Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Back in the days when I was teaching elementary school, my principal asked all of us at a staff meeting, "What are you?" Most of answered, "Teachers."
"No," she said, "that is what you do, what are you?"
Years later, I still ask myself, "What am I?"
A mother?
Without all those relationships, what am I?
What is the big picture? Why am I here? How will this universe be changed because I have lived?
When all is said and done, I think I'm going to go with my first answer, a teacher. And as any good teacher will tell you, we teach what we most need to learn.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

My son has a communication disorder, several actually, and he continually reminds me how our English language is so confusing.
"Tell me about the bell," he asked from the backseat of the car yesterday.
"The bell?"
"The bell you won't ring."
"You said you weren't going to ring a bell."
"Ahhhhh! I said, 'That doesn't ring a bell.' That means it is not sounding familiar. I am not remembering that."
"Well, I'm not going to ring that bell, either!" he shouted. We're both confused, but at least we have each other.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Got anyone in your life that likes to spew their yuck all over you? Know anyone that only relieves their own angst by vomiting it on to someone else? Me too. Problem is, this "someone" is my mother. One hundred percent of all interactions with her include a spew. She is upset with someone, usually a relative, and I need to know about this. She has been victimized, and I need to know about this. Something is wrong with her home/car/yard, and I need to know about this. Not only do I need to know about this, I need to fix it, ASAP. She then skips on to the weather, and before I can tell her one single thing about me, she is all done. Her attention span has been spent talking, there is nothing left for listening.
"You never have time to come by and just visit," she decries, "You are always in a hurry to get somewhere else!"
"Bingo," I think to myself, but do not bother to speak.
Today the phone rang, I had the hairdryer on and didn't hear it. When I saw that she had called, I immediately returned the phone call.
"Sorry, Mom, I had the hairdryer on and didn't hear the phone."
"Oh," she says, dejectedly. She has been victimized again, by a hairdryer.
"Are you going to call your brother?" she asks?
"No, why would I?" I reply, snottily, easily reverting to teenage behavior.
She then proceeds to tell me all the reasons why I should call, and like a glutton for punishment, I continue to offer solid reasons why I won't be calling.
Finally I say, "Is there any other reason you called Mom? Anything else I've failed to do that you need to tell me about?"
"No, that's it," she says, hurt.
I am glad she is hurt. The hurt is ineffective, though, this I know. Tomorrow we will have this same conversation, disguised as a new one.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I found a great website, They are a great source of quotes, and have awesome t-shirts that say "love." Think about it; love. What more needs to be said? I ordered a t-shirt for myself, my preferred spouse, and her husband. They, in turn, ordered one for our priest. I offered to order one for my husband, but he said, "I just want one that says '.'"
As I wear my t-shirt, I have interesting interactions with people. Often, I forget I am wearing the shirt, and when I take it off, I make the connection between the shirt and the day I've just had.
My P.S's husband wore his shirt on an international flight. The woman sitting next to him said, "Now tell me, what kind of man wears a love period t-shirt?" They then had a heavy, deep and real conversation all the way to Germany. Love will do that.
There is a young man with Downs Syndrome that works at "my" Safeway. He is full of love. He is difficult to understand, but fortunately, my second language is unintelligible. Plus, how many words need be exchanged for two people to know they are grooving on one another?
He sees me when I come in the store, and shouts to come find him when I'm ready to check out. He helps bag my groceries, carefully arranging them in my cart, just so. He points to his good work, I cheer. He then announces he is helping me to my car. Together we unload the groceries, again I cheer his placement in the car, and then we hug. He is at least a foot and a half shorter than me, but the hug is not the least bit inappropriate. He then tells me he loves me, and to say hi to the kids. Always.
He may not be "smart" in standard terms, but he knows a lot about love, and that trumps intelligence in my book.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm hard at work writing my memoir. Wow, my life has had some low points, no wonder I've avoided therapy and writing up until now. Who wants to live those points twice? I'll skip all the psycho babble and just tell you that every single man in my life has abandoned me, and most of them, pretty dramatically and/or violently. I am 43 years old and have been with my husband for 20 years. I just figured this out. Hmmm... might have been easier these last 20 years had I identified that little fact a tad earlier.
I cornered my husband in the kitchen today and told him he needs to promise not to leave me. He needs to promise he'll kill me, before he leaves me. He laughed, promised, and even offered a pinky swear.
I've got a good husband. I'm glad I've figured that out. Better late than never.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I just discovered that for a $1.25 I can have a cup of good coffee AND free internet! What could be better?! Best yet, the coffee is available from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM (my prime hours of caffeination), and it's on the honor system. Since I'm getting free internet, I'll give this free plug for Sisters Coffee Company in Sisters, Oregon. If you can get over the animal pelts and antlers on the walls, you'll be glad you came here!
Anyway, as I was saying, the best thing about this place is the honor system. That implies, to me anyway, that the people that come here are honorable. How refreshing. I'd like to think I'm honorable too. I would like to see more places get back to this system.
I'm going to conduct a little test, just to see if the honor is deserved around here. I am going to get up, walk away from my laptop (a.k.a. my lifeline), leave my purse in plain view, and go get more cream in my coffee. Here I go...
I'm back! Nobody stole from me, OR the honor coffee bar, as far as I can tell. I think I have died and gone to heaven.
I heard the best line while flipping through daytime TV yesterday. Some wife kept telling her husband he needed to grow up, and he complained that she was "harshing his mellow." Isn't that the best? God, if only I could get everyone to quit harshing my mellow, I'd be so, well, mellow! I'm not uptight and neurotic, everyone just keeps harshing my mellow! Nothing is my fault! I cannot believe I've lived this long without discovering this before! I feel liberated, and I owe it all to daytime TV.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A friend sent me an e-mail forward, "If you were a girl in the 70's..." It had all sorts of nostalgic pictures, that if I were a bit more technically savy I'd be able to link to this, but I am not, so I won't. Donny and Marie dolls, "Fantasy Island", "The Love Boat", "The Muppets", Dr. Scholls sandals, etc. I was a girl in the 70's, definitely, but I often forget how long ago that was. I don't feel old, but I must be, because I now have friends I've had for over thirty years. Only old people have friends for that long.
I graduated from high school 25 years ago! Shit! I had no idea it had been that long, until I was forced to do the math. High school was only four years in actual duration, but there is some residual mire of which I'm not sure I'm over. How long does each teenage year take to recover? I'm thinking it's at least a 5:1 ratio. If you are a teenager for six years, six times five is thirty, nineteen plus thirty takes me to 49. OK, I'm feeling better. I've got six years left, and since I always like to come in ahead of schedule, I may even pull off this whole growing up and moving on thing, sooner than you think.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

As my husband prepared to leave me for the second consecutive eight-hour-day with two non-medicated, multi-diagnosed children, I mentioned I was not feeling well, my stomach was upset, I felt feverish.
This man with whom I've been with for twenty years, this man that has sat through 1,000,000 doctor appointments listening to the "problems" our kids have, this man that heard me list, ad nauseum, all the things Rojo destroyed yesterday in a ten minute span, this man looked at me and said, "Why don't you just take a nap?"
Murder or divorce? Hmmm, I think I'll flip a coin.
I just want to take this opportunity to publicly thank the helpful soul that e-mailed me with the suggestion to "Just make Rojo poop in the toilet." Wow! I can't believe I never thought of that! Let me sign you right up for Mensa!
Let me tell you a little bit about the last time I tried to exert my power over Rojo's. I told him "No more Pull-Ups. If you need to poop, you'll do it in the toilet like everyone else." He then withheld for three days, didn't eat, didn't drink and didn't sleep. After resorting to one single tiny laxative pill, he began projectile vomiting and uncontrollable diarrhea. He was rushed, by ambulance, to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Emanuel Children's Hospital. He was hooked up to every tube there is. He and I spent 24 hours there, forever scarred by the experience.
But, don't let that stop you! Please! Those of you with typical kids, keep those great ideas comin'!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Rojo has gained less than five pounds in five years. He is not skinny, he is emaciated. We have been taking "drug holidays" with him so that he'll eat more and we hope, gain some weight. He does indeed eat more, but then he just poops more, and since he will only poop in a Pull-Up, I am spending the day chasing a hyper-active almost 10-year-old and wiping lots of poop off his bum.
One thing his meds help him with is impulse control. He has zero. This was actually why we put him on meds in the first place, the doctor told us he was very likely to run in front of a moving car and be killed. We knew he was right. Unmedicated he is still likely to run in front of a moving car, except I child lock all the doors when he's sans meds now.
I took him to Safeway and Trader Joe's today, he was almost run down by a grocery cart at least ten times. He has no sense of other people's personal space, no sense of what may be around a corner, no sense of stranger danger.
He spoke to each and every person at both stores. I know for some, he made their day. He grabbed the barbeque chips at Trader Joe's as soon as they were scanned, kissed the bag pasionately, and exclaimed, "Oh, chips, you are like a son to me." He is particularly good at noticing the ones nobody else notices. The obese, the infirm, the elderly, these are his favorites. It was darling when he actually was a toddler, now he isn't, and I still need to interpret everything he says to people. I still need to hold his hand, and still need to read others for signs that they want him to shut the hell up. He cannot read these signs for himself, and they do not understand. Even those that are amused, are left puzzled. Sometimes I wish he had "something" that was easily recognized like Down's Syndrome. There is no neat and tidy way to sum up Rojo, other than he is one of a kind. Even in his world of special educators I am always told, "I've never had a kid like Rojo before." Uniqueness is great, to a point, and then it becomes an albatross.
Finally home, exhausted from the heightened security and human sensitivities, I told him to go watch a show so I could unload the groceries and put them away. In the time it took me to do just that, ten minutes, fifteen max, he had managed to uncap every cap in the house. We now have glue sticks, chapstick and some nasty smelling Icy Hot oozing all over the carpets. He opened an entire box of band-aids, their sticky backs scattered to heck and gone. He found the paper cutter and shredded all the important papers on my desk, then grabbed the adjacent scissors and gave himself a haircut. He drained the new (huge) liquid Tide by opening the spout and walking away. He decided to make his own special blend of cinnamon sugar, leaving grit on every surface in the kitchen. He can't help it. He cannot control his impulses. It is all I can do to control mine.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I introduced my friend, Kathleen, to three women the other night, as my "preferred spouse." They looked at me like I had two heads, God, do I wish! I realized the need to further explain this concept.
A preferred spouse is....
  • the one that knows every thought that runs through your head, and doesn't ever tell you to shut up, or that you are crazy
  • the one that loves your kids as much as you do, and sometimes more
  • the one that reminds you when you're about to make a dreadful mistake, that the last time you did that, you made them swear not to let you do it again
  • the one that thinks you're hilarious, brilliant and fabulous, always, they are never critical (a.k.a. realistic)
  • the one that you run all your ideas by before implementing them
  • the one that has your best interest at heart, always, there is nothing in it for them
  • the one that thinks you're right in every argument with the real spouse
  • the one that loves your real spouse anyway, and always remembers their good points, even when you have totally forgotten them
  • the one with whom you'll never raise children, pay the bills or live with day after day, year after year, thus, never threatening their preferred spouse position
I don't know what to do with myself. I am lost, disoriented, and deeply troubled. For the last 27 years I've been a driver, and the passenger seat has been my portable office. Really important things go there; grocery lists, books to return to the library, unwatched DVDs that are overdue, etc. If I wanted to be sure to go/do/see something, I placed it in my "office".
NOW I have a twelve-year-old. She has waited impatiently to fit the weight/height/age criteria for sitting in the front seat. She made the age one first, and now she insists on front seat privileges.
Nothing's getting done around here now. I am lost. My sure-fire organizational system has been blown all to bits. Things on the floor of the backseat just don't have that same nagging effect I'm after. They tend to get stepped on and forgotten, not good.
The real fun will start when my son turns 12 and they fight for the front seat. I may have to go retro and get a bench seat, so we can all be one big unhappy family in the front.
In the meantime, I'm trying to change my ancient traditions, but it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, and this old dog is no exception.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Ten years ago next month, my father, Don Wilson, officially died. I believe it was suicide, but the doctors called it emphysema. He smoked and drank himself to death, but instead of dying in one fell swoop, it took him over 30 years. You might even call it a murder/suicide, in that he sucked the life out of many during his long and awful decline.

When a cat showed up on our porch and showed no signs of leaving, I joked that she, Sweetpea, was Don Wilson reincarnated. After the joke died, the utter belief set in. I never heard Rojo once call the cat Don Wilson, or Granddad. He never acknowledged that I believed the cat was more than a cat.

On Friday Sweetpea was hit by a car. My daughter and I both felt like my dad had died all over again. "It's like losing a grandparent!" she wailed through her tears. I told Rojo that Sweetpea had died, and he said, "I don't care."

The next day, thinking surely he didn't fathom the reality, I told him again that Sweetpea had died. Again he said, "I don't care."

Today, five days later, he asked my dear friend, Kathleen, that works with him once a week, "Who will be the next Don Wilson?" Oh my God! He did "get it", and he even gets reincarnation, apparently. Then he turned to Kathleen and said, "You will be the next Don Wilson." Who am I to tell him he's wrong? I just know that if he's right, I couldn't have made a better selection myself.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

  • How many kids said to their moms today, "When is kids' day?"
  • How many mothers answered, "Every day is kids' day."
  • Why does it seem that women with great childhoods often have trouble becoming pregnant, and women with ugly pasts often get pregnant easily? What does that mean?
  • How many "active" mothers spent today preparing a lovely day for "retired" mothers?
  • How many mothers would love nothing more than to spend the day without children?
  • How many mothers picked out their own gifts and/or paid for them?
  • How many people find this day painful, sad and/or poignant?
  • Reduce, Reuse Re-psycho
  • You are my mom 100%, now say yes to me 100%.
  • You are so precious to me, Mother, you're like a son to me.
  • I'm sitting in this freakin' chair, OK?
  • Keep that up and you'll find some stars by your name!
How God Chooses Mothers
Erma Bombeck
Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures, and a couple by habit. This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
"Armstrong, Beth: son; patron saint, Mathew.
"Forrest, Marjorie: daughter; patron saint, Cecelia.
Rudledge, Carrie; twins; patron saint... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."
Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."
"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But has she patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self pity and despair. "Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence. She'll have to teach the child to live in her world and that's not going to be easy."
"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."
God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just enough selfishness."
The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, there is a woman I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says "momma' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see - ignorance, cruelty, prejudice - and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is by my side."
"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid air.
God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."
Happy Mother's Day to ALL mothers.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Our porch was the place
All thought she must live,
Not with the neigbors
Where technically she did.
She spent all her days
And many an eve,
Right out our door
With seldom reprieve.
She had there a bed
Two bowls and attention,
She was petted and loved
from every direction.
Just down is the school
She timed her days well,
The comings and goings
Of each school bell.
The kids, parents and siblings
All stopped for a chat,
She sprawled on the sidewalk
Like she was their cat.
The whole street felt affinity
As she lay on their lawns,
They all knew her name
And now she is gone.
Right on the street
That felt sunny and warm,
She'd lie in the middle
Expecting no harm.
She behaved like she owned it
We knew to be watchful,
The street was hers
And now we all feel awful.
A newcomer thought
It was just any street
They didn't know it was special
And now we all weep.

Friday, May 12, 2006


With the divorce rate being 50%, and even higher for couples with a special needs child, I thought it appropriate to put together a little gossary of terms to help better the odds of surviving. When either partner is at a quandary, a quick point of reference should clear-up any confusion.
  • ABSTINANCE: 1) The most assured way of not becoming parents again. 2) A phase that may repeat itself with some regularity, and is not to be discussed, nor used against, either party.
  • BRIBERY: A perfectly legitimate method of parenting a child with special needs.
  • CONCENTRATE: Something you used to be able to do, prior to having children.
  • DEVIL: The one with whom you repeatedly offer deals.
  • EXERCISE: see "concentrate"

  • FUN: see "exercise"

  • GOD: The word proceeding "dammit".

  • HUMOR: The only thing that will pull you out, and keep you out, of the pits of despair.

  • IRRECONCILABLE: What 70% of all marital issues are, so get over it.

  • JEALOUSY: A perfectly understandable emotion evoked by seeing happy families enjoying an activity together.

  • KINKY: What your garden hose is, and you are not, as your garden hose has more energy in reserve for that kind of thing, than do you.

  • LUSH: What everyone who drinks daily is, except for you.

  • MURDER: What you're nearly driven to, day after day, week after week, year after year.

  • NEIGHBORS: The people that live right next door and have perfect children that aren't allowed to play with your children.

  • OBSCENE: What are likely to be your special child's first words.

  • POOP: That with which your life and spousal conversations revolve.

  • QUIET: That for which you'd kill to have.

  • RULES: Those things that other families have that don't apply to your kids.

  • SCAPEGOAT: The reason you stay married. This way nothing is ever your fault.

  • TIRED: No longer something you feel only first thing in the morning, but your standard operating condition.

  • UTILITARIAN: The word used to describe your wardrobe, car and home decor.

  • VIGILANTE: A mean word some school personnel use to describe you.

  • WACKED: see "vigilante"

  • X-BOX: What you'd happily run right out and buy for your child, if only said child would poop in the damn toilet.

  • YAWN: Your primary form of exercise.

  • Z's: What you used to get before you became the parent of a child with special needs.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Are You a Parent of a Child With Special Needs?


T or F:

485 Tootsie Rolls (Midgies, not regular-sized, that would be ridiculous) is not too many for a child to safely consume in a 4-day period.

T or F:

You can buy really big Pull-Ups, and Target will cut you the best deal.

T or F:

Going out to eat with the whole family is just a really nice way to relax and and have fun.

T or F:

You are on a first name basis with your local pharmacist, and have his/her home number posted by your phone.

T or F:

Meeting a yearly $1,000 individual health insurance deductible for your child, is entirely possible in a 30-day period.

T or F:

Some videos/DVDs just get better and better after the 100th viewing.

T or F:

It is impossible to discuss your child using any fewer than three acronyms.

T or F :

Everyone you knew before you were a parent, and everyone you have met since, falls into one of two categories, those who "get it", and those who don't.

T or F:

Tags inside of clothing are highly irritating, and must be removed and then mutilated, leaving itsy bitsy pieces of tag forming a trail from the kitchen scissors to the child.

T or F:

Your children have all kinds of fun, rewarding extra-curricular activities, in which they excel in all.

T or F:

You wouldn't change places with anyone, well... maybe not anyone.

Random Thoughts:

1) Someone commented Monday on my last name, Link, how that suited me
2) Just got an e-mail from another someone saying my first name, Carrie, Care-ie, suited me
3) "Out of the Blue" - blue is Mary's color, May is Mary's month, I'm going to a Women's Day of Recollection today on Mary: Her role in our lives today, something big with Mary is going on, she's friggin' everywhere
4) I'm "getting all religious" on you, but not really, just all spiritual, big difference
5) I'm under caffeinated, more later...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Correction: Mary is ubiquitous, she's friggin' everywhere!

P.S. Mary has quite a sense of humor and likes it when I say "friggin". This I know.
I went to my kids' Curriculum Night Thursday. We've been coming to these things for over seven years now. We know most everyone, some well, some really well, some just a little. I was just walking down the hall with Rojo, minding my own business, and one man that I don't really know except with which family he goes, got right in my face and said, "Have you ever thought of taking him off those drugs and fattening him up?"
"Excuse me?" I said.
"You know they're drugs. You're giving him drugs."
"Wow," I said, deciding to go the pacifist route.
"Yes, they are drugs and he just needs to get his chemistry all figured out and he'll be fine."
"It's really not possible to send him to school without them," I tried feebly to explain. "We've tried, it's impossible."
"Summer? What about the summer?" he implored.
"Are you going to pray for me?" I replied, trying for a lighter note.
"YES! I am going to pray for you and I'm going to really pray for him!"
"That would be great," I said.
What the hell else could I say? "I'm sorry, and this is your business because...."
I'm really trying to believe he was coming at me with genuine concern. Still, couldn't help but feel mighty judged.
It's 1:31 in the morning, and I am awake
Spent the day yesterday consuming coffee and cake
You'd think that by now I'd learn a thing or two
What things are the don'ts and what things are the dos
Problem is now the "problem" is working
Though at times it can be a trite irking
Now soon I'll be "up up" and faced once again
The dilema of what are my food foes and friends

Sunday, May 07, 2006

1. Don't take the kids
2. Don't take your huge pile of pictures of the kids, thinking this is finally your chance to sort and put them into albums
3. Don't take your videos of the kids thinking this is finally your time to convert them to DVDs
4. Don't take journals in which to chronicle your children's lives, thinking this is finally your time to tell all about their years on earth
5. Don't take your address book and calendar, planning to make the dentist, doctor, eye doctor and orthodontist appointments they need, now that you finally have time to make those appointments
6. Do not take all the school newsletters you think you now have time to read
7. Do not take their large accumulation of artwork and school work, to note and date before creating some sort of filing system for all their years on earth
8. Do not take all those non-fiction books about raising special children that you should be reading
9. Do not take a stack of stamps and a bunch of thank you notes thinking you'll finally get all those off your guilt list
10. Do not take a bra, hair dryer or make-up
11. Do take that great book you've been saving, the one you know will be great
12. Do take lots of good coffee, chocolate and popcorn
13. Do take your comfiest jammies and sweats
14. Do take a book of Sudoku or crossword puzzles
15. Do take a candle that smells great
16. Do take your favorite CDs, especially the ones that your spouse and/or kids hate
17. Do take your VISA card, you never know
18. Do take your time to sleep, breath, relax, you'll be back at it in no time

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Afoot:Forthcoming: brewing, happening, hatching, progressing
I'm telling you people, Mary is afoot! Yes, MARY, as in virgin. I know next to nothing about her, but I'm learning that she is a force to be reckoned with! Even if you balk at the whole blessed Mary, ever virgin thing. Even if you don't think Jesus is/was the messiah, you gotta admit, she was one tough mother. She was only thirteen, unmarried and pregnant. That alone would have been just cause for stoning her in those days. At such a young age, she raised such a special boy, one might even say the ultimate child with special needs. She gave her life over to His needs and she sacrificed Him so that his message would be heard. He came to teach, and she was one of His best pupils. She's my kinda lady, and she is afoot!
ROHO OF THE DAY... After morning prayer he said, "Amen dot c-o-m"

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


10. You never heard of Poole Crane and Schmidt
9. You don't care who Dr. McDreamy ends up with
8. You don't know that Tom and Lynette are working together now
7. You can't answer the question, "What about Brian?"
6. You have not ordered Season I of "Grey's Anatomy" on because you were late getting into that show, and now you're just sick about it
5. You are not making good use of the recordable technology available
4. You don't have an opinion on whether Julie is too homely to be the child of Susan and Carl
3. You aren't hoping the dog keeps getting sick, just so you can see more of that cute vet
2. You didn't know Candace Bergman got bangs and that Julie Bowen grew her hair


1. You don't laugh every time you hear, "Denny Crane"
I just bought a new address book. My last one is at least ten years old, ratty, and I have grown to hate the cover. The new one is bright and cheery, ready for anything. As I carefully choose which names will go into the new one, and which will be burned with the old, I am shocked my the emotions this process is stirring. Why do I feel so much shame as I read through the list? I have not done these people wrong, but how many of them truly need to be kept on record? How many do I really want to ever see or hear from again? What would be the point?
At Christmas time I thought about all the cards and letters we received. Over 150 people cared enough about us to send their greetings. I didn't learn a thing. It did not help me to connect to any of them. I was not brought along in their life journeys through their newsy reports. I joked with my friends that the reason we don't write a letter is that nobody would want to read it, it would be too depressing. The lesson I learned from all of this was that the people that really cared about our lives, knew all about our lives, and the ones that didn't, didn't. No judgment, I didn't know about many of their lives, nor care, either. There are just so many people with whom you can have intimate dealings.
So, as I pare down the address book, dramatically, I think to myself, "This book now accurately shows a list of those we love, and those that love us." I'm lucky there is enough to call a "book". There's no shame in that.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Today I went with my son's class on a field trip to OMSI, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. I was in charge of three boys, my son being one of them, and as all my faithful blog readers will recall, he counts as four, plus his friends, another "4" and a 1++. My friend, we'll just call her some generic name, like Susan, was with three girls. They are each 1-, they actually bring DOWN the class count because they are all so perfect and well-behaved. If the teacher walked out of the room my three would be the ones leaping on the tables and shouting, "Hey, everyone, the teacher left!" Her three girls would have their heads down, trying their best to ignore the trouble makers, all the while busy getting their work finished.
We arrived at 9:40 A.M. By 9:50 we'd covered every inch of the gigantic two-story building. We'd stopped for drinks and each used the restroom. As we blitzed past "Susan" and her three for the second time, they were quietly coloring, in exactly the same spot we'd last seen them. She began to laugh.
"It's funny watching you," she said, "you're like frantic. I'm all hmmmmm... this is a more fun than I'd be having at home."
"Oh, yea, this is hillarious! I'm obviously being punished for a past life. In my next incarnation I'm coming back as you."
"Driving over here I was just sipping my Starbucks, listening to my new CD, and gathering my thoughts, it was nice. How about you?"
"I had five kids in my car, each one was telling me something really important, in a really loud and repetitive way. I threw back 3 Advil on the way over, and I'm still nearly blinded by the pain of the headache they brought on."
The next two hours proceeded in much the same way. As we saw each exhibit for the tenth time, as my head constantly shot up in panic as one of my three made it out of my peripheral vision, as I massaged the spot on my head that was twisted in pain, I thought, "You know, this is my lot in life. It's what it is. I don't know any different. I am not, and never have been, the lady with the well-behaved children. And that's fine."
Actually, being the lady with the well-behaved children is going to have to wait a couple of lifetimes. I've already promised the next one to being a Broadway star with naturally red hair. I want a voice that will break glasses and a stage presence that leaves the audience in tears. I plan to be a child that raises the roof, calls her own shots and sets the world on fire. Guess I won't be the one you want to take to OMSI.
~ If moms are mothers, sons should be sonthers
~ The opposite of defense, is odd fence
~ Farting is fun and should be celebrated
~ When you want your way, shout, "End of the cussion!"
~ The expression is not, "The whole entire way," but rather, "The whole tired day."
~ Jesus drives a yellow Mini-Cooper and has red and blue hair
~ When you're exhausted, fall to the ground dramatically and announce, "My gas is
~ When you're at a loss for words, look at your mother with a huge smile and say,
"Your freaky eyes burn me like furniture," she won't know what to say to that.