Jul 042011

During the school year, we decided to let Chase walk half way home from school all by himself. He was dying to walk all the way home, but Craig was opposed. He felt like “something might happen” in our rough and tumble planned community. I wanted to take a chance, because the proposition of stuffing two tired and screaming girls into the van, yet again, can make a mama brave. But in these scenarios our policy is that the more cautious parent wins, even if the more cautious parent is at work twenty miles away. Which, incidentally but conveniently, is just out of ear shot of my screaming girls. We are presently revising our policy.

Each day I’d pile the girls in the van, drive halfway to the school (500 yards) and sit in the van on the side of the road listening to my precious girls think of ridiculous things about which to get disgusted with each other. The kindness revolution has not penetrated the walls of my mini-van or home. My girls fight like it is their job. Like someone is actually paying them to NEVER STOP FIGHTING. No hoodies for them.

So every afternoon I’d sit in the front seat, mentally block out the girls, and watch for Chase in my rear view mirror. And every time he’d come into view, I’d feel a little amazed. It’s so strange to watch your child when he doesn’t know you’re watching him, when he’s in his element. Because you think . . . he has an element? He leads a life that has nothing to do with me? A life in which people say things to him and he says things back with no guidance or explanation from me? Look at those legs…they work! I made that person and he’s just walking about as if unattached to me!

Every day I’d feel like Gepetto….watching this thing I made come to life before my eyes.

He’s alive! He moves! Amazing!


I don’t think he’s gonna stay in my arms anymore, now that he has this life of his own.

It’s all so magical but a little heartbreaking, too.

After a while I noticed that Chase was always walking to the van alone. There’d be a group of kids in front of him, walking and laughing – and a group of kids behind him, walking and laughing. But he’d be on his own. All alone. Each day. Oh, God.

Something deep inside me told me not to bring it up to him. He’s fine, that soul voice said, this is your issue, not his. Don’t pry. Don’t kick open all his private doors or he’ll start locking them. Wait for him to invite you in.

So I didn’t say a word to him, but I worried. Every afternoon. Every single afternoon.

Oh Jesus. Let him get caught smoking in the boys’ room. Let him fail social studies. Let him get punched on the playground . . . But please don’t let him be lonely.

A few weeks ago I was flipping through an old notebook and I found this:

Moment of Silence1/10/11

by: Chase

When I walk

out of the classroom,

away from any other souls,

close to beautiful nature

all by myself

I roam around


of anything that shall bother or disturb me.

I take a deep sniff

of the snow scented, fresh air

and I think.

I think about

anything that will happen

to me

and so

I can

prepare for it.

this is my moment



The kids are all right, Lovies.

Our little Pinocchios are going to be just fine. They’ve got the whole world in their little hands.

So find a moment of silence for yourself today. Deep Sniffs, Lovies. Just take a moment to roam free.

Love, G and C

Aug 122011

*This one’s for Christy, whose little laugh and big heart I love so very much. You’re gonna like this one, C.

In my house, nobody wants to bathe, even though everybody stinks.

Admittedly, it is mostly my fault that my people stink, but still. My people must learn to compensate.

Every few days, when I announce that it’s bath-time, all hell breaks loose. Tish hides and stomps and cries and Amma screams like a banshee. Now I am not exactly sure what a banshee is, I just know that Amma screams like one.

I have actually invited several neighbors into my home to witness this banshee screaming firsthand, just to prove that Amma makes these noises without being beaten. That is a true story.

This anti-bath banshee screaming continues once the two girls are caught and stripped and thrown into the tub, because inevitably one of them wants the VIP tub spot that the other is currently occupying. A Battle Royale ensues. Then, as I begin to pour lukewarm water over Amma’s head, the banshee screaming intensifies. Amma reacts as if I have just poured battery acid into her eyes. She screams at the top of her lungs… “IT’S BURNING COLD!!!” or “IT’S FREEZING HOT!!!!” Which makes it quite difficult to know how to correctly adjust the temperature.

It looks a lot like this:

Then, usually about ten minutes into bath time, the girls calm down. They start mellowing, start playing with their bath toys, even giggle a bit. And then, of course, it’s time to get out of the tub.

You can imagine how that goes. I actually don’t want to talk about it anymore.

Except to say that all of this just reminded me of an evening a couple years back when my friend Jen called and said, “What did you and the kids do today?” And I said, “We bathed.” And she said, “Uh-huh, for what?” And I said,” What do you mean, for what?” And Jen said, “Well, I mean, were you getting ready for something special?” And I said, “Um. No. I don’t mean we bathed in preparation for an activity, I mean, bathing WAS our activity. That’s it. We’ve been resting ever since. And honestly, I’m still totally exhausted.”

The bonus here was that Jen called the following week and invited the kids to a concert.

I have always depended on the kindness of concerned friends and strangers.

But anyway, you guys. Here’s the point of this post. My bath time woes are OVER. DONE.

I have discovered a miracle. I can hardly believe it myself. Because the miracle I am about to present to you means that I will NEVER be forced to bathe a child of mine again.

On the way home from my parents house yesterday, I passed this billboard. I couldn’t believe my eyes. So I turned the van around to verify and frantically jot down the number.


I’m calling tonight to inquire about three-for-one deals. Joy. Thank you, world. You sweet, helpful world.

Love, G

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