I made one small pizza tonight for Adam and I, and I put all kinds of crazy things in the crust - because I could. It takes four large pizzas to fill up a house full of teenage boys. So that's a perk.
I took a picture of the sink today to prove to my boys that it is made of stainless steel, not dishes.
I miss my kiddos. One more day. I've yet to rest while they're gone. Or write. Tomorrow is do or die time on both.
This will be a short post. I can barely hold my eyes open after 13 hours of crazy busy work. And lots of rescuing baby chickens, sorting goats, and random animal shenanigans. A friend told me my animals just didn't want me to miss my boys too much. Yes, I'm sure that's it. They're being jerks out of kindness.
Adam hasn't stopped giggling for five minutes over a goofy meme he saw on Facebook. I think the boys being gone is getting to him, too.
Some people speculated the boys being gone would be a vacation. Others said I'd be super busy without my farm hands around. I'm realizing it's just a different kind of busy. Things have shifted. But I miss taking breaks to go to the river with them or just sit in the shade to watch the animals and talk. They force me to stop and smell the proverbial roses. I guess I'll have to learn how to do that on my own when they're all grown up. In the meantime, I'll appreciate the moments we have.
Meme from the Thieves Like Us Facebook page. I think Adam is still giggling over there. Or should I say chuckling? I guess that sounds manlier.
Yesterday, I wondered if my week without my boys would make me the most productive person on the planet or if it would drive me completely and totally insane. I am now beginning to consider a third, previously unforeseen option: I just might become a complete and total sloth. Maybe I'm one of those people who only has two speeds, and without my boys keeping me on my toes, I will go from Mach 3 to zero.
My animals saw to it I didn't do anything crazy like sleep in without the kiddos around. This morning we found out the diner where Adam and I met and he later proposed is closing. (The same diner in Throwaway, btw) This filled the morning with a flurry of messages between us and friends we haven't seen in eons. My mother-in-law took the boys to breakfast there so they could see the place before it was gone. It's 1 pm as I type this and I'm fighting the urge for the billionth time to not message my oldest to see how breakfast went. All I've gotten so far was that they remembered Adam as "the Elvis guy." I worked there for years, but apparently one has to look like Elvis to be remembered. And the fact that I can't go one day without talking to my kids has me a little concerned for myself. Have I become that mom?
So far today, I've updated the Vox Dei website to include an author page, written a post for the Vox Dei blog, gone through my entire to-do list for Vox Dei, rescued a baby chicken, contemplated pulling together a TJ's reunion (still haven't ruled that one out), gone grocery shopping and caught up on the local gossip whether I wanted it or not. (You can't go to the coffee shop and not get local gossip.) And I've caught up on submissions for Vox Dei. (So hey, if you've contemplated submitting to us, now would be a great time.)
But all I really want to do is curl up with a good book or rom com movie. I thought real hard about tackling the boys' rooms as threatened, but have just about convinced myself it would be better parenting to leave them for the boys to clean. It has nothing to do with the current overwhelming desire to nap.
Today shouldn't have happened. At least not the way it did, anyway.
Ever since I got the call on Tuesday, I've muddled through the week in a haze. I have so many good things going on right now, so much that demands my attention, that I found myself putting one foot in front of the other to get through. I didn't have time to process. So I put my happy face on and went about my week, careful not to let my mind wander too close to reality.
Because reality is that one of my son's friends took his own life this week. Reality is that I'm incredibly, terribly sad. My heart is breaking for this boy's pain, for the boy's mother, for my own son. I see his smile in my mind. I remember him using that smile to con me in to buying him a hot chocolate from the concession stand, or to get himself out of trouble because he'd nearly set my house on fire. He was an imp. An oversized one, all big and lumbery and sweaty, but an imp nonetheless.
Last night, a few of us moms sat around the visitation, reminiscing about the misadventures he got into with our boys. Today, I nearly lost it at the funeral when those misadventures made it into the eulogy. I was only a sports mom for our first year and a half or so of being in our little town before I went back to homeschooling my kids. But in that time, I fed those boys before games, I cheered them on, I became invested in them and their lives. I grew to love them. And the boys themselves became closer than friends. They were brothers.
As a mom, one of the top two hardest moments was watching my son carry the casket of his friend. There was one point when I was standing with two of the other moms, two I'd spend many hours with feeding boys before games. We just looked at each other, numb. What do you say? I wanted to crawl out of my skin, to be anywhere but there. I wanted to rewind a year, to see that goofy lopsided grin as he thanked me for letting him swipe an extra piece of French bread even as I waggled the spatula at him and told him to scoot.
And I knew that however great my pain, it was nothing compared to that of the mother standing at the casket to say one last goodbye to her son. I felt so incredibly helpless in the face of that kind of pain.
Tomorrow, I'll share my happy news. Tomorrow, I'll get back to the business of living. Tonight, I'm sad.
Why yes, those are his brother's boxers on Blake's head. Doesn't everybody wear boxers on their head when they fold laundry?
Blake: Hey guys, how does that Las Vegas song go?
Us: Viva Las Vegas?
Blake: Oh, I thought it was Howdy Las Vegas.
Trivia question: What band took on Will Champion as its drummer even though he didn’t play drums at the time?
James (nephew, with confidence): Beethoven
Trivia question: What Latin American country shares its name with a nut?
Adam and Dylan: Brazil
Me: There were four pizzas and only four of us eating. Why are there no leftovers?
Blake: I don’t know; I only had 9 pieces and I stopped.
Things I shouldn’t have to say: Don’t fart on the puppy. (Dylan would like it noted that the before was said to Blake.)
Do not pretend to hike your leg and pee on our friends’ table. You’re a guest. (Again, said to Blake)
Chris: The universe has something against my beautiful face today.
Dylan: Watch me succeed and cringe for the future.
Chris: When I’m 18, I’m going to open a restaurant and I’m even going to let you work at it, Mom.
Blake: You’re going to let her work at it?
Chris: Yep. I’ll give you a discount. Sometimes.
It shouldn't surprise me that this isn't going to be the post I intended to write and that it's not happening on the day I intended, either. I guess it surprises me about as much as hearing "It's a boy" on that third ultrasound. I kinda knew going in I wasn't going to get my little girl and it was probably for the best. But I digress.
I think I've mentioned before that over the summer, I started helping a few other Booktrope authors with their books. The position is called book manager because it's a mix of marketing and project management. It's a hard relationship to explain - for it to really work, both the author and the book manager have to be fully invested in the book and the whole crazy process. I say this to explain that I try to be really careful about who I agree to work with. I keep my author numbers small because everything about them and their book has to click with me and my bookish world or it just won't work - we'll both just wind up frustrated and that's not fair to either of us.
All of that to say that two out of three authors I work with had really big weeks this week for their books. Knowing this, I intended to spend my week pretty well dedicated to them and their books. Note the word intended.
Monday was derailed when my niece and oldest son were in a car accident (not their fault). Thankfully, everyone's okay and all I lost was a day. (Oy, though. That phone call. And that moment when you see the car, knowing your child was in it. Just oy.)
So I tried to regroup yesterday, to zero in on helping these two amazing women and their equally amazing books. Note the word tried.
An unplanned trip into town waylaid things a bit. The problem with being on crutches and relying on the boys to feed animals is they sometimes forget to mention you're running low on a particular feed in advance. With nasty weather settling in, I decided to make a run for feed and straw, figuring I'd check in periodically while gone and roll up my sleeves for realsies when I got home. Only when we got home, as we were distributing the newly purchased straw to animal houses and feeding everyone for the evening, Dylan noticed his doe was acting off. She wasn't eating, hanging back to herself instead of vying for the best spot at the dinner table with the others. When a goat doesn't eat, there is something wrong. Really wrong.
I took one look at her and realized she was in labor. Only problem: she's not due until January 14. So, instead of the very bookish evening I'd planned, I spent it taking turns with my husband and oldest son, sitting in the freezing cold with Twix, darling of the farm. Dylan bought this goat with his birthday money last year so he could start his own herd. We raised her from two weeks old. When she was little, she would race the boys back and forth across the yard. She loves to run. She's graceful and sweet and we all absolutely adore her. And now she was in pain, losing her baby and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I was scared to death I wouldn't be able to save her, that the long labor would be too much.
Thankfully, we have some very dear friends just down the road who are experts in all things goat. They navigated us through this new aspect of goat ownership, and we were finally able to help Twix pass the baby she'd lost. Physically, Twix is doing well. But she's walking around her pen crying, looking for her baby. It breaks my heart. I want to gather her in my arms and rock her and tell her it'll be okay. All I can do is scratch her neck and tell her I know how she feels. I feel so helpless. (Don't even get me started on my poor son - sore from a car wreck, doing his level best to take care of his goat, and losing a whole year's worth of investment, not that the money even crossed his mind.)
What does this have to do with books? Nothing really. Except that every time I checked in online last night, I was either told not to worry about them, to be with Twix, or they were asking me how she was. These two women were having huge nights, nights that really mattered to them and their books, and they were worried about my son's goat.
It's the kind of thing that makes me realize how lucky, how truly blessed, I am to work with the people I do. I'd introduce you to them now, but I don't want it to get lost in all my ramblings about me. Instead, I'll post links to their books today and tomorrow I'll give them their proper due.
If you have time, you should check them out. Not only are they talented writers, they're amazing people - the kind worth knowing, the kind who'll brighten your day, the kind who make this world a better place.
Visit EJ Hanagan online or download Saving Jason - free on kindle through 11/13
Visit Lucy H Delaney online or download Waiting on Justin - only $0.99 as of right now, but it won't be for long!
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