Internal Snooze Button

Waking up a 10 year old boy before noon on the last day of winter break is a lot like talking to a toilet. I can't blame him, though; I'm fighting this whole Reset bullshit pretty hard myself.

The nice thing about living in places like Denver or Vancouver is that you get heaps of snow falling down all around your life, melting away and taking everything you don't like with it. You get to watch nature do the thing you wish you could, silently and effortlessly. It's slightly inspiring, if you're the sort of person willing to find inspiration. And if you're not stuck on Colfax surrounded by of fourteen foot walls of inspiration.

We don't get a whole lot of snow in Houston, and I've found that it's harder here than anywhere else I've lived to hit reset on anything, because nothing here really resets all that much. My plantain trees are dead, but other than that, it doesn't look a whole lot different outside than it did 70 degree ago. There are still roses defying my many attempts to slaughter them growing, my mums are still shockingly alive yellow, I don't have the external prompt of snowfall or a en masse temperature drop or a first bloom to kickstart me into anything.

You know that smell in the air that makes you say, "Mmm, today would be a fine day to open the windows and spring clean the shit out of everything"? It smells like that here in December. And August.

But just like jet lag messes up your internal clock and makes it nearly impossible for you to be right for a few days, living in the land of perpetual summer is jacking with all of us, making us seek refuge in the only place you can when winter's dye job has bled all over the rest of the sky, staining everything in unintentional blue, when the night lingers too long and cut's into day's turn at the mic...the business end of your softest blanket in the poofiest corner of your couch.

For the past two weeks, we've wrapped ourselves up tight inside a cocoon of the status quo we want so badly to maintain, because it smells like Downy and soft dreams. We've hit snooze each time the year's responsibilities, obligations, demands and potential have buzzed around our dreaming heads and we fell in love with the fireplace and the Christmas lights and each other all over again.

And tomorrow, the debt we owe that clock is going to come screaming down on us.

Tomorrow it's back to school, back to work, back to prompt dinners and rationed television and orchestrated lives. Tomorrow we forge into a new year headfirst, like it or not, and find out if we stored enough up in our recesses to see us through until spring. Tomorrow we start out on a new path, one that we hope will lead us to better math grades or a high G or the courage to take our own advice and write until we get good at it again. Either way, tomorrow morning, we're waking up.

And I Suddenly Don't Want To Kill Him For Buying That Huge TV Anymore

My oldest son was born in the spring of 1998. When he was just four months old, his father gathered him in his arms, burrowed into the couch, and said, "Finally. Someone will watch the Olympics with me." It didn't matter what ass-backwards hour of the night that child woke up; his father was right there, bottle in one hand, remote control in the other.

I strongly encourage all you wives of athletes to time your pregnancies in accordance with the Olympic schedule.

My husband was a competitive swimmer for the majority of his life. When I say that he was a competitive swimmer, I don't just mean that he liked to race. I mean that he was one of the best swimmers around when he was doing it. He flew all over the damn country to train. He was courted by god knows how many universities. He was contracted by the US to coach a swim team in South Korea. He almost, ALMOST, qualified for the Olympic team tryouts countless times. I have binder on top of binder full of newspaper clippings featuring him, and box on box of medals in my basement. He still holds records in his hometown swim club.

He's on there. There, too.

I was not a competitive swimmer growing up. I was not a competitive anything growing up, honestly. Last time I checked, proselytizing wasn't was Olympic sport, but you never know. If speed-walking counts, maybe they're open to other ideas. Proselytizing is way harder than speed walking anyway.

Needless to say, the Olympics mean different things to The Donor and I, but we are united in the fact that we are both totally useless around here for two weeks solid, every even year. It means something in our house, something more than just entertainment. It means possibilities, the almost.

The almost is the hardest thing in the world to let go, if you ask me.

He watches the Olympics and he critiques strokes, he admires speed that was unheard of 15 years ago when he was swimming; he, I think, takes a little bit of pride in his sport, because he feels like he was a part of all that, that it's still his.

I watch it and I imagine every single one of my kids on that screen, on those starting blocks, on those balance beams. I dream of the legacies. My family has nothing but bad teeth and debt to pass from one generation to the next. Except my father, who is arguably the greatest guitarist you've never heard of, and my aunt, who did great things in science and then chopped her head off one fall day, so no one really remembers the accomplishments anymore, no one in my family has ever really done anything. No one excelled, no one sacrificed, no one dedicated themselves and pushed towards anything. THAT is not the legacy I want to pass down.

I've never seen my husband swim like he did back then, but I've seen him splash around in the pool from time to time, and I'll tell you something; some people are just born to do things. Sometimes, it's painfully obvious. I hope for my children that they find that thing, that one thing they're amazing at. I would be thrilled if that one thing was math, or science, or auto repair, so long as it fulfills them, but in all honestly, I want it to be a sport. They are athletes. It's in them. You don't have the dad they do and not be an athlete. We both go to great lengths to never, ever push our kids, but deep deep down where they can't see, I want it so badly for them, I can taste it.

So, for two weeks, I watch. I study technique, I look at form, I listen to strategy. I call my kids in from playing when the men get on the horse or the girls step up to the balance beams. I pull them into me when the guys climb up on their starting blocks and pull their goggles down, we scream together every time the USA gets a medal, and we scream even harder every time we shatter another world record.

Because, in my house, we're doing it together, those people on the TV and us. In my house, in my heart, those Olympians are blazing trails that my kids will walk someday, too.

PS: If you made it through that, go read this. It's much better.

I was going to let this one go

I really was. I mean, one can only hear so much of the 'my kid is so cute and lovely' blahdidie-blah-blah before grows tired of it. I tried to spare you from this, but it just can't be helped. I could have, I suppose, gone the whole rest of my life never mentioning to you that my teency wittle baby wrapped her legs around my waist the other day, squeezed my neck as tight as she could and said, "Happy, momma" *sniffle* but then it wouldn't make sense, context-wise, when I told you tonight (and I have to tell you tonight) that just now, not 2 minutes ago, I laid that same angel straight from heaven down into her bed and kissed her ni-night and then started to walk out of her room, like I always do, and she looked at me and said, "Momma?" I stopped, walked back over to her and said, "Yes, baby?" And she, oh my, she looked up at me and said, "I love you, momma." *sob*

She said I love you. To ME. I can die now.

(In case you're wondering, she's never said that before. We're not exactly at sentences just yet.)