These Saturday Nights

Hey, Mom,
remember on the weekends
when we could sleep on the floor in your room
and after we finished watching a movie together
you turned off all the lights
but you kept music streaming through the TV
and we could see the glow of your laptop
and hear the click of your fingertips on the keys
and we knew you were thinking and writing and creating
while you were humming your melodies
and we listened to you while you listened to us,
until you were the only one listening to our sleeping breaths?
Those were my favorite.

That’s what they’ll say to me someday.
That’s what they’ll say about this night.
These weekends. These Saturday nights.

This life we’ve made for ourselves.

There are dog owners, and then there are Pet Parents.

Murphy (the pooping puppy formerly known as Max) stayed at a Pet Hotel recently while I traveled to a place where even the best dogs cannot go.

Well, maybe the best dogs do get to go. Maybe the question is about the decency of said pet’s owner. Oh, I’m sorry: Pet Parent. I keep forgetting that some people think Murphy and I are blood-related.

This is the PawGress Report I received when I picked up Murphy, from his ‘suite’ in room 302.

a. Gobbled it Down.
b. There were some leftovers.
c. Eager for a meal at home.

a. Chowed Down
b. Enjoyed a bit.
c. Too full to eat.

a. Party Animal.
b. Getting to know new friends.
c. Not feeling sociable.

a. Lights out, sweet dreams.
b. Rested comfortably.
c. A little restless.

a. Took care of business.
b. Took a little coaxing.
c. Make sure things get back to normal at home.

a. Carefree, calm and comfy.
b. Had a pleasant stay.
c. Missed you.

“Murphy loves to watch people go by, and he loves snuggles! He’s very friendly and loves to run around the playroom on walks!”

Well… great! So glad my party animal had sweet dreams and took care of business! Way to go, MurphyPurphy!

And, so, we’re all clear on this one thing, though, right?

He’s a Dog.

Birthday Cake

Sometimes I’m not sure if I really remember something because it’s genuinely my memory, or if it’s because I’ve heard the story so many times and seen the pictures so many times that now my brain has created its own file for the memory.


It’s like when you get a recipe from someone, the first three times you make it, you have to give them credit.  “This is Robb’s salsa.”  “This is Kate’s lasagna.”  “This is Melissa’s spinach dip.”  But after three?  It’s your own.  Claim it, baby.


So my early memories are kind of like that.  They may have at one time just belonged to someone else, but I’ve visited and referred to them so many times that now they have become mine.  I’ve claimed it.


There’s a picture of Baby Tricia, one year old, smashing her chocolate cupcake with white and blue frosting. She’s laughing and happy and round and curly and all baby on the brink of toddler.


I think of that picture, that little girl, still an only child, not yet walking but very articulate.  I want to say, “Smash it right into your face, baby girl.  You’ve got the right idea.  This is what birthdays are about.  Every chance you get, roll yourself right into the cake, Sweet Pea.”

Pillow Talk

9:04 pm.
“Hi, Mommy.”
“Hey, Tyler! How are you?” (We talked an hour ago. I called them, pretending to be Barack Obama.)
“I’m good. And I just watched the scary scariest thing ever.”
“What did you watch?”
“I watch this guy who put a sword through his stomach and another guy who set his head on fire and then this other guy who had to hold a bunch of things and juggle electric guns or he would be electricked.”
“Well, that’s a whole lot to see! Where did you see this?”
“On Poppa’s TV.”
(Enter: Implicit trust in my dad and his wisdom regarding what my children watch on TV. And if they’re up half the night in terror, he’ll have to answer to my mom who will conquer the sleepless night.)
“So do you feel afraid right now?”
“No. But it was super scary-scariest-scary-so-so-scary.”
At home, we often pray at night for God to wash Tyler’s mind of any scary things he might remember during the day. “Do you want me to pray for you tonight, kiddo?”
“Would you like for me to pray right now?”
“Yes. Sure. That would be great.”
I bow my head here at the sports bar. “Dear God, thank you so much for Tyler and for how brave he is. Help him to have sweet dreams tonight, and please remind him that he is safe. He can be strong and courageous because you are with him everywhere he goes. Amen.”
“A-men. Thanks, Mommy. Here’s Tucker.”

“Hi, Tuck.”
“Hello there, Mr. Obama.”
“That’s President Obama, to you.”
“Mommy, I just watched a guy’s head explode on TV.”
“That’s what I hear.”
“And he wore this hat that was on fire. And he swallowed a sword into his stomach. The show is called America’s Got Talent.”
“And so how do you feel about all of that?”
“Fine. Poppa kept telling me, Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. So I won’t.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
“What’s all that noise, Mommy?”
“I’m in a restaurant, eating my dinner.”
“What are you having for dinner?”
“I’m having french fries. With cheese and ranch dressing.”
“What will you eat after that?”
“Well, I think I’ll have a dessert.”
“Please tell me your dessert choices, Mommy.”
“They have chocolate cake, and they have a kind of cheesecake something.”
“Oh! Oh man! If I were you, I would have the chocolate cake.”
“Then that’s what I will do. Because that’s what you would do.”
“Do you think you can get special things on it? Like gummy worms and peanut butter cups?”
“Well, I don’t think they have those in a restaurant like this.”
“What kind of restaurant is it?”
“It’s a sports restaurant.”
“Yep. Baseball is on TV.”
“Is it the Rockies? Are the Rockies playing tonight?”
(It’s 9:07 where he is. Well, also where I am. We’re in the same time zone. But I’m not about to launch him out of bed and downstairs to demand Poppa change the channel from the exploding heads and electrocution so he can watch Rockies baseball.)
“Um, I can’t really see the TV from where I am.”
“Are you kidding me?!”
You are so your father right now.
“I’m not kidding.”
“Well, get up and go over to the TV.”
“It’s a commercial right now.”
“Okay. I’ll wait.”
We wait. And we talk about what he would do if he were a guest on America’s Got Talent. I think he’ll say something athletic, but he tells me something about swallowing swords and electrocuting heads.
“Ah, the game is on again, Tuck.”
“Okay. Who is it?”
“Um, a red team and a blue team.”
“Mommy, read the words.”
“Let’s see. Texas.”
“Texas, and?”
“Texas and a red team.”
“Who is winning?”
“I think the red team is winning.”
“So, not Texas?”
“I don’t think so, no.”
“Okay. I’ll be on their team.”
“Texas. They need me.”
“I think that’s a great idea. I bet they really do need you.”
“Mommy, please bring me gummy worms and Reese’s cups. Those are the two things I want.”
“I will look hard to find those and bring them to you.” As is our tradition. Two candy bars is a small price to pay for my dip into the deep end of freedom.
“Here’s Tyler. He’s going to tell you what he wants.”
“Hi, Tyler.”
“Hi, Mommy. Can I have two tee shirts?”
“I will try to find two tee shirts.”
“Batman, please.”
“What if I can’t find Batman?”
“Then pick something you know I like. Not a handsome shirt, though. A picture shirt.”
“Deal. I’ll look.”
“Wait. One tee shirt and one candy bar.”
“Got it.”
“Here’s Grandma.”
“Hi, Mom.”
“Hi there. You have quite the conversationalists. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Including yourself.”

Talking to my children on the phone: my new favorite thing.