He came running through a yard, feet crunching on the leaves in the grass.
“I got a Heath bar! Do you want it?”
“Yes. Yes I do.”
— __ — __ —
“Mommy, that means there are two scary chainsaw guys. This one and the one down by our house.”
“No, Buddy. He used to live down by us, but he lives over here now.”
“Nope. There will be two.”
There was only one creepy Michael, but he was certainly enough.
[For more pictures of these costumes that I didn't pick, read this post I wrote about the Infinite Sadness of Halloween.]
I meant to take our annual family portraits, including pictures of the boys individually and together, earlier in the month. But earlier in the month ran away with the rain, wind, and general fall malaise. And then any time the sun decided to shine in the evening, someone was at work or traveling or at practice or grounded for life, and no one wants to look at a picture hanging on the wall when one of the kids was currently grounded for life.
Or, maybe we do want to look at that. Maybe it would be a great lesson. “Remember that time you were grounded for life and mom took our yearly family photo and now it hangs on the wall forever as a reminder of NOT TO DO THAT EVER AGAIN?” Awesome parenting technique right there. Feel free to use it.
Whatever the case, last week we all happened to be home on evening when the sun shone just perfectly, the trees still clung to their leaves, and nary a child was grounded for life. I instructed everyone to dress in the clothes I laid out, busied myself getting picture-ready, and set up the tripod outside.
The family picture was the easiest. Getting a picture of the two boys together remains the most difficult, because they like to joke around and stick their tongues out or make fart jokes or laugh or cross their eyes (LITTLEBROTHER, OMG QUIT THAT) or generally be… kids. You know. Kids. Brothers. Little human beings who like to laugh and make fart jokes and generally be awesome. While I tolerate the fart jokes to a point (NOT AT THE TABLE, OMG), I just wanted to get the pictures taken before the sun dipped too low and we lost the beautiful golden light.
It worked. I don’t know how. I don’t remember what I threatened them with, but I got a series of pictures of them together and separately. They will hang on the wall as a reminder of the time that nobody was grounded for life and mom didn’t even scream at anyone during family pictures.
I remember walking, holding hands with Papau, my paternal grandfather. We came to a pole, split hands, and he yelled, “Bread and butter!” Then he took my hand again, a smile on his face. He did this with me through my entire life, as did my Grandmother. I never questioned it. We would hold hands, come across a pole, and “bread and butter” it.
I didn’t know what it meant; it meant everything.
— __ — __ —
“Dad, what did ‘bread and butter’ mean?”
We were down at Grandma’s house. My dad and brother worked hard, hauling things out of the garage and onto the trailer bed. I had just given up a search for the Halloween ghost that used to haunt her end table each October; it’s gone, a memory now.
He looked up at me. I watched the memory wash across his face, the ghost that flitted through his eyes different than the one I could not find.
“I don’t know.” We all went back to working, the realization that they were gone and couldn’t tell us weighing heavy on our souls.
__ — __ — __
Walking down the street last week, I held hands with LittleBrother. We came across a pole. I let go of his hand.
“Bread and butter!”
I grabbed his hand again, smiling down at him.
“What’s that mean?”
“I don’t know, buddy. Big Papau and Big Mamaw used to say it with me when I held hands with them. But I don’t know the story.”
“Oh. Okay,” he sighed, the disappointment evident in his tone.
— __ — __ —
Recently, I found a Bread + Butter Pinot Noir.
Inspired by a glass of wine, I decided to Google “bread and butter.” I had assumed for three decades that the “bread and butter” thing was our thing, but someone convinced me that maybe it was a thing. I googled “bread and butter” and “pole,” and what do you know: It’s a thing!
Apparently it’s an old superstition. Basically, when two people come to an obstacle, they both have to say bread and butter to get rid of the bad luck of letting something come between the two people. If they don’t both say it, a bitter fight is expected to occur.
The concept comes from the idea that buttered bread cannot be “unbuttered.” Therefore, just because this obstacle separates the two of us, we cannot be separated for good.
I cried when I read that Wikipedia entry and missed my Grandparents so much my whole being ached.
I will continue to carry on this tradition with my children, but I will make sure they understand the meaning now. I will make sure they know that nothing can come between us; my bread cannot be unbuttered, that my love cannot be unloved.
Thanks, Grandma and Papau.
The EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler is in one week and six days. Oh dear.
Training for a race right after a race feels a bit confusing. Having just run the Columbus Half Marathon last week, I wasn’t sure how my running would look this week—or if it would even happen. But it did!
I actually felt the best I’ve ever felt after this half marathon. My hips felt very tight and my feet felt “tired,” but other than that I didn’t have any awful soreness. So Monday morning, I went for a mile run in hopes of stretching out my hips, and it worked. I ran another mile on Tuesday, but took a two days off to fully let my feet rest. It ended up being the best choice, as I felt absolutely fresh and ready come Friday. Sunday felt even better.
I didn’t push my distance this week. I wanted to ease back into movement and running and not push too hard. I injured my foot during the 10 Miler last year after having run the Columbus Half Marathon two weeks prior. I’m hoping that three weeks between the two and understanding how to listen to my body better this year will make all the difference. I’m hoping to get a seven miler in this week, but the truth is that I know I can run 10 miles right now.
Monday: 1.00 miles, 8:54, 8:53/pace
Tuesday: 1.07 miles, 9:48, 9:10/pace
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 2.03 miles, 18:41, 9:12/pace
Saturday: Rest Day (Date Day! Walked all the places!)
Sunday: 3.70 miles, 35:02, 9:29/pace
Sunday was actually my 4th fastest 3-5 mile run ever, though technically it was my 3rd fastest as the one in first place on RunKeeper was a GPS bork. I’m liking the paces I’m seeing this week and hope to carry them over into this coming week. We’ll see how it works when I add some more distance back into my runs.
The Pittsburgh 10 Miler is on November 9th and I feel ready. I hope my husband does too, because we’re running that race together too!
Since I ran the Columbus Half Marathon last Sunday, I didn’t share the things I read last week. This week you get a double dose of awesome. Good times!
Shut Up and Write (Or: I Really Want to Be a Writer, But…): Oh. Goodness. Yeah. I should print this out and hang it over my desk. Or tattoo it on my arm. Or something. “Stop talking about writing. Stop reading about writing. Stop dreaming about writing. The thing that defines the writer is that the writer writes.” Oh dear. Right. Or, write…
A Bubble: Ugh, yes. After the problems our sons have had at school over the past few years, I’m feeling the pain in Allison’s words here. Mothering is hard, but it would be less so if the world would just grow up already.
Born Again: Goodness, the feeling that my depression and my anxiety are somehow an indicator of how I’m failing my faith are still so deeply ingrained within my being. I respect Carrie’s story because it shares shades of my own.
Amanda Bynes, Robin Williams, and the Spectacle of Mental Health: While I really try to stay away from tabloids and all things celebrity, I’ve read various things on the Internet that poke fun at Amanda Bynes as of late. This post says everything I have felt but couldn’t find voice to say because it hit too close, too hard. “If no one has explained this to you, let me be the first to say that it is morally repugnant that we, as a society, are mocking mentally ill people.” The Internet should tattoo THAT on their hands so they see it before they type something.
When Your Confidence Wanes: “Tell those voices in your head to be quiet and wait for the next wave of good.” What a perfect response to my recent post about the voices I am working to silence. Will do, Kristin.
As always, I love reading the things you write, so feel free to share them in the links.