What to do about boredom

Mythankfulboy’s nerves are on edge with Christmas so close, not because he’s excited about the holiday, but because he doesn’t want to spend the whole thing at his dad’s house.  He says he’s so bored he doesn’t know what to do.  I do my best to support him in communicating this pleasantly to his father, and to help him approach his dad with suggestions, and I believe him when he says he’s tried and feels that nothing he can say makes a difference.  It is hard to watch this struggle they have finding ways to be together sometimes.  B wanted to talk about it when we lowered the lights and lit the chalice tonight.

The first indication I had that something was on his mind was when I began to quietly sing along to the Christmas music box and he wailed (truly, he wailed) “Mom – PLEASE!  I don’t FEEL like singing right now!”  I assured him that I was not trying to torture him, and wondered aloud why he said this in a tone suggesting I already had that information and had chosen to ignore it.  He said, “Oh. I’m sorry. I just wanted you to stop.  I didn’t mean it to come out that way.”   So, I stopped, and I waited, and the rest spilled out.

We did a little problem-solving about his dad’s house, and he began to perk up as he got some things off his chest.  Soon I noted that he was singing to the music box, so, naturally, I wailed “B – PLEASE!  I don’t FEEL like singing right now!”  He laughed, not having realized he was singing, and I laughed with him.  Then I added, “I feel like buzzing!” and buzzed like a bee where the words should have gone.  He feigned horror, so I switched to clucking, snoring, and, finally, bunny noises (if you don’t know what those are, see me about it) before I gave him a reprieve and asked him for what he was thankful.  He said he was thankful for our house, and that it was a really good house (the unspoken thank you being to my father, for all his hard work on it).  I was thankful for a lovely lunch today with my friend and business partner.

B broke heartily into song at this point.   I joined him, we finished out God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen with gusto together, I turned off the music box and kissed his forehead, and I turned to go.  B said his goodnight with, “I love you, Momma”, and I said, “And I, you, Darlin.”

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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


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11 kisses

Tonight, a blissfully normal night.  Mythankfulboy’s baseball crossfit finished our evening out before turning home for showers and tying up loose ends.  Just before we sat down for the chalice lighting, B announced that he had received an award for being the fastest typist in 7th grade.  I’m not sure exactly why this has been a goal of his, but I’m always glad to see him set and achieve goals, so I cheered.  He said, “And you know what I get for that, right?”

Ever since he was little and really could not yet reliably count to 11, we awarded one another 11 kisses for good things, and also sometimes for fails that weren’t that important.  For instance: “If I go in there and find it when you’ve looked and are SURE it’s not there, you’re in for 11 kisses, Mister.”  I’m not sure how this started, particularly because it seems like it would encourage bad behavior, but I guess the over-the-top, albeit silly, attention is just embarrassing enough to make a point.  This was particularly fun when he couldn’t count to 11, because I could sneak in extra numbers.  Tonight he wanted 11 kisses for being a good typist.

I asked for what he was thankful, and he said “crossfit”.  I said I was thankful for JF, who cuts our hair, and also happens to be a wonderful human and very good momma.  B said, “She’s pretty cool. And I bet she says the same thing about you.”

“Oh yeah?”  I challenged.   “Yeah!” he defended.   “Well that’s IT!” and 11 kisses ensued, with one more for good measure.

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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Uncategorized


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We have been in an uncomfortable situation in the last few days in which we have felt unsafe. Police presence has been necessary. Trust has been necessary. Our safety has been relatively out of our control. It is not a position I ever want to be in with mythankfulboy.

Last evening, I sat in front of the fire trying to organize my thinking to get something – anything – done. B joined me and asked me for what I was thankful. I thought for a while and said, “Being here together.” He said, “I’m thankful for the police.”

I have to admit, I was feeling powerless, and in my powerlessness, had entirely forgotten the chalice lighting. I always tell B that the times you don’t feel like doing the chalice are the most important times to do it. It is a good thing to be held to your own standard by your child.

Tonight the need for fear has resolved, for which we are blessed, leaving healing to be done. I lit the chalice and asked B for what he was thankful. He said “For you, and for how much you wanted to keep me safe. Even for you making me go to Dad’s today.” (This last part had to do with my going to work and his dad’s staying home with him while vigilance was still necessary.) I said, “I’m thankful for feeling safe.” I allowed a moment to pass, and added, “And about going to your dad’s – you know he was just as worried and concerned for your safety as I was. It’s a sign that, even if he doesn’t always do things the way you wish he would, he loves you deeply.” B looked up and smiled a resigned smile at me.

Tonight my thoughts and love go to those who were not safe, and to those who always live in fear. May we not lose sight of them.  Amen.

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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Rotten cold, peaceful banner, bully pulpit

Mythankfulboy is sick, and it is pitiful.  Just a cold – nothing crazy – but he did a sleepover over the weekend and stayed up until 4am (the host mom said she went down to tell them to hush at 3am but she heard one of them say “Isn’t it ironic that…” and decided that she’d let it go….)  Hopefully he did not infect the whole bunch, because today he is tearful at the drop of a hat.  Tonight, at the chalice lighting, he burst into tears and said “I don’t know if I’ll be able to go to school tomorrow!”    No biggie – we’ll play it by ear.  He said “I’m not thankful for colds.”  I asked, “Can you be thankful for health, then?”  He sighed, “Yes.”  I continued, “I’m thankful for my peace banner.”

Every Christmas I put a banner, maybe 4’x9′, in the yard with a white dove superimposed over the earth, and the word “peace” in multiple languages circling the globe.  I have a light that illuminates it from dusk until dawn, and it makes me ridiculously happy.  So, tonight I was thankful for this.

B was thankful for our friends J, B, and V.  We had an impromptu bookstore date with the J & V portion of them today, after J’s pastor made an inappropriate comment from the pulpit that made her feel singled out and scolded.  Churches are complicated – they’re a patchwork of people creating a wide range of relationships, and many folks are at different places in their paths to being healthy and happy.  Still, you don’t expect this from a pastor, and on Sunday morning from the pulpit, to boot.  She was devastated and angry, and felt guilty for putting her daughter in the path of this person.  I was hurt for her, and angry as the day went on.  I think B was not sure what he was feeling, except that he loves his Aunt J, and so he got himself out of bed to be there for her.

Compassion is close kin to gratitude and kindness – all strong UU values.  J was just saying today that, when she feels herself judging her daughter for her behavior, she recalls a time when she did or felt the way her daughter is behaving, and that gives her compassion, which changes her attitude and her reaction. My friend could give her pastor some lessons, I fear.  How lucky am I that mythankfulboy has her as a loving model in his life, and I have her as a friend.

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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Bragging, bagging, and a dusting

At the chalice lighting this evening, mythankfulboy detailed to me the way one of his friendships has been going lately, and his trying to navigate a situation in which he feels like the friend is bragging a lot, and often at his (B’s) expense.  He says it’s all in fun, but it gets to be a bit much.  I asked if they were spending too much time together, and he said probably, but that he didn’t want it to change.  I asked if he’d called the friend on it when his bragging became belittling, and he said that the friend then turned around and “teasingly” made fun of B for being upset.  Difficult social territory.  I will have to be sure to keep an ear out for how it evolves, or devolves, as the case may be.

As a side note, he shared this fun fact: that, if you have testicles, the one on the same side as your dominant hand is usually “shorter” than (does not hang as low as) the other.  “So they don’t bang together”, he said.  I asked, “And you brought this up during the chalice lighting because….” to which he replied “Because….I was thinking about it.”  Duh.

And so, finally, the reports of the things for which we were thankful were a bit anticlimactic: he for the gym, and I for snow.  He asked, “Even though it makes you stressed out that you won’t be able to get to the office to see kids?”  I smiled and said, “Yep. Even then.”

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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Change of view

Well, mythankfulboy coaxed me into rearranging his room, which, I know, is shocking.  And still, the Christmas tree sits with only the bottom half in lights (1100 lights, to be exact.  I’m a little persnickety about Christmas tree lights).  This is okay, though.  If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that half-done is just waiting-to-be-finished.  My first big parenting aha (besides the you’ll-never-again-sleep-through-the-night and you’ll-never-again-pee-in-peace lessons) was that the whole world had been divided into one-handed tasks and two-handed tasks.  The ones that could be done with only one hand got done readily, and the ones that required two hands, well, they got done eventually or they suddenly became unnecessary.  Hey – I’m 12 1/2 years into this now – it’s a cinch to have half the tree done for a week, and to continue to let it sit there while we rearrange B’s room.

The room change was done half before B’s baseball crossfit and half after, and we were both pooped by the time we finished.  We plopped down to do the chalice lighting by the light of the new gaming monitor (insert angels singing).  He was thankful that I helped him with his room, and I was thankful we got it done in one night.  Then he brought up that kids are making fun of him at school for not playing violent games (and, therefore, not being able to game online with them), and he said he blames it on me (which I told him to do) and that helps a little.  He volunteered his opinion that the other kids don’t really give any good reasons for playing those games versus others, and he’s fine with it.  I asked him what he says when they say they can’t believe he can’t play them – he said, “I either say something like ‘Yeah, I know’ or I don’t say anything at all and they eventually quit talking about it.”  He seemed fine with the whole thing, and was just reporting on what was happening rather than asking to change the rules.

This momma is very proud of herthankfulboy tonight.  I suppose the monitor can stay.

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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Christmas giggles

A lovely weekend.  Christmas is in the air.  We even did a little crafting while watching A Christmas Story this evening.

When mythankfulboy and I settled down to the chalice, we first had to get out of the way a discussion of how he wanted to change his room around because he bought himself a new monitor for gaming and hopes to have a totally new setup.  I get that.  Plus, I’m a re-arranger by nature, so I can get excited about such a project.  There is, however, a lot to be done right now, it being two weeks before Christmas, so I don’t know exactly when that’s going to happen.  During this discussion, he lamented that he’d like one year to stay home together for Christmas.  I told him that wasn’t really a possibility because my parents are aging, and I don’t want to miss time with them.  He looked up at the gray in my hairline and said, “Your gray is growing out.”  I said, “Thanks for pointing that out, dear.  Maybe I’ll get to it tomorrow.”  He said, “You know you have to live until I’m 70, right?” and then began trying to do the math for how old I’d be when he was 70 (it was so off I still don’t know).  Finally he gave up and sighed, then said, touching the gray in my hair, “It’s just going so fast!”

I cracked up.  He had been so serious when he said it, but when I laughed, he heard how old and/or dramatic he sounded (at 12) and he laughed, too.  Then he recalled a time earlier in the day when I laughed and laughed at something silly, and we laughed harder.  As we caught our breath, I turned on the Christmas music box by his bed, but he was so riled up he leaned over and began blowing strawberries on my arm to the notes of the songs (imagine O Come All Ye Faithful in fart sounds).  I asked if I could videotape him and he said, “Uh, no”, but we laughed again.  Finally it was way past his bedtime and I asked for what he was thankful.  He said, “My new monitor and you for getting it for me,” (picking it up) “and Christmas.”  I said I was thankful for time at home and A Christmas Story, and for him for keeping me laughing.

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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Uncategorized


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