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Six fists hit the table. Ceramic thimbles filled with Sake fall between two chop sticks and splash into a pool of Japanese beer.

I watch from my seat on the floor in the small private room –  on the other side of the screen another group starts the chant.  I worry about the cultural accuracy of this restaurant. I worry.

The table is about ten inches high, just enough room for one’s thighs to squeeze under if one doesn’t bend one’s legs. That’s a super comfy position for an overweight 51 year old woman who spent the day drinking water at four wineries and is now chugging ice tea because she is the designated driver (aka really needs to use the bathroom, but can’t get up).

It’s mildly amusing to watch Tony doing “Sake Bombs” because I have never seen him drink Sake before,  and I have never seen him bombed; btw he wasn’t bombed last night, but he was yelling “I SAY SAKE, YOU SAY BOMB! “SAKE!” “BOMB!” “SAKE!” and pounding on the table in a public place.

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Our wine tasting and sushi and Saki day was how Kip wanted to spend his 23rd birthday.

I have been waiting for 23 for a very long time. Six and one half years to be exact; ever since 16 1/2.

Twenty-three is the age one’s adult child reflects on his life and admits he could have had better behavior (especially in France). He wants to spend his birthday with you and do Sake Bombs with his nerdy father instead of having a theme party involving pirates  and miners (really miners not minors) with his college buddies. Twenty-three is when they come back.

Sixteen and a half is when they push off, when they start questioning one’s rule about being home by ten on a Saturday night. It’s when they say, “Good night, I love you, we’re going to bed now” at 10:00 p.m. (with two friends spending the night), close one’s bedroom door all the way,  turn out their bedroom light, and leave tire tracks in the snow for one to ponder as Erland’s motion detector light flashes in one’s bedroom; it’s when Erland, the cranky old man across the street, starts to hate you.

For the young moms who may be reading this, 16 1/2 is the age one should start searching a teen child’s room. Unless the teen child is still in the high school band in which case one will find nothing but completed Sudoku puzzles and graded homework papers with nice notes on them commending your teen child for turning her homework in before it was assigned.

santa barbara 137Twenty-three is when your adult child will take you sailing along the Santa Barbara coast because he wants  to do something nice for one (YOU!). It’s also when he will tell one what a GREAT job one did parenting except when one . . . . . . one won’t remember all of those little dots, but one’s 23 year old will (and one might even be accused of not noticing how naughty the sibling who didn’t drop band really was).

Twenty-three is when one will hint that someday when 23 year old has a 12 year old we should have this discussion again.

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Twenty-three is when one will forgive one’s self for not being the perfect parent or knowing what the heck she was doing or for changing midstream with “use your words” and spanking just that one time (the one time 23 will remember forever) because it all worked out.


One (along with slightly tipsy Tony) has grown a beautiful human being; turned a baby boy into an intelligent and caring man.

Fifty-one and a half has nothing more to say except  “Thank you Mom. I love you (and thank you Dad, a little too late).”