Monthly Archives

August 2021

Cailyn

“Don’t get attached!” These words of wisdom came barreling out of Leslie’s mouth when she heard me talking about Logan’s new girlfriend. It was the summer of 2019 and I was home for a wedding shower for my nephew, Jacob, and his (now wife), Jaime. Leslie is the mother to two boys and went on to elaborate about how her heart had been broken time and again over the years when relationships ended. I didn’t have a retort. I hadn’t lived through a serious relationship for either of my boys, so this was new territory.

My boy, Logan, is incredibly private but we knew about half-way into freshman year that he had his eye on someone. We weren’t getting any details and it wasn’t until one of his friends slipped her name out that I was able to do some sleuthing in classic mom style. God bless social media! Honestly, I didn’t search too hard – I just wanted to see what she looked like. My mistake! I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t the incredibly stunning young redhead I found. As one young sir commented this past weekend, “She’s a smoke show.” He’s not wrong.

We met Cailyn for the first time at a King of the Courts basketball tournament. She was polite and reserved and even more beautiful in real life, but what struck John and I immediately was how she and Logan were together. Never really leaving one another’s side, it was obvious from the glances and the quiet talk between them and the closeness of their bodies that they were both smitten. And isn’t that all a parent really wants for their child? To find someone to love who loves them back? Sigh. Young love. It was the sweetest darn thing to see.

Two and a half years later, not much has changed. To see them together is to know that their relationship has survived Covid and college and is developing into something that might last a lifetime. Or is that just my wishful thinking?! 🙂 I have enjoyed getting to know Cailyn and am not surprised she has won Logan’s heart. Did I mention she’s smart? Majoring in Biology with a GPA to rival or top Logan’s, she thinks she might be a teacher some day. Cue my approval! I love that she is observant. You can always find her watching the dynamics of any social gathering and taking it all in. Her ability to *read a room*, figure out who has had one too many, or who is about to get into it, for example, is one of the things that helps her be such a good friend. And she is. She has come to UMass Lowell with a group of kiddos from Braintree that she has been friends with for a long time. I think that says a lot about who she is and what she values. She is the glue for her group and it makes my heart happy to hear that it is Cailyn the kids go to when they need someone to talk to about the big stuff. Just this past weekend one of the group had an allergy scare and she told us Cailyn sat with her until it was clear she was okay. She is a really, really decent and caring human being. She is also no pushover. She doesn’t do drama and has no problem standing up for the things she believes in. We had quite a conversation about Planned Parenthood and women’s rights around their bodies this past Christmas and I remember thinking to myself, Dang, girl! There is hope for the future!

This past summer Cailyn and I have been working together to brand and build my social media platform. Cailyn is an artist and has used her incredible skills to bring my dreams and vision to life. I tell her what I want and she sifts through all my pain in the ass demands and makes it work. It might be a job for her, but for me It has been a gift to forge a deeper connection and I have loved every minute.

So here I am. It’s Monday morning and I am in the bathroom bent over with my head hanging down to the ground so I can crunch my curls with the blow dryer. My thoughts turn to Logan’s graduation gathering and as I think about Cailyn and how much she added to the day and how much she has added to Logan’s world, I am suddenly in tears. I love this girl, I realize. I have always said I loved Cailyn, but in this moment I know she has made her way into my heart forever and I don’t want to think about that ever changing. Gosh darn it, Leslie! I AM ATTACHED!!!

I need you to know

Beware the Bravado

Convicts: What’d he look like, Drag?…Yeah, what’d he look like?..He had his eyes opened or closed, Drag?
Dragline: He was smiling…That’s right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn’t know it ‘fore, they could tell right then that they weren’t a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Old Luke, he was some boy. Cool Hand Luke. Hell, he’s a natural-born world-shaker.

My blog about words a few months ago got me thinking about how hard we try not to show how someone else’s words affect us. You know what I mean. You are in an argument with someone and they start to name call or bring up past digressions… and You want to flinch.. or cry.. but you don’t. You knuckle down on the inside and your face becomes flat – no expression whatsoever. Or maybe you smile.. to really show that person that what they think doesn’t mean a gosh darn thing. I think Luke had this down to a fine art.

I don’t know when kids learn how this works. That to be openly vulnerable is highly frowned upon in society. That a tough exterior is the norm. That there is no crying in baseball. I can tell you that as early as fourth grade, kiddos learn to put on the act, the smile, to cover up their true emotions. I have had students going through challenges in their home lives, or in the throws of their own battles with anxiety or depression, or locked in a cycle of being alone every recess, and when I try to talk to them or ask them if they want to talk, they are always *fine*. Or they stare at me with that flat look in their eyes that says – No way in hell I am admitting to be anything less than *fine* to you. At ten.

Luke would either feign indifference in these situations or give us that teen smirk of disgust reserved for parents and teachers when he found his emotions getting the best of him. And the bravata this boy had! I can only imagine what he looked like at school based on what I saw myself and what the kiddos told me. And the pictures. The ones with Luke wearing that classic Luke smile. The one that said, Yes, I am this freaking fantastic. and it is good to be King. Oi. I think the picture I shared of him and Taylor in their housecoats captures it perfectly. He was quite truly larger than life. So how can the kid that strolls down the hallway, chill as hell, be the same kid who lays on the couch every night feeling hopeless? I feel like as Luke’s persona got bigger and bigger on the outside, his inner self felt smaller and smaller.

So cue the school day and once again Luke is getting reprimanded for not doing his homework, arriving late, some offence and does he ever share with an adult what is truly going on for him on the inside? The demons he is facing? The truth behind the behavior? Nah…. he lets them talk and wag their finger, and then he gives them that slow smile of his that says – you are never going to beat me down – and he walks away. He swallows his emotions and tells his friends at lunch what a b**** so and so is and laughs when he says he has Saturday school. I’m Luke Inwood, boys! None of that shit can touch me!

So here’s what I need you to know: I think we all have met or know someone who puts on the best show; that has this huge personality. Sometimes it is apparent to everyone in the room that they are covering something up. But most times, it is not. I think about myself somedays when I am pushing my Miss Patty Positivity act to the max even when I am really struggling around losing Luke. Or I think of Robin Williams. Working so hard to be funny and entertain the world when his emotions on the inside were no freaking joke. Or I think of Luke Inwood. Sigh. Beware the Bravado, friends! Maybe we try to create a space for the people we love to feel safe enough to share how they really feel. Maybe we model what it is to be vulnerable and less than perfect and struggling with our children, so they understand that it’s okay to not be okay. And maybe, when we see that student or that friend, and they are showing the world a spine of steel or an *I don’t give a sh*t attitude, we take pause and remind ourselves that behind those brown eyes or that smirk is a whole history of emotions and life experiences we aren’t privy to. My boy was one complicated kid that would do anything not to look weak. He is not the only one. #NotOneMore Xxx

I need you to know