ManCub, my trusty 17-year old son, has been killing me softly with his quick wit since his first cry on July 29, 2000. It’s been a grand, wild ride with this kid and he’s taught me more about myself than I could have imagined at the start of this life adventure with him.
To get through the last of winter’s grip, and to honor the young men we’ve lost to suicide in the last year—some we have known, many we have not—I’m sifting through memories that warm my heart and make me laugh, and thought I would share, vignette-style, what feels like a bit of mom and son magic to me, with you. Here we go:
Gonzaga University offers a brilliant fundraising opportunity for school groups to run concession stands in the McCarthy Center during basketball games for a share in profits. ManCub and I volunteered to work the North Central High School Senior All Nighter stand last Saturday. After scrambling the brains of everyone around me—order after order—as I worked one of the six cash registers, I admitted I was not in top form.
“Mother of Pearl!” I said to ManCub. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been more horrible at anything in my life.”
“Yeah, Mom, you’re pretty bad,” he replied.
“Can we please talk about some things I am good at? To keep it all balanced?” I asked.
“Nope, you know what they say,” he said, “we need to live in the moment.”
After picking up ManCub from school, I asked him to hold the pot of flowers a friend had given me for my birthday.
“This is more like a bush than flowers,” he said.
“Oh, it’s Heather,” I replied.
“Oh dear … you are naming your plants now?”
“That’s what it’s called,” I said.
“I get that’s what you are calling it,” he smiled.
When asked what kind of work his mother did, ManCub said I was the editor of Spokane Coeur d’Alene Woman magazine. As he shared this with me, I gasped and said I couldn’t believe he was two years behind knowing I had rolled that magazine, along with other publications, into Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine and was the editor-in-chief of the city magazine.
“Oh, okay, Mom,” he said. “It’s really not that big of a deal … most people are more impressed that I’m as tall as I am, and that seems to trump whatever you do, anyway.”
I was describing the difference between “hard” cider and regular cider. “Oh, you are saying that hard cider means it’s alcohol?” he asked.
‘Yes, indeed. It’s stiff,” I say.
“Oh my gosh, Mom! What is wrong with you?! You always go straight to inappropriate, don’t you?”
“Whoa, wait a minute. That isn’t inappropriate, that’s what you call a drink with a lot of alcohol in it,” I say.
“Mom, get real. You are talking to a high school boy. You expect me to believe that?”
“Christopher, get real. That has been a saying about drinks with a lot of alcohol in them for a very long time.”
“Trust me, Mom. If there was a saying that involved this sort of thing ever, I would know about it. High schoolers are who make this stuff up.”
Walking through the grocery store parking lot, loud rap music caught our attention and we both looked toward the vehicle.
“That’s an odd sight,” ManCub said. “A total beat down farm truck with base so low the old windows may burst, with a redneck dude dropping it down to some hardcore rap. Didn’t see that coming.”
“That’s what you would call a juxtaposition,” I say, fumbling over the pronunciation.
“What are you trying to say?” he asks. “How does that have anything to do with bisexual?”
“Juxtaposition,” I enunciate as we both burst into laughter.
I shared environmental statistic after statistic on the way home after an event I attended before picking up ManCub from basketball practice. As we pulled into the driveway, I shot out one more stat: “And! Listen to this one: adults who sleep less than seven hours a night have a 75 percent higher risk of having a heart attack than those who sleep more than seven hours a night. Can you believe that?”
He laughed and said: “Awww, Mom. You are like one of those infomercials playing in the background, listing off a ton of information and after 10 minutes you think ‘holy cow that thing is still going!’ Don’t get me wrong, it’s all good, but WOW.”
I told him he could get himself killed speaking to women like that.
ManCub and I were out running errands one night, including a stop at the grocery store. He said something sassy to me, so I replied in an “alien-like” voice. “Mom, stop, we are in public,” he said through gritted teeth. I assured him I had enough sense to be aware of my surroundings and no one was within earshot.
I admit, I turn up the goon power when I’m with that kid. He and I jive, we spend a good chunk of our time laughing, playing off of and one upping each other, so things can get a little out of hand at times.
As we climbed into the car, he said, “Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe you are a professional. You are one of the craziest, most spontaneous people I know.” I giggled and then quickly turned it into maniacal laughter.
A little later, after several “I was just thinking the same thing” moments between us, he said, “It’s as though our lives aligned when I was born, and everything is always perfect between us.”
Indeed, ManCub. Indeed.
We are Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine, and we are Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Please find me on Facebook or Twitter—and hop over to “like” the Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living magazine page—to stay connected between press dates, and to share your thoughts, stories and life in real time. Wishing you all the kind of banter with the young men in your lives that makes your heart light on fire.