Category Archives: musing

On Main Street

Current rental sitch….

When I was in my junior year, I got in an accident right out in front of the High School.

A driver decided to run a stop sign and drove into the passenger side of my car without so much as slowing down. I jumped out, adrenaline racing, screaming at her “Why didn’t you stop!? My friend’s little sister is right in my passenger seat! You could have hurt us!!!” (I distinctly remember saying “my friend’s little sister, even though she was only a year younger than us, also very much my friend as well.)

Her answer was that she saw the stop sign, but didn’t stop. K

There we were, right as all the traffic was coming out of the school, blocking one of the busiest intersections on Main street while I sent someone to call the police.

It took a bit, but here came the officer up the street from the police station to sort things out, and the other motorist’s face went from a look of determination to disappointment when I burst into tears, called the officer by name and sobbed into his hug “she hit me and Sara in my jeep, Bart!!”

So off she went to get her ticket, and off I went to start the process of dealing with filing a claim with her insurance, etc. With a LOT of help from my dad.

And so it was… 20-something years later, on Halloween evening, that was sitting at a stoplight on that same Main Street, in my jeep, waiting for a red light to change.

When suddenly, the motorist behind me decided it was time to go. And so he did. Into the back of the Keri-mobile at the still very much red light.

This time no one was in the car with me. This time when I jumped out there wasn’t any screaming – I just said “are you ok? Do you have your insurance info?” And dialed the police non-emergency number.

But it was not-at-all lost on me, the eerie feeling of déjà vu, as I stood there waiting next to my injured Jeep, in the intersection on Main, for a hometown police officer to arrive, thanking the people who stopped to make sure we were ok. Even car crashes in your hometown spark memories.

Information exchanged and reports complete, off I went to take Jr trick-or-treating before starting the claim process (I did refrain from calling my dad for an assist this time, although I had to stop myself a few times – insurance stuff sucks!)

All involved with both of those accidents were fortunate to walk away with damage to vehicles, and not the people inside them, and as so-very-often happens to me now, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratefulness at the sense of community that has lasted all of these years as my little town has grown (and grown, and GROWN.)

We bundled up and walked the neighborhood in the cold Colorado twilight of Halloween, and of course I got misty eyed watching my son with his friends, and laughing and shivering along with our neighbors.

We are so lucky to be here in this wonderful place with these wonderful people.

(So neighbors – go easy on the Colorado native driving the economy rental with Kansas plates, it’s all the insurance company would spring for!)

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Mother of a day

Mothers’ Day is interesting as a concept…. And even more interesting as a reality. (Amirite, Moms? Where my sisters at?)

I always talk big about it in the lead up – “Mothers’ Day is coming, so maybe you can get your own stuff together in your Lacrosse backpack and give mom a break this weekend, eh?” “Mothers’ Day is tomorrow, so how about if you wake up in the middle of the night, you head straight to Daddy’s side of the bed and let Mommy sleep this once, maybe?” It’s Mothers’ Day, so how about when you see NeNe and Pop pull into the neighborhood, you come right back in from playing with the neighborhood gang and wash up so we can have brunch without me having to belllow down the street like a loon?”

This is all pointless. This will not happen. This is just not how things will ever be…..

Bright and early last Saturday morning, Jr trotted off to walk Binky-the-wonder-dog with The Mr, and when the Mr. and Binky returned, Jr did not. He was off on his scooter or skateboard or bike, playing with his friends. No Lacrosse prep made for his practice and game later that morning. No no no.

But later that day, when him and I were having our typcial mother/son Saturday lunch date, his little freckles were blinging away as he gazed up at me and I kinda forgot that we had a total smackdown about getting all his crap to the field earlier…

And much later, in the wee small hours of a newly-begun Mothers’ Day, at 1-something a.m., Jr did NOT direct his attention to his father’s side of the bed… instead he trolled around until he found me – not on my side of the bed, but where I had decided to stay after falling asleep on the sofa in front of the TV in the family room. He woke me out of a dead sleep by sticking his pale, wide-eyed face as close as he could, and tapping me ON MY FACE and then I demonstrated to him just how high an aging woman can jump when provoked. I confess I started my statement to him with “oh buddy no no nope, it is dad’s turn, bro!” Then we went and he made me wake The Mr to lay with him, because getting me up = good, getting dad up = not. (Side note, I still did it, and I slept the sleep of a woman who made a good damn choice, yo.)

At the exact crack of dawn (ok, it may have been 6:30 am, BUT STILL,) Jr was up and asking when Nene and Pop would arrive for brunch. Hint – NOT at 6:30 in the dang a.m… Just sayin’.

I swore this year I would keep brunch simple since, while I love to treat my mom on Mothers’ Day, I also love to not have a lot to worry about on Mothers’ Day so this was the spread:

Lox, roast beef, bagels, fruit, and a steady supply of coffee, juice, mimosas, and morning mules.

It was perfect – especially since it did INDEED take much convincing to get Jr to come in from playing outside and sit and eat with us.

Sigh.

I would LOVE to say that when it came time to take mom (dat’s me) out for her early bird Sunday dinner at her favorite fried chicken joint, he came willingly running home ready to spend some quality time.

But lying is wrong, and he was a total pill about it because even HOURS AND HOURS of playing outside isn’t enough at this point. (Don’t get me wrong – playing is good. So is family time….and eating. And not making mom hangry on Mothers’ Day.)

So midway to the restaurant we had to have a “pull the car over and get serious about it” talk from Dad about how the rest of the day was going to go down – and dinner was yummy, though a little bit pouty at times from one side of the table.

BUT THEN – bedtime rolled around and we started reading my favorite book from when I was in 3rd grade (which he will be in fall,) Superfudge.

#judyblume4eva

He was howling with laughter along with me, which was kind of really totally awesome.

And when we had read our chapter of that book, and moved on to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (our current “fall asleep to it book”,) he rolled over, sighed, and fell asleep like this.

And much like the Grinch that is still his bedtime buddy, my heart grew three sizes that day…

Another ride on the Mothers’ Day emotional roller coaster completed without running off the rails, and just like all the best rides it was a total hair raiser that scares the heck out of you, and leaves you grinning from ear to ear at the end.

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The Gooball Story

Recently I met a fellow busy mom (to clarify, ALL MOMS are busy moms,) for a much needed  coffee-and-catch up session.  The craziness of Jr’s 2nd grade school year has combined with an amazing year of challenging and fulfilling growth for me in my role at work, and all the other stuff-of-life that we all experience, creating a whirlwind that carried the whole family from late summer and into the holiday season in a blink.

I was glad to stop and take a breath and spend some time with my friend and a large sugar free hazelnut latte, and somehow our conversation turned to school fundraisers, which quickly led into fundraiser prizes, which brought us to the dreaded goo ball.

Do you know the goo ball?  My dear friend, who always seems to me to be the textbook example of composed super-mom, started into a story about her daughter bringing home this racquetball-sized squishy, sticky ball made of a material that allowed it to stick to whatever it was thrown at, and crawl down slowly.

“OH THE GOO BALL!! ”  I shouted, probably a little too loudly for the quiet of the coffee house we were in, “I know the damn goo ball…. I have A Story about the goo ball!!!”

“I HAVE A STORY ABOUT THE GOO BALL!!” she exclaimed (also loudly… I bet they don’t wish we could come in every day at that coffee shop.)

Both of our stories involved the aforementioned goo ball becoming stuck, seemingly permanently, to a very high ceiling, and the ensuing circus that unfolded in an effort to get the damn thing down.

Mine was a harrowing tale involving The Mr at the tippy top of an extension ladder trying to swat at the devil ball with various poking devices while I held the ladder up at the bottom.  Spoiler alert, I can’t hold The Mr up and the ladder slid all the way down, taking my legs out from underneath me as The Mr rode it the whole way down the wall until we were both in a heap trying to see if the other was ok.

Fun facts to know and share – goo balls stain.  Significantly.  Along with the dark goo smudge on my ceiling, I also have a front entry table with “goo ball marks” all over the bottom shelf…  a greesy reminder of hard-learned goo ball lessons.

As we told our stories and described the many and varied household items we used to try and dislodge the nightmare “prizes” from our respective ceilings, we howled with laughter and clutched on to each other, caught up in the camaraderie  created by the mutual understanding of such a ridiculous situation.

It was just what I needed. It was perfect.

Over the coming days as I told other moms in my world about the conversation and how hard we laughed and how perfect it was, I learned that having a goo ball story is actually FAR from a unique experience.  Turns out those suckers have haunted the homes of almost every mom I know.   Somehow knowing this gave me an even bigger sense of renewed connection within my mom village.

Momming (yep, it’s a verb,) can be isolating at times.  It can feel like no other person is going through just what you are going through as you guide and root for and love and prod and sometimes yell your offspring through their days… everyone else seems to have it together.   It can SEEM that way.

But really?

Really we are all just trying to figure out how to hide our goo ball stain.

 

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May Day vs Mayday!

I used to love May Day.  Bulbs blooming, grass getting green, days at least STARTING to try and get a little longer…..  the promise of summer relaxation looming, full of promise, on the horizon.  Oh yeah.

But when you are a parent, May Day becomes more like MAYDAY!!

There is so much to do – May is the moment that the insanely big wave of all the parental shit you are doing finally breaks, and washes over you… grab something and hold the f*ck on, or be sucked out into the sea of trying to wrap up a school year while simultaneously plotting an entire summer AND making sure you have everything you need in place for the coming school year.

MAYDAY MAYDAY, we have a mom down! Send coffee!! Send wine!!  Throw up some shameless bargaining prayer!!

Every time I open my email, I find a new deluge of invitations for end-of-year school year activities, and forms to fill out for summer day camp, and even more forms for the coming fall, and (the worst) an unending supply of notices regarding MORE fees for said summer and fall.

All of the flat surfaces in our house are covered in forms and notices and finished products, with a fresh new hell of paper added to the pile each evening when Jr’s backpack explodes in a crapstorm that leads me to believe nightly that “this must’ve been the big day for sending stuff home.”  But no…. no no…  Silly, silly Keri.   Tomorrow’s pile will make you long for the smaller size of today’s.

The entire last 3 weeks leading up to the final day of the school year is an m-f-ing blur.  It is like I KNOW the days must actually be passing, but I can’t remember where they go.

A great example of this is that I actually started writing this the week BEFORE May Day.  As in, May 1st.  But then I blinked, got buried in a backpack paper explosion, and OH LOOK, it is May 15th.

This past weekend I cooked brunch for my parents to celebrate Mothers’ Day – and part of that “celebration” included 20 minutes where we all poured over our summer calendars, marking out all of the things we already KNOW are happening – followed by scrutinizing the leftover dates to see where we can wedge in other things that we all need or want to happen.

When did summer turn into something I need project management software for!?

Not to mention the last week of school that is roaring up on us – otherwise known as “the week Keri is going to office in her car in the school parking lot,” evidently.  I think there is at least one family participation activity a day for us in Jr’s class from now until the end of school.   There needs to be some sort of “emergency May mom clone” that we can all keep in the basement storage closet and just charge her up to trade off conference calls and field days…  family picnics and reconciliation reports….  appreciation teas and power points… and play performances and making meals and permission slip completion and new hire intros and sports physicals and laundry and bank file approval and swimming lessons and magazine submissions and carpool and HVAC tune ups and bedtime story books and ……

MAYDAY MAYDAY!!!!

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overwhelmed.

I can’t remember the last time all the flags weren’t at half-staff.

This is not at all what I wanted to write today – not at all anything I want to have to say.

But it is true.  It struck me, ironically, on the MORNING of February 14th as I drove past our area’s city and county government buildings, and then also by 2 schools.   The flags were half-raised, and I thought to myself that I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a flag raised to the top of a pole.

We are a nation always in mourning, it seems.  And within a few hours of my trip through town, our mourning would be renewed.

Maybe “compounded” would be a better word than “renewed,” as it seems now to come not in waves that ebb and flow, but instead in quick hailing succession that floods our collective soul in an endless, bottomless ocean.

The deluge is crushing.  It overwhelms.

That is the truest word I have.  It overwhelms me.

Hearing and speaking the truth that in 2018 there have been so many shootings AT SCHOOLS in our country overwhelms me. (Evidently we have reached a place where we also have to split hairs over WHAT TYPE of gun use on a school campus actually qualifies as a “school shooting,” which overwhelms me.)

Seeing my 6 year old not-so-much scared anymore as angry and indignant – hearing him tell me that someone should fix it because “Spiderman says that with great power comes great responsibility” and even he, AT fucking SIX YEARS OLD knows we are falling down on the damn job as country overwhelms me.

Coming to grips every second of every school day from the time  I pull into the tuck and roll hug and go circle and watch him walk toward the school – a little life I have the sworn universal directive to protect with every fiber of my being – that in spite of all his amazing teachers and administrators do, something beyond horrific may happen to him because that is now-more-than-EVER-before a possible truth cripplingly, awfully, and completely overwhelms me.

It makes it hard to leave his sweet, sleeping self in bed each night after our chapter of Harry Potter, so I lay in the half-dark of his superhero night light, watching him so quiet and calm and begging every power in the universe to protect him.

It steals my thoughts during business calls – leaving me wondering what he and his sweet little classmates are thinking and feeling and doing during their days –if they are safe physically, but also if any hearts are hurting, or feelings are ignored….

Or if any of the multitudes of intricacies that make up the growing little people in his class and his school are maybe going quietly unnoticed or being harmed  – and what can I do, and what can we as community do, and a country, and why are we not talking about it, and WHY THE FUCK ARE WE NOT ALL SHOUTING ABOUT IT EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL OUR KIDS DAMNIT WHY WHY WHY!?

So yeah.  I am overwhelmed.

Scared, and angry, and sad, and confused, and desperate, and mortified, and tired, and brokenhearted, and in pain, and incensed, grieving, and raging, and lost…

Overwhelmed.

But fighting.  For him, and for always…Fighting like hell.

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