Monthly Archives: October 2014

From the Mouths of Kindergarteners

I think it’s so precious when your kids say something and you know that they’ve actually been listening to you because it’s just like hearing yourself say that very same thing.

Like just now I was having a massive coughing fit and Levi said, “If you’re gonna vomit, you better get to the trash can!”



I have some pretty fantastic bodyguards today.




We’re So Meta


School pictures came home today. (We don’t need any retakes, unlike last year.) It took me some time to notice this, even after they were both home.

I sent them in today in the same clothes they were wearing in their pictures. Both of them.



I didn’t know the pictures were coming home today. I didn’t remember what I had put them in for pictures. I wouldn’t have planned that even if I’d really been that organized.

In very small ways, life is really weird.


I have loved watching the relationship my kids have with their grandparents. When I was born, I had two living grandparents, and one died three months later. So while he got to hold his youngest grandchild (there were no more after me), I don’t remember him at all. The last remaining grandparent died when I was 11. I don’t mean this as a criticism in any way, but she was not a get-down-on-the-floor-and-play grandma. I loved her and I know she loved me, but it was just different.

So it’s been fun to watch my mom build things with blocks with Elias for hours, and to see Grandma Z play trucks and go check on the kitties at the farm next door while Grandpa Z hooted at their antics.

The boys don’t always know quite how to process the fact that two of their grandparents are gone. Elias, lying in bed with me this morning, told me that he wanted to die. “So you can see Gigi and Grandpa Z?” I asked. He nodded. We hugged and talked about it. (I wasn’t surprised; it seems like that’s fairly typical for someone his age.)

We’re managing. And one of the things we’re doing is making sure that visits to Grandma Z are a regular part of life. The boys love it. They love Grandma, and they love the junk that she feeds them, and they love going to see the kitties. It’s a beautiful thing.

So last night, when they were all piled in the truck getting ready to pull out, Paul wasn’t at all surprised that they were excited.

“I can’t WAIT to go!” Levi said, rubbing his hands together.

“Uh huh!” Elias joined in, bouncing in his seat.

“They’re so dear,” thought Paul. “I just love how much they love their grandma.” And then he pulled out and ran over the bubble wrap the boys had placed carefully behind the tires.

The boys shrieked with glee, and Paul laughed all the way to Grandma’s house.

It’s a Mystery

Things My Children Do Not Understand

  • Why it is not okay for them to wrestle under my desk while I am working.
  • What “work” is. Yes, Facebook is on the computer, too, but it is not the same thing. This is a hard truth. Mostly for me.
  • That coffee is required before a paper airplane can be constructed.
  • That there are any limits at all on what they can do once they grow up. (I’m not going to ruin this one for them yet.)
  • Why the wadded-up Kleenex has to stay in the nose for a while instead of working instantly.
  • That asking when Papa is getting home every three minutes does not make him get home any faster.

Things I Do Not Understand

  • Why I keep seeing pictures of people I went to school with who don’t look twenty anymore.



Hello, friends. I’ve been pretty quiet lately, I know. I haven’t felt up to writing much. There are so many things piling up that need to be done, not the least of which is laundry. But other things, too. Thank you notes left unwritten; newly inherited possessions left unsorted. And I am sad, comprehensively and nearly unrelentingly. I cannot bring the funny today.

Tomorrow would have been Mom’s 78th birthday. This picture was among her things, and it’s marked 1959. She was 22, or 23, and had been married for not quite three years. She had one baby boy, and maybe another, depending on whether it was October yet.**

1959 Lucille Stoller

I’ve been unusually crabby this week, and I think it’s because of tomorrow. The first year, “special days” are just awful. I can’t wait for the Christmas season. (You guys know how I feel about that anyway. If anyone has a pill I could take to sleep until next March, hook me up.)

I feel inundated by death. When Paul’s dad died, I went back to the same funeral home and saw a lot of the same people in the calling hours and at the funeral. Mostly, I was okay, but a couple came through that were friends of my parents since before there were seven-digit phone numbers, and when they hugged me, I kind of deconstructed for a minute.

And there’s a death I haven’t talked about here yet. About ten days ago, Paul’s cousin died. She was almost exactly my age. And while I’m not seventeen anymore, that’s still young enough to make people ask why. I’ve been thinking about it.

I think Jackie died of sorrow. I think she died of weariness and pain and no hope. She was locked in a bitter struggle for a long time, and I think she just couldn’t find anything left with which to fight. And I find that so sad that dwelling on it makes it hard for me to breathe.

I cannot bring the funny today. I cannot find it myself right now.

I think loss always brings reflection, and questions. But the breadth of what we don’t know about other people’s secrets and sorrows is wider than any of us can understand. I’m left thinking about a quote I heard years ago, by Aldous Huxley.

It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way advice than “try to be a little kinder.”

Kind isn’t always my best thing. But I’ll sure try.

**Edited 10/3 to add: Math alert. My brother Lee wasn’t born until October of 1960. I never have been good at word problems.