Tag Archives: Ryan

A Double Slice of My Day

Part 1.

I realized just as Attie and I were leaving for the car to pick up Ryan and bring him back here for an afternoon of Star Wars movies and computer games that I didn’t have my car keys in my purse. Uh-oh!

I had a flash of myself as Kevin and I were sitting in the car outside the motel in Cherokee, where we spent last week. We were going to be doing a lot of walking, and I wouldn’t need my keys. Into the glove compartment they went.

I can even sort of recall Kevin questioning whether that was be a good idea. He was right, as usual. Grrr ;)

Since then, I haven’t had to drive at all because Kevin’s been doing all the driving, both on the trip and since we’ve been back. But Kevin’s working his 12-hour shift today…

So what did I do?

Yeah, I turned to good ol’ Mom and Dad. :P

I got in touch with my mom and she talked to my dad. And my dad came through for us, as he always has for all of my life. :)

He drove over and picked up Ryan and brought him to our house.

And all was well. Atticus picked his chin up off the floor and said he was happy now. Yes!

Part 2.

After Ryan got here (and I knew he hadn’t eaten all day), I started to fix some Hamburger Helper (some kind of cheesy hamburger and pasta) and immediately ran into another roadblock. The recipe called for 1-2/3 cup milk, but we were just about out of milk.

We’re running out of quite a few staples, actually, because we were gone for most of last week and haven’t yet replenished the cupboards.

Sweet, sweet Kevin made a grocery list the other day, and I had planned to go to the store this morning. But then I got caught up in trying to set up my new phone like my old one — a long story and a very long process, indeed! — and decided to go in the morning. (Of course, I would have been stuck with no keys anyway…)

So anyway, while the hamburger was defrosting in the microwave (and since I’m not really a cook, just a pretty good directions-follower), I looked online to see if there were something that I could substitute for milk.

Not really. Milk is a pretty good substitute for a lot of other things, but the only thing (other than other kinds of milk) that can sub for it is water, and I was thinking too much water in the mix would probably not work very well.

After the hamburger was cooked and drained, it was time to put that little bit of milk left in the gallon to the test. I was a bit worried (as much as one can be over Hamburger Helper, I guess.) How much would I have to fudge on to make this recipe work?

Well, it turns out…

…not a bit!

Yep, the milk came to right at 1-2/3 cup. Drained.

I couldn’t believe it. It was like the MIRACLE OF THE MILK or something. And then I felt ridiculous for thinking that. And even right now I’m considering deleting this whole post because I’m making something out of nothing. Am I?

And now

The food was good and filling. The movie got half-watched. Both boys are back at the computer playing some kind of pong-like game. And all I’m hearing are giggles.

Happy 19th Birthday to Ryan!

Ryan with Kevin in 2006

Nineteen years ago yesterday, I was waiting for the contractions to come.

And come they did, faster and stronger and faster and stronger, until by the end of the day, I was lying in a hospital bed discussing the very large baby inside me who’d somehow turned himself around in the previous day or two.

Yep, you were breech. And you were so very large that Dr. Ellis said he didn’t see any hope in turning you in utero. I’d have to have a C-section, rendering all those Lamaze classes to naught.

We waited until just after midnight to start the surgery, since the doctor hoped that insurance would pay for the extra day that way. He sat with us, talking and laughing (myself included, after the epidural).

And then, at 12:38 AM, you were born — my firstborn, my beautiful Ryan Andrew. <3

Monkey Monkey Monkey

Aren’t they cuuuuttteee!!!!

Yeah, I know they’re not really monkeys. No tails.

But it seems wrong to call them anything else. Why? I have no idea.

Why is it that terms we sort of grew up with just sound more right than others? Even if they’re just totally wrong, it’s like they just fit because you’ve heard and said them so much.

Take the term “hose pipe,” for example. (For those of you who are wondering what in the world it is: It’s what people around here in southern Virginia call a water hose. Why? I have no idea.) Well, it’s completely redundant, but for some reason, it just sounds right. It rolls right off my tongue, even though the English teacher in me cringes when I say or hear it.

I’m sure there are tons of other examples.

Somewhere along late high school to early college, I tried to reform myself of all of this southern stuff. I trained myself to say “turn on the light” instead of “cut on the light.” I worked to pronounce that final “g” on all of my participles and progressive verbs. And I learned more about how chimpanzees aren’t monkeys. :P

It must’ve worked for a while, at least, even though my college friends from the rest of the country weren’t fooled in the least. When I was waiting tables at an old local restaurant after I’d returned from Oklahoma, a non-local couple told me that they had my accent pegged for either New York or Florida. Hmm!

Anyway. What I called improvement at the time I now see so differently.

See, I wanted to be someone other than who I was, so that people would like me better. It completely defeats itself, though. Even if people did like “me,” I knew they didn’t really like me, but this “me” I’d constructed as a facade. Of course, if they didn’t like “me,” I really hadn’t lost anything … unless you count my self-respect, courage, and identity…

I was setting myself up to be lonely and alone without having even meant to take one step on the path. So sad. :(

All of this, Kevin could probably sum up succinctly, and one hyphenated word would almost certainly be at the top: SELF-ABSORBED. And another: PRAY.

So even now, when I’m feeling insecure and beating myself up over saying the wrong thing or not thinking to say something I should have, when I’m spending too much time wondering what other people are thinking about what I said, what I wrote, what I wore, how I’ve changed… these are times when I need to stop and realize that my focus is on the entirely wrong spot.


I was looking through Fourth of July pictures from years past, and this one from 2008 caught my eye … and my heart.

Two people I miss dearly: my aunt Idella, who passed away the month after this picture was taken, and my 18-year-old son Ryan, who is now all grown up … and away.

Love and miss them both so much!


July 2006. I was very pregnant with Atticus, who was born in September of that year.

Ryan, Lucas, and I rode down 86 into North Carolina, past Yanceyville, where Kevin was working in the prison, to Shangri-La.

Lucas was almost two years old; Ryan was 13. It was a pretty fun, but hot, afternoon, if memory serves. Lucas was so excited about the little stone buildings that it took Ryan and me both to keep him off them.

I remember going there years and years ago with my mom and dad.

The man who built it was so nice; he would come out and show off his miniature masterpiece, enjoying the company of people who stopped to admire it.

Since he died, the place changed hands, the buildings aren’t kept up like they used to be.

And the new owners didn’t seem to care much for visitors. (I guess I should be thankful they didn’t call the law on us.) They made their presence known but didn’t come out to chat.


Nothing will ever be the same. It’s just the way it goes.

How long before you take down the MISSY OU sign? The Rainbow people gave it a good year, I guess.

I wish I could go back — way back — to fortify and edify what now doesn’t seem to take a rectify.

Hindsight’s 20-20, they say. Well, what if all you’ve got is 20-100, even forward?

Figuratively literal? Literally figurative?

That squishy, mish-mashy, goulash is my heart all around that part that misses you.

17/365: A Child’s Vision of Family

This is our family as envisioned by a five-year-old Lucas, who is now six. He drew the picture and asked me to write the names he wanted on it.

I’ve spent a lot of time appreciating it over the last year or however long it’s been hanging on the fridge.

The main thing I love about this particular piece of art is that our family is all together. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very much anymore.

And we all look happy.

We’re not holding hands, but our arms are outstretched toward each other. (One of mine actually is right in front of Atticus’ face.) We’re enjoying each other’s company.

I also notice:

  • Kevin is tallest in the picture. In reality, 17-year-old Ryan is at least an inch or two taller.
  • My head is biggest … but so is my smile.
  • Ryan’s hair is longest. It really is by far.

At the beginning of last summer, I went through the artwork box I’ve kept for Ryan all these years, hoping to weed out some things that aren’t so keep-worthy. But it’s so hard for me.

Seeing those little hand-print turkeys and cotton-ball Santas takes me back to a time when my firstborn was my baby. I look at him now and wonder where he went. As much as I love Ryan today, I miss that little kid.

And I know that someday I’ll look back on this picture by Lucas and all the other artwork that he and four-year-old Atticus make with a smile and a catch in my throat.