How Pumpkin Pie Makes Me Miss My Dad

Today was the third Thanksgiving we’ve had without my father.  Pancreatic cancer took him from us about two and a half years ago, and even though we’ve celebrated–celebrated?–a significant number of holidays without him now, they each pass the same exact way.  We go through the motions of greeting relatives we haven’t seen in a few months, commenting on how much the kids have grown, trying to grab something to eat while keeping account of one child and feeding another, laughing and drinking and thankful that our daughters have so many cousins who love them.  But the whole time, it feels like I’m choking down a lump in my throat.  Like when I was a kid and about to barf, and I felt like I could keep it down if I just sort of closed my throat.  I ignore the feeling, and it sort of passes, sort of, until I can shove it so far away it’s simply hovering over my shoulder like a ghost.  But inevitably, later that evening, on the ride home in the dark car, or in a silent bedroom as I try…

Organized Chaos

Earlier this afternoon, as that magical silence known as Both Kids Napping at the Same Time fell over the house, I stood shock-still in the middle of my living room, wondering what I should do next.  I thought about my three-foot-long to-do list and took a long look around me at the debris left over from Hurricane Children.  I stood a little while longer, then turned on my heel and made a run for our bed.  I pulled those cool sheets over my head like I was trying to block out the noise of all the responsibilities hollering at me to pay attention to them.  I just didn’t want to deal with them.  I couldn’t face the laundry baskets full of folded clothes that needed to be put away.  Didn’t really want to investigate if that vague smell of pee I noticed in the family room was of child or animal origin.  And I was cowed by the balls of dog hair that were starting to drift across our hardwood floors like tumbleweeds in an old western movie.  If I were a child, I’d have thrown myself on…

Cranky McWhinesalot Strikes Again (Yep, I’m Talking about Me)

What a day.  I don’t get kids–even if they have half my DNA.  I used to joke that there’s not much of a difference between toddlers and the teenagers I used to teach:  they’re moody.  One minute they need you, and the next they’re telling you to go to hell (well, SK hasn’t learned to say that exactly, thank goodness, but we definitely get the drift now and then…).  They cry on a dime, and occasionally scream for absolutely no reason.  They slam doors.  And just when you think that you’re about to lose your sanity–that tense moment where you honestly wonder who came in and swapped your child out for her evil twin–all of a sudden the tension melts.  Evil twin leaves, and your little doll is back.  She gives you a big kiss on the cheek and a hug around the knee, and the next thing you know you’re dancing around the living room together, giggling over a funny move.  So, what is it?  Growing pains?  A struggle to assert their individuality?  Or just lack of sleep…