Love All Your Pieces

Elder turned twenty-one yesterday, so today I thought I would share one of my favorite moments with him when he was only five years old and I could still ignore the fact he would soon grow into a man . . .

Last night as I readied Elder for bed, I gave him a hug and a kiss.  Then I told him, “I love you.”  Without responding, he turned towards the bedroom, so I caught his arm and repeated, “I love you, Elder.”

“Mom,” he said, looking up at me with sincere blue eyes.  “I love you like a balloon that gets too full and pops.”

“Oh,” I murmured, both touched and impressed by his metaphor, not to mention the arms that he had spread wide to indicate the size of the balloon.

“And then,” he continued, dropping his arms and walking away, “I love all your pieces.”

. . . And for twenty-one years my love for him has filled and popped many, many balloons.

And I love all his pieces.





Living somewhere in the back of beyond, we have few options for internet. For the last eighteen months, we have settled on tethering to our phones. But we only have twenty gig of data.

So, let’s do some math.

Twenty gig of data divided by two young men equals . . . no data in about five minutes.

Since I need internet for my employment, we have warned the boys that we will shut them down at six gig.

And so we have.

Every. Single. Month.

This month they almost lasted three weeks. But on Tuesday, Younger’s birthday, I checked the current usage.

“You’re over your limit,” I told Younger.

“No, I’m not,” he stated, staring into my eyes like he had access to the Jedi mind trick. “I’m not over my limit.”

I rolled my eyes, and due to the day being his seventeenth birthday, I allowed him to continue to have access.

His dad was not so gifting. Or perhaps he is immune to the Jedi.

“Will be late. Had to stop to turn off the boys’ data,” he texted me while I was in class.

“The betrayal,” Younger howled as soon as I stepped into the house. “The treachery.”

“You know the limits, Younger,” I responded.

“How can you so betray me? Your only teenage son?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Where do you want to go for your birthday?”

“Wherever they have internet.”

“You are spending time with your family, not your phone.”

“Oh, the betrayal!”

Ah, that he has to deal with such perfidy. And on his birthday, even.

Life . . . without internet . . . apparently, it ain’t for the sissies.

I really don’t know how are forefathers survived.







Elder is now twenty years old. Well, twenty years and two days, actually.

For the last several weeks, Younger taunted, “Have you realized, Mom, that in just a few weeks, Elder will no longer be a teenager?”

Then late Monday night, when I texted that I loved and missed him while he traveled with his Dad, Younger responded, “Elder is 19 years 364 days, and 21 years old. Still love/miss me?”

Not quite as much.

The last day I had with my oldest as a teenager, he sprawled on the sofa with his head in my lap. “Stop petting my hair,” he told me, shaking his head so the curls fell back into place. “I’m not a dog.” But then after a moment, he offered, “You can scratch my back.”

“I thought you weren’t a dog,” I countered.

But I scratched his back.

And now Younger is the only teenager in our household.

Which he views as a position to be spoiled.

How did the years slip through greedy fingers? How did the tiny baby wrapped tightly in a blanket morph overnight into a grown man?

When exactly did I lose control?

Oh, yeah, I remember.

July 12, 1996.

Going on Six Foot

This Saturday, Younger will celebrate his fifteenth birthday.

For the last six months, he’s been telling me while standing nose-to-nose with me, “I’m taller than you, Mom.”

And I reply, “I want you to grow taller than me, Younger. Boys should grow taller than their moms.”

“Yeah,” he will say with his special smile, “but you don’t want me to be taller than you, yet.”

Dang, but someone raised him to be smart.

The other day, he was at the grocery store with me, trailing behind me when I pushed our cart into the aisle filled with chips. Immediately, I noticed a lady about halfway down the confined space struggling to reach a bag shoved several inches back on the top shelf. Since the shelf was made of interwoven metal mesh, she would poke the very tip of a finger through one hole and inch (more like micro inch) the bag towards the edge and then poke her finger through the next hole and inch the bag towards the edge.

“Can I help you?” I asked when I reached her.

She eased back on her heels with a laugh. “Are you taller than me?”

Behind me, I could practically feel Younger vibrate, ready to prove himself when his mother could not retrieve a bag of chips from a top shelf. Ignoring him, I grabbed the chips, offering the lady the bag while resisting the urge to toss the deflating Younger a look.

Just because he’s going on fifteen doesn’t mean I’m short.

It just means I’m old.

And I’m trying really hard to be okay with that.

And maybe a little bit okay with him getting taller than me — if he was, which I can’t admit because he reads my blog.

Happy 15th Birthday, Younger!!