The Childbirth

B.Ham.FrontCover (2)

Thought I’d post an excerpt from my book, Laughter, Tears and Braidsfor those who have not yet read it.  My book describes good times before cancer, our journey through, and the beginnings of putting it all back together.  This was a good time:

Childbirth

I don’t specifically recall being told that we were expecting our first child.  Perhaps it was in September, just a pregnancy kit at home.  I do recall an overwhelming feeling of responsibility.  I enjoyed the process of trying to get pregnant so the news in fairly short order was a bit of a letdown.

We attended Lamaze classes at the hospital closet to our house.  There were about 12 couples in the course and all but two took things rather seriously.  Lisa and I were in that camp.  Our instructor, however, took it all very seriously.  Her classes were well planned, and she did not hold back one teeny detail.

One night our teacher had the soon to be fathers sit on the floor and prop back on pillows.  His spouse was then told to sit in his lap and practice breathing.  Lisa was struggling to get comfortable.

“What’s wrong baby?  Why are you wiggling?”

“Your belt buckle is jabbing me in the back.”

“Oh, I need to remember not to wear a belt on delivery day.”  I took out my pencil and pad and began to scratch a note to myself.

“No worries honey, this is just a breathing exercise.  I don’t think I’ll be lying in the floor propped up against you when the baby actually comes out.”

“Oh.  Right.”  I erased.

On the night they showed a video of the C-section, I began to get light-headed.  Before they even began the operation, I excused myself.  “I cannot watch this, I think I’m going to pass out,” I told my wife.

“YOU    ARE     PATHETIC!  Go drink some water or something.”

Lisa and I talked about our birth plan.  The instructor told us we needed to make decisions about what we wanted to occur during labor and delivery and write it in a notebook to share with our doctor prior to our final visit to the hospital.  She discussed natural childbirth and even suggested that we might want to use a tub or whirlpool during labor.

Who in their right mind would have a baby in a whirlpool?  Does the doctor get in there with you?   Are we all in our bathing suits?  Do you need a snorkel?  Perhaps you don’t have the baby in it; maybe it is a pre-delivery method or something.  Come to think of it, being in water can make one need to go to the bathroom, especially if it’s warm.  Maybe it’s the same phenomenon.

After the first night of class, Lisa looked at me and said, “Our birth plan is to get as many drugs in my system as is humanly possible.  I want them the second I walk into the hospital.  If we go to the hospital and they say I’m not ready to deliver, we will stay in the parking lot.  That is our plan.  You can write it down if you want.”

I fully concurred.  I did not want to see my wife moaning and groaning in pain while delivering my baby.  It’s just all so unnatural.

Lisa also told me that I had three other important jobs during delivery.  Job one was to stay up by her head.  She told me she did not need me down there checking things out.  It was private, between her and her doctor. 

I said, “Honey, I though that area was between you and me.”

“It was between you and me.  Now it is between my doctor and me.  I don’t need the image in my mind of you having that image in your mind.  Stay up by my head.”

That was fine with me!  I’d seen enough childbirth in Lamaze class to last time a lifetime.  I agreed it was probably best not to watch.

The second job I had was to make sure the nurse cleaned off the baby before she slapped her on Lisa’s chest.  

“When the baby comes out, have them wash it off before they give it to me.”

“Why?”

“Because I want a Gerber baby moment, and Gerber babies don’t have blood all over them.”

I’d seen the commercials.  She was right.  I didn’t even know they would try to slop a nasty, unclean baby on you.  I was glad to have something specific to add to the cause.

“Your final job, and I know this is going to be hard for you, is not to make jokes.”

I had no problem with jobs one and two, but no jokes?

When we left the delivery room with our first-born daughter, DJ, the inside of my mouth was as bloody as a Freddie Krueger horror movie victim.  I had bitten my tongue so hard all day to keep from cracking jokes that it was like minced meat.  

Laughter, Tears and Braids is available on Amazon.  Click here to order a copy.

 

 

Giggling with God

First pres

Last week in church we got the giggles – three of us – Michelle, Stephanie and me.  Someone up front struck the funny bone, and we got tickled.  This is not an uncommon occurrence for our family.  It is genetic; we got it from my mother.

Funerals and weddings were the worst with her.

At one matrimonial service the pianist was also the organist.  The problem was that the organ and piano were on opposite side of the church.  This musician also had a very noisy dress.  When she walked, it swooshed.  Four times during the service she paraded in front of the lectern, in front of the huge flower arrangement, and in front of the bride and groom, to change instruments.

Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh – swoosh – swoosh

It was the loudest piece of clothing I’d ever heard.  The more she swooshed, the more we snickered.

At a distant cousins wedding I became tickled when the Kimball organ was turned on.  Boom da da boom da da boom boom boom…

It was just like walking through the mall.  After the beat began, the “organist” began tapping out the melody of Here Comes the Bride.

Boom da da boom da da boom – here comes the bride, all dressed in white, sweetly serene in the soft glowing light… (bet you didn’t know the third line, huh?)

As if that wasn’t enough, I had overheard my parents trying to recall the mother of the bride – “I’m not sure I know her.  What does she look like?” my dad asked my grandmother.

“She’s blonde, medium build…”

“Mmmm…”

“You know, she has one green eye and one brown one.”

“Oh, yes!” Something about her description resonated.

As if the ongoing syncopation wasn’t enough, when the bride’s mother headed down the aisle, I caught a glance of her multi-colored irises.  I was done.

These days I find two different eyes sort of cool, intriguing.  In my adolescence, it just got me tickled.  I’d never seen that before.

My grandmother glared at me like I’d stood up nude on the pew.  That made my mom snicker, and then it was all over.

I left the church for the remainder of the service.  Grandmother Tanner expressed her dismay the minute she was released from the ceremony (as if I didn’t already know she was made).

The giggles can be brought about by something very small.  One Sunday I might break out with the Korean verse of the hymn printed at the bottom of the page.  One of us might turn to the wrong hymn and the innocent bystander belts out a wrong word or two before they realize the joke.  A couple of Sundays there was a stench in the pew – it smelled like a dead animal.  As various family members began sniffing around and looking at each other as if to say, “Is it you?,” the laughter began.

When DJ was an infant, we took her to the 7 PM Christmas Eve service.  When the soloist hit the high note in O Holy Night, our baby screamed out seemingly trying to match the operatic singer.  It ruined the moment which I felt bad about.  But I laughed until we finally just went home.

Once it starts, it is difficult to control.

Last week, to control my silliness, I grabbed the bible and began reading the Psalms.  They are not funny… at all.  I scowled at the kids who looked at me like I was Benedict Arnold.

Sometimes I worry that God gets a little annoyed at our Sunday morning antics.  But then I figure He saw the same thing we did.  He’s probably laughing along with us.

Sunday Post 197: Four Walls and a Few Good Laughs

We went to the mountains on the Friday after Thanksgiving to cut down our Christmas tree.  It’s a Tanner family tradition.  After dinner, the girls and I were riding back to our sparse conference center hotel with the grandparents and Michelle blurted out, “I can’t wait for tonight!”

When we asked her why, she explained, “When Dad, DJ, Stephanie and I all sleep in one room, fun things always happen!”

I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about, but I did recall pleasant memories of the hotel giggles.

It was about 10:30 after showers and teeth brushing, and I suggested that we go to sleep early.  We’d been up late the night before and up at 7 that morning.  I was beat.

I turned off all the room lights but left the bathroom door cracked and the shower light on.

I lay down thinking I was through.

It took about 30 seconds for the hilarity to begin.

DJ jumped on me and Michelle and Stephanie followed.  The tickle fight began.

At one point I “went to the bathroom” but in reality crawled on hands and knees between the two beds.  When I thought they would least notice, I jumped up from the floor in my loudest scary scream.

All three jumped a foot in the air!

It’s so much fun to frighten the little ones.  I think it’s a dad thing.

Later DJ and I convinced Stephanie that Eric Rudolph, the bomber who had hidden in the woods of NC for five years, was still on the loose and could climb through the hotel window at any given time.  She didn’t like that and refused to sleep on the outside wall of the room.

I didn’t let it go on too long.  Just enough to rile her up a bit.

Of course there were a couple of Dutch ovens (if you don’t know, don’t ask), and photos taken to Snap Chat at a later time (it was difficult to get internet access in the room – yahoo!!!)

Occasionally our family has moments of brilliance like this.  No television needed, no computers or fancy games.  Just Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, Tweedle Doo and me, enjoying laughs with nothing but ourselves.

Oh, I finally got them calmed down at 12:30 AM, but I slept with one eye open.  Twice when the room was nearly silent, and I in that nearly comatosed state, DJ snuck out of bed and scared the puddin’ out of me!  I guess I deserved it.

48 Hours

Problematic suitcase

Michelle is going on a two night trip to the mountains with school.  She will be gone approximately 48 hours which, coincidentally, is the same amount of time it took us to pack.

It went like this:

“I have nothing to wear on this trip!”

“You have three dressers and a closet full of clothes.”

“But none of it is right for this trip.”

“You are going to the mountains for school.  You wear yoga pants, t-shirts and a coat!  You have all of said items.”

She looked at me as if I could not possibly understand what was going on in that little mind.  Her look was warranted.

She began digging in her middle drawer and pulled out a pair of black pants made of stretchy material.  “I’ll wear these  on the way down.  Actually, could you check the weather?”

“By all means Vera Wang.  It’s going to be 65 tomorrow, 63 on Thursday with possible rain and only 47 on Friday.”

“Then should I wear these pants instead?”  She held up a different pair of black stretchy pants.

They are both black; they are both long.  They are twins.  How can one override the other?

“Those appear to be much more appropriate for the climate.”

“I’m going to try them on.”

“Don’t you wear those often?”

“Yes.”

“Then why are you trying them on?”

“I need to see how they look with my tennis shoes.”

“I bet they look the same way that they did last Saturday when you wore them with your tennis shoes.”

She ignored me.  She then pulled out multiple white t-shirts as possible matches for her black pants.  I would have chosen the one on the top.

She then repeated the process with her jeans, a pair of crop yoga pants and a pair of leggings.  When done, she put one pair back on with her sweatshirt and a rain jacket.

“AHHHH,” she grumbled.

“What’s wrong now?”

“This stupid coat does not match my tennis shoes.”

“Actually, blue and pink go well together.”

“No.  They don’t.  And look, when I zip it I look fat.”

“You have two t-shirts and a sweatshirt under it.  Jimmy Walker would look plump in that getup.”

“Who?”

We then went to the attic to pick out a suitcase.  The Vera Bradley bag in her closet would not work.  She was afraid she was going to have to carry it too far.

“I want the one with the wheels.  The one with the pink polka dots.”

“It will certainly match your rain coat.  But I’m not sure about your tennis shoes.”

“Your suitcase does not have to match your tennis shoes.  You’re being ridiculous.”

“Oh.  I’m being ridiculous?”

“Yes.  And weird.  And don’t write about this!!”  She brushed her hair back with her hand, “I’m tired of being famous.”

I don’t think she was serious.  Well, about the last part.

Happy Bday Little One

It’s Michelle’s 12th birthday, and she wanted to blow it out.  I’m guessing there aren’t that many 15 girl sleepovers left in me – but, as long as they’re willing to come to my house, I’ll have ‘em!

The girls and I got home around 5:10 on Friday.  The crew started showing up at 5:30.

Michelle was having 9 friends over.  Of course, that meant that Stephanie needed a couple as well which is fine with me.  The older ones sort of disappear for the most part and occasionally step in to help entertain the youngers.  I just check on them to make sure they haven’t smuggled in boys or started a fire.

At 5:50 Michelle ran out on the front porch.  I was under the carport with Stephanie trying diligently to hook my laptop up to a borrowed projector so that we could watch Netflix on the side of the house.  You know, bigger is better.

“Dad, can we open presents now?”

“Noooo.   You still have two friends who haven’t arrived!  We’re gonna do that later tonight.”

“But we’re bored.”

“Bored?  Bored?  Good lord child, they’ve only been here 20 minutes!”  This was clearly going to be the longest night of my life.

“What should we do?”

“Pretend.”

She looked at me as if she had never heard the word.

“Do you know what we did for my 12th birthday?” She braced herself for the “Walk Two Miles to School in the Snow” story, birthday style.

“Your grandparents blindfolded us, spun us in a circle and had us stick a tack into the sketch of a donkey which was hung on our paneled basement wall.  And you know what?”

“What?”

“We were thankful we had a basement with paneling that was soft enough a tack could penetrate it!”

“You’re the weirdest person I know.”  She ran inside with her iPhone in hand.

I’m a cheap sort of birthday dad.  I did spring for pizza – but not the restaurant kind.  I bought small circular crusts and let the kids make their own.  They at least acted like it was fun.

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We then headed out to the carport.  That’s when DJ drove up.

My oldest daughter looked at me.  “Dad.  You look tired.  Let’s project some music videos on the wall.  We’ll have a dance party.  Take a break.  I got the next 15 minutes.”

A quarter of an hour.  She is so thoughtful.

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The movie was a hit until it started pouring down rain about ¾ of the way through.  We grabbed all of our stuff and headed toward the basement door.  As the girls ran in, a snake the size of an earthworm squirmed passed the door.

From the noise that came out of the mouths of these children, I thought one had run into a chainsaw in motion.

The snake is probably in Montana by now.  Their screams no doubt scared the hell out of him.  He was slithering as fast as a serpent can slither.  I feel certain he will NEVER return.

At 10:30 we ate cake – well, sort of.  I rolled out cookie dough and etched a little pic of the kid ($3.69).  I figured after pizza and popcorn some fancy store-bought sugarfest would not be necessary.

DSC_0880

Look, if you’re gonna dress your children in Jack Rogers’ sandals, you gotta save somewhere.

Around midnight DJ came home from her adventures with friends, and she helped me settle the crew down.  I went to my room and began to doze off when I heard the back door open and a booming voice echo through the den.

“Happy Birthday Michelle!!”

Hayes at bday

The laughter and screeches began again.  Uncle Jesse had arrived.  He pulled out the family guitar and began strumming as he held court with the nine preteens.

His work was complete at around 1 AM.  He did the job of an uncle.  Rile them up and get out-of-the-way.

No stiches, no tears, no vomiting or fist fights.  Asleep before 2.  I’d say that it was a pretty good night.

20 Cans of Tuna

can of tuna

Sometimes it is difficult to be my child.

Last Sunday I was working hard to be ready for our afternoon activities and for the first day of school which was Monday.  We had two covered dish dinner events – one for the girls’ mother/daughter charity club and one at church.

Lisa and DJ began participating in the National Charity League five years ago.  There are meetings, socials, and service projects, and mandatory expectations for participation.  When Lisa died, Aunt Sallie stepped up and filled the mother piece of the duo.  When Stephanie aged in, she joined too.

The kickoff picnic required a salad for the covered dish meal and canned goods to be donated to a local nonprofit.

Because I had to bring an entree to the church picnic that followed the NCL dinner, I decided to knock out a slew of ham biscuits.  I made about 50.

That morning I ran by the grocery store to purchase supplies to create my sowbelly delights and at the same time purchased 20 cans of food.  I was thoughtful enough to purchase tuna because the cans were small, easier for my delicate daughters to tote from car to picnic shelter.  I was on my A game.

At 4, I shipped DJ and Stephanie off to NCL and shortly thereafter made my way to church.  They showed up at 6 for their second dinner of the day.

As soon as Stephanie got out of the car, she ran up to me.

“Dad!  Guess what?”

“What baby?”

“Well, we walked up to the NCL picnic and went to put our Food Lion bags full of canned goods on the table with everyone elses’ stuff.”

“Yeah?”

“Everyone else was standing there with Target bags full of shampoo and toothbrushes.  Do you know why?”

“Ahh…no.”

“Because we weren’t supposed to bring canned goods!  We were supposed to bring toiletries.  Do you know how embarrassing it is to show up with TUNA when everyone else has Colgate??”

“What did you do?”

“DJ said to just put the bags down quickly and walk away.  It was humiliating!”

“Well I would imagine that if someone needs toiletries, they likely also need canned goods.”

“At our next meeting we are taking all of the stuff we brought and putting it in bags for the people in need.  I guess the bags will include toothpaste, a toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, Q-tips and TUNA!”

She sort of grunted and walked away.

The beautiful thing about DJ is that she didn’t even bring it up to me.  She’s used to this sort of stuff.  No need to get bent out of shape.  With me as her father, it just is what it is.

 

Check the Tanners out in the September issue of Family Circle
Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful:Click here. And thanks

 

 

Mr. Tanner, we’re gonna need that form.

Mr. Tanner, we're gonna need that form.

Mr. Tanner, we’re gonna need that form.

I am delinquent.  I admit it.  I have not yet completed my oldest child’s physical form for the upcoming school year.

There’s a good reason mind you.  She can only get a physical once each year, and her last one was on July 12, 2013.  She’s been working at an overnight camp in Arapahoe, NC, for the past ten weeks.  I don’t think there are doctors in Arapahoe.  If you have a tooth ache there, your neighbor extracts it for you.  We simply had no options.

She does have an appointment this upcoming week.  And I promise, the second we walk out of the office I will drive straight to her school and turn it in.

It has to be frustrating to deal with parents like me.

To deal with us, the delinquents, our school has hired a health form repo company to ensure that my child does not spread disease and that I meet my deadlines.  I was late on my middle daughter too.  Between the two of them I have received no less than 60 emails this summer informing me of my inadequacies as a parent.

This week, I didn’t get an automated reminder, I actually got a specific note from a staff member at the Health Form Repo Center.  I think his name was Guido.

Today I logged on their website to print the form, readying myself for the upcoming appointment, and at the top of the page there was a large red box.  It read, “54 DAYS PAST DUE” you idiot!!! (that wasn’t written but it was certainly implied).

I am afraid.  I am not sleeping well.  I look out of my windows at night fearful that Guido is going to snatch my child and hold her until her blood test comes back.  We don’t walk near windows anymore.  I just don’t know what might happen.  I have Michelle climb under the car, just to be sure nothing looks cut, before we leave home each morning.

I purchased a bulletpoof vest.  I wear it any time I leave the house.

Guido, have mercy!  Do I not get any credit for the forms I have completed?

Vital Health Record – took 20 minutes to complete – CHECK

Consent to Treat – CHECK

Over the Counter Medicine Form – CHECK

Prescription Medicine Form – CHECK

Psychological/ADD meds Form – CHECK

Copy of Health Card – CHECK

Concussions Form – in the event my child gets hit in the head with a ballet slipper?? – CHECK

Asthma, Allergies, Diabetes, Seizures, Mental Health Condition forms – CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!

I have also completed the Transportation to/from and at school form.  I agreed to have any and every photograph of my child be displayed anywhere the school wants to put it.  I have given them information on all four grandparents, my credit card number for school purchases and volunteered for two committees.  They know my shoe size, that I prefer boxers, and that I had a crush on Janice Middleton in 4th grade.

This week I will attend multiple orientation sessions to seep up more information.

But I will attend only, only if I get this dag gone physical completed and turned in.

What if my car breaks down on the way to the doctor’s office?  What if the doctor is sick that day?  What if their copier is broken or their pens run out of ink?

I’m going to begin investigating home school options.

 

 

Sunday Post 180: One-on-One with the Kid

For the past three years, when Stephanie and DJ head to overnight camp for a month, Michelle and I take at least one fun trip.  We did New York last year.  This year we decided to hit DC.

On the first day of our adventure, we decided that we were going to talk with British accents, even in front of others.  Typically, we’d stick to our plan for an hour or two.  But we sort of got into it for the whole blooming trip.

This is how we rolled:

“Father?”

“Yes daughter?”

“Can we speak like William and Kate for the duration of our trip?”

“I don’t see why not.  Let’s make a go of it ole’ chap.”

“Shall we speak like this alone or in front of others?”

“As we’re gallivanting around, let’s consider speaking like this the entire time regardless of who is listening.”

“Jolly good.”

I’ll have to say that it was quite enjoyable to pretend to be something we weren’t – people with manners.

We saw almost all of the monuments…

Jefferson

Jefferson

 

Washington

Washington Monument

 

And MLK.

MLK

I’d never seen that one.  It was bloody beautiful!  But by the time we got that far, Michelle was fagged out.  So I had to entice her with a spot of tea and a ride on the Tidal Basin paddle boats.

We didn’t boat too far.  I began to realize that the further we moved from the docks, the more leg power it was going to take to get back.  Plus it started raining.

“I’m tired father,” my little one complained.

“Rubbish!  Poppycock!  We’ve got much more to see.”

“But father…”

“Don’t get cheeky with me princess.  Sit on your bum a bit and rest your pins.”

She regained her energy with a lemonade and a bot-le o water, and tickety-boo we marched on to the Roosevelt statue.

Roosevelt

By the end of the day we were zonked out.  We showered and had a nice dinner where Michelle ordered surf and turf (from the kid’s menu) and sucked down three Shirley Temples.

Although the sites were amazing, one-on-one time with my girl is what took the biscuit!

 

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful:Click here. And thanks

 

 

The Nobel Prize in Math

Logo_of_the_Nobel_prize

I don’t mean this in an ugly way, but Lisa was a pretty good nagger. She didn’t really stay on me about stuff cause I typically do what I’m supposed to do. But she could harp on the kids about a plethora of things: practicing the piano, completing their homework, keeping their skin moisturized, getting their thank you notes written, and more!

Since I’ve been the sole parent, I’ve had to take up the role of naggart.

I don’t mind, there’s part of me that perversely enjoys getting under another’s skin. What I stink at is remembering. I just don’t care enough to be a great nag.

I so want to excel at this task. I long to hear a child’s annoyed whine, “Daaaaad. You don’t have to tell me again!”

I long to respond, “Clearly I do!  You did not do it the first six times I asked!”

The problem is, I never asked, because I forgot.

This week we’ve been at the beach, and I have had the awesome opportunity to hassle Stephanie all week long. She’s about the head to camp for four weeks, and she has to complete a massive math assignment for her class placement for the fall. She did the work once, but the school sent us an email encouraging her to push a little harder so they could put her in an honors class.

I was excited!

“Stephanie, if you increase your grade on the placement test slightly, you can take Honors Geometry next year!”

I had visions of Harvard, a PHD, maybe a Nobel Peace Prize! My daughter, one and the same as pi.

She didn’t bite.

“Isn’t the honors course harder?”

“It IS more challenging,” I thought I was giving her a boost!

“Then why would I want to take that?”

“The Nobel Peace Prize baby!  STEM is in!”

She just couldn’t see our vision for her future (by our, I mean my).

So, we’ve spent at least one miserable hour each day of our vacation fighting about math. We’ve been here six days, I have the conversation memorized.

“Stephanie,” I start in the kindest tone I can muster. “You need to start thinking about spending some time on your math.”

“I HATE MATH! IT’S SUMMER VACATION, WHO HAS TO DO MATH IN THE SUMMER?”

“You.”

“This is rediculous!”

“Baby, you’re good at math. You got an award in 8th grade assembly for math!”

“I like math, in the school year! I don’t like math in the summer. When am I ever going to use math in my life?”

“Mmmm.  Let’s see.  EVERY DAY!”

“Not this kind of math. Do you ever factor a polynomial at work?”

“Seriously? I work at the Y.”

“See.”

And then, I get to nag. For an hour at a minimum.

“You could have been done with today’s work in the amount of time you’ve spent complaining. Shut your pie hole and get to work!”

It’s no use. I think she just likes to argue. It’s gonna be a constant battle. She’s “asleep” now. Her computer screen is black. Geeze.

I’m just gonna drop it until next week.  By then I will have forgotten, and she’ll be in basic math.

Oh well, who wants a stinkin’ Nobel anyhow?

 

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful: Click here. And thanks

 

 

Experiencing Jodness

lunchbox

Often an experience brings you joy or sadness. Today I experienced both wrapped up in one.

As I washed Stephanie’s lunchbox out today, it dawned on me that if my calculations are correct, with half school days for exams, honor student lunch, and previously placed lunch orders, today was the last time I’ll ever pack a lunch for that kid. Next year she’ll be in high school, and food is included in the tuition.

When it first hit me, I was elated! Hot damn! One less miserable thing to do before 7 AM. I don’t have to hear, “Dad, you got my sandwich and Michelle’s sandwich mixed up again!! I like ham. She eats turkey!  Got it?”

No longer do I have to search for a vegetable or fruit to ease my conscience – something to toss between the Cheetos and Pirate’s Bootie so they appear less unhealthy. No longer will I be searching for her cold packs at the crack of dawn, realizing I never returned it to the freezer to re-chill. I’ll never have to wash her lunchbox again or futz with the ornery zipper. Only three more years and Michelle will complete the cycle.  I’ll be fully out of the lunch making business! Whoa whoa.

And then it hit me… no longer will Stephanie rely on me to fill her mid day belly. I won’t have the option to tuck in a funny love note to surprise her at school. I remember the first year I made her lunches.  She wasn’t much bigger than her lunchbox.  I tried my mom’s go tos – tuna and egg salad; Vienna Sausages; cold, dry bologna sandwiches – she didn’t complain.  She just returned home with tuna and egg salad; Vienna Sausages; and cold, dry bologna.

“Stephanie, you didn’t eat your lunch baby.”

She’d smile and sweetly confess, “I didn’t like that stuff.”

No longer is my baby in middle school. She’s growing up. She’s moving on.

I got a lump in my throat – a lump about packing lunches. Lisa would have popped open a bottle of champagne. Not me.  I’m too damn sentimental.

I think this phenomena of jodness (joy + sadness) might become a regular for me. Graduations are in my future. There could be a wedding or three. Maybe a wonderful career opportunity for my kid that isn’t within walking distance of Dellwood Drive.

Oh the joy! Oh the throat lump. I just feel jod tonight.

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