I Really Want to Throw a Yogurt Drink at My Son’s Head

Throwing yogurt drinks.

Lately, I’ve been having this dark fantasy: I want to pick up a Yoplait yogurt drink and chuck the half-filled, open bottle at my teenaged son, Judd’s, head and watch the pink liquid dribble down his perfectly coiffed hair.

There are a few reasons why I’ve been yearning to do this. The first is simply a matter of payback.

When Judd was an adorable, happy-go-lucky toddler, he and I were driving along in my brand-new car, fresh off the lot. He was sitting behind me in his car seat, sipping on a yogurt drink and singing along to The Wiggles. Meanwhile, I was focused on the road, inhaling the clean, factory scent emanating from my shiny vehicle. The ride was smooth and pleasant, until out of nowhere, a yogurt drink whizzed by my head, droplets landing in my hair before the container smashed into the dashboard, splattering the creamy beverage everywhere.

“I’m done,” the little shi*t behind me yelled out, with a big smirk on his yogurt-stained face.

Along with scolding Judd about the dangers of throwing things at a driver, I also told him that one day in the faraway future, when he gets his driver’s license, and if he’s lucky enough to get a car of his own, I’m going to throw a yogurt drink at his head and dashboard.

I’ve been waiting years for this day to arrive. And we’re finally here. Judd has his driver’s license and a car to drive, too. But, of course, as the saying goes, two wrongs don’t make a right, and so I’ve held back with my sweet revenge, even though the thought lingers in my imagination more often than I would like to admit.

Yet there are other reasons why I want to chuck a yogurt drink at my son.

It’s because my cute little boy, who occasionally acted like a little shi*t when he was younger, grew up, and now he sometimes acts like a big shi*t to me––his mother––the woman who gave him life.

What does he do to thank me for bringing him into this world? He picks on me.

Judd tells me I’m a bad driver. I don’t put my blinker on. I swerve on the road. Really, Judd? I’m a bad driver? The same lady who sat in the passenger seat, holding on for dear life while I taught him how to drive.

Judd tells me I’m a gaper. That’s slang for someone who looks silly on the ski mountain. Really, Judd? I’m the same lady who, when he was a toddler, skied with him between my legs, held onto him with a harness, lugged his skis and my skis to and from the mountain, and wiped his snot-stained nose throughout the day. Oh, and I’m also the same woman who helped him out of his Superman underwear and cleaned his four-year-old ass when he took a big shi*t in the middle of a ski run.

Judd tells me I make annoying noises when I chew. Really, Judd? I’m the same lady who nourished him from my breasts the first year of his life, only to be left with two sad-looking, wilted, deflated balloons for a chest.

The other day, Judd told me I was rude to the lady working in a toll booth because I didn’t respond when she asked me how my day was. I do feel bad about that. But, really Judd? Maybe I was a bit distracted getting him to his lacrosse game on time in another state in the middle of a pandemic.

I also hear this: “Mom, how did you make this steak? It’s gross” or “Mom, how much salt did you put on the chicken?” and “You bought the wrong sweet potatoes, again.”

Sometimes Judd tells me my jokes aren’t funny, that I nag him, that I don’t listen, and despite the thousands of hours I’ve put into watching him practice and play lacrosse, I don’t understand the sport at all.

I realize this is all part of the child-rearing cycle. It happened with my daughter, too, when she was in high school.

Growing up fast.

My kids started off precious and cute, treating me––their momma––like I was a famous rock star. They only wanted to hold my hand. They ran into my arms after school. They cried when I said goodbye. They embraced me tight, not letting me leave their rooms when it was bedtime. They listened, wide-eyed, when I told them stories. They giggled at all my ridiculous jokes.

And then one day—BAM—they hit their teen years, and my celebrity status took a nosedive.

It’s all okay. This, too, shall pass. I know Judd appreciates me. He tells me he loves me––a lot. And he thanks me for everything I do for him. He also tells me I’m the best mom ever. Then again, that line usually comes after he asks me for something.

As far as I know I never threw a yogurt drink at my mom when I was little (considering yogurt drinks didn’t exist back then, I definitely didn’t). And thankfully, my mom’s rose-colored glasses skewed her memory of my early childhood; she has no recollection of her darling angel doing anything of the sort. However, she and I both clearly remember my teenage temper tantrums, slamming the bedroom door, claiming that she was ruining my life, and my overall sassy attitude. There were probably many days when my mom wanted to throw a yogurt drink at my head.

To this day, for the purposes of amusement only, my brother and I still enjoy ripping on my mom––in her presence, of course. I suppose I will be enduring the same fate. From here on out, I will be the butt of my children’s jokes, an easy target to laugh at. It’s fine. I’m a big girl. I can take it.

As for my son’s trash talking, that’s a different story. One of these days, I might reach my boiling point, and when that happens, Judd, beware: I’m coming after you, with the biggest yogurt drink I can find.

What It Means to Be the Mother of a Teenage Athlete

The life of a sports mom.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been the ultimate lacrosse mom, making round-trip drives to Denver for my sixteen-year-old son, Judd’s, hour-and-a-half practices, twice a week, roughly two hundred miles from my home. (I’ve written about these drives in another post.)

In addition to practices, I’ve flown all over the country for tournaments, standing on the sidelines of games, cheering for Judd and his teammates. While doing so, I’ve encountered a range of weather conditions from freezing rain, hail, light snow, ferocious winds to oppressive heat waves that made me feel as though my body was liquefying on the turf field. I’ve had to find laundromats in obscure places to wash his mud-stained clothes. I’ve also had to tolerate a smelly teenage boy’s sweaty body odor and putrid equipment stink for hours of long car rides.

On many occasions, I’ve asked myself what the purpose is in all this. Is Judd good enough to get a college scholarship? Is he good enough to play in college at all? Is it worth the time, the money, the stress?

With lacrosse taking center stage in our lives, I’ve missed parties at home, holiday dinners, celebrations with friends, including this past New Year’s Eve with my husband. I’ve struggled to get my work done while on the road, and I’ve had to leave the other half of my family for extended time periods.

And since lacrosse tournaments weren’t canceled these past few months during the pandemic, Judd and I put our health at risk, wandering around crowded fields, travelling via crowded airplanes, staying in crowded hotels––all during the busiest travel season of the year.

As a sports mom, I get to experience every kind of emotion on the field. The racing heart, the beads of nervous sweat, the silent prayers when the score is close. I’ve felt the anger at referees for an unfair call, the frustration of a bad play, the pseudo pain of a hurt player, and I’ve felt the joy ripple through my body when Judd scores a sweet goal. I know all too well the disappointment when his team loses to a team they should’ve beat. And there’s no greater rush than the exuberant cheers when his team defeats their opponent in the final minutes of a game.

Of course, I do all of this for the incredible benefits Judd has gained from being part of a team. He has formed new, beautiful, and hopefully long-lasting friendships. He has learned grit and perseverance. He has learned failure and triumph. He has learned that to win, he needs to work together with his teammates. He has learned to support each person on that field––giving fist-pumps to players who do well and offering kindness to those who are struggling. He has learned to make healthier food choices and to go the extra mile on his own to get better: running more, lifting weights, shooting on the goal by himself in the dark, in the cold, and playing wall ball for hours on end.

But there’s a more important reason why I do this, and why so many of my lacrosse parent friends do this too. It’s because we LOVE our children. We love them so much that we make sacrifices for them. We jump up and down on the sidelines, our hearts shining on them like spotlights. Our offspring are precious gifts that have come here to help us become better people. It’s not about losing or winning (although it certainly feels good to win!), or about whether they end up living their lacrosse dreams in college. It’s about giving our kids the opportunity to fuel their passion. And it’s about finding gratitude in each moment, enjoying the time with our boys, riding the waves along with them, and acknowledging how lucky we are to have these experiences—for physical life on Earth is temporal, so being a sport’s parent is just another avenue for expressing our infinite love for our children.

A Cure for the Other Disease Plaguing America

The other disease plaguing America.

Recently, someone in my community wrote a statement in the newspaper bashing those people who opposed his politics. When I first read what he had written, I was flabbergasted—to say the least. I couldn’t understand how a highly educated man who values family and religious tradition would make such harsh, negative comments about people who do not share his political views.

At first I went into attack mode—in my head and on the phone with my friends, lambasting this man—but once my anger subsided, I realized I was no different than him. After all, who was I to judge this man for having different views than me? Who was I to stoop to his level and spew venomous words out of my mouth about him?

Through my reaction, I had become his mirror image. Read more

To Be or Not to Be: Committed

Commitment.

Throughout most of my son, Judd’s, youth, he has been skiing with the Aspen Valley Ski School, where he learned how to freestyle ski, performing tricks in the air like an acrobat. I’ve witnessed some jaw-dropping, gut-wrenching flips and spins as Judd jumped off large cliffs on his skis. I am grateful every time he lands safely, his body intact.

In the summer months, Judd and his friends enjoy doing the same acrobatic moves from the edge of a mountain into a deep body of water. Recently, he was hanging with one of his lacrosse buddies at a lake, and the boys were flipping off a high peak. That evening, Judd showed me video clips of himself and his friend taking turns leaping into the air in a front somersault and landing (thankfully, injury-free) into the water. Cringing, I watched his friend open his body midway through the flip, flailing as he splashed into the water. With all that adrenaline running through him, it probably looked worse than he felt.

Judd explained to me how he tried to teach his friend the proper front flip technique, emphasizing that to do it correctly, his friend had to stay committed, which, from what I observed, he didn’t do. The word committed struck a chord with me. When I questioned Judd about it, he said that was how his ski instructors had taught him to do many of the tricks he had learned over the years. To get a perfect acrobatic landing, one must stay committed.

For the next week or so, I couldn’t stop thinking about how powerful the word commitment is. Commitment is derived from the Latin word committere, meaning “to unite, connect, combine; to bring together.” Com means “with, together” and mittere means “to release, let go, send, throw.” (https://www.etymonline.com/word/commit)

The above definition makes sense as far as teaching someone how to perform a gymnastic move, but the word has so much more meaning when it comes to mastering life goals. Read more

The Dog Park Gives Life New Meaning

dog park

Finding meaning at the dog park.

When my husband, Michael, and I were newlyweds, we had two fur babies: a black labrador retriever named Brocco and a yellow labrador retriever named Homer. Treating them like we had birthed them ourselves, their happiness was intricately tied to ours. I even wore a picture of them in a locket around my neck.

Homer and Brocco were a funny duo. Their opposite personalities were reminiscent of the main characters, Felix and Oscar, from the classic TV show The Odd Couple. Although, unlike the show, one wasn’t neat while the other was messy, but rather, Brocco was food obsessed and a bit lazy, while his brother, Homer, ate only out of necessity and could never get enough exercise. Read more