“It hurts too much to smile”

The past couple of days our neighborhood has been filled with bicycles.  Riding up and down the streets.  Children racing and laughing and it has been absolutely wonderful, as they stretch their legs and spirits after long days of learning.

Yesterday Cooter and our Princess were out riding with friends, old and new.  Then it happened.  Cooter headed over to his best bud’s house and misjudged the distance and his braking power.

He got in a fight with a brick mailbox.

And lost.

It looked much worse than it was.  At least I hope so.  Once I ascertained that it was an external injury–really bad scrape down his jaw line on one side of his face, I was able to begin working on calming him down.  He was very, very upset and very, very shaken.  When he started to tell Mess Cat what happened when she dropped by, his chin wobbled.  Bless him.  More than this Mama’s heart can bear for sure.

What do you want baby–you can have it.  

He wanted something cold to drink.  And then not.  He wanted to watch TV, and I discovered that he gets and LOVES Tom and Jerry.  Whatever, man, I didn’t even know what to do with that.  So I chose to be thankful for the sound of his subdued laughter.

At his worst moment, he was pretty convinced he was going to die.  I assured him this was not the case, and what would I do without him?  Who would come in and smile and wave at me every morning?

“I don’t know,” he mumbled, keeping his mouth as still as possible.  “Ask Princess.  Or Daddy.”

Oh my.

He looked so sad.  Stoic.  When Anxiety Girl got on my last nerve worrying over him, I finally asked him, “Why do you look so sad?  Can you give me even one little smile?”

He sighed and shook his head. “No ma’am.  I can’t.  It hurts too much to smile.”

Bless him.  Bless this little guy.

Because he speaks the truth.  Sometimes our wounds are so great and so painful that even just a smile hurts too much.

And sometimes those wounds are not visible to the outside world, so folks are left wondering why we are the way we are–why we can’t bring ourselves to smile and join in the merriment.

Because life is hard, people.  And I daresay that every single one of us is sporting a wound or a scar that at one time or another or right at this very moment makes it hard for us to smile.

And when that happens, I hope that you have someone who will sit and watch Tom and Jerry with you and hold your hand and put healing things on your soul so that in time, with love and care, you can heal–and that they’ll be patient with you, as healing can take a while.

May we all find a way to work through the pain of the journey and come out on the other side able to smile again–even if there’s a scar, may we always be able to find a way to smile once again.

Love to all.



ps–there are no pictures of his “scrape.”  You’re welcome.

To Think I Was Worried He’d Never Read

This morning my little guy greeted me with a big hug.  He’s not always such a happy riser, so I was surprised and thankful.

When I got back from walking Miss Sophie, he came up to me with a huge smile on his face.  I assumed this was more of his good mood, and then he started to speak.  Excitedly.


Before my “I’ve been up less than an hour, people” brain could untangle all of the words jumbled together, Cooter took a deep breath and started again.

“Mama, may I please have some of the Star Wars cereal?  It has less sugar than the cereal that she is eating,” he said, pointing to his sister, Princess.

Ummm.  Wait.  What?

Cooter has taken to reading labels.  I’m not sure if it is his interest in being a chef (although the other day he added “drug dog handler” to his list of “what I wanna be’s”) or if it’s because, as a family affected by severe food allergies, that’s what we do. Read labels.  A lot.

“Okay.  Explain.”

“Weeeeeellllll, I read the label on the Star Wars cereal and I read the label on hers…..and mine has less sugar.”

You have got to be kidding me, cereal makers of the world.  The organic stuff has more sugar than “limited time only” Star Wars cereal with marshmallow puffs?

Okay, here’s where I have to apologize.  Yes.  I actually bought that junk.  We usually only have the healthier versions of the cereal in the house.  I won’t even buy the organic cocoa puffs because it’s too much like dessert.  But in a weak moment on a shopping trip which Cooter was helping me make, he saw the Star Wars cereal.  He is the world’s biggest fan, and since he agreed it would be a special treat snack only every so often, I decided to indulge him and bought him the junk.

*hangs head*  I know.  I know.

A little comparison making.....homeschool--check!

A little comparison making…..homeschool–check!

So imagine my surprise when I compared the labels today.  Or rather, when Cooter pointed them out to me.  I taught him to compare the serving size first and then we looked at everything else.   In the face of his logic, I broke down and let him have the Star Wars cereal for breakfast JUST THIS ONCE.  After all, that big smile on his face told me how proud he was of his discovery.  He was beaming.

This one, y’all.  I just might be in trouble.

Cereal labels aren’t the only thing he reads.  A few weeks back, I came in from running errands and he announced quite indignantly–as though I had anything to do with it, “Did you know that there is VEGETABLE OIL in Mountain Dew?”

We had some left over from a thing, and he had read the box.

“No, I had no idea.  I don’t drink the stuff, Buddy.”

“Well neither do I, because you won’t let me, but EWWWWW.  Who wants to drink VEGETABLE OIL?”

Yeah.  I don’t know.  Folks do, though, because the box was nearly empty.

He has told more than a few folks about his discovery, including the nurse at the allergist’s office today.  VEGETABLE OIL, people.  Apparently you don’t have to be ten to realize that stuff was not intended to be a drink.

I have laughed to myself a lot today over my little guy and his label reading.  He becomes downright investigative about it, and it cracks me up.  I expect I’ll get caught in more situations like the one this morning.  He uses his powers to the betterment of the one person he knows best–himself.

And to think I was worried he would never read…..

Yeah.  Not anymore.

Wishing you all “help” reading the labels.

Love to all.

Cooter and What Matters To Him

This evening Cooter, who has been a little puny with the sniffles today, came and sat next to me.  He wanted to show me a video he found.  This video showed row by row a display of every Star Wars Lego minifigure ever made.



About two minutes in, as he was counting aloud and pointing out to me how many Yodas, how many Lukes, how many Stormtroopers, and so on, he looked up and said, “This might not matter to you, but it really matters to me.”

Then you know what, buddy?

It matters to me, too.

That’s pretty much how this whole things works.

A few minutes later (did I mention it was ten minutes long?) he pointed out Darth Maul in a Santa outfit.  Wait.  What?

“Nooooo, that is not okay,” I said.  A minute later there was Darth in a Santa suit.

“Well, that’s another guy I don’t want to invite to the house for Christmas.”

“Oh Mama, no.  He has some good inside of him. He really does.”

And in that moment, I loved Star Wars more than I ever had before.  Thank you, Star Wars, for teaching my son that there is good to be found even in the most broken of people and situations.  Thank you for helping him look for that and see it.

Tonight I’m thankful that my little guy still wants to sit next to me, and that he wants to share things with me that matter to him.  That is a gift which I am trying not to take lightly.  Even when the music begins to repeat over and over and I get dizzy from trying to read the nameplates underneath ten minutes of Lego minifigs.  I am thankful for that gift.

And just in case y’all have ten minutes and nothing AT ALL better to do, here’s the video so you can watch it too.

Wishing you all the eyes to see good in just about everybody.

Love to all.

maple syrup

as I reach to turn on the faucet
and wash my hands
I feel the stickiness
and the faint smell of maple
wafts up to my nose

I smile
remembering your smile
and enthusiasm
over the waffle and syrup
on your plate this morning

“They’re besties–waffles and syrup are!”
you exclaimed
saluting the friendship
with your fork and syrup-soaked bite of waffle
tipped high in the air

later in the day
the phone rings and I answer
as I listen, again the sweet smell of maple
greets me warmly
and I remember your phone conversation earlier
with your cousin
and how excited you were that he was home
from his trip
and you could talk together again

every day you leave handprints throughout
our home
our paths
my heart

but today they were all scratch-n-sniff
and made me smile every single time
I came across the sticky sweetness

and I was glad I forgot to remind you
as I should have
to wash your hands
after you finished eating this morning

one day these handprints will all fade away
but I think the smell of maple syrup
will always make me smile

By User:Legoktm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By User:Legoktm (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A Good Story About One Who Is Growing Up

And speaking of a good story…..

we were, last night.  About big stories and good stories.

Last night at Evening Prayer we discussed a program that our local coffeehouse has–Backpack Buddies.  Each weekend, children who might otherwise go hungry receive non-perishable healthy snacks to help them have enough to eat when they are away from their schools or child care centers.  We discussed sharing this program with others outside our group to increase awareness and donations so we can provide enough food for 35 children during the remainder of the summer.  (The program provides for a lot more children during the school year.)

While the adults discussed the kinds of foods that work best, it turns out the littles were listening.  As we said our goodbyes and prepared to leave, Cooter came up and tugged my shirt.  “Mama, I have some ideas about some things to put in the backpacks.”

“Really?  What’s that?”

“Well, toothbrushes and toothpaste.  They might not have them and this way, they can take care of their teeth.”

Huh.  That’s not a bad idea.  I was impressed, not only that he’d been listening and thinking, but also that he had come up with a really good idea.  I told him to go talk to our friend who is in charge of the packing of the bags right now.

And he did.

He’s growing up right before my very eyes.  Sometimes I get growing pains it is happening so fast.

Today in the car, Cooter and his sister had a long discussion about what would be good to put in the backpacks along with the food.

Princess, our swimmer, thought that swimsuits would be a good idea.  Cooter nayed it, but she defended it by saying, “Well, it’s really hot this summer, and they can at least run in the sprinklers.”

Cooter was thinking coats, hats, and gloves in the winter.

And then he floored me.  “Well what if we get them some presents to put in there during Christmas?  I mean, they might not get as much as we do, so maybe we could share with them.”

Bless him.  Bless them both.

This isn’t a big story.  We haven’t solved world hunger.  Or even hunger in our own community.  We haven’t even been to the store yet to pick up food for the backpacks this week.

But I think it’s a good story.  One that I will hold close to my heart–especially when I am tempted to forget how giving and loving and thoughtful my children can be.  Oh, like all of us, they have their moments when they most definitely are not.  But this, their minds and hearts working in sync to see a need and try to address it?

Priceless.  Good.  Joy-filled.

May we all take a moment to see how we can fill a hungry body, heart, or soul today.  It can be as simple as a smile or picking up an extra can of healthy food or a bag of apples.

Wishing you all good stories.  Love to all.


The closet where the Backpack Buddies magic happens.  Thanks for helping fill it up.

The closet where the Backpack Buddies magic happens. Thanks for helping fill it up.

If you are one of my local friends and you have an extra minute and dollar or two, please consider dropping a non-perishable item in the purple bucket at Bare Bulb Coffee in Kathleen.  (And get yourself a cup of coffee while you’re at it–it is literally the best coffee ever.  And seriously, I know what I’m talking about.)  Some of the things they can use are granola bars, instant mac’n’cheese, crackers, 100% fruit juice, fresh apples, fruit cups, and canned goods like Chef Boyardee or tuna.  (They try to stay away from gummy snacks and sugary drinks and chips.)  They are packing for 35 children every week right now, and your help will make a huge impact.  Thanks y’all.  

“Grandmothers Are Very Good Cooks”

Last Sunday we spent the day at Lake LBJ in Texas.  My Fella’s aunt and uncle have a house there, and his parents, siblings, and their families all joined us there for a day of hanging out, visiting, and having fun.

The day was warm but not too hot.  The water was just right, and wasn’t much over two feet for a good ways out.  A beautiful day of merry memory-making.  Laughter, story-telling, looking through old photographs, good food, and time together.  Priceless.

At one point, Cooter came up and asked me if we would be eating supper there.

“Yes, buddy, we are.”

“Oh YAY!” he all but shouted, complete with fist pump.  I laughed in surprise.

“Why are you so excited?” I had to ask.

“Because I can’t wait to see what we are having.” He looked very serious. “Grandmothers are very good cooks.”

Bless him.  Yes, baby boy, they are.  And yours was one of the best.

I’m so glad he knows and remembers.

I love that he saw his great Aunt and immediately saw a Grandmother.  He was drawn to her and she doted on him too.  A little while after he finished his supper, he came up and asked me if he could please have an ice cream sandwich.  Behind him was his Great Aunt K, standing there with her hands and face begging with a smile to PLEASE let him have one.

And of course he could.  Ice cream sandwiches and grandmothers–those are two of life’s great joys.

This Sunday is a day of remembering and honoring.  Many folks will be feeling the pain of loss on this day.  It will be my fourth one without my Daddy here with us, and just writing that blows my mind.

Instead of being sad though, I’m going to give thanks for the ones who step in when there’s a space.  Who listen and show compassion and offer a smile, a hug, or an ice cream sandwich or strawberry frozen yogurt when there’s someone to love right there in front of them.

Folks like Great Aunt K, my Aunt, my knitting diva friend and her dapper Fella, my sisterfriend’s Grandma and so many others.  They don’t try to fill the shoes of those who are no longer here, but they sure do fill the hearts of those who are.

And for that I give thanks.

For his wisdom and how my little guy sees the world, I am very thankful.  I give thanks for those who love the ones who are theirs and also the ones who aren’t.  Because, in the end, don’t we really all belong to each other?

And in the words of my Mama, “Happy Everyday!”

Love to all.

Stories for Daddy with a Brownie on the Side

Today is my Daddy’s birthday.  March 23.  Another one.  Without him.  This is the fourth without him here with us.  The third since we gathered with Mama and planted the tea olive at the foot of his grave.

How is that even possible?  Time is an elusive creature.

The pan of brownies to celebrate Daddy's birthday.  Unfortunately the littles were there before me and the camera were.

The pan of brownies to celebrate Daddy’s birthday. Unfortunately the littles were there before me and the camera were.

Today we made a small pan of brownies to celebrate the day and remember.  That’s a change from what I would normally make for his birthday, but that is the way the wind blows.  Changes keep coming, carrying us further and further away from the birthdays we celebrated with him.

Brownies?  Why not.  The littles were thrilled, and as my Aunt pointed out, Daddy would have been the first to say, “Just make something those children will enjoy.”  And I expect he could have been convinced to have one or two himself.

I get my sweet tooth from my Daddy, I think.

I’ve thought about him a little bit more than I normally do, and I would venture a guess that it’s a normal thing to do, considering.  And what kept coming to mind are the things I would tell him, as though he were here, and I were gathering my crew to head over and celebrate with him.

Since that’s not something I can make happen, no matter how much I wish I could, I decided to write him a letter.  He loved hearing the stories about the littles in the family.  About his grandchildren, his grand nieces and nephews.  They made him smile and laugh and he loved to share them with others.  And so I have saved a few just for him that I think he would enjoy.


Dear Daddy,

Happy Birthday.  Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect upon your words of wisdom or wish you were here so I could glean more.  Lord knows and you do too that I need all the help I can get.  I miss you.  I miss you for so many reasons, but mostly because you were my comfort, my safe place to land.  You didn’t always make it easy, but you always made it okay.

Things are changing around here.  You’d be so proud of your first, your oldest grandchild.  She is looking at making changes of her own, all toward the end of reaching her future goals.  She has her heart set on graduate school, and she’s going to see it through, I’m pretty sure.  She’s about to take some classes that you would have enjoyed talking with her about and hearing her thoughts.  And vice versa.  I am looking forward to the conversations myself, but I know I won’t be the partner you were for me.  Thank you for that.  Letting me talk things out.  And think them through in our talks.  Thank you.

That little girl you called “Princess” is growing up too.  She is becoming a thinker, a problem solver.  I know you’d be impressed, as you and Mama tried to raise us to think things through and not to let anything stop us from reaching our goals–to be problem solvers.

Last week the littles and I went over to Aunt’s house, and their second cousins were there.  They were tickled and had a ball playing.  As always happens in the first warm days around here, the children gathered and decided the only way to get relief from the heat was to play with water–in this case, with water guns.  Cooter had his gym class later on, so he couldn’t get wet.  I apologized but said we’d have to let that idea go for this visit.  Cooter was devastated, as he can get when he is disappointed.  But Princess and the three cousins weren’t giving up yet.  A few minutes later they came in, and Princess shared that they had a new plan–Cooter would shoot everyone else with the water, and when he got someone wet, they’d get a gun and join him in getting the others wet.



What was I supposed to do with that?  Aunt, Cousin, and I laughed.  What else could we do?  And since Cooter was good with this version of the game, I had to say yes.  I was actually pretty impressed.  And yessir, she got wetter than anyone else.  You know how she’s always loved the water.

She came in a few days ago, after walking our pup Miss Sophie, and I asked if all went well.  “Oh yes ma’am, she went.”  Oh good.  I asked her if she had picked it up with a bag.  She knows to do this, but sometimes I feel the need to followup.

“I sure did.  Did you know if you put the bag behind her when she’s going, she’ll go in the bag and everything’s all taken care of?  All you have to do is tie up the bag?”  She was quite pleased with herself.

“Wait.  What? That works?”  It was one of those kind of “mind blown” moments, and I wondered how she’d come up with that to begin with.

And I guess it does, because our Princess says she’s done it that way more than once.

Okay then.  Whatever works, right?

Left it set up and on going from Friday night until this morning.  Marathon Monopoly--too much fun.

Left it set up and on going from Friday night until this morning. Marathon Monopoly–too much fun.

We found a Star Wars Monopoly game at the GW Boutique Friday.  Brand new, never opened.  We picked it up, because Cooter is the biggest Star Wars fan ever.  And Aub likes to play monopoly.  She’s really good about playing games with the littles.  I know, she gets that from Mama.  So they had a marathon game going all weekend, reminiscent of the games we used to have going at Granny’s–me and the cousins way so long ago.

They were all really pretty good sports through it all.  Occasionally I’d hear voices get a little louder and I’d call out, “Hey, y’all be kind!”

Yesterday morning, I thought I heard them getting after each other.  I was about to remind them again, when I heard Cooter laughing.  “Ha.  Dirty napkin.  Dirty paper towel.”  He fell into fits of laughter again.  When he came up for air, he said, “I’m just trash talking, that’s all.  Dirty paper plate.”  And this time I joined him in the laughter.

That boy.  He’s quite the character.  He reminds me of you in that respect.

They all love and miss you, but the tears have given way to laughter for the most part.  They love talking about what they remember.  How you reacted to cricket sounds in the Eric Carle book.  Every.  Single. Time.  Your playing soccer with them.  Your Matchbox cars.  Watching Cats with you.  Eating pizza with you.  How you made them laugh.  The books you read to them.  So many precious moments, tucked away in their hearts to pull out and look at again and again when they need a smile and to know that they are loved.

I don’t know what else to say, except the same thing I said each evening of those last weeks when I was leaving out to head back home.

Bye Daddy.  Thanks for everything.  Love you.




Legos, All the People, and Being Friends with God

This afternoon I was heading to our next adventure with the littles in the backseat.  They were having some kind of conversation between the two of them, as I had the jazz music playing and they were not interested in listening at all.

Cooter got really frustrated, and I can’t remember why, but his frustrated, vehement comment said it all.  “I just wish there were only one person on this earth!”

“Really?  Who?”

He harrumphed.  I’ve often wondered what that was, but believe me, you’ll know it when you hear it.  And then he said, “Me!”

Okay, that was enough of that hormonal angst.  (I mean, good gravy, he’s just barely eight. Let’s wait a while to start all that fun, shall we?)

“Well, okay buddy,” I started as I made the necessary turns to keep us on track for our destination. “Let’s see.  If you’re the only person on earth, then there’s no Legos, because there’s no one to design and build the Legos, and there’s no one to play Legos with…..”

“Okay, okay.  Me and the Lego designers, and that’s it.”

“And there will be no one to work at the power company, so you won’t have light to see by to build with the Legos, and no food because no one’s growing it or selling it or transporting it or cooking it, so you’ll be real hungry…..”

“Okay, never mind.” He sighed.  “I want to live here with all the people.”

Yeah, I had hoped you might come to that conclusion.

About a minute and a half later he piped up again.  “Well, I almost said just me and God.  I mean God can do anything, and it’s kind of like magic so God could make the Legos, and we could be friends and play together…..”

His sister, our Princess, interrupted.  “But what if you and God have a fight?”

Wow.  Bam.  Go straight for the jugular.

Because in their world, that is very real.  We get into arguments and disagreements with those we love and care about.  It doesn’t mean we don’t still care about each other and it’s never forever, it’s just the differences of opinions happen and then the arguments follow.  I thought it was an interesting question.

I suppose it might sound sacrilegious to some, but I think there have been many, many people who have walked this earth who have “had a fight” with God.  And what comes after that fight is the really good stuff.

Grace. Love. Peace. Life-changing decisions.  Changes of the heart.

Tonight I’m thankful for Cooter’s change of heart when he realized that we do need people.  All the people.  That there are so many people he will never, ever meet who affect his life, make his life better, what it is.  I think it’s good for all of us to do that from time to time.  Stop and think about all the folks who touch our lives–and all the lives we touch–who will be forever faceless and nameless. Doesn’t change the fact that we need to keep remembering them though.  In the choices we make, in our actions, in our hearts and minds.  Remembering “it ain’t just about us.”

May we have a moment of remembering and sending light into the world for those whose hands touch our lives–the power company, the truck drivers, the news reporter, the person sewing the clothes, the person packaging the cereal–there are so many people without whom we would not be who and what and where we are this very second.  And most likely we will never meet them to thank them.

Mind.  Blown.

Wishing you all a day of making lives better.  Yours included.

Love to all.

Fiction or Non-Fiction?

It amazes me how our children pick up on things that are on our minds and hearts, without us even speaking them.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m tying what they’re asking into what’s weighing on me.

Either way, Cooter and I had some interesting conversation today, while he was trying to distract me from the fact he was NOT doing his math.

“Mama, why did they execute people back when they did all that?”  (We’ve been studying some Elizabethan history.  Henry VIII, his wives, Lady Jane Grey–oh how I love her)

Oh me.  If only that were a thing of the past.

“Well, I guess they were using it as a way to punish them for committing a crime.”

He thought for a minute.  “Must have been a pretty bad thing they did, if that was the punishment.”

What do I even do with that?  I chickened out.

“Well yeah, I mean, I guess they thought so at the time.”

“Why did they wear masks?  The ones who were doing it?”

“I think it was to protect their identity, so no one knew who was actually doing the executing.”


A few minutes later, after he had sat daydreaming, he dropped the real bomb on me.

“Mama.”  I looked up.  “Do you believe in God?”

Oh.  Okay.  I got this one.

“Yeah.  Yes.  I do.”

He stared out the window.  “Huh.”

What?  “Well, do you, buddy?”

He shrugged.


“Do you not believe in God?” I asked him.

He shrugged again.  “I guess.”

Then he asked me the biggest question of all.  Oh, to think I thought I had this.

“So is God fiction?  Or non-fiction?”


“Ummm, well, since God is real, then I would have to say non-fiction.  True story.”

He nodded his head.

“What about you?”

Cooter thought for a minute.  Then he answered with a gentle nod and looked away, “Both.”




As I thought back over his words and all I see and read and hear and thought about all of the brokenness, I think Cooter might have this exactly absolutely 100% right.

God, in our world today, is both fiction and non-fiction.

We have this writing, these stories, these words–this truth–in the Good Book that tell us who God is.  How God is.  That God is.

Then there are our hearts and our thoughts and what we say and what we do that tell a whole ‘nother story of what and who we think God is, but sometimes–much of the time–I think we might just be wayyyyyy off base.

As someone I love dearly has said, “I think we’re all going to be real surprised.”

Just like I’m surprised by the deep thinkers my children are sometimes.  One minute they’re arguing over who forgot to flush and the next minute we’re talking theology and philosophy and the ramifications of the death penalty.

May today be a day of living the truth and not the stories that we tell ourselves to make things a little easier.

It might be hard, but the little ones and the not so little ones–they are paying close attention and taking notes.

Love to all.

Identity Theft and Taking Life by the Tail

Just another Cooter story to share a smile with you this weekend.

We watch some cooking shows together as a family.  These are usually recorded so we can zip through commercials.  Yeah, our time is that precious.  (And yeah, the commercials are usually that bad.)

Sometimes one of the remote controller people (read me or the Fella) will have gotten up for a minute and miss fast forwarding quite as quickly as we would like.  Sometimes (movie/tv show previews) this results in someone (me) hollering, “Noo, close your eyes! Plug your ears! Nononononono!”


A couple of nights ago, we were watching and the beginning bits of a commercial came on that was about identity theft.  Well, the prevention of it.  You know, one of those services.  To protect you.

As we fast forwarded, I caught some curious glances from the littles.  Sure enough, our Princess couldn’t sleep. She came in after 10:30 that night and said she couldn’t sleep.

“Mama, can someone steal my identity?”

“Well, you’re not on-line, so I’m going to go with no.  Nope.  They can’t.”

She nodded.  This seemed to comfort her, which I was glad about.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized it was on Cooter’s mind more than him repeating the words “identity theft” over and over and over the night before.

He came and found me still in my bed underneath my pile of covers including the huge handmade afghan I rescued from the GW Boutique.  It was cold and I was reticent to get out and face it.  He gave me a big hug good morning.  He rooted around in some things next to his Daddy’s nightstand and brought up the Star Wars window decals his Daddy got for Christmas.  We talked about putting them on Daddy’s car and mine.  And then he dropped the bomb, “Daddy wants to park his Z in the garage when it gets fixed.”

He looked sideways at me, awaiting my reaction.  The Z is his Daddy’s “baby.”  She’s getting some long-awaited engine work done, so she’s not here right now.  I caught the glint in his eye, so I decided to play it up.

“Nooooo!  Once we finish cleaning out the garage, I’m parking my car in the garage!  If anybody’s parking in there, I am!”  I really put it on thick.

That boy laughed.  Oh my heart.

“Yeah, if he parks the Z in there, I’m going to go out there and push it back out!”

Oh me.

“No buddy, that won’t be cool.  I’m just teasing.  But it is nice to know you’re looking after me.”  I paused. “Are you going to take care of me one day when I get old?”

He was looking at his book.  He shrugged.

“C’mon bud, I don’t know if I can count on the girls.  Will you take care of me?”

He knew I was messing with him.  He nodded, “Yeah, because they’re boring.”

Then he said, “I will but you have to come live in CooterLand with me.”

Ah yes.  CooterLand.* (And that’s the correct spelling. I just asked.  But he says it more like Koo-ter-len.)  This is all a part of his real estate he’s hoping to accrue.  He wants to build his own country.  It sounds like a peaceful place, but everyone will have Nerf guns, so I’m really not sure.

“And in CooterLand, no one can steal your identity or your money, because I have a plan.”

And there it is.  He was concerned.

“Yeah, you do?  What is it?”

“Well, they can’t get your money because in Cooterland, you have points you can spend, and they’re all stored inside your phone.”

“Interesting.  So you just use your phone to get what you need?”

“Yep.  And you don’t have to worry about someone stealing your phone because it knows who you are and no one else can use it.”

Huh.  Where was this going?

“See, it uses technology and it scans your eye.  And it will only open up for that one person because of their eyescan.”


I have to say, I’m impressed.

When I was his age, I was afraid of the dark.  And death.  And that ghost story where the line goes, “I’m on the first step…..I’m on the second step…..”

Yeah.  Terrified.

And here he is, just turned eight.  He heard something that gave him pause.  He asked what it was, and he came up with a solution.

That right there.

I am a little excited to see where life is going to take him.

No.  Wait.

I’m excited to see where he’s going to take life.

Because he’s already taking life by the tail and giving it what for.


May we all find the courage to face our fears and turn them upside down.

Love to all.



*CooterLand–name has been changed, well, obviously.  But when it’s open, you will know it, because it will be the most awesome country around.  And well, there’ll be all those Nerf guns.  🙂