Here in the Midwest we don’t get to enjoy beautiful spring days without consequence. Warm air in Michigan in April will be met with something colder, and our beautiful day will erupt in a night of stormy protest. I erupted today too. Lost it.
It is one of the banes of the mother who chooses not to work outside the home, the dreaded forms asking for our occupation. I am not a housewife or a homemaker, and stay-at-home mom is a complete misnomer. I am never home.
There is a tree we pass when we walk to and from the lake. As we walk by, the dog approaches it, sniffs, pauses. This tree holds memories for me, and I would like to think the dog has found them, that some part of me he can sense still lingers there in the roots tangled in the sand.
I have a 10 percent rule I came up with after holding the worst PTO co-chair position ever for two years. The kind of volunteer position that has my friends giving me cocktail napkins with catchy phrases on them: “Stop me before I volunteer for something.”
I decided to take two 6-year old boys to the Chicago Art Institute. I used to go to the lectures there on Tuesday nights after work and then walk around the quiet halls, perfectly happy to be in that place alone, appreciating the art. Today, 20 years later, I am no longer alone walking quiet galleries. I am yelling my fool head off.
Lent starts next week. Typically, I don’t pay too much attention to Lent. But my daughter is now 8, embracing her Catholic faith, and challenging me to do a better job at playing by all the Catholic rules. I’m not good at paying attention to rules I don’t like.
I am walking uphill, and I am cold. The snow flakes’ sharp edges sting as the wind whips them against my face. My shoulders hunch forward as I lower my head against the misery. Even my dog decides this wind is too much, and he walks behind me.
I’ve got cereal guilt. Every time I don’t make my kids a hot breakfast, and I feed them some whole-grain cereal with six grams of sugar or less, I feel guilty about it. I have friends who don’t even buy breakfast cereal.
I am a mother of young children, and I think Valentine’s Day can be annoying. One of the biggest annoyances is the peanut-free school Valentine’s Day party, which necessitates 78 valentines I have to come up with for my kids to distribute at school so other mothers can throw them away.
I have read that the very old and the very young are often united because we middle-aged mommy grown-ups are too busy for them. Too busy with the daily chores of life.
Sometimes it’s about being cranky. Sometimes it’s just about getting things done, together.
It’s 10 o’clock on a Friday night, and for the first time in forever my husband and I are sitting in the front room together, having a drink, talking to each other, being grown-ups.
I don’t like to get out of bed. I don’t like mornings, they are bright and the sun is up and the house is cold and my children make noise.
Ultimately I decided not to do New Year’s resolutions. They were always the same, which made them, by definition, redundant.
Some months ago, the electric company called my husband at work so that he could pay the electric bill. The balance was a month overdue and without immediate payment they would cut off our power.
When my youngest child leaves for college and I am sitting in my quiet house missing everybody and all the mess and the noise, I am going to look up on the wall of my kitchen, there above the coffee maker, where I wrote myself a note.
Christmas Mass in our large and affluent parish has a buzz, an energy to it. And I hate it. Like the grinchiest grinch who ever grinched off to Mass, I hate it.
“Mom, where do flies live?” “Flies live outside.” “I know that, but where do they go night-night?”
I was so tired of baking cookies and frosting cupcakes and listening to my kids fight over nutcrackers that I opened the fridge, took out some bottle we opened for dinner who-knows-when and had a cold glass of not-that-great wine.
The verbal assault from the back seat is loud. “You’re mean. I don’t love you anymore. You are the worst mommy ever.” My daughter punctuates herself by throwing a doughnut at my head.
The killing frost had not come yet and everything was still holding on. While I was at the park that day with the children, I noticed a tree. I stared at the tree because it was beautiful and fleeting and I wanted it to stay.
I am one of the reigning queens of angst. But I can host a great Thanksgiving dinner.
We are playing with coloring books with lots of dinosaurs and lots of dinosaur stickers. I can’t identify all of them so we, the kids and I, decide to go on the Internet to do some dinosaur research.
When I was young, Halloween was serious business. It had nothing to do with community, costumes, martyrs, saints or the souls of dead people. Halloween was about candy.
One recent weekend, for the first time since my oldest child was born, my husband watched the children and I had a weekend to myself. I went to Notre Dame. Amazing to me that this is the place I came back to.
Why is disgusting funny? Just ask the guys.
Given my daughter’s embrace of the symbols of our faith and her new devotion to prayer, I am trying to participate more. I recognize I have come to a place in my parenting journey where it is time for my daughter to lead and for me to follow.
Forget the microwave. It’s time for a history lesson in making popcorn.
My husband walks in the front door and puts my son’s lunchbox on the counter. He knocks over a glass of milk, and it spills on to the floor.I know if I clean up the milk, I’ll be angry about it.
As I hear the familiar sound of my son falling down the stairs, my first reaction is not one of concern or even a shred of the protective instinct found in your average ant colony. My first reaction is one of defeat. “Damn, we are going to miss our portrait-sitting again.”