Monday, July 15, 2013


Today, the Boy is nine. NINE. We are mercilessly careening toward double-digits. Ah, who am I kidding.  I'm not really worried about him morphing into some hairy were-teen or anything like that.

It seems to obvious to articulate, but I love this boy, and his sister, and his brother, and their father, with all that I am.  So many, many times I think to myself, "I am so grateful for this life."  We are well, we are stable, we are together, we have a home, we have food, we have easy access to antibiotics.  We flop all over each other, unafraid to request a cuddle.  We make each other laugh.  Most of all, best of all, we aren't chintzy with the hugs and the kisses and the 'I love yous.'

We enjoy each other.

This has been my life for...  For always, actually.  My childhood, my family, was like this.  My dating and engagement and marriage has been like this.  It's only natural that the family that proceeds from my husband and me results in the same.

It has to be said that we also get on each other's nerves, but, you know, this is supposed to be an ode to the boy.

The boy, at nine, is a prize. His chief interests right now, in no particular order, are:

(1) Growing his hair.  I've told you my policy on this, right?  While it kills me that he looks like a greaser whereas I am more of a soc, I am fairly confident that he will lose his hair in his early twenties. I promised myself that I'd allow him to wear it however he wanted to wear it while he has it.
(2) Baseball.  He likes sports, he likes math.  Baseball is all about stats, so, my only question is: why did he not discover this sooner?
(3) 'Radioactive' by Imagine Dragons.  If you haven't watched the video, you really, really must.  Trust me on this.
(4) Riding his bike (WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS).  This particular feat was a loooooong time coming, and finally FINALLY came to pass during a two-week stay with his grandparents.  Seriously, I think my father-in-law willed this ability into existence.
(5) 'Kickin' It' from DisneyXD.  Unlike #3 up there, I can't really recommend this.  It's awful in the same way that most of these shows are awful.  Snipey, sarcastic kids; doofy adults; and situations that are wildly unlikely.  This probably makes it just like the stuff that I watched at his age.
(6) WWE:  He's still a big fan of wrestling.  I kind of am, too.  It will always have a special place in my heart, because this was the first thing that he brought to us.  Sure, he loved 'The Wiggles' with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns, but they happened to be on the channel that his daycare provider had on when he arrived in the morning.  If it had been, say, 'Barney,' I bet we would've gone to 'Barney' concerts with him.  Actually, I take that back. I would've paid someone to take him, but I just would not have been able to endure it.
(7) Water slides.  Swimming + rides = awesomeness.
(8) Lego.  The Boy still loves the Lego.  This may be a lifelong thing, like the Hulk is for my husband.  I may be buying Lego kits for every Christmas and birthday for the Boy.
(9) Being funny.  He prides himself on being part of the funny group of kids at school, and, truthfully, he makes us giggle all the time.  He doesn't prat fall or anything.  He just makes jokes.  A recent classic:

The Boy:  "Hey, Mom?  Why did  Tigger inspect the toilet?"
Me: "I don't know.  Why?"
The Boy:  "He was looking for Pooh!"

And on that note, I'll close this post.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sympathy Bargain Shoppers

I had to pick up a sympathy card a few days ago, so I stopped into a drugstore on my way to work.  Having been the recipient of a stack of sympathy cards when my mother passed away, I am actually kind of picky about the content.  I gravitate toward the ones that basically say, hey, I know this is an awful time, and I'm thinking of you. That's it.  Anything else just feels like you're trying to smooth over the recipient's loss.

So, there I was, sandwiched between the all-singing, all-dancing birthday cards, and the marshmallow fluff of the anniversary cards, when I saw it:  a twelve-pack 'value' assortment of sympathy cards.

How grim is that?

I spent the next couple of minutes thinking about the customer for that product.  Is it someone who is a planner by nature, knows a bunch of people who are ill, and wants to stock up?  Does that make them a realist?  Or a pessimist?  Is it someone who just sends sympathy cards at the drop of a hat?  Is it someone who doesn't really care what the message is, and they want to check the sympathy card from their to-do list as soon as possible?  Is it someone who fishes for a bargain in any pond?

I shook my head to clear the jumble of questions, picked out the very lovely card that was completely appropriate for the particular person for whom I purchased it, and checked out of the store.

But, I'm still thinking about that bundle...

Sunday, July 07, 2013


"Do you want to catch some fireflies with me?" asked my oldest, the words whistling over his grown-up front top teeth.  He's still not completely accustomed to their breadth, so his tongue hasn't figured out where to go to properly form his 's' sounds.  That, like all things, will come with time.

"Yes," I answered, unhesitatingly.  His younger brother was fast asleep in bed, and his sister was out gallivanting with his aunt.  It was just the two of us, which is not often the case.  We ventured outside, barefoot, with the Gladware container his Gram had butchered so that we could catch fireflies, and keep them without killing them.

The grass was soft under our feet, rendered so by the frequent showers that breezed through Cleveland since our arrival. I was already in my pajamas, as was the Boy.  He's nearly nine, which means he's morphing from a boy to a tween, and then a teen, and then an adult.  But he's only nearly nine; he's not in college yet, or experiencing heartache.  He's still my Boy.

"Oh! I caught one!" he breathed.

"Here," I said, peeling back the lid of the Gladware. "Pop him in here."

The Boy scraped the bug from his thumb and into the waiting plastic.

"Why isn't he lighting up?"

"Well," I leaned over the container, bumping heads with the Boy. "He might be kind of afraid.  But here, I'll add some leaves."  I slipped a few sprigs of green into the dish.  "There.  that should make him more comfortable."

"Maybe," the Boy drawled, "maybe we shouldn't put them in there.  Maybe we should just catch them and let them go?"

And that's what we did.  We ran around his grandparents' yard, in the deepening twilight, catching fireflies and throwing them back into the air. Between us, we must've caught about a hundred. We meandered our way around the side, admiring Gram's bountiful blooming garden, and found ourselves on the front porch.  We were headed to settle on the swing for a mother-son cuddle, when something caught the Boy's eye.

"Oh, Mom!" he said. "It's stuck!"

He'd discovered a firefly caught in a spider web. And proceeded to rescue it.  I helped him, and we scraped away as much of the web as we could before releasing the bug back to the garden.

And that's when I felt it, viscerally: no one will ever be good enough for him.

I reserve the right to change my mind whenever I meet his intended, but in that moment, he was the sweetest, kindest, dearest boy that ever there was, and I can barely imagine the person deserving of him.  I suspect all women feel like this about their kids, but the strength of this nearly took my breath away.