Crazy Train

I have some new virtual writing buddies, thanks to this blogging gig. One is named Amy Denby, and she is one of my favorites to read. Amy has 18 month old twins, a boy and a girl, and I’m thrilled that today’s post is written by her. After reading, please visit her blog, Dear Babies: Crazy Life, Simply Explained. She writes the most endearing letters to her kids, and I look forward to reading her witty, loving insight to them every day.


If someone were to come up to you on a New York City subway and say here, I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you can pick out “crazy,” you would lose the money. You would not be able to do it because it’s a trick question: Every single thing about the New York City subway is crazy. From the influenza-laden pole you must grab to keep from getting chucked out the door, to the too-warm seat you sit on (ew), to the stranger’s palms pressed into your buttocks during the stretch from 42nd to 34th Street because it’s so crowded there is nowhere else to move. Ah, New York City, isn’t it the best? So much culture.

The latter was the sentiment I was feeling as I was heading downtown on the 1 train, happy to be back in the City for the day with no kids. I may have been there for a doctor’s appointment, but these days–home with 18-month-old twins–I’ll take any solo outing I can get. The gynecologist included. Stirrups? No problem! As long as I get to lie down. (Next month I’m headed to the dentist. The chair is a massage chair and the office plays movies. Yes, things are looking up for this here gal.)

I had a book in my purse. . .

Plans to meet my husband for dinner. . .

Mascara on my eyes and an outfit on my body that could not be worn to yoga. . .

The shoes on my feet (wait for it) tied.

The doors opened at 96th Street and the ants did their march. Some got off. Some got on.

The doors closed and we kept moving.

A flash of color caught my attention to the right. I turned to the new passenger seated beside me, and met the black eyes of a devil. The man was looking forward, but there, tattooed on the left side of his bald head, was a giant, terrifying devil.

I blinked.

I was not in Kansas anymore, nor my sheltered home in suburbia, Long Island, where I spend my days with Mickey Mouse and Nick Junior. I wanted to call the Wonder Pets to save me.

“My god,” I thought, trying to steal glimpses darting my eyes to the side. With my body forward and my hands on my lap, I looked like a cartoon drawing of the Mona Lisa. “How is he ever going to meet a nice girl with a giant devil tattooed on his head?”

I returned my eyes forward–because they were really starting to hurt–and met my filmy reflection in a window across as we sped down a tunnel.

“Oh, my god. . .” I gasped in my internal monologue, “I am such a mom.”

How is he ever going to meet a nice girl with a giant devil tattooed on his head? Did I really just think that?

And that’s when it hit me: I am not just a mom, but a mother to a son.

My twins are a boy and a girl. I love them the same, I love them different, I love them individually, I love them together.

(I love them so much, it hurts.)

Boys break girls’ hearts. There’s nothing earth shattering there. What comes as news to some people, as it did with me, is how early this hold over women begins. My daughter is my angel, my best friend, my silly girl. My son is my buddy, my funny boy, my mush. My daughter needs her space sometimes. After all, she is a girl. My son can’t get enough of me. He makes googoo eyes at me. He thinks I am soo funny. And it is a drug.

When my twins were about four weeks old I called my mother-in-law and said, “I’m so sorry…” This is something not uttered often from a daughter-in-law, so you could only imagine what I had done. My crime? Taking her son.

Growing up in a house with one sister, my mother, sister and I were and still are incredibly close. We talk on the phone at least once a day. We are best friends. We are silly girls. (We are far from angels.) My husband talks to his mother once a week maybe, at best?

I know there will come a time when my son thinks someone is just the cat’s meow, and it won’t be me. I would love to keep him by my side forever and ever–oooh, how fun would that be! We could be like the two Edie’s from “Grey Gardens” singing show tunes with raccoons!–but I know that’s not what’s best for him. Being a mother to a son means knowing there will come a time when we have to let go. It’s a tough thought. It’s enough to make you crazy. It’s what earns a mother of a son her stripes.

Till then, all I can do is ready my son for this tough world where he will be told to be a man. To help him be the best person he can be. To keep him from getting a giant devil tattooed on his head, because how on earth would he meet a nice girl like that?

Life, after all, is a lot like that train. Some get off. Some get on. And all we can do is keep moving.

And if you find yourself on a car with a person daring you to “find the crazy,” here’s a tip: You can point to me, a totally crazy person, a mother, a mother to a son.

Amy Denby, Author of Dear Babies: Crazy Life, Simply Explained.

7 thoughts on “Crazy Train

  1. Amy, thank you for the fabulous piece! I’ll spend the rest of the day humming the theme to the Wonder Pets in a deep depression because I’ll eventually have to let go of not one, not two, not three, but four of my sons. How will my heart ever recover?

  2. Wow! Fabulous, Amy! Look forward to following you know in addition to Bethany! So comforting to hear another Mom describe feelings so many of us share. As a mother to daughters and a son, I completely share your feelings! Superb writing! Thank you!

  3. Thank you, ladies, for your kind words and Bethany, for this opportunity! (If my son grows up to say I was an obsessive mother and write a bad book about me, at least I’ll know why) THANKS AGAIN!

  4. CRYING! Beautifully written. I am a mother to 2 sons. Being Italian, I can be overly rigoddamndiculous about NO one EVER being good enough for my boys. But it is so true. These little guys steal our hearts and we are never the same. Thanks for such a beautifully written piece!

  5. Calling the M-I-L and saying you’re sorry– my heart just flip-flopped. I love that. And even the mom of two daughters (me) can appreciate that bittersweet joy that comes when someone else gets to rock their world. There’s always the grandkids . . . 🙂

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