Mm-hmmm

Driving my almost a teenager kiddo to school this morning.

Silence and music for a bit.

My mind snaps to gear; plan for the day.

Must review the plan.

Remember, you have a game tonight.

mm-hmmm

Change into your your uniform after school.

mm-hmmm

Walk to the club like normal after school, ok?

mm-hmmm

I’ll call you when I am on the way to get you. We have to leave in time because of the Friday traffic.

mm-hmmm

Oh, make sure you order a snack too, there won’t be time to stop on the way and you’ll need something before the game.

mm-hmmm

___

Don’t say too much now.

You might use up all the words.

And, that would be such a bummer.

Snarky mama.

mm-hmmm

and an ever so slight and could-have-so-easily-been-missed

grin.

Or was that a smirk?

Have a great day, bug. love you.

love you too.

 

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Abundantly Inadequate

We are all readers or writers here, and in some cases, both.  In short, we are no strangers to words. Their power, their play and their partnership when we need or want to express ourselves in some way. We write blogs, books, poems and songs; we pen memos, letters, missives and lists. Daily.  We engage in witty banter, endless text threads, singing song lyrics and reciting movie lines.

But, sometimes we come face to face with a situation where it seems that the right words, or any words for that matter, are on par with the amount of water here in California.  Simply not enough.

We’ve all been in the situation with someone who’s facing a tragedy, or they have received terrible news, enduring a heavy load with no end in sight, or grieving, missing and mourning when someone is no longer. Simply lost.

Face to face with these moments, we are moved. We feel deeply and when our emotions course through us and rise up out of the belly, we can find that the words are absent. Simply not there.

A light bulb flickered for me this morning while getting ready for work. A different way to think about this. While standing in front of my bursting closet I had that all too familiar and frustrating feeling of, I have NOTHING to wear!

emptyFor all of the infinite possibilities afforded us by the English language, sometimes it’s like that feeling of standing before your first-world over-packed closet.  Hanging there are all of those blouses, cardigans, shirts and pants.  In those fraught face-to-face moments, hanging there are all of those verbs, nouns, adjectives and prepositions, yet somehow it feels abundantly inadequate. Simply not enough.

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Can We Be Done Now?

My Kiddo and I have some of the best conversations; he’s an old soul and his humor on par with many adults I know. Add to that, he’s open with me and we talk about some pretty cool stuff; I feel lucky as the mom of a now ten year old boy that we talk the way we do and about the things that matter.  Boy humor is often thrown in, well, just because. And because it really is funny sometimes.  And, it’s hard to avoid!

That aside, when we get into one of our cool convos, I always know there will come a point in the conversation when I hear, “mom, can we be done talking about this now?” and I always say yes, even though of course, I want more.  I know he’s reached his limit; that he’s overwhelmed or we got just a little too close.  Some kind of noise, right?

I figure if I take his lead, then there will be a next time.

And, so far, so good; we’re still talking.

The other day, we were discussing his request for a new video game for his game console. It’s a never ending, ever-lovin’ request stream.

I hear the typical arguments:

“But mom, all my friends have it…”

“Mom, I will pay for it with my gift card…”

So, I ask kiddo to lay out the positives and the negatives.

Tell me why I should say yes. Tell me why I would say no. I want to hear both sides from you.”

He plays along, the arguments are solid.

So, then I say,

‘Tell me about the game honey. Tell me why you like it so much.”

I hear so many words, my brain starts competing with itself to stay with him.

“It’s important, let him talk” vs. ‘”you have no idea what he’s saying”

He’s doing a good job explaining it”  vs. “stop thinking about what you need to finish this afternoon”

“He really wants to get his point across, wow”  vs. “If only he was this focused and clear when it comes to homework”

Then, I start to laugh.

TooMuchSignalMarketingNoise

Noise.

There is noise in my head.

I hear words like memory. extraction. database. points.

And then I don’t know what else. It’s all noise.

But I am laughing (he’s still explaining). I totally get it.

I say to him,

“Kiddo, can we be done talking about this now?”

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Ps…remember..change is in the air.

Merry-go-Rounds and Mayonnaise

After completely unplugging for several days, I am back and attempting to catch up on what I missed here in blog-o-land while away. I read post after post this morning and a bit this afternoon and evening when I could steal a few minutes. I found my head just spinning, trying to respond  to diverse thoughts and meaningful reflections; some funny, some lighthearted, one so very generous,  and some so compelling I’d just have to stop for awhile. And think.

When I was a kid, I grew up in a town not far from a beach and boardwalk, where there was a marvelous historic merry-go-round designed by the same carver who created the famous Coney Island carousel.

It is also one of only a handful of carousels in the world still featuring a working ring dispenser. Rings were once hand loaded by “ring boys,” as the young employees were called. The process was mechanized in 1950. Steel rings are used today, with brass plated rings added on special occasions. Riders on outside horses can grab rings from a dispenser as they spin, then toss them into a large clown’s gaping mouth, rewarded by bells and flashing lights.

I can remember, vividly, the fun of trying to get an outside horse, so that as the carousel spun us around, I would be positioned to grab a  ring on each pass, and attempt to get it in the clown’s mouth. It was dizzying, but fun and I did it over and over and over, no sooner focusing again on the ring dispenser than the moment the ring left my hand. Other than the old wooden roller coaster, it’s the most vivid and sense-filled memory I have of many visits to the Boardwalk.

That’s how I felt today…up and down, laughing with one post, sighing with another, relating to something, and pondering the next; round and round.

And then I realized that my thoughts were more scattered than usual, it was a challenge to frame my reactions and responses in a comment as I spun around. And, isn’t that just sometimes the best part of this, the comments? The dialogue – the hilarity, the community, the validation – that ensues from so many posts – has been such a welcome surprise.

I thought about it and I realized that our comments, just like in our in-person conversations, are how we show that we are listening. We can’t just nod our head, or  murmur an hmm-mmm in agreement. We meet each other with words; and today, plugging back in, I didn’t feel like I could quite reach the ring, let alone land it in its target. It was in reaching though,  that it became clear that it is important to me that you know that I am listening.

It also dawned on me that  in reading what you write, I feel stretched, to be better, to reflect more deeply and that the comments can bring out the best in us, sometimes just as much as our own posts, just in different ways. Some days what you write stops me in my tracks and sometimes the words I need to convey my thoughts – or depth of feeling – elude me.  Or just take their own sweet time to arrive.

Like the merry-go-round, this also reminded me of something familiar from childhood – it brought back an old staple of growing up –  mayonnaise. Well, not really mayonnaise, but the selling point employed in their advertising jingle: bring out the best.

I grew up in California where our mayo was known as Best Foods. My husband and I moved to DC when we were first married, and I remember searching high and low for the Best Foods: I scanned the shelves over and over looking for it, sure that I spotted it, not realizing I was seeing the same label with a different name. It wasn’t until I called a friend from home in CA, who had grown up in Baltimore, and while talking about the move and settling in, I mentioned the mayonnaise and she laughed. She had gone through the same thing when she moved from Maryland to California. Best Foods. Hellmans. All the same.

So for my east coast peeps and my west coast peeps and everybody in between and everywhere else,  know that when you post, you challenge me to keep reaching for the ring and to bring out my best.

PS – If you are one who really can’t stand mayo – I’m married to one – my apologies for an analogy that makes you say ewww! 🙂