Backburner

He comes home for lunch at 11:05, shoulders stooped from the weight of Language Arts and Algebra I. Last night's pizza is pulled from the oven and set on the table.

“When are you going to buy milk?” he asks, instead of saying thank you.

This is how he lets me know he needs something. Not, we're out of milk or I drank the last of it this morning, but when. When will I replace the milk I didn't know was out, the shoes I didn't know were outgrown. When will he get his license, a car, a haircut.

I am excited about the trip, but still I am angry. Taking my children home is important to me, but this is not just a homecoming. It is a fact finding mission. One I resent having to make.

We fly on Tuesday and are in Target on Saturday to find things to entertain the children on the plane. The youngest gets activity books and the oldest gets novels. I am not getting anything because I already have three non-fiction titles packed away. I don't expect to actually read them, of course. After all, this is traveling with children.

Day In The Life (With A Side Of Anxiety)

I turn the key in the ignition and grip the steering wheel; ten-and-two, as always. I breathe. No, I heave. Sigh. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

I relax.
Well, I try anyway.

I remind myself that this is a tight little spiral. Anxiety. Nothing is actually wrong. I haven't forgotten anything. Nobody is injured. I am just picking up my daughter from school, as usual. I am pulling away from the curb as usual. It is all okay.

In just a few minutes, Jonas will barge through the door, looking for the lunch I make for him most school days. Today we're having gravy-rice, perfect Jonas food. Though today, there may not be any such thing as perfect food for my son.

He's having a tough time this week; it's the end of the third quarter at school and he's flailing again. He's stressed and overwhelmed and just plain tired of having to function in high school. Remembering high school, I can't say that I blame him. But still, I have to nudge and push and force, if I have to.

Today Is Another Flaming Pile Of Shit (And That's Okay)

Yesterday was a tough, busy day filled with all sorts of exciting and not-so-exciting things and I was feeling it keenly. By the time Ian got home from work I was nearly incoherent with exhaustion so he sent me to rest while he made noodles to go with the experimental dinner I threw together. (Verdict: I'll make it again.)

On Candy Hearts and Birthday Parties

Today Iliana's preschool class is having their very cute, very exciting, Valentine's Day party. Thirty-five Fruit Roll-Up Valentines with Iliana's name on them are tucked into a little paper tote bag and hung up in her cubby. She is wearing the darling heart print dress that Nunu got her for Christmas, complete with heart print leggings and pigtails to make her look like OMG the cutest kid who ever kidded.

On Juggling, Transitions, and Not Liking Either

On Christmas morning, Jonas nearly dove under the tree to retrieve a very strangely shaped present.

"This one has been bugging me," he said. "I have to know what it is."

It turned out to be a juggling set; three red balls and an instruction booklet to walk him through it step-by-step. Judging by the look on his face, it wasn't the best gift he'd ever received. Maybe not even the thousandth best. That was kind of a bummer because I really thought he'd get into it. He'd mentioned juggling a few times before and always gets a kick out of watching Ian juggle. Well, out of watching Ian juggle and then drop stuff all over the floor.

Damn You, Ian, For Being Such a Good Father

I took a picture of Iliana's Elsa doll face down underneath the Christmas tree and posted it to Facebook with the caption "Elsa got way too drunk at the Christmas party" because haha subversive Disney princess humor, amirite? Then the cat licked the doll in the face and oh my god it's been a really long kind of terrible day and this is really good gin and everything is HILARIOUS right now. Shut up, I said terrible day, if laughing at plastic doll makes me feel better I'm going to take it, leave me alone.

One Hundred Word Wednesday: The Cutest Kindness

As I made lunch I became aware of telling silence. I called her name, a suspicious question.

“Yeah?” she answered like sugar.
“Whatcha doin'?” I both wanted to and didn't want to know.
“I make the kitty stay on the couch,” she answered proudly.

That could mean a lot of things, only a few of them any good.

“Please be nice to the kitty,” I pleaded, washing my hands quick as I could.
“I am,” she bellowed.

I stepped into the living room, unsure.

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