All posts tagged Sons

Kids: Don’t Call Me At Work!

Nick on Phone

I’m sitting in an important meeting and my cell phone goes off.  It’s my son, Nick.   What does a sixth grader need on Friday afternoon? 

Do I pick up?

This time, I do.  (Trust me, I ignore my share of calls from home, but this meeting wasn’t that important.)

The purpose of the call?  Nick wants to use my credit card to purchase Rick Riordan’s latest book on his Nook.  He complains that it will take about six months if I force him to continue on the waitlist at the library. 

I can’t believe he is interrupting me for this!  Doesn’t he know I have more important things to do?

I am relieved it’s not an emergency.  But I’m also annoyed at the disruption.   Yet I don’t yell at him.  I can’t yell at him.  After all, I haven’t done a very good job at setting guidelines as to when my kids can and cannot call me at work.

Some working moms I know have a hard and fast rule with their children:  “Don’t call me at work unless it’s an emergency!”

I can’t blame them.  But this doesn’t work for me.   I don’t want my kids to get home from school and think, Gosh, it would be really nice to talk to Mom.  But it’s not an emergency, so I’ll have to wait under later.

I’m smart enough to know that “later” is often forgotten.   As parents, we must seize the moment. 

At the same time, I am in desperate need of some boundaries (especially since my 6-year-old memorized my mobile number last year)!   It’s usually the same old story:  “I forgot my homework”;  “Can I buy a new song on iTunes?”; “What are we having for dinner?”  

But I also get calls that I don’t want to miss – like when Abby got her feelings hurt last week, or when Anna proudly finished her first two-mile run.

So I’m thinking about my own set of guidelines.  Here’s a first crack. 

#1  Only Call Repeatedly If It’s An Emergency

My children tend to call me again and again.   When I don’t pick up my work phone, they call my cell phone and vise versa.  And when I don’t pick up my cell phone they try back – one minute later!

We need to save multiple calls for an emergency.   If I don’t pick up, it probably means I’m busy!  

#2 Text or Leave Me A Message

Often, I check my messages during long meetings and calls.  So while I might not take a new call, I’ll likely read a new message.  Which means I’m likely to get your message faster if it’s in writing.

My son doesn’t have his own cell phone yet (a bone of contention in our home at the moment), but if he sends me an email or text from our home phone, I am often more likely to respond and respond quickly, especially if it says, “Call me ASAP, it’s important!”

# 3 Set Expectations and Plan Times to Talk

Certain days I am quite inaccessible.  Other days I am quite accessible.  Unfortunately, my family doesn’t know the difference unless I tell them.  For example, if I announce in advance, “Today, I’m going to be on an airplane for five hours”  they understand when I don’t pick up on the first ring.

I also know moms who have set times every day to touch base with their kids.   My schedule changes like the wind, so this could be a challenge, but it’s still on the table.

What would you add to the list?   Do your kids call you at work and if so, how do you set boundaries? 

Why I’m Not Blogging About Talking To My Preteen Son About Sex


I was eating sushi with my 5th grade on Saturday night and I said to him, “Wow.  I’m really proud of you for eating sushi.  I just might blog about this!”

His response?

“Mom, does every detail of my life have to be in a blog?” Continue reading →

When Boys Pray

Nick’s 10th birthday party was in full swing when when a minor crisis ensued.  In the midst of an intense dart gun game that spanned half the neighborhood, Nick’s friend Dillon lost his glasses.  I could see the panic on his face.

“These glasses cost $300!  My mom is going to kill me.  They fell right out of my pocket.”

The game stopped.  The party stopped.  And we looked everywhere.

Doug and I helped the boys comb the nearby yards inch by inch.  We looked in the street.  In the bushes.  Even in Dillon’s pocket.  But the glasses were no where to be found.

I could feel God nudging me. [Note to readers:  I did not hear God speak out loud.  There have been only a handful of times in my life when I think he is speaking to my heart.  This was one of them.  I am not crazy.]

God:  Susan, gather these boys together and pray out loud.  Let them experience the power of prayer.  Give faith a chance.

Susan:  [Intentionally ignores God.]

God:  Susan, I’m talking to you. 

Susan:  I hear you.  But what if we don’t find them.  Besides, I don’t even know some of these boys.  I’m going to embarrass Nick and his friends are going to think his mom is a whack job.

[God is silent, and Susan’s heart continues to burn.]

Susan:  Ok God, you win.  But don’t blame me if we don’t find these glasses.

Before I could change my mind I blurted out, “Ok boys, gather around.  We’re going to find these glasses.  For those of you who are comfortable, I want you to agree with me in prayer.  Watch and see what God can do.”

[Susan: Ok God, there’s no turning back now.  And why did you let me add that last line in?  I sound like a religious fanatic!]

A couple of boys bowed their heads.  A few snickered.  One of them said under his breath, “I can’t believe we are doing this.”

I continued rather loudly. After all, since I had pulled the trigger, I might as well go for the gusto. “God, we don’t know where these glasses are.  We’ve looked and we can’t find them.  You know where they are God.  Open our eyes.  Show us.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

Less than 30 seconds passed when Nick’s cousin Peter shouted out, “I found them.  The glasses are right here!”

I watched Dillon smile.  Another boy exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”

I bet God smiled even bigger.

What Is A Son?

[Nick, my firstborn, turns 10 today.  My heart is full and my hands are lifted.  I’m so grateful to be his mother.]

A Son is Joy.  He keeps my glass full.  He brings a smile to my face.  His spark quickly changes my mood, showing me the goodness in the moment and the divine on the ordinary.

A Son is Laughter.  He has that charming yet ridiculous boyish sense of humor.  He wears mirrored glasses and a shower cap in the airport.  Just for fun.  He tells silly jokes I will never fully understand.  But I still laugh.  Hard.

A Son is Pain.  I hurt when he hurts.  I watch him learn lessons and I want to intervene.  But I don’t.  I hold back, knowing that God is in control.  Not me.  I watch him grow and mature and my heart aches, knowing that I must let go.  Again and again.

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A Son is a Mirror.  When I look at him, I see my strengths. And my weaknesses. I see the possibilities – the hopes and the dreams.  He brings out the best in me, and sometimes the worst.  I can’t help but stare.  I don’t look away.

A Son is a Companion.  He’s my back-seat driver, my biggest critic, and my biggest fan.  He invites me to build a sand castle.  I can’t say no, even though I hate getting my hands dirty.  He’s my night owl who stays up with me late and asks me tough questions about life and faith.  He pours out his heart.  I am his confidant, and I reciprocate his trust.  

A Son is a Gift.  He has been entrusted to me for a time.  I want to give him my best, and I don’t want to screw up this privilege called motherhood.  He is a gift from God.  He is pure grace, and through my son I experience the deepest love of the Father.  

For the last 10 years, I have humbly held my son.  But he is getting too big to hold.  So instead I walk beside him and trust that the Father will hold us both.

Happy Birthday, my son. 

The Last (In Line) Shall Be First

View of people waiting in line to pay at the grocery store

Do you really want to do something radical?  Do you want people to notice that you aren’t just another selfish person living for the moment?  Then let someone cut in line today.

Most people hate waiting in line.  Including me.  I’m one of those people who tries to “help” the person behind the register (even when there are five people in front of me) by offering to do a price check or suggesting that we call another department or open a new line. 

Waiting tends to get the best of me.  Especially when it’s unexpected. 

Last week, I dropped Nick off for his “make-up” piano lesson — a 30-minute wait that I wasn’t looking forward to.  When we arrived, Nick no sooner sat down at the piano when another student (and another impatient mother) arrived.

The teacher had double-booked the slot!  And one of us would have to wait another 30 minutes for the lesson to start.

So, did I do the mature thing and offer to go second?  Not exactly.  Nick had already started playing and I thought to myself, It’s a good thing we got here first.

But the other mother started ranting and raving about how she had so many errands to run, and the teacher was doing his best to be fair.  So he said, “Let’s flip a coin, and the student who wins the toss can choose to go first or second.”

We couldn’t argue with the coin toss.

The teacher flipped the coin, and the other student won – fair and square.  Rats!  Nick and I would have to wait.  So the teacher turned to the student and said, “Would you like to go first?”

To our surprise, she looked at Nick and replied, “No, I’ll go second.” 

And then, her mother gave her the look of terror.  A look that said, What are you thinking?  A look that said, Can’t you see how busy I am?  A look that said, How stupid can you be?

This sweet child  — who was more gracious than any of the adults involved — was now both embarrassed and belittled.  And I was started to get this yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach.  So I walked over to the piano chair, grabbed Nick by the coat and took him outside to wait.

I turned to Nick and said, “Remember, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”

He just smiled and said, “Let’s go to Starbucks, Mom.”