Conversations With Nicholas: What Is Gay Edition

The other night, I was getting ready for bed, and Nicholas was on our bed playing his 3DS when the following conversation happened…

Nicholas: Mom, what is “gay”?

Sherry: It’s when a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman.

Nicholas: Oh. So, if Lemmon [our female dog] was a boy, and I loved her, I’d be gay?

Sherry: Nope, like romantic love. The way that Mommy and Daddy love each other. When a boy wants to kiss and marry a boy or a girl wants to kiss and marry a girl.

N: So, am I gay?

S: Do you think you are?

N: I think, if I were going to kiss someone like you and Daddy do, then I’d want to kiss a girl.

S: Then you’re probably not gay. But it would be okay with Mommy and Daddy either way.

N: Can I watch Phineas and Ferb?

S: Yep.

Raising Boys With Respect, Honor and Love

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about raising boys with respect, both mine toward them and theirs toward everyone else and themselves. I’ve been thinking about it, partly, because I know someone who is coming to terms with having a boy instead of the girl she really wanted. I will admit that I fully expected to have daughters, and was surprised when I didn’t. With Nicholas, I was surprised because all the kids that my generation were having were girls, so I expected him to be a girl. With Tobin, William and I had just completely convinced ourselves that we were having a girl. I mean, who needs science when you have conviction?

I wanted to raise girls who were  self sufficient, who had male friends, who had female friends, and who didn’t “need” to be attached romantically to feel complete. I wanted to raise girls who knew their self worth but weren’t conceited, who knew how to have fun without being dumb, who knew how to help other people be comfortable. I wanted to raise girls with a good body image, or at least make it through their teen lives without being completely convinced they were whales even if they were fit. I wanted to raise girls who were kind without being doormats. I wanted to raise girls who knew their own minds, but never stopped learning.

And then the sonographer said my baby had a penis. And I went, “Huh.” And then, sometime during the pregnancy, it happened! I had the most obvious “a-ha” moment ever. All those things I wanted to help my girls learn? I should teach those exact things to my boy. Because they are just as likely to need those lessons as girls are. Sometimes, I think I need to teach them those qualities so that they will be good boyfriends, husbands and fathers. While that is true, I think if I can manage to teach them those qualities, and they are happy men, then they will be good to women by default. And they will be good to other men, and to themselves.

The hard part is raising them in a way that helps to do all those things.

What do you do to teach your kids the big things like honor, integrity, and empathy? What did your parents do to teach you?

He Balances Me

I’m constantly amazed at how balanced my life is because of William. How balanced I am.

When I am anxious, he talks me down.

When I am angry, he makes me laugh.

When I take myself too seriously, he lightens the load.

When I am sad about Mark, he lets me be sad, but doesn’t let me accept guilt.

When I want to make impulsive decisions, he injects some practicality.

When I’m too scared to try something, he reminds me that he’ll catch me if I fall.

I’ve never been this balanced, and it makes me so very happy.

Nicholas at Seven

My Sweetest Nicholas,

I can’t believe you turned 7 this month. SEVEN! I know I say it every year, but I don’t know how the time passes so quickly. Seven was a big year for you. You grew so much, both in height and maturity. This year’s school year was tougher than Kindergarten, but you kept at it and it got a lot better. And the light bulb lit up for you when it came to reading. I was so excited to see it. You went from struggling to reading everything in sight in what seemed like over night. It was awesome.

As always, you are just as smart as ever. So smart I’m a little nervous sometimes. You get frustrated with people if they aren’t being logical…and that can cause tension with kids your own age. You’re working on your patience though.

You have always been such a sweet and loving boy, but this year we’ve really seen it, especially with Tobin. You are such an amazing big brother. You are so patient and it is so very obvious that you adore your baby brother. You two are so lucky to have each other. Seriously lucky.

And we are lucky to have you. You are smart and sweet and handsome and funny. We couldn’t have asked for a better son. I can’t wait to see how you grow and change this year! We love you!

William Makes Father’s Day

Father’s Day wasn’t, traditionally, a big holiday for me. I haven’t seen or spoken to my own father since I was 11. My wonderful Uncle David served as a surrogate father throughout my life, but I always knew he was borrowed from my cousin, Heather (although neither of them ever made me feel that way). Mark’s Dad got Father’s Day cards and meals from us, but Mark only got one of the special days before he died.

Then I got William. And I really understood how Father’s Day can be a big deal. I am so amazed every day when I see the interaction of William and our boys. He’s everything I would have asked for in a father for my children. And there is no difference in the boys, even though one is biological and the other not.

Yesterday, Nicholas wrote his new last name for the first time, and it was to sign Williams’ Father’s Day card. It was perfect.


Nicholas The Nature Photographer

Nicholas, Tobin and I took a walk to our neighborhood park last weekend to give William some uninterrupted study time. Nicholas has been noticing a lot about nature lately, pointing out interesting plants, talking about cool trees, noticing pretty flowers. I had my camera with me and was snapping pictures of the boys playing and Nicholas wanted to take pictures too. But he wanted to take pictures of the trees they were climbing and the grass they were stomping on. Then he got bored…because he needed more.

He handed me my phone and said, “I’ll take more pictures on the way home when we go by all the plants. I want to take pictures of life.”

Pictures of life, you guys.

So, on the way home? He took pictures of life. He reminded me of my friends getting on the floor or the ground for the perfect shot. The boy was steadying the phone, was crawling in close, was really getting in to it. And the pictures were awesome. I’m so proud of my little photographer.

Photographic evidence of Nicholas’ mad photo-taking skills.

Birthday Recap: 37 Is Awesome

I had a seriously great birthday week this year, y’all. There were so many birthday wishes, so many friends to celebrate with, so much love. I get to read Jenny’s words and I got to commission art from Robin. I had dinner with my best boys, I celebrated two days in a row with my work family (my birthday and my awesome friend, Katy’s, birthday are next to each other). I got surprise birthday wishes in the mail from wonderful friends. I got my first mammogram as a birthday present to myself. I had lunch and cake with my blood family and blew out candles with my cousin. See? A seriously great birthday week.

Photographic evidence of a seriously great birthday week.

 Close-up cupcake awesomeness.  Awesome Cupcake Variety.  Sharing wishes with Katy.  Dinner dates  Even more cute dinner dates.  Getting the girls squishes.  Sharing wishes with Matthew.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes on Facebook, Twitter, calls and texts! You guys rock!


Conversation With A Fortune Teller

William and I went to a super fun event recently and one of the perks was a brief chat with a fortune teller. Or is it palm reader? I don’t know what she called herself. Regardless, I sat in a dimly lit alcove with a mystical stranger and she read my palm. It’s possible I was slightly toasted. Because the Appletinis were wicked strong and they were the first drinks I’d had since being pregnant with Tobin (that’s three years, y’all). Anyway. My friend, the Fortune Teller, talked with me about three parts of the lines on my hand. Imagination, Romance, and Career.

I know you’ll all be shocked to know that my friend, the Palm Reader, told me I have a strong imagination. Which might explain why I was so excited to hang out with a PalmReaderFortuneTeller.

The she shocked me with was my romance line. I expected her to say something about a long line and a wonderful life (did I mention that William was standing right next to me?) Instead she said that my love/romance line was, in fact, long; but, that the beginning of it was hard. That I’d loved strongly but it had been a bumpy, difficult road. And that now? I am on a strong, straight, solid road. I may have teared up, and not just because of the alcohol.

The last line my new best friend looked at was my career line. She said a big decision was coming up and that I’d have to choose soon. Does that mean William will get another position (one in his field) soon and I’ll have to move on my my current (amazing) work? I may have to track down this lady for more clarification.

So,  have you ever had your palm read or fortune told? Was it accurate? Was it a little creepy?

Making Two Look Good!

Tobin is two. I just have to write it out, or I won’t believe it. Because how did that happen? Yesterday he was kicking me in the ribs. Oh, wait, he was kicking me in the ribs yesterday. But I meant from *inside* my belly. Anyway, it’s gone really fast. This year was a big one for our little dude: daycare, talking, glasses, a level of orneriness never before seen in our household. I think my favorite thing about him right this second is the stories my friend, Katy, tells me. When Katy drops her son off at daycare and he’s not happy, Tobin will try to comfort him. I love that, even at just two years old, he’s compassionate and empathetic. I also love his face-splitting smile, his joy in playing rough with Daddy and Nicholas, and his amazing laugh. We’re so lucky he’s our boy. I think it’s pretty fitting that he shares a birthday with Texas and Dr. Seuss, with his independent streak and love of the silly. Happy Birthday, Tobin! I can’t wait to see what this year brings!


My Charmed Life

Like many women in Texas, I love me some  James Avery. When I was 11 I got my first piece of James Avery jewelry, a silver “dangle” ring with a hot-air balloon charm. I also got a dangle ring with a dinosaur (I think it was a Kentosaurus) because I thought it was cool, not because I had any real fascination with dinosaurs. The rings were gifts from my father, two of the three gifts that I can remember getting from him before he left. Unfortunately, those rings were later stolen from my Athletics locker in high school.

And then I got my charm bracelet. My late husband, Mark, got me the bracelet knowing that he was set for gift buying for several years as he would just have to get me a charm and I’d be happy. Collecting charms for my bracelet has been slow. I didn’t want charms just for the sake of their cuteness (I’m talking to you, Kentosaurus), I wanted charms that were meaningful. You can track my adult life with my bracelet.

The Flower pot & Garden Seeds were from my cousin, Heather, when I was in a phase where I was planting tons of containers with flowers in front of our apartment. Also, I just really like flowers.

Two peas in a pod and the two little girls with the flower are for Heather and me. We’re technically cousins, but closer than a lot of sisters.

The dog dish was for our sweet dog, Brittany. She died just before Tobin was born, and I’d had her since way before Nicholas was born. I love having a reminder of my first “baby”.

The lady bug is from Mark and came from my insistence that lady bugs are lucky.

The teapot is from my Aunt Karen because I was, briefly, collecting tea pots. Even though that collection lasted for, like three seconds, I love the fat little tea pot on my bracelet.

The two little boys with the dog cracks me up. Mark got me that charm because he thought it was a boy, a girl and a dog (which is what our family was before we had Nicholas). He got it and had it put on the bracelet and didn’t know it was two boys until I asked him why he chose it. I decided to keep it on the bracelet in solidarity with my gay friends whose families really were two boys and a dog.

The popcorn is from my friend, Christie, who was my first awesome boss. She had some challenging pregnancies and births and was out of work for a while. She gave me the charm as a thanks for helping with the work load while she was out of the office. And it’s popcorn because I’m a huge movie person.

The Dragonflyis from Heather as a thank-you for helping put on her baby shower for Bronwyn’s arrival.

The heart with the dove I got for myself. Just because I liked the symbolism.

The Rocking Horse is for my Nicholas and went on the bracelet just after he was born.

The heart with the “M” I got just after Mark died.

The Owl was given to me by my friend, Lauren, who is under the impression that I’m wise. I also love it because my school mascot was the Scrappin’ Owls.

The Deep In the Heart of Texas charm is for William and me. We both love Texas, and we were married in the Texas Hill Country which is just about where the heart is positioned. This charm was part of my Mother’s Day gift from William.

The Onsie is for my Tobin and was the other part of my Mother’s Day gift from William.

I have another charm, the Love charm, that isn’t on the bracelet. William got it for me for our anniversary this year, but I kept it to wear on a necklace. By my heart.

So, that’s my life according to my charm bracelet. Do you have any super sentimental jewelry? A piece that tells a story about you?