Finding Connection in an Unimaginable World
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Sobriety Is My Common Denominator

Last night while I was drying dishes, my youngest son, "Dubya" (yep, his middle initial is really W) asked, "Mom, what's a common denominator?"

I said, "You know my specialties:  creating big hair, choosing slimming foundations, and knowing the correct order to use your forks and spoons in fancy restaurants. I don't do math. But... I think a common denominator is the bottom number in two or more fractions that are common, you know, the same. Kind of like if you and your brothers all wore the same underwear - you'd all have a common denominator...but I'm not sure.  You might want to ask your brother."

Eli and mom in hospitalThen I looked at him, bent over the kitchen table, busy concentrating with a #2 pencil, and said, "Excuse me. Where'd you come from and what've you done with my youngest son?"  I thought: You are my baby. My unexpected gift. How can you possibly be old enough for fractions and common denominators? Just last year you still wore shoes with velcro, had mittens clipped to your coat, and missed the toilet. Well, you still kinda do that. 

My immediate reaction:  I'm pissed as hell that Hostess went out of business. Where are those Ho Hos and Ding Dongs when I need 'em? I'm putting a moratorium on healthy food in my home. I'm declaring my house a "No Veggie, No Protein, No Calcium, No Sleep Zone."  That will put an end to all this growing.  If I take away their white milk, Wheaties and Goober (ok, they can probably keep the Goober), maybe I can keep at least one of them little, for just a bit longer. The truth is, I still like cutting meat, tying soccer shoes, and putting used tissues back in my pocket. I'm not ready to be done.

Eli in superman jammiesNext week my baby turns 9.  Those nine years have passed too quickly.  I want With my first son, I was a wreck: afraid to put a turtlenck on him, for fear I'd break his arm. I wiped down grocery carts. I washed pacifiers after they fell on the floor.

When my middle son came, I was overwhelmed. An undershirt seemed to suffice. I licked the dirt off pacifiers and let him chew on grocery carts, or anything, for that matter.  

But when Dubya was born, he was a gift and the catalyst for major change in my life. Four months after his birth, I decided to get sober. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. And since that time, I've tried to savor the small moments, not worry if I get it all right, and most of all, celebrate the uniqueness of my children. And Dubya is one of a kind. 

So in honor of his birthday, I thought I'd share some of my favorite Dubya moments:

  • Upon seeing Mount Rushmore he exclaimed, "What?  We drove miles and miles and days and days to Rount Mushmore just to see four guys's heads?  I thought there were going to be like a million guys's heads up there. Mannnnnnn......"
  • Dubya's alphabet:  "a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k, lemon yellow pee..... q,r,s,t,u,v....."
  • On his unwillingness to use the word better:  "Gooder is a yittle bit of a word, right?"
  • Expelled at age 3 from his first school. The Lutherans have a zero tolerance policy for biting. Go figure.
  • At age 4 at the Magic Kingdom, he wandered away. Deep in line for Space Mountain, realizing he was alone, he found a Disney employee and said, "Hey, my family is lost. It's all going to be okay. Peace."
  • Before bed he'd whisper, "I love you so many times, Mommy."
  • Sleeps in the dark with a blankie, but will risk his life to stop a soccer ball. 
  • "Mom, do you know how to say "black" in Spanish? Egg roll."
  • When President Obama visited my father's company Dubya reflected, "t wasn't really worth missing three recesses just to meet one guy."
  • When shown the dessert tray in a restaurant, he asked "Hey, do you have any gums? I'd like some gums, please."
  • Upon visiting his first Waffle House, he asked, "Mom, we're in Kenfucky, right? It seems like a different country."
  • "Mom, I just can't believe you were never in a beauty contest."
  • Once overheard talking in the locker room to a group of boys: "Sure, you all have big ones, but mine is definitely the biggest. Check it out." So proud of his outie.

Eli with mom in batman jamiesAll these thoughts go through my head as I watch him pour over his math. I don't want him to turn nine. I can't be the only mother experiencing these feelings. I like the hugs, the tears, the funny words, and yes, even wiping down the pee. I feel so blessed I've been able to be truly present and share his life experiences. I've enjoyed every crazy minute of his 9 years.  

He's only lived a fraction of his life.  So many pieces have come together to make it whole and amazing.  The common denominator for me?  Sobriety.  


Eli in jeeper

I would love to hear the crazy things that have come out of your children's mouths!