Friday, November 8, 2013

The Me on the Shelf

“I feel like I put myself in a box on a shelf for 16 years and now I’ve just taken it down and opened it again.” I may be the writer but my husband said it perfectly. I’d been having this odd feeling similar to when I went away to college or moved in to my own apartment the first time. This feeling of expansiveness, as if anything is possible.

Lately many mornings when I run, I’m conscious of an overwhelming feeling of transition. I thought it wouldn’t happen until my last kid left for college. This year my youngest entered sixth grade. He doesn’t need my assistance getting ready for school so my mornings are no longer consumed by finding shoes, tying laces, packing lunches or buttering anyone’s toast but my own.

Other than chauffeuring, laundry, and a few meal services, my kids operate very much in their own worlds now. My oldest is on the brink of getting his driver’s license, so I will be out of one of those jobs very soon. I try to pull together dinner a few times a week, but with practice, rehearsals, meetings, and games, my kids can’t always make it. They are busy. I’ve become more of a spectator than a player in their lives. Sure, they still need to be reminded to do their chores (now much more than when they were younger and more compliant), but they rarely need my help with homework, hobbies, or their social lives. They got it, Mom. Thanks for the offer. It is usually best if I just stay quiet.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Hate Crazy Hair Day

I hate Crazy Hair Day. Can I just say that? Every school year we sail along smoothly and then sometime in October, Crazy Hair Day rocks the boat. For most kids Crazy Hair Day is a fun day. They turn their locks into masterpieces – spikes, colors, decorations, gel-engineered creations that look painful. My older two children were full participants, dreaming up hairdo’s that could only be perfected in their imaginations and crushed when their mother couldn’t fulfill their dreams with her curling iron and hair spray. Still, the day was one of laughs and squeals and smiles.

Crazy Hair Day seemed completely harmless until I had a kid with no hair. My youngest child has Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes his white blood cells to attack his hair follicles. At age 4 he became completely bald and has been ever since. He doesn’t remember having hair so early elementary years he was relatively unaffected. It was just the way he was. Some kids have big noses or green eyes; Ian has no hair.