Happy heart

Mythankfulboy did not feel especially well last night.  He came into my 67 degree room and asked if the heat was on.   He didn’t seem to have a fever, but definitely had a cough developing.  He doesn’t want to miss school, though.  In middle school he would have wanted to go to school for social reasons; in high school he doesn’t want to miss the coursework.

When he was ready for bed he popped his head into my room and said goodnight with a wave.  I said, “Woah woah woah – where are you going?”  He said, “Oh yeah!” and came in and sat down, saying, before his fanny hit the chair, “I’m thankful for DLC (something to do with an expansion of the video game Destiny), and that you picked me up from school today.”   He then stood up as though to leave, and I told him to wait for my contribution.  He stopped, and walked over to lay his hand on my arm and listen.  I told him I was thankful for getting a few things accomplished, both at home and for work.  I thanked him for, earlier, in the afternoon, turning his frustration at being asked to leave his game into helping me work with a happy heart.  He grinned, winked, and left the room to go to bed.


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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Women are inferior to men

I keep meaning to write about a particular moment from the summer that I don’t want to forget.  As summer ended and Mythankfulboy and I were working on annotating his summer reading, we were reading about the time of Shakespeare.  In this context, he made the offhand comment that women were inferior to men.  That women were inferior to men.

It reminded me of the time when he was maybe 4 years old and he dropped his fork at Cracker Barrel and calmly said, “Shit”.   I took a long and deep breath before responding.

Because you know me, you know that my head was about to explode, but I took a similar deep breath, turned and gave him my full attention, and said, “Did you just say that women are inferior to men?”  B confirmed that he had, but he responded with a questioning look and a slight move towards protecting himself from bodily harm.  I asked him to expound.  He said that women were usually smaller and weaker than men.  You know, inferior.

Perhaps I’ve mentioned that Mythankfulboy can be a bit of a literal thinker.  I asked if he thought men were smarter than women.  Nope.  Nicer?  Nope.  Better at being a boss?  Nope.  He looked up the definition of “inferior” for me and found one definition (among many) that said “smaller”.  He said, “See?”  I told him I got that part, and that it was true that, on the average, women are shorter than men, but did he know any situations in which a woman was taller than a man?  Yep, but not usually.  How about stronger than a man?  Yep, but not often.  We went round and round, and he couldn’t seem to understand why, if it was in the definition, it was wrong to say it.

I finally said, “Honey, you may not, under any circumstances, ever say that women are inferior to men.  We are not.  Even if there is some single way that we can be, there are a million other ways that we’re not.  Do you understand?”  He said he understood that he should never say it.  He clearly was not sold.

So, I dropped it, but this isn’t over yet.  Obviously, since it’s been a month and it’s still nagging at me…

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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


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To be or not to be thankful for early mornings

Baseball has officially recaptured  our lives. Last night Mythankfulboy had a practice, then home for dinner and homework and laundry and forms to sign and packing for his first 6:15 AM baseball workout to take place this morning.  He needed help thinking through whether or not he would shower after the workout, and if so, what he needed to take with him.  We settled down for bed early to prepare for getting up early today, and did the chalice lighting.

B asked first, and I said I was thankful for my computer.  He glanced over at it and commented that it had really been through a lot and told me I should take better care of it, suggesting I could take a lesson from him.  I objected, naturally, pointing out how much time my computer has been on the road, and we laughed about his presuming to teach me a thing or two.  When that died down I asked for what he was thankful, and he said that he didn’t know whether to be thankful for it yet, but that he was pretty sure he would be thankful for the morning baseball workouts.

The update on that is that I got a text from him this morning saying he was frustrated that all they did was talk about working out, but that he thought it would be better at the next one.

I am very grateful for his positivity.  Blessed be.

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Posted by on September 14, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Goodbye Beethoven

Last week, amid the excitement and stress of the first week of school, a wonderful new home became available for our Bassett hound, Beethoven.  We have been searching for a new home for him to alleviate some breathing issues for me, and to potentially give him owners who could spend more time with him.  It took some arranging, but we scheduled Saturday morning as the time we would take him to meet a volunteer from a rescue organization that would then take him to the new owners.  Mythankfulboy was kept in the loop through all of the arrangements, and Friday night we gathered the things we would send with Beety (pronounced “baidy”) and wrote a letter of gratitude to the new owners containing details about our sweet dog of almost 10 years. I asked B to wear his baseball uniform in the morning because he had a game mid-day and I wanted to make sure that, if we didn’t get to go home after taking the dog, that he would have what he needed.

On Saturday morning I asked B to put Beety in the car, and B asked if we were taking the dog to his baseball game. I stopped and looked closely at his face and he seemed genuinely confused. I reminded him that we were taking Beethoven to the rescue volunteer that morning and he looked like I’d punched him in the stomach. He said he thought it was after the game. My heart seized.  In that way that the mind has of shifting reality to make it easier to manage, B had changed the schedule in his head and was now getting the news that we were taking the dog right then to be given away.

We got the dog in the car, and we took him to the very nice people at the very nice house with lush gardens who were doing us a tremendous favor.  One of the volunteers had a million questions for me that had nothing to do with why we were there and everything to do with openings for her to talk about her failing health.  I find myself a little angry about that, now. We were so distracted by her that we barely said goodbye. Yes, I can see how a quick goodbye might be the best thing, but all this emotion has to go somewhere, right?

We left, and quickly pulled the car over and cried. And cried.  I asked Siri to tell me how to get to the closest park, and she sent us to a fenced-in municipal water storage area on a road called Scenic Overlook Circle (not so scenic). We cried some more, and looked up other parks.  We eventually made our way to sit beside a lake and watch birds catching fish and fish catching bugs.  B was all cried out, and I had had enough relief to drive.  We headed home to rest for just a bit before his baseball game.

Since then, we have looked at each other from time to time and said, “Oh, I just wondered if Beethoven had enough water” or “It’s weird to go to bed without putting Beethoven out first.”  There are fewer tears, though, and we have put a few of his things away.  We got a text update that he liked the bed his new family had bought him, and that he played with the grandchildren but was not yet ready to play with the other Basset they have.

B has played in two winning baseball games since then, and we have spent restorative time with friends.  At the chalice lighting last night we were thankful for the folks who took Beethoven in.  I write this blog entry to help us remember.

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Posted by on September 12, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Steppin’ up

It has been a trying week.  A broken car, a rental car, travel to see a teen for a language evaluation who just didn’t want me there and a school team who didn’t know if they could trust me, baseball’s resumption, and, hardest by far, the empending rehoming our dog of almost 10 years.  Mythankfulboy has had to be not only self-sufficient, but has had to take care of the dog and minor things around the house.  He has been a trooper.  He has been a rockstar.

He called me mid-week to tell me that there would be baseball workouts starting next week 3 mornings a week before school at 6:15.  He said he’d figure out how to get there.  I told him he didn’t have to figure it out because I would take him.  Of course I would take him.

When I got home, I asked him why on earth he thought I wouldn’t get him to these morning workouts.  He said he just couldn’t see how I could pull that off with all that I already do, and with my sleep issues.  I was absolutely caught between the sweetness of his worrying about me/determination to be independent and the weirdness that he thought I would actually say no to something so important to him.  When do I ever say no?

Well, there was the time he asked me to start dating so he could have a cool guy around, but that was a little different.

Since that discussion of how he would get to workouts, we have lined up a carpool, and it will all happen.  Last night I crawled into bed not long after we got home from a baseball scrimmage and dinner, and he sat in my desk chair and I quizzed him for his first high school test (social studies).  I realized after a few minutes that he knew the material well, and asked him if he felt prepared.  He said, “Oh, yeah.  I just thought you didn’t think I was prepared.”   I will have to keep an eye on this new way he’s looking at me.  I wonder if it is related to our crazy week, or just part of the development of a human.  I’ll keep you posted.

At the chalice lighting he was thankful for pens.  He said that they were better than pencils because pencils have to be sharpened (true) and get sweaty (news to me).  I said I was thankful for our mechanic, for the rental car, and for the people who will give our pup a good home this Saturday.  He sat down on the floor and rubbed the dog’s belly, then called him to the door to let him out and back in before he went to bed.  My 14-year-old may not want to grow up, but he’s doing a really nice job of it anyway.

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Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Peter Pan on a scooter

(from 9/1/16)

The first week of high school comes to a close for Mythankfulboy.  In review, last night at the chalice lighting, he said that all-in-all, he liked high school, and that it got better every day, so he thought that would be the trend.  He said he was tired – that in some ways that was the biggest change for him.  I hear this echoed from his friends’ parents, who say that all their boys are coming home and napping.  I found that funny because B had specifically mentioned to me that he had wanted to nap but had “held off”.  I asked him why, and he said, “I’m trying not to succumb to being a teenager”.

At an age when some kids are racing ahead to be older and do older things, my boy is putting on the brakes, savoring his boyhood.  My Peter Pan.  He’s going to have a hard time, though, convincing other people, as he gets taller and lankier by the day with a voice that’s descending rapidly.

Last night we built a scooter “rail” out of wood – a roughly 5-foot long plank of hardwood elevated on a 4×4 base on-and-off of which to do scooter tricks.  It wasn’t complicated, but I had made him put off doing it until his summer reading was done.  He was ecstatic.  He scootered all evening, and then, around 9pm he asked me to come outside and tell him whether or not it was too loud to continue (yes).  He said, “Okay” and came in to settle into the bedtime routine.  After we lit the chalice and talked about the week, he asked for what I was thankful.  I said I was thankful that we had the time to build his rail.  He said, “Me too!  I’m really thankful to have the ramp, and that you helped me build it!”  The way Mythankfulboy gets excited about things is just the same now as it was when he was little.  Peter Pan on a scooter.

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Posted by on September 5, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Contagious gratitude

Well, the report of the first day of high school was mixed.  Mythankfulboy clearly thought it was a big adventure, and he liked some of his teachers and classes, but he didn’t see any of his friends all day long, and he was quite sad about that.  He said lunch was intimidating with “all the big kids”, but that it was okay, and he knew he’d get used to it.  He said he didn’t mind the morning bus, but the afternoon bus “was a nightmare” (I never circled back to ask about that one).  He said he was surprised by how much independence they had, and he liked that.

Last night he went to his summer baseball banquet, where he got a small plaque and caught back up with some baseball friends.  When he got home he ate a snack and laid down in his bed, lights out, with his phone.  I checked in to see if he was okay, and he said, “Just chillin'”.  I turned to leave and he called me back and said, “Hey Mom, I just want to thank you for driving me everywhere I need to go – to sports and friends and stuff.”  I thanked him for thanking me (a constant in our house), and asked what made him think to mention it.  He said someone at the banquet had talked about how baseball wouldn’t be possible without the parents who made sacrifices to get the kids to practices and games. He said he would be sure to thank his dad, too.

When it was time for bed, he laid on the floor next to my desk (where I was working) and asked for what I was thankful.  I said I was thankful he had a reasonably good first day of school, and that he had gone to the banquet (to which he had not really wanted to go).  He said, “I already told you my thing about driving me around, but I’m also thankful that the first day of school is over.”

I have to say, although I didn’t say it to him, that I am also grateful for the coach who stood up at B’s banquet and pointed out the role of us parents in the ability of the league to do what it does.  It obviously made an impression on my boy, and probably on quite a few others.  Gratitude is contagious, especially when it is modeled by people you respect.

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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Uncategorized


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