I’ve just come back from tucking my son, six, into bed. We snuggled up under his brown comforter, in his baseball-themed bedroom, and read stories about soup-making animals and art-making kids. When story time came to a close, I wrapped my arms around his small frame from behind and planted a kiss upon his cheek. Pulling him closer to me, I whispered in his ear, “You are my sweet, sweet, boy. I just love you so much.” “I love you too, Mama,” he replied. A few minutes passed and we just held onto each other there in silence. My busy boy—my soccer playing, basketball dribbling, lego-building boy, who always seems to be on the go—was here in my arms, quiet, letting me love on him. I pulled him closer, breathing him in. It was delicious.
Then out of nowhere he begins sobbing. My first thought was that something had happened at school earlier that day and he was reliving it now, in the silence, and struggling with whether and how to tell me what had had happened. He had more than once been on the receiving end of a certain bully’s ire last year, so, it was plausible.
“What’s wrong, Bud?,” I ask, “Did something happen today at school?” His small frame shakes as he cries harder.
“Something just popped into my head that you died.” Continue reading
When I was a kid in the ’70s I was out of the house for much of the day, tooling around town on my cruiser bike, hanging out at the beach in the summer, digging up rat bones in the sand dunes, or bringing home sand sharks to swim in my friend Patty’s bathtub (yes, we really did that).
In the winter we’d be out all day building snow forts, having epic snowball battles, and wouldn’t be seen by parents until dinner unless we needed to use the bathroom, eat something, or couldn’t feel our feet anymore.
If I wanted to go to the park, I jumped on my bike, rode over to so-and-so’s house, and off we went wherever our wheels would take us. I never had, nor felt I needed, a chaperone. And I don’t remember ever feeling neglected, although this freewheeling childhood experience wasn’t without its “creepy incidents” that made me scream bloody murder and run like hell.
Looking back, I shudder at the close calls and feel reallllly lucky not to have ended up on the evening news. It was the ’70s. Parenting was different then. Kids were different then. And yet, I survived.
While I’ve found it difficult lately to sit down and write my 500 words about “anything” I can certainly start off a pretty impressive list (probably at least 500) of the reasons why this daily exercise has fallen off the side of my desk. But in the interests of time and space and not wanting to dissolve into a heaping pile of tears, I’ll stick to the top five.
We live in earthquake country. I’ve felt small tremors and medium-sized ones, and live with a healthy dose of fear that the long-predicted “big one” will hit California any day now. And yet, if it did, we would be woefully unprepared. It’s really easy to forget you live in earthquake country, until, that is, one strikes, and then it’s hard to imagine you’ll ever forget again. But then you do. You vow to get that earthquake kit together. You swear you’ll replace that funky water stored under three inches of dust in your garage. Really, you will. Right after you tend to something else which seems way more important because it’s actually happening, not theoretically happening.
But the thing about earthquakes is that they are unpredictable. It’s almost crazy not to be always prepared for them to strike because we never have any warning that they will.
Which brings me to two separate but equal events today that led me to drink down that healthy dose of fear I mentioned earlier. One has to do with imagining an earthquake won’t happen; the other has to do with imaging one has.
Keeping growing kids clothed can be a full-time job. I just love getting hand-me-downs for our kids. We are lucky to have good friends whose two boys, ages seven and nine, keep my four-year-old clothed in cool threads for much of the year. But what you can’t find at consignment shops or other second-hand stores, you just have to break down and buy.
My son, having gone through a recent growth spurt, seems to have no pants that actually come down to his ankles. Fleece capri pants on a four-year-old boy? Not a good look. So, on our way home from an appointment yesterday, we noticed that a local Gap store was having a major pre-spring sale. Since saving money comes in second only to saving the planet when it comes to our purchases, we decided to see what we could find.
Well not long after we set foot inside the store, my son found some t-shirts with superhero themes that he just…had…to have. What kid his age wouldn’t go for a batman t-shirt with built-in cape? I mean, come on. I almost wanted one for myself. [Future DIY project: make t-shirt that reads “BatMom”.]