As we drove over Highway 17, Saxon sung along to the radio at the top of his lungs:
“Take me by the tongue
And I'll know you
Kiss me ‘til you're drunk
And I'll show you.”
I just about swerved off the road. Nearly done in by Dead Man’s Curve—and Maroon 5’s number one hit, “Moves Like Jagger.”
Saxon continued, “All the moves like Jagger
I've got the moves like Jagger
I've got the mooooooves like Jagger.”
I was a little freaked hearing those lyrics come out my 12-year-old’s mouth, but at the time I remember thinking one of the qualities I adore most about Saxon is that he is hilariously filter-free. He doesn’t care about what others think (yet).
This mindset definitely has something to do with my mom. A single mom in the ‘70s, she was a hippie who got rolfed, wore Birkenstocks and was brassiere challenged. She raised me in a loving, liberal-minded way, and once I became a mother, I found myself emulating her style.
Saxon and I were headed to Carmel the day of his impromptu concert, hoping to milk one last carefree Indian summer beach day.
When we got to the beach the sun was shining, the temp was 75 degrees. We wolfed down our picnic lunch so we could dunk in that gorgeous crystal clear water.
Midway through shoehorning his body into his O’Neill wetsuit, Saxon yelled out, “This is like putting on a condom that doesn’t fit!” so loudly every tourist within frisbee throwing radius could hear.
A twenty-something redhead happened to be walking by just then with her boyfriend. They both cracked up. Me? Not so much. “Saxon,” I shushed. “You’re 12. Let’s keep it age appropriate.”
We headed for the water, the fine white sand squeaking under our toes. The waves were perfect and the color of sea glass.
After we were all surfed out, Saxon and I plopped at the water’s edge and dripped sandcastles for our puppy, Kua to destroy. An older couple stood nearby, smiling in our direction. At the exact moment I smiled back, a look of horror crossed the woman’s face. I followed her gaze and saw that Saxon had scrawled something in the sand.
Wait, was that a giant phallic symbol? Why, yes it was.
Uh-oh. Until now my groovy “Our Bodies Ourselves” parenting style hadn’t been a problem—but as I hurriedly camouflaged the enormous penis drawing with fistfuls of sand, I wondered: had my free-spiritedness come back to bite me in the Birkenstocks?
“What’s going on? Why are you acting so inappropriately? Is this from watching too much ‘Family Guy?’ ” I demanded.
“I’m sorry Mom, this is how it is for middle schoolers. Sometimes I don’t remember to turn on my Smart Filter—you know the parental control thing for laptops?”
That weekend went I went full-tilt church lady. I made Saxon quit “Family Guy” cold turkey. I pulled out board games we hadn’t played for ages. Perfection! Mancala! Whoonu! I even took both boys to see “Dolphin Tale,” the true story of a brave dolphin who had her tail amputated after becoming entangled in a crab trap.
The movie was charming and wholesome and inspiring. On the car ride home, Saxon rated it a 10 out of 10.
On Sunday night, Saxon and I read together and snuggled before bed, savoring the last of our weekend. “Mom,” he said. “I know what I want to be for Halloween this year—a Teletubbie.”
“Oh, honey, that’s so sweet,” I responded, basking in my little victory. “Tinkywinky was always your favorite.”
“Yeah, that’s the school version,” he said. “And for trick or treating, I’m gonna be a drunk Teletubbie.”
We cuddled a little longer. Then I got up and mixed myself a martini.
For more of Kim Ratcliff's humor check out her blog at www.laughingattheground.com.