Slivered Yellow Moon (Just Write)

Tonight I saw a slivered yellow moon against a black sky. I wanted to stare at it for hours, and I might have if it weren't for the groceries in the back of the car and the constant compulsion to conform to social norms, one of which being that a late-30s mom isn't allowed to gawk at the moon for hours on end.

It's just that this was the same slivered yellow moon I watched rise half my life ago over a small lake in the Sierras. It was the last week of camp, and we staffers had just come from a party celebrating the end of the season. None of us seemed ready to say this was the end, so we built a fire and spread sleeping bags over the small stretch of the beach. We walked right into the cliche of scary stories and hysterical laughter over inside jokes that weren't nearly as funny and unforgettable as they felt that night.  Whenever there was a lull in the crackling of the fire, I heard the lapping of the lake against the shore.

We took turns talking until it was too late, and one by one everyone nodded off.

Except for me.

I couldn't sleep that night, and I have no idea why not, but I've never been so glad for insomnia. I watched the moon and its rippling reflection rise from the horizon of the lake to the top of the sky, and then I watched it fade into the sunrise before I fell asleep for a few hours underneath the morning light.

I woke up with a stiff ache in my neck and a dull ache for which I had no name. Now I know to call it nostalgia, this wishing to float back into previous scenes, all the while hurtling forward instead. 

I didn't want to leave camp and its chronic scent of bug spray. I didn't want to stop breathing the smokiest fresh air you'll ever taste. I didn't want to let go of the waking up with dew on my hair, the lapping sound of the lake, this slivered yellow moon.


I drove home from the grocery store, scanning the sky to glimpse the moon through the windshield; and when it came into view again, I started to cry. I felt pathetic, like here I go again into this weak and skinless melancholy, hung up on a moon that takes me back two decades. But if I'm going to err (and I very obviously am), I suppose I'd rather it be from feeling too much and not too little.

The truth is, I am happy now, as happy as I've ever been. But that doesn't stop me from wishing I could skip back nineteen summers and spend another night under the spell of that slivered yellow moon.


Melt Down

I've discovered a not-so-magical power this summer. If ever I want to wake up the children without saying a word, without coming within fifty feet of their rooms, all I need to do is open Blogger and start typing. Works every time.

This past week, my computer had a stroke and appears to be one blue screen and reboot away from its final death. Then the fridge started feeling under appreciated and decided to teach me a lesson in gratitude by taking a break from the cold-air-production part of its job. The timing was perfect, especially since I'd just returned from the grocery store. It also helped that it was 90 degrees and muggy and we have no central air.

As I hauled my weight in ice home from the store and set about salvaging what I could from the fridge, I began listing reasons I could be grateful. While I poured the ice cream down the drain (sob!), I reminded myself that I hadn't lost a drop of what's truly valuable. (Because the wine doesn't need refrigeration to keep from spoiling.) And I told myself what luck it was that I had eaten All The Cheese the day before. Who knew that would turn out to be such a good decision?

But seriously, as lame as it sounds, this pushed me. I wanted to melt down like the popsicles, and I wanted to take a baseball bat to the computer, and I wanted to pull a Forest Gump and just start running across the country (east, toward Maine, in case you're wondering).

Instead I did some deep breathing, some praying, some apologizing to the kids for snapping at them, some listing things large and small for which to be grateful. I didn't feel a thunderbolt of transformation or anything. It was more like a slow, stealthy mist where you're not exactly sure whether it's precipitating or you're just sweating. Somehow by the grace of God and the air-conditioned gym with the treadmill and the childcare, I stayed centered enough not to miss several holy moments with the children. The good and beautiful things are always there, sometimes just more cleverly hidden.

The fridge is finally working again. The computer is still on life support. (I'm waiting to pull the plug until after I harvest a few critical files). Somehow in the midst of the literal melt-down, we've avoided the figurative kind. Gratitude wins. And restocking the ice cream helps too.


That type of girl

I stopped at Ultra for the first time ever this morning to buy the one beauty product in my go-to lineup that you can't find at Target. It was a relatively painless experience, even with the two kids in tow.

If you'd been loitering in the parking lot just outside the store this morning, this is what you might have heard:

"Oh man, I can't believe you had the NERVE to go into that beauty store!" says the seven year old, with a half eaten PB&J hanging from his mouth.

I reply with an amused snicker and a question, "What's that s'posed to mean, Silly Goose?"

"I mean, I didn't think you're were that type of girl..."

I might have thrown my head back laughing. "That 'type of girl'?! What do you mean by that?"

"Well, just, I mean--I just didn't think you cared about beauty and that girly type of stuff."

And the most priceless part of all, little dude was certain he was giving his old mom a compliment. Because cool moms aren't the type of girl to buy fancy eyeliner. Cool moms climb trees and play along with imaginary plane rides.

In related news, there's a 747 in my hallway right now, complete with an emergency door.  And while I managed to stay put for the incredibly long and winding route to Monkey Land, don't think for a second I wasn't eying the aforementioned emergency door for the entirety of the flight. Because, yeah, I'm that type of girl.


In which I allow my otherwise ever-grateful self to be a teensy bit sarcastic

I have a great idea! Let's fight over a pencil! Yes, that sounds like exactly what we need, and so very fitting since there aren't already fifty gazillion sharpened and half used pencils spread strategically throughout the house in every last drawer, container and/or crevice.

And oooh, this one just came to me. How 'bout we whine REALLY LOUDLY about how our brother is making too much noise while we're trying to (not) eat our carrots? Or, even better, let the brother pretend not to hear the VERY LOUD WHINING and continue on with whatever he calls that mixture of ewok noises, jibberish and saliva-infested beat boxing.

And also, while we're on a roll, you two should really keep up that thing where you ask me every five minutes what we're going to do today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our entire lives. It's helpful particularly because even though I didn't know five minutes ago, the conditions in my brain change so rapidly that by the time you ask again, I might have a completely different answer and begin reciting a minute-by-minute schedule that covers the activities for all of eternity, to include of course an extensive amount of water parks, highly intensive and messy crafts, and unlimited slurpees.


I'm hoping that by allowing Mount Sarcasm to erupt here on the blog, it will be less likely to bubble over during my upcoming trip to the grocery store with the aforementioned children. Fingers crossed.

So, um, how many days until school starts again?


You guys know I'm kidding, right? And that I love my children fiercely and relentlessly? This 24/7 thing just does a number on my already questionable sanity, you know? So if you're even tempted right now to be judgy and tisk-tisky, I know exactly how you can jump in and show the righteous love of the Lord to this heathen ingrate mother. Two words. Say 'em with me: Baby. Sitting. 


Just Write (Field Day Edition)

The most offensive thing happened this weekend when I came to pick my son up from class at church. He'd been shuffled along with the other babies his age to the third grade class, and they told him that starting this very week, he was a third grader. That's right. A third grader. Can you believe the gall? Telling outrageous lies like that to my innocent seven year old? Time is going freakin' fast enough as it is, so do me a favor, dear church lady, and give us emotionally unbalanced mothers a few extra months before you turn our infants into college graduates, mkay?


Today is field day for my second grader, and there is much ado about everything as we prepare for a lovely day of outdoor chaos. He just came downstairs with his special field day shirt on backwards, with the wording in the front. I tried to get him to fix it, but he was skeptical. I showed him how he had the tag in the front and reminded him that the tags are always supposed to be in the back. Still skeptical.

"They made these shirts in Florida, Mom, so they probably didn't know where the tags are supposed to go." My Virginian-born boy sounds more and more like a Yankee every day. 


Now field day is over and we're home again, home again, lickety split. My master plan for the day called for a trip to the gym to squeeze in a run, but the childcare folks at the gym didn't get my memo about extending the hours just for me, so I was forced to run at home in the dank, smelly, spider-infested dungeon that is my basement.

I'm transitioning into a new training approach in which I up my mileage and slow down the pace. This might prove to be more fun than I previously imagined, as I discovered today the combination of a slower, more "conversational" pace and a solitary setting (except for the spiders) allow (just hypothetically speaking) for a significant amount of lip-synching, singing, and run-dancing. And it just so happens my water bottle doubles quite nicely as a microphone. I think the spiders were taken aback at first, but they warmed up to me after four miles or so. I'll have 'em singing backup for me by the end of the week.


We have a half day of school tomorrow, and then BAM: Summer! Does it feel like Friday to anyone else? No? Just me? Well, whatever. Have a great weekend either way.

And since it really is Tuesday, and not actually Friday, it's the day we all Just Write.

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