It’s birthday month over here. I just celebrated my 45th on Friday (thanks for all of the birthday wishes!), and Raines — my oldest — turned 13 a few weeks ago. Thirteen.
I am the mother of a teenager.
I know what you are thinking: how can one so young also be the mother of a teenager…right? Yes. My thoughts exactly.
Raines’ birthday was Jan 5, one day before the Insurrection at the Capitol, and only a few days after my sister’s brain tumor diagnosis, so it kind of got overshadowed by events. But — thanks to Scotti and my Mom — we managed to throw together a little family surprise party for him. He’s such an easygoing kid, he was all kinds of surprised and delighted. If Raines had been our only child, Mike and I would likely be those insufferable parenting know-it-alls, claiming to have all the answers. But we also have another child and…just broad brush-strokes here…we know nothing. So there’s that.
Scotti, who is all kinds of mushy, has instituted a family birthday tradition that kiiiiiind of makes me want to run screaming: Everyone must go around the room and say what they love best about the birthday person.
This is pure evil, designed to torture people like me who cry easily. I am convinced that Scotti, who never cries, feasts on the tears of the tender-hearted. But whatever. It’s my kid’s birthday, so obviously I have to play.
But how do I describe the love I feel for someone who is my heart and soul? For the kid who turned me into something bigger than myself — the one who made me a mom? How do I look at the boy whose heart — for years — beat in sync with my own, whose ribs I would watch rise and fall all night and try to name the things about him I love best?
It is a ridiculous concept. The truth is that there is nothing about this boy that I don’t love. There is nothing — not a single thing — that I’d change. The very fact of his existence blows me away. His lanky little self, just…sitting there. His slow grin, his steady, unwavering gaze. There is nothing he could do to make me love him more, there is nothing he could do to make me love him less. As long as he exists, I will love him fiercely, completely.
We went around the room, and, as much as I like to make fun of my sister, this was a really nice tradition. My favorite was Greenlea: “Raines, you are a really good cousin. I love how you play with me, and let me blow out your candles.” Watching Raines’ attempt to keep a straight face through her little speech was priceless. I was struck, though, by how many remarked on Raines’ calming presence, his kindness, his empathy. And I loved watching his face, processing. He didn’t look away, or act embarrassed, or try to shrug it off with a joke. He just…watched, his gaze sure and clear. Raines has this way of paying attention, of watching, that makes you feel like you’re the only one in the room.
When it was my turn…ugh. I don’t even know what I said. I blubbered out something about loving you so much and I saw him smirk and start to get up. The kid knows me, and was about to walk over and give me a hug (to put me out of my misery). Before he could get up, I looked into his eyes and held his gaze. “All you have to do…is exist.” I said. “I love you, exactly you, Raines, just as you are.”
Raines watched me, his eyes soft. I choked back tears and saw his lips twitch — the stinker. He smiled, slowly. “I know, Mom,” he said.
Then he unfolded himself from his chair and walked over. He’s not taller than me yet, but it’s close, and there’s something almost big about the way he moves, the way he pulls me into a hug.
My birthday present. Mike surprised me with this ear cuff and it might be one of the coolest pieces of jewelry I’ve ever owned. (I suspect I have Scotti to thank for the find.)
Speaking of the coolest jewelry I’ve ever owned…Philly local designer NINOBrand is having a flash sale on jewelry. Like…50% off. Yes, that does mean that my longtime favorite, the Ronnie choker (hand-hammered, 100% silver) is on crazy sale. You can see the Ronnie choker on, here, and I’ve linked to all of my NINOBrand jewelry favorites, here.
Hold up: YELLOW? I’ve been waiting (and waiting!) for Vuori to come out with a new color in their performance joggers…and they just dropped a retro yellow-gold that feels shockingly fresh and unexpected — in a good way. This color has a cool, vintage vibe that I can’t get enough of, and has a matching crewneck sweatshirt. It might be juuuust the thing for early spring and summer (but this color will likely sell out long before then). My Vuori set is still one of my most-worn — it’s 100% worth the cost.
GAH: Vuori also just dropped a wide-leg sweatpant (yes, same fabric as their performance joggers) in a chic, terracotta pink. Now what??
Exactly nobody asked. Those ridiculous slipper booties I wore in our IG Live (yes, the ones the boys have been making fun of me for) are from Backcountry. My feet have been freezing lately — not even my UGG minis are keeping them warm — so I ordered these slipper boots out of desperation. And YES: they are sooooo comfy and toasty and I LOVE THEM. All zero of you who care can take 15% off with code THEMOMEDIT.
I’m all over the place. One of our very favorite sexy mom swimsuits — a TME editor AND reader fan-favorite — was just re-stocked. Also, it’s my birthday so I get to talk about slippers and swimsuits and whatever I want.
Also, one of the worst swimsuits ever. Why? WHY.
More of a bikini girl? Check out Jade Swim. They have the sexiest, earthiest colors — understated and cool. I’m seriously eyeing up the one called ‘mauve sheen’. Everything runs small, so size up. (ps. They’re sustainable and Black-owned, too.)
And the award for the comfiest jeans goes to….well, not these. But this pair from MOTHER doesn’t even feel like denim. I mean WOW. (I can wear my regular size, 26, but I sized up to a 27 because it’s my birthday.)
For Valentine’s Day. I know my guys, and instead of heart-covered anything, they’re going to be delighted with these mini vintage arcade games: Pac-Man and Tetris are the two I’m eyeing up.
What’s up with the stock market and Game Stop? Here’s the best explanation I’ve found of what the heck is going on, and why you should — absolutely — know about it. The dude who wrote it, @notvai, is a PhD student in math & computing, and also said this: “I think if everyone knew exactly how these things worked there would be riots in the street today. The people who made these rules aren’t geniuses. They aren’t any smarter than you or me or your mom or my dad. They probably just had someone teach it to them better.” Suuuuper interesting.
Hey, Philly! Mural City Cellars, an urban winery just opened in Kensington. They’re open for retail + will have a few bottles open for tasting this weekend (following social distancing guidelines, obvi), and even have CSW (Community Supported Winery) memberships available. Can’t wait to check them out — the space looks gorg.
We’re doing a style challenge...to get out of our sweatpants rut, we’re doing a daily February style challenge. We’d love if you guys joined in! For fun, we’ll be giving away a gift card each week (picked at random) to someone who participates. You can see the schedule of our, uh, challenges over on IG. (“Channel Moira Rose” might be my favorite.)
RIP Cicely Tyson. “An icon, in its truest sense, is someone who wakes you up and, by the sheer beauty of their transcendent existence, doesn’t make you want to be *them.* They make you want to be more of *yourself.* And that is Ms. Cicely Tyson.” Loved this tribute from Brittney Packnett Cunningham.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone.
I too am a mom of two boys. ( mine are 7 and 4) I smiled through reading your description of Raines and his birthday. I just loved it! And
as a mom of a little boys who I love more then life itself… ditto. Totally felt everything you said. My oldest turns 8 in February.😊
The GameStop explanation is lacking two key elements. 1. Market manipulation is rarely in anyone’s favour but those instigating the manipulation. And 2. The vast majority of “regular” people who bought into this nonsensical behaviour will lose money on their investment given that there is no underlying value in the company and most will not have bought at the bottom price but on the way up. The stock price will not remain high in the long term. Timing the market on a specific stock where price has detached from value is merely gambling. Honestly, buying any individual stocks is gambling unless you do a massive amount of research on the company. Stick to ETF index funds unless you really know what you’re doing. There’s a reason rich people hire professionals to manage their money.
Happy Birthday Shanna! You’re a firecracker and a wild stallion, keep at it girl!
First, Happy Birthday! Also the mother of two boys, I cried a few tears with you…in the last few months I turned 50, realized my oldest (at only 11) is suddenly as tall as me (I’m not short) and verging on manhood in a way I didn’t expect until, I don’t know, he turned 27? And, as a sufferer of perpetually cold feet in need of replacing an equally ridiculous pair of North Face down booties I have worn out over the last decade, I jumped on the Baffin booties! Because I am really a better human being if my feet are warm…Thanks!
Hi there. Not loving the assumption that parents of only children are insufferable know-it all’s. 🙁
See this quote: “If Raines had been our only child, Mike and I would likely be those insufferable parenting know-it-alls, claiming to have all the answers.”
Please consider your words a little more carefully next time.
She just meant because Raines is a super easy-going kid and Pax is…not. Had they not had the experience with a “passionate” child like Pax, they would have assumed they had all the answers–not because they only had one child, but because that child would have been Raines. Her statement was in no way directed at parents of only children…and please trust me when I say Shana chooses ALL of her words very carefully.
Shana!!!!! This was a beautiful post! I love everything about your blog! What caught my eye today was the photo at the top of you and the sweet young lady. I have to ask…did you cut your hair???!!! My goodness it looks like it! Fabulous!!!! Keep doing you!
That’s her son!! I thought the same thing, haha. He looks SO MUCH like her! I was going to compliment her on the hair cut and beachy waves style, haha. He must have inherited his mom’s looks and her gorgeous hair too!
Crying into my tea over here:( your words are the only gift your child will ever need. So heartfelt. My daughter turns 15!!! Tomorrow and I am beside myself that she is 15 but overjoyed at the awesome human that she is and how much I like her as well as love her. Happiest of birthdays to you both 🎂 🍾
Shana..wow…belated happy birthday to you and your handsome boy. I’ve followed TME for a long time now and I know the day marks your Dad’s anniversary, and that can be so hard, but I hope the day was filled with love and laughter. This post about your teenager, was everything. I poured a glass of wine and read it to my husband and we both had tears in our eyes since we could literally feel the love you have for Raines. So beautifully and simply stated. It moved me.
Scotti–I love your fierce loyalty to Shana. I too am the mother of an only child and her description of “those” parents had us laughing out loud! I totally and completely got it and I want to high five you both!
Might be helpful to clarify if this was a virtual gathering. I’m cringing thinking it’s an in person birthday party since it would violate PA and MI covid rules.
My goodness Covid really is a tattle tale’s dream come true.
HI EGC — I’m the mom of an only child – who is an incredibly chill human being – and understood exactly what Shana was getting at. I’d love to believe that my lack of fights or stress with my child is due to my excellent parenting, but watching my friends, I know that it has everything to do with the kid that I’m parenting and relatively little to do with me.
Sob. True. All so very true. Love that boy and the mom that you’ve become, Shana. You are so blessed.
I had to come back to say that ever since I clicked on the link to the terrible swimsuit it’s been showing up in my Pinterest feed! Haha!