Little Miss Home Now

September 30, 2010

As I write this, my husband has taken the girls with him to watch Awesome Stepkid R. play a high school tennis match. As he left, he said, “enjoy your time home.”

Yes, my hubs rocks; not just because he gives me a break on a weekend morning, but also because he knows what it means to me to be left alone in my own house. There’s nothing I love like home.

I think, in a former life, I must have been a gopher or a mole or some other burrow-dwelling creature. A creature that likes to tuck in close and startles at noise and hard light.   If I could, I’d never leave my house.  That’s perhaps an exaggeration, but only a slight one.  I’m a homebody, down to the last drop.

Apparently, I’ve always been wired this way. Mama tells stories of how, as a child, I’d needle her to death if she took me on an errand with her (which she had to do quite often, because my father travelled all the time). 10 minutes into an errand, I’d start pestering her. “Home now?” I’d ask, eyes hopeful.

“Home now? Home now, Mama?” I’d chant as she pushed a heavy cart through the grocery store, gritting her teeth. God forbid she had to run two errands, because after the first one, I became more aggressive with my campaign. “Home now, Mama,” I’d say, eyes dark and lower lip threatening to surface. “Home. Now.”

I was the kid who always wanted neighborhood kids to play at my house, who turned down offers for sleepovers and playdates, seeking the comfort of my own nest.

My sister was the complete opposite; the minute school was out or the weekend started, her butt was high-tailing it out our front door, faster than you could snap your fingers. Home was where the sharp eyes and the rules were, and she wanted neither.  I rather liked the rules; they made me feel safe–at least at home, I knew the score.

In high school, when most of my peers were hanging out at the Tenneco station on Saturday nights, looking for a party, I was home with a hot bath and a book. So rarely did I go out on the weekends that pretty soon my friends knew not to even ask.

In college, when one of the girls on our floor dropped by, asking if we wanted to crash a party, my roommate laughed and said, “Don’t bother asking Dana. She’s anti-social.”  A bit cutting, perhaps, but not far off the mark.

My husband and I met at a party. This is a miracle in itself. Funny thing is, the only reason I was at that party was because a friend had shamed me into going; I hadn’t been to a social event in months.  “You’re starting to stink in there,” she said to me.  “Get out, for chrissakes!” So I did. It was a happy accident, but the irony doesn’t escape me.

My husband is more social than I am, but he was painfully shy until he hit college, so he understands, at least a bit, where I’m coming from. Both of us were the kids home on the weekends, noses buried in books.

Which is why we are convinced that Miss D. is from Mars. Miss D. is social butterfly, more-the-merrier, hot-dang y’all, let’s go! In D’s opinion, loud and big and pulsing with activity is awesome! Miss D.’s first grade teacher told me, “D.’s greatest disappointment is that she can’t be friends with the entire world population.”

The first day of pre-Kindergarten, I stood, tearily waving, as Miss D. ran through that open door without a single glance back. There was stuff to do, people to see, places to go! Mom–step back, wouldja? I was broken-hearted and wildly proud at the same time.

Miss M. is another story. We tried pre-school last year, two days a week. She howled, she pouted, she gripped my leg, she refused to get dressed, she fought the entire way into the carseat, she gripped the door handle of the car as I tried to wrestle her out, she sat on the floor at the school entrance, refusing to walk to her classroom. She wept bitterly as I left, face crumpled at my betrayal.

Mama laughed when I told her. “Fate comes back to bite you,” she said. Because for years, my little voice would implore her, “Please Mama, please. Don’t make me go to school.”  And she always said it felt like the twist of a knife, that plea.

“She’ll get over it,” Miss M.’s teacher assured me. “She cries for a while, and a few times during the day, but she’ll adjust.”

After a full month of pre-school, Miss M. was still flying off the handle, performing the same exhausting routine every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  Mutiny and heartbreak. Desperation and tears.

I chose to pull her out of preschool. I didn’t have the heart for the bi-weekly battle.  After all, M. still had another full year before Kindergarten; I figured we’d try again in the fall.

This year, we chose a different school. A school that offered a 3-hour afternoon program, lots of choice and plenty of empathy for reluctant/fearful participants.  The best part? M. had a  neighbor in her class; a familiar face–a touchstone. This time, there were no tears or battles or drama. Just a long hug, a kiss and a promise to see her soon.

The first week went by without incident; hubs and I were elated and smug with our decision not to push our daughter. “She just wasn’t ready last year,” I said. “This is a complete change–it’s just a better fit all around,” he agreed.

The second week went well also, although she gave me the fat lip one morning when I mentioned that it was a school day. “I want to stay home with you,” she said. “It’s almost the weekend,”  I assured her, and that was the end of it.

This past week, week three, has been met with a bit more resistance, but still no tears or outright refusals. On Thursday, as we were in the car, en route to class, Miss M. piped up from the back seat, ” Hey, Mommy, guess what my favorite thing is about school?”

“What, baby?” I said absentmindedly, fiddling with the air conditioning.

“Waiting for you to come pick me up.”

Oh,  Miss M.  My Little Miss Home Now. My heart understands.  Don’t you know that it’s my favorite thing about it, too?

A Birthday Wish for Miss M.:

Miss M., on Monday you will be one year older, and your mama will probably be a wreck. I know Miss D. gets the lion’s share of press on this blog; she’s incomparable when it comes to entertainment value. But don’t ever, not for a second, think she has more space in my heart.  You are my baby, my cuddle bug, the girl with the easy nature and a smile at-the-ready.  Your sister is thunder; you are the soft rain on the roof…the kind that makes me smile and pull the covers tight, happy to be just where I am.

I hope, every day, you know how much light you bring to my life. Happy Birthday, Bella-fair. You are my joy, my sunny corner, my always littlest girl.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

jc September 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Happy Happy Birthday Miss M. :)
Hugs, rainbows, hearts, chee, and home.


Winn September 30, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Ah, KW, this is so sweet. She sounds like a doll. Isn’t it interesting to have “mini-me” around? My boy is a mini-me, to the point I wondered, having put up with me all those years ago, why my mother didn’t go crazy sooner. ;)


C @ Kid Things September 30, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I was the painfully shy child growing up, so I always wanted to be home, too. My oldest son, while not shy, would still rather be home, as well. “I want to stay home with you, Mommy…”, he says. “And my computer games.” At least he fibs the truth enough to put me first.

Happy Birthday to your girl!


girlichef September 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm

So beautiful :) Happiest birthday wishes to Miss M! (I get it, too.)


nic September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I am the same way and the older I get the worse it gets.


Maria September 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Oh Kitch! She sounds just like my Andrew. Andrew would like nothing better than to stay home FOREVER…errands are like fingernails on a chalkboard…for both of us.

Happy birthday to Miss M!! There is something about the soft rain and children who make you want to stay home forever, frozen in time…


Corinne September 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm

I was/am/can be… the same exact way.
And so can Fynn… which scares me for trying preschool next year :(
Happy early birthday to Miss M :)


Jane September 30, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Ok. Thanks for making me cry. No, make that blubber with snot running out my nose. My eyes look like Alice Cooper…..but that’s alright. It was time to take off my eye make-up anyway.

Happy, happy early birthday Miss M!


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best September 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Happy birthday Miss. M! This is a very sweet tear jerker of a post. I’ll remember what your mom said, “Fate comes back to bite you.” It’s true isn’t it?


Phoo-d September 30, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Happy birthday Miss M.! You are a delight and just as lovely as your mama says. My favorite people in life are homebodies. You are in good company. =)


Jennifer September 30, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Oh sweet, beautiful Miss M. I hope you have a wonderful birthday AT HOME with your Mom.


Heather September 30, 2010 at 6:34 pm

My Keegan is my homebody. I had to peel him off of me this morning so that I could go to work. It broke my heart.
Happy Birthday Miss M – enjoy your special day!


Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla September 30, 2010 at 6:47 pm

TKW, what a lovely post and tribute to Miss M! I also am a homebody extraordinaire. But the alone time passes so quickly, alas, and I never have all the time I need to get all the things done that need to get done. And my daughter’s got that gene too, though forced to go to school many years now! But I do remember many great big splotchy tears in pre-K.


rebecca @ altared spaces September 30, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I am dressed in calm to my toes after reading about your soft rain on the roof. Thank you for telling me about your girl who wants to stay home.

I have one of these, you see. Maybe she was a bit socially awkward in those middle school years, because she preferred books and her bedroom to boys and notes passed in class, but she always, always knew who she was.

She never waited for anyone else to define her. Home was/is her sanctuary and, though she travels far and has many leadership roles in her big life now, she loves her home like no one else in our family.

I know what you mean: I love the covers pulled tight when I’m next to her on the couch. Sharing cushions with someone who knows where she belongs so profoundly makes me feel grounded and landed in skin of my own.

Happy Birthday Miss M. Your Mama loves you to the moon and back…times infinity.


Erin L. September 30, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Oh, that’s beautiful. I have two daughters, myself, and although they are night and day, they both hold my heart. They just went to bed, but I really want to hug both of them now, and make sure they know how much I love them. hmm. happy families!


Lyndsey September 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Happy Birthday to Miss M. What a precious little girl! Give her a big hug! She sounds just like my daughter. Still at 15 years old, she’ll still want to go with me when I run s errands, but she always wants to go home anytime I ask her where she wants to go!


Cheryl @ Mommypants September 30, 2010 at 8:04 pm

That was so, so sweet. I don’t have kids who want to stay home – I have kids who always want to be out! I try to look at it as they are confident and secure, not that they’d rather be at school than at home with Mean Mommy!


Stephane September 30, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Every word you wrote was so clearly filled to the brim with your love for your daughter–she must feel deeply treasured. What a wonderful gift you have given her! Happy birthday to you both.


Jen October 1, 2010 at 12:03 am

Awhhhhh, Happy Birthday Miss M.

I am anti social….Mostly because I feel I have to be overly social professionally. There is nothing better than being home.


Bryan October 1, 2010 at 1:39 am

Happy birthday Miss M.!

TKW I love the diversity that is there in my own family, I can look at each of my kids and love them so much in so many different ways. I see that you were given a similar gift.


Christine October 1, 2010 at 5:10 am

Happy Birthday Miss M. And happy celebreation of giving birth day to you.

And I know you for this!! I know you because I am exactly the same.


Amytnc October 1, 2010 at 5:12 am

Happy Birthday Little Miss Chicken Wing!


Barbara October 1, 2010 at 5:17 am

Happy Birthday on Monday to Miss M!

I know where you’re coming from with this post…I had three in a row, each a year apart and they couldn’t be more different. Practically raised identically, too. Go figure. Same schools too. But then, wouldn’t holidays be boring if three kids came home and were all alike??

(I love your cartoons!)


Lanita October 1, 2010 at 5:34 am

I am also a homebody at heart. I forced myself to be extroverted, and I am very good at it, but it has taken a long time and a lot of work to become gregarious. If given the choice between going to a party or staying home in front of the fire reading…I’d chose the book and fire every time.

BTW, My baby girl turns 12 on Monday. I can’t believe I am going to be a mother of a 12 year old. *sigh*


elizabeth October 1, 2010 at 5:41 am

Happy happy happy birthday Miss M.!

This post put a smile on my face on what is otherwise a dreary, wet, trains-are-a-total-CF kind of a day. :-)


Futureblackmail October 1, 2010 at 5:42 am

Happy Birthday to your little one!

I also like to be home…my daughter, not so much. Where do they pick this stuff up at?!


Nicki October 1, 2010 at 5:47 am

Thanks for the morning tears. Happy early Birthday, Miss M!


Erica@PinesLakeRedhead October 1, 2010 at 5:56 am

Kitch, you just perfectly described me, my eldest son, and my youngest son. While reading your post I thought, How cold she know us so well?

Happy Birthday Little Miss M and you too Mama!


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon October 1, 2010 at 6:08 am

Isn’t it funny how two siblings can be so different? You and your sister and your two girls are perfect examples.


Allison @ Alli 'n Son October 1, 2010 at 6:21 am

Happy birthday to your little one!

I’m very much a homebody. I’m shy and hate meeting new people, so when I’m actually out of the house, I try not to talk. To anyone. It’s kind of sad.


Tiffany October 1, 2010 at 6:21 am

Thunder and Soft Rain…I love that. There is nothing I love more than being in my house by myself…even though I love to socialize. Happy Birthday beautiful little girl!!


SuziCate October 1, 2010 at 7:44 am

This is beautiful. And I know exactly where you and she are coming from. I love staying tucked in my own little nest of a world. If Nature weren’t so beautiful and the family didn’t need to eat, I might not would ever leave home!


Justine October 1, 2010 at 7:50 am

Oh this made me teary. As usual, Kitch, your story-telling prowess is unmatched. And happy birthday Miss M! Hope you guys enjoy the birthday weekend.


Virginia October 1, 2010 at 7:54 am

My older daughter is like Miss D. She’d as soon move in with her friends family than spend a whole weekend with “just” us. My youngest is my homebody. She’ll live in our basement till she’s 30.

What a sweet birthday message to your daughter. I truly enjoy visiting your site.


Alexandra October 1, 2010 at 8:16 am

I do believe personality is inherited. I see my middle son, and how he just can’t wait to get home and be in his room for a while.

I’m the same way.

I need to be alone. It just is the way I catch my breath.

Adorable polka dot suit…


Jenna October 1, 2010 at 8:57 am

Beautiful post! Have a great time celebrating her birthday.


Evan @swEEts October 1, 2010 at 9:01 am

Lovely little post..I can relate to Miss D- I’m a social butterfly as well! But happy early birthday to Miss M!


Jody October 1, 2010 at 10:12 am

Oh my God, witchy, you made me cry. That was beautiful.


BigLittleWolf October 1, 2010 at 10:20 am

This made me weepy. (Stop that!)

Very lovely, Kitch.


Belinda October 1, 2010 at 11:01 am

Teary at this gorgeous birthday wish for Miss M. Happy birthday to your cuddle bug.


Eva October 1, 2010 at 11:08 am

I am a stay at home body too. This just made me cry a little. My middle daughter is so like me. When she was small, I quit working because I could not take the everyday pain of leaving her. She would cry, “Mama, I want to hold her.” repeatedly until I returned…. *sniff* Yes, it all worked out, she is 35 now and lives far away. I do get plenty of phone calls though. ♥


Shelley October 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Home (not to mention solitude) is a wonderful thing. Some of us really, really know that.


Liz @ Peace, Love & Guacamole October 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

The whole post is so beautiful, but this line brought the tears:
“Your sister is thunder; you are the soft rain on the roof…”
Well done! And happy birthday to the cutie.


Sherri October 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Happy, happy birthday to your little one! She sounds like my Milo – reluctant preschool attendee (now happy with it – go figure) – sometimes in the shadow of his older “easier” brother – but total cuddler (yours is a cuddle bug – mine is a snuggle buggler), likes to be with me, won’t go into gymnastics without me, asks to come home right away where we do hot choc. So …. hope you and your Miss M have a great day together! You’ll probably miss her when she’s off to kindergarten, but it sounds like you have a whole lot of time before that for one on one fun (hugs for the missing her when that time comes, btw :-). Very sweet, heartfelt post :-).


Gale @ Ten Dollar Thoughts October 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm

How dare you make me cry at work?! Your note to Miss M at the end of your post was absolutely lovely. What treasures your little minxes are! Also, I love this glimpse into your homebodied nature. Your sass and spunk so freqently pour forth from this blog. So interesting to read about some of your more rounded edges. You are indeed a coat of many colors. XOXO.


Biz October 1, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Yep, tears welled up as I read this – lovely post! And happy birthday to your little one!

Reminded me of my daughter Hannah, who while not saying anything, would look back at me from the entrance of her school, tears streaming down her face. I couldn’t stay because I had to catch the train to work.

I did get a note home though, after a month of tears, to let me know that by week four, Hannah stopped crying by the time she hung up her jacket! :D

They grow up so fast – give her an extra hug from me!


Kristen @ Motherese October 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm

You are such a trickster, Kitch. You have me laughing at the Far Side cartoon and the image of you as some sort of subterranean creature. Then you get me thinking about how our social personalities affect those of our kids. And then you make me cry with your lovely words for Miss M.

Happy birthday, Miss M. And many happy returns of the day.


Mrs.Mayhem October 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm

This is such a very sweet post. As a mama to four kids who are leaving me faster than I am ready, I implore you to keep her close as long as possible! Enjoy the cuddles, and being home together!

Happy birthday to your sweet girl!


camilla October 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm

A beautiful piece of writing TKW. The older I get the more I love my home and it be in it alone is absolute gold…..but on for a little while.


Aging Mommy October 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Beautiful post. My daughter is a complete homebody and sounds just like your childhood self, I have to drag her out of the house and she is always asking when we can go back home. My suggestion of a trip to the Pumpkin Farm tomorrow was met with “no, I want to stay home and play.”

Children who do well the first week of school often hit a tough spot a few weeks in – my daughter did last year and funnily enough had a tough week last week again this year. So don’t worry too much, Miss M will come through and it sounds as if you have really found the perfect school for her.

Enjoy celebrating her birthday and have a wonderful weekend.


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