Monthly Archives: December 2009

Making the Case for Boys

“Mommy, have you ever had a good experience with a boy?” my fourteen year old asked, laughing.

We were telling stories, the ones about my life with the other gender, the males. I have some stories, not many, but some. Interestingly, all of them have elements of disaster, slap-stick and incredulity. They are not the usual tales, I do not think. Most people don’t have boys showing up at their doors flanked by psychiatric nurses, just wanting to say hi, I do not think. 

“That is a movie,” Daphne went on. “I can see it.”

My twelve year old agreed, falling out of her desk chair.

“Did I tell you the one about taking the dog on the train and being kicked off in New Jersey because you are not allowed to take dogs on trains? Flash, did I tell you the one about Flash?”

“Uh, no.”

Well, he was a dog, yes, but really a symbol of my misguided and pathetic devotion to a boy who didn’t, well, reciprocate the feeling, and yes, we waited on the platform somewhere between Philadelphia and Manhattan as train after train blew by, sending our hair/fur into our eyes. Our squinting, visionless eyes. Our what-have-we-done now eyes, because, hey, it was not just me. Flash could have said no.

I have two girls who will soon be interested in boys. Given my history, I could easily suggest to them that they skip the whole experience. In fact, I have, I admit, suggested just that, throwing out the idea that they could sidestep the whole thing by selecting, now, two sons of people I know, dear friends of mine, with solid psyches and brilliant brains. It would make so much sense. They could forget we know them, if they wanted. When they were six, they bought in. Now, it is another story.

“Mommy, you are crazy.”

Okay, then. 

I am left to guide them through the process, when it happens, and I am preparing, mentally. It runs counter to my  current philosophy that boys are like death, you know, with the five steps, but okay, I will commit to the task, as it is a maternal duty. I want my girls to grow up and find the most wonderful mates, yes I do, even if I didn’t. But how, I ask myself, does someone with my clear and disastrous resume impart the right guidance? How does someone who failed the course now teach the class? 

I will have to rely on theory, not personal example. And movies. Movies are good. And motorcycles. When we see one, I point to it and tell them, “If you ever get on one of those things with someone who would drive one of those things, a person like that, with the buckles all over his torso and no graduate degree, you will encounter mayhem in your lives.” 

The whole thing worries me. Don’t make the choices I made, make the choices I would make now, the ones you don’t actually see. Make those. Unless you want to write about it later on. More later. So much more…



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Hold Onto That Leash

Just another reason to adopt a mutt from the pound…it seems the incidence of pedigree thefts has continued to rise during the past three years. Today in Dallas, robbers stole assorted hard goods during a home invasion, along with a very soft good, a one-year old miniature Schnauzer. The people in the house are a wreck. 

The thieves will sell the puppy for a lot of money. They will say he was a stray, or part of a litter from their aunt’s dog, who had lots of baby Schnauzers and just can’t take care of them all. And the buyer will believe them, because why not, the dog is so cute and happy and in need of a home.

Mutts can’t fetch the same sums, so they are probably safe, but a little insulted, I bet. Bad humans. Really bad humans.

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Snow in Texas

This is a silly thing to discuss today, after all the Afghan craziness yesterday, but it is something I’d like to explore. Do your children wear coats? I mean, when it is cold outside, do they go into their closets and pull out thick garments with sleeves and zippers and hoods, sometimes, and put them on before leaving the house? Are there hats involved? Or gloves, and scarves?

Here, in Texas, kids can survive in short sleeves for nine months of the year. For the other three, they add a sweatshirt. This morning, it was 37 degrees outside, and when I made my second trip to school, at 7:35, it was snowing.

“What is that?” said my 14 year old from the back seat, shivering.

“That is snow,” I answered, in sheepskin, and pajamas.

“Wow! Snow!”

“Wow, a coat, maybe.”

“No coat.”

“The vest, without the sleeves?”

Last year, I bought the vest, thinking it was at least something, if it wasn’t a coat. She loved the vest, I thought.

“It doesn’t do anything,” she said. 

“Then, there is something to do.”

It was early for word games. And we had arrived at school. Instead of dropping her off a half mile away and making her feel the cold, step by blustery step, I pulled up a little closer than usual. I am a bad parent. I am not tough enough. Tomorrow, I am going to be so mean. I am going to make her wear the vest. 


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