Wednesday, December 2, 2015

An Evening Without Flash

Sometimes good, honest intentions get ambushed, hijacked and go on to crash and burn. 

Case in point: 
I responded to my husband’s interesting comments about my clean-out-the-freezer meal plan by preparing his least favorite meal of all time. Just because I could.
Only to realize – after 45 minutes at 350º - that I forgot to cover the chicken (yep, I took it that far) and rice dish with foil. 
At minute 46 the chicken was baked but I nearly broke a tooth on uncooked rice. 
I got out the foil and covered the already-done dish and baked it. 
At 350º.
It was the worse, toughest, driest chicken/crow I’ve ever eaten. 
He didn’t even ask for seconds. 
And I have no plans of making it again. 
I think – as I sit down and type this out – he won.


I crashed & burned again just yesterday. 
Last evening Cody and I spent time with one of the best individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. He prefers cats with three legs because they’re easier to catch and has no fear when feeding the mature bulls and wears a raccoon cap anywhere he goes. 
He’s Oscar. 
And two. 
And our nephew. 

My grand idea, knowing we’d have him on a “blog night”, was to track the little critter with a Nikon around my neck and capture his every move throughout our farm. His curiosity. His mannerisms. His ability to echo each word spoken by an adult. EEK

But then I got caught up in the laughing and the “did you hear what he just said?” and the simply watching him and no longer wanted to focus a camera - or even record a perfect ten-second snap chat. 

I studied his little, cold hands. Surprisingly rough for a two-year-old. I gave him gloves but they really just hung off his tiny paws and hindered his cowboy ways. 
I watched him study Cody’s actions and saw him try to emulate his every move. Both entertaining and terrifying. 

I wanted to enjoy the evening with our buddy, and darn it, I did. 
Not having a kid-equipped house, we stacked him on top of 19 various Journals and hard cover Angus history books, pushed him to the big kid table and fed him pizza with extra sauce. 
Then spent the first ten minutes into the showing of Rudolph by cleaning pizza sauce off of 19 various Journals and hard cover Angus history books.

We had a great night. He's growing so fast. I'll miss him asking me to hold his hand. 

You’ll get no Oscarisms today or even a photo collection of his blonde adventures. 
Instead, words that have stood the test of time and technology.

No More Oatmeal Kisses
A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome, that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"

Okay. One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!" And they will. Or, "you guys get outside and find yourselves something to do...and don't slam the door!" And they won't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy: bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on their shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way." And it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company." And you'll eat it alone.

You'll say, "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms. No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps. No more clothespins under the sofa. No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent. No more sand in the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathroom. No more iron-on patches, rubber bands for ponytails, tight boots or wet knotted shoestrings.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby-sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings. No car pools. No blaring radios. No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night. Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?" and the silence echoing, "I did."

And to think:
Erma wrote this long before 
the children in front of us had to compete 
with the devices we keep between us.

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