He’s been waiting all day. What he wants is a few minutes to browse with me on the world wide interweb.
“You know, Mom, on that site that has all the power rangers stuff, what’s that site called again, Mom? Oh, right. Amazon”
We arrive home after a post-school grocery shop stop. He helps me unload the bags from the car.
“After this, Mom, we can get on the internet and see those power rangers.”
I remind him that homework time happens before we can get on the computer. He says he remembers that and gets busy with his spelling sheet and a dot-to-dot of Clifford the Big Red Dog. I unload groceries, chat with Emma, re-pot a houseplant, and arrange the lilies we purchased at Trader Joe’s. He finishes his work and stacks his papers.
“I’m ready when you are, Mom. I’m ready when you are”
He walks to the stairs and stands sentinel at the bottom step, then gestures grandly with his right hand—sweeping it gallantly to the side and upward as if presenting the staircase itself at a gala event.
We climb the steps, then he, positioned on my bed, coaches me on the best way to open my laptop and put in the search words that will open his world, nay, galaxy, to all things power rangers.
He’s shopping for the ultimate prize, you know. The one that he will earn by achieving 10 days in a row of what he calls “fantastic” days at school. It’s a rhythm we’ve created, his team and I, to motivate and inspire this boy to find his way in making the most of his school days. In that small gap between working hard and melting down, an incentive like this keeps him focused. Eyes on the prize, as it were.
“Type in Power Rangers Rescue Megazord, Mom. That’s the best one, I think.”
I do. We find out that the toys from this particular (vintage) incarnation of the Power Rangers series that he loves to watch on Netflix are being sold at collector’s item prices.
“What does that mean, Mom? What is collector’s item?”
I explain how sometimes grown-ups like to collect kid toys and keep them in the boxes and then sell them much later when they can’t be found in the shops. That way the collector can sell the toys for lots of money.
“Oh. That’s why they are so expensive. Why don’t they just take them out of the box and give them to kids to play with the toys?”
I pass on explaining the economics and eccentricity of collecting and we keep looking at what is available on Amazon. In the Power Rangers section, anyway. He’s rolling over the hiccup of a $600 Megazord and continues to be enthused about what else is on offer–within my budget–on this great big shopping site.
After all, he’s been waiting all day.
I am the mother of three children. It’s a point of pride for me, my parenthood. I laud it as the hardest job I’ll ever have, yet fulfilling in its own peculiar ways. And fun, most times. But hard. Did I mention that parenting is hard?
My children are now 18, 16, and 8.8 years old. So, if you’re doing the maths that makes me 42.8 years worth of wise as I learn the art of parenting. Perhaps by the time I am 100 years parenting wise, I’ll be pretty good at it.
As you might imagine, raising two independent teenagers and one ultimately special guy, we have some great family moments and very funny stories to share. And some poignant, heart-moving experiences that we hold close. That’s family life, right? We are a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and sensations; keep turning us ’round and you keep making vibrant images of light and color. There’s always a story to tell in this house. This is one.
16-year-old Emma took her drivers permit exam yesterday. And she passed. (Yay, Emma!). After our 2 hours of waiting fun at the Motor Vehicle Division we walked out to the car together, she a little giddy at holding a freshly pressed permit, and me a little proud that she’d knocked it out of the park with the test. We drove out of the parking lot and then, a few minutes later, I pulled over on a side street and swapped her places in the car. She sat in the driver’s seat and adjusted her seat and mirrors. Anxious, giggly, with a tint of additional emotion, Emma pulled onto the road and drove. It wasn’t necessarily her first time at the wheel but it was the first time to be ultimately responsible for both the car and the journey.
My baby girl established her presence in the driver’s seat. And though the road is long, she’s on her way.
I couldn’t be prouder.
Six-year old Andrew and I stepped into the hearth room at the church. The place was fully buzzing with movement, noise, activity, and voices. This was the day we’d been talking about together for almost a month. The day that we could help make some food (sack lunches) for the kitchen of the Salvation Army. Or, as Andrew put it “today’s the day we make food for the friends who don’t have enough”. I wasn’t sure at first that the hubbub would be the best situation for him. Most often, a room full of loud voices and multiple bodies in close proximity throws Andrew. He finds himself highly stressed and uncomfortable; overstimulated to be exact. The result of such a push past his boundaries is never easy to predict or manage. But he seemed determined, so we joined the fray.
As I helped him pull oversized blue latex gloves onto his small hands, the glove tips extending past his fingertips by four inches, I asked him gently “are you ready for this?”
“Oh, yeah”, He said, “this is the best day of my life!”
Then, hand in blue gloved hand we stepped up together. We had things to do, people to help, peanut butter sandwiches to make. Side by side, he and I worked together for the next 30 minutes, bagging sandwiches and laughing up a storm. He said “go team Mom” and I said “go team Andrew” then, soon enough, the work was done. I told him he’d done a great job, I told him I was really proud of him, I told him he was a good kid, I told him I thought the friends would be really happy with their food.
He told me “those friends are gonna like their sandwich.” And then he asked “can we do that again tomorrow?”
We call it family poverty season.
It has already begun. We are officially in the throes of the altogether-too-many-celebrations-in-too-little-time season for our little family unit. I shall mention them by name , in list form. Because I like lists.
1. Nov. 14–Don’s birthday
2. Nov. 20–Emma’s birthday
3. Nov. 21–Don’s & Jenn’s wedding anniversary
4. Dec. 5–Sinterklaas or Pakjesavond
5. Dec. 10–Ian’s birthday
6. Dec. 25–Christmas
That’s right. 6 weeks, 6 major celebrations. And we do our best to do ’em up properly. ‘Tis the season to celebrate the lightening of our wallets and the broadening of our bellies. Because, with three birthdays, an anniversary and two seasonal celebrations, that’s a lot of presents, and a lot of cake. Happy memories, every one.
I think we need a song for this.
Belly full of food:
bangers, mash, and autumn beer
It’s the first day of November.
Around here that means two things. The first, once written, may cause you to shake your head in disbelief, but trust me when I say to you, this is how it’s going to be. I’m going to be here all month. All month, my friends and readers. Ill say it again because it just feels that good.
I’m going to be here all month.
Yes, it’s that time of year again. The month that traditionally the gauntlet is thrown for lazy and vigilant bloggers alike to put a little something up on their pages Every. Dang. Day. You can call it NaBloPoMo and as point of fact you should, as tha is the name of the fun. National Blog Posting Month began as a November operation and though it has expanded some to accomodate those crazies bloggers who want to try it all the time, November remains the month of tradition. And so it shall be here. I’ve done it before. I’ll do it again.
SPEAKING OF TRADITION
Here’s thing two.
November is the month wherein this family attempts to look at the big and little things to be thankful for. And not just on that wonderful day of gluttony but in all the days preceeding it. And, because we have a kindergartener in the house we like to do that with a little visual fun as we exercise our thankful minds.
The way it plays out is like this.
There’s a turkey, see, and he’s got no feathers on his backside. His picture hangs on the wall next to an (as of this moment) empty paper. Next to that is a bag full of feathers (this year we’re using paper feathers, but if you were really motivated you could grab a bag of craft feathers at your local craft store). The action goes something like this:
1. Consider carefully the things [read as: nouns] for which you feel thankful.
2. Write something down on the sheet (can’t stay empty for long).
3. Add a feather to Turkey’s derriere.
4. Feel awful darn good about life because you’ve stopped to notice its goodness.
5. Do it all again tomorrow.
By Thanksgiving Day, Turkey ought to be looking proud as a peacock with all his bling in the back. And everyone ought to be feeling ultimately grateful for what we’ve got.
Because in the end, that’s a lot.
13-year old Emma and I were engaged in deep conversation about her middle school classes and curriculum. The two of us sat at the table on the screened in porch discussing a change in her class schedule which at first glance was causing her a bit of angst and worry. As we chased together what it all meant (and as I tried to read not altogether too much into the drama of the moment) I asked her if she might like to have a tutor in the subject.
“No,” she said, “I don’t need a tutor”
Six-year old Andrew interrupted, enthusiastically “Hey, remember I had a tutor!”
“You had a tutor? When did you have a tutor?” I questioned.
“Remember, remember? I had a tutor and it farts!”
“It farts?” I asked incredulously “You had a tutor that farts?” I choked back my laughter.
“Yah. Yah. Remember? At Holland I got a present? A tutor that farts. Remember?”
“I don’t remember, baby. What present? What tutor? What are you talking about?” I wiped my giggle tears from both eyes.
Andrew began to demonstrate, gesturing wildly. “Yah! I got a present at Holland and remember I opened it and it was a tutor, then you go like this” He pantomimed putting something under his bottom and sitting down hard.
Light bulb recognition went off immediately. I looked at Emma who held her head in her hands, a slight, wry smile upon her face. “He’s talking about a whoopie cushion”, she deadpanned.
“A TOOTER?” I asked Andrew “Is that what you meana tooter? Are you talking about the whoopee cushion that Kate gave you?”
“Yah!!” He shouted, then giggled at me for finally getting it. ” Remember I had a tooter and it farts”
The conversation ended in fits of giggles and guffaws. I still can’t get over it. For her part, Emma never thought it was all that funny. It just goes to show that the fart joker in me is just never, never, never going to grow up.