On Being Gentle With Ourselves

My neighbor invited my family over for the Pringles Challenge the other night. Her husband was away, so it was Pringles and candy for dinner. Obviously. She bought 6 cans of Pringles, each a different flavor, and it was our job to taste and identify them while blindfolded.

In a surprise to no one, I won. I mean, I KILLED it. I tasted faster. I identified more precisely. I hesitated only once, which is, of course, unacceptable for a potato chip athlete of my stature and is a matter I plan to address with my coaches later. Nevertheless — and I don’t mean to brag here, but this needs to be said — I kicked those kids’ butts HARD, and I nailed every flavor. Every. Single. One. The next closest person came in at 67% correct. I have, in other words, found my calling, which, as I’ve long suspected, is to eat deep fried, salt-laced starch. My training for the 2020 summer Olympic Pringles-eating events commences immediately, and I pledge to bring home the gold. ...  read more

I don’t know what to say about this except maybe it’s a drug reaction.

I sat in my room at my desk this morning, and I tried to write to you but my brain was having none of it, so now we’re sitting outside in the sun in my backyard with its overgrown grass and fall breeze and a squirrel up in the Hawthorne tree high-grading the best red berries and teasing Zoey who wants simultaneously to be the squirrel’s BFF and commit squirrelcide. I feel like our Zoey dog is simply channeling what it means to be friends and family; I love you to the moon! and also I want to rip you in two and scatter tiny pieces of your flesh all over the lawn. I love you! I hate you! Both/And, friends; Both/And. As for the squirrel, she seems content to chitter at us from the tree top, eating half of each berry before spitting the rest on the ground. I’m pretty sure she learned to eat from my children. ...  read more

Making Progress (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 8)

img_1509There are holes in my walls, and this time they’re supposed to be there instead of spontaneously appearing as precious surprises from my teenage boy’s fist.

We are making progress, folks!

Things are a mess. They’re chaotic and jumbled. There’s a sheen of dust and debris over every surface. None of which is different than normal, actually. But WE ARE MAKING PROGRESS. ...  read more

We’re Back On! (A Group Remodeling Project: Part 7)

Ten Things that Happened the First Week of School

It’s Day Three of the First Week of School in these parts. Here are 10 things that have happened:

  • We’ve put the kids to bed late. Every night. We mean well, I swear it, but the Summer Schedule is hard to break, man. Also, we have to, like, stand up to put kids to bed, and we just haven’t had it in us. By Thanksgiving, though; I’m pretty sure we can have this sorted by Thanksgiving.
  • I woke up early Tuesday, the first day of school, to a sobbing 9 year old, emotionally destroyed because his mother, who washed everyone else’s backpack because she loves them more than she loves him (and also, has he mentioned that he has to do Everything, All the Time, and No One Else Ever Does Anything?), neglected to wash his, and it smelled like rotten cheese, and 4th grade was RUINED BEFORE IT EVEN STARTED, and, no, I shouldn’t try to fix it because it’s Too Late, and why don’t you ever think of others, Mom? WHY?
  • I quick-washed and dried a backpack before school started because I AM A MAGICIAN AND DESERVE AN AWARD. 
  • All my kids — every single one — went to school in clean clothes the first day, without holes, AND in shoes that fit. Minus the kid who wore the same outfit the two days prior, and minus the kid who had holes in his jeans (“They’re FINE, Mom”), and minus the kid who outgrew the shoes we bought him the previous month and so had to curl his toes to shove them in an old, dirty, holey pair of sneakers.
  • I hid in the bathroom on Tuesday night, hoping if I stayed there long enough, the kids would take their mountains of First Day paperwork to their father who failed to plan ahead as well as me and was thus available, watching TV, in the family room. Listen, friends; listen… I KNOW this is not an Inspirational Blog. I KNOW who I am and what we do here, and I’m sorry for breaking character here, but hiding in the bathroom totally worked! GREG DID ALL THE PAPERWORK. <– In other words, Be Inspired! BOOM.
  • I woke up early Wednesday and made bacon and eggs, thinking surely this is the year I will make my kids hot breakfast. Surely this is the time for Protein and Grace and not another bowl of Just Go Get Something from the Pantry, kids. Surely this is the season of life I will learn to rise with the dawn like the Proverbs 31 Woman and not rise like the Living Dead after hitting snooze twelve times. Fortunately, my son said the eggs were gross — “like poop, Mom,” he said, *spit* *spit* *spit*ing them back on his plate — so now I don’t have to make breakfast for the rest of the school year, AND I can blame my kid’s lack of gratitude instead of my inevitable laziness. FOR THE WIN, friends. For. The. Win!
  • Wednesday night, one kid who’s had a very rough time lately, told us we suck and he hates us and he’s quitting school and moving out and walked out of the house and slammed the door and came home 5 minutes later saying sorry and to lots of Sympathy and Love but also Consequences for being a butt. And also, my other kid keeps growling like a dragon.
  • My husband and I passed each other on the stairs around midnight. Not to brag about our Romance for the Ages, but we made Eye Contact and said, “Hi,” and “Hey,” and “Fancy meeting you here,” and “Come here often?” He brushed my hand. He made it seem like an accident, but I think it might have been on purpose. I hope to see him again someday.
  • I did not wake up early Thursday because it’s important to Grow and Learn and Change, and I learned everything I need to know about waking up early on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Tomorrow is Friday, which means we’ve almost made it through one week of school. ONE WEEK OF SCHOOL DOWN! In conclusion, praise the Lord God Almighty for Teachers and may we all receive divine amounts of Love and Grace and Patience and Endurance for the next 35+ weeks. WE CAN DO HARD THINGS, friends.
  •  ...  read more

    This Is My Brain on Parenting

    Listen; this doesn’t make me proud. It’s just true.

    Here’s what you need to know, where “need to know” is used in the loosest possible sense along with my discretion and sense of decorum:

    I just peed part way — like, a smattering — and then I stopped peeing and got up to do other things.

    I was seriously standing up, buttoning my pants, before I realized I hadn’t actually finished. Like, I was in such a hurry that I ran into the bathroom, tossed a teeny, tiny bit of urine into the potty like I was throwing a fastball from a pitcher’s mound, my Subconscious said, “GOOD ENOUGH FOR NOW, BETH; NOW OFF TO DO OTHER ESSENTIAL THINGS — GO! GO! GO!,” and I listened and obeyed her. ...  read more

    Announcing: A Likely Story – The Book Club for Escapist Fiction Fans

    Announcing: A Likely Story
    The Book Club for Escapist Fiction Fans

    ALikelyStory

    Friends, sometimes the Real World sucks, and right now is a Particularly Sucky time in U.S. and world history. I mean, seriously. I read the news. I see the stories. I do what I can, and then I feel helpless and tired when I can’t do more. This is something I need to work on; understanding there are Hard Things and then releasing the Hard Things so I can still Embrace Joy. Both/And, friends. I need to learn — probably a lesson I’ll be learning forever — that Light and Dark chase each other constantly across the sky and in our hearts, and we live much of our lives in the Dusk and the Dawn when we can’t separate them from each other. ...  read more