Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Aim High

En route to swimming lessons we drive through an area of town that may have the most intersections and stoplights within one square mile of the city. Invariably there are a lot of cars lined up in every direction. Other than the fact that all of these streets converge in a confusing manner, it's a prime location for people carrying cardboard signs, looking for a little help in tough times.

Yesterday was swimming lesson day. We pulled behind three other cars, stopped and waited for the light to turn green. I noticed a man seated, with a sign, on the right hand side of the intersection. Life had folded his skin rather than creased it. His limbs were long and strong. Dead eyes looked down and around heavy lids, barely up and over the sign he held in his lap. His appearance moved me. I found him courageous.

Nate sits on the right side of the car, and was staring in the direction of the man. This seemed a better time to discuss homelessness than the opportunity we had a few days ago on the Ventura Pier with the batshit crazy drunken loon of a woman lunging toward us screaming, "Hey, where'd you get that kid?? I need to get me one of those!" I'm quite a bit less compassionate when the crazy is unpredictable, scary, and forty feet above waves crashing on rocks...

The light changed and I asked Nate, "What do you think of that guy?"

"I think I can't read his sign."

We traveled passed the man and through the intersection.

"Mom, how does he think he's going to get any money if we can't read his sign? All I can see is 'Need', plus it's all bent up and he's not even pointing it in the right direction."

Hmmm, sorry I asked. A wise woman would ferme la bouche..."It looks like maybe he's had a hard life."

"No, I think he just wants our money."

"Maybe he's having a tough time right now and could use some help."

"No, he looks fine to me; you don't have to worry about him Mom, it's just a jip."

"A what?"

"A jip. He's just trying to jip everyone out of their money so he doesn't have to get a job and actually earn money. He just takes everyone elses."

"I see." Thankfully we were almost to the pool, but not soon enough.

"Mom, the problem with that is that when I get older I think that I may not be very healthy and then no one will give me any money when I ask for it because those guys who actually should get a job are taking all the money and tricking everyone when actually, I will be the one needing the money."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Two And A Half Men (and one wild pup)

We celebrated our Leo birthdays with Grayson at The Lake this year.

It's become a regular spot.

The boys rented a boat, while Cooper and I hiked, we all picnicked.

They allowed me a few pics, and then they were done with me.

It was a fun afternoon with all my boys together.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


One of the great things about being mom to my kid is all the great conversations we have. I admit, there are more conversations than I prefer at times. Actually, it's probably that certain conversations simply go on too long. I have not mastered the art of ending them gracefully, that's for sure. I may have even stopped trying. In diplomacy, there is always wiggle room for your opposition to get back in the game. I hope I'm not damaging my son by telling him directly, 'I am not discussing the inner workings of the (DMV)anymore, ever again, period.' Frankly, I think I need to tell him sooner in the process, because sometimes, that's exactly what it is...a long, long process. Also, I must learn to ignore him, they say choosing your battles in marriage and child rearing is key, and I believe it. Letting the battles go is tough though, particularly when all your buttons are being hammered on at once.

I went to a parenting class a few years ago and one of the group exercises was for each person to anonymously write down one of his or her particular parenting challenges and toss it into a hat. Each group then picked problems out of the hat and attempted to give unbiased constructive feedback toward solutions. Generally, a fine idea and lots of great ideas were exchanged. I did not express my challenge adequately. The solution I got to my incessant talker and foolish self imposed requirement to engage fully and answer every thought and whim every time, in every conversation was, ready for this? to give said child my undivided attention, look him in the eye, and tell him, "I care about what you have to say, and I'm willing to listen for 4.5 minutes, then I'm going to make dinner." Really? Was there some slight of hand in there that I completely missed? Does the 4.5 minute bit activate an off switch that nobody told me about? 4.5 minutes is not a problem. 4.5 hours, days or weeks is a problem, depending on the subject matter. Maybe I am a selfish and terrible mother for seeking ways to hush my child's voice, his inquisitive and bright mind, his very curiosity.

Really, I am most interested, dedicated even, to facilitating his interests, helping him find his passion, his expression. With that in mind, we may need to rework the last of the summer hit list. Do they offer summer camp or tours of the post office, DMV, or EDCO?

Drop off tours that is.