Friday, July 20, 2018

Parenting, No. 785

I went to visit Henry this afternoon at his new job. He's a server at a funky little place in Venice. Maybe I shouldn't use the word funky anymore since very recently, like yesterday, Oliver told me that it was embarrassing. Maybe he didn't use the word embarrassing, but he repeated the word funky in a voice that I guess is mine, at least the voice that both sons use when they imitate me, and while I imagine there's fondness in the teasing, it still takes me by surprise that I'm considered painfully uncool and old. Both brothers have jobs this summer (Oliver actually works nearly full-time all year round, recently opened a Charles Schwab trading account and has bought stocks -- no joke), and I'm very proud of them. It's been a long time since I've included them on the old blog, and just now I was looking for past posts in a kind of nostalgic way, and boy -- some of those posts were damn funny. I sat down at the bar of this little restaurant where Henry works, next to a younger woman who was drinking a glass of wine and eating a salad. Since I'm the chattiest person on the planet and the proudest, most embarrassing mother, I introduced myself to the woman and told her that Henry was my son. She told me that she had a four year old son, and that he was in a challenging stage. I told her that I remember well those challenging stages, but I found those times to be more physically challenging and the teenaged and young adult years more emotionally challenging. I didn't tell her this story, but Reader, I 'll tell you. Just the other night, we were sitting at the table eating dinner -- takeout Vietnamese because making dinner in the summer is just not my thing -- and the usual conversation between The Brothers began, and this entailed arguing about whether LeBron James or Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time and then something about the baseball player Mike Trout and Teslas and Elon Musk and then you're an idiot and you're an asshole and you don't know what you're talking about, and just when I was wishing that one day we would have a conversation about -- let's say -- the greatest living poet or how much better a film-maker Fellini is than Tarantino, Sophie had a large seizure that I just know was a result of the anger in the air and maybe even how boring her brothers' arguments can be (Sophie and I are the same about these things, I am certain, but she seizes instead of dying a little inside at the general clusterfuckery). I probably said as much, because now that they're 17 and nearly 20, I don't bite my tongue as often as I might have when they were younger. Enough is enough.

But here's the thing. Those boys jumped up and into action helping me to help Sophie, and I realized that I am, perhaps, the luckiest mother in the world.


  1. Having a part in raising decent human beings is an honor.

  2. Ah, yes! When you realize that you've achieved parenting nirvana.


  3. I read “clusterfuckery” as “cluckfuckery” because I’m having the rare Friday night martini and reading your blog amid a bluster of chickens (mine) and, well, that’s it. As the mother of two sons who argue in a similar fashion, I’d say yes, lucky, and yes, luckiest.

  4. Aren't all us Moms just the luckiest people in the World?! So glad to hear about how your Boys are doing... and Siblings will be Siblings. With The G-Kid Force that I'm raising the hardest part for them is separation from all of their other Siblings not being raised by us. Both of them have a tonnage of Siblings... and tho' I'm Glad I'm not raising every single one since that would be beyond Insanity... it grieves me that they all didn't get the privilege of growing up together and having the Moments that Siblings just have... good and bad.

  5. Dang Elizabeth! 😢🤣😢😢😢😢. 1. If you are old, what am I at almost 62? 2. Hard to read your posts normally♥️ 3. I love you. 4. Repost Oliver and the blow up palm tree cause I LOLed by myself last night!

  6. But you know what? I will bet money that your sons are going to be close some day. Children are supposed to be embarrassed by their parents and dislike their siblings or they would never want to move out. And then they do move out and they realize how great home and parents and siblings are.

  7. First off, I think that T. just invented my new favorite word- cluckfuckery. I will be using it regularly and liberally.
    Boys. Boys, boys, boys.
    Do you suppose it's an evolved thing for them to squabble and fight? One of them will eventually have to leave the tribe of the apes and move to another tribe, thus ensuring the optimal genetic distribution?
    Oh, who knows? But since Cain and Abel....
    But you know and I know and they know that if push comes to shove, these boys have each other's back and that's all there is to it.
    They are beautiful boys and you have raised them well.

  8. Give them another 5 years (max) and you will have the discussions on Fellini and poetry. Last night I was actually trying (and failing) to get out of an endless exchange with my daughter on what qualifies as feminist poetry and I forget what else. Not because it wasn't riveting and enlightened but because I was ready for bed and she was only just starting.

  9. Siblings love to fight with each other, my two oldest are 27 and 34 and they turn back into bickering children around each other. You raised two fine young men and you will become cool again. My daughter used to make comments about how uncool I was and now she's kind to me. It's weird but very nice. When I visited her in February, I wore my long down filled coat because Vancouver is cold in the winter and she told me long coats are instyle now. Who knew?

    I like cluckfuckery too.

  10. Your descriptions of your boys bickering used to comfort me greatly, as my own two teenagers engaged in the same. Why oh why couldn't they just get along. Well, guess what. Now they are 24 and 26 and no longer living under the same roof and they get along wonderfully. Although, when they are back in the place where they grew up, they often fall back into horseplay that makes me so very anxious as I try to position myself between the wall and their precious heads. I think the arguing is how siblings bond. My aunt once told me this and she and her eight siblings could not have been closer their entire lives. The way those boys sprang into action to help Sophie is your window onto this. You're lucky, yes, but their lovingness is no accident. You raised them this way. Beautiful post. And I always said Oliver was going to be the family mogul!

  11. Thanks for catching us up on the lives of the "kids" (not so much kids anymore though). Yes, you ARE perhaps the luckiest mother in the world. I love how quickly the boys pitch in to help with their sister. It's an interesting idea that Sophie may have been responding to the atmosphere in the room when she seized -- have you found that to be the case in the past? I'm not sure I've ever thought about the possibility that seizures could work that way.



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