What I Think

My husband and I think differently.

And that’s an understatement.

We do have similar interests. We share the same faith, the same political leanings.  We are both proclaimed fans of the Chiefs, the Cardinals, the Blues, and Mizzou. And we both enjoy poking fun at ourselves and each other.

And we both love my manicotti.

But we think differently.

He thinks in numbers. And I think in…well, just about anything except for numbers.

If anyone were to ask us about the size of the second house we rented, I would answer, “Small. No closet space. We had our bed in one room and our dresser in another. Tiny. And it had blue carpet, and we had a green couch. But the landlords were good people.”

My husband would answer, “It was under 1500 square feet.” Which would lead me to ponder how 1500 square feet could be small when 1500 dollars could buy…

We think differently.

The other day, we were alone in the truck, probably driving to one of Elder’s basketball games or one of Younger’s math contests. I don’t guess it really matters where we were headed, just that we were headed there alone. And he decided he wanted to explain to me something about somebody’s pyramid.

Now, as a subject, pyramids could have greatly appealed. Except he didn’t want to discuss the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Or of King Tutankhamun. Or of any other Egyptian pharaoh.


Nothing half so interesting.

Apparently, someone also built a pyramid with numbers.

And I just looked at him. Because he’d been smart enough to ask if I had a headache — and gained my denial — before he introduced the subject. The usual excuse I wield when he attempts to better my mind with mathematics.

“Now, don’t take this the wrong way,” he told me, earning the deepening of skepticism crinkling the corners of my eyes and mouth. “But, I figure, if I can explain this to you, then I should be able to explain it to anyone.”

Well, I didn’t know how I could possibly take that the wrong way, as there appeared to be only one way for it to be taken.

Eyebrows climbing high onto my forehead, I pursed my lips. “Fine,” I agreed. “Explain away. Only don’t be insulted if my mind wanders.”

And he didn’t take my comment the wrong way — or the right way, depending on one’s intent. Sometimes, I have to work really hard to insult him. I guess I just wasn’t primed for the challenge that particular day.

And so he started.

Apparently the tiptop of the pyramid was a “one.” I nodded my head. I got that. One. Easy-peasy.

The second line was a “one-two-one.” I wondered why. But I didn’t ask, because my mind was already slipping, and I was thinking about a scene I had written for my latest story.

The third line had a “three.” I think because it was the product of the two numbers above it, which would have been “one” and “two.” Well, there were two combinations of “one” and “two,” so the third line had two “threes.” And, apparently, maybe some other numbers, too. But I wasn’t sure where those numbers came from. But I didn’t ask because…

Well, because I was trying to figure out if, in the scene, I really wanted the waitress to round the counter and approach my main character or if I preferred leaving her behind the physical divider with a coffee pot still in her hand. Because if I brought her into the open area of the restaurant, I then had to keep moving her, and I really didn’t think I wanted her distracting me…

“So, does it make sense?” my husband interrupted my musings.

“Oh.” I blinked at the hand he had lifted to draw imaginary numbers in the air. “I think maybe I need to see it on paper.”

Sure. On paper, it would all be so very clear.

“Yeah, probably,” he agreed, not discouraged a whit. “I just thought…”

But I was already disappearing back inside my head, wondering if I wanted the mother of my main character to be divorced or widowed. I was leaning towards widowed, because the divorce bit appeared to drag emotions into the fray that I didn’t want. But I had already killed the main character’s husband, and another death would have me piling up bodies faster than an axe murderer…

My husband and I, we just don’t think alike.

And I was crazy enough to assist in creating two more just like him and, successfully, obliviously, outnumbered myself.

Oh, the irony…




Best Medicine

A few weeks ago, Younger thought he might have strep throat, so off to the doctor we went. Now, he’s had his throat swabbed — and gagged and gagged — often enough that I didn’t even consider reminding him of the process. But, apparently, when the nurse had finished with the preliminary questions and, snapping plastic gloves onto her hands, announced, “Now for the fun part,” Younger momentarily forgot the usual strategy.

But, off to the side and a little behind him, I totally missed his brief moment of panic. Fortunately, he shared his appalled reaction with me the second the nurse stepped from the room.

“Mom,” he said, turning to me with wide eyes while hunched on the small, padded table. “When she said that about the fun part and was putting on those gloves, I got a little concerned. I just about told her, ‘Hey, lady, I just came in here for a sore throat.'”

Apparently, he had a moment of fear that she intended to check orifices he hadn’t brought there to be checked.

I laughed at him.

“I thought,” he continued over my giggling, his eyes still round as he blinked at me, “I thought my day was going downhill in a hurry.”

And so I laughed with even more amusement.

I reckon it might not have much effect on a sore throat, but for this exhausted mother who had run from work to the school to the doctor’s office and still had the pharmacy and Elder’s basketball game to go…

Laughter really is the best medicine.



Blowing in the Wind

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2001. Elder would have been barely five and Younger barely two…

I reduced my hours at work to less than ten a week, so that I could spend more time with the boys. Elder bawled when I told him. So, we enrolled him in pre-school. Then Younger cried to go to school.

“No, Elder go school,” he wailed as I carried him under my arm, withstanding his kicking and thrashing stoically. “Younger go school.” Then as I pulled the car away from the curb, he yelled, “No, no, go that way.” And he pointed back over his shoulder. “Younger go school.”

Feeling loved and appreciated, I decided Elder could cross the small yard to the school without my company. I hoped Younger would not be quite so distressed, if he didn’t see the toys. So, now, Elder, who would barely acknowledge my farewell when we stepped into his room, actually stands on the sidewalk, blowing kisses and assuring me that he loves me — which has been nice.

At least until he started rolling down the windows before climbing out of the car.

“Elder,” I told him, shivering in the cool air. “Don’t.”

“But I want my kisses to be able to reach you. Can they go through windows?”

So, now, every morning, I roll down one window. But I haven’t managed to stop the questions.

“Mommy, does kisses only go to mommies?”

“It depends on who you blow them to, sweetie.”

“What if they run into the TV?”

“They won’t, honey.”

“Can they blow kisses from inside the TV to us?”

“Well, now, I suppose that depends on the situation.”

“Mommy, how do kisses know where to go? Do they just kind of fly around?”

“Elder, they go wherever you blow them.”

He smacked four kisses into the air. “How do you catch them? Can you see them?”

Now, someone please tell me, is this normal? Do other mothers get questioned on the dynamics of flying kisses? Is this something I can look up in an encyclopedia somewhere?

And I thought I sent him to school so he could ask someone else these questions.



Seeing is Believing

A few weeks ago, Younger had a math contest — the same math contest where last year, after an accidental detour by the bus driver, he claimed to have seen camels. (Get It, Mom?)

We didn’t believe him, of course.

But this year, on our way to meet him at the small college for the award ceremony, we ourselves took a slightly different route. And, tired and a little grumpy, I watched the small towns and open fields pass by the passenger window with minimum interest.

Until I saw the shaggy brownish-yellow animals with the recognizable, undeniable humps gathered around one wire fence.

Blinking, I looked harder, nearly bumping my head against the glass. Then I glanced at my husband to find him also studying the occupants of the small field with disbelieving concentration.

My eyebrows slowly climbing towards my hairline, I returned my gaze to the window, murmuring, “The little bugger was telling the truth. He did see camels.”

Of course, when we told Younger we had spotted his camels, he grinned, shrugged, and asked, “Were they wearing leather jackets and smoking cigarettes?”

But, see, my problem is…if I have to believe Younger when he tells me that he saw camels on his way to a small college town in the middle of Missouri…

I’ll have to believe everything.

Like the dogs did eat his homework. Soda is good for us. And he really can’t live if he doesn’t play on the X-Box at least an hour a day.

Seeing is believing, after all. And I see trouble in my future.

And I believe in it, too.