Hey! Here's some things my kids said that I don't understand!
Thoughts about Friends (with a plea at the end)

Ready to go, but not quite ready to leave

Claire, our beautiful stupid cat, won’t be moving with us to the new house. Clay is allergic to cats, and Tre is allergic to everything, so Claire will be staying with my parents. Mom likes to have a cat in the house anyhow.

Claire sleeps with me for most of the night. Lately I’ve been very aware of her. I wake in the middle of the night to hear her furiously tearing around my room, chasing some figment of her imagination. Or I’ll discover she’s planted herself right in the middle of the spot I’m sleeping in, and I’ve contorted my legs around her in an effort not to disturb her.

Stupid cat, I mutter, nudging her to one side.

Then I lay awake, wondering what it will be like to have her not there.

Today we went to Costco and I carried some of the things we bought upstairs in a medium sized white box. This evening, after I ran a bath for Max, I noticed the box sitting on my bed, empty. I should save that, I thought, to pack stuff in. I stood there for a moment, thinking about that. The wedding is one month from today. What am I waiting for?

So I took the box and looked around my room. Where to start?

I pulled some books off the nearest shelf and fitted them into the box. Anthology of American Literature. How many times have I packed THIS thing? Why am I moving it again? I never read it.

Into the box.

Joshilyn’s book. Ann Tyler. Shakespeare. Amy Tan. Some books I will reread, books I won’t, but it wouldn’t feel like home without them near.

When I finished, the top two shelves were clear, and they looked so barren. I labeled the box, blue marker on white cardboard, and hid it in another room.

Today many of the neighborhood kids were playing at our house. The air vibrated with the noise of what seemed like a thousand kids trampling through. Several of them went out back, to the garden. There is a great digging project going on out there. After a while, Tre came running in, sounding the alert.

“MAMA MAMA, Max got hit in the nose with a shovel! He’s bleeding!”
”Bummer,” I replied, grabbing a fistful of paper towels.

Max was indeed bleeding, dropping bright starbursts of red on the grey rock by the garden. Although he had tears still trembling on the tips of his eyelashes, he was matter-of-fact about the injury.

“I got hit by the shovel,” he shrugged as I gently pressed the towels to his nose. Natalie, who had been swinging the shovel, stood next to him and twisted her hands. Her blue eyes were huge and she looked like she feared a lengthy prison sentence.

“It’s ok, honey,” I said, “accidents happen. Did that scare you?” She nodded mutely, and I started to say something, but looked over her shoulder to the garden.

Every winter it’s the same story. The boys, finally free to do as they please in the garden, tear up the dirt with craters that look like a tiny war happened in the back yard. This year’s holes are exceptional, with tunnels connecting them. When spring comes I’m out there, swearing as I work to reconstruct my garden. You know, all dirt isn’t the same. The top nine inches or so? Lovely loamy loose soil. Under that? Sand and rocks and muck you don’t want to put a tomato plant in. So I smooth out the war zone, dig in huge amounts of compost, and start all over.

But today, as I held a red-blooming wad of white paper towel to Max’s nose, it occurred to me that I wouldn’t be repairing this garden this spring. I felt a pang of guilt, as though I were abandoning it.

One day, toward the end of soccer season, Clay and I were sitting on the side of the field with Mom and Dad. The day’s practice was almost over, and the coach walked over to us.

“I need all parents over here for a meeting,” he called out, and walked off toward a group of moms and dads. Clay and I stood up and followed him. After a few yards, I looked back to see Mom and Dad, still sitting in their red canvas folding chairs. I motioned for them to join us, but Mom shook her head and shooed us on.

The sun was setting and the air was golden, with the chill of dusk. I looked at Clay, joining the group, then back at Mom, who smiled and nodded.

Then I walked on.


Sheri Guyse

I despise crying before 7 a.m.




Packing that first box always feels so strange, doesn't it?


I just got such a lovely chill....


You are such a wonderful writer. What a gift to be able to describe so well the lovely, challenging and bittersweet aspects of being a mother and partner. I'm so glad that you realize you have this gift and that you choose to share it with us. Thanks.


Your parents sound like such wonderful people. They come across as so perfectly supportive - taking you in when you needed them, your dad acting a male role model for the boys, now being able to let you go and step back from the huge role they've played in your life the last few years. I'm sure you all have your conflicts, because that's just human, and you're only sharing some things here, because that's the nature of a blog, but still ...

Pretty cool parents.

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