when nothing helps

I sat on his desk chair and he sat on his bed and we cried. The quivering of anyone’s chin when they cry makes me instantly dissolve, but my eighteen year-old, sweet, really really good, beautiful son’s chin? Forget it. Knife through heart. My first child’s first broken heart has left me with a pain like no other. It’s not that I really cared so much about her. I want to put him in a clear glass jar and keep him safe and happy and never let him out until I know that everything that comes his way is going to meet him with kindness and joy.

That is certainly not the way it goes. 

There will be more broken hearts and disappointments, but the pain of the first child’s first heartbreak will stay with me for a long long time.  I freaking hate it.


So, Sunday morning comes with some decisions. Sunday morning is grocery shopping morning and that means one of two things: embracing our local fame and going to the closer Stop & Shop or heading a couple minutes out to hide from our adoring fans.

As every single one of you knows, our students and I mean, even the high school students, think we live in the school.  They must think our families come to our classroom at night and we eat dinner at the reading table and we tuck our children into their beds, which are their desks, and then we get up in the morning, change in the school bathroom and start the day, never leaving the building. Ever. So, when our students see us at Stop & Shop shopping (yes, we shop and we eat and we drink), they stop cold in their tracks, like deer in headlights, not believing that Mrs. A. and……... Mr. A. (OMG!) are in front of them outside of the school…in a real store….Sometimes, the looks of shock are endearing. Sometimes, the younger kiddos, run and just peek around their parents.  Sometimes, it’s really awkward…..especially when the parents don’t know you, but you wave or talk to their child and then have to explain that you are a teacher and not a creeper.

So….today…on this particular Sunday….Mr. Amazing and I are headed out a bit further.  We will still be shopping in town, so we may don some sunglasses and go incognito. Not feeling superstar-ish today.

I will thank my dad

Since my mom suffers from Alzheimer’s (THE WORST), I can’t thank her and know that she clearly comprehends the depth of my gratitude for her…..I mean, gratitude that reaches from my core, way deep down inside of me.  The older my kiddos get and the more “personality” and opinions and snark that I have to tolerate, the way more appreciative I am. If one is happy that I’m playing a board game with her, she is not happy that I included her brother and reverse, too. It’s just unfreakingreal. And then there is today. With appreciation, the girls are into “thrifting,” which is AWEsome! My husband and I explain that there are limits to thrifting….yes, the clothes are so amazingly affordable, but if you pick out 200 shirts at $2 a pop, it does add up. And, yes, that’s what happened. We traveled to three different stores for five people, which is not so bad, but the day ended up costing  almost $500! Holy mackerel! As a teen, I was the gal who had champagne taste on my beer budget, and my mom was unbelievably practical and humble that she made me work (and work I did) to buy what she would not spend her money on. I get it now, but my girls are 12 and 13 and aren’t employable.  I guess I could offer them up to babysit, but they don’t like children so much. My mom instilled such great values and a strong work ethic into me and my brother. I will call my dad today to thank him.  He did play a big huge part in raising us, but my mom was just THE BEST. EVER.

my dear

When the dude who is probably a good ten years younger than me, me who is kind of in her mid-forties-ish….sends me off with a, “Have a good day, my dear,” my first reaction is to think, Aww. That’s cool. He thinks I’m younger than him or he thinks I’m sweet or…whatever.  It’s kind of nice. But as I am securing the lid onto my steaming cup of Friday morning awesomeness, I hear him refer to someone else as, “My dear.” Huh.  My final reaction is, Nope, not so much. He didn’t think I was younger than him and he obviously wants his tip jar freshened, as I spy the eighty plus year-old woman, limping away from the register. At least I wasn’t mam’d. 

Aunt Agnes

So, we started the day, like a normal day. Normal is good. Yesterday was not normal. It was a complete disaster. I mean, total, complete disaster. Our field trip to the “inaugural,” (oh ya, it was inaugural) “teaching children about activism” conference, was more like a trip where I (and the other educators) spent four and a half hours trying to contain 300 kittens in an open space where the people running the “conference” had apparently never been near a child, let alone 300 children, in the history of the world ever. Hello. Eight-ten year old children need to move. They can’t sit for 105 minutes, yes, 105 minutes and listen to adults speak. Nope. Needless to say, after I tried to call the bus company to come rescue us, but was told we had to wait it out, I collapsed on the couch for two solid hours. I mean, dreaming, drooling, never moving for two whole hours as the other six in the house lived their lives around me, while I drooled on the couch. I HATE field trips that stink. They are worse than today’s fail on our “back to normal day” where every single desk conglomeration failed. Nope, he can’t be next to him. She can’t be next to him or him or her or anyone on the planet because NOTHING will get done! Essentially, many can’t be near many more.  So…..they have to be sent to exile island, which I hate to do, but I can’t teach with the interruptions.  I feel like I’m clearing every surface, hiding every single “breakable” at Great Aunt Agnes’s house, so my “son” doesn’t break anything.  But unlike at Aunt Agnes’s house, I have to educate, foster, love and support my other “sons” and “daughters” and make sure they succeed on the state test, while saving the “breakables.” It. Is. A. Whole. Lot.

the squirrel & the biscotti

As Bean sat on the stool, pushing her oatmeal back and forth in the ceramic bowl, she proceeded to spin the story about the squirrel with the biscotti.  

“So, Dad bought those long cookies that you dip in coffee and we noticed that two of them were missing.”  She wove the terrific tale of of how she and her dad had thought that her eighteen year-old brother probably cracked open the box and took two for himself, stuffing them into his backpack.”

“But Finn doesn’t eat sugar, remember?”

“I don’t know.  He took them. They were gone.”

Ahhhh. Ok.

“So, I was sitting here and I looked out the window and I saw a squirrel, sitting in that tree, eating the biscotti from Dad’s house!”  

Bean’s dad lives two streets away, so the kiddos bike or walk back and forth between our two houses.  It makes for a lovely divorce, as we are all a very amicable and happy group.

“How do you know it was the same biscotti? And wait.  Did the squirrel get into the house and steal the biscotti?”

“Mom, it was the same color and the same shape and I don’t know.  I think Finn must have taken them and dropped one on his way into the house.”

“I think the squirrel must have found a neighbor’s biscotti.  It would have gobbled it up by the time it came over to our house.  That biscotti would have never lasted two blocks.”

I told her to jot that story down….just as I did. The Squirrel & the Biscotti.


my partner

While sprinting on the treadmill this morning, my legs could have easily become tangled up and I could have easily been catapulted onto the rowers, when one of the fellas at the gym told me he thought my workout buddy and I were “partners.” Like, life partners. It’s funny to think about how we are perceived by those we don’t really know.  I guess I could see why he thought this. We do actually work out on similar days together, arrive at about the same time each morning, and work across the hall from each other, both teaching fourth grade.   Yes, we kind of are partners, but not life partners.  My husband is going to LOVE this.

What we do…

So, it was 12:30 and she was sitting down to plan her week in terms of how much she could cram into her schedule every single thing she had to do before spring vacation to ensure that she got to it all PLUS the field trip…

Oh, crap. I have to mail off Jude’s controller for his xbox before the warranty expires.

How did this become my problem?

She weeds through the screenshot of the email he texted her with the steps of how to package and send it off, but she realizes the links aren’t clickable on the text, so she goes online to find the mailing address for Microsoft. Imfreakingpossible. She becomes more and more frustrated as she sifts through every possible link, while “talking” to tech support, which is a robot, not a ‘support’, as her “planning” time fades further and further away…

How did this become my problem?

It has become her problem because she has let it. But he is so kind and adorable and she wants to make him happy.  He doesn’t want much and he is always thankful and always grateful, so she gladly decides to make it her problem. That’s how.

hello, lisa!

There once was the most exquisite tortoise-shell kitten in all the land! Almost yellow eyes with that pupil reminiscent of a comma, a little thinner and less curved at the bottom, but still comparable, and her cloak, black with blonde highlights, ending in a split chin, half black, half creamy highlights.  Lisa was simply the loveliest kitten to have ever lived. One late Saturday in March, her mom played witness to the many roles of Lisa:

hatching baby bird: as her mom lifts her phone, the dazzling reflection from the late afternoon sun dances around the gray room, bouncing from wall to ceiling to pillar, to wall to ceiling, back to pillar. Catching a glimpse of this, Lisa perches herself on a nearby marble-topped table and beckons to the dancing reflection (I honestly wish you could hear the sound….gentle meows, but kind of laryngitis-y-no vocals, just whispers), voiceless, but baby bird-like.

caretaker: a mom to socks. yes, socks. Lisa’s parents are witness to socks, dragged from hand-me-down bags, under beds, and from the depths of closets, dotting the house.  When her parents retrieve Lisa’s “young,” she runs from wherever she is in the house, rescuing her babies from the basket.  The babies are abandoned on window sills, stair wells, backs of couches, or on a nearby table.

pie-eating contest winner: hands-down, Lisa is the absolute winner of the morning Meow Mix poultry and beef individual cup “pie-eating” contest.  Burying her head in the tiny bowl, barely coming up for air, Lisa races so she can pillage from her siblings. Never does she take the second or third place ribbon.  She is always #1.

life-guard:  some would call her a hood ornament, while others would say, “life-guard,” Lisa sits atop the 5 1/2 foot mahogany dresser, guarding her siblings and parents from what? Sleep? (pretty much).  She is the annoying life-guard, messing with anything and everything the dresser houses, only occasionally glancing down to ensure safety.

*in the photo, Lisa is beckoning her inner Jon-Snow, eagerly awaiting the April 14 viewing of Game of Thrones! Lisa knows nothin’. 


The many faces of Lisa Patricia.  (you have GOT to meet her)




the two hours spent lingering in the fresh, clean sheets every day six and day seven are worth all of the other, five, torturous, wee hour wake-ups, combined. just knowing you have endless hours to linger once you first open your eyes is worth the freezing cold, 4:00 a.m., harried, get your badonk out of the door, wake-ups. you can hold onto Saturday, when you can feed the three “starving” cats, tripping over them as they wrestle each other to be first, and then head back into bed, curl up, and sink back into a deep sleep, feeling the warmth of your husband as you octopus entwine your legs around him.

the coffee stains on the handmade headboard are reminders of the “just one more cup,” mornings. Peter Alexander and Willie Geist host our weekend mornings in bed, when the Ray, Abraham Lincoln, and Lisa return to fill in the spaces between our limbs, purring, happy to have Mom & Dad home.

go away, stupid Monday.