Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Milestone Moments, Nuts & Bolts, Parental Adolescence, Parenting Tweets, Round Two, Teens

It could have been this simple…

empty nestTonight, after 20 years of parenting, my creativity evaporated, so I just said:

“What did you learn today?”

And then I heard a whole lot about Bangladesh.


Posted in Mid-Life Mama, Milestone Moments, Parenting Tweets, Teens

Sunday at the Mall

Sunday afternoon at the Hampshire Mall is eerily empty, except for two

solemn souls stationed at each of the counters:

Sbarro’s, Subway & something Asian.

That’s it.

I search in vain for the soft pretzel cart, but she’s gone too.

The few shoppers I see are other

Moms like me, “side kicks”

to boys don’t really want to be shopping

with their moms,

but aren’t old enough to drive,

or buy…

$40 shorts that pull your pants down.

“This is depressing,”I say, as I look around at sons walking ahead

of their mothers, while she carries their new clothes, and strives to be relevant.

Each teen stares down at a screen, even

if it’s empty, just

to avoid her.

“Girls shop with each other,” my son explains.

I let him carry his own bags, and notice that he didn’t bring his phone, and that he’s

walking beside me.

I’m thankful for the few years he has on these other boys which means it now matters less to be seen with me,

in the event anyone sees us,

here in this empty  mall on a Sunday afternoon in rural Massachusetts,

while his younger brother and father jump off the dock at the pond, and I

stand in line at American Eagle.

Lloyd does another circle around the store, searching

for yet another dingy shade of ragged shorts,

dismissing each of my fairer suggestions,

as I watch another son do the same, with a display of

excruciating exhaustion,

as if he can no longer bear the burden of a lifetime of her

attention and care.

I realize that our job is simply to open the wallets and provide the transportation and to nod our heads at choices we wouldn’t choose.

Just a gossamer thread holds us


a car,

a credit card.

What happens when he can drive?

Or has a job?

Or has someone else to tell him he looks good?

On our way back to Vermont, I hide

the iPod.

I want him to myself.

Once he was in the booster seat behind me,

grasping for my hand,

now he sits beside me

or in the driver’s seat,

telling me about


about the Topsiders he wants;

about his classes for next year, Spanish III;

about studying abroad; maybe Costa Rica, maybe not.

I breathe in what remains of the connection

between us, without an ounce

of regret

for the afternoon I “spent”

at the mall.

Kelly Salasin, June 2011

Posted in Mid-Life Mama, Parenting Tweets, Teens


Remember the film “Big” with Tom Hanks, when he goes to the carnival as a 12 year old boy and comes home a man?

On Sunday mornings I feel like the mom in that movie as my own boy stumbles out of his bedroom…

with the same face he wore as a toddler,

only now it’s towering over me…

and he’s wearing boxer shorts that have grown too sizes too small, overnight…

and out of his mouth comes a deep grumbling…

of a man,

with hairy legs,

calling me,


Kelly Salasin, June 2011

Posted in Insight, Mid-Life Mama, Parenting Tweets

Annoying Bird Calls (what kind of mom do I want to be?)

Photo 339I wake to the sounds of birds and wonder if I should get up too. Now that the boys are home for the summer, I like to be up early to steal some quiet for myself.

I roll over to check my husband’s alarm clock but instead see his back.  It must too early to get up. I notice it’s dark outside.

Still, I lift my head over his body in a heroic effort to assign time.


I like that. Those fours could inspire me to get up and write about the “masculine.”
“4” is the number for Emperor in the tarot, and this is the first full day of summer–the masculine in full expression.

Instead, I roll over and slip back into the soft feminine of dreams.

When the sounds of birds wake me again, the room is lightening and Casey is gone. I can see the clock easily now:  5:40. Nothing interesting about that. I slide back into dreams once again.

Another chorus wakes me later, and this time the bedroom is streaming with light. It’s coming on 7.  Casey will leave for work momentarily and if I don’t get up now, I’ll sleep till the boys wake and that would be a steep start to the first day of summer “vacation.”

I force myself into conversation when Casey comes to say goodbye. He tells me that I was laughing in my sleep–hysterically–like he’s never heard before. I can’t recall any of my dreams, but later it comes to me… I was back at Kripalu, with a YogaDance friend, and I was talking with my teacher Megha. My cheeks lift recollecting it now.

The conversation with my husband lulls–as it does when someone is still horizontal. I break the silence with a sudden observation: “Some birds are so repetitive!”

Casey tilts his head to hear the call in question.
“Maybe they’re parents,” he says.

That’s enough of a curiosity to stir my mind, so that when my husband stoops to kiss me goodbye, I am already wondering:

What would a mother bird say to her kids?

On a week of rain like this, she’d be stir crazy in the nest so that the moment the clouds lifted, she’d say, “Get of this nest. Get out of this nest. Get out of this nest!”

Or maybe she has a teenage son like mine who wants to lie around all day and she says,  “Go get some worms. Go get some worms. Go get some worms!”

It could be her “nest blessing day” and then she’d call to all of them: “Pick up your stuff. Pick up your stuff. Pick up your stuff!”

Whatever she’s repeating, it’s annoying and it gets me out of bed. Who wants to lie around listening to that call over and over again?

Van Gogh (
Van Gogh (

And then I get to thinking, why do some birds have annoying, repetitive calls and others–like the thrush–share deep, soulful sounds that stir me inside?

And right way, I know. They’re just like us. And I know that I want to be a thrush, not a “Pick up your stuff. Pick up your stuff. Pick up your stuff,” mom.  That bird sits right out my window on a nearby tree, but the sound of the thrush comes from the forest.

Actually, I don’t know much about birds, except that I hear them a lot living near the woods as I do. The only call I recognize is the thrush–because I’ve always loved it–ever since we first moved to the mountains. But it might not even be a thrush.

I used get excited about hearing a particularly beautiful call, but whenever I’d ask my bird knowing neighbor what it was,  he’d laugh and say:  “That’s a Robin,” or worse: “That’s a crow.”

Jack Kerouc wrote, “Even if it didn’t happen, it’s true,” and this comforts me because what I sense about the soul of the thrush IS true, even if it’s not her that I hear.

But my truth is interrupted by the scratching of my own “chickadees” in the “nest” above my office. It’s only 8 am. I thought they’d sleep much later on their first day of summer vacation. I haven’t even checked Facebook or Twitter yet or finished telling you about how I want to have the call of a thrush in my heart instead of a complainer.

I listen for her again before I head to the kitchen to make breakfast, but she’s gone. Maybe her own kids are up too and she has to shift her attention from matters of the soul to practicalities–like twigs and worms and lessons in flight. Maybe that deep, spiraling call only comes when she’s alone–in the dark wood–before the kids get up.

When night falls and our children are asleep again, she’ll return–and I’ll be here too.

(June 2009)