Last night, when I went to kiss my 12-year-old daughter goodnight, she burst into tears.
“Why can’t I see them more often?” she wailed. She was talking about her friends, the triplets, who had been at our house for a sleepover.
My daughter met the three sisters several years ago at a family summer camp, and the four of them have remained friends despite the 70 miles between them. They had a wonderful visit, crammed with movies, make-overs, homemade cake pops, and late-night giggles—the stuff of memories. But none of that stopped her from sobbing in grief.
Last night I was attempting to explain to my 10-year-old daughter that anxiety can come from believing something that’s not true.
“Our brains don’t know the difference between what’s real and what’s not real,” I said. I was about to launch into a sure-to-be-cumbersome definition of perception and reality, when she said:
“Right, because the mind and the brain are two separate things. The brain is physical and the mind is spiritual. If your mind thinks that something is real, then your brain and your body will act according to what you think.”
Whoa. I just got schooled.
I can honestly say that I’ve never been a helicopter mom. I’ve never stayed up later than my kid to put a few “finishing touches” on her science project. I don’t schedule meetings with teachers or principals or send carefully worded “concerned” texts to mothers of my kids’ friends. I don’t have tracking devices on their phones.
For years I’ve been cool. I’ve been laid back. Except when one of my kids puts a piece of writing in front of me. Before I know what I’m doing, I’m reaching for a red pen. The itch to edit or tease something sublime from each sentence is simply too great to resist. I MUST put my mark on it.
Boys, boys, boys… They’ve been a recurring theme this week. Just before my two teenage boys returned from a long vacation, I was at a party where two little boys were jumping and running and entertaining all of us with paper airplanes. We started talking about the unique exuberance of boys, reminiscing on everything from wrestling matches between brothers to the obsession that unites all boys: trucks.
I shared that my one of my oldest son’s first words was backhoe.
These days, being a mother requires the memory of an elephant—and the thick skin of one too. Thanks to a recent scene with my 15-year-old son, I won’t soon forget that most of us are simply lumbering our way through parenthood, and life.
While my son was at school I was supposed to drop his laptop off at his dad’s house, but I was engrossed in listening to a book-on-tape while driving across town, and it completely slipped my mind.
The shooting deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling made headlines last week, pushing their way even into my headline. I don’t like to jump into hot political topics, but I read a riveting blog called “The Conversation We Must Have With Our White Children” by Courtney E. Martin. She said to make the reality of white privilege “a part of your daily consciousness, even when it seems tiring and burdensome.”