It was late and Raines was already asleep.  I was almost asleep too, curled up contentedly between my two little guys.  Try as I might, I can’t ever seem to stay awake through our bedtime routine (which, admittedly, is long and onerous and involves book reading and back rubs and song singing and ultimately just waiting until both boys are actually sleeping).  Mike usually wakes me on his way upstairs (or leaves me to groggily stagger to bed at 3AM), but on this particular night, Pax was staring at me, his head propped up on his fist.  “Mom?” he asked.  “What exact age will you be when you die?”  His eyes gleamed at me in the dark, round and huge and worried in his little freckled face. Startled, I swallowed my initial response:  Never, Buddy.  Mummy will never die.  I know that’s what he wanted to hear – that he and I will never, ever die, that he will always and forever fall asleep to back rubs and songs, and that when the sun comes up in the morning I will be there, young and unchanging.  I know this because I am his mother, and because at 8 years old, he is still enough of an actual part of me – like an arm, a leg – that I know him in a way that I don’t quite know his older brother anymore.

Recently, I’ve been watching Pax watch me. “Mom,” he’ll say, with no small amount of relief, “you look young and beautiful“.   He is reassured, this kid, when I wear my hair in a swingy ponytail like the girls at school, and go out dancing, and giggle flirtatiously at his Dad.  He likes when I talk about how strong I am.  Pax recently collapsed in tears on the way to school (I can’t even remember what he was upset about – SO many various possibilities), and I scooped him up and carried him.  I made it only two blocks – literally staggering under his weight – but we were both oddly reassured.  I see him watching me, my little Pax.  And when I catch his eye he’ll give me a small grin.  “You look young and beautiful, Mom.”

This moment, this phase of life with our boys, it feels like a sweet spot.  I think of my own mom, and how I inexplicably get angry when she starts to sound old over the phone (how dare she!).  When I notice that her voice sounds weaker, or her laugh isn’t her laugh exactly, but it’s the laugh of her mom, my Grandmabear…I find myself slipping back into a more demanding, selfish version of myself.  Angry at my mother for no other reason than her own mortality.  At what age, Mom, at what exact age will you die?  Because even at forty-three I am not prepared.

I stare back at Pax, thinking.  He watches me, completely still, waiting for my answer.  “When I die, buddy, I will be the age….I get to be.  And I feel so lucky to even be this age.  Not everyone is this lucky.”  This is a deeply unsatisfying answer, but it’s an honest one.  Pax, of course, is not happy and starts asking how long “most people live”.    I stroke his cheek and listen to him go on – but he’s old enough now to know when he’s asking questions with no answers.  So instead of responding, I nibble at his lips and count his freckles and start rubbing his back feather-soft – a favorite at bedtime.  I stay there, curled up contentedly between my two little guys, singing a song I’ve been singing for over a decade now.  It’s a song that my mom used to sing to me, about a moon overhead and snuggling in bed and a mummy who sits and sings and sings and sings.

Weekend Links

I took an informal poll last week, and it seems like most of us try to keep expectations low on Mother’s Day….and maybe just go buy ourselves a little something.  So. In the spirit of Good Job, You!…here are a few fun links.

Everything is 20% off at Anthro right now.  I’m particularly interested in Anthro’s selection of Clare V bags.  I have a few and they are timeless and beautiful and well made….and so freaking cool (made in the US, too).  They’re the bags I use the most often.  I have the Chou Chou pouch (in black, but am seriously considering the tan) but the snakeskin belt bag is also calling my name….

SO. MUCH. SWEAT.  I was tempted to cut my workout leggings off my body the other morning – it was so freaking humid in dance class.  Normally I’d switch to shorty shorts, but that much leg feels a tad aggressive in May.  So I’m on the hunt for cute, lightweight capri leggings.  Do you guys have any favorites?  I just ordered these and these to try.

Hits and Misses….As I mentioned in last week’s weekend post, I had been drooling over a few things at Free People.  Well, the order came in and here’s what I’ve learned:  That insanely sexy maxi dress IS the sexiest thing ever….but a terrible color for someone with so many pink undertones.  This swimsuit rocks…but you’ve gotta have a pretty small chest, the Country roads tee really IS everything (but avoid the Janis Joplin tee – there’s something wrong with the cut) and this little one-shoulder mini dress is cute and sexy and the kind of thing I’ll be wearing with both sneakers AND party shoes all summer.  A top pick, for sure. (I bought it in black.)

The best sneaker selection online? I’ve been REALLY impressed with Revolve’s sneaker edit.  They not only have old favorites (like my beloved Adidas superstars, for example) but have managed to pull together a totally inspired selection of my fav brands (Veja, Golden Goose, Nike, to name a few).  I just ordered this pair as my Mother’s Day gift – SO freaking excited.  (And if you’ve never bought from Revolve before, rest assured there’s super fast free shipping and free returns.)

Sock-free saviors?  I hate wearing socks with my sneakers….but once the weather gets hot, this strategy leaves me with sweaty feet (and stinky sneaks).  Have you guys tried these inserts from Foot Petals?  I’m a huge fan of Foot Petal’s cushy shoe stickers – I stick them in all of my high heels, so I’m hoping the inserts are as good.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.






  1. I love your honesty here – with us and with your sweet boy! I know if I mislead them now, they will feel my loss and my lie in an even deeper way. (Non sequitur warning:) Have you tried Allbirds? They’re designed to not need socks with a washable wool insole – and they are super sustainable in their production methods! A salesperson steered me away from the wool body and towards the tree line for the summer/living in Florida. And I have zero affiliation with them – just a light obsession because I equally hate hot feet and stinky shoes.

  2. Thanks for easing MY mind about death, Shana! What a perfect answer to an impossible question.
    Have you tried Hue toe toppers? I am an avid sock-despiser (is that a thing?) and I wear toe toppers with all my shoes and boots to avoid the foot-smell and toe-stick.
    Not super-easy to find, but recently found them at Target and will periodically see them at Marshall’s and TJ

  3. Great post. I remember when my (now 23 year old) 4-year old daughter was crying in her bed one night – awake much later than she should have been – I asked her why she was crying and she told me that she didn’t want me to die. After sitting and comforting her for a while, I told her that I would die one day, everyone does, but that I would do everything I could to make that one day a long, long way away. Hard conversations at every stage of life with kids, but necessary and important and inevitable.

  4. My 7 year old Jax, who reminds me so much of your Pax, also often asks me when I’m going to die. Sometimes, as another reader commented, he will just be crying for no reason and when I ask him what’s wrong he says he doesn’t want me to die. I just lost my mom a month ago which certainly hasn’t helped his fear of his loved ones dying but it certainly is a reality and one that I think is important for him to face and understand. All I can do is hold him and tell him I love him and that I’m not going anywhere right now. He’ll also ask me if he’s going to die and that’s a hard one to answer. It makes me sad when they start to understand and realize how the world is more and more. I just want to protect them and keep them innocent for as long as I can. I just tell him how much I love him, and part of the good thing about being 7 is that’s it’s often easy to change the subject lol. Hope you enjoyed your Mother’s Day with your boys.

  5. My nine year-old recently scolded me for waiting “so long” to have kids (I had her at 39). To her, she said, it means she doesn’t get to have me as long. Heart. Broken.

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