Transmitting faith

No crazy electrical happenings this evening, just a standard Tuesday night.  After baseball we gamed and worked and ate and bathed and took out the trash and so on.  Then mythankfulboy snuggled into bed, and I followed him into the room with the gray UU hymnal, and read it’s second chalice lighting:

#448  We gather this hour as people of faith with joys and sorrows, gifts and needs. We light this beacon of hope, sign of our quest for truth and meaning, in celebration of the life we share together. Reverand Christine Robinson

After reading it aloud, I did that awkward lean-on-the-bed thing to have a little quiet with B.  I asked for what he was thankful.  He said, “All the people who love me.”  He had just gotten several birthday cards, and was feeling especially loved, I think.  He asked me.  I said, “Pie”, thinking of the pie left from Pi Day that we continue to nibble on each evening.  He said, “Oh, yeah. Pie.”  Quiet fell.  Then:

“I’m also thankful you’re going to take me to school tomorrow.”

“Wow”, I respond. “You’re a mind reader now, huh?”

“Mom” (formally), “Will you take me to school tomorrow?”

“I guess”, I say, as if he doesn’t know it’s the best way to start my day.

As I pulled myself up to go, I asked him if he remembered the chalice reading.  He didn’t.  I remembered parts but not the whole thing.  So, before I blew out the candle, I read it aloud again.  This time, I found my emphasis falling on the word “faith” in the phrase “people of faith”.  In that moment, I felt my faith in the room, and I knew I was doing my best to pass it to him.  May it be so.

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Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Sparks galore

Tonight, while I waited for mythankfulboy to brush his teeth and examine the peach fuzz on his upper lip in the mirror before heading to bed, I sat down at the piano and played a few hymns from “the gray” Unitarian Universalist hymnal, “Singing the Living Tradition”.  When he was done, I flipped to the back to the chalice lightings, and thought I’d start with the first one and see where it led us.

#447  “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  Albert Schweitzer

Bam! (as Rev Anne would say) Right off the bat – gratitude.  I read it as I lit our chalice.  B was surprised and gave me an inquisitive look.  “We’re trying something new tonight” I said in response, and asked “Who gives you a spark when your flame is low?”  “My momma”, he said, sarcasm dripping from his voice.  “Ok, well, yeah – that’s my job.  Anybody else?”  “Yeah” he said. “Your momma and your daddy and Little J from Ferry Beach and Big J from Ferry Beach.”  I smiled.

[The moment was disrupted by the computer turning on by itself – we’ve had an electrical poltergeist kind of evening.  Our dryer wouldn’t turn on, but was getting electricity (maybe a switch went bad?).  B hit a switch for a light in the kitchen and the living room light turned on instead.  Later the same light switch worked fine.]

“Who lights your spark?” he asked.  I answered predictably. “Well, you are the light of my life, kiddo.  And my daddy has always done this for me.  And my friends from Ferry Beach, of course.”

[I wasn’t quite done, when the computer in B’s room went off.  B and I stared at it as it came back on again and stayed on.]

We said our goodnights, and I blew out the chalice as I left the room.  He called me back in. “Hey mom – look at this!”  A funky metal wind-up toy he’s had for, oh, 5 years, and has sat on the bureau beside his bed for, oh, 3 years, was glowing.  We’d never seen it do that before.  Maybe it did it every night and we’d never noticed it before, or maybe it was just tonight.  I didn’t realize until I sat down to write this entry that all the electrical and glowing craziness went hand-in-hand with a chalice lighting that asked who provides the spark to rekindle our inner flame.

Perhaps I should listen.

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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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First book, first school team, chocolate?

Sweet chalice lighting tonight.  Mythankfulboy had a great weekend.  He found out Friday he made the 7th grade baseball team (yay B!), Saturday he and a friend went to blacklight dodgeball (yes, that’s dodgeball in the dark) followed by the pie-eating, straw-farting grocery-store-parking-lot-with-your-mom extravaganza mentioned in my last post.  The friend spent the night, then we met his mom and little brother for brunch, at which point B got to go to the friend’s house for the afternoon.  He loves going to their house, and he loves their family.  He came home, showered, gamed briefly, spelled (hard words: ephemeral, etymology, and herpetology), then finally to bed.  He asked to read a Dr. Seuss book (odd, but ok), and told me to pick one at random.  I chose Hop on Pop, and he said, “My first book!”  I asked what he meant.  He said, “This is the one that made reading click for me. I remember when it happened.  I was sitting on Peepeye’s lap (his grandmother) and she was reading it with me, and then I just took over!”  This was something I had never known – what a sweet memory!  He proceeded to read it to me, turning the book to show me the pictures like a kindergarten teacher in front of her (or his) brood.  Fun.

We put the book away and lit the chalice.  He said, “Momma, I love you so much.”  “And I you, Darlin.  What are you thankful for tonight?”  He said, “For making the baseball team.  I am so, so grateful for that.”  I responded, “I am thankful for and proud of your dedication and hard work that led to your making the team.  And I’m thankful it paid off for you!”  He smiled, looking off into the air at a future, uniformed boy catching at a game.  We were quiet for a moment.

He then said, “Momma, you know what I want?”  “What, Love?”  “I want some good chocolate with mint mixed in – not layers of chocolate and mint, or mint covered with chocolate, but chocolate with mint mixed in.”  “O-kay”, said I, trying to catch up with his quick change from baseball to chocolate.  “Are we talking about candy or ice cream or what?”  “Candy,” he said, plainly.  “It doesn’t have to be right now or anything…..”

You know, he didn’t have to end on a chocolate note for me to walk away with the sweet taste of gratitude in my mouth.

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Posted by on March 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Pi day 2015

B has a friend over this evening, and I could walk you through the whole evening, but let me try to recall how mythankfulboy recapped it earlier in the evening.  It was something like, “Oh my gosh – we are sitting in a car with my mom outside a grocery store, eating pie and making fart sounds through straws stuck in our kneepits, after playing dodgeball.”  Yes, I’m pretty sure any one of those things alone could potentially make one a misfit, but the whole lot together?  Priceless.  We laughed ourselves silly.  I will probably be sore tomorrow from the laughter.  A soreness for which I will be thankful.

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Posted by on March 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Can’t contradict that

School and baseball despite a sore throat and cold.  Everything packed for school and sports the night before.  Homework done without my asking before gaming.  Getting himself up and ready in time for the bus.  Nightly spelling (hard words tonight: kamikaze, litigious, and lei).  This responsibility and dedication of his has been sneaking up on me, and now it makes sense – the frontal lobe rises from the preteen muck!  It has a long way to go (example: when he asked me at 10:30 last night to wash his favorite pair of joggers [thank you Auntie J] for school today.  Uh, no), but it lives and grows!  Hallelujah!

So does his contrariness, but at least he’s good natured about it.  For every observation I make, he has an opposite interpretation, often before I finish my sentence.  He doesn’t notice he does it, until I point it out, which half the time elicits a laugh and half the time a “Well, Mom….” (as in “You know, you should probably consider….”).

Last night we did the chalice lighting with me sitting at my desk and him lounging on my bed with his new Xbox controller (which lights up all different colors).  He had the thing plugged into my computer just to make it make colors.  He laid there, reflexively and repeatedly hitting the sticks on it for no reason, triggering a nightmare of sensation in my brain that led to my suddenly covering my ears and begging him to stop.  He said, “You just noticed I was doing this?”  I said, “It suddenly added up for me and I thought my head might explode.”  “Huh,” says he. “Sorry”.  He then added enthusiastically, “but I AM thankful for my new controller, for the birthday money that bought it, and for your picking me up at baseball and running the other kid home and taking me to Gamestop so I could get it.”  Nice segue into the chalice and away from my agitation.  Before I could contribute to the ritual, though, the dog began raising Cain, so I let him out.  When I returned, Mythankfulboy had moved to his own bed, so I stood next to the bed, leaned over, and laid my head on the bed near him.  He laid his hand on my back and asked me for what I was thankful.  I said I was thankful for the relationship I had with him; that we enjoyed each other, and I was proud of him.  I told him it made every day a day to look forward to.  He said, “Except the days I screw up.”  I raised my head and looked at him.  “First of all, everybody screws up.  Second of all, you rarely do.  Third of all, if and when you do, I still love you.  Fourth of all, stop contradicting me, especially when I’m being mushy.”  He giggled.  I said goodnight and stood up, and he asked, “Can’t you just stay a little longer?”  “Nope”, I said, heading for and through the door as I said, “I have to let the dog in and switch the laundry and wash a dish or two.  And it’s late.”  He responded, “It’s not that late.”

I ducked my head back into the room. “Really?”

He tucked his head into his pillow.  “Oh. Sorry. I love you!”

Me too, buddy.  Can’t contradict that.

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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Odds and ends of a weekend apart

It was a quiet, working, weekend here at the house (well, around town – I don’t get anything done at the house) because Mythankfulboy was at a friend’s house Thursday night (no school Friday) and at his dad’s for the weekend.  This did not keep me from sending him audio clips via text asking him to spell various words, but it did mean that I didn’t get my usual dose of him.  In some ways, the nights away from your kid/s, as a divorced parent, are really good breaks.  Of course, not so much when they are texting and begging to come back to your house.  Still, we worked through that, and I missed him thoroughly by the time he got home.

Today, while his dad took him for a snowboard lesson (awesome, right?), I went to the office and met my business partner and one of our precious staff, and we did some sprucing up.  This was much-needed, and I think we’ll all be happier this week for having done it.  Afterward, I had a quick, quiet dinner out and read (one of my favorite combinations of things to do), and headed over to pick up the boy.  He had so many things to tell me, he couldn’t complete a sentence.  These things ranged from what his step-brother had done when he (B) had friends over (followed them around), to his disappointment that he won something in a video game only to find he already had one, to how much his rear end hurt from falling while learning to snowboard.  We got the car washed, and the boy a milkshake.  I played (and sang) my new favorite song for him, much to his pretend chagrin (The Decemberists’ Better Not Wake the Baby).  We turned into the driveway laughing.

Once home, of course we spelled (hard words: samovar, paprika, and catkin, although the last one was easy once he heard the correct spelling…), and then the chalice lighting.  It took a little while to tear him away from his iPod, but once we got the dog on the bed and settled, he gushed that he was thankful for his new baseball bat and some Lindt chocolate he got for his birthday.  These days he also always says he’s thankful for me.  I said I was thankful for getting some things done around the office, and for the lightness and laughter there today.  And of course, for his coming home after being gone a few days.  About then, the dog knocked the boy’s iPod out of the windowsill in which he’d left it for the night, and things moved into the dull aspects of getting it back in place, blowing out the candle, turning on the lava lamp, and saying goodnight.

Except for the “I love you” part.  That’s always the best part.

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Posted by on March 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Wearing pants

Mythankful boy has turned 13.  One indication was when he came sauntering through the house in sweat pants and no shirt.  I said, “Look at you!  You’re wearing pants without being told to!”, referring to his almost constant state of wearing only his boxer briefs around the house.  He replied, “Yeah, that was so not teen.”

And then he laughed.  Thank goodness.

With this development, his literal development into teenhood, I vacillate between excitement and lament, future planning and Memory Lane.  He asked on his birthday if, when people said, “It seems like just yesterday you were…” or “Where did the time go?”, it actually felt like that.  I had given him a collage of pictures from each year of his life, and we looked at it together as I told him to look at the 4-9 years and to notice how, although he got taller and began to thin out a bit, his face was largely unchanged, and then how, upon reaching 10, it began to change much more rapidly.  I suggested that adults tend to remember that long period as recent, at that, when change happens more quickly, it feels like time has sped up unnaturally.  He said, “I’m sorry”.  I asked, “For what?”  He said, “For growing up too fast.”   I assured him that I was, and the other people who said such things, were really just saying that they remember him across the years – that it’s a way of saying we have loved you in many forms, and still do.  He nodded.  I told him that I, personally, couldn’t wait to see what kind of teen he became (this was also written across the bottom of the collage).  He grinned slightly, but remained thoughtful.

Who would have thought that those loving comments would have made him feel like people were disappointed in his growth?  He’s a sensitive kid – the dedicated time we spend each night in our chalice lighting is so important for him to have an opportunity to bring up such things.  It’s also important towards keeping the beauty in the world front and center.  On his birthday, B was thankful for new underwear (even if he will be covering it up!), for a new BBCOR baseball bat, and for the party he hasn’t yet had.  I was thankful that wearing pants is apparently a teenage thang.

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Posted by on March 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


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