The Power of Color

Our living room has been beige for the twelve years since we moved in. The kitchen was a compromise medium blue and not anyone’s favorite. When we came home from the pool yesterday, the painters had finished, and the open space had been transformed by Iced Cube Silver.

Benjamin Moore 2121=50.

Said our eight year old, “I just walked into this room, and it made me feel settled.”

He had suffered a small setback in managing his rage at the pool. So I am tempted to paint the entire house a gorgeous, soothing Iced Cube Silver.

At the Mall with a Teenage Boy

I grew up in a house of girls, so a trip to the mall to buy clothes was a celebrated event. We went before school started and again in late spring. After shopping, we went out to lunch. When we got old enough to spend money at Christmas, our mom took us shopping and to lunch again. Just the sisters. With mom. With our friends. They were fun times.

Clothes-shopping with my teenage son is very different.

Why are you making me do this?” he whispers as we pass through the women’s section on our way to the boys’ at Nordstrom, because he has grown out of everything.

“Do not stop. No looking. No stopping,” he instructs between gritted teeth and a look of panic.

He spends forever in the dressing room with me sitting on the high-backed chair in the hall. He drops half the clothes as he pulls them off the hanger then grumbles like an old man as he picks a shirt, a pair of shorts off the floor.

Again. “Why are you making me do this?”

“If you think something looks good, show me,” I say cheerfully.


“Do you have anything on yet?”


“Don’t forget to show me.”

When we are finally paying for two shorts and three shirts, he perks up. “Do you know what I like to do at the mall?”

Next thing I know, he’s dragging me into the Apple Store. “Mom, this is the 6S Gold.”

Short Shorts and Sunglasses

On a recent summer trip with our kids, we took the gondola up to the top of a mountain, where summertime fun includes guided hikes with amazing views, a climbing wall, hula-hoops, a sandbox and bungee trampoline.

The lines were longer than I had hoped, but it left time for observation.

Once I had absorbed the beauty of sky and trees and mountaintop wildflowers, I began watching some of the other families and groups enjoying their vacations.

There were a few clusters of girls that grabbed my attention.

First, two girls, probably 13, and their proud Dad watching a four year old sister bounce in pigtails and a pink dress on the bungee trampoline. Their shorts were so short that a good portion of their bare butts were visible to all.

There was another group of girls waiting right behind my guys. They were probably 12 or 13 too, laughing loudly, enjoying their time together. Pretty girls with long hair, their shorts almost as obscenely short.

My eleven year old was watching them. At first, I assumed they were just too noisy for his taste. Too wild. Too close to his age. Making him uncomfortable. Then, with him still watching, I wondered if he was noticing their shorts.

He is growing up. He will eventually notice.

And as we took the gondola back down the mountainside an hour later, he turned to me, “Did you see those girls in line?”


“Well, they had really expensive sunglasses.”

Was that boy code? “Did you see their butts, or what?!”

Or are we only at “how does he know what expensive sunglasses look like?”

One Mother to Another

“Are we there yet?” my three guys ask twenty minutes into any trip. So I think I am entitled to ask “are we there yet?” after five months of cold weather and snow.

Mother Nature, could you get a move on with spring?

You might think I am just tired of the cold, but give me some credit. I was tired of winter four months and 29 days ago, and I did not bother you then or during the many bitter days between. As a mother, I know how busy you are.

My appeal is about savings and recycling – things you care deeply about.

You see, my boys are starting to look a little silly in long pants that have grown too short. And the middle one just got a hole in the knees of his jeans. That’s against dress code. It means I need to use more water to wash the dwindling number of available pants, and I cannot recycle them in three years for the youngest.

Plus, depending on the kid, they are either still too skinny for the next size up or will grow out of the next pair before seasons change again. You don’t want me to waste valuable resources, do you?

I appeal to you as a fellow mother, who wants to save her children (from social extinction?) because we both know it’s the right thing to do. “We are there! It is Spring!”

Mother Nature, hit us with a heat wave, turn up the sun….

…so my boys can wear shorts.