Tag Archives: parents

Dangers of salt water


Bike path, no automobiles, NYCDOT SR-1801

Last week a boy at EJD’s high school died while riding his bike to class. EJD and I must have passed him on our way to school that morning because he died on the same road we’d just traveled.

I can’t encapsulate the magnitude of screaming, aching, ragged pain his death brought to this town, and to his family and friends. He’d missed the bus that morning. It was garbage day in the lovely town of Charlotte so naturally garbage bins clogged sidewalks on the heavily trafficked roadway, on which there is no bike lane. This 14-year-old boy, Drew, rode swiftly while maneuvering the smelly obstacle course. Police surmised one handlebar clipped a bin and Drew fell into the street then a tractor-trailer instantly captured his life.
The next day EJD and I again drove down the same street. A lone boy walked away from the small impromptu memorial set up on Sharon Road where Drew died. From my passing vantage point on the other side of the street the boy’s lanky gate looked lethargic and dejected. My son sat passenger’s side. He whipped his head around and exclaimed, “That’s Drew’s best friend!”
That’s right sweet boy, I thought, your buddy is gone. It was unmistakable and untouchable, that boy’s pain. I hoped a mom or dad would hold him tight that night.
I don’t know what happened the morning Drew woke up to go to school, a news story said he’d missed his bus, hence the bike ride. I told my 15-year-old son I hoped Drew’s mother hadn’t said “You ride your bike to school!” I hope some version of that didn’t happen.
I imagine almost every death of a loved one leaves second guessing in its wake. Perhaps that excludes some illnesses. My own sister killed herself about 14 years ago and I still think of the “what ifs.”  At this late date I am finally learning to relinquish some responsibility. The tide of life moves in and moves out, slowly filling in our painful crags. But the tide for some people consists  of tears, and the unexpected death of a loved one is the death of trust and possibility; sadness becomes part of the rhythm of life.
That is why we all need swimming lessons, so the undertow can’t claim the survivors.

Sunday, or the day to regret not exposing children to life-changing experiences


Today is the day my son and I should be out at a farmer’s market or cool little neighborhood festival. Feel the breeze, experience varied cultures as we shop for ripe farm fresh produce or sample different fair foods that are intended to clog arteries at a record-setting pace.

However, and that’s a big “however” with a teenager, my 15-year-old son does not want to be seen with me. It is hard to comprehend for the uninitiated. But I think he would rather sit in a dark, skeleton filled hall cringing to audible moaning than be seen by one of his acquaintances with his … mother.

Acquaintances, as in a kid his age who he doesn’t even know but might recognize because their hair might be almost the same color as someone one of his friend’s knows. Yes, these people mean more to him than I do right now.

Fine. As long as my lovely washes the stinky dog and studies for his test, we can escape upheaval. It still is possible for him to experience a full life, even though I am thwarted from giving him the best possible childhood anyone in the world has ever experienced because thatismyjobasamother.

This pressure to produce perfection both in the living of life and the people I’m raising is unrelenting. Beautiful HR, my horrible daughter (while those two adjectives may seem to contradict one another they do not) has already flown the coop. I love her, I miss her, I worry about her, I call her, I relish the peace and quiet that comes with her absence.

My husband, her dad is helping her settle into a fractured adulthood in San Diego, the land of sun, fun and ALCOHOL INFUSED CAR CRASHES ON MANIC FREEWAYS WITH STRANGERS WHO DON’T CARE IF HER SHIRT IS TOO LOW OR IF SHE ATE BREAKFAST.

Oh, I’m sorry. Lost my head for a second. Her dad is helping her. Everything is going smoothly.

All is right with the world. Sigh.