Month: November 2014


“Mom, will you get a tattoo with me?” Makenna asked me way back when it was still warm outside.

“No way, no no no no,” I told her adamantly.

“But it will be a bonding experience that we will never forget.”

“Yeah, but I am not a lover of intense pain.”

She continued to show me possible images we could pay someone a large amount of money to inject into our already healthy and fine skin, and I rejected them all. But years of living with me taught her the important fact that persistence wins.

“Mom,” she said with imploring eyes, “for your birthday I want to buy us mother/daughter tattoos. Our family has Irish roots, so I think it would be neat if we get the Celtic symbol for a mother/daughter love knot.”

“Err, uh, gah,” I grumbled.

“Then Emery can get one if she wants to when she turns 18, and we will all have a permanent reminder of our love.”

Even if she has masterfully manipulated me into intense pain, what mother could resist such a thing?

Attempt 1:

“It’s a long drive, but this place has the most street-cred,” Makenna told me.

“Even I know you are way too Yuppie to say street-cred,” I said.

We took a deep breath and walked inside. A man with bright colors all over his skin walked toward us, and I was not pleased to see that his right hand was a hook. As in, he did not have a right hand. At all. Just a hook. I was spared worrying about it though because Makenna did not have an ID to prove that she was 18, so we had to leave. Phew.

Attempt 2:

“This place is closer and has the second best street-cred,” Makenna told me, as she navigated me into an area of town I haven’t much frequented.

“Again with the street-cred.”

“The guy says to just go to this address and park in the alley,” she said reading from her phone. “He will meet us at the car because the shop doesn’t have a sign.”

“That’s just what I was hoping you would say.”

After about twenty minutes of confusing texting directions, Makenna sat with her foot on a stool while a man with two beautifully complete hands prepared the equipment. I told my heart to slow down and tried to focus on my happy place, when I was startled by a shriek at my side.

“I CHANGED MY MIND! I CAN’T! I CAN’T!” Makenna screamed.

And that is how I ended up going first. All I will say is that I knew it would hurt and it hurt worse than knot tattoo

“It’s totally bearable, Makenna,” I lied because there was no way I was going to be the only one sporting a mother/daughter tattoo.

“IT’S NOT BEARABLE!” is the only thing I remember hearing before my arm was gripped with vice-like hands for the duration of the tattoo.

She’s right – I’ll never forget it.



No Shmy-ing

We have a chalkboard in our kitchen that we write our family values on. We walk past it many times each day, so before we leave the house or as we eat or as we walk through the kitchen to gather on the couch to watch TV, we are reminded of the characteristics we try to uphold as a family. A few months ago it said, “Think it through.” For the last couple months it has said, “Make it matter.” But, it has been changed recently due to a story Drake told us at supper.

“So, Jacob and I were climbing a building and something weird happened,” Drake said.

“And it was in addition to the act of climbing a building?” I asked.

“Yes,” Drake said. “That’s not the weird part. We were trying to decide how to get to a part of the roof, and I said we could climb up no shmy-ingand then shimmy across. Jacob said that “shimmy” is a makeshift word so it must be a makeshift idea. I told him that “shimmy” is not a makeshift word. So then I tried to define it, but I couldn’t think of a good definition. I tried looking it up on my phone, but I am really bad at spelling so I spelled it “shmy.” Apparently, “shmy” is only defined on Urban Dictionary, and it means to put your finger in someone’s butt when their clothes are still on. So, Jacob was right – it was a bad plan.”

Now the board says, “No shmy-ing.” And I stand by that.

E-mail Saves Us

“I told you about the orchestra concert when we talked on the phone,” I told my husband in the low, slow speech where every word is enunciated in bold.

“No, you never mentioned the concert was tonight,” he enunciated right back at me.

“I know I did because you didn’t have your seat belt on, and I could hear the car beeping through the phone and told you to buckle up right after we talked about the CONCERT. I remember it clearly.”

“Do not make me e-mail you,” he threatened, which made me laugh.

I don’t know just how long this has been going on, but somewhere along the way, we began e-mailing each other when the conversations get tense. At first I’m pretty sure we did it just to avoid each other. Things would get heated, then escalate, and then we would both clam up and walk away. Having no desire to see the other person, one of us would send an e-mail, the other would respond, and ten or twenty e-mails later, we were good again. Now it is just our way. Sometimes we e-mail each other from different rooms in the same house.Mike and Sharla

Unintentionally, I believe we stumbled upon a great system for us. Being busy people, we normally cannot respond to an e-mail immediately, and the time between reading and responding performs a feat of magic on our logic: infuriating conflicts shrink into manageable miscommunications, clear lines of fault become hazy, and defensiveness melts into understanding. Also, typing every word you are about to communicate causes you to think twice about most of them. Many times, the e-mail I send is so edited it barely resembles the one I originally intended to send.

I may need to start e-mailing my teenage daughter.

Hard Decisions

Josiah drumming on a rooftop“Do you prefer a college in a big city or more of a remote, small town?” I asked Josiah as we sorted through the collection of brochures that arrived in the mail.

“I don’t care. Either is fine,” he said, shuffling the brochures.

“Well, do you want to go to a big school or a small school?”

“Either. I’d like both.”

“Okay then, do you want to go to a state school or a private school?” I asked, handing him a brochure from each.

“I’m fine with either,” he said, adding both brochures to his collection.

“Hmm, do you want to go to a school far away and be adventurous and independent, or do you want to stay within driving distance so you can come home over all the breaks and any weekend?”

“Either. But, just to narrow it down, I’ll tell you this: I definitely do not want to go to college in India.”

“Well then, I’ll just toss out all the brochures that India sent,” I said, touching none of them.


Good talk.