Archive for December, 2006

Unlikely Angels

A day of shopping with children is worse than a bullet to the head. (I don’t actually know this. I’ve never been shot in the head, but I wish I had been on Thursday.) The wind blew, the snow fell, and roads were icy, and for reasons still unclear, I ventured into the storm in search of ballet shoes with three kids – none of whom are independent enough to get themselves into or out of the car without my undivided assistance.
“Ok guys, get in the car.” Pause.
“Come on. Actually lift up your leg and place your foot in the car, then hoist the rest of your body up and sit in the seat.” Pause.
“Let’s go! It’s cold, and I have two more of you to get in.” Pause.
Grab child by scruff of coat and jam into booster seat. Balance baby on hip, half-hearted yell at other child to get out of traffic, battle with petrified hermit seatbelt, dodge grey slushy spray from car parking in next spot.
I hate that wet ring you get on the bottom of your pantlegs during winter. The longer you’re out the higher it creeps up the back of your legs. And jeans get so cold and stiff when you’re getting gas in sideways snow. I try to stand so still that my pants won’t touch my legs at all.
Anyway, in and out of the car, in and out of the store, back in the car and out again, in another store, back out, in the car, out at home, then unload. Shopping is redundant bliss.
We always visit the bathroom first thing upon entering any new store. We bring the shopping cart and all because the baby has to sit somewhere while I unbuckle and buckle belts and wipe off nasty seats and give lifts to reach the soap and water. Fortunately, Wal-Mart has made their bathrooms nearly big enough to accomodate this.
Thursday a saint of a woman offered to stand with my kids while I relieved myself. I always end up holding it, when I’m out with the kids.
“Evelina, are you done? Wash your hands and stand by the cart with David while I go.”
“. . .”
“No, Evelina once is enough. Come stand with him, I really need to go.”
“. . .”
“I’m sure your hands are dry. Come over here, please. Don’t climb the shopping cart. Just stand. NO. Don’t pull David out by his legs! Just stand by him.”
“Casey tell me when you’re done and I’ll do your belt.”
“I do it by myself.”
“What is your problem?”
“I have to pee.”
“Then go.”
“I can’t.”
“Why?” – coming back out of stall next to him –
“Casey, all you have to do is say, ‘Mommy, I need help,’ and I’ll help you.”
“Pease you help me?”
“Evelina! Quit hanging off David’s legs!”
“Alright, Casey, lets wash your hands. Don’t rub the soap all over me.”
“Can you two just stand next to David without hanging on him or climbing the cart while I pee?”
Then an Angel of Mercy appeared in the bathroom:
“Do you want me to stand with them while you go? You look like you could use a break.”
“Yes! Thank you!”
She was perfect. They talked to her and David’s poor stretched legs were left alone. She was so natural with them and not condescending the way some people are to kids. I never wanted to leave that stall. It was spacious and somewhat clean. But most importantly, I was alone! Oh blissful solitude! I could have set up a nice little apartment and never come out again. “One is the Lonliest Number” carries absolutely no credibility with me.
At the end of the trip, we stopped at the bakery to get cookies before checking out. I only asked for three cookies, one for each kid, but she gave me five, which was enough to keep the kids occupied for the duration of the line.
I stopped at the doors before walking out so that I could zip up all the coats and grab onto all lose children so they wouldn’t be carried off on an gigantic snowflake. The greeter lady just walked right up and started zipping coats and pulling on hoods. Then she even let the kids climb into the little motorized ride that’s always at the front and put money into it. I was busy bundling the baby, so it was a welcome distraction for the kids.
Later at gymnastics, I had to leave before Casey was done to drive Evelina to ballet on time. I slid all the way back as fast as I could but he was already out of class when I arrived. One of the other moms went ahead and put on his socks and shoes and coat and waited with him till I got there.
I don’t know the names of any of these ladies who were kind to my kids and me that day, but they must have been angels because I was surely in need.
Thank you!


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“Really Mommy. I’m serious; I saw her sing on the movie.”
My daughter is convinced that Mary sang to get the baby Jesus out of her belly. This is why I can’t stand children’s movies that depict events in history. They can’t actually be true to fact and have a screaming writhing terrified 13-year-old giving birth on a stack of hay! So instead it’s smart to have her croon for the child to emerge because that won’t obscure children’s understanding of life at all. Good Lord! What is wrong with people? And naturally, to a four-year-old, when it’s my word against the television there is no contest. There’s really nothing more to say about it as far as I can tell.

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‘Tis the Season

“Faith is believing in something even when common sense tells you not to.”
Watching Miracle on 34th Street – old Christmas movies are the best.
“Tell me Tommy, why are you so sure there’s a Santa Claus?”
“Because my daddy told me so. Isn’t that right daddy?”
“Your daddy’s a very honest man?”
“Course he is.”
“And you believe your daddy, don’t you?”
“Course I do. My daddy wouldn’t tell me something that wasn’t so, would you daddy?”
This year I’m doing a totally old-fashioned Christmas. I’m trying as much as possible to make gifts for people (don’t worry, I won’t give you anything cheesy or lame). I’m going to bake all the goodies we sing about in all our favorite carols – figgy pudding, sugar plums, roasted chestnuts – I can’t think of any more than that right now. If you remember any of the classic Christmas delights, let me know. Aha! Turkish delight. I tried it last year, but was not very successful. I’ll work on it again.
I’m going to tell the Nativity story to my kids and read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to them.
We’re going to ooze Christmas cheer. Mmmm the smell of the pine tree and candy canes! I love it! Spiked eggnog and cookies!

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Ok, so new look on my blog. I miss my old one; I’m not a fan of change, but I’m sure I’ll grow to like this one as much. Because of the change, my archived entries are not available currently, but should be soon – Casey 😉 . But the best news of all is that my blog is now commentable, so please, feel free. All those accolades you’ve had stored up in response to my written genius now have a home!
In a bold possibly self-destructive move I’ve submitted six poems to The Atlantic Monthly. I’m confident I’m out of my league, but I figured I’d start at the top and work down.
So my town, Vandergrift, has a Councilman in Charge of Recreation. Little town, Big title. Anyway, I wrote him a letter, and – wonders may never cease – he actually called me to discuss the changes he’s instituting as a result of my letter. So now, Vandergrift’s playgrounds will be open every day of the week from around March through November (except in cases of extreme cold). This is incredible because the parks in town have been closed on Sundays for like 30 years or something outrageous! Thank you Mr. Carricato!
Also, I’ve learned to knit and I like it a lot. Now I just need some knitting needles and to learn how to read the patterns so I can actually make something – I’m thinking mittens…or socks, I like socks.
Evelina has started ballet and tap class and Casey is now in gymnastics. They love it. Evelina wants to wear her tap shoes everywhere. David is just adorable. He’s running and he instigates variations of hide-and-seek games so he can laugh at himself. Currently he’s grooming himself with play dough scissors.
Life is moving along at break-neck. I don’t try and keep up. Haven’t bought one Christmas gift yet. Tried baking cookies, and that was a flop. But I think it’s the fault of the “help” I employed. From now on, I bake solo.
We’re going to Allegheny Center Alliance Church (ACAC) now. We love it. The kids are still adjusting, but it’s a great place. Tons of activities and ministries. You can volunteer for anything, and chances are, they’ll take you – that’s new for me. I’m excited to get involved in something.

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