In which we celebrate eight years


I Think It's Mornin' Time {Just Write}

He's talking to the dog at the bottom of the stairs, whispering, "go, go, c'mon, go on up...", and I think he's saying "Jo, Jo...", so I get up and scowl at him from the top of the stairs for waking me up at 4:45 a.m.  The dog is like, Oh great, I'm glad I have you both up. I've been meaning to talk to you about the lack of treats and the fact that I've destroyed all the tennis balls and I'll be needing some new ones pronto.

We figure out the little misunderstanding after I snipe at him about why he thought it was cool to wake me up an hour before the alarm. He laughs when he realizes it, and I hurrumph.

A half hour later, the boy calls from his room. Another nightmare, the kind moms are supposed to come running for. I fall back to sleep with my arm draped around his bony shoulders, and then I begin my own bad dream.

I'm on my way to work, wearing my pajamas. I'm driving my old Maxima, the one from the 80s with the talking lady who would tell me the door was ajar when it wasn't, the one that had a trick for doing just about everything, including keeping the door from becoming ajar. The kids are with me, and I can't remember where the daycare/school is. I keep getting lost in shady parts of a town which is 1/3 Pittsburgh, 1/3 Cleveland and 1/3 DC,  with my kids in my unreliable car, and then I realize I have to go back home anyway because I can't drop them off or go to work in my pajamas. It's already 8:30 at this point, and I am starting to figure out that I haven't made childcare arrangements at any facility in Ohio.

I make it home to our temporary lodging (a condo of some sort), and my husband is rearranging all of our belongings into huge piles in the middle of the floor, looking for his pager. I confess to forgetting to register the kids for childcare and to riding all over town in my pajamas and to not being sure where my office even is. "No one said this was going to be easy," he tells me. And then, "Where did you put my pager?" I wish my subconscious would have been snarky enough to retort, "I just drove all over town in my pajamas looking for a school that doesn't exist, and you're counting on me to know where your pager is?"

I wake up to the sound of my alarm coming from the room where I was supposed to be sleeping. I hurry back to hit snooze and to hide under the covers for ten more minutes. Five minutes later, I feel my daughter's breath on my face. I open my eyes, and there she is, bright-eyed and a solid three years older than the little girl in my dream, "Mama," she whispers, "I think it's mornin' time."

Yes, darling. I believe you're right. Now, let's get dressed. I feel like I've been wearing these pajamas for days.

(Also? To wake up and sigh in big relief that I still have the life I have, that's a pretty good reason to look up and whisper thank you at least a dozen times before the bus comes.)


Just writing (again) with Heather.


In which I just write (and pack away the thoughts about packing it all up)

The talking has begun again about the moving and the to wherewillitbe. Sometimes I go down the Target aisles thinking about whether to buy a couple of the made-in-China plastic storage tubs. I debate whether to start the packing/organizing/donating now or just put it off until I'm ready to face the basement spiders and the fact that my two year old boy is days away from his eighth birthday. 

I've been meaning to pack the Thomas the Train stuff up for two years. But then the almost-eight year old and his little sister played with it yesterday. And then they made the sad pouty faces when I talked about packing it up. 

"BUT MAAW-UUUM," they pleaded, "We play with those ALL THE TIME!" No, not all the time. Only on the day after I was thinking about packing it all up. The all-the-time-obsession with Thomas was actually when you were three years old, which I sometimes think you still are, until I see you out on the soccer field acting like you actually know the definition of word midfielder.

But I get it, I really do. All it takes is one little conversation about leaving Ohio and I start my own little list of people and places I love too much to leave. The thought of packing it all away and saying goodbye only makes me want to hold on tighter. So I guess it won't hurt to leave the trains out a little  longer.

I promised them we'd go to the Great Big Fair, the one for which all the kids in the county get a day off from school to show their animals and do 4-H-ish stuff, whatever that even means.  I promised for two years in a row, "We'll go before we move! Don't worry! We'll go!" This was my last year to make good on the promise, so I did.

They loved it of course. (The fair is definitely not my favorite. But I love them, and so I loved it vicariously.) For the record, I actually did have a pretty good time on the ferris wheel.

Then a couple days later we all ran a race, and the boy won his age group, and I won mine. The best part was when we ran a "cool-down" mile together. Never mind that his race had been over for an hour and he didn't need to cool down. It was the togetherness thing that got me.  Just me and my little boy, jogging along and debriefing about our races. I remember thinking how it won't be long before the roles are reversed, before he'll be the one slowing down for me. I remember thinking that this was a holy (albeit sweaty) moment, if ever there was one.

And then I had a birthday, and the next thing I know I'm wearing high heels and drinking a cucumber margarita on a school night. My husband thinks social media is 100 percent lame, and I want to agree with him. He thinks if you laugh your arse off with your best friend on your 30-somethingth birthday at the mod-Mex place, and no one hears it/ likes it on Facebook, it's still real. I want to agree with him, but then the 12 year old in me (the one who apparently has a host of validation issues) still needs to check in and get a lot of likes in order to be artificially affirmed.

My daughter, the one who literally skipped to the finish line of her one mile race in 13 minutes and change, she clearly doesn't give a crap about winning or validation. She seems only to want to get her way and to boss me and the dog around. Oh, and to wear pink and be fancy. But out of the blue, she told me this afternoon, "I just love you, Mama, even though you aren't very fancy most of the time."
Good enough, smart enough, but not quite fancy enough...
And just like that, I have all the affirmation I need.

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