Cap And Gown

He brought it downstairs to show me last night–a fat, blue square package wrapped in clear plastic, a blue and white tassel on top, with a metallic ’11 dangling on the side.

“It’s becoming real, isn’t it?” he said. Usually quick with the snark, I was rendered speechless. No tears either, go figure. But it was real enough.

I brushed back the hair covering his eyes and remembered for a second.. Remembered how when he was a baby and sleeping through the night, I’d go into his room and purposefully nudge him.. just enough to wake him.. so I could provide snuggles and rock him back to sleep. I knew he would be the last, and by the fifth time at bat, I also knew these moments would soon be in the wind.

Tears will come later.. much later. There will be that whole letting go business I’ve never been very good at. Plus, I anticipate a few heavy sighs of relief after a solid 35 years of raising children. But mostly, right now at least, it’s about this boy.. this moment. These last months of that true child-at-home time that’s never quite the same after they leave and come back.. Ask anyone.. it’s just not.

The cap and gown are just a representation.. but they’re stark reminders that my days, weeks and months with this one are ending. He’ll get on with his life.. the one he’s anticipated (a good thing), and  I’ll get him to myself sometimes, he’ll visit for brief periods, we’ll talk about the past, we’ll eat favorite food and joke around with each other.. but it won’t be like old times, not really.

Bittersweet, this cap and gown business..


Losing My Grip (Like I Ever Had One To Begin With)

It doesn’t happen often anymore.. so when it does, it exacts a hefty emotional toll.

The boy is leaving me.. not physically yet, but in every other way he can. Today he says “you pissed me off.” This is valid.. and I have a pretty tough skin. I can take that. But when he mentioned his dad understands him so much better than I do, it ached out loud.

Well, of course his dad gets him better than I do. They’re both male.. he’s growing up.. he needs his dad. Trouble is.. I spend more time with the boy.. and dole out most of the discipline. I’m also the one who watches SNL with him every week, takes him to school every day, expects more of him.. pops for Subway often enough, and likes to think we had a bond. Until today. Now I feel like so much pond scum.. and a little embarrassed that I ever could have thought he and I were close at all.

It’s not about me, I know. It’s about a teenager and his needs.. and I’m the adult, so I get to be the tough one. Only I don’t feel so tough right now.. only mushy.. and thinking about how this letting go business hasn’t gotten any easier, even with all the practice I’ve had.

So.. he belongs to himself.. and his dad. Me? Not so much..

Pass The Weird News, Please

After several weeks of reading about toppled bully dictators and the costly antics of several Hollywood celebrities whose names I will not dignify here (as if mention in this column inspires respectability), I choose to focus on news that entertains, or at the very least makes me smile. Give me the absurd, the inane, the weird and ridiculous.

For example, a story on provided by Reuters reports that a Belarus man on a fox hunting expedition closed in on his target after wounding it from a distance, planning to finish the job when, “The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw.”

His prey escaped and the hunter landed in the hospital with a gunshot to the leg.

My favorite comment on the thread that followed: “How do we know the fox pulled the trigger on accident? Sly as a fox? Maybe it was on purpose.”

Then, a story also from by Associated Press, about a “Siesta Contest” held at a shopping mall in Madrid, Spain, organized by The National Association of Friends of the Siesta.

“Its aim? To promote a revival of this timeless custom so identified with Spain but which some believe is in danger of vanishing because of the pressures of modern times.

“’People are so stressed out they can’t take siestas any more,’ said spokesman Andres Lemes. ‘Studies show it’s a healthy practice that recharges your batteries.’

“Contestants in groups of five were given 20 minutes to lie down on garish blue couches and timed by a doctor with a pulse-measuring device to determine how long they spent snoozing. A judge perched on an umpire’s seat awarded points for position, snoring ability and apparel.”

The winner was a 62-year-old man from Ecuador, whose snoring prowess rocked the bustling shopping mall and earned him the $1400 prize.

As a nap enthusiast, I not only found this story delightful, but I am seriously considering starting a Ferndale chapter of the NAFS.

Finally, there’s a story from out of Chickasha, Oklahoma concerning an alleged theft from a hardware store. Apparently, 21-year-old Anthony Black wanted a displayed Echo chainsaw, and made the boldly innovative decision to steal it by shoving it down the front of his trousers and casually leaving the premises.

“George Graham, an employee at the Ross Seed Company, witnessed the incident, telling NBC affiliate KEOR, ‘I seen the bar between his legs. It was pretty obvious. Imagine it in the front of your pants.’”

The encumbered Black was chased out of the store, soon abandoned the chainsaw, and ran into a creek where he was pulled out and arrested.

The winner of “Most Apparent Observation” clearly comes from employee Graham, who stated, “’He could have cut himself up real good. He’d have been walking with a permanent limp,’ Graham explained.”

The most disturbing part of this story is that the chainsaw was returned to the store. It’s my sincere hope this occurred only after a thorough scrub down with Lysol.

In a world where it’s important to keep abreast of what’s happening, I get tired of reading rehashed headlines only to find much the same story I read yesterday.

Last week, a wily fox and a siesta fiesta proved to be more interesting than almost anything else in the news—not to mention a guy hiding a chainsaw in his pants.