Tag Archives: family

My baby’s feet #babies #memoir

 

image by Deanna Schrayer
image by Deanna Schrayer
When I held my babies, whether to please them or to please me – usually both – I was fascinated with their feet. Not only were they tiny enough to hold in the palm of my hand, they were also tattooed with lines that I read like a fortune teller would read your palm to determine your future.
I could barely see the creases in my youngest son, Noah’s, feet, so faint were they, and I knew they’d never touch the ground.
I couldn’t keep Noah’s feet covered for anything in the world. Shoes? No – no matter how many times I picked them up off the floor and put them tightly back on his feet, off they’d come again in a giggling rage of escape. Covering his feet with a blanket was just as difficult.
My husband and I took turns walking Noah around the block in the middle of the night to get him to go to sleep. I always put socks on him, knowing the blanket we’d swaddled him in would be unwound and flapping in the wind with the first punch of his strong little fists. Still, wide awake and squawking, he knocked the blanket off his feet and for a moment all was quiet. Oh, yes! He’s finally asleep! I thought, careful not to announce it. But no, the moment he realized his feet were not bare his scream grew louder than ever.
Attempting to cover him back up, I rocked and rocked and rocked Noah as I walked like a drunk down the street. His red face hit my shoulder in rhythm to the beat of my heavy footsteps as he bashed his little legs together, rubbing at his ankles in an attempt to free himself of the socks.
For fifteen, twenty minutes the furious fit jarred the entire neighborhood until I’d reached our house for the twelfth time and, seeing our front door wide open at two AM, and plum exhausted, I imagined the ecstasy of the bed I desperately needed to be in. Noah’s temper finally beat out my patience and, back in the house, standing by our bed, I held on to my screaming son as tightly as he’d allow, kicked off my own shoes, laid down with him on my chest, took a deep breath and rolled over to lay him beside me.
But it wasn’t until I reached down and pulled his socks off that Noah stopped crying. Relieved, I pulled the covers up to my chest and, consequently, to Noah’s. The warning sob reached my ears quicker than it could leave his little mouth. Before the sob became a scream I jerked the blanket back off both of us. A heavy contented sigh escaped my son’s mouth.
As I lay my head on the pillow and tucked my baby into the crook of my arm, his free feet kicking at thin air, he laughed, a great baby belly laugh. In the next second he was sound asleep.
*
I came across this snippet, (when gathering stories for memoirs I’m working on), and wanted to share, in the hopes it brings the same smile to you that it brought to me.

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That Dog Won’t Hunt! for Uncle Bill #fridayflash #amwriting #fiction

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Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

That Dog Won’t Hunt is rated PG by my standards. Please note: there is no specific reason the dog’s name is the same as my dad’s, it’s just what came to me.  🙂

For Uncle Bill, who loved his dogs, and a good joke

Annie, Uncle Bill's dog
Annie, Uncle Bill’s dog

That Dog Won’t Hunt, by Deanna Schrayer

“I told you Mabel, that dog won’t hunt! It ain’t gonna do you a bit of good to ask him to go get your newspaper. The darn thing is lazy!”

Ralph growled.

“Now James, he’s a good dog and you know it. Why, he always does what I ask him, watch this.” Mabel rattled the treats in her pocket and looked down at the old basset hound, “Ralph? Ralphie? You’re a good boy ain’t ya? I know you are.” She bent down and ruffled the fur around his neck, glanced at James to make sure he wasn’t watching before she took a piece of bacon out of her pocket and waved it under Ralph’s nose. She stood back up, “Okay Ralph, go get Mama the paper.”

Ralph took off down the walk, his floppy ears slapping the concrete and his tail wagging with pride.

“Humph” James said.

Ralph returned to Mabel, holding the paper perfectly in his mouth, just sideways enough to keep his slobber off of it. She stooped down and patted his head, took the paper and gave him the treat, “That’s my baby,” she crooned, “You’re mama’s boy, ain’t ya? Yes, you’re such a good boy, yes you are.” She went further and further into the baby talk until James couldn’t stand it any longer. He stood and stared at his wife, incredulous.

“How in the world do you do that?” he asked her, “He won’t do a darn thing for me, but he’d kiss your butt in a coon’s eye.”

“I’m just good to him, that’s all,” she replied, “You gotta show him you appreciate him James, just give him a little love.”

 “Come on boy,” Mabel told Ralph, “Let’s go upstairs and leave ole’ grouchy Daddy alone.

“Humph,” James grunted as he walked out of the basement.

Ralph followed his real master upstairs to the kitchen, growling his frustration along the way. He imagined himself standing on his hind legs and wagging his paw in James’s face, “Well of course I won’t hunt for you, you grouchy old man. Why don’t you try treating me like a human being now and then, huh? Would it kill you just to give your faithful dog a treat every once in a while? Darn right I won’t hunt, not for you, no how, no way!”

“Here you go sweetheart,” Mabel sat a plate of biscuits and gravy down at the table and Ralph jumped up in his chair and put his bib on.

“How long we gonna keep this charade up anyway Mabel?” he asked her, “Don’t you think we need to tell your old man I’m not a dog, that I’m really your cousin that didn’t truly get lost in the woods that day? Quite frankly I’m getting tired of fake bacon.”

“Now Ralph, you know his ole’ heart couldn’t take that kind of a shock. We can’t tell him and you know it.”

“Well I’ll tell you one thing right now,” Ralph replied, “I don’t care if he ever did start treating me better. As long as he goes on telling everybody and their brother I won’t hunt, then I won’t, ya hear? I won’t!”

Ralph and Mabel both jumped when they heard a boisterous thump! They turned to the kitchen door to see James sprawled across the threshold, his normally beady eyes bulging from his sallow face; he was panting and pointing a long bony finger at Ralph. 

“Ahahahaha,” Ralph hooted, “Guess I won’t have to worry about hunting for that ole’ grouch no more now will I? Ahahahahaha!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Surviving New Year’s Eve with teenage sons = ONE resolution

Have you made your 2014 resolutions or have you been procrastinating as I have? At least I was…until last night….Now I have defined my one resolution for this glorious new year: on December 31, 2014, I will either sleep through the day and go out that night or I will sleep through the entire day and night, period.

Oh yea, I may miss the first twenty-seven seconds of 2015, unlike the first twenty-seven seconds of 1997 – 2013 when I roamed between rooms trying to find something less painful than toothpicks to hold my eyes open with while my sons cranked up the music and bounced wall-to-wall between those same rooms. But – it will be worth it.

Yesterday, (after an hour of scraping the remains of what was supposed to be my infamous butter-pecan cake for Christmas from my oven), I spent approximately eighteen hours in my [small] kitchen creating glorious dips and appetizers, slicing veggies, fruit, cheese, and, eventually, my finger, while my 14-and-16-year old sons seemed to be waiting patiently to consume all these heavenly dishes, the youngest battling with his friends on his PS3 while the oldest downloaded seventeen editing programs, and quite probably a virus, to my computer in order to slow it further down than it already was.

After loading the dining room table up with this beautiful food and giving the signal for them to dig in, they didn’t move. Not an inch. Okay, fine. “I’ll eat it all myself,” I told them, and proceeded to load my plate up.

When the youngest finally did glance up and saw that I was eating his favorite food, (that he specifically asked me to make) – sausage and pepperoni Stromboli – he said “Oh,” and grabbed a plate and placed two slices on it. I was happy. Then he sat his plate on the coffee table and picked his game controller back up and commenced to slaughter zombies with his buds. The Stromboli sat unloved on his plate for hours while my oldest swore, when I asked him every ten minutes if he’d eaten anything, that yes, he’d been grabbing stuff here and there. But I could see he was not telling the truth – the fruit and veggies and Stromboli, even the banana pound cake, was wilting on the table.

But I let it pass. They both normally eat like the teenage boys they are and I figured that when they finally did get hungry they’d eat.

And I was right. About an hour later the oldest says to me, “Can I make Ramen noodles?”

Are you kidding me?! “Absolutely not,” I said, and continued with a tirade of “after I spent all dang day in the kitchen cooking for you guys” and “If you’re hungry you’ll eat what I cooked for you,” and yadayadayada…..But of course I gave in, though he did have to make the noodles himself.

At twenty-seven-after-midnight, I had no energy at all to clean up, so this morning my kitchen and dining room were loaded down with all manner of dishes, (how the boys can seemingly not eat a thing but dirty every plate, bowl and glass in the house is beyond me), and I sit here writing while my home begs for attention.

I’ve heard tell that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is what you’ll do every day for the rest of the year. In that case, for the remaining 364 days of 2014, I will ignore my poor neglected home, and I will write, write, write! Sounds like a good resolution to me!

So how’s your year thus far?

Deanna on New Year's Eve 2014 image via wallcg.com
Deanna on New Year’s Eve 2014
image via wallcg.com

P.S. The truth: I would frankly be lost without having my sons to cook for and I’m fairly certain that this one small resolution will be shattered. I am beyond grateful that God has given me such kind, loving gentlemen to share my life with. I am blessed.

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Ah, the memories….. #fridayflash #Christmas #holiday

Image by Deanna Schrayer
Image by Deanna Schrayer

I love to flip through memories as a way to relax during this hectic time of year. As I reflect in my essay, There are Stories to be Told, if we don’t capture the myriad memories of our lives by writing them down, they could too easily fade into the distant past and be forever lost. Had I not jotted down the conversation [below] with my youngest son, Noah, eleven-years-old at the time, I may have forgotten it. I stumbled upon this from a past blog and just had to share, again. I hope you get as much of a kick out of it as I have.

Conversation between mother and son, Christmas time

Noah: I want a power scooter for Christmas, and that’s all.

Noah: I want a skateboard for Christmas, and that’s all.

Noah: And I want swords like Tyler and Skyler, and that’s all.

Noah: I want a flashlight and batteries to make it work, and that’s all. That’s all I want for Christmas.

Me: Do you know what I want for Christmas?

Noah: What?

Me: I want all my family to be happy.

Noah: *rolls eyes*

Me: And I want tickets to see Bruce Springsteen, and tickets to see Keith Urban, and tickets to see the Tennessee Vols play football, and a new car, and someone to remodel my house, and a new wardrobe and a make-up artist, and a hair dresser, and a new bathroom, and a mud pit, and…

Noah: I’m sorry, I don’t want to listen anymore.

Me: But I didn’t say that to you.

Noah: That’s because I was done!

********

During that same time, in 2010, I wrote a Friday Flash inspired by something my oldest son had said when he was four-years-old. I hope you get a chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the story Christmas is Over!, on my former fiction site The Other Side of Deanna, here.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and fantastic New Year!

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Then as Now #fridayflash #amwriting #fiction

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Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors!

It is quite rare that I write in second person, but after writing this one in first and then third and still feeling it was missing something I switched to second and it seemed that’s what [the story] wanted all along. As always, I appreciate thoughtful, constructive critique. I hope you enjoy Then as Now, rated PG-13, according to my standards.

Then as Now, by Deanna Schrayer

He grabs hold of your shoulders and pushes you aside. You stumble over your own feet to step out of his way so he won’t have to use any more force than he has already. You had just put down the spatula and rushed over from the sausages sizzling in hot oil, (in preparation for his favorite meal), to welcome him home from work with a kiss. You feel the sting on your lips where his dry ones had quickly peeled themselves away from yours.

He tosses the mail on the counter, unopened, an act so unlike him it causes you to stop and stare, looking for your name alone on an envelope. He moves to the stove and you remember the sausages and rush over to flip them.

But it’s too late.

He yells to wherever in the house your sons are, “Boys! Do y’all wanna go to McDonald’s?”

“McDonald’s?” you say, flipping the over-browned meat anyway, “I’m making sausage subs.”

He sneers at you, “They’re burnt.”

Your sons come flying downstairs from their bedrooms, jumping from the fourth step to the kitchen floor. “Yea, let’s go!” they say and suddenly your family is gone, leaving you to decide whether to feed the sausages to the dog or save them for supper tomorrow, whether anyone will bother eating them at all.

Hours later you find yourself pulling all the clothes you’ve not worn in the last two years from your closet, remembering that day ages ago when you finally threw out the maternity clothes. And that day more than twenty years ago when the ER doctor told you the twins five months inside your womb had not one heartbeat between them.

You reach for your wedding gown at the back of the closet and you recall how your future husband, the father of your living children, had gotten you through the heartache of losing your first babies, how his love made you want to live again.

And now, as the slamming of the kitchen door jolts you back to today, you wonder why you aren’t dead yet. 

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This song, one of Bruce’s best, Something in the Night, came to me after writing the story and got stuck in my head for a while. The heartache of it does seem (to me) to reflect the heartache of Then as Now. And this particular performance is quite powerful, give it a listen.

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