How To Figure Out Your Career: Disaster Can Be Your Guidance Counselor

“Mommy, would you ever want to work in insurance?” Eden asked me the other day.

“No. Never.” I said without a second’s hesitation.

“Me neither,” she agreed.

“Why not?” I was clear on my reasoning but I’m always curious to peek inside Eden’s mind.

“I think you’d have to hear so many sad stories and you’d need to do a lot of math and I don’t like math. I can do it, but I don’t like it. Do you?”

I agreed  with  her on everything and said so.

June 22, 2013

Today was the tenth anniversary of my father’s death and in some ways I can’t believe it’s been that long. In others, I can’t believe I ever had him.

We measure his death by Eden’s life. She was five months old when my dad died. She rolled over for the very first time the day of his funeral. I remember so many frantic drives across the state when he was near death, with only Eden in her little car seat behind me.

I wish I still had my dad, but even more I wish my children had a grandfather here on earth.

Kitten Killer: I am NOT a criminal

Eden 2006

Today I’m pulling out a post from 2005 when Eden aka The Bean aka Beanie (and too many more nicknames to list) was two and a half. I realize I run the risk of re-opening charges against me, but I think it’s worth it.

The Bean is a very nurturing sort of girl. Out of nowhere, and I really mean nowhere, she can fashion a baby. She gets all quiet and soft and either cups her hands or crooks her arms to cradle – anything, I am talking paper clips, pieces of fuzz or nothing at all.

Yesterday Paul and I were painting the dining room ceiling and Beanie kept us company. She was being a kitten which involves lots of meowing, crawling and a good bit of licking or licking sounds. I looked over and she was on her side and her arms were circled in front of her. She had an earnest expression. I knew what was coming.

“I am the Mother kitten.”

“Oh really. What are your kittens’ names?”

“Uh…Kiko and Niko”

“Oh that’s nice, rather Japanese.”

I continued to paint and she continued to fawn on her imaginary offspring.

“Axcelly I had more kittens. I had five, but now I have two…You did it.”

“What?”

“You did it.”

“What did I do?”

“You died them.”

“I did not!”

“You did.”

“No, I didn’t…kill them.”

You did…kill them.”

“I would never kill your kittens!”

“You did it.”

Fortunately, we were distracted from this interminible argument. Now we all know I did not die those three imaginary kittens, but if you think the mere accusation isn’t hanging heavy on my conscience, you’re crazy.

How to Give Your Children a Love of Reading

About a month or so ago Eden came to me with a problem.

“Mom, I need your help.” Catching a whiff of tension, I set down whatever I was doing and looked up, all hands on deck.

“It’s Daddy,” This was a surprise since I couldn’t think of why she would be this tentative with Paul, “You know how we’re reading The Fellowship of the Rings? I want to stop but I don’t want to hurt Daddy’s feelings. Would you talk to him for me?”

My kid wanted me to break up with her dad and his book on her behalf. This was a new one.

“Why do you want to quit reading the book? I thought you liked it. You loved The Hobbit.”

To be honest, I had found this surprising. The only reason I read The Hobbit was because of her father’s love for it and my love for him. It took me another 20 years to read the The Lord of the Rings and I only did that when I knew the movies were being made. I far preferred the trilogy to The Hobbit and assumed if Eden liked the latter, she would definitely enjoy the former.

“I did love The Hobbit but The Fellowship goes on and on. They keep getting into trouble after trouble after trouble; it just gets to be too much.”

Eden and I are in a sweet spot with reading. She is a strong girl and can be resistant to things I suggest. Last summer I recommended she try, Caddie Woodlawn, an all time favorite of mine and my mother’s before me. Eden turned up her nose and I let it go until Christmas when I decided—that’s it—we’re reading it together. By Chapter Two she was hooked and we read it several nights over the holiday. It was wonderful.

Paul did the same thing with The Fellowship of the Ring: he just kept reading it and very soon they got to a better part and Eden was engaged in the story again  and they moved onto Two Towers without skipping a beat. Paul and I have jokingly fought over who gets to read to Eden and I think she loves all of it.

It’s my turn now and we’re reading The Great Brain, another favorite from my childhood.

What books did you love as a kid? What are some you’ve enjoyed reading with your own children?

Bouquet of the Day: What makes a woman high maintenance?

This was a bouquet from last month: five clovers with their own leaves.

The day she picked it,  Eden and I visited one of our favorite greenhouses, Ludema’s. It was a terrible day—rainy and cold— but we were in the neighborhood. Ludema’s also has a florist. When Eden and I reached the check out, a man was just approaching. He deferred to us but I told him to go ahead since we had a cart full of plants and he only had a bouquet of flowers. He was buying red roses cut short in a square glass vase, beautifully arranged.

Waiting my turn, I thought about this nice man who was willing to let me and my cart full of plants go before him, not to mention buying someone lovely roses and yet—if I was the recipient—I would be so disappointed. Red roses are pretty much the antithesis of who I am florally.

The cashier didn’t know the price and yelled across the room to the florist who said, “$45, but take off five because of the size of the vase.”

$40 for an arrangement I would hate.

Years ago—after “Harry Met Sally” came out—my sister and I were having a discussion with a group of guys. Torey’s and my assertion was that we were low maintenance. The men, who knew us well, scoffed. We were soooooooo high maintenance.

What!

I brought up how I would rather Paul picked me dandelions over buying red roses! If that wasn’t low maintenance, what was?  The guys just laughed at the idea of Torey or me even thinking we weren’t the highest of maintenance. Now I see that Torey and I were right and so were the guys.

Set aside the mysogynistic thinking behind the idea of maintaining a woman, for a moment please. I thought because I didn’t need to be taken to expensive restaurants and preferred weeds and wildflowers to roses from a florist that made me low maintenance. Now I see the tight perimeter around my approval. If you want to give me flowers you’re best bet is in a garden  unless you can find a good florist, because—if you do go to any old florist—forget about most roses absolutely NO red or white (which are usually more green and not in a good way) but if you must have roses they better be in an arrangement with flowers like stock and peonies…snapdragons are good…no chrysanthemums (unless they’re chartreuse) and please, for the love of all things, no baby’s breath! So you’re best bet is just picking a bouquet in a garden and I’d be happy with anything—just NO RED ROSES!

Paul was firmly in the “It’s the thought that counts!” camp and just kept bringing me daisy-like chrysanthemums from the grocery store and I felt unloved because he refused to know me.  I mixed up the lover’s gift with proof of the giver’s love and Paul felt unappreciated.

God bless Paul.

God bless me.

He has, obviously, with and through each other despite our selfishness and immaturity.

I would choose my girl’s bouquet of clovers over roses from the florist any day: I just prefer the latter and, even if I didn’t,  I love my girl.

I don’t need to be maintained. I know Paul loves me and I’m finally learning to love.