Pulled this out of my second-grade daughter’s “daily” folder.
Took me a second to realize how facting hilarious it is.
So, you may have been wondering where the hell I’ve been. Not that I flatter myself by believing that I am much more than a constellation of ones and zeroes in a universe of code, but I do feel like I have this place, and so I should tend to it now and then.
It’s 2014, and I have not written much in the last six months. I’ve been on hiatus, closed for business, out to sea in a lot of ways. But now we are almost a month deep into the new year, and I feel like I’ve got to come back, or risk never coming back at all.
The thing is, we lost my father in September. He was an amazing guy, the kind of person who lit up a room, brought the party, made you feel like all was right with the world. He was just the best kind of father, and King of the Grandfathers. The kind of grandpa who dotes on his grandkids, slips them candy and money on the sly. I’ve written about him many times here, including the time that he totally saved my butt, which was just one of the many many times he did. He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, complications from a procedure performed on his heart, that ended in a blood-splattered night of dashed hopes and tears. In the wake of the loss, I’ve kind of been empty and had a hard time putting thoughts into words. Also I feel like I need to address the issue of losing my dad before I can write anything else. Does that make any kind of sense?
I sat by his side, taking my daily shifts in the hospital, and we had the most wonderful conversations. I think he knew his time was short, or at least he feared that it was. I don’t know if other people let him feel those feelings, but I did. I let him know it was okay to be scared. And I feel so lucky because he basically told me everything I had ever needed to hear him say. That he loved me. That I’m smart, strong, a good mother. That my husband is the best kind of guy.
He didn’t believe in God or heaven, but he said on more that one occasion that he thought he would achieve immortality in the hearts and memories of the people who loved and remembered him. Whether or not he had that right, I know he will never leave me.
2013 was a good year in a lot of ways. Both the boys had lead roles in their school plays. Edison made the all-state chorus, and his scores at the audition earned him the rank of number-one baritone in the state. We had a great summer vacation in California. We got a dog. But all that has been under the cloud of the worst thing that happened last year, not necessarily robbing me of joy in the good, but tarnishing it nonetheless.
My dad always told me, whenever I felt sorry about losing my mother, that I had to concentrate on what I have, to make what’s here now my focus. In the end, that’s some of the best advice he ever gave me.
So now it is a new year, and though the holidays were difficult, I do feel like the baggage is just a few ounces lighter. So much to look forward to this year: Edison is going to high school, and Clooney’s going to middle school. Every day is a gift, and there’s a lot of laughter and love around here. So now I’ve said it, and hope that, at least in a blogging sense, I can move on.
My dad used to end every phone call by saying, “Okay, if you need me, you know where I’ll be.”
Yeah, I know.
The Princess has lost two teeth in the last ten days. With the first one, she came home from school so proud, showing off the little plastic treasure box that the nurse had given her to hold the tooth. She put the box under the pillow, and nothing happened. The next morning, she was so disappointed that the Tooth Fairy had stood her up. I didn’t know what to say – I mean, I had totally spaced the thing. She is, after all, the third child, so this tooth fairy thing is kind of getting old, at least for me. But still, I felt bad, because Tooth Fairy, for her, is a rare opportunity to earn some cold, hard cash.
That night, after school, it was obvious that she’d been trying to work out why the Tooth Fairy had dissed her. She told me that her friend had said that perhaps leaving the tooth in its box had been a mistake, that perhaps the Tooth Fairy had missed the tooth because it wasn’t in the open space under the pillow. And I lightbulb lit up in my head. This little girl I had never met was not only a friend of my daughter’s, she was no doubt, a friend of mine — how kind of her to give me a second chance! So that night, The Princess left just the tooth under the pillow, and what do you know? The Tooth Fairy left FOUR DOLLARS. A little guilt on Mom’s part can really generate interest on that tooth investment.
Well, then within a week, another tooth fell out, and frankly, I just don’t carry around that much cash. And, to be honest, again I forgot about it. The cleaners were coming the morning after she had put the tooth under her pillow, and before they got here, I meant to change everybody’s bedclothes. I took out the sheets, laid them on the beds, and then got side-tracked and forgot about the actual changing. I guess the cleaners figured that because I had put the sheets out, I meant for them to change the linens, so they stripped the beds and put the new ones on. And, oops, the tooth disappeared.
Well, The Princess was incensed. Because she had forgotten to check in the morning, she assumed that the cleaners had stolen her Tooth Fairy booty. I tried to dissuade her from this theory, but she would have none of it. She HAD BEEN ROBBED!
Then, when Manfrengensen put her to bed, she told him about how she’d been a victim of this crime. He, of course, figured that I had dropped the ball, so after she had finished her rant about the Tooth Fairy, he said, “Let me talk to her, and we’ll see what happened.”
“You know the Tooth Fairy?” she asked.
“No,” he said, “Mom,” meaning, “Let me talk to Mom…”
And without missing a beat, she said, “Mom knows the Tooth Fairy?”
And then you know what? I freaking spaced it the second night too. Mom of the Year over here.
Sadly, too many people are like the woman described here. Maybe you know a few…
I wish I knew more people like the officer who wrote the tickets.
I actually meant to write this as a post for this blog, but I accidentally wrote it on the Practice What You Pinterest site. I couldn’t figure out how to move it without ruining the format, so I just reblogged it. You get the idea.
It’s been a good summer. It’s been a busy summer. There was a good bit of traveling, a few camps, and lots of laughs. But you know, it’s time to return to our regularly scheduled programming. The school bus schedules arrived yesterday and every night this week there’s some event at each of their three separate schools to welcome back and introduce new teachers and friends. The long days of sleeping in, playing as many video games as Mom will allow and staying up late are drawing to a close.
I turned 49 this summer, and I don’t know if it’s this feeling like I’m on the downward slope of a roller coaster ride into 50, but I feel the need to make some changes, get a few things done. First thing is to get the house in order, just rearranging all the pieces that have just been sitting in places where they originally landed. Then I’m also getting myself in order, trying to exercise both body and mind more than I have in recent months…or years.
I started in the office, which looked like this:
but now looks like this:
Then, yesterday, I rearranged a junk drawer in the kitchen, though there are still two more of those left. Basically, I plan to be an organizational tsunami from one end of the house to the other, hopefully finishing the whole thing before the end of September.
But mostly, I am looking forward to the quiet that the school day brings to my life, a chance when I can gather my thoughts and actually follow through on them, or use the bathroom without hearing my name called on the other side of the door. I realize that some day, too soon, this will be the whole of my life, once the kids are grown and out of here. It’s not that I don’t cherish the moments of chaos, but I do love the quiet.
This is pretty much the story of every morning, when they are talking to me about who hit whom, who’s not being fair and what kind of breakfast they want, when all I can really think about is that first cup of coffee.
I put up this feeder over the winter, and just recently caught a few birds in photos. I know the second one is a tufted titmouse, but I’m not sure about the first one. It looks like some kind of woodpecker. It had a hard time finding purchase on the feeder, hence the angle.