Not Okay

I may have a few obsessive-compulsive traits.


My husband installed several three-way switches in our house.  In theory, we could use the closest switch to turn a light on and off and avoid crossing dark rooms littered with our animals, all of whom are black.

But when all my lights are off, I need all the switches on one wall to be pointed in the same direction.

Yes, it is a need.

And, yes, I will use the farthest light switch to turn off a light and walk through a dark room just to keep all switches pointed in the same direction.

And, yes, I will lie in bed and silently seethe when my husband walks through the bedroom and actually uses the three-way switches for the correct purpose, leaving the little rectangles in all kinds of positions before sliding into bed oblivious to the fact that I hate, hate, hate him.

I also need my number of eggs to be even. Because you just cannot arrange a symmetrical pattern with an odd number of eggs.

You. Can. Not. Do. It.

So the other day, I needed three eggs for a recipe. And I was almost giddy because I remembered from my last use of the eggs that I had left an uneven number in the carton.

It was all lopsided and everything.

But then, as I was pulling the last egg out, I suddenly, for no apparent reason, became involved in some kind of juggling act.

And one single egg hit the floor with a tremendous splat, yolk and shell oozing across my wood floor.


“Are you okay, Mom?” Younger asked gently.


“We can clean it up.”

“Nooooooooooo.” I stared at the glob as my husband hurried to grab cleaning supplies. “But my eggs were going to be an even number.”

“Mom,” Younger said, his voice even more gentle. “Are you okay?”

No, I am not okay.

My light switches are pointed in whatever direction my husband felt was fit to leave them in and my eggs are in an asymmetrical pattern in their carton.

No, no, no.

I am not okay.

I. Am. Not. Okay.




The Smell of . . .

The other day, after school, Younger and I made a quick trip to the local supermarket, and at one point, while we were standing at opposite ends of an aisle, I heard, “Hey, Mom.”

Occupied with searching for a particular brand of lotion, I did not even glance in his direction as I murmured, “Hmmmm?”

“What do you think really ripped abs smell like?” he questioned.

And now I did shift my eyes from the loaded shelves to where he stood, peering intently at a rack. “What do they let you drink at that school, Younger?”

“No, Mom.” He pulled a bottle of body spray from the shelf and waved the label in my direction. “Really Ripped Abs.”


Uhhhmm, yes.


Younger may not have been drinking, but I think maybe someone was.

Dad’s Way

My husband has never really been the disciplinarian of the family. He tends to follow the whatever-you-want-as-long-as-it-doesn’t-kill-you-immediately path.

A long time ago, when we were still spending summer nights at baseball fields, Elder patted my side and asked, “Hey, Mom, after the game, can we get some ice cream?”

Exhausted, I relinquished my usual role of decision-maker. “Oh, Elder, I don’t know. Ask your dad.”

Elder threw up his arms in victory, ran to Younger, and announced, “We’re getting ice cream. Mom said to ask Dad.”

And I sighed a little.

Then the other day, as soon as my husband walked in the door after work, Younger asked, “Hey, Dad, did ya bring me some soda?”

My husband shrugged off his coat. “Now, what kind of father would I be if I encouraged your bad habits?”

“So . . .” Younger tilted his head, eying his father. “Yeah?”

“It’s in the fridge,” my husband admitted.

And I sighed a little.

Or maybe a lot.

I sigh so much, it’s hard to say any more.

I Am So Smart

Last night, my husband studied the two packages we had received in the mail, talking ostensibly to Younger but actually to himself. “This one is mine,” he announced. “Because I need to fix your mom’s dryer.”

As if the dryer only wicks moisture from my clothes.

But I rolled my eyes while maintaining my silence because I do appreciate that his mechanical abilities prevent us from paying a couple hundred dollars to have a twenty-dollar part replaced.

But then later, from the laundry room, I heard singing: “I am so smart, I am so smart . . .”

And, well, I maintained my silence then, too.

Because sometimes I simply have no words.

No good ones, anyway.

Stun Me

Younger and his dad had a disagreement the other day regarding the younger generation. Two opposing viewpoints presented with supporting arguments that might have even amazed Socrates.

And some politicians.

“Snowflake,” his dad claimed.

“Dinosaur,” Younger countered.

Absolutely stunning repartee.

Not impressive.

Or intelligent.

Just, you know, stunning.





Apparently, Younger walked into his grandparents’ house the other day, discovered several plastic red cups on the table, and asked his grandfather, “Has Grandma been playing beer pong?”

He supposedly continues to be concerned that no one actually answered him.

His grandparents supposedly continue to be concerned that he knows of the existence of beer pong.

Usually, concerned people spend less time laughing.


One Moment

Younger is finished with the first half of his senior year, and Elder is through the first half of his junior year. And I have both of my boys home with me.

And I am heartbreakingly aware that these moments are becoming more and more limited.

I have been told and have told others to enjoy the moment, to not blink. We have all heard the warnings about time passing by us at a speed we cannot slow.

And I miss my little boys. I miss the little arms tight around my neck, all the weight of a sleeping boy pressed against my chest. I miss faces that lit up when Mom returned after a couple of hours of absence. I miss being “Mommy.”

I miss the orneriness.  The imagination. The fights for independence. The quiet moments of dependence.

But I also love who they are now. Younger teasing me over some admitted silliness. Elder accepting me asking him to let me know he made it somewhere alive rather than being offended that I don’t trust him to make it somewhere alive.

Younger trying to talk me into thinking it is my idea to take him to Panera.

Elder ending a telephone call with “I love you so much, Mom.”

So, yes, enjoy the moment.

Every moment.

Because you won’t have another moment just like this one. Or the next one. Or the thousandth one.

So, Merry Christmas to all of you.

And enjoy every precious moment.