Friday, July 11, 2014

a 7 year old's day

today will had a party.
he has been counting down since about march.
he wanted kol & luk, emi & mack, ben & amber, owen, cedric, patrick & norah to be there.
they all came except kol & luk, emi & mack, ben & amber, and owen.
he went to get air... a trampoline park.
it seemed almost as fun as he thought it would be.
i think he was pleased with his chosen avenger's theme.
last week it was a helicopter theme,
but as invitations went out he changed it.
avengers it was.
that meant he got a cool captain america cake that pete & i made.
he liked it,
but reminded me after that he only likes plain chocolate cake with no icing.
the avengers party  meant he also got a captain america t-shirt & shield.
he told the others that even though it was an avenger's party it was ok they didn't bring avenger's stuff.
they brought him an airplane, hippie ball, dice game, ninja stuffed animal, kendama, baskin robbins card,
and maggie & sam made a big twin size pillowcase like bag to play in.
by the end of the day i think he realized the day was about celebrating him,
not the avengers.
perhaps it was obvious when we took him out for his annual 7/11 free slurpee and special mustache straw,
or the bike ride down to grassy area to play tag and pick apricots on the way home,
or the dinner request of wild rice, chicken on a bone, and his own bowl of shrimp,
or the fact he didn't have to do any daily jobs today.
(let it be known he is always willing and never minds unloading dishwasher or taking out garbages but never wants to vacuum the rug.)
or the baby slideshow of him,
or the tradition of measuring him on the wall.
the reminder that i hope he remembers most is when we all made a wish for him before blowing out our dinner candles.
maggie said she wished he would keep playing with her all the time.
sam wished that will could learn to dance better.
i wished that if he ever had a chance to eat a polka-dotted hippo that he would do it.
and i also wished that he could find a new thing that he loves to do and do it as often as he can.
pete wished he could get a girlfriend.
then he wished he would continue to get more courageous.
our main wish for him is that we get many more years to have parties with him.

we love you, will!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

everyone has a mother

tonight we had an apollo burger for dinner.
it wasn't crowded at all.
we could see everyone in the restaurant,
which made one patron more noticeable.
he was a 40 something-ish man,
and it was obvious he had schizophrenia +.
i made an attempt to not stare when he had his head down in his food,
or when he was throwing pastrami at the ceiling,
or as he was conversing with himself about something that didn't exist anywhere except in his mind.
when i was observing him i had to glance past all 3 of my children to see him.
my big, tender heart just couldn't help it,
but i started imagining how many years ago he could have been sitting at a table with his own mother playing I spy in a restaurant or showing off how he can make cross-eyed faces while wiggling his ears.
perhaps his mother knew way back then what her son's future would be like,
maybe she didn't.
i know nothing about what kind of mother he had when he was 4, 6, or 8,
but i know he had one.
we all have one.
i can't predict what my own precious children's lives will be like along another 35 years,
but however it ends up,
it won't ever change that they will always be my child
and i their mother.
every year around mother's day i manage to get a spontaneous heart tapping experience that reminds me of the unique privilege it is to provide life for another human.
tonight it was the man at apollo burger,
the man who has a mother,
no matter what.

Friday, April 4, 2014


i have a fulfilling life,
but it is not exotic.
or super exciting.
not even extra stimulating
and certainly not as educated as i had hoped.
i can also safely say there is a deficiency of fanfare going on over here, too.
but there are plenty of moments i value and hope to always remember.
like tonight.
will loves playing the game of life.
it tends to be a preferred after dinner event for him.
he was quickly assembling the board on the front room rug as soon as he took his last bite.
we all found our way there tonight before any of the dinner mess had been attended to.
it was a typical game,
except i somehow got stuck with the yellow car instead of my preferred white car.
it was also atypical because will decided he would get married this game.
he said he would just marry me.
of course sam was mumbling about how that would never work because then i wouldn't be married to dad.
but mostly it was typical.
sam was the only one who took the long route to college.
i still don't know why he does it because we all end up picking 3 career cards and just choosing the one we want.
i guess it's because he insists on choosing 3 salary cards since he went to college.
he somehow almost always ends up with 90,000 or 100,000.
if he doesn't, he trades salary cards the first chance he gets.
and he is the only one who collects paydays and life tiles.
and he is the only one concerned about following the rules.
he also did his victory dance when he got the police officer,
and he always collects money from the bank if someone spins a 10.
in his usual fashion, will was just interested in spinning the wheel and trying to get to the end.
if he spun a low number he always spins again no matter how loud sam is yelling that it's not fair.
he never cares what space he is on,
unless it involves having children,
and then he protests.
his favorite stop to make is to buy a house.
he always wants to keep picking until he gets the tudor.
he likes it because we all start calling him "scooter the tooter!"
he thinks it's funny.
he also loves to hold the house cards for everyone else to choose.
he tries to stack it for everyone by holding up the card he wants them to pick.
he always holds the beach house card up for me.
sam yells that it's not fair,
so will always holds up the split level card for sam.
sam falls for it almost every time.
and then throws a fit about having to live in the split level.
(i think he actually likes the attention of us teasing him about it.)
he wants to choose again,
but we all say "you get what you get"
and the game goes on.
maggie did her usual.
she hung around watching and occasionally asking when it was her turn and where her car went.
then she fills her car full of people and plays her own game.
until she decides to get everyone a snack.
tonight it was grapes.
she washed them in the bag in the bathtub.
then she carried the bag to the rug, leaking water.
then she got everyone a little bowl and picked grapes off the stem for us.
i did my usual involvement,
wondering what the rules were going to be this time.
i inwardly applaud myself for going with the flow and not forcing them to play how it is "supposed" to be played.
and i watch pete.
he never seems to quite know what is going on
or how the kids ever learned to play this game so loosey goosey.
the kids just tell him what to do,
and he does it.
will always gets to the end first.
he makes certain of that.
no one cares though.
we all know we keep playing until everyone gets there,
and sam would rather be collecting money than parking it.
will is just glad he gets to end up at the mansion because he is certain it has a swimming pool.
once he finishes with his own little game of make believe in retirement,
he is off.
he doesn't stick around.
no one really does except for me and sam.
sam does because he has to count all his money including life tiles to see if he won.
(he always wins. remember, no one else collects money.)
i stay because i like to be the one to clean the game up.
it must be done in an orderly way to make the set up of the next game easy.
the nice part is that if we play on a friday sam always says fridays are massage night.
so he gives us back rubs when the game is over,
with lotion if we want it.
pete wants it every time,
and i pretty much never do.
sam takes it serious,
just like he is a professional.
every time he finds a bone on my back he says
"oh, i found a rough spot. i better loosen this up.",
and he rubs until he says it feels loose.

i think about nights like this even when i'm not living one.
my life may be missing a bit of the glamour i had hoped it would have,
but i have life.
and i can count on its simple pleasures and routines.
it makes me happier in ways that i never knew i needed.
i may one day find myself landing on a space that adds something to what i already have,
but for now this is the game of life i want to be playing.
i like it,
especially when i'm in the white car. :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

it's hopeless

st. patrick's day is surprisingly my children's favorite holiday.
the thought of catching a real leprechaun in our house and the possibility of keeping it tops any gift from santa or candy from the easter bunny or money from the tooth fairy.
their traps get more elaborate each year.
sam went with a green house design,
complete with 2 green chimneys, a slide entrance, three cups for trapping, and a note indicating there was chocolate inside.

will went with more of a rainbow castle theme,
complete with an enticing rainbow, lego ladder, and a leprechaun friend for enticing.

and maggie went with a creative catch anything theme.
it included a knife for injuring the leprechaun, a pot of gold next to the cup traps, a piggy bank full of pennies and chocolate. 
the upside down stool was housing the paper gold coins complete with a red roof and underneath rainbow to look at while trapped.

in the final stage of construction maggie came to me in tears.
she couldn't get the roof to stay on with just tape.
she said to me "this is hopeless!"
(big words come out of this girl).
once we restored the hopeless project,
the kids were off to bed, 
and i continued the annual festivities which included star foot prints throughout the house, swiping all the chocolate and pennies left and replacing them with chocolate gold coins, and green glitter in the toilet.
i thought it would also be tricky this year to put glitter on the children's faces.
you know, so they would think the leprechaun had been in their beds.
despite pete's warnings that sam had just barely stopped stirring,
i proceeded to wet their faces and sprinkle glitter. .

then we went to bed with every thing set and in order for a morning leprechaun hunt.
when morning came, sam was just not into it.
he proclaimed that he caught me last night.
he told me he felt me wet his forehead and sprinkle glitter on him.
i tried to think quick.
i asked where the glitter was then and why i would just do it to him,
so he showed me the glitter in his bed and the others'.
i wasn't sure how to handle it,
so i just said i would let him think what he wanted about his idea.
i could tell he was processing it all morning.
"this is hopeless!"
i said to myself.
hopeless to keep these traditions of fake people up forever.
the magic was dying.
or so i thought.
we then had a major turn of events.
i reached for the package of unopened thin mints to put in the lunches.
there was a small hole and two of the cookies were nibbled on,
not big nibbles,
but nibbles just the size of a leprechaun (or something similar.)
i called the kids in and asked who did.
no one confessed.
sam had a revitalization of his belief;
he was certain a leprechaun had done it. 
mad search pursued.
with no luck of finding one,
sam decided to put the nibbled cookies by his trap,
all of us hide downstairs,
and wait for the leprechaun to strike and get caught. 

the next part of the story is hopeless.
i am hopelessly trying to convince everyone i know of what happened next.
had i not seen this with my own eyes,
i NEVER would have believed it.
a few important details...
pete was at work,
our cat was outside,
i was the very last one to leave the site of the trap,
and i did NOTHING.
so, after about 2 minutes of waiting 
we hurried back up to check the trap.
i kid you not,
a bigger bite had been taken out of each cookie!!
i thought the kids were going to lose their minds with excitement,
and i almost lost my mind in disbelief.
it was as plain day.
2 bites.
i can't say i believe in leprechauns,
but something bit those cookies.
there weren't even any crumbs.
do you believe in leprechauns??
energy of the universe trying to keep the magic alive over here?
an unidentified mouse that knew to take a gigantic bite of a cookie on cue??
are we hopeless??

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

i'm glad they are mine

i occasionally have glimpses into how my life really is.
i love these little glimpses.
i glimpsed tonight when sam pulled out a crumpled post it note from his pocket.
he had written the name of an "awesome" app that he was begging me to download on my phone.
Merriam Webster.
that is what he had scribbled.
i smiled.
i told him yes.
after he couldn't fall asleep because of the excitement of me installing it,
i can safely say it has been installed.
all ready for this "awesome" boy who i had the privilege of glimpsing tonight.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

it all soaks in

i'm writing this post for a few reasons...
1. to air my disdain for the inappropriate/unnecessary images children are bombarded with even in "age appropriate" venues
2. to remind myself of the parenting joy that comes by talking openly with your children about important or sensitive things
3. to remember how Will has always had a quick wit

my boys have limited time playing video games on the computer.
it's a far cry from my favorite thing for them to be doing with their time;
let me not digress.
there is a website that they use where lots of games are available.
for the most part they are somewhat strategic and problem solving;
some are just mindless fun but not inappropriate.
except for the ones targeted at girls.
there is this game where it shows a girl in just her underwear standing in somewhat of a provocative pose.
the game is to get her dressed, do her hair, make-up, etc.
NOT a fan of this game,
and my children are not allowed to play it.
last night Will was prancing around in his underwear,
posing like the girl in the picture.
he was telling us all that's how girls act when they are in their underwear.
we chatted about it.
this morning on the walk to school he told me that he couldn't get the picture of the girl out of his mind.
extremely troubling to me.
i know i can't protect and shelter my kids forever,
but i'm not pleased for this image to be available on a children's website.
i took the opportunity to explain that the things that go into our brains stay.
we discussed the importance of putting healthy things in to stay and keeping unhealthy things out.
we were identifying unhealthy things as images or songs or words or games that made us feel uncomfortable, scared, weird, angry, or like being mean.
then Will said
"well, that lesson is ruined for Sam. he's the meanest brother around."
no one can throw a zinger quite like the little brother.

Friday, January 3, 2014

it always happens on thursdays

maggie was born on a thursday.
she was almost born at instacare.
we were there getting sam's nose stitched up after being hit in the nose with a shovel.
i was covered in hair that day because i left work immediately.
i left work again last night,
covered in hair,
at instacare getting stitches in the child that was almost born there.
maggie attempted a tricky maneuver that didn't end well.
i was working,
pete was making dinner,
and the boys were playing with my client's son.
she was supervised just enough for the boys to know she attempted a jump from the seat of a rocking horse to the fireplace and missed.
she missed just enough to bang her head on the fireplace
and split her head open.
it was the biggest cut this family has seen.
and more blood than we have seen on any of our children.
thankfully she went to pete first.
even he was a bit panicked by the fatty tissue hanging out and the gushing blood.
he called for me to get upstairs "RIGHT NOW!"
i had no idea what had happened,
but when i saw her face covered in gushing blood,
i was pretty sure part of her face had been blown off.
i said "we have to get to the emergency room!!"
i had my barefoot boys to norma's house and back before my clients had even got out the door.
maggie screamed and cried the whole way there,
but once the topical numbing cream was applied we didn't see another tear the rest of the night.
the doctor initially advised us to take her to primary children's hospital for a partial sedation because of how difficult it can be on parents and child to have the four numbing shots and the time it would take to stitch it up.
we knew maggie's temperament.
we opted to stay.
she stayed wrapped up in a warm blanket and lay with us at her side
and all was calm.
the doctor said he was rather impressed.
so were we.
impressed that they didn't have to do internal stitches like they first thought.
and impressed that it only took 11 stitches.
but mostly impressed that maggie handled it all in true maggie fashion.
and impressed that we got so lucky to have this brave baby and larger than life girl as our child.

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