Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Hey there-

I was so annoyed yesterday I thought I might spontaneously combust right in my car while I was driving Henry to his soccer game.

It all started when I was summoned out of bed by my five year old, Arthur, yelling “Mom!” repeatedly from his bedroom. By his calls I imagined something involving either blood or vomit but what I found was his brother Henry “annoying him” by staring at him over the boards of his bunk bed.

Apparently Henry had been thrown off when he went out to have his breakfast cereal and found someone he didn’t know sitting in HIS seat at the dining room table (step-sister, Aubrey, had a friend spend the night) and his solution to this was to wake Arthur up and proceed to stare at him. According to Henry it is more embarrassing to introduce himself to the “stranger” and ask her name than to cause a scene by annoying everyone in the house at 7:30 on a Sunday morning.

The day quickly deteriorated from there when I had a cold shower due to the fact that I had to switch a load of laundry which put me in line for the shower behind my step daughter, Natalie, who takes the longest showers known to man.

After my extremely brief shower, where I only performed the bare minimum in hygiene maintenance, I began to pack for a two day business trip when Henry appeared at my bedroom grief stricken.

“Mom, I’ve got my cleats and my shin guards and my water bottle and my ball but I bet you didn’t clean my soccer uniform from yesterday, did you? I don’t want to wear the same one from yesterday, that’s gross,” he announced mortified and dejected at the same time.

“Excuse me?” I retorted. “Excuse me!?!?!? Of course I took the time to wash your soccer uniform last night after we got back from your Aunt Jane’s birthday party, thank you very much. And I had a cold shower this morning just so it would be dry!”

What kind of eight year old boy cares about wearing a dirty soccer uniform anyway?

After all this I was quite proud of myself that we were actually getting in the car early enough to drop Natalie off at her friend’s house before the game , AND stop at the library to return the movies that were due the next day, when I discovered I was missing something……..Arthur.

Where the hell was Arthur?

Henry and Sam thought maybe in the ravine behind our house. Nope. Our neighbor thought maybe he and his son were together in the ravine down the block. Nope. Maybe the basement? Nope. Maybe the new neighbor’s yard? (after all they do have Battter, Batter Baseball) Nope.

The two hooligans were finally located, after much yelling up and down the block, in the backyard of another neighbor, who weren’t even home at the time.

Evidently when Arthur is told we are leaving in five minutes he takes that to mean it is time to go play in the neighbors sand box.

“Well, I didn’t know how long five minutes was, Mom, sometimes it can seem pretty long,” he told me, completely unfazed by the now apoplectic brother and mother who are crazy people when it comes to being prompt.

From now on I will be more specific with my instructions when I give the five minute warning.

“Don’t leave this property!” should suffice.

We were on track to be only a few minutes late until I missed the street for Natalie’s friend’s house due to construction. It appears that when there is construction in this town they remove any and all identifying street signs and just make people guess where they are amidst the rubble, orange cones and yellow construction tape.

After realizing I had gone too far I totally freaked Henry out by pulling a U-turn.

“Mom, why did you just turn around in the middle of the street?” (It was completely legal I assure you)

At this point I was taking deep breaths and doing self talk, trying to remind myself this is just a soccer game after all, it isn’t as if I was going to be late for brain surgery. My finger drumming on the steering wheel gave away my attempt at a calm demeanor.

I slowed down the car in the middle of the construction site to let Natalie jump out of the car and pulled another U-turn (again, perfectly legal) to high tail it back to the soccer field.

At this point Henry was lecturing Arthur about the importance of being timely and if he would just listen when mom said it was time to go then mom wouldn’t have to be driving illegally and probably get arrested.

“Do you want Mom to be arrested, Arthur?” (I am telling you those U-turns were SO legal!)

We made it to the soccer game just as the game was starting. (they lost horribly, probably because their "star" goalie was all discombobulated by the late arrival)

We got back home and I got on the road, where I had four hours in a car by myself to think about all the antics of the day. (never a good thing)

Driving by some rocky cliffs surrounded by bushy green trees I was reminded of living in Oregon and Bob and I driving through the Columbia River Gorge for the first time. I had a pang of longing for those early years when Bob and I had all that freedom and adventure, our calender was not set to soccer games and other peoples social lives.

On occasion, I even miss the days when Bob was dying and the days and months after he died.

I miss the clarity that grief affords you, your priorities are so clear; there is no time for petty grievances when you are dealing with the biggest grievance of them all.

Annoying siblings, cold showers, dirty soccer uniforms, running late?

Who cares? My husband just died.

Soon after Bob died I began what I called a success journal. Every night after the boys were asleep I sat down and wrote a list of all the events I considered a success that day. The first few entries were rather slim, consisting of the bare minimum of existence, the boys were alive and safe in their beds and I had fed them.

We are all so busy, rushing off to somewhere to accomplish something.

What does it all boil down to at the end of the day?

Are we fed and safe in our beds? The rest is just gravy.

Thanks for checking in-



  1. The rest is just gravy - great perspective Irene, and perfect timing for me to read it :-) Take care!

  2. Wow! Insightful! Just getting around to reading some older posts. Love this! Thank you! I like to say "In the grand scheme of things" this or that doesn't matter. What a great idea to write down successes! I often say them in my head, instead of all the things I didn't get done. Being a single, grieving mom is overwhelming at times! Again, thanks for sharing!
    Jenn W.