Taking What I Can Get

Sick, running a high fever for the second straight day, Younger sprawled on the sofa while I curled into the loveseat, preparing for a long, restless night. I had just given him another dose of medicine and doused the lights when Elder returned from a basketball game.

“I’m gonna be up late tonight,” he announced, oblivious to our exhaustion. “I have to finish an assignment.” Then he peered through the shadows at me. “Oh, I know, you can type the stuff for me.”

Because, even only half awake, I type about fifty-words-a-minute faster than he does. And so I accepted the computer and half-a-dozen handwritten poems dumped in my lap, finishing the chore while he took his shower. He was appropriately grateful when he emerged with shiny face and wet hair.

Then the next morning I opened my laptop to find the poems still on my screen, only Elder had added one additional line when creating his portfolio.

“I dedicate these poems to my loving and supportive parents.”

Awwwwe. My heart melted into a messy, sticky puddle of love.

And then I thought, “But, now, hey, I’m the one that was up until 11:00 typing those poems.”

But I am loving and supportive and he’s sixteen, so I’ll take what I can get when I can get. And what I’ve got is pretty good.



Elder had a basketball game last Friday in a neighboring school district. Although I was vaguely familiar with the town, I had never visited the high school, and the dark night complicated my search.

“I think I just missed my turn,” I muttered, squinting at the small stretch of highway visible in the light falling from my headlights.

Not even lifting his eyes from the bright screen of his handheld game, Younger drolly asked, “Again?”

In my defense, I didn’t get lost. I always knew exactly where I was. I just wasn’t always where I intended to be.

And I didn’t need the comment on the obvious. So, I probably shouldn’t have laughed.

Another obvious comment.

I guess that would be where he gets it.

Best Laid Plans

When I took the boys to an animal shelter for their birthdays in July, I intended to return to the house with two, on-the-smaller-side-of-medium, outside dogs. I recognized one of the flaws in my plan immediately upon walking into the door of the no-kill facility. Two women stood behind the desk, the taller one managing a long sweeping glance from the curls on my head to the tennis shoes on my feet while her every muscle tightened in rejection of the sight.

And, somehow, without even opening my mouth, I was deemed of questionable quality as a dog owner.

And then I opened my mouth.

“We want to adopt two dogs,” I told the woman, carefully choosing the word “adopt.”

“Will they be inside or outside dogs?” she questioned, meaningfully.

I angled my chin defiantly. “Outside.”

She wanted to refuse us completely. I could tell by the pursed lips and shared glances between her and the other woman. Both insulted and amused, I waited for the decision, even as I wondered how I would explain to the boys that the people manning the shelter thought their cages were better than our woods. But finally she pointed us down a hallway towards the kennels.

“The big dogs are back there.”

Big dogs. I glanced at the boys. They just looked back at me. And down the hall we went.

We left with George, a lab mix who had spent five years of his six-year-life in the shelter, and Dusty, a border collie who had only been there a few days. Not the on-the-smaller-side-of-medium that I had planned. And for that, I blame the shelter.

But I blame the boys for these outside dogs being in my house more than in the woods.

So, basically, the only part that went to plan was the obtaining of only two dogs, not the half a dozen the boys fell in love with.

Nowadays, I consider that success.