As we sat down to watch the first GOP debates between candidates vying to be the Republican presidential nominee, my 8-year-old son, Lindell, asked, “So, who are the bad people?”
There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who like beaches, and those who prefer lakes. Well, actually, there are also those people who mouth the words of someone who is speaking to them (how do they do that?), and those who do not. But for the purpose of this column, you are either a lake person or beach person.
The logic of video games was pretty simple, and utterly false, when I was 12 years old and playing “Super Mario Bros.” on Nintendo. The “logic” began when the game cartridge wouldn’t work, and blowing on the insides usually fixed it. Nothing else in real life is this simple. I have never blown air on a broken toaster and thought that it would work.
Through some odd twist of circumstances, Ford, my oldest son, and I were the only ones home for the night. This almost never happens, and now that Ford is almost 15, I decided we should watch a movie – a PG-13 movie – that we normally could not when Ford’s younger brothers are around.
Imagine for a moment that a scientist has created a preventative vaccine-like shot for all types of cancer. But there’s just one catch: the vaccine carries a minuscule risk (say, one adverse reaction for every 40,000 doses given.) Would you do it?
Two of my sons have suffered from a fear of the water, both for good reasons. When Owen was 4, he fell in a neighbor’s pool during a birthday party. He lay face down in the deep end until an attentive grandmother jumped in to get him.
It would be nearly five more years before Owen would go more than knee-deep into any kind of water, but I never stopped confronting him with the opportunity.
Yes, “confronting” him. When your child is afraid of water, suggesting that he kayak, go fishing, or Heaven forbid, get in an inner tube at a water park, becomes an all-out confrontation.
I realize I’m getting older and that I’ve spent the last 14 years raising children — specifically, boys. I don’t expect to fully understand the Kardashians, One Direction, or earrings that make large, open holes in people’s ears. I’m aware that these things have become part of regular pop culture, and I know of their presence in the same tangential way that I know my neighbor is cooking hamburgers when I smell the charcoal. But I don’t take much time to research beyond that.
I’ve shared before how our family came to Maine seven years ago. The military sent us here after my husband, Dustin, put Maine on our wish list of future duty stations. But why did this California-loving boy put Maine on the list at all? The answer lies with a clan of Smileys who made their home here at the turn of the century.
Crying is not allowed on the baseball field. You already knew that. But did you know that crying also isn’t allowed off the field, in the concession stand, on the bleachers or in the score box either? I learned the hard way last weekend.
Today’s military homecomings are grand events. They are celebrated in person and then again on videos shared on social media and the Internet. They receive positive attention on national television. Troops are greeted at airports with handshakes and, sometimes, prepaid calling cards to get in touch with loved ones.
Two years ago, my memoir, “Dinner with the Smileys,” exposed with painful transparency my difficulty raising a pre-teen boy. I held nothing back when I wrote about Ford’s attitude, his tendency to slam his bedroom door, and all the ways he broke my heart — over and over again.
While at a stop light the other day, I watched a young mother walk her toddler son to the other side of the street. Although the mother walked swiftly and purposefully, her son skipped and galloped beside her, sometimes in front, sometimes behind her, and all while holding her hand.
Last week, in the middle of the Baltimore riots that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral, there was one glimmer of hope, and she came dressed in a yellow tunic and bolero. Like an actual ray of sunshine shouting expletives, Toya Graham pushed through the crowds to get to her son, who was on his way to join the mayhem, and she instantly became both Mom of the Year and an Internet sensation.
The first time it happened, our son was 5-years old. It was the middle of the night, and we were sound asleep. I woke to the sound of our front door creaking open.
I elbowed Dustin to wake him up. “I think someone just broke in,” I whispered.
That’s when the security alarm went off.
Not many years ago, I wrote in protest of bringing snacks to kids’ soccer games. I said that making cookies for halftime was ruining my weekend, as was being expected to sit on the sidelines during every practice. I can think of 101 things I’d rather be doing than watching soccer practice.
Last month, a local radio show, invited me into the studio to talk about online commenters. This meant that I had to (1) read through months-worth of online comments, and (2) still look in the mirror without feeling fat, stupid, ugly, and arrogant afterward. Because that’s how some commenters describe me.
I was not a straight-A student in high school. Maybe that’s why I can tell you this story. Society only seems to accept success stories from people who have failed first. Except, I never truly failed. I just didn’t try that hard to succeed.
Before I begin, I’ll answer the question you will surely ask at the end: No, there is no video (that I’m aware of) of the moment my feet went out from under me and I landed on my backside, breaking my wrist. My children, however, would be happy to describe for you in great detail the whole thing, including how I said, “I’m really good at this” seconds before I fell.