I do not want what I haven’t got

July 27, 2009 at 2:02 am (Uncategorized)

Well, sometimes I do, but not right now.

Father Jerry’s homily today was about knowing the difference between what you want and what you need, and being thankful for what you get. It was very a propos for me today, although maybe it would be every day.

At the funeral yesterday, the young widow stood before the congregation and told us that what she and her husband had felt primarily for the past ten months as he battled cancer was deep gratitude: for their family and friends, for their co-workers and bosses, and most of all for their daughter. They were grateful that he got to see her take her first steps, and say her first words, and that he was there for her first birthday.

I sat with the choir and listened to the bravery and faith and love of this astonishing woman and thought to myself, “am I learning something? I should really be learning something.”

I think maybe I am.

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Too human…

July 24, 2009 at 3:33 am (Uncategorized)

This has been such a golden summer, and I’ve really been doing a little better at one of my perennial goals, which is to live more in the moment.  The kids are so spectacular (I’m sorry to be one of those parents, but they really are, they’re just so great) and I love to spend these long summer days with them, blowing where the wind takes us.

I feel so grateful for…for all of this…this beautiful beautiful life…and I’m almost content.

But I’m so greedy too.  There’s a funeral day after tomorrow for a 38-year-old guy who’s leaving behind a wife and a one-year-old daughter.  And I’m so sad for both of them.  

And in the same breath that I think, “thank you,” I also ask, “Please can I have some more?  Like a lot more?  Pretty please?”

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Independence Day

July 23, 2009 at 3:04 pm (Uncategorized)

No, not that one…

Henry wants to play the violin. Which, in theory, ewwww, but in actuality, WOO-HOO!!! Here’s the backstory.

His big sister has a big personality. Riley is always the boss. If she wants to play fairies, they play fairies. If she wants to play freeze tag, they play freeze tag. If he wants to play superheroes, she’ll read a book.

So we were picking RIley up from her piano lesson, and Riley commented that Henry could start to take lessons this fall. And Henry said, “No, I want to play the violin.”

“Really?”  we asked.  “The violin?”  “Yes,” Henry said very seriously.  “When can I start?”

When I told my mom about Henry’s declaration of independence, she laughed and said it was his jelly moment.  She tells this story about my brother and sister who are just over a year apart in age.  The way she tells it,  my sister didn’t really realize she was a separate person from our older brother.  If he wanted to play superheroes, they played superheroes.  If he wanted to play hide and seek, they played hide and seek.  If she wanted to play Barbies, he read a book.

Until one day at lunch, Mom asked what they wanted, and Adam said, “Peanut butter.  We don’t like jelly.”  Except that Maris piped up, “I like jelly!”  And that was that.

So…the violin.

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Peace be with you

July 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm (Uncategorized)

Two Jehovah’s Witnesses came by just now. The three kids and I went to the door and the older gentlemen asked if he could give me a magazine with an article about finding peace. Well, who doesn’t want peace? So I said yes. Then he asked if he could share a bible passage with me, and since a little bible never hurt me, I said yes to that too. This is the passage he shared. It’s from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, vs 6-7:

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.

Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Well, that sounded pretty good too, so I thought I’d pass it along.

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Standing up for what you believe

July 15, 2009 at 4:58 pm (Uncategorized)

We’re just back from a fore-shortened (word? care?) trip to the playground. The reason for our hasty retreat? There were a couple of kids chucking a Hot Wheels car around while their moms gabbed in the corner. At first, I thought the moms must not have realized that the boys were throwing a metal object with all of their might, but when the makeshift missile flew across the entire length of the playground and landed at the feet of one, and she picked it up and handed it back to the perp, I realized my mistake. And I was stunned into silence.

I do think there is something, actually a lot, to be said for turning the other cheek, but when the cheek is that of my not-quite-two-year-old, I’m not sure that discretion actually IS the better part of valor. (Who said that anyway? Shakespeare, I imagine. Sounds like him. So now you’ve gotten Jesus and Will in one paragraph. How like me) And now I’m stewing for not having said anything. It’s true that nobody got hurt, but somebody might have, and if it had been said toddler, I would have blown my top. So yeah, I played that all wrong. Shoot.

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True Confessions

July 8, 2009 at 1:50 am (Uncategorized)

I’m a little wary about sending this out into the ether, but I’m going to do it anyway. Are you ready for it? You should maybe sit down.

In the same day, I missed my son’s parade and taught my daughter to lie.

In fact, the two events were, as you might have already suspected, related. As we walked up to the school and it became apparent that we had, indeed, missed the parade, I tightly said to my daughter, “You will NOT mention that we missed the parade.” As Henry came running over, I threw my arms around him and said, “Sweetheart, you were wonderful!” He grinned, but then looked a little worried and said, “Mommy, I didn’t see you.” To which I responded, “Well, there were a lot of other mommies…maybe you just missed us.”

At this point, Riley, who is, as we all admit, a pretty smart cookie, chimes in, congratulating Henry, talking about the parade, in fact elaborating on it to such an extent that I figured Henry, also a smart cookie, would catch on.

But he didn’t. He was fine. He was so pleased with himself that he essentially re-created the parade with his school-made hat, shirt and noisemaker all the way home. Which made me feel a little better, but not totally.

Henry with my mom, who also missed the parade, as did my dad and my two daughters.

Henry with my mom, who also missed the parade, as did my dad and my two daughters.

So not my proudest parenting moment. But I did follow up.

A little later in the day I felt compelled to talk to Riley about what we’d done, about what I’d forced her to do. At the tender age of six she learned the phrase “white lie.” I explained to her that Henry would have been devastated, absolutely gutted if we had missed the parade, and that by pretending we hadn’t missed it, we saved him from having to bear the burden of our (my, or maybe my husband’s [but that’s another post]) screw-up in missing it. She totally got it. She’s so empathetic, it made perfect sense to her. Maybe when she turns out to be a chronic liar this episode will come back to haunt me, but I kind of doubt it. With apologies to Mr. Lincoln, I just don’t think honesty is always the best policy.

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Bad

July 7, 2009 at 2:06 pm (Uncategorized)

Okay, I’m going to admit that I felt shocked the day that Michael Jackson (what’s this MJ nonsense? I thought that was Michael Jordan, anyway…) died. I felt sad for him. Such a huge talent, such a troubled (and possibly much worse) man. Also, and this is selfish, I felt old. He was probably the biggest star of my youth, and he’s dead. Man, fifty just doesn’t seem that old anymore.

But.

Enough already. Let his family, the ones with actual reason to, grieve his death in private. The public isn’t grieving – it’s being entertained. It’s incredibly disturbing, if not surprising, that his death is being sensationalized in the same way that his life was.

Secondly, there’s been some sort of Michael Jackson-related headline in the newspaper every day since he died, or at least it feels that way. Let me tell you some of the things hidden on the inside pages today: bomb in the Philippines, ethnic violence in China, worst day of fighting in a year in Afghanistan…you see my point here? And I’m not a television news-watcher…I suspect the disparity is even more obvious there.

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