Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Moment

I ordered five plastic "cloches" for my garden from Amazon and today they arrived. They are big, but light. I didn't know they were here until Jonah and Isaac came home from school and saw them on the front porch.

But they didn't just run in the house and tell me I had a package. Nor did they come running in the house carrying the package.

Here's what they did:

They rang the doorbell and when I opened it, they were both carrying the giant box like it weighed a million pounds. (It weighed four pounds). They struggled to come in the house and made me think they were really having to work for it.

And it was just one of those moments where I thought my heart would break for the love of seeing these boys grow up. It was so sweet to see them work together to pull one over on me me, to make me laugh. How did I get so lucky?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Last night Robert went to bed around 11:45 and was paged at 1:30am and stayed up, working, until 7:30am. He was able to have some time this morning to sleep, and in order to keep things quiet, I grabbed my hair dryer, a brush, a few hair products, and my clothes and planned to shower in the boys bathroom after my morning run.

However, I quickly found that letting a sleeping husband lie is a hard thing to do. More precisely, staying out of my bedroom is a hard thing to do. I had to venture into the bedroom four separate times for various things:

1. deodorant
2. shoes
3. moisturizer
4. shampoo, conditioner, scrubby thing

Here are the things I did NOT go back in my room for and decided I could live without for the morning:

1. a book to read
2. make-up
3. toothbrush
4. wedding ring (no need to read anything into this)
5. hair clip used during blow drying

(Also, I tracked dirt all though the house, but could not vacuum it up.)

In a few weeks, it is likely (although Robert won't let me start telling people yet) that Robert will start working night shift at Intel. There are a lot of good things about this new position, the best being that he will get to spend more time with the family and will not need to be accessible 24/7.

However, I'm really, really grumpy about the fact that I will lose access to my room, my stuff, my bathroom, all my clothes, shoes and anything else I might want on the spur of the moment 3 to 4 mornings a week.

I don't know how I'm going to do it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In Which I Get My First Trophy

Remember the American Mother's Gala I wrote about last week? Well, I went. And guess who else went? Robert! At the last minute he was able to go and so we were able to both have a lovely salmon dinner and chat with other lovely couples at table #9.

He escorted me to the stage and I watched as my friend Liz became the 2013 Oregon Young Mother of the Year. (yay Liz!) The evening ended with me getting a Willow Tree statue of mother and child on a lovely base with my name engraved on it.

It was all very nice. And I'm glad that Robert was able to walk me to the stage.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Goldfish Torture Update

It's been two and a half years since I became a pet owner, against my will, at the Intel Family Picnic and wrote this highly controversial blog post. (Sixteen comments! That's more than any other blog post to date!)

As you know, we started off with two goldfish. About a year into the goldfish captivity, one fish decided to make a break for it while we were away at Yellowstone. Don't worry, the fish were being carefully cared for by responsible friends who were following my meticulous instructions to replace the water every 2 days--or 7 days. Anyway, Ned (or was it Lucky) leapt over the edge of the bowl and landed on the kitchen floor. He wasn't discovered until our shoeless, sockless friend wandered into the kitchen early in the morning and, well, I'll just let you fill in the details yourself.

Lucky (or Ned) on the other hand, decided his captivity was better than a tenuous chance at freedom (the devil you know . . . ) and stayed put. He swims today, just a few feet from where I sit, in the same fishbowl I put him in back in August of 2010. I am mostly ambivalent about his existence. There is, however, a part of me that is resentful he has lived so long, if I'm being perfectly honest.

There are plenty of goldfish advocates out there who claim I'm torturing this fish. And maybe I am. But I wonder what I should have done when my children ran up to me, thrilled with their newly-won prizes in little plastic, water-filled bags?

Should I have dumped them in a pond or flushed them down the toilet to put them out of their misery and prevent their eventual suffering? Would that have been more humane?

I guess the reason this compassionate move didn't occur to me is because while raising a goldfish, I'm also raising three boys. Humans. Children from my womb. Making them flush their living creatures down the toilet just seemed . . . wrong. I'm not ashamed to say, I am more concerned with their upbringing than I am with the upbringing of a couple fish.

Should I have insisted they return the fish at the family picnic? Maybe. They might have gotten over that eventually.

Should I have made them turn them over to the employee at Petco, where the goldfish could live out their lives in a 20 gallon tank? Until someone came to buy feeder fish for her turtle.

Should I have purchased my own 20 gallon tank, a filter, and all the other tank paraphernalia for two goldfish? Am I wrong for not wanting to make a huge investment on pets I didn't want? Pets that everyone told me would be dead in 6 months. Pets that cost 29 cents each?

I know there are plenty of people out there who will say I was wrong to keep the goldfish in such a cruel way.

You know what? I can live with that.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Feeling Awkward Anxiety

Last year I, along with about ten other women, was honored by the Association of American Mothers. There was a luncheon and we learned about this fine service organization and all the great things they do on a local and national level. Then we were invited to apply to be considered for Oregon's Mother of the Year.

I did not want to be considered for this, mostly because I didn't want the responsibility that goes along with it. I feel very comfortable with the level of responsibility I have right now. I also feel good about the contribution I make to my family and don't need any outside validation. So, I didn't apply.

Besides, being singled out causes a bit of anxiety for me. I'm good at blending. Just let me blend.

But, as part of my being honored, I have also been invited to the Gala dinner. This is where the Oregon Mother of the Year will be chosen. There is a dinner, which is free for me, but $45 for anyone else who comes to see me honored.

This Gala is a fundraiser and I was encouraged to invite as many people as I could so that they could raise funds for their organization. Fine. I got one person. Robert. I told him about it three months ago, but now that we are down to it, he has to work. Evidently, I was supposed to remind him, which I did, but not at the right time. Anyway, that is neither here nor there.

So, I am going to be honored as a mother all by myself. But, I get a salmon dinner. So, yay.

I just got off the phone with one of the Gala organizers and she said she would put Robert down as a "maybe." I told her I was pretty sure he wasn't coming and that she should just count me only. Then she said this:

"All the husbands escort their wives to the stage."

So, of course I read a bunch of stuff into this, because I'm so good at picking up on non-existent nuance and meaning. What she was really saying was: I will be the only one without a husband, I will stick out, I will feel awkward. This is just not done. Everyone else will have someone to escort them. I will walk alone.

And this is the point where I wish they never included me in this event. I don't want to go. I don't want my salmon dinner. And I certainly don't want to be the only person to walk up to the stage without an escort. I want to stay home and read a book.

This is not a good time of the month to feel stress and anxiety. Emotions are very close to the surface (a.k.a tear ducts.)

Update - 48 minutes have given me a little perspective and I'm going to own this. I can do this.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Here's Something New

I was at Bandito Taco, sitting across from my fifteen-year-old last week. It was a "You're Done With Finals" celebratory lunch. It was fun. It was mom and son bonding at its best. He said, "thank you" for the meal about five times in twenty minutes. It was a perfect moment.

Except I couldn't take my eyes off that fuzzy pre-pre-mustache above his lip. It was too dark not to notice, but also very, very fine. It was driving me nuts.

What do you do with a thing like that? Is it even razor-worthy? Should we just bleach it? Did facial hair even fall into my realm of responsibility? (I was fairly certain it did not.) This was uncharted man-territory for sure and I was lost. One thing I knew for sure, however:

That thing had to go.

I waited until our magical, special Bandito Taco time was over, until we were about half-way home, before I broached the subject.

"When we get home," I said, "I want you go to upstairs into my bathroom. I want you to open my bathroom drawer and find dad's electric razor. Then I want you to shave that thing off your lip. You know what I'm talking about, right?"

He smiled and nodded. We didn't need to discuss the issue further.

Later that afternoon the thing was gone. Mostly. He probably could have done with a bit of an electric razor tutorial, but I was not going to be that tutor. But, best of all, I had my boy back.

My butting in is probably just getting started. After all, if my realm of responsibility includes shaving instruction, maybe I could suggest a cooler hair style? Well, any hair style, really.

Because lately, when I sit across from him at dinner, I can hardly stand looking at his hair.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In Which I Consider Teaching My Children to Lie

Yesterday I got a dramatic haircut. Five inches of hair was cut off and I went from having hair that just hangs to an actual cute style that requires "product." I love it.

I thought it was a big enough change that the kids would make some kind of comment when they got home from school. I know change is hard for kids, especially when it comes to seeing their mom change, so I wasn't expecting anything overly kind or gushing with praise. Maybe an acknowledgement that my hair looked different. Or even an "I don't like it," would have been fine. It's a big change after all.

But they said nothing. Not one thing.

Later, I met up with Robert at the Blue and Gold dinner in the evening at church. I'd given him a head's-up that morning that I was getting a drastically different hair cut. I expected that he would say something. But he didn't say anything.

Meanwhile, my friends were making nice comments. I even had one friend's husband comment that he liked it.

It's not that I require validation from the boys in my family. In fact, I've made a point NOT to need validation from them. It saves a lot of hurt feelings. I'm confident in my cooking and clothing choices and hair style: I don't need them to tell me I've done well. It's nice when they do, but I understand that type of observation just doesn't come naturally to them. It's all good.

But today I forced the issue.

I had Isaac alone in the car as we drove to his appointment with the eye doctor.

Me: Isaac, do you notice anything different about me?
Isaac: Your hair?
Me: Yes, I got five inches cut off my hair. How come you didn't say anything about it.
Isaac: When did you get it cut?
Me: Yesterday!
Isaac: Oh, yeah. I guess it is really short.

Then, when Ethan came home from school I asked him.

Me: Ethan, do you notice anything different about me?
Ethan: Hair cut.
Me: Yes, how come you didn't say anything?
Ethan: Why should I say anything? I noticed. What else was I supposed to say?

Finally, I asked Jonah. I went through the same routine as with the other two boys and when I asked him why he hadn't said anything, this is what he said.

Jonah: I didn't have anything nice to say. It's a big change. It's like when you see a guy with three eyes. It's surprising and it takes you a while to get used to it.

I believe it's time to teach my boys the art of diplomacy. Maybe even a little white lying. After all, if it's helpful and if it's kind, does it really matter if its 100% true?