Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Only Question

The question is not, can we heal?

The question,
the only question,
will we let
the healing power
of the risen Jesus
flow through us
to reach and touch others,
so that they may dream
and fight
and bear
and run
where the brave dare not go?

~ Brennan Manning,
The Furious Longing of God

Born to Fly

Tyler's class has been studying bugs, spiders, creepy crawlers, and butterflies. He has been all about this, loading me up on details about all these little critters.

He is an expert on spider webs, cocoons, the preying mantis, and he tells me a ladybug peed on him last week. I really didn't know a ladybug could urinate, although I guess it makes sense. I should google that.

They did a close study of the butterfly life cycle, watching in their little labratory. And when their caterpillar was free from his cocoon, when his wings were dry and he longed for freedom, they took him outside and let him fly away.

That afternoon, Tyler didn't want to talk about it.

"I just wanted to keep it. I didn't want to let it go."

"But, Tyler, butterflies were made to fly."

"He could fly. In his cage."

"Buddy, he was born to fly anywhere he wants."

"Well, I'm going to the pet store. And I'm buying a cocoon. And when he's a butterfly, I'll keep him forever. I'll never let him go."

His first encounter with wanting to hold tightly to that which must be free.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


"Hey, don't make me go back to Columbus on you..." says the large, buff, black man in line next to me at Starbucks.

I don't really know what that means.

And then I remember I'm wearing an Ohio State t-shirt. Ah, he's a Buckeye.

(I still don't know the proverbial reference that I would threaten him back to Columbus. But I step into the conversation with an air of nonchalance.)

"Are you a Buckeye?" I smile.

"Yes, ma'am. I just moved here from Columbus in December."

"Welcome to Denver. I'm from Ohio; my husband went to Ohio State. He was in the marching band."

(If you don't get the TBDBITL reference, don't be too quick to put a geek nametag on this community of brass. They are a force to be reckoned with. It's harder to make the marching band than it is to make the football team. Just FYI. I could go on. Robb would, I assure you. I have the stats memorized. A friend of mine aptly named us the Marching Band Power Couple.)

"Oh, no kiddin'?"

"We get so excited to see Buckeyes around here. In fact, once I went back to Columbus for a wedding, and I embarrassed myself by getting so excited to see people in scarlet and grey. I was, like, all high-fiving people and throwing my fist in the air, 'Go Bucks! Hey! O-H!' It wasn't until they barely smiled at me that I realized I was in Buckeye town. It's not so uncommon out there. I looked like quite the ridiculous enthusiast."

He smiled. Perhaps I was saying too much. It's just that it's a fun language to speak, like the Spanish I learned in high school. I don't know much, but it's a little fun to use what I know.

I tried one more comment, perhaps my last. "There's quite a few Buckeyes in this town - a society of our own."

"Yeah, we've got our own mojo goin' on in D-town," he says.

Right. Mojo. D-town. (Perhaps I don't know how to have this conversation at all. A girl can only pose for so long.)

He gave me a fist bump.



"You take care, Buckeye."

"You, too."

My husband graduated from Ohio State. He was in the marching band.

Hey, Colorado natives? I'm raising a couple o' Buckeyes.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Robb played with them for endless hours in the pool: throwing, tossing, splashing, playing shark, jumping, catching, playing, playing, playing.

When we go to the pool, they look for someone to do the same. They are drawn to dads, fathers and sons who are splashing and playing - especially dads who are big and strong, shaped like the daddy they remember.

This worries me even as I watch, as a blend of Momma Bear, Mother Hen, and Lady Hawk.

On a small scale, what if they're being pests? I know how it is to really want to play with just my child(ren) but to have a lingering child wanting to join in the fun. What if this father/son don't want to add to their duo?

On a grander scale, how can they know what is safe? How can they know who is safe? What if these men aren't dads? What if they are deceived? What if I am deceived? They seem safe; are they safe?

Truly ever safe?

Their lives are carefully filled with men we know - family, friends, trusted adults who offer the masculine attention and modeling they need.

Still, they are hungry, even in their innocence.

Tears sting my eyes behind my sunglasses. Please, God, give them a hedge of protection. I can't do this alone. I can't.

As I think and pray, I watch a young lifeguard make joyful eye contact with Tyler. She lights up. "Hey, buddy! Hey, Ty! Where's your brother? Oh, there he is!"

Tyler leaps out of the water to hug her waist. Tuck isn't far behind. They know her. They come to this pool each week on a playdate with a dear friend, so I may maintain regular sessions with my counselor. This lifeguard has taken personal responsibility for the safety of my children under her care in the water.

She remembers their dad. She remembers how he played with them. She remembers when our family came to swim, as recently as December.

I introduce myself; it is a curious thing to meet someone who knows my children so well.

"It is so good to finally meet you! Oh, my, I have to tell you: I am so in love with these little boys. I intentionally work on Mondays so I can be here when they swim. We watch them so carefully to make sure they're safe. The whole lifeguard staff knows them - we call them our angels."

Oh, my new friend. I believe you are the angel. Perhaps the guardian kind.

Thank you, Lord,
for placing this hedge around them,
the one I have begged you for.

Thank you for caring for them,
even as I watch and worry;
thank you for caring for them,
even as I cannot see.

Thank you for angels and servants
whom you have placed in their path,
to guide and protect, to keep them safe.

Thank you that I am not alone.

Monday, June 27, 2011


In our home, the loft overlooks the living room. There is a high ledge where the first story opens up to the second. Tuck climbed over the ledge, letting his feet dangle 16 feet from the floor.

The first time, I responded firmly and with great emotion, helping him to understand how terrifying that was for me, that if he fell from the ceiling he could break bones or even die, how our family is already too small and I do not wish for it to get any smaller.

Strong words, but all true.

I really thought the message hit home. I mean, why would he want to evoke that in me again? Really?

And then last night, my mom was reading a bedtime story to Tyler, when she glanced up to the ceiling. And she saw the bottom of Tucker's feet.

He had done it again. There he sat, carefully perched.

And then came the task of responding with urgency, not panic, getting my attention but not alarming Tucker, thereby causing him to lose his balance.

She said very evenly, "Tricia, Tucker is over the ledge. He is sitting on the top with his feet over the side."

One need not be prone to anxiety to respond to such a scene with shock and horror. Last night was not a pretty night in our home, neither in words nor tone, as he attempted this for the second time.

This morning at breakfast, we revisited the event. I had to make sure he understood.

"Tuck, do you know why you got into so much trouble last night?"

"Yes, because I was being dangerous when I climbed over the wall, except it wasn't dangerous for me because I didn't feel afraid."

"Afraid and danger are not the same thing, Tucker. You can be brave and still be in serious danger."

And suddenly I heard the very I words I was saying to him. I heard them for myself, not just for him.

'Afraid' and 'danger' are not synonymous.

I can think of many times in the last six months when I was afraid, terrified, shaking in terror, but there was really no danger at all.

I can also think of many times in my last three decades when I felt strong and confident, oblivious and unconcerned, although danger lurked closer than I could imagine.

They are not synonyms. They don't always feel the same.

Sometimes you just have to take somebody else's word for it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Million Sundays

Sundays have always been a nucleus for our family.

Barring illness or vacation, there is no question of where we will be on Sunday morning. There is not a decision to make on a week-by-week basis: to go to church, or not to go?

We go. We're there. Settled.

But it wasn't just about church; Sunday was our day of rest. We served together. We were a team.

Breakfast was fun: usually cinnamon rolls. Sometimes donuts.

Robb got the boys dressed and ready, allowing me peace in the bathroom without little hands and questions.

We have a strong community in our church family. Our spirits rested with them.

After church, we usually ate pizza at Big Bill's, followed by naps all around. And I do mean Naps All Around.

We finished the day with dinner at my parents' house: my mom's great cooking, a table of inviting conversation, and the tradition of togetherness every Sunday night. Usually topped off with a competitive episode of The Amazing Race, when in season.

And then Robb died.... and I couldn't do Sundays.

Friends took my sons to church, as I wanted my boys to keep the routine and the value. But I couldn't join them. I tried: three times, unsuccessfully. Panic struck each time, moments after my arrival. Each time, friends escorted me to my car, drove me home, and helped me to bed before I collapsed. Afternoons were not restful; they were recovery.

I couldn't do it.

I remember thinking: it is the weight of a million Sundays that will be the end of me.

Well, my friends, today was a new day.

Peanut Butter Captain Crunch for breakfast. Little boys in khaki shirts and striped polos. Tyler all over my makeup drawer as I prepared for the morning. Arguments over toothpaste and flip flops.

But we made it out the door. And they sang on the way to church. The VBS sound track is a gift to my spirit as my children sing lyrics like,

"I am not forgotten, God knows my name..."

"God is watching, watching over you..."

"I have a Maker, he formed my heart..."

"Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art."

Our reception was warm and sweet; our church family spills with the joy of being known.

Children who are in kindergarten sit with their parents for the music portion of the service, so Tuck and I were a pair. He listened carefully, sang along, held my hand, and was my delight.

And although I still didn't last the entire worship service, I made it longer than ever before.

It was good, victorious, strong, and successful.

And I remember thinking: it is the gift of a million Sundays that will be the breath of me.


"But it was the singing that pulled me in and split me wide open." — Anne Lamott

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Best Pizza in Town

Big Bill's. Two baskets of garlic knots. Medium pizza with pepperoni and Canadian bacon. Two diet Cokes. One with lime. One without. (That 'without' was a deal breaker in the realm of the generous tip.)

That was our usual.

We ate there every Friday night when I was pregnant with Tyler. I claimed it was Tyler's favorite, in utero. Who can resist a large pregnant woman with serious cravings? Not Robb, I'll tell you that much.

Tyler's first birthday was at Big Bill's. Since it was so naturally in his blood, it seemed appropriate.

We ate there every Sunday after church. Every Sunday.

Leona waited on us. Every Sunday.

Their decor is almost entirely comprised of framed napkins with the doodles, notes, and drawings of their patrons.

I took the boys last night for dinner.

One basket of garlic knots. Medium pepperoni pizza. A diet Coke with lime. Two small lemonades (diluted, please).

'The usual' has changed a bit at our table.

Leona stopped by. She hadn't seen us in a while; she hadn't heard. She didn't know.

I told her. "It was sudden and tragic, Leona. We thought it was the flu."

She was stunned. Everyone is, when they first hear.

She put her hand on mine. "I'm so glad you're here. I'm so glad."

I added to their decor. They hung it up immediately. As in, four minutes after I handed it to Big Bill, the hostess brought me the framed, finished product.

Then, Big Bill himself took my two little boys on a tour.

"Here's your daddy's napkin, boys. You come see it whenever you want."
Big Bill and Leona bought our dinner.

"We hope you'll come back."

Oh, we'll be back.

Friday, June 24, 2011


"I wrote a song called Big Brothers, Be Nice."

Tyler tells me this, the self-professed victim.

"Can I sing it for you?"

"Lay it on me. I'm ready."

He hums a melody at the top of his range, repeating these words again and again.

Easy lyrics - I'll give him that.

"Very nice, Tyler. Have you written one for little brothers, too?"

"Um, what? No. Why?"

He's working on that one.

Crepe Paper

I am changing.

My eyes look different. Older.

This is aging me. My spirit is becoming older.

My face isn't as young.

My eyes crinkle like crepe paper.

I'll be 32 next month. That seems too young to feel so old.

And I don't even care.

It was bound to happen sometime.

I'd rather give my youth to a broken heart than hand it over to sun damage.

Bring it on, wrinkles. You tell my story.

Age me well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

As Needed

I hold closely those first six months of my children's lives, when everything was new and beginning, when there was so much for us to discover about one another.

Schedules, routines, and familiarity were upturned. We learned one new thing at a time, my boys and me.

I remember thinking, reminding myself on the unknown days of young parenting: "All I have to do is keep him clean and fed. That's all. Wisdom will grow as needed. For today, just feed the baby and keep him dry. And get some sleep."

For those first six months, I remembered so carefully the details of their births; the story was fresh, and other moms wanted to know. Since my infants did little other than sleep, it was easy to spend time remembering the day everything had changed.

When they turned six months, I started to see glimpses of their personalities. They laughed more. They became mobile. I began to learn who they were.

Something happened around that six-month mark. We rounded our way toward the first year. Instead of always looking back, we started looking forward.

"If he can do this now, I wonder what he'll do next month. I wonder what the next milestone will be. I wonder what he'll teach me next."

I'll never forget the day my children were born. And yet I think about it less.

I have often likened this grief journey to that of a newborn. The first six months have been similar: schedules, routines, and familiarity were upturned; there was little to do but sleep; I spent much time remembering the day it all changed.

I'll never forget the day Robb died, six months ago today. But perhaps I'll begin to think about it less. Because there will be more milestones waiting as I learn to walk and laugh again.

And the same reminder rings true: Wisdom grows as needed.

This is All I Say.

I bought myself a handbag and two scarves. Because it has been six months and I have not given up.

"I like your necklace," says the gently beautiful woman behind the counter, the one whom I just heard telling someone else that her youngest is eight years old and oh-how-nice it is to have older children now.

"Thank you."

"Are those charms for your children?"

"They are. And my husband."

That one that says 'my beloved.' That's the one that's his.

"Very beautiful. It's nice to have special things that represent something so personal."

I nod.

And this is all I say.

Because sometimes it feels good to not tell the whole story, to save some of it for me, to not let the stranger in.

I let her think my family is whole.

I let her think the shopping splurge is to celebrate a sunny day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where Else Could I Go?

I am an enigma.

"I believe in God with all my heart.
And in a given day ... I wonder if God even exists.
I address him and I get discouraged.
I love and I hate.
I feel better about feeling good.
I feel guilty if I don't feel guilty.
I'm wide open.
I'm locked in.
I'm trusting and suspicious.
I'm honest and I still play games.
Aristotle said I'm a rational animal.
But I'm not."

~ Brennan Manning


... also that I may with a free conscience and quiet heart,
in all manner of temptations,
afflictions, or necessities,
and even in the very pangs of death,
cry boldly and merrily unto thee,
and say:

I believe in God the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth.

~ Book of Common Prayer, 1559 edition


In John 6, he writes about the many followers of Jesus who turned away because some of his teachings were so hard for them to swallow.

They were offended; they couldn't understand; they walked away. He asked more than they wanted to give, and he only offered himself in return. They were finished. No deal.

As so many began to slip away, John says that Jesus turned to his disciples and said, "Are you also going to leave?"

I imagine their tension. Perhaps they wanted to. Perhaps an easier road was far more appealing. I get that. I do.

He called them to make a decision.

Simon Peter, one of my favorites, is the first to speak: "Lord, to whom would we go?"

I get this story anew. It makes sense to me.

I struggle to reconcile what I know about God and how he cares for those he loves.

I feel like he asks me everyday, in the pages of my journal, "What about you? Are you going to leave?"

I want to. Screw all of this.

But where would I go?

As the spirit in me threatens to be snuffed by sorrow and loss (of love, security, identity, confidence, the list goes on...), it seems he offers my only hope for life again, for coming back to life myself.

Where else could I go?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our Father's Day

We made it new and different. We couldn't pretend our day would be the same, simply without the recipient of our honor. We ran away with my parents: Rocky Mountain National Park, here we come.

We explored the mountains, Estes Park, and the YMCA of the Rockies. Strolling past the craft center at the Y, I took one look at this splash of color, and I knew what our day needed.

We took them home with a paper slip of instructions:

1. Hand wash with cold water until the water runs clear.
2. Remove rubberbands.
3. Hand wash with warm water until the water runs clear.
4. Wash by itself in the washer.
5. Hang dry.

Whew. Might as well hand me a washboard and some rocks.

This was one serious process. Let's take a moment to be thankful for my washer and dryer. And for the fact that I was not born 200 years ago. A pioneer woman I am not.

I kind of love how each of our designs reflects our personality: Tuck is subtle, mine is simple and classic, and Tyler's is - BAM - a bold orange X. I love these new expressions of us.

Bright. Vibrant. Colorful. Strong.

The perfect souvenir for our very first Father's Day without the man we love.

In a Photo

Under the clouds... for now.
Sunshine awaits.
I can see it.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

"I think he thinks about me."

"I think Daddy can see me right now," Tyler said, as he built a racecar of Legos.

"You think so? What do you think he thinks?"

"About me. I think he thinks about me."

"And what do you think he thinks about you?"

A long, thoughtful pause. So long that it seemed he had forgotten the question.

And then he answered, "I think he thinks I'm just who he wants me to be."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

She Collected

During the pressurized years,
when she was in effect
and capped -

she started a relief fund in the name of Sanity.

She collected rare humor,
kind words,
large-breasted hugs,
a variety of pats on the back,
and above all,

the wisdom to know it would eventually pass.

~Susan Mrosek, Pondering Pool

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Someday, When I'm a Daddy...

This is the epitome of their aspirations.

"When I'm a Daddy, I will chew gum."

"When I'm a Daddy, I will find a beautiful wife."

(Between now and then, I'll coach them to reverse the order of those two goals.)

"When I'm a Daddy, I will wear my seatbelt only when I want to."

"When I'm a Daddy, I will eat spicy food."

"When I'm a Daddy, I will take care of you, Mommy."

"When I'm a Daddy, I will stay up late."

They aspire once a day or more, telling me their grandiose plans for mid-life.

And in my mind, I think,

When you're a Daddy, I'll be a Grandma.

When you're a Daddy, you'll understand this consuming love that can strangle your heart with its tentacles.

When you marry the beautiful wife you've imagined, you'll think of your dad. You'll want to love as hard as he did, but you might want to hold back just enough to keep her safe in case she doesn't get to keep you. Don't do it, sweet boy. Give it to her. Just like he did.

When you're a Daddy, if you have two little ones, you'll learn anew how demanding it truly is to keep up with the constant coming and going, needing and giving.

When you're a Daddy, when your son is three, you'll begin to imagine how much your daddy loved you, how much he didn't want to leave you behind.

And if you ever find yourself within the snarling teeth of the black dogs named depression, you'll discover how I pushed myself to the very edge to stay present every single day.

That those swallowing tentacles of love present a vicious fight against the snarling teeth of depression.

When you're a Daddy, you'll begin to know, to understand.

Or you might not. Some things will make the most sense to you right now, before you enter kindergarten.

When you're a Daddy, be a good one.

And let God be yours.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Discouraged Optimist

Warning: The following words are written by a wounded and discouraged optimist. These words are real, raw, and without apology. If I am authentic on this journey, then these entries make it too. But if you came for encouragement today, read no further. Encouragement isn't mine to give today.


I am so angry today. Angry. Fiercely angry.

I received Robb's ashes yesterday.

I don't want them, and yet I do. I waited as long as I could. The standard procedure asks the funeral home to keep the 'cremains' for four weeks; for me, they kept them for six months. Gracious. I could not receive them.

When I called to request them, the funeral director referred to the ashes by name.


"We've taken good care of him, Tricia."

"We'll bring him to you as soon as you are ready. He has been in good hands."

He. Robert. As if he liked being called that name. As if 'he' is inside that box. As if giving that box to me is in any way bringing him to me.

I wasn't offended; I'm beyond confident that their words are measured, scripted, careful, and intentional, erring on the side of overly sensitive for those whose hope rests in the box of dust.

But my hope isn't in a box. And frankly, if I write in all honesty, today my hope is hard to find at all.

Elusive. Hiding. Covered. Dark.

If I have his ashes, then he really must be dead.

What a ridiculous sentence. And yet somehow true. This heavy box (which I cannot bring myself to hold) is the tangible, physical encounter with the absence of life, the void of his spirit, the dust to dust. He must really be gone.

I am fiercely angry today.

Truly, I feel like giving God the double tall man. Angry. Fiercely angry.

Screw this.
Too much.
Too hard.
Too lonely.
Too heavy.
Too much.
Too surreal.
Too unbelievable.

I am angry.

p.s. Father's Day comes this Sunday. Another first in this year of despairing journeys. Tyler's preschool teacher asked me yesterday how they should address the issue of Father's Day gifts. And suddenly I realized that for the rest of their lives this week will require further questions, thinking, and explanations for all of us.

I seethe with anger.


Hear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life for I am devoted to you.
You are my God;
save your servant who trusts in you.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant,
for to you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.
You are forgiving and good, O Lord,
abounding in love to all who call on you.
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
On the day of my trouble,
I will call to you,
for you will answer me.
Amon the gods, there is none like you,
O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth.
Give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
I will praise you,
O Lord my God,
with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths of the grave.
Turn to me and have mercy on me;
grant strength to your servant
and save the son of your maidservant.
Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it
and be put to shame,
for you, O Lord,
have helped and comforted me.

~ Psalm 86


I recite these words today, like reciting multiplication facts. Perhaps hearing them will remind me. Perhaps they will find their roots and grow deeper. Perhaps the intentional acts of my mind will engage my dry, weary heart.

Perhaps I will somehow once again believe these words.


"Sometimes providence can be defined
as times when God trumps your perfectly good plan
with one of his own...
and then seems to disappear from it.

Take heart...
he is right there, and he is there right."

~ Beth Moore

(I would love to know where right now.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Good Life

That's how Nebraska welcomes you as you cross the state line: Welcome to the Good Life.

I can't say they're far off. It's a pretty good gig they've got going on.

It's like the Ohio of the midwest.

(Except Ohio says it is the midwest. Which I've always thought was odd, ever since I was old enough to loosely evaluate a map of the United States. Obviously, Nebraska is in the middle of the west. Ohio is more in the north of the east. Just my opinion, but then, I can only point to the 'west' when I can see the mountains.)

The boys and I just finished nine days in Nebraska, where we met up with some of our favorite people: my soul sister and the boys' two buddies. Jen, Reece, and Mason.

The four boys attended Vacation Bible School together while the moms sat in child-free goodness in a small town coffee shop and strolled through cozy shops. We spent the afternoons at the water park, the evenings eating snow cones, and the in-betweens applying more sunscreen. They waved, cheered, and caught candy at a small town parade.

They visited a half-dozen parks and playgrounds in town, and they had their first encounter with feeding ducks.
The minivan was crowded with carseats, and it spilled with catchy (repetitive) songs, theological questions from young thinkers, juice boxes, and french fries. My children got an education on lightning bugs, Nebraska hot dogs, cornfields, irrigation pipes, bug spray, and tractors.

Jen and I spent nine days talking, which we typically do via text. (Don't let anyone say communication is lost in this age of technology. Although I concede: face to face wins every time.)

I watched a sunset fall below the horizon. The whole ball and its pink afterglow.

(How have I never done this before?)

And might I just say: there is immeasurable victory in a single mom taking two little boys on a 9-day road trip (right on the heels of an 11-day airline adventure).

I love cornfields. And I love the sound of four little boys singing How Great Thou Art.

A road trip for this party of three. We did it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Language of Moms

Young moms of our generation have a language all their own.

My brother pointed this out as we strolled through Disney World: a child dropped a sippy cup out of his stroller.

Four moms in the surrounding area spotted it and said, "Uh oh!"

(I was one of them.)

Rob said, "All the moms say Uh Oh. All of them."

It seems we also say:

"That is not okay."

  • As in, "Do not hit your sister. That is not okay." "Do not eat that jolly rancher off the floor. That is not okay." "What did I tell you? That is not okay."

"Do you need a time out?"

  • We offer this question as if it's rhetorical. As if this is a democracy. And in some parenting books, I suppose all of this is one big democratic convention of toddlers. We offer this as an option, as if someday one of ours will say, "Yes, yes, I believe I do. I'm a little irrational and whiny."

In general, the phrase "right now." We tack it on to the end of many declarative statements.

  • "I need you to listen right now." "Here's what I'm thinking right now." In-the-moment declarations? A big deal to us, so it seems.

"Make a good choice."

  • The ever empowering choice between two options. "Do you want to wear the red shirt of the blue shirt?" "Do you want to whisper or talk quietly?" "Do you want to hand me that expensive item or get a spanking?" Always choices; I place before you two. Be wise, young mosquito.

We seem to be a generation of momma birds who value clarity, repetition, independence, decision making, and above all else, punctuality.

"Uh Oh, that is not a good choice. Do you need a time out right now?"

I say this roughly 87 times a day.

It leaves me wondering what my children hear most, if they're really, truly listening.

Too Many Cats, Not Enough Recipes.

Our family is allergic to cats. On the love-hate spectrum, we lean strongly to one side.

Tyler says they make him sneeze.

Tucker says he can't breathe.

I say they turn my hair purple. (Just adding variety. My situation is actually similar to Tyler's. Add puffy eyes.)

Uncle Rob says he doesn't like their attitude.

Poppa often finds them undercooked.

We Have Become a Tricycle.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Pirates and The Princesses

It really is the most magical place on earth.

The common misnomer is the 'happiest place on earth', but that's Disneyland. My children cried at least once a day on our visit to Disney World, for various reasons depending on the day. So maybe that doesn't happen in California.

But it was truly magical.

When my children come face to face with the manifestation of their imaginations, when they meet the characters that they've only known in their favorite movies, when they watch Tinkerbell and Dumbo fly, when they can fight their own battle against Emperor Zurg - I'm telling you. Talk about pixie dust.

A fellow tourist said to me, "Now, how old are your children?"

"They are four and five."

"Well, my children are 11 and 13. We intentionally waited to bring them until they were older."

It's nice to meet you; I intentionally brought them while they are small.

I'm sure there are some definite perks to doing Disney Parks with children whose legs don't tire. On the flipside, there is also something truly unbelievable about taking children who are young enough to absolutely believe in every ounce of it. They never even ask if it's real; it doesn't cross their minds that something might be manufactured for their benefit. It's real deal.

They believe in it all.

And maybe I didn't just take them 'for them.' In part, I took them 'for me.' We needed some magic in our lives.

And it helps that Uncle Rob can make it all happen - the Global Puppet Specialist with the Entertainent Show Quality team of Walt Disney World (say that ten times) - can make it all happen.

I just have one small, teeny tiny philosophical issue with the WDW. The Dub-Dee-Dubs. (I just made up that nickname. Kind of proud of it. Smilling to myself... digressing.)

It's the whole push for every girl to be a princess and every boy to be a pirate.

Sure, there's a high degree of enchantment when you hand a girl a tiara, a boy a sword.

But if I may push the magical envelope, I don't so much dig the idea that girls should aim to be helpless, pampered, in need of masculine rescue, and - above all else - glittery beautiful and put on display.

And boys? By all means, hand them a weapon upon arrival. Let's set on a pedestal those who steal, rape, pillage, and poke each other's eyeballs out. That's definitely the little tourist I want at my dinner table.

Especially one who believes it can all come true.

Granted, Disney would lose a lot of revenue if they gave all little boys make-overs to become Prince Charming. But even the prince? What'd he do? He kissed a girl. She fell asleep; he kissed her. Voila. Hero.

Again, my hat is off to Rapunzel. Way to think outside the castle, girlfriend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Added Security

Uncle Rob is pretty great. I think we can all agree.

When he carried Tucker way up high, Tuck insisted on holding on to Rob's face, cheeks, eyes, or chin. That's the only way he felt secure.

Uncle Rob had a few issues with this process: distraction, obstructed view, and occasional pain. Fair enough.

At one point, after peeling Tucker's hands off his eyelids one more time, Rob set Tuck down in front of him.

He knelt down and said gently, "Hey, Tuck? Have I ever, ever dropped you?"


"That's right. And I never, ever will."

It's true, Tuck. You can count on your Uncle Rob.

He hasn't ever let me down, either.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

With and Without





I did this on purpose.
Because they might not remember the first trip,
but I think they'll remember the second.
And I want them to know that Daddy made magic with us too.