Living Karma Through Your Clone

Every so often, when one or both of my boys are trying to show the world that they are not being raised by me, but by wolves, I hear a soft, ghostly laugh, over my shoulder into my left ear. To this day, I remain convinced that it’s my mother, laughing from heaven at the fact that I am indeed, paying for my raising. You see, at 13, during one of those fights with my mom, she hit me with the curse of all curses: “I hope, one day, you have a kid. Just. Like. You.”. Being the overachiever that she was however, my mom went a step further: “I hope you have TWINS, just like you”. At the time, it seemed like the lamest comeback of all time. In fact, I think my response was something to the effect of “Oooh…good one, Mom. Is that the best you can do?” In my twenties, I started to get a hint of just what she unleashed on me, and promptly vowed to move in next door, should her deepest desires prove to be true. Instead, I had one at a time, both boys, and for a time, believed that I had dodged the dreaded mommy-curse.

After tempting fate with the first one, I thought I was safe enough to go back into the water. He was quite a bit like me, but our similarities were more amusing than an instrument of karmic terror: absentminded, hopelessly messy, dreamer. I bore a child who was, indeed, just like me, and it seemed to be ok – the worst I faced from him when he was little, was his inability to sleep, and a violent aversion to new foods. How bad could an insomniac that lived on peanut butter be? The answer was simple – not bad enough to keep me from going back for seconds. Even after my youngest was born, I still thought I was safe. After all, I had two boys. And boys, last I looked, were nothing like me at the most fundamental level. Girl, here, remember? Not a boy. And not twins…they were 3 years apart. I had escaped! Woo hoo! I even named the youngest after my mother, both because I loved her and missed her terribly, and on some level, declaring myself safe from the mommy curse.

Fast forward 8 years, and we’re staring at an 8 year old boy, who is indeed, Just. Like. Me. The only way we can tell our baby pictures apart is that my photos are on cardboard and I am in some form of brown or orange 70’s plaid. His baby pictures, being the second child, are non-existant. I was too busy chasing his brother (those of you with more than one, reasonably close together, knows exactly what I mean) to actually use the camera in my hand. But looking at him is like looking in a mirror. Or a time machine…giant brown eyes, same fair skin, same coloring… People actually ask me, “did you ever notice how much you two look alike?”. Nope. Never. Ummm, really? What they should be marveling at is how much we ACT alike.

In fact, he was the inspiration for the name of my blog, because his nickname is Karma. And he will tell you that I always say that God’s got a sense of humor, making your Karma look just like you, so there’s no doubt about who’s paying for the raising. Smart (too smart for his own good), funny (class clown extraordinaire), persistent (no is not in his vocabulary), and operates with a great sense of urgency (the whole world must bow to his whims, NOW).

These two can’t POSSIBLY be related

Earlier this week, one of my favorite people in the whole world suffered the unimaginable terror of having her son go missing for 3 hours. Think about that for a minute. 3 hours. As long as it takes to play an NFL football game, or drive 180 miles. For those of you that are parents, think of the very small handful of times you have lost your child at the department store for 30 seconds. Hold on to that mind numbing dread for a minute. Now, think about holding onto that for 3 hours. I cannot imagine how she survived, or how she will ever want to even let him go to the bathroom alone for the next 6 months.

That same evening, knowing he was safe in his bed and that he was never in any danger, I looked down at my own kids, sleeping in my bed. They were asleep in my bed because that night, I was reluctant to let them out of my reach. But before they went to sleep that night, they were inexplicably perfect. Sweet, loving (even to each other), and took direction better than a trained bird dog. There they were – my perfect children. I then realized that I really did want them to have children just like them, and I like to think that my mom saw something in me to want my kids to mirror even a small part of it. Oh, trust me, I will be there as a grandparent to laugh hysterically at every wrestling match in the living room, every note home stating “please teach your child to refrain from lapping milk from the chair, and teaching the younger kids to follow suit” (true story), and any other adventure they cook up.

But I also wish on them the joy of children with the ability to inspire the same love, joy, laughter, and all out silliness that they themselves do.

And I hope that said offspring look just like them. Just so they know who’s payin for the raisin’. And of course because they are so stinking cute.

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Mother Nature Is a Sadistic…

Ah, January in Northwest Arkansas.  A time when a crystal clear blue sky is more likely to mean wind chills of single digits, and snow days are likely to make sure that our kids don’t have a 5 day school week all month long.  But not today.  Today is the one day of the winter when we’re likely to hit 70 degrees.  My friends back in Cali will get theirs next month for 3 or 4 days.

Many of us see this as a tiny reward; a reprieve from what we see as a bitterly cold, miserable time of year. ( Those of you that live where there’s real weather stop laughing now, it’s not our fault y’all are truly masochistic.) It’s the one day where we open the windows, hit the park, and break out the flip-flops to show off decidedly un-pedicured toes. Okay, that last part may just be me, but we all know what it’s like:  the hint of spring days to come.  We can almost smell the fresh-cut grass the air, feel the not quite blistering sun on our shoulders, taste the ache in our shins from too much infield practice (oops, just me again).  We revel in the kindness that Mother Nature has bestowed on us, if only for a day.

Horse hockey.  This isn’t a kind reprieve – it’s granting a condemned man a last meal.  A beautiful spring like day, to remind us how truly beautiful the world around us is, right before she pulls the rug out from under us.  Admit it, while you’re reveling in the sunshine, squinting at the edges of your lawn looking for signs of daffodils sprouting, you’re afraid.  You know that because of this, the next round of Arctic freeze will be that much worse.  I think she wants it that way. Knowing that while we’re grateful for the respite, however brief, we’re all dreading the return of Frosty the Angry Snowman.  And yes, it’s our punishment.  Because one day last Spring, when the  most perfect of perfect Spring days dawned, the one that every last one of us should have been outside, tasting sunshine and lawn clippings, one of you was inside doing laundry.  And when I find out who it was, there will be retribution. 

Because Mother Nature isn’t the sweet old lady that spreads sunshine and bakes cookies, no matter what she wants you to believe today.  No, she’s more like the White Witch of Narnia.  And I’m headed outside to play, before the ice storm hits next Tuesday.  I suggest you do the same before she finds out you’re sitting inside reading this.