Music = Love

Me and my boysA few years ago, Max examined my face and told me, “Mom you don’t have those pigeon tracks coming out of your eyes. That’s good.” I said to him, “What?” Then I realized what he meant. “Oh, thank you, honey. You mean I don’t have any crow’s feet.” “Yeah,” he said. “You just have a lot of dimples in your face.”  My son is observant and yet so kind about it.

Today my sons and I went to our favorite used and classic book store and a pawn shop in downtown Santa Rosa.  We wandered through and found books for each of us.  At the pawn shop, Max found a flute and asked me to buy it for him. I said to the pawn shop clerk, “I sure hope this isn’t a hot flute.” He told me that they run a police report on everything.  I said, “Good because we don’t want Yanni coming after us for stealing his flute.”

After we got the flute, Max said, “I just remembered that I actually don’t know how to play the flute.” He spent a couple hours teaching himself how to play on Yanni’s hot $100 pawn shop flute. And he’s actually really good. I don’t know why I’m surprised. He’s taught himself to play everything else.

On our way to Santa Rosa, my Shane shared a playlist with us that he named “mom.” He said, “It was only appropriate to name the playlist after the person who taught me about the music on it.”  I listened to “mom” tonight. After I practiced my cello. Which my sons encouraged me to begin playing again.

I cannot begin to explain how important music has been and still is in my life.  It’s like explaining how important breathing is to yoga. When my Shane shares new music with me. When my Max practices his drums, ukulele, bass, guitar, and now – flute. My heart is full because of their music. And it’s full because of my own.  That is the gift my sons returned to me.

Today, my sons (as they always do) said thank you, Mom, for the books. Thank you, Mom, for the music. Thank you, Mom, for dinner.  And I gotta say – Thank you, my beautiful boys.  You are worth every dimple on my face. Every scar on my belly. Every moment of my every day.  You are the music of my life. May you have and hear the music of your life, every day.

“If music be the food of love, play on.” W. Shakespeare.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The love you make and Happy Birthday, Mom

 

Max once asked me, “Why is it that we have to go to school for 15 months a year and we only get 2 weeks off for winter break and only 2 months off for summer? That seems so unfair.” I said, “Max, how many months are there in a year?” He said, “Twelve, why?” I said, “Then how is it that you are going to school for 15 months?” He said, “Don’t question my math when I’m trying to make an important point, Mom.”

My Max, as I did in high school – and sometimes still do, struggles with the structure and immutability of a school system that tries to cram a wiggly star shape into a square hole.  Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for my education. But I think part of why I like my work as a lawyer is because I learned early on, from my mother, that bureaucracies and systems are not inherently correct. And that individuals, especially creative, artistic, badass, bodacious, individuals, have a right to buck those bureaucracies and systems. I sure do love bucking the system. I’m with Max. Fuck the math. Let’s count what really matters. Not time spent trying to accommodate policies that don’t make sense when you are actually doing good and being good.

My mama, who moved in with me in August, was diagnosed with cancer in January.  The first oncologist told us that she had maybe a year to live.  She did not accept that. In the face of unremitting pain and an obdurate health care system, she refused to be crammed into a square hole. Her next oncologist gave her a different prognosis. She has gone through surgery, radiation, and now chemotherapy treatments. And she is kicking cancer’s ass. She is showing me – and my sons – real courage and what really matters. That challenge and inquiry and often rebellion are necessary. If you don’t challenge the status quo and stagnation, you never evolve and get better.  And that courage comes from not giving up. You have to keep  going.  No matter what. That courage leads to doing and being better, for all of us.

Last week, my mom told me, “I am lean, mean, and ready to start kicking ass.” She started walking outside for the first time in months. First to the driveway outside my house. Then down to the end of the block. Last Sunday I walked with her to the end of the block and back. Along the way, she pointed out the blooming trees and plants. “Look how beautiful that is,” she said for each one. And you know, she was right. Each one was beautiful. Hell’s yeah to my mom’s rebellion against cancer’s status quo.

Today is my mom’s birthday, I am grateful, so very grateful, for her. I am grateful to the woman who raised me to be a fighter and to be courageous even when I am scared out of my mind. I am grateful that my mom taught me to question and advocate and rebel. I am grateful to the woman who taught me to appreciate art and music and literature. I am grateful to the woman who taught me that it is important to love and serve those who need us, without judgment. I am grateful to the woman who taught me to be a good mother to my amazing sons.  I am grateful to the badass mamaninjawarrior, who taught me that life is beautiful. And that we should never, not ever, give up a single moment of that beauty to doubt, pain, incorrect diagnoses, or math – none of which matters when you’re making an important point. And that the real mathematical equation and the true point is – love.

“And in the end, the love you take. Is equal to the love you make.” – John Lennon

 

#adulting

Shane and Max

Maybe 10  years ago, Max was sitting at the kitchen table doing homework and sighing. Audibly. Then he announced, “This is too hard. I’m going to sue them for giving me too much homework.” The Wasband said, “You can’t sue for that.” Max said, “Yes I can.  They can’t do this to me. It’s emotional distress.”

Tonight an emotionally distressed Max and I were in the kitchen for about an hour discussing existentialism and motivation and the meaning of life. I had a similar conversation with his older brother Shane about five years ago. What does this all mean, Mom? I told both of them, there’s a Buddhist saying. The only way out is through. I wish I could make this journey easier for you. Or completely eradicate the pain and the failure and the difficulty. But I can’t. Because this is important shit. If you don’t suffer, you will never understand human suffering. You have to know this to love and accept other people. And if you don’t fail, you’ll never succeed. Because no one who succeeds has not tasted failure.

I love and miss overhearing the daily conversations of my sons. When Max got braces they discussed potential nicknames for him: “Transformer,” “Gridlock,” and of course the usual “Metalmouth” and “Brace Face.” Later, Max said to me, “Mom, you realize that’s just bracism.” My personal favorite comment from my kids was overheard on a suddenly quiet Sunday afternoon: “Well, we’re out of duct tape. Now what?”

Shane called me last week from Oregon. He’s getting his first apartment on his own. I had forgotten what a huge and momentous occasion that is. He said, “I guess this is what it’s like to be an adult.” Except he had to pay $50 for every application for every apartment he applied to be considered for. Which is bullshit and taking advantage of my 20 year old son who is responsible and just trying to do the right thing. That’s straight up bracism. I’m sending him some duct tape.

Adulting means hanging with our kids in the kitchen having the difficult conversations. Adulting means remembering that once upon a time we were kids trying to make our way in an adult world that maybe judged us based on our clothes and hair and music.  Adulting means putting up with being charged for bullshit that should simply be an experience. Not a cost. Adulting means letting go of judgment and letting in kindness and love. Because these kids are going to be taking care of us. And they are pretty damn amazing kids. I know. I helped raise two of them. You’re welcome.

“Hello babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. On the outside, babies, you’ve got a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies. ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.'” – Kurt Vonnegut

 

Love means saying thank you

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Max texted me a grocery list, several years ago: “Caprisuns, sushi, bone of chicken, eyeball of frog, cyclops toe, potion vial, chicken strips, rice.” He called me the next day and said, “Mom, did you get ketchup at the store yesterday?” “No, but you’re not going to die without ketchup,” I said. He said, “I’ve got to go, Mom. Goodbye. I’m not going to make it.” I went back and double checked the grocery list from the day before. Cyclops toe. Chicken strips. Ketchup was not on there. There may have been a few things I didn’t pick up. I decided to get the damn ketchup and keep my mouth shut. I never want to call attention to my own shortcomings.

Cancer and cancer treatment affects your taste buds. I don’t know this personally. I know this because sometimes my mama barely eats. So we do just about anything to get her to eat. She’ll  find something she likes, for a day, or a week. And we get it for her. McDonald’s French fries. Kern’s guava nectar. Shredded beef burritos. Rice Krispies. Potato chips. Yogurt. Scrambled eggs. Cinnamon rolls. My mother texts me what she wants to eat: “Lala, order Chinese. The orange chicken not sweet and sour. Veggie rice, broccoli beef, noodles, and what you want. Hahaha.”

In the mornings, I get ready for work and then I clatter downstairs to say goodbye to my mom. Sometimes she is dozing. Sometimes she’s on her tablet. Sometimes she is up and making scrambled eggs for the damn dogs. But every time, she says the same thing to me, “You look so pretty. I love you.”

I flash back.  I am 13 years old, I am wearing bell bottoms and clogs, I am brushing my hair out of my face, I am running out of the door to make it to school on time.  I am insecure as hell. I don’t believe in my own beauty.  I just want to get an A in whatever fucking class I have that day. I am convinced that I am less than. But my mama believes in me so I’m going to try. And I say, “I love you mama! I’ll see you when I get home!” And she says, “I love you baby. I’ll see you when you get home.” All I can – and should – say is, “Thank you.”

Once we were at a restaurant and the NASCAR races were on television. Shane said “I don’t know why people watch that sport. I mean, how hard can that be? All you do is turn left about 10 times really fast.” My kid was right.  It’s about turning into the curve. It’s about releasing the expectation of things being hard. It’s about seeing things as they are. Just turning until you get to where you are okay – or done.

Maybe it’s not as hard as your mind is making it. I hope you don’t wait to say good morning and goodbye to someone you love who has cancer. I hope you say the same to someone else who matters to you, no matter what. I hope you say thank you. Every day. Because it’s a blessing. I think my mom would appreciate that. Just say it. I love you. And don’t forget to pick up some ketchup.

Nothing compares 2U

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Several years ago, on a summer weekend when I was still married, the Wasband asked Max to help me weed the front yard. I was busy pulling weeds and realized he was standing behind me, holding an empty bin and weed puller in his hands. “What’s wrong?” I asked him. “I’m not trying to get out of helping you or anything, Mom,” he said. “But it seems to me that if these plants have taken over the yard then they are a dominant species and it’s really not up to us to stop them.” As usual, my Max was right.

Last August, in fact, on my birthday, my mother moved in with me. I had no idea at that time that it was the best birthday present ever. Or any gift. Ever. When she moved in, I had a graveyard of orchids and houseplants on my kitchen counter. And a barren yard. My mother took one – or maybe two – looks, and set to work bringing them all back to life. And she taught me in the process how to make orchids bloom and almost-dead plants come back to life. There are now flowers blooming in my backyard. In fact, every-fucking-thing is blooming in my house and yard.

In December, my mother began telling me that she was hurting. A lot. She had unremitting pain behind her ear and down her neck. After many visits to Urgent  Care and to Emergency Rooms, we finally got a diagnosis. Cancer. We are well into the treatment of pills and radiation therapy and chemo. I am so blessed to have a community of friends and family who clatter in daily to help us, no matter what we need. Fixing the house, driving to appointments, loving words, anything, everything. Keeping it all growing and blooming.

My  mama is a badass ninja warrior. She told me from the outset, “I’m going to fight.” And damn. She does fight. She fights the pain. She fights the errors of our medical system. She fights back against the inevitable delays. She fights with and against the cure, which is sometimes worse than the sickness.

For all of you who are fighting. No matter how many hours. No matter how many days. Maybe it looks like weeds. But they are still part of the garden. Just like my mom. You are beautiful and blooming and taking over the garden. Keep going. Nothing compares to you.

“I went to the doctor and guess what he told me?
Guess what he told me?
He said girl you better try to have fun
No matter what you do, but he’s a fool
‘Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to you

All the flowers that you planted mama
In the back yard
All died when you went away
I know that living with you baby was sometimes hard
But I’m willing to give it another try
‘Cause nothing compares
Nothing compares to you.” – Prince

 

 

 

My Funny Valentines

Boys going back towards swing with boards

Finals week, 2015. As Max walked out the door, he yelled at me (as he still does), “MOM! I’m leaving. I LOVE YOU.” I said, “Have a fantabulous day, buddy.” He gave me The Look. “I have to JOG for 30 minutes today.” I said, “Well, at least you don’t have to catch anyone.” “Wow, Mom,” he said. (Door slam.)

I was talking to a friend the other day about how my exercise regime has changed over the past several years. For many, many years, I ran. I ran 10ks.  I ran biathlons and triathlons. I ran half marathons.  I told my friend, “I don’t know what happened. One day I just didn’t feel like running any more. Sort of like Forrest Gump. Just like that. My running days were over.”

And I was okay with it. I filled the space with a different passion. Yoga. I was breathing. I was getting into my groove. I was getting my namaste on. I was trying to control myself to be the perfect mom, lawyer, friend. Well. That’s not the point of yoga. Yoga is, in large part, about letting go of what does not serve you.

Before one of his many concerts, I was tasked with finding Max a white shirt and then picking him and his brother up for the concert – all within one hour. Max called me, “Mom, when are you going to be home, I can’t be late for my concert.”  I said, “Well, first I have to run into the store and get your white shirt then I have to drive there and pick you up.” Max said, “Mom, PLEASE stop being so passive-aggressive. I just want to know when you will be home.” Damn it. My kids and my yoga mat continue to teach me the same lesson. Let go. Let shit go.

I once excitedly told Shane, “John Cusack is twittering me on Facebook.” Shane said, “MOM, John Cusack isn’t twittering you. Stop making up words.” I said, “Yes he is.” Shane said, “Stop. Mom. Please.”  Now that Shane lives on his own, several states away, I try hard to leave him alone to experience his independence. But sometimes my irrational mom fears kick in and I decide he’s been eaten by a bear, so I start to text-stalk him until he responds. “Shane. Shane. Shane.” “Mom.” “Okay. That’s all I needed. Love you.” “Love you too mom.” No twitter, no social media, no made up words, just letting all of that go. My Shane consistently teaches me that the simplest expression is usually the best.

This evening I came home after a long and stressful day, culminating with a few hours spent dealing with doctors and my mother’s cancer treatment. Max had a friend over. I stopped by his room and said, “Hey, how’s it going?” He said, “Pretty good.” I said, “Cool. It was fucking awful getting back here. But good to be home.” I went to my room and realized that I had failed to initiate my mom filter in front of his friend. For me, often, what I let go of comes right out of my mouth before I can catch it.  And my Max didn’t judge me or say anything about  his mom’s language. Because sometimes, often, you can’t judge someone by what they say when they are tired, or in pain, or upset, or stressed out.

A while back, before we knew my mom had cancer, Max told me he was stressed out. I told him, maybe you need to take something off your plate. His response was, “I can’t give up physics or trig because it’s the only thing me and grandma can do together.” So Max kept his full plate. He and his grandma continued to do physics and trig together. These days whenever he leaves the house, I hear him say, “Goodbye, Grandma! I love you!” I am so grateful that he let go of being stressed, that they get to have this time together, that they get to plot their physics and trig takeover of the world. We so need their brilliant, artistic, courageous, quirky, giant brains, and all the other brains like theirs to lead the next rebellion. I’ll supply the snacks.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. While I was waiting for my mother to badass her way through another radiation session at the cancer center I bought myself an unreasonable amount of goodies from Sephora online. And, once we got home, I went to CVS and got myself a large box of chocolates. A good part of the box is now gone. Happy Valentine’s Day to me.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you. May you have peace, breathe deeply, and have no need to run to or away from anything. May you eat all the chocolate you want because love eradicates calories or even caring about damn calories at all. May you have someone in your life who can help you with homework you don’t quite understand.  May you let go of all that does not serve you.

May you love yourself with the huge love you give everyone else in your life.

Namaste.

Heart and Soul

The boys and me

Maybe about six years ago – Max was working on an argument to get me to buy him an i-Pad. He said, “Mom, at least four kids in my grade have i-Pads or i-Pad minis. I really want one.” I said, “Max, if you want one, you need to earn it yourself. If I buy you an i-Pad now, what will I get you when you’re 21?” He said, “A Lamborghini?” Just then Shane walked in the door from school, ”Shane, how many of YOUR friends have i-Pads?” I asked. “Mom,” he said, “My friends don’t have i-Pads. Max is in a different generation.” And just like that, argument done.

If you asked me for a word to describe my Shane, it would be “steadfast.” I didn’t come up with that defining word for him. At his bar mitzvah, our rabbi did. And he asked me later, “What does that mean?” And I told him, “It means you. It is you. You are absolutely, completely, rock solid, steady, and true.” I never had to wake Shane up for school or work. While I operate on a time space continuum that is mutable and usually involves sliding into courtrooms 10 minutes late (in amazing heels), my Shane has the grace and sense of time. Among his many other gifts: his writing, his films, his photos, his quiet ability to listen and not judge.

When he left for his first job, several years ago, he fortified himself with a large plate of scrambled eggs, two cups of coffee, two large cinnamon rolls, and a vitamin B-12 capsule. “Why are you taking that, Shane,” Max asked. “Because I’m going to have a really long day at work and I need extra energy and this is a natural way to get it,” Shane said. Meanwhile, back at home, Max spent his day eating pickles and Kit Kat bars and learning about the Banach-Tarski paradox on YouTube.

A beloved friend once told me, you should be proud of yourself and know you’re a good mom if your children are different from each other. That means you did your job as a parent – letting them grow up to be their own unique selves. By that measure, I’m a good mom. (Sigh of relief.)

Tonight I went to see Max perform with the Honor Band at the 57th Annual Northern California Band and Choir Directors Association. It was the third time he’s performed as part of the percussion section. He doesn’t care about i-Pads or i-Pad minis anymore. He doesn’t really give a shit about many material things, except sketch pads, perfect pens, and his beloved musical instruments. I can spot my kid onstage in a crowd by the bright red hair in a ponytail. By his intense stare at the conductor. And by the huge, relieved smile at the end of the performance. There is nothing like a Max smile. It could make a chopped up pea reassemble itself into the Sun. (See, Banach-Tarski, above.)

And so, I think my defining word for my Max is, “earnest.” As in, intense, focused (loving). And how ironic. That’s kinda close to “steadfast.” But not exactly. Because my sons, while absolutely brothers, are very different. Max is my heart. Shane is my soul.

January 2019 was fucking hard. There was an inordinate amount of eclipses. There was a lot of heartache and bad news. For those of us who remain single, Valentine’s Day is approaching and that’s a bit traumatic for those of us who had this notion of happily ever after right now. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It will happen.

I’m still believing. So should you. Heart and soul.

Love has no half life

max bdayAbout five years ago, Max asked, “Can I order some plutonium on the Internet?” I said,  “I’m pretty sure you can’t order plutonium on the Internet.” Max said, “Yes you can. I found a website.” (Of course he did.) “It comes in a cool container with an awesome label on the side.” I said, “You mean the haz-mat label? The do-not-open-under-any-circumstances-because-its-radioactive-label?” Max said, “Well, yeah, but it’s a really cool container. It would look great in my room.” I said, “Maybe it’s not real plutonium, Max.” Max said, “You’re probably right. It’s only $150.” (Um.)

The next evening, I got a text from Max around 7 p.m.. “I need to buy these things for my science project: a small black poster board I’ll find out the exact dimensions; yellow, red, and orange paper, glue; sticker letters to spell out ‘plutonium’.” I asked, “When do you need these items?” He responded, “ASAP and I need to go with you.”

After I lectured him for a few minutes about doing things at the last minute (which was done in the car on the way to pick up the materials for his science project due the next day so really effective), I asked him, “Okay, tell me something about plutonium.” He said, “Well, its symbol is Pu. Which could be read as either Pee-You or Poo.” “Great intro,” I told him. “Let’s work on some graphics.”

This all became relevant again when I realized that my Max had cleaned his room, about a week ago. He had not just done the typical teen hoarder thing, where they shove everything under the bed or in the closet or into a drawer. Really cleaned it. And – I realized he had moved all of the crap he didn’t want in his room into the “spare” bedroom that we use as an exercise room and guest bedroom.

I once told Max, “There is Max detritus all over this house.” He asked me, “What does that mean?” I said, “It’s little pieces of Max left behind everywhere you go.” I now realize, there’s less and less detritus of Max – and his brother Shane – throughout our home. I took the detritus of Max that he had shuttled from his bedroom to the guest bedroom and bagged it up. And threw it out. Just as I did when his brother moved out. It was pretty damn painful.

When my sons were younger, I couldn’t get rid of anything of theirs. School art, stuffed animals, toys. They would cry and tell me, “No, mom. Please don’t throw that away, it’s mine.” And so I ended up with boxes of papers and drawings and toys. Then one day, they were able to just walk away and let it go.  Of course, they left their crap with me. But to their credit, they learned the lesson – the one that I kept freaking telling them.  Life is not about what you accumulate. It’s about love and action.

Now, I am the one who struggles between keeping four copies of a school photo or just letting it go. Holding onto that camp t-shirt or letting it go. But I have learned, I am learning, as I so often do, from my sons. As we often say in yoga practice, let go of that which does not serve you. As I fill and refill the recycle bin, fill up bags with Goodwill donations, I tell myself, let go, woman. Let that shit go.

Just so you know, Max didn’t order plutonium from the Internet. And every day, we move a little more detritus from our home, and let more love in. Also, plutonium has a half-life of 87.74 years.
And love – it has no half-life.

Choose love.

No mean dreams tonight

Both of my sons were at my house for Hanukkah this year so I was looking for something touching and happy that they had said or done in the past to write about them. I came across one of my journal entries from 2003.

“8/12/2003

Tonight, tucking Shane into bed, he asks me why Max is still awake, playing with toys on the floor. I tell him, ‘Because he’s a baby still, and doesn’t know he needs to rest.’ Shane says, ‘I’m a big boy because I know I have to rest.’ I ask, ‘Do you know why?’ He says, ‘You have to rest so you can have dreams to make them come true. And so you can get the mean dreams out of your head.’

And I tell him, ‘I hope you don’t have any mean dreams tonight.’ He tells me, brows furrowed, ‘I hope so but I must still have some because I keep being mean to my little brother Max and I wish I wouldn’t.’

A few minutes later, Max crawls up on the bed with us, and falls asleep with his head burrowed under his big brother’s arms. I look at them for a long time, knowing that tomorrow Max will steal one of Shane’s toys and Shane will whack him. Or Shane will “wrestle” his little brother and lay on top of him on the floor. And somewhere in all the yelling and fighting there is love. They are, after all, brothers.”

I wrote that 15 years ago. My, my, that time really did fly by. So very fast. My Shane turns 20 this week. Max is 17 years old. I’ve broken up a lot of brotherly love fights in 15 years. I’ve hauled my boys out of the grocery store after they got into a wrestling match in the produce section. I’ve stopped the car mid-route to a destination to get out and stand by the side of the road to take some deep breaths while my sons yelled at each other inside the car about which Power Rangers movie to watch on the portable DVD player. It hasn’t been pretty, for sure. But it’s kept them alive.

Shane moved out of state four months ago and it is the first time that my sons have been apart, really apart from each other. Even more than I miss my Shane because, well, I miss my son, I miss him for Max. I miss seeing their daily interactions when they are with me. I miss hearing the inside brother jokes that I don’t understand in substance, but I get in form, because I also have a brother.

I know this is part of the journey that my sons have been preparing for ever since they were old enough to crawl away from me. I remember once that Shane told us not to worry when he went to college because if he started to party, “I’ll just stock up on the morning after pill so I don’t have hangovers.” Obviously, that was when he was still in need of a few facts of life talks. In my oldest son’s defense, that was a long time ago. I am pretty sure he’s got that figured out now.

About seven years ago, Max and I were talking about how long it was going to be before he was able to drive. He said, “Anyway Mom, I’ll be driving in about 10 years. And I want a really cool car.” I said, “Max, you are 10. You’ll be driving in 6 years.”

“You see,” he said. “Time just flies by. First it’s 1-2-3 A-B-C. Then it’s 4×2 is 8. Then it’s ‘oh my gosh I have to get these papers done and turned into my boss.’ The next thing you know, you’re thinking, “Here I am at the retirement home.” Then you’re saying, ‘Wow, that went really fast. Was that really my life?’ I tell you, you just don’t realize how fast life can just get away from you.”

Well, my Shane is at college. And Max is driving. And we have all survived. Life does get away from you, those years do slip by mighty fast. But it is also damn amazing. It’s pretty awesome to see my little boys as young men.

I have a lot of formal education. I know this because I’m still paying off the school loans. But not once, in all those years of classes and tests did anyone ever teach me how to be a mother.

My sons – and a badass tribe of other mothers – taught me that. There are a lot of terms for moms today: helicopter, tiger, over-parenting. Well, I’m not gonna judge. I’ve done all of it. I’ve been the mom who put fruit rollups and cold chicken nuggets in a Power Rangers lunch box for her kid so I could make it to work on time. I’ve been the mom who emails every teacher and the principal about a (deserved) grade. None of us do this perfectly. Because there’s no such thing as perfect.

Our kids survive. And thrive. Because of us – or despite us. Tonight, both of my sons texted me, ‘I love you, Mom.” That alone is worth the years of being a brotherly-love-fight referee and judging myself as a parent.
And I won’t have any mean dreams tonight.

#grateful

A few years ago, I got upset with Max for something he’d said, and he told me, “It’s like there is a conveyor belt running from the back of my mind and it exits through my mouth. And there’s all kinds of stuff on it and it’s always going. So sometimes the stuff goes straight through my brain and out of my mouth. There are these little workers that are at the exit near my mouth and their job is to stop some of the things before they come out but a lot of the time they just go, ‘Oh darn, we should have caught that one before it went out!'” And after that complex anatomical explanation I couldn’t even remember what he’d said that I was mad at him about.

Today is Thanksgiving. Max and I are in the living room; he’s working on a paper for school next week. I’ve been alternating between cooking and reading. Max asked me, “Mom, what’s another word for corrupt?” I said, “Perverted. Shady. Crooked. Tainted.” A while later he asked me, “Mom, what are the names of the five books of the Torah?”  I thought to myself, “What kind of writing assignment is this?” But I helped him look it up.

This Thanksgiving, it was me and Max and my mom. I asked them, “What’s something you are grateful for this year?” My mom said, “I’m so grateful to be here, so I can watch Max grow up and be the amazing person he is meant to be.” Max said, “I’m grateful that I get to spend time with my grandmother and get to know her.” And I said, “I’m grateful that I can, I hope, make a difference, even if it’s a small difference, to make the world a better place.” And, I gotta say this. I’m grateful that I am learning to let sh*t go. It’s a process. I’ll keep working on it.

We all say stuff before the little workers stop things from coming out of our mouths. What’s more important is to spend time with the people in our lives. As they are. Not as we want them to be.  So today, I thank you, for spending time with me, for teaching me, for accepting me.  Happy Thanksgiving. Namaste. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty, and peace within you because it is also within me. In sharing these things, we are united. We are the same. We are one.