And here is why

By Mir
February 21, 2008

Yikes. I appear to have, um, struck a nerve yesterday. I’m well aware that people do what they have to do; heck, I did the single mom thing for four years, so you don’t have to tell ME. I get it. I am just sometimes amazed and overwhelmed by everything that needs doing (and how much of what needs doing involves me living my life in the car).

I also feel like perhaps I wasn’t clear in pointing out that I can ONLY manage all of this, now, not just because of my flexible job, but also because of Otto. The kids have wanted to take piano for YEARS. It just seemed like too much, to add another activity, before. As for the dentist/orthodontist appointments, I don’t know that I’m willing to count those as optional activities. Sure, we have lots of appointments clustered up right now, but on the whole, things are manageable—they each do one sport and take piano lessons. And I thank Otto on a regular basis for helping out, and he says “That’s my job,” and then I melt a little, and then he totally gets lucky that night. He’s a smart man.

Anyway, this Love Thursday I thought I’d reflect on a few of the small reasons why I keep up with this madness, other than the whole being legally obligated to care for these creatures thing.

So, remember the whole staying up late to write her speech debacle with Chickadee? Nothing like waiting until the last minute. So I’d helped her with it—typing what she told me to, and gently making suggestions—and yesterday was the first round of competition.

In addition to having written her speech at the last minute, the winners of this round were to be determined by peer vote. Chickadee has made a couple of wonderful friends at school, but she often remarks on being “basically invisible,” which a little bit breaks my heart and a little bit reassures me that she’s not succumbing to pressure to run with the flashiest crowd. Regardless, my hopes for her being elected by her peers were… not high.

Yesterday I heard the bus pull up, and then there were thundering footsteps down the driveway. “I WON!” she yelled, bursting through the door and into my lap, thrusting a paper at me, “I WON I WON I WON! I GOT PICKED!” I clapped my hands and oohed and aahed and congratulated her, and gave her a big, tight hug.

“Thank you for helping, Mama,” she whispered in my ear.

* * * * *

Last night’s dinner was garlic-intensive. The children complained of the smell while I cooked, and even once I’d added the other ingredients, the scent was still heavy in the air.

“Why do you have to cook with all that GARLIC?” asked Monkey, as Otto put some food on his plate.

“It’s good for you!” answered Otto. “Plus, it keeps werewolves away!”

“Garlic doesn’t work on WEREWOLVES,” scoffed Monkey. “That’s VAMPIRES!”

“Oh,” said Otto. “Well… what keeps werewolves away?”

Monkey rolled his eyes, hardly able to believe this display of ignorance. “SILVERWARE!” he huffed. Because, dude, OBVIOUSLY.

Later in the meal, as I was apologizing for the lukewarm reception of this new recipe, Otto remarked, “No, I think it’s great that you experiment like this.”

“This isn’t an experiment,” declared Monkey. “What I call an experiment is when you cook something new and then when you eat it, YOU DIE.”

Once we stopped laughing, I couldn’t help commenting, “Well, MAYBE, but the problem with THAT kind of experiment is that you can only do it ONCE.”

* * * * *

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. May you constantly marvel at the forms love takes in your life—the touching AND the ridiculous.


  1. Jamie AZ

    Didn’t strike a nerve with me yesterday – I guess maybe I took what you were saying as things that we all go through and we each have our own mechanisms to cope with it all. Oh well. :)

    Congrats to Chickadee on her speech and to Monkey for his sense of humor. We’re trying a new recipe each week to try and add some new dishes to our normal rotation. There is a heavily garlic intensive chicken recipe from Southern Living that we just love – I highly recommend it to offend Monkey next week! It’s their Smothered Chicken with Lemon Mashed Potatoes – (not sure if I can post a link here or not). Try it, it’s divine!

  2. Flea

    Happy Love Thursday, Mir. :) I’m so glad you don’t experiment on your children. Did I tell you that I had four children until I experimented with dinner? We’re down to three now. Don’t tell Monkey.

  3. Megan

    Could you please ask Monkey what keeps Zombies away? Because one Child accidentally saw a horror movie about zombies a coupla years ago and, well Its method was to keep a large carving knife by its bed (until discovered! I did take it away!). If silverware works on zombies too I’ll be very happy. Unless it has to be real silver ’cause then we’re screwed.

  4. Deb

    Same here, I loved your post yesterday.
    And for zombies….try a stuffed dragon…works in our house to scary away any “bad” things ;-)

  5. saucygrrl

    In honor of Love Thursday, I wanted to tell you that you’re one of my absolute favoritest bloggers. Because telling you I’d be willing to tap myself if you ever needed a pint wasn’t clear enough. (Wow, how weird will that read to other commenters? HA!)

    Anyway, you’re awesome for helping Chickadee out and that Otto is pretty great. Together, I think you guys make a pretty awesome parenting team. And you probably would if you were separate too, but, especially together… ;)

  6. Deb @ Three Weddings

    I hope I didn’t sound like I was offended by your post. I wasn’t. I enjoyed it. Anyone who can do the single mom thing has my respect. I only have to do it for short stints when my husband travels and I know how tough it can be. I am so glad when it’s over!

    As for garlic – I LOVE IT. Maybe a little too much. I have to control the amount I put in cooking or everyone else won’t eat it.

  7. Leandra

    I think we all feel “basically invisible” sometimes, so I wouldn’t worry about Chickie too much. And hey, she won!

    Also, no nerve struck here yesterday! Unless you count the commiserating nerve.

  8. All Adither

    A moment of victory for Chickadee. That’s totally awesome.

  9. Astrogirl

    No nerve struck here, Mir – I agree with you, I have no idea how single parents or even dual-working-parent families do it. I can barely keep it together and I only have one kid, plus I have a husband who’s home every night and I work a supremely flexible halftime gig.

    But I hear what you’re saying – sometimes I need to check with myself (and others) to make sure I didn’t upset anyone unintentionally (blame 13 years of Catholic school and the whole “be a good girl” mentality – it turned me slightly paranoid that I might upset someone. But that’s just me :).

  10. elswhere

    I think the commiserating nerve is indeed the one you struck. I know that reading your post and all the comments blew me away anew at how hard so many of us (including you) are working to make sure our kids have all they can, from sports practices to dental health.

    And mazal tov to Chickadee!

  11. MomCat

    I had to laugh out loud over Monkey’s suggestion about werewolves! I’m totally getting out my silverware and your chicken recipe whenever I need me a Buffy fix.

    Congrats to Chickadee!! Made me all warm and fuzzy, being also ‘the smart girl’ who didn’t run with the hip crowd.

  12. Mamahut

    Hey Mir,
    Can you ask Monkey what keeps away German Shepard ghosts?? My 11 yr old keeps having nightmares that a huge german shepard is after him???? We had a St. Bernard once but no shepards. Maybe a werewolf in disguise huh? Hmmm too poor for real silver. Hmmm any help?

  13. Aimee

    Well, that *would* be an experiment. Monkey is too funny.

    And way to go, Chickadee!

  14. StephLove

    I think what happened is you chose a topic that makes people want to share. I don’t usually manage to read all the comments, but I made sure to read them for this post because I am curious how other people do their various balancing acts. I’m a semi-reluctant SAHM and always weighing the pros and cons of different work arrangements (full-time, part-time, WAH) I might try in the future.

  15. Katie in MA

    Mir, I LOVED yesterday’s post, especially all of the wonderful comments. They sounded to me like a compassionate chorus of, “I hear ya, girl, here’s how I do it. Hang in there!” Clearly we all love our families if we’re willing to sacrifice so much of our sanity!

  16. Heidi

    How can anything made with copious amounts of garlic NOT have been delicious? Monkey and Chickadee wouldn’t fare well at Heidi’s House O’ Garlic.

  17. Jan

    I think a lot of people commented yesterday because you threw in the line about “I’m seriously asking here”. To me that sounded like you would like people to respond with their answers.

    I didn’t see any touched nerves.

    “I’m basically invisible” makes me want to cry a little. For Chickadee and for me at 12.

    Is garlic really good for you?

  18. Jamie Lee

    I hardly ever get the chance to read blogs anymore, but I just SO enjoyed today’s entry…and yesterday’s. I can relate only too well on oh-so-many levels.
    Congrats on all the sweet and silly in your life…and the ability to recognize and enjoy it.
    (and thanks for sharing!!!)

  19. Crisanne

    Way to go Chickadee!!

    Silverware just makes me smile!

    Happy Love Thursday to the Mir/Otto clan.

  20. kate setzer kamphausen

    Just a note for all y’all who said you’re too poor for real silver: If you ever decide (for werewolf purposes, or crafty purposes, or just prettiness!) that you DO need some real silver, there’s often tons of the stuff in thrift stores!

    It blows me away. Whole tea sets, sometimes. Possibly plated, but some of it is real solid sterling. Crazy.

  21. Shalet

    I am so totally jealous of your ability to work from home! I don’t know how people do it either. I work nights which frees me up for football, soccer, ballet, appointments, etc. Who needs sleep, right?!! And I often wonder how we would handle it if we both had “normal day jobs”. What does one do for teacher inservice day and President’s day and the baby woke up puking days? This parenting thing is indeed a challenge. But, your post today is a nice reminder that with the challenge comes reward. Happy Love Thursday!

  22. J from Ireland

    As usual, I loved your post yesterday and can totally relate to it :)

  23. The Over-Thinker

    Congrats to Chickadee and Good Luck with the Garlic :)
    Happy Love Thursday, Mir!

  24. Donna

    I didn’t comment, but I wasn’t offended. Maybe a little jealous. I’ve been looking for ways to be home more. I work four to five days a week, although some days it’s only for a few hours, but I wish it was only three to four days.
    Anyhow, I understood what you meant about struggling with time. Oh, and congratulations to Chickadee.

  25. mike golch

    My wife and I never were able to have children,so my hats off to all the womwn and men who have kids and do the single parent thing.My sister-in-law is one of those parents.Her two somes are in their 20’s and still live at home which can be trying I think.

  26. Lady M

    Peer votes are brutal. Go Chickadee! And go werewolves – it’s good to know that the silverware is so multi-purpose.

  27. Kate

    Basically invisible is bad, no doubt.

    When I was in eighth grade, there was a girl in my class who got it worse; she was absolutley *tortured* by nasty comments and mean teasing all year. It was awful. I am not proud now of the fact that I didn’t do much to support her. I wasn’t mean, but that’s not the same.

    Lucky me, I was just basically invisible. (the US military family in the civilian schools…) We moved to another state after eighth grade, for which I was altogether grateful.

    I feel for Chickie- middle school can be really hard times for girls.

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