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First date

This weekend Mythankfulboy had his first date – the kind where the date’s mom drives them to a movie and home immediately after.  It was last-minute, and he was at his dad’s so I didn’t get to meet them, but B was quite tickled with the whole thing.  The last thing I texted him before he left was, “Have fun and impress her mother”, and he responded, “Yes ma’am.”  About an hour after he got back to his dad’s he texted me again asking if I’d come pick him up and take him to meet some of our friends for a slice of pizza, which turned, then, into ice cream as well.  He was pinging off the walls, partly because we were being spontaneous and he was seeing friends he’s missed, but he was clearly already on a high.  Adorable.

Baseball, on the other hand, seems to be deteriorating.  It is raining now, and he sent me a text at work that the game was canceled and he was glad.  Ugh.  Of course, it means it was rescheduled on the only night this week he didn’t have a game…

It was late when we got home last night after swimming for a bit at a friend’s house.  We did the chalice from opposite side of the bathroom door.  I called, “What are you thankful for kiddo?” and he yelled, “Swimming and a good night.  What about you?”  I yelled back, “I’m thankful for time with friends”.  He said, “Yeah”.

What I’m most thankful for, though, is that my boy called his momma to spend a little time with her after his first date (I’m sure the pizza was a guise).  It made the whole thing a little easier on his momma’s heart.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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School’s out

School’s out, and Mythankfulboy has returned to his usual affable self.  Baseball has had its ups and downs, but he played several full games at second, and played well.  We had the annual beginning-of-summer talk in which I tell him that I did everything for him when he was little because he couldn’t do things himself, and during the school year and baseball season I do the lions’ share because of school and homework and sports, but that, during the summer, it’s time for him to kick in for me because my more-than-full-time job doesn’t go away and neither do baseball or the house.  We’re a few days in, and so-far-so-good.  When I get home from work he proudly gives me a list of the productive things he did, and I can count on him to do things I text him about during the day.   Blessed be.

He’s changing physically these days; he’s getting taller and taller and I find myself frequently stopping to be amazed at his wingspan.  He’s dedicated to fitness, and most days works out with weights and has baseball practice, and some days he adds a jog and time in his backyard batting cage.  He and his dad had plans for a daily 5:30am gym time, but so far they’ve only made one of three.  I think he looks more and more like his dad as he grows – something in the nose and the way his mouth curls when he starts to laugh.  While the range of what he eats hasn’t expanded much, he’s added protein shakes and fruit smoothies.  His hair is longer than it’s ever been (“It’s the style in sports, Mom”), and is curling around his ears and along his neck.  I told him I would be fine with it if he would stay on top of the beard and mustache whiskers.  Of course, it may mean the first year he won’t want to stop for a haircut in Portland on the way to Ferry Beach.  Sigh.  There will be no missing Ferry Beach, though, even though it could mean missing the end-of-the-season championship tournament.

The last several chalice lightings have included well-played baseball and good baseball weather.  We’ve also been thankful for school’s being out, and for Sonic ice cream.  It’s summer folks – life is good.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Heavens he’s grumpy

Mythankfulboy is over this whole study-for-finals thing.  Between that and another baseball loss, this time with one of his favorite people, CB, visiting to witness a not-so-stellar game, the edge has been ground off his usual enthusiastic approach to the world.  It could be hormones descending, too, but I’ll withhold judgment on that until school is out.  He’s not argumentative or sarcastic, but he’s tired and withdrawn.

I hesitated last night to start the chalice discussion, but, really, the hard nights are the most important, so I persevered.  He said he was thankful that finals were almost over, and then he sat, trying to think of something more positive (or so it appeared) and resigned himself to just not feeling it.  I was thankful to have been along the path of CB’s road trip, and for her going to B’s baseball game with us.

Now, it should be noted that B has the best bed in the house, and so it is the guest bed, making his room the guest room.  I have sleep issues that make the couch my preferred sleep spot.  That left my bed as the logical place for B to sleep last night, but he decided he’d sleep in a chair in the living room instead.  Around 3 am I woke to his repeatedly hitting his head against the arm of the chair in apparent frustration that he couldn’t sleep.  I told him to join me on the couch (I had my feet out on an ottoman, so there was space), and he trudged over with a blanket and curled up with his feet against my hip and fell asleep.  In the morning I should have gotten up earlier than I did, but he was sleeping peacefully, and I chose to savor the moment before he got up with his grumpy self.  Send him (and me) peace in these final days of finals.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Stress, body and mind

It was a “daddy weekend”, but, thanks to baseball, I saw a good bit of Mythankfulboy.  Saturday his team had the great opportunity to play (and win!) at a minor league baseball stadium on a stunning blue-sky kinda day.  Turns out it may have been more exciting for the parents than the kids because B said, from the players’ perspective, it was just like playing at any nice field, while the parents were sitting in the stands, getting ballpark hotdogs, and listening to the announcer saying our kids’ names.  Either way, I’m glad he had the opportunity.  The next day was a rainy cold home game and a loss.  He seemed glad to head back to our house after the second game to do some studying, with today being the first day of finals week.

At the chalice lighting, he asked an interesting question.  We were talking about acne (a teenager’s nemesis), and he said he’d had clear skin for a few weeks and now not so much.  I said those changes can happen because of stress, a change in what you’re eating, sweat, touching your face too much, etc.  He said, “I don’t think I’m stressed.  Can you be stressed without knowing it?”  He said he felt prepared for his finals, even a little “pumped”, but that maybe that was its own kind of stress.  I said, excitement is its own brand of stress, especially when paired with the unknown, and that you can feel stress in your body without your mind really registering it.  He said, “Hmmm”.

He asked for what I was thankful, and I said I was thankful for having the time and materials and tools I needed to change the chain on a pendant that I bought that I loved, but the chain had been too small.  I said it was rare that all the stars aligned that way.  He said he was glad.  He said he was thankful for playing well over the weekend, and for feeling ready to head into finals week.

I have to add, because I have such a strong picture of him in my head, that we did our “chalice lighting” (sans chalice) with me seated on the couch and him in the red chair, both with our feet up.  On this cool summer day, I was snuggled under a blanket, and he was wearing sweats and a hoodie with the hood up, with barefeet on the ottoman next to his ever-present baseball glove.  How I love Mythankfulboy.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Driving lesson

Lots ‘o baseball this weekend – a tournament with a couple of close games that Mythankfulboy’s team won in the end, resulting in a big team trophy and medals for each player.  I feel blessed to have my son on a team that does well and is full of nice kids with lovely parents.

On a rainy Memorial Day B and I drove a distance to a store that turns old cameras into functional lamps (oddly specific, I know) because we never seem to have a day to make it happen, and he wants to transform one of his grandfather’s cameras into something his dad can use for Father’s Day or a birthday.  We started out at Waffle House, but it was too busy, so we tried a brew pub that was closed, and then we ended up at a deli that was fantastic.  We parked right in front of the store we wanted to visit (unheard of) but it turns out they’re closed on Mondays (that explains it).  So, we visited an awesome second-hand store and then headed home.   On the way home, over a small mountain, we took a turn on a road we didn’t know to see if we could find the top of the mountain.  We did, and the view is probably amazing when there are no leaves on the trees or from the observatory we didn’t know was there (closed for Memorial Day.)  Over the mountain towards home and going through a college campus, B said, “Can I drive your car?” and before I could answer, he said, “No.  No.  Nevermind.  Forget it.”  I didn’t say anything but I pulled into a big empty parking lot and stopped, put on the emergency brake and smiled at him.   He smiled nervously and said, “Really?”  I said, “Absolutely.”  So, we switched places and he tooled us around the parking lot, trying left turns and right turns and even parallel parking along an empty curb.  He was good at it, for which he credits video games, although he’s driven a golf cart at his Grandaddy’s for years, which probably also helped.  He said his dad also let him drive his 4-wheel drive up a family mountain path, which surprised me given the need to use the 4-wheel drive to make it up, but hey – everything turned out fine.

B tried to scare up a something to do with a friend in the afternoon, but nothing panned out, so we stayed home.  I threw my back out doing laundry (sigh), so things got even quieter around our house.  After dinner, B made snickerdoodles and then went for a short run while I alternated sitting and standing, heat and cold.  Ah, the young and the old.

At the chalice lighting B asked for what I was thankful.  I said I was thankful for a day where we didn’t have any obligations, finding a new deli, a new phone case with a built- in backup battery bought at a cool second-hand store for less than ten dollars, and a weekend spent with him.   He said he was thankful for a fun weekend, for lots of baseball and playing well, and for snickerdoodles.  I said something about his first driving lesson, and he said, “What?  You didn’t teach me anything – I knew what I was doing.”  I said, “Oh, so when I told you to use your right foot for everything (not one foot on the gas and one on the brake), and when I told you to edge out just a little farther turning right than left, and when I told you to turn the wheel hard and slowly get close to the curb before turning the wheel back for parallel parking – that was all ‘on your own’?”  He chuckled.  “Okay, mostly on my own.”   My goodness I’m fond of this kid, and so thankful for time with him before he gets that license he’s thinking about…

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Living a life of gratitude

Yesterday afternoon the planets aligned. I was home early enough to pick Mythankfulboy up from school, there was no baseball, and it was a nice day. We went to the gym, he mowed and weed-whacked his batting cage and beyond, and I repaired his L screen (the screen from behind which someone can pitch balls to you), weaving it back together with rope. We got creative with leftovers for dinner, did a few chores, and both did some work on our computers.  It was chilly enough that I built a fire and sat in front of the woodstove to do my work.  Partway through the evening, B got news that his dad agreed to contribute to a new infielder’s glove, so he brought his laptop out to sit with me in front of the fire for help making the important decision about the glove’s color scheme (he always asks for my advice, but he always knows what he is going to choose before he asks, which makes me laugh).  Then for once, he got ready to head off to bed before me.

He stood over me and said, “So, I am thankful tonight that I’m getting a new glove, and I am thankful that you put my L-screen back together for me.”  He waited.

I said, “I’m thankful that you weed-whacked the whole yard, and that you’re living a life of gratitude”.  He reached down and picked up my hand and held it between his for a moment, the way a pastor might do for someone grieving.  We smiled at each other for that moment, and he said, “Me too.”

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Ceiling fans

I have had the pleasure of traveling this week to see a young man with whom I worked when he was an elementary school student.  I traveled to see him then, too, as a consultant to his academic and behavioral programming.  This young man has several great loves beyond his family and friends – he loves drumming, The Beatles (especially Ringo), a carousel at a local mall, the “announcer voice” (he likes to do it, but he also likes to watch it on shows like 60 Minutes), and ceiling fans.  His interest in fans over the years has derailed or threatened to derail many a visit to a local restaurant or store.   His mother even laughingly commented about it at dinner.  It had easily been 13 years since I’d seen her son and he didn’t remember me that I could tell, but I would have known him anywhere.  The added blessing is how dear his parents are to me.

On the bittersweet side, traveling for work means being away from Mythankfulboy.  He has had two baseball games this week in which he got to play a few innings and I missed both games for work.  Lucky for me, does not hold me to the standard I hold myself, so he was happy to tell me last night on the phone how his game had gone (they lost 10-0, he got to play shortstop for 2 innings – he made one play and made an error on the other, he got up to bat twice and struck out both times).  He asked how my day had been and I told him it was lovely.  We talked a little about logistics of the time remaining before I get home, and then I asked him for what he was thankful.

Without hesitation, he said he was thankful for ceiling fans.  I was flabbergasted.  First of all, although B once met the young man I came to see, B was only two years old at the time and does not recall the visit nor the people.  Secondly, we don’t have ceiling fans in our house because our ceilings are only 7-feet high, and we don’t want to risk removing the heads of our taller guests.  I turned to my host (the young man’s mother) and said that B had named ceiling fans as the thing for which he was thankful, and her mouth dropped open.   B waited on the line while she and I had a quick, shocked, exchange.  I realize, now, that I never asked him why he had said it.  I’ll do that when I get home.

B asked for what I was thankful, and I said I was thankful for how well-settled and happy the young man I visited was, for what a great home he has, and for time with him and with his family.  It is a precious thing to know people you like so much for as long as we’ve known each other, and to have the privilege of being a small part of their paths.  B said he was glad.  I asked if he was at his friend’s house, and he said yes, and that his friend was sitting in the room with him playing his guitar.  It’s also a blessing for your 15-year old to have friends he can stay with when you have to be gone, and in front of whom he is comfortable doing this small but important bit of spiritual practice.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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