The Giver of Joy

Today, I called Younger with a chore for him to complete on his first full day free of school.


Although he’s helped with the chore occasionally, he’s not at all adept, especially since we recently bought a new washing machine. So, he placed me on speaker phone while I talked him through all the necessary maneuverings.

First, I had him move the sheets in the washing machine to the dryer, reminding him to untwist the inevitable knots. He faithfully followed my instructions.

Then I had him clean the lint from the vent.

“Wow,” he murmured, his voice a little patchy over the cell phone connection. “I pulled it off all in one piece. Now, that’s something. I’m proud of myself.”

You know, after a couple decades and several tons of laundry, I have lost the pure, unadulterated delight of cleaning a dryer vent. My heart was touched by his innocent pleasure in such a routine act.

So touched in fact that I think I will bless him with the opportunity for such joy every chance I get this summer.


Small Town

We live in a small town.

Actually, we live about a mile outside a small town.

A very small town.

But it has a lot of character. Rough and tumble buildings, rough and tumble citizens.

The other day, my husband and I were driving along the main road through the town, and we missed our turn, which in itself is a feat. There’s only about three turns one can make. Missing one takes a bit of doing. But we had managed the doing.

So, my husband turned down another street, hoping to loop around to the main road. But we got held up in a traffic jam. Our truck idling in the middle of the street, we waited as three hens, a rooster, and a turkey crossed the road in front of us.

My husband scratched his forehead, his eyes on the parade of poultry.

I snorted a laugh.

But I guess the joke was on us, because the reason the chickens and turkey crossed the road, really was…

To get to the other side




What You Get

In the midst of some shopping, my husband, Younger, and I visited one of our local restaurants for dinner. Piling into a booth, we glanced at menus and quickly placed orders. Then my husband and Younger reached for their phones. And I frowned mightily until the phones were reluctantly slipped back into pockets. For long moments, the two males in our hunting party simply stared silently into space.

And then Younger looked across the booth at my husband and said, “So, Dad, why is it that water freezes at different temperatures?”

And my forehead thumped against the wood of the table.

I wanted a conversation, and I suppose that’s what I got.

Well, Younger and his father got a conversation. I got ten minutes of drooling semi-consciousness.

Which pretty much resembles our usual dinner dialogues.




Where’s My Kiddos?

When I first started writing stories about the boys, my mom was my audience.

All the old stories that I share about the boys, my mom read first.

My audience eventually expanded to include mothers-in-law, sisters, aunts, uncles, a cousin in Washington, some of my husband’s coworkers, my mom’s coworkers, more cousins… But my mom was my biggest fan, because she loved me, of course, but she absolutely adored the subject matter.

She never had a chance to read my blog.

But, today, in honor of my mom, I thought I would share a story from 2000. Elder would have only been four, but he already understood how grandmas worked and exactly who they worked for, one in particular…

Thursday night, as we were driving home from the babysitter, Elder announced, “Mom, we have to go to Maw-Maw Songbird’s tomorrow.”

“Oh, we do?”

“Uh-huh.  Because she’s gonna look around and say, ‘Where’s my kiddo’s?  I haven’t seen ’em in forever.’ So, we have to go to Maw-Maw’s tomorrow.  Okay?”

So, Elder went to Maw-Maw Songbird’s on Saturday, so that Maw-Maw wouldn’t be looking for her kiddos.  He’s so thoughtful that way.

And I wish every mother, grandmother, and woman who delights in looking for their kiddos a wonderfully blessed Mother’s Day!!

And for those missing the one who once looked for them, I hope you have a blessed, full-of-beautiful-memories Mother’s Day, too…



Love All Your Pieces

In less than a month, school will be out for the summer. In July, Elder will turn eighteen and Younger fifteen. In August, I will have a senior and freshman hurrying their way towards adulthood. And in four years…well, we won’t go there, right now.

But I am nostalgic.

So, here’s a story about Elder when he was not quite five…

Last night as I readied Elder for bed, I gave him a hug and a kiss.  Then I told him, “I love you.”  Without responding, he turned towards the bedroom, so I caught his arm and repeated, “I love you, Elder.”

“Mom,” he said, looking up at me with sincere blue eyes.  “I love you like a balloon that gets too full and pops.”

“Oh,” I murmured, both touched and impressed by his metaphor, not to mention the arms that he had spread wide to indicate the size of the balloon.

“And then,” he continued, dropping his arms and walking away, “I love all your pieces.”