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Finding Dory in the Starbucks drive-thru

We are in the throes (and “the throws”…) of baseball  – Mythankfulboy’s team is in the playoffs, vying for first place.  His team was first in their division, so they got a by on the first game and played in the second game.  They played a team whose coach was thrown out of the last game we played against them for yelling “balk” at our pitcher when the ump didn’t agree (among other loud-mouth antics).  This time the coach  made it through the game, but one of his players was ejected for throwing a bat in anger.   It was a real nail-biter, but they pulled it off, and B was so happy to have beaten them because, in his words, they were mean.   He kept telling me that there was one nice player who seemed embarrassed to be on such an ugly team.  I think he felt sorry for him.

So, every day that hasn’t been a game has been a practice for as long as I can remember.  The next playoff game (not theirs) was rained out which postponed ours.  A lot of these games are weekday evenings, which makes getting him there by 4:30, anywhere from an hour to two hours away from my office, quite challenging, especially when his dad is out of town, as he has been all week.  Still, the experience is glorious.

In the middle of all of this craziness B and I took an afternoon off and went to see Finding Dory.  It was delightful on many levels.  If you don’t remember by the time you read this, B, Dory is a fish with short-term memory loss.  You need to remember this to appreciate what happened next.  We left the theater and went to Target, then went through the Starbucks drive-thru in which I ordered a drink for me and I ordered a treat for you (a smores bar).  There was a wait in line, so I started texting and emailing clients about moving their speech therapy sessions off of the day of the next playoff game.  I was deeply engrossed in this when we got to the window to pay, and B was sitting quietly beside me with headphones on.  The nice lady in the window leaned out to hand me a small bag (with the smores bar) but I didn’t reach for it because, while I knew I had ordered a drink, I was pretty sure I hadn’t ordered anything that came in the bag.  As my mind raced I didn’t say anything but looked puzzled and she tilted her head at me, looked at B, then looked back at me (also without speaking).  I followed her gaze to B and then remembered that he was in the car and that I had ordered the treat for him and that, yes, this was my order.  Good grief.  As we pulled away, B held up his bar and turned to me and said, “Dory” before taking a bite.

A minute later he turned to me and said, “You know mom, sometimes living with you is a little like living with Dory.”  I laughed and said, “I imagine it is.  If I’m Dory, what does that make you?”  He thought about it and answered, “Nemo, because I’m always your biggest fan.”

That night, at the chalice lighting, he was thankful for Finding Dory.  I was thankful for my biggest fan.

 

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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My father taught me the inherent worth of all people. My mother taught me to be an ally.

 

Growing up a white middle-class southern-girl-child, my father went off to work in the city every day and my mother took care of the house and kids.  I was raised in an overwhelmingly protestant faith community, where black-and-white was the dichotomy, and where gender and sexuality were only discussed in the parlance jokes.  My mother and father were good people who took a teacher-student approach to parenting.  Momma trained me in the housekeeping and cooking and cosmetic aspects of becoming someone’s wife.  Daddy trained me to pay attention to how things worked in order to be self-sufficient – from carpentry and plumbing to being able to determine direction by where the sun is in the sky.  Self-sufficiency was highly prized by both my parents.  My parents would be considered conservative by most standards, but they taught me to be a liberal, and more specifically, to be a UU.

That was never their intention, of course, and they may, in fact, be a bit chagrined, at the outcome.  It is hard for them to grasp that I live a faith that is not mainstream, one they’d never heard of until I brought it into their worlds.  But make no mistake – it all goes back to them, because here are a few other things my parents taught me:

My father taught me that every person at every age deserves your respect; that every person you encounter will be better than you at something, will know things you don’t know, and will have pain you can’t see. He taught me that words matter, and to use them judiciously, but to use them in dissension when someone needs to raise a voice.  Daddy taught me that service to others is a human’s greatest calling, and to look for a way every day to make someone else’s life better.  He taught me that kindness is directly related to thankfulness, and that a life of gratitude would bring me happiness.  He taught me that there is unending beauty in nature, and that we have a responsibility to pay attention to our surroundings and to take care of the natural world that sustains us.  These are the UU tenants of inherent worth and dignity and of respect for the interdependent web of all existence, among others.  These are lessons of a caretaker.

My mother taught me that we were fortunate: fortunate to have a roof over our heads and family underneath it.  She taught me that not everyone would receive the same benefit of the doubt I would while walking through the life, and certainly not the same treatment, and she told me specifically what that would look like.  Momma taught me that I had to be overt in my compassion and pre-emptive in my support, and she modeled it for me without fanfare.  She taught me that inclusion would be my responsibility.  She told me that my works in the world needed to make up for the unfairness I would encounter.  These are the UU tenants of justice, equity, and compassion in human relations, and of the goal of world community, among others. These are the lessons of an ally.

Now that I’m a parent, I do what parents do – I take the things I appreciate about the way I was raised, vow not to repeat some things, and add to the mix as I go.  If my parents weren’t particularly active in the free and responsible search for truth column, they did give me a faith community from which to grow.  More than that, though, they actively taught me through word and deed to live my UU faith of respect, community, and equity.  May I continue to grow in these ways.  May I pass these things along to my boy.  Blessed be.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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For the love of it

Last night was the fourth baseball game this week, so we’ve been home no earlier than 9:30 and as late as 11:30 on work nights (no school for him!)  I am grumpy during the day – tired, overextended.  But at the games, the kids are so great, and I love to watch mine so much, that it all seems worth it.  The boys are all 14 and 15, still growing into their giant cleats like puppies growing into their feet. They are silly and dedicated; they want to be taken seriously but are not too serious themselves.  They are no longer emotional wrecks when something doesn’t go their way, and they are compassionate when things are going so well for them that it has a negative effect on the other team’s morale.

It was a muggy night – not too hot, but very wet. We were lucky to be joined by a dear friend we don’t often see, and Mythankfulboy was lucky to get to pitch for the first time this season (Momma’s least-favorite position because the pressure is so high, but he loves it).  We won by a 10-point margin, securing a play-off position, and they called the game after four innings.

We said our goodbyes to our friend, MY, then fast food, then home, arranging by phone a fun outing for B with some gaming friends, most of whom he’d never met, for today while I’m at work.  B took a shower and I sat down to 2 1/2 hours of work.  He was ready for bed fairly early, so he interrupted my work to do the chalice.

Standing beside me with his hand on my shoulder while I sat at my desk, he asked, “What are you thankful for tonight, Momma?”  (This chokes me up, because “momma” these days is mostly reserved for the chalice lighting.)  Before I could answer, he continued, “I’m thankful that I got to pitch and that MY was there, and that I made turkey sausage by myself today.”  He was referring to the first time he had taken turkey sausage from freezer to meal by himself.  I said I was thankful to see and to hug MY, and that I was also grateful that he made a good lunch all by himself.  He said he was excited to meet some gaming friends in person tomorrow, and I agreed that it would be fun, and said I was thankful for NF’s mom, who will do all the driving to make it happen.  He smiled, looking off in the distance, no doubt imagining what it would be like with these new, old friends. Then he leaned down and laid his shoulder on mine and his head so hard on the top of my head that I was pushed sideways with my spine compressed painfully, but I stuck it out as long as he would stay there, just for the love of it.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Simple is best

This week I spent the weekend and Sunday night away, and Mythankfulboy stayed at his dad’s.  We kept in touch via text, but it’s unusual for us to be apart this long, especially with baseball in full swing and it being the transition weekend between school and summer.  After his game last night we caught up on the ride home, which didn’t get us to the house until 9:30.  Then I had all the work I hadn’t done over the weekend left to do, so he went his way and I went mine.  When he got ready to go to sleep, he came into my office/bedroom to find me and ask for what I was thankful.  I said I was thankful for my friends KS and JR, both of whom I got to spend rare time with over the weekend, and that I was thankful to see his beautiful face.  He said he was thankful to be home and to see me and to be out of school.   Then he leaned down and kissed my forehead, asked me to wake him in the morning to say goodbye, and went to bed.  Simple is best.

P.S.  B and I also talked at length about the Orlando nightclub shooting and all its emotions and ramifications.  I think it’s just too raw to talk about here.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Grow a pair

Well hell.

I proudly put up my Hillary sign in the yard tonight, and put my Hillary sticker on my car.  Mythankfulboy said, “Mom – it’s so embarrassing.  All the kids at school are going to make fun of me.”

I said, “Grow a pair.  This is important.”

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Face down in the chalice light

Tuesday of this week was a busy day.  Mythankfulboy had school, a dentist appointment, school, a school picnic, school, and a baseball game.  I had the pleasure of volunteering at the picnic, so I was there when he overheated and came into the building (where I was manning a food table) and laid down on a wrestling mat.  He asked if I could take him home after the picnic (before the oil change I was squeezing in between the picnic and the baseball game).  After resting a while and having some water he did rally a bit, and so he stayed at school and took the bus home (he fell asleep and the bus driver had to wake him).  He really didn’t want to go to the game, but since he didn’t seem sick, exactly, I told him we needed to go.  He slept for almost an hour on the way there, and then got up and played a solid game (although they lost).  The weather was perfect and the setting, idyllic.  We stopped for him to get a smores bar at Starbucks on the way home.

Since he had slept so much during the day, because of feeling good about baseball, and because of chocolate, he had a hard time settling down to go to bed.  Once he was there, I realized that the new recliner was taking up the space in which I used to sit to do the chalice lighting (and was turned the wrong way).  I tried putting my knees in the seat and peaking up over the back at him, but, of course, it just unfurled, leaving me precariously sprawled across it, and making B pop up out of bed to rescue me.  He promised to rearrange a little tomorrow to make this a bit more doable.

When we finally settled down it was 10:30.  I asked for what he was thankful, and he said he was thankful that I came to his picnic and that he had a good game.  I said I was thankful he was going to rearrange the furniture…

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Mythankfulboy has wanted a recliner for his room for about a year now.  He has asked for one repeatedly, and I have denied him his dream just as often.  Saturday morning, though, our neighbors put a recliner out by the road with a sign reading, “$20”, and B was out the door, his own $20 bill clutched in his hand.  Then he spent the day rearranging his bedroom to get the monster in there.  At the end of the day, though, he was kicked back in his Lazyboy, covered in a fleece blanket, staring up at his wall-mounted video screen.  The proverbial life of Riley.  He announced his plans to be there all summer long.

At our chalice lighting, I was thankful for Muhammad Ali.  I showed B some footage of Muhammad Ali, who passed away this weekend.  I didn’t show him the fights – I showed him Ali being funny, Ali being boastful, Ali’s generosity, and Ali’s presence, even when his speech was all but gone.  I told him we’d lost a great man.  I left this Ali quote on the screen: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”  I told him that what I did for a living was my primary way of serving others, but that it would make me really happy to find a way that we could serve together.  I asked him to give some thought to what he would do this summer to pay rent.  I could see the wheels turning –

What can I do from my Lazyboy?

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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