Tag: life with kiddos Page 2 of 8

Mighty masses and vigorous shadows

DIARY
Thomas takes a photo booth self-portrait

Of girls, and creation, and the truth revealed in the depths of our shadows.


Dear Thomas Alan:

First, we should talk about girls. I think it should now be universally acknowledged that you, my boy, are much admired. Without us even realizing it, you’ve become the idée fixe of an increasing line of young women, several of whom have expressed an enthusiastic interest in becoming your betrothed.

And in your earnest defense, your reliable reaction to this news, which I share in this triennial birthday letter to you with only a hint of jealousy, is a dramatic, committed eye-roll. Which is to say, you’ve at least determined at this point in your life not to let such flattery define you. That’s worth something.

Last night I carried you in from the car after you’d fallen asleep on the way back from supper at your grandparents’ house. You were running a fever, and even though we worked to make sure you would blow out your candles and open presents in spite of not feeling well, it was clear you were spent. Your eyes were uncharacteristically weak; the bright flame of your curiosity had retreated. It wasn’t long before you’d nodded off.

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The fire is so delightful

DIARY

The rain is really pounding outside.


It’s a good night for the first fire of the season in the wood stove. Outside, a cold November rain is falling–no, pounding–marking the end of a damp, bitter Veteran’s holiday. Kelly and I took the kids down to Concord mall to walk the great loop of stores, their festive decorations already out, sleigh bells alighting from upward in the rafters, a pervasive, fragrant spice following us from one shop to another, no agenda whatsoever.

I am not usually a fan of taking the children to the mall–mostly because it involves them jumping about on a soft, indoor playground while I sit at a table with the other parents, left to thumb our way around our phones while the kiddos chase each other around their walled dominion.

The Concord mall lacks a large, designated playspace, so we shopped, and the kids enjoyed looking–looking, not buying–and I made notes of what they lingered over most. Notes for later.

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The Ballad of Busy

FAMILY

Somewhere in between the balance of this crazy hustle is a sweet, sweet spot.


My alarm on weekday mornings goes off at 6:40 a.m. — the latest I can sleep in and still have just a few minutes with Kelly, Julia, and Thomas before they hop in the van and go to school. They are often basking in a half-episode of screen time, often the only television they get during the school week, which gives Kel the chance to pack backpacks and find order before departure. Then: kisses and hugs and good wishes and goodbyes.

Annie is still asleep and hopefully will be for another hour. I pull on my sneakers and go downstairs to the elliptical. Someone I do not know figured out I was Mrs. Hogan’s husband recently, and when we bumped into each other downtown last week, told me that his elementary-school aged daughter saw me working out most mornings. (The elliptical is in front of a window in the back of the house, where East Elementary School Road car-rider traffic crawls by.) So I discovered I am the brief entertainment of hundreds of children through the week.

I watch the news while I work out for 25 minutes, then drink a glass of cold water, then feed the bigger dog and scratch her ears for a couple of minutes. Then, time for a shower and shave, time to get dressed (quick check of my calendar for the day to determine if I can get away with a polo shirt; Thursday I could not), time to wake up Annie, who was stirring anyway.

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