Kate 15 kjk

I remember those days, those halcyon days, wrapped warmly with you and that big, gentle dog…sitting by the fire…dreaming as you slept.

I remember them like they were yesterday…the sound of the fire…the smell of your downy hair…the way your fingers unfurled when I touched your cheek. The way my heart felt…as though cannons were fired from within.

You are almost grown now…it was not yesterday.

Today you are fifteen years old. You’re better than those dreams I dreamed, you know.

And the cannons…the cannons are still firing, Kate.

Happy fifteenth birthday baby girl…


Don’t ever grow up…

You will turn seven in just a couple of weeks.  I have planned your party.  Well, I have planned the major details…the date and the theme and all that.  I have not bought the invitations, or made lists or really done anything else, sadly.

Your brothers will both be playing in tournaments that weekend.  On your birthday, you will sit in a hot, smelly gymnasium, listening to the squeak of sneakers and the bounce of basketballs and you will ask me “when is it gonna be over, Mommy” one hundred kajillion times.  And I will look into those big beautiful eyes and sigh, because I know it really stinks for you, and it kind of always has.

The other day I was driving home from somewhere and I passed my favorite place on this entire green earth, the garden center.  Outside they have these picnic tables set up with red and yellow umbrellas so you can buy a chili dog and sit down and have lunch during your glorious visit to the garden center.  We have never done this, though.  We definitely need to do this. Anyway, under one of those umbrellas sat a little boy.  I think he was about 3, although I was pretty much zipping by at 60 mph, so I could be way off, but whatever.  I remembered how you and I would go to the garden center together after preschool, and I would buy way too many flowers and you would sweat and get a sunburn because you have red hair and fair skin and I forgot to bring a hat or whatever.  And you would whine about being hot, and itchy, and I would promise you if you behaved we could look at the fish in the pond.  And you would want to spend WAY too much time looking at those fish in the sweltering heat of the greenhouse and I would hurry you along after a couple minutes.  And now I think how that must stunk for you, too.

Anyway, I looked at that tiny little boy sitting under that umbrella, and I thought of you.  You were tiny, like him, and now you seem so big.  And your teeth are falling out and new, gigantic teeth that are too big for your mouth are coming in.  You have bangs and glasses and you’re at school for so long that I hardly even see you anymore.  Time has a way of slipping by quite unnoticed, Ella.

You know what is ironic?  Even for all those hot, itchy trips to the garden center where you did not have fun, you asked for flowers for your birthday.  You want flowers to plant in our garden.  Daddy and I thought about peonies for you — you are going to love them.  And we will get you those gardening gloves you wanted, too.  And maybe even a watering can.  You also asked for books, a new basketball, and hello kitty.  I think that is the most wonderful list of birthday wishes that I’ve ever read, baby girl.

Ella, don’t ever grow up…

Don’t ever grow up…

The Man

10:00am Henry’s game

11:00am Ella’s game

11:00am William’s game

11:30am Kate’s game

1:15pm William’s second game

That was our schedule for today.  Don’t even ask me how we were planning on getting to all of those games because I can’t remember.  It was so complicated between picking up and dropping off and all of them being at fields all over the doggone town that we had to write it down to keep it straight. 

I figured I’d get up early, go and get The Man some nice donuts from town since today is his birthday.  Weelllll…. I got sick.  I got so sick I could barely function yesterday but to go to the Costco and pick up the good steaks for his birthday supper.  And beer.  Have to have beer on Saturdays when the Hokies play and also to celebrate his birthday.  He gave me the hairy eyeball last weekend because I got “the girly beer with the lime in it,” which is clearly a mistake I won’t make again. 

So anyway, poor old man had to go get his own stinkin’ birthday donuts, and he didn’t even complain, not even once.   I got up and took Poppy out while he was out.   (P.S.  I love Poppy).  It was raining.  Again.  It has rained for like forty million days and nights straight or something close to that. 

Then we got ourselves all fed and dressed and ready for the five games and it still rained.  And it rained, and it rained.  And the games were cancelled.  And I looked up to the sky and I whispered a little thank you God, thank you. because I seriously did not feel up to sitting in the 50 degree rain with a head and chest cold, hacking up half my lungs and listening to Ella whine about getting wet.  (She is such a princess.  That said, I totally would have whined, too.)

And then I spent about the next two hours reading.  I can’t even remember the last time I sat in a chair and read for TWO WHOLE HOURS.  The kids played with legos and Poppy slept on a fluffy pillow.  It was just a nice, cozy morning.  And then I looketh up to the ceiling and said to The Man “That spot on the ceiling is getting worse.  It’s wet again.  We need to get up there and look at that.”  And The Man said “Right now?”  and I said “Okay.”  So up he went.  We had to pry off some moulding in Kate’s room to get to the crawl space up there and sure enough there was a leak in the roofing.  I could just scream with delight at the thought of how much money that is going to cost to fix. 

So then I realize that Poppy is running around somewhere and I don’t know where and I nearly have a panic attack looking for her because I don’t want her peeing or leaving some turds somewhere or chewing something up or whatever.  She is stealthy, let me tell you.  So I am looking and looking and I wander into Ella’s room and see that the window is wiiiiiiide open and The Man has crawled out of it onto the roof.  In the rain.  And he says “Yep, the roof is damaged.”  And Poppy was under Ella’s bed chewing something or other up. 

Then there is all sorts of banging and some duct taping (heaven help me) and closing the crawl space back up.  

Meanwhile, Henry is downstairs whining about the lego set not working right, and if that isn’t an invitation for me to come sit down and take over I don’t know what is.  So I did because if there is one thing other than chocolate that I cannot resist it is a good lego set.  I’m totally serious about that.  The Man realizes that I just haven’t even started on his birthday dessert.  Seeing as how I didn’t make him a dessert last year either, because I was sick then, too, and seeing as how I’m back in my jammies, he declares that he’s going to make brownies and go get some ice cream at the store.  And I just looked at him because I realize that this birthday isn’t quite as it should be for him.  He laughs about it…how he has to fetch his own breakfast, and crawl into the attic and out on the roof and then make his own stinkin birthday dessert, and I feel bad. 

I listened to him and the kids this morning while I was getting dressed.  They are so lucky to have him.  He tells jokes, and acts silly and teaches them.  (Today he showed them a documentary on how the dentist fills cavities.  He said he figured it would make them brush better if they knew the horror.  He actually didn’t say “the horror” part, I just made that up.  But you see what I mean about teaching the children).  He shows them the iPad and how to use it and everyone, even Ella, knows more than me.  He is patient.  He gives them way more soda than I ever would.  He adores them. 

There are times that I am a little bit overwhelmed…realizing how lucky I was, at 16 years old, to find him, a man that is manly enough to climb out onto the roof to investigate a leak, and come right back inside and bake some brownies.  And right now, I’m looking up to the sky again and whispering thank you God, thank you.

Happy Birthday Mr. The Man…  I swear next year is going to be better.

The Man

A Decade

I have started to write this over and over again, trying to put a decade of thoughts and wishes and memories into a small piece of writing.  I don’t know how to do that.  I don’t know how to even begin to express how I feel about you. 

My Kate.

Do you know what I love about you right now? 

I love that you can easily spend two hours doing just your spelling homework, because you put so much effort into it.  I love that you are so creative, and that you never choose the easiest route.  I love that you read for hours every day.  I love that your chin has just the slightest little dimple.  I love the color of your hair and the freckles across your cheeks.  I love that you want to spend time with me.  I love how you say “Mom” when I say something you think is ridiculous.  I love your little fingernails, with their pearly pink chipped nail polish.  I love your innocence.  I love that every single day, you tuck your giraffe into bed before you leave for school.  I love all of those little love notes you leave around the den. 

There is so much more than that, Kate.  

I sometimes feel that my life began with you. 

You are the first best thing I ever did.

I am more proud of you than I could have thought possible. 

I love you beyond words, little girl.   

Happy birthday.

A Decade

Happy Birthday, Mr. The Man

Oh dearest husband, I will take this opportunity to profess to the world that I am a complete and utter failure and that I did not write anything for your birthday.  Which is today. 

So here it is, your big day, and I’ve got nothing. 

I wanted to write something big and special and lovely, but I don’t have it in me.  My head hurts.  My teeth hurt.  My hair hurts.  And I can’t think straight.

But, I cleaned the cooktop today, just for you Mr. The Man.  (Don’t all you fellas out there wish you were married to me?)  And I made dessert for you.  And I bought some food for your birthday dinner tomorrow (which will involve more dessert).  And I cleaned the kitchen.  (When you walk into the kitchen tonight, try to remember that I wrote this at 2:15 pm–a full hour before the little punks get home from school.  And also that “clean” is a relative term). 

Oh, and by the way, I noticed that you did not eat the last enchilada.  You should have taken that for your birthday lunch.  Because it was good.  Thanks for leaving it for me. 

(Why is this all about food?)

Moving right along, today while I was rocking Ella before her nap, she said “Happy?”

And I said “Yes, I’m happy.”

All of my happiness is because of you.  You provide a good life for us.  A beautiful, happy life. 

I hope you know how much we all love you.   

Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mr. The Man