Love is #4

Love is

when he’s holding your hand

and struts down the street

like he’s a peacock in the zoo

because he’s got the smartest,

kindest,

prettiest

woman to call his wife

(and you know this is true

because he tells you

in so many ways

everyday).

(C) Sara Ackerman, 2017

 

Love is #3

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Love is

when he prefers sleeping hot

but still lets you put

 your icy hands on

his back.

(C) Sara Ackerman, 2017

 

10 Lessons in 10 Years

Ryand and sara

Today I celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary. When I see that number on the screen, I think, “Wow, it’s only been 10 years?” Because it feels like I’ve known my husband forever.  I can’t help but get nostalgic remembering our younger selves, our eagerness at setting up house, those early fights as we adjusted to living together, our joys, our sorrows. In honor of my anniversary, here are 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage.

  1. Be willing to compromise. And then gradually move all his stuff to the basement. It’s sneaky, I know, but is his commemorative bobble head of Wayne Gretsky (or whomever is hot in sports right now) going to go with your carefully coordinated oasis of muted blues and soothing browns? I think not. When he asks, you can always say the plastic bobbing head and its gap-toothed grin gave you nightmares.
  2. Timing is everything. Don’t tell your husband you’re pregnant after returning home from the ER at 3 in the morning. Just don’t. You won’t get the reaction you had hoped for, and there’ll be hard feelings all around. Wait until he’s conscious and has had his first cup of coffee. It’ll still be a shock, but at least he won’t stare at you blankly and then roll over and go back to sleep.
  3. Listen. Be prepared to hear about all the indignities he suffered with the children. Your indignities pale in comparison to the horrors he’ll experience as a new father. Never mind what your children did to your body, no. Hand a naked baby to your husband and then have your little bundle poop all over him, well, you’ll never hear the end of it.
  4. Make time for each other. We go out by ourselves at least once a month. If our parents can’t watch the children, we hire someone who we’ve thoroughly researched to care for our angels. Alright! Let’s be honest. There were days we’d have let rabid wolves watch the kids just for an hour of two of peace, days when we kicked the kids out of the car at grandma’s curb and kept rolling as our tires squealed down the street.
  5. Take plenty of naps. Or whatever you want to call it. We tell the children we’re tired and going to take a nap. Some parents say they have to pay bills or fold laundry. Others say they are going to be on the phone with Santa, so they’d better be good and leave them alone. Who am I kidding? That’s us. We’ve used all those excuses (and more) to carve out some time for intimacy. It’s important. Do what you must to ensure it happens.
  6. Lock your door. See number 5. Saying you’ll be on the phone with Santa is too big a temptation, and little ones get curious. Enough said.
  7.  Guilt has no place in a marriage.  Those early days in our marriage,  my husband picked up a lot of slack as I ran between meetings, classes and rehearsals. There were times  I felt guilty for leaving him alone with a four year old and a newborn, but the guilt fades each summer I’m off of work and home with them for three months.  Do you know how many hours that is over 13 years? Neither do I because all of my cognitive functions have been turned to mush after being home with them for all that time. SAHM, I don’t know how you do it, but bless you.
  8. Laugh with each other. Married life is tough enough but without a sense of humor, you won’t be able to stop yourself from strangling him when he retells the story about how the deadly combination of frozen car windows and a bout of your flatulence nearly killed him and the kids on the highway. For the last time, I had a stomach bug! You don’t smell all rosy when you’re sick, and no, the baby wasn’t sick when she pooped on you either. Baby poop looks like that. They poop all the time! She’s nine, now, so let it go!
  9. Make plans for the future. Right now our plans include what we’d want brought to us in prison if the teenager mouths off at us again and one of us snaps. Hey, it keeps us grounded, and thanks to episodes of Orange is the New Black, we’ve got a good idea of what to ask for. (Calm down, all you Nervous Nellies. We love our eldest and would never harm her. But seriously, which do you think would be better in her old room: a home gym or a writing lair?)
  10. Say “I love you” at least once a day. Usually one of us grunts it as we fall into bed after a long day of working and taking care of the children. As we roll onto our backs and stare into the darkness, our hands clutched together in sheer exhaustion, it’s comforting to know we have each other as we face a new day.

Happy Anniversary, darling! Lets hope the next ten go more slowly so we can enjoy every minute of it! 

Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Little White Lies. In honor of my anniversary, the raffle  starts today and goes through June 25th.
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©Sara Ackerman, 2016

Leaving

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They told her leaving him would show the world what she was–

a quitter

uncommitted

weak-willed

shallow

hysterical

illogical

a woman ruled by cowardice.

What they couldn’t understand was that walking away can be the bravest act of all. 

©Sara Ackerman, 2016

Birthday Give Away!

Because it’s my birthday (and I am very pleased to have received several copies of my debut novel, Little White Lies) I am giving away an autographed copy of my book to the 37th person to like my Facebook page today and today only! Stop on over at https://www.facebook.com/saraeackerman/ and check it out!

 

box of books

 

 

 

The Peanuts Rag

I am giving my four year old a bath when she reaches for a rag on the side of the tub that my husband uses to wash his man parts. Once again, he forgot to put it in the laundry, giving our little girl a germ infested play toy for her bath time fun.

From the corner of my eye, I see her tiny hand reach for that blue rag, and immediately I lunge, hands extended to stop her while screaming “Nooo!” in what feels like super slow motion. Several scenarios involving that rag and my child’s face flash before my eyes before I manage to grab her hands in mine. She looks at me with wide startled eyes, and I realize I might have overreacted just a bit.

Calm down, mama. It’s not like a plague ridden rat used it for a bedroll. Be reasonable. You know exactly where that cloth has been.

“Just don’t use that rag, honey,” I finally manage. “It’s icky.” I wrinkle my nose so she knows just how icky it really is, hoping that will be enough to stop her without having to answer any uncomfortable questions. But of course it’s not because she’s freaking four.

“Why?” she demands with all the authority of ‘one who knows how to get her way.’

So I tell her, and I use the big words, too. Not those wimpy potty words that most parents use when teaching their children about parts of the body. No, I use the textbook words that make prepubescent middle school students squirm when they have to read about them in 8th grade health class. I want to impress on this child early on that this family uses the correct terms for the parts of the body, and that she should never be afraid to use them with us (Plus, I am hoping she won’t understand half of what I am saying and will just give me the darn washcloth without further argument).

When I finish with the four-year old equivalent of ‘Basic Anatomy 101,’ I ask, “Do you have any questions?”

She wrinkles her little forehead and then looks at me with confused brown eyes. “But why does daddy need to wash his peanuts in the shower?”

“So they are nice and clean when he wants a snack,” I sigh, not knowing whether to be relieved or worried that she missed the point of my little lesson.

“Now give me that rag.”

This story was featured on HaHas for HooHas on April 27th. http://hahasforhoohas.com/stories/peanuts-rag-0

Stories from the trenches: In which I almost become someone’s tia (Part 3)

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Maria has me at her mercy. I’m at her home surrounded by her family with no where to go for several hours. Knowing that her time is running out, Maria chooses a risky but potentially successful plan. But to keep me sitting in one spot, she has to deploy a classic maneuver that keeps my stationary for some time. That’s right. She uses the Sleeping Baby Misdirection that has me couch bound until someone comes and gets her, or she wakes up. I am stuck.

Stage 3: The “I’m going to introduce you whether you like it or not” maneuver After much consideration, I’ve decided to make a brief appearance at the birthday party. I’ve come prepared with my early-departure excuse and I’ve already eaten so I can comfortably snack without feeling rude for refusing to eat dinner.

When I arrive, Maria seats me in the living room and hands me a baby. “You like babies, yes? You watch her for us, maestra, while she sleeps” commands Maria. “We have cooking to do and she will be in the way.” Relieved to avoid another interrogation, I sit back with the baby and watch the other children playing.

Several minutes later, Maria walks back into the room with the man from the picture in tow. “Maestra, this is Alfonso,” she says innocently. “Remember we were talking about him the other day?” Maria smiles sweetly and turns to Alfonso, “This is Maestra Sara, Alfonso. She wants to get married one day and have babies just like you do.” I begin to panic and look anxiously towards the exits, ready to run.

Maria smiles at both of us, shoos Alfonso to the seat near mine and nonchalantly says, “I’ll just leave you two to talk. Why don’t you give me the baby, Maestra?” I narrow my eyes and ask, “I thought you wanted me to watch her for you? You said you were too busy to watch her.” Fortunately she has the good grace to blush before saying on a tiny laugh, “Oh, ah, I’ll just put her in the crib. She’ll sleep better there.” Maria grabs the baby and leaves the room for the two of us to ‘talk.’

An awkward silence descends. Neither of us wishes to talk having both been thrown together by the force of nature named Maria. Sighing, I apologize to him for the misunderstanding and assure him that I am not looking for a spouse or babies anytime soon. He visibly relaxes. Standing, I gather my coat and purse and walk to the kitchen, debating what I should say.

To come right out and say I don’t want to marry her brother would be the right thing to do; however, knowing Maria, she would just find someone else and the cycle would continue. No, I needed to discourage her without encouraging future set-ups. “Maria, I appreciate the thought but I really don’t want to marry any man,” I say significantly. Her eyes cloud over in confusion for a moment before she nods in understanding. “Oh, I’m so sorry maestra,” she stammers. “I didn’t know…”

Though my conscience twinges a bit at having lied, at least I walked out of that party without a fiancé. Plus I squelched any future attempts at matchmaking by my persistent but well-meaning families.

That’s what could have happened, but it didn’t. How would you have gotten out of a situation like this? Send me your endings and I’ll repost the favorite!