Category Archives: motherhood

I let him go anyway.

Have you ever dropped your kid off at school in the morning and wondered if it would be the last time you ever saw him? I did that today. I don’t know why.

Maybe it was because of the “Super Soul Conversations” podcast interview I listened to yesterday with David and Francine Wheeler, parents of Ben Wheeler who was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Maybe it was because of the screwed-up world we live in. Maybe it was because I was up most of the night with a sore throat. Maybe it was all of it.

I saw my son’s ten-year-old body, heart, and mind frozen in time forever with his blue hair and every color of the rainbow eyes. His dry wit and sarcasm. His love of dogs. His wild curiosity. His hatred of homework and fear of food. His difficult path. His footsteps that no one could walk in but him. His smile.

I let him go anyway. Because that’s what we do.

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Filed under anxiety, motherhood, Uncategorized

A Hula Hoop of One’s Own

“Mommy, today’s lesson was hard.”

“Is it because you didn’t practice enough?” In these final days of summer, structure—and instrument practice and pants wearing and tooth brushing—has been of little concern. Case in point, my son changed from his pajamas into clothes just before and only because of his 5:30 p.m. drum lesson.

“No, it’s because it was complicated. I learned the flam.”

“What the heck is a flam? I’ve never heard that word before.”

By the time we reached the car, he explained that it’s when you hit two drums at two different heights at almost the same time. Or something like that. On the drive home, he showed me the flam using the passenger side dashboard as a drum.

“The car is not a drum!” I scolded him, only half-believing the words as they came out of my mouth.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, my little guy who began taking guitar lessons earlier this summer piped in from the backseat with, “Oh yeah, ‘Eddy ate dynamite good bye Eddy!’”

“What the heck is that and who the heck is Eddy?”

“Low E. A. D. G. B. High E,” he said proudly. “It’s music notes,” as if it were obvious to everyone in the world but me.

“Woah, kid. That’s a lot of awesome information.”

And because sibling rivalry is absolutely a thing, my front seat drummer boy upped the ante with the presentation of a seventeen stroke roll. On the dashboard. Again.

My kids were schooling me. “What in the world is a seventeen stroke roll?”

I didn’t discipline him for using the car as a drum again because his explanation and demonstration of a seventeen stroke roll was explosive. Also, I was too busy being in awe of (1) how much stuff my kids know and (2) how much stuff my kids know that I don’t.

I’ve been stumped many times by my boys. Minecraft realms, YouTube “vids,” and ridiculous text talk come to mind, but that knowledge gap feels generational. You know, In my day, we walked uphill…in the snow…both ways!

At school, common core math has been a major stumbling block. Don’t even get me started on multiplying mixed fractions, but there was once a time when I knew how to do it (I think).

Flams, stroke rolls, and Eddy’s dynamite, though, were way outside my hula hoop.

I’m not my kids’ only teacher (nor should I be!) but it’s startling when knowledge and skills from other sources surpass my “mom” curriculum. Even more, it’s humbling to witness them learning things I never dreamed of learning myself.

When we got home, I asked my son to teach me how to do a seventeen stroke roll. On the stairs to the basement where the drum set lives, he explained that there were five, seven, and nine stroke rolls, too.

“Okay. I’ll try a five.”

I did it, but it was awkward and my hands moved in slow motion compared to my son’s machine-like rhythm after more than a year of lessons. His drum skills were impressive, and it was an utter joy to find myself in his hula hoop. I think he quite enjoyed it, too.

I fumbled through a seven and a nine stroke roll just for the fun of it before handing the sticks back to the professional. Upstairs in the kitchen, I asked my younger son to tell me more about Eddy and his dynamite while I marinated chicken. He happily obliged.

These little human beings belong to me, but they are not mine. Their hearts and minds and curiosity and drive will take them to hula hoops far away from mine, and I can’t wait to see what they teach me next.

 

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Hello, My Name Is Dark

Dark was a turning point in our quest to name our first child. Dark as in, Hello my name is Dark. In all fairness to the process, Oscar technically came before Dark, but the look on the grandparents’ faces when we unveiled Oscar forced us back to the drawing board.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to have a daughter named Samantha. Sam for short, like Sam from “Who’s The Boss.” By the time having a baby became a reality, I was into the letter E in a big way. It would be Elliott for a boy or Elsa for a girl, and not that I’m bragging or anything, but I picked Elsa long before the “Frozen” frenzy of 2014.

Alas, that first pregnancy didn’t stick. My Elliott or my Elsa weren’t meant to be.

I did two things after that loss. I got a dog and named him Harry. I also created a new list of baby names that made everyone pray I’d have a boy because who in their right mind would name a girl Agnes, Josephine, or Gertrude when you could name her Emma, Ava, or Sophia.

Worry not. My rainbow baby was a boy. I daydreamed about Henry, Asher, Levi, Booker, Paxton, and (the short-lived) Oscar, but grandparents are an opinionated bunch and spouses get a say, too (sigh), which led us to Dark, which was a dark time, indeed, because I had to reconcile that I married a man who wanted to name a baby Dark.

For obvious reasons, we 86’d Dark (and Oscar), and on an early morning walk with Harry and my cankles, we contemplated Dillon. Or Dillan. Or Dylan.

Dylan.

That was that. Years later, I met a boy named Declan and immediately had baby name regret, but it seemed unfair and potentially confusing to change Dylan’s name, considering how many monogrammed items we owned from Pottery Barn, so I left it alone. But, whenever I needed to speak in code around him—you know, when you want to talk about your young kids in front of them without them knowing you’re talking about them so you either have to spell stuff, which is exhausting, or pretend you’re talking about some other children—I referred to my first-born son as Declan. My second child, when speaking in code was required, was Rebel (never has a name so truly epitomized a child).

Rebel’s birth certificate reads Riley. Not girl Riley, thank you very much. This is a sore subject for my boy Riley. Anyhow, most of his friends call him Nutty. Me? I prefer Riley Pie. My Dylan will always be my Pickle, but tweens embarrass easily. His 10th birthday cake had icing that, per his request, read: “Happy Birthday, Sugar” because Sugar is Life.

So much for all the time and energy we spent picking names.

p.s. I finally got my baby girl (puppy)…

…and her name is Gertrude.

 

 

 

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