Friday, September 28, 2012

A Little Viking Ship

Do you mind if I get personal for a few sentences? I had a little moment over here last night.
The Cowgirl and I are having trouble getting to sleep lately. I am reading her one of my favorite books from my childhood, the 21 Balloons by William Pene Du Bois.
Every time the clock rolls around to 9 and I know we both need to call it quits we are in the middle of an explosion or invention or crash landing. She begs me to keep going. She doesn't have to beg much. I don't really want to stop either.
But last night I finally declared a stopping point and as she groaned I flipped to the front of the book.
(The book I am reading is a 9th edition from 1966)
And there on the title page was one tiny detail I'd never noticed before. A name.
Viking Press.
New York.
I blinked away tears, surprised by the force of the realization.
Do you know when a dream comes true it hits you almost as hard as when it doesn't? I never suspected that.
For the first time ever I realized what the last year has meant to me.
I am a Viking author now.
The Cowgirl asked why I stopped talking and I just said, "This book is from Viking."
She watched me wipe my eyes and asked if that was bad.
"No," I assured her. "It's really, really good."
The Artist smiled at me through the dim glow of the nightlight, across the bright heads of our sleepy daughters.
I leaned back in my rocking chair and let the truth glide over me, like a little Viking ship over the ocean.
Really, really good.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No. Maybe. Yes.

I have a mother autopilot.
It's a simple setting.

Mom, can I...
Mama, will you...

I don't know if it's about simplifying or advanced training after living with my children because I know the end of each of those sentences before they ask.

Mom, can I pour some bird food in the sun room to see if the birds will follow me inside?
Mama, can we buy a little airplane? Or helicopter if that costs too much...
Mom, do you think my boots will look better if we glue some sequins on them?

Sometimes they actually say something reasonable while I am still in No mode.
Mom, can I have a piece of gum?
But I ate my dinner.
Yes I did!
What did you say? ( I seriously only catch about one out 48 things they say to me some days )

Sunday the Cowgirl was holding up a jar of peanut butter and her lips were moving and I was about to say no when I registered her question.
Mom, can I put a little peanut butter in a bowl and eat it for a snack?

My brain was pushing the word out, it was hanging on my tongue. Say no. No. No.
A moment of silence before I took the peanut butter from her hand and grabbed a bowl.

It's better if you melt some chocolate chips in it, I told her.

The Cowgirl and the Dancer got big eyes, tried to decide if an alien had invaded their mother and then must have decided that it wasn't such a bad thing.. Apparently aliens let you eat melted peanut butter and chocolate.

Thirty seconds later- bliss!

Deciding that this might be her luckiest day, the Cowgirl asked if she could dip a chocolate marshmallow into the our new concoction.

Why the heck not?
It's so fun to say yes.
I'm still not buying an airplane or helping her catch a squirrel for a pet,
or trying to make a new rat cage out of duct tape
or letting her keep dead cicadas because they look cool

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bird Brain

Our elementary school is fiercely loyal to a certain tradition.
A few times a year we have crazy hair day.
There is a general fight to figure out how to make our children's hair crazier than the child next to them.
I've seen it all- paint, glitter, Mohawks, oddly-placed ponytails and braids, beehives a foot tall- you name it.
I even saw a girl come to school with a fake rat in her hair last year.
So that got me thinking of rat nests and bird nests.
Friday I got to try out my idea of a bird nest hair do.
 This one sort of backfired on me because my girls felt so magical and special with flowers and beautiful birds in their hair that they wanted me to do that on a regular basis.
You know, so they could be the weird bird brain girls.
Can't you hear the conversation at some future reunion?
Remember that girl who always wore fake birds on her head...
I told them it's only special if we do it once. That's holding them over for now.
Now I need to convince them that there are better things in life than having a bird on your head.

Give me a second.
Yep- that might go on my list of weirdest things I ever said.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The worst day

The Cowgirl noticed me drop a few tears on the way to school today.
She asked what was making me sad and I told her they were talking about 9-11 on the radio and I was just remembering.
She looked so perplexed.
Why does that make you cry? she asked.
It was the worst day of my life, I answer.
Again, her confusion was palpable.
Did you know anyone who died?
Did you get hurt?
Did the planes get close to you?
Why was it the worst day of your life?
I swallow empty air looking for my answer. It isn't here. It burned up eleven years ago.

Still, eleven years later-
A hundred and eleven years later-
The worst day of my life.

On this sacred day I reverently remember every life given.
We will never forget.