Ordinary days

Last night Mythankfulboy sat down hard in the chair beside my bed, where I was already happily in ensconced. He rubbed his eyes and stretched and sat there quietly. I asked him how he was doing. He said good (I softly said, “You’re well, yes, go on”), that he was just winding down for the night. We talked about whether or not he would go to the YMCA after school the following day (no), whether or not he had his bag packed for his morning baseball workout (no), and the timing of his orthodontist appointment for Thursday.  I asked him for what he was thankful, and he said “Apple juice. Wait, have I said that before?”

I said I didn’t think he had, but, if he was really thankful for apple juice, it was fine to say it more than once.

I said I was thankful for a productive day. I had had a nice day that combined writing, consulting, and working directly with kids, and I had gotten to see the folks with whom I work at the office, which is rare on a Tuesday.  I had even managed to do some dishes and some laundry when I got home.

It’s back to the ordinary days, for which we are also grateful.

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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Thankful happy blessed

There are days when Mythankfulboy and I sit down at the end of the day for our thankfulness ritual, and life seems very ordinary, and we stretch a little to name something in particular for which to be thankful.  There are other days when there are so many things in competition to be said that we feel like we’re being asked to pick our favorite child.  Our last week of chalice lightings have been the favorite-child kind.  In preparation for an annual fall party we host, we worked really hard to rehab our deck, to get the yard in shape, to clean the house, and to arrange for the food and activities that we like to have on the day of the party.  Our community gathered and helped – teenagers in the yard, grownups with food and set-up and clean-up and various things that tend to happen in these undertakings (inflatable mattresses that would be more aptly named “deflatable mattresses”, lights that won’t turn on, mouse nest in the smoker).   We felt so loved and supported all week, and then to have everyone gathered for an afternoon and evening with smoked pork and corn chowder and pumpkin whoopie pies – happy, happy, happy.  This year it rained all morning (until the minute the party started, actually) and was quite chilly, but we kept the food inside, didn’t do strawbales, gave away the pumpkins instead of carving them, and ramped up the bonfire.  Apple flinging carried on unabated, of course!  I look around the fire in my memory at my wonderful friends (and hear the teens playing flashlight tag in the background) and get tearful thinking about such bounty.  Oh, and there was a puppy – a miniature dachshund puppy – this year, which seemed to bring the rehoming of our dog and the death of close friends’ dog full circle.  So much for which to be grateful.

And so, we were thankful for our friends from Maryland and Michigan who traveled early to join in the preparations with us and to be together for another year.  We were thankful for our neighbors who volunteered their time and energy and driveways for parking.  We were thankful for teenagers who helped with happy hearts.  We were thankful for the puppy, Ella, who made everything more precious, for amazing food, for reconnecting, and for community.  And, in this election year, I was thankful for civility when politics came up.

Thankful.  Happy.  Blessed.


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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Mythankfulboy had his first homecoming dance this weekend (9th grade). He asked a girl to go, which was really all there was to it – he asked her, he matched his outfit to hers, and they met at the dance. I asked him if he spent time with her there, and he said, “about 25% of it “.  I asked if they took a picture together, and he said no. Heck, for all I know, this girl doesn’t exist!  He seems perfectly happy with the arrangement, so who am I to judge?

Before the dance we did pictures at a friend’s house that was walkable distance to the high school (sans dates). The boys were achingly beautiful with their eager faces that have grown lean towards manhood. There were more silly poses than serious ones.  Then they walked off into the night to their first homecoming dance.

This weekend was also the end of our fall baseball routine, just in time for next weekend to be our fall party.  It’s been a funny season – either winning big or losing big, but, luckily, an 8-2 season so more winning than losing.  During these baseball-game-in-the-middle-of-every-weekend-day weekends I have been desperately trying to revitalize our deck, and B has been in charge of most of the yardwork. Twice in the last week a friend (AH or RL) has come over to help and to make a little money.  Last night, at the chalice lighting, B was thankful for these helpful friends. He was impressed with RL’s interest in being helpful, more than in making money.  I was too,  I hope that B will take that attitude in life, and was happy to see him notice and admire it.  I’ve had more fun in my life helping other people than doing just about anything else.  I was thankful for his friends, too, and for their parents who help me navigate B’s teen years.  And we’re just getting started…

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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Last night was the close of what we call a momma weekend, meaning Mythankfulboy spends the whole weekend with me and doesn’t go to his dad’s.  This requires me to take the evening off of work on Friday, but it’s once a month and planned ahead of time, so I don’t worry too much about it.  This past Friday though, he stayed after school to watch a field hockey game and then went to a friend’s house, the latter of which I had told him not to do, and when I picked him up there he told me he needed to be at his Dad’s to babysit his stepbrother in 30 minutes.  I was furious.  I found out later that I had misunderstood something he had called to tell me about where he was after school, but the part about my missing work to drive him to his dad’s (who was home and could have picked him up) was not okay.  Later that night, I waited up for him to come home until I got a text from his dad that B was asleep.  Strike three.

The next morning B woke me with a text that read, “I’m so sorry, Mom.”  I picked him up to take him to baseball, and he got in the car and said, “I’m so sorry, Mom.”   I tried to be tough.  I tried to stay angry.  It’s just not my thing.  So I said, “You are very lucky that it’s hard for me to stay angry. ”  He said, “I know, especially because there are some parents who just seem angry all the time.”

I don’t like the feeling of being angry.  I think that’s part of it.  Part of it is a consciously positive outlook on life, but most of it, I suspect, is temperament.  I guess were both lucky about that.

Sunday was a wet and cold baseball game, but they won, and B played well.  He pitched a couple of innings, which always makes me nervous, but he did well.  There was a controversy over whether or not one of the opposing pitchers, after being called for fastpitching, was trying to actually hit one of our players with his pitches, and B’s usually mild-mannered coach got up, yelling, off the bench.  It was impressive to the boys that he took a stand for them.  Unrelatedly, after the game while B was getting his things together, a different coach approached me and told me he thought B was a fine ball player and a really great kid.

Last night at the chalice lighting, B and I were both very tired, and we tried to get in bed at a reasonable hour because of the baseball workout this morning that required rising about 5am.  I asked him for what he was thankful, and he put his head down and said with a sigh, “I don’t know.”   I offered to go first, but before I could he said, “Oh!  I’m thankful for my coach – you know – the one who coaches third base.”  I asked him why that coach, and he said, “He gives me tips and stuff, and he’s really encouraging.”  After the events of the game, I had to stop and think a moment, but then realized he was talking about the coach who talked to me after the game.   I was thankful for coaches who volunteer their time to bring the boys together as a team, and to pay attention to them individually as players and as emerging men.  It makes it more than worth the cold and the heat and the damp and the games that take most of the weekend and the weeknight practices, and maybe even the 5am risings.

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Posted by on October 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


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It occurs to me, Mythankfulboy, that I neglected to celebrate your home run two weekends ago with a blog post.  Part of my reason for making these entries is to remember what was on your mind over the years, and part is to remember we said to one another, but a big part is to keep things that happened alive in memory.  How did I fail to write about your home run?

It was over the fence at the field near the meat packing plant (we were lucky – the smell wasn’t too bad that day).  Two people had hit homers before you that day, and one of them would hit a second before the game was over.  You have me record your at-bats so that you can analyze your swing later, so I got the whole thing on video.  I was so proud – you can hear me (and your teammates and other parents) cheering in the background.

That night, at the chalice lighting, I expected you to say you were thankful for the homer, but instead (or by extension) you said you were thankful that when you go for some indoor winter coaching at your favorite gym in a few months, you’ll get to ring the home run bell.   I don’t remember now what I said, but it doesn’t really matter.  I was proud of you, and my heart was very full with your happiness.  Life is good, being your momma.

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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Attitude adjustment

The weekend seemed long, but in a good way, I suppose.  Mythankfulboy was at his dad’s house Friday night, and he and I texted our goodnights.  Saturday and Sunday held baseball games: one win and one loss.  This fall Kiwanis league is an odd one – some towns have 2-3 teams (an A, a B, and sometimes a C team), and you could be playing any of them.  This has resulted in B’s team (a B team) playing teams with kids still learning some of the more complicated rules, and, other days, playing teams with players with full beards.  It’s all good.  He and his teammates get along well, play well, and have a good time.

Saturday B worked on painting his dad’s barn, a job he began over the summer with the scraping and sanding portions (sometimes with a friend, sometimes with his dad, but often alone).  To his dad’s credit, B is getting paid for this hard work.  Sunday B had to help me work on replacing boards on our deck, for no pay.  As we packed up the tools and got ready for the Sunday baseball game he asked if he could go to a friend’s house later in the day.  I said no, that I needed him to help me on the deck.  He said, “It’s kinda like being grounded, isn’t it?”  I eyed him but didn’t say anything.

Well, of course I said something, but later, after I’d processed it.  On the way to the game I said, “So, I’ve been thinking about your comment about being grounded.  I’m a little annoyed about it.”  He said, “Yeah.  I get that.  I was just saying that there’s so much to do this fall that I’m not going to get to do the things I want.”

I said, “Like playing in a baseball game that takes 4 hours out of the day, scootering in the driveway, or playing Xbox?” (all of which he did at some point that day).

He said, “That’s not what I mean.  I mean other stuff.”

I said, “Like the stuff I usually say yes to even when it doesn’t really make sense?”

He said, “Yes, I guess.  Well, you say yes but my dad never does.”

I waited.

He added, “I know there are things that have to get done, and it’s okay.  You usually let me do what I ask to do.”

“Plus,” I said, “Your dad is paying you for the work you’re doing over there.”

He said, “I know.  It’s fine.  It’s only for a few weeks.”

Into each life some rain must fall, my boy.  May this be the worst of it for a while.

At the chalice lighting last night I told him I was very thankful for his hard work on the deck.  I told him that I wasn’t sure I would have been strong enough to get some of the boards up (he said, “Pshaw!”).  I also told him I was thankful for the opportunity to teach him some of the things that he would need to know in life about tools, about hard work, and about patience.  He said he was thankful I took him to the game when there was so much to be done.  I hadn’t been fishing for that, but I’m thankful for his attitude adjustment, just the same.

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Posted by on September 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


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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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