My favorite part of the day

Today’s my birthday, y’all. And you know what that means – I insist on some me time so I can wax poetic on my blog about another year gone.

Another year older, wiser, more tired. It’s also been a year a bit more hopeful than recent history. My kids are getting older and more independent (read: less dependent on mommy for every goddamn little thing), which is very much appreciated. We’re all creeping out of the baby stage, and while that makes a part of me kinda sad, it makes a larger part of me sigh with relief. We’ve got potty training on the horizon for the little one, and while that process will probably be a brisk walk through hell, I am giddy with excitement when I think about life on the other side. I simply won’t know what to do with myself.

Along those lines, in the fall my oldest will start kindergarten and my youngest will start preschool. That means I get some time to nap, clean the house, poop alone, and start the process of maybe eventually going back to work.

I think my brain just exploded.

And now I’m going to leave you with a little window into my day. It’s a story that’s been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks and I’ve been meaning to get it down in writing.

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One of my favorite parts of the day is when we read to the kids right before they go to bed.

My son has always settled down to be read to, but my daughter has only started sitting still for books in the past 6 months or so, and it’s glorious. Even so, she’s still demanding to help turn the pages, interjecting every 5 seconds with “waat hap-pen?!” but I’m not complaining.

Getting ready for bed is usually chaos. Screaming, streaking, wiggling. Diapers, pajamas, teeth brushing.

Each child gets to pick a book.

We sit perpendicular on my son’s twin bed, resting our backs against the wall. We use a body pillow for support that my husband first bought me when we were living in Boston, as a surrogate for his own body once he left to take a job in California. How time flies.

My son sits to the far left, then daddy, then my daughter, then me. Always the same.

We have a desk light on low. Daddy and I do all the voices. I specialize in Princess Sparkle, supersonic jets, and the Minosaur. Daddy’s really good at Old Bear and witches and farmers.

About halfway through the first book, without fail, the cat skulks into the room and jumps up on the bed, demanding my lap. Her furry body warms mine. My daughter reaches over to pet her back or poke her in the ear.

Snapshot: for about 10 minutes each day, or entire family is calm and snuggling and…together. All focused on the same thing for a brief moment before we say our goodnights and iloveyous, lay them in their beds, turn out the lights, and shut their doors.

Sometimes my son wordlessly reaches for my hand.

Sometimes my daughter rests her head against my torso.

Sometimes the cat purrs.

Sometimes my partner and I exchange a glance above our kids’ heads.

Always it’s my favorite time of day.

Always.

Radio H-O-M-E

I was inspired by Emily and Ashley‘s prompt about radio, because people, when I was little, I made the radio.

That’s right.

It was actually in elementary school with my friend also named Emily.  She introduced me to this fun activity we called H-O-M-E.  You know those boom boxes where you could record your voice onto a sweet cassette tape?  Well, we took one of those and created our own radio station, complete with original songs, audio murder mystery stories, and commercials.

Our radio station changed depending on the location we were recording from.  If we were at Emily’s house, we’d say, “Hello, this is Melissa and Emily coming to you live from 1234 Smart Court, H-O-M-E!”   Change of address meant change of the station.  We knew our listeners could keep up.

I loved this game so much that I brought up the idea with two other friends on separate occasions and I now have many cassette tapes gathering dust in my childhood closet with awesome H-O-M-E radio recordings.

At one point we used Emily’s keyboard to create background music for our various audio entertainment.  Emily and I recorded original songs we wrote about pollution and how bad it is and how we wanted to save the monkeys in the rainforest.  My friend Leah and I did commercials for a fictional store called Fit It Right, where they guaranteed that your clothes would…fit correctly, no matter your size.

Most of the commercials were just recorded on the fly and if we messed up or got a case of the giggles, we’d just rewind and tape back over it.  But with my friend Megan, we put together and scripted an entire murder mystery tale that would probably get us sued by the people who wrote Clue if it ever goes viral.  We had backstories and physical descriptions for an entire wealthy family, complete with maids and cooks.  We foreshadowed and we dropped hints and we used really bad French accents.  No spoilers as to who the killer really was…but I wouldn’t eat the stew if I were you!

I also went solo for my blue period in radio.  I recorded myself singing My Girl (remember that movie with Anna and Macaulay?!) and quotes from movies or shows I’d heard and didn’t quite understand, but knew enough to know that they were cool.

What’s your sign, baby?

The Hollywood sign!

My most treasured radio show was when I interviewed each member of my family.  And by interviewed, I mean I told my family members exactly what I wanted them to say.  I must have been about 8 or 9 years old, and my grandparents were visiting from Wisconsin, which was a big deal.  Both of them have since passed away, and so I really love that I still have a piece of them on tape.

I listened to this interview so much over the years that it’s been cemented in my mind.  First, I recorded all my scripted parts alone in my room, and then I would run downstairs and tell each person what to say, and the pattern would continue.  Here’s the transcript of what I remember:

Hello, and my name is Melissa ___ _____.  (I always introduced myself with my full name, middle and last.)

Today we’re going to meet the members of my family!

First, we’re going to talk to my Dad, and he loves watching football on TV.  Hi, Dad, what are you doing?

Dad: I’m watching football and they just scored a touchdowwwnnn! (My Dad said this with the appropriate amount of fake enthusiasm.)

Next, we’re going to talk to my Mom, and she loves to cook.  Hi, Mom, what are you doing?

Mom: I’m making a casserole.

Next, we’re going to talk to my little brother who loves playing video games just like I do.  Hi, Brian, what are you doing?

Brian: I just got to the 3rd level in Nintendo!!  (It took some expert levels of coercion to get him to say this on tape, but it was worth it.)

Next, we’re going to talk to my grandpa, and he loves to play golf.  Hi, Grandpa, what are you doing?

Grandpa:  And you know what?  I was playing golf and I just got a hole in one, whooooo-ppeeeeee!  (He went off-script for this one, but I’ll forgive him.)

Last, we’re going to talk to my grandma, and she loves to knit.  Hi, grandma, what are you doing?

Grandma: I’m knitting some mittens.   (Those four words never sounded so sweet.)

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So that’s all I got.  Thanks for reading me remember my journalistic roots.

Melissa and Brian Say Stupid Shit

Sometimes Brian and I crack tongue-in-cheek jokes about how we’re getting old.

We complain about the undergrads and their loud parties at 10:45 on a worknight.  Our bodies don’t process alcohol as efficiently as they once did- more often now with pyrotechnic consequences.  We no longer understand what the kids are into these days, what with their Biebers and their bath salts.

Sometimes we even half joke/half lament about how our parents are slowly but surely turning into their parents.  One rather hilarious and more frequently occurring conversation we overhear is our parents trying to decide whether they have seen a certain movie or not.  Celebrity names are thrown out (or not thrown out, and instead it’s “…you know, that guy with the thing on his face.”) and plotlines are halfway remembered and merged with others (“You remember, when that submarine blew up and then the lady kissed the monkey!”)  We watch with smug amusement.

With that said, welcome to another edition of Melissa and Brian Say Stupid Shit.

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Brian and I are catching up on some Daily Show we missed during the week.

B: “Wait, haven’t we seen this before?”

Me: “Yeah, I feel like I’ve yelled the same things at the TV not too long ago.”

We keep watching for a few more moments.

B: “We’ve seen this before.”

Me, agreeing with him: “Wait, how long have we been watching this before we figured it out?”

I grab the remote and pause the DVR.

Me: “Eight whole minutes!  Man, we’re getting old.”

B: “That’s a six.  You can’t see that?”

…and this is what humility feels like.