The Kiss of Alyss

Her lips on his were incredibly, indescribably soft.

I am almost done reading Book One of The Ranger’s Apprentice to my ten-year-old. As the youngest of three boys, he sometimes needs a little extra love. So, although he could read it himself, we’ve been snuggling and reading together about Will’s training, adventure, and climatic battle with the terrifying Kalkara.

Our teenager, who read the series several years ago, sneaks in nightly, lying across my feet at the end of the bed – or blocking the lamplight for a back-scratch – to listen too. I should have known when he corrected my pronunciation of her name that the gray-eyed girl was more important than her sudden spotlight on page 236 let on.

Alyss.

We weren’t expecting a kiss.

Her lips on his were incredibly, indescribably soft.

Silence as I closed the book, leaving the final chapter for tomorrow. Then…

Seriously?!” the ten-year-old’s eyes sparkled, “That’s it? It’s indescribable?!”

“After all the amazing descriptions of the torch flames as they raced through the woods, and the Kalkara’s claws, and the sound of its screams,” he ranted, “the kiss is indescribable?!”

“You might as well skip the kiss if that’s all you’re going to say about it! Indescribable? Ridiculous?!”

Apparently, we need to hear more from Miss Alyss in Book Two.

 

 

 

 

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His Teenage Name Day

Sitting in the stands at yesterday’s late afternoon soccer game, I held my breath when my son got the ball in front of the goal.

The goalie caught his attempt, but it was a nice shot. Everyone cheered, and above the din, I heard his teammate – their best player nursing an injury – yell, “Nice try, Kelly!”

It took me out of the moment. Until then, none of my boys had been called anything but their first names. The names we chose for them.

But he is 13 – that age when teammates or classmates choose a different name for you. A last name. A shortened version of your own. A weird mashing of words that somehow, they think, describes you. A teenage badge of honor.

I was the only one who noticed. The only one who marked the moment as important.

Then today, another friend, “See ya tomorrow, Kelly!”

That Was Actually Funny, He Said

My teenager and I were sitting on the steps with the dog. It has been a dry winter, and with more than a week of warm February weather, everyone is watering. At our house, the sprinkler needed a quick fix in the yard after it fell off the hose when my son moved it from one spot to another. “I can’t get it back on.”

I was putting my shoes on to help out and hoping the dog poop had been picked up before he had watered the grass. ”If you don’t pick the poop up first, then it’s gross to pick up when the grass is wet.”

“It wasn’t me,” he said. “Dad started it. Blame Dad.”

So, I belted out a little South Park “Blame Canada!”

He chuckled. “Mom, that was actually funny… and surprising.”

“Didn’t think I had any South Park in me, did ya?”

When I Imagined Life as a Grown-Up

When I was a teenager, I pictured myself as a war correspondent, or a world traveler doing research for National Geographic, or if my best friend got to be the first woman President, then maybe ambassador to Ireland or Secretary of State. Whatever I was going to do, adulthood looked exciting and glamorous.

I certainly did not picture myself alone in my car, parked outside of a local late night hangout, waiting in the dark for my thirteen-year-old son’s Mary Poppins’ cast party to end.

The party, orchestrated by the fifteen-year-old girls in the play, was at the Village Inn, where you can get French fries, mac-n-cheese, or chocolate chip pancakes at any time of day. Its parking lot at night – somewhat quiet, only slightly sketchy.

As I tried to stay awake. watching the rare coming and going – two old men in polo shirts, tattooed twenty-somethings holding hands, three baggy-jeaned teens looking to stay out of trouble (I hoped) – I suddenly saw a more realistic view of my life as my son passes through the pre-driving-but-starting-to-be-social years.

“Mom, can I go to the football game tonight?”

“There’s a party at my friend’s house tonight.”

“Mom, all my friends are going to see the new Star Wars movie tonight.”

“I can’t wait for the dance tonight!”

Many more late nights in parking lots waiting as his life begins to look like a big adventure. And I was so proud and excited for him.

When I was at my first cast party, I couldn’t have known that that feeling would be better than the glamorous life I imagined.

The Not So Invisible Mom

My teenager needed his black dress pants dry cleaned before playing Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins this week. So after dropping him off at Drama Camp, then driving his brothers to morning swim practice, I raced back to our neighborhood dry cleaner, picked up the pants, and drove them back to Drama Camp.

There were kids in the hallway working on a dance routine, but he was not with them. So I quietly opened the heavy door to the auditorium, and he headed up the stairs from the stage.

“Thanks.”

“How’s it going?” I whispered.

“Fine.” By then we were in the small vestibule between auditorium and hallway, separated from his fellow thespians on both sides.

“You go first,” he said.

“What?”

“You go first,” he waved me toward the door, sheepishly grinning. “I don’t want anyone to know you’re my mom.”

So of course I stepped out of the vestibule, counted exactly five seconds after the door closed, and watched him come through the door at exactly five. Then, as he registered that I was still there, I stuck my tongue out at him and trounced out the door.

He laughed. Not sure about the young chimney sweeps behind him.

The Great Eye-Roll Debate

“How many times has he rolled his eyes at you since he became a teenager?” my eight year old asked about his older brother.

It has been exactly ten days, and I estimated four to five eye-rolls a day.

“No way!” yelled the novice teen.

“Do you roll your eyes ten times a day?” Was I missing some of them?!

“Much, much less!” He pretended outrage.

“Let’s just say five then. That’s fifty since becoming a teenager.”

The teen and the eight year old simultaneously rolled their eyes. That little guy is starting early.