Hypergraphia is a condition that causes people to transcribe their thoughts uncontrollably. I don't suffer from it in the clinical sense, but I may be borderline. My blog is the cyber-wall where I spray paint my thoughts for all to see. By the way, if you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at www.hypergraffiti.com, where you can read this blog and much much more.


I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.

Saturday, September 30, 2006


Last week in church, our pastor told children's story, and it was about this old guy who thoroughly confused his wife by leaving little messages all over the house that said "SHMILY." SHMILY turns out to be an acronym for: See How Much I Love You.

Since that story, SHMILY has been turning up all over the house. The kids have been leaving random SHMILY notes around for Jason and I to find; I put little SHMILYs in their lunchboxes earlier in the week. It's cute.

This morning, Christopher and I had a rough morning. Actually we had a rough day, but it all began this morning when I confiscated his piggy bank to get money for church offering. We give the kids $10 allowance each week which is enough to pay for the only expenses they ever incur: milk every day at lunch and recess; ice cream one day a week; pizza on Fridays; offering in church on Sabbath. If there's a dollar or so left at the end of the week, they can put it into the piggy bank to save up for a toy or something. It's supposed to be a little lesson in financial management, right?

So this Tuesday, Chris brought $2 to school, a dollar for milk and a dollar for ice cream. Only he apparently decided not to order ice cream, yet failed to bring back the extra dollar. I pointed out that he'd basically thrown a dollar away and he said he didn't care.

Cut to this morning, when there's not enough change left in his allowance thingie to bring offering to church. I explained that offering is a regular part of what he has to pay for each week, and that if he's careless with his money and comes up short, I have to take the difference out of his savings -- thus slashing his hoarded savings from $13.80 to $12.80.

The screams! The howls! The wails and protests of injustice!! Suddenly he cared very much about that lost dollar -- except it wasn't his fault for losing money at school, it was my fault for ruthlessly robbing his piggy bank.

Somehow we got past it (well, we stopped talking about it -- I don't think he ever actually got past it) and got ready to go to church, Chris still very grumpy. Jason and Emma were already out in the van while I was trying to get Chris through the entire getting-ready process, which included not only shoe-tying and jacket-locating, but also running around at the last minute collecting paper and pens he wanted to bring to church. And, since he can't touch paper and pen without stopping to draw something, Mommy going insane telling Chris to stop drawing and get ready for church right now!! ("Get ready for church so we can go worship Jesus even if it kills us!!!" is always the unspoken Sabbath morning subtext).

I sat on the bottom step as Christopher came sauntering out of the living room, shoeless, trailing paper from one hand and an assortment of pens from another. "I just wrote something with the invisible pen, and now you have to go over it with the decoder pen to decode the message," he said.

"No, you have to put on your shoes so we can get out to the van," I countered.

He laid the paper and pens on my lap and reached for a shoe. "Just do it! Just decode the message."

I rolled my eyes. I was about to refuse. I thought better of it and picked up the decoder pen to rub across the apparently blank paper.

Slowly the letters appeared ... S ... H ... M ... I ... L ... Y.

It's the thing that gets me every time about parenting -- especially with my son, who is the more combative and less demonstrative of my two children. We can be staring each other down, me thinking, "How did I give birth to someone so absolutely impossible? Do the gypsies still take children??" and him no doubt thinking, "Why is this huge and powerful being conspiring to destroy my life, take away all my fun and rob my piggy bank?!?!" And in the middle of it all, on both sides, there's this huge force of love that's still there, like a tap waiting to be turned on. Anytime, all the time.

They drive me crazy. I drive them crazy. But at any moment, it's right there, waiting for either of us to reach for the faucet and turn it on. See how much I love you?


Blogger Jamie said...

Beautiful! It's always fascinating to me that my children still want to smother their grumpy dad with kisses and hugs any chance they get...

11:28 PM  

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