Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Missed Opportunity: George Clooney

Hey, remember when I was in a movie?  I just like to refer to it now and then.  I found an article the other day about the film student who directed the short I was in (Brantley Ping, in the hat in this photo), and there is a photo referring to me as "actor Serenity Bohon."  You know I bookmarked that baby.  After all, according to my 9-year-old (a couple posts earlier), it is one of the things for which I might eventually be famous. (You can see the article HERE, because I know you care.)

All of this brings me to today's small regret.  I could have been in a film with George Clooney, but I turned it down.  (Keep reading for the realistic version of that statement that was SO FUN to write).

Mom has this awesome knack for passing along information for opportunities that probably sound like torture to her but which she knows one or the other of us would love.  Enter a little ad she saw for extras in a George Clooney flick which would be filming at the St. Louis airport less than 4 hours from me.  

I read all about it - you get paid, I don't remember, eleven dollars a day or something.  And the days are hours and hours and hours beyond a normal work day (Okay, like 11 or 12).  But you're in a film with George Clooney.  (You see?  That logic alone would have gotten me in this film.  I AM their target audience.)  And, listen, I had a whole other reason that was pretty good too.  Research.

I'm writing a novel, and let's just say knowing what it actually feels like on the set of a major film, or at least what it feels like to be within several yards of an actor you've previously only seen up close in your movie cabinet at home, would be priceless firsthand information.  Unfortunately, I could have driven all the way to the audition only to find out I didn't get to take part.  OR, I could have driven all the way to the audition only to have to come back a second day.  This is hotel and gas money I didn't really have, what with the economy crashing around our heads, on the off-chance that I would actually be chosen.  I was practical, People.  And nobody ever got into a George Clooney movie BY BEING PRACTICAL.

So, I don't know if regret is the right word.  Those were some precious hours with my actual life that I don't really wish I'd given up.  Still, in a couple of years, George Clooney should appear in a film called Up in the Air (with Jason Bateman too - I've loved you in everything you've done, Mr. Bateman) in which he is a "corporate downsizer obsessed with collecting frequent flyer miles at the expense of having a life".  I'm thinking comedy more than dark drama.  But I'm pretty sure, I'll be the girl in the second to last row, crying.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I hope you dance

Another song title - I can't help it; they move me.  

This is just a little lesson from my journal sometime late fall/early winter of 1999, which some of you might remember as the best months of my LIFE, because they were the first few months of my motherhood.  I had started working from home that year too, and I was very happy in most things although as dramatic as ever in others.  One day I wrote in my journal while John Michael lay nestled on my bent legs - our favorite way to sit together.  And I wrote about how I was always penning the big emotions and giant dreams and plans but that someday, when I read my journal again, it might be interesting to me that John Michael was starting to grab at things and what movie we had watched the night before and that we'd decided to teach our kids to say "Papa" instead of "Daddy" because of cute little Emma Pihlstrom running through the Christmas tree farm calling her Swedish father that.

Last night I read the profiles for the American Idol contestants and loved the one who said that his goals in life were to be a good husband and father and to not have any regrets.  Eh?  You know we can see you on a reality television show designed to catapult you to vocal fame, right?  Of course he does.  But that's just the no regrets part.  He'll be okay if he's not catapulted to fame.  He just wouldn't be okay if he hadn't tried.

Then I downloaded I Hope You Dance to my iTunes today, a song I adore because of all the things it hopes you do every single day.  ("I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean" - LOVE THAT).  I have a lot of plans and dreams, but the goal is every day.  Because when you come to die, it's the way you lived those that you're going to care about - much more than how much can be written as your accomplishments.

Today, we hung out with our friend Zoe.  Jake is very into trains, and she happily played along.  She lives just down the street, and her mom is one of my best friends.  We probably won't always live just down the street from each other.  It's very cool, and I want to remember it.  

I also want to remember Michael and John right now.  They're watching the Mizzou game together.  I kind of care, but I just don't like to watch Michael yelling at those poor 19-year-old boys about their defense.  It makes me flinch for them.
And here's another thing Jake's into:  Apples.  He says it with Z's instead of P's, but he eats them clear down to the core - like scary close to eating the seeds, which I hear are poisonous.  It's especially cute because that dude rarely eats all of anything.

I won't normally tell you all my little details.  I just wanted to inspire you to take happy note of yours.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Here Comes the Sun

Do you know that song?  Here Comes the Sun?  In googling it, I just discovered it's a Beatles song, which reminds me of all those times as a kid when we would hear a song on the radio and say, "Hey that's from the McDonalds commercial!" - an aren't-they-cute-and-young moment that we share with our own kids now, only the songs are usually from Shrek.  It reminds me of that, because until just now I would have said "Here Comes the Sun" was from Parent Trap.  The remake.   

I heard it today and thought of Natasha Richardson in that movie when she and Lindsey Lohan share a mother-daughter moment in London.  It's very sunshiny, very happy, very alive.  And suddenly I was crying.  I felt so sad for Natasha's family.  When the announcement was made of her death, it came with that typical publicist-worded phrase about respecting the family's privacy.  I figure that mostly means photographers, but I still felt rude blogging about it or tweeting it on twitter when I am anything but family and that would hardly be privacy.  Today I can't help it though.  

I've recently reread a lovely book called Stepping Heavenward.  It's very old, but it has one of the more relatable Christian characters I've ever read.  Relatable to me at least.  Her name is Katy.  The book takes her from adolescence to motherhood and shows her Christian growth - as she herself would say.  She's desperate for Christian growth throughout the book.  She is always trying to know God better, or rather, to reflect Him more.  She has fits of almost unreal faith because of this - little euphoric moments of grace where she feels basically perfected.  I hate to admit those moments of hers are as relatable to me as her fits of unrest, of gloom, and of the conviction that she will never understand God's ways nor how to be a proper Christian. 

Katy has several seasoned Christians in her life, so the book is full of their helpful (if pious) monologues about the Christian walk.  I like them both - I like the religious statements because there are nuggets of true and attainable poetry in them, and I like the temper tantrums and the sorrow and the imperfection, because it's true.  I find life somewhere in the middle most of the time.  There is an odd celebration for suffering in the book that I don't quite understand.  I know it's straight bible to "rejoice that we are counted worthy" to suffer as Jesus did.  Still, when the seasoned woman said as much - how blessed she was by the death of every person she'd ever held dear because it drew her closer to God and shouldn't the younger woman in the same way cheerfully accept the sudden death of her fiance, I kind of wanted to crawl through the book and shush her.

That's not a kind of faith that I actually understand.  For one thing, if we suffer because we are counted worthy it seems to follow that those who glide on peacefully must not be held in high esteem by Him.  And don't think I'm reading too greatly into this - I can't think of any character in the book who doesn't suffer but is considered a seasoned Christian.  The rich and healthy people in the book are generally grumpy and ingenuous and shallow while the ones who pursue Him are continually losing health and family members!  The faith I have managed thus far is somewhere in between.  I don't think I could ever actually thank God if he took something from me so precious as a fiance or a child.  I don't really think I believe that God does such a thing.  I think death takes our loved ones from us, and God - thankfully - receives them on the other side.  

However, I've been through some things.  And I've watched wonderful people go through some things.  And I do believe that you can embrace the pain without losing your faith.  And if you do that, eventually, the sun comes back.  It eventually always does.  There will be better, happier times, and you will actually feel the happy.  That's the sun to me.  It's so hard to believe when it's cloudy, like it was at our house today when the song came on that made me think of Natasha Richardson's family.  I know they feel so dark today.  And I have a hard time believing that taking a mother from two teenage sons and a husband is just the best thing for all involved.  I think it's awful, and if it were me I'd have a little talk with God when I joined Him - it's great here and all, but WHY?  Still, even for the Richardson family, and although it might be a while - here comes the sun.  I've seen it happen, so I know it can.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

in which I totally break the rules

Remember chain letters?  Facebook does something kind of like that, only with question and answer games.  And instead of being promised thirty-six pages of stickers when it's over (or any hint of being doomed if you don't participate), it just promises that you'll learn new things about your facebook friends.  They're usually pretty entertaining, although I've never done one myself.  I figure blogging is enough talking about myself for one cyberworld - and twitter and all the sites I use for work.  Anyway, I also get hung up on the part where you have to tag people.  But there have been two I couldn't resist.  I played them but never posted them, and now I'm going to use my blog to exercise all kinds of "self-indulgent drivel" as Simon would say, and post the answers I want to.  

The first asked questions that you answered by the title of whichever iTunes song came up next when set on random.  That was a fun one, but most of the answers I think are only fun to me - after all, these are songs I've chosen because they mean something to me.  The answer to, "What is your life's purpose?", for instance, was The Way I Am and to "What is your life story?" - Made to Worship.  I did NOT like the answer to "What do your parents think of you?" (When Did You Fall) nor the song that will be played at my funeral, Happy Day.  :)  Feel free to refute the former, Mom.

I also couldn't resist the questions that your children were supposed to answer for you.  Some of these were awesome.  John's answers are first in black, Drew's in blue - the same order as their picture above.  (They're 9 and 7):

What was your mom like as a little girl?
A little girl.  Kind, nice.

If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
An actor or selling books.  Writing thousands and billions of books.

I couldn't believe they know exactly what I do for a job:
Works on a computer, works for this thing to persuade college students to go to these different places.  Works on the computer and entertains people by making them want to go different places like New York, and writing books.

What is your mom's favorite food?
Chicken chimichanga (correct).  Chicken fajita. (close)

What makes you proud of your mom?
She chases her dreams.  That she loves me.

If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Bugs Bunny - you're funny and you're smart.  Mrs. Bohon. (I will in the future consider this the identity of a super - like Mrs. Incredible.)

What do you and your mom do together?
We talk with each other a lot.  Talk by writing.

How are you and your mom the same?
Our eye color is the same.  We both love each other.

How are you and your mom different?
She has a job, and I don't.  I'm a boy, and she's a girl - I mean, WO-man.

How do you know your mom loves you?
She tells me that every day.  Because every night she kisses me and says, "I love you."

What does your mom like most about your dad?
He's funny and handsome.  They've known each other for a long time.

What is your mom's favorite place to go?
They BOTH answered, "Mexican restaurants."  Which reminds me that I'm hungry.

I am especially proud at how often I tell them I love them and John's completely awesome answer to what makes him proud of me.  The itunes answer to the question, "What do you want right now?" was, Better Life.  There could not be a more inaccurate answer than that.

(Although I do love that song because of how much I relate to it!  Ah, the complexities of any one person.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This might be the most fun I've had on blogger yet

A few things you should know about my mom:

First, this is a picture of her with my younger sister Charity, who really doesn't get pictured enough on my blog - so there you have it.  And here are some more things:

I get my love for writing from her.  I started writing books in the preteen years.  I always had the main character's home intricately mapped out, all of the family members named - first, middle, and poetic meaning - the back story outlined, then one quarter of the first chapter - usually with a cute teenage girl, a twerpy little brother (sorry, Joe, but that really reflects more on me than on you), and a mom in the home office clacking away on her typewriter.

She is the oldest - I mean - most mature woman I know with an actual crush on the man she's been married to longer than she was single.  Actual crush.  As in, "Isn't he cute?" and "I thought you should know this wonderful thing your father did today."

She is genuinely baffled that none of her children are famous yet - if not for a specific talent, than for sheer awesomeness.

She likes Diet Coke, chocolate, the Little Women soundtrack, sentimental gifts (this woman likes to cry, People), curling up with a magazine or a happy movie, her grandchildren, Christmas, and Dad (did I already mention him?).

She has a serious gift for the silver lining.  If she can't find one, she will MAKE ONE UP.  She believes in God's perfect timing, God's unfathomable mercy, and his perfect timing.  (It's one of the silver linings - it comes in handy a lot, believing in that one).

And, finally, SHE. HAS. A. BLOG.  This is her premier right here on my own blog!  Consider it graced with a red carpet and flashing with camera lights, and me wearing Oscar de la Renta.  She's actually quite the magazine writer aficionado, but she took a slight reprieve back in the day to rear us soon-t0-be famous people.  (That's right before she taught us that, yes, children are reared, not raised.  And that's because of her odd enjoyment for appropriate grammar.)  But you'll soon see more of her articles as she's re-dipping her toes into the world of freelance and, of course, taking it by storm.  

You can find her right here on blogger by clicking these pretty words: Kathy Nickerson.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

writerly advice . . . that I should take

I want to thank Lindsey Leavitt for this week's advice I've heard a million times but this time I think it actually sank in.  Since I started blogging, I've discovered the bottomless pit that is the writing community online.  It's seriously huge.  Although, it's also seriously small.  (Just like the world).  I'm always finding connections between people that I previously only knew un-connected.  And, anyway, while reading about writing and attending a couple of writing conferences, I've heard a few things more than once.  The reason they get said more than once is because they are true, and because we don't listen.  For instance, at the first conference I ever attended, a lovely children's book author said, "You have to write because you love it."  Not for any other reason - like, say, getting rich.  An agent the next year said, "Write what you love."  Or in another agent's words (heck, a million other agents' words), "Don't follow trends."  

This is all super helpful, right?  I'm sitting there all stressed out about whether or not the publishing industry is ever going to notice me, and all these people are putting the stars back in my eyes by reminding me that the joy has to come from the writing itself.  Or you'll always be very, very dissatisfied.  It worked every time, but still somehow my husband and I end up in conversations in which I'm trying to decide how to write about vampires since it appears that they sell well.  (I just hope my agent isn't reading this and thinking,  Dude, I wish you would give me something with vampires.  Because that would kind of step all over this highly insightful post.)  

So we have the conversation about vampires or witchcraft or sad, literary endings and then, inevitably, I'm re-focused by some great author or agent or editor who knows how to chill and enjoy the ride.  Now, usually their journey has sort of landed on a shelf somewhere at some point, but still - I have to assume they know, I'm convinced they're right, and it works every time.  This week's benefactress, as I said:  Lindsey Leavitt.

You can click on her name to visit an interview with her.  She's - well - simply delightful, and she has a book coming out about a substitute princess (a girl who steps in for princesses around the world), and she had this advice for writers.  "Write your heart out."  She said we get so caught up in the pursuit of publication that we forget to just write, write, write.  And unless you do that, there won't be anything to publish.  

NOW, if people would just stop telling me that we're not supposed to quit the day job, I would find it so much easier to put Lindsey's awesome advice into practice.  

Monday, March 16, 2009

life on the highway

When we visit my surgeon in Kansas City, we're actually in the Kansas side of the city.  And when we go, Michael likes to wear as many Mizzou clothes as possible.  This time it really paid off.  He got to talk sports with everyone from the waiter and waitress at Chili's to a stranger in the hospital hallway to my surgeon's residents.  (Not so much with my surgeon who apparently only appreciates sporting events for the beer and the ribs.  They serve ribs at KU games?)  Anyway.  I was really glad for all those takers, because I can't really carry on an actual conversation about basketball with Michael.  However, today I am really loving Missouri, and that's due in part to the Big Twelve conference champs - the Missouri Tigers.  Yes, I'm that kind of sports fan.  Give me a championship, and suddenly I'm really proud that you're more my team than anyone else and that I even attended a game in seats so close to the floor I was embarrassed by the length of the cheerleader's skirts.  So that's one reason I'm loving my state today.  Mizzou.  Rah.

Second - and this is far more in keeping with the normal tone of the blog - I am loving a good country highway, and Missouri is full of 'em.  I had some things to mull over today, and the mulling was so stifled in the monotony of the house where the cycle of trying to work while trying to parent Jake can eventually drive a person insane with its sameness.  Then Felic emailed with the very cool news that an old college friend would be eating with her in the town where she lives and works about an hour away.  I finished up the work I was doing, clocked out, and hit the road.  

There is nothing like a drive on country highway to clear the fog, except maybe time with my sister and parents, which is what I would find on the other end of the drive.  And I needed to clear the fog.  Technically, it didn't work.  I'm still a bit unclear on the job thoughts I was trying to settle.  But, oi vey, the change in perspective.  A long stretch of country highway makes me feel suspended between obligations.  Jake relaxed the whole way to a movie in the back seat, so I knew he wouldn't need anything the entire trip.  And somehow even in the age of cell phones, I feel unreachable on a drive.  At least, I feel like I let go of that feeling that I need to be available, constantly in contact with someone.  It's like an escape seeing nothing but trees, pasture, and highway behind you and nothing but more of the same ahead.  

I usually glamorize city life.  It sounds so cool to me to walk city blocks to work, have a favorite coffee shop two doors down, a hot dog stand nearby, and Chinese delivery every night.  But today I've got nothing but love for country highways, small towns, and Mizzou-Rah.  That's what a good long drive can do for a girl.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I've missed you, Kansas City

Tomorrow is check-up day.  There's nothing like a check-up at a "Sarcoma Institute" to help you relive that terrible day when you were told you had cancer.  That comes with all kinds of scary thoughts. But truthfully, I kind of like to be reminded.  That year was as poignant in its revelations as it was in terror, and the revelations are something I never want to forget.  I'm not terribly fond of the deep scar on my right shoulder either, but I don't notice it without reliving the good moments as well as the bad.

There's a wall of survivors at Dr. R's office with pictures of his patients - all smiley and grateful for him.  I've never remembered to send him one of me, but I'm thinking something like this one - since Jake was such a part of our miracle.  The first time we took Jake to one of my checkups, other patients noticed him so sadly because they were afraid he was the one with the disease.  We were happy to tell them otherwise.  

Other patients there make me sad too.  I always say to Michael, "This is one waiting room in which you really don't want to see even one other person."  Instead, it's usually crowded.  I especially hate it if the patient seems new.  We regulars have a certain confidence and happiness because we've been through the gauntlet and come out all brightened and re-prioritized about our lives.  The new ones are so sad though, because they don't know how it will go for them.  This disease is very unpredictable, so I don't know how it will go for them either.  And I hate it. 

But I didn't start this post to be sad.  Like I said, it doesn't make me sad to be reminded of my cancer.  It makes me something else - it's kind of proud, kind of grateful - but with a painful little edge that hopes I never have to be this proud or grateful again.  Mostly, I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  We don't have the kind of budget that would create bi-yearly trips to Kansas City just for the heck of it.  And I love that drive so much.  I love the uninterrupted time with Michael and the long stretch of Missouri highway that's really only good for two things - conversation and happy thoughts.  So I'm going to revel in it.  On the way down we'll talk about our jobs and our plans and our kids.  I'll be nervous for the last thirty minutes or so before I see Dr. R. and breathe a sigh of relief (he doesn't have to say anything - I swear his presence just emits some sort of emotional Valium), and then we'll eat somewhere cool and on the way home we'll call the moms and the grandmas and then talk about how great life's going to be from here on out.  The whole thing is really much more treat than torture.  It's a wonderful feeling to be followed that closely for signs of recurrence, and an even better feeling when they Don't. Find. ANY.

(P.S.  Thank you, Grandma Jane, for giving the kids something much more fun to do than a drive and a waiting room.  It's really hard to keep Jake out of the rippling fountain next to the sign-in desk.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I learned to dance from a cowboy

Last night's Dancing with the Stars theme was for me, "What a trouper."  (Is it trouper or trooper?)  Because with almost every contestant, I would make this little nurturing sound and say that phrase.  With some it was just because this was their first time, and you could see their nerves begging them to stay in that stupid low-ceilinged room rather than subject themselves to that pressure.  But they went out on that stage anyway, knowing the judges would criticize everything from their wayward bums to their gymnastic arms to their toe leads AND knowing that there was no possible way the majority of the American viewing audience could have any idea just how difficult it is to master the steps, the form, the choreography, and the emotion of the dance and manage to capture all of it at once.  Seriously, we have no idea.

But besides simply the first time jitters, there were two contestants who had exactly two days to learn the dance, because they were replacements for those who were injured.  ONE of these last minute replacements was dumped by her fiance on The Bachelor on national television only one week ago.  I was just as impressed with her pretty dancing and subsequent comeback to life as ABC's marketing department intended for me to be.  (Even though the poor thing tried to tell us she is fine.)  And then there was the cowboy.  

The cowboy is Jewel's husband, and the plan was that they would be the first married couple competing against each other.  Then Jewel got hurt, and this poor shy cowboy is left all by himself on this national television program known foremost for its fake tans and sequined costumes.  I really felt for this guy.  He was so gentlemanly and unassuming, taking the criticism so bravely and stating without any sense of self-preservation, "I was very nervous out there.  And I'll try to do better next time."  Michael groaned when I suggested that we watch the show at all, but by the time the cowboy had danced Michael was watching with at least one eyeball and demanded someone get that poor man a horse so he could feel more comfortable.

So, obviously, they've sucked me in again with their colorful costumes and pretty music, and as always - though more noticeable this season - their bravery.  Maybe it's not the kind of bravery you care to have in life.  I definitely get that.  Learning to move your hips is probably a long way from your bucket list.  But I still say there's something to learn from all that dancing.  And for me, last night, it was all about being brave.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I meant to give you a happy post for Monday, but then we went to the dentist

For the first day of Spring Break, I took my children to the dentist.  Worst vacation plan EVER.  

For Jake it was a nice change since he just got to play in the kids room the whole time.  It wasn't too bad for me either; I got to catch up on People after all.  And neither of the boys had cavities, which is very cool.  But then she told me they need sealants - which is just another appointment really, nothing major.  And she talked about the potential orthodontia in our future.  About five minutes before that I had looked up from my magazine and told Jake, "I don't want to be here anymore."  It must have been my subconscious warning me of what was to come.  I made the appointments for the sealants and was then bombarded with questions from the boys in the car about how much braces hurt. 

I was silent for a very long 20 seconds or so.  I had flashbacks to seventh grade when they put my top braces on in two steps and I actually had to go to school with just the brackets glued to my teeth one day - no wire connecting them.  It looked ridiculous and people told me so.  Then I had flashbacks to the pain - oh the pain.  I almost cried thinking of the way it feels when they first put them on you and you feel your head is being squeezed from the inside out by sharp metal.  "It only hurts for a day or so after they first put them on," I told the boys reassuringly, and then the flashbacks to the monthly checkups.  And I was almost crying again.  Dear God the checkups.  The memory of the twisting and tightening of the wires made me squirm in the driver's seat while I tried to figure out how to answer them.  And then the maddening disappointment of getting out of school to ride 30 minutes to the orthodontist and then to get to eat out at a restaurant only to discover you can't eat the food because it hurts too horribly to bite down.  And then the day that I actually had to return to school with rubber bands from the front top teeth to the bottom.  No teenager should have to endure this.  That's what I was thinking in the car while these scenes were bombarding my mind like the memory of some distant torture and my children were hanging on my every word trying to prepare themselves for the inevitable.  

What was I thinking having children?  We barely survive our own little traumas, and then we bring children into the world and have to go through it all over again with them.  The braces, the embarrassments, the unrequited love.

Yes, this is what going to the dentist got me today.  Not one single pleasant update about Brad or Jen.  Not even the Disney World picture of Tom, Katie, and Suri made up for the trauma of those flashbacks to braces.  If there were ANY way to keep my children from that barbaric practice, I'd do it.  Since I can't, look for two crying people to emerge from the orthodontist's office in a few years - a good looking boy and his poor, sad mother literally feeling his pain.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

live every day on purpose

So you know I recently discovered yoga.  Our family doctor recently re-
commended it to my parents, and I considered that the final confirmation I needed that it's definitely enriching my life.  I love to see new faces in the class I take.  I feel so happy for them that they're about to discover the magic.  

And then, the other day I wrote about hot tea, which I don't do every day - but I was so not kidding about how sold I've become on its healing powers.  And I can't wait to try all the flavors you recommended! (Are they flavors or brands? I think I'll figure it out . . .)

I noticed at some point around the start of this blog that writing at least one little piece of something before I go to sleep at night can make that whole day seem fully lived.  A director from one of my favorite DVD commentaries (I love those things) said that his parents taught him to "do something creative every day."  I love that guy's parents.  And I totally agree with them.

I hope you have things like that - things that you find when you do them you're not just getting through life but actually living it.  There aren't very many of these things I manage to do every single day without fail, but if I hit on one or two of them, it brings the whole day out of its forgettable state.  And this post is about another good every-day activity: Dancing.

I learned about it from Kris Carr.  She stars in the documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer, about her determination to find natural ways to prolong her life despite a terminal diagnosis of untreatable cancer.  One thing I remember her saying in the documentary is that she dances every day.  She turns on music in her kitchen, living room - wherever she is - and she just moves to it.  You can imagine, in light of this post, how much immediate sense that made to me.

Of course, I don't do it every day.  But when I do - I feel way better.  It's easy to find music in this house worth moving to.  If it's not on my iTunes, then it's playing behind the credits of the last movie we watched.  Or if I'm really lucky, it's playing IN the movie - and we can "Brazzle Dazzle Day" our way to health with Nora and Pete on Pete's Dragon.  (Jake's love for this movie is easily one of my favorite things about him.  That movie is like a little cup of sunshine.)  And, I gotta say, although I can learn a dance without too much stress, I can't remember them later.  So it's not like I have a repertoire of awesome moves in my internal soul library.  So when I say "dance", I mean move happily to the beat.  Or not even to the beat.  Just move.  It is so liberating.  I like to do it in the kitchen while I'm cooking or unloading the dishwasher, in front of a movie (as mentioned) with Jake, or all alone in front of the bathroom mirror with the chaos of motherhood locked on the other side.  I like swaying to a slow one, kicking it with a happy one - it all works.  And convinces me every time how right that woman was.   

Every day: Do something creative and just move it.  What's on your list?  Which part of the day makes you feel most alive?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

you can't get anything by this guy

This is Jake (with his cousin Jude on the left), and I chose this picture because it's pretty much the look he gave me this morning (or perhaps himself in the mirror) when plotting his behavior for the Parents as Teachers representative.  

I had imagined the best and worst case scenarios of how he would behave that were well within his range of predictability, and he plopped himself squarely in the worst column.  He basically refused to participate in the game she brought.  And it wasn't that he wanted something else.  It was more like he had us totally figured out and so was not going to let us enrich his life today.  He kept looking into my eyes like he was trying to get me to CONFESS that I was worried about him and brought some other woman over to make him roll squishy dice and count blocks.  "Come on, Mom.  What's really going on here?  I never saw you play dice and blocks on the floor with another adult before."  If we had a code word for run, he was looking for me to say it.  And when I wouldn't, he ran anyway.

But none of that really fazed me considering why she was sitting in my living room with blocks in the first place.  It happened - last week I think?  When I looked up from my computer where I work basically all day, and he was watching a movie - which he does, basically all day - and I never felt more sure of anything than that I wanted to add some stimulation into BOTH of our lives.  I love working from home, and I'm probably far more passionate about it than Michael is thrilled with - because I've never really struck it rich here.  But it's got its downfalls just like anything else, and currently that downfall is the feeling that perhaps I HAVE NO LIFE.

So when the Parents as Teachers girl told me today that the expectation for language is that we would understand 90% of what a child says by the time they are 4, I breathed a big fat sigh of relief.  That might seriously be possible with a child who can pretty much communicate all his desires with a word (or its simpler descriptive friend) at this point and even answer the question, "What is your name?" in a semi-complete sentence.  But the greater thrill for me was the spice it added to our day.  Another face!  New toys!  Interaction from the outside world!  I needed that.  And I feel better for having given it to him.  Even if he did keep expecting the code word. (If only we'd had a code word for Dude, I'm pretty sure we're graded on participation here.  Just play with the blocks already.)  Maybe I'll work on that for next time.