Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Panic at the Vortex of Banality

70 Weeks

"It's January 31, 2016 and there will never be a January 31, 2016 again."

"I'm trying not to think about that."

"So let's do it today. It won't be here tomorrow."

"Well, sure. I can live in the moment. I'm just not doing that very well these days. Being present. What have I done with my life? What will I leave behind when I'm gone? Will Ren be proud of... this? There's so much I want to do and there's so little time to get it done. I'm just getting started and the clock seems to be ticking faster than ever. I'm not ready to die. I haven't done anything with my life. I'm a crap daughter, wife, friend, writer, employee. I'm spread too thin. Trying to be good at everything and master of Nowheresville. I'm a good mom. Right? I hope. I try. I'll be a crazy mom soon if I don't start— I'm— I spend more time at Target than a normal person should, no, not a normal— I'm not— I hate this mall. We're at the mall! Again! It's so depressing. Lifeless. Even the merchandise is on Xanax. It smells like dead dreams. I spend too much time on the little things. Really. I don't have time for this— For a person with ambitions and goals and— It's just so hard. There's so much to do—That I want to do and be and I want Ren to see that a person can accomplish all he or she— I want to be— There's so much to— I need to make a list..."

"The sale ends tomorrow. Should we get another can?"

"Um. Yeah."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016


69 Weeks

Bilbo Baggins lives a simple hobbit's life in the shire, until a wizard convinces him to join a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim their kingdom. For reasons unbeknownst even to himself, he agrees. The journey takes Bilbo through life-altering terrors and joys, and the discovery of one powerful gold ring.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

You Say Tomato, I Am Like To Have Spaghetti Under the Red Sauce

68 Weeks

I love when signs or instructions are confusing. Lost in translation. Once upon a time, I had a plastic, mini tool-kit that was Made In China. It came with a tiny blade, like a box-cutter for opening gum. When you lifted the knife out of its foam-shaped silhouette, there was a label that said, "Sharp knife take it be careful." Not only did the belated warning come after you'd already palmed the thing, the commanding sentence-sans-punctuation made you feel like the knife would turn into a talisman from a bad 80's movie. If you are a person who orders discounted items from Amazon this happens almost every time you open a box. It might even be a reason you order things from Amazon.

Sometimes, I think life sends you warped little instructions that make sense only in the broad strokes.

This weekend, happened to be a weekend that came with a holiday attached, so Saturday felt like Friday. I was excited to have an extra day at home with our family and Greg was excited to have someone else to block for our tiny quarterback. We decided to do a kid outing and picked a Children's Museum. (This is not a place that displays memorabilia about children.) Lots of fun. We played with rooms full of science and small furniture, including a replica of one of Ren's favorite things, a weeoo weeoo (fire truck). I never thought I'd find something better than my own favorite experiences. My new favorite one, neck and neck with streaming Desk Set while in the bathtub, is watching my son have favorite experiences. It takes enjoyment to a new level. Greg and I stood in the middle of an over-sized daycare center with a dinosaur statue and a faint odor of urine and we burst into tears when Ren gushed over a train set. We. Love. This. Kid.

Five hours later we were sitting in the emergency room while Greg was being fitted for crutches. He'd broken his foot taking a step up our back stoop.

There are countless reasons for seeing this situation as an unbelievably frustrating wedge in life's journey. I won't go too Polly Anna here and say that upon realizing Greg couldn't drive, I didn't immediately think about losing my bathtub time, I absolutely bit my tongue, but there were and are so many fantastic moments that have come from this oddity. Not just the appreciation for the every day, or the realization of how quickly life can surprise you, but also how different your priorities become even when you're the one going down. When Greg hit the ground, he was holding Ren. A supporting bone snapped and he collapsed in pain without managing to do more than place Ren horizontal. If he'd been holding a bag of groceries, they surely would have splattered down the stairs. I was the one holding the groceries and some of them are probably still in the driveway. Instantly, we knew we had to get Greg to the hospital, but we also knew Ren needed a meal soon, and possibly a place to sleep if there was going to be a long wait at the ER. So while Greg swelled on the couch, I packed a lunch and prepped the car. When we got to the hospital, Greg had me park so we could all stay together. He hopped from the parking lot through the emergency doors so Ren wouldn't be distraught. Greg's still hopping around in his medical boot taking care of Ren every day. Broken foot, eh. No time. Ren's growing.

Being parents of a 1 year old means we are starting to understand the confusing messages more clearly. The capital-U-Universe sends convoluted instructions, we shake our head at the literal and absorb the true meaning: "Sharp love hold on and breathe."

Dance Like No One Is Watching

67 Weeks

Caspar Babypants has a song, "Run Baby Run," that has a magic spell locked inside of it. Every single time the opening chords of this song plays, no matter what he's doing, Ren's face goes slack, his body goes stiff, and he will lean forward, head down, arms at his sides, and start, yes, running... to nowhere. Usually circles around the house. We can even just sing those three, little, title words and he becomes the radical victim of the late-night-TV hypnotist. Ren goes robot. If he's in his booster seat he anxiously fights the buckles to escape. When he does, yes, he runs. I swear he would do this if no one else was around. It's all about him and his thing in that moment. How amazing is it to be so totally into the thing you're totally into that all you do for the duration of that thing is be totally into it? And for no reason at all? No shame. No thought before, during, or after. Just passion. Run, baby. Go for it.

Whatever is that bit of wizardry this band has tapped into should be analyzed, dissected, and injected with adult. Pipe the outcome through every mall, casino, taxi, elevator—implore each of us to enjoy, baby, enjoy...