A Line of Foxes in Bed

Our nine-year-old collects small stuffed foxes. The fascination began in first grade when he was struggling with controlling his emotions at school, and after reading a book about a fox, we explained that the reason the fox survived was because he never let his anger get the best of him. He out-smarted everyone else by staying cool and calm. “Be the fox,” we would say each morning before school. And with that, he began bringing a stuffed fox to school. If things went awry, the teacher knew to send him to his backpack to snuggle with Foxy until he felt better.

Two years and fifteen small foxes later, I went to tuck him into bed, where seven foxes sat in line along his pillow (a few more on the bedside table).

“They’re in order of the day of the week that I snuggle with them.”

He pulled Sunday’s fox to his chest and curled up under the covers, the other foxes lightly touching his back, patiently waiting for their night in a little boy’s embrace.

Our Not-So-Normal Ski Day

On the first weekend of January in Colorado, thousands of city-dwelling kids head up the two-lane highway into the mountains for the first day of their ski programs. The desire to get up to the slopes is so great that many parents pull their kids out of class early to beat the traffic. Priorities, right?

While we do not advocate the “early Ski Friday pull”, we were definitely excited for the season to officially begin. But Friday night, temperatures dropped below negative 10 in the mountains, sending our planned ski day into a tailspin.

As we approached the car Saturday morning, we heard an explosion like fireworks. Turns out, it was the rear window of our car shattering into a million pieces. My husband had turned the car on to warm it up, and as it heated up, the contrast between the inside and outside was too much for the glass. Ker-pow!

No problem. We hopped in the car anyway and brought the boys to the mountain. I started calling potential repair shops, and my husband and I left for Walmart to buy plastic and duct tape. The Walmart is at least 20 minutes away from where we had dropped the kids, and the very nice gentleman who assisted us was quite concerned that the color of the duct tape match the color of our car. We were in no rush…

…until the cell phone rang.

Our oldest was calling from ski patrol, where they were tending to his younger brother, who had passed out at the base of the gondola. Dehydration. Altitude. not enough bacon for breakfast? It has happened before, which is the only reason, ski patrol said, they hadn’t called an ambulance. Please come quickly.

So, we threw the plastic and our matching duct tape into the car, and raced back to the mountain, where all was well, but….

….on the way, my sister, who was dog-sitting for us, called. Did we know tree trimmers were at the house trimming our favorite walnut?

Nope. So with the now balmy negative 2 degree air coming in the rear window and our child woozy at ski patrol, I had to tell the tree trimmer to please desist until we could supervise.

Now, the one family member who we had not heard from all day, was our nine year old, who was in ski school. We assumed that his day, at least, had been normal.

Not so. His ski instructor arrived back at the base early and angry, due to the bad behavior of the kids. And while our son was happily (and somewhat surprisingly) not the perpetrator, he is not ready for black diamonds and is being moved to a less adventurous group. He looked absolutely defeated, as I am sure, did we.

So, when I bought the big red Gatorade to rehydrate the woozy one, I also bought a lottery ticket. We’re due, right?

A Rooftop Christmas Crash

On Christmas Eve, just before the kids went down for their long winter nap and, according to NORAD, Rudolph’s red nose was leading Santa north from South America, our 12 year old lost a tooth.

Already excited, the lost tooth and resulting bloody grin infused the boys with even more energy. It took some time to settle down as Mom and Dad worried that Santa – and now the Tooth Fairy – would fall asleep before the kids did.

Then I heard someone gasp, “What if Santa and the Tooth Fairy crash into each other at our house?”

And all I could think was….

Another 15 minutes of adrenaline as young brains ponder the possibility. Another 15 minutes before Santa and the Tooth Fairy can sleep.

Jacket and Tie

The boys dressed up for mass and dinner on Christmas Eve. I am used to complaining and grumpiness because khakis aren’t soft enough or there are too many buttons on shirts. So my nine year old surprised me. He has finally grown into one of the blue blazers in the house, and that made him really proud. He asked if he could shower first, went in search of a tie, dug out a nice pair of shoes that an older brother wore once, and grinned ear to ear at me every time I caught his eye.

It had never occurred ot me that a blue blazer and tie might be a milestone, something to remember forever until I saw that smile.

Average People Need Hugs

I had already suffered through my dental cleaning and re-entered the house to find my teenage son on the couch where I had left him with one instruction: do the breakfast dishes.

They remained piled in the sink, syrup hardened onto plates, a rim of leftover coffee beginning to stain the bottom of a cup.

He looked up from his iPad, “Mom, did you know that smart people prefer to be alone?”

My random fact guy, but I assumed he was using this “fact” to explain why he had not invited a friend over today when offered the chance.

“But dumb people and just average people want to be around other people. Proof that you’re not that smart.” Big grin.

As if the dentist wasn’t bad enough. I also get to be the mom of a teenager.

Of course, later that same day, he approached me, arms open wide. “Mom, you look like you need a hug.”

Battle of the Bands

Kids doing the dishes. Blasting music from an iPhone. Rocking to “All the Above.” Maino.

Dad enters. His iPhone overwhelms the airwaves with country. “Let Me See You Girl.”

Dishwashers switch it. “Hall of Fame.”

Dad. “May We All.” Country.

“Dad!” Kid dishwashers walk out. A labor strike.

Dad finishes the dishes, singing country alone. “Tennessee Whiskey.”

The seventh grader re-enters. Dishes are done. “This is terrible, Dad. You need to listen to real music.”

Dad acquiesces. “Closer.’ Chain Smokers.

The boys are back. Peace reigns.

Music in the Car

With family arriving to celebrate Christmas in a few days.

I rarely have music playing in my car. The combination of three boys talking over each other and loud lyrics is enough to make me crazy.

But the other day, I needed some music. With no knowledge of radio station numbers, I pressed “Seek” until I found a classical station. Turned up the volume.

When my fourteen year old got in the car after school, he immediately noticed. “Are you getting the car ready for Grandpop?”

Nope, but Grandpop would love that you thought so.