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.)
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.