Thursday, November 21, 2013


You know, there's a little boy I come across regularly at work. His mother is out of the picture. He is raised by his father alone. He's often dirty and unkempt. He often is oppositional and defiant. I love all the kids, and although he is a special challenge, I see plainly that the little fellow has had a hard life. I try to spend time with him, one on one, whenever I have the chance to do so, but it is hard, because there are a lot of kids, and there are a lot of them that need that one on one time. It's also important to balance that gentleness with a firm discipline, because he can be rough and mean to other kids, and, God love him, he's big for his age.

Today, he walked past the door and looked in. I was busy with other kids, and on the floor as I usually am, but I waved to him and greeted him cheerfully. Suddenly, the side door opened, and before I could even react, he was rushing to me. He crashed into me and gave me a big hug, nearly knocking me over because I was kneeling on the floor. I hugged him back, tightly, and thanked him for that hug, rocking him side to side as I patted his back.

He pulled away and smiled, and then rushed back out the door just as quickly as he had come in.

I stared after him with no small surprise. Yes, we talk, but he is often frustrated with me, because I am cautioning him not to be so violent in his play. Yes, we do crafts together after school, but he is often immature and upset that I won't simply do the activity for him.

Still...there is something in the boy that begs to be noticed, hungers for attention, and, in the end, longs for a hug.

I bowed my head for a minute and said a prayer for all little children who have rough lives, and I thanked God that I was there when one of them wanted a hug.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Little Boys and High Energy

One of the houses has a swing set. The weather has been nice, unseasonably warm. In fact tomorrow, we are due thunderstorms. Quite a change from the snow we began the week with. In any case, I gave up on getting anything accomplished with William around. He was filled with energy, so we went outside, and ended up at the other house, where Tim was working on the roof.

William had a grand time. He put up quite a fuss until he was allowed to climb the ladder and watch Grampa work. He's fearless, and scaled that ladder to roof level. I was behind him, of course, holding on. Once he was at the top of the ladder, he threw quite a tantrum because he was not permitted off the ladder and onto the roof proper.

I hauled a kicking screaming boy back down the ladder, and it was not fun.

I distracted him by taking him for a walk to the creek. He had his monkey boots on and was permitted to wade and throw stones, which is his favorite thing in the world. He threw quite a tantrum when he was not permitted to wade out into water past his knees, his boots reaching only midcalf.

We climbed rocks for a while, and he loved that. He lost his footing at one point and slid feet first down the bank of the creek towards the water. Afraid that he'd get cold water in his boots, I picked him up, which set him off once again. He enjoyed the sliding and meant to do it again.

Weary of his outraged bellowing, I told Tim that we were going to head home. I figured that our little beasty boy was ready for a nap.

He howled lustily while being buckled in his car seat, begging to climb the ladder to see his grandpa. Tim laughed from the roof and reminded me to pick up his truck which he'd left over by the swing set.

Driving home, William fussed in the back seat. Much to my surprise, that fussing turned to full blown frantic screaming, so desperate that I had to pull off the road. He had dirty hands, and he'd been rubbing his teary eyes, so my thoughts were that he'd gotten dirt in his eyes. I asked him if his eyes hurt and he wailed "NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! There's a caterpillar on my truck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" And he screamed again for good measure. I took his truck and looked. A tiny piece of hemlock clung to the side of it. I told him it wasn't a caterpillar, and he insisted once again it was.

Once home, he threw a couple more fits, refusing to lie down unless I let him wear his dinosaur pajamas which he'd spied fresh from the dryer. Usually he takes his nap in his clothes, but not today. I gave in, popped him in his dinosaur pajamas. Without one more complaint, he put himself to bed and was instantly asleep.

They are so stinking cute when they are asleep, but it also made me shiver a little. I knew he was simply recharging his batteries.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I've been caught up in an embarrassing situation that has been going on for 6 or 7 weeks now. I don't know. Haven't blogged about it, because, is embarrassing and humiliating.

Last night, at a meeting with trusted friends, we were all talking, and quite spontaneously, I told them about my situation. They looked at me with great kindness, and quickly assured me that they had seen it coming. They felt the situation said a great deal about my own strength of charactor. They understood, related similar incidents, buoyed me up, assured me that it was part of a greater plan.

These are intelligent people, people like me who walk to a different beat. We are storytellers and writers. As we talked, it seemed as if my words unfroze, and it felt good, a relief actually. I said, "The worst part is that I simply feel like I don't fit..." and a former seminarian looked at me, his smile big in his white whiskers, and he said, "You fit with us."

And I realized that I did.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


My cold is easing back finally, good news. We've still got snow here, and it's cold. This morning, I couldn't get the car doors open. Nice things have been happening lately. I've had a nice conversation with a family who enjoyed a couple columns that I'd done about his grandfather, a remarkable man who died just short of his 100th birthday. He was a man who understood honor, and true love, and gratitude. He was a widower of 12 years who still missed his wife so badly that he got tears in his eyes when he spoke of her. The family wants me to have a copy of four years of WWII correspondence between their grandparents. What a remarkable gift! Speaking of remarkable gifts, I'm about to head to bed to read. I have two letters from friends. Thanks, Kelly! Thanks, Mary! What a treat!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What I've been up to...

Children are charming little bacteria incubators. It was a glowing moment to take a look around earlier in the week and realize that I 'only' had two noses dripping green. (ack!)Predictably, I caught the cold going around.

I was standing in line at the Walmart to pick up my prescription. The elderly lady in front of me was sweet, and talkative, and normally, I can carry on a perfectly good conversation with a stump, but today I was tired from my third sleep deprived day due to middle of the night hacking. I responded to her chatter with faint smiles and quiet answers.

When she got up to the counter, she picked up her prescription, and proceeded to carry on a lengthy conversation with the clerk. It went on for some time. It went on long enough that I simply couldn't stand anymore. I sat down on a bench and waited.

While I waited for her to finish, I lectured myself. 'She's probably lonely' and 'it is not killing you to be patient'. But I was sick and I was exhausted, and I wanted to go home. I could see that the clerk was casting looks my way, and I tried to smile as if it did not matter.

When she finished, I stood up and went to the counter. The clerk nervously apologized. I said, "Please don't. She was probably lonely, and it cost didn't cost either one of us anything to be patient with her." I got my drugs and headed out. The woman was getting into a car which had driven over to pick her up. The car had scraped up against one of those concrete pilings outside the Walmart door. Neither the driver or the elderly woman seemed to notice. I walked to my car and when I pulled out, I found myself behind the self same vehicle. It drove very slowly, swerving back and forth over the center line.

There's no point to this story, none at all except that today, as bad as I felt, I was better off than some. I found myself counting my blessings. I will put myself to bed early tonight. I am glad that tomorrow is Friday. I'm also going to pray that the two elderly people have someone keeping a close eye on them.