunami, Playroom Edition

Last Saturday I awakened to the need to get all of the cleaning chores done by myself. It was yet another in a series of regrettable discoveries about Lisa's departure. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and feeling taken for granted. I relieved some of the tension by shouting at Lisa on the phone.....though that's never as rewarding as I would hope.

On Sunday, I decided that the cleaning need not be confined to one day a week. If I spread the chores out, it's not so bad. Duh. And I must have a clean and tidy inner Carol speaketh when the house is clean. Having done a chore each day during the week meant that this morning I had the courage to address the heaping room o' crap that is the young man's playroom.

In my lighter moments, it has occurred to me that Lisa left so as to never again help cleaning the playroom. But the situation has reached a defcon 5 level and earlier in the week I announced that today I would bring order to the chaos.

No 'before" pictures exist because I was too embarrassed by the state of the room. But the after picture below is a beautiful thing to behold. JT's fleet of ships are all lined up, ready to be outfitted and manned to go and do pirate things. The carpet is clean, and all the little tiny pirates and their tiny weapons and other accessories (their bear skin rug, lanterns, and candlesticks, for example) have been organized into bins.

And may I say that the first mate demonstrated that he is his Grandma California's and straightening in a way that was most impressive.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This is Why I Love My Job

Each school year, the school sets aside time for a few days of class activities. They are usually fun, and build camaraderie, and the kids learn a thing or two. This year, I'm an 11th grade advisor, and the Juniors are working on a school service project clearing a path along the D & R canal, which is the eastern border of our campus. They are building a path in the woods to connect the gazebo and the memorial garden. The plan was to clear out the underbrush, grade and level the trail, build a fence to mark off the area and level four spots for some benches that the class would build for the soon-to-be-scenic trail.

It's a terrific activity and the kids were enthusiastic, not just about the work but also about the prospect of making a lasting mark on the campus. Then we woke up to a rainy, rainy day. Landscaping in the rain is not so much fun and we told the kids that they could take a pass on the outdoor work today --- we'd show them a movie instead.

There were 32 kids in the landscaping group and nearly every one them said, "no." They have a job to get done and they want to get started. And so most of my group set to work in the rain.

Lots of people despair about the state of America's youth. And teenagers are sometimes frustrating. But if this group is any indication of the future, and I know that they are, then the rest of us are in good hands. Strong, capable, hard-working, decent hands. They were so proud of the work they accomplished today and I was proud of them too.

I get to spend 5 days a week with these kinds of kids and I get paid for the privilege. And this week, that's why I love my job.

Finding Tiny Bits of a Silver Lining

One of the blessings of the post-Lisa life is that we are no longer hostage to her constant need to rush life. When we moved from Hamilton to Dunellen in 2005, and we no longer left for work at the same time, I realized how exhausting and relentless her constant rushing and hurrying about had been. Sometimes I would ask her to pause and enjoy life, but she rarely heard me.

Tonight at supper, JT and I really talked about his day ---- the fact that he bumped heads with Q on the way to gym and had to get an icepack from the nurse, the games he played with his buddies on the playground, the things that he wrote in his spelling book, and other stories about his day in 1st grade. He was happy to share and be heard and I was just as happy to listen.

Supper with Lisa was almost always a rushed affair. Though we did always discuss our favorite part of the day, after that she'd check out and try to hurry us along. I never liked that and now I don't have to live with it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Reflections on a new day

I keep all my blog entries in a series of documents mostly marked by season: sassafras spring 06; sassafras summer 06. Today I write from a new document, sassafras fall 06. This is just so much book-keeping for me, but I like the order and structure of things. I've been resisting the change to a new document, because frankly I've had more change than I can take lately. I started the blog to write about my life, my family, my work, and my political thoughts. And it's mostly still for that purpose. But I'm getting further and further away from the times when I wrote about my family as a partnership between Lisa and me; two women together raising a boy they adored. And it makes me sad. I'm not quite ready to let go.

There is no partnership anymore, there is no we. I do think that Lisa and I both love JT. I know I do. Lisa told me just the other day that she "loves him so much." I'm not sure at all that she's picked a very good way to show it. But I have to trust that she cares for him, if only because he loves her. Still, it's so very hard to raise him and not be able to share him with the person who once made up my family, but who has now moved on without us.

Whether I want it or not, change is coming. So I made a new document today and Monday night I made risotto for supper. I haven't made it since Lisa left because it was one of her favorite suppers. A little familiar to go with new seems like a good combination.

I hope that it gets easier soon.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Suddenly it all Made Sense

When I picked JT up at ASP today he was cranky. School was stupid, he said. Homework was also stupid. He didn't want to do it and I couldn't make him. He ranted and I listened patiently as we walked through the school. When we got to the car I calmly said, "It your responsibility to do the homework. How can I help you to make it easier to get it done?"

He thought for a while and then answered, "You could get me some crackers, a glass of cold water and sit with me while I draw the picture." He calmed down after that and when we got home, he unpacked his folder and said that he was ready to get to work. I poured the cold water and got him some crackers and then I sat down with him.

The assignment: draw a picture of your family. Suddenly, it all made sense. So I sat by his side while he drew his picture of us. I didn't offer any guidance and he didn't ask for any. He knew exactly what he wanted to draw and he did it: a mama (in a green dress) with a boy by her side. And we didn't cry because we are strong and we two are a family.

But I felt just like my heart was flopping wildly about on the ground, just waiting to be caught and put back in my body.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I Worry

I received this figurine for Mother's Day when JT was three years old. It was a gift from Lisa and it's always been special to me. This May, it fell off the shelf in the living room and it broke. Lisa carefully glued it back together, though I worried that the break portended bad things coming my way. Lisa told me that I was being silly; that the break meant nothing. Two weeks later, she left. I often thought of that when I walked past the figurine. I should have trusted my instincts.

Today, JT was jumping in the living room (a strictly forbidden activity) and the figurine fell and broke again. JT was sorry and keeps apologizing. I have tried to glue it back together for a second time. And I've moved it to a safe location. But this second break reminds me how fragile our lives are and leaves me just a little fretful that more bad things are coming our way.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

White Trash

My day began at 6:50 am, when a certain young man announced that he was ready to start the weekend. By 2:30 pm, I had made breakfast (and lunch), read the paper, worked on a history lecture, talked with A on the phone, sent a few e-mails, made a grocery list, emptied the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, started a load of laundry, made the beds, worked out, cut the grass, and weeded the pumpkin patch.

So I poured myself a glass of iced tea and crept upstairs for a nice hot shower, some ESPN college game day, and a little rest. As I was lying on my bed, wrapped in my towel, and starting to drift off to sleep, I heard the magical music of the ice cream truck, trolling the neighborhood. Summer is fast fading away and the ice cream truck may not be round again, so I called to JT to run out and flag him down, while I grabbed something to wear and a few dollars.

We made it to the curb on time ---- JT shirtless and me in the first dress I could find (my pool cover up – at least it was clean). And nothing else. The boy picked his popsicle and Mama paid.

We walked back to the house. Mission accomplished, even if we were both a little compromised by our half-dressed white trash ways.


Some days, though I don't go looking for it, the hurt comes on in waves. Sudden tears as I drive someplace and hear the wrong song on the radio, that sense that no one is waiting, no one will be there, a look at the hand that once wore rings and now looks empty, a feeling of being profoundly separated.

And other days I feel so good, so strong, so resolute. Like the hurt couldn't get me even if it came looking for me.

I know that the only way through this is to accept it when the hurt finds me and be at peace when it doesn't. But I still want that fast-forward button, that vision of a future that I know will not just be okay, but happy, with moments of real joy punctuated by quiet peace.

I had it once and I hope that I can find it again.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Real Life Conversations, Part VII

JT: Mama, do you know what would be weird?

Mama: No son, I don't know what would be weird.

JT: It would be weird if I got a detention and you were the teacher in charge.

Mama: Yeah, that would be crazy.

JT: What would I do?

Mama: You'd be like everyone else – you'd have to sit there and do nothing for 45 minutes. It's very boring.

JT: It wouldn't be boring for me.

Mama (filled with dread): Why?

JT: Because I could think. And as long as I can think, I'll never be bored.

The 4th Thing You Should Know About Me

Yesterday, I played "4 things I should know about you" with my freshman class. I asked them to tell me 4 things that I should know about them and then I tell them 4 things about me. I play this game with my students all the time and the first three things that I tell them about me often change. But the 4th thing is always the same. And I tell them so that they know where I stand and how I feel about my role in their life. I can't take credit for phrasing it the way I do; I stole the idea from my sister KO. But it very powerfully expresses how I feel and I hope that this lesson is not lost on the students.

The 4th thing that they learn about me is that I have a son, a 6 year old named JT, for whom my sun rises and sets each day. I tell the class that to me he is the most perfect being, my proudest accomplishment, and the person I love best in this world. I say that during the year I will I tell the class stories about him and sometimes laugh at him but that always, always I know that I will be his mama and I will stand by his side no matter what. For me, JT will forever be the boy who hung the moon.

The class always smiles when I say this; some of them even peg me for a soft-hearted sentimental fool. But then I tell them that when they frustrate and annoy me, when they really piss me off (and most of them will, at some point or another) I will remember that there are people in their world who feel about them as I feel about JT. One night, a long time ago or maybe just yesterday, a parent looked at them and thought: you are perfect and I will love you forever. And when I realize this, how very much they are loved by someone else, I will set aside my frustration and give them another chance.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

"School is for Chumps"

That's a direct quote from the 1st grader pictured above.

It would seem that I have my hands full.

Sometimes Jersey is Another World

In order to be adequately prepared for the start of school, I decided that a pedicure was in order. Yes, other teachers prepare lessons and make fancy displays in their classrooms. But I serve a higher order power and she demands a back-to-school pedicure.

I arrived and selected my color: red bordello. Not exactly my line of work, but it will do. I relax and the fun begins.

I just love it when someone massages my feet, rubs in lotion, and paints my toenails. Yesterday afternoon, two women next to me were enjoying the same. They were clearly friends and by the sound of their voices, Jersey natives. They thumbed through their magazines and talked and it was a steady stream of Jersey speak: making plans to get some cawfee, and discussion of traffic on the Parkway, their fingernails, the shore, tickets they have to a Pink Floyd concert (are they still performing?), and all sorts of other things that are utterly strange to me.

I was there to relax and be quiet, which I did. But it was a little like being a visitor to a foreign universe occupied by loud, brazen people. And it may be the best training yet for days soon to be spent in the company of teenage Jersey-ites.

Plus, I've got fabulous toes.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Summer 2006: A Dénouement

JT starts the 1st grade tomorrow, which means that summer vacation officially ends at dusk tonight. Usually at supper we discuss our favorite part of the day. But tonight, we had a special edition favorites discussion, identifying our three favorite parts of the summer. Here are the big 3:

- camping and going to the beach at Cape Cod with D and his moms
- riding California Screaming roller coaster 3 times in a row with the
cousins, grandma and Aunty KO
- the day that JT, B, and M jumped off the diving board into the pool over
and over again

Tomorrow my boy will tie on his new shoes, grab his new book bag, put on his game face and get ready to face the challenges of the 1st grade. It hardly seems possible that my baby JT is this big. But he is.

Let the (Real) Madness Begin

This morning, the new students will arrive on campus for a quick walk around and introductions. If memory serves, they will all have that deer in the headlights look for the better part of the day.

Yesterday, we had our last sequence of meetings and teacher rebellion was in the air. By the afternoon session on disaster awareness and the dangers of airborne pathogens, I had lost my sense of decorum. And it is a point of personal pride that at one point as the session droned on, my friend C was bent over with laughter at some smartass comment that I made.

That pretty much makes the day a success for me. And it might also explain why all the snarky teenage boys end up thinking that I am okay as teachers go.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You, Full Force

One of the blessings of being a teacher ---- that 3 month summer vacation ---- is sometimes also a curse. Because there is this day in June when you abruptly set aside a big part of your life, the being a teacher part, and do other things for the next 3 months. Don't get me wrong – the break is welcome and restful. But it's always been hard for me to make the transition on either side of vacation. As excited as I am to start the summer, it's hard to end the school year. And as prepared as I think I am, as ready to start anew as I can be, it's also hard to go back to classes.

This year the end of the school year was harder than normal. And though I'm ready to go back to work, it's also hard in a new and unexpected way. JT will start the 1st grade without Mommy to make his breakfast, wish him good luck, and take his picture on the front porch. And I will start the year as a single working mama. We've had plenty of practice with life as a two-some. But I'm still afraid.

When Lisa first left I was so sad, scared, and overwhelmed. I was worried about JT and sad for all the things he would never again do with his Mommy. But my friend E told me not to worry about the end of things for JT. She said that for a child life was full of first things and at the age of 6 JT had so many firsts still ahead of him. That was so comforting to me at the time and as the summer progressed. And E was so right; my boy is all about the firsts.

So as I struggle with this new first for me --- teaching without a partner to share my life, going to work as a single mama --- E once again offered some advice. She said that being back at work would let me be "you, full force" and would remind me of how good a teacher I am, how much I love what I do, and how exciting it is to watch young minds develop.

She says it will be easier and better than I think it will be. And I trust this a lot because E knows me so well and she is almost always right about this sort of thing.

So I will be me, full force. And it will be good.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Mama Feels Frisky

My friend W is forever reminding me that JT will go through a painful musical phase that will find him liking so-called classic rock. Best to get him into....and out of.... this stage quickly, W points out. Otherwise, there will be far too much Def Leopard and AC/DC for one woman to tolerate.

So far, JT just listens to what I select for us. And while many people would suggest that I have dubious musical taste, I do sometimes make decent choices. There is just something about hearing your kid sing along with Liz Phair that makes me smile. So we start the new school year with a new CD, freshly burned for our car ride enjoyment. We've got Supernova, Lovesong, Rebellion, and Cocaine blasting out the windows in a collection of tunes I call "Mama Feels Frisky."

Let's just hope this doesn't come up at Back to School Night.

Leafblower Gate: Day 2

I woke up AGAIN to the sounds of leafblowers.

All I'm going to say is that someone will pay.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Curse of the Information Age

It would seem that JT is plenty old enough to know about Mama's blog......but not old enough to know that this picture of him riding the bike he received when he turned two makes him look like a dork. Still, he requested that it be posted on Mama's blog.

And so I have complied.

Update: The Misses A & M object to me calling JT a dork. Which just goes to show that they are blinded by their affection for the boy toy, who is sometimes a dork.

Tell Me Why

Would someone please explain to me that when the day broke sunny and pleasant all of my neighbors concluded that they should commence with the leaf-blowing and mowing and other loud activities at 9 am in the freakin' morning?

Why not just enjoy the breeze, the birds, and the quiet? Maybe drink a cup of coffee on the back deck, you know? Because I'm now having homicidal thoughts about men with leaf blowers and here it is such a lovely day.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Real Life Conversations, Part VI

Some context: At bedtime, I have been reading JT a story about two girls who become pirates and dress up as boys while they do pirate things. In the most recent chapter, the pirate crew has been arrested by the English Navy. Not good for our pirate chicks. To avoid hanging, Nancy and Minerva come clean and admit that they are women.

Mama: What are you doing JT?

JT (looking at me closely and running his hands all over me; copping a feel like a teenage boy): I am examining you.

Mama: Why?

JT: I want to be sure that you are really a girl.

Mama: And what have you concluded?

JT: You're a girl, Mama. But you know what?

Mama: What son?

JT: Mommy doesn't really look like a girl. Is she a girl?

Ahhh, from the mouths of babes. And bonus points to Mama for NOT suggesting that Mommy is barely a thinking, feeling, caring human being. Let alone a girl.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Real Life Conversations, Part V

JT (marching through the kitchen, carrying his lacrosse stick, shouting): I am an unruly mob with a pitchfork and I demand to be fed.

Mama: Okay. How about some toast?

JT: Yes. One piece is enough.

Mama: You are an unruly mob seeking just one piece of toast? Doesn't that seem extreme?

JT: I am an unruly mob, Mama. Feed me.

Mama: Got it.

Feathering his nest

Each night, JT follows a very specific routine when it comes time to go to sleep. His most-favored blankets are folded at the end of the bed, awaiting a call to duty. The blankies are all afghans. He likes to sleep with the blanket under his head but the blankies must be cool, thus the requirement that more than one be available for service. Last night when I checked on him before I went to bed, his head was resting on the blanket that my grandmother knitted for him before he was born. It's a simple white blanket with a nice heavy knit. Perfect for a cuddle on a cool night. It's just the sort of thing that a great-grandma would make for a baby.

My Grandma Marlette unexpectedly died 7 years ago this week, when JT was almost seven months old. She had met him in July of that year, when he was just five months old and she had been most excited about the babies born to our family. In fact, I still have the letter she sent me when my sister's son Spence was born just eight weeks after JT. By then, she had three great-grandsons and she was thrilled, "my cup runneth over," she wrote me.

So it is a special night when I see the head of my boy resting on that blanket. I imagine that his dreams are a bit sweeter on those nights. And failing that, I know the blanket carries some important lessons in life ----- how to laugh in the face of adversity, to say what you mean, how to appreciate the deep woods of Yosemite National Park, how to play a fierce game of cards, how to stand up for what you believe, and why the only decent politicians are Democrats.