A Random Thought…..

Why is it that, at Addie J’s tae kwon do sparring classes, I feel like I’m the only parent who is just watching lightheartedly, without being invested in the outcome?

This is what I thought it would be:


This, however, is how it is:

    Thank You, Baby Jesus, for Fourth Grade Teachers.

    I sent Addie J’s teacher a message yesterday, to thank her for helping Addie with shades of meaning in their reading assignment. Apparently fourth grade is the year you learn the difference between a strip MALL and a strip CLUB. (My child did not know the difference. Also, my child knew what a strip club was in the first place. Where’s my Mother of the Year trophy?)

    So thank you to Susan and to all fourth grade teachers, who explain these differences to our 9-year-olds as though it’s not freaking hilarious, and then just go on with the lesson.

      Belated Mother’s Day Love

      I’m late, because I spent the weekend out of town with my girls. Gabby was competing this weekend (she’s interesting: she won a ribbon, a medal, and a trophy- but none of those competitions are the ones she cares about, so she’s still disappointed), and so we made a girls’ weekend out of it. Dave and Cam, by the way, went to Cammy’s lacrosse tournament where Cam’s team won third and were, generally, awesome as usual.  I’m just sorry these two events happened at the same time.

      Here’s the thing: I’ve told you this before, but I don’t need a day to feel special about being a mother. It is my life’s great privilege to be with these three kids, and I share the honor with my favorite person in the world– so, you know, embarrassment of riches. And yet: Gabby told me she was winning a trophy for me today. Addie has already given me her sweet, heartfelt gifts because she couldn’t wait for Sunday. Cam and Dave are out right now, getting me crab legs for dinner because they love me. I mean: this is a pretty good family I have.

      So this Mother’s Day is for my mom. She was the one person, my entire childhood, in whom I had absolute confidence (I always figured Dad would defer to Mom in difficult situations). She told us relentlessly that we were equal to our brothers and our voices should be heard. She listened to me tell her that I wanted to earn a degree in entertainment, and said, “Go for it,”  instead of, “No way.”

      Also, for my mother-in-law, Kathy. She raised Dave and his siblings mostly on her own. Thanks, Kath, for your eldest son. He’s great.

      My sisters and sisters-in-law. I love you guys. I love your kids.

      My friends. I actually don’t have any friends who haven’t taught me something about parenting. Thanks for being inspirations to me.

      And everyone else. I hope your day was lovely– whether you are a mother or have a mother.


        Happy Mother’s Day!

        [Note: or is it Mothers’ Day? Anyone?]

        As usual, my Mother’s Day will be filled with kid activities (lacrosse tournaments, dance competitions), which does me just fine. I am so fortunate to actually have given birth to the most awesome three kids ever created, so I don’t need to set aside a day to feel special. I’m pretty aware of how good I have it. However, Cameron sent me the below with the comment, “I’ve been laughing for 20 minutes.” Me too, kid.

        Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, and a special shout-out to my mom. Love you Mom!!!!

          Addie J and a New Saab

          Addie J won a school spirit award last night at her tae kwon do belt testing. Her prize? A bottle of Mountain Dew. But I turned that to my advantage by allowing her to have some this morning with breakfast. This way, I’m a hero, and her teacher has to deal with a sugared-up JJ (sorry, Susan). Also, the Mountain Dew appeared to give her magical powers of reasoning: before she left for school, she looked into my eyes and said: “Mom. Rocking chairs are just chairs until you rock them yourself.”

          Did I tell you we bought a car over the weekend? I am now driving a newer version of my Saab. This is because A. we’ve had my old Saab for a few years now and it was time; and B. Cam is going to need a car to drive and WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN WTF IS GOING ON SUNRISE SUNSET. But: part of what I always loved about my old Saab was its weird pickiness, which led me to call it The Swedish Bitch. Random, weird, not-terribly-serious things would occasionally happen to the car, and then just as suddenly be fine again. Well, yesterday, as I switched on the wipers for the first time, my new car was like, “Did you seriously make me come out in the rain? ….Guess what: only one of these wipers is going to work…..  just kidding, they’re both working. No they’re not. Yes they are. No they’re not. Piss off, put me back in the garage.”

          Dave says the problem is a broken bracket, which is easy to replace. See? Nothing really wrong. Swedish Bitch The Second.

            Addie J cracks me up.

            Cam had a lacrosse tournament yesterday, and we decided at the last minute to bring the girls, too. It turned out to be a good decision, because another family brought their girls, and all the kids were able to spend the day together and it was a lot of fun. But I’m telling you about it mainly because of this: while Addie J and I were walking through the parking lot, I saw a lone slice of deli ham lying on the ground. “Look, Addie,” I said. “Want some ham?”

            And Addie did a perfect double-take and responded in the most hilariously sincere lament, “That’s ham? Oh, NO- not the HAM!!!!!”

            Honestly not sure whether she was kidding or serious.

              Things I’ve learned about boys.

              A team of male high school lacrosse players, while discussing their performance in a game, can get really animated. They can start yelling their points at each other, and whip themselves into a frenzy. And then one of them will calmly request that someone calm down, using a phrase that is inappropriate to use in any place except a team huddle, and the entire group will start laughing and indeed calm down. And then, even if they’ve been angrily yelling at each other, it’s over. There’s no drama. There are no hard feelings. No one intended anything personal and no one took anything personally. This has been a learning curve for me: more than once I have heard someone yell at my son on the field and asked him about it later. Usually he looks confused for a second, then says something like, “Oh, yeah. It’s fine,” shrugs dismissively, and that’s it.

              Dave tells me that this is standard male team dynamic: when they bond and trust each other, they create room to also get mad at and yell at each other. And recognize when they need support, and provide that for each other very matter-of-factly. And just learn to work together for a common goal, without leaving anyone behind.

              It’s actually pretty cool to see.

                This actually happened (I think):

                Last night, I was having a rather intense discussion with one of my children. No one was yelling or anything- but it wasn’t going anywhere: the child in question was too busy providing reasons why this was not their responsibility to hear what I was saying. If you are a parent, then you’ve been there.

                Then, one of the other kids came into the room and said, with zero sarcasm, “Give Mom the respect she deserves and listen to what she has to say. She’s trying to help you.” –Gave the kid in question a hug, and walked back out again.

                What I’m saying is that, due to the weather migraine I experienced yesterday, I may have been hallucinating.

                  Driver’s Ed

                  [Note: I wondered about the apostrophe in “Driver’s Ed.” When I looked it up I could not find a consensus. My state actually calls it Driver Education which I clearly cannot do. I’m accepting opinions on this matter.]

                  Cam has his learner’s permit. He is driving my beloved Saab around. He is doing fine. And I am feeling the following things:

                  • Low- to mid-level apprehension, the whole time he’s driving
                  • Pressure to seem relaxed and confident, all while primed to be like, “STOP!!!!!!!!!!” at any moment
                  • Impressed with how relaxed he actually is while he drives.
                  • Sad (always this) that my dad isn’t here to let him drive the truck and give him his little no-nonsense tips
                  • Surreal. Because, isn’t this the little boy who required that I attach his Batman cape to every outfit he wore, at all times? That kid with the chubby cheeks, sweetly uncoordinated like a puppy, who stole my orange scarf to be Michelangelo of the Ninja Turtles? Who is this lean and athletic young man, sliding confidently into the driver’s seat? It’s not a bad thing that he’s getting older; in fact, he’s turning into a great person, so in a lot of ways it’s awesome. It’s also, just…. surreal.
                  • This is not just his milestone. My God, it’s mine too.


                    Addie J, the Sociologist

                    ADDIE J: Mom, who’s your favorite kid?

                    JULIE: I don’t have a favorite.

                    ADDIE J: No, come on. Who is it?

                    JULIE: When each one of you was born, a whole universe of love opened up in my heart that belonged only to you. So Cam has his own universe of love, and Gabby has her own universe of love, and you have your own universe of love. You can’t compare sizes of infinite universes, after all.

                    ADDIE J:

                    JULIE: So, no: I don’t have a favorite.

                    ADDIE J:

                    JULIE: Because it’s impossible to compare universes of love.

                    ADDIE J:

                    JULIE: Which you all have.

                    ADDIE J: That’s not what they said on the news. On the news, they said that moms have a favorite kid, and it’s usually the youngest. So it’s probably me.

                    I guess that’s that.

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