A SHOCKING DISCOVERY

March 3, 2015 in Adventures in Parenting

The other day my kids and I were sitting at our kitchen table eating lunch. I had made myself a serving of my new favorite vegetable, brussels sprouts, and asked my kids if they’d like to try one.

“No,” my middle son said in a tone of voice that meant “I can’t believe you asked that question. You already know what the answer is going to be.”

“No,” my youngest son said and pinched his nose shut to keep the offending smell out. Five minutes later, he wandered over, plucked a brussels sprout out of my bowl and popped it into his mouth on his way out of the kitchen.

“No,” my oldest son said, “I read your blog.”

Wait a second. Whhaaattt? “You read my blog?” I asked calmly, but inside I was frantically rifling through the topics I had recently written about. Had any of them been inappropriate topics for a soon-to-be-fifteen-year-old boy? Did I use naughty language? Did I—gasp—write about him? “Which one?”

“The one about brussels sprouts and Jimmy Fallon.” The one where I said brussels sprouts tasted like bitter dirt. Great. Now he’ll never try one.

“Did you read the part about  Annie Lennox or The Killing?”

“I didn’t read that far.”

“Do you read all my blogs?”

“No…just some.”

Huh. My son occasionally reads portions of my blog. That is…shocking, actually.  It’s also kind of sweet, especially when you consider that I write about brussels sprouts and TV shows called The Killing and not about tips for getting a higher score in the League of Legends video game.

With all my concerns about my kids surfing the internet and watching questionably appropriate Youtube videos behind their closed bedroom doors, it’s nice to know that my son occasionally meanders my way, where the content is consistently G or PG-13 and he’ll be introduced to some great titles should he ever need an idea for a book to read.

But there’s something else: my son is growing up. He’s at an age where we can share things we haven’t been able to until now. We can see movies that are geared to an older audience,  a nice change of pace from movies like The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Pretty soon he’ll be driving, and I’ll be the one in the passenger seat, controlling the radio station and managing his texts like he does for me when I drive. Reading my blog is only the beginning of the things we can share as he begins the transition from adolescent to adult, and I’m looking forward to every single one.

 

THE DILEMMA OF THE STAY-AT-HOME MOM

February 9, 2015 in Adventures in Parenting

 

Someone recently asked me what it is I do all day. As a stay-at-home mom, isn’t that the million dollar question? I know I’ve had my fair share of days where I fall into bed at the end of the day, exhausted, the house a mess, piles of laundry undone or unfolded, and no food in the fridge because I’ve been so busy with my kids that I barely had time to go to the bathroom. You can’t “see” time spent with your kids in the same way you can see a freshly folded pile of laundry or a sparkling kitchen sink. Time spent with your kids is invisible, except for those rare moments when a child brings home a good report card, or remembers to hold the door open for someone, or says “I love you, Mom,” without you saying it first.

However, now that my kids are all in school, I will concede that it is fair to wonder what I do when the kids are out of the house. If you don’t count summer break, winter break, mid-winter break, spring break, holidays, teacher in-service days, half days, sick days, and early release Wednesdays, then I have roughly 23 hours a week to do whatever I want…right? Except my “free time” never seems to exist because I’m busy doing these kinds of things instead:

ME TIME: If you think “me” time involves spending a day at the spa or having lunch with my girlfriends, think again. My “me” time involves things like mammograms and other doctor appointments, haircuts, taking in the car to the mechanic, staying on top of emails, scheduling my kids’ doctors appointments, and updating our family calendars so nothing slips through the cracks.

HOUSE TIME: Cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, filling the car up with gas, paying the bills, going to the bank, and scheduling household repairs when something falls apart.

ERRAND TIME: Target for school supplies my kids have to have by tomorrow but have forgotten to tell me about it until today, Sports Authority for new socks, athletic cups, mouth guards, and new shoes because they just discovered the entire sole of their existing shoe has flopped off and they have basketball practice tonight.

VOLUNTEER TIME: If you’ve ever volunteered at your child’s school, then you know that volunteering can take on a life of its own. Even the simplest of jobs requires a trip to the store or time spent at the school, or both. If you step into a leadership role, then you’ve committed to asking yourself, multiple times, why you are working this hard and not getting paid…seriously.

SCHOOL TIME: And then there’s a little thing I like to call my Masters program, where every month I’m required to read 2-3 books and write essays on the various crafts the authors are using, write 25 pages of creative work, and read submissions to our program’s online literary journal to see if they’re worthy of being published. Like parenting, my time spent here is largely invisible. I can spend five hours writing and rewriting three pages, only to scrap them the next day and start all over again from a different angle. It takes time you can’t see to nurture the written word.

And that is what I, as a stay-at-home mom, do while my kids are in school.

(Disclaimer: Every once in awhile, when the stars align, I spend an entire school day on the couch watching daytime TV, even if I’m not sick. I am a mom 24/7. I do not get nights off, and my weekends shuttling kids back and forth to their games, birthday parties, and other activities are no weekends at all. I have to take my time off when I can.)

 

 

 

DECEMBER: RUNNING THE GAUNTLET

December 23, 2014 in Adventures in Parenting

I love Christmas! It’s my favorite holiday, which means I can get a bit carried away with baking Christmas cookies, decorating the house and the tree, and finding the perfect stocking stuffers. This year, though, on top of my Christmas preparations, I also had to juggle my reading/writing assignments for my Masters program. It wasn’t long before I realized that December was kicking my ass. Something had to give, and since it couldn’t be my homework, I was going to have to (gasp) scale back Christmas. It did not go well.

ME: Everyone pick your favorite Christmas cookie, and that’s what I’ll make.

OLDEST SON: That’s only four kinds.

ME: Yes.

OLDEST SON: Don’t we usually have seven or eight different kinds?

ME: Um, yes.

FINAL VERDICT: I made seven different kinds of cookies, but before you think I caved in to my son, this was entirely my idea. I love baking (and eating) cookies, and since I had just purchased a new Christmas cookie magazine…

ME: What do you guys think about getting a fake tree this year?

MIDDLE SON: Yes! Real trees are too much work.

OLDEST SON: That will ruin everything.

YOUNGEST SON: I’ll go with whatever the gang wants.

FINAL VERDICT: We got a real tree. Again, this was my idea. I didn’t like the fake trees: they were the wrong shape. So we got a giant real tree complete with a pine fresh smell. It took us half a day to trim the branches, cut down the trunk, carry it in, get it upright, tie it to the wall so it wouldn’t fall down (which has happened), and vacuum up the pine needles. My middle son was right: real trees are a lot of work.

ME: I am not putting all these ornaments on the tree by myself. You guys have to help.

OLDEST SON: I’ll do it.

ME: Great!

OLDEST SON: Do I have to put them all on?

ME: No!

OLDEST SON: Do you care which—

ME: No! Whatever you do will be perfect!

 

My 12 Days of Christmas looked like this:

12 glasses of wine

11 stores I went to that did not have the gift/size/color I was looking for

10 workshop samples critiqued

9 required books read

8 ½  foot real, beautifully decorated Christmas tree

7 kinds of cookies

6-ty minutes watching Jimmy Fallon Late Night YouTube videos instead of getting my work done (awesome!)

5 hour energy shots

4 hours spent at the movies (The Hobbit and Night at The Museum: rounding out 2 trilogies in one month)

3 hours spent dealing with !@#* Christmas lights with half the strand out

2 gifts that won’t arrive in time for Christmas

1 sick kid

With Christmas only a few days away, the end is in sight! It was a tough month, but I am now reaping the benefits of all my hard work. Now comes the fun part: enjoying quality time with my family. Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Magical Holiday Season!

 

FINALLY: A STORE WE CAN ALL AGREE ON & HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

October 31, 2014 in Adventures in Parenting

Taking all three of my sons with me to a store, whether it be a grocery store, a clothing store, or, heaven forbid, Costco, is one of my worst nightmares. If I’m at a store, I’m usually there for a reason. I have my list and a prescribed amount of time allotted to the errand before we have to be at the next event. My kids, unfortunately, usually don’t share my agenda. They may be tagging along because it’s a stop on the way to their soccer practice, and so the minute we cross the threshold of whichever store we happen to be entering, they consider it play time.

My kids scamper down aisles and hide in the center of clothing racks. They toss in large bags of Cheetos or 6-packs of soda in my shopping cart when my back is turned. They put one of their brothers in a headlock and merrily lead him around the store, oblivious to his protests. They do all of these things because they’re bored and they know that I can’t focus on what I’m trying to do and yell at them at the same time. If you’ve ever happened to be in a store at the same time as our family, I offer my sincerest apologies now. (Except to the man at Costco who rammed me—twice—in the back of my ankles with his shopping cart and then blamed it on the behavior of my kids, who, by the way, were nowhere near us.)

It goes the other way too. Whenever my kids clamor to go to the electronic game store or a toy store or even the toy aisle at Target, I am the one bored out of my skull. Everyone drifts to their own favorite section while I park my shopping cart in a central location and lose myself in my phone, scrolling through emails and the internet. When they’re still not done, I start hurrying them along, not because we need to be anywhere necessarily, but because I’m ready to be anywhere else.

However, there is one store that makes us all happy: the Halloween store. We walk in and they instantly start stepping on all of those black triggers taped down on the floor so that a skeleton will burst out from behind a gravestone or a stationary witch while start gyrating to her own cackling screech. Then they migrate to the masks, hats, and wigs, while I browse through the decorations aisle.

“How about this costume, Mom?”

“No blood. Look at this tablecloth…it’s like a spiderweb!”

“Mom, I want this costume!”

“No weapons stuck in heads. Check out these cool shot glasses. They’re like a miniature chemistry set!”

“This is the one, Mom.”

“No intestines hanging out of your body. Do you think we should get this bag of skeleton bones? We can make him look like he’s coming out of the ground. Or did you see this toilet seat cover? It makes it look like the toilet is covered in spiders.”

There are many reasons why I love Halloween, but being able to go to a store that makes us all happy is right up there at a top.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

 

FALL EQUALS FOOTBALL

September 8, 2014 in Adventures in Parenting

My son, #5, plays cornerback.

Right on the heels of the first bell of the school year, the appearance of reddening leaves on the trees, and the arrival of honeycrisp apples in the grocery store, football season officially begins. Here in Seattle, we are beside ourselves with our Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks. The 12th Man is loud and proud. Game Day finds everyone in their Seattle blue, sports bars filled, families in front of their televisions, and the roads jammed packed with fans trying to make their way to the game in time.

If that’s not enough, we are also home to the University of Washington Huskies. What they lack in rank, we make up for in passion and loyalty, especially if a stray Washington State Cougar slinks into our vicinity. We wear our purple and gold proudly on these fall Saturdays.

But I would argue that the best football around can be found not at Century Link or Husky Stadium, but at our local high school football field, where on Saturdays it is taken over by the youngsters, particularly my son’s Rookie team comprised of seven, eight, and nine-year-old boys.

The fans sit in the bleachers, the score is visible on the high school scoreboard, and we even have our own announcer calling out the play-by-play over the PA system, as well as noting who in the stands may not be sharing their Skittles.

It’s just like real football, except these boys are so little! They look like ants on the huge football field.

Their helmets are bigger than their bodies, making them look like a team of bobble heads, and when someone goes down hard, the tears follow come just as hard. But make no mistake: these boys are playing football.

Plays are being run, tackles are handed out right and left, and our team even came up with an interception, not to mention several PAT’s, even though these kids are so small their kicks not only have to go out but straight up to clear the goal post.

When out team makes a touchdown, we might not create a minor earthquake as the Seattle fans did during Marshawn Lynch’s legendary 67-yard playoff touchdown run, but with our cheering and stomping on the metal bleachers, we were close.

My boys have played a lot of sports, but this was the first time that the bleachers were occupied with people other than the parents of the players. My oldest son and ten of his closest friends came to watch. Fathers of high school football players came to watch their friends’ sons play, possibly scouting the next high school QB. It’s too soon to say which of these kids will have the talent and the perseverance to go all the way with football, but a new generation of football fans is definitely in the making.

I still love the Huskies, but this fall I will be donning the black and red of my son’s football team as my game day attire. I am looking forward to an injury-free season!

 Their first game and their first win: 43-26.

 

ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER

September 5, 2014 in Adventures in Parenting

 

Clip Art from: Clipart Pal

I had such a wonderful summer with my three boys that I may have been one of the few moms who wasn’t ready to send her kids back to school. Sure, there were little rumblings of discontent: the kids were bickering with each other more often, which drew me into arguments that tested my patience, and after an action-packed summer, none of us had any new ideas of what we wanted to do. Still, every day was sunny (a Seattle miracle!) and schedule free, which made us all happy.

But then school started. Everyone went off in separate directions and we didn’t see each other for roughly seven hours. When we all returned home, an amazing thing happened: my kids talked to me. Usually our conversations go like this:

ME: How are you?

CHILD: (grunt)

ME: How was your day?

CHILD: (grunt)

ME: What did you do?

CHILD: Stuff.

ME: Who did you see?

CHILD: Mom! Stop!

This week, however, I got real answers to my questions, and then some. From my third grader, I heard all about who sat in his table group, who he wished was in his table group, what he thought of his teacher, what he thought of the other 3rd grade teachers, and who his all time favorite teachers were. My gosh…another Seattle miracle!

My 6th grader told me about his I-Experience class, which appears to be a mini course of all the electives he can choose from in the next two years. They are beginning with technology and woodworking (weird, I know), and not only did I get the lowdown on the teacher, I also got rumors passed down from 7th graders on how she gives them a drill and a block of wood, but doesn’t instruct them on what to do with either. I now know that some anxiety is brewing in my 6th grader over this. I, too, am anxious: my 6th grader with a drill? Is that legal?

My 9th grader is about as introverted as you can get. He rarely talks. I have no idea what’s happening with him in school, but last night he spent 45 minutes explaining the League of Legends video game to me. That’s 45 minutes of non-stop talking! (We were stuck in traffic so he had nothing else to do, but still.). If you know him, then you know that this is the biggest miracle of them all.

As much as I love spending time with my kids, maybe there is something to be said for a little distance. I think it’s making us all appreciate each other a bit more, which is a wonderful thing. To those wise souls who invented formal education, I say thank you for creating a program that teaches so much more than reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Happy Back to School Days To You All!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

September 2, 2014 in Adventures in Parenting

First day

High School

Freshman

Too cool

Spanish

Homeroom

Grown up

Too Soon

First day of

Middle school

Laying down

The ground rules

Found his friends

Found his way

Found each class

Will be ok

First day

Grade three

Same school

Easy

Friends? Yes.

Work too

Knows what

To do

Wish you boys

A great year.

Need some help?

I’ll be here.

Do your best

Play some too

Always know

I’m proud of you.

AMAZING RACE MEETS ABBEY ROAD

August 15, 2014 in Adventures in Parenting

 For my last day in London, since I had already hit the big tourist spots, I had lined up a medley of random London experiences I wanted to try. Of course Notting Hill was on the list, as was a proper English tea. I had tickets for a show at 7:45pm, an obscure Scottish production called Let the Right One In at the Apollo that promised thrills, and if everything worked out right, I could attend a Beatles Magical Mystery Walking Tour at 11:00am, which included a visit to the world famous Abbey Road in honor of my dear friend and Beatles fanatic, Frankie.

I got off to a later start than I had planned and then calamity struck. I, formerly the Queen of the Tube (read about that here ), got completely turned around on the Circle line, the one that was supposed to take me to Notting Hill. You would think if it was going in a circle, I could do no wrong, but as it turned out, the Circle line is not truly a circle. It zigs and zags and backtracks, making me think I was going the wrong way, when in reality I was doing just fine. I hopped on and off the Circle line a bunch of times to change directions before I finally realized what was happening. When I arrived at Notting Hill, the helpful directions on the website said “Follow the Crowd!” Except it was a Thursday, and the market is in full swing on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It was just me. Alone. With no crowd to follow. Needless to say, I wandered around Notting Hill for quite some time before I found my way and missed the Beatles Magical Mystery Walking Tour. But no matter…I could still get to Abbey Road, right?

After my proper English tea at Fortnum and Mason (thanks Sam!) and a side trip to M&M World London (my guilty pleasure), I found myself walking around Leicester Square at 5:00pm. The play didn’t start until 7:45pm, so I had roughly 2 ½ hours to fill. Using my trusty iPhone, I discovered the trip to Abbey Road by tube was only 30 minutes: I could fit it in!

The journey was hard. It was rush hour, and I was squished in with about 20 people in one small corner of the tube. It was about 1000 degrees and I, and everyone else, was dripping sweat. The intimacy I shared with this group of strangers made me think those dating services are missing out on a prime dating technique: cram a bunch of people into a small space, turn up the heat, and see what matches transpire.

At one point I had to leave the subway and transfer to a real train, which was confusing, but I did get a free bottle of water out of it (not sure why). Then my iPhone battery died, leaving me completely at the mercy of signs, which I don’t really trust, and with no way to check how I was doing on time. When I finally arrived at Abbey Road Station, I left all my anxieties behind and practically skipped up the steps. I was about to stand on a pivotal site in music history! Except…

There, at the top of the stairs, was a sign that said Abbey Road is not actually located at Abbey Road Station. No, it is miles back in the direction I came from at a station called St. John’s Wood.

Seriously? What marketing genius did that?

I had no time. But I had come all this way, and who knew when I’d get back to London again. Could I possibly still make it?

I ran back down the steps, took the train back to the subway, transferred to the right line, hopped off at St. John’s Wood, and rushed out onto the street, where a man promptly blocked my path.

MAN: Do you live in London?

ME: No. Where’s Abbey Road?

MAN: I am looking for someone to sign this petition. Do you live in England?

ME: No. Seriously, where is Abbey Road?

MAN: Where do you live?

ME: The US.

MAN: Oh, so you’re foreign!

ME: WHERE’S ABBEY ROAD?

The nice man gave me directions, but here’s the thing: Abbey Road is very far away from the station. As in, I had to run it. Now, I run all the time, but I’m not usually carrying a giant camera bag, several small bags with souvenirs I had purchased, and a half empty bag of M&Ms I had indulged in and now regretted. But I had come this far: there was no way I was going to miss out on Abbey Road.

So I ran, sweating even more, and finally came across the infamous Abbey Road, where people were blissfully risking being run over by staging their own version of the Beatles’ album cover in front of oncoming traffic. I took two pictures and spent two seconds soaking up the atmosphere of this historical site before sprinting back to the subway.

I was late to my play, but not by much. At a good moment, I was ushered into the auditorium in pitch blackness. I stumbled after the usher, hoping I wouldn’t lose her, when the lights came on. There on stage, hanging upside down from a tree, was a man with his throat cut while another man was collecting his blood in a container as it drained out. Let me just say that it was a hell of a way to walk into a play.

I didn’t sleep a wink that night. The play was scary (but very good), I ate too many M&Ms, and I was all revved up and dehydrated from my pilgrimage to Abbey Road.

I later found out that I was there one day before the 45th anniversary of the date that Beatles picture was taken, and that plus the fact that my friend Frankie was delighted I was there made the entire trip worth it.

Dedicated to Frankie: I never would have gone there if it weren’t for you!

THE ART OF ORAL COMMUNICATION

July 10, 2014 in Adventures in Parenting

 “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the Plain.”

Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady

There is an art to communicating with the spoken word, and I don’t have it. When I am excited, I rush my words, so no one understands what I am saying. I also have a tendency to keep the beginning of my conversation to myself, locked inside my head, so that when I finally open my mouth, what comes out is the middle of the story I am trying to tell, and no one understands what I am talking about. Worst of all, I will ask my co-communicator a question and pay no attention to the answer because my thoughts have zipped off in another direction. When I finally get back to my original thought and re-ask the question, I either get an irritated response or none at all.

My oldest son (a teenager) also lacks the ability to communicate well orally.

“How was your day?”

“Mmm.”

“What did you do?”

“Stuff.”

“What kind of stuff?”

“Mom! That’s too many questions,” whereupon he stops speaking completely for the next hour or so.

If I’m patient, he will come to me when he’s ready and start spewing out random observations. None of it will be about what he did that day, of course, and he has inherited my tendency to rush the words, so I only understand half of what he’s saying. “Mom, mmmff mmmmff mmmmfff World Cup!”  But I’m so delighted to hear him speak that the quality of his speech is the least of my worries.

My middle son has a completely different style of speaking.

“Mom?”

“Yes?”

Looooong pause.

“What, honey?”

“Umm…” Looooong pause.

And then, once he has had enough time to sufficiently organize his thoughts, he speaks in a leisurely way, as if he has all the time in the world to say what he needs to say and I have all the time in the world to listen. This is wonderful when we have the time, because my middle son speaks about all sorts of interesting and surprising things. However, when the speaking muse strikes him at 8:13am and we’re due to leave for school at 8:15am, it can be a challenge.

But my youngest son, oh my. This child has mastered the art of oral communication at the tender age of 8. When he was three, I despaired that he would never speak outside our home. He didn’t say a word in preschool for an entire year—not one word. I overheard his fellow classmates say things like “Oh, he doesn’t talk,” when referring to my son. And then, halfway through his second year of preschool, he began to speak in public.

When he was in kindergarten, my friends started hunting me down after school at pick-up. “He said hi to me!” they’d beam. “I’ve seen him every day for years and this was the first time he ever spoke to me!” When he was in first grade, his baseball coach said “I’ve been coaching that kid for three years, and today was the first time he ever said a word to me!”

But now that the novelty of him speaking has worn off, the quality of his speech has begun to shine through. My son is articulate. The precision with which he pronounces his words is almost as impressive as his vocabulary. He doesn’t say “yeah” and “Gimme that.” He says “yes” and “Give me that,” in such a way that you can hear every vowel and consonant correctly enunciated. He doesn’t say “He made a mean face.” Instead, he says “He has a mean facial expression.” When I recently read aloud from a book of children’s poetry, he said “I think that poem rhymed but the one before was free verse.” He is eight years old.

It’s not easy being the youngest in the family. He’s always a step behind in height, speed, and ability because of his age. But he is way beyond his years with his oratory skils. In this area, I am the one learning from him.

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF AN APOCALYPSE

June 30, 2014 in Adventures in Parenting, Book Reviews

On a recent June afternoon, my boys and I, in various combinations, spent the hours between 1:30pm and 8:45pm in the car in a perfect storm of dental appointments, sports practices, horrendous Seattle traffic, and a birthday party. It was a long afternoon, but somewhere along the way, we proved that old parenting adage that says if you want to talk to your kids and have them actually pay attention to you and respond, do it in a moving vehicle.

We covered all kinds of topics, like the proper terminology for male anatomy, who liked or didn’t like which girls, and why they shouldn’t make weird faces at the drivers stuck in traffic next to us, but by far the most heated conversation was about what to do in the event of an apocalypse.

 

My oldest son is very into this topic. The Hunger Games and The 100, both the book and the TV show on CW, have triggered this interest. The 100, by Kass Morgan, concerns the last remaining survivors of a nuclear-war ravaged earth in their makeshift home in space. They have been floating in their spaceship for a long time and are now rapidly running out of resources, namely air. Is it safe to return to earth? Instead of sending a Wall-E-esque robot for the task, they decide to send 100 juvenile delinquents in custody until their mandated death at the age of 18. Since they’re slated to die anyway, who better to investigate the habitability of planet Earth? After dropping 100 questionably moral teenagers onto earth with no resources, no adults, and no social structure, multiple intriguing problems ensue. (Note: The TV show is nothing like the book, save for the title and the premise.)

When my oldest son posed the question: “What would you do if there was a zombie invasion in Seattle? What would be the plan?”, I thought it was a fair one. After all, Brad Pitt earned millions of dollars answering the same question in World War Z.

Naturally, as a mother, I have a plan for just this occasion, but I was curious about what my sons would say. My youngest came up with an elaborate and violent plan to decapitate every zombie he saw with a knife.

My Oldest: You’re only eight years old. You can’t even reach his neck.

Youngest: I can climb up on his shoulders and then chop off his head.

Me: I think you should run far away from the zombies.

Middle Son: I would go out into the country and hide.

Me: That’s a great idea!

Oldest: I would go hang out at Costco.

Me: Costco? Trust me: by the time you got there, the food would all be cleared out. That’s the last place you’d want to be.

My son didn’t believe me. He argued, loudly, and I argued right back.

Because I knew: I saw what happened here in Seattle when the great wind storm of 2006 downed power lines and trees. Food, gas, and medicine were nowhere to be found because the supply trucks couldn’t get through.

I knew something else too: the story of Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. It is a compelling fictional tale of what would happen to the pockets of civilization that survived a full-scale nuclear war. Radiation was a big problem, as were looting and lawlessness. There was no more food being delivered to grocery store shelves because the major cities, and thus the major factories, were taken out. The same happened with medications and pharmacies, leaving those requiring medication to live, such as diabetics on insulin, with a severely limited lifespan. Broken eyeglasses and illnesses requiring antibiotics, normally easy fixes, became calamities because the resources to provide those supplies were no longer available. Makeshift police crews guarded the barricades of their new, enclosed city against invaders with radiation poisoning or the intent to steal. Venturing beyond the confines of the new city became a life-threatening endeavor.

I relayed all of this information to my son, and still he didn’t believe me. So I did the next best thing: I said “Read Alas, Babylon and then we’ll talk.”

He’s reading it now, and I can’t wait until he’s done. Not only is it a terrific read, but I’ll be curious to see if his post-apocalypse plan changes in any way, although I may have to wait for another long drive in the car to hear it.