Since I’m on Vacation, Inventing a Title for This Totally Disjointed, Random, Blogkeeping Post Seems Like Extraordinarily Hard Work and So I’ve Decided Not to Title It at All

November 12, 2013 in Beth by Beth Woolsey

This isn’t a real blog post. This is a blog-keeping post. So if this is your first visit here, go here or here or here or here. You’ll be happier, I swear. Unless you don’t like reading about pee or penises or imperfect parenthood. Then you won’t be happier and you should probably get out now. Like, RUN as fast and as far from this place as you can because happiness is not possible for you here, and it was very nice knowing you but GO, NOW and SAVE YOURSELF.

OK?

OK.

All friends here?

RAD.

I’m away from home this week.

Let’s take a moment and pause for the miracle of this truth, please. Because Greg and I just finished a full week of Family Stomach Flu. A full week of events like Chasing a Kid With a Bucket as She Ran From the Living Room, Through the Kitchen, Down the Hall and to the Bathroom, Vomiting All the Way, But Heroically Intent on Making It to the Toilet. Resulting, of course, in making it to neither the bucket nor the toilet, but whatever; we’re big It’s the Thought That Counts people, so we’re giving her mad props anyway. PLUS, she didn’t poop her pants while she was vomiting, and that’s always worth bonus points in my book.

Now, I don’t know how many times we’ve finished up a bout of Family Illness (feel free to search by “vomit” in the search box on the right – heh heh) and by the time our house is covered in a pleasant fog of Lysol, I’ve thought, “Dear God in Heaven, I need a vacation,” but I’m going to guess it’s into the bajillions. Bajillions of wishes for post-plague vacations.

AND THIS TIME IT WORKED.

photo (82)I’m away this week in Nevada because Greg has a conference which means Greg has a hotel room which means I get to use the other 1/2 of his bed and HELLO, BLUE SKIES. And PRAISE JESUS. And HALLELUJAH! And REJOICE WITH ME for that which was lost (sleep, smelling like Not Vomit, doing whatever I want for 4 whole days) is found. The kids are happily mucking up the grandparents’ lives, and I? I am sitting on my butt in a hotel room.

Truth is, I always feel this strange surge of deep guilt, abiding gratitude and overwhelming satisfaction when we leave the kids with the grandparents who are excited to see them and also look glassy-eyed at the schedule and casually mention that they may need to call in a full army of reinforcements. Five kids is a lot of kids, after all, and, well, it’s kind of excruciating and fabulous when others get to experience the fullness of the madness and the magic… heavy on the madness.

I am so, SO glad our kids are now old enough that this Leaving Them is possible. And I’m so, SO glad we have family willing to take them because it’s not lost on me that not everyone is so blessed. But my secret is, I’m also so, SO grateful for the Wild Panic in the grandparents’ voices as they clarify our plans to return, and as they do NOT think our jokes that we’re running away to Mexico are funny, because their abject fear reminds me that Oh, yeah! We DO do ALL THE THINGS for these tiny monsters and angels ALL THE TIME, and that is a LOT to handle. And a LOT to plan. And a LOT to remember. Which means it’s OK that we’re tired and happy and unhappy and in love with them all and a teensy, tiny bit totally DONE, sometimes all in the same minute.

So HOORAY! VACATION.

Which brings me to the blogkeeping portion of this post.

1. I don’t know whether I’ll be posting this week or not because I’m not on a schedule. Anything could happen! A lot of posts. None. It’s anyone’s guess, really. Isn’t this fun??

2. We’re in the middle of a major blog redesign which will happen over the next month. Changes are coming soon to a blog near you which should impact you in only the most minor ways. Not to worry, though, the content of the blog will remain as erratic and unpredictable as ever, and you should still plan to wear your shoes here because who knows what you may step in? All the madness, magic and mess, is what I’m saying, in a more readable format.

3. As part of the redesign, I’ll be making text-based and small image-based ad space available to you, especially those of you who’d like to advertise your own blogs or businesses, because I’d rather you benefit from this space than corporations (which is what’s currently happening with Google ads). These will be in a column alongside the blog content so as to be visible but unobtrusive to readers. I’m committed first and foremost to the reader experience. I still will not have sponsored posts because, even though that’s a GREAT way to make money, and, quite frankly, my family could use it, I don’t want to write to sell you things. I’m just fine with other bloggers doing that, but I haven’t figured out how to do it and be authentic, so you’re stuck with me as is. If you are interested in ad space, though, and want to debut your ad with the site redesign, please feel free to email me at FiveKidsIsALotOfKids@gmail.com with Ad Query in the subject line so I can get back to you with site stats, prices, and answers to any questions you may have.

As always, please let me know if you have questions, comments, or concerns. This is especially important to me as we make these changes, as I see this as OUR space.

And THANK YOU, friends, for making the Five Kids blog what it is — a place we can be open, honest and welcome all comers. I love you for it. I do.

Beth

 

To Grandmother’s House We Go

June 9, 2013 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

We work hard to teach our kids that gentle criticism, when used correctly, is an important tool to meet one’s needs. We also teach them that stopping at criticism isn’t enough; it’s essential to offer a reasonable solution to a problem. “Identify what’s not working,” we say, “and also tell us how you’re going to fix it.”

For example, the other night my 6-year-old expressed some dissatisfaction with the way our house and schedule are organized. And then he offered a reasonable solution – woohoo! – which I captured via video interview so we can all see how this works.

(The sound quality on this sucks. Sorry. A written transcript is below.) 

……….

Transcript

Me: Hi, Cael.

Cael waves.

Me: Can you tell me what you told me last night?

Cael thinks hard.

Me: About Grandma’s house?

Cael: That it is, um… That they’re more organized and they get us up at 7:00 and then we come downstairs and watch TV, eat breakfast, go back upstairs, get dressed and brush our teeth and get ready for school and go to school.

Me: Yeah. So did you say you prefer it at Grandma’s House?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: And what’s it like here [at our house]?

Cael: It’s like dirty and … you let us, like, do whatever we want.

Me: We let you do whatever you want? And it’s dirty here?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: So it’s totally disorganized?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: And how do you feel about that?

Cael: Like I want to live at their house.

Me: Like you want to live at Grandma’s house? That’s what you asked last night, right?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: Yeah. Is there anything else you want to say?

Cael: No.

Me: You’re good?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: OK. Thank you for having this interview with me.

End Transcript

……….

So here’s the thing.

You’ll note Cael’s conclusion is not to make our house less dirty or more organized; he understands intuitively that’s not possible. Therefore, the only reasonable course of action is to move to Grandpa and Grandma’s house.

There was a time in my mama life when this kind of bold honesty would’ve offended me. I mean, who wants to be told that her mom-in-law does a better housekeeping / child-rearing  job than she does? No one with a shred of dignity is who. My dignity’s long gone, though, so Cael’s idea just sounds practical.

I totally agree, Cael. 

Also, good problem solving, man.

So that’s why Cael and I are moving to Grandma and Grandpa’s house tonight. The rest of this riffraff can fend for themselves.

The End

……….

 

Weekend Plans, Insider Trading, and Making a Cleanliness Gesture

January 25, 2013 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I’m spending the weekend in Portland with my oldest baby at a dance convention. This is why:

Abby flies

I forgot to watch Dance Moms for inspiration before we left, though, so I’m afraid my behavior won’t be up to nagging and bullying par. This makes me feel sad. Like I’m destined to fail from the get-go. At least I’m failing in good company, though, ’cause none of the other moms I’m staying with meet the bar, either. Maybe I can hope one of us SNAPS this weekend! Is that too much to ask? That just one of us totally loses her poo and goes all DANCE MOM all ovah the place? Pray with me, OK?

In other news, Greg is leaving this weekend, too, spending it with our oldest boy child to belatedly celebrate his 13th birthday. I understand this will require fuel in the form of unlimited Taco Bell. Also, I’ll probably land in jail a la Martha Stewart for handing you this insider trading tip but buy stock in Frito Lay, friends; it’s not too late.

If you’re good at math, you’ll notice our plans leave 3 children unaccounted for. THANK GOD FOR GRANDPARENTS. They’re all chipping in to cover us.

Papa, the self-titled Old Marine, who raised me to be precise, organized, immaculate and prepared, agreed to overnight with the littles while we’re away. I think this means Papa’s going to sleep in our bed. I’m writing this entire post, actually, to ask Greg with a pretty, pretty please to change our sheets*. I mean, the rest of the house is a hideous mess, too, and I don’t want Papa to have to live with that, either, but in a move that will surprise no one I’m willing to let the toilets go if it means Papa doesn’t have to sleep on the 10 inches of dried toothpaste-stain that got on our sheets… um, I don’t know how it got there.  What I’m saying is, I’d like to at least make a cleanliness gesture here, yes?

If it can’t be actually clean, it can be gesture clean. 

OK?

OK.

I’m really glad we had this chat about standards and stuff.

Also, I’m really glad for family who love us for the raging mess we are.

The End.

Beth

P.S. What are YOU doing this weekend? Any stock tips you want to share? Remember, sharing time’s a happy time. Well, you know; ’til it lands you in slammer.

……….

*Psst… Greg, I know I should’ve changed the sheets myself before I left. That’s why we have the “If You Care, Then Fix It” rule. But I’m sort of banking on your twenty-year trend of unreasonable mercy. Now where’s that hopeful/convincing smiley face when I need it?

……….

Let Them Eat Cake

February 11, 2012 in Family, Food, Funny by Beth Woolsey

My mom feeds people.

It is her biological imperative.

Salmon must swim upriver to spawn. Geese must fly south for the winter. Moses must lead his flock to the promised land. And my mom must feed her people.

On Sunday afternoon, my dad called.

We were minus-three hours from kickoff for the Big Game. Greg was cleaning. The kids and I were avoiding cleaning. You know, the usual prep for a big party.

I love the Superbowl. In recent years, I love it because it’s all of the party and none of the work for me. See, I’m typically away that weekend for an annual work obligation, so Greg throws his Football Worship Service himself. And I – I am the Pontius Pilate of the Superbowl; I wash my hands of the entire affair and then I breeze through the door just in time to watch the heinous mess unfold. It is, in a word, fabulous.

Greg’s birthday coincides with the Superbowl, so we tackle the two events together. And, by we, I think I’ve made it clear that I mean “he.”

Happy Birthday, Greg!
Love, Greg

Every year, my mom makes bean dip for Greg’s party. And every year, just before people arrive, my mom panics. Because MAN CANNOT LIVE ON BEAN DIP ALONE. And WHAT IF NO ONE’S BRINGING FOOD? And WE ALL MIGHT STARVE.

This year’s panic was about cake.

DID ANYONE THINK ABOUT THE CAKE?

My mother is diminutive. She stands 5 feet 2 inches tall on her tiptoes, and everyone who’s ever met her will tell you that she is the nicest, sweetest, darlingest woman you ever did meet. And a select few people in the universe know that you cross her at your peril. She can lay my dad flat with a stare at 50 paces. He’s trained, in fact, to deliver “yes, dears” with such stunning frequency that it’s often mistaken for machine gun fire. My dad is no dummy.

On Sunday afternoon, my dad called. We were minus-three hours from kickoff for the Big Game. (Did I mention that already?)

I’d arrived home from my trip earlier than anticipated. Greg answered the phone. And this is what I heard:

“She’s home. … Yep. … Came home early. … Uh huh. … I don’t know. … I don’t know. … I don’t know. …  I don’t know. … Hang on. Hey, Beth? Should your mom get a cake?”

Oh dear heaven, help us.

To you, this is just the innocent sound of a woman offering help.

To me, this is the klaxon alarm of a woman on a mission. Get out of her way, people! MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! This is not a drill!

“I’ll take the call. … Hey, Dad? Mom needs to buy cake?”

“Stand by,” says my father. My rock. The former Marine. The non-crier. The combat-trained veteran. “Why don’t you talk to your mom?” The Chicken.

“Beth?”

“Hi, Mom.”

“Is there a cake for Greg’s party?”

“I’ll make a cake, Mom.”

“Oh, no. You don’t have to do that. I can go to the store and buy all their cakes.” (She might not have said ALL their cakes. But it was implied.)

“No, Mom. It’s OK. I promise I’ll make Greg a cake.”

“Really? It’s no trouble. I don’t mind…”

“How about two cakes, Mom? I’ll make Greg two cakes.”

“Oh, well… if you think that’s not too much work…”

“No, Mom. It’s perfect. It’s no trouble. I promise. People will eat cake at my house today. Lots and lots of cake.”

“So, then, I’ll bring bean dip and chips and… ”

“And that’s plenty, Mom. Really. Everyone’s bringing food to share, and I’m making two cakes. We have pizza. And beer. And pop. And bean dip. And all the cakes. And other stuff people are bringing. We can feed a small country. Lots of cake. We’re good.”

“So, I’ll just stop by the store for…”

“Nothing, Mom. We’ve got it covered. LOADS of food. Really. More than enough. We’ll pack up leftovers for everyone. Especially the cake.”

“Then the only thing left to get is…”

“Mom? Can you hear me? … Mom? …”

“ICE CREAM! What about ice cream? Do you have ice cream to go with the cake?”

I sighed in defeat. And she giggled, sensing her victory. I swear she did. She’s funny, and she knows it. My mother is a punk, just like every last one of my children. THEY LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING HER.

“Oh my gosh, Mom! You know what? I have no ice cream. None. Hey! I have an idea. Can you go to the store and get us some ice cream?”

“Why, I’d love to! OK! I’ll get ice cream at the store. Do you think two cartons is enou..”

“YES! Two is plenty. Two is perfect, Mom. Greg likes two cartons of ice cream the BEST. And I’m so glad you remembered ice cream. Seriously. I almost ruined Greg’s birthday. This is really SUCH a relief.”

She chortled, you guys. I heard her.

But she still brought all of the ice creams.

Sometimes in life, you have to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em. Sometimes in life, you have to choose your battles. And sometimes in life, you have to let your mom buy all of the ice creams.

And when you do, everybody wins.

Well, you know, except for the Patriots.

Next year, they should let my mom play for their team. I’m telling you, she never loses.

 

How to Take Rockin’ Family Photos

October 18, 2011 in Beth, Family, Funny, Twins by Beth Woolsey

I give good Peek-a-Boo.  All the kids say so.

And you only think that’s not an important life skill if you’ve never had to make a kid smile for a camera.  Can I get an “amen” from all the rockin’ peek-a-booers out there?  AMEN!

(It’s probably bad form to give my own rockin’ self an “amen,” but you know what? Some days, backing ourselves up is all we’ve got, ladies. I’m gonna start a trend. That way, I won’t be the only mama walking around the grocery store, mumbling to myself, and following up periodically with a hearty, “AMEN!” Join me, won’t you?)

Sure, I might take the peek-a-booing a little too far.  Like, in my little kids heyday, I made more than one unsuspecting photographer jump.  What can I say?  The depth of my Peek is only matched by the breadth of my Boo.  But I sacrifice. For the children.

There’s that one time, in 2001, when I made Peek-a-Boo into a marching song.  There might or might not have been some dance choreography involved, but, either way, the lyrics were very, very strong.

Peek-a-boo
Peek-peek-a-boo-a-boo
Oh, peek! A-boo!
Peek-peek-a-boo-a-boo

Yep; I’m no stranger to selling my dignity for a smile.  Besides, I’m not the one who ends up on film.  At the end of the day, the only thing on the permanent record is my kid grinning like a loon.  I guess that makes me an “end justifies the means” kind of a girl.

Saturday was my boys’ birthday.  So, of COURSE, we subjected them to an impromptu photo shoot.

The role of photographer was played by yours truly.  Which is just part of the ongoing mom strategy to not have to look through 200 photos later and say, “Does my butt really look like that?” and have the kids say, “No way, Mom! That Picture Butt looks way smaller than your Giant Real Butt.”  In short, staying behind the camera is a good strategy that serves me well.

The role of super-expensive, high-end camera was played by my phone.

But even with my phone’s crazy-good method-acting skills, I had a hard time getting the birthday smiles on record. Especially both boys at once.

Maybe I shouldn’t have let that alien eat Cael’s face during cake time.  (Psst… check out our friend Kate at The Boringest Birthday Party of All Time… teehee!  This picture?  TOTALLY worth it.)

Maybe my boys were just distracted by pretty girls.

“Hey, there.  Come here often?  You know, they call me Superman.  Just sayin’ there’s prob’ly a reason, that’s all.”

Maybe my boys just had enough of their mama interrupting their quality breathing-on-pretty-girls time.

“Geez, Mom! Lay off the photos, would ya?”

My bad, Cai.  I didn’t mean to get in the way.

But, really.  All a mama of twins wants on the anniversary of the day she birthed them is one smiling pic.  Just ONE!

Or TWO.

Ah ha!  I’ve got ’em now!

Clickety clickety.  Click click click.

I was shooting away, greedily capturing every single backlit smile I could get.  And the smiles went on and on ’til I was curious.  SO curious.  ‘Cause I hadn’t busted out the peek-a-boo moves even one single time.  What was making them smile like loons?

Then I heard the shuffling behind me.  And I knew my dad had jumped in to get me that photo.  He was quietly being a total dork, an utter goof… and he was being sneaky so I wouldn’t know, ’cause that made my boys laugh even harder.

And do you know how to properly repay kindness like that?

You hit that little button on your phone that lets you turn the camera around to face YOU. But you do it silently, furtively, stealthily.  And then you pretend you’re still taking pictures of your boys, when, in fact, you’re taking pics pointing backwards, like this:

Hehehehe.

Have you ever met Ernie?

Yeah.  I’m laughing like him right this second.

Thanks, Dad.  With or without the peek-a-boo song, you’re the best.

………

P.S.  Speaking of pictures, you know how you beg to be in just one photo with your birthday boys and some of their cousins, and then you make sure you’re sitting down so your butt doesn’t accidentally leap into the frame along with, oh, a double chin or two… only to have the boys you birthed refuse to smile?

Yep.  Me, too.

And then you know how you look at that picture, and you suddenly don’t care that they’re not smiling because that dark t-shirt TOTALLY hid your extra around-the-middle roll, so you’re just ecstatic and, even though you’re in your jammies without make-up, it’s the best picture EVER?

Yep.  Me, too.

That is all.

Dread and Other Benefits of Blogging

September 28, 2011 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

The Wife I Want To Be is at war with the Wife I Am.

It’s a raging and never-ending battle, with each side making gains and taking losses almost continuously.  “To arms!  To arms!,” I yell.  (FYI, I’m not sure which Me is yelling that.  It gets a little confusing coordinating all the skirmishes when the enemy is myself.)

Recently, my dad invited Greg to accompany him on an awesome canoe trip down Utah’s Green River.

I understand it’s a true, roughin’-it, float-the-river adventure complete with gourmet food and soft bedding.  And, wise men that they are, they both came straight to me to see what I thought about Single Mommin’ It for 9 days to make Greg’s trip possible.

Ah, crap! I thought glumly.

“Of course!” I said cheerfully.  I am, after all, graciousness personified.  (Ha!)

I mean, really.  Do I want to be the kind of wife who stands in the way of Greg’s opportunities?  (Yes?) No!  Of course I don’t.  That would be selfish and small of me.

Now, to be fair, Greg has had the kids many-a-weekend while I’ve wandered away for work or for respite with my girlfriends, and he rarely asks for the same favor in return.  Once upon a time, when I was a newer and nicer wife, I scheduled guys’ weekends away for Greg and his friends.  But then I found myself a touch overwhelmed with all the family scheduling, so I broke the bad news.  “Listen up!” I said.  “I ain’t plannin’ my time away and yours.  If Guy Time is important to you, you’ve gotta plan it yourself, pal.”

Except I didn’t say ain’t.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever said ain’t.  And, as far as I can tell, I ain’t ever gonna say ain’t.  So I’m not sure why I’m channeling an imaginary gunslinger.  I suppose Utah and thoughts of the Wild, Wild West are getting the best of me.  Hang in there, cowboys!  This here post’ll meander somewhere eventually.

Anyway, the point is, I really didn’t have a good enough reason to keep Greg away from this:


Which ought to explain why I’m at home now with my 5 kiddos, sucking it up, putting on my big girl chaps, and bringing the Mom-Only smackdown.  And, by smackdown, I mean absentmindedly saying, “Yes, yes; you can have another Otter Pop” over and over again.  ‘Cause that’s discipline at its finest!

We’re on Day 3 now of Greg’s Grand Adventure, and it’s going just fine.

But I’ll tell ya: this whole trip extravaganza resulted in one unexpected benefit that has been so overwhelmingly enjoyable that it might just make the Otter-Pop-sugar-high sacrifices completely worthwhile.

And that benefit is

The Dread.

Surprisingly, though, not my dread.  Oh, no.  Not my dread of forgetting a kid at school or neglecting a dance rehearsal.  Not my dread of sleeping through the alarm or overlooking a preschool snack.

I’m talking about the Dread that, even as I type, is shadowing my loving father and my dear husband.  Slinking after them on the water.  An ever-present itch at the back of their necks.

One of the little-known benefits of blogging is the abject terror thrust upon friends and family who never know when something will become blog fodder.  So, more than any other comment before my men left on their journey, I heard this… “How bad is it going to be, Beth?  How thoroughly will you roast us while we’re gone?”

The Dread.

Bwahahahaha! (I steeple my fingers while looking malevolently out from beneath my eyebrows.)

I truthfully had no plans to roast them.  Nor, to be honest, do I ever know what will burst forth onto blog paper.

But I’d just HATE to disappoint them.  Imagine… all that Dread for absolutely nothing.  It seems like a patent waste of terror, and I’m not sure it’s an easily renewed resource.  I mean, what if there’s a limited supply of the stuff?  And what if I squander theirs needlessly?  That would be sad.  So very, very sad.

Unfortunately, even though we’re a third of the way through the trip, I’m still at a loss for how to skewer them.

The Wife I Want To Be is at war with the Wife I Am.

Come on, Wife I Am!  Get your rear in GEAR!  Marshal your forces!  You’ve got a battle to win.  Ride, Lady, ride!


Grateful: A Guest Post by The Old Marine

August 14, 2011 in But Seriously, Family by Beth Woolsey

Hi, Friend!

I’m on the trip of a lifetime to Alaska with my family.  Five kids.  Ten days.  Infinite excitement.  While we’re away having grand, bloggable adventures, I’m sharing some special posts by guest writers.

On this, our first vacation day, I’m excited to lead off with a post from my dad.  If you’ve been reading along for a while, you might know him by his pseudonym, The Old Marine.  He didn’t write this for the blog, but he said I could use it here with you.

I love you, Dad.  For lots of reasons, but especially at this moment for being more Mushy than Marine, for wearing your heart on your sleeve, and for loving your baby boy and girl easily more than you love your life.

Beth

……….

GRATEFUL
by The Old Marine

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.  ~G.K. Chesterton

It’s happened twice now.  Twice I’ve found myself in grateful tears because my son is alive.  Silently weeping with gratitude knowing that what so easily could have come to pass did not.

It comes, I think, from knowing too much.  A career that started in military aviation took me often to the edge of the abyss.  Jungle flying and a major accident at my airline reinforced the knowledge that life can be fragile and unpredictable.  I guess I’ve seen too many accidents, carried too many coffins and – as if my own experience weren’t enough – read too much history.

The first time was in September of 2003.  I was home alone, working in the yard, when he called to tell me his dog was gone.  A good dog in so many ways, but slightly psychotic, “Yeager” was showing signs of becoming a danger.  And so, my 26 year old son did of his own volition what any wise, mature, considerate person would do – he had the animal put down.  I listened through the whole story of their last hour together, of how difficult it was to watch, and about the hole that it left in his life.  And when I hung up I found myself so grateful that I wept.  At 26 – and born of a different age – my son could have been a Marine captain at Belleau Wood, or Iwo Jima, or Hue, or Fallujah.  I was overcome with gratitude that by God’s grace he had been spared those horrors and that one of the toughest things he had faced was euthanizing a dog.

It happened again last Sunday.  I got to sit in church and watch as my son, now 34, dedicated his daughter and his two sons to Christ.  There he proudly stood with his beautiful wife confirming the path he has walked, and the path his children will follow.  And again I wept.  Because on that same day in Virginia Beach twenty two SEAL families had also been in church, not to celebrate but to mourn the loss of the heroes they loved.  How easily I could have been in the other church.

Life is fragile.  Life is unpredictable.  Life is short.  I get to spend my days with my daughter the Blogger and her husband the Baseball Star.  I get to relish reading the peelarious stories about my five grandchildren in that family and their medical exploits.  And should I ever tire of them I can be with my son – the Wise One – and his amazing wife, Earth Mom.  And I can play with the three grandchildren they have given my high school-sweetheart wife and me, and be awed that the boys will carry my name into another generation.

Ask lots of folks how they are and you’ll most often get, “Fine” or “Okay” or – if they’re really perky – “Blessed.”

The tragedies that have befallen others could befall me tomorrow.  But just for today ask me how I am and I’ll tell you, “I’m grateful.”

The Old Marine

……….

P.S.  My lovely sister-in-law, Kim, who knows I’m posting this – a letter that  was originally a private message to our family – responded to my father thusly…

“Earth mother?  Um, I shave.  And bathe (usually).  Not sure this is the appropriate term for me.  Perhaps ‘domestic goddess extraordinaire,’ or ‘allergic response specialist’ or something like that?”

To which my father replied, “Hey.  You got the ‘…his beautiful wife…’ line, so stop whining.  Besides, you can fruits and veggies, knit and make your own greeting cards.  Earth Mom… it’s a good thing.”

I love my family and our pithy banter.  We, ladies and gentlemen, are crap givers.  Every single one.  Hehehe.