Fear of Commitment

Today, I thought I would share a story from 2001 when Elder would have been just five years old . . .

The other night, Elder asked, “Mom, do I have to get married when I grow up?”

“No, Elder, but being married is nice.”  And because he has had objections to sleeping alone lately, I added, “You won’t have to sleep alone then.”

“But I don’t want to get married!”

“Okay, Elder.”

“Mom, when I grow up, will you tell everyone that I don’t have to get married?”

. . . So, here I am, with a grown up, almost twenty-two-year-old man, and I am dutifully informing everyone

Elder doesn’t have to get married.

Just so you know.





Younger has been awaiting this day since kindergarten.

He perches on the edge of independence, testing his wings, checking the nest and its safety still remain behind him, gazing at the expanse and its possibilities spread before him.

While I resist the urge to stuff him deep into the recesses of the nest where he has no chance to fail but, therefore, no chance to succeed, either.

Life changes today. Yet stays the same.

Like every yesterday.

And every tomorrow.




A Blessing . . . And a Curse

Can you guess what all this means?


I’ll break it down for you.


Sofa cushions tossed on the floor.


Empty milk container tossed on the floor.


Empty candy wrapper tossed on the floor.

Any guesses as to what all this means?


I got to spend a precious weekend with my Elder.

And I have nightmares about the state of his apartment.

It’s a blessing.

And a curse.

Speak No Evil

Tonight, I am recovering slowly from a vicious cold, so I thought I would share a story from 2001. Elder would have been five and Younger would have been two and my youngest sister would have been married for a grand total of four months . . .

Elder, Younger and I traveled to Columbia last Thursday to visit Aunt A and Uncle J in their new home for the first time. We took the grand tour of the one-bedroom apartment then ordered a pizza and waited for Uncle J to make it home.

When both Uncle J and the pizza had arrived, Elder asked Aunt A, “How many kids are you going to have?”

Now, Elder expected Uncle J and Aunt A to pick up some kids at the back door of the church after the wedding ceremony. While everyone was eating cake and drinking punch, he asked me, “Will Uncle J and Aunt A bring the kids to Grandma’s now?”

Then the next weekend, when the entire family, including the newlyweds, met at Mom and Dad’s for lunch, he asked Uncle J and Aunt A, his brow wrinkled in confusion, “Where’s your kids?”

Aunt A, who must have confused me with the evil sister, asked me if I had prompted Elder’s sudden interest in her having kids as retaliation for all her questions when my husband and I first dated then married. With wide-eyed innocence, I assured her Elder was capable of manufacturing those questions on his own.

So, used to Elder’s avid interest in her producing offspring in short order, Anita answered, “Fifty. Sound good?”

Elder, standing in the middle of her living room, stretched both of his arms outward, indicating the entire small apartment. “Aunt A,” he chided. “Look at the size of this place.”

See? Quite capable of coming up with such things on his own.

And I’m not the evil sister after all.

Balancing Act

Younger had to entertain himself last night at the restaurant. So he begged a penny off of me and confiscated both of our forks.

Balancing Forks 2

He then trapped the penny between the tines of the two forks, pointing in opposite directions, then balanced his creation on the lip of his soda mug.

Balancing Forks 1

He was impressed with himself.

I asked him, “Do you know how many hands have touched that penny? And now that penny is wedged into my fork?”

“Well,” he drawled, “after a while, the number of hands is immaterial.”

He’s not nearly as clever as he thinks he is.

Well, he might be as clever as he thinks he is.

But he’s not as funny as he thinks he is.

I better not die laughing, anyway.

Wake Me Up

Since  Elder started kindergarten, I have always worked my schedule so that I was with the boys before and after school, except for the two years I worked part-time at the local army installation. But, now, for the next few months, I am again working part-time at the local army installation.

And, Monday, I had four hours of training and would leave with my husband long before the boys were awake for the day.

So, Sunday night, I told the boys, “I won’t be here when you wake up in the morning.”

“Okay, Mom,” they responded, their eyes never leaving their Smash tournament taking place on the television screen.

I finished some laundry then wandered back into the living room, halting behind the sofa. “Okay, well, good night, I guess.” I paused, folding my arms tight against my chest. “I won’t be here when you wake up in the morning.”

“Yeah, okay, Mom.” Neither one glanced in my direction, buttons clicking beneath their busy fingers as their Nintendo characters engaged in an apparently fierce battle. “Good night.”

I sighed. “Night. Love you.”

“Love you, Mom.”

And I retreated to my bedroom. “I worked hard to be here every morning their whole lives,” I told my husband, grumpily. “And they can’t even act sad about tomorrow.”

My husband offered that tolerant smile he has when he thinks I am being less than reasonable. “They’re eighteen and twenty-one,” he reminded me, gently.

“But I was supposed to get something out of it, too,” I wailed.

I guess he didn’t think that was any more reasonable, judging by his patting of my head.


They understand nothing.


And I am surrounded by them.

Recommended Ages

Yesterday was Younger’s eighteenth birthday, so today I thought I would share this story from 2004. For the record, Younger can still out talk the best of them . . .

My youngest nephew loves balls, so I thought I might buy him one as a little extra present at Christmas.  And I found one that resembled an octopus with a thousand legs, and uncharacteristically, I did not check the recommended ages.  I just bought it on a whim.  But, apparently, the hundreds of tentacles that actually attracted me to the ball is a danger to children under three.

My nephew is one.

Younger, however, is six.

“Mom,” he said, pulling the ball from the depths of the paper bag from the toy store.  “Owen is not over the age of three.  He cannot have this ball.”  Then he cast me a glance from the corner of his eye.  “You need to find someone who is over the age of three.  Like me.  I’m six.  I am over the age of three.  I could have this ball.  Can I have the ball, Mom?”

I believe that the children under the age of three simply cannot  out talk the children over the age of three, which is why they are not allowed to have the ball with the thousand tentacles.

And that is what they mean by recommended ages.