A happy child

Baseball season is in high gear – B is playing on two teams, which is the result of two seasons, spring and summer, overlapping.  Very different teams and coaching, to boot.  He seems okay with the running around and the transitions.  The hardest part is making sure the correct pants and practice or game jersey is clean.  There are worse things.

We’ve had a wonderful visit from Grandaddy and Nini, and they are planning a return next month, to which we’re looking forward.  There were too many “thankful for Grandaddy and Nini” nights to count – before they got here, while they were here, and after they left.  I do remember one night, though, when B said “I’m thankful for all the things Grandaddy is building, and for Nini for being awesome.”  He saw the look on my face and quickly added, “Not that Grandaddy isn’t awesome.  He’s awesome, too!”

We also had a fantastic “crew” weekend of just the boys and moms, or at least some of them, at the beach, thanks to one set of grandparents who own a beautiful beach house.  Best Mother’s Day ever.  Precious people, precious time.  10 boys getting along beautifully.  Even 2 Mother’s Day serenades (sweet, yes; also quirky, but that’s our boys).  B and I were thankful for the trip and the people for days on end, and I found myself just yesterday telling B, a little tearfully, that I was thankful that he gave me new friends I didn’t know I needed.

Tonight we studied for a math test, and, for once, it wasn’t all that hard to decipher what was being taught (thank heavens for the internet and smart people who like to talk about math). B picked it up easily once we did a little of it together.  This left time to cut up, resulting in tickling, pinching, and wrestling, and he sorta fell off a chair at one point (I barely tapped him!)  When we lit the chalice tonight, he said he was thankful for me for explaining math to him.  I said I was thankful for how much we laugh, which can even make math fun.  He was clearly not ready to settle down, and he started doing a sound-switch technique he borrowed from his friend O, which involves swapping the first sound in two words or two syllables, so that “math test” becomes “tath mest”.  Once he started, I couldn’t shut him off, so I eventually kissed him loudly on the forehead and shouted goodnight over his verbal antics and laughter, and he continued until I couldn’t hear him anymore.

It is a blessing to have a happy child.

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Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


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It’s been a while since I have sat down with the computer to record Mythankfulboy’s evening thoughts.  Baseball season hit and grandparents visited and I acquired pneumonia – sometimes life feels too big for quiet reflection.  Of course, that is probably precisely when it should be done.

For days and days of the period, B was thankful for his Grandaddy and Nini – my father and stepmother.  He was thankful for them before they arrived (because they were coming), while they were here (“For everything Grandaddy does for us and for how awesome Nini is.  I mean, Grandaddy is awesome, too….”), and after they’d gone (because we had such a great time and Grandaddy brought and built a cover for a generator for B’s pitching machine) and for the generator for my house and he took B bowling and, and, and…

Last night, around 10:30 (WAY too late for B to be going to bed on a school night), I flopped down on the side of his bed and said, “Honey, I am just plain thankful for you.  For everything about you.”  He smiled a knowing, but appreciative smile in the chalice light.  He said, “I’m thankful for you, too, and that we’re going to the beach with our friends this weekend.  It’s really nice that I can be with my friends and with you at the same time.”

13 years old, still wants to hang with his mom.  Still snuggles with his Nini, even when she falls asleep on his shoulder.  Savoring…

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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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What if, one of these days…

Another bomb threat at my son’s school this afternoon.  A teacher friend pointed out to me that April 20th often evokes such threats, as it is the anniversary of Columbine, and Hitler’s birthday.  Mythankfulboy, tonight, said, “I hate these bomb threats!  They’re never real!”, which gave me a chill, because they feel like a big annoyance to him, when I am thinking, “I hate these bomb threats!  What if one, one of these days, is real?”

So, no baseball practice.  I gave him some time on the Xbox, then put him to work cleaning.  He moaned on and off for the first hour or so, then just did what was asked without apparent concern.  I thanked him at one point for just saying “Ok mom” and doing what was asked.  When we sat down for the chalice lighting, he said, “Thank you for helping.”  This seemed like a genuine statement, so I asked with what I had helped.  He said, “Everything around the house.”  I laughed; “Oh, you mean thanks for making you work when you didn’t want to?”  He said, “I guess – it came out funny, but I guess I meant thanks for making sure it all gets done.” I said, “Thank you for kicking in, too.”  After that the conversation turned to the state math testing they’re doing right now, and whether or not the bomb threat would keep him from school tomorrow (nope).  Then, in a moment of quiet, I said, “I’m thankful tonight that you and all your friends and teachers are safe.”  “Yeah”, he said.

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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Uncategorized


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We had such a lovely weekend.  It was a found weekend, since it was originally scheduled and then, last minute, not scheduled.  I am quite sure I am a nicer person on a weekend such as this.

Friday night we attended a dear friend’s production of 8.  Here’s the description from Wikipedia:

8 (or 8 the Play) is an American play that portrays the closing arguments of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal trial that led to the overturn of Proposition 8 – an amendment eliminating rights of same-sex couples to marry in California. It was created by Dustin Lance Black in light of the court’s denial of a motion to release a video recording of the trial and to give the public a true account of what transpired in the courtroom.

The play is written in the style of verbatim theatre reenactment,  using transcripts from the trial, journalist records, and media interviews from the plaintiffs, defendants and proponents involved.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, sponsors of the play, have licensed the play for readings nationwide on college campuses and in community theaters free of charge, as an educational tool.[3]

My friend took our kids and I met them there – it was very powerful, wonderfully done, and I was so glad that both Mythankfulboy and I had seen it.  There was a panel afterwards that included the judge who was sued by his own county for issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, and one of the women from one of the couples who received one of those first licences, as well as teachers and students from the school district’s GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance) and Aequalis clubs.  In the car, leaving, B said, “I needed to see that.”

Saturday we did baseballish stuff and B had a sleepover with The Crew.  Today we did odds and ends around the house, which included Xbox and a nap.  I don’t want to give the impression of being a delightfully balanced human – I took work to the baseball fields and worked today, too, but it was at a slightly lesser pace, I guess you could say.

Tonight, at the chalice lighting, we read the following covenant from the Gray UU hymnal, written by Reverend Walter Royal Jones, Jr.:

Mindful of truth ever exceeding our knowledge and community ever exceeding our practice,

reverently we covenant together, beginning with ourselves as we are,

to share the strength of integrity and the heritage of the spirit in the unending quest for wisdom and love.

and the heritage of the spirit in the unending quest for wisdom and love.

in the unending quest for wisdom and love.

When I finished reading, I asked if I could read it again for myself.  B said, “Please!”, acknowledging that he hadn’t caught all of it, either.  I read it again, interpreting each line in my own words, with B contributing.  We ended up with something like:

Knowing that there is more out there than we can know with our senses or wtih science

And more people than we can touch

we make a promise together (B held out his pinky for a pinky swear)

to start with our imperfect selves and to grow stronger in sharing a moral compass,

and to draw from the spirit of those who have gone before us,

in our search for Truth and Love.

When we finished interpreting, pinkies locked, B said “I do.”  I said, “May it be so.”

I asked B for was thankful tonight, and he said he was thankful that I took him to the baseball fields and worked there, where “most moms” would have just said he had to stay home.  While I don’t love the fact that he even thinks about work coming before him, I’m glad he sees the efforts I make.  I was thankful for 8, and the young (and not so young) faces in the play, on the panel, and in the crowd who are turning the tide of public opinion.

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Posted by on April 19, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Tonight we had more odd electrical phenomena, making me glad a visit from my daddy, known as “Grandaddy” to Mythankfulboy, will be visiting soon.  Not the only reason, of course. He was originally due tomorrow, but the trip was postponed a few days.  We can go without lighting in the kitchen for a few days, right?

B is sleeping on the couch after having found 2 ants on his bed.  The dog loves it, because B pulls the dog’s ottoman up to the couch beside him (since the dog is not allowed on the couch) and they snuggle up.  Once they were in place tonight, I read Affirmation #457, by Reverend Edward Everett Hale, from the gray hymnal as our chalice reading:

I am only one

But still I am one.

I cannot do everything,

But still I can do something.

And because I cannot do everything

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

I closed the hymnal and waited for a response.

B said, “Huh?”

I laughed.  I have to admit, by the time I had gotten to the end, the reading was feeling a little Seussian.  So I read it again, slowly.  He still had no idea what it meant, so I interpreted for him that looking at big problems and thinking “I’m too small to change that big problem” means nothing will ever change.  Instead, look at the big problem, and if it makes you think it’s really not fair, think “That makes me really mad. I’m going to do what I can do.”  If you do that, chances are others will join you, but even if they don’t, you will have some impact, and that matters.

He said, “Huh”, this time as in “I hadn’t thought of it that way before”.

I said, “I wonder what’s going to make you really mad?”  He answered, “Right now, it’s hypocriticism (hippo-criticism).”  “Wow”, said I. “That’s a pretty great word without actually being a word.”  “You know what I mean – when somebody gets all over somebody else but they do the same thing.”  “Yep, sounds like ‘hypocriticism’ to me, and that could make me mad.  How would you go about changing something like that?” I asked.  “I have no idea”, he responded.

I had no answers for him.  We talked a bit about why it made him mad (unfairness), why someone might hypocriticize (oh yeah, now we’re conjugating it), and what you’d really have to change to change the behavior.  To tie up the conversation, I re-worded my original thought – that I was looking forward to seeing what community or world issues made his heart hurt enough to fight for as he got older.

He said, “Me too.”

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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Lucky in love

I realize that Upworthy has been criticized for regurgitating information it finds elsewhere on the web, but I have to say I appreciate their efforts, and am genuinely moved by some of the things I see there.  Tonight I borrowed a little interview done by production of comedian Michael Jr., which, if I’m understanding the way it’s being credited, came from a video series called I Like Giving.  Anyhoo – it was a lovely segment about a comedian who, one night before going on stage, had the sudden realization that he shouldn’t be trying to get laughs, he should be giving laughs, and that realization changed the way he moved in the world.  He said that life is like a joke – there’s a set-up and then there’s a punch line.  He said anybody can deliver that punch line – essentially, anybody can make a difference.  This resounded to me, making me think of the chalice lighting last night (receive, carry, give back).

I invited B into my room to watch this on my computer, and he curled up in my bed while I sat in my desk chair, backed up to the bed.  Naturally, there was a point at which I cried.  He’s used to this from his emotional momma.  He softly laid his hand on my shoulder, and left it there for the remainder of the video.  When the segment was done, I said, “We are very, very lucky.”  He ran the back of his hand down my wet cheek, as I’ve done a million times to him, and said, “I know.”  We really didn’t need to say anything more.

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Posted by on April 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Receive, carry, give back

Today was the last scrimmage before the real games begin!  Mythankfulboy had been worried he might not get played on a team with almost twice as many players as there are positions, but he did – right field, pitching, and catching.  He played well, and they were in winning until the last inning when the other team took the lead and the game was called because of time limitations.  It is going to be very hard for me to not be at all of his games, but 3:45 in the afternoon is just murder for a person who works.

On our way home, he got the gum and the milkshake he had requested last evening.  He was in high spirits when we arrived home, and did a little work around the house (he even washed his own uniform – talk about feeling grateful!)  Dinner, teeth, no studying because it’s state testing week, and so on to bed and the chalice lighting.  This morning he had felt pretty crummy, and tonight, post-adrenaline, he began to feel it again, making him quite ready for bed.  Tonight we read #455 from the gray hymnal, by Dag Hammarskjold:

Each morning we must hold out the chalice of our being to receive, to carry, and give back.

So simple, but there was a lot to talk about.  There was the concept of ourselves as vessels, and of the meanings behind the symbol of our chalice.  There was the idea that it is a responsibility to give of ourselves, and it is a responsibility to fill ourselves up with that which is then good for us to carry, and good for us to give.  We talked about how we each thought we were doing with the three aspects; I said I thought that I was quick to carry and give, but that I had to remind myself to slow down and receive, and to make time to be with the people who fill me up.  I named some adults I would include in that crowd.  He said, “Aren’t you missing someone?”  So I named some more folks.  He said, “Um, still one more obvious person.”  “Who?” I asked.  “ME!” he exclaimed.  “Oh yeah.  And you!” I said, laughing.  He said he thought he was “just okay” and “getting better” at all three.  He said, “Look!  I’m reading instead of playing Xbox!”  (A reference to filling himself up with good things – it was true – quietly ensconced in bed, waiting for me to arrive to light the chalice, he had been reading.)  And he said he wasn’t always sure how to give, except to open doors and help people out when he saw they needed something.  I told him I had seen him encourage a teammate today who took a mistake on the field pretty hard.  He said, “Yeah – I don’t always know what to say.  I mean, when I feel like that, nothing anybody says makes it better because I know what I did.”  I suggested that the goal wasn’t to make him think a mistake wasn’t a mistake, but remind him that a mistake didn’t run him off the team, or out of the lineup – that everyone makes mistakes and can understand how he feels.  I also told him I didn’t think he had to say anything, but patting him on the back when you passed by could do the trick.  I could see he was thinking about it.

And, a side note that I’d like to remember – at B’s scrimmage today, the team bench was placed beside the bleachers so that it lined up with the lowest seat on the bleachers.  I sat in the second row, on the bench side.  About the fourth inning, B was sitting out as other kids rotated into the game.  He walked over and plunked down beside me.  Neither of us thought much about it until his coach saw him and whispered in his ear, loudly enough for me to hear, “You don’t sit with your mom at a baseball game.”  B laughed and skipped down to sit with his teammates on the bench.  I looked up at the other moms, who were uniformly giving me the pouty lip, as though to say “He just had to blow it for you, didn’t he?”  I had to laugh when, not 10 minutes later, B sat down on the row beneath me and turned to face me, steadying himself by putting his forearm on my leg, and started telling me about his day.  I don’t think Coach saw him that time…

Receive, carry, give back.  May it be so.

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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


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