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Navigating the Middle

through adolescents, menopause, aging parents & other flying debris

Month

September 2014

Stupid Cheerios

I have two teenage boys, which means that most of the time, the pretend not to like me; rarely initiate spending time with me; and they LIVE to hole-up in their bedrooms: doors shut, headphones on.

So the other day as I sat alone on the sofa, watching TV, a little 30-second commercial grabbed my heart. It featured a working-class family, after the dad returned home from shift work. He was tired. In the background, sat a little boy, about nine years old, eating breakfast. Listening.

The next time we see him, it’s dark out. And he’s getting out of bed. The light from the refrigerator shows him retrieving a half gallon of milk, while carrying a box of Cheerios. His dad walks into the kitchen and demands to know why the kid is out of bed…just before “Max” confesses that he got up because he wanted to have breakfast with his dad.

Stupid Cheerios. You’re going to make me walk downstairs and have a bowl of cereal with my teenagers tomorrow morning, aren’t you?

 

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What I Didn’t Do Today

Tonight’s assignment is to write about anything at all, with one constraint. I can only write for ten minutes – no more, no less.

As I mentally unpack my day, I am struggling to remember what I did. TRANSLATION: I wasn’t very productive. I did take advantage of the nice weather and go for an hour-long walk with friends, but besides that, I seemed to have accomplished very little. That’s in part why I am writing now. I want to accomplish something today.

After our walk, I remember showering. I know I did because I don’t stink, and my hair is big and puffy again. My son calls it “pillow hair,” which he pronounces – PAL-LOW.

I cooked dinner. I was supposed to go to Back-to-School night, my second in as many days, but that was canceled due to a “minor” gas leak at school. I’m not sure what constitutes a minor gas leak, but since nothing exploded, it looks like classes on are on for tomorrow.

Oh, and I nearly got the red dry erase marker out of my son’s neon green shorts (which he insists on calling NEON, although I’ve tried to explain that NEON is not a color). There is still a trace of pink, but he doesn’t care. He’s ten.

What else didn’t I do today: I didn’t have a glass of wine; I didn’t finish

You Are So Beautiful

Okay, I’m dating myself with this one, but when the Daily Post offered the blogging prompt – ABSOLUTE BEAUTY: Do you agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder? – a familiar melody began to swim ’round my head. The song? “You Are So Beautiful.”

My husband and I have a long standing joke about this one; it goes something like this.

We’re getting ready for bed when my husband turns to me, stares into my eyes and confesses, “You know something, you are so beautiful…”

I give him that “here it comes” look before he breaks the spell with “…to me.”

Now why’d he have to go and say that? Which is precisely what I think every time I hear or think about that song.

In case you’re on the other side of forty, here are the lyrics:

You are so beautiful
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can’t you see
You’re everything I hoped for
You’re everything I need
You are so beautiful
To me

How writers Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher ever managed to turn those nine lines into a song lasting two minutes and 45 seconds is still a mystery to me. What’s more incredible is it reached number five on the Billboards Hot 100 Singles Chart in 1975. How did that happen? Didn’t anyone notice the backhanded compliment when Joe Cocker croons, “…to me”?

I decided to listen to the song again tonight, while I wrote this post. When Cocker reached the end of the song where his voice becomes a little shaky, I imagined him singing not to a lover but to his infant son or daughter, or to his child, sick in a hospital bed.

When I behold it in these terms, the song is indeed beautiful, to me too.

 

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