No More Nuggets!!!

October 25, 2012

I was in my bathroom, thinking about my nose, it’s too short, and my eyelashes, also too short, when I noticed… in the bowl with our toothbrushes and toothpastes, there was one singular tube where before there had been at least two or three. Katy doesn’t brush with Dora Gel, Colin no longer uses the extra flouride bubblegum goo; they are both brushing with my Crest.

This brought me to thinking about all of things that we, as a family, have started to let go of. Chicken nuggets are a thing of the past, we have chicken, baked chicken, chicken and pasta, oven fried, and chicken tacos, but no more nuggets. In my car, no more car seats, haven’t had them for a long time, but also no juice boxes tucked in the pockets, or highlights magazines on the seats. No ziplock bags of snacks stuffed in the console, no cheerios on the floor.

Mostly, these days we like the same movies and the same ESPN. When we go for walks, they don’t shadow my steps, asking every six minutes if we can stop and look for snakes. When we go out for dinner, they are the ones that keep me from letting the waitress bring one more bowl of popcorn before dinner. “Mom, do you really need it? Really?”

Colin is twelve and Katy is eight. When I want to go out for a while, I don’t look for a sitter. I don’t make those phone calls “Danielle, would you mind if my daughter…”  Colin stays home with her.

We have seamlessly transitioned into a family of four instead of one that defines itself as two adults and two children. Yes, my kids will always be my children, but I no longer have to worry about snacks, or remind them about homework, or buy 3 tubes of toothpaste because Katy will only brush with Dora, Colin likes bubble gum. We all like Crest.

I’m not sure when it changed. Maybe it was around the time I outlawed Barbie movies, or Burger King, or food in the car. It’s made shopping easier and it’s a helluva lot nicer to hang out with them. I just wish I could remember the exact moment that our lives moved into this phase. We have conversations instead of exchanges that used to weighted heavily with whining and/or speeches, (by both sides!)

I don’t miss the car seats, ambiguous poultry, and little kid habit of watching the same movie 62 times in a row. I do miss always having to take Katy to the bathroom after dinner to wipe off her chin, sticky with ketchup while she looked at me with an expression that told me that  she truly believed I was the only one in the world capable of cleaning her face. “Thanks, mommy. I’ll try not to do it again.” And we’d both laugh, knowing that Katy, with her unparalleled love of the stuff, would definitely do it again.

She doesn’t do it anymore. At age eight Katy decided she was giving up the dipping method in regards to burger condiments, so she is no longer stained by dessert. I guess the only thing I do miss about those days was that look . II’d glimpse a variation on her face when she watched me pop corn on the stove- “Your the only one that does this, Mommy. Everyone else just uses their Microwave!” I’d fined that expression in Colin’s eyes when I helped him with a paper, or laced up his skates- “Mom, how do you do that so fast?”

But today I got a new look from Colin and Kate. They were hovering over my shoulder while I was on the computer taking care of some studying. Colin asked if he could see my grades. So I showed him what I’ve gotten so far. Straight A’s. (Two of my professors actually haven’t put any of my homework grades on line, those A’s were just for showing up to class.) “Wow, mom,” Colin said quietly. “Wow, mom!”, Katy said not quite so quietly. “You’re doing so good, we didn’t even help you study!”

I miss the old look I guess, sometimes, when I feel the need for eyes to gaze at me with awe, I was Superwoman, Betty Crocker and Florence Nightingale in one. That was nice.

But during our latest moments tonight I saw on their faces respect and pride. I have to tell you, so far I think I like this phase best.

Today was big and sprawling and messy and long and damn I wish it wasn’t over. There were biscuits in the morning, with eggs and cheese, followed by football, mud, clouds, a tackle and not enough touchdowns. There was a trip to the Market for blueberry cake.

The cake was bought to share with some of my favorite people. We gathered to celebrate a huge day in the life of Jamez Terry. There were snacks, there was coffee, there were surprise guests, and really nice hugs that folded me in and made me feel cherished.

There was a hike up the red dot trail with the Pup of Wonders, and the daughter of dreams. There were leaves still shining, and underfoot, noisy and wet and smelling like rain. There was a delightful chase of a delinquent dog who decided she wasn’t ready to go home. And then she was.
There was rice and chicken for dinner. There was dancing to the Partridge Family and a conversation about Keshia, autotune and the sanctity of life. There was trip to my friend’s kitchen. We shared wine, and strange stories regarding female empowerment and strange places and netflix. Hair was cut, wine was drunk, I heard a good joke or two but I don’t remember them. The piano was played, and when it was time to go home, I knew where my keys were.
It was a big, sprawling, messy kind of day. There will be dirty laundry in the morning. I will send texts of thanks. I will offer prayers for peace and health and a continued life of joy.
I’m living inside a life of joy.
I think it’s important to write it down.
And so I did.

To Be Beautiful

October 18, 2012

This morning I woke and the first thing I took note of, after I dealt with my immediate need to pee, was my mouth. My lips hurt, they felt cracked and dry on my tongue. I went to the mirror, the dry air of fall had taken it’s toll. They were almost cracked, looked parched and appeared to belong to a much older woman. I found a pot of chap stick and smoothed it on. I went back to the mirror for one more inventory.

My mouth looked better, but I’d gotten paler than I remembered. It was like I’d scrubbed off my tan with bleach. I was pasty, a resident of the underground, one of the mole people.

I had some time so I went to work. I exfoliated with a exfoliation scrub, moisturized with a lightly tinted moisturizer. I slid lipstick on, the color of wine to make my mouth look  like I’d just eaten a plate full of berries. I patted on blush, just the way someone at Clinique had instructed many, many years ago, b.c., (before children). I curled my eyelashes, not sure why, probably that same woman at Clinique. Next I rummaged around until I found mascara. My eyelashes were looking sparse this morning, or maybe they always do. I was just looking more closely than usual.

Now that my lips were shiny, and my cheeks rosy, my eyelashes dark and curly, it was time for the hair. It’s not my hair. It is a creature in it’s own right with definite opinions and moods that most often have nothing to do with my own. It was not pleased when it was treated to some quality time with the hot iron. After the hair had been straightened it suffered the further indignity of hair spray.

Face, check. Hair, better, I guess. Downstairs I went. I was wearing my skinny jeans to make my legs look longer and, you are so smart, skinnier. There was a special bra tucked underneath 87 unmatched sports socks. I put that on.  My chest, I don’t think perky would be my adjective, but my chest definitely had a slightly uplifted attitude. Shoes, boots, two inch heels. Earrings. Perfume to cover up hairspray;.

It took me about an hour to look tan, berry fed, unchapped, untangled, a little sleeker, a few inches taller, with a mildly assertive rack. There was a lot I could have done in that hour.I could have cleaned one child’s bedroom, packed away my cd’s, started a loaf of whole grain bread, redone my resume, called my insurance company…

The older I get the more effort it takes to look different than I look in the morning. I’m not sure better is the right word, though I guess, now that I remember my first glimpse in the mirror, it is actually, a huge improvement.

I didn’t become a dog lover until I was in my forties. When I want to feel beautiful, and don’t want to make an effort, I say to Sophie the WonderPup,  “let’s go.” If I don’t want to go anywhere, and sometimes I don’t, I say “Sophieeeeeee.”

When I see myself in her eyes, regardless of my hair, or my breath, or my poorly maintained pedicure, I am beautiful. I am a goddess.

I really like people a lot and I am sincerely hoping  pale medium height women over forty  with sparse eyelashes and mindful hair comes into fashion.  Sophie isn’t the most scintillating at conversation, though better than some, and I’m short on time and a little bit lazy.

Katy’s Birthday

October 9, 2012

Today is Katy’s 9th birthday.

It is a gloomy, cold first day back to school after a long holiday weekend kind of day. I have to go to my work/study job so there won’t be any cupcakes delivered at lunch time. When it was time to wake her up, Katy’s dad was already at work and her brother was down the the street waiting for the school bus to Middle School.

So it was just me  creeping into her room at 6:45 singing “happy birthday”. In one hand, I held first morning coffee, in the other,  a partly unwrapped parcel from her grandma and grandpa. She looked happier to see me than she usually is first thing, but I think that’s because she was still in a state of bliss over her newly pierced ears.

I know that in the years to come, hell maybe even by next month, that things won’t be so easy between us. I know that she will begin that process of separating from me by flinging insults at my head and rolling her eyes every time I say anything. I know that doors will be slammed and my name will be whispered like a curse. I know this will all be part of her establishing who she is apart from who I am, and that it might be exceptionally horrid because so far, we have been incredibly close.

So I’m going to write this right now for you, Katy, to read then. Katy, my dear, you are a rock star and a princess. You are magic, and messes, slower than syrup and sweeter than honey. . You deserve a parade and a bouncy castle and the best I can do is spaghetti for dinner and an ice cream cake from Stop and Shop.

I wish for you the best year ever. And know that even when you want to jump on my head, or wipe the smile from my face, or deny that we ever shared a snuggle or a piece of quiche, I’m not going anywhere.

Today, 730 wake up, kids home from school, I’m off for interpersonal communications. Three hour class lecture covered syntax and hopi indians and the n word. Next, work study, I am the woman responsible for making sure the students of Quincy College know Jesus is coming to speak to us about the importance of voting, and there is a creative writing club whose leader has promised to bring snacks to 

the first meeting. And I tidied up the lounge. And I replaced the tape used on fliers in the past with sticky goo. I worked until four.
Then, two frantic conversations later, I had to pick one kid up from the bus, and get another to football… Do you have your water bottle… What you mean you forgot your helmut? You need your helmut? Your phone? You need your phone at football practice????
Picked up. Dropped off. Picked up. Dropped off. I am truly a modern day suburban glacier.
Home to get ready for a benefit, Date night with my daughter. Dress, make up, brief attempt at making my hair look like a style instead of just hair, I need to learn how to make a chignon… Katy looked great, she is eight, she knows about accessoriess and the dangers of too much blush. 
We are in the car in fifteen minutes. Dressed and smelling really good and then, we are pulling into the parking lot of the t, and… no cash. I begin my evening begging the parking attendant to let me slide an envelope thru his window with the $5 parking fee after they close because we are running late. I guess he likes my hair, or he thinks I’m really pathetic, or he will agree to anything because as I beg him, three other cars pull in behind me…
We park the car. I dig out an old tee ticket from the summer and we fly thru the turnstiles, Katy still loves a ride on the escalator,
We take the red line to the green line. We walk from Copley five blocks to the Copley Marriot. Katy and I are both in high heels but they are wedges, our feet don’t hurt too bad and we are excited. We are in the city. We are going to a benefit. We have tickets waiting, and there will be music, and dinner and dancing.
And there was. For a few hours, there was music by Bernadette Peters, and dancing by a swing band, and sliders and shrimp and wine and Shirley Temples. It was a lovely night. 
On the way to the t, I remembered to hit the bank machine. When we got back to the car, I remembered to slip the cash in the envelope and leave the envelope in the booth where the parking attendant was sitting just a few hours ago.
I was a princess tonight, even if it was just for an hour or two. And princesses always keep their promises, even when they are really, really tired from a long night of dancing.
And princesses in 2012 make sure they go home and blog about keeping their promises even though they were really, really tired after a long, long night of dancing and a long, long day of doing everything else.

     I always thought of myself as a somewhat complicated person. Not mysterious, just someone that has a helluva back story, and been around enough years to have accrued quite a few, complications.

     Here is the news of the night. We, I mean every single one of us, are more complicated than I ever imagined.

    Our bodies are covered with about five layers of skin. All different kinds of skin, with different names, functions, lifespans. We have bones, so many bones, all different shaped bones, and then there are the tendons, ligaments, and the great glorious cord that slides up our spine that, hopefully, delivers intelligence (in the spy sense of the word, data, information, not actual thought out positions on the Middle East) to our brain.

     I just spent two hours on the cranium, lots of bones involved in brain security, and I need to know the names of all of those bones. And the names of the places where they meet, the rivers that divide one chunk of brain bone from another are called sutures. One of them is called a lamboidal suture and I can’t figure out how I can tie a picture of a baby sheep in with a grey mark on a skull, but I ‘m working on it. There are cavities and cardiums, viscera, planes and positions, organelles, and a complex run by a fellow that goes by one name, Golgi. Not sure how to pronounce that.

     We are all very, very complicated people. My mind boggles at the thought, and the only reason it can boggle safely is because it is protected by all those bones of different shapes bordered by all those sutures, with impossible to remember names.

     Knowing that doesn’t make me feel any safer or closer to passing the test.
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