Night

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He begs me to stay up late, and I pretend like the half hour I will give him is a big deal. He negotiates, asking for more chapters read in addition to the late bedtime. I give in and it is a relief not to have to be the bad guy.
He has that ring of chapped skin just under his smile. He refuses intervention. His eyes sparkle and his little voice is a constant, asking, prodding, arguing, laughing…
We end up reading two long chapters. He leans against my arm, his breath soft. I cover him up with a very specific ritual of blankets. I smooth his hair and tell him how much I love him. He knows, he says. I love you too.
I’m glad I read the extra chapters.

Aside

There is a woman that I work with that doesn’t like me anymore.  When I first started at my job 4 years ago, we got along fine and were even known to joke around with each other.  Circumstances happened and I spilled a little too much information about my personal life with the rest of the office staff.  *Lesson One*.  Everyone else seemed to take it in stride, but this one woman had VERY! STRONG! FEELINGS! about my life and what I should and shouldn’t do.  I didn’t take her advice, though I appreciated her concern.  One day she even pulled up a chair right next to me and had a serious talk with me about how she cared about me and that’s why she was offering up her concern.  As I said, I did not take her advice on what to do with my life and actually learned from Lesson One and stopped talking about my personal life at work.  My other officemates seemed fine but this woman stopped talking to me in all but the blandest, most office friendly way.  No more joking around, no more gathering around the cubicle to chat.  She goes out of her way to avoid me.

And it bothers the hell out of me!  I can’t STAND it when people don’t like me, and immediately start judging myself.  I try hard to do everything and anything that could change that person’s opinion of me.  I ask the woman questions about her family, say witty things, try and join the gang at her cubicle…nothin’.  I am just ITCHING from the fact that she doesn’t seem to like me anymore.  I know that not everyone likes everyone else, but they should all like ME! 

*Lesson Two* I spend way too much time worrying about what other people think.  But I just want her to like me, really, really like me!! 

Bugs in the Night

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“Mommy!”

The little voice rips me from my sleep, and not even fully concious I stumble out of bed and across the hall.  He is sitting up, hair mussed and covers in a pool at his feet. 

“Mommy, I saw a bug.”

I look for a bug.  There isn’t one, though in my current state I have to admit that I may not notice if a hippo was in his room.  I search the floor in vain, sweeping my fingers across the floor.  There is nothing.

“I think it went under the rug,” he says, watching me.

I lift up the rug and once again, there is nothing. 

“There’s nothing there, buddy.”

“Well, maybe it crawled over there somewhere.”

I refuse to search for bugs in the middle of the night.  I look halfheartedly around the room and still see nothing.  He is wide awake, and begins to talk about the story that we had read before he went to sleep.  I put up my hand, blink in the nightlight’s glow. 

“You need to go back to sleep.  Here, I’ll cover you up.”

I fix his blankets, which is a very deliberate and important job.  He grins at me from the nest of covers. 

“Thanks, Mommy.”

I stumble back to bed.  I am fully aware that there was no bug, that he just wanted to make sure I was still there and he wanted someone to fix his covers.  In an hour, we will be up for the day.  I try and fall back asleep.  Across the hall, I hear him singing softly to himself.  The morning comes too soon.

On Writing

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Ever since I could put pen to paper and make some kind of words, I’ve been a writer.  When I was very young, I would use crayons and illustrate my great masterpieces (which I’m sure my mom still has, because she keeps EVERYTHING).  As I got a little older, I graduated to a typewriter.  Yes, I realize that statement ages me, but we had a Brother typewriter and I thought it was the most high tech thing imaginable.  I was thrilled that my dad said I could use it whenever I liked.  I cranked out story after story, papers filled with my imperfect typing.  I wrote about anything and everything that came to mind.

In the third grade, I had one of those life changing teachers.  She was the first person to ever tell me that my writing was good, that I should keep it up.  She used to give me extra assignments that involved stories, and she was always willing to read anything that I wrote.  She put the fire in me, and I continued to bang on that typewriter.

Power of the Pen was a creative writing group offered at my junior high school (sidenote: I heard they don’t call it junior high anymore?  Again, dating myself).  I joined the team and went to competitions with other local schools.  There was a Sectional, Regional, and State competition that we could qualify for.  Both of the years I was in Power of the Pen I made it to the State competition.  The teacher that ran the group always said that I had to dedicate my first novel to her. 

In college I took a creative writing class and was lucky enough to have yet another one of those life changing teachers.  Alice was funky and passionate about writing, and she encouraged me with every story that I wrote. 

My blog has become my outlet for writing.  I think I will always write, in some form or another, be it here or in my own personal, HANDWRITTEN (old again) journal. 

Adventures

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Yesterday I made Cole unbury his head from the screen and Minecraft and we went to the Children’s Museum.  I think he would have enjoyed it even more than he did if he was a couple years younger; it was geared a little more towards the 3 and 4 year old set.  Still, he dug in the sand, fished at the water table, and went grocery shopping in the mock town.  He also “drove” a bus, picked me up at the bus stop and took me to the beach.  If only it were that easy!  It was really nice to see him; these days he has his own agenda half the time, and wants to be doing things that don’t necessarily involve his mother.  When he’s allowed, he’s playing on his tablet, but we have recently had to put some tablet rules into effect.

After we were finished at the museum, I took him for ice cream.  We were pleasantly enjoying our treat and I asked him what his favorite part of the day was.  Keep in mind that we drove almost an hour to get to the museum.  He said his favorite part of the day was having ice cream, which is literally about five minutes away from our house… AND something that we do kind of frequently.  But whatever, I’ll take it.  I told him my favorite part of the day was spending time with him, and he grinned and licked his cone.  On the way to the car, we held hands.  It was nice.

First Loves

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In the eighth grade, I broke a boy’s heart.

Tom and I met in history, Mr. Miller’s class.  He sat behind me and we would chat, because I talked to everyone (my list of detentions can attest to this fact; I think I got a detention every day for talking in class).  In junior high, we would “go out” with people, which only meant that you walked in the hallways together and occasionally had lunch with them.  We didn’t go anywhere, because we couldn’t drive.  Anyway, Tom and I got to be pretty good friends, and one day he asked me to go out with him.  I didn’t really like him in that way, but I didn’t know what to say, so I agreed.  We hung out a couple times at his house, and I think we went to the mall once.  He bought me a necklace for my birthday, from Claire’s.  It was a rose in a heart.  I still didn’t really have any feelings for him, but he was really nice and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

The big thing at our school was the end of the year eighth grade dance.  It was THE thing to talk about, plan for, who is going with who, what are you wearing…it was a hot topic for everyone. If you were going out with somebody, you would be going to the dance with them, no question about it.  So of course I was going to have to go with Tom.  The problem was that I had a crush on another boy.  And he and Tom were friends, so we all ended up going together.  I did have a good time at the dance but by this time my crush on the other boy was out of control.  I knew that I was going to have to come clean with Tom.

I don’t know why I picked the day that I did, call it inexperience or just plain mean, but I decided to tell him at his birthday party.  I know, you guys!  I know, looking back at it that this is horrible!  Anyway, it was at a local skating rink and I remember I pulled Tom aside and told him very seriously that I didn’t feel the same way about him that he felt about me, and that I thought we should just be friends.  He was crushed.  He immediately went outside and smoked a cigarette, something that I HIGHLY frowned upon, and which was his way of saying a big Screw you to me.  He told me that I had broken his heart.  I felt awful.

I did end up going out with the other boy once, and found him to be a huge bore.  I didn’t really talk to Tom after that, we ran in different circles in high school.  But every so often he would send me an imploring look, or let it be known that he still had feelings for me.  I’m pretty sure I was his first love, and I feel bad that he wasn’t mine.

Today Tom found me on Facebook, and we ended up having a really nice conversation.  He lives in a different state and has a daughter, so we talked about our kids and our lives now.  It’s funny, to talk to someone that knew me when I was so young and so different.  So many things have changed and my life is so different than what I had planned.  It was really good to talk with him and I hope we stay in touch.  And if he ever finds this blog, Tom, thank you for being so nice to me, and I’m sorry I broke your heart all those years ago.   

New Year

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Champagne mixed classily with Hawaiian Punch. A snowstorm outside. A child free night. A hotel room without relatives or distractions. Taking a shower at an unappointed time; having no “curfew”. Locking the door and locking the world out. Being with my husband, munching on Tostitos and taco dip. Watching T.V. at full volume, with the shows that we enjoy. Ringing in the new year with a toast to NEVER repeat the year we just had and how things can only get better from here. A fresh, blank slate with which to start. Snuggling with my husband while the snow blanketed the car outside. Perfect.
Happy New Year!