Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Silence and Heat

That deafening silence of last week is over. It’s been over for a few days, actually, as Ty came home from Sequim on Friday (but having one kid seems so easy and quiet). Yesterday afternoon, Leah came home from Camp Orkila, exhausted, croaky-voiced from too much singing and cheering, and appreciative of home (I’m thinking I’ll be sending her away every summer just so I can bask in her pleasure—it was really quite cute). Thus we begin the fragmented, multiple-way conversations of family life again. I like it. (But those few days of silence? Absolutely the best.)

And the heat. I love the heat. Love. It. My bones unlock, my muscles unfold, and my whole body feels more relaxed. Truly, I should be living in a Mediterranean climate or some such.

And yet. My love of hot temperatures feels bittersweet because with it comes worry. Worry about these temps being signs of climate change, melting poles, hurricane inducers … I worry about thirty years from now and what the world will look like for my kids. I worry about the prospect of their having kids. I worry about what all our lives will look like, but especially theirs. Does anyone else worry?

I keep telling myself we’re just setting a weather record, that 1960 had a heatwave like this one, that it’s not a trend but an anomaly. The Midwest is, according to friend, having a cooler summer than normal—that’s good, right?—and we’re having their typical temperatures. Still, I can’t bring myself to believe it. The heat feels bigger than that.

It’s not like I’m walking around with a furrow in my brow. Like I said, I love the heat, and a good dose of it helps me get through the winter feeling less desperate. But I also have this little shadow of guilt and doubt that won’t go away. And last night, at 11:00, Ty came home from a sleepover because he was “too hot and too homesick.” He’s never homesick at a friend’s house. It felt like a harbinger of things to come.

I’m thinking I’m going to be relieved when the heat abates. I never thought I’d be the person to say that.


Tagged as:

Bike Helmets

I am putting out an impassioned plea for all cyclists to wear bike helmets all the time, even if you’re only riding to your friend’s house a few blocks away (and I can tell you, I am mightily guilty of riding without a helmet back in the day).

If you’re one of those parents who put helmets on their kids but not themselves, then get with it and get yours on too. Go buy one if you have to because your kids want you around for their high school graduations.

Here’s why I care: Last week a friend was out on a training ride one evening when he was hit by a car from behind. He was thrown up onto the car, breaking the windshield as he went, to somersault over the back and land on his head. His helmet saved his life. Even so, he suffered a major concussion, deep, deep bruising, broken ribs, and broken vertebrae, as well as acres of road rash. His healing process will be lengthy. If he hadn’t been wearing a helmet, well, I don’t need to say it.

All it takes is one inattentive driver. Get yourself a helmet. For your kids’ sake.


Tagged as:

Sunny Northwest

This morning I dropped off Leah at the YMCA for her first foray off to Camp Orkila on Orcas island—a weeklong sleep-away camp (her first; I’ll let you know how it goes). Later I drove Ty to the Keystone Ferry, where we boarded as walk-on passengers to rendezvous with Ty’s auntie Lisa and cousin Ruby for Ty’s own three days of Camp Lisa. I caught the same ferry back.

Can you hear the silence? It’s deafening.

Driving to Keystone and back with a ferry ride in between is no small task, I tell you, but on a day like today, I can’t complain. The ferry crossing to Port Townsend was glorious, and it’s much more fun going as a walk-on than a drive-on, I discovered. I’m already plotting how to get the family to Port Townsend for a car-free weekend of great restaurants. But never mind that now, what I really mean to say is this: we live in a truly spectacular part of the world. This fact (that I only remember in the summer) was corroborated by an elderly New Zealander, whom I chatted with on the way back to Keystone. He now lives over the border on the Sunshine Coast and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today, neither would I.


Tagged as:


This week we have entered the new world of makeup, courtesy of a friend of Leah’s who recently got the parental green light. Leah wanted to follow through that green light, and since we don’t have any age rules for anything in this house (okay, well, I guess driving, drinking, graduating high school…), I said, Okay, I’ll take you, but you have to use your own money.

Not until we were standing in the makeup aisle with all those colors in front of us did I realize how much I cared. That she not wear it. I really cared.

I am not a makeup person, as anyone who knows me can attest. It’s not that I object to it on any philosophical level, per se; mostly that I just can’t be bothered and the mascara only comes out for special occasions like weddings. About every two years.

So, but anyway, in high school I did consciously choose not to wear it except for prom, because I decided I didn’t want to be one of those people who couldn’t leave the house without makeup (you know those people who look so different you can’t believe they’re the same person? And how can you go trekking in Nepal if you can’t handle no makeup?).

Mainly, though, young girls’ skin is just so pretty, and I don’t want Leah covering up her already pink cheeks with blush or anything else. I told her that. I told her her skin was too beautiful to cover up. She settled on mascara, eye shadow, and blush (anyway) and I let her buy it and that afternoon she experimented, arriving in the kitchen periodically. 

“What do you think, Mom? I mixed the eye shadow shades and put the darker shade at the edge of my eye. It’s supposed to make your eyes look bigger.”

Well, I had to admit, she had done a nice job, so nice I could barely see the changes, which is exactly what I prefer.

“It looks good, Leah.” Hmm, maybe I can learn a few tricks here. “But you know, you don’t have to wear this stuff every day or anything.”

“I know.”

She floated around for the rest of the day, utterly content with her new purchases and new freedom.

If she’s wearing it, I can’t tell. I haven’t checked that closely, but I’m guessing the novelty has already worn off. Or not. Maybe she’ll start using it in earnest when school starts. One thing for sure, if I’d said no, we would be talking about it every day, and this way, she gets to decide whether it’s important to her. I guess a little makeup never hurt anyone. I’ll save the no’s for the bigger issues.


Tagged as: ,

Movie Conflicts

 **Warning: this entry contains movie plot summary.

 So, here we are on a rainy afternoon, the perfect kind of day to go see a movie with my kids in the theater, but no one can agree on what to watch. Or rather, the kids can’t. Ty and I think Star Trek would be fun, but Leah doesn’t like sci-fi, so she decides she’ll invite a friend to the mall while we go to the movie (at the mall). Alas, no friends are to be found. So Ty decides he’ll play with a friend instead while Leah and I go see The Proposal. Again, no friends. The obvious solution is we all go together, my preference anyway, but what to see?

This is how a nine-year-old boy ends up at a PG-13 chick flick.

I’m not opposed to him seeing The Proposal, necessarily (an updated version of Green Card). He’s seen Mama Mia and Baby Mama and Tootsie. But when we run into three different neighborhood families here to see Up, I feel a little sheepish. “We’re seeing The Proposal,” I admit, and they all chuckle. And when I notice, in the theater, the audience is comprised almost solely of adult women, with a couple guys hiding in the back, I feel self conscious. My kids are the only kids here, and Ty is the size of a seven-year-old. I know nothing about this movie except Leah wants to see it and the preview on YouTube was funny.

But when the lights go down and the movie rolls, we settle in and start to laugh. The plot? A magazine editor, played by Sandra Bullock, is the boss from hell who takes her bossiness to new levels when she orders her underling male secretary, played by Ryan Reynolds, to marry her so she can retain her work visa and thus her job (she’s Canadian).

“I feel sorry for that guy,” Ty stage whispers. He gets it. Not that Bullock is subtle. So far, so good, though—nothing Ty can’t handle.

When they head to Alaska for a weekend with his parents, the movie gets funnier. Ty’s favorite quote? “You touch my ass again, I’ll cut your balls off in your sleep.” (The assistant is sort of helping Bullock climb down a ladder in stilettos, and, well, but he’s really a sweetie and that’s obvious to all and he’s just getting a little revenge. He deserves it with all he’s put up with.)

How is it, Ty wants to know, that those little body scrub cloths can cover up Bullock’s nether region so effectively, when in real life you really can’t cover up nearly so easily. (She’s wet from the shower and trying to escape an invasive pesky puppy, while the underling has taken his clothes off to change and neither knows the other is in the room. They literally collide, to Ty’s wide-eyed delight. But you don’t really see anything except naked profiles—okay, yes, full body profiles, but no boobs whatsoever.)

And then there’s the male stripper at the local Sitka bar who’s not much of a dancer but does take it off down to his black Spandex undershorts. (But he is pathetic after all, and it’s totally supposed to be funny and, anyway, I’m not sure Ty knows what a stripper is, although I think he did get the dance moves.)

Um, yeah.

On the other hand, what’s so bad about a boy watching two people fall in love (because of course they do) through a series of comic errors, even if there are naked bodies? Personally, I’d rather he watch a little kissing than tank after tank getting blown to smithereens? Hey, maybe I’m grooming a sensitive boy who will happily head off to chick flicks with his girlfriend someday and actually enjoy them, no eye rolling involved. She’ll thank me, don’t you think?

Still, I feel self conscious again when the lights go up and we all exit the movie together, Ty the shortest audience member by about two feet. As we clear the mall and stride toward our car in the rain, Ty trotting next to me, he says, “That was really funny, Mom. Totally inappropriate, but really funny.”

Thanks, Ty. Way to rub it in, buddy.

1 comment

Tagged as: ,