I was in a small Christian gang at my elementary school. At first glance, you might not have believed we were gang members, but if you looked closely at the twinkle in our eyes, you would have read the message, “We can die at any time. Jesus will catch us. How about you? Do you know who’s catching you?”
That’s a lot to read in a set of eyes. But you could, because we were looking at you for a very long time, staring, willing your salvation. We stared because Christian culture never taught us the rules of eye contact…
I don’t remember what Brian Dimmit did to me on the playground, but I remember saying, “I hate you.” He must have done something bad. He was capable of bad things. Like this:
I went to his house one time, and we sat at the computer, watching him play a game.
“Can I play?” I said.
“In a minute,” he said. “Watch this.”
I watched it. I watched it for 10 more minutes.
“Can I play now?”
“Hold up,” he said, “I just want to do one more thing.”
He did 24 more things.
“Can I play?”
“Yeah, when I…
I am 25 and it is 9:42 pm on a Tuesday. I am sitting in a Los Angeles subway station, which exists. I missed the train and the next is in 20 minutes, and I walk to a zig-zag shaped bench that was designed to be artistically interesting, but is mostly just a terrible bench. I sit down in a zig and open a book on my iPad.
A mother and son sit on the bench behind me, in a zag. They have just come from Costco and she is irritated that the basketball they bought doesn’t fit in the…
“Oh, that’s so cute,” a co-worker says, pointing over my shoulder.
“What’s that?” I absently ask, finishing up an email or a spreadsheet or something equally unimportant.
“That little blue alien guy,” she says. “Did one of your kids give you that? A gift for Daddy?”
I spin around in my chair to follow the gesture. Instant dread. Behind me, poised on a shelf is a neon-blue Tron action figure, all white-veined and ready for combat on The Grid. Battle disc and all. I’m not even that huge of a fan of the movie Tron. But there he is anyway.
When we were married, my now ex-husband used to call me the Grim Reaper. At the time — say, 2010 — it was meant at least partially as some kind of ribbing about the fact that I worked in hospice. It also referred to the role I often played as the person who is called by friends and family members when anyone is given a terrible diagnosis or is dying. Including pets.
When my ex-husband’s disabled aunt had a sick cat, and others in the family were out of town, I was asked to retrieve the cat from her apartment…
My parents are old. And not just in the way all kids think their parents are old; I myself am old. My parents are practically olde with an Olde English “E.”
Fortunately, they are still sharp. They live independently. They are mobile. They drive. I didn’t say they drive well, but they have managed to get themselves to church and back every morning without incident. I want to believe their prayers act as some sort of perpetual preservative because old age just isn’t old enough.
Even 90 years of life, long by human standards, is a mere blink in time…
The news these past couple of weeks — families making what is surely a harrowing journey to our border only to see their children taken, to have to listen to their children shriek and cry for them, to have to imagine how their children are faring in some unknown place in some unknown city — has me thinking about what I take for granted every day as a parent: the ability to comfort and soothe my children when they need me. Specifically, it has me thinking of my middle child, who has required closeness from me since day one.
“You know,” I said to my husband the other day, as our youngest was mashing banana into the couch and our oldest was ripping paper into strips and letting them flutter to his feet, “people shouldn’t be so judgy about how clean other people’s homes are. Especially if they have kids.”
“I don’t think they are,” he said, placing his bowl of cereal milk on the edge of the sink and not in the goddamn dishwasher, which is a single step away. “I’m pretty sure anyone who has kids knows how hard it is to keep a house clean.” …
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.