“life’s not fair” was the most common phrase he spoke while frustrated. if parents have mottos, “life’s not fair” was certainly my dads. i’m not sure how my brothers felt about it, but as a kid, i rebelled against that concept. life was fair if you trusted in fate and believed in karma! as a preteen and angsty adolescent i thought it would be all good if only you believed. and for the most part, that still holds true. except sometimes it doesn’t.

if all parents have a motto, then mine must be “life is weird”. sometimes life is just life and there’s no other explanation other than weird. i was reminded of this the other day as river lay on the floor, in the quiet of the living room and began spewing thoughts from his 8 year old mind. “some kids in my class have a stepmom and stepdad too. some of the kids in my class still have both parents in the same house! sometimes i wish my mom and dad were still together. i wouldn’t have to travel so much. how is it that families are even made if you don’t make babies? we used to live so far away and we didn’t even know them! now i have brothers! how do families become families? you just decide to  be a family?!”

i let him process this stream of consciousness in his own way: laying on the floor with the windows open. i answered what questions he had. i held that space open for him to think aloud and ponder possibilities. i listened to what he deems as injustices and what he qualifies as bonuses.

my job as his mother is to listen. not to critique. not to swallow up all his feelings and carry them as my own. not to carry guilt over choices made or pride over behaviors displayed. he has his own life and will therefore have his own life experiences, separate from mine. my job as his mother is hard. my job is to listen.

sometimes it’s hard. sometimes it’s easy. but’s it’s always interesting.



the fair is in town this week. i giggle at this thought, as the motto of my childhood crosses my mind. if “life’s a beach” as it was growing up at the coast all my life… can it also be true that “life’s a fair”?

it’s noisy and loud: you get lost and found. things are sticky and sweet and sometimes spicy or sour. you lose games and money, you collect ground scores and stories. you laugh, you get sick, you cry. and when it’s over you realize you simply did not have enough time to enjoy it all.