The Substitute

On Saturday morning I took my son to the neighborhood barber for a desperately needed haircut.  After much protesting and eye-rolling, he agreed that his curly hair was out of control.  Two weeks of wrangling with it unsuccessfully was enough to get him in the chair and see if the barber could reach that happy medium between messy and controlled – messy enough for him to think it’s cool and controlled enough for me to resist the urge to blow on his head like a dandelion and have all the overgrown hair magically fly away.

We walked into the barbershop and he sat in the chair and told the barber what he wanted – long on top and short on the sides and back.  The barber (with a wink to me) suggested taking an inch off the top just to clean it up a bit, to which my son agreed as I wisely kept my mouth shut.  Sitting there I recalled a conversation my son and I had some years back, when, as a decidedly less snarky six-year-old, he told me he might want to be a “haircutter” when he grew up, among other occupations.

The list at that time also included being a musician, an astronaut, a ninja warrior, a preschool teacher, and a chocolate factory owner.  The more his world expanded around him, the more interested he became in what folks did for a living, and whenever he learned about a new occupation, he would declare that that’s exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up .

One day, perhaps overwhelmed by all the myriad employment options in the world, he told me that when he grew up, he wanted to be a substitute.

“A substitute teacher?” I remember asking him.  “No mom, just a substitute.  Like, when a grown up gets sick and can’t do their job, I’ll go in and do it for them.  Like on Monday I can be a rock star, on Tuesday I can be a chef, on Wednesday I can drive a school bus. . .”  Well, I figured with this plan he would certainly never be bored or unemployed.  I remember smiling and telling him that he would have to know about a lot of different things to do all those different jobs.  How would he learn them all?

And with that beaming bundle of confidence only a six-year-old can possess, he said very seriously and matter-of-factly, “well I don’t know, but I know I can do them all.”  As far as he was concerned, it was a foregone conclusion.  How could I possibly have any doubts?  Sitting in the barbershop and thinking about that exchange reminded me of the inspiring and magical ability children possess to believe that all things are possible and within reach.  As adults, to be dusted with a bit of that magic every day is a blessing.

Currently the 11-year-old’s list still includes musician but filmmaker has also entered the fray.  As his mom, of course I believe he can do anything he sets his mind to.  And as far as I can tell, he hasn’t stopped believing that either.  I’m sure if I remind him of this conversation now he would just sigh and tell me to stop embarrassing him.  But if I did that, then I wouldn’t be doing my job. 🙂

Photo courtesy of Google Images

Proud contributor to:

time for mom button

A Midlife Moment

This afternoon I met with my friend C. at our favorite neighborhood spot.  A quaint bistro-style coffee-house that serves delicious sandwiches and salads, pastries and artisanal coffees (C. swoons over the perfectly blended iced coffee), we love to sit here and chit-chat over lunch.  Occasionally I finish up my meal with a handmade salted caramel chocolate truffle – heaven!

While greedily devouring our eggplant, red pepper, zucchini and mozzarella sandwiches (on freshly baked Italian bread), C. mentioned how much she was enjoying the NBC musical drama “Smash”.

The conversation went something like this:

C.:  “. . . and Debra Messing is amazing on this show, I love her.”

Me:  “So do I, she is so funny.  Is she wearing her hair curly or straight?”  (I’ve recently stopped blow drying my naturally curly hair straight, thus alleviating my arm pain and most likely averting carpal tunnel syndrome.  Knowing that Deb was a curly girl, I was curious).

C.:  “Not pin straight, but wavy.  She was so great in that other series, too, you know, the one where. . . oh, you remember. . . “

Me:  “Yes of course, with that guy. . . what was it called again??? “

C.:  “Yes, the one with Jack. . . “

Me:  “Yes, and the other one – ugh, what is the name of that show???”

C.:  “I just can’t think of it. . . . “

Me:  “Neither can I – why can’t we think of that name???”

We stared at each other blankly.  Neither one of us could come up with the name of that damn show, not for the next 45 minutes of our lunch date.  Not even on the way home.  I told her we were having a Midlife Moment – where you can recall some details of what you’re trying to remember, but you can’t quite remember exactly what it is you’re trying to remember.  I felt like I was being punk’d by my own brain – the answer was just kind of dancing around the edges of my memory banks, then got  yanked away just as it was about to descend onto the tip of my tongue.  If you fall anywhere on the 40-spectrum, you might know what I’m talking about.

 The funny thing about these Moments is that eventually you do remember what it was you were trying to remember.  I finally remembered the name of the show.  Nine hours later.

“WILL & GRACE for cryin’ out loud,” I text-yelled to C.  “OMG!!  Of course!” she texted back.

Sigh.  I wonder if they can put some ginkgo biloba in those salted caramel chocolate truffles.  Doesn’t chocolate have some memory enhancing properties?  I think I read that somewhere, I just can’t remember where. . .

Are you “forgetting to remember” more often than usual?  What are some of your Midlife Moments?  Let me know (don’t worry, I’ll probably forget all about it!)