Category Archives: Family

#sol22 March 3

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by!
My house is quieter now-
               unless the boys are wrestling or yelling at each other or singing loudly for all to hear,
               unless the dog is barking
When they were babies, toddlers, preschoolers, I used to tell myself "you'll miss this noise." 
                I was wrong
I don't miss the noise.
               well, sometimes I do
I do miss the cuddles, the chatter, the little hands, the weight of a sleeping child on my shoulder
               the weight of a sleeping child on my shoulder

A quiet early morning
                 I remember when mornings started this early but  with crying, or drumming, or a Super Friends DVD so I could sit with my coffee
I sneak downstairs early this morning, trying not to wake the dog 
               I tripped on a boot on the steps, and heard his doggy yoga stretch begin
I used to be scared of the dark
                But somehow after betrayal, the dark isn't so scary
Outside, I breathe in the quiet and watch the dog sniff around
                Until a strange noise comes from the darkness of the street
                I watch my dog become more interested in the noise, and quickly bring him in
I've been expecting an owl
                That was not an owl
I wait until the sun is up to try going outside again
              The house is quieter
In this moment I am thankful for this mindful time to write
               I miss the cuddles, the chatter, the little hands, the weight of a sleeping child on my shoulder

vacuum vacuum

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by

A few weeks ago, we bought a vacuum. My 15-year old wanted me to get the fancy one that was almost $300, but there was one right there for $80!

“You’re going to regret it, mom,” he told me.

“Nope,” I shook my head. “We don’t need a fancy vacuum. We just need one that works. And we are on a budget.”

He shook his head at me as we carted it to the checkout.

At home, we put it together and vacuumed. You had to push it, but it worked well.

“See?” I said with a hint of I told you so in my eyes.

A couple weeks later, when the vacuum handle broke off, he was the one who had the told-you-so in his eyes. Mostly he just raised his eyebrows at me, as I got ready to take the used, broken vacuum back to Target.

If you’ve never carried a cheap, broken, dirty vacuum back into a store, you’ll have to imagine the walk of shame, the explanation at customer service, and the gratitude when they handed me my $80 back.

Now I have a robot vacuum that was recommended for homes with pets. My pets are pretty freaked out by it, and it scared me a couple times already too. My 15-year old kindly set it up for us, and he has the app on his phone. So he thinks it is funny to have it suddenly start vacuuming when I’m the only one home.

At least there’s no handle to break off…

Thoughts while Shoveling

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

Single mom, shoveling
sounds ominous
like “dead man, walking”
the men aren’t dead –
I see them throughout the neighborhood,
snow blowing

Glad I’m a feminist
who is used to shoveling anyway

The snow is light
easy does it
and the chiropractor won’t get mad
The snow is heavier
where the plow dropped extra
I should be making the boys help

What time is it?
Why isn’t this a two-hour delay?
I hope the boys are making breakfast
and eating it too

Glad I’m a single mom of older kids
who make their own breakfasts

The driveway is done
Thank goodness for 15 year olds who
suddenly appear
scare you half to death
and shovel the sidewalk

A slice of coffee

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

Couch coffee used to be something to do together
And sometimes we still do, in these moments before he moves away
But soon I will be having couch coffee on my own
Well, with the cats

I walk downstairs in the morning
Happy that the Christmas lights are still shining
Cozy cheer to start the day
And end it

I fill the carafe with fresh water
He comes downstairs and finishes making the coffee
I’m still using my Christmas mug
The painted little mini Christmas lights match my tree

We sit on opposite ends of the couch
I remember we used to say we needed a love seat so we could sit closer together
We talk less and less each morning
Slowly ripping the bandaid

A slice of Goodbyes

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

I’m terrible at goodbyes.
I’ve cried
I moved away from a best friend,
a best friend moved away from me,
I just missed my cats’ last few breaths, twice
I drove away from my dying friend – every time I drove away.

I’ve even cried
my plays were over
I said goodbye to my first class of second graders
The custodians threw away my classroom couch
movies end
grandparents leave family gatherings in dramatic commercials

Of course I cried
I dropped off my daughter at college.

I’m terrible at goodbyes.
I don’t like them.
I guess I’m
stuck – in the past

Somehow when my soon to be ex-husband
Took a couch, a chair,
a toaster oven
over to his new house
I didn’t cry.

Maybe I’ve gotten all the tears out over the last year, and I’m done.

Who am I kidding?
I’m terrible at goodbyes.

Breaking up

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

When I was 18, or soon to be 18, I was at home with my young sister for a few days before Christmas.

The house must have already been decorated, my sister already asleep. (How did I get her to go to bed, but my own children never sleep?)

So, of course, I decided to make Chocolate Chip cookies.

I think cookies were a serious part of Christmas at that time in my family. We had an enclosed front porch that was freezing in the winter. That’s where we kept the Christmas cookies, frozen for weeks, ready to be made into platters to gift family, friends, neighbors, teachers…

I don’t remember much about decades ago, but I remember the house smelling like a chocolate chip cookie, my dining room table full of cookies. I was making so many cookies, they were spread like playing cards cooling on foil. For quite avwhile, baking chocolate chip cookies triggered sadness.

I don’t remember if Mr. Thought called, or came over.
He wasn’t Mr. Thought then, just a boyfriend.

Well, he was a boyfriend before I made the cookies, and maybe during a few batches.

But then — he wasn’t.

He wanted to see other people.
Explore. His. Options.

He was done with us.

I was devastated.
Christmas was ruined.
My parents came home the next day, we celebrated Christmas and my 18th birthday. They gave me a beautiful silver bracelet.
We went to my grandma’s, where I was a teenage zombie, with a broken heart.

I spent time with my blinds drawn, blasting PJ Harvey that winter break. “You’re not rid of me…”

Good grief
breakup grief
18-year old’s grief
Christmas grief
heartbreak grief

A Slice of Soon to Be

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

STBXH” stands for “Soon To Be Ex-husband” in internet acronym language.

I’m thinking of that as I drive to my 9th grader’s choir concert.
The van is packed with my daughter’s college stuff.
Soon To Be, Soon To Be, Soon To Be . . .

Bins and boxes and bags are stuffed in the van.

We leave tomorrow.

But she was just a baby last week, I think.
And I was just in college, wasn’t I?

I’m Soon To Be Missing Her. STBMH

It’s a four hour drive
I bet it will go too fast though.

I’m Soon To Be Driving Home Alone. STBDHA

I’m feeling pretty dramatic about this.


I lock the van
packed with my daughter’s college stuff
and walk into the high school
for my middle son’s first high school concert
He was just a baby yesterday, I think.

I’m Soon To Be Watching Him Graduate. STBWHG

My youngest is in 6th grade.
I think you know how this goes.
He was just a baby this morning, I think.

I’m Soon To Be Watching His Freshman Concert. STBWHFC
Well, actually he doesn’t love to sing – But maybe he’ll change his mind

He’s Soon To Be More Confident. STBMC

I sit alone.
The concert is beautiful.
What is it about many voices singing?

Now I am Soon To Be Waking Up To Drive My Baby To College.

A Slice of ice

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

My ice-maker — the one in the door of the freezer — It works now.
It makes ice.

We got the fridge a decade ago
Our old house didn’t have the hook-up for the ice
we were so excited when we moved
almost 6 years ago — to finally be able to have water and ice from door dispenser.
But the ice-maker wouldn’t make ice.
You could hear it try
And once, through some deceptive magic, one cube was born.
On that day we were so relieved! It was fixed!
But then water poured out
it wasn’t magic after all.

So we started filling the ice bin with ice from bags
at least we could dispense it
First World Problems
First World Solutions

Lately I’ve heard a whirling in the freezer
Sometimes a drop or a clink
And now the ice-maker works.
The bin is full of ice
(for now, I guess. I won’t count my chickens, or rather my cubes, just yet…)

I don’t know if it was just the ice-maker’s time
Or maybe it just needed the mentor of the bagged ice
But whatever the reason,
If this sort of miracle is possible …
Doesn’t it just give you hope?

A slice of School Shopping

Slice of LIfe
Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers Thanks for stopping by!

We went school shopping today.

When I was a student, I loved school shopping. Who am I kidding? I love school shopping and school supplies as a teacher too. Notebooks, pens, pencils, markers – all a blank slate for the year to come. Smooth, new, perfect.

Truth be told, we could probably gather enough supplies from around the house. I have a stash of new notebooks, a few places where there are dozens of pencils waiting to be sharpened. I might even have some folders somewhere. (And maybe I have some sticky notes to spare, but I don’t really want to give any of those to anybody.)

BUT…What’s the start of middle school, the start of high school, the start of college without a new notebook, a new planner, some brand new mechanical pencils, a binder, some new markers….

My boys don’t really love shopping. I found number and letter erasers to add to my make-writing supplies, L thoughtfully selected notebooks, a binder, paper, a planner, pencils, etc. for college. But, the boys? They threw a few things in the cart. I think they got some post-its and some pre-sharpened pencils. Maybe some colored pens and on-sale markers got thrown in there too.

I tried to interest them in a planner.

“There’s no way I’m going to use something like that.” My soon to be 6th-grader said.

I tried to interest them in folders.

“I just want to get out of here.” My soon to be 9th-grader said.

“Do you think you’ll want to keep your different class things in different folders?” I asked. “Or, maybe an accordion folder? See how it’s easy to slip papers in? If you get a regular 3 ring binder, it’s kind of annoying to put papers in all the time –” I said, calling on my years as a 6th grade teacher, my decades of loving school organization.

“Whatever you want. Whatever you think is best.” My 11 year old said, exasperated with my enthusiasm.

Probably when everyone gets to school they will realize the thing they need. When the time comes, we’ll figure it out. L can order what she needs while she’s away at college (SOB!) I’ll share my notebook stash, and I’ll try to find those pencils and folders for the boys. But, I am not planning on sharing my sticky notes. No thank you —

I mean, unless I can go buy myself new sticky note replacements. . .