Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Details I Don't Want To Forget

I live for weekends with Ben.

Weekdays are so crazy that I sometimes forget to have fun. And having a six-year-old can be pure fun. Don't we look like we're having so much fun?

On the weekends, we take things a little slower. We spend more time on the couch, less time in the car. I generally don't schedule nights out with my friends; it's all about Ben and his activities. Weekend time is family time, even if "family" is just him and me.

I always want to remember how sweet the weekends days were at this age. Because before long, Ben will be begging to go off with his friends and he'll be staying out late and doing God knows what else.

But for now, it's just us.

This last weekend was a slice of heaven, perfection. Albeit, a little tiring.

I love Saturday morning pick-ups. I love to see Ben's face when he races from his dad's car to mine, his smile widening with each step. I even love the inevitable greeting: "Mommy! Did you bring my Nintendo player?"

Target, with a six-year-old, can be totally entertaining. We take our time; there's hardly anyone in the store at 8am. Ben points out hats for me and stops to try on adult sunglasses. He laughs at his reflection. Then, he carefully examines each pair of flip flops, finally settling on the gray pair. He gazes from the red swim shoes to the black. "Red is the best, right Mommy?" Red it is.

We look at t-shirts, but he rejects every design because nothing is "cool" enough. The grocery aisle is next. "What's Jell-o?" he asks. I forgot. He knows how to read. Last stop is the aisle where the nutrition supplements are located. What kind of Zone bars this week? "Fudge graham," he says. "Can I have one now?" I still have him convinced that a Zone bar is a treat.

On to Starbucks. Americano for me. Chocolate milk for Ben. The barrista looks down at him. "You are a cutie, aren't you?" she says. Ben shyly looks away.

Next stop is the gym. Negotiations commence. "OK, Ben, you go to the kiddie room for 30 minutes and I'll give you your Nintendo player." "I'll go for 45," he counters. It's a done deal.

Back home to change. We strike another deal: "I need 30 minutes to get ready. I'll take you to the Lego store this afternoon if you play quietly." I get a distraction- free shower (but of course I can't wash my hair!).

I am impressed with my young son's ability to reason and to understand give-and-take situations. On the weekends, we have time to work on this. It makes a huge difference.

Unfortunately, Ben's mastered time quite well and can call me on any and all delays. As I'm vacillating between a skirt and a dress, he pops in my room, points to his watch, and says, "You're late, Mommy!" Yes, I am. The dress wins.

I'm walking down the hall, he trails me. Then, he body slams me from behind and I trip over my high-heeled sandals. He grabs the back of my dress, pulls it up and bursts into laughter, as I make a mental note to myself to start wearing board shorts and tank tops for the rest of the summer.

After a short discussion of appropriate behavior around girls in dresses, we head to the movies. We're meeting a group of friends for "Toy Story 3."

Ben has never had movie popcorn. I know, I know. But he didn't have a donut until he was five, either. I'm into delayed gratification. It's how I was raised. He has his whole damn life to ruin his arteries with movie popcorn. Besides, I always whip out a Zone bar and he thinks it's the best thing since sliced bread.

But today, we are seated next to other kids and other adults; parents who believe that super size popcorn buckets and giant Cokes are okay for young children. Somehow a bucket gets passed to Ben. Ever the permission seeker, he turns to me and whispers, "Mommy, can I have some?" Of course I relent because I'm not going to be that mom who is a total pain in the ass about what her kid eats.

We love the movie. I love the way we look at each other and laugh over a funny line. I love when Ben leans into me during the darker parts of the movie. I love how he gets the humor of "Big Baby," the purple bear and the Ken doll.

After the movie, we head to the Lego store in the mall. We're hurrying because we're supposed to meet more friends downtown in just an hour. I tell Ben that he needs to make his selection quickly and he glances at his watch and says, "OK, Mommy. I'm on it!" I love that he has an appreciation of schedules, that he knows the importance of arriving on time.

Lego set in hand, we make our way downtown. We're joining friends at McKinley Park for Pops In The Park.

We park about 18 miles away from the park, or at least it seems that far, given the temperature and the proximity of the car to the park. I hand Ben his McDonald's happy meal (see, I'm not that mom) and contemplate having him carry the wine. Decide instead that he can handle the blanket and we're off on the death march to the park. I figure I'm in for a slew of complaints about the heat, the walk and his hunger but he carries on without a peep. Except for, "Mommy, are we late? Are you sure we're not late?" He is so my child.

I love that Ben is me, through and through. Cognizant. Aware. Conscientious. Eyes wide open.

We're not late but our friends are. In fact, they won't be there until much later, according to the text message.

Not to worry because all of a sudden the park envelopes us and we are surrounded by friends. Old friends. New friends. Facebook friends. Out of touch friends. Friends of friends. And friends I don't know. "Hi! I've been in your (insert 'yoga,' 'pilates' or 'spinning' here) class! Remember me?"

Everyone oohs and ahhs over Ben. "He's so big! He's so grown up!" And my own personal favorite: "He looks just like his dad!" (Not!)

We settle into our spot, blanket spread with the friends-of-the friends because they have lots of kids and because they make room for us and because they have the best wine. Which they quickly offer up.

What's great about age six is that finally, I can set Ben somewhat free and enjoy adult time. He runs with the kids; I enjoy the friends-of-the-friends who I'm deciding need to be elevated in status to "good friends." Because they are cool and they are not boring me with small talk and their wine is damn good.

The band is great. The music is great. Sitting in the shade with my new friends is great. Watching Ben release four balloons is not great. Going back and forth to the balloon vendor four times is not great. My son dissolving into tears over the loss of the orange balloon is not great.

Fortunately, there is ice cream and ice cream is the greatest bribery tactic of all time for good behavior. Until the ice cream melts and the cup goes sideways and all of the contents (ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry) slide into Ben's lap. My new friends are uber-resourceful, shoring up tons of wipes.

Midway into the concert, Ben runs to me and does something that he's never done: he asks me to dance. Certainly, he must have gotten this idea from someone else because never would my child do this. Ever. He does not dance. Not at home, not at school, not with friends, not even in the car when I blast Lady Gaga.

So off we go - front and center - on the dance floor. The band has just started, "Ride, Sally, Ride!" I start to dance; Ben goes rigid. He stands as still as a tree. I move his arms. Nothing. I grab his hands. Nothing. I lean down and get him to at least call out, "Ride, Sally, Ride!"

The Twist is next. I'm intent on getting him to move. I stand behind him, twisting his torso. He gives me a mortified look. I twist next to him, in front of him, all around him. He doesn't move a muscle. Then he takes my hand and give it a gentle tug. "I'm done with dancing. Let's go back to the lawn."

I think to myself how quickly he's become self-conscious. He gets it from me, I'm sure. It makes me a little sad.

Back at our spot, our other friends are just arriving. They have brought a five-year-old, Cheetos and wine. Ben immediately embraces the other child and they are fast friends. I love that he offers his friendship so freely. We are all happy for the next hour.

Ben and I don't arrive home until late on Saturday night. We're tired. Sticky with ice cream and spilled wine. My dress has hot fudge smears and his clothes are covered in orange Cheeto dust and grass stains. We both fall into bed, exhausted.

On Sunday, we negotiate another work-out for me and a play date for him.

Ean, Ben's best friend joins us for a day at the pool. They swim for four hours straight, taking quick breaks for lunch, watermelon and Popsicles. I sit in the shade and melt. 106 degrees. Occasionally, I jump into the pool and, to their delight, pretend to be the "Mommy Monster."

When I load up the boys to take Ean home, I notice how tired they both look. But that doesn't stop the banter in the backseat. I turn up Lady Gaga and try not to listen to the "poop" and "butt" references.

Eventually, their banter goes too far and poor Ean's image of me as the "nice mommy" is forever shattered.

When we get home, I make dinner and attempt another negotiation. Chicken - not in nugget form - is being served. I offer up Ranch dressing as a condiment to help take the edge off of "the disgusting, slimy, yucky, gross, ew-ew-ew chicken." It works. But I still have to listen to "disgusting, slimy, yucky, gross, ew-ew-ew" with every single bite.

Ben survives the plate of chicken and goes on to demolish a plate of ravioli, carrots, tomatoes, a yogurt, a handful of Cheetos, a scoop of cashews, a cheese stick and two cookies. "I'm still hungry," he tells me after I've done all the dishes. I toss him a Zone bar which goes down in about three bites. I think to myself, "Is he too young for protein shakes?"

Ben goes to bed early and I stay up late.

By Monday morning, he is off to camp and I am ushering clients into my home.

I looked at the calendar just tonight to see when I can look forward to another weekend together. To my shock - and amazement - he and I have only one weekend left before our big trip to Southern California. In August. The way that custody and vacations line up this month is crazy. But it makes me reflect and appreciate weekends like this past one.

Knowing that we have only one summer weekend remaining, I gave Ben the power to decide what we should do. He immediately asked to visit my sister in the East Bay. He wants to swim in her pool, terrorize her cats, play hide-and-seek in her house and master her old pinball machine. He also wants my sister to spend countless hours reading "I Spy" to him.

I can't think of a better weekend plan.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


About six months ago, a friend (who has a child close to Ben's age) made this incredibly poignant and heartbreaking statement to me:

"Janeen, our time with our children is one-third over. They've just turned six, and then they will be twelve and then, eighteen. And then, (if all goes to plan), they will be gone."

Whoa. Whoa. WHOA.

Truth be told, I've wanted to write about this, this passage of time, since my friend uttered those words to me. But I haven't been able to. The realization of my baby boy marking one-third of his time with me was sobering. It haunted me. I was in complete denial. I still am, to some extent.


Just a few short years ago, I was wishing away the messy diapers. I negotiated the banishment of binkies. I spent my days on the floor with toys that blinked and beeped and animals that bellowed. Nights were in the blue rocking chair, singing lullabies and softly pushing the hair away from my baby's face. I said a prayer of gratitude every time I managed to run the neighborhood streets with a baby, a jogger stroller and a dog. I cried outside the preschool for two years, while my child sobbed for me inside. I yearned for orderly mealtimes, restful nights, a day without tantrums. Truth be told, I wasn't much in the moment.


Then my husband and I separated. Life became more about survival and less about funny faces in the rear view mirror. Time on the floor with Matchbox cars was traded for time learning a new trade. My days as a "hands-on" mom were fewer, my nights missing Ben were more frequent. I was in the moment, but I didn't like it much.


I don't have any regrets; like any single mom, I did what I could and I did it the best way that I knew. I had to spend more nights away than I wanted. I had to travel for training. I had to study. I had to build a business.

Ben had my mom, thank God. We had resources. We also had stress. We had moments of complete frustration, total helplessness. One time, while entertaining my then two-year-old in the backyard, I fell to my knees with my head in my hands, overcome by emotion. When I glanced up, mere seconds later, he was in tears too. I was so in the moment.


I re-tooled my career so that I could have complete control over how much time I spent at work. I chose quiet nights at home with stacks of kids books over a spectacular social life. I scheduled vacations for myself when I knew Ben would be with his dad. I tried to maximize every moment.


I taught myself how to re-create this entire single mom life by embracing what I have and not holding on to ideas of what I don't have. It's a learned practice. Admittedly, I'm not all that good at it. I take it moment by moment.


I have a brief snippet of time to enjoy this one child. There are fleeting chances with him, almost daily, when my heart hurts from experiencing the closest thing possible - in my life - to divine love. I have to send this child away more than I want, and because of this, I have enormous gratitude for the time he spends with me and I hold onto those moments tightly when he is not here.

I have an inherent sense of my purpose - to guide, protect and nurture this child until he doesn't need me. But I hope that he always needs me. I want motherhood to be my moment; my moment to shine.


As we transition to the second block of six years that Ben will be with me, I pause and wonder what will change.

More time at school, more hours on the soccer and baseball fields, more friends, more video games, more appetite, more homework, more attitude, more awkwardness, more opinions, more choices, more words.

Less pitter patter, less McDonald's outings, less innocence, less structure, less tears, less gentleness, less shyness, less reliance, less precociousness.


Will there be early mornings in bed, with his body curled into mine? Will there be rainy afternoons and countless games of Uno? Will there be spontaneous hugs? Soap sundaes in the bathtub? Long, languid summer nights of swimming? Impromptu trips to the Lego store? Sick days on the couch with movies and 7up?


Will he be as loquacious, as loving, as silly? Will my mother's presence inspire sheer delight? Will he still call my dad, "Grandpa Bop?" Will he know that I'll always be his soft place to land; his shelter from the storm of divorce? Will he still want to be with me as much as he does now? Will he count off the days until he's here again?


Will he raid my jewelry box, looking for the most sparkly ring, and then squirrel it off to his room? Will he try on a leopard vest of mine and call it his "raccoon suit?" Will he rush out of class with a worried look on his face, then spot me and break into the biggest grin possible? Will he run to me, despite warnings from the teacher, and press some little object into my hand; some "treasure" he's found for me on the playground at recess?


At Little League games, will he seek me out with his eyes and make sure that I see his big wave? Will he call the dog, "my girl" in his high, baby voice? Will he sweetly stroke the dog's head and comment repetitively on "her soft, soft ears?" Will he greet every person who enters our home as his new friend?


Will he stare at the tomato plant, willing it to grow? Will he jump and down in excitement over the first zuchini of the season, even though he hates zuchini? Will he collect rocks for me? Pick flowers for me? Push a twig behind my ear and say, "Awww, Mommy, you look so pretty!"


Will we walk through Trader Joe's and pick out groceries together? Will he flirt with the checker? Will he give her a coy look? A small smile? Will he charm my clients when they walk through the door with his giggle, his tousled hair, his references to "the girl?" Will he fight me over going to church? Will he sit with me in the pew and color quietly? Will he call himself a "church mouse?" Will he say about the after church donut treat, "it's the biggest bagel I ever saw!"


Will he know that half the time - at least - I don't know what I'm doing, but that my love for him is the most undying thing on Earth? Will he conspire with me about the ways of the world? Will we share conversations about the injustices of relationships? Will I be able to teach him about forgiveness? And about rising above things that don't matter? And that diplomacy does matter so very, very much and that being right isn't always very gratifying? And that politeness will get you everywhere? And disrespect will get you nowhere? Will he rest his head on my shoulder when we read together? Will he be on of those people that "gets it?"


Will he still be introspective? Will he worry like me? Will he look at me pensively when he isn't sure of something? Will he have many, many layers of understanding, compassion and warmth? Will he trust? Will he keep his mind and his heart open to any and all possibilities? Will his brown eyes be as big? And as sparkly? Will he look at me like I'm his heroine?

Will he? Will he? Will he?


And will I be able to do this? Sheppard my son into his boyhood years? Help him find his way? Establish accountability and boundaries? Nurture his spirit? Cultivate his own truths, his own values, his own presence in the world? Co-parent in a way that fosters respect and empathy? Make him believe that he is capable of anything, everything and that optimism will bring endless potential?

Can I? Can I? Can I?


So there, it's done. I needed to have this closure; this sense of moving into the next phase with complete appreciation for where we've been, where we've come to and now, for where we're going.

I don't know what the future holds. I have my intentions and I keep them close, and then I set them free when it's appropriate. I have my goals. I have my dreams. I have this crazy, wild ride called Single Parenthood.

And I have this incredible child who has taught me so many things, who has blessed me in so many ways, who has given me more reasons to open my arms to possibilities and to open my heart to the amazing current of love that flows through every single moment of our days together.

Thank you, Ben. You delight me. You inspire me. Your laughter makes our house a home. You give your love so graciously and freely. You complete the entire world around me.

Welcome to "The Two-Thirds" phase!

A big thank-you to my friend, S for imparting such words of wisdom. Sage advice, my friend!

Monday, June 21, 2010

OK, Why Didn't I Think Of This???

This gorgeous girl on my left is doing something really sweet for Sacramento!

Read all about it here:

And then come back here and tell me that you're coming!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The (Pathetic) Cable Report

It's been two weeks since I upgraded our household to Expanded Cable and so far, here's what's happened:

AT&T decided to hold on to my land line for dear life (or long enough to bill me for another cycle) despite the fact that I authorized the release to Comcast three weeks ago. Since cell phone service in my home stinks, there hasn't been much in the way of telephone communication. Meanwhile, I'm certain that my text charges will be at an all time high.

It took my mother exactly one day to bring down the whole cable system. She mistakenly picked up the wrong remote (there are only 42 of them now...) and jabbed at it repeatedly. We lost channels, volume, everything. Fortunately, she has a daughter who is very tech savvy. Unfortunately, that daughter lives in the Bay Area and this daughter had to curse her way through the process.

Despite having a comprehensive line-up of childrens' programming, Ben's watched all of one show. Actually, it's the same show over and over and over. The one that comes on at 7:00am and allows me to have 30 minutes to change my clothes three times, try out three lipsticks, put my hair up, take it down, select a necklace, decide on earrings instead, blend a protein shake with the lid off, curse loudly, slam down a cup of coffee, break a plate, burn an english muffin, unwrap a Zone bar, and forget to brush someone's teeth (his or mine) adequately prepare for the day.

The DVR sits untouched. I haven't recorded one episode of anything. After all these years of longing for a DVR, the one I now own is very useful as an added surface to toss one of our many remotes onto.

Showtime entertained me late one night when I couldn't sleep with the movie, "Sea of Love." Ellen Barkin is smokin' hot. I first saw that movie before I was a single mom. Now it has an entirely new meaning although I doubt that my ex would stalk any guy I date and cut him into small pieces. But it did get me thinking about the inverse situation with an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend. Clearly, I should have tuned into The Nature Channel that night.

Speaking of The Nature Channel, we have so much wholesome programming that it's a little nauseating: The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, The Outdoor Channel and The Spanish Channel. But the only channel that I want to dial into is the one that has the Housewives of all major cities and those Kardashian girls. But I can't find it in the line-up.

To my dismay, Rachael Ray has practically taken over Food Network. She needs to go away. Bring back Nigella!

To my further dismay, the Style Channel has disappeared. Gone.

So that's the cable re-cap, thus far.

Of course, the whole investment would be worth every penny spent if I could just catch one episode of "Mad Men," Season 4. That Don Draper is damn elusive. Perhaps that's why I love him so much.

Even "Weeds" doesn't release its next season until August. August!

So maybe the whole cable thing is overrated. Maybe I haven't been missing much all along. Maybe someone will comment here and tell me where to find the Housewives. Maybe the DVR will magically program itself to spit out multiple episodes of Dr. Oz.

Maybe I'll just take one more look through the channels before I go to bed.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Never-Ending Weekend

We got a lot done this weekend.

Ben graduated from Kindergarten. Again. After two years in the K program, he's going to 1st grade. And I'm going to quit blinking because every time I do, my sweet boy grows a foot, learns a new (naughty) word and becomes THISMUCHCLOSER to shedding his endearing, little boy innocence (what's left of it anyway).

On Friday morning, Ben calls to me from his bed: "Mommy, I need to come in and talk to you." There is still some semblance of pitter-patter on the wood floors and I think of this while he runs down the hall. I consider how enormous his feet are getting, and how pitter-patter is so very short-lived and how if I could do it all again, I'd listen intently each time those feet come down the hall to me.

I shed my first tear of the day.

He jumps into my bed. "Ohhhhh, you are so warm, Mommy. I want to stay right here next to you."

I want you to stay right here next to me too, Ben. Forever. Please.

It's moments like these when I realize that being a mother requires constant and easy access to Klee-nex.

"It's your last day as a Kindergartner, sweetie," I tell him. You are graduating today! He looks at me with wide eyes. "I'm done with school? That's it?" "Uh, no. You know you're going to 1st Grade now." And then: "But I did Kindergarten twice. Do I have to to all the grades twice?"

I knew this question would come up sooner or later. "Do you know why you did Kindergarten twice?" I ask him. "Because you were conceived at a very bad time. October birthdays are horrible when it comes to starting school. Especially for boys. No way were you ready. You'll thank us later!" What I actually say is, "You got to do Kindergarten twice because you are so very good at it." He seemed to buy that.

So when we finally got out of my bed, our Friday began and the weekend was unleashed. Along with a few tears.

We started with a photo-op in the front yard with our ginormous hydrangea plant before school.

Then to school for the Kindergarten completion ceremony, followed by treats - and a few tears - in the classroom.

Then, with Ben off to his dad's, I grabbed my friend Wendy for a much needed girl's night downtown. The details of the evening are top-secret, suffice to say we had way too much fun and I won't be drinking vodka again anytime soon!

After a long recovery from Friday night's events, my mom and I headed out to a party at my ex-husband's house. My ex and his girlfriend had been planning the party for months and our presence was very important to him. I'm actually still close to my ex-in-laws and I enjoy most of my ex's friends. Likewise, my ex is amicable with my family and with a few of my girlfriends, too. It's a great deal, all the way around. Plus, yesterday, I got to steal a little time with Ben.

This is Ben with his cousin, Lili. They are exactly one year apart. They adore each other.

And here I am with Lili's mother, Denise. Denise was married to my ex's brother. They divorced right after us. I think Denise is wonderful; deeply compassionate and the most engaging person you could ever meet. We always shed a few tears when we see each other. When we were married, we traveled together, we shared books, we divulged our secrets about marriage, our children, our dreams and our fears. Denise has always been like a sister. I cherish her.
I stayed at the party until late and came home with a heavy heart. It's always hard to send Ben off on a trip with his dad but harder still to process the inevitable tides of letting go, moving on, making peace, and feeling the unsteadiness of life.

So for now, there's girls nights, quiet Sundays, newly installed cable, stacks of books and my Napster playlist.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Death By Cable

The final nail is about to be hammered into the coffin that contains my social life.

Expanded cable is being installed on Tuesday.

I will officially have absolutely no reason to leave the house. Because it's summer and Little League is over and Ben's day camp is a short walk around the corner.

Yes, it's very un-yoga-like, this excitement over getting 200+ television channels. But before you go judging me for choosing Don Draper over meditation, it's probably best to have all the facts, yes?

I have never had this many channels in my entire life.

There was a brief period of about five years when I had some semblance of "Expanded Cable" because someone who no longer lives here (my ex) messed around with the cable line and got us a free upgrade.

My "Somewhat Illegal Expanded Cable" provided access to Food Network, Style and Playhouse Disney, all of which helped me to cultivate necessary single mom skills: cook to impress, dress to kill and entertain my child in the process.

And all was well and good until the channels starting going away.

First, it was Style. I desperately missed the annoying, yet fashion savvy Elizabeth Hasselback and the 30 minutes of frenzied shopping to come up with the perfect outfit for under $100.

Then, Food Network disappeared and so did our nightly ritual of watching themed cakes teeter, and sometimes tumble. The program, I could take or leave, but Ben completely delighted in the mishaps of the bakers. He learned the word "crap" from that show. I can only imagine what the new line-up will teach him.

Then, last week, all hell broke loose when the morning babysitter - aka: The Cartoon Network - didn't show.

After frantically calling up the cable company, I learned that I've probably paid way too much money for all my "a la carte" services (phone, cable, Internet) and that by bundling them all together, I'd save a little and gain a lot. In the way of couch time, of course.

Did I mention that I talked the guy into a DVR? A few months of free HBO? Showtime, too?

Yeah, I'm looking at a long summer with Dr. Oz, Oprah and maybe Ellen. And my new friends, The Tudors.

I'm not the selfish type so I made sure that Ben would have something to kill his brain cells too enjoy. He gets upwards of 15 channels. Fifteen! How times have changed. I remember adjusting the rabbit ears over and over, praying for clear reception for my one allowed television show each week: The Brady Bunch. Deprivation is clearly a word that we don't throw around much in our household (case in point - my son's bedroom is starting to resemble the Lego Store).

My only dilemma now is how to react when the cable person comes to my home to re-wire the lines and notices that things aren't exactly on the up-and-up in the backyard. Fortunately, I do wide-eyed innocence pretty well.

By tomorrow night, we'll be full swing into the cake or as Ben calls it, the "crap" program again, I'll be purging my closet from ingesting too much fashion advice and Ben will be settled into back to back rounds of Sponge Bob and God knows what else. Family life at it's best, no?

As for my social life, is it possible to spend more time at home? I'm not sure, but I think I'm about to find out!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pray For Me.

It's Friday night and I'm spent.

My child was awake from 12am to 3am, then we were all up early for 8am clients. I blended my protein shake without affixing the lid tightly. Then I dropped - and shattered - a dinner plate. My mom ordered everyone around the shards of glass, then shuttled Ben off to school - as my first client arrived - ten minutes early.

I re-organized my entire schedule so that I could go on the field trip today, the Teddy Bear Picnic, which involved a last minute scramble to produce a stuffed pelican. I have always abolished stuffed animals of any kind in my home.

The field trip rolled into a play date across town, which turned into dinner and meant that bedtime was pushed out by an hour.

Ben fell into bed; and after last night's antics of "I'm too hot," and "My head hurts" and my personal favorite, "Let me try sleeping with you," I should be fast asleep and giving the lines in my forehead a big break.

But I'm not. Because I seriously agonizing over the afternoon activity that I have scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday).

I have to work a three hour shift at the Little League Concession Stand.

Oh, but it gets better. I am the Shift Supervisor.

And to top that, my ex is working the shift with me.

The only saving grace is that this is the last game day of the season. In fact, it's also the last concession shift of the season.

Since I have absolutely no food service background whatsoever, I have the whole thing planned out:

Nachos? Sorry, we're out of cheese. And the chips are stale.

Soda? Nope, carbonation is done for the season.

Tri-tip? That's only served on Mondays.

Two red ropes? No way, that's far too much sugar for one child.

Hot dog? Only if you let me tell you what the ingredients are.

Capri Sun? That's not really juice. You may as well have a red rope.

Cheet-os? Sorry, can't find them. But here's a Zone bar. You'll thank me later.

The tall, dark and handsome guy? Yeah, he's single. But let me tell you a few things. You'll thank me later, too.

A homerun? My son just hit a homerun?! Here, take him a bag of Cheet-os! Oh, and Pepsi too!

Hamburger? You don't want that. Aren't they serving hamburgers at your end-of-season party that's happening RIGHT NOW?

A cup of coffee? Starbucks is down the street. I'm pretty sure we've been out of Folger's since Opening Day.

And so it goes. The price of Little League participation.

I can guarantee three things at this point:

1. I will screw up royally on a transaction with the cash register. Hopefully, only once.

2. My ex will make at least one comment that will make me blush, while everyone else doubles over in laughter. And at some point, someone will ask - incredulously, "You guys aren't married? But you act like you are!"

3. Missing my son's last game will be disappointing but any lingering sadness will be quickly forgotten with a girls night out (if I don't collapse from exhaustion).

Wish me luck.