Learning Lesson

It was a crazy week here at Michelle’s house.

I caught my mom cleaning up my 20 year old son’s road rash which he got in a motorcycle accident.

Yeah, every mother’s worst nightmare.

He was riding his motorcycle in a t-shirt with no protective gear and he (admittedly) was about to run a stop sign when he saw a cop up ahead coming toward him.

So he did was any 20 year old young man would do.

He stopped.

Suddenly.

And fell off his bike.

The cop was kind enough to stop, not give my son a ticket, and ask if he needed an ambulance.

My son declined.

My birth family is filled with motorcycle riders.

Nevertheless, I informed him that he must’ve gotten his wild streak from his father’s side of the family because none of my family would do anything like that.

Ahem.

Except for my cousin Jennifer who laughed when I told her it was all my ex-husband’s fault, and was relieved that he wasn’t hurt worse.

So without further adieu, I give you Duncan’s road rash:

Lucky kid!

Reservoir Dogs

True story.

Many of us go into labor with a birth plan.

Typically, we hope we can safely deliver our baby with no epidural, managing the pain through breathwork and focus.

I made a CD when I was pregnant with my son Duncan.

I intended to play it during my labor with him.

That plan got blown out the window when it was discovered that two of the four quadrants of fluid in my uterus had no fluid to cushion the baby.

So I had to IMMEDIATELY deliver him.

I was allowed to go home to pick up my things then I had to go DIRECTLY to the hospital.

Which is EXACTLY what I did.

But I forgot my CD.

This was back in the day when there were no iPods or iPhones.

All I had with me was a CD player with ONE CD IN IT and it was the soundtrack to RESERVOIR DOGS.

In case you’re not familiar with this movie, it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie about six strangers hired to carry out a robbery.

You can imagine it’s dark and violent, as most Tarantino movies are.

I made it through my labor pretty easily until the doctor broke my water then ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.

I immediately requested an epidural.

But it was too late.

So my then-husband played the CD in the CD player and our son Duncan was born while we listened to LITTLE GREEN BAG.

I feel like this detail explains a lot about my eldest son.

He’s a rebel and a fighter.

Also, he’s the kind of kid who will recklessly drive 109 miles an hour on a dark deserted freeway, post it to SnapChat, and scare the daylights out of his mom.

What do you expect.

He was born listening to a Tarantino soundtrack.

New tattoo

Not long ago, I went on a tattoo bender.

My sister, ever the enabler, took me to tattoo shops in Reno and in the span of less than 2 years I went from ZERO tattoos to FIVE tattoos.

Then I stopped (in large part because I got cellulitis from my last tattoo) and since then no artist has added any ink to my body.

My SON, on the other hand, opted to get a tattoo to reflect his love of the United States of America.

As is practice in our family, he enlisted the help of my sister to get his tattoo:

Now personally I WOULD NEVER get this kind of a tattoo.

But I love the ink on him and I must say, despite the unusual location of the tattoo (on the back of his forearm), it suits him well.

He is BEYOND happy with his tattoo and I imagine that it’s the first of many that he will get.

And clearly he’s not afraid of his tattoos showing, like I am.

My hips, ankle, foot and shoulder blade are tattooed and all of them can be hidden, if need be.

I think, given his current occupation of soldier, that it’s a pretty neat tattoo to get.

At least he didn’t accidentally get a polyamory tattoo on his shoulder.

Proud Mama

Honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of this young man for accomplishing all that he has accomplished in just a few short months.

I sent the Army a kid with no job or career prospects.  He stayed up playing video games every day until 6 am and slept in until 3 pm.

The Army sent me back a man who sat me down to tell me his career plans (Army recruiting and Honor Guard) and who gets up now at 8 am to go for a run before he starts his day.

Oh, and he’s going to school in the fall.

What can I say, I am one PROUD MAMA!

Blue gal in a red state

Never ever in my entire life have I dreamed of visiting Missouri.

And yet, that is exactly what I am doing this week.

Visiting Missouri.

My oldest child is graduating from Army Boot Camp at Fort Leonard Wood this week and I am there to watch him graduate and celebrate his success before heading home.

Needless to say, I am not looking forward to traveling on a plane for a day and spending one day at the graduation before heading home.

I don’t know what I am expecting.

Perhaps my little blonde head getting lost amidst a swarm of MAGA hats.

One thing is sure – we won’t be there very long.

My son has made it clear he’s ready to pack up his shit and head home as soon as he possibly can.

He.

Is.

Done.

If you can believe it, I haven’t seen my son in person since January 1st this year and I miss him terribly.

What is my kid doing to show his appreciation for a mother who travels halfway across the country for 3 days to see him graduate Boot Camp?

He’s signed himself up for a training class.

A MOTORYCLE training class.

And if you know anything about me, you know that I am deathly afraid of motorcycles.

Thanks kid.

Like I need the added stress of worrying about his youthful ass riding a space rocket among a sea of distracted drivers.

Happy graduation indeed.

Duncan

Once upon a time I was a young pregnant woman closing in on my due date.

My son had mysteriously lost two quadrants of aminiotic fluid during my pregnancy so I was gently informed by my doctor to “Go home. Get your bags.  Come straight to the hospital.”

I was a month early but the doctor decided the pregnancy was too risky and so she opted to induce me.

I was quite comfortable, even in active labor, until my water broke.

Then all hell broke loose.

I begged for an epidural.

The anesthesiologist came in, gave me a little test shot of painkillers into my spine and asked, “How do you feel now?”

I looked straight at him and said, “I have to PUSH!”

There was no stopping it.

If someone walked up to me with a million dollars on a platter, and offered it to me but only if I wouldn’t push, I still would have PUSHED.

I asked my ex-husband to turn on some music.

It was then that we discovered we forgot our labor music at home and all we had was the CD that was in the stereo – RESERVOIR DOGS.

PLAY IT ANYWAY!

“Lookin’ back on the track for a little green bag
Got to find just a kind or losin’ my mind
Out of sight in the night, out of sight in the day
Lookin’ back on the track, gonna do it my way”

I’ll never forget that my son Duncan was born after forty-five minutes of labor, while listening to Little Green Bag.

It certainly explains why my eldest son is such a wheeler, dealer, charmer and freewheeler.

He was born listening to Reservoir Dogs.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

One happy momma

I GOT A LETTER FROM DUNCAN!

Yes I did!

In it, he admitted that the first two days were hard – very little sleep and lots of travel and work.

Hence the crap photo of him looking all forlorn and unhappy.

That did not sit well with me.

I’ve been wondering how he’s doing and I’m happy to report he’s doing okay.

He’s made friends and it sounds like he’s having fun, even if he is working hard every day.

This from a kid who is used to sleeping until 2 pm. . .

I’ve been advised that the “currency” that is used in boot camp is mint lozenges.

They’re the only thing allowed by leadership.

So guess what I did?

I went out and bought like a BILLION mint lozenges for Duncan.

The problem is, I can’t send them to him yet.

I STILL don’t have an address for the shipment.

But when he gives it to me, for sure I will be packing and sending him a care package with everything he could possible DREAM of needing at Boot Camp – shampoo, body wash, mint lozenges, candy bars, and family pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I’m DYING to see what he looks like now with his head shaved.

And in uniform.

You know us ladies love a man in uniform.

Relief

My son texted me from Arizona, midway on his trip to Missouri.

He looked ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE and as a mother, I wanted to get on a plane and make it all better for him.

Of course, there was nothing I could do.

Then, a few text messages.

One thing was clear, he was NOT HAPPY.

He was EXHAUSTED and BORED, waiting in the airport for his connecting flight to Missouri.

I began to worry about how he would handle boot camp, something clearly challenging for even the most mature of candidates.

Would he get enough sleep?

Food?

Camaraderie?

Would he physically excel or would it prove to be too challenging?

These are the thoughts that raced through my mind.

And not being able to hear from him?

Well, that made it all WORSE and I’m not going to lie.

I had trouble sleeping.

Then yesterday, a phone call from him.

And one that didn’t start with him saying to me, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

So I’ve relaxed, a little.

It’s not exactly what this momma bear needs to be happy again, but it provided a little needed relief.

Heaven help military families.

I’m just realizing now how hard it can be.

Lessons

It seems to me LONG BEFORE I started going to Burning Man, I was into costuming.

My birthday being so close to Halloween, I often threw dress up themed birthday parties with my friends.

And they have always been good-natured about dressing up.

When my boys were little, I used to drive them down Highway 1 from Santa Cruz to Monterey.

Along the way, we’d stop at specific places for food and fun.

Marianne’s ice cream.

Gayle’s Bakery.

And of course, Woodworms.

At Woodworms we were allowed to try on costumes and take pictures.

My sons and I had a blast getting all dressed up and posing for pictures:

We never left empty handed.

We always left with costumes in hand.

I just couldn’t resist.

I miss those days when my boys were “hostages” and had to do whatever I wanted to do.

Invariably we’d all pack into my truck and head off on an ADVENTURE.

I hope my sons learned something from those early days.

I hope they learned to exercise their imagination, to be adventurous, and to seek happiness.

Life is short.

Eat cake just because.

Dress up just for the fun of it.

And most of all, spend time with those you love.

The things we do for our kids

I’m not a BIG fan of guns.

TBH, they scare the shit out of me.

I had a boyfriend who collected guns and he made me pick up and handle all his guns in the hopes that I’d get comfortable with handling them.

I never got comfortable.

He took me to gun ranges to shoot hand guns.

We used shot guns to blast skeet apart.

I still never got used to guns.

In fact, when I’m around people who are firing guns, the compression waves I feel in my chest when each bullet is fired, is alarming to me.

This is the preface I give you BEFORE I let you know that I BOUGHT A GROUPON TO LET MY 19-YEAR OLD SON SHOOT A MACHINE GUN IN NEVADA during our summer vacation.

He will absolutely ADORE it.

I will be secretly cringing in a corner.

But what makes the boy happy makes me happy, eventually.

And this is what he likes.