Clippety-Clop, Fluffy Blankets, and a Canopy of Lights

We have started a new tradition: a carriage ride through downtown Denver to see the lights of the city.  This has charm written all over it.

We invited my parents to join us, since – in this life stage, anyway – a few extra adults on hand are helpful for any tradition, especially a plan that involves a train, buses, and city traffic.  I’ll go ahead and not forge that path on my own just yet.

The boys loved it.  Tucker never stopped smiling.  I have to agree: it was a pretty magical ride, with the clippety-clop of the horse hooves, the fluffy blankets in the carriage, and the canopy of lights overhead.  Magical.

Such a perfect something must certainly be followed by a perfect dessert.  We went to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and each chose a gourmet caramel apple.  (Tyler literally groaned his way through his apple, such was his delight.)

We had such a fun time, whiling away the evening in a perfect temperature, turns out we missed the last train home.

Oopsie Daisy.  This adventure just became a learning experience.

A little investigation showed us we were not forever stranded downtown (although I admit I was thankful I had memorized the phone number on a passing taxi cab, when Tyler pointed out so very many twos in one place).

We only needed to walk six blocks, take a bus to another train station, and wait for the C Line that would come again at 9:25.

(Where’s a stroller when I need one?  For someone to push me in?)

The boys were troopers.  My dad whipped out his best entertainment techniques, leading us in the Hokey Pokey and Father Abraham while we waited for the train.

The boys also had their first encounter with homelessness and schizophrenia.  It was happening all around us, to us, in a loud way.

“Mommy, why didn’t you give that man all the money you have?  You have money in your purse.  Why didn’t you give it to him if he’s hungry?”

My sweet child.  I wish I had a good answer.

“Mommy, why is that man screaming at us?  What is he trying to say?”

His mind isn’t working tonight, lovey.  Just stay close to mommy.  And stop talking.

Hey, guess what?  We found the C Line.  We made it home.  We fell into bed.

And we’ll do it again next year.

Or, you know, the first half of it.

To Think or Not To Think

“Learning is not the consequence of teaching or writing, but rather of thinking.  So a playful, provocative, unclear, but stimulating book could actually be more worth your money than a serious, clear book that tells you what to think but doesn’t make you think.”

~ Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy

One Parent or Another

Tucker has become so very easy to be with.  Truly, remove the antagonist who pushes his buttons, and he’s one great kid to hang out with.  Conversation, wit, clever ideas, and a good bit of quiet.

I mentioned this to my mom.  Not as “I have a favorite child,” but just highlighting what I’m enjoying about one over the other.

Her response: “Yes, each of them takes after one of their parents.”

And I’ve always said, as everyone says, Tucker is so Robb.

Hey.  Wait a minute.

“Tricia, you have to admit, Robb spent most of his life with you trying to keep up and stay aware of the current situation.” She changed her voice to a fluttering, flighty tone, the one that my family uses to portray me and my whims.

“What time is the flight, Tricia?
Oh, I don’t know… sometime.
Where did you leave the (fill in the blank), Tricia?
Oh, I don’t know… it’ll show up.  Lost things always do.
How many people did you invite, Tricia?
Oh, I don’t know… lots and lots.
Did you keep the receipt, Tricia?
Oh, I don’t know… probably not.”

Aaaaand, Tucker takes after his dad.

But I maintain that Tyler and I are a lotta-lotta fun.  :)

Fearfully, by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott posted this nugget this morning on Facebook.  She probably just sat up in bed, grabbed her ipad, and whipped out this beautiful bit of genius.

* * *

I am beginning to think that this body of mine is the one I will have the entire time I am on this side of eternity.

I didn’t agree to this. I have tried for approximately fifty years to get it to be an ever so slightly different body: maybe the tiniest bit more like Cindy Crawford’s, and–if this is not too much to ask–Michelle Obama’s arms. I mean, is this so much to ask? But I had to ask myself, while eating my second piece of key lime pie in Miami last Sunday, and then again, while sampling my second piece of Crete brûlée in Akron, if this is going to happen.

For the record, I do not usually eat like I do in hotels while I am on book tour. But I have a terrble sweet tooth and I am just not going to be spending much more of this and precious life at the gym, than I already do, which is at best, three times a week, in a terrible shirking bad attitude bitter frame of mind. I go for three one-hour hikes a week. I’m not a Lunges kind of girl.
And even if I were, I’m shrinking. I’m not quite Dr. Ruth yet, but I used to be 5’7, and now am–well, not.

But the psalmist says I am wonderfully and fearfully made. Now, upon hearing that, two days after Thanksgiving, don’t you automatically think that “fearfully” refers to your thighs, your upper arms, the little tummy roll that has helpfully crept over the bottom of the iPad, so that it might help you type?

(The other night, when I passed the one available spot in a parking lot, after looking around for ten minutes, I thought, “I would kick myself, if my feet didn’t hurt so much.”)

No. “Fearfully” means that we are so exquisitely fragile and delicate and vulnerable that if you really thought about it, you’d quake with existential anxiety. It can all be taken from us–our babies, our dogs, our books and imagination imaginations, our ability to see whatever shards of Light we might notice today amidst the noise and the haste…

And WONDERFULLY made, perfect, all evidence and bad self esteem to the contrary, gorgous as children and poems in the eyes or god. Not made to starve ourselves. made for radical self-care, so that we can fill up and give from a place of crazy generosity because we have been so freely given delicious food and outrageous friendships.

So yeah, I just started out to share this one possible insight–that this will be my body the whole time I am here! This one! Yikes, how awful. No, wait wait, this exact one, that is STILL HERE, against all odds. Thank you thank you thank you God. We have lost so many precious friends who would have done anything do have some more time in this joint, with our Mother outdoors, with those they love most. Anything!

So that is how I am going to spend today, pretty much-sort of more-or-less believing that this is it. This body, this biography, this exact family, this everything. And it is wonderfully made, of love and energy, for love and energy, for giving, forgiving, for–as Wiiliam Blake said–learning to endure the beams of love And joy will always be the best make up.

* * *
“Joy will always be the best makeup.”

Literally?

If you ever have the opportunity to tuck my youngest son into bed, do not casually toss out,

“Good night and sleep tight –
Don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

Much further discussion will ensue on the truth, measurement, and whereabouts of these bed bugs that nobody else seems worried about.