Wednesday, December 17, 2014

That Kid? He's All Right.



Without a peep out of me. Without a whisper of an idea. I had nothing to do with it.

But Eldest? He needed letters of recommendations from teachers to include with his Common App. And one of the deadlines was absolutely ludicrous. But his current and former teachers rose to the occasion. Even when the system crashed for them. They persevered.  And they submitted those letters in time.

And you know what that lad of mine did? He went out and bought the teachers gifts. All on his own. No encouragement from me.

If that doesn’t make him college-worthy, I’m not entirely sure what does.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bam

When the two oldest were just little kids, I managed to finagle working four days a week. On that fifth day, I was home, and there was the most amazing noise. BAM! Jolted us, even though, of course, we were wide awake and watching "Blue's Clues" in the living room.

I bolted to the front door, leaving demon dog to fend for himself. Oh, I guess I left the two little ones to fend for themselves as well. Bad parent. BAD parent!

A tree had fallen on a house just one house down from us. It was early. Pete had already gone to work. I want to say it was 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. Who cares, now, right?

The tree fell on their bed. For whatever reason, the man had awoken and wandered to the kitchen, where his spouse was. BAM!

They survived, of course. Otherwise, how would I know all this? Oh, and they re-built a monstrosity among all of the gorgeous Eichlers on our street.

As they warn of a big-ass storm coming our way, I look at trees in the back and wonder, "Who will a tree take out?" Not me, of course, because I'm not going to be able to sleep in the next 18 hours.

It's another situation where I realize it's easier to believe in a Higher Power to pray to rather than...nothing. So if this is my last post, okay, that's that. But let this be a warning to you: mind the trees. They are evil.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dear Dad

I thought about you a lot yesterday. You would have been 84 had you not died at 56. The older I get, the less I remember about you. And, yet, there you are. Glimpses in the mirror. (Shit, yeah, I still have mostly dark, dark hair, closing in on the age you were when you died.) And, yes, I still have that "Hoyt sweat" damaging all of my clothes. (Really, what removes sweat stains? I need to know because Le Daughter is equally cursed and I am the laundress of the house.)

I wish you were here. I wish you got to embarrass the hell out of my kids with your singing. I wish you got to see, firsthand, that I did, actually, go on and have children. Late in life, for sure, but I had them. One. Then two. Then, oh, shit, a third.

Mostly, though, I wish I believed in an afterlife so I would get to see you again. Alas and alack, no, I don't. So you're gone from here. And I will be gone from here soon enough. And eventually all who knew you will be gone. And no one will remember.

But, for now, I remember. And I miss you. And I wish I could remember you more than I do.

The kids are all right, Dad. We manage. We muddle -- or muggle -- through. And on your birthday and at many more times than I'd likely admit, we channel you. Now, let's all stand up and sing, "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay, I'll take your pants away. And while you're standing there, I'll take your underwear."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank a Vet

One Memorial Day a number of years ago, I wrote a post about my memories of being at Hickam Air Force Base when POWs first landed on American soil after years of North Vietnamese captivity. I don't believe I have ever witnessed more solemn and joyous occasions as those returns. I was 12. That was more than 40 years ago.

It is Veterans Day today. And, as we have for the last several years, we will go down to the Marin Civic Center to attend the ceremony honoring veterans of all kinds. Eldest will be part of the ceremony as part of his JROTC unit. At 18, in a different era, he would have been a prime candidate for going off to war. Newly minted men his age are serving now in similar dangerous situations.

It was an honor to take a couple of hours of my life years ago to greet the returning POWs. It is an honor to take a couple of hours out of my life today to honor all who have served.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Love Letter

I think I might miss the sloppy hugs and kisses most of all. I even miss the nights of blasting Springsteen and holding the kid for hours on end, dancing in the dark, so that he would just stop crying. Just stop.














Just stop growing up is what I might say now. But I really don't mean it. Someone wrote in a blog post not that long ago about looking at her kids and seeing all of the ages and stages when she looks at them. She said it much better, of course, but I nodded knowingly.

I see him lining up his Chevron cars. I see him wearing his homemade Superman costume (underoos with the underwear worn over blue sweatpants, the Superman T-shirt and a black checkered towel as his cape). I see him as Santa Claus in the first grade play. I see him playing the guitar for the class on the last day of 3rd grade. I see him clad in a toga for a 7th grade presentation. I see him nearly lost on the first days of high school until we found the JROTC and the JROTC found him.

And I see him while we were sitting on his bed last week as I pontificated about the mid-term elections, his first. I see him nod knowingly when I impart his dad's and my philosophy on voting: no new taxes and no incumbents. I see him roll his eyes because, really, his mother is just so.

Just so.

He is 18 today and, if I may be so bold as to use a cliche, time flies. It flies and its winds whip up all that you've ever known about a person. If you're lucky, as I am today, you feel the breeze of 4 months and 3 years and 8 years and 15 and now 18.

Happy birthday, Eldest. My life is infinitely better for having had the great privilege of being your mother.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

General Population

I have three kids. One or two could be seen as advanced. One or two could be seen as average. I find nothing wrong with average. I embrace average. Nightly. Average is...normal. But folks don't necessarily see it that way. I can't take credit for any of my kids being above average. I can't take credit -- what you might call "blame" -- for any of my kids being average.

Normal.

Average.

Is there a difference?

I say that one or two of my kids is in "general population" at school. You know, average. I get that the term could be seen as derogatory by those of you who aspire to only have above average kids. Go ahead, take offense, but know that you suck. You do know that, right? If there are no average kids or below average kids, then your bright shining star of a kid is nothing special. Just a kid. An average kid.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. But I'm going. Right now? I'm going to embrace one or two average kids mixed in with the general population.

And you? You can do whatever helps you sleep at night.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Part Two

I'm a bit late in posting, of course. You can blame Verizon for that. I do.

So what happened following the coaches' complaints? Nothing. Youngest got no ref assignments last weekend. He's completely free this weekend, but I'm guessing there will be no assignments forthcoming.

Here was his response to the complaints. Can you tell he was standing right next to me while I typed it? And can you tell that kid is my kid?

This is from YOUNGEST:
1.  The back pass. The coach told the player to pass it back to the goal keeper, but when she passed it back, the keeper picked it up, and I blew my whistle. I called for an indirect free kick. She passed it to a teammate and the girl scored.
2.  First hand ball. The ball was on the goal line, but it hadn't gone out, but the girls thought that it was a goal kick. But I said "Play on." The goal keeper picked it up, then handed it to another girl. I blew my whistle and said, "No, it's not a goal kick. Play on." (I did this because they are 9-year-old girls who were confused about the ball being still in play.)
3. The final hand ball. The girl kicked it into the box and it hit a girl's hand, but I didn't blow my whistle because the ball then landed at the feet of a girl on the attacking team, who had an open goal. I played the advantage. It was easier for her to score that goal then to score a penalty. However, she missed the goal. In my opinion, that was a good call. If I she had scored and I had called it back, I bet the coach would be even more angry.
4. I can't address what my co-official might have done regarding the ball going out. My dad was there for three-quarters of the game and saw only one instance of that happening.
I was not going to say anything to you about the coach's behavior, but I did tell both my parents about his sarcastic and rude comments about my ability as a ref. I ignored his comments because it was clear to me that I know the rules of the game and that I enforced them. I'm glad he now knows what the rules are about pass backs and playing the advantage.


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