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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Wait. Just stand there for a sec.

He walked to the table for breakfast this morning.

He looked different.

He looked different than he did just nine hours ago when I badgered him about getting his nighttime reading done.

And when I tucked him in for the night.

He looked older.

I said to him.

Wait, stand there. Just stand there for a sec.

You look different this morning.

I looked at him.

I surveyed his face, his every hair and the space he occupied in the room.

I saw the baby I once held.

I saw the small boy who used to hold my hand and call me mama.

I saw the teenager he almost is.

I said to him.

Sometimes I miss my little little boy.

But mostly, I just really like who you are right now.

And.

And I am curious about who you are becoming.

He looked at me.

With eyes that almost rolled. Almost.

He said to me.

Ok mom.

3july

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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.

Note Of The Day…

“My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.”  – Jodi Picoult

My mom was just that, soft and nurturing,  yet small and oh so mighty.  We went toe-to-toe in my childhood and adolescence – my strong will matched so completely by her inner strength; a power that I suspect she never quite fully realized.  It’s what I channel to this day as a mother of my own mini me.

To grow old and be like her would be an honor.

My mother lived what unconditional love looks like; she was forever my number one champion and the evening she quietly slipped to the other side marks a most striking contrast; a before-and-after moment in my life, unparalleled by nothing other than the birth of my own child. The stories I could share to make this clear are endless. My mother knew me in ways I am still yet realizing. She saw me in a way I can’t even quite yet, standing here in the middle point of my life.  She accepted me despite my many attempts to push her back, because I always needed one more test to know that she really and truly was always going to love me.

She always passed.

Today marks the day she left our world, sixteen years ago.  There will come a day, when I will know more years without her than I do with her, but thankfully we are not there yet. Even if so, her essence, her spirit really, is etched deep within; she is part of me. If life is aligned as it should be, we do not forget our mothers, and I think that we never stop needing them. At least I don’t, and in fact, the older I get, the more I realize just how much I need her. I wasn’t yet a mother myself when she passed on, and it’s my deepest sadness that we didn’t get to share this profound part of our lives.

Anticipating this milestone, I have been thinking of her more than usual, if that’s possible. Not too long ago, I unearthed a box of old journals – a Pandora’s box of memory and emotion.

In the box, I found – among so much else – something I wrote in October of 1995, while taking a creative writing class. It reveals, and reminds me of an exquisite part of her character, her everyday presence. That look between us in our photo above.  Her gift of constancy; I always knew I was at the top of mind for her.  What I wrote 19 yrs ago  – which turned out to be exactly two years before we started to say our goodbyes, my memorial to a most gracious soul  – is really my post for today.

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Here’s to you mom,

you are missed

in every way,

in my every day.

xo

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I dream of jewel beads and mopped floors…

Here’s to all the moms…

May your day be filled with jewel beads, clean counters and tidy rooms.

And if not, perhaps a lovely mess filled with love and laughter!

To the Mom’s – what has been one of your favorite, or most ‘memorable’ gifts over the years?

And to the rest of us ‘kids’, is there a gift you remember being so excited or proud to give to your mom?

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Not All At Once

Hi Kiddo,
{a letter to my son}

In the last week you have revealed to me so  many new corners of your character, and you simply amaze me.  You got some news that had to be the hardest thing you have encountered in your short but full nine and half years.  It breaks my heart to be the bearer of any news that interrupts your otherwise perfectly placed focus on MineCraft, Soccer, pitching for your little league team, mastering the kendama,  and of course chasing the dog around the backyard.  Someday, all of this will make much more sense  to you.  Maybe you will even see how it is in a crazy way even better for you.

For now, though, I wish I could really tell you how impressed I am with you, how in awe I am of your bravery, your determination to be a big boy. Your willingness to not only bend with and lean into this change, but that you can find some upsides so readily.

I can see the ripples of fear creeping up around your edges from time to time, and yet you somehow find a way to rise above it and knock it down, almost like your own version of emotional whack-a-mole.  That, Bug, is true courage.  If you only knew.

The questions you ask me are far more insightful than some conversations I have had with adults; you find the crux of it all more succinctly than I ever would have.  You face your fears and ask me the questions anyway, even though I bet you somehow know that you are not going to like the answer, or know that at least you will not totally understand it.  I don’t like ambiguity now, decades ahead of you; you somehow are able to roll with this ambiguity with no ambivalence.

I wish I had had what you somehow have in abundance when I was nine and a half. If I did, perhaps you wouldn’t have to.

When I pushed too hard, trying to help you, comfort you, I could hardly comprehend how you knew what you needed and even more, that you knew exactly how to ask me for it. With an analogy. “Mom, it’s too much advice. All at once.  Too much advice mom, is like a bunch of rocks too close together “, you said, and then told me that, “it should be more like a long string, strung out over time.  Not all at once. Ok?” 

I hear ya kiddo, you are speaking my language and I am astounded by your wisdom.  You have my word to not barrage you with too many words too close together; but whenever you need to take a rock from that pile, you know I am right here next to you and will take your lead. Maybe together we can out to ‘your bridge’ and go throw it in the river.

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We are just starting this new adventure and you have shown me that you are possibly stronger than your mom. You are showing me how brave you are, how truly adaptable and resilient you can be and I could not be more proud of the person I get to call my son.

You, growing up, is a long game and even though you and I both want it to all be ok for you right now, let’s both try to remember that you need to take your own time with things.  I want you to know that everything I do is for you – so that things are better for you.  So that your easy laugh and smiling eyes are always what people see first when they meet you.

Love,
Mom

Ps: that wrestling match tonight? I totally won!

An Almost Ordinary Friday Night

It was an almost ordinary Friday night, save for the full moon, 70 degrees at 8pm, the new Mumford & Sons cd playing and my kiddo and his dog in the backseat. We had just finished up getting dinner and doggie treats and on the way home, it came over me to just drive, get away from the city lights with the music loud, sunroof open, windows down,  and 2 of my favorites with me. I just wanted to go.

Mom:  “Wanna go for a ride”?

Kid: “What? Huh?

Mom: “Do you want to go for a drive, you know like that night we drove home through the mountains from seeing Uncle Hank?”

Kid: “Sure, can we drive to Oregon?”

Mom:  “What? Huh?”

Kid: “Sure, where are we going?”

Mom: “I’ll find a spot…”

We drove out of the city, on the freeway, and I was feeling that spontaneous, free, expansive, wide-awake feeling where thoughts seemed clearer than clear, and yet rushing in from all directions. I was thinking about things I had read that day, the simplicity of dinner with my boy and his dog on a warm-summer-is-over-but-it-doesn’t-feel-like-it evening, the music and lyrics and how they filtered in and out and attached to passing thoughts, formed new ones and helped make some thoughts just make more sense. Music has its way with us, yes?

Feeling the undertow of all this, we sped down the center lane of the 3 lane highway, when a car on my left raced past me,  cutting me off as it darted at a diagonal to make the off-ramp on my right. It was alarmingly close and in the split second it took, I realized how fast things can change sometimes; in just an instant. The car sped off down the off-ramp, my heart raced, and I second-guessed whether I had tempted fate by taking this detour from our normal routine.  I curbed my enthusiasm to use some four letter words, remembering I am already in debt to my kiddo for ‘indiscretions’ already made…

I found my country road and the darkness I was seeking so that the moon could cast its glow upon the faces of my companions, cuddled up in the back seat. We took turns standing up through the sunroof, moon bathing  of sorts. As much as I liked this solitary location, in equal amounts I felt uneasy about being out in the dark countryside sitting by the side of the road.

So, off we drove, onto a road with gently rolling hills, undulations you might say.

I would speed up, and then coast down the descent, each time feeling in our bellies that swoosh you get with each downturn on a swing. My grin matching his giggle, I heard the words, “this is awesome”.  We turned around, and rode the hills, heading for home. But, I realized I wasn’t done yet.

Mom: “Do you want to do that again?”

Kid: “Only if you do”

Mom: “No, it’s for you, do you want to?”

Kid: “If you do”

Mom: “No honey, if you want to then let’s, if not we can head home”

Kid: “Mom, if you want to, then let’s do it”

Mom: “Nah, that’s ok, I thought you’d want to”

I am headed towards the freeway entrance when I hear:

“Actually, I do kinda want to do that again…”

Just in time, and with a grin as big as my face, I turned the car around, found the rolling hills, all lit up by the full moon and we laughed our way up and down, up and down.

It was an almost ordinary Friday night.

Come along for the ride…windows down, volume up loud [go full screen if you can]…