Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Things are final.  My marriage is legally over.  Many say marriage is only a piece of paper, but this legal finality runs a deep river of sadness through me. 

The air was heavy with residual anger and grief from the Treyvon Martin protest that took place near the courthouse yesterday.  News vans lined the streets and portable gazebos were still set up in parking lots.  The place was empty, only the echoes of the angry people from the teenage boy’s senseless death remained. 

I kept my gaze focused ahead of me and climbed the courthouse steps under a blue, cloudless sky.

Past the security checkpoint, I scanned the posted signs for Courtroom A and found it immediately to my right.  I was twenty five minutes early.  I took a deep breath, set my shoulders and steeled myself as I pushed through the courtroom door. 

I was greeted by a dark and empty courtroom.  I stood dumfounded and drank in the scene with my eyes.  Before me was a large judiciary bench flanked on each side by a witness stand and a court reporter’s desk.  To my right was the raised seating area for the jury.  The room held two tables for the plaintiff and defendant.  Rows of chairs filled the rest of the room and I decided on the first row, aisle seat.  I sat in the dark room, waiting for a few minutes before I decided to go in search of help. 

I approached the civil disputes desk, the only area with an open window through which I could ask questions.  I showed the lady my notice of hearing and she shrugged and pointed me in the direction of courtroom A.  I walked across the lobby and decided to give it another go.

Five minutes passed without a sign of life.  I again sought out assistance and asked the police officer manning the metal detector to  help me.  He pointed me to the elevators and told me to find Courtroom K, the assigned courtroom for the judge presiding over my case. 

I was assigned courtroom A, but the hearing had been moved to courtroom K.  I had been waiting in the wrong courtroom.  I’m glad I asked.  Twice.

I found the waiting area outside the correct courtroom filled with lawyers holding thick files and conferring with their clients. 

I paused before a podium bearing a sign-in sheet for lawyers and decided to sign my name even though I was self-represented.  I was hesitant and a bit confused, but it was evident no one was going to offer any help.  A sardonic thought crossed my mind: Can I ask one of these lawyers a question without getting billed?  I sat next to woman and waited.

The judge walked by a few minutes after nine.  I recognized her from our meeting years ago in a writing group we were in together.  Awkward!  My gaze dropped to my lap.  I waited to be called back.

I really had no idea what to do, so like a sheep I followed the herd as the bailiff  opened the courtroom door.  I found my seat and fiddled with my driver’s license in my sweaty hands.  I didn’t have a thick file to hand the judge.  Was I missing something?

The first case was a dissolution of marriage.  The woman was sworn in and her attorney asked her a series of questions.  I listened in earnest preparing answers in my mind should the same questions be asked of me.

The attorney asked her, “Is your marriage irretrievably broken?”

My breath caught in my throat and tears spilled from my eyes.

He asked, “Do you sign this agreement of your own free will without force, coercion or while under duress?”

I grabbed tissues from my purse.  I had come prepared with tissue papers, if not legal ones.

My name was called at last.  I was the first self-represented person to stand before the judge.  The bailiff jumped up and blocked my path to the judge’s bench, guiding me instead to a podium in the middle of the room.  His abrupt movement felt offensive to me.  His implication that I would cause the judge harm stung, but I conceded that I was in a court of law and there was protocol that I was not accustomed to.  I held my license up for him to take and tangled my fingers around my tissues.

She asked me a series of questions.  I stated my name and the name of my husband.  She asked me to verify our wedding date and I answered her the best I could while maintaining my composure.  I dabbed my cheeks frequently as the tears fell. 

The judge gave me a tender smile and continued with her questions.  She asked about my children and our parenting plan.  She asked about our marital agreement and I responded with mostly “yes” answers.  She recited her canned statement and wished me luck.  I was told to sit in the waiting area and wait for the clerk from downstairs to bring me my file.

I sat stiff and alone on the hard bench in the hall.  I cried silently and reminded myself to breathe.  My air had been taken away from me in that courtroom and I sat, legs shaking, with my tear-stained face staring straight ahead.

I thought perhaps if I stayed still the pain would be less.  I barely blinked.  I inhaled a shaky breath on occasion.  The heaviness of the finality weighed on my shoulders.  Still, I remained upright and motionless as the death of my marriage crushed me.

Others from the courtroom entered the waiting area.  Another woman wept openly across from me.  Seeing her pain dried my tears for a moment, before I began again, this time feeling her pain along with mine. 

I left the courthouse after receiving my certified copies and longed to sit on a bench and gaze out over the St. John’s river.  I decided against it - the news vans and the sad energy surrounding the area from the Treyvon Martin protests made me uncomfortable.

I took my time walking to the car.  The weather was perfect – clear blue skies blanketed me and a cool breeze brushed my face.  The weather was incongruent with my mood.  A dark spot was placed on my heart.  I cried on the drive home, walked into my house and hugged my son.  Maxwell regarded me with a look far too wise for a three-year old and said, “Mommy, your eyes are so blue!”

Just like the skies, my eyes are so blue after I cry.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Last night

Tonight is my last night as Mrs. Sinanian.  In less than twelve hours a judge will sign and stamp paperwork and declare my marriage irretrievably broken. 

Broken.  That about sums up how I feel.

This weekend Rob and I took the kids to the zoo for a zip lining adventure.  I was thrilled that he and I were in an emotional place where we can do what we do best – enjoy our kids.  While we were walking into the zoo, each holding a hand of our sons, my cell phone rang. 

“How soon do you want to get this thing done?” the case worker from the court house said.

I stammered.  I was with my family, happy and together and I had to schedule a court date for my divorce. 

“How’s Tuesday?” he asked after my silence.

“Uh, sure.  Fine.  Email me the details?”

I swallowed the lump in my throat and blinked away tears as my boys were fitted with their zip lining harnesses. 

I kept on a smile that didn’t meet my eyes and hid my face behind my camera, snapping picture after picture of my two sons.






I spent the days since trying to reconcile the feelings I’m having.  This has been an arduous process and I’m glad it is almost over.  Yet I’m still in disbelief that this is really happening. 

Many friends have asked if I’ll celebrate when this is over and my answer is a resounding no.  No matter the reason, divorce is sad.  Divorce is akin to death.  Death of a dream, of a lifetime of hopes built around another. 

I will look to the future, anticipating the wonders it holds for me.  I will love my children with the same ferocity as always and I will eventually heal. 

Tonight I will try to sleep, and likely fail.  Tomorrow I will leave the courthouse and allow my emotions to wash over me.  I will mourn the loss of a great love. 

I have no more words.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On icky pukery

And the Winner of Best Performance in a Stomach Bug Outbreak goes to…

Shannon Sinanian!

“Thank you, so much.  This award means so much to me. Ohmygosh, I didn’t expect to win, what with the stomach bug of 2012 so wide spread!  Um, ohgosh, I’d first like to thank God for not killing me that weekend.  At times death seemed like a welcome retreat, but in the end I’m thankful that the Almighty spared me.  Of course I’d like to thank the little people, namely Maxwell, for puking all over me that fateful Friday night, after all, he started this whole sticky mess.

“Ha!  I’m shaking!  Reminds me of the shakes I got after my twelfth puking episode. This is so exciting to be up here, holding this golden toilet-bowl shaped award!  Makes me kinda sick just looking at it!


“What does that say?” <squinting at the teleprompter>

“I only have thirty more seconds?”

“It was Friday night and I made dinner for the boys.  The boys usually get their own drinks from those cute little cups they sell at Ikea, ya know? Anyway, I looked at Max and saw he had an awful look on his face.  He said, ‘Mommy, that doesn’t taste that very good.’

“When I looked in his cup, I saw a congealed glob of days old milk.  Guess I’m not getting the award for Best Supporting Role to the Dishwasher!  Max had taken a sip of the separated milk before I snatched the cup from his hand and poured the contents down the sink.  Actually, it was the disposal.  The stuff had solidified and went down in a single, slimy move.  You know what I mean, I mean we’ve all left milk in a cup for day before, right?  Right?!

“Dinner went off without a hitch and Max seemed fine.  He kept up his usual three-year old eating strike and I asked my roommate if he thought the milk would have made him sick.

“’Nah, he only had one little sip,’ he said.

“Yeah, you’re right.  An hour later Max was complaining of his tummy hurting.  I told him to sit on my lap and we snuggled on the couch for a bit.  I just love it when Max snuggles me.  He rarely sits still!

“Halfway through the episode of Scooby Doo, you know the one with the Harlem Globetrotters? Max sat bolt upright and projectile vomited all over me.  Mac ‘n cheese and bits of broccoli and more liquid than I thought a child of his size could hold was dripping off of my legs. 

“I yelled to my roommate, ‘TOWELS!’ and tried to contain the Icky Pukery to just the legs of me and Maxwell.  I carried him to the shower where he and I hosed off, watching bits of baby barf swirl and get caught in the drain. 

“After thirty minutes and five soiled towels, I watched as my littlest one sat on the potty and had a series of explosions from his bum.  More wiping and sanitizing I changed Max into a pair of warm fuzzies, you know the soft footed jammies and added a pull-up for good measure.  I laid him in his bed, covered in towels and brought a big Tupperware bowl for him, should he again feel the need to blow chunks.

“And blow chunks he did!  My goodness that child could not stop vomiting.  I encouraged him to take small sips of water as I pulled from the cobwebbed recesses of my mind the signs of dehydration in children.  Something about a sunken soft spot, right?  No tears?  Crap, how do you tell in a non-infant? 

“Max managed to miss the bowl every single time.  The poor dear associated the bowl with vomiting and even when I held it under his chin, he tried desperately to miss it and swallow the vomit back down.

“Midnight arrived and my little one was not any better.  I called his father and told him to meet me at my house.  We needed to take Max to the emergency room. 

“Rob arrived in record time and my roommate stayed with Sam, who had been asleep for hours. 

“You can imagine I was feeling pretty shitty, pardon the pun.  I mean, what kind of mother leaves a cup of milk out for their three-year old to find?  Who does that?  Well, me apparently.  I was wrought with guilt.

“After two bags of IV fluids, anti-nausea and anti-cramping meds for his tummy, a tube of Desitin – the runs left a raging rash on my sweet boy’s tender bottom --– we left the ER.  I cried on the way home, as I watched the sun rise.  I felt awful.  This was all my fault.  My child had food poisoning because I’m a complete slob.  Where the hell did he get that milk?

“Saturday was uneventful.  Maxwell and I slept most of the day due to our overnight exertions.  He was able to keep sips of Pedialyte down but ate nothing. 

Max rests

“That weekend was a long weekend and Rob and I had decided to split the days.  He picked the boys up on Sunday.  Max was better, was able to keep down a few popsicles and rested comfortably at Daddy’s.

“What an awful experience!  I needed to unwind, so I decided to cook.  I popped open a bottle of cabernet, and made a delectable dinner for me and my roommate.  We had fresh, steamed artichokes, lobster tail, NY strip steaks and mushrooms.  It was divine!  I was happy to know that the worst was behind us and Max was doing better.


Barf bag hat

“Head down, I dove into my dinner with a voracious hunger that had grown in me the previous forty eight hours.  My roommate left the table for a moment, but I was so headlong into artichoke leaves and melted butter, I barely noticed.

“’Muh thoat is fee’ing kina funny,’ my roommate said.

“I looked up and his face was swollen and fire-engine red.  His tongue was so swollen he could barely talk and his throat was closing up.  He started to double over in pain and I ran to grab some Benadryl and my car keys.

“‘CHEW THESE!’ I screamed and ushered him into the car.  I hauled ass the few miles to ER, honking and flashing my lights the whole way.  He had taken some Claritin earlier, and I could tell the Benadryl was beginning to help.  His face went from fire-engine red to only beet red.  Perfect.

“Another ER visit later, we made it home with a diagnosis of ‘allergic reaction’ and a prescription for an epi pen.  Our discarded dinner was still on the table.  I was in no mood to eat, so I tossed it all in the trash.

“‘I’m going to bed,’ I said and retreated to my room.  My tummy wasn’t feeling all that great, but I thought it was due to my monthlies that had graciously appeared the night I was in the ER with Max.

“Sometime that night, I woke up and ran to the bathroom.  To be succinct, I blew it up.   I flushed and then felt the urge to vomit, so I looked for a vessel in which to do so.  I mean, a girl has her limits and I wasn’t about to puke in the toilet I had just assaulted with my ass.

“I walked into the dark kitchen and headed toward the cabinet I keep my extra grocery bags.  Whoa, I feel dizzy!  Why is it getting darker in here?

“I woke up on the cold tile floor of the kitchen, lying in a pile of grit and sand.  My head was throbbing something fierce and I was very disoriented.  It took me a few moments to realize where I was and why I was there.  Did I just decide to sleep on the floor of the kitchen?  Why does my head hurt so bad?

“The impulse to vomit slammed into me like a tsunami and I clamored up and ran to the nearest sink.  You know, the one without a disposal.  Why make things easier on myself now? 

“I heaved into the sink several times before I was able to stop long enough to wipe my mouth off and knock on my roommate’s bedroom door.

“‘I’m really sick and I fainted in the kitchen.  I think I hit my head because it really hurts and I have a big lump!’ I told him.

“We walked into the kitchen, flipped on the light and saw pieces of drywall scattered on the floor.  I hit my head on the wall, excuse me, on the corner of the wall and took out a chunk of drywall as well.  There were cracks in the wall where the drywall hadn’t yet fallen, so please understand that this picture I have here does NOT do it justice.

“Could you zoom in on Exhibit A? 

Exhibit A_1

“My roommate looked at me with concern asking ‘Are you alright?’ several times before he abruptly stopped and said, ‘Oh God, I’m going to be sick too.’

“He took off for his room and me to mine and we spent the remainder of the night, and into the dawn puking and shitting the life out of us.

“In all fairness, he only puked once.  I, however had to secure a garbage can for my upchucking as I sat on the throne and, well, you know.

“Sometime the next morning, I called Rob to tell him I would not be able to take the boys back that day for I was sick.  Very sick.

“’Me and Sam have it too,’ Rob said.

“He informed me that it wasn’t that bad, Sam had only vomited once and Rob not at all, so he would keep the boys and allow me to huddle under the covers, achy and chilled from fever. 

“Sleep finally found me.  The spewing had ceased and I was able to rest.  My roommate was feeling better-ish and was keeping up on his dose of Benadryl as instructed by the ER doc. 

“My headache had only gotten worse and the lump on the back of my head was very tender.  When I tried to sit up several hours after sleeping, the room began to spin and I rushed to the bathroom to resume the emptying of my stomach. 

“The barfing was back and I was worried.  I told my roommate of my concerns and he said, ‘You need to go to the ER.  You could have a concussion.’

“HA! Can you effing believe it?  I was BACK at the damn ER, this time for me!  The good news is that I had some of those handy barf bags left over from my visit with Maxwell, so I could just sit in the waiting room and upchuck, rather than visit the unsavory ER bathroom.  Hooray!

“A CT scan revealed I do in fact have a brain, contrary to popular belief, and I did not need emergency brain surgery from Dr. Derek Shepherd.  Well, damn.  A girl can mc-dream, right?

“Two bags of fluids, anti-nausea pills and two shots of pain meds later, I was sent home.  I was going to make it.

“The aches, fever and chills persisted.  The entire illness lasted about a week.  Between the five of us, we ate enough popsicles to build a high-rise from the sticks.

“So thank you to my supportive team of drywall repairmen, disinfectant manufacturers and drug companies.  If there is one thing I’ve learned from all of this, it is that…


“Thank you!”

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Our beloved Jack, 2001-2012

It’s sad out.  The air is thick with grief.  A loyal companion died.  My brother and his family lost their sweet dog, Jackson, to cancer. 

Jack’s illness happened so fast.  Less than two weeks ago, he was a special guest in my nephew, Evan’s first-grade class.  He seemed unusually tired afterward, but a class of twenty kids climbing, patting and assaulting Jack with their love would do that to any dog, right?

Last weekend Jack stopped eating.  Rich and Angela bought him soft food, but he was still uninterested.  Rich hand-fed him, and sweet Jack complied.  There wasn’t much Jack wouldn’t do for Rich.  Rich looked in his mouth for a suspected broken tooth, but found nothing.  The food perked Jack up and more days went by. 

Rich and Angela surprised their kids with a trip to a nearby resort, camping-themed and complete with indoor waterslides.  What a treat to have a break from the harsh Washington winter!  They dropped Jack off at his best buddy, Mick’s house for a sleep over.  Mick was Jack’s best friend and fellow Golden Retriever.  He spent many nights at Mick’s house.  Annette, Rich’s in-law, and Mick’s owner, lavished the dogs with attention and love.  She called Rich and Angela on Thursday morning, worried.  Something was wrong with Jack.  He did not greet her with his usual energy.  When she woke that morning, Jack lied on the floor and managed a few tail wags.  After hanging up with Rich and Angela, she took him to the vet.

The lab results were concerning.  Jack’s liver enzymes were off the charts and the doctor ordered x-rays to confirm what he feared.

The x-rays showed a large tumor near Jack’s spleen.  He needed surgery. 

Annette called Rich and Angela with the news.  They cut their visit short and drove the three hours home to see Jack.

Friday night the family visited Jack.  Rich and Angela were shocked at how rapidly he had declined.  Jack struggled to get up and walked out of his crate.  He stopped three feet from the door and wagged his tail.  On the floor of the vet’s office, Jack lied down surrounded by his family.  The pain meds made him sleepy. 

Overnight, Rich and Angela discussed the grim reality of Jackson’s situation.  They did not want him to suffer.  Once in surgery, if the doctor found the cancer had spread, they agreed to not wake Jack up.  The pain of that decision was cutting, yet driven by selfless love for a dog that had provided a family with eleven years of happiness.

Saturday morning, the family drove to visit Jack.  This time Jack managed to walk to the waiting room.  He sat in my niece, Tristan’s lap and the family of four spent quiet time with their dog. 

Jack’s ears perked up when another dog entered the office.  He wagged his tail with mild thumps as the kids talked to him. 

It was time to go.  Rich walked Jack to the back and guided him into his kennel.  Jack followed without hesitation.  He always listened so well. 

Rich welled up with emotion.  Jack lifted his head and licked Rich’s hand through the door of the kennel.  Did he know?  Was this his goodbye? 

The doctor assured Rich that he’d call as soon as he knew anything.  The surgery was scheduled for 2pm.  Rich received a call at 2:10.

The cancer was all over Jack’s insides.  It covered all of his vital organs.  There was nothing more they could do.  Jack was gone.

The pain of losing a pet is so visceral.  Many compare the loss of a pet to the loss of a family member.  A family member who never gets mad at you, loves you at your worst and is always happy to see you.  A family member who will do anything to please you and is content just being in your presence. 

The love Jack gave was unconditional.  As the family cried, my brother told his children, “Jack gave us eleven years of happiness and one day of sadness.  I’ll take it.”

Jack had the expressive face of a Golden, with light eyes that shone with compassion and patience.  His coat was blonde and silky, never losing the softness of his puppy fur.  The hair on the back of his ears looked like it had been crimped using a styling tool from the 1980’s.  His look set him apart, but his smile really stole the show.

Jackson belonged to Rich and Angela, but he was everyone’s dog.  To know him was to love him.  The day Jack died, the neighbors visited  to give tearful hugs and condolences.  The young girl from next door said, “Jack was the best dog in the world.” 

“Thanks, Ava.  That is nice of you to say,” Rich said.

“But it’s true.  We miss him so much,” Ava’s mom added.

My brother and his family have countless stories of Jackson; a decade worth of memories to fill their hearts in his absence. 

Rich shared with me a particularly funny memory of Jack.  They were at their cabin in Chelan, Washington when Jack decided to go for a nighttime stroll.  Ever the curious one, Jack came upon a new friend and gave a little under-the-tail sniff only to be sprayed in the face by a skunk!  Jack bucked and pawed at his face.  Rich found (smelled) Jack and drove to the nearby WalMart to load up on remedies for skunk spray. 

Upon his return, Rich took Jackson down to the lake and doused his head in tomato juice.  Illuminated only by the lights from his truck, Rich poured bottle after bottle of the red juice onto Jack’s head. 

“Sorry, Jack!” Rich laughed.  Jack, patient as ever, stood quietly with a blood-red head while Rich washed him in the lake.

“If anyone had driven by, they’d have thought I was murdering my dog!” Rich said.  “The poor guy was covered in tomato juice.”

Jack never again stuck his nose up the ass of a skunk.

Each of us who knew Jackson was blessed beyond measure.  Thank you, Rich and Angela for allowing us all to share in the joy of your beloved pet. 

My words fail to do justice to the magnificence that was Jackson.  We love you, Jack and will always miss you.

Jackson 2001 – 2012.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Blogging success!

Watching my website stats is an addiction akin to watching water boil.  I stare at my monitor, refreshing the page every few minutes.  I feel high as I watch my page take hits from the Internet bong.


Increasing page hits, returning visitors, length of stay – these are intoxicating stats. 

The thing about being a writer is that if my website, available for the entire intertube galaxy, touches only one life, puts a smile on only one face, or makes the difference for only one reader, then obviously my blog sucks!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Smoker’s Cough

Well, nothing like a depressing blog post to make everyone squirmy and uncomfortable.  I roll around in my Mom-turmoil, thick with sappy depression and I like to spread it around a bit.  My life’s a lot like an episode from the United States of Shannon.  As such, two months ago I received the award for Best Performance in a Stomach Bug Outbreak, another story for another time, but I digress.  What can I say?  I’m moody.  A life changing event, raising two boys and starting a new career can do that. 

Today I’m feeling happy, albeit punch-drunk from a lack of sleep.  Max has the pre-school smoker’s cough.  He was up three times last night.  I feverishly tried to steam, prop-up and Vick’s-rub the cough out of him.  I listened to him hack through the baby monitor for hours.  If I didn’t know better, I’d swear circle time at his pre-school looked like this:

smoking babies

I played hide-and-seek with Sleep at 3:30am and waved the white flag of defeat at the sound of the alarm at six.   At 7:45am, after taking Boy Oneder to school, Max plopped on the couch and declared today a pajama day. 

I’m right with ya, buddy. 

Monday, March 05, 2012

I never planned on a Parenting Plan

If there is such a thing as a nice divorce, I had one.  My husband and I put our differences aside and civilly negotiated so we could get on with what we do best – love our kids.  We split time with the kids fifty-fifty.  We decided on the 2-2-5-5 visitation schedule.  There are many things we don’t agree on, but doing what is best for our kids isn’t one of them.  So, two days a week and every other weekend, my boys are off with their dad. 

My children are adjusting well.  They have more toys than they could ever play with, making splitting them between houses easy.  They’ve even made friends in my new neighborhood. 

I am the one having a hard time adjusting. 

Each Wednesday evening, Rob comes to pick up the kids.  After the five minutes of chaos while greeting Daddy and gathering backpacks, buckling in the car and non-stop chatter, I walk back into my now quiet house with a feeling of relief.  Ahh, silence.  I can finally get some work done.  Better yet, I can finally relax.
I never cook on Wednesdays.  I go out with a friend or hunker down with a bowl of cereal and a good book.  I’ve come to love my Wednesday nights.

Thursdays are completely kid-free for me.  The boys go to school and their dad picks them up and works from home in the afternoon.  I reserve Thursdays for appointments, cleaning and running errands.  I stay busy and focused, trying not to notice the black spot that is growing on my heart. 

Friday comes and my focus wanes.  I miss my kids something fierce.  I want to hear them running through the house and laughing at fart jokes.  I want to use my mom voice.  I haven’t had to do the hard-stare, lip-curling, quiet-voice maneuver for days.  Their absence leaves me empty and I often find myself walking around the house without purpose, waiting for my purpose to come back home to me.

Saturday morning marks the third day I sleep in and I’m getting used to it.  I enjoy my cup of coffee and talk to the kids on the phone.  They’re happy and busy with Daddy and my spirits lift.  Maybe I’ll go see a movie.  It is nice to have this freedom.  I miss my children, true, but they’re happy and coming home soon. 

Sunday morning I stretch lazily in bed well into the nine o’clock hour.  I read the newspaper front to back and shop all the ads.  I sip my coffee and watch the birds empty the feeder.  I am sad.  I stare into space a lot on Sundays.

At long last, Monday afternoon comes and I pick the boys up from school.  Seeing their sweet faces fills me with more happiness than I knew I was missing!  We chat the whole way home and the boys give me a play-by-play of their weekend.  “And Mom!  This one time….”   I am once again complete.  The dark spot on my heart is gone.

Within twenty minutes of our arrival, I’m tripping over socks and shoes.  Sam whines at me about having to do homework and Max is yelling something unintelligible from the other room.  Someone slams a door and the dogs start barking. 

What happened to my quiet home?  Why are they so loud?  I missed them so much yet within a half hour of their homecoming, I’m disciplining, picking up after them and generally irritated.

Just the day before, my emptiness had rendered me motionless, staring at a blank wall.  I didn’t want to read.  I didn’t want to write.  I just wanted my children.  Home.  With me. 

I can’t reconcile these feelings.  The push and pull of freedom and emptiness is exhausting.  I’ve had this schedule in place for nearly a year, and I’m still struggling.  The kids have adjusted.  I have not.

I recently met a friend’s elderly aunt who deftly swiped with knotted fingers through the pictures on my iPhone.  She smiled at me and said, “They’re beautiful.  Cherish every minute with them.  The time goes by so fast.”  I’ve heard those words a million times, but in her eyes I saw truth.  At that moment, it hit me – I just lost half that time. 

Damn this hurts.  It hurts all over.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Letter to the Tooth Fairy

My eldest son lost his first tooth this weekend.  After weeks of encouraging Sam to “just yank it out!” the tooth came out on it’s own. 

I remember with horror my Dad offering to tie string around my tooth and connect it to various yanky things, or asking me to open my mouth while wielding a pair of long-nosed pliers.  I never thought I’d subject my kids to such atrocities, but I can’t help myself!  A loose tooth is like bubble wrap for adults.

Like me, Sam declined my offer to help and his tooth fell out while he was eating a cracker.  He managed to not swallow the tiny tooth and he and his dad placed it in his silver keepsake box engraved with “My first tooth.” 

Unlike most kids, Sam was denied the bloody gap in his gums because his adult tooth pushed through filling whatever space the baby tooth left behind.  I imagine Sam will allow all his teeth to fall out naturally, rendering him snaggle-toothed, but cute regardless.

Sams Tooth


At bedtime, Sam put his tooth under his pillow and left this letter for the Tooth Fairy:

Tooth Fairy Letter

Since Sam was at his dad’s this weekend, I missed the opportunity to play Tooth Fairy.  I was also spared the impossible task of fitting Kobe Bryant under Sam’s pillow.  Sexting Ballers?  The things kids ask for these days!