Friday, March 22, 2013

Mom Math

For a girl who couldn’t pass basic math modules in college, I excel at stats, memorable and minutiae-ish:
  • Birth weight of first son:  6 lbs.
  • My weight at first doctor’s apt for first pregnancy: 165 lbs.
  • Exact weight of aforementioned son’s “George Bailey” suitcase on the scale at Omaha’s Eppley Airport in the wee hours of the morning on first leg of his trip back to Seoul, South Korea to take a one-year job at the university he attended on a study abroad program: 49.5 lbs. (Over 50 lbs. $100 charge)
  • Weight of the world on my shoulders: Pressing but lightening.

I hate numbers but yet seem to excel at keeping important stats close to my heart.


I wrote the above the day eldest Erik left for Seoul. And then couldn’t think of what else to say. Those who know me well will be guffawing in their seats, unable to imagine me at a loss for words.

Lots of ‘em.

Eloquent articulation eluded me, however. Especially the eloquent part. And I’m dealing with story problems galore, never my strong suit.

“If son A is a gazillion miles away on another continent in many other time zones, and son B is in this time zone and graduates from high school in approximately nine weeks, do we serve a nacho bar or pulled pork and turkey sliders for the graduation party?”

See what I mean?

What’s going through my mom head – and heart – makes as much sense as those old word problems “If one train is traveling west at 100 MPH from Boston, and another train is traveling 150 MPH east from Chicago, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

Yep, you do see what I mean.

Five years ago this month, my husband, younger son (Andrew, he of the upcoming high school graduation), and I traveled to Germany on spring break to visit Erik. He was spending his junior year of high school as a foreign exchange student. It was the ultimate ‘holding on and letting go’ experience for me as a parent. Others followed.

Next fall, fall his younger brother heads to college and dorm life five minutes away but it’s not the miles but the milestones that are meaningful (although the miles are a BIG deal too).

In another lifetime, I used to spin my spiel about ‘holding on and letting go’ to parents of incoming freshman at a large university back east during incoming student orientations.

I still firmly stand by my resolute belief if we do our job right as parents, our children are successfully launched into the world – able to make their own decisions (right and wrong) and deal with the successes and consequences.

But I still don’t know if nachos or pulled pork sliders are the answer to my story problem.

And I’m excited and nervous to see what the next chapter is.


  1. As with all of your posts, I love this one so much. I love your writing and your perspective on raising two boys and just your heart in general. I hope our paths cross again one day!

  2. Such a beautifully written post! I love your word problems. Very clever and hits home at the same time. We'll survive this!