Monday, November 26, 2012


This morning we welcomed a new 3-year-old boy into our classroom.  He and his mom just moved back to the area from Sweden.  His dad passed away in September from a massive heart attack.  He was 47 years old.  I actually met her (and the boy) in the parking lot, introduced myself and we all walked in together.  She asked if I was aware of the situation.  I told her I was and that we would do our very best to give this precious child a sense of security and routine.

Tonight my cousin lies in ICU, attached to a breathing machine and monitors, as his doctors wait for him to wake up.  Once he's awake they'll begin to assess brain and kidney damage that might have occurred due to his aorta rupturing yesterday.  Going into surgery to repair the rupture his doctor said if he made it through it would be a miracle.  Joke's on him...we happen to be a family who believes in miracles.

Just like that...the things I've been whining about, the mountains I've been facing, have all been reduced to mere annoyances and molehills.  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Early start on the gifts...

My 17-year-old sewing machine finally bit the dust. I was able to coax it through the kiddos' halloween costumes by threats of violence and much muttering and cursing under my breath. Anyone who has been around here for more than a minute or two knows how much I use and rely on my sewing machine.

My brave and wonderful husband waded into the Joann's Black Friday crowd at 7 this morning to pick this up. Just remember...not all heros wear capes!  

(Funny little side note...he purchased the previous machine as well.  Most of our friends then wouldn't have placed bets on us making it through the weekend, let alone outliving a sewing machine.  Quite a delight to prove them all wrong.)

As I pulled it out of the box a wave of memories washed over me.  This is so much like the machine my mom sewed on for followed us around Africa and back again. I learned how to sew sitting beside her on a stool.  Watching.  She taught me how to carefully snip the inside of a curve so it wouldn't bunch when turned right side out.  How to always stitch two lines of a basting stitch for a gather so if one broke, there would be another. Then, sitting at the machine on my own and, ever so proudly, sewing clothes I had designed for our Barbies.     Using this machine makes me feel closer to her, almost like I'm 10 years old again and she's sitting beside me telling me I'm doing just fine. Funny things, memories. 

Men/husbands/boyfriends/significant others, my advice during this gift giving season and beyond:  Listen, observe.  Pay no attention to what ads and stores and co-workers tell you you should give.  Pay attention to the one you're giving it to.  I can guarantee the gratefulness will be far greater for it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Talk...part IV (ish)

The boy lost his second tooth in two weeks this evening.  Just fell on out.  Unlike the previous one he started yanking on whilst waiting for his little sister's pre-K Thanksgiving play to begin...blood everywhere and all I had was a snot filled tissue I had just used.  Great moments in Motherhood right there!

The "tooth fairy" kinda sorta fell asleep on the job for the last one.  The lad met me at my bedroom door the next morning holding the tooth container still containing the tooth...doing his very best to keep the tears out of his voice as he pointed out that usually the tooth is replaced with something else.

I consoled him with hot chocolate...explained that Tooth Fairy was probably pretty tired from the day before and was just running late.  And then went in search of money.  My wallet contained a $5 bill.  Tooth fairy wasn't feeling that guilty.  His dad's wallet yielded a $1 bill.  I took it, folded it in half and made a little paper airplane.  Reaching around the corner I tossed onto the boy's lap.  I came back around the other way with my coffee and his school bag and sat down, completely ignoring him.  I glanced at him as he was unfolding the dollar.

"Whatcha got there, son?

"I think it's a whole dollar!"

"Where did that come from?!"

"I don't know! It just flew out of nowhere.  I think you're right...the Tooth Fairy was just running late!"

Yeah, I know.  Best Save Ever.

On the drive home tonight he made the statement that he hoped the Tooth Fairy wasn't late again.  His little sister piped up...

"Mommy, is the Tooth Fairy real?"

We've never even attempted to make believe Santa was real.  They've been raised to know that the idea of Santa Claus is based on a true story about a man who lived a very long time ago...but no one is watching them while they sleep, keeping tabs on them or breaking into our house via the chimney.

So why play the Tooth Fairy?  Because they've heard about it from their friends, they've read about it in books and it has zero to do with behavior control.  It's fun, it takes their mind off from the trauma of losing the tooth in the first place, and completely non-controversial (at least I don't think it is...feel free to enlighten me if I've missed out on the Great Tooth Fairy controversy).

Meanwhile my 5-year-old daughter was waiting for an answer...

"Do you want the Tooth Fairy to be real?"


"Well...then...there's your answer."

I think Neil Gaiman explained it best when he was asked whether or not fairies were Real.  He answered that if they are Real he'd rather not annoy them by claiming they weren't.

**So...after writing down all the above and assuring my son the Tooth Fairy would be on time? Um...yeah, well...she forgot.  However, she happens to have a most excellent and equally crafty Partner in Crime who hid a dollar bill in his cub scout book.  Way to go, Daddy-o!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Someone should work on their "people skillz"...

After three weeks of dealing with whatever this crud is that's attacking my body, I finally hauled my butt into Doc-in-a-box.  Where said butt was severely chewed out by Hilda the residing MD.  She did say that it was a pleasant change to have someone wait it out and not come in with the first sniffle.  But perhaps I had waited just a little too long.

When I made some feeble excuse regarding schedules she reminded me that they were open from 8am to 10pm every. single. day.

I work a job and a half.  I have two small children.  I'm married to a police officer whom I've barely seen since September due to election campaigning.  I've had obligations, scout meetings, and Things That Couldn't Wait.  They could be open 24 hours a day and I still wouldn't have had a chance to come in until tonight.  For the love of everything, woman, stop yelling at me!

As she's typing out my prescription for antibiotics for the raging sinus infection I now have, I proceed to cough up half of a lung.

Turning and glaring down at me she asks if I'd like something for the cough as well.

"Yes? Please and thank you?"

Let's just assume that I already feel like warmed over dog poo and please don't fuss at me anymore.  And I promise to take my medication like a good girl.

Please don't thank me...but don't take that to mean I'm not thankful.

I tend to shy away from Veteran's Day festivities.  Being thanked for my time in the military makes me a little uncomfortable. There are real military heros out there, but I'm not one of them. I spent four years keeping the planes flying so others could do their job.  I can't think of one single thing I sacrificed in order to be a member of the US Navy. In fact, I think I gained far more than most... four years living in the south of Spain, health care, a house on the beach, friends I still hold dear, not to mention the greatest bit of all...meeting and marrying this amazing man I've shared the last 17 years with!

But when my son asked if I would come to the Veterans' Day assembly at his school, how could I refuse? They had invited parents, family and community members who were vets or active duty. He asked me to go because he wanted people to know that there were girl veterans too. When they asked for all of the vets to stand, I was the only girl. When the 5th graders sang a song about us being their heros, I got a little choked up. Among those of us standing, four wars were represented. The oldest was a Korean war vet, another was one of the last ones out of Iraq. I was in good company.

To the ones I stood side by side with, I'd do it all over again in a heart beat. To the ones I met along the way, I'm ever so glad I did. To the ones whose stories I grew up with, thank you. To the ones still serving, thank you for keeping the watch.