Friday, October 25, 2013

Be Sure Your [Husband's] Sin Will Find You

Well, it happened.  I knew it would.  There's no running from the law. 

The problem is that it happened to me when it should have been him.

And it was on the main street where everyone could see - because that's the kind of luck I roll.

And it was a lady cop so pulling a big flirt out of my holster wasn't really an option.

As I climbed into the car that morning I actually thought: just go straight to work - you don't need a coffee.  But then I got to the end of the driveway and it turned out I did need a coffee and so, instead of turning left I turned right.  The lesson?   
Coffee = busted!

Everyone runs their household differently, splits responsibility differently, manages differently.  We are no exception.  And it just so happens that all things car-related fall under his umbrella - and it just so happens that our license plate tag expired in June - and it just so happens that he hasn't taken care of it yet - AND IT JUST SO HAPPENS THAT I'M THE ONE WHO GOT WRITTEN UP!!!!

***

She lumbers up to the side of my car and announces herself.  "West Grey Police." All staunch and stern.

"Morning," I say, pretending I can't see the lady leaning against the brick wall outside the hairdressers, nursing her travel mug and cigarette, enjoying the public shaming of the blond in the passat.

"I pulled you over this morning because your tag is expired."

"Oh," (take a millisecond to consider the 'my husband said he was taking care of that & I'm just too sweet and simple to be responsible for such a thing' route and deciding that this is a wear-the-pants-with-a-gun-attached kind of women standing at my window - not some cry-during-Tim-Horton's-commercials kind of softee - and I'm not all that sweet and simple anyway, so...) "Yeah."  Own it.  Like a boss.

"Can I get your license, registration and insurance please?"

 I dig them out and hand them over and she tells me she'll be back.  "Thank you," I say.  Like an idiot.

Twelve minutes.  And somehow hairdress-shop-lady manages to suck her cigarette back so slowly that she stands there for most of it.

"I'm citing you today for the tag..." And she goes on to explain the fifteen days and 'make sure you get that tag updated' and 'if you want to plead not guilty....'

Nope.  I'm absolutely guilty.  Signed, sealed, and delivered.

"You drive safe now," she says and if she'd tipped her hat it would have been perfect.

By this point I'm late for staff meeting so I text the boss man:
Me: I was pulled over in Durham & because I am such a criminal they've only just let me go...I'll be there as soon as I can. Sorry! :(
Him: Will u still be able to work with children?
Me: Not a chance 
***

I suppose I could get really upset.  I could kick and scream.  I could cry.  I could refuse to do laundry for the rest of eternity like a foot-stomping toddler...

But where would that get me?  Not very far and nowhere very happy. 

So life goes on and we'll pay the $105 fine and buy our new tag and keep on loving each other.

{All the while, in the secret recesses of my diabolical big-idea-dungeon, I will be building a wickedly sinful app that delivers a shock for every hour a husbands responsibility wanes...}

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You Are My 'Son'Shine

It startles me - to look at you as you are and remember how you were and how you tucked up so neat and small and warm beneath my breast.  Now, I hug you and my cheek is in your hair and your shoes are bigger than mine and I can't even believe that whisper of a mustache creeping in above your smile.


There is a brilliance about you that I work hard to keep shined.  Remember how scared I was when I first sent you off to school?  How frightened I was that your sweetness would welcome bullies?  Life has hardened you some - squared off the curved gentleness of your edges - but it shows it's face in moments of a momma's need because you're wise enough already to know when I need you to be soft, when I need that hug to last just a moment longer.  


I can't even begin to imagine where this world will take you...what you will do with your life...who you will become...but I can't wait to see!

[then & now]

I wish you wild dreams, great love, fearless joys, and endless success.  

Happy Birthday, Zander! I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be... The easiest thing about being your mother is loving you.  You have my heart.  Take it with you everywhere. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

He's Like The Wind

I'll take credit for his secret sweetness, for his witty repartee and piercing blue eyes - but athletics? That's all his daddy.  Seems that boy is good at anything he puts his mind and muscles to - cross country running being no exception.  He's waited desperately along the sidelines, itching to be old enough to slip his feet into flashy sneakers and take off at the beat of a starting pistol.  Second grade.  It's his time now.

When his big brother did it, watching tugged against my heart in a painful 'can I just take this cup from you?' kind of way.  He tried so hard and it was so so hard for him!  He was is awkward, uncoordinated and so pitifully like his non-athletic-prone mother that I feel I have to apologize for birthing such a fumbling off-spring (until I remind myself that he is an academic, an astute learner, an artist, a reader, an advocate for social justice - ah yes, I do have good things to instill).

Liam is streamlined and graceful and focused.  He bounces about the field like this is no big deal and there's no reason to be nervous and no, he doesn't have to stretch because he's been playing since he got there and what better warm up is there than play?


He takes off and I feel emotional for a whole different reason.  This isn't a 'that poor boy' moment, this is a 'holy crap - that kid came from me and he's tearing it up like a cheetah' moment. 


He's strong to the end and he finishes #28 out of 153 boys but all he cares about is that he gets a popsicle and we're going out for pizza.

(If he gets any cuter I'll have to lock him up.)

This child.  I could spend a lifetime trying to understand him.  All I know for certain is that I'm over-the-moon proud and I'll own that sin like a metal worn on my heart!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Easy Bake Oven!


I remember seeing it under the tree, turquoise giving a hyper nod to the evergreen needles that scattered the ground around it.  The perfect Christmas gift for a little girl.  


Even then I knew it was a thrifted find but all that mattered was that it worked, light-bulb buzzing magic onto a mini pan that puffed up a perfect little cake.  Joy to the world!  


It wasn't until today (in this, the week of Easy Bake's 50th birthday) that I realized I have owned a first edition oven for all this time.  It's not in perfect condition - there's a knob missing and some warping underneath - but the adorable coloring and vintage scars lend itself to serve as artwork in my home and who knows, maybe someday soon Noa and I will stick in a new light-bulb and see if those little cakes really are as good as I remember.






 Curious about the Easy Bake history? Check out this cool infographic from partselect.com:


Source: PartSelect.com

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Letter To A Bride

October 17, 1998
Take a moment and breathe.  Just breathe.  This is your last bit of childhood.  Wrap it up tight and seal it deep that you might never lose that romantic wonder.  May it forever be a part of you, no matter how grown up life demands you to be.  Look at yourself.  Drink in your youth.  Love the smooth planes of your face and the way the baby's breath looks a little wild in those long loose curls.  Laugh.  This is your day.  You will shine.  (And congrats on that center aisle, babe! You got your wish!)

When you slip into that dress, stop just long enough to soak in the history of your mother's own love story.  Remember that you are strong enough to wage any storm because you have learned strength from her.  You are wearing her armor today -  may it hold you like a promise.

Today isn't going to be perfect.  It's not going to be a flawless symphony.  There will be some flubs,  some improvisation, so just call it jazz and call it awesome!  Don't worry when the rings get forgotten or when the minister smashes two eggs together in a pickle jar.  Don't stress about what Aunt Carol will think about the Bon Jovi processional or that hubby-to-be hasn't booked a hotel yet.  None of it matters.  Just relax.  Enjoy it.  Kiss your new father-in-law because in thirteen years you won't be able to kiss him any more.


You are going to learn so much.  You are going to be stretched and broken and stitched back up again.  This is the hardest thing you're ever going to do.  But don't stop.  Don't.  Ever  Stop.  There will be a lot of 'for worse' but there will be even more 'for better's.  Be authentic.  Always.  Love radically.  Always.  Don't let it steal the essence of who you are - that's what he fell in love with in the first place.  Be honest.  Be patient.  For a while it will feel like you're moving to two different drummers but you've got to work passed that and see each other for who you are and what you need.  You will find a
rhythm. 

Fifteen years from now you're going to wake up beside a man who has held your heart for almost half your life and every laugh and tear you've shared will be etched lightly in the lines of both your faces like shared tattoos.  You will have changed a lot in all that time.  You will be stronger and wiser and sharper and braver.  You will feel less beautiful but he'll tell you that you're more.  You will feel frumpy and weary and wish for the body that wore that white dress and he still won't be able to keep his hands off you - don't ever take that for granted because that's a beautiful gift!  

You will have three babies and you'll think the world has been reduced to colic and diapers but trust me, it gets better.  So much better.  You're going to amaze yourself when you look at the beautiful little humans you create together.  

You're going to store all your memories of this day in a beat up cardboard suitcase.  You'll pull it out
every once in a while and look through those things; the invitations and the gift book and the feather pen that signed the register.  It will make you feel old.  It will make you feel proud.  Today is worth the memory!  Try to hang on to it.  Try to catch little moments.  Don't forget your first dance or how you ran around barefoot at the hall... 

But for right now, go.  The music is playing.  This is your cue.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  He's going to tear up a little bit when he first sees you and you know that's not like him, but don't worry - it's only because he can't believe how lucky he is.  You love him.  He loves you.  That's not going to stop and that's what matters when everything else is stripped away. 

Say 'I love you' every single day.  Try not to complain too wildly about his smelly feet.  Go for walks together and hold his hand.  Kiss him in the kitchen.  Don't stop loving.  Don't ever stop loving.

You're beautiful.  You're ready.  Your life awaits.

Love your future self.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In The Line Of Duty

Amy makes the best chicken wings; a fall off the bone, ooey, gooey, mess of a glory in your mouth. And, as friends do, she gave me her recipe.  And, as I am prone to do, I made my family dinner...

The smell permeates the house like we're all Charlies and this is our candy factory and there's that mix of the vinegar and sugar that's a little bit like magic.  I want to use some of the sauce to flavor the rice.  I've already added the stir-fried vegetables and some scrambled egg but it needs that special something.  What is the harm in ladling out a steaming brew from the bubbling stoneware?

I don't know what happens.  I don't know if I stumble or if the ladle hits the side of the dish or if the devil himself decides to erupt that pot like a molten volcano.  All I know is that sauce lashes at me like talons and my left sleeve is immediately and violently soaked and I rip that cardigan off me so fast I hear the seams tear. My blouse is seared against my arm and I peel it slowly, breathing like I'm in labor, then there I am, standing topless in my kitchen, arm tucked up under the cold water tap watching ugly redness move along my arm.

"It's not so bad...it's not so bad..." (Because if you tell yourself something enough times it will become your truth.)  And maybe it wasn't so bad.  There are three faint little blisters, surrounded in a spotty rash-like red.  Probably not scarred for life.

I pull on one of Scott's sweatshirts and clean the mess from the floor, the stove, the cabinet faces.  I leave the sleeve pushed up to let the burn breathe and to illicit a little sympathy when we all sit down at the table.

Nothing.

"Look," I finally say to him, holding out my arm like I'm showing off a prize.  "The sauce burned me."  ('I make such daunting, dangerous, daily sacrifices for this family.  Recognize me.  Hold me high and hold me dear because I am the best thing you got!  RECOGNIZE ME!')

"Oooo," he says, "That sucks!"

Sigh.

Later, the kids are in bed and I plop down on the couch and glance down at my arm...

GROSS!  These blisters are massive, jiggling around like a bouncy castle on my skin.  I am appalled.  And kind of fascinated.  And probably scarred for life.  I suppose I'm just balancing things out, spreading the ugly to two arms now - matching the burn from last years Christmas dinner that, incidentally, I cooked for Amy and her family.  Perhaps I should give up cooking all together?  Pursue that distant dream of a personal chef named Giles?  

But that might be rash.

And the chicken wings?  They were a fall off the bone, ooey, gooey, mess of a glory in my mouth - so at least I have that to comfort me in my recovery.


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