Here’s what was going on over at Moms@Work…
Thanks for reading. Always.
There’s almost nothing like the ocean to punctuate time, especially when you’re temporarily living on an island which is inaccessible during high tide. The necessity of planning is as explicit and unavoidable as the tide chart adhered to the fridge with a magnet.
When the tide is out there’s the shallowest of tidal pools under the bridge, barely enough water to carve the silty bottom of the marsh into rivulets. When that tide rolls in, though? That’s a different story. The salt water flows in and submerges the almost garishly green marsh grasses. The bridge becomes a launching pad for the neighborhood adrenalin seekers, some complete with choreographed group dances and cheeky chants. There’s a remarkable difference between the two extreme states of the tide, yet it is predictable and easily planned for – just refer to the chart. It’s there in black and white.
This year, for the first time in a long time, we’re vacationing with a baby, and for the first time ever – it’s a girl. She was present (in utero) last year, but nothing really prepared me for sharing a house with a baby again, especially a busy baby on the verge of walking. Like childbirth, you just forget what was demanded by those days, it was simply survival when you were in the thick of it. The minute details (each of which seemed ever so critical at the time) of taking care of a child have disappeared faster than a sandbar in a rising tide.
Despite promises made, be it to yourself, your child(ren), or the well-intentioned older person offering advice, just like you’ve heard your entire life those early days of parenting/babyhood go far faster than could ever be imagined. There was no punctuation to mark the end of that chapter of parenting. It’s gone, and unlike the tide it won’t be back.
This year my middle son chose to only stay in Massachusetts for one of the two weeks of our vacation. He wanted to be home, hanging with his friends and practicing lacrosse. I felt that I needed to respect his preference and, for me, it was an exercise in letting him go. I was okay with the decision, but I’m less able to accept the fact that 2012 may have been the last year that my boys and I would be together for a two-week vacation at the beach. How could that even be possible without some sort of acknowledgement? Where’s the chart to refer to for important things like that?
I had a conversation a couple of weeks ago with one of my boys and I declared some behavior of his to be rather odd. Not in an overly critical fashion, it was merely an observation or impression. He accepted my remark with a laugh and then countered with “You like to run at night. That’s weird.” Guilty, without even an attempt to plead it down.
I’ve got a couple of women with whom I’m always happy to run. We have a similar pace and an unspoken comfort level with whether to talk or not, to speed up or back off. It’s awesome to be able share races and rambles with my friends and, as often as possible, we like to get together for a special Full Moon Run. Last night was our night and it was absolutely epic.
The day had been hot with increasing humidity. When we got out it was close to 9pm and the moon was playing coy. The solstice had made the evening feel particularly leisurely, and we headed out at an easy pace. Our planned route took us down the fabled yellowbrick road and through the Normanskill meadows. We were greeted by flickering fireflies and a delicious dampness in the air.
The uphills quickly out measured the downhills and we worked really hard. I know I’m not alone in admitting the amount of effort, a literal pain in the ass, it took to climb the back 9. At 2 miles, we took a brief break to take advantage of the water station on the golf course and then continued towards the club house and New Scotland Ave.
My intention had originally been to hang a right on Whitehall Rd and head back to my place, however as we approached the intersection, we all agreed it was too soon to head home. We continued on New Scotland and did the long “big girl” loop back to Academy, adding another couple of miles to the run.
Ultimately, we did nearly 7 blissful miles. We cooled down on my stoop, with beers, under the light of the silvery moon. It was, without a doubt, when one of my favorite runs ever – comfortable in more ways than I could explain, even to myself. Perfect – something I don’t say (or even attempt to achieve) very often. Who wants in for next month?
* a nod to Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers @SPAC, obviously.
Last week my boy crossed the line and said a couple of really mean things to me. I was quite rocked by his lashing out and am expecting an apology. Looks like it might be a while.
During these days of waiting, I’ve been puzzling over his inability to offer a simple “I’m sorry.” As a mom, I can only assume I failed to convey some fundamental component of character to him. I can’t imagine that he doesn’t understand how hurt my feelings were by his words, especially since I’ve mentioned a number of times how hurt my feelings were by his words. I can only conclude that he must not know how to properly apologize.
After arriving at this conclusion, I’ve made several attempts to help him formulate an apology. My initial bid was quietly direct and went something like this: “You know I deserve and expect an apology from you, right?” Response: nothing.
I continued to treat him to my cold shoulder, a technique which I find most males struggle to get beyond, until I took another crack at it prompted by his request to host a sleepover at our house. When I refused to allow him to have a friend spend the night (using a minimum of words, of course), he asked if I would change my mind if he apologized. I told him I wasn’t negotiating with him and gave him an excerpt from Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture to
absorb read. The topic of the chapter was perfect – it was a discussion about how an insincere apology is more offensive than no apology. End result: nothing.
My most recent foray in eliciting an apology was an appeal to his adolescent need to be popular. I asked him how he thought his friends and their parents would feel about him if they knew the things he had said to me. His response: nothing.
I don’t think my son is a bad kid, nor do I think he truly thinks I am a not-too-smart-female-dog, but I do believe we’re at an impasse. I don’t often dig my heels in because I think parenting is the ultimate pick your battles kind of job, but I know this is a critical lesson he needs to learn and, for that, I’m not apologizing.
Any suggestions or similar experiences you might want to share?
My byline snap
Notice I said catch-up instead of catsup or ketchup. We all (or those of us who hang on every word of dialogue in Mad Men at least) know there’s only 1 ketchup.
I digress – anyway, here are some blog posts from my other spot out here on the internet, Moms@Work.
Also, excitedly enough for me, the print edition of the May/June issue of Women@Work is now available in all sorts of lobbies and waiting rooms around town. Grab one, why don’t you and read my piece on page 59. Don’t forget to linger over my name on the page listing of contributing writers!
Filed under Boys, Education, family, ideas, moms, Moms@Work, Observations, politics, Schools, Spring, travel, vacation
Referencing a lyric from an Irish band on a day when I learned so very much about my maternal, German side of the family may seem inconsistent, but it actually couldn’t be any more appropriate. We each are the direct product of two people, yes? Of course, who we truly are involves many more than two individual people, as I was reminded on this very day.
Today I saw a WW II monument in the tiny cemetery where my grandparents are buried, with the name of my Opa’s cousin etched into the stone. Hubert Meder was 20 years-old when he died in service to his country. I saw a photo of my Great Uncle Josef, who I had the opportunity to meet many years ago, in the uniform of Germany’s army in that same war. When I knew him he had an accordion in his hands. There were photos of my Opa’s sisters taken when they were young, before they took their vows and became married to Christ for all of eternity. And I saw my first photos ever of my mother as a young child, in the days when she was presumably permitted to be a toddler before she had to mach schnell with always a purpose.
My eldest aunt shared her memories with me of a life when the sole purpose of girls was to contribute to the family’s income and assist in taking care of the younger children. I learned of the outrageous hypocrisy of a young couple, Ludwig and Rosa, who knew from experience the challenges and burden of becoming parents prior to marriage, yet were comfortable damning their own daughter (their third born child, yet the first to be conceived within the confines of matrimony) for the same sin. I felt the pain of a nearly 80 year-old woman who still did not understand why her parents continued to leave her to be raised by her Oma rather than claim her as their own for any reason other than to demand her wages once she became of age to work.
This afternoon the dining table nearly bowed with the feast spread upon it, but the soul was fed even beyond the belly. Seeing the pictures carefully mounted between onion skin, hearing the stories and knowing something of the people who came first, fills a place which will never again feel empty.
Did you know my undergraduate minor was Women’s History? In case my English degree didn’t make me marketable, I could always fall back on that, you know? Ha! Anyway, yesterday was International Women’s Day and here’s my Moms@Work post in recognition of that holiday. I can’t say any of the facts really surprised me, nor did this post from Huffington Post. Coincidence? I think not…