Friday, June 28, 2013

Breaking Records, Getting Famous, and Naked People on a Roller Coaster

Can you believe what this guy did?” asked my ten-year-old as he recounted another amazing feat he’d discovered in The Guiness Book of World Records. He went on to regale me with the astounding accomplishments of the individuals with the “most stuffed bears,” “largest ball of twine,” “furthest distance of squirting milk out your eye,” and wait for it – “the most naked people on a rollercoaster!” I remember my own fascination with Guiness. I believe its main audience hovers right around age 10.

I must have been seven or eight when I decided I would break the Guiness record for continuous swinging. It was a long, endless summer day ripe for adventures like becoming world famous, so I marched determinedly out to the swing set that my father had installed in the woods on the edge of the yard. I don’t remember if I told my mom of my plans. Odds are she was long gone to the tennis courts by then.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

CAUTION: Student Driver

There are many aspects of parenting that are fun, exciting, rewarding even, but teaching your 16-year-old to drive is not one of them. It is necessary and important and I’m confident it will eventually be less of a nail-biter, but the first month is definitely a test of your parenting chops.

As I tooled around our town early this morning, my son at the wheel, I considered how we would survive the 60 hours of mandatory supervision required of all young drivers seeking a license in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, the learning curve has been steep for my child, but I still find myself holding my breath at intersections and concentrating on keeping my mouth shut as much as possible. As you can imagine, this is not easy for me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

What's That Smell?

There is a distinctive smell to my house that I’m only aware of in the first few moments when I walk in the door after being gone a few hours, but even more so when I come home from a few days away. It smells like “home”.

On a day to day basis, I never notice the smell, but after a time away it is a precious bouquet of safety, comfort, and love. I’ve tried to pin down the smell. There is a faint scent of baking bread, with overtones of Murphy’s soap and lavender. When I breathe deeper I smell grass and wood and animals.

My teenagers have a potent aroma all their own, a blend of hormones, sweat, and hair products. It’s especially overpowering first thing in the morning or seated beside one of them in the car. When they were babies I craved the scent of them. It was a sour, sticky, sweet perfume. On nights when their frightened cries or my own fears drove me the nursery in the dark center of night, that familiar scent calmed me. Snuggling the sweaty, limp body close I would breathe in deep and wish that I could bottle it.