Sunday, October 13, 2019


Yes, it's the tenth month of the year, when people suddenly think, "You know what's fun?  German food."   I've been to Germany.  I've eaten it and you know what, it's not something I'd stand in line has to wonderbar, why Octoberfest is always about German things. 

For no other cuisine do we dedicate a month of festivities.  We don't have an Italianfest during January, when everyone longs for the comfort of warm carbs.  We know well enough not to push all Irish food even on March 17th.  There isn't a week dedicated to French cuisine or Thai or Argentina's fantastic delicacies or for that matter, a month of desserts! 

We need to reenvision how to celebrate when there's no reason for celebration but the celebration if we're going to do Octoberfest, let's make it festive.  Let's do different months of foods February is all desserts because, well, February is depressing and needs all the help it can get.   October should be the month of soups, and July, of ice creams and June of wine.   I guarantee, people would get into the idea of a dessert a day, or a soup a day...for months at a time. 

I just remembered, I need to make soup for tomorrow.   It's a good thing they're having an Octoberfest and I decided to rant about it, because now I have to go buy some squash and get soup on.   Hehe.   

Saturday, October 12, 2019

When We Stop

This past month, my writing's taken it on the chin.  This past month, I spent getting used to teaching.  There are only so many hours, so much energy, and so much will in any given day, and I've found my Saturdays to be the day I crash.  I sleep.  I nap.  I eat.  I nap again. It has become a predictable pattern which I realized in part, was designed to keep me from allowing myself to be anything but busy.  Busy even when resting, so that I wouldn't have time to reflect or feel, because it's how I handle stress.  I work harder.   I get busier with life.  I throw myself into new projects in an attempt to overwhelm myself so I won't have the luxury of wallowing in anything I can't solve. 

It's how I handle grief. It's how I manage fear.  I know because I remember volunteering to manage the Fall Carnival when I received the diagnosis of my son's Down Syndrome and heart condition.  Occasionally, my family recognizes before I do something and tells me, "Under no circumstances are you to volunteer..."  and I've learned when what I'm doing, I'm doing to avoid thinking about something else.   Even writing can be a means of avoidance of problems I either don't want to face or am tired of facing.

So I let myself not write, so as to better face what we've been facing. The tectonic shift in family life to being mostly teens is tough. We lived with toddlers as the primary driving force for roughly eighteen years.  The switch to school age and up wasn't noticeable at first, and then it became decidedly older in what felt like overnight.     That change has been something not always either fun to write about, or something that should be shared.  Adolescence has its awkward ugly moments, and those are best remembered as moments of growing up, rather than secured and documented in Internet amber.   I've tried hard to only showcase my children when I am the source of the joke, or when their antics reveal hope and joy.  Not everything in life is grist for the mill, because lives are not to be used, but to be shared. 

However, I missed writing because it often leads me to think about things more deeply than I would otherwise. It helps me find patterns and see where I need to go and what I need to do.  It's a bit like crying and laughing.  Sometimes, tears allow us to get through what cannot be borne any other way. Sometimes, laughter is the same thing, and for me, sometimes writing works that way too.   It is how I process both tears of sorrow and joy.  Writing is not my job, it's part of my vocation, just as surely as being a mom is not a job, but my vocation, and being a wife is not a job, but my vocation.  It's all part of both who I am and what I do, and the why I do what I do. 

So how do I write about these people becoming adults without exploiting or exposing them?  By remembering, at the end of the day, I have one goal, to get them to the end of the day hopefully with a "Thanks Mom." or a hug.  It means I don't correct the grammar when a kid texts back to my "Love you," "Love you to." even though it drives me nuts.   It means I repeat "They are children. They are children. They are children." when I discover a mess, but also summon them to clean it because, they live here and should.   It means remembering, parenting is a vocation, which means it's never done, and it's never over.  It merely has seasons.   Keep at it.   This is a marathon, and you're not finished because even should you die, you still have the job of praying for them until they're all home at the end of the day. 

I'll keep at it.  Thanks for reading, even when I stop.  It just means, all the words get log jammed in my brain until I start up again. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Watching Them Grow Up

Today I hosted seventeeen fourteen year olds at a bowling party, and thought back because this is the class I've seen every year for nine years.   Having an October birthday girl, I've seen this class grow up and know, this is the last year I'll see some of these kids, because they'll scatter to the four corners after they graduate from Saint Martin's.  I have pictures of them from all their Halloween costumes because every year before this one, my daughter had a Halloween themed birthday party. 

She's like me, always wanting everyone to be there. She's better than me, she can get them to come.  I watched them bowl and eat and laugh and pose and play video games in the arcade.  They are fourteen, they are thirteen, they are at ease, they are in no hurry, and so time fliews by without their noticing.   They talk about high school and cartoons and donuts and homework. 

They dance for each other whenever anyone gets a gutterball or a strike.  There is more dancing than bowling going on.   If I'd brought a karyoke machine, we'd never knock over another pin.   I teach these same children in the next year, when they start over, but for now, they are the seasoned seniors of their school, with a casual confidence of being able to handle all of it.  They don't believe otherwise, or that otherwise would be possible. 

I'd wish for them to hold onto that breathless optimism forever, because it will serve them well.  They'd think me too serious and overthinking it, so I just take a few pictures and ask the class leader to round up everyone to sing Happy Birthday, which she does.   It's a good day, and I drive us home and fall asleep watching the Nationals in Game One against the Cardinals. No hitters are great, but not exciting baseball until you get to the later innings.  She opened her presents and disappeared up to her room. It was a good day, a good everything. 

Happy Birthday Rita and glad you got a big party my Pinkie Pie. 

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!