Monday, December 29, 2008

Pay day

Tonight I got home and on the table was an envelope I never really expected to see.

It was a check.

For $26.

Not a lot of money, right?

But I'm pretty excited about it.

When I was accepted to the BlogHer ad network late last April, I was thrilled. But I never figured out how to log in to my account to see how much money I'd made or anything, and I never saw any money, so I sort of just assumed I wasn't ever getting any.

But today, I got $26.

Pretty sweet.

So click away, friends. In six or seven more months, I just might get another check.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bah humbug

Christmas ended with a thud at our house this year.

The tree came down today. It's being hauled away now. I've already vacuumed up the green carpet of needles it left behind.

And I'm anxious to organize and do something with the presents we all got, too. Mostly, it's Rye's new toys that are just out and about.

I hated Christmas this year. Times aren't good.

Rye is wonderful as always. And despite some I suspect inevitable greed that crept in during present opening ("Can I open another present now?"), he's been well-behaved and seemingly happy through what has been some rough times at home.

Do you ever feel this way? Like you don't have any idea what happened, how you got where you are? Like you don't know what should happen? Or you think you know, but every choice seems unbelievably scary?

That's where I am.

And so Christmas, and all the joy it usually represents, is over. And I'm glad.

Maybe New Year's will be better. Or maybe that's too soon for anything to be better.

But 2009, I have hope.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sweet 13

Today is my sister's 13th birthday.

On this day, I wish for her these things:

1. An adolescence easier than my own, easier than most.
2. Friends who are true and good and won't go away.
3. Notes -- if kids still pass those -- that are filled with only good things.
4. Teachers who like her and, more importantly, are fair with her. Ones who challenge and inspire her as well. Those, I recall, are few and far between but invaluable.
5. Boys who will always be nice, always genuine, always in it for the right reasons.
6. Clear answers in as many situations as possible.
7. Some sort of divine guidance to do the right thing, follow the right path, even when choices are hard.
8. Self respect.
9. Laughter.
10. Love.
11. Happiness.
12. Direction.
13. Confidence.

Thirteen wishes for my sister's 13 years. I was a sophomore in high school when she was born. I was awash then in my own self-centered universe, focused mainly on my own problems. As she got a bit older, though, I remember how fun it was when she came upstairs to my room. Sometimes, she'd dance and sing along to music I'd be playing. Other times, she was just cute.

And now it won't be that long before my little baby sister is a sophomore in high school, likely awash in her own problems. I just hope they are tolerable.

And if I could give her any wish for her birthday, the first of her teenage years, it'd be the perspective that I'm only still gaining now.

I'd tell her those relationships that we think then are worth the world really aren't. I'd tell her to pay attention to what she wants in life. And to listen to that.

I'd tell her everything works out in the end, even if the road there is long and bumpy. If there even is an end.

But what do I know?

As an adult, a mom and a wife, I don't feel lately like I know much of anything.

Still, I know what I wish I would have known when I was 13. For whatever that's worth.

Happy birthday, Ashley.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Single mom

I'm alone this weekend with Rye. And I wonder what it's like to be alone with your child all the time.

So far, the interaction is far more intense, the needs more needy, the demands more all on me. But so far the reward has also been just a little bit better.

I'm the only one here to get him juice, find the right Clone Wars episode on the tape, put the weapon into the Star Wars guy's hand, play with him downstairs, get him a blanket when he's cold, make him breakfast, get him dressed, help him go to the bathroom, wash his face, brush his teeth, do the laundry, make myself coffee, clean up from breakfast ... before I know it it's lunchtime and we start all over again.

Usually, I have help. And I'm not complaining today that I don't have help. Everyone should get a break every now and then. Often even. As adults, we don't get to do what we really want to do often enough, or ever at all. There ought to be a way we don't have to give up our own desires, interests when we grow up, even when we are parents to someone else. So I'm glad Dane is skiing this weekend with one of his best friends in the world. I wish he could go more often.

Despite the demands all on me, Rye and I have had a pretty beautiful morning.

We played downstairs and I helped him get stickers out of a Star Wars book he has and put them on a tackle box turned Star Wars box. At the same time, I used the computer and we listened to music. After an hour or so of that, he let me take a shower, and now I'm ready to do I don't know what and he's coloring by himself.

Tomorrow, I'm sure we'll do the same thing. And Monday morning I'll probably feel like the weekend was too short after all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's here


Whether I like it or not.

We decorated the tree tonight, and for the first time in my life it was so much more about Rye's excitement than anything else. I cared about three ornaments -- all from my childhood -- but the rest ... I could've taken or left.

Rye, though, was so excited to be decorating the tree he was basically jumping up and down. I'd worked late, and he'd been picked up early. But they waited for me to decorate and I think his patience was at its limit. The minute my car pulled into the garage, he was standing in the doorway, asking, pleading, please Mommy, can we decorate the tree now?

When I tried to say I wanted to change my clothes first or eat or feed the cats since they were swarming me, he whined just a little and I could tell how badly he really wanted to hang those plastic ornaments on the tree he'd helped pick out the night before.

He dug into the box as if they were all mini presents wrapped just for him. He said how cute all the cat ornaments were (there were years, it seems, when all anyone in my family gave me were cat things as presents), and at one point, he said, "I LOVE that Cinderella castle."

Yes, he's a boy. But that castle -- it lights up -- is pretty cool. And he just knows what's cool.

He helped the whole time and was very careful about not breaking anything (minus one ornament that was old and brittle anyway) and asking for help if he needed it.

When we were done, he looked up at the tree and said, "Wow, this really is beautiful. It even has a star on the top."

For how happy it made my little boy, I'd decorate the tree every night, if he really wanted to.

Here is a picture of him helping hang lights outside on Sunday:

And one of him and his blankie two nights ago, just because it's cute: