Pax’s voice was quiet, almost reverent. “Mom,” he said. “I have really good friends — look.” He showed me his phone. He had a string of “Happy Birthday, Pax!!!! We love you!” types of messages, filled with birthday emojis. “Can you believe how many of my friends wished me happy birthday?” His whole little self glows with happiness.
I scroll back through his text messages, and find one he sent to all of his friends, that morning at 7AM: “MY BIRTHDAY IS TODAY!!” he wrote.
This kid? A freaking genius. It’s times like this when I remember why, ultimately, I don’t worry about Pax — at least not from a big picture, life perspective. He has ways of clearly and unapologetically communicating his needs and, quite frankly, I think we should all do this.
Of course, he can also be defeated by The Weight Of His Own Great Expectations (something he gets from his mama), so Mike and I (and Raines, quite frankly, and, truth be told, our extended family & friends) all spend a decent amount of time managing his obscenely high expectations. One example?
Pax’s Ideas For A Birthday Party During A Pandemic:
- A 15-child sleepover
- Indoor Laser Tag
- OK, a 5-kid sleepover, but at SOMEONE ELSE’S HOUSE
- A ski trip
- An epic Nerf gun war through the woods but NO CLEANUP AFTER because that’s boring
We eventually talked him into a “safe” COVID activity, namely meeting in a parking lot after hours for some outdoor, masked skateboarding (safer than it sounds, I promise). Anyway, after much discussion/raging he accepted his fate.
Of course, then COVID broke out in our friend group and we all ended up in 14-day quarantine…which Mike and I have since extended in order to safely travel home to Michigan for a month.
Happy birthday, kid!
After a few more tears of rage, Pax eventually came up with a new idea: A Zoom game night with friends, playing Among Us. I stole an idea from Linzi and dropped off treats for everyone playing, and we kicked the night off with the worst-ever rendition of Happy Birthday (seriously, it’s almost impossible to sing in unison on Zoom).
Mike and I were on mute, but listening to the boys talk and laugh with their friends (they’re all so funny!!!!) was just…pure parent joy.
It’s funny — I can remember, like it was yesterday, when Pax was just a fat ball of squish in my arms. I would hold him up to my nose and bury my face in his chins. I’d breathe him in and immediately feel my own heartbeat slow in response. Raines — a toddler — would crawl up on my lap, too, and both of us would talk and make faces and smooch-smooch-smooch his little brother.
Our house, back then, was always messy. I almost never had dinner ready on time, and money was definitely tight. But I remember being happy with the fiercest joy I have ever felt, and also terrified by how fleeting I knew those moments to be.
I still feel this way. There are times when panic rears its ugly head and I feel the passage of time hit like a physical blow. Breathless, I reach out with everything — my mind, my soul, my very existence — the mental stretching of my arms, trying to hold tightly to these boys, trying to hold onto us, our family, exactly as we exist now.
This, right here, I beam out from deep inside, out into the universe. Stop. Stay.
I am alone, grasping at air.
But then I hear my boys talking and laughing with their friends, the crew of them swapping grown-up sounding jokes — all dry, witty humor — and I can sort of see, although it’s still fuzzy, the potential of our future relationship.
My baby turned 10 on Wednesday.
Help, I think, to the big, wide universe. I have so much left to learn.
Holiday, but make it 2020. I have decided that the most perfect gift of 2020 (and by gift, I mean self-gift) is a sparkly workout outfit. And yes, this decision may have come about after booing A’s boring black workout gear (BOOOOOO) but now I want this Beyond Yoga set bad: leggings, top. Or in silver stars, if you want more oomph.
The three boots I know I’m packing. I’m in the process of packing for a month in the wintry North. And while I’m still dithering about which snow boots to bring (most likely these), I know I’m packing my chunky, high-shaft boots (just restocked at Nordstrom — see them on me, here). The other pair? My ancient wedge Sorels, now on sale at Nordstrom Rack. I swear by these boots whenever we travel somewhere snowy and cold — they manage to keep my feet toasty, are insanely walkable, yet elevate my look. I don’t know why I feel the need to be dressy AT ALL this year, but if I feel like Strolling Stylishly Around A Snowy Block…well. I’ll be ready.
Holiday tops under $50? A post is coming out soon, but I found two on sale at Abercrombie: this Reformation-esque top (I have size small) and this gorgeous sequin tee (also in black). The sequin tee is lined in actual t-shirt material (read: soft) and the sleeves are EVERYTHING. I’ll throw a pic up on IG (@themomedit), in case I don’t finish the post in time.
Since there’s free shipping over $75…Abercrombie’s legging jeans are stupidly comfortable…but the big winner for me was Abercrombie’s matching sweatsuits: specifically this turtleneck sweatshirt and either the city joggers or the classic joggers. The sets are insanely flattering and comfy, and I can’t understand why bloggers are not going nuts promoting them? Anyway, I have pics coming out of the white set (which reminds me of my NAADAM set) and the black one. Honestly can’t decide between the two.
My favorite holiday pants of all time. Last year, my Christmas Eve look consisted of Reformation’s stunning velvet Wes pants in gold. They’re back this year in green or chocolate brown (also in plus sizes) and I highly recommend. They’re super-comfy, and look just as good with a silk cami as they do with a graphic tee (or sweater). We did Christmas Eve in last year (if only we’d known) and I didn’t feel the need to change into sweatpants until after midnight. They’re dramatic, fun, comfortable and sustainable, too. (A few sizes are still left at Nordstrom — I wear a size 4.)
Prints to make you swoon. Printfresh (a local Philly brand), just came out with a tank version of their epic PJ’s (perfect for layering under a cozy cardigan)…and MEN’S pajamas. Personally, I want this red set and would wear it with these leg warmers and this black cardigan for a vibe reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge.
For Mike? My husband has long eyed-up Patagonia’s down sweater jackets, but keeps hesitating — are they actually warm enough for real winters? According to the reviews, this Arc’teryx puffer might be a better buy (and it’s 30% off for a few more days).
A beauty home run. I was lucky enough to snag one of Charlotte Tilbury’s full-face palettes two years ago, and it’s AMAZING. Mine is a sun-kissed palette, and it’s all I’ve been using every summer since. I’ve long wanted to try another for winter…but she only releases them once in a while, and the neutral ones tend to sell out. This one recently dropped and it’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for.
Next-level hot chocolate. My friend Denise has started making hot chocolate bombs and WHOA. You drop a chocolate bomb into warm milk and it melts, releasing AN EXPLOSION OF MINI MARSHMALLOWS. My kids are going to go NUTS. Oh help — also in peppermint.
Seems about right. The iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree this year is…um…a 2020 version.
Pilgrims? Please. While I love Thanksgiving, I want to make sure that my kids have a better understanding of what really went down four hundred years ago. I’m going to start with An Indigenous People’s History of the United States (for young people) — it’s also on Amazon, if you must. The American Indian Library Association also came out with their 2020 ALA book winners, here.
I’ve watched this 10 times. And finally…this adorable scooting baby. (I needed that.)