About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Friday, May 3, 2013

The necktie

Being a widow isn't new to me any longer.  I completely understand that I need to be both mom and dad, depending on circumstances.  I've learned to handle a chainsaw, fix fences, fish (well, I mostly supervise this activity), build various contraptions to keep out bears, and grout tile. But I don't like any of the above activities much. I'd rather be getting a facial or a manicure than figuring out how to deter raccoons.

"Mom, I need you to teach me to tie a necktie," my son said from the doorway to my bedroom where I was trying in vain to paint my toenails.  It was game day and he needed to dress up.  For years we'd gotten away with a nice shirt or sweater, but this is high school now and he needed a tie.

I don't know how to do that.  I looked at my son who is now six feet tall and taking on the shape of his late father.  He stood there holding one of his dad's ties he'd found in the closet and a new dress shirt I'd bought him.  We made eye contact and I could see the uncertainty in his eyes.  Sure, mom can ward off a horde of raccoons with a water gun but can she tie a Windsor Knot?

"I'll YouTube it," I said with a smile while inside I fought off the whirlwind of emotions that assaulted me at his simple request.

Damn you, Sean, for leaving your son without a father.  

Damn, me, for not being enough.  

Damn the world for being unfair and cruel.

Damn you, Sean, for being missed so greatly long after you've passed on, for the gaping hole you've left in our lives.

Damn me for never knowing how to tie a frick'n necktie! 

Shaking off those thoughts, I grabbed the iPhone and went to YouTube.  I fake confidence pretty well, but my son didn't look convinced.

"I'll just forget it," he said, looking at the tie in his hand.

"Nope. I got this. Look." Sure enough, there was a how to video on YouTube. (I love YouTube!)  

"No, that's fine, it's okay." He turned to leave.

I grabbed his arm and made him sit on the edge of the bed. "We can do this.  It's just a tie."

My hands trembled as I looped the necktie around my son's neck.  I wanted to get it right.

You should be here, Sean. You should be the one teaching him all these manly things.  He needs you.  I shook off the thoughts and concentrated on the YouTube video.

We watched the video a couple of times.  I screwed up several attempts, but then finally I got it right.  Yay!  I squealed in triumph, fighting back the urge to do a cartwheel followed by a cheerleader jump.

"You look so handsome," I said.

He rolled his eyes, stood and walked to the mirror.  I watched him study his reflection as he adjusted the tie.  With a shrug, he said "thanks."  Our gaze met in the mirror, son to mother, and I knew he was thinking of his father, too.

Life isn't fair. Yes, we will always miss Sean.  But maybe I am enough.  Perhaps as the kids grow they will see that I tried my best.  That's all any of can do at the end of the day...our best.  Sometimes we'll fall and struggle, but then there will be moments when we're saved by YouTube and all feels right with the world.

Peace to you---

Amazon (Universal link): getBook.at/FreeFall
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/H0QBCr
OmniLit (all ebook formats): http://goo.gl/QFZa7G


  1. Amber, this was wonderful! I cried! You are an awesome mom and an awesome writer. Your kids are so lucky to have you! BTW, I do not know how to tie a necktie...so once again I realize I have a lot to learn. As always!

  2. I understand all to well. :( Been through the tie thing and it was also YouTube that we used. :) Many Blessings to you and yours. <3

  3. Amber, you are enough! Well done.

  4. You made me cry. Your son is lucky to have a mom like you...I also, do not know how to tie a necktie.

  5. Made me cry too. I don't know what I would do as I have no clue how to tie a necktie. My son has to wear ties as well on game days and he knows how to tie them, good thing since I have no idea

  6. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect! If you would like follow me at my blog here. http://mmreynolds.blogspot.com/
    Ps I almost named my book Trail Swap "Vagabond Moxie"