Category Archives: motherhood

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.

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under education, motherhood

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.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under motherhood, names

Lucky Seven

sevenfinal

I cleaned out the basement because we’re getting ready to remodel the space and finally put all of the kids’ endless piles of crappity-crap underground. I’m really excited about the renovation, and it’s not just because of the below-sea level relocation of said crappity-crap. It’s also because in addition to the extra family room and home office, I’m going to get a proper laundry room and storage area out of the makeover, which, let’s face it, is exactly the kind of improvement project a mom of ten plus years needs and wants.

While sorting through plastic bins filled with Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes, and birthday supplies, I stumbled upon a candle in the shape of the number seven. I bought it for Riley’s birthday party last year, but I ended up using classic, vertical candles instead. Riley’s going to be eight in a few months, which means I missed the chance to use the seven.

It gave me pause. I felt something.

It wasn’t that the seven was a big investment or that I forgot Riley’s 7th birthday (or Dylan’s a few years earlier). Hardly. Despite my pre-parenthood beliefs in small birthday celebrations (and limited screen time among other things), we’d done birthdays (and screen time among other things) big – huge! – year after year. Maybe it was that my kids’ seventh birthdays had come and gone.

I’m not nostalgic by nature. I tend to look ahead instead of back. Of course, I missed my squishy boys when they were little, but I didn’t yearn to go back in time to sleep deprivation, poop explosions, and mommy & me classes. Still, with the kids on the edge of adolescence and me on the brink of middle age, I wasn’t exactly pining for the future either.

I could’ve saved the candle for the kids’ 17th (gulp) birthdays or Gertie’s 7th birthday, Mike’s 47th birthday, my 47th birthday, our 17th wedding anniversary, or my parents’ 70th birthdays, which were mere days and weeks away, but I put it in the donation pile instead.

I didn’t want to accept the future any more than I wanted to acknowledge the past. I didn’t want to dream too big or too small. I wanted to have gratitude when the future brought me the things I hoped for and grace when it didn’t, but I wasn’t ready.

I didn’t want to plan anything beyond the snowy morning I spent in my suburban New Jersey basement in pajamas sorting through holiday paraphernalia, listening to my kids play with (and fight about) Legos, daydreaming about the domestic satisfaction of a front loading washing machine, and reflecting on a candle in the shape of the number seven.

What I felt was…lucky.

10 Comments

Filed under motherhood