My Sad Life

“Dad, if you fill a container with ice then fill all the empty space with water then seal the container then put the container in a freezer, will the water freeze?”

My forehead falling with a loud ka-thunk against the glass of the passenger side window, I peered into the darkness of the spring night, desperate to find anything that might interest me more than the conversation I knew was about to ensue.

Ignoring me, my husband answered Younger with a “Yup.”

“But what if the container is really strong? What if the container won’t allow the expansion? Won’t the pressure itself create heat and prevent the water from freezing?”

“Well, I suppose there would be some heat from the pressure. I suppose that would affect how much of the water froze.”

“Then could we make an ice bomb?”

Ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk.

So, if you ever witness our little family travelling along the roadway and you notice my head bouncing rhythmically against the window, you can be assured the engineer and his prodigy are discussing math or science or some other such useless nonsense.

No one ever says, “Hey, Mom, I accidentally used a dangling participle the other day, and it was absolutely hilarious. ‘Wearing only my underwear, the bear spied me as I emerged from my tent.’ Get it? The bear wasn’t wearing my underwear. I was. We all laughed.”

I live a very sad life.

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Happiness Is…

Younger fell asleep happy last night…because it was snowing.

He woke grumpy this morning…because the roads were clear.

I miss childhood, when happiness was a snow day. The freedom from responsibility granted unexpectedly by a white blessing. The excitement of an entire day filled with activities of one’s own choosing. Such a simple joy.

Life — and happiness — seems so much more complicated as an adult.

No wonder Younger doesn’t want to grow up.

Low Expectations

The other day, I finished my very first afghan — blue and orange for Younger, the only one suitably impressed when I showed off my first sample squares. But, as the afghan grew longer, Elder decided he might appreciate this new talent, too.

Except he apparently assumed I was a lot more talented than one simple, misshapen afghan might have suggested.

“I know,” he told me. “You can do the background with maroon and the school mascot on white in the middle.”

Shoulders falling, eyes widening, I stared at him. “I can’t do that, Elder. I can’t crochet a design, especially without instructions. Even with instructions.”

“But why not?” he questioned.

“Because I’m just learning.”

“I designed a pattern on my first weaving project.”

“Weaving and crocheting are different.”

“Not that much. I could help you write up the instructions.”

“Look, I’ll be happy if I can just keep this one from resembling a trapezoid. Do you want an afghan or not?”

So, shaking his head at my unwillingness to stretch my comfort zone, he picked his two colors. Blue and gray. No mascots. No school name. Not even team colors.

He just lowered his expectations to “rectangle.”

And I’m not even sure I can meet that one.

What happened to the days when I was a hero just because I could untangle shoelaces and explain the mysteries of cats and spit?

Long Story

Apparently, Younger’s friend likes a girl and, also apparently, the girl likes him. But, despite the evident reciprocity, the friend wouldn’t “ask her out.”

And when I asked why, Younger just shrugged and said, with a heavy load of world weariness weighing his voice, “It’s a long story, Mom.”

This young man is thirteen and in the seventh grade. And he already has a long story. I didn’t have a long story until I was in my twenties and could share my labor experiences with whomever I could trick into listening.

One of us isn’t living our life right, and I’m a little concerned it might be me.