Saturday, September 22, 2012

Texts From the Teen: A Variation

Sometimes I post texts I receive from my teen daughter. This is like that, except I'll post the texts I received from my sister, who was with my teen daughter. So, they're texts about my teen, not from my teen. A variation of a theme, if you will. It's actually more of a narrative delivered in text form. Anyway.... here are the texts I received from my sister about my teen:

This may require email rather than text... Teen: (standing in kitchen) "I have to pee so bad!" (does not move.) "But I'm not going to go. I'm going to hold it." (confused aunt pause) "You know, just to see how long I can." (more confused expressions from her aunt) "What? Don't you ever do that?" Aunt replies: "I can see that would be appropriate if we were in a Third World Country or if the only option was a nasty porta-potty... but we are in our house."

A few minutes later... Teen: "How many glasses of water do you think I can drink?" Me: "Until you pee your pants in my kitchen?" Then she says, "Sometimes I make up games like this. Just to see, you know. (no reply from very confused aunt) "It's why I don't have a boyfriend, isn't it?" Me: "I have to text your mom because she is the only one that will appreciate this conversation fully."

A couple observations:

(1) Kudos to my sister on the awesome texting skill! Way to smack those thumbs! I'm assuming her hands were then soaked in epsom salts.

(2) It's actually good to test yourself every once in a while. That way you'll know how far along a highway you can drive before pulling over. It's kind of like that whole driving after the empty gas light comes on test. Can you make it 45 more miles? Or only 10? It's important information to know.

(3) I once went on a road trip where the girl driving refused to pull over to let me pee. I thought I would die from a ruptured bladder. This is not so much an observation as a flashback to a very traumatic experience.

(4) I am not the only one that will fully appreciate this conversation. Because I'm sharing it with you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

For Ruthie.

She's gone.

That's the text that stopped my breath. I knew it would. I knew it the second I saw it there, waiting. See, G shouldn't have been texting me. Because she's supposed to be spending time with her Mom. Her beautiful, lovely, sweet, tender mother. Her mother, who was supposed to grow old. Much, much older than this. And as long as G was not texting me and not calling me and not able to meet for dinner and drinks then I knew everything was still okay. I knew that they were busy together, laughing, cracking up over old stories. They were busy together holding hands, drinking tea. Looking out the window in silence. They would both still be here. Together.

In my heart I knew the next text I would receive from G would be the hardest one she would ever send to me. I was dreading that text. And it crippled my heart to know that she - my dear friend with the heart of a million good deeds, who walks the earth capable of only what is good, and kind, and right - that she would be sending it with tear streaked cheeks, and shaking fingers and sore shoulders - because she wouldn't have realized how tense she had been trying to physically, literally hold herself together.

I hate death. I hate that it's unfair and unbiased and I hate that I don't know what to do, or what to say. I don't know if I'm too absent or if I'm getting in the way. I hate how it makes clocks tick too loud and a room that was moments ago too hot and too stuffy feel suddenly and immediately cold and drafty.

I hate how my breath gets caught in my throat and no amount of anything can make me swallow down air. Air. If I can't swallow down air how can I possibly be expected to swallow down hurt and pain and loss and fear?

I hate how death makes me think about things I don't want to: when did my Dad start holding on to the doorframe when he steps down onto the porch? Old people do that. Will my daughter know not to slam on the brakes when it's raining; she could hydroplane. Does she know how serious that is? I need to call her right away. Does Big V know not to give the 3-year old hard candy? I don't remember if I told him. If anything happens to them.... If anything happens to me... Dear God, I can't think about that...  

I want to go my whole life never being touched by a death too soon, or a death unfair... and I never want to hear about cancer again.... but that's not how the world works. Deep down I know that no amount of pleading prayers or bartered deals with God Himself is going to spare myself, my family, my friends or all of those eyes I look into when I turn to those who surround me.

I know that lives are cut short and the most we can do is treasure the time we have with those around us. I know that there is a circle of life that just comes with the territory and there's really nothing we can do about it so the best thing to do is pack it away, put it on the shelf, and make the best of the time we have.

But for now, right now... I cry. And I let my heart hurt.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Always Sunny Where I Live, Too

I always feel a twinge of sadness for the person who watches a sitcom and says, "whose life is like that in real life anyway?" because obviously their life is incredibly boring and that's obviously very sad. Because some people's lives really are like a sitcom.

For example some people in real life have actual conversations with their siblings that start of like this: So, I was googling how to collect dog semen.... and that just seems entirely normal. What is not entirely normal are the ways the internet suggests to actually collect the dog semen. (I advised contacting the local police department to ensure no lines are accidently crossed.)

And some people have real jobs that include working with someone who walks in and announces: So, this guy asked his neighbor for a sledgehammer so he could kill his pig and left the pig entrails in the garden covered up by cabbage leaves and now the neighbors are complaining about the smell. To which any normal person (who has watched entirely way too many episodes of Criminal Minds) would ask whether it has been confirmed they were pig guts and not people guts. Because there is a big difference, my friends. A big difference indeed. Especially if you're the pig.

I embrace my It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia life because someday they're going to want me to write for their show and I'll be ready with all the material I have to draw upon.

Monday, September 17, 2012

From There to Here in 3 Short Years

There is just something magical about the first awareness of a birthday.

"It's my birthday! I going to be three! I so excited!!"

His wishes were simple:
new shoes for preschool
and a red backpack.

Daddy let him pick out his own birthday cake.
It had Winnie-the-Pooh on it and
sat in our refrigerator for a full 24 hours;
being checked on and pointed out every ten minutes.

"That's my birthday cake! I so excited!!"

He could hardly get to sleep:
"Tomorrow's my birthday! I so excited!!"

Our prayers included blessing Grammy and Papa
and Great Grandma and our birthday cake.

He literally jumped out of bed the next morning, arms flung wide:
"It's my birthday! I so excited!!"

He dressed himself in his big boy underwear,
light blue shirt and khaki shorts.

"I go church and Sunday School and sing music for my birthday! I so excited!!"

He skipped through the parking lot:
"I hear the music! I so excited!!"

After church services, everyone at Coffee Hour sang Happy Birthday...
he didn't realize it wasn't for him.
But he didn't care.

"It's my birthday!" he yelled when they finished. "I so excited!!"

We had pizza for lunch and too much cake and ice cream
and a visit from Rosie.
(They were both so excited!)

Then the five of us climbed into the car:
Mommy and Daddy
and two Big Sisters
and the super excited Birthday Boy.

And together we all went shopping
to look for new shoes for preschool
and a red backpack.


Boys are found everywhere --
on top of,
inside of,
climbing on,
swinging from,
running around
jumping to.

Mothers love them,
little girls hate them,
older sisters and brothers tolerate them,
adults ignore them
 and Heaven protects them.

A boy is Truth with dirt on its face,
Beauty with a cut on its finger,
Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair
and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.

A boy is a magical creature;

You can lock him out of your workshop,
but you can't lock him out of your heart.

You can get him out of your study,
but you can't get him out of your mind.

Might as well give up
he is your captor,
your jailer,
your boss
and your master;

a freckled-faced,
cat-chasing bundle of noise.

But when you come home at night
with only the shattered pieces of your hopes and dreams,
he can mend them like new with two magic words:
Hi, Dad!

~ Alan Marshall Beck