Manly Utterance of Surprise

With my husband in Colorado and Elder at Mizzou, Younger and I were left with only each other to entertain us. So, when we were delivered pizza to our booth and he immediately bit into a slice only to exclaim, “Haaaaa,” while simultaneously bending over his plate to expel the burning cheese, I burst into giggles.

He glared at me. “Not funny.”

“Well, a little funny,” I managed between smothered snorts. “You made a pretty loud noise for my child who likes to fade into the background.”

“I did not squeal,” he objected.

“I never said squeal.” I tried and failed to swallow my continuing laughter. I was exhausted and giggles always win during exhaustion. “I said ‘loud noise.’ ”

Still insulted, he repeated, “I didn’t squeal. I emitted a manly utterance of surprise.”

“Sure,” I gulped. “Manly utterance of surprise.”

Eventually, I settled into mere random chuckles, and we continued with the pizza — him with a little more caution than he had displayed previously.

“I don’t think I told you,” he mentioned towards the end of the meal, “that I scared a lady with Grandpa last week.”

“With Grandpa?” I questioned his sentence structure. “Grandpa  helped you scare a lady?”

“Sure,” he responded without even a pause. “Grandpa hid in the bushes and jumped out at her and she released a not-so-manly squeal.”

And I was in giggles and tears again.

We entertain each other pretty well, I guess. Not sure that’s a bragging point. Especially as he tells me I’m broken.

But I still hear that manly squeak now and then. And when Younger recognizes my quiet giggling, he hollers, “It wasn’t that funny, Mom.”

Then why am I still laughing?


Happy Washing Machines

I hate laundry.

Nothing good comes from dirty clothes.

Last year, we had to buy a new washing machine. I soon discovered the crazy appliance trills an upbeat tune at the end of each cycle.


One day, I was walking past my husband when I heard the tinkling notes drifting from the laundry room. Muttering to myself, I stomped past him, attempting to ignore the newly residential mechanical maniac.

“What?” my husband asked, automatically.

I just glared at him.

Confused, he shrugged. “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear what you said.”

A little embarrassed at being caught in my spite, I grudgingly repeated, “No one likes a happy washing machine.”

So, now, not only do I have to endure the trilling notes of success from a smug appliance, I also have to hear my husband chant, “Happy washing machine. Happy washing machine.”

At the end of every…single…cycle.

Nothing good comes from dirty laundry.

Or a supposedly witty husband.

Man of the House

With Elder at Mizzou and my husband in Colorado, Younger was enjoying being the man of the house — watching what he wanted to watch and eating what he wanted to eat.

Then he had to chase cats from the garage at night and take the trash to the end of the road on Sunday.

And that’s when he told me the whole “being the man of the house” thing was sexist.

The young man has the makings of a politician.


I was exhausted.

And I was emotional.

I mean, I sniffled tears while folding towels and bawled over discarded individual-sized chocolate milk containers.


Because I am not ready to quit taking care of my baby.

And I know, I know. Elder will still need me to take care of him. But not in that every day, wake me up, kiss me at bedtime kind of way.

Of course, Elder is having a fabulous, wonderful, grand old time. Every text says his day was “great.” All his previous days only rated a “good.”

And good. I’m glad. I am. Well, I’m working on it.

No, I am actually thrilled for him. I loved Mizzou. He will love Mizzou.

And he still loves me.

He tells me so every time he calls.

“Bye, Mom. Love you.”

Younger found me the night before we took Elder to Mizzou. He crawled into bed with me and patted my shoulder and said, “It’s okay, Mom. Nothing’s really changing.”

“Everything’s changing,” I sobbed without pride.

He tilted his head to the side, his eyes full of sympathy. “You still have me at home, Mom. Isn’t that what’s most important?”

And I laughed then bawled, “I don’t have you for much longer.”

And when Younger leaves, I’ll have only my husband.

So, you know, tears are definitely warranted.

I’ve slept in the last few weeks, so the emotional outbursts have abated. For the most part, anyway.

But as hard as raising boys successfully to adulthood is…

Watching them leave is heartbreaking.