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September 2005
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November 2005

Halloween Report

The boys had a grand time, dressing up as various and sundry characters. Tre made an imposing Darth Vader, striding purposefully along, with his elbows held out just so. Very Darth of him. He practiced the breathing for some time too, and he had it down. It was generally too noisy to hear, unfortunately. Max was a dashing pirate, given to calling people “Scallywags!” I don’t know where he gets it, I really don’t. Raphael (Batman) was smugly pleased to note that he was a hero. The ONLY hero, he pointed out several times. He had a belt with a grappling hook, which he called a grabbling hook, much to my delight.

But whether they were heroes or not, all three boys got to go trick-or-treating not once, but TWICE. The first time was this afternoon, at my dad’s office downtown. Dad’s office is crammed full with entirely too generous people, who chucked great fistfuls of candy into the boys’ bags at every turn. Some people actually gave out





. I kind of thought that was an urban legend, but no! We finally gave up when Raphael literally could not carry his bag any more.

That, I determined in all my motherly wisdom, is enough candy.

But no! Not enough! Because tonight Mom and Dad took the boys around the neighborhood, while I stayed home to fling candy at the children who stopped by. This is our arrangement. They go out with the kids; I stay home and maybe do the dishes. Mom tells me I don’t know what’s fun.

By the end of the evening they had collected a total of seven tons of candy. Each. I am sick.

Errr…THINKING about all that candy. Yeah.

In other news, I am overwhelmed with details. There is the house. The machinery of house purchasing is grinding along, but it turns out that we have radon. Radon! And although that may sound kind of cool, like it might be a super power, or a distant star, it turns out not to be cool at all, and seems to be making our Realtor’s life very difficult.

All sources say radon abatement is not a difficult thing. Plans are being made. Sober discussions of who will pay for it are being held. This will be dealt with.

Deep inside, I can’t help but wonder about the veracity of the radon reports. I mean, it’s a colorless, odorless, undetectable gas that just happens to cause lung cancer. How do we know it wasn’t made up by some gang of home inspectors, over a poker game one night?

It’s not the sort of theory you want to gamble on though, you know? I mean, we are talking about my actual babies’ actual lungs here…

So we’ll abate.

And in the meantime there’s all the paperwork of financing. Good Lord. It’s like a financial pelvic exam. Every day there’s a new request for another form, and I’m starting to feel a bit invaded upon. I’m clutching my financial shirt to my bosom and giving the Powers That Be a very disapproving look.

But Hey! There’s also the wedding to plan! And I don’t want you to think we’re not on top of that too! Just the other day Raphael crawled into bed with me, to greet the morning. We chatted a while, and he said casually,

“You know, in that movie we saw ‘Dog of Flanders,’ they had a wedding.”


“Yup, and in their wedding they had CAKE.” He nodded at me meaningfully. “Yum.”

“Oh. Do you think we should have cake when Clay and I get married?”

“Yes, I do.”

So it’s settled. There will be cake. Now that we have that detail out of the way, the wedding’s practically planned, right? I mean, how much more can there be to decide? Right? Why are you laughing at me?

To sum up, radon shall be slayed, finances shall be put in order, there will be cake at the wedding, and my house is fraught with candy.

I believe I’ll have some now.

Handy man

Tonight Clay and I took the boys to a corn maze. It was a great idea, except for the fact that the maze isn’t actually OPEN during the week. So what we actually did was drive the kids across town so they could stare forlornly and weep outside the corn maze. This was my fault. I could have SWORN they were open all week…


Since we weren’t getting the hot dogs at the corn maze, we stumbled into the nearest food place that looked inviting, a 50s-themed diner.

Hey, if you were alive in the 50s, lemme ask you; was it really that loud? Gah. We ate a solid meal of cheeseburgers (and I mean SOLID in every respect), while music, lights, activity, and kitsch bombarded our senses at every turn. Finally we finished, and stumbled out into the parking lot, where we decided to take a quick trip through the nearest home improvement store.

Ok, let me recap, just to be clear.

We had 1) disappointed kids who were 2) on a wicked data overload, 3) late in the evening, and we were 4) taking them into a boring place.

Let me also back up and mention HEY! We GOT THE HOUSE! Which is to say it’s under contract, in no way actually ours, but feh, let’s start remodeling anyway, huh? There’s actually quite a bit of work to be done before we move in, and Clay will be doing the bulk of that work (he owns a tool belt…can you even think of anything sexier? Sorry, Connie, sorry Mom. But it’s true). So while I’m doodling hearts with our initials, Clay is sketching out kitchen plans and making supply lists. He’s developed something of a furrow to his brow. I’m not accusing him of being stressed, you understand. Clay doesn’t get stressed any more than he gets sick. But he IS becoming increasingly…FOCUSED.

So! Whatta plan for our evening, huh?

We proceeded to our nearest big box home improvement store, where Clay tried to show me cabinet doors and I tried to look at them. The boys, on the other hand, did an interpretive dance I would have titled, “Pinball.” They bounced from aisle to aisle, climbed things, and disappeared into cubbyholes. They lifted toilet seats to peer into their depths and call out, “HELLOOOOOOOO?”

They were a nightmare.

So rather than indulge our interest in cabinets, bathtubs, and doors (oh my), we spent a good 65% of our attention on discipline. And I have to tell you, it was awesome.

No, seriously. I mean, the boys scarcely noticed, but we were such a team. Neither of us had to be the heavy, because both of us were RIGHT THERE. And between instructions to the boys, we cheered each other on, and went right on enjoying ourselves.

At one point Raphael was climbing under a shelf and Tre and Max were pretending to shoot each other with caulk tubes, and I had myself a tiny little fit. I hauled Raphi out and lined him up with Tre and Max, and read them the riot act. It concluded with,

“And NOBODY touches ANYTHING, do you UNDERSTAND ME?” In response, Raphael reflexively grabbed for Every Boy’s Favorite Part. Clay had to take a stroll down the aisle, so they wouldn’t see him laughing, which would ruin my Serious Moment. I’d missed what Raphael had done, so I couldn’t figure out what Clay was doing, or why the back of his neck was turning red. Eventually he came back and explained, and we both had a good, stifled laugh.

Eventually we finished our rounds (and the score was: Cabinets – complete agreement. Two minds with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one. Bathtubs – incomplete agreement, but he can cover the walls in shrunken heads if he’s going to give me that heavenly deep bathtub, oh I love him so. Doors – hmm. Furrowed brows. More research needed), and headed back to the van.

By this point every child was sentenced to holding a hand, which was deeply resented by the children, deeply appreciated by other shoppers. We wended our way through the aisles, Clay and I like a loving pair of chain-gang bosses. I was thinking about how impressed I was with his aplomb, his good nature throughout the ordeal, when we arrived at the van.

“And NOW,” he intoned, “NOW that we have made it all the way BACK to the van, holding hands…” Three pairs of brown eyes fixed on him, awaiting their fate. “Now…GROUP HUG!”

And he swept the boys into a tumbling mass of giggles, planting kisses on cheeks and roughing them up a little in that mysterious manly way they love. After a few minutes of glee he let Max unlock the van and stood back so they could climb in. I leaned in and kissed him.
”You may not realize this, but what you just did, in that store? That was the Iron Man of parenting.” He grinned and shrugged, and started to respond, but just then Raphael slammed Tre’s arm in the door, and he went to check on the arm. I watched him instruct Tre to wiggle his fingers, and smiled to myself.

He’s just the guy to have around.

Sing along

We have a tape we listen to sometimes in the van. Now, “sometimes” to Tre means “forever and always, merciful heavens, can you make it STOP now?” To Raphael, “sometimes” means “NEVER NO NEVER, PLAY THE TAPE NOW!” Max ping-pongs back and forth between the two views, so to me “sometimes” means, “hmmm, how loud will the screaming be if I turn this tape on? If I don’t?”

Depending on the answer, we sometimes listen to the tape.

The tape is a collection of what is termed “Silly Songs.”

Again with the definitions here, allow me to clarify.

“Silly Songs” = “mind numbingly inane chirpy songs, sung just slightly differently from how YOU learned them when you were into the chirp, thereby insuring they will annoy you EACH AND EVERY TIME.”

One of the songs on the cherished/hated Silly Songs tape is “Meet Me in

St. Louis

, Louis.” It goes something like this:

Meet me in

St. Louis

, Louis,

Meet me at the fair.

Don’t tell me the lights are shining,

Anyplace but there.

We will dance the hoochie-coochie.

I will be your tootsie-wootsie.

Meet me in

St. Louis

, Louis.

Meet me at the fair.

It’s actually my favorite song on the tape. My least favorite would be “There’s a hole in the bucket,” which infuriates me. WHO told Liza she had to solve Henry’s problems? He’s clearly a moron,




Where was I?

Ah yes.

Raphael has taken to singing this song with gusto. The fun of that is that we get to hear how he hears it, which apparently goes something like this:

Meet me in

St. Louis

, Louis,

Meet me at the fair.

Don’t tell me the lights are shining,

Anything but that!

We will dance the halsy-coosy,

I will be your friend, say WHOOPSIE!

There is no end to Raphael’s version of the song. You dive right back into the first line after shrieking WHOOPSIE! And so it goes, on and on and on.

I don’t mind one bit, because this song is a song everyone can enjoy. Tre and Max are slayed, SLAYED by Raphael’s rendition. They sing gustily along, and belly laugh. Raphael has not realized they are laughing at his version, but thinks they agree with him that it is the weirdest song ever, so he sings and howls with laughter. Their amusement feeds each other’s reaction, and soon they’re all nigh well hysterical. I watch them and laugh at their combined exuberance.

Everyone is happy, and the tape isn’t playing. Who could ask for more?

Just today

I sat on the couch, looking through a magazine. Details swarmed my head as I flicked the pages past. Clay and I put an offer on a house this weekend – would it be accepted? And where would everything fit? How would the boys like that neighborhood? Is it too far from Clay’s work? And what about the wedding? So many details to think about there, I warily pushed the thought aside. I barely glanced at the words before me, only registering the thought that some of it looked interesting, looked like something I’d want to read someday.

I tossed the magazine on the coffee table, next to a similarly unread magazine. They sat there, a growing pile to add to my list of to-dos. Sigh. When would I find the time or focus to sit and actually read? When would I stop fretting long enough to see the page before me?

Did you hear the one about the codependent who was in a plane crash?

On the way down, everyone else’s lives flashed before her eyes.

I closed my eyes and took a breath.

Just today, I reminded myself.

Just live today.


Saturday I went walking with my friend Amy. We began and ended our walk at the farmer’s market downtown. When we were done, I bought a few things, said my goodbyes to Amy and her husband and kids (who had met us there), and got in my car to drive home.

As I waited at a stoplight, I pulled an apple out of the bag on the seat next to me. It was a Honeycrisp apple, organic and perfectly ripe. I polished it against my leg, then bit into it.

The flesh cracked under my teeth and the juice washed my mouth, sweet and tart and tasting a little like lemon. It was cool, not the deep, faintly food-scented chill of the refrigerator, but the crisp temperature of having been outside in October.

I switched off the chatter of the radio, and sat in silence, hearing only the crunch of the apple between my teeth. I looked at the leaves on the trees I drove past, yellow and red and mottled green. I smelled the apple juice in the air and felt it sticky on my fingers and chin.

Just today.

Just live today.


The voice on the phone was the one guaranteed to stop my heart.

“How are my boys?” he said, softly, “Can I stop by and see them in a little bit? I’m in town for the weekend…”

I had slipped downstairs, into the basement, rather than be overheard by the kids. I forced myself to perch on a chair, as though I were conducting an interview, rather than curl up on the floor, against the wall. I was afraid it would give me away, that my voice would sound as though I were hiding.

I wanted to hide.

“You know you can’t just drop in. There are court orders to uphold, tests you have to take before you can make contact.”

“Are you serious?” Disbelief.

“I’m sorry…was that a surprise?” I was icy.

He recovered.

“No, I understand. It’s just that I’m only in town until Monday. I hoped…”

“Do you know how traumatic that would be for them? They haven’t seen you for…” I paused to figure it out, and was surprised to realize that I don’t keep a running tally in my head. There was a day I knew the time he’d been gone right down to the minute. “What, three and a half years? You just disappeared, and now you reappear when you have a spare minute? That’s not how it works.”

We proceeded to have a civil conversation about how it will work, and he promised he would do what needed to be done. I told him I was getting married, and he wished me well.

Then we said our stilted good byes and I hung up the phone. At that point I did slide off my chair and onto the floor. I knelt and bent over and pressed my face into the dusty blue carpet and tried to slow the pounding in my heart, the whole-body shudder. In yoga I believe it’s called the Child’s Pose. In my basement it was mute supplication.

I do not want to deal with him. I do not want to be the gatekeeper between him and my sons. I do not want this in our lives, I do not want the nightmares and rage and tears and upheaval the boys will have to go through. Dear God, I whispered, I do not want him here now. God, bless and keep him. Far away from us.

I stayed there until the shaking stilled, and my breath and heart took on a normal rhythm. Slowly I pushed forward, feeling the muscles in my legs and arms flex. I extended myself into a pushup position, and I felt my own strength as I pushed up, then down.


He is not here today.


He may not follow through on anything he said.


Or he may.


He is not using, I could tell by his voice.


I will deal with whatever happens, when it happens.


And I am not alone.


Nor am I the person I was.


Nor are the boys.


He is not here today.


He is not here today.

I stood up on legs shaky from adrenaline. I climbed the stairs, back up into today.

Just today.


Bathtime opera

Max was sitting in the bathtub, singing to himself in a broad operatic style as the water filled the tub. He had pulled the curtain closed, because everyone knows you can’t hear through a shower curtain. The song was the narrative of his terry cloth turtle puppet’s adventures on the open sea.

“Aaaaaand the whole sea is WHITE [bubbles, ya understand], and so Tubby [the turtle] says ‘DIVE! DIVE! DIVE FOR YOUR LIFE!’ And he DOOOOOOOOOOOOESSSSS!”

Max has an oddly husky, full singing voice for such a small boy. When he was a baby, he would laugh in that throaty deep voice, and it was startling to hear such a sound come out of his cherubic little self.

I stood in the hall and listened to his aria.

“And SOOOOOOOO Tubby swims! And swims and swims! BUT! OH BUT! There is a SHARK! SWIM, TUBBY, SWIM!”

The water had been running for a while, so I went in to check on the level. When I pulled back the curtain, Max jumped in surprise. I leaned over to twist the water off, and he jumped again to see how much water surrounded him.

“HOLY GUACAMOLE!” he bellowed. “THAT’S FULL!”

Indeed. But how could he be expected to know that?

“Yup, that’s a lot of water, honey. Please be careful not to get it on the floor, ok?”

He nodded, and as I turned to go, he burst into song again.


It is a mysterious and endlessly entertaining crowd I run with.

Reading it right

Raphael is learning to read. To be accurate, he’s learning to decode. Reading is a mystical leap that will happen one night while he sleeps, and I won’t even know he’s arrived there until it’s old news to him.

Nonetheless, since he is preschool aged, I started him on phonics this year. I used the same worn book that Tre and Max learned to read from, and he sits on my lap just as they did. I rest my chin on his warm brown hair and we work our way laboriously through the pages.

Raphael has surprised me, how he’s taken to learning. I didn’t expect much from him this year. Preschool is fun, it’s playing at school, and Raphael is such a high energy child that I started his schooling with deliberately low expectations. However, he is not playing. He sits on my lap and his body goes still with the mental effort. I have never seen him so focused and intense. When we are done with the lesson, he gets up from the table with an entirely new attitude. He is calm and thoughtful, and wanders off to play alone, muttering to himself about the things he just learned. Everywhere we go now, he seeks out letters. The other day we were in a parking lot. I started off toward the store when I noticed Raphael wasn’t at my side. I looked back to see him, quietly tracing the letters on the side of a truck.

“F- fffff, O – oooo, R – rrrrr, D – d,” he murmured to himself, sounding out each letter. He is enchanted by the sounds, and when they come together into words, it startles him. A few weeks ago he read his first word, ran. He was sitting on my lap at the table, his stubby finger moving carefully along a line of letters.

“R…a…n. Ra…n. Ra…n. Raaaan. Ran. RAN. RAN. RAN!” He swiveled around to look at me for conformation, and maybe for permission. I nodded and beamed at him. He yelled across the room to his brothers, “I READ RAN! COME SEE!” They abandoned their own work and lined up next to us to watch the feat. “R…A…N! RAN!”

There was much congratulations and back patting. I gave Raphael a 3x5 card with his word, his very own RAN written on it. He carried it around for an hour, reading it to himself, talking to it, and using it as a magic carpet for his dinosaurs.

Later that day I gave him some paper and crayons and asked him to draw a picture of our family.

“No,” he said, “I will draw RAN.”

And he wrote it in large, shaky letters, and posted it on the fridge. Since then the word “PEN” has joined it. He is on a slippery slope toward literacy.

I’m happy about that, of course. How could I not be? And yet there is a loss in this too. The more written language he accesses, the more conventional his language will become. He will be mainstreamed in his speech, and that is sad indeed. I remember Max learning, much to his surprise, that the word “truck” was not actually “chruck.” It does sound like it, but once he read it, that detail slipped straight within his mouth, and he never said chruck again.

So I am enjoying Raphael’s linguistic eccentricities more than ever these days, savoring them while they survive.

Last week, when all the snow fell, Raphael and I were standing at the window looking out at the broken remains of the peach tree. The weight of the snow had simply wrenched it apart, splitting it three ways right down the center of the trunk.

“Is the green leaf tree strong enough from the snow?” Raphael asked.

“The what?”

“The green leaf tree,” he replied, pointing to a tree in the middle of our front lawn.

“Oh, the maple tree?”

“Right. The bagel tree.”

I hid my smile.

“Yes. It will be fine.”

“Good. I like the bagel tree.”

“Me too.”

He marches relentlessly toward literacy and normalcy, but for now I’m enjoying the bagel tree, before it too is left behind.

Cub Scout follies

Max had his Cub Scout den meeting tonight. The den leader, bless his heart, was running a bit late, so another mom passed the time by showing the boys new and interesting ways to tie their shoes. I, to borrow a phrase from Dave Berry, am not making this up. She gathered the boys around her in a semi-circle by the sheer force of enthusiasm in her voice, and proceeded to show them a DIFFERENT way to tie shoes! With BUNNY EARS!

The boys watched her warily for a moment, then quickly moved to jockeying to be the first one to show how well they could tie their own shoes. One boy was, sadly, wearing those odd Crocs (what is the STORY with those things, anyhow?), and therefore had to resort to mugging another Cub Scout for his shoelaces.

Eventually the den leader arrived, bless his heart. If I keep saying that, bless his heart, can you deduce what I’m actually meaning about him, deep within my petty little soul? Because I don’t like to speak ill of people, you know. But this guy…well…he’s just not entirely UP TO SPEED on the whole den leader shtick. I puzzled this out all on my own about the third time he looked at us with wide, panicked eyes and said,

“I really don’t know what I’m doing here. Do any of you know what we’re supposed to do?”

Bless his heart.

But the LAST thing I’m going to do is admit any amount of competence in the presence of the Cub Scouts. Remember where that got me last time? So tonight, whenever he pleaded for direction or assistance, I shrugged helplessly and pretended to read the Tiger Cub book upside down.

He managed to get the boys started on their activity, decorating a three-ring binder, thereby TRANSFORMING it into a scrapbook. Once he had flung markers and stickers and paper in their midst, he wandered helplessly away. Shoe-tying mom couldn’t stand it and leapt in to direct the activity. The den leader came over to the parents’ table and started again on the “What have you done for me lately” routine. Actually, this time it was a request for each of us to select two activities we could do for the group.

I fumbled with the book. I asked stupid questions (“So…like…if we’re leading the meeting, do we have to BE here for that?”); I may have drooled a bit. Over at the kids’ table, I heard Max anxiously informing a boy (repeatedly), “THAT’S ENOUGH DOGS. NO MORE DOGS. STOP IT, WITH THE DOGS.”

It seems the boy was using up all the dog stickers, and Max wasn’t happy about it.

“Huh. Whose kid is THAT?” I muttered.

In the end my ploy was semi-successful. I am NOT the new den leader, and I don’t think anyone would DREAM of asking me to take over.

However, I AM leading the next den meeting.

Bless my heart.


Hey's, did you know Joshilyn Jackson is kindly hosting Blogging for Books? It's TRUE! And this month I was the guest blogger who narrowed down the field to seven finalists.


That there is hard work.

Anhow, the finalists should be posted today, so go check it out! But if you disagree with my choices, don't tell me, because I'll probably cry. Just so you know.

Faster Than Kudzu

Grown up popcorn peddler

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I’m even glowier than I was, after all your kind words. I would like to promise that I would respond to all of them, but that would lead me to the situation I’m currently grappling with, wherein there are 79 unanswered comments haunting my inbox since the two year anniversary post.

*hangs head in shame*

But I will try! And I love you all! And yes! We told his parents first! And I love you!


Sorry, still a bit giddy.

How giddy? Well, yesterday it snowed great huge buckets of snow. Wet, heavy, drippy stuff that broke limbs off trees all over town. In our front yard, the snow leaned so heavily on the full compliment of leaves that was still on our peach tree, that it split the dang thing three ways, right down the trunk. Just shattered our perfect little peach tree.

And I? Splashing through the slush and ice? Smiled like a fool all day. Tra-la-la! Snow! Destruction! Did I show you my ring?

I am insufferable.

Where was I? Ah yes, back to the real world.

Not only are we in full soccer season, we’re hip deep in scouts too. Tre is a first year Webelo, and Max is a Tiger Cub. You know what that means, right?


Now, I gotta say, the Boy Scouts get totally ripped off on the fundraiser. I mean, Girl Scouts get the cookies, and who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies? I personally have sent at least seventeen Girl Scouts to summer camp on my Thin Mint issues alone. When an adorable Girl Scout shows up on your doorstep, clutching her cookie order form, don’t you just HAVE to smile? I mean, Girl Scouts! Cookies! It’s wonderful!

The Boy Scouts, on the other hand, get stuck with POPCORN. And yeah, it’s fine, but really, who cares? Popcorn is everywhere. Girl Scout cookies? You can only get those from Girl Scouts.

Oh well. As a happy Cub Scout family, it is our duty to move the popcorn, already (and I have to admit that I’ve got my eye on that chocolate-covered caramel stuff…), so that’s what we did today. We went down to Dad’s work and harassed the people he works with. And tonight we walked the neighborhood, calling in allllll the credits I’ve accumulated by never, no never being able to say no to a child with a fundraising form and a hopeful look. Mom took Tre up one side of the street and I took Max up the other side.

As we walked up the drive to the first house, I quizzed Max on his presentation.

“Now what are you going to say when they answer the door?”

He sighed and launched into his speech.

“Hi, my name’s Max, and we’re selling popcorn for my Cub Scout pack. Would you like to look at what we have available?”

“Good, now remember to speak nice and loud, and look them in the eye.”

“I KNOW, Mama.” He shook his head at me, and we walked on in silence. “You know, I’m so good at this, I’m practically acting like a grown up.”

I looked at him, in his Scout uniform, with a little macaroni and cheese on the collar. His boots were soggy from an afternoon of playing in the snow, and one hand toyed nervously with the slide holding his kerchief around his neck.

Ah yes, practically grown up.

The first house was our next door neighbor’s (natch). The husband answered the door, a nice man who never looks askance at our lawn, despite the fact that his looks a gazillion times better. You gotta love that in a neighbor.

He invited us in, and I nudged Max, suggesting he start his speech. He stared in slack-jawed silence.

“Max? What do you have to say?” I urged.

He looked from me to the neighbor, apparently completely aphasic.

“You’re selling popcorn…” I prompted.

He nodded and shoved the form and the pen at the man, then took two quick steps back, so he was standing behind my left elbow.

Ok, perhaps a few years from grown up, still.

Soccer diamond

Friday afternoon I was on the way to soccer practice. Did I tell you Tre and Max are playing soccer? Yeah, they are. I’ll have to remember to describe their individual soccer styles for you sometime. Suffice to say, I suspect I won’t be retiring in the Bahamas off the proceeds from their soccer careers.

Anyhow, this particular afternoon I was irritated. Annoyed. Peeved. It had taken roughly seven hours to get the boys connected with their soccer gear and in the car. One shin guard mysteriously disappeared from Tre’s room, and a frantic last-minute search failed to unearth it. This was no real surprise, considering that he seems to have collected half of the physical reality of the world IN HIS ROOM, and has deposited it in a jumble on the floor on the far side of his bed. So from the door, it looks like a relatively tidy room. Given to outbreaks of bookmarks and Coinstruction sets, perhaps, but other than that, livable. But then, when I stepped INTO the room and peered over on the other side of his bed, I found acreages of junk. Paper airplanes, Bionicle bits, eons of old magazines, GOOD LORD WHERE DOES IT ALL COME FROM?


We could NOT find his missing shin guard amidst the mess, so he opted to go shin-guard free, and stomped off to the car, stewing in a sense of unfairness. In the meantime, however, Max had been gamboling through the house with both his soccer ball AND Tre’s. This was intended as a helpful gesture. He was planning to bring his brother’s soccer ball to the van for him.

Except what he did was wander into his room for something, drop both balls, meander around, and when I called him to the van, grab HIS ball, completely forgetting his brother’s. So when Tre was sent to fetch HIS soccer ball, he raced helplessly through the house, tearing from room to room, utterly perplexed. He would not, you understand, ever go in Max’s room to look for it. WHY WOULD IT BE THERE?

Eventually I found the ball (thanks to magical Mom-sense – like Spidey-sense, but less tingly), corralled all boys and related soccer gear in the van, and set off down the road. The trip to soccer practice was accompanied by The Sound of My Voice, as I harped upon my lovely boys about such concepts as Responsibility and Tidiness and Punctuality. They heard “wah wah wah wah wah wah.”

A good time was had by all.

Eventually I arrived at the park where practice was being held. Silence had fallen in the van. Raphi was asleep in his car seat, and Max and Tre were mute, rather than taking the chance of activating The Sound of My Voice again. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw Clay, waiting for us. He strode over to the van, and as soon as I parked, he pulled open the back passenger’s side door and crawled in, right in the midst of the boys. In his hand he had a piece of paper.

“Did you see this?” He asked. I smiled and said I had. It was an email from a lender we’d been talking to. We were prequalified for a mortgage, meaning we could house-hunt in earnest (did I tell you we’re looking for a house? No? Huh. My bad). The boys started to stir in their seats, releasing seatbelts and scrabbling for soccer balls.

“Wait a minute guys,” Clay said, “I need to ask something. See, this has got me thinking about the past, present, and future.” He looked at me. “We both have a past, and I’m glad, because it’s brought us here today to be together. This,” he held up the paper, “is our future, the home we’ll live in as a family. So that leaves today. And today I have to ask you something. Will you marry me?”

I saw a flash of a diamond, Clay’s slightly teary eyes, and behind him the grinning faces of Tre and Max, as they craned to look over his shoulder and see my response.

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