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February 2008
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That which does not kill me...will when I blog it.

Sunday afternoon, we were all sitting around Mom and Dad's table, enjoying lunch. Mom feeds us lunch on Sundays, one of the many ways I am far more blessed than I deserve. Mmmmm. Lunch I didn't cook.

Where was I?

Oh, right. We were sitting there, after lapping up black bean soup, enjoying some ice cream, basking in the warm glow of family and love and (did I mention?) food that I didn't cook. Lovely. Max looked up from his bowl, a bright smile on his face, and said,

"Hey, you know what happened the other night?"

Oh lord, I thought, freezing, my hand clutching my spoon in midair, no no no, he's not going to -

"Dad was jumping on the bed!"

Oh no.

"WHAT?" said Raphael. "I'M not allowed to jump on the bed."

Please, God, just this once, could you override that whole "free will" deal and take away Max's ability to speak, and in return I will totally stop swearing in my head and calling other drivers jerks I promise please and amen.

"No, seriously. It was the middle of the night -"

I can't feel my fingers, I thought. This is like one of those dreams where everything is happening in sloooooowww moooootion, but you still are powerless to stop it. Max has been talking for weeks now. Can't he just STOP?

"You were probably dreaming, honey," Mom interjected, the angel of mercy that she is. Of course, if she really wanted to help, she would have lit a fire in the kitchen or something and cut the entire conversation short. Dad was looking hard at his empty ice cream bowl, his shoulders shaking, as he tried not to laugh out loud. Max was undeterrable.

"No, I had got up to go pee, and I heard this sound, like someone jumping on the bed - stop it, Dad." He waved Clay away from his ice cream bowl, where he had been dipping in his spoon in an attempt to distract Max. It wasn't working, damn the meds for all this stupid focus. "Anyhow, I heard this sound, so I went upstairs, but the bedroom door was LOCKED!"

Mom and Dad were both snickering at their ice cream bowls now. I tried to remember how to breathe, and wondered vaguely if it was possible for one's face to ACTUALLY burst into flames.

"Were you REALLY jumping on the bed?" Tre asked, incredulous. I seemed to have gone blind. I shook my head and coughed hard in my napkin.

"No," I gasped out, "of course not. Jumping on the bed IS NOT ALLOWED."

"Then why is everyone laughing so hard?" he asked.

Thirty seven isn't necessarily too young to have a stroke, I thought. Please, God, if you can't erase Max's last few sentences, you could take me home now, thanks, amen.

"And anyhow," Max finished, "they finally answered the door, and Dad had been jumping on the bed! In the middle of the night! He's such a goober."

And then I perished. But it was already way too late.

At the bottom of the stairs

Raphael was bouncing in the middle of his bed, giving me a hopeful look.

"Snuggle?" he asked. The boy loves him some mama-snuggles. Also anything that delays bedtime. Most nights I decline the snuggle offer, on the grounds that it took seventeen eons to get him into jammies, teeth brushed, and into bed. And I'm tired after anything more than fourteen eons of bedtime wrangling.

But after so many nights of snuggle rejection, I feel guilty enough to crawl in next to him, fold him in my arms, and feel his breath tickle my hair as he tells me and tells me and tells me things. Lordy. The words.

"G'night, Dad!" he sang out to Clay, grinning and wrapping his arms tight around me. My mom may have been the subtext there. It was subtle, can't be sure. Clay said his goodnights and exited, stage left.

Raphael wanted to tell me how good he is at kickball, and then to give me the play-by-play analysis of an imaginary kickball game.

"First up is Rebecca," he explained, holding up two fingers to represent her legs. Raphael thinks Rebecca is beautiful. That's exactly what he told me, "Rebecca, well, she's kind of...really...beautiful." This represents a huge shift for him, because for two years he's insisted he's marrying Iona. As much as I love Iona I think at six that it's reasonable that they see other people.

While he talked I closed my eyes and let the words just wash over me. All that is required on my part is appreciative noises. Raphael told me all about Rebecca's turn, then his friend Josh's. He was all set to send David to the plate when I cut him off.

"Tell me about it tomorrow," I urged him, crawling out of the bed. He protested, but I pulled the covers up to his chin, rained kisses on his face, and said a firm "goodnight."

"Mem!" he called after me. It wasn't a question, it was just an exclamation of love, and I winked back.

I picked my way through lego rubble, to Max's room. He was sitting on his bed, studying the directions for building a battery. On the floor next to him was a piece of loose-leaf paper, covered with words and drawings. I was aching to pick it up and read it, but one tries to respect privacy...

"Do you need that?" I gestured at the paper. He squinted at it.

"Oh, no." He snatched it up and crumpled it into a ball and shoved it in his trash can. "My leprechaun story. I messed it up." He shook his head ruefully. "I keep messing up my leprechaun stories."

Who knew he was writing leprechaun stories? I kissed the top of his head, damp from the shower, and breathed in the shampoo-and-boy perfume. What a mystery my Max is. He turned and threw his arms around me, to hug me thoroughly, then turned back to his battery instructions.

"Good night," I said.

"Right. Do we have any copper wire?"

"I don't know. Ask your dad."

He nodded and went on reading. I watched him for a moment, then turned to go.

From behind the bathroom door I heard the hiss of the shower, and I said a silent goodnight to Tre. He had some homework to do, but I knew he'd come upstairs before bed to say his goodnights and linger a few minutes longer. He's so in charge of his schedule, as he wrests more and more of his days out of my hands. This is good, I remind myself. This is right.

I stood at the bottom of the stairs, at the intersection of three boys' lives, and just stayed there for a moment.

And then I walked on.

An apology

Every so often, as I am reading others' blogs, I'll stumble across a situation, wherein the author of the blog offends someone. Unintentionally, usually, they write something that is taken the wrong always makes me wince. That's the scary thing about blogging, your words out there, being interpreted. Judgments being cast.

I, for the most part, have avoided that sort of thing. Well, there was the one incident with the Bionicles - sorry, BIONICLE, no S, please. Really, I can't get too upset about mildly annoyed Bionicle trolls.

No, for the most part, I've carefully watched my words here. I've agonized over phrases and left out stories that I thought might offend. Sometimes I think I err on the side of over cautious, but oh well. We all have to pick our comfort zone, right?

However, I suppose it had to happen eventually. Even the most carefully worded opinions will eventually wound someone you love, and so, I must say this...

Continue reading "An apology" »


Better living through chemistry

So I took Max back to the doctor for a med check/follow up. While his doctor and I talked about the amazing improvements we've seen in his school work and behavior, and how to get food in him, since the medicine makes food seem like the least important thing in the world (yet they won't give it to ME, go figure), Max sat calmly and listened. Toward the end of the visit I said, "I...don't know if you remember our last visit..." I inclined my head meaningfully toward Max, "or how different this one is?" Dr. S grinned and pushed Max's chart toward me and pointed to where he'd written, Patient is alert and cooperative. Exhibits decreased restlessness. We both sat there, smiling over the understatement that was.

Indeed, Doc. Thanks.

The wonders of the Wii

We have a Wii. And you know what? They're such a revolution in gaming. Instead of being the same old passive experience, they're practically exercise.


I mean, the physicality of's truly inspiring.


Our dog is a dork

Really, she is. Her favorite thing to do these days is to go outside and roll around and waller in the grass. Except it's March, and the grass is dry and brown and dead, so she ends up coming back inside, COVERED in grass. Fortunately, we are effectively training her not to do this, because when she shows up at the door, bedecked in grass, someone goes outside with her, and brushes her. These are two of her very favorite activities in the world. Pretty much the only thing that would make that event better for her is if the neighbor's cat would come by with a steak strapped to her butt. Stupid dog is thrilled.

But no, that's not the dorkiest thing about her. She's completely neurotic. She's scared of chairs, and trimming her nails causes her to whimper and wail like you're boiling her alive. And she has this THING about bones. She likes them, the rawhide ones, but she won't let anyone see her chewing on them. You give her a bone and she'll take it in her mouth and trot off to hide somewhere and gnaw on it. If anyone else is in the room, she looks away from the bone as though it has NOTHING TO DO WITH HER.

See? I took pictures, stealth-like, around the corner.


Yummy bone, says Carmi. Nom nom nom nom.


But wait...she sees me!


Oh, hai. What? I've never seen this thing before. Want to go outside and roll in the happy grass?

Then she hopped up and licked my ear. Stupid dog.

Do you know what today is?

*smiles coyly*

It's the first day of Spring!

It's Maundy Thursday!

It's...Ok, enough of the coy.


I am 37, a prime number, and in the prime of my life. Gifts are not required, but compliments will be graciously accepted.

*looks meaningfully at the "comment" button*

Great work if you can get it.

Every so often I like to do this fun thing where I berate myself for not having a real life. What I mean is that the life I have is fine, but is this it? Really? Other people seem to be...achieving things. I, on the other hand, am pleased when I manage to get the floor swept. Yes, I'm homeschooling three boys, but there are plenty of people who do that - and more - and still manage to...achieve things. Make money. Be well dressed. Say witty things that leave everyone in earshot laughing. Me? I'm hoping for a swept floor.

Lately I've been trying to imagine what I would do if I weren't swamped with the homeschooling and the floor sweeping and all. It's not that I'm PLANNING to chuck it all, fling the children at the nearest public school, and scurry off after my own interests, it's just that I'm musing about what exactly I would do if I did.

"...what I would do if I did." Yes. Clearly I should be a WRITER. Sheesh.

In my life Before Children I was pursuing a teaching degree, by the most roundabout manner possible. My college transcripts should be published as an example of how to attend school for a staggering number of years and still not achieve an actual degree. Hint: change schools. And majors. And minors. Often.

Anyhow, I can't really see myself going back to teaching, because that's what I do NOW. And I know how frustrating classroom teaching can be, and all the headaches that go along with it. Nah, if I am going to teach, I'll teach right here, where I know I have 100% parental involvement and I can't get in trouble for telling a student, "You are being totally obnoxious. Cut it out."

The most money I ever made was as a cocktail waitress, a job I actually sort of liked. I wore a cheerleader's uniform and danced on a box. Wow, that sounds really sleazy, doesn't it? Heh. It was fun. And the money was insane. I just don't see myself doing that now. The music was loud. All the smoke and the drunk people would make me crazy. Hmm, listening to myself, I also suspect my cane would impede my progress through the crowds, and no one would be able to hear me warble, "SIT DOWN, YOU WHIPPERSNAPPERS!"

So what, then?

Conventional wisdom says you should pay attention to what you LIKE to do, what gives you joy, what works with your talents and temperament. I like to sleep in. And eat chocolate. That is not a paying position.

Saturday I was out, running one bazillion errands (seriously. I could show you the list), and thinking through the puzzle of the career I don't have. As I stood in line at a store, a woman got in line behind me, with her two sons. The oldest looked about Tre's age, and the youngest about Raphael's age. I watched them for awhile, taken by their individual charms. The older boy was so dignified and aloof, rolling his eyes at his mom when she put her hand on his shoulder. He was surreptitiously eyeing the women on the magazine covers with a look of awe that was rather sweet, the wee perv. The little one was a bombastic little ray of sunshine, talking a mile a minute and climbing on and off the shopping cart. After a while I struck up a conversation with the mom, and sure enough, the boys were my boys' ages. We talked about our kids for a while, then I payed for my things and left.

As I walked out to my car, a little more spring in my step than before, it hit me. THIS is what I gravitate to, what catches my attention when I'm out on my own. Kids, in their many goofy forms, are what make my eyes light up. I forget, in the daily grind, how fascinating I think children are.

If I did find another job to do, I'm sure I could find satisfaction in it. I know I'd just LOVE to have a paycheck and a title and oooh, a DESK. That would be VERY COOL. But I also know that spending my days away from the kids who are the very most precious to me would be like spending my days locked up out of the sun.

It seems, after all, that THIS is what I'm going to be when I grow up.

Monkey interrupted morning

First, some background. Inspired by the tiny, hardbodied women at TURBO KICKBOX, I've been tracking my eating habits over at FitDay (by "inspired" I mean "led to wonder how I ever get to the gym without one wall of my house being removed and my bed being trundled there on a forklift").

Have you seen FitDay? It's pretty nifty. You input your food choices and in return it gives you all sorts of cool graphs and percentages to tell you how well you're eating. It's fascinating. I NEVER get enough vitamin D. And then you can tell it how much you've exercised, and what kind of exercising, and it gives you a lovely graph of calories eaten vs. calories's all kinds of thrilling.

Anyhow, one of the annoying things about it is that they don't have all the specific foods I eat in their little database. Or if they do, they can be hard to find. I spend more time than I should scrolling through page after page after page, looking for the THING I just ate, thinking STOP IT, with the yogurt-covered almonds and frozen yogurt, chocolate or coffee flavor. YOGURT. I ATE YOGURT. Or muttering, whaddya mean, you don't have TRISCUITS?

This morning Clay came back to the bedroom to kiss me goodbye. It was time for him to go to work, so clearly it was time for me to sleep for another two hours or so. Early. He goes to work EARLY. I rolled over and gave him a sleepy smile (I think. I was FEELING smile-y at him).

"I was dreaming that I was working out, except these monkeys kept interrupting me."

"You mean the boys?"

"No, literal monkeys. Little brown ones, about this big." I held up my hands to show wee, nine-inch monkey size. "But the annoying part was that I was trying to put in my workout on the computer, and it didn't have the right category."

"You mean, like, 'monkey interrupted exercise'?" He was laughing now.

"Exactly. It wasn't in their database."

"That program must be made by Cutler-Hammer."

Here is what I know about Cutler-Hammer: they make VFDs, or variable frequency drives. I do not know what that means, but I know that they are sometimes called adjustable frequency drives. Clear? Yes, I know, but this is what Clay talks about after work, so I listen with attentively, saying encouraging things like, "oh, really?" and "wow" and "can you move so I can get in that cabinet?" Anyhow, Clay has been trying to get a program that will give him the parameters of this one VFD, and the fine folks at C-H apparently sent him a disc that was useless, so to make up for it they sent him the same useless information by email. They are an iconic representation of frustration at the moment.

But he was still talking.

"I'm going to have to put those parameters in an Excel spreadsheet myself, step by step, which will be a pain, but I need to have that information available..."

I half sat up, propping myself on my elbows, the better to give him the hairy eyeball. MORNING. Did I mention EARLY?  Dreams are one thing. Spreadsheets and VFDs are ANOTHER THING ENTIRELY.

"Honey." My tone could best be described as warning. He looked up from tying his shoe, caught the message with admirable alacrity, and dropped the subject. After we exchanged a few words of adoration and well-wishes for the day, he took his leave.

I rolled over, cocooning myself in the blankets. Honestly. Sometimes that man makes NO SENSE AT ALL.

Because "it makes 37 seem young" is as good a reason as any!

Oh, Lord, I just realized today that my birthday is next week. I mean, I KNEW that my birthday was next week, but I just suddenly put together the facts that it had been almost a year since I turned 36, and hence, relentless passage of time and all (see also: march toward death), I am almost 37.

I JUST NOW realized what it is that I liked so much about the age 36! I really like it when the ages of my kids and I are all multiples of 3 (which happens every three years). So, until next week, we are 36, 12, 9, and 6. Until I foul it up with an ungainly 7. The next time that happens we'll be 39, 15, 12, and 9. And I'm sorry, but 15 just doesn't seem all that 3-ish. It has more of a 5-like air about it. (Right now my brother and Clay are both realizing, again, how different the world I live in looks from theirs. Or, put another way, that I am a nutjob. LOVE YOU BOTH!)

Anyhow, 37. Sort of a sober looking number. I never trusted sevens when I was a kid. Slippery little devils. And more to the point, it turns out that I'm not exactly young anymore. I'm not quite ready to cop to being old...but I'm not young. There isn't a lot that I could do that would be surprising, given my age. I mean, I could climb a mountain, write a book, start a grass-roots campaign, develop my own language, or achieve cold fusion in my bathtub, and among all the things people would have to say about my accomplishments, NO ONE would feel led to say, "And at her age, too! SO YOUNG!"

It doesn't make me feel any better to acknowledge the fact that I'm not likely to do any of those things, despite being fully old enough, either. Thanks.

[This self-pitying session interrupted to bring you this news from my evening: at bedtime my eldest son read a book to my youngest son, for the third night in a row. Without me asking him to, just because Raphael wanted him to. And at the same time, Clay sat at the table with Max, finishing the world's longest Scrabble game. At the end, Max won, which means Clay not only sat there patiently during the sort of Scrabble play that would have forced me to pierce my tongue with a butter knife to stay awake, but he also reined in his killer competitive drive enough for Max to eek out a win - but JUST enough, so that he could feel proud of his win. I have the most amazing guys.]

So, after careful consideration, I have decided to run for president. Although I'd rather play Scrabble with Max than get involved in politics, it's the only achievement I can think of that would be amazing at my age. As a matter of fact, that's my entire platform: Kira - SHE'S SO YOUNG to be president! Limber up your write-in pens, and together we can make me feel not so old this country great again! I'm the candidate for change! Hope! Security! Whatever! I'm so young! Besides, Clay would make a very attractive first gentleman, and who doesn't like eye candy?

My name is Kira, and while it may be going too far to say I approved this message, I at least didn't have the wisdom to think better of it.

And that, my friends, is poor consolation indeed.

Saturday night Clay and I went to bed, after watching a somewhat depressing movie, expecting a normal night's sleep, followed by the usual Sunday morning chaos. We were like innocent little lambs.

It started at 1 AM, just long enough to have fallen soundly asleep and be confused and alarmed when Raphael appeared at the side of the bed. He was FREAKED OUT.

"I was ASLEEP? and I heard a BUZZING? and I saw a BEE? and I looked at my PILLOW? and it WAS COVERED WITH BEES! AND THAT WAS THE BUZZING!"

"Wha?" I said. "Tha...bah...wha?"


I blinked at him in the dark. That seemed to be less than helpful, because he gave an irritated sigh, and proceeded to squirm under the covers and fit his body next to me. I patted him and muttered extremely loving and comforting random syllables, and went back to sleep. He, however, was having none of it. He squirmed and kicked and fussed. Finally, I woke up enough to actually talk to him. We discussed his dream, I assured him it WAS a dream, even though it seemed very real, and yes, even though he woke up in the dream.

"You were DREAMING you were waking up. Not actually waking up."

"How do you know? You were asleep the first three times I told you about it."

"Trust me."

Eventually I took him back down to his room. Together we checked his pillow for signs of bees. We looked under the covers and under the bed and behind the books by his bed. No bees. I prayed for him, and kissed the palm of his hand so he could have a kiss to hold. I gave him several proper hugs, told him how very loved he is, tucked him in, and staggered back up the stairs.

As I fell in bed, Clay murmured, "Everything ok with the little guy?"

"He's fine. Bad dream, that's all."


Bad dream with a hefty dose of adrenaline, methinks. Instead of falling asleep, Raphael spent the next TWO HOURS trotting back up the stairs every ten minutes.

"I think I hear buzzing."

"What if there ARE bees in the house?"

"HOW DO YOU KNOW there aren't any bees?"

"I know that bees don't fly at night, but if they were inside, they might get confused. YOU DON'T KNOW."

It was like a marathon of up and down the stairs. What started out as an opportunity to comfort my frightened little boy quickly devolved into a situation wherein Raphael pad-pad-padded up to the bed and I snarled, "WHAT IS IT NOW?"

Finally Clay took him downstairs and helped him identify the sound he was hearing. It was the radon abatement pump, and NO, actually, we CAN'T turn it off. After that, Raphael only had to come up a few more times to tell me he was ok, Dad had told him what the noise was. And then to remind me it was only the radon pump. And again to tell me he wasn't afraid, but now that he thought about it, he didn't much feel like sleeping.

By this point it was around 3 in the morning, and I was getting a little loopy. As the visits tapered off, I started to relax and drift back into genuine sleep.

At 3:11, Clay's work phone rang.

There was a problem of enormous proportions. At least, they seemed to think so. And SIMPLY because Clay is the person in his department who is on call, they seemed to think they could just CALL him like that, willy-nilly. It was totally unfair.

You might think this presented more of a problem for Clay than for me, keeps my feet warm at night. So.

He manfully got dressed and strode out into the inky blackness. I curled under the blankets and muttered foully. Raphael trotted upstairs to tell me that he was fine, and if I wanted, I could read him a book.

Clay came back home about a quarter to seven. As he slid into bed next to me, I looked at the clock and thought, hey, that's right, DAY LIGHT SAVINGS TIME. If there's any consolation here, at least we LOSE AN HOUR OF SLEEP.

Don't TRY me, son. Who do you think you got your will FROM?

Today I took school away from Raphael.

Seriously. He spent the first 45 minutes of school time whining, falling to the floor, and telling me how much he hates math. After he slogged through one page of it, I sent him to get his spelling work. He came back to me (after several side trips) and flopped the book in my direction. It dropped, a good foot away from my hand, and he shrieked at me. “MOM! Why did you have do that to my STUPID SPELLING BOOK?”

I took him by one arm (a little more firmly than strictly necessary), showed him to his room, and informed him that he had lost the opportunity to do school. He was to wait on his bed until we were done.

I don’t know what’s going on with the boy these days. Half the time he’s fine, his own happy, intensely engaged little self. The rest of the time he’s a great thundercloud of ire and obstinacy. I tell him to stop playing and come eat, and he will turn to me and shriek NO in my face, as though we live on THAT planet, where the children are the angry overlords who reject mealtimes.

Sometimes I want to gather him up in my arms, hold him tight until his heart slows down its furious torrent, and whisper, what is wrong, sweet son?

Other times I want to grab him by both arms and snarl in his face, step off, little man. You are NOT the evil despot in this house. That would be me.

Clay tells me, sometimes, that I indulge Raphael. When he says that, gently as he can, it stings as only the truth will.

I don’t think, though, that I have ever given him the impression that school was an optional activity, reserved for the days when you feel…you know…learn-y. I don’t think I ever invited him to scream at me. If I was unclear, today was an opportunity to set the record straight.

When I went downstairs to get him for lunch, he was asleep. I woke him up, and he curled into my arms. It only took him a few minutes, however, to remember what a horrible person I am, and the weight of his sorrow made it impossible for him to eat his food. Hunger. THAT’ll teach me.

After ignoring lunch he went back to his bed, and Max and Tre got back to work. Tre was his usual brooding self, offended at his math book for some reason today. But Max was incandescent. He was, for once, the good kid. He bounced up to me, text book extended.

“Check my work, please, Mom.” He sighed with joy. “I just love math.”

“Mmm-hmm,” I replied, scanning his work (a perfect page. Still surprised by that).

“I’m having a good day today! I think I’m the only one. Except you. You’re having a good day, aren’t you, Mom?”

I looked at him and thought about that.

“Well…Raphael’s having a hard day, and I don’t know how to make it better. That bothers me. So my day is fine, but I’m a little sad.”

He looked at me, and for a moment the air between us was full of memories of days that I couldn’t improve for Max, no matter how hard we both tried. He bounced on the balls of his feet for a moment, then reached up quick and kissed me on the cheek, and ran off before the mood could break.

Eventually, Raphael was released from his captivity. He came upstairs, blinking in the light, and swore in a small voice that he would always do his work and never yell and have a bad attitude and…what did he do wrong again?

I gave him permission to play in the back yard, one of the few pleasures available to small boys who haven’t done school that day. As he turned toward the door, he stopped and reached out one hand and put it on my side. Then he leaned his head against that hand. Sometimes I’m like a favorite piece of furniture.

“Mom?” He said, “we have loved each other since before I had a heartbeat.”

I leaned down and buried my nose in his puppy dog smelling hair.

“You bet. That’s my whole point, son.”

Something I have to remember about this middle school age is the changeability of the breed. Child one moment, adult the next. Tre, who was way too old last week to grace his brothers with his presence, has rediscovered this week the joys of hide and seek. Raphael has finally tipped juuuuust over the line between "scared" and "thrilled" when they turn off all the lights and hide in the basement. Sometimes he panics and flashes his little flashlight around, causing his brothers great horror and disgust. But for the most part, he sticks with the game. Since he's on board with the hiding and seeking, rather than running upstairs in tears, the three of them can play for hours.

Tonight they turned off every light in the house (Clay was a co-conspirator), and rampaged, upstairs and down. The only light in the house was my laptop, as I sat and chatted with Mir and shook my head at their...boyness. You love it, she told me, unconvinced by my head shaking.

She's right, too. Tre swept past me, nearly undetectable in the dark, because he was wearing the cloak from his Harry Potter costume. I say NEARLY, because he was beset by giggles at the sight of Max, who was crouched by my chair and making faces in the glow of my screen.

Then it was Raphael's turn to seek, and he perched on the chair arm, at my elbow. He was aquiver with the excitement of it all, One hand squirmed through my hair, and he bellowed the numbers, deafening me before he reached 40. Then he hollered, "ready or not, here I come!" and he leaned over and kissed me, jumped up, and ran off.

Soon the sounds of three happy, wild boys filtered up from the basement, and I listened and smiled.

Some days there is no peace between them. Other days it is bliss.