Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Invisible Intruder

My mornings are normally like something out of a scene from the movie Groundhog Day.

little kid comes in to snuggle me, he starts getting ready, I have coffee, Mr. Ashley wakes Big Kid up, he gets himself ready as I drive little kid to school, I come home and get Big Kid and drive almost the same route I just drove to drop him off at his school and return home the same way.

I'm leaving town tomorrow and my brain was full of to-do lists so I started my morning productively, packing and gathering what I needed instead of waiting until even more last minute than I already had. I did some laundry, cleaned the house, and was doing stuff in my bathroom when I heard footsteps.

I knew I was home alone. I also knew no one had opened any of the doors. I froze for a moment to see if it was the cats and my overactive imagination and the footsteps continued to approach.

My heart hammered in my chest and I looked for my phone which was out on the bed, which would put me in line of sight of where I thought the footsteps were. Someone must have come in the unlocked house when I was dropping the kids off and was now waiting for me, and I was trapped and defenseless.

Once in Key West a stranger cornered me while I was alone in a bathroom stall and flashed me, with the intent to do more. In my trapped panic, I charged straight towards him and pushed by him -- laughing hysterically, which I guess was a weird and convenient side effect of my shocked terror since it wasn't funny but it definitely is now -- and he was so taken aback that he flinched a little, allowing my escape.

So the plan was to scream like a maniac, hoping the grandpa next door would hear and come to my rescue, and charge this motherfucker in a flurry of fists and fingernails and feet.

The footsteps paused at the threshold of my room and my blood was roaring in my veins and I took a deep breath and leaned forward on my toes -- and saw a sleepy and confused Big Kid.

Mr. Ashley never woke him up and my brain forgot the second part of my trip.

"Oh my God. You just scared the crap out of me, I almost attacked you."

"What's going on?"

"I forgot about you."

"That's reassuring."

"You're telling me."

Much to his dismay, I made him get ready and go to school anyway. As we pulled up, I offered to go inside and explain why he was tardy.

"What would you say?"

"That I forgot I had two kids today and I'm sorry."

"No, that's okay, I'll just tell them I overslept."

Then I had to call my husband and explain.

"What the hell, Ashley?"

"Can't we just all be thankful that I didn't punch him in the face?"

But no, I guess not.

"There was a change in routine! This is how babies get left in cars, at least he was at home in bed."

"Well, and he's 13, I mean, even if you left him in the car..."

"Right. This isn't really a problem at all. Glad we agree."

Parent of the year right here. And by year I mean decade. Plus three years. And those 10 months of pregnancy.

It's a lot to remember, guys.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Notes for their Therapist

Last night Big Kid wandered into my room holding his toothbrush and came over for a hug.

"Goodnight hug before teeth brushing?" I asked, since this is not the order the nighttime routine goes.

"Nope. Two hugs," he answered. "If that's okay," he quickly added.

"Uh, yeah, that's okay. I'm like the Oprah Winfrey of hugs -- YOU get a hug, and YOU get a hug, and YOU ALL GET HUGS!!"

"Mmkay. You're not like Oprah though."

"Actually, I am. I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want it to go to your heads, but I am actually Oprah Winfrey."

They stared back at me, unamused and unaffected because they've been raised with this bullshit.

"But you're not."

"Prove it."

"Prove that you are."

"Well, have you ever seen Oprah and I in the same room?"

"No. But I've seen Oprah fully dressed in front of a live studio audience while you were sitting on that couch in your stretch pants."

"Yeah, that's pre-recorded though. I do that while you're in school. And these are yoga pants, I'm an athlete."

"Alright. There's the fact that you're not rich."

"I'm humble. Modest. Classy about it."

"Okay. Well, I think the main issue is with you not being black."

"Prove that I'm not."


"It's a state of mind, really. And stage lighting is tricky to get right."

"Okay, well, you're not Oprah."

"I am."

"I'll skip the second hug."

"You still have to pay taxes on that first one, though."

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


"Mom, we should host our own podcast," little kid said. "You be the looks, I'll be everything else -- the brains, talent, humor, you know, all of it. We'll be perfect."

"Yes, but...you don't even need looks for a podcast."

"Yeah. That's why I think this could work."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Winter Breakdown

"First day of Christmas break and I'm already out of poop jokes," little kid said as he watched me clean the litter box.

"That's tragic. I'm so sad for you. It's like we'll have to live like civilized human beings for at least the day," I replied.

"Yeah." He stood there for a moment, contemplatively. "Wait, wait -- the scat that smiles back."

He smiled triumphantly and I laughed, reluctantly.


"Yeah," I conceded.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On Being Grown Up

"Mom, how do you be a grown-up?" my 10-year-old asked from the backseat.

"I honestly don't know yet."

"Like, how could I handle a kid or all the grown-up stuff, or especially all of it at once?"

"You just do. You grow into it."

"Does it get easier?"

"Honestly? It comes and goes. Sometimes it's really hard and sometimes it's less hard."

"But it's always hard?"

"I don't know, I might just not be good at it. It's hard for different reasons. I'd refer you to a real grown-up but I don't even know if I know any. We might all be faking it. You'll do great but you'll never think so, that's pretty much being a grown-up. I think."

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Stay Inside

"Hey, you know how I take you guys to see anyone who may be an important part of history, whether we agree with their politics or not?"

They both nodded from the backseat.

"Yeah. It's something I think is really important, and part of you forming your own worldview. That being said, I'll never take you near Donald Trump. We can respect the office of the presidency, and you are free to have your own opinion of him, but I can't and won't respect him as a human being or a politician and therefore can't expose you to him more than I have to, future historical figure or not. Like, if he was in our driveway giving a speech, I'd make you stay inside."

"Uh, yeah, no worries there, mom. I wouldn't want to go, and besides, it's not even appropriate -- it would be like if you took us to see a porn star give a speech."

Normally I'd ask what he knows about porn stars and how, but I was busy mourning the fact that his statement was true and that our future president isn't appropriate for my children to admire.