Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The class pet

Yesterday, my daughter came home from preschool with “Freckles,” the class pet. It could be worse. It could be something actually alive. But the stuffed dog is bad enough. I am expected to photograph evidence of his “adventures” with us over the next two days and report on the activities we do together.

“Freckles watched TV with us and watched us play Mario Kart Wii for 3 hours. The end.”

The photo could be Freckles in his bag next to the door so I don’t forget to take him back to school on Friday.

But I flipped through the book of Freckles’ adventures, and no one else seemed to have gone that route. Some moms, the ones I could actually be friends with, did a hastily scribbled handwritten note with a photo of their kid hugging the mangy pooch. But some moms took this on as a serious scrapbooking task. They glued paw-print patterned paper into the composition book as a background, and used fancy scissors to cut the photos into a scallop pattern, attached with bone-shaped 3D stickers. Barf. I know I shouldn’t judge them for raising the bar, but I can’t help myself.

Here is the account I really wish I had the guts to send back in Freckles’ little book:

I was very excited to bring Freckles home with me! I was hugging him but Mommy took him away and sprayed Lysol on him until he was soaking wet. She told me she was giving Freckles a bath. Even after his bath, she kept pulling him away from my face. She washed her hands a lot more than usual, and started drinking wine before dinner. She never does that.

I don’t know what “fecal material” means, and Mommy wouldn’t tell me, but she said Freckles was probably covered in it from more than one child. Fecal material must mean something like kisses. I kissed Freckles a lot so he would be covered in my “fecal material” too!

I took Freckles into bed with me, but when I woke up, he was not in my arms anymore. He was on the floor next to the bed. Weird.

While I was kissing Freckles, I noticed that he had some orange stuff on his face. My mom said it was “schmutz.” It kind of looks like the spaghetti sauce we had at dinner, but it couldn’t be because Mommy wouldn’t let him anywhere near the dining room. He also has some black spots on his belly. Is that why you named him Freckles?

When I was looking at the freckles on his belly, I noticed that one of his legs isn’t right. It freaked me out and made me cry when I saw it. I don’t understand why one of his legs isn’t stuffed and is hanging from the middle of his belly. Mommy said maybe he had a “congenital deformity.” Daddy said it looked like a “neutered scrotum.” Do you know what that means? Me neither.

But I don’t care if his leg is a “scrotum.” Freckles is awesome. I decided to ride him like a pony, which involved humping him across the kitchen floor. My mom hasn’t mopped in a while, so I thought Freckles could help out with the cleaning by using his tummy. I looked to see if it made him dirty, but I couldn’t tell because he was already kind of gray all over. He looks just like the steam mop that Mommy uses to clean the kitchen floor! Those mop pads used to be white too, just like Freckles.

Thank you for letting me bring Freckles home. He made me feel so much better when I didn’t feel good. I didn’t even need a tissue because he is so soft and fuzzy and perfect for wiping my nose. I love Freckles so much! He is my best friend.

Death: It’s not just for stink bugs anymore

Remember a while back, when I was wondering how to talk to my kids about death? Well, yesterday it happened.


It wasn’t the way I expected it to happen. I was making my lunch and trying to get the kids to eat their lunch. I had been cleaning out our old office all morning, trying to get it ready to become my son’s new big boy room. It was the kind of day I love and my kids hate, a completely unscheduled “get stuff done” day.

So they were cranky, which makes me cranky. I should have taken them outside or played a board game, but when I’m being productive, it’s hard to stop. My son had a major meltdown over lunch. He kept getting up to play instead of eating, so (after a warning or ten) I took his plate and put it up on the counter.

Cue the complete losing of his shit. Meltdown, tantrum, freak out. He didn’t hit or kick. He told me, screaming through tears, “I am so angry at everything right now! Grrrrrrrrraaaaaggghhhhh!” Yay for using words.

I managed to keep my cool and told him he could have his lunch back if he could calm down and ask me nicely. After a few minutes, he took some breaths, something we have been working on, and calmly said, “Mommy, please give me my lunch back, because when I say something, you have to do it.”

I gave him his lunch, but reminded him, “No, I don’t do what you say. You do what I say. But if you ask me for something nicely, most of the time I will do it.”

This sparked a discussion of what would happen when he grew up and he was the Daddy and I was the kid. For some reason, despite correction, my kids have persisted in their belief that someday the tables will finally be turned and they will be able to force me to eat one bite of gross things and come up with other seemingly arbitrary rules.

I explained, once more, that I would never be their kid. That I was a kid a long time ago, and Mimom was my mommy. And then my daughter asked… “Who is Mimom’s mommy?”

They don’t know. Because they never met her. She died when I was a kid.

Deep breath. “Honey, Mimom’s mommy is not alive anymore. She lived for a very long time until she was very old, and then she died.” Now this is not strictly true. She died far too young, but for the purposes of our death lesson, this feels like a safer thing to say at this stage.

It clicks. It’s not the first time we’ve talked about it, but it’s the first time we’ve talked about it in terms of a concrete person. My daughter’s lip starts to quiver. I see her get it.

“But I don’t want Mimom’s mommy to die.”

“I know, honey. It’s sad when someone dies. But when we get really, really old, we all die. Everyone does. But hopefully by the time someone is done living, they’ll be ready because they had a wonderful, long, life.”

“Mommy, I don’t ever want to die.”

“I know, honey. But you’re going to live for a long, long time. Long enough to grow up and have your own babies if you want to, and long enough for them to grow up. You’ll be very, very old when you die.”

And then, either because I am smart or because I am a complete idiot, I say, “Mommy and Daddy’s job is to keep you safe so that you won’t die until you’re old. That’s why we make rules to keep you safe, so you won’t get smushed by a car or fall down the steps. We keep you safe so that you can stay alive for a long, long time and not get big boo-boos.”

And bam, it clicks for my son. He gets it. “Mommy, I want you to take care of me forever so I will never ever die.”

“We all die someday, baby. But I will take care of you until you’re very big and then you will be big enough to keep yourself safe.” That seems to be enough for him. He feels safe and content for now and goes back to making words with the magnetic letters. (Not, it should be noted, back to eating lunch, which was what he was supposed to be doing. Oh well, getting his sister to ask me about death is pretty effective as diversionary tactics go.)

My daughter: “You’re old mommy. Are you going to die?”

“No, Mommy is a grown-up, but I am a young grown-up. I get to live a long, long time, until you are grown-up and have your own kids and maybe even until they are grown-up too.”

My daughter again: “But Mimom’s mommy died.” Her lip is quivering again. “Can we call Mimom?”

My heart breaks. My four-year-old daughter wants to comfort her grandmother over the loss of her Mommy. She can’t, because Mimom is at work, but she wants to. Melt.

Then she asks, “Who can we call? I want to talk to my family.” Confronted, really for the first time, by the idea of mortality, she needs to talk to her family. We call Daddy.

“Daddy, I don’t want to die.” She starts hugging the phone, really hugging it. “Daddy, come home, please.”

Melt and double melt. She gets it, and she is processing it, and she needs her Daddy. She settles for phone hugs from Daddy, real hugs from Mommy, and Daddy’s promise to come home a little bit early.

Something’s burning. It’s the grilled ham and cheese I was making for my lunch. Hmmm, I guess I can scrape off the burnt part.

And just like that we’re done. They’re drawing pictures on their magna-doodles and asking to watch Toy Story. The process moves into the background. They’re done talking about death.

Until next time…

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vanity is a harsh mistress

I went to the dermatologist this week. I love my dermy. She told me once that her family was surprised that she became a doctor, that her parents were betting on stripper (no she doesn’t look like a stripper). In that same visit, the underwire from her bra came poking out, and she showed me more skin than any other doc ever has while pushing it back into place. She gives out her prescription samples in little leopard print bags. She gives a big, warm hug at the end of each appointment. It’s all probably wrong on paper, but I adore her, and you have to wait ages to get an appointment with her, so I know I’m not alone.

I went in a few days ago to check in on my various skin maladies (eczema, rosacea, and various other things that happen to pale people with sensitive skin), as well as for a full body check. Basically, this means that the doc looks at every square inch of my skin for possible skin cancer, and makes a note of the size and location of my various spots. I am very fair and very spotty. It took a while. The physician’s assistant came in first and started cataloguing my spots. After a few minutes, my doc came in. She asked me about the kids while smearing something onto my face. My face started tingling.

“Um, what is that?” I asked.


OK. She is smearing acid on me. It kind of burns. I lick my lips (a nervous habit). It turns out that acid tastes really gross.

“Is that OK with the rosacea?” (It’s not that I don’t trust her, but she’s a busy woman, and I am one of those annoying “advocate for my own health” people.)

“Yup, it’s fine. I’m just going to take you down a layer.”

Um, OK. We have acid on my face. OK. And my thin paper gown is being ripped off piece by piece. I am essentially hanging out in my undies while the PA writes down every freckle and the doc smears burning liquids onto my face and admonishes me for the size of the pores on my nose.

Apparently I should not be moisturizing my T-zone. Who knew?

Doc is very happy with my lips. She says they look like they have filler in them. Um, thanks?? “But no more red wine,” she scolds. “It is terrible for your rosacea.” Until she asks what I do for work and I remind her that I stay home with my kids.

“I take it back,” she says. “Drink whatever you want. You earn it.”

Do you see why I love her?

Now it is time to zap some capillaries. See, if you don’t know about rosacea, it is this thing that sometimes happens to us, the pink people. When we get red or flushed from normal things like saunas, sun, wind-burn, exercise, sex, booze, embarrassment, etc., our bodies respond by becoming completely freakish. We get weird red scaly patches, and blisters, and things that look like spider veins on our faces. It sucks.

So anyway, I have these broken blood vessels/visible veins on my face. She pulls out the laser. Each zap is fine, but put them together one after the other, and it pretty much bites. Each one is a startling shock, and the ones right next to my nose… um, ouch!

At some point during this process of steel-flinch-steel-flinch, I start thinking about gender. Effing men. They get soft and gray and wrinkly and they have scammed us into thinking it makes them look distinguished. Bastards.

So I come home with what looks like a slight sunburn (which later peeled, lovely), a dozen or two little red scabs from the laser, prescriptions for my rosacea cream and the milder acid that I smear onto my face regularly at home with new instructions to start smearing it onto my chest too, and the $50/ounce eye serum to which I have become addicted. (In my defense, half an ounce lasts me six months.) In the time I was there, we also discussed laser hair removal, for which I am apparently not a great candidate because my body hair is not coarse enough. So I guess I can stop saving up that $2000 give or take for the perma-Brazilian, but that means it’s waxing or shaving forever. Sigh.

Being a woman is just not fair sometimes.

Sometimes I think, what if I just stopped? What if I stopped wearing makeup and stopped shaving my legs and stopped smearing acid on my face and stopped dying my hair and stopped yanking stray hairs out so that my eyebrows would conform to some random notion of how eyebrows “should” look? It’s what’s on the inside that counts. It’s what’s on the inside that makes me beautiful and unique and worthwhile. So why do I spend so much time and effort fiddling around with the outside?

Here’s what’s weird. I don’t think it’s for men. I don’t think my husband would ever notice if my eyebrows were a little thicker. I don’t think he’s losing any sleep over the size of my pores. Sure, the body hair removal is at least partly for him, and maybe the eye makeup and the sexy shoes, but the rest of it? Not so much. Maybe it’s a little bit for other women. Other women notice eyebrows and toenail polish and cute jeans and when our skin looks especially radiant. But really, it’s for me. It’s sheer vanity. Isn’t that weird? I smear acid on my skin and pull hair out by the roots and put potions and powders on my face and try to avoid sun damage and ever-so-gently dab on eye serum at night with the tips of my ring fingers so I don’t pull the skin and give myself wrinkles… all so that what? I’ll look younger and prettier when I look in the mirror? That is so weird. I wouldn’t have thought I would care enough about that to put that much effort into it.

But the idea of stopping freaks me out.

I remember a conversation I had at lunch one day during my TaKeTiNa training. It turned out that a couple of the women had shaved their heads at some point in their lives as part of a spiritual journey, as a way to release attachment to appearance (my words, not theirs, but that was the gist). They were talking about how it felt to completely let go of vanity to that degree. I get it. I deeply respect it. I’m staggered by their strength of commitment.

It’s one thing to say that it’s what on the inside that counts. It’s another thing to shave your friggin’ head.

For me, for now, I’m not ready to let go of the idea of pretty. I like my long hair, with its pink and blue stripes. I like when my skin looks and feels smooth. I like my sexy sparkly red pedicure. I like how my eyes look with eyeliner. I like dangly earrings and low-cut tops and jeans that make my butt look cute. I won’t be shaving my head anytime soon.

But maybe it’s time to spend a little less time primping and a little more time smearing figurative acid on the old dull layers of stuff in my psyche. I’ve been in Mommy mode for four years and have been getting just a little less and a little less mindful every day. Maybe it’s time to take it down a layer, laser away the distractions, rejuvenate my soul with a moisturizing serum, and give the stuff on the inside a nice sparkly pedicure. My soul deserves a spa day too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Coin slot, there's an app for that!

If you haven't read yesterday's blog yet, please read that first, because this will probably be kind of disturbing and confusing without the back story.

My sister's friend, Tim Babasade, was inspired by yesterday's blog to create a new game for iPhone and Droid. It involves putting various things into my coin slot.* It's just a conceptual mock-up at this point but oh yeah, there's art.

It's gonna be huge! Everyone's gonna be playing! We just need a name. Suggestions welcome. Bring 'em on, you bunch of pervs.

* Coin slot pictured is not actually my coin slot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sand in the coin slot

I was scheduled to go to the petting zoo with a friend yesterday, but at the last minute, she had to cancel, so I called my sister wife (the friend with whom I share everything except a man), and we went to a park with our kids so mine wouldn’t lose their marbles over the lack of sheep and roosters to chase around and abuse.

It was lovely. Perfect weather, fall foliage around a lake, children rolling in piles of fallen leaves. The stuff that totally fake blog entries are made of. This is not one of those blog entries. This is the blog entry in which my son grabs a double-handful of sand and puts it into my underpants.

We had gone for a little nature walk and wound up at a different area of the park, with a rock-climbing rock and a large flat rock for kids to play on. The rock-climbing rock was set in sand, presumably for safety. Three of the four kids were playing on the flat “spaceship” rock, so my friend and I took a load off on the pressure-treated 6X6 retaining wall. We are cool and sexy moms. We try not to wear mom jeans. So it is entirely possible that we were both displaying a little bit of “bottom cleavage” in our non-mom-jeans while perched on these convenient but altitudinally-challenged seats. No whale tails, just possibly a little bit of coin slot. (My, my, we have a lot of words for what happens when our jeans dip down in the back.)

My son was scraping furrows in the sand behind me. I was just happy he was quiet. He had been displaying his notorious devil-child persona that day. No one is more gleefully naughty than my son when he is in this mood. You say jump, his eyes twinkle, and he jumps into a puddle, spraying you with mud. My sister wife had described him less than an hour before as the cutest ever little Lucifer. He was in that mood. So I was just happy that he was playing sweetly and not putting banana peels on the spaceship rock or, you know, just walking up onto it and shoving the other kids off while laughing like a spawn of Satan hyena.

It was all good until I felt something cool and wet slide down my ass crack into my undies. I looked back in time to see the twinkle in tiny cute Lucifer’s eye as he released a double-handful of wet sand into the back of my pants.

I wish I could give you advice on what to do if this ever happens to you. Maybe if I hadn't stood up, I could have gotten more sand out before it, um, migrated. I don’t know. But I did stand up. And the sand… settled. Into the crotch of my panties. Like maybe half a pound of sand. In my underpants. Bugger.

You know what sucks about sand in your panties? EVERYTHING! There is nothing good about sand in your panties. Except for the facebook status you get to write about it, everything about sand in your panties effing sucks.

So I updated my facebook status to reflect the abundance of SAND IN MY EFFING UNDERPANTS and then proceeded to try to remedy the situation. Remedying the situation looked something like me shoving both hands down into my jeans and trying to tip the crotch of my panties sideways so the sand would fall out and go down my leg. Go ahead, picture it. I’ll wait. You’re welcome. And no, you’re right, it doesn't work. It does get out the bulk of the sand, but sand is still coating anything… *cough*… anything at all… um, moist.


You know what sucks about sand on and in everything moist in your panties? Yes, that’s right, gentle readers, effing EVERYTHING. There is absolutely nothing pleasant about sand in your va-jay.

You know what sand is? It’s dirt. You know what else it is? It’s the crap they make sandpaper out of! You do not want that on your lady bits. Trust me. I have would put a lot of weird stuff on my lady bits if someone told me it was cool or awesome. Ice. (Don’t do it. It is neither cool nor awesome. It’s just psychotically cold.) Mentholated cough drops. (Not cool!! Not awesome!! Get that burning thing off of me NOW! People actually think that feels good?!) Whipped cream. (Fun enough until the sugar gives you a raging yeast infection). The moral of this little section of our story is just don’t put weird stuff on your hoo-hah.

But you know what sucks worse than any of those things? Sand. Walking back to the car with sandpaper panties, sandpaper ass crack, sandpaper va-jay. Not cool, tiny Lucifer, definitely not awesome.

Upon reading my sand in the coin slot facebook status update, my sister revealed to the world that she has had the bizarre urge to put things into my coin slot on occasion. Apparently, I have an irresistible coin slot, and might as well have a tramp stamp with an arrow pointing down that says, “Please put random stuff in here.” I then requested that if people could not restrain themselves from putting stuff in there, that they please choose something other than sand next time. So my sister asked me to post a list of acceptable items to be placed into my coin slot. Here they are, in no particular order:


Winning lottery tickets

Individually wrapped gourmet chocolate, still in its wrapper

Bacon. OK, I know that’s gross, but for some reason I just pictured someone sliding a piece of bacon into my coin slot and I was oddly OK with it. So bacon in the coin slot is OK assuming it stays in the coin slot region and doesn’t… migrate. Who knew?

Two tickets to Book of Mormon (Imagine handing them to the ticket-taker. Heh.)

Southwest travel vouchers


You get the idea… This is not a complete list, but basically if you are going to be putting something in my ass crack, it had better be either expensive or delicious or both. Obviously, the list is longer and more varied for my husband, but for the rest of you, really it’s best if you just stick to cash.

Or maybe bacon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I have joked for a year or two about my little “metro” boy. Metro, metrosexual, a man (or boy in this case) with an interest in fashion, appearance, and design. When he was two, it was a cute photo op. Don’t all two-year-old little boys want to wear their sisters’ sparkly shoes? (Yes, many of them do.) What about three-year-olds? Don’t all boys that age wear butterfly wings? (Well, no actually, most of them don’t.) My son also likes cars and trucks and power tools. When left to his own devices, he draws “monsters with slime.” And also, he also picks out my accessories for me, with a special affection for huge earrings and my lipstick red patent leather 5-inch heels. He feels strongly about my hair. It was for him that I included one blue stripe in addition to the pink stripes I had been doing. And you know what? He is totally right. The blue stripe makes it. I did not, despite his urging, dye half of my head pink and half of my head blue. Even I have limits. But I’ll change my shoes or jewelry for him, and he is usually right, even though his shoe choices are seldom practical. The half blue/half pink thing probably would have looked pretty cool. He notices when my friends get new throw pillows, or a new mirror. He notices light fixtures. He notices when I do something different with my makeup.

My metro son is the only boy in his preschool ballet/tap class. Watching him tiptoe across the room on “relevĂ© toes” in his generic black pants and white T-shirt from Target with all of the tutu-clad girls is one of the cutest things I have ever seen. The girl half of a set of boy-girl twins is in the same class, and the boy half is one of my son’s buddies. That little boy is “all boy” as they say (an expression I don’t particularly care for, but it is efficiently descriptive). On the first day of dance class, my son’s buddy walked up, literally with a football under his arm, while my son put on black ballet shoes. One of the things that was so beautiful about that moment was how excited the buddy was about my son’s dancing, and how there was zero tension around the contrast. We have so much to learn from kids. I cried a little, tears of happiness that I tried to hide.

On my kids’ second birthday, I made a list of future careers that wouldn’t surprise me. I wanted it in writing, so that if my son became an engineer or my daughter became a professional athlete, I could hold up that journal page and say, “See! I totally called it when you were two!” Well, he’s four, and I’m gonna put it in writing. If, someday, he comes to me and tells me he’s gay, I will say I always knew it.

Of course I don’t know anything. He’s not gay or straight. He’s FOUR. His sexual orientation right now is pretty much, “Hey, I have this awesome thing hanging here on the front of my body and I can touch it in the bedroom or the bathroom if I want, but not in the living room or dining room.” I’m just saying, you know, maybe. But just like my career predictions, (a) I may very well be wrong, and (b) I truly don’t care whether I am wrong or right. Maybe he will be straight and an interior designer or hair stylist. Or maybe he’ll be gay and will “cut down trees” (his own current prediction of his future job). Maybe he’ll be a stand-up comic, because that boy has some seriously genius comic timing. Or maybe he’ll have a job that hasn’t even been invented yet.

Maybe he’ll like girls. Maybe he’ll like boys. It doesn’t matter at all to me. I hope that, whether my kids are gay or straight, they will be able to marry whomever they want to marry in all fifty states in this country. I hope that so much.

But my son doing pirouettes and picking out my earrings was not the true inspiration for this post. This was. This week, I took the kids to Pier 1 for the first time. Oh. My. God. It was the funniest thing ever. Both kids enjoyed it, but as we walked in, my son’s eyes went wide, he gasped, and he said, “Wow! This place is fabulous!” He went from display to display. “These are the most fabulous pumpkins I have ever seen!” “These are the most fabulous candles I have ever seen!” And my personal favorite, regarding a display of decorative spheres covered in red glass mosaic tiles, “These are the most fabulous balls I have ever seen!”

I don’t know many four-year-old boys who would be that excited to be dragged along to a home decor shop. “Mommy, these pillows are fantabulous! We should buy some.” Fantabulous? No, I do not say fantabulous. I have no idea where he heard it. And it’s not just a mispronunciation of fabulous, because the sparkly silver napkin rings were deemed “fabulous AND fantabulous!” He even noticed the fabulous aprons, and pointed them out to me. At his urging, I bought one. And it is completely… yes, you guessed it… fabulous. Just like my amazing son.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

“Mommy, what’s church?”

My kids are really interested in what roads we’re driving on and what direction we’re going. They have a better sense of direction at four than I had at ten (yes, really, I am truly direction-impaired), and they know all of the roads we take to get to most of our popular destinations. So yesterday, on our way to the grocery store, we were on Linden Church Road, and one of the kids asked, “What’s linden?” I replied, uncertain, “I’m not sure honey, but I think it’s a tree or a plant.” (Note: yes, it is a tree.) And then, of course, “Mommy, what’s church?”


My internal dialogue went something like this: You could just say it’s a pretty building. You could say a lot of things. You could say it’s a building where people go to talk and sing. You’re driving to the grocery store. Do you really want to get into this right now? But it’s a teachable moment. They’re interested, and listening, and a captive audience. Take a deep breath, don’t chicken out, just tell them.

“A church is a building where people go to learn about God.” (Yes, I know a church is much more than this. I know that a true church is not a building at all. They’re four. I started simple.) “Do you know what God is?”


Right. Because we don’t talk about God. My husband is a lapsed Catholic who probably hasn’t been to church since his mom stopped making him go. He’s a scientist, and would probably describe himself as agnostic. I was raised Protestant, and have been many other things since. I am not an atheist or an agnostic. I have faith, but it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the boxes I have tried. Since I found out I was pregnant, I have debated what (if anything) to do about the kiddos’ religious education. I liked growing up believing in something, even if it wasn’t quite the right fit for me. Even at a young age, organized Christian beliefs were too rigid for me. I questioned, always, even as a kid. In the end, that whole good people who don’t believe go to Hell thing was a deal breaker. I just don’t believe it. I believe there are many paths to heaven or bliss or nirvana. So no, we don’t go to church, and we don’t really talk much about God.

Until yesterday.

“God is someone that some people think made everything. The Earth and all of the trees and the ocean and animals and people.”

“And the clouds?”

“Yes, and the clouds.”

“And McDonalds?”

“Yes, and McDonalds. Everything. Some people think that God is real, and other people think that he is pretend. I don’t know the real answer. No one knows. It’s a mystery. What do you think?”

My son, looking confident: “Real.”

My daughter: “No, he’s pretend.”

Me: “I don’t know the real answer. Everyone thinks something different. You can think whatever you want.”

At this point, my son starts trying to convert my daughter with the zeal that only a four-year-old can exhibit about something they only heard of two minutes ago. “He’s real. He’s real. Say he’s real!”

My daughter looks upset. “No, I say pretend. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”

After a few minutes of holy war in the back of the minivan, I redirected to a discussion of the names of trees, and breathed a sigh of relief. That stuff is HARD. I want my kids to have a spiritual life, and I wonder how much of my own odd but still very present faith can be traced to the fact that I grew up being taught that faith and spirituality were important. I don’t feel comfortable teaching them things that I don’t believe, and I don’t feel comfortable with anyone else teaching them that stuff either. But I’m not sure that teaching them my weird mĂ©lange of faith would help. It would probably just be confusing.

Maybe they should start joining me in a meditation practice. Can kids sit and breathe? It doesn’t seem terribly likely, and even if they could, would they derive any benefit from it? Or would they just play with their belly buttons and wiggle around on their miniature zafus? We could certainly start having more conversations and hands-on lessons about helping those in need. I think they’re ready for that. They already have a very strong sense of environmentalism and know about being good to Mama Earth. Last time we went to Storyville (at the Baltimore County Public Library), they wanted to clean up the field full of litter before going in to play. And on the topic at the very heart of my belief system, love, they are experts.

In some ways, a lot of my spiritual searching has been about coming back to some things that children do naturally. They are already in the moment. They are authentic. They dance like no one is watching and laugh hard enough to heal anything in the world. They are beautiful bright spirits. For now, maybe it’s enough. Even if they don’t know that they have spirits.

As usual, I am left with more questions than answers. But when it comes to faith, maybe that’s OK.