If It Ain’t Broke

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The clouds were thick, gray, billowed by with speed. Captivated, I lingered at the light, my teenage son by my side. “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors played on the radio accompanied by bursts of intermittent rain. I spoke first.

“This morning at the vet when Dad and I found out Ruby was okay, we talked about gratitude — how tragedy strikes in peoples’ lives every day, how you must try to feel as much happiness as possible when everything is all right because things can change so quickly. You know, living with gratitude really does make a difference.”

My son remained quiet, his mood somber. “Okay, Mom, I get it, you don’t need to launch into a lecture.” He stuck an earbud in and lifted the bottle of water from the car door.

“I know, it’s just something I wanted to mention… and also that it takes effort to remember to live that way. Strange that it’s not natural, easier to think of yourself as inadequate, think about what you don’t have first, how you wish things were different. It’s like fighting your own self-imposed battle, you know? And the funny thing is — ”

“I get it, Mom.” He popped the other earbud in, tilted his head, pressed his chin to his neck.

I continued to nod in time with the music. I shot my eyes at his profile, confident I could get him to give something up. “So… what else happened today?”

He snapped. “There’s nothing new, okay? You don’t always have to feel like you have to have an answer for everything. I just want to sit here — quietly. There’s nothing wrong. Isn’t that okay with you?”

I looked away then back again, mute. I listened for words in the song to erase the friction, wished for distraction, didn’t want to become more noise. I exhaled with a sharp huff.

There are moments as a parent where all you can do is breathe through them without any words. The funny thing is; well, that’s the funny thing: he gets that better than I do.

We traveled on, silently sorting out the blustery, gray-green scenery around us. It wasn’t that bad, not too hard to accept, certainly worthy of the photo I snapped from behind a misty windshield.

I recognized the road in front of me, and I decided to reach for the volume and recline my seat. My son’s face slowly brightened as he watched. His expression further softened, complimented the sparse whiskers present on his chin. And together we settled into the groove of a perfect Tuesday afternoon.

His brain is squirmin’ like a toad…”

Then, laughter.


I took this picture of my son last week.

Yes, it was just last week. ❤️

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Thank you for reading!


32 thoughts on “If It Ain’t Broke

  1. I hear you … and then again they teach us a lot too. Perhaps I am digressing here but I tend to show my interest in what they do in asking them about what they did and try getting into detail… I don’t pretend, I am really interested. Also, I thought it shows them that I care but…they can get so annoyed about it… lol! Btw, That is such a cute photo!

    • Hi Erika! Happy Tuesday! And thank you! Annoyed is right. I seem to be excelling at that right now! It’s an interesting time as a parent to still show that I care but to show it in ways where he knows I am accepting him as an adult. And yes, he teaches me a lot, which is at the same time something I marvel at. Thanks for the comment, I hope all is well! xo

      • Yep, can relate to that very well too! We discover ourselves from a new side and need to develop a kind of diplomacy… lol! All is good, thank you for asking. I am having a very stressful time right behind me. It was crazy and that’s why I wasn’t around a lot visiting my friends. But from July on all should go back to a new normality. I hope you are doing fine, Kelly!

      • Sorry to hear that and happy it’s behind you. And I so agree about discovering ourselves from a new side… that’s a great way to look at life no matter what we’re going through. Thanks for that, Erika. Hope you enjoy the rest of your day! 🙂

      • Thank you, Kelly! I will 😃 And I wish you a great one too 💖

  2. Thank you for the smile 😊 and cool music Kelly 😎

  3. What a cutie! 😉 Whiskers you say?

    • Hi Victo! Yes, rather long and soft right now on his chin! Funny to watch them sprout on what you still sometimes see as your baby boy’s face. Thanks for the visit! 🙂

  4. That’s a nice little slice o’ life. I thought there clouds were gray because of the Cavs. Turned out to be a bit more serious.

    • Hi Mark! And thank you. Yeah, this parenting stuff is a lot more serious than basketball, as you know. But it’s cathartic for me to write about it, and of course I always hope it’s relatable. Hope your summer is going well, thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  5. Mine’s twenty-eight – I just spent some time with her in NYC. We had several handfuls of silence in Uber rides to sites outside the city. I wanted to fill them being as I wouldn’t get to see her until her holiday visit to Florida. I had to remember she’s an introvert of sorts and protective of her hard fought independence.
    I think they’ll get it – when they’re parents !

    • Hi Susan! Nice to see you, thank you for commenting. Yeah, why do we feel like the silence isn’t okay? It doesn’t always mean something is wrong. And there’s no “right” way in spending time together anyway. You got me thinking about expectations. And it’s so true that in a young person’s mind, independence is so important, probably at the root of a lot of conflicts. Sounds like you’re a very thoughtful parent. Hope you enjoyed NYC! It really is a fun place to visit! 😊

  6. Ahh, “lectures” from Mom. My sons love them too. But if we don’t pass on these life lessons and quips of advice, who will? It’s our job. And from what I’ve been told, they’ll remember them and bring them to mind from time to time as they navigate life. They’ll just never admit it!

    • That’s such a great point, Carrie. You’re right, it certainly is our job to pass on those lessons. Truth is, I have a history of passing them on too often, feeling the need to fix and rescue when I’m not needed in that way anymore! That said, I know I’ll always be needed by my kids, but I have to distinguish their more mature needs from my own needs of needing to still feel needed! Ha! That’s a lot of neediness!
      And I agree, probably won’t get credit when those lessons come in handy someday, but at least I will have the satisfaction in knowing that I beat them into their heads. lol 😊

  7. Oh I remember those teenage years with my kids. Sometimes weird, but I wouldn’t trade those moments for
    anything. Lovely writing, Kelly. 💕

  8. great post, kelly. i think many, if not all of us, can so identify with this.

  9. Every encounter with another human is a teachable moment … but among them are the special ones.

  10. Sometimes it’s difficult and the, without warning, rewarding..:)

    • Hi George! I agree, and I love how you put that. I know you know a thing or two about kids.
      Thankfully, my son and I have transitioned to a new stage in our relationship with lots of joking around and fun between the two of us. He makes me laugh. 🙂
      Great to see you, hope you have a really nice Father’s Day tomorrow!

  11. I love The Doors. They seem to mirror a darker side that is kind of wicked and warm and reckless – like the teenage years. I recall those conversations with my teenagers and don’t miss them at all! Then somehow they grow up and out of that crankiness, and in the backs of their heads, they recall our words of wisdom. 😀

    • I hope he recalls those words! Was going to post “Riders on the Storm” with this but came across this song instead, and it was the perfect fit for how I was feeling in the moments following this little confrontation and change that took place that day. Just had to write about it. 🙂
      Thanks again, Diana! xo

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