That Moment

That moment, when you are on the phone with a friend and you have to say, “I’m sorry, I have to hang up and panic now. I have half a bottle of rubber cement spilled across my hardwood floor.”

And in the back of your mind, a little voice is crying, “But my boys are nineteen and sixteen.”

Yeah, I had that moment.

While Elder spun in useless circles, my husband grabbed a dishtowel, and I threw up both hands, palms out, and begged, “Can’t we just use paper towels?”

Because I knew I wouldn’t throw a dishtowel soaked in rubber cement into my washing machine and hope for only good things.

So, a roll of paper towels and a bottle of floor cleaner later, we were fairly confident the floor had been rescued. And Elder hugged me goodbye with another apology and hauled books and laundry to his car. Sitting on the edge of the garage floor, my arm around our border collie so she wouldn’t chase him, I waved at Elder as he rolled down the drive.

I sighed.

The dog licked my face.

And I gingerly climbed to my feet to return to the house.

Two hours later, Elder called. “Hey, Mom, I forgot my student ID.”

“Don’t you need the ID to get into your room?”

“Uh, yeah.”

I love Elder with my whole heart.

And that’s the only reason we are both still alive.


Pretty Momma

So, I apologize. I totally forgot today was Thursday. But here is an old story from 2003 when Younger would have been almost four years old…

On Friday, Elder and Younger spent the night with Grandpa and Grandma. At some point during his stay, Grandma suggested that Younger compliment his mother occasionally by telling me I was pretty. And Younger apparently thought she had revealed a method of manipulation.

Saturday, after repeatedly throwing an empty juice bottle around the back seat of the car during our trip to the soccer game, he was not allowed to watch cartoons until five o’clock. “Please,” he begged, sprawled on the kitchen floor, drenched in tears. “Please, give me one more chance.”

“Nope,” I replied, quite heartless.

“Please, please, please. One more chance. Please, Mommy.”

I studied him for a moment then shook my head. “Nope.”

So, he tilted his head to the side, his eyes still swimming in tears. “Mommy, you’re pretty.”

Oh-ohhh. Nice try. But, you know…the little bugger can’t read a clock. Four-thirty looks the same to him as five. And I am pretty. So…

I always was a sucker for a cute boy with a good line.

A Different Language

My family has been disappointingly boring this week, so I thought I would share an old story from 2001 when Elder would have been five years old…

One of the morning educational shows feeds the kids a few Spanish words every day. So, Elder has struggled to understand exactly what is language in general and English and Spanish in particular.

In the midst of this battle, we had to visit the doctors’ office who has a plastic jungle gym in their waiting room. Another boy, waiting for his mother, joined my two boys as they scrambled through tunnels and down slides. And eventually the two older ones struck up a conversation.

“You speak English?” Elder asked at the end of another dialogue involving Pokemon.

The other boy swung by his arms from the gym. “No,” he told Elder, obviously uncertain as to the meaning of “English.” “I don’t speak English.”

“Oh,” Elder said, knowingly. “You speak Spanish then.”

And my husband and I must speak French.

At least that seems a decent explanation as to why Elder never quite seems to understand us.

Kids These Days

Elder was home last weekend.

When his phone alarm started bleeping at 6:00 in the morning on Saturday, I just smiled with eyes still closed, enjoyed that one moment when everything was right in my world, and stuck my head a little further under my pillow.

Late Sunday afternoon, Younger and I were sitting in the living room, flipping between the Cardinal’s baseball game, the Royal’s baseball game, and the Ram’s football game — the Chiefs had already disappointed us for the day — when Elder wandered into the room, scatting random noises in his own indeterminate rhythm . Completely ignoring us, he grabbed a movie then wandered back out.

Our eyes tracking him throughout the process, Younger and I exchanged a glance of shared amusement once Elder disappeared from sight.

“You know,” I said, my voice soft with nostalgia, “the place just hasn’t been the same without him squeaking or squawking or whistling or trilling his way through a room.”

Younger lifted an eyebrow. “I can do that if you want, Mom.”

I sighed. “It just wouldn’t be the same.”

When Elder eventually decided to leave for Mizzou, I tempted him to stay longer with apple pie and chocolate milk while my husband checked oil and tires. But after his third hug, Elder hefted his bags and abandoned us once again.

Kids these days…

It’s like they think they have their own lives to live.


A Losing Argument

Today, I thought I would share an old story from 2001 when Elder was not quite five…

Last night, my husband was playing a video game, while Elder watched, constantly asking questions. Eventually, my husband tried to rely on one standard answer — “I don’t know, Elder.”

But Elder was having nothing of it and continued to pepper Daddy with questions.

“Daddy, what is that?” Elder asked.

“I don’t know, Elder,” my husband replied.

“No, but, Daddy, that thing right by the ball. What is it?”

“I don’t know, Elder.”

“Daddy, did you see the ball?”


“Well, what is the thing right beside it?”

“I don’t know, Elder.”

“Daddy,” Elder cried in frustration. “It’s a fence. Right? It’s fence, isn’t it, Daddy?”

“I guess,” my husband responded, exasperated. “If it’s a fence, it’s a fence.”

Elder paused. “No, it’s not, Daddy.”

We always knew that any argument with a four-year-old was a losing one.

We just didn’t realize that we would still be wrong, even when they supplied the answer.