The “Manceremony”

My son entered the holiday season yet a boy, but will return to school this New Year a man.  And so last night, we celebrated his coming of age with a “Manceremony.”

It was only a few days ago that my twelve-year-old son with the warbled voice, the distinct Jr. High aloofness, and all the awkwardness of a “boy of a certain age,” roamed the halls of our home.  Now, a man with a deep voice, facial hair and a buff physique has stolen my chubby cheeked angel. 

He turned and smiled at me last night, and in the dim light of the fire, I caught the distinct outline of a mustache on my baby, I mean man-child. 

He is almost a teen-ager now, though we have avoided that word in our home.  I have chosen to reject all the rebelliousness and disrespect that comes along with that verbiage.  My husband and I have decided to give the first-born instead, a “man” blessing, and skip the teen stage altogether.  Clearly this is an experiment, one that may or may not work, but we are hopeful, though possibly naïve, for the years to come.

So in honor of his impending need to shave, I pulled out the champagne glasses for the whole family, excluding the baby, filled them with apple juice, and we toasted to the end of one season and the beginning of the next.  With a nervous laugh, my son lifted his glass.  I could see his emotions ranging from uncomfortable to proud, but he was obviously appreciative that we recognized his maturation and took it seriously.

And so, I will store up the memories of his childhood deep within my heart; his incessant curiosity, the cherubic blond curls, and his chubby little arms reaching out for a hug.  It’s hard to let go of my tiny football player and embrace this new creature who wears cologne and attracts stares from women of all ages.

 I feel unprepared and truly inadequate for this next stage of motherhood.  We, both my son and I, stand at the edge of an uncertain future.  Like the cusp of a roller-coaster, just about to crest over the highest peak, either I choose to lift my arms up high and enjoy the ride or close my eyes and scream for dear life.

Today we worked out at the gym, lifting weights side by side.  And though I am teaching him proper form, he is pushing me on to new limits. Our relationship is changing, as I both embrace and simultaneously release my son into this dance of growing up.

Too Much Frivolity

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Image via Wikipedia

I am a survivor of Christmas overload.  Seven parties in seven days, and three more to go. There should be medals for this kind of dedication to frivolity.

I love parties.  I love Christmas.  But I don’t love the exhausted, bloated feeling that goes along with the Christmas party.  Call me undisciplined, fallacious even…but night after night of decadent temptation starts to crumble the walls of careful self-preservation and eventually, caution is thrown to the wind, carbs are embraced, and the culinary delights of the season are succumbed to.

Christmas is such a strange animal.  People overeat, overspend, and drink too much for a solid month, leaving them pudgy, broke and hung over by New Years.  Entitlement aside, deep down, we all know that Christmas doesn’t have to be this gluttonous and yet setting boundaries on fun proves to be much easier said than done. 

It’s not an obvious seduction, like drugs or illicit compromise; true Christmas party overload is inherently subtle.  It’s one sip of wine at a time, two late nights justified, then three more. It’s going back for seconds at the buffet table and avoiding the gym because there is “just so much to do.”  Bustle, bustle, justify, justify…and then, all of sudden you can’t zip up your pants.

If someone offers me a cigarette, it’s easy to say no because I am not a smoker, nor do I intend to be one, but when it’s your mother pushing the most divine pecan pie known to man, the boundaries start to blur…a lot.

Moderation seems to be the obvious solution, when we veer towards excess, but it’s a tough sell to say no to “just one more” party, the last cookie in the office basket and the mocha swirl sample at Starbucks

The Grinch said it well, “Maybe Christmas, doesn’t come from a store, perhaps maybe Christmas, means a little bit more.”

And so, maybe contentment at Christmas parties comes with less and not more, maybe finding the “more” is simply saying “no more.”

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