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Community News Network

May 9, 2014

On Mother's Day weekend, things I wish I taught my son

(Continued)

I now stand at a threshold from which I look back on that benighted time with such volatile emotion that at moments I am overcome. Next fall, Baby Alexander's Mommy will send 18-year-old Alec — a young man with wide shoulders, a trim beard, a deep baritone, a love of the piano and a fine knack for mimicry — to college. Thinking of all the mothers whose sons have gone off to war or to sea or to hop a freight, I know how privileged I am to face this gentle parting. Those 18 years have not passed in a flash; I've had more than my share of joy and fun. Yet I feel as if I've arrived at a private reckoning, an unavoidable summing up of all the things I hoped to teach this boy, share with him, imprint on his soul — alongside his father, I remind my grandiose self — and all the things I thought I would but didn't. I linger on those I didn't.

I did not teach him to keep a shipshape room, to write thank-you notes by reflex. I did not foster craft projects at the kitchen table or teach him to grow tomatoes. He did not learn to ice-skate. I had fantasies, when he was barely walking, that I would raise him to dress in a confidently nonconformist way, to converse easily with his elders, to love dancing. One day I would show him Paris, where I'd spent a year after college. Our family would memorize poems together, read aloud to one another from the classics. Alec would know Billie Holiday from Sarah Vaughan; cherish "The Sword in the Stone." He would learn how to cook something other than a frozen pizza. Above all, we would accrue countless idiosyncratic traditions, unique to our tight-knit, ice-skating, bed-making, jazz-loving, Dickens-reading family.

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Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

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