Dylan on his birth day in 2008:

And on Sunday:

Boy, nothing painfully crumples the concept of time into your forehead like having a kid. And even when faced with irrefutable proof that exactly a decade has gone by since he made his arrival, I can’t quite grab ahold of it: it feels like a thousand years, like endless tectonic shifts have taken place, like I’m an entirely different person! … it feels like yesterday.

It is above all else impossible to imagine a world before there was a Dylan. He is such an integral part of our lives, the critical ingredient that makes up our family dynamic. He’s the silliest one, the scatterbrain, the youngest who loves being babied — and also the most inscrutable, the eerie total recall marvel, the child who not only notices but compliments your new shirt.

I love that birthdays provide this opportunity to remember what was, while celebrating what is. I love that we’ve had ten years with this kid. I love the boundless possibilities of what his future will bring, and the adventure of seeing it all unfold.


The angriest I have been at Riley lately happened when we were watching Blue Planet II. (I bet you weren’t expecting me to say that.) It was towards the end of the episode, and the narrator was starting to describe how overfishing is affecting the health of the world’s oceans. Riley interrupted to complain, “This guy always has to say how humans are so bad! Every show he’s all, Blah blah blah global warming or whatever.”

I turned to look at him. “Well … I mean, he’s not lying, right?”

Eye roll.

“No really, what bothers you about what he’s saying?” I tried to keep a neutral tone, although my brain was going ALERT ALERT WHOOP WHOOP.

“I just really don’t believe overfishing could hurt an ocean,” he mumbled.

Well, so much for a neutral tone. I found myself asking — angrily — who was likely to know better about stuff like this, scientists who have dedicated their entire careers to studying marine biodiversity and the ecological unity of our oceans, or some 12-year-old who, let’s be honest, still hasn’t really progressed past books that heavily feature cartoon drawings? Like, come at me with this opinion when you’ve actually read an article or two about overfishing, mister, not that you ever will, because that would require using your screen time for EDUCATING YOURSELF rather than staring slack-jawed at some hyperactive millennial overusing jump cuts on fucking YOUTUBE.

Listen. I may have overreacted. A tiny bit.

But can I just say how maddening it is for your own child to display the same who cares/it’s probably not even true attitude we are getting from, say, oh, I don’t know, the current administration. How did it come to be that my kid is the one going “OH UGH NOT THIS SAVE THE PLANET GARBAGE AGAIN”? I mean, I don’t expect that he should be garment-rending over the footage of dying coral reefs or pledging his life to Greenpeace or even really thinking anything more serious than “Hmm, I did not know that,” or “Wow, that’s not good,” but preemptively rejecting the entire message because, what, it’s a conspiracy from the BBC? What’s going on here?

John pointed out that Riley is currently very into arguing about everything, which is true. He is often both opinionated and condescending: a toxic tweenhood combo that has been unfolding in textbook fashion.

I talked to him later, when I wasn’t so irritated, and told him how smart I know he is. Like: so smart. He is a lot of things and one of them is crazy smart, even though I wish he’d read something other than Diary of a Wildly Popular Franchise, and I just hope he uses that big brain to be curious about things. Learn stuff. Be respectful, be kind, be curious.

Then he hugged me and was like, “Gosh, Mom, you’ve really changed my perspective, I wonder what other topics I’ve summarily dismissed that I should reconsider?”

Ha! No. But maybe something sunk in, if only the message that when Mom’s in the room and Sir David Attenborough is talking, you keep your big yap shut.


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