Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grief revisited

The anniversary of the 9/11 incident has brought up a lot of thoughts in my mind and forced me to reflect once again on grief. This historical incident happened well before our personal issues of Alzheimer's, dementia, and cancer, a time when the kids were healing and settling in to a routine, when we had friends and support in place. Then the proverbial rug was yanked out from under us.

Despite the stressors we had, I know that our situation was not as bad as some people have experienced. I am constantly humbled by those who deal with what would apparently be insurmountable grief: for example, the accident which caused this family to lose two children, and the life of a third teenager to be affected forever.

The mother of these two lost children has exhibited a tremendous amount of grace during this crisis. What she experienced is practically incomprehensible to me. Pick any day, any school morning, with its stresses, its chaos, and its assumption of normalcy, and then throw in a world-shattering event of huge loss and add in having to make decisions with great immediacy, such as donating your child's organs. How does anyone recover from something like this?

My children are getting to the age where I will let them play outside unsupervised, where I will leave them at the bus stop without obsessing if they will be safe. This perception of safety is simply that--a perception, an illusion. At any time things can change forever.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Just two beers, officer

I have a kid who lies. The joke here (if you care to call it a joke) is that the way to tell if he is lying is to check to see if his lips are moving.

No offense to the men out there, but 13 year old boys are a world unto themselves, full of illogic, preoccupation, and basic stupidity, as well as twice the grocery bill of any other member of the family. Add to that the knee-jerk lying, the lack of thought processing, and general dopiness, and I find it hard to cope. However, the lying is the worst thing--I don't know if it is related to the attachment disorder, a residual effect left over from the trauma, or general teenage defiance.

I mean, last week Kiki asked if she and her friend could go to the library after school. The high school, rec center, library, and middle school, along with the two athletic fields and performing arts center, are all in a complex, so I gave her permission to walk to the library after school to do her homework, talk to her friends, or check out the boys. Twenty minutes after she arrived at the library, Kiki called and told me she was going over to visit at the junior high school. Since she had told me she was going, I gave her permission; I had suspected that was part of the plan since the beginning. Plus, I figured lugging her textbooks, violin case, and gym bag a quarter mile to the junior high and back to the library (I wasn't about to change the pickup point, after all) in ninety-two degree heat would be an outcome which might provide a better lesson than calling her out on her plot.

It was. However, I did point out that I didn't appreciate subterfuge.

The subterfuge is normal teenage stuff. What I don't get is the situation where I will look over because I hear slurping, see the dog licking Rocky's hand, and say, "Stop letting the dog lick you. How many times do I have to tell you to not let the dog lick you!"

Rocky yanks his hand away and says, "I'm not letting the dog lick me."

So, is it splitting hairs, as he at that very second is no longer letting the dog lick him? I say, "You were." Then we have the "No, I wasn't." At which point, I will look at him and say, "I had just two beers, officer." He gets it. Yet he still denies everything.

Then I have a choice--I need to decide if he is lying to get out of trouble (and incidentally thinking that THIS TIME I will be stupid enough to believe him) or is he lying because he honestly was skating around the rings of Saturn and didn't know the dog was licking him. Usually, I will have him tell me, working through which would be the lesser of the two evils, as each will have its own consequences.

Someday, someday he will tell me the truth. And the sad part is, I probably won't believe him.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I love autumn. As much as I like summer, I enjoy fall more. Summer is great: lots of places to go, swimming, picnics, parties, grilled food, lack of school constraints. However, fall gives me a sense of relief, getting cozy and preparing for the winter, burrowing in if you will.

Today it feels like fall--cool temperature, cloudy skies, breezes. Today I feel the urge to make chili, to watch high school football, and shop for pumpkins.

Friday, September 3, 2010


This morning, about 5:45, I opened my email to find that I had passed the doctoral competency exam. Hallelujah. Now on to the dissertation.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tamale on the Steps

Yesterday, I went to work, did a new student orientation, went to a three-hour meeting, did a new employee orientation, ran home, got Nita, dropped her off at drum lessons with an admonishment to wait for her dad after the lesson, and then ran to Kiki's two high school open house.

Then I came home, ran the dishwasher, threw a load of clothes in the dryer, packed lunches, signed homework and assignment books, put the three kids to bed, and fed the dogs while EG fed the cats. He said to me, coming down from the upstairs where the girls and cats live, "Why is there a tamale on the steps?"

Of course, I assumed I was tired and had heard him wrong. But, there in his hand, was a corn-husked wrapped tamale.

Do I really want to know?