Month: April 2015

The Everyday Life of Emery

“Emery, do you have any laundry?” I asked, opening her bedroom door and walking into her room.Emery with green hair

“No,” a voice from behind me spoke, causing me to jump, scream, and make random karate moves.

“Where are you?” I asked after my spidey-senses determined she was not located in normal visual range.

“Here.” The top of her head floated to the surface of a mountain of blankets in the corner of the room I had walked through to get to her bedroom.

“What are you doing?” I asked while slowing my heartbeat with deep breathing.

“I made a nest,” she said and disappeared under what was surely all the blankets we owned.

Later, Josiah walked ahead of me into the kitchen as I hung up the keys in the proper place which every member of the family is gifted at ignoring in favor of losing keys on a regular basis. I turned to join Josiah in the kitchen, and stopped when I saw his face – eyes wide, skin pale.

“What’s wrong,” I whispered, crouching into my ninja stance.

“I hear something,” he whispered back.

“Are we being robbed?”

“No, it’s like strange music and animal noises and breathing.” I grabbed the largest shoe I could reach and crouch-waddled to hide behind protect Josiah from the musical breathing animals.

“Um, I don’t know how to explain this,” he said after a moment, “but I know what the sound is. Emery is in the loft watching Korean music videos and hula-hooping.”

“Mom, something terrible happened,” Emery said when she saw us.

“I know, we were nearly robbed,” I said, tossing the shoe back to its twin.


“Nothing. What happened?”

“The screen on my phone is cracked again.”

“Oh no. Is it useless?”

“Well, the display is broken, so I can’t see anything, which means I can’t do anything on it.”

“Good thing you have Siri,” I told her, looking on the bright side. “You can just tell your phone to text or call.”

“Yeah,” she moaned. “One problem though.”


“I changed Siri so she only speaks Japanese.”

All normal stuff, right?


Piles of Dots

I have an app on my phone that keeps track of my family. Each member of the family is a dot that I can locate on a map. I first used this sort of app to help my daughter navigate her way home when she began driving and was often lost. But now I really only use it for one reason: I like to see our different dots piled together when we are all home. I open the app and look at our dots when the kids are quietly doing their homework in separate rooms. I look at our piled dots when we are on the couch watching television. Sometimes I watch the dots moving closer and closer until the garage doors open and the dots pile together. It gives my heart a happy feeling.

About a month ago something happened that has taken me this long to write about. My grandparents moved. My daily trips to drop off groceries, start their laundry, fill their pill boxes stopped. My daily hugs stopped.

Grandma smiling with GrandpaThey moved to Texas where my grandpa, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, could receive full-time care. My aunt lives in Texas and is keeping me updated on how they are doing. She told me that one day Grandpa kept pointing to the common area in his facility and saying, “It’s empty.” She thought he was confused because he was pointing to where people sat to watch TV and visit. Then he said, “It is empty. There’s just people, no family. It’s empty.”

That story made me cry for about two hours. Then I concocted a complex plan to bust him out that involved helicopters and night vision goggles. I was stopped by my lack of medical expertise, which, as it turns out, is doggone important in caring for him.

He might get confused. He might wander the halls at night. He might eat fifteen times a day. He might randomly lose his temper, but he clearly understands one thing: family is a gift. His family is the first thing he thinks about and the only thing he talks about. That’s why, when I bought my first house, he drove two hours and stayed with me two weeks remodeling my bathroom. That’s why, when he didn’t recognize my grandma, he wouldn’t let her in the bedroom. That’s why, when we were kids, he built a park in his backyard. That’s why he tells me he loves me every time he sees me. It’s the way he has always been. He is keeping track of his dots. He has been doing it since way before there was an app for that. 


How Boys Make Plans

“Help me decide what pictures I should display at your brother’s graduation party,” I told Drake. I showed him the frames I had picked out and asked what pictures he liked best out of the mountain I had narrowed it down to.

“I don’t know,” he said after looking at all the pictures and listening to the prosboys playing nintendo in drakes bed and cons of each one.

“You are just as much help as he is,” I told him. “Next year, when I am doing this for you, I will make every decision myself again, just like this year. Last year, Makenna had all this figured out and organized, and I just paid for it.”

“If it was up to me,” Drake said, “I wouldn’t even have senior pictures. I mean, what is the point? I’m only inviting people who know me, so they will already know what I look like.”

“Now I see why women usually plan the weddings.”

“What do you mean? If I planned a wedding, I would just spread the word that the marrying thing is happening at a certain time and everyone should try to show up around then. The point of a wedding is getting married, and I’d sure be married by the end of the thing.”

He actually might have a point.

Magic Mike

There is a lot going on in time and space. It is boggling to the mind when you think about all the action ceaselessly happening: cells multiplying, planets orbiting, humans living. And I’m sure I only know a fraction of the real cosmic story. It’s a wonder we don’t all run in circles feeling disjointed and terrified. We kind of do, though. I know I have spent large parts of my life worried and upset. And usually I don’t even know it until suddenly I am confronted with a sunset, the quiet after a thunderstorm, ocean waves – these tethers that reach me in the eye of my personal hurricane and make me secure.

couple dancing in watercolorIn the mundane parade of days, I tend to get sideswiped by the endless demands spinning about me and blinding me to the storm I am swept into. And then I feel a callused hand on my back and hear Mike ask about my day. His quick hug is an anchor – the strongest tether of all. All the imperfect pieces of our story are spoken in the light, unconscious touch of navigating the day together, and they say one thing: I care about you most of all. Surrounded by infinite choices, we have chosen each other to care most about. And caring is what makes it all matter.

He doesn’t care because he is perfect for me, he is perfect for me because he cares. In the caring is the magic.

He is a candle in the window. In this foggy, murky place of Too Much, he is a pinpoint of light beaconing me home.


“You’ve got to hear what just happened to me,” Drake announced, interrupting the conversation I was having with my friend, Dawn. “I was on the toilet, and a stink bug crawled between my feet. I stopped pooping, trapped the bug under a red Solo cup, and found my lighter. Then I lifted the cup, and, when the bug tried to crawl out, I put the flame near it so Drake Makes Fireit crawled back into the cup. Then I got my cologne and used it to turn the lighter into a torch, and I ended up burning the bug and the cup!”

“What are the chances a stink bug would present itself to you just as you were pooping?” I asked, amazed. “That’s ironic.”

“Let me get this straight,” Dawn said, looking at me. “The part of his story that interests you most is that he saw a stink bug while pooping? Not that he incinerated a bug and a cup in his bathroom with a homemade blowtorch?”

I may need to reexamine my priorities.

But it was ironic.