Month: October 2015

The Shattering

“I brought home a mug I made in pottery, but I hate it,” Emery said as she threw her backpack into the car.

“Oh, I’m sure it’s lovely,” I told her as I navigated the micro traffic jam of minivans competing with teenage drivers escaping the school grounds.

“No,” she said with certainty. “It’s bad. I made it super fast, and I threw it away, but then I went and got it back. I want to do something with it, but I’m not sure what.”

“Like give it to someone who bugs you?”

“Yeah! Or, maybe, break it and put it back together in a funky way.”

“You could put a plant in it and give it to someone,” I suggested, knowing her grandmas would both love the gift.

“I kind of want to just shatter it. I just want to throw it against a wall and listen to the explosion.”

“I’ve always wanted to do that: For no good reason, just throw something breakable against a wall.”

“The shattering sound is very satisfying.”

“Okay, before we go inside the house, we will shatter your mug.”

And it was very satisfying.


Flat Stanley

My kids had a project in school where they cut a piece of paper in the shape of a boy and mailed him around the world for people to send back with a summary of where the guy had traveled and experiences he may have had in these various places. His name was Flat Stanley. These stories were shared at school, and, in that way, students were educated about various destinations. Flat Stanley usually went to places like Garner, Iowa, but sometimes he went to more exotic places like Texas, and I think he even went to Siberia. The stories he brought back were intriguing.

You know how you brace yourself when you think you are about to be in a car accident? This usually happens to me while in the passenger seat, and especially if the steering wheel is in the hands of one of my teenagers. Every so often, I realize I am braced like that during regular times. At the grocery store, I am braced. As I walk my dog, I am braced. And the moments turn into hours and days, and I find that I am braced for days on end. Braced in fear of something bad happening? Or braced because something scary already happened? I’m not aware enough to know, but, I think I do it in an attempt to be unaffected by the things going on in life that I can’t control. And it makes me feel like Flat Stanley.

I don’t want to go through days and around the globe Flat Stanley style. I want to soak it up.

I recently went to a concert. It was outdoors, and it began sprinkling. Then it rained like someone had built an ark. Sometime between the sprinkling and the downpour, I concert croppedrealized that I was braced. I knew it because I started getting a headache. I stood in the crowd and chuckled at myself because it dawned on me that I was bracing myself against the rain – as if my pure tension would scare the wet away from my skin, and I would be able to enjoy the concert moisture-free. I laughed at my ridiculous effort. I relaxed and soaked it up. And I’ve rarely had such a riveting experience.

I made a deal with myself after that: I will get wet when it rains. And I will get tired and cut and sunburned and I will probably laugh at inappropriate times. I will let people around me mess up and stumble, and I won’t try to fix them. I will mess up and stumble. I will stay up too late watching movies, and I will feel the sting when my kids don’t want a hug. I will grind my teeth when they defy me and cry when they move away. I will roll my eyes at my husband when he irritates me, and melt when he smiles at me. Enough with the bracing.

It will be riveting.


Verbal Mystery

FaceTime is nice. I like to FaceTime my daughter. She lives two hours away, which seems like two billion light years away. But I can talk to her and see her face. She can show me her apartment and her friends, and I can show her the family she owes her existence to.

Kona and Arrow FaceTime
Kona and Arrow FaceTime

However, we sometimes get hijacked. Her dog, Kona, likes to play with squeaky toys, and, when he makes them squeak, he mimics them with his puppy yowly-whine. Then, my dog, Arrow, responds by running from wherever he was napping and howling for his friend. Then Kona howls, so we show them each other. Pretty soon, our conversation has been taken over by moaning and bellowing that can only be understood by a canine. They are probably talking about naps in the sun, bones, and how trained they have their humans. They have a lot to tell each other. They go back and forth in this verbal mystery as Makenna and I hold the phones.

We’ve clearly lost control.