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Friday, November 14, 2014

Whirl your dervish

We recently had a milestone birthday in our house. Lucas was born November 6, 1998 at 7:04 in the morning. His was my favorite birth story. There was no drama, no rushing, no panic. There was a peace-filled bath, walking the hallways and joking with Stan and my just-as-pregnant friend who came to the hospital for moral support. Lucas' story reflects the baby he was. Calm, sweet and loving. While I can't say he remained calm, I can say, without hesitation in my voice, he has remained sweet and loving. I just can't believe the little baby we brought home from the hospital is now 16. I can't believe the sweet, little blond boy is almost able to be behind the wheel of a car by himself. I will cry on that day. The day he gets to drive away without me will be perhaps a bigger milestone than when Zach got to drive away for the first time. I will explain why in a letter to him...

My sweet, little, blond boy,

You are now 16. It's taking me a while to wrap my head around the fact that you are closer to being an adult than you are to being a boy now, because in my mind you'll always be my sweet, little blond boy. You earned that title. You deserve to have it. I want you to have it. Forever.

You've been sweet and loving since the day you made your entrance into the world. Out of the three of you kiddos, you were the calmest baby. You were easily soothed and rarely made a fuss. You didn't complain or make demands. You enjoyed being loved and snuggled. You were a joy as a baby.

And then you hit two. You turned into the most whirling of all of the dervishes. You were hard to keep in place and even harder to discipline. You had the blondest hair and biggest, brownest eyes, and the light in them sparkled with a mischievous glint. Staying mad at you was next to impossible, even as you slashed and gashed Dad's leather chair and ottoman, escaped from the house and climbed into our neighbors cars. You would look at us with your wide-eyed innocence, without a trace of malice in your soulful stare, and all was forgiven.

For me, all of what I just said is still who you are. I know there is not a malicious bone in your body. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have the kindest heart and the most giving soul. I know you would give your family and friends the shirt off of your back if they asked, or even if they didn't. You still don't complain or make demands. You have a warmth emanating from within that draws people to you. I know your wide-eyed innocence is so deeply ingrained in you, it is simply a part of who you are. All of these things are what I see and what I love most about you.

But what makes me a little sad is that your whirling dervish ways began to fade away, for the greater public, around 7th grade. Your spirit got somewhat broken and battered. A certain set of powers-that-be at a certain location determined you had malice and you intended to cause harm. They, in turn, intended to put a stop to your mischievous ways. And they did. You stopped being that kid who never met a stranger. You stopped being the one to stick out your hand and say, "Hi, my name is Lucas. Wanna be my best friend?" You became careful in who you allowed into your circle. You became cautious in your dealings with people in authoritarian roles. You let the light in your eyes fade a little when you met new people. The dervish you once were doesn't whirl for most to see.

I still see all of this in you, though. I still see who as you were. As you enter your 16th year, I want you to know that it's OK to show the world that sparkle in your eyes. It's OK to be that kid who never met a stranger. It's OK whirl your dervish a little and regain some of the goofy, little, blond boy who is in these pictures ~ for all the world to see.

All of the kid you once were can all be tempered with who you are now. Cautiousness with a hint of mischief is the perfect balance.  A sparkle in your eyes and the ability to stick out your hand to a new face shows the warmth of your spirit. A little whirl mixed with a hint of dervish and an innocent heart is beyond spectacular. But you probably already know all of this. You are wiser than I realize sometimes.

16 is a big year. You'll get your driver's license and be able to drive away from our nest by yourself for the first time. I won't like it one, little bit. I will cry on that day, because it will be then that I know you are a little more grown up than I want, a little more mature than I care to admit and a little more ready for the world than I'm ready to believe. You have grown up in the blink of an eye. I'm not ready for you to be 16.

I want you to know, Little Blond One, I believe in you with every fiber of my being. I see big things in your future. I see you for who you were as a little boy and who you are today. And I love it. I just want you to whirl your dervish for the entire world to see. The world deserves it and so do you.

I love you.

Monday, November 10, 2014


I think I'm a terrible example for my kids.

I laugh at times when I probably shouldn't. I encourage my kids in areas of humor that are not necessarily mainstream nor politically correct. And not only do I let my kids listen to music with semi-sketchy lyrics, I just sit back and listen to them sing those same lyrics at the top of their lungs.

The other day I posted on Facebook that Lucas and Claire's new favorite song is Florida Georgia Line's new song Sun Daze. Part of the refrain goes something like this..."All I want to do is wear my favorite shades and get stoned." They sing it loudly and with abandon when it comes on, especially Claire. She's old enough to know exactly what that means. I just sit back and listen to them when they sing. I don't correct them or lecture them. I just listen to them. Maybe I don't have to correct or lecture them. All three have heard me say, over and over and over again, that neither Stan nor I have ever done drugs. We've never been stoned. I can probably safely say, I'll never get stoned in this lifetime. So maybe they don't need me to reinforce the inappropriateness of the lyrics. But still...part of me thinks I should say a little something.

My dad had one of the most irreverent senses of humor of anyone I've ever met. He's told inappropriate jokes for as long as I can remember. One of the first times I ever invited Stan over for dinner was a prime example of his extreme inappropriateness. We were sitting in the dining room. The crystal chandelier sparkled overhead. The white table clothe gleamed in soft light. The table was set with my parents' fine china. The crystal glasses were full of water and wine. Stan and his fellow lieutenants sat around the table with me. My dad at one end and my mom at the other. My dad was a full colonel, and perhaps a bit intimidating to a bunch of lowly lieutenants. So perhaps my dad was trying to break the ice and make them feel comfortable. He began by clearing his throat and saying, "OK, so what has two fingers, speaks French and loves blowjobs?" The silence at the table was deafening. No one spoke. No one moved. Everyone was stunned into silence at my dad's question. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, someone piped up. "Loves blowjobs, Sir?" they asked with a hint of fear in their voice. My dad's reply was deep and rich and sure. "Yes. Loves blowjobs." I look from my friends to my new boyfriend to my mom who is just sitting there shaking her head, and then it happens. My dad answers his question with relish. "MOI!" My mom's head shaking got faster, the color rose up in her cheeks, and the table erupted in laughter. So I guess it's safe to say, the apples don't fall far from the tree.

Fast forward to the other day. Claire and I are in the car. Driving. She starts telling me about her day, finishing with, "Oh, Mom. We were telling some of the best jokes today." The conversation went something like this....

Me: "You know I love a good joke. Let's hear them!"

Claire: "OK, but some of them are not very, um, appropriate."


Claire: "What shoes do pedophiles wear?"


Me: "Umm...should I really try to answer this?"

Claire: "White vans!" She says as she laughs along with the punchline.


Claire: "How 'bout this one? Why did the cowboy get a wiener dog?"

Oh NO! I'm thinking Broke Back Mountain now!

Me: "No idea."

Claire: "So he could get a long little doggie! Get it?"

Nervous, relieved laughter bubbled up from within. How dare I go the Broke Back Mountain route in my head? What is wrong with me?

And then she finishes with this little gem which is so not appropriate but it has to be told....

Claire: "Helen Keller walks into a bar." A long pause ensues. "And then a table and then a wall."

Well, alrighty then.  My work here is done. I confess, I'm a terrible role model, and I have passed on a terribly irreverent and completely politically incorrect sense of humor.

Oh, for the love of my children...