Building the Canon

History final done.  98%. Philosophy tomorrow. Thanks for following along.

I’ll get up in the morning and, well, my calendar is suspiciously clear. Take the kids to school, have a donut. Something must be missing.  My wife will tell me. With work, and fixing everyone else’s problems, she’s busier than an Arabic crossword puzzle, but she immediately knows everything that is happening always. She’s in bed upstairs right now, probably.  Text exchange from a couple of hours ago:

“Heading home.”

“OK. Taking my history final. Downstairs with headphones on.”

“OK. I won’t bother you. Kids in bed?”


And yes, we capitalize and punctuate our text messages completely and properly. Honest. You probably don’t, and I don’t hate you for it, but come on. Think of the children. Speaking of the children – I have no idea why, but I wasn’t expecting her to come down and check on the kids. Of course she’s going to do that. She’s mom. I’m at a desk strewn with notes, headphones in, “Classical for Focus”playing, and she buzzes through. My immediate thought, which sidetracks me from my test just the tiniest bit, is “Oops. I hope the smell has cleared up.”

But you didn’t need to know that.

Kids are hell, you know? They never work right. I consulted a professional this morning about how to deal with a soulless, life-sucking gila monster of a five year old boy, and what did he do? He behaved. All friggin’ day. What a jerk. He’s in the room to my left, second door. Sleeping in June under the biggest down comforter you’ve ever seen. I absolutely never have any idea what the hell is going on with him. Strangest person I’ve ever met, by far. The Girl is behind the first door on the left. Always sleeps as close to falling off the edge of the bed as possible. She’s so indescribably normal that as long as she is around I will never, ever have to worry about feeling like the world is a messed up place. Trump is President! Islam is peaceful! There’s a meteor coming! Cars change the climate! WE’RE ALL GONNA – oh, hi sweetheart. Yeah, I do think a little cappuccino chip ice cream sounds nice right now. She’s Fonzie to me, giving a little thump to my jukebox whenever I need the song to change.

I used to talk about her quite a lot when I blogged in the past. Well, I always blogged in the present, it just happened a while back. Nearly four years ago I said this:

We laugh and we make light of injury, but we are honest, too, about unpleasant things when they come up. They come up rarely with a four year old. Most of them are still of her own making, and it is the unfortunate mark of mankind that she will eventually become collateral damage to the world’s unsavory appetites. She is still Eve, but she’s grasping the apple now, and using it to change the channel.

She’s inspiring. They all are. There’s this one, too:

I am trying to swing her from “gotsta” to “have to,” and little things like that.  But I sincerely hope that when this exuberant and darling miscommunication goes away it is replaced by something as beguiling and dear.  Whatever it is will be a surprise.  It’s like our rain in that you don’t get to see it coming.  One day the child is simply doing or saying something different, and you wonder if you can watch her the way you used to watch the sky for lightning, all vague and knowing that if you look too close, you’ll miss the flash.

And so many more. My poor Boy doesn’t have as many pages in the literary canon, but when he came along, things, as they say, got real. That Boy and I have been arm-in-arm, face-to-face, and fighting tooth-and-nail since I quit my job to stay home full time two and a half years ago. The misery he has wrought. I hate him. I honestly think that I am emotionally healthier for allowing myself to keep a little place inside me where I hate him. They say hardship shows you things about yourself, things you did not know, things you would not have known. The Army gave me some of that. Life in general has given me some, too. This boy has set a new standard. He has picked up the dust from the ground and made another me. The breath in my nostrils. A me that I am never without.

I’ve been blogging for a long time. Eight years, with some breaks in there. My first post was in May of 2008, just a month after our Girl was born. My first post:

To me, protesting is like being uncontrollably horny while being irreversibly unattractive. No matter how much effort you put in, the only satisfaction you get at the end of the day is from yourself.

Blogging is a little different from that. I get the satisfaction of writing. And, when all goes well, the satisfaction of a usually odd little cabal of friends and followers. I used to have a little mini-family on the computer, half a dozen or so people I had never met, tracking each other’s lives through our posts and comments.  Two of them have been good enough to come here and comment, another I see on Facebook sometimes. Some of us occasionally were picked up and linked to by larger websites, and those were really cool times. There’s a hell of a joy when you go to a website that you consider something of an A-lister, and to see yourself quoted and linked there.

That won’t happen tomorrow. I’ll wake up with my calendar still empty, still menacing me with implications, and this post will be here. It’s just a crank of the shaft, a little something to get the pistons firing. Building the canon.

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