Friday, May 29, 2009


Me: Thanks so much for doing that for me, Sam!

Sam (bows gracefully): It was my pleasure. (kisses my hand)


Dad: Sam, why on earth did you change back into your pajamas??

Sam (long, heavy sigh): It's a long story.


Sam: I think dad's a fat leprechaun.

(Alex chuckles and goes back to what he's doing. Sam continues to giggle.)

Sam (walking away): Fat leprechaun ... I crack myself up.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

On the wistfulness of youth ...

The black top was as empty as the hope in his eyes.

Two girls played on a tire swing in the distance -- the only remaining evidence from the school day.

"They didn't build it for me," he sighed. "I realized this isn't for me anymore."

His eyes scanned the emerald grass of the baseball field as if searching for his lost childhood.

"It's just hard, you know?" the young man continued. "One day it's all OK and then the next ... it's just over. You have to grow up."

He kicked a rock, sending it scuttling across the lonely pavement. The distant whistle of a soccer referee broke through the silence like so many memories of sun-filled glory days.

"There's all this responsibility. All these expectations. A year ago it was different. I was still a kid," he said. "Now ... now I just don't know."

Last year wasting time came without reproach, he says. Decisions came without last consequences. Freedom came without a price. You could freely choose your course in the name of "finding yourself." People looked at your nomadic lifestyle with envy instead of disdain, shaking their heads, thinking "Oh, to be young" and smiling because of all the potential ahead of you. You could even play video games.

"But you don't even like video games," I remind him.

It doesn't matter, he says. It's the principle of the thing. This birthday is pivotal, he reminds me. It means the final abandonment of childish things and facing a world no longer offering forgiveness based on youth.

Yes, I think. It is hard to turn 24.

The early twenties are over and the mid-twenties loom ahead like the staggering Everest his neighbor has climbed more times than years he has been alive. Because surely, with the addition of one extra candle, comes the expectations to be stable, productive and the absence of all things light, happy and free. There will be no more smiling. No more laughing. No more traveling or exploration or learning. No more swingsets or blacktops or soccer fields. Ever.

Such privileges only belong to those who are 23.

No, my friend. There are only bills and timecards and paychecks. Only mortgages and 401Ks and car repairs to urge you out of bed in the morning. The rat race has begun and you're only one more furry mass in search of the cheese. Recess is over and the eternal final exam has begun.

Happy Birthday.

Friday, May 22, 2009

On sharing a cubicle ...

Di: Is he the one that said something about (insert particular detail of my social life).

Me: Yes.

Di: Is it weird that I know the detailed minutia of your life but I don't remember to do the big things ... per say, like vacuuming?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On circles ...

"How's your weekend going?"

It's Wednesday at 9:41 p.m. I'm driving to Wal-Mart and I have a 12-hour work day ahead of me. It is definitely NOT the weekend.

"Just great," I try. "How was your day at school?"
"It was OK," he says with a heavy sigh. "We made ladybugs."
"I like ladybugs."

There's a pause in conversation.

"I love you."
"I love you, too, Sam."

There's another pause.

"So...," he says, looking for something to say. "How's your weekend going?"

Every phone conversation with Sam is upliftingly the same. He says he misses me. He asks when I'm coming home. He tells me he loves me. Then he asks how my weekend is going, no matter what day of the week it is. If I ask Sam how he's doing, sometimes he is good, and sometimes, he doesn't know.

I have a friend Davey who will laugh and exclaim "I don't know!" when you ask him how he feels.

"Are you sad, Davey? Happy?"
"I don't know!" he'll say again, giggling.
It's several hours after I've hung up the phone with Sam but now I'm the one going in circles.

"What's wrong?" he asks.
"I'm not sure."

"What are you going to do?" he asks.
"I don't know," I say with a heavy sigh.

How did it make me feel?
Heck if I know, I think. All I know is I'm a mess.

There's a pause in the conversation.

I scramble for something, anything, to break the silence I've created.

"I should let you go so you can get some sleep," I say for the millionth time.

I wonder if this is how Sam feels when he doesn't know what to say.

"I love you."
"I love you, too."

There's another pause.

"K ... Well, I should let you go so you can get some sleep."

At least we're consistent. In Sam's case that's not a bad thing: In his world it is always the weekend; and he will always love me.

My friend Davey was wearing a T-shirt with this Web site and the slogan "Spread the word to end the word," the other day. I've signed ... you should, too. And just in case you missed it ... October was National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. It definitely doesn't have to be October to tell someone you know with Down syndrome you love them.

Monday, May 18, 2009

On commencing ...

Dear Class of 2012:

According to the letter containing BYU law school laptop requirements, that now means me.

I don't cry at funerals or weddings. I didn't cry when I needed stitches or when my goldfish died. I successfully hold back the tears every other Friday when my paycheck comes.

But I'm an emotional wreck at graduations.

I cry for the parents who are proud. I cry for the graduates who have reached a milestone. I cry for the amount of time they have spent saving, scrimping and working to pay for tuition. I cry because they are lucky and for the millions around the world who will never have an education. I cry because I'm one of the lucky ones. I cry because I'm done with school and I miss it. I should be crying because there is joy in leaving the university and because leaving has really been the point all along. I should be happy for all of those donned in cap and gown ... but I cry bitter tears for them because they have no idea how much better their lives are as students. I cry because I know I'm absurd.

My brother's high school graduation is a week away. My next graduation, still another three years. Good thing I've got some time to prepare.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On abandoning ship ...

My parents are going on a week-long vacation to San Diego in July. I was invited to come. It means quittting my job earlier than anticipated. I figure an extra $1,200 in student loans is worth the sanity a few weeks between the craziness-that-is-current and the-craziness-that-will-be will afford. I am relishing the idea of a few blank weeks to buy books, bake and freeze meals, sit on a beach and move my stuff from one dwelling to the other slowly instead of forcing my poor boyfriend to move everything in a 12-hour-stretch. It feels like I haven't had a break that long between employment since the eighth grade.

I just put the letter with my new quit date on my editor's desk ... and from the other side of the cubicle heard him swear loudly in shock as he picked it up.

At least I'll be missed??

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On connecting ...

I don't have Internet connection at my new place. Which means I've been blogging from work. Coincidentally, everything I've wanted to blog about in the last few weeks has required a picture to do it justice and suddenly I am without the ability to upload photos easily because I'm blogging from work. It's kind of a vicious cycle. Here's hoping I get Internet soon. Otherwise you'll be forced to read painfully detailed descriptions of stuffed toy seagulls. Yah ... a picture really would be worth 1,000 words in that case.