The motherload

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I have started about 15 posts in as many days — only to have to put them aside because, let’s face it, I’m just a workaholic.

And the truth is … sometimes I’d like a 12-step program to help me cope with some of the grimble of this-here job of motherhood. (Is grimble even a word? I use it all the time, but when I Google it, weird stuff comes up. Really weird. But I’m sticking with it anyway.)

Who? Me?

For weeks, I’ve been wading through baby sickness (still working through that one), my sickness, washing machine sickness, and just loads of stuff other than laundry.  I dream about stealing moments of creativity, only to be foiled by all these obligations that just seem to pop up. (You know, like I’m obligated to feed my children, shower–at least occasionally–get out of bed, eat bon bons, blah, blah.)

Just when I want to wax poetic about some little nuance of my rich life, I can’t. ‘Cause it’s just THAT rich.

But now, at this bewitching hour, I am able to finally share my insightful observations of the day:

There isn’t a straight floor lamp in my house. (Why? No one seems to know.)

Lillian’s doorknob is covered with Rice Krispies. (Yes, stuck with marshmallow.)

My washing machine lumbers across the floor during its spin cycle (and yes, we’ve leveled it). I believe it (too) may be trying to escape.

The baby chooses to occupy himself by sticking his fingers down his throat until he pukes.

Henry’s baseball uniform looks like a creamsicle. (Excuse me, but white pants?)

And I have more self-control than even I imagined. When finally graduating to next in line at the pharmacy (after waiting 15 minutes before being called and another 15 as I listened to the lady in front of me insist she had refills for an antibiotic to cure some infection I’m sure I  want no knowledge of), I find–to my dismay–my debit card is AWOL.  My dear spouse took it to buy baby cereal at O-six-hundred. I have to go home, fetch it, then return only to wait endlessly for the pharmacist (who himself is now AWOL). And I handle all of this. Patiently. Kindly. I coped. I also added Ho-Hos, CVS buttered popcorn, little chocolate covered Hostess donuts and a couple packages of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups to the counter as I purchased round three of antibiotics for that sweet baby boy on auto-vomit. (By the way, I meant I had self control by not freaking out at anyone. Including my spouse. I’ll have to work on the snacks-within-reach-of-the-checkout thing.)

Truly moving


On Saturday, Henry’s best buddies moved. Two brothers who lived directly behind us. We had been here for a year before we finally met. (Tall fences aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.) Just a shimmy through a child-sized opening at the end of fence and for the past three years, a treasure of play moved freely between their yard and ours.

The Three Musketeers

We had been occupied the night before the move. When Henry was finally available, it was past 8:30.  He asked if he could still go over to see the boys. I could see the pleading in his eyes. In the dark, he slid through that secret passageway one last time to play with his pals. I didn’t want to call him home when I finally did. I wished, in the same way I’m sure he did, that he could hang on just a little longer.

On the day of the move, we had baseball practice and other busy activities. I wanted to keep him occupied, if I could. But his mind was full of thoughts and memories. Every now and then he would just say their names. Or some fact of their friendship. Their Grandpa’s neighbor’s name, trivia about a toy, or some other tidbit. “I’ve known them for three years. Three years.” He’d often say. He ran in the back every time he heard a truck or loud engine, a quick slip through the fence to see if they had returned.

“They have to come back to clean out their garage.”

I told him that the boys would probably not be back to help clean out the garage. That was a job for their dad. He agreed with the logic, but then was back out there again.

I’m not sure how many times he actually went over there. But it was often. I tried not to imagine him looking at their empty yard or through windows at empty rooms. I could only wonder how he was processing everything he was seeing and feeling that day.

One moment, he’d excitedly tell me features of their new home. He had me look it up on the internet. He was proud to identify it by sight on the Google street view. He already had been to visit it two times. The next minute I’d catch him sitting alone with his eyes just welling with tears, but he’d stop short of crying. He’d just look at me with a what-am-I-going-to-do-now expression. Finally, at the very end of the day he was just too tired to fight back the tears anymore. He let me hold him, and I just let him cry.

Gone are the lazy summer days where play started with two mop-headed blonds at our back door while breakfast dishes still filled the sink. The endless play that shifted from one house to the other, the inventions and water slides, the hours in their pool or on our trampoline. The talk of Star Wars and all things boy. Gone are the days of not having to slave over making millions of play dates necessary to fill the energy of our turbo-charged dear little boy. Who needs play dates when your best friends share your own backyard?

At Henry’s suggestion, we brought the boys their favorite meal of macaroni and cheese on the day after their move. As I was preparing a salad, I asked Henry if one of the boys was allergic to strawberries.

“Oh, no. It’s his second favorite fruit.” He said. Second favorite, I inquired. “Oh yes, apples are his favorite.”

Spoken like a true friend. Richard and I could only do our best keep it together as we shared teary-eyed glances at the kitchen sink.

I know Henry will be okay. Thankfully, the boys are still close by. But my boy is still experiencing the profound loss of his world as he knows it. And loss in a multitude of circumstances is unfortunately the stuff of life.  We travel through these moments at times sure the pain is going to be the end of us. But then we realize we lived through it and know the next time it comes that it didn’t actually kill us. Even though it may have felt like it would at the time.

As a parent, I feel his pain. For him, in some way, this is a cross. Of course, I want to take it from him. But I can’t. I don’t even think I can lessen the weight of it. But I’m sure I can at least walk along side him. Hopefully, Henry finds peace knowing that Richard and I are here walking with him, and that God is here, carrying us all.

FYI, we’ve already made plans for play time and Henry is curious to see who moves in. (We already know there aren’t any little boys.)

Resucitó, aleluya


Nuggets from a hectic Holy Week and a glorious Easter.

Palm Sunday

The children’s choir joined the adult choir for 10 a.m. mass. They did an awesome job. A fourth-grade boy sang the psalm bringing tears to my eyes. (No surprise there. I think I cry every time the kids sing.) Hosanna in the highest!


The Passion Play.

The children’s choir added their beautiful voices singing, among other things, “I Think I Heard Him Say” while Christ carried his cross. I let them take their shoes off so they could move quietly in the choir loft when they weren’t singing so they could stand at the rail and see the whole play. Watching them watch was as precious as hearing them sing.

Helen and Mary Claire joined together in a very moving song.

Henry missed his cue for wind chimes at that the beginning of “And God Cried” but got it at the end. After, when he realized it, he said, “I was watching the play, and I couldn’t even think about the chimes. Jesus was dying and I was going to cry.” Enough said.

Good Friday Stations of the Cross.

With a short notice of cancellation for the second presentation of Passion Play (due to a nasty flu working its way through the cast and school at large, including Sr. Play Director), we put together a morning Stations of the Cross for children led by that trusty children’s choir. God bless those singing readers. What a capable bunch.

Easter Vigil

Our pastor sang his way through the beautiful Exultet. As a singer, I think I was holding my breath in support. It was lovely, and I let out an internal “woot” in silent approbation.

Standing in a candle-lit church hearing a 6’7” man’s voice ring through, “join me in asking God for mercy, that he may give his unworthy minister grace to sing his Easter praises” is indeed humbling.

After communion, we listened to a father and son play guitar and sing Resucito. Truth is, musically speaking, for me this is one of the highlights of the Easter season. I can’t begin to express how beautiful, amazing and fitting it is after all we just witnessed and celebrated during the vigil mass. This year, the son sang a kind of contrasting melody or echo or something. The combination of the father’s smooth and full voice with the son’s almost raw higher voice made the song even that much more moving if that is even possible.

It is such an honor to witness and be part of that mass.

And Helen, who was the cantor for the mass, said, “I’m pretty sure that was the most Jesus-filled mass experience I’ve ever had.” As the cantor you have the best view of everything that is happening at that mass. I was grateful she had that experience. (And she did a lovely job.)

Easter Sunday

We unwrapped the Alleluias we hid away on Ash Wednesday. We found Easter baskets and eggs. For Lillian, it’s all about that bunny. We read about the Easter story, but unlike the understandable idea of Jesus’ birth, the mystery of his resurrection is hard for a three-year-old to wrap her mind around. Henry told her that without Jesus there wouldn’t be Easter. But she reminded him it was the Bunny who brought the baskets. Hmmm.

After 10 a.m. mass, we spent a beautiful day with family.

Alleluia, Aleluya.