A Day in the Life of the World

I’ve often held to the idea that each day is a gift that, if squandered, is lost, and so we should keep ourselves focused on our end goals every day and try not to think “hasta mañana” too often.  We only have a countable number of hours to live life.  I mean the life outside of “existence” that we gain by sleeping and eating- I mean the hours with meaning.

Today I read about a man, 60 years old, who had been searching for his birth father since he was 16.  Forty four years he had been wondering; imagining, asking questions, reading phone books- and later- typing the name in the search bar.  And then there came a day when the man on the other end of the line was the voice he had never heard, but had yearned for all his life.

A mother experiences something similar in a pregnancy- or even an adoption- waiting, wondering if today is the day, only to be continually disappointed.  UNTIL the whirlwind comes, and everything changes.  Everything.

The memory of the pregnancy is taken over by the advent of labor, which is then taken over by the gift of the life she’s been aching to hold close.  For adoptive parents, the years of struggle- for funds, approval, waiting to be chosen- are but a memory when the call comes at last.  Our defining moments redefine us every day.

So, I’ve decided that counting hours is not the only way to live with purpose.  The same objective can be reached with the realization that each day is defining us at any given time.  Each day is a replacement of the last.  Tomorrow is a new life.  Today is your whole existence.  That is why repentance works and why illness is temporary.

The memories of your yesterdays remain, but todays count for more than yesterdays do.


As I put the lid back on the toothpaste, I thought, wow, so this is life.  The lid at that moment was actually just a dried blob of toothpaste, the elusive plastic one having long since departed to the “other sock” realm.  Other members of the household have taken to hiding their own toothpaste where it remains pristine, barely dented- its minty glory still ready to star in a commercial.  When I see a well-used tube with a blockage, though, I have to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth- even if it’s the tiny free ones from the dentist.  I have no one to impress.

While I picked raspberries as a teen, I imagined that if anyone ever made a movie about me, it would open with that scene: the radio playing my favorite song as I sang along and picked berries in the early morning sun.  Quaint, right?  I never got past that opening scene though.  What on earth would a movie about me possibly contain?  Let’s hope, whatever it is, it’s not the truth.

The truth is that sometimes I lean around my kid as he’s talking so I can see the screen and read a quote someone posted about how precious the time with our kids is.  Truth is, sometimes I do things my mother did that I swore I’d never do.  Sometimes I call other drivers stupid.  Sometimes I am the stupid driver.  Sometimes, especially when I’m tired, I break my own rules of conduct and I have to climb back out of the mire again.

I know people- OK, women-  whom I can’t imagine doing any of those things.  Their clothes are stylish.  Their thighs are thin.  They smile demurely and never look like they cut their own hair.  Myself, I cringe at the thought of spending more than single digits on a piece of clothing, have always had gymnast thighs even when I was thin, and I wasn’t a gymnast.  I laugh loud and skip right over bad-hair days and go right to months, possibly because I cut my own hair.

Reality is that I am not famous, but neither am I infamous.  I am not wealthy, but I have a wealth of love in my life.  I am not stylish, but– but nothing, I’m just not stylish.  Who’d want to see this tailgate with bling on it anyway?  No one is ever going to make a movie about my life, but only because the only people who’d want to watch it are those who love me anyway.  (That’s what I use my double digits for.)

I am hoping to reach the midpoint of my life some time in this decade.  Reality for me, at the moment, is a dead banana incubating fruit flies in the bathroom garbage and consoling kids over dead worms or tiny cuts.  In twenty years, I’ll be lonely without those fruit flies.  I’ll lament having to actually screw the lid back on the toothpaste.  And I’ll have to find something else to be my reality.  For now, though, catching up at the end of the day will continue to circulate around how many times the dog escaped and rehashing the honey-do list.

Truth is, I’m loving it.  I’ll miss it when it’s gone.  Just like those thousand other socks.


Child says

Jon and Peter were playing with balloons.  Peter said,

“Don’t do that it hurts my kid.” 

When I asked if his balloon was his kid, he said,

“No, the kid in my belly.  Remember, babies grow in bellies.”

Truth is Beauty

The past little while we’ve been studying the human eyeball and how it works.  We looked up all the parts, learned that the white of the eye is the sclera which is covered by a membrane called the conjunctiva,  figured out what everything does and had a test on it.  I did great on the test.

Just before we were done with the subject, I was looking up a blank diagram to use for the test.  On one of the pictures, I noticed a completely new part of the eye I had never heard of.  I was shocked.  It wasn’t just another layer of the choroid or something banal like that- it was a whole new piece- a tunnel that goes through the center of the eyeball from the lens to the optic disc.  Its purpose is to allow the pressure of the eye to remain constant as the lens contracts and releases by allowing the fluid within the canal to flow in and out through the optic disc.

As I read this new information, the hyaloid canal became a testament to me of God’s divinity.  I felt the stirring in my heart that is usually reserved only for spiritual matters.  The truth and miracle of this small fact was, to me, further proof that science- and all TRUTH ascribed to it- is a manifestation that our Father in heaven is the author of it all.

Strike 2

When Sam was a little younger, he asked me once, “Has a stroke ever tried to get on someone and they just jumped out of the way?”

My mom had her first stroke over three years ago when she was 60.   It took her right side and some of her left, but it also took a piece of her.  She had several small ones over time, but her last one was in a really bad place- the thalamus- that controls motor function.  It took her left side as well.  She is in bed unless people come to pick her up and put her somewhere.

She is making friends and seems to like her new nursing home, but is at the mercy of any aide who doesn’t feel the need to give her a drink, or scratch an itch, or adjust her leg for her, or use the phone.  My understanding is that if PT is successful, she will get to about 20% mobility on both sides.  After three weeks she can move her right arm again, but doesn’t realize she’s doing it unless she looks at her arm.

I see her about every other day, but always when I’m not with her, I think of her lying in bed staring at the TV that is always on so she can’t hear the ringing in her ears.  I keep hoping we’ll be able to visit about something other than what she couldn’t eat that day, or whether her teeth were brushed today, or rehashing something horrible that happened to her last week.  I would love to share some funny stories, and have the kids talk to her animatedly about nonsense and have her ask questions and seem interested.  Pieces of that happen sometimes, but I have to orchestrate it; it doesn’t happen naturally.

She’s still there.  She could probably still beat me at Scrabble, but I keep watching for signs that Scrabble would be possible with all the grueling news first.  I feel selfish.  She should be able to tell me  what is bothering her.  I should be able to pop in for 20 minutes a day to see her.   If I saw her more, maybe she wouldn’t zone out so much.  I already feel that I am not accomplishing my goals with my first responsibilities, now I have another source of guilt.  I think guilt is like blood to me.  If I didn’t have it, I might die.  KIDDING!

The dichotomy is that I am also basically happy.  I look for hope and often find it.  I am hopeful when I find that my mom’s roommate is a loving, childlike woman who kisses her on the forehead every night.  I am hopeful when she introduces me to a staff member who is always nice to her.  I am hopeful when she cracks a joke, or laughs at one of mine; when I show up to sign papers and my brother is visiting and has brought my mom’s dog; when another resident has come to visit her.

I know I am fortunate- and so is she.  She is not ready to die.  She wants to stick around as long as she can breathe and swallow food.

Which reminds me- I promised I would make her collard greens and corn bread.  I better get on that.


With spring comes the sun, warmth, new life.  It brings the promise of fruit, months of flowers and twitterpated birds.  It is a time when you might actually see your neighbors.

With spring comes dandelions, mud, and the loss of the “too cold” excuse.

Spring awakens me to the passage of time.  The world wakes up, so I follow suit.  I have a new resolve.  My life’s work becomes clearer  in my mind.  Does resolve mean “re-solve”?  That’s what it feels like.  I re-solve my myriad organizing issues.  I re-solve the conundrum of  schedules for my kids.  I implement a strict plan, accompanied by a detailed family meeting.

And then my solutions stop working, and I re-solve everything again in two weeks as time marches on unabashedly.

My life is mostly beautiful.

The Things You Do For Love

And… we have a puppy.

My sweet dog Duchess developed a tumor on her shoulder last summer.  It was diagnosed as a sarcoma, and we were told that she had six months left.  We were getting her some medication at the vet one night just after Christmas when a puppy up for adoption caught Mark’s eye.  I said no.  We went and got in the car.  He didn’t start the car.  We talked.

And then we went and got the puppy- because I love my husband.  HIS puppy that I have to train.  His puppy that is embarrassed to poop in front of people, and so he sneaks around and does it.  I do have hope for him, but in the meantime, I have his youth and instincts to deal with.  I do it out of love for my sweet husband, but it doesn’t keep me from saying, “YOU’RE the one that wanted a puppy.”

The sad part is that Duchess only lived a month after we got him.  She wasn’t in a ton of pain- She was still coming upstairs at night.  She was breathing fine.  And then one night, for the first time, she didn’t come when we called.   We searched.  Our neighbor Mike joined the search and he found her in the back yard, laying on her side in the snow.  She was gone.  It was hard that night to say goodbye to the very best dog ever.

And now we just have the puppy.  Or, as I like to call him, the poopy.  Bacchus.

I do other things for love, too.  I hold kids when they feel like they’re going to throw up.  I let the  brood play outside when the sun is finally shining, instead of staying in and doing what they should.  I kiss owies in strange places.   I laugh at dumb jokes.  I wake up six times a night to soothe a teething baby.  I pass up my favorite stores because my kids would rather be home.  I clean out the questionable sludge from the bottom of the sink when someone else does the dishes.  I take crying babies and lay on the couch so my husband can sleep.  I allow a gravel-pit’s worth of rock-collections in the house because I love my kids.  I say “no” a LOT for the same reason.

And I clean up dog poop.

There’s a reason the movie “Groundhog Day” was about a man going to work on the same day over and over again.  If it had been about a stay-at-home mom, she wouldn’t have noticed.

The funny thing is that I love every minute of it.  Except the dog poop.

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