As a mom who has had enduring mom issues of her own, I’m very conscious of the constant potential for creating such issues with my sons. “You’ll probably sit in a support group in twenty years and tell everybody how I did X or Y when you were small, and that’s ok,” I say. “I’ve been an insane and crappy mom lots of times. I admit it freely, right now, on the record, ok? It’s not a big dark personality-eating secret. It’s a fact you can get mad about right now, if you want.”
“Sure, whatever, mom, but you’re standing on my computer cord. Do you mind?”
Love you anyway, my favorite boys. Thanks for the bright bright red Mother’s Day fan and the Rooster Teeth shout-out with the super cool icons!
I am Isaac Tracer, Staff Sergeant in the United Nations Space Command Marine Corps. This is my story.
I had just graduated out of basic on Biko, a colony planet in the Epsilon Eridani system. Fresh out of boot, I was in the barracks waiting to hear where I would shipped out to. Our DI read out the graduates’ names, one by one. When he finally got to me, he looked up and said: “Congratulations, Tracer, you’re being shipped out to Reach for further training. You are being given the option of becoming an ODST. Are you up for it?”
Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were the stuff of legend. I had read articles on them through the daily newsletter the camp sent out. I had read that they come out of the sky in flaming pods that land right on top of you. Their ops rarely exceed more than twenty minutes and they leave a trail of destruction in their path.
Whale Boy, who is sixteen and obssessed with video games, especially Halo, and with joining the Marine Corps, is writing a novel. It’s up to 20,000 words and ten chapters and completely derivative. That’s part of the first page. We’re on vacation together at the moment and part of what we are doing is editing what he has written so far.
Which is turning out to mean that I read the story aloud as he has written it and highlight punctuation and grammar weak spots for him to correct as he reads along on his laptop. I’m not doing anything else, not sure I could do anything else. I just want him to finish it. And then maybe write another two, or three, before he actually writes one that is Whale-Boy-created and that he might think about keeping.
His spelling is great, his punctuation appalling. Beyond that, I feel totally lucky and so favored because I have a son who seems to want to write.
(After a good on and off hour of whining for activity X, which I said we would get to if, and only if, everything else got done.)
Me: OK, that’s enough! If you whine at me one more time we’re not doing X today. Or ever. OK?
Whale Child (considers): OK. How about if I just grunt at you?
Whale Boy (wanders into the kitchen and pulls out one iPod earbud temporarily): Hey. Could anyone think themselves to death, do you think?
Whale Boy’s and Whale Child’s monikers on this blog have come to their attention and they have protested. People will think we’re huge (WB). People will think we’re full of blubber (WC).
While agreeing that on a literal level Matchstick Family would on the whole be a better description of us than Whale Family, I tried to explain that this blog’s title comes off the metaphorical, not the literal, shelf. Via Hamlet and Ogden Nash.
I’m not sure I made a great impact.
by Whale Boy
You are my horse and you belong to me.
Your name cannot be decided between apples or crunch-bite so it shall be
You are brown but since you are my horse I will decide your color and it shall be
orange with chocolate chips.
You are my horse and you will be mine and no other’s and we will be
We can play soft ball and we can go camping, we can build fires and you can
not burn myself.
Whale Boy is 15 and he is Whale Child’s brother, home for the summer. He wears black T-shirts with Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley on them and is a member of a computer game discussion board with a username of Inverted Coma. He hasn’t written a poem since Middle School that I am aware of. He doesn’t have a horse, has never had one and has never asked to have one, so who knows where this came from. He’s cool, though. Plus he consented to read this aloud — listen above. I’m putting it up here to match the Whale Child poem already on this blog.