Coming up (or out) for air

In the last two weeks, JR has gone to school one day–maybe two, I can’t remember WHAT WITH THE FOURTEEN (14) DAYS OF NON-STOP PARENTING THAT HAS TURNED MY BRAIN TO MUSH. We got a little snow, you see. And then a little more snow, and all things came to a grinding halt.

I love my child. But I also love others things, too. Like going to work so we can have food. And talking about things that aren’t Ninjago or who’s the best Powerpuff Girl.*

I’m told they’ll be back in school tomorrow–two hours late, I’ll have you know, but back in school nonetheless. I’ll believe it when I see him walk into his classroom. And then I’ll turn around and run like hell.

Here’s a picture from the 15 minutes JR spent in the snow over the last two weeks.

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*JK, I’ll talk about this whenever. Because it’s Bubbles.

I couldn’t *not* do it

We experienced a big loss in Richmond this week–well, not me personally. Not directly anyway. But it was a loss nonetheless, and one felt by many.

Meg Menzies, a wife and stay-at-home mother of three young kids, was hit by a drunk driver while she was out for her morning run on Monday. And she died.

From what I gather, Meg loved running and she was really good at it. She was a member of Richmond Road Runners Club and even ran the Boston Marathon. She knew how to run and how to do it safely; this seems to have just been a tragic example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She just happened be in the path of this man who made a horrible decision that morning that forever changed so many lives.

As a way to honor Meg, people in Richmond pledged to run, walk, cycle, whatever on Saturday, January 18th. The time or distance you logged didn’t matter; just get out an move to celebrate Meg and tag any Tweets, Instagrams, of Facebook posts with #megsmiles–that stands for “Meg’s miles”, but reading it as “Meg smiles” was apparently appropriate as well.

Before the end of the week, tens of thousands of people around the world pledged to run for Meg, and today, just following the hashtag on social media was enough to bring on the ugly cries. There were so many people out there running to honor this woman they never even met, never even heard of until this week.

Everyone had their own reasons for doing it. Mine was that I simply just couldn’t *not*. I didn’t know Meg personally, but I know someone who does. I also couldn’t help but noticed similarities between us the more I learned about her. Both in our early 30s. Both mothers to school-aged kids (well, kid, in my case). Both runners. Both believers in Jesus.

I also know what it’s like to lose someone to a drunk driver. Right before I turned 14, my grandmother (my mom’s mom) was one of several passengers in a van that was hit by a drunk driver. And she died. And we were all forever changed.

So this morning, I ran for Meg. It was cold but beautiful, the sky bluer than we’ve seen around here in a long time–appropriate considering blue was Meg’s favorite color. I ran three miles for her, one for each of her sweet babies. It was the least I could do, really. Because I have no doubt that if it had happened to someone else, Meg would’ve been out there running with the rest of us.

And anyway, I kind of feel like she was.

The old man

You might recall that we have two dogs: Shooter, a German Shepherd mix, and Zapp, a hound mix. Once upon a time, they were my sweety schmoopy babies. Then I had an *actual* baby, and suddenly their loud, dirty, canine hijinks became much less endearing and much more reminiscent of a giant pain in my ass.

Don’t get me wrong; I still love them. It’s kind of like you have certain family members who drive you absolutely insane–maybe even to the point where you’d never actively choose to spend time with them but will when called upon. You love them, but don’t like them so much.

(I know, I sound horrible. But, guys, they can be stunningly annoying.)

Zapp’s quirks are a bit easier to deal with because they can be attributed to the fact that she’s really tall and skinny and kind of not smart. She likes to crawl under the fence and stand in the alley, barking until we let her back into the yard. She runs into things on the regular. She likes to eat things she’s not supposed to and then eat grass which makes her barf and then she eats more grass because dogs eat grass when they don’t feel good and, augh, trust me, she’s dumb. But I can forgive dumb.

What I cannot forgive is intentional buttheadedness, which Shooter really, really excels at. Some examples:

1. If we take too long to feed him in the morning, he will make himself throw up.
2. He loves to eat poop. What’s more, if he knows there is perhaps a stray piece of poop in the yard (we try to pick it up all right away), he will refuse to come inside.
3. He barks all. the. damn. time.
4. He’s never not staring at me.

Ok, I guess I can’t necessarily call this buttheadedness intentional, but it feels intentional–so much so that I basically view Shooter as my household nemesis determined to sabotage my every shot at relaxing or just spending a few minutes not taking care of someone.

It’s a layered complicated relationship, really. And it’s made more complicated when I remember that this damn dog is going to die someday, and I’m going to be really sad when it happens.

I took Shooter to the vet last week for his annual checkup. He needed his rabies vaccine, and the prescription for his epilepsy medication requires a blood panel every six months. Shortly after we arrived, Shooter looked like this:

Because he is a rude and cranky old man. He spent the remainder of the appointment slamming his face into my legs, trying to get the muzzle off of his face–that is, when he wasn’t alligator rolling every time the vet tried to examine him.

Once we got all the necessary procedures done–a process which left me and our vet sweaty and covered in dog hair–she gave his file a final skim.

“Ok, so Shooter is almost 11, I see.”

“Yep. He’ll be 11 in the spring.”

“Well, he looks really good for his age and his size,” she said. “He’s probably got a couple more years left in him.”

I think she meant that as a good thing, but I was stunned. Because, apparently, it hadn’t yet occurred to me that Shooter is, in fact, not immortal.

“Oh. Ok, well a couple years is good,” I stammered in reply.

We chatted a bit more about possibly increasing the dosage of his medication, what we can do to help his gross-disgusting breath, and what not. I mostly heard what she said, but as I walked out, I found myself kind of in a daze.

Holy shit, this dog is going to die one day. One day soon-ish.

I mean, I know I knew that, but it was the first time it really registered with me. We got Shooter shortly after we got married, so he’s been with us for the whole ride. If he’s old, that means we’re old (meaning our marriage–although Ross and I are both starting to feel pretty old these days, too). And when he goes, when we say goodbye to him, it’ll be like saying goodbye to that first iteration of us.

Damn dog. Now instead of just making me crazy, he’s making me cry, too.

Oh hey

Ha! I’m just getting this in under the wire. As you can see, I’m three days shy of not posting here for an entire year.

I supposed I should explain my absence. Up until this week, I wrote a weekly column about parenting. The process of coming up with ideas and then actually writing about those ideas was wonderful but also time consuming and draining; it didn’t leave me with much time or energy to share things here as well.

But! After thinking it over for a while, I decided to pass the column on to someone else. I mean, I’ve been writing about my child for that audience for four years. The idea well was beginning to run dry, and now that JR is five (!!!), I feel like our expiration date for over-sharing on the Internet was getting dangerously close.

So here we are. I’m hoping to pop over here more often now that I’m no longer feeling crushed by a weekly deadline. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m feeling good about it.

Parenting paradox

(I guess this is when I’m supposed to apologize for not posting for two months. So…sorry? I guess? Really, I doubt you’ve missed me all that much. So let’s just leave it at, “Hey, long time no see!” and be on with it. Good? Good.)

So I recently decided that I hate bedtime.

Not *my* bedtime; my bedtime is a glorious, wonderful, magical thing that never gets here soon enough.

It’s JR’s bedtime that currently reigns as the object of my uttermost loathing these days.

You see, when Ross puts JR to bed, it takes all of 5 minutes. Brush teeth, put on pajamas, read a book, goodnight. When I’m in charge (despite the fact that I’m MUCH more of a hard-ass than my husband), much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments gets thrown into the process.

Ross claims it’s because JR actually cares when I leave the room, so he does everything he can to draw out the process; he’d rather me be in his room yelling at him than *not* in his room *not* yelling at him.

I’m convinced he’s trying to send me to the looney bin so he can spend his days watching Phineas and Ferb and eating his weight in Clementines with nary a mention of such atrocities as “bathing” and “eating a vegetable” and “getting fresh air.”

But the REALLY crazy thing is, even though I hate bedtime with all that I am–the drudgery! the fighting! the whining! the flopping about on the floor!–the only thing I hate more is when I don’t get to do it. No matter what, I want to be the last person my son talks to before he goes to sleep at night.

Perhaps his looney bin plans are working after all…

You go to hell, Hurricane Sandy. You go to hell and you die.

Things that Hurricane Sandy could potentially ruin:

1. Our church’s Harvest Party, AKA The Funnest Night Of The Year.
2. The arrival of my birthday boots–scheduled to be delivered to my house on Wednesday, AKA The Day The Storm Of Death Is Supposed To Destroy Everything Which Probably Includes My Front Porch Onto Which My Birthday Boots Would Be Placed By The UPS Man.
3. Trick-or-Treating, AKA The Only Thing I Can Currently Hang Over My Son’s Head To Make Him Behave.

I hate you, Sandy. You are dumb. Take your drama somewhere else.

31

I wasn’t too jazzed about the idea of turning 31. Well, not *not* jazzed–just basically neutral about it. I mean, it’s not exactly a milestone. As my brother put it, “Now, finally you can…um…have only 4 years to wait before you can run for president?”

But better to have a birthday than to not. And my only expectations were to have a nice day. No work, no chores–just eating and napping with my little man. All of those things did happen, but I also happened to wake up on my birthday to a lovely surprise.

You see, Ross only wore his wedding ring for about a year after we got married. He chose a band that just wasn’t very comfortable, so he stopped wearing it.

It never bothered me that he didn’t wear a ring, but, if given the choice, I would’ve liked him to. So when Ross asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year, I asked if he would consider wearing his wedding ring again–or at least *a* ring. He made some sort of non-committal noise and we didn’t really talk about it much after that.

But on Monday morning he gave me these:

Yeah, those are an Empire Strikes Back reference. And they are perfect and I love them and he promises to wear it always.

Best gift I’ve ever gotten. Best birthday ever.

Big-little

Lately he seems so big. He leans on things casually. He makes jokes. He rolls his eye at the appropriate times, for Pete’s sake.

But every now and then, he gives me a glimpse of his babyself, making me pause so I can soak it up while it’s still there.