A Day of Miracles
Early this morning, Bodhi, my border collie, started going berserk. I looked out the window and he was quivering like a chilly chihuahua, so I ran outside and ran right back in and yelled up the stairs for the kids to get up, I had a surprise.
They came down, grumbling, rubbing their eyes--The Steps hate rolling out of bed on any given day, but to wake them early on a Saturday is sacrelidge and worth a weekend-long strike. I opened the front door, and there was Sam.
Much screaming, hooting, hollering and crying ensued--and the kids were happy too.
- Sam, rain & a girlfriend for Bone Head! I'm off to buy a lottery ticket . . .A big Canine Reunion Celebration
"It's a miracle!" The Princess screamed, and Bone Head dropped to ground to roll around with her.
Someone had obviously had her, because she smelled like she'd just been bathed, and she was sparkling clean, except for big clods of dirt under her nails where she'd obviously dug out of where ever it was she'd been. So, somewhere, someone is out looking for the Lab they took. Well, they can just keep looking.
Then, Miracle #2--it started pouring down rain. Not a drought-busting deluge, but welcome, none-the-less.
Then, Miracle #3--Bone Head announced he's got a girlfriend, and she's coming over this afternoon. This is a miracle, because he rarely tears himself away from his X-Box long enough to eat dinner.
And if you'll excuse me now, I'm going to go buy a lottery ticket!
The Heartbreaking Truth of Soulmates
“Who is this?”
The Princess was working on a collage for art class and had asked if she could go through some of my old pictures. She stood there, hand on hip, eyes narrowed, brandishing a an old photo of a man, accusation thick in her voice.
I looked up and blinked, mouth sort of slack, like one of the white-tailed does in our yard when she gets a whiff of the dog.
“Is this him?” she accused. “Is this the G-man?”
While she’s never met the man my friends refer to as the G-man, she’s heard stories about him. The FBI agent I dated before her dad was just a ghost to her, kind of like Racer X—a nameless, faceless legend. Until she’d found the picture.
I’m not a big fan of lying to The Steps, but I also know that they, like me when I was young, think their parents, grandparents, teachers and every other ancillary adult in their lives showed up whole and fully formed, like Lady GaGa, stepping out of her egg for a performance.
“Yes,” I said.
She studied the photo, her face puzzling it out, on the verge of tears and I wasn’t sure what to do. I remembered the time I asked my grandmother why she and my grandfather didn’t sleep together. I was stunned when Nana said, “We do—he knocks on my door at least once a week.”
I was horrified. Of course, I knew, in some amorphous, undefined way that my grandparents were once young and in love, but it was a cleaned up, Disney-fied love, with meadows and flowers and long, loving gazes, complete with a sappy soundtrack. I knew they still loved each other, but the actual fact that they had lives outside of the context of me threw me for a loop.
The Princess stood, staring at me. “Did you love him?” she said finally.
Again I sighed. “Yes.”
She stood, staring at the photo, and I could practically hear the gears in her pretty little head grinding, trying to figure our how this could happen—how it was that I had a life before she popped into it.
She looked up at me then, brows furrowed, eyes wide. “But what about Soul Mates? Aren’t you and my dad Soul Mates?”
Oh jeez. Why don’t they teach this class before you wind up with step kids?
“Sit down,” I said, and scootched out the chair next to mine and went and poured her a glass of iced tea.
Then I thought about it and said, “You know how your mom and dad were married when she had you and your brother”
Her eyes narrowed. “Yeah?”
“You think your mom and dad loved each other?” I asked, handing her the tea.
She accepted the glass and considered the question like it was a trap. “Yeah,” she hesitated.
“Do you think they still love each other?”
This caused a frown. “They still love me and Bone Head,” she finally said.
“Yes, they do,” I said. “And that means there’s a bond between them that can never be broken.”
“You mean they’re Soul Mates?” she said.
“Sweetheart,” I said, leaning in to give her a hug. “Soul Mates come in all shapes and sizes—even species, and I believe you get as many Soul Mates as you need.”
Her lip quivered as she considered this, and I could see the whole Cinderella-Sleeping Beauty Myth crash around her like a nuclear bomb. And my heart broke for her.
“I know,” I said, giving her a squeeze. “I know.”
Insta-Parent should come with Insta-Instructions
I knew something was up when The Princess skipped cheer practice to help me cook dinner. This is a big deal because a: She loves cheer practice, and b: At her other home she does not help cook, clean, or as far as I can tell, tie her own cheer shoes.
Step children, I have found, are geniuses at profiling and profiteering, and will, if motivated, do well on Wall Street.
She took a stab at peeling carrots as I seasoned the roast. She was quiet. I knew something was on her mind but have learned through years of interviewing people at the newspaper that the best way to talk is to not say anything at all. And then she said it. “Do you think we’ll find Sam?”
Her voice was tight and she was fighting back tears. She might as well have stabbed me straight through the heart with the carrot peeler.
The truth is, I have no idea. I’ve had dogs take off for adventures before, but they never left the neighborhood and they always came home the same day. I have had dogs die though, and my guess is, it’s similar.
Except that every time you hear a weird bark, sense a strange scratch at the door or see one of those talking-lab-puppy toilet paper commercials, your heart leaps into your throat and you run to the door and yell for the dog.
“Well,” I said. “We’ve driven around the neighborhood, hammered up posters, put ads in the papers, called the vets, kennels and pounds, gone door to door . . .”
She gave me the teary eyes and quivering lip–the one that short-circuits my brain and sends my mother secret cyber brainwaves to let her know I’m in trouble. Only this time, she didn’t answer the Bat Signal. I was at a loss.
“Well,” I said. “We’ll just keep looking.”
I rinsed the shreds of peelings off her carrots and she poured them into the dutch oven, carefully spacing them around the roast and the baby potatoes.
We put the roast in the oven and set the timer.
“Hey,” I said, wiping my hands on the dish towel. “Get your shoes.”
She stared at me.
“We’re going to go find her.”
The Big Talk: How young is too young?
It turned out to be a false lead, but I think the Steps felt a modicum better that they were included in the search, and (I’m not stupid) they got to miss a half day of class.
And speaking of Hot Tips, I’m working on getting my previously published books on e-pub at Kindle, and The Princess asked if she could read my books.
While I am flattered, there is some sexual content in them, but it’s appropriate, and there is more mystery and romance than the heroine hitting the sheets.
The 14-year-old Princess has read the entire Twilight series, and they have Cinemax at her mom’s. What to do?
I went back and re-read what my bookclub calls “The Good Parts,” of both SCOOP and DEAD COPY and while they are pretty steamy, when the heroine makes a bad decision in the sack, she pays for it–in spades.
I’m torn. I’m a big defender of the First Amendment (I was a reporter for 10 years for crying out loud)–the right to free speech, but I’m also a big believer of not introducing kids to something they’re not ready for.
I think kids are bombarded by sex from the day they get ahold of channel changer–but I also don’t think we should lie to them. My big sex talk was, “Is there anything you want to know?” (this was when cable meant you got MTV) and I sat on the bed and said, “No, I don’t think so.”
Which is how it was that I wound up being married before I knew that you could get pregnant at any time, any place, without any warning. Knowledge is power, but who’s job is it to impart that kind of knowledge?
But here’s the thing. I don’t think this is a decision for a step mom. And so my answer?
“Go ask your dad.”
Home Improvements: Lord protect me from the Home Depot Plumbing Aisle
She hadn’t even chosen a topic. I could feel my head start to spin.
“Be careful,” I warned the little dog. “You know what happens to cute things in this house?”
And the dog followed my gaze to all of Chap’s once-cute deer heads, hanging over the fireplace.