If I wrote about race, class, gender and ISIS I'd probably have more readers, but inside this academic is an Erma Bombeck screaming to get out. What I'd like to know at the moment is how to get the twelve-year-old to like his new crocs, which will otherwise be taken back to the store because they are not absolutely pure black and have a slight indentation on the heel, a stylistic subtlety so tiny as to have remained unnoticed by me, but clearly a critical one.
Now, I remember the days when I, age thirteen, carefully explained to my mother that I hated polyester and please not to buy me anything made of it. This always seemed to inspire in her a delight in things polyester, and she'd come home with armfuls of blouses she "just thought would be lovely on you" until one day I shrieked and burst into tears. That did stop her for a while.
I don't believe I've been quite so unable to hear my son's wishes as my mother was to hear mine, but nevertheless, I'm willing to take those crocs back. It always gets me when he says, "when I'm eighteen I'm moving out!" until I remind myself, and I constantly do, that some of that sentiment is fueled by all those freshly pumped-into-his-veins hormones, and that some day he will be all grown up. Friends with grown children smile when I worry and assure me that "around age sixteen it all gets much better." But that does leave me with the next four years to be losing my temper about discipline around my husband, and then, just as child #2 is hitting sixteen, his very sweet (at the moment) younger sister will be right about where he is now, hormone-wise.
Fact: I have gone gray. It could be age, but I do prevent people from realizing the true color of my hair with bottles of potions variously labeled, shades of medium-blond that are never called that but always something that sounds much more romantic, and as though it could instantly transport you back into your late thirties.
Now, yesterday was my sixteenth wedding anniversary, and my husband and I got to go out, something we get to do only on birthdays and anniversaries. I had to waste the morning delivering, well, waste, to the doctor in order to get off the no-fly list, and I do wish the German ministry of health would re-allocate its resources from harassing persons who had traveler's diarrhea three weeks ago to combating outbreaks of ebola virus in Hamburg or anywhere else in Europe. W.H.O. needs you. I don't. I'd have had a much more fun morning with my husband, but we did have a sweet sixteen evening.