Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I hope they remember

When my children are grown and reminiscing about their childhood, I hope they don’t dwell on the arguments, the admonishments, or the bumps in the road.

I hope they remember the everyday things. The silly things. Li­­­­­­­­­ke when we’re sitting in a car, killing time, waiting for something or someone. How instead of getting lost in the mental fuzz of the radio, we played our game of making up stories about the people we see going by:

“That man is going to the mall to return a bra that he wore to a costume party.” - A real live example from Bumblebee this weekend, whispered (because the car window was open) through ebullient giggles about a rough looking dude, who was probably a member of a motorcycle gang.

Someday, when they’re sitting down to dinner with their own families, I hope they say, “Let’s play a game. My dad used to have us do this at the dinner table:  We’ll go around the table, and each person has to name a city in South America.” (That’s harder than it sounds – especially if you’re a moron when it comes to geography, like me.

I hope they remember how we value family in our home. And how much I appreciated that they gave up their play time this weekend to go visit their great-grandfather in the hospital, even though they don’t really know him all that well. (I asked The Boy and Bumblebee if they wanted to go. To my surprise, they both eagerly said yes, even though I'd made it clear that it would involve four hours in the car, and two hours in a quiet hospital. Their quick agreement to go made me gooey inside.) I hope they remember the smile on his stroke-ravaged face when I described the picture Bumblebee made for him:
*photo of a picture Bumblebee drew for Grandpa B:

I hope they have fond memories of reading with me long past their bedtimes because we just had to finish the chapter.  And maybe one day, they will ask me the name of a book we used to read together. Just like last week when I texted my mom to remind me the name of the gentle flower-smelling bull that she read to me all those years ago. (Ferdinand)

I hope they remember these good, happy, and light things instead of the long workdays and how their stressed out and sleep deprived Mama has a few too many grumpy moods lately.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Odds and ends - and a man's voice

The Boy's youth group did the gospel reading at Good Friday mass tonight.  They read the story of the death of Christ.  The Boy spoke the part of Jesus. He said his lines clearly, without a trace of nervousness. He had a calm, soothing confidence about him as he spoke in his newly deepened voice. I sat near the back of the church with a squirming baby who was teething and not feeling well, her cheeks flushed with a mild fever. I'd wanted to stay home with her, but couldn't bring myself to miss The Boy's performance.  When Goblin heard the voice of her brother from the front of the church, she stopped thrashing about, straightened up and looked around for him.

I thought it was interesting that she recognized his voice instantly because when I listened, it sounded so alien.  When did The Boy's voice become so deep? It sounded like a man's voice; not the artificially deepened voice of an adolescent trying not to let his voice waver or crack. It was a clear, deep, confident man's voice speaking out in front of a whole church full of people.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that it seems like only yesterday when he looked up at me, blue eyes fringed with luxuriant lashes, and asked me to read him a bedtime story in a soft, high pitched cherubic voice.

There is no easy transition to my next topic, so {insert awkward segue here.}

I clearly have the sense of humor of an adolescent boy, as noted in a text conversation between my brother and me earlier today:

Z: You at home?
Me: No, but [The Husband] is... Why. What's up?
Z: I want to measure your deck.
Z: That reads weird.
Me: I apparently have the sense of humor of a thirteen year old boy.
Z: Haha. Me too.

Maybe it was a case of 'you had to be there' but it seriously cracked me up.

I had lunch with a friend today who I haven't seen in a while. It always amazes me how we can pick up as if it had been days instead of months since we last saw each other.  I made some really great friends at my first "real" post-college job. We're all scattered around the area, working for different companies now, but we still get together occasionally. It was good to see her, great to hear about her family, her plans, and her new house. I almost canceled on her because I am very swamped at work. I had a meeting that I had to be back for and knew it would be a rushed lunch. But I didn't cancel. It was a good reminder to me that even though work is hectic and life at home is nothing short of chaotic, continuing to nurture friendships is still important. I know, I know. I can hear you thinking, "Well DUH, Captain Obvious."

This weekend is Easter. I need to get some baskets and candy and Spring toys for the kids, but haven't ventured out to do that yet. Think I'll plan to head out at about 6 a.m. Saturday morning. That way I'll have the aisles to myself.

Which means that I should quit yammering on and get ready for bed. I'm fairly certain I will hear that clear voice of The Boy's as I drift away tonight. "It is you who say I am," He'll say, reciting one of the lines of the gospel... As I fall asleep, I'll hear the words in his newly acquired man's voice.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fools and Lilacs

April is a bittersweet month for me.  Bitter because of the memories from eleven years ago.  (How can it have been that long ago?) And sweet because it’s when the Iowa landscape opens its eyes, takes a slow look around, stretches luxuriantly, and begins to wake from a long, hard winter slumber.  It always feels good to know that there will be sunlight in the evenings and while it may not be warm out today, it will be soon.  Soon enough to manage, anyhow.

Lilacs are my favorite flower. The scent they give off is my favorite smell (ok, full disclosure: it’s really in a dead heat with coffee).  The light purple ones are my very favorite color.  And yet, lilacs will always remind me of the sadness of losing our baby. Normally they are in bloom in mid to late April, which coincides with the anniversary of Joseph’s stillbirth. So I almost always associate that scent, their heady, intoxicating smell, with memories of what happened to our family back then. This year they are blooming a full two weeks ahead of schedule because it’s been a warm and early spring. 

Tonight I think I will cut the blooms off of the lilac bush The Husband gave me for Mother’s Day several years ago and place them in a vase next to my bed.  They will sit directly below the decorative frame on my wall that holds an impossibly tiny pair of footprints.

April is also a fun month. If you’re into jokes. Bumblebee is a jokester. She was eager to test out her April Fools’ Day tricks on the family.  I have to announce with smug satisfaction that I FINALLY didn’t get hit with the sink sprayer this year.  My kids have gotten me with that trick for a few years in a row now.  Bumblebee had a rather interesting April Fools’ Day trick up her sleeve, though. 

She told me that she thought I should probably change Goblin – that she smelled stinky.  Hmmm… Something was up, because she wasn’t stinky, but I figured I’d go along with it.  Turns out that Bumblebee thought it would be great fun to put brown sugar into Goblin’s diaper. Why? Maybe to simulate a poopy diaper. Maybe not. Who knows, really.  What she didn’t take into account was that a really wiggly baby sweats a little, and the combination of sweat and pee turned the sugar into a sort of syrup.  Which was fun to clean up right before we left for Mass.  But hey – it was funny, and I have no doubt that Bumblebee’s tricks will become cleverer over the years.  She has a knack for that sort of thing.

In other news, our house is in exciting planning mode.  We’re full steam ahead graduation and trip central these days.  Planning, planning, planning for Hollywood’s big day, and our trip to Italy.