Petit Biscuit.

Silas and I got into my Jeep and headed out for a drive to bring my husband’s truck to the mechanic.  My younger son Sam wanted to ride with Jon in his truck because he loves him more than me and reminds me everyday.  That left me and Silas riding together, following them in my Jeep.  I prepped him before we left.

“Okay, so listen, I just bought this new album on iTunes and I was thinking we could start listening to it on our drive into town”.  Silas buckled himself into the back seat and pushed his glasses further up on his nose.  “Okay, what is it called?”.

“Petit Biscuit”.  He’s a 16-year-old teenager from France.  Do you know what the word ‘petit’ means in french?”

“No what?”

“It means small or tiny or little”.

“Oh, so his name is Little Biscuit?” Silas asked, dubious.  “I guess so!” I answered.

We started out the driveway and I hit Play. Petit Biscuit falls into the Electronic/Ambient genre I’ve been drawn to the last several years.  The first track I wanted to hear was called “Sunset Lover”.  I told Silas that was the title and was relieved when he didn’t ask what “Lover” meant.  Buying a new album for me is a process.  Especially if I really love the artist.  I have to slowly listen to one song at a time, over and over and over again until I’ve digested it enough to be able to move on to the next song.  I kind of have to become good friends with one song before I can move on to the next.

Riding in the car with Silas is much like riding in the car by myself.  Neither one of us does much talking as we’re both too much in our heads.  We  usually just sit there looking out the window, swimming around in our own thoughts, emerging every now and then to ask a question.

“Hey Si, what do you think of this song?” or “Mom, why do we have to have gravity?”.

There are times when I run across a picture of the boys when they were infants, looking almost nothing like they do now.  I reminisce about nursing them, being needed in such a fundamental way.  Being their world.  And for a moment I feel a bit sad that they have gotten so big and so much more independent.

But then, there are moments like this, when Silas and I are both loving the same song and talking about the different instruments and how the song makes us each feel, and I am reminded about how equally awesome it is to connect with him in this way too.  He’s going to be 9 in a few weeks.  He’s almost to the double digits.  He’s only 25 pounds away from weighing as much as me.  He’s up to my shoulders already.  Sometimes, if I can’t find any socks to wear, I’ll just dig through the clean clothes in the dryer and pick out a pair of his.  I sometimes look at him and can’t fathom that he came out of my body.

The song comes to an end and for a brief few seconds, the car is filled with silence.  If I were alone, I’d just put it on “repeat” the entire time, but I try to take into account that other people in the car don’t necessarily want to hear the same song for 35 minutes.  When abruptly, from the back seat, Si asks, “Mom, can we hear that one again?  And, can you please put that on my Boyz Jamz playlist??”.

I hit play again, turned up the volume just a bit more and enjoyed the ride with my Little Biscuit.

I would highly recommend putting some ear buds in and listening to this guy:

 

How winter-time driving both enhances my marriage and raises my blood-pressure.

Most of us married folk will remember the days far gone when we were first in love with our spouses and everything in the Universe simply fell into place.  You were either like each others’ twin in every way, (‘we both love chocolate ice cream!  Isn’t that amazing!?) or you found that any differences you did have, only complimented each other in the most perfect of ways, (I hate scallops and he loves them so at dinner, he ate them off my plate!  Isn’t that just the sweetest!?).

Love was easy.  Effortless.  You felt you knew this person inside and out and he, you.  The beginning is by far the most fun and exhilarating part of the journey.

And then, fast-forward 15 years later, in the kitchen, when your husband sighs in exasperation over the completely asinine way you loaded the dishwasher, and you swear under your breath because, once again, the 57 jackets he owns are hanging in the wrong place and mucking up the mud room.

The shift from “They are the Yin to my Yang” to “Can this person do anything the right way” is slow.  Insidious.  And you wake up one day and wonder, “Do we actually have anything in common other than our children??”.

At first, couples go through the hilariously futile phase of trying desperately to show their partner the light so that they can come over to the right side of things.  This is a lively time for married couples as they try to change each other.  Exciting and infuriating battles over the correct way to fill the recycling bin, (you break down the boxes, don’t just shove them in there whole!!!  Everyone knows that!!!) to cleaning styles (you don’t just throw things in a drawer willy nilly!!  You put back everything in its proper place!!!).

My husband and I are no exception to the harsh realization that each other does everything wrong and that we are stuck with having to put up with it.  And every winter, our solidarity is challenged as I effusively try to sit in the passenger seat of my husband’s truck while he drives in a snowstorm with one hand in his jacket pocket and the other loosely grasping the steering wheel with his thumb and forefinger in the most blaze of manners.

“Um, I can’t even see the middle line.  Can you see it?”

no response.

“Do you think you should put your windshield wipers on a faster mode other than Intermittent because the snow really starts to pile up on it in between.”

no response.

“Ohmygod!  Ohmygod!  That car is like half on our side……”.

an annoyed glance in my direction.

As I lean over to his side of the truck: “What speed are you going anyway, it feels like you’re going so fast”.

“Listen, who’s driving?”

“I’m sorry.  You.  I know.  I’ll shut up.”

Hm.  I did notice my husband had some duct tape in the console of his truck the other day....
Hm. I did notice my husband had some duct tape in the console of his truck the other day….

I’ve always been a freak about driving.  Even when I was younger, I did not like to ride with other people at the wheel.  In high school, when we’d all go up to Canada to sketchy bars and speaker-dance, I was almost always the Designated Driver.  Willingly.  It was an extremely annoying job to drive home a car-full of inebriated 17-year-olds, but hey, I wanted to get home alive and I didn’t trust ANY of them with that endeavor.

But, then there was my husband.  I trusted him implicitly.  One time, about 7 years ago, he drove us to Plattsburg, N.Y to do some shopping.  I hopped in the passenger seat, chatted away for a while, got sleepy, and before I knew it I woke up in the parking lot of Gander Mountain.  I couldn’t believe I had fallen asleep!!!   I completely flaked out on my responsibilities as the backseat driver and put us in danger of having been in an accident!!!

Unfortunately, 7 years later, I’m still a Nervous Nelly about driving.  Especially in winter–the season where I White-Knuckle it all the time.

Now, when I’m driving myself or the boys in my Jeep during winter, I pretty much hunt down the nearest Snow Plow going my way and tail-gate him.  I mean, 1) they go super slow, 2) you’re driving on a fresh pile of sand and salt and 3) no one can honk and flip you off because, Hey, you’re behind a snow-plow!  It’s not your fault!!

This is pretty much my view from about mid-December until early-April.
This is pretty much my view from about mid-December until early-April.

Then there’s my husband.  His stoic nature befuddles me.  It could be raining out and 13 degrees, and he’ll say to me, “driving in bad weather is actually quite easy.  You’ve just go to let the vehicle do the work for you”.  Okay, whatever honey.  I’m just going to go wait at the end of the driveway until a snow plow passes and hope he’s headed toward Hannaford and the Bank, M’kay?  You go have fun driving in freezing rain like it’s a hot July afternoon.

I’m learning that sitting quietly in the passenger seat of the truck and trusting in his ability to drive in bad weather is not always easy for me, but I’m getting better.  Because I do trust him.  I trust that man more than any other person on earth, to be totally honest.  So, when I find myself holding my breath in my seat and grabbing for the “oh shit” handle, I try to remind myself that he’s got it under control.  I try to remember that while I cannot drive in the snow and look for deer in every goddamn field we pass without crossing the yellow line–that he can, and does, and it drives me frickin’ nuts, but what are you going to do???

When we we’re younger, we think there is no better feeling than being in love.  Than discovering  this other perfectly made person.  But there is.  I’m learning that there’s the feeling you have when you trust someone so much, that even though they go through life with an almost entirely different compass, you let them do it their way and realize that everything turns out fine.  And you feel better for it to boot.

That even though he’s passing the damn snow-plow instead of riding its ass like he should be, he’ll get us all where we need to be.

If the way to a man’s heart is through his belly, then I’m still not sure why mine stuck around for so long.

“Your pancakes used to suck.  They were horrible.”

So said my loving husband just two days ago, as I served him up some homemade pancakes for breakfast on a Sunday morning.

“You’ve mastered them now”, he said between eager mouthfuls,  “They’re awesome”.

And he is so right.  Before we were married and before I had children, my “pancakes” looked more like rpm microgroove vinyl records.  Black.  Flat.  Hard.  The only thing that made them even remotely edible, was a huge douse of maple syrup, and even then they sometimes hurt your throat going down.

if the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.....I'm still not sure why mine stuck around then.
I have just three words for you:  Finger.  Licking.  Good.

But, like everything, after countless attempts at making them and tweaking this and adding that and taking away a dash of so-and-so, I can now make the most fluffy, moist and mouth-watering pancakes you’ve ever eaten.  IHOP-worthy.  When I announce that I’m making pancakes, everyone gets excited.

As we celebrated our wedding anniversary just a couple of weeks ago, I started thinking    about how many times my poor husband had to sit down at the kitchen bar and await being served disgusting pancakes before they started to actually resemble pancakes instead of drink coasters.   I imagine that in the beginning of our marriage, each time I announced I was making homemade pancakes, he would inwardly groan and roll his eyes, but always belly up to the bar like a good sport.

I do believe at one point he actually said to me, “maybe we should just buy some Bisquik”.

But, he hung in there.  He didn’t give up trying them and I didn’t give up trying to make them.  Neither one of us threw in the towel on the pancakes and bought Eggos.    I eagerly watched him try his first bite and he dry-heaved gently stated that they were a bit too salty, or not quite finished, or that maybe he would just have some cereal.  I sometimes felt embarrassed, or frustrated, even sometimes angry, but never resigned.

Pancakes are a lot like Marriages.

In the beginning, none of us knows what the hell we’re doing and we pretty much suck at everything:  communicating, fighting, compromising, etc.  It can sometimes feel like a clip from Dumb and Dumber.  And I think both people have to have loads of patience while their partners work hard to get the hang of it.   It’s like the blind leading the blind, and you just hope and pray that somewhere along the way, you learn that calling your husband an asshole probably isn’t the best way to get him to help you with the laundry.

In the beginning, I used to complain that he never did the dishes.  As I was doing the dishes (how’s that for awesome communication?).  No wonder he was confused.  He used to complain that he had to do laundry, as though it were a chore relegated to me and me alone.  No wonder I was livid.  That was year 2.  We were clueless and trying to rock-climb in flippers.

Now, I ask him to help me bang out the kitchen together, so that we can watch Orange Is The New Black.  And when he’s sitting watching his favorite show, I give him a basket full of clothes to fold so he can make himself useful while he does nothing.

There is so much less nagging and blaming and arguing, simply because we’ve gotten more skilled at being married.

I’ve learned that, in marriage, patience is prudent.  Both of us are rife with faults and, in a sense, even though we’ve both had to eat rock hard pancakes that left us more hungry than we were before, having stuck through it, there’s nothing more satisfying now than having those fluffy, moist, homemade pancakes soaked in warm maple syrup just melt in your mouth.

Bon Apetit!
Bon appetit!