They're Just Words

May 30, 2014 by Rieshy

I just emerged from a puddle of reading entitled, The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green. Terminal illnesses and dying children.  My kids like to give me hand grenades masquerading as books because they love me.  Who did I relate to? Who else but Hazel's mother... And Augustus.  I too want a valiant quest filled life while living a day to day one.

I type now with that disjointed feeling of emerging from fiction to realize it's only 8 a.m.  At some point I'd thoughtlessly given permission for my youngest to play a video game on a weekday morning just so I could cry through the last chapters.

One of my favorite poems is Erlkoenig, by Geothe, because, well because I've been on that horse riding "geschwind"  with my child while trying to veballly prevent him from dying as we raced to the hospital..  And my son and I? We've defeated the Erlkoenig.  We've won.  Every time, every separate race..  Reading the words of the poem guts my heart for the fictitious father yet simultaneously fills it with a heady victory.

Words aren't medicine.  Words aren't cures.  But then again they are.

"In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

"I'd always associated belief in heaven with, frankly, a kind of intellectual disengagement.  But Gus wasn't dumb." Hazel- The Fault In Our Stars



Beware The Rental

May 21, 2014 by Rieshy

After 27 years and 3 teens we finally had a fender-bender in the family.  My van is at the body shop getting a manicure and I'm driving around town in a Nissan Pathfinder.  Before the rental I couldn't have pointed out a Nissan Pathfinder if it had rolled over my foot.

Who would think that a Pathfinder would handle better than a 12 passenger Ford Econoline 350?

Oh, everyone.

And they would be right.  I call my van a shoebox on wheels but I love my shoebox; it's dependable and large.  We will be driving it to Colorado with 7 kids this summer.  Did I say it's large?

...But the lure of the sleek and relatively small Pathfinder.  It's like a midlife affair.  My 8 year old son summed it up perfectly and completely honestly, "Mom, I like this car better because the van has become too familiar."


Flag Day

May 19, 2014 by Rieshy

I have a 6 year old that's in a state of "disequilibrium" which, for the uninitiated, means he's got a short fuse and a chip on his shoulder with blinking letters which read, "Unfair".  What's unfair, you ask?  The fact that my son's brain and body have gotten out of alignment in their growth spurts and he suddenly realizes that he is not master of his own domain.... or any other domain... anywhere.  Sometimes it's hard to be six, especially if you have older siblings whom you incorrectly assume have it all together- after all, the 8 year old sibling NEVER loses at Sorry, ergo life is fundamentally unsound.

I took him for a mommy morning; sometimes time away from siblings is good for the soul.  We stopped at the auto parts store and bought a new tail light and red tape and ordered a tail light assembly.  He held the parts while I yanked the old bulb out.  He compared the new light to the old.  He helped me put red tape over the hole in the old assembly.  He walked in the parts store ALONE to return the scissors and say thank you.  He swaggered out.

Next we went to Starbucks.  He bought an Izzy that he coddled the rest of the day.  All his.  No need to gulp.

The County Clerk's office was fun too.  Lots of strange people to look at, and he got to hand the papers to the registrar.  She chatted with him.  He swaggered some more.

Cosco.  The crowning glory.  Inexplicably full of samples early in the day.  Even dropping the free smoothie didn't dampen his mood though they dampened his clothing.   We chatted and chatted and he thought up a menu for the household.   A very alarming man with one bulging eye handed him a small American flag while we were in line.  He thanked the man and self-consciously waved it slightly while I payed.

In the van, I asked him if he had had a nice day with me.  He answered in an uncharacteristically shy voice, "This was the best day ever because for my whole life I have always wanted one of these flags!"

I choose to believe that the flag, in the grand tradition of flags,  represented something more- and even if it didn't, there is nothing more precious than a 6 year old day.


We Don't Feed It.

May 15, 2014 by Rieshy

We don't have a cat.  

It's beautiful. 
It's always in our yard, sleeping on our porch or back deck.  It lets my boys carry it around.  It lays in their fort guarding them as they play and only stalks off if they really, really offend it.  It tries to drive to karate class in our van with us.
It's been around for about a year.  The neighbors refer to it as ours.

We don't feed it.  We don't have a litter box. We don't have vet bills.  It's healthy and shiny and fat.
It's the best cat we've never owned.

My sister was visiting recently and named it.


It comes to it's new name.  

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Summer Kids

May 8, 2014 by Rieshy

My 8 year old was buying a Nerf brand bow set at a thrift store.  The woman behind the counter seemed confused by the transaction.  She kept looking at me and then asked, "What will he shoot with that?"

"His brothers," was my glib response.  Her look of outraged horror caught me by surprise.
Sigh- and walk to the car with my body blocking our license plate numbers.

I visited both my sisters recently and we discussed our own free-range childhood.  We spent summers dropped off at a quarry swim club.  A QUARRY.  Who knows what heavy metals we were swimming in.  It was deep enough that the Loch Ness Monster's little sister could very well have been in residence.  They had cliff diving off of real cliffs.  Cliffs you had to climb trails to get to with substances called sharp rocks, mud and weeds.  The parking lot was gravel covered with tar that melted in the summer afternoon heat.  Every evening I sat on the side of our bathtub with turpentine removing the tar that had stuck to my feet (rather painfully) on the way back to the car at the end of the day.

When I smell turpentine I always think "swimming".

My Dad was reminiscing about his childhood on a farm in West Texas and how they basically left the house after chores and didn't come back until the triangle bell that hung near the farm house's back door was rung.  At one point he and his brother only had one arrow for a bow.  It was a hunting bow of some sort, mind you- definitely not Nerf brand.  They would stand on opposite sides of a pasture shooting the arrow back and forth to each other.

The line between free-range and loneliness? The line between overbearing smothering and intentionality?

Who knows. It takes 20+ years to find out, as a parent, if you achieved the right balance but by then the parenting culture will have changed and suddenly what seemed rational will become fodder for crazy stories.


Sometimes Parenting Bites Back

May 1, 2014 by Rieshy

I sent my 17 yo to the grocery with a list for the week's shopping.   I whispered in her ear- "I am tired and cranky bring me back some sort of really yummy chocolate treat as well.  Your choice."

She came back with the shopping list filled and, "Mom, I know you were probably craving chocolate but I bought frozen fruit for a smoothie for you instead because it will make you feel good."

Probably craving chocolate?!?

Choice time.  A massive tantrum?  I didn't WANT to feel good.  I wanted Chocolate.  Evil child.

Evil child who has evidently paid some attention to my droning on about healthy eating and/or she has Machiavellian abilities to torture her mother.

Either way, Drat.

Back when she would have brought home chocolate; alas, also before she could drive.

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