The Happiest Mother on the Block

The Happiest Mother on the Block

Last week, my foot got one of those awful cramps they say can come from not enough water (guilty) or potassium so I figured I'd give it a stretch, and I went two doors down to return some notecards I'd borrowed to my neighbor Jenn and to see if she wanted some leftover milk I had. We chatted a bit and as I headed out the door she said, "Oh, wait. I need to return this to you." She handed me a book I must've lent her in 2008, Harvey Karp's The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I laughed. Hard. Seriously?! That's definitely the longest anyone has taken to return a borrowed book. But beyond that, my son, with his arms hanging almost to his knees  and half an inch taller than I am at five foot five, well,  it just struck me as comical to get it back now. On the long walk back home, two houses down, I began to...
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On Freedom and Independence: Eleven-Year-Old Boys

On Freedom and Independence: Eleven-Year-Old Boys

When eleven-year-old boys walk and talk their whole bodies are busy in the conversations and they weave in and out of one another as they go. Eleven-year-old city boys camping, ride bicycles freely as we once did, up and down the cul-de-sacs, no helmets, no curfews, no limits. Coming and going as they please, a first taste of freedom and independence. Mine comes in only to water and feed, dropping his bike at the base of the cabin. Some eleven-year-old boys don't care for how their mothers dress when they go camping. The other mothers clad in spaghetti-strap tops and short-shorts head down to the beach as his own covers up her skin and wears a hat that dares the sun to even flicker. They feel free to say, "Why do you have to be the only one who dresses so weird?" And "Do you know your nostrils are uneven?" Eleven-year-olds still build sandcastles at the beach, still snuggle in at the end...
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