Monthly Archives: October 2015

For LD…

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My dear friend and her family came over for dinner tonight. They’re the ones, when people say, “Wow! Three kids in a two bedroom apartment? That’s crazy!” I say of whom, “Oh, yeah? Well, some of our closest friends have four kids in a two bedroom apartment. Two bunkbeds, one room, just like that, bam, bam, bam, bam.”

So, there were seven kids seven and under at my “house” tonight. We were four adults helping the children regardless of to whom they belonged. We asked help of each other’s spouses because they were closer. We took shifts at dinner. And, amid the chaos, over the course of two hours, my friend and I managed to hold a disjointed conversation about how healthy it is to have more kids than we can handle.

Why? Because it keeps you humble. And keeping humble keeps you needing, needing God, needing neighbors. It’s great for her because she has to say no to some things that she might otherwise let define her. And it’s great for me because it takes me into community and out of my house where I would be very content to be defined by the pretty stories in my mind. It keeps us dependent on something else to define us, someone else. It keeps us needing Jesus.

It keeps our kids needing Jesus, too. Because, Hey-O!, no way I can address every single concern these kids have throughout the day. My daughter asked me today to bring her the glue from the desk. I was like, “You’re sitting next to the desk.”

It teaches them a little more independence because Mom “just can’t even”. And, I have to let them (pour their own milk!) because I “just can’t even”.

It also keeps you poorer. I mean, let’s call a spade a spade, people. And that keeps us in a healthy state of examination. How badly do I want this pair of socks?

And the judging. You can forget about the judging. Everyone should be overwhelmed to the point that they can no longer judge, very healthy.

All this to say, I think we comforted each other tonight. And for all of you out there who can’t have the overwhelming leagues of children you would like to have for one reason or another, let me just say to you that we, the overwhelmed, are thankful, know we should be thankful, and are trying desperately to be thankful all at the same time.

Love to all the Mommas tonight.

Harriet…

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Let me tell you about my friend Harriet. I met her at the bus stop coming home from Mom’s group last summer. She’s an older woman whom you might call petite if you hadn’t yet had the privelege of talking to her. She wears gigantic sunglasses, boy cut hair dyed ink black, and almost always a leopard print blazer with significant shoulder pads. Any normal person would be dwarfed by the ensemble, but not Harriet.

We began talking over my children, little conversation straters that they are, and kept chatting like this, at the bus stop, five minutes every Wednesday for a few months. She used to want to be an actress. But she became a mother and dreams changed. She became the writer of a TV show for kids and had a wonderful long career. She reminds me every time she sees me that my path might change from what I want, what I expect, but to keep writing, keep at it.

I hadn’t seen her in months. But the other day, there she was, leopard print blazer over mauve velvet pants.

“How are you doing, Harriet?”
“I’m 79.”
“Yeah?” I say.
“Well I’m feeling old. I’m suddenly old. I was middle aged for a long time but now I’m old.”
“How old were you when you began feeling middle aged?” I asked.
“27.”
“27?!”
“Yes.”
“So, what age was your zen age?” I asked, “At what age did you say, ‘ok, I’m here, finally, I am how old I feel.”
“70.”
“70?!”
“Yeah.”
“So, everybody caught up and just stopped caring,” I said.
“Exactly right,” she said, “Everybody finally stopped caring with me.”

So, take Harriet’s word for it, my people. There’s hope.

I Did it All For the Cruffin…

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I was meeting a friend for a business coffee. She suggested we meet at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse on Larkin. I walked into the office and laid down my bags.
“So, I’m meeting someone at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.”
Coworker A’s body appeared around the wall of my cubicle.
“Have you ever had their cruffin?” she asked.
“Cruffin?” I said.
“Have you ever been there?” she asked.
Coworker B’s face appeared over the top of the wall, “I hear the cruffins are amazing.”
Coworker A continued, “Alright, here’s the deal. There are two lines. The cruffin line and the non-cruffin line. But they only make the cruffins at certain times.”
“Really?” says coworker B.
“Nine o’clock is when the first batch of cruffins come out.”
“Well, I’m meeting her at nine,” I say.
“Alright, the only thing I haven’t loved there is the sushi croissant.”
“Sushi croissant?!” Coworker B and I say together.
“I LOVE the sushi croissant!” yells Coworker C from the kitchen.
“Do you?” asks Coworker A.
(long conversation about the attributes of the sushi croissant)

So, I walked the two blocks to Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. It was a store just bigger than the double doors that opened into it, covered in white subway tiles, with a pink neon sign taking up a whole wall that said, “I got baked in San Francisco”. And there was the cruffin line drawing itself down the block. Well, what would you do if there was a line like that waiting for a mysterious pastry named the “cruffin”?.

I stood in line for the cruffin. They bake one kind a day. That day it was a cruffin with caramel custard and homemade marshmallows. It was very good. I was only in line fifteen minutes which seemed pretty reasonable considering the number of people who stopped by the line and asked how long we’ve been waiting.

I’m not a food photo-taker. In fact, I only thought of it after the cruffin was gone. “Oh, I should’ve taken a picture!” But I hadn’t, and that’s why I write things like this, because I fail to take pictures. This blog is my thousand word picture.

In Which Barbara Fails at Stop, Drop, and Go…

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Our elementary school is very proud of their student drop off program, “Stop, Drop, and Go”. Last year I didn’t participate at all. This year I decided to sign up for a shift. The shifts go from 7:30 to 7:55 and you stand in a line wearing an orange vest and open car doors for students.

In those 25 minutes of my shift these things happened:
• I was ten minutes late and had to wear the bum vest that wouldn’t velcro.
• I discovered it was National Walk-to-School Day and opened only five doors as most everyone walked or biked past me.
• I mortally offended a middle schooler by opening the door for her. I attempted to provide a balm by saying, “Oh, no, of course you’re much too old to go here.” It didn’t help.
• I couldn’t close a minivan door, the woman repeatedly yelling at me, “Lift it up! Lift it up!”
• A boy and a girl hopped out. The mom yelled, “I love you!” I told the girl to tell her mother she loves her. The girl said, “She’s not my mother! She’s a carpool!”

[Barbara bows. Mic drop.]