Archive of ‘TheHandsomes’ category

Mama Said There’d be Days Like This

Today was pic­ture day. Now before you get all con­cerned that my kids showed up at school in white polos already stained with choco­late milk and week-old bed­head, rest assured, I remem­bered. As a mat­ter of fact, every­one was up at 6am, in the show­er, had a deli­cious break­fast poured right out of the card­board box with love and in the car with time to spare. I gave my final farewells and watched my hand­some boys frol­ic into school not a care in the world. I also saw sev­er­al of their class­mates head­ed into the build­ing hold­ing pic­ture order forms. The same order forms that were sit­ting in the bas­ket of papers that I had no inten­tion of look­ing at for at least six months. $h!+!!!

Liv­ing in a Jack But­ler world of North to pick up and South to drop off, there was no turn­ing around, so I had to head down the street and make a U-Turn. Upon my return, the park­ing lot was full and there was no way for me to sneak in and out with­out any­one notic­ing. Instead, I got to take Hand­some #3 and Dar­ling, still in her paja­mas, through the obsta­cle course of senior cit­i­zens sure not to miss the ear­ly bird park­ing for 8:15 mass and the throngs of par­ents who couldn’t wait for their argu­ing chil­dren to final­ly get out of the damn car! We made it through to the school office where I grabbed the envelopes ready to place my order when I saw that they only take checks. Since I had just forged my husband’s sig­na­ture on the last check from the book at soc­cer uni­form pick up, that wasn’t an option. Instead, I had to take the walk of shame, envelope in hand, with my disheveled chil­dren and order my prints online. Thank­ful­ly, that part went off with­out a hitch.

Hand­some #3’s school day starts 45 min­utes after his old­er broth­ers’. We have a dai­ly rit­u­al that includes him refus­ing to eat the break­fast that I have just pre­pared, cry­ing that he hates school and an absolute refusal to let me help with any shoes or but­tons. We live less than five min­utes from preschool and we are late every.single.day. Once we get there it’s all smiles and high fives and how are you friends? His per­for­mance at home and the entire way there should gar­ner him a day­time Emmy.

We walked Hand­some #3 to class, but there was no time to dawdle. Dar­ling and I were in a hur­ry this morn­ing. As I men­tioned, it was pic­ture day and Hand­some #2 real­ly want­ed to wear his favorite black glass­es. One slight prob­lem, they were bro­ken. I promised him that I would go to Lens Crafters first thing and get those qual­i­ty craft­ed specs back to school in an hour, before he saw the pho­tog­ra­pher. Dar­ling was strapped in, my cof­fee was still hot and we were right on time to be wait­ing at the door when the store opened. I put the key in the igni­tion a lit­tle sput­ter­ing, a few lights flick­er­ing on the dash, but the engine would not turn. Per­fect. I called AAA and they said it would be 30–45 min­utes before the tech­ni­cian would arrive. Even more per­fect.

Dar­ling was done being strapped into her carseat about 45 sec­onds into our strand­ed state, so out she went ready to explore the front seat. She did a dandy job push­ing every but­ton, pulling every knob, find­ing my secret stash of tam­pons, gum and expired insur­ance cards. By the time she was fin­ished it looked like a tor­nado had ripped through the front seat. The AAA man final­ly showed up, replaced the bat­tery and $129 lat­er, we were on our way.

Due to our lit­tle bump in the road, there was no way I was get­ting to school on time, but I fig­ured I’d get the glass­es tak­en care of as long as I was out. Hand­some #2 loved those glass­es. They were his first pair and he was super excit­ed to get them back. Well he would have been excit­ed, except that they’re dis­con­tin­ued and unavail­able in the state of Mis­souri. Excel­lent! Mr. Extreme­ly patient Lens Crafters Man, who want­ed to kick me through the win­dow after 30 min­utes of total inde­ci­sion about new frames, and I picked out a per­fect new pair. They whipped those pup­pies up in no time and we were on our way.

I had just a few min­utes before pick­ing up Hand­some #3, so I decid­ed to run into Aldi to grab a few essen­tials. One thing on my list that I have be mean­ing to get the last 10 trips is that $.39 con­tain­er of salt. Remem­ber that, it’ll come back to haunt me in the lat­er rounds. There was a child los­ing its ever lov­ing mind some­where in the store, I nev­er saw it, but the whole city could hear it. Thank­ful it wasn’t mine, I said a quick Hail Mary for the poor moth­er and head­ed out. Once again, we were back on track ready to get Hand­some #3 from school.

Hand­some #3 was beam­ing at dis­missal, hap­py to see his sis­ter and me. “He had a great day, ” called his teacher. Of course he did, he only puts on the spit­ting pea soup show for me. We got home, had lunch, watched a lit­tle Elmo and were all just ready to relax for a min­ute. It was peace­ful and hap­py and serene. Like the per­fect lit­tle fam­i­ly in an anti­de­pres­sants ad.

Since the morn­ing was such a train wreck, I fig­ured it could only go up, so I got cre­ative. Some­times I like to think that I’m June cleaver in a mod­est polka dot dress with a half apron and plas­tic-cov­ered fur­ni­ture. Today was one of those days and I decid­ed to take my stay-at-home mom game to the next lev­el. Oh the boys would just love a pump­kin bundt cake as an after school sur­prise, wouldn’t they? Of course they would, I’ll just whip one right up!

I got out my pan, I pre­heat­ed my oven, pulled out the 800-lb-Kitchenaid and gath­ered my ingre­di­ents. I opened the cab­i­net to grab my sug­ar and flour can­is­ters when that $.39 salt appeared, clear­ly unhap­py with its new accom­mo­da­tions. In what can only be described as a sui­cide attempt, the salt took a free fall direct­ly into my face. Caught com­plete­ly off guard by the incred­i­ble pain throb­bing in my nose, I dropped the fresh­ly-filled with 5 pounds of sug­ar con­tain­er that sub­se­quent­ly broke into 6,000 pieces the sec­ond it hit the gran­ite. I would have tak­en a pic­ture, but I didn’t want to hurt the feel­ings of any of the 4,656,000 sug­ar gran­ules that dis­persed them­selves through­out my entire kitchen if they didn’t make the shot.

I was on the verge of tears when Hand­some #3 ever so kind­ly dis­tract­ed me.

Mom! Dar­ling pooped and she stinks so, so bad!”

I changed the dia­per, put her down for a nap and came down to sur­vey the dam­age. It was bad. I was defeat­ed. Hand­some #3 went to watch a show, Dar­ling was sleep­ing and I need­ed my favorite rap playlist and a Diet Coke. I took a deep breath and tried to put things into per­spec­tive. I am thank­ful for my four beau­ti­ful chil­dren and a lov­ing hus­band, who works his butt off, so that I can have the­se $h!++y days at home with our kids. I rolled my sleeves up, turned the speak­ers on high and got to work. “Hot n Her­re” on my lips, I scrubbed the cab­i­nets, the floors and the coun­ters, and sud­den­ly caught my reflec­tion in the mir­ror and thought, Damn! I think my butt get­tin’ big.….…

I Want to Hold Your Hand

I was sit­ting at the kitchen table talk­ing to my mom when my near­ly nine-year-old placed him­self on my lap.

What’s wrong, bud?” I asked.

Noth­ing, I just want­ed you to hold me,” he respond­ed as he leaned back and rest­ed his head on my shoul­der.

I auto­mat­i­cal­ly assumed that he felt bad or was start­ing to feel bad or thought he might feel bad, because this just nev­er hap­pens any­more. My baby, my first born, my Hand­some #1, the boy who made me a mom, is begin­ning to out­grow me. He has friends and inter­ests that I am no longer dic­tat­ing. And in all real­i­ty, that makes things a bit eas­ier. Often my atten­tion is divert­ed in many oth­er direc­tions. He is the old­est of four with three younger sib­lings rang­ing in age from sev­en all the way down to a year. To say that my focus tends to be stolen by oth­ers is an under­state­ment.

For the first two years of his life, it was us again­st the world. We would sing, dance, and play all day long. His white blonde hair and pierc­ing blue eyes lit up the room. He was a very ear­ly talk­er and would read­i­ly strike up a con­ver­sa­tion with any stranger that caught his glance. His play­ful grin and irre­sistible charm had me wrapped around his fin­ger from the word go.

As our fam­i­ly grew larg­er, my focus shift­ed to the new babies as they arrived and he became my great­est helper. Being the old­est is a birth posi­tion that I share and com­plete­ly under­stand. There is a lot of respon­si­bil­i­ty that comes with being first. You have to set the exam­ple, you have to behave, and you have to be the one who grows up while every­one else gets to be lit­tle. That grow­ing up hap­pens so fast and before a mom knows it; her baby is not a baby, nor a big boy try­ing to get even big­ger. He becomes a young man in a blink.

It use to be that I could pick him up and car­ry him up the stairs with­out a sec­ond thought. Today it would be a strug­gle, but one I would hap­pi­ly chal­lenge myself with if he asked. Some­times, I catch a look at his pro­file and see the same point­ed nose that he had as a new­born baby. As he has grown, his chin has become more chis­eled and his cheeks a bit thin­ner, but his eye­lash­es are still any model’s dream. If I brush his hair away from his fore­head I can still see him lying in a crib.

Some­times when he doesn’t even know it, he will grab my hand in a store and I get a lit­tle lump in my throat. I real­ize that time is fleet­ing and I want to hold on tight­ly for as long as I can. All too quick­ly he can feel my grip tight­en and he is gone run­ning down the aisle laugh­ing, smil­ing, and car­ry­ing on the way that a nine-year-old boy does.

Bed­time rou­ti­nes have trans­formed from singing songs, read­ing books, say­ing prayers, and more hugs and kiss­es than I could count to a quick, good­night and a, “Can you please close the door?” That lit­tle boy who want­ed me to read his favorite book just one more time is now read­ing nov­els on his own. Occa­sion­al­ly he will ask me to stay and tell him a sto­ry. He likes to hear about when I was a kid and fun­ny things about his grand­par­ents. He will lay on his bel­ly and let me rub his back as I talk. I take full advan­tage and even sneak in a kiss or a snug­gle before he asks me to leave.

He no longer wants my help get­ting dressed and locks the bath­room door for added pri­va­cy. He has nev­er been a high-main­te­nance kid, but there has recent­ly been a shift in what he cares about. Brand names are impor­tant and so is his hair. He comes into my bath­room in the morn­ing and asks me to style it for him. I breathe in his lit­tle boy smell and stare at him in the mir­ror. I quick­ly turn my head as the tears begin to well so that he doesn’t notice and grum­ble, “Mom! Please stop.”

As he begins to exert more and more inde­pen­dence, I am taxed with ensur­ing the he is mak­ing the right deci­sions. We are still in the, be nice to your sib­lings and don’t say bad words, phase. We talk about being kind, lov­ing, and faith­ful. I reit­er­ate that we should only treat oth­ers the way that we want to be treat­ed. Soon our talks will trans­form to more seri­ous sub­ject mat­ter like alco­hol, drugs, and sex. It is mind bog­gling to me that I even have to con­sid­er the­se con­ver­sa­tions, but the world that we live in neces­si­tates the seri­ous­ness of our dis­cus­sions because kids are fac­ing adult choic­es entire­ly too young.

I want him to con­tin­ue to love Minecraft and Trans­form­ers. I want his imag­i­na­tion to run wild about wiz­ards and far­away lands. I pray that he will always come to me with his fears and con­cerns and not ever be too embar­rassed to talk to me. I know that I can’t keep him lit­tle, and I don’t want to. He needs to explore every bit of the world that he can. But while he still wants me around and finds com­fort in my arms, I will keep him close and safe and pro­tect­ed. Who am I kid­ding? If he wants me to hold his hand when he is 35, I’ll do it. By then, I will be well into my six­ties and will like­ly be look­ing for a lit­tle help from his younger and stronger arm. I have no doubt he will extend it with a smile. But until then, I will hold his hand tight­ly and he will hold my heart.

Perfect 10

We are a mere nine days from the open­ing cer­e­monies of the Olympic Games in Rio. The sum­mer games are always my favorite. I can watch the swim­mers, divers and gym­nasts for hours and be in the purest state of awe as their bod­ies move in ways that seem almost human­ly impos­si­ble. They are tru­ly glo­ri­ous ath­letes and I will sit, in my own per­son­al glo­ry, and eat lots of snacks and drink Diet Coke while watch­ing them all go for the gold.

I nev­er had aspi­ra­tions of being an Olympiad, which I am sure comes as quite a sur­prise. I was far more con­cerned that the blue and gold rib­bons in my hair matched my uni­form to get too caught up with the actu­al sport that I was par­tic­i­pat­ing in. I attend­ed Catholic school from K-12 and in grade school, I played all of the sports, excelling in none of them. Dur­ing the sum­mer, we belonged to Macken­zie Swim Club, a fond but dis­tant mem­o­ry, and of course, I was on the swim team. There was also a div­ing team, but I was nev­er a part of that. I think the sum­mer that a mem­ber fell through the bars on the high dive, crashed to the ground and broke both of her arms (total­ly sounds like this should have been me) killed any thought my moth­er may have had of get­ting me signed up for anoth­er adven­ture.

swim

 

For as many sum­mers as I can remem­ber, we were at the pool every day. My par­ents had four kids and for a few hun­dred dol­lars a year, this kept every sin­gle one of us hap­pi­ly occu­pied for hours and hours. All of my broth­ers and I grew up to be decent swim­mers with no fear of the water. Our par­ents bought the house that they live in now when we were all young adults and lucky for us, there is an enor­mous pool in the back­yard. As we have grown up, got­ten mar­ried and had chil­dren, Mau­r­mi and Pop Pop’s house is the per­fect sum­mer spot to take our kids for hours on end.

The Hand­somes love to head over to their house when The Grillin’ Fool and I get home from work at night. I nor­mal­ly stay home with Dar­ling, our sweet baby girl, but a few nights ago, he had some evening work to do for a client, so I took the boys for an adven­ture. It’s aver­ag­ing 600 degrees here in the STL, so the water feels like a fresh­ly drawn bath, per­fect for evening swims. Mau­r­mi and I spent our night float­ing and chat­ting with fre­quent inter­rup­tions of, “Mom! Watch this!” “Mau­r­mi, look at me!” and “Hey, this is my best one yet.” Over and over they were in and out of the water doing tricks off of the div­ing board and call­ing us out instant­ly if we hap­pened to blink.

Hand­some #1 made his way over to Mau­r­mi and I in the shal­low water and start­ed doing hand­stands. He went up and down bare­ly keep­ing his skin­ny lit­tle legs togeth­er before top­pling over and splash­ing us.

Shoot! I just can’t keep me legs up,” he com­plained.

You’ll get it bud­dy, you just have to keep prac­tic­ing,” I reas­sured him.

Can you just show me?”

Oh, hon­ey, I haven’t done a hand­stand in 30 years.”

Please!”

When your child, who is so very much like you not only in his looks but in his manip­u­la­tive ways, begs you to help him, you move your aging, expand­ing and some­what sag­ging body to the deep­er water, hold your breath and give it your best shot. I went under, hoist­ed my body up on my arms, attempt­ed to put my legs togeth­er and flopped over on my back. I splashed with such gus­to that I imag­ined the water to be far below the skim­mer when I resur­faced. I was a bit embar­rassed, but fig­ured, I would give it anoth­er shot. Once again I held my breath, said a quick Hail Mary and went under. This time, I got one leg up and plunged for­ward. I came up for air feel­ing defeat­ed, a bit light head­ed and deter­mined to get both legs up and togeth­er. Third time’s a charm, right? I took a deep breath and made a final attempt, but nev­er got my legs ful­ly extend­ed. Instead, my left arm slipped and I went crash­ing down, think Shamu Show in the big tank. I came up for air and was sud­den­ly extreme­ly nau­se­at­ed.

The head rush from my failed attempts at show­ing my chil­dren that I could mas­ter some­thing as an adult that I was nev­er even kind of good at as a kid, was too much. I began gag­ging and head­ed for the steps.

Colleen, what is the mat­ter with you?” Mau­r­mi ques­tioned.

Noth­ing, gag, I am fine, gag, gag, gag.”

Mom, mom, are you OK?” Hand­some #2 yelled from the deep.

I moved from the steps to the side of the pool dry heav­ing and lay­ing my head on the salty, hot con­crete. I was posi­tioned on the ground like a beached whale, wet, flail­ing and dis­ori­ent­ed, just hop­ing that some­one would direct me back to my prop­er place. The fuzzi­ness in my brain rivaled any morn­ing after the very best nights of my life in my ear­ly 20s. I was breath­ing slow­ly in through my nose and out of my mouth. I was afraid to open my eyes, for I was cer­tain that the world was not just spin­ning, but also on fire and laugh­ing at me.

Colleen, are you alright? What in the heck is going on?”

Mom, I am fine! I just got a lit­tle dizzy, I’ll be fine.”

I can’t imag­ine how that hap­pened? Your form was just love­ly,” she smirked.

This com­ing from the wom­an who breaks into tap danc­ing at Hob­by Lob­by, but I digress. It took a cou­ple of min­utes, but I final­ly gained my com­po­sure and was able to get back in the water, my hand­stand days clear­ly over. I grabbed a noodle and float­ed effort­less­ly, not a care in the world. Then, Hand­some #2 yelled from the deep,

Hey, mom! Can you show me how to do a back flip off the board?”

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What’ca Gonna Do?

I have learned all kinds of things in my last eight years par­ent­ing boys. Frogs, bugs and rep­tiles are a reg­u­lar part of con­ver­sa­tion and I am expect­ed to lis­ten intent­ly and care about the sto­ries being told. Cloth­ing will be filthy by the end of the day and no amount of hand wash­ing, wet wipes or nap­kins on the lap can pre­vent it. Boys will beat the crap out of each oth­er one min­ute and hug it out the next and there are nev­er hard feel­ings, at all. No mat­ter how much I preach about lift­ing the seat and aim­ing, my bath­rooms, despite an inor­di­nate amount of bleach and vine­gar used, will always have a slight uriney smell. I have come to accept, albeit begrudg­ing­ly on the urine thing, all of this. It is a way of life in my house and that house is filled with hap­py, hand­some men.…and a cou­ple of girls.

For the most part, my Hand­somes are well behaved, have decent man­ners and do what they are told with­out much trou­ble. Sure, they all have their moments, but I can hon­est­ly say that I don’t wor­ry too ter­ri­bly much about how they will act when I am not around. I am not a huge list of rules kind of per­son either. We have the basics, be kind to one anoth­er, don’t talk back, put your dirty laun­dry in the bas­ket, please don’t pee on your broth­er while you are both in the tub, all that kind of stuff. But, there is one thing in our house that my sons will unan­i­mous­ly announce as being the ulti­mate don’t cross mom on this one or she will lose her mind rule. I can han­dle any of the afore­men­tioned and hand out a quick, knock if off, but when it comes to the Gold­en Rule in Come on Colleen land, there is no excep­tion.

Pic­ture if you will a love­ly break­fast, lunch or din­ner table. You are per­fect­ly fam­ished and could eat just about any­thing. Thank­ful­ly, there is a deli­cious spread before you, the com­pa­ny is equal­ly as divine and you are feel­ing just delight­ful! Then, out of the cor­ner of your eye, you spot a man at the table in a tank top. He could be the rich­est, kindest, fun­ni­est and most hand­some man on the plan­et, but the sec­ond he lifts his arm to reach for the rolls, you see it. His sweaty, strag­gly, nasty armpit hair is danc­ing in the breeze. Pieces of dried deodor­ant are hang­ing on like the last bit of snow on a rock after the weath­er warms up. No mat­ter how hard you try, you can’t look away and now you have com­plete­ly lost your appetite and are resist­ing the urge to barf all over the table. Just, me? No, prob­a­bly not any more.……

Did you get your tick­ets for the gun show? Nope, no way, not at my table. Not today, not tomor­row, not ever. The Hand­somes know that they absolute­ly must have a shirt on when we are eat­ing. Often times they sleep in their under­wear so that they can be like their idol, The Grillin’ Fool, who inci­den­tal­ly is the only per­son in our house with actu­al armpit hair, and will wan­der down the steps blur­ry eyed and half naked. I don’t even have to say any­thing. A vic­to­ry in and of itself, I have mas­tered, “the look” that sends them scur­ry­ing in to the laun­dry room to find cov­er­age.

And before you get all, “But Colleen, Hand­some #1, your old­est, is only eight years old, he doesn’t even have peach fuzz in those pits.” I gagged just typ­ing that. No, you are right, he sure doesn’t, but, I wouldn’t hand him a Salem Slim Light and a Bud­weis­er, two of my old favorites back in the days when I was fun, so why let him engage in oth­er risky behav­iors that could lead to his mother’s pre­ma­ture pass­ing from gag­ging on her on vom­it at the table lat­er on in life? Just not worth the risk.

This rule is infal­li­ble at our home. As a mat­ter of fact, even when I was pot­ty train­ing my youngest boy, oppo­si­tion was quick­ly squelched my by eldest.
Me- Boys, you know the rule, you must put on a shirt before break­fast.

Hand­some #2- Why? Hand­some #3 isn’t even wear­ing any under­wear!

Me- No, he isn’t, but he is also tucked under the table and no one can see that.

Hand­some #1- Why are you even argu­ing with her on this one? You will nev­er win.

Yes. A vic­to­ry. I won! I won! I won! I felt so val­i­dat­ed. They respect me and love me and know that this is impor­tant to me and a firm rule in our home. My hand­somes are allow­ing me to mold them into strong, respect­ful and respectable young men that will make me proud. I was on cloud nine for exact­ly 11 sec­onds and then I got this series of pic­tures from Mau­r­mi. Remem­ber that whole, I don’t real­ly wor­ry about their behav­ior when I’m not around bolog­na? Well, well, well, appar­ent­ly at my house the min­ute I leave it’s a great big, naked, let your arm pits hang out all over the place buf­fet.…..

 

wow

 

They are lucky they are cute.……

The Devil Went Down to SoCo

Recent­ly, Hand­some #2 and I had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to spend some time togeth­er, just the two of us. When I have the­se spe­cial moments, I am sure to tell each boy how much I love him and that he is my favorite. I also make him promise that he will nev­er, ever tell his broth­ers. It makes them feel good and each of them tru­ly is my favorite, in very dif­fer­ent ways.

Hand­some #2 and I dined at his first-choice fan­cy restau­rant, Steak n Shake, and then head­ed to a moth­er son event at his school. I was a bit weepy that night, real­iz­ing that he would be in kinder­garten next year, com­plete with blue Tom Sawyer shorts and a crisp white polo. OK, that is a lie. That crisp white polo is just for the first day of school pic­ture. The rest of the school year is slight­ly dingy with a required morn­ing sniff test to see if we can make it one more day.

My sweet sec­ond son was so proud to have me with him and couldn’t wait to show me all around the build­ing. We ate snacks, played games and had a fun pic­ture tak­en.  But, the evening start­ed after 6pm, which is oh so close to the witch­ing hour when all of my hand­somes become blood-lust­ing demons. As the evening pro­gressed, I noticed his eyes glaze and the horns begin to pop from his head.

If I was going to make it home unscathed, I’d have to move fast while he was still smil­ing. We said our good­byes and head­ed to the car, still hap­py and chat­ting about the fun we had. As he climbed over to the third row seat, I put my key into the igni­tion and the horns popped all they way through as his eyes became flecked with flames.

Hand­some #2-Mom, what are you doing? I am not buck­led. Do you hear me? I am not buck­led.

Me-It’s ok, bud­dy. I’m not going any­where, just get­ting the air flow­ing. Buck­le up.

Hand­some #2- Yeah, right. You big dum­my.

Me- Excuse me?

He caught my icy glare in the rear-view mir­ror and began to pan­ic.

Hand­some #2- Oh no. I’m sor­ry, mom­ma. I’m sor­ry. I’m real­ly sor­ry.

Just as I was about to acknowl­edge the apol­o­gy and excuse his moment of tem­po­rary insan­i­ty, his eyes closed and his hands clasped. He implored our Lord for for­give­ness, cer­tain that I was going to mur­der him.

Hand­some #2- In the name of the father, son, holy spir­it. Amen. Bless us, Oh Lord, for the­se thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy boun­ty, through Christ, Our Lord.

Amen.

And just like that, he earned him­self an extra spray of starch on the first day of school.…..

 

bst

Ladies, I’ll be Pressed to Impress on the First Day of Kinder­garten