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Living on the edge

11 Jun

After running a quick errand the other day, I came home to find my fourteen year old putting on her choir gear.

“Um, do you have a concert tonight?” I asked.

She looked at me, mirroring my “Oh crap” look.  “I told you last week….”

Shoot. I forgot. And to be completely honest, I’d been having a long week at that point and the last thing I wanted to do was sit through a concert.

“Oh, I have a solo in one of the songs!” she piped up.  “If you come…”

She babbled on excitedly about things but I had stopped at the word “If…”  My girl was giving me an out.  So of course, I doubled efforts to be there.  I dropped her off, went home, and decided to grab Maura.  Maura, who had decided dirt would make a good facial.  Five baby wipes and a sundress later, Maura was presentable.

We got there just as the choir was about to start.  Knowing Maura’s unpredictability, and not wanting to be that person who clambers through half the audience to get to the free seats, I decided we’d just hang in the foyer.  Maura wasn’t too thrilled to be there, but as soon as the choir started singing, she stood still, listening.

Music really does soothe the savage beast.

After the first song, Maura let out a whoop, and I saw her sister’s head peek out from her row with a smile.  Maura yelled “Mim!” at her sister, who I could image just rolled her eyes as she smiled.  Maura decided now was a good time to stomp about, and I had to remind her that even her feet needed to be quiet, even if the acoustics in the foyer were awesome. The singing started up again, and once again, Maura stood, transfixed by the music.


And so we spent another thing where we stood just on the edge of the action, slightly in the outskirts.  Just close enough to enjoy, but just far enough away as to not disturb anyone and make a quick exit if need be.

So much of my life with Maura has been on the edges of things, in foyers and aisle seats and nearest to the exit.  Sometimes, it’s because I want to make sure others aren’t disturbed by us.  Other times, it’s because it’s the best place for Maura.  Most of the time, it’s a compromise – “Maura, if you let me sit through this, we’ll just stay out here so you can actually be happy too and I can actually see what’s going on instead of spending half my time convincing you to be quiet/still.”

We live on the edge, but not in the way the songs go on about. That night, at the choir concert, I stood out there with Maura in the foyer for the sake of her sister, so that Maura didn’t do anything horribly embarrassing.  Everyone would know it was her sister since Maura tends to shout for her whenever she sees her beloved big sister.  Case in point – when it came time for the soloists, the group of four stepped down to the microphones to start the song.  When their part was done, they turned to take their places discreetly…and Maura spotted her sister.

“MIM!” she shouted. And her sister just smiled, as she does when this happens. I’m sure at some point she was all “Oh, that’s just my sister, she does that.”

We may live on the edge of things, but we are not quiet about it.

Being crafty

4 Jun

So while wasting time perusing Pinterest, I came across this –

linked on Pinterest from Delicious Designs

linked on Pinterest from Delicious Designs


My first thought was “Wow, that would be cute in the girls bathroom or the teen girl’s room!”

And since I’m a crafty girl in all definitions of the word, my next thought “Why try to find the print for $20 when I could make it myself with $86 worth of craft supplies???”

So I did.

Step One - get ALL the things

Step One – get ALL the things

So I got a canvas and some rainbow craft paint and then coordinating glitter – because anything awesome should be sparkly, right?  I also got stick down letters, with the idea of being able to stick them down, then paint over them

Yeah, this would have worked better if the sticky letters stuck to the canvas better.  Instead, the letters kept trying to roll upwards, so I had to be careful with painting.

Step Two - slapping paint on...carefully...

Step Two – slapping paint on…carefully…

I did manage to get through that stage without screwing up badly.  FYI, it took almost an entire little bottle of craft paint and two coats of paint to get to this stage.

Step Three - reveal thyself!

Step Three – reveal thyself!

All in all, it came out decently.  There were little wobbly bits to the edges which my perfectionist side yelled “FIX IT!  MAKE ALL THE LINES EVEN!”  But then the other side of me said “Hey, being awesome doesn’t mean being perfect.  You can be imperfect and awesome.  Keep the wobbly lines in there!”

And so I did.

With that in mind, I added color.  Pretty color.

Step Four - Color!

Step Four – Color!

This part was probably the most delicate part of the process because I was trying to be very careful to stay within the lines and not screw things up at this stage.  But I didn’t screw up, so it was time to sparkle.

Step Five - Glitterbombing.

Step Five – Glitterbombing.

So in buying all the paint and all the glitter, I learned that Martha Stewart also makes glitter glue.  Not glittery glue.  Glue made specifically for glitter.  So I slapped on the glue quickly, then sprinkled the glitter on.  I did every other letter, waited for it to dry, then did the others, so I wouldn’t mix up the glitter colors.  Once dry, I carefully brushed off all the glitter so it wouldn’t look like a My Little Pony exploded all over my dining room table.

Step Six - Admire

Step Six – Admire

As I was finishing up, the teen girl came in and eyed it.  “Is that for Maura?”


“The boys?”


“For me?” she said with a hopeful edge in her voice.


“Squee!”  (no, seriously, she made that squealing teen girl noise – which is okay, she’s a teen girl.)

“Not that you need reminding – you’re already awesome.”

“I know.” she said with a laugh and a hair flip, self-confident little creature that she is.

And looking at it now…I’m realizing there’s no apostrophe.  I wonder if it’s necessary….and if it should be glittery…



Modern parenting: high school threat edition

21 Apr

In February, Josh and I got to go to Barcelona.  My sister came to watch the kids, and we went off on our well-deserved holiday.  My sister was fabulous, sending updates and pictures and texts about harassing the teens, and I could relax knowing all was well.

Until I got an email from our 16 year old son’s high school, stating there’d been a “threat” and the school was on lockdown.

It was evening in Barcelona, but morning in Seattle.  The threat was detected during first period, and everyone was locked into their first period classrooms.  As time ticked away and the police searched the school for the threat, we waited half a world away for an update.  My sister had plans on going for a hike – instead, she waited at the house in case she had to go get the poor boy released from the school.  Time ticked, and I was getting annoyed that there was no update.  Josh texted the boy, who texted back he was fine.  The teacher ended up turning on “Star Trek: Into the Darkness”.  Eventually we got word that the school would be closed, students released one classroom at a time, escorted by officers off campus safely.

And just when I could breathe again, I got an email from Maura’s school, which is close to the high school, stating that they went on a form of lock down as well.  They have a policy that if the high school goes on lock down, so do they.


But all was well, it was a hoax, we were able to chat with our son through it all.   He wasn’t phased at all, and I tried to remember accounts of my high school days, where people would set fire to bathroom trash cans just to get out of class on a nice afternoon.

It was all behind us.

Then yesterday evening, I get an automated call from the school, telling us that there was a threat of a school shooting the next day scrawled in a bathroom.  My first thought was something like “Oh you have GOT to be f***ing kidding me!”.   The principal went on about how they were working with the police, would have extra security on campus, but school would go on the next day. If students didn’t want to come in that day, they would get an excused absence.

Dinner conversation was a bit like “So Sean…yeah…hear anything about the shooting threat?”

Sean “Yeah, a few friends texted me about it.  Some aren’t going to school tomorrow.”

“What about you?  What do you think?”

Shrugs as only a teenage boy can do.  “Eh, I’m going.”

Meanwhile, Miriam was all “No one’s going to mess with Sean – he’s tough.  Well…tough looking.  He’s actually a big teddy bear.”

Sean grinned and said “Yeah.”

I polled friends on Facebook – because that’s what a modern mom with anxiety issues does.  All my mom friends were all “Aw hell no he’s not going to school!”  My childless friend said “What does the boy want to do?”  Dammit voice of reason!  Which is what I actually needed to hear.  The mom in me was screaming “Keep him home!  Keep him safe!”, but the rational part of my brain was thinking “These are high school kids being stupid.  They have no clue what a scribble like that does to us parents.  The world is an inherently dangerous place, and there is no way to protect them from everything.  Bad things happen. And they have cops there right now.  Really, if anyone was planning anything, it wouldn’t be for today, not with all the extra security wandering about.  Besides, do you really need to pass along your anxiety of all things down to the boy who’s feeling okay about this?  Not really.”

So my son’s at school, and I’m at home, not fretting.  Much.  I’m slightly cursing modern parenting and the special anxieties it causes, definitely cursing flippant teens who think it’s hilarious to scrawl threats in bathrooms, and saying a prayer that today and the rest of the school year goes smoothly.

I’m also considering sending a case of wine to the staff room, because they could probably use it by now.






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