THE BLOG
07/04/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Cement for Mother's Day

Elena Matlack is mother of Cole (5) and stepmother of Kerry (16) and Seamus (14)

The Obama administration's economic stimulus seems to have been focused on our little Brookline neighborhood. Our road has been ripped up no less than three times. All that jack hammering has ruined the cement sidewalks. With the end finally in sight, Elena negotiated with the town contractor to redo the cement at the end of our drive for $2,600. She had been waiting for months to have this done, but with the end of the construction in site yesterday was the day.

It had been a long week. Both Kerry and Seamus had become interested and actively involved with the opposite at the same moment. Seamus had potential dates lined up with three different 8th graders and had apparently been making out with girls at Boston College High dances whose names he could not recall. Kerry had been asked to the junior prom, uninvited, and then re-invited. She also had been "hooking up" with a boy different than the one who she was going to prom with.

This all became clear last week and not because I, the big kid's blood parent, had any clue. I highly doubt their mother had any idea either since she recently took a job that requires her to travel to Poland for long stretches of time, which is where she was last week and the week before that. No the only reason I know any of my adolescent children's sexual explorations is because they choose Elena as the one adult in the world they could trust to give them each advice.

Cole, our five year old, thankfully inherited his mother's eye-hand coordination rather than the brute force athletic prowess of his father (I specialized in endurance sports like running, swimming and rowing which require no finesse). It just so happened that Saturday morning was Cole's very first organized game of baseball ever. T-ball, uniforms, big deal at 8:30 AM.

That was just about the time my plane was taking off for Los Angeles to speak at a book conference and get blown off by television producers for a few days. While my plane was in the air Elena not only took Cole to baseball, gave Seamus last minute instructions on his lunch date, curled Kerry's hair in our kitchen, helped her into the stunning black dress which she had bought her at Bloomingdales two days before, and drove Seamus to his AAU basketball game.

About the time I was landing, Elena was taking pictures of Kerry as her date, Teo, presented her with a corsage. By the time I got to the Hertz lot, I had pictures of my daughter at her prom looking stunning. So did her mom in Poland and, amazingly, she emailed back to Elena with sincere thanks.

So back to the cement out front. I got home Tuesday. The cement guys came Thursday morning. All my wife wanted was a nice driveway. She watched that fresh cement like a hawk all day long to make sure neighborhood kids didn't ruin it.

Kerry came home from her play practice through the front door but around 8 pm Seamus came home from basketball practice through the back door. Since the only way through the back is through the fresh cement, I immediately panicked. Seamus claimed with a straight face that he had jumped the cement. I grabbed a flashlight and my 14 year old by the scruff of the neck. Outside my panic turned to rage. Now permanently set into cement in our very own driveway, "SEAMUS '10."

This morning Kerry turned 16. Next Friday twenty of her friends are showing up at our house for the party that Elena has been planning now for weeks. And our driveway will be perfect. Seamus and I spent most of the night with a bucket of water and a wool brush trying to scub his idiotic letters out of the cement. If that doesn't work, I have promised my wife to get the contractor back to redo everything. God knows she deserves it.