Cool Mom

By Heidi Fettig Parton

July 3, 2023

Cool Mom

Nothing about this year has been normal. It’s already the middle of May when the first spring-like weather arrives in Minnesota. The windows are open as I drive my son and his classmate home from middle school. It’s been a year of transitions. It’s been a year of adolescents pushing boundaries. It’s been a year of “No’s.”

When the Pixies’ song, “Where is My Mind?” comes on the radio, I turn it up.

My backseat passengers usually spend the drive home in a sort of side-by-side engagement with their phones, occasionally sharing mutual laughter at things I cannot see. Lately, I find myself worrying about all the things I cannot see.

But on this day of spring weather, the boys go eerily quiet, and I wonder if this 1997 song translates perfectly into 2022. I begin to imagine that, for once, I’m the cool mom. Then, I hear my son say to his friend, “I was going to tell you that you look like a dog, but actually … this is pretty great.”

I look behind me in my rearview mirror. Both boys’ heads hang out their respective windows. Completely out. My son’s long, sandy brown hair, his friend’s blond locks, blow behind them in the wind.

I consider yelling, “Pull your heads in guys, you might die.” But I don’t. Instead, I turn up the radio a little louder.


Heidi’s recent writing has appeared in Brevity, Fugue Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, Sweet Lit, and The Keepthings. Her Brevity essay, “The Once Wife,” was nominated for the Best American Essays 2023. You can connect with her at


Image by dusanpetkovic1 courtesy of Adobe Stock

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