Open door

A busy evening meant B and I hardly spoke to one another until the chalice lighting.  Then I couldn’t shut him up.  We reviewed the day’s events, played a word game on the iPad, and argued over how many turns we had already accomplished on his palatal expander.  Only then did we settle down to our evening thankfulness ritual.

B:  Okay Mom.  Turn your light out.

M: I can’t.

B: Why not?

M: Because I have a question for you.

B: Oh!  You have to sign that form for me tomorrow so that I don’t get a detention!

M: What form?

B: The one you signed that I lost.

M: Hmm.  So, I HAVE TO do something a second time so that YOU don’t get in trouble?  Seems to me I have the power here.

B: What do you mean?

M: Well, if I don’t sign it, nothing happens to me, right?

B: Mom!  I’ll get detention!  And they’re doing SATURDAY detentions this year!

M: Yeeeaaaahhh (smiling).  I’ll have to think about that.

B: (light bulb)  I’m sorry.  I won’t lose it this time.  So what was your question?

M: What are you thankful for (duh!)?

B: Oh!  Right!  (and without hesitation:) Ebay!

M: Interesting.  Why?

B: Because I should have shopped on it a long time ago.

M: That’s a thought about it, but why are you thankful for it?

B: Because you can get things, like, 50-75% off!  I mean, sometimes they’re used, but that’s okay as long as they’re in good shape.

M: Okay, I can see that.

B: What are you thankful for?

M: (pause to think)  That you are being a self-starter and a good consumer with your YMCA membership.

B: Yeah.  It’s great.  I did the treadmill and arms today.  I’ll do the elliptical and legs tomorrow.  You know that machine called….  Have you ever done….  Do you think I should….   Today A (his friend) said….  I like it when we….

Open the door to communication, and they walk right through at this age, especially if they’re practiced at it.  Here’s hoping the practice means that the door doesn’t shut entirely as he gets a bit older.

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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


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A new angle on the chalice lighting

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that B is sleeping in my room these days.  It started when his grandaddy, my daddy, was visiting and took his bed.  I have two twin beds in my room, because I traded my double for B’s twins a while back thinking I’d like to have a bed for sleeping and a bed to serve as a couch.  What happened, though, was I had a bed for sleeping and a bed upon which to pile things.  So, when Grandaddy was here, the bed got uncovered and used, and B and I felt like we were having a slumber party.  When Grandaddy left, the party just continued.

The beds are situated end to end on the same wall, so when you prop up on your pillows you look over your feet at the other person propped up on his/her pillows.  It’s been a new angle (literally!) on the chalice lighting, because we often used to sit side-by-side, facing out at the chalice, and now we face each other.

Tonight B was thankful for the book he is reading (Eldest, the second in the Eragon serires), for the mousepad he ordered from Ebay for $4 today, and he said he was “jelly” over my new Macbook Air.  Apparently “jelly” is the new “crazy”.  This then devolved into a discussion of the computer he wants for Christmas, and how it could be for both Christmas and his birthday, and, and, and…   Finally I said “Wait a minute.  I thought we were being thankful, not making wishlists.”  He giggled and said “Oh yeah. Sorry.”

I was thankful for a day tomorrow when I don’t have to drive an hour or more to work.  Today I drove 3 1/2 hours getting to and from work, and I will be glad to stay closer to home tomorrow.  B started making plans for me for the time I would save (I could go to the grocery and buy him X, Y, and Z, I could take him to the YMCA after school, I could…).  I told him to back off, buddy.  He smiled the easy smile of the deeply threatened, said “I love you momma”, and laid down to sleep.

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Tattoos, aging, and responsibility

After 10 years of B going to the same pediatrician’s office, I realized with great clarity one well visit that not a single person recognized us or knew his name.  I thought, you’ve got to be kidding me.  A friend had been talking about the wonderful experience she was having with a pediatrician an hour away, but close to my office, so I changed over, too, despite the drive.  The first time we saw Dr. S, B left and said “Wow.  I thought she was going to tattoo my name on her arm!”  Today at his annual well check it was no different.  She fluttered around and made him feel like there was no one else in the world but him as she checked his ears and his spine and everything else.  She told him that, if he ever needed someone to talk to, he should call her, because she would be there for him.  There is no question about it, either.  She would be, and he believed her.  How often do you find such a wonderful human in the course of our health care system and its pressures?  Tonight, at our chalice lighting, I said I was thankful for Dr. S.  He said “I was just thinking about her.”  I said “She’s pretty great.”  He said “She really is.”

When I asked for what he was thankful, he said he was glad to almost be out of debt to me.  At the beginning of the school year, he had wanted two pair of pricey shoes, and I had given him a price I was willing to pay, and he said he’d work to make up the rest.  While he could have had it paid off by now if he’d been diligent, he’ s nearing the finish line, and I remind myself that he’s 12, and that he’ll get better at this as his frontal lobes begin to perk up with age.  For now, he’s doing pretty well.  He followed up with “There should really be two Christmases a year.”  I countered “That’s kinda what a birthday is, if you’re lucky enough to have it mid-year.”  He observed “Yeah, but you know, the older you get the less you get.”  I thought about that.  “It’s probably true you get less things, but the things are much more expensive.”  He said “Yeah, that’s what I mean.  When you’re old enough to not believe in Santa, you know that your parents have to pay for whatever you ask for, and you know you won’t get everything you want.”  I smiled in the dim light of the candle.  “So, getting older is no fun, huh?”  He replied “No, it’s fun.  It’s just responsible!”

How did we get from a chalice lit in gratitude to aging and responsibility?  I’m not sure, but it’s a marvelous process to watch.

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Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Long pants and a belt

Talk about thankful!!  I have a new computer that really, consistently, connects to the internet and does all the things a computer should do.  I’ve been waiting for this event in order to start back with mythankfulboy.

B, incidentally, was thankful for my new computer this evening at our nightly chalice lighting.  I asked if it was because now I would quit complaining about the old one, and he said no, I didn’t complain, it just never worked.  Nice of him to say, but I’m pretty sure I did complain.  Honestly, though, it’s not the kind of thing he notices.  I don’t know if that’s because he’s 12 and he’s thinking about his own stuff, or if he just isn’t that phased by complaints about daily annoyances.  Either way, it was sweet.

I was thankful tonight for the baseball player he is.  His coach took a few minutes tonight to tell B’s dad and me that he’s proud of the player he is, and that he’s a joy to coach.  He says he knows he can be sensitive about his own performance, but that it shows his heart is in the game.  It really is fun for me to watch him out there.  This is a stereotypically mother’s comment to make, but he’s switched from the baseball pants with elastic at the waist and knee with the colored knee socks to the full-length pants with a belt, and he looks so capable and grown.  Then he gets in the car and holds the back of his hand to the side of my arm in a gesture that seems to be an adaptation from when he was an infant and tucked his tiny little hand just below my adam’s apple when he nursed.  What gratitude I have for this time with him.

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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


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That says a lot about you

Ferry Beach! There is no place on earth we would rather be. This fabulous Unitarian Universalist camp is the center of mythankfulboy’s and my spiritual year. My friend KSH and I decided today that it is our eighth year attending. B is 12 now, and between his advanced age (junior youth group!), his familiarity with the setting, his older friends, and the setting being pretty darn safe, he gets a lot of freedom. This makes the chalice lighting that much more important, because, when we don’t spend time together, we can start to get off track with one another. Our thankfulness ritual centers us and keeps us in touch with what the other is thinking. It doesn’t take long, especially when you’re staying in an old wooden dormitory that forbids (understandably) the lighting of candles.

Tonight B couldn’t stop being thankful. He named the following, and I may be leaving some out: JH, CH, and PW (names), the games he’s learning and playing in junior youth group, the beach and learning to skim surf (sorta), our new beach shovels, all four of the fans in our room, our snack box (it is pretty awesome), and his momma. I asked if he had listened to the sermon in chapel this morning, and he said “Yeah, kinda”. That was fine – it was long and included discussion of a lot of research. But it was about gratitude, and he got that. He paraphrased for me that people who practice gratitude are healthier, happier people. Then he said “That explains a lot about you.” I gave him an “Awww-I-might-just-cry-you’re-so-sweet” smile, but he panicked and asked “That was a compliment, right? I meant it to be a compliment!” Yes, darlin, it was a beautiful compliment.

And just as I was about to hit send to post this entry, he called “Mom, I love you!” from the top bunk. I said “I love you, too! You going to sleep?” He answered “No, I just love you.” Thank you, mythankfulboy.

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Posted by on July 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


Genetic disposition

Today I spoke to my own momma for a length of time – I called her to tell her mythankfulboy hit a home run OVER THE FENCE!  Woohoo!  We caught up on the day-to-day stuff, and the topic shifted to what a great kid she thought her grandson (mythankfulboy) to be.  I agreed, and made a sassy comment like “Now if we could just get him to hush at school…” to which she answered “Well, I don’t know where he got that trait!”  She then went on to tell her oft-told stories of two notes she remembered getting from one of my middle school teachers – Mrs. Newman.  One said (read as Scarlet, to approximate my mother) “L has the ability to talk while she gets her work done.”, about which my mother commented “I think she was hoping I knew how to get you to shuuut uuup!”   The other said “L is a perfect mirror of her home life.”  About this one, my mother said “I never did follow up on that one – I didn’t want to know what it meant.”  I liked Mrs. Newman, and I think she liked me, through her exasperation.  I can only hope B has the same kind of luck with his teachers as he continues through school. 

Last night B went to a friend’s house, and then spent the night at his dad’s, and we didn’t talk before bed to do a chalice.  The night before was a simple one, though.  He was thankful for lava lamps, and I was thankful for leftovers I actually want to eat.  

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Posted by on May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Pay the toll

Tonight I arrived home after B’s usual bedtime due to an evening work intrusion, but just in time to hustle him through his bedtime routine. For some time now we’ve played a game of his having to “pay the toll” of a kiss on my cheek in order to get me out of his room so he can sleep, and tonight he leaned in with his payment before we lit the chalice. I held him off just long enough for us to light a virtual chalice in each of our hearts, and to give our quick tributes. B was grateful for his Razor gaming keyboard with glowing keys visible from his bed, and I was thankful for my business partner (his godmother) for doing the heavy lifting at the work event, which was chalice-worthy alone, but which also allowed me to leave early enough to see my boy to bed.

Then I leaned in for the toll…

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Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Uncategorized


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