What I Love About 10

Today is Pajama Day at school, and while our middle school son wore sweats and a favorite Falcons t-shirt, no different than any other day, our 10-year-old strutted into school proudly sporting his flannel Snoopy Christmas pajamas.

Bright green. Snoopy. Charlie Brown. Woodstock.

Not a care in the world. No thought of “cool” or “not cool”.

Just lovin’ his PJs.

Struttin’ into 4th grade.


The Collector

People collect stamps. Stickers. Thimbles. Seashells. Antiques. Rocks in the shape of a heart. Little porcelain animals. Art. Legos.

Our fifteen-year-old son collects boxes. Specifically, the boxes that package Apple products.

“They’re really nice boxes,” he explained when I noticed his collection – all white with the Apple insignia – in his room.

This is not, apparently, a passing fancy. He’s been collecting them for a few years. I only noticed because they are now stacked on his desk. MacBook Pro, iPad Air, iPhone, iPhone SE, iPhone 6s. Even the little box an iPhone Lightning Dock came in.

“One day, these are going to be really valuable.”

But they’re boxes?!

“Yes… Apple boxes!”

The Call from Ski Patrol

We are fortunate that the calls we’ve received from ski patrol over the years were not due to major injuries. A vomiting child. A fainting spell in line for the gondola. And now….

Last weekend, the call came just as we were about to order a late lunch. Apparently, our ten-year-old was being brought down the mountain in a toboggan after a ski school injury to his ankle.

Or somewhere on his foot?

Maybe his leg?

His ride from China Bowl to ski patrol led him to the opposite side of the mountain from our lunch spot. So, I raced to get him. A gondola ride down with a group of hilarious women who claimed to “apres ski all day” and complained of a daughter-in-law who doesn’t ski because “all she does is sit around eating hamburgers.” Then a jaunt from that base to the next, where ski patrol was holding him.

The ski patrol dudes were lovely and patient. He wouldn’t let them take his boot off. “I would bring him back to the condo, put his feet up, and if he is still in pain tomorrow, take him for an x-ray. You know kids though. They’re fast healers.”

He didn’t exactly wink at me, but I knew.

A bus ride back to the base where we parked with the little guy performing a dramatic limp that actually put more weight on the injured ankle than the healthy one.

“Was the ride down scary or fun?” I asked, distracting him as I slid off his red ski boots.

“Well,” he winced between words, “it would have been really fun if I wasn’t in pain.”

Sneakers on. A slow walk to get mom some food. As we passed the skating rink, he brightened up…

“Can I go skating?”

Ankle? Foot? Leg? Where’d that crazy limp go?

Such a fast healer.


Mom’s Silence is Not So Golden

The other day, when I picked up my high school freshman from school, I had a lot on my mind. I guess I was quiet.

About five minutes into the drive, he said, “Well, this is awkward!”


“It’s really weird that you’re not asking me a hundred annoying questions about my day.”

“But you complain when I ask you questions about your day.”

“It’s better than this! What’s wrong?!”

I smiled. “Anything cool going on at school?”

“Oh my God, you are so annoying!”


How to Have a Happy 15-Year-Old

These days, there are two guaranteed ways that I can make my teenage son happy.

The first, I practice almost daily. I bring the dog with me when I pick him up from school. No matter how grumpy he looks as he approaches the car, he is transformed if, when he opens the car door, the dog’s face is there ready to give him a good face-licking. Then, instead of sighing about homework or telling me I ask too many questions, he spends the ride home smiling in the rearview mirror and telling me how cute the dog is.

I learned the second way today. The hard way.

The second way I can make him happy is by screwing up… and getting caught.

“Do you know why I stopped you?”

Yes, I got a speeding ticket, cop motorcycle lights flashing, my son grinning ear-to-ear in the passenger seat, and the dog wagging her tail. Apparently, this was exciting for both of them.

As the police officer wrote out my $160 fine for going 33 in a 20MPH school zone (ooops!), my fifteen-year-old laughed heartily. “This is absolutely awesome!”


Charlie’s Diner

At breakfast, our ten year old ordered eggs. He rarely eats them at home, but in restaurants, he’ll have two or three orders. Scrambled. With white toast.

This morning, when the waitress asked how he wanted his eggs, he smiled, “Medium rare, please.”

A silly thing big brothers don’t let you forget.


His Arm in a Sling

Yesterday, the name of my sons’ school flashed as the phone rang. Ugh. Images of vomit on his school supplies or his hands around someone’s throat at recess flashed in my head.

“Hellooooo?” Please say it’s vomit.

My fourth grader had apparently crashed into the fence during a football game and was claiming he broke his collarbone. (A potential copycat injury, as our friend broke his last weekend.)

“Jennifer, he’s sitting in the office with me right now, and we have ice on it.” Her voice was sing-songy as if to say “read between the lines, Mama.”

“Soooo, is this a come-get-him kind of broken collarbone or the kind that ice is making better?”

“Ohhh, I think the ice is doing a goooood job.”

I laughed. Ice is magical.

“But the teacher on recess duty is coming to confirm that he’s okay. How about I call you back after she checks out his shoulder?”

“I’m here if you need me.”

Then she whispered, “He’s very cute.”

Ten minutes later, the phone rang. “Now Jennifer, he thinks he can stay for Chess Club, but he doesn’t want you to be alarmed when you pick him up, because his arm is in a sling.”

What a player.

Two hours later, I picked him up from Chess Club. “Oh goodness! That must have really hurt!”

Dropped his friends at their house. And as I got back in the car to take him home, he pulled the sling off, big grin on his face as he waved his arm around.

“Phew,” he said. “I think it’s better.”