Thursday, October 21, 2010


My James is three years old today. While I know that I am supposed to say that I can’t believe it, and it is true that time has flown, it seems like there was no me or us before James. He is a powerhouse of personality, a key figure in our whole family and universe, it is hard to believe that he is ONLY three.

He’s always been such a boy, to the point of making me paranoid and ever-watchful, but he has gone from being rambunctious and rowdy to outright defiant and violent at times. Faith gets the brunt of this, mostly because she taunts him into action, and action is exactly what he provides. A swift kick, or a toy thrown at an impressive speed. My poor girl sported bruises on her school picture day because of Jamie’s inability to just calm on down.

On the flip side, the boy has charm. My father once said that he’s going to smile his way out of trouble all of his life and truer words have never been spoken. He already does it. James is in possession of one of the sweetest smiles I have ever witnessed in my life, the kind that lights up his whole face, the kind that lights up the whole room. I have gone to him, fuming and angry over something awful and deliberate that he has done and he has looked up at me, eyes twinkling and crinkling, and I have been disarmed by his smile, having to catch myself from smiling back. I will have to find a way around that smile, it will be my kryptonite.

Ever since he was old enough to have a preference over anything, he has loved trains. Perhaps a better word would be obsessed with trains. Of course Thomas the Train became a favorite and still is. There are trains and tracks littering my whole house. The trains were essential in potty training. The trains are his best friends. The trains go everywhere with us. In the past few months he has started broadening his horizons, enjoying cars and loving the movie Wall-E, but trains are still the elite of his likings.

I’m so relieved at his appetite that includes a willingness to try anything. His easygoing attitude about going here or there, no need for any sort of routine. His need to cuddle and be loved, hugged, and kissed all throughout the day. He is an affectionate boy, not stingy with touch, willing to give it to anyone who seems to be in need. He will climb onto my lap, look deep into my eyes, and just kiss my nose, my cheeks. I laugh and kiss his neck, savoring these moments, afraid that they will be gone too soon.

He is my heart, my three year old boy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

He taught me Nawlins and Spanglish too

This is such, SUCH, a bummer but I think I need to get this out.

I just found out that an old co-worker died. He died several months ago, but I found out about it by boredom, snooping around on the internet. I found his facebook page and instead of just his name, it was followed by “memorial page” and then after frantic googling I found his obituary, stating his death as being in March.

I’m just shocked right now. This man was not just a co-worker, but a friend of mine. I started working at a small construction company when I was barely twenty-one and he was about forty-five at the time, a small man with an ever-reddish nose and a permanent grin on his face. He was hilarious, and had one of those laughs that was just contagious, whenever you heard it you wanted to laugh too, even if you weren’t in on the joke. He was a nickname type of guy, he had one for everybody. Mine was “Woodstock” because he had an image of me, long-haired hippie chick, peaceful and free-spirited. Our entire office started calling each other by their nicknames and we even had an official nickname board which needed to be updated every so often.

Whenever I was distressed at work, he was always there with grounded guidance and he was one of my favorite things about that job. I loved seeing him come down the hallway and always couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say. He made my two years at that company immeasurably better.

He had a great love for music and we had many a long conversation about it. When I told him that Jeff played he was overjoyed and often sent home music or videos with me for Jeff to watch. He’d ask me every so often about Jeff, wondering if he was “still pickin’ and grinning”. He was from Louisiana, which oozed out of his voice and was a great sense of pride for him. I learned all about Mardi Gras from him, proper Mardi Gras, not just the partying (although he told me about that too).

I left that job one summer, after management shifted and things got to be unbearable for me. He pursued other avenues as well, for the same reasons. He kept in touch afterward and when I got married I made sure to send him an invitation. His R.S.V.P. card was the fastest one returned and at my reception he was waiting for me with a big hug and an even bigger grin. The last time I talked to him he said that I needed to go ahead and become a mama, and then time sped by on warp speed and I never talked to him again and it breaks my heart I wasn’t at his funeral.

He was a good man, with a wife that he loved very much and three children that are way too young to have lost a father.

I’m remembering good times Andy, and I hope to see you again someday.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Jeff and I took the kids camping this past weekend and it was The Awesome. We went to Stone Mountain which isn’t deep in the woods or anything that proper camping should be, but it’s so much fun for the kids. They went to the pumpkin festival, we watched a 4-D mini movie that I think may have traumatized James, we went on the sky lift that I know traumatized me (I had a “bad imagine” as Faith would say, about us all plummeting to our deaths. *shudder*), and we went on the train, we walked around the top of the mountain, we went to the old plantation houses and petted the farm animals. At night we roasted marshmallows and made smores.

It was the weekend that we’ve been looking forward to having with them for, I don’t know, forever. Just Jeff and I, and our children, all in one place, doing wholesome family type things. It was rather dreamy, actually, and not in a Stepford way because they were still screamy, terrifying children at times, but just . . . good. It felt good.

Then we came home and back to the grind. I washed my hair three times and it still smells like campfire smoke. The clothes are still in heaps in the laundry room, and I’m already behind in my nutrition class for the week. This is all okay, though. This is life, this is what happens, I don’t live in movie land where things behind the scenes get magically taken care of except for comic relief purposes. What really does get to me, however, is that real life settles back when Jeff starts his work week.

Having a husband that works nights SUCKS. There is no poetic way to put it, it just sucks. He’s on a different schedule than we are, he’s always tired. I feel guilty for waking him up at 11:00 a.m. because I know he’s exhausted and I feel like crap for the mornings he has to wake up at 7:30 for me to get to school. We both feel awful when we’ve squandered away the moments that we do get to share by bickering about some non-significant Thing. I get irritated sometimes, thinking that he could bathe the kids on his nights at home, or make their dinner, or play with them, or settle some argument since I do it by myself all the time. I immediately get angry at myself for the irritation thinking that while I’m home with the kids, he’s at work, in a shop, on his feet, at night, lonely, deciphering intricate blue prints, all to support us.

It’s not just hard on our marriage, it’s hard on our kids. Faith goes four and a half days without seeing her father. EVERY WEEK. I try to fill him in on the little things, but sometimes they get lost in translation. I feel so blessed, for all the things I have, and then I feel a little wistful, I suppose, wanting someone to share them with daily. I want us to be a family, to be whole, every night together.

Here’s wishing to a brighter future.