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Turning 15 with doughnuts and baseball

It was a lovely 15th birthday weekend for Mythankfulboy. He had eight friends over for a doughnut–themed birthday party, complete with seven dozen doughnuts on dowels in the center of the table and an additional dozen donut holes. There was ice cream, so some made doughnut ice cream sandwiches (I did not try this myself, but the boys seemed quite pleased with them). Another highlight was the sanctioned smashing of two old computers in the driveway – an essential element for tamping down their energy before the overnight that followed.  This group of boys fall into two groups along age lines – there are the “Bigs” who are in ninth grade and the “Littles” who are all in seventh grade and are the younger brothers of the Bigs.  B does not have a Little in his family, but he loves the other Littles like brothers.  We would not have been able to have had all of them in our tiny house except for the good luck of having one of their families across the street. The boys went back-and-forth between the two houses happily, and then the Bigs stayed overnight at our house and the Littles at their house.  Meanwell, several of the moms sat in front of the fire and ate leftover pizza…

Because today is the first day of high school baseball tryouts, on Sunday we spent a packed and noisy afternoon at the indoor batting cages.  B then went to his dad’s house where he got a new batting helmet and some other baseball odds and ends just in time for tryouts.  Last night, at our evening thankfulness ritual, B was thankful for his new Krispy Kreme T-shirt, his new doughnut socks and doughnut pop socket, his batting helmet, and his party. I was thankful for the good friends he has, and the good friends I have because of them.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Heart in the lead

A pleasant weekend.  A day on my own to work and see a movie (Birdman – wow – blown away) and a day with my cherub to celebrate birthdays with Auntie J and her brood, then to batting cages and Waffle House, then home in the serious snow.  This was the second weekend in a row we drove 30+ miles in the snow one way to batting cages, but baseball is coming, and, despite the fact that we have a batting cage in our backyard, it isn’t functional when it is knee deep in snow.  Yesterday he hit well at his usual pitch speed (and was complimented on his form by a few dads, which put him through the roof with pride), and then he tried the next higher pitching speed and hit nothing for at least 25 pitches.  I had been sitting back, but at that point I stepped up and suggested he wait just a little longer for it to come to him.  Then, boom – he was hitting again.  He jumped up and down in the cage like a little kid, which was contagious to a dad and son with whom he had been taking turns, and they started cheering.  The dad turned around and looked at me with a “Wow – you knew what he was doing wrong” look of appreciation, which sent me through the roof with pride, despite the feminist on my shoulder saying, “Well, why wouldn’t I?  Because I’m a woman?”…

As B was packing up his things, one of the dads came over and said, “I really like your boy’s enthusiasm – he’s really got a heart for baseball.”  You know, I have to grin when B does something like jumping up and down when everybody else is frowning and serious.  In some ways he’s a little immature, and in some ways he’s pure and unconcerned about what people think.  Sometimes I don’t know with which I’m dealing.

Then sometimes he’s just plain wise.  On the way home, our 30 miles turning into more than an hour’s worth of driving slowly in yucky weather, he said, “One thing I love about you is that you’re willing to take risks.”  I laughed and said, “The trick is knowing how to take measured risks without just being stupid.”  I explained my rationale for going out in the snow yesterday.  He said, “It’ll be good for you in old age.”  Funny thing to say.  “Why do you say that?” I asked.  “Because you won’t end up like Peepeye.”   His grandmother, my mother, lives a very self-restricted life.  He was saying he didn’t want that for me, and he had reason to believe it wouldn’t happen.  God bless him.

And so, we got home safely, he gamed, I finished up some work, and we spelled German words.  These were the hardest yet.  Particularly tough: “sauerbraten”, “eiderdown”, and “verboten”, but the truth is, even having reviewed the rules for German spelling, these are just words you know because you’ve seen them, and he hasn’t seen them yet in his 12 (almost 13) short years!  He was a little discouraged, but kept at it, sitting in the dog’s chair, the dog displaced to the ottoman but stretched into the boy’s lap with his head on the boy’s chest.  So, we studied, and recorded hard ones on new stickies to get posted around the house for review.  Then he stretched and shooed the dog so he could go to bed.  He asked for what I was thankful.  I thought a moment and said, “Auntie J and Z and M”.  He said, “Yeah. Me, too.  I still feel sorry for Auntie J, though.”  I said, “You know, Honey, I don’t think she’d want you to.  I think she loves the craziness that comes with having two little ones.  Some people have 3 or 4 or 6 at a time.”  He said, “Yeah, but that’s not what I’d want.”  I said, “Okay, I see that you’re not saying she doesn’t do it well; what you’re saying is that you recognize that it’s hard, and that you might not be good at it.”  He said, “Oh!  Yeah!  Totally!”

In some ways this boy’s heart leads him around.  I’m not looking forward to dating.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Drive-by

It’s a momma weekend – a weekend I get Mythankfulboy all to myself.  It’s quite the luxury.  Friday night it was back to dodgeball (after the completion of Crossfit for baseball, he can get back to his other sporting love), Saturday we braved a snowstorm to do batting cages and Waffle House, and today we shoveled and shoveled and now are each doing our own version of screen time.  B today came up with the idea that there should be a shoveling index in the same way there’s a cold/heat index – that for each inch of snow, it either feels like an inch, or, if it’s wet and heavy, it feels like 2 inches, or, if it’s icy slush the snow plows churned into your driveway, each inch feels like 4 inches.  He’s probably not the first to float this idea, but I found it to be quite clever, because it’s so true…

On weekend nights, there is not a set bedtime, which means the chalice lighting can happen at any time.  Last night, I was sitting in front of the fire when B ran past to get a snack during a break in his game.  As he ran into the kitchen he asked, “So what are you thankful for?”  I said, “Really?”  He said, “Yeah!”  So I thought quickly and said, “Driving around in the snow with you!”  As he ran back by with a granola bar and some fruit snacks, he yelled, “Batting cages and mommas who will take you in the snow!” (imagine his voice falling away as though he was falling off a cliff).

I think we should call this the drive-by chalice lighting.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Repetitive, if not accurate

So, after the dramatically imperfect moment in teaching gratitude (see last blog post), I sat down last evening with B and attempted to back-peddle.  I said I wished I hadn’t raised my voice.  That I wished I hadn’t cut him off.  That there were better ways to get your message across.  He said “No, it was my fault.”  I asked him why he thought that, and he said “Because I was being repetitive.” 

Well, that wasn’t what I expected. 

“Repetitive?” I queried?   He said, “Yeah. I kept talking about the batting cages.” 

Okay, well, he knows something about me that people close to me know about me which is that I have a very hard time with repetitive sound.  Someone tapping their foot drives me to distraction.  My windshield wipers exhaust me. The almost inaudible sound of two mugs clinking together two offices over when the refrigerator comes on and jiggles them just right makes me go separate them like naughty children.  I once asked a friend of mine to stop kissing her infant over and over because I was afraid I was going to come apart at the seams from the sound (probably wouldn’t do that again).  Apparently B thought that this had been my issue. 

Clearly, we had bigger fish to fry. 

So, I led us into a discussion about gratitude and wanting and getting and not getting, and it was a good discussion.  An age-appropriate discussion about a concept that isn’t easy at any age.  And then I fell asleep right there before we got to our chalice…

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A dramatically imperfect moment in teaching gratitude

Perhaps one of the down-sides of working very hard to live a life of gratitude, and to teach it to your child, is being oversensitive when it doesn’t appear to be shining through.

Last afternoon B came home with a very good report card from his first marking period in middle school, and he was so excited about it, that I offered to take him to the batting cages or bowling to celebrate (two of his favorite things, and two that won’t break the bank on a weeknight). He chose the batting cages, and decided he wanted to go to some outdoor cages, assuring me that they had lights after dark, and that they would still be open this late in the fall. I thought he knew this because he had been recently with his dad, but I should have called, because they were closed when we arrived, and the distance traveled meant we really didn’t have time to go to indoor cages across town. He suggested that I make it up by buying him something, or just giving him money. I suggested that we were celebrating, not making deals. We went to dinner (his restaurant choice), and then home.

Then, last night, at our nightly chalice-lighting, B half-heartedly looked around the room and named something he saw on a shelf. When I asked him why he was thankful for it, he shrugged. I told him I was thankful for the very good grades he’d brought home, and was equally thankful that he was proud of himself. And here comes the stellar momma moment.

He began talking, saying “So, since I didn’t get to go to the batting cages…” and, before I knew what happened, I cut him off, tension gripping my voice, and said, “Do NOT try to negotiate with me about this because the batting cages were not a bribe for good grades, and I don’t owe you anything in their place.”

He dropped his head, said “I’m sorry, and I love you”, and left the room. I let him leave, and looked in on him just before he turned out his light to tell him I loved him, too.

There’s the good part in this, in which he certainly heard that, somewhere in this discussion, was an issue that was important to me. There’s the bad part, in which I failed to articulate what it was, and instead made it really personal, and, gulp, may have dug a little deeper down in my own stuff than I meant to. Tonight we’ll pick it up and look at it together and I will try to bring the whole thing back to the balance in life between wanting what you don’t have and being grateful for what you do have. And I’ll forgive myself for the way I handled the situation. But that may take a few days.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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