Hope for My Girls

He had waited in line to share his words with me.

(It always humbles me when people will stand in line to do anything with me.)

He said,

“I’m proud of you. And I know that sounds strange, because I really don’t know you at all. But I have two daughters, and ever since I became a dad, my entire perspective on women has changed. Whenever I see a woman who is owning her life and walking with dignity, it gives me hope for my little girls. And that makes me very proud of you.”

Thank you.

Why? Right, but Why?

Children are not aware of limitations.  They just figure that if there’s something they don’t know, it’s because they haven’t learned it yet.

“Why’s the sun round?”

“Because there’s a big fire at the center, and as it moves outward, it cools equally.”


“Because heat cools at a standard rate.”


“Uh… because…”

Children are endlessly curious.  It can drive an adult crazy because  we are confronted with how little we truly know, and how tenuous our existence is.  A child can lead us to an existential crisis in three “Whys?”

~ Alan Watt


He is a master of blame.


It was my fault when he couldn’t eat all of his noodles.

It was my fault when he didn’t have enough noodles.

It was my fault when he stepped in dog poop in the yard.

It was my fault when his training wheels were too high.

It was my fault when his seat belt was too tight.

It was my fault when he left his bike in the yard overnight.


But this… this one?  Oh, this one is his best yet.


“Mommy, did you eat cake at your wedding?”


“Yes, I did.  And it was a beautiful and delicious cake.”


“And did you eat cake while you were pregnant with Tucker?”




“So, would you say you ate junk food while you were growing a baby?”


What is this, a deposition? “Yes, you could definitely say that I did.”


“I think that’s why Tucker has asthma.  It’s because you ate junk food while he was growing inside you.”


Listen, pal.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just referred to DNA in this morning’s episode, and I thank them for the softball lead into this discussion.  Asthma is in our family, in our DNA.  Poppa has it, Uncle Rob has it, now Tucker has it.  No, I don’t know why Uncle Rob has it and I don’t; I don’t know why Tucker has it and Tyler doesn’t.  DNA, kiddo.


And if you’re interested in looking thoroughly at the effects of junk food in one’s diet, then we can begin experimenting with yours.  Beginning today.




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.

My Inner Rachael Green

I was working my way down the center aisle of the plane, looking ahead to see if I had any hope of overhead compartment for my carryon bag.

And then I heard, “Tricia!  Oh my gosh!  You’re on my flight!”

I looked over to 14B, to see who was calling my name.  As soon as we made eye contact, she said, “Oh, wait.  You don’t know me.”

I smiled.  “That’s okay.  Sounds like you know me.”

She thrust her hand toward mine.  “I’m Alison.  I read your blog. Actually, I read your everything.  I knew you were flying today, and I can’t believe you’re on my flight.  You don’t need to tell me where you’re going – I already know.”

We shook hands, new friends reunited for the first time in person.  I would have talked longer, but there was a line of people waiting behind me with their own hopes of overhead space.

“Nice to meet you!” We called to each other as I made my way to the back of the plane.

Three hours later, when our flight landed on the other side of the country, I gathered my things and prepared to deboard.  (I am never bulkier than when I travel. I have got to get better at this.)  I felt like I dropped something, but I coudn’t see anything of mine under the seat or in the areas designated as mine.  Plus, there was that line of people waiting for me to move yet again.  I’m always in their way.  I’m not an efficient traveler, but I make up for it with a joyful, low maintenance spirit.

I stepped into the airport to find Alison waiting for me inside the gate. She introduced me to her husband (or boyfriend or brother).  We chatted for the few extra minutes we had hoped for en route.  As we talked and I learned just a fraction about her, a man stood nearby.  He kind of hovered actually.

“Ma’am, did you drop something on the plane?”

“Oh!  You know what? I think I did.  I feel like I did.”

“I picked it up for you.  They’re holding it for you behind the counter.”  And then he slipped away, like a leprechaun who had come to gather my things and send me on a scavenger hunt.

And so, I approached the counter.  “I think I dropped something on the plane.  I believe someone gave it to you.”

“Well, what is it, ma’am?”

“Well, I’m not sure.  I just know I dropped something.”

Insert snootiness.  “Ma’am, I cannot just hand over the entire contents of the desk because you believe you dropped something.”

Good grief.  I wasn’t asking her to.

Oddly, I felt like I was in the real live version of that Friends episode where Phoebe is mad at Ross but she won’t tell him why, and he’s begging to know so he can apologize, and we later learn she won’t tell him because she actually can’t remember since she woke up angry with him after a bad dream of fighting with him.

Anyway, while Ross is begging for her to tell him what he’s done wrong, she says, “Well, if you don’t know, then I can’t help you.”
“Well, I don’t know.”
“Then I can’t help you.”

(Brilliant writing, the creators of Friends.  I seem to reference them in my mind at least once a day.  Or, you know, act like Rachael Green in her later, more beautiful, smarter and responsible years.)

I stepped aside to take inventory of my things.  Alison said, “You’re going to blog about this, aren’t you?”  Indeed I will.  Every day is a new post.

Search, search, search.  It’s hard to figure out what one is missing.  My mind doesn’t work in that backward way.  I can barely find what I have, let alone what I don’t have.

Aha.  I’m missing my iPod and headphones.

I stepped back to the counter, now feeling like a contestant on Joey’s gameshow, Bamboozled.  “Is it…” I pause, knowing if I describe it inaccurately I will be denied, “a silver iPod and black headphones?”

“Yes.”  I wished she would say “Congratulations!  You’ve won what has belonged to you all along!”  And balloons and confetti could fall from the ceiling.

Alison and I parted ways on that happy note.  And today I wrote about her.  Thanks for saying hello, new friend.  I suspect you are reading this.

Or I hope you are.

Like when Ross calls the radio station to request a song for Rachael when they were ‘on a break,’ hoping she’s listening.  Sort of like that.