Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s Been a Minute

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It’s been a minute & I officially now have two high school students. In less than three months, The Girl will graduate high school. Soon after that, The Boy will finish his freshman year.

A few years ago I ruminated on The Girl ending her middle school career (To My Daughter as She Finishes Middle School).

Middle school was very different for The Boy. Other than one “spawn of Satan” as The Boy refers to him (I’m looking at you Jack Toohey), my kids had very different middle school experiences. The Girl struggled through it while The Boy seemed to sail – other than his math grades. Case in point: Their texts from their 8th grade class trip to Washington, DC…

The Girl’s: “Can you come get me?”

The Boy’s: “This place is pretty cool. And some girl broke her knee on the Potomac River cruise so we’re all waiting for the ambulance.”

My cocky, sassy, full of spunk (I hate spunk) boy has turned into this amazing young man who is now cast as Narcissus in a new musical written by one of his music teachers. He’s learned to play drums & piano & has a group of friends who are straight up amazing kids. They all congregate at the library for old school Dungeons & Dragons. And when they have to be at their own homes, they’re usually on line together playing TF2 or Fortnite (or as I unfortunately called it, “Frontline.” I may be turning into my mother).

And they’re TEENAGERS. With a capital TEENAGERS. They have opinions & they’re finding their own voice.

And it’s the best.

A coworker is struggling with her two year old… or twouchebag as I recently heard it referred to. And I remember those days. This particular coworker has one just like The Boy who pushed buttons that I didn’t know existed. I just keep nodding & telling her that it gets better. But much like when the doctors used to get annoyed with me worrying about potty training (“No kid has ever gone to college in diapers!” Bitch, please…. I’m trying to get through preschool!) I’m sure she can’t even see that place right now.

But I can.

And my first born is almost grown & flown.

The Girl isn’t sure what she wants to do when she graduates. Maybe biology. Maybe marine biology. Maybe forensics. Maybe chemistry.

So she’s charted a course for community college to help her figure it out. In my panic, I watched other parents post on Facebook about their kids’ college applications. I made her apply in November only to receive a post card in the mail from the local community college that may as well have said, “Slow your roll. We’re working on the January term. We’ll get back to you about next fall.” And here I was all prepared with my FAFSA.

It’s not the road I thought she would choose. Her focus at the technical high school was graphics. But according to her, she loves art & doesn’t want to do it for a living or she would hate it (sort of how I felt about working at Target). That’s pretty mature. I also expected her to choose a small, private, four year college. We toured a couple… okay, one… and I thought it would be a good fit for her. But she is my level-headed one. She knows enough to know that she doesn’t really know what she wants. You know?

I guess my point is that every kid finds their way eventually. I watch my friends post about their kids’ college acceptance letters & cheer them on. And I know that they’re cheering on The Girl as she embarks on her path to figure out what she wants.

The Boy recently had to choose his shop at the same tech high school that The Girl is graduating from. He chose Medical Assisting. And much like his sister, it’s not the road I thought he would choose. But he’s got three more years to figure it out before graduation.

And at the risk of sounding cliche’, it’s not the destination. It’s the journey.

And this is a great journey.

Stay tuned. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

 

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Four Great Years

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“This morning I had two boobs & a boyfriend,” I lamented to KK, my sister extraordinaire. “Tonight… not so much.”

It was October 25, 2012. I woke up with an appointment scheduled to get biopsy results on a lump in my left breast (Head’s up…. it wasn’t good). I also woke up to an email from someone I had been dating for several months telling me that he thought it best if we didn’t see each other anymore. And frankly, once I got the biopsy results, I was glad he said it first because I couldn’t see trying to build a new relationship with someone I had barely gotten to know while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. So I would have broken up with him anyway. (That’s my story & I’m sticking to it.)

“You should come to the Firefighter’s Ball with us!” exclaimed KK. Her husband was an on-call firefighter for their town & while avoiding the obvious jokes about firefighters having balls, I declined, thinking that she wanted me to come on my own & troll for firefighters. Turns out KK’s firefighter husband had a friend who wanted to go to the ball but didn’t have a date. “You can go with him. Worst case, it’s a night out at a winery with music & dancing with me!”

Fine, I figured. Why not?

So there I was… November 9, 2012 – exactly 6 years ago. On a blind date. I still had sutures in my left boob & gauze bandages covering what would become a lovely scar on “Lefty” as this boob that tried to kill me is known.

I worked that morning. It was a Friday & as a manager at Target staring down Black Friday, I was pretty much working every day. I got home at about 5 pm. Threw on a dress & heels & tried to make something out of my newly died red hair. I was supposed to be at KK’s at 6 pm. I was so nervous & so late that I ran a red light. Not just slightly red. Not like the yellow & just barely turned red kind of orange red light. Full on red. As the police officer who pulled me over said, “What was that? You weren’t even close.” I explained that I was on my way to a blind date & was really nervous. He laughed & let me go. (Thanks again, Officer Morgan!)

I forgot lip gloss & really had to pee. I pulled into KK’s driveway at the same time as Him. “F**k!” was my only thought. (Well… not my only thought. I did notice that he had really nice shoes. That’s always a plus for me.) I really wanted to get in the door, pee & borrow lip gloss before this. Instead we literally met in the driveway of my sister’s house. (Years later he would tell me that he introduced himself, shook my hand & immediately thought I was out of his league. How freaking cute is that?!)

The night went on & my new date was super quiet. I couldn’t tell if he wasn’t into me or was just nervous. But frankly, the only food was a mac & cheese & mashed potato bar (News to all of us… we kept waiting for a dinner that never came) & with the wine going strong… well… cue the dancing!

HE DANCED WITH ME!!!!

That’s pretty huge in my book. Having been married to someone who “didn’t dance,” this was new to me. The clincher that night? Everyone started leaving the dance floor as Usher’s “Yeah” came on. “Oh, C’mon!!!” I yelled.

He turned… “This your jam?” he asked.

And we headed back out to the dance floor.

And even though I saw the horror in his eyes as I recited every word of Ludacris’ rap break (“In the club lookin’ so conspicuous!“) he asked me to go out with him again as we stood back in KK’s driveway at the end of the night.

And even though I was in the middle of Black Friday planning & fell asleep at the movie on our first date after the ball….

And even though I think I may have talked to the waiter more than to him at dinner that night….

And even though I ran away… And even though he ran away… we’re figuring it out. And we’re still here. Through cancer. Through radiation. Through new jobs. Through our anchors moving to Arizona. Through parents & kids & sadness & happiness. We’re still here.

Since 2012….

Today he sent me flowers. Because it’s been 6 years. As people saw the flowers on my desk today & asked what they were for I told them, “Four great years!”

“Wow… you’ve been together four years?

“No. Six. Two of them just kind of sucked.”

Happy Anniversary, babes.

We still go to the ball every year!

 

 

Ain’t No Rest-Stop for the Wicked

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This old-timey gas pump is in the hallway of the music studio where The Kids take lessons.

The Girl, looking at it closely: “Apparently this is where they fuel up on the Highway to Hell.”

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To Swim or Not To Swim

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This video made me cry today.

 

Swim season is starting again. The Girl’s sport. She took a break after championships last year. She’s not a competitive person by nature unless it involves one-upping her brother & the stress of championships got to her. While she loves to swim & was proud of what she had accomplished, those moments before she had to get on the block & race were her worst. We watched the Olympics together & as we watched Katie Ledecky & Simone Manuel & the other swimmers, The Girl would say, “I almost can’t watch. I’m nervous for them.”

I knew she was on the fence about returning to the sport this season. She misses her friends on the team & truly enjoys swimming, if not competing. I thought seeing these strong women compete in her sport would inspire her to keep going. I thought she would see her own potential as they raced. I told her all about the three swimmers from her very own team that went to the Olympic trials, thinking that news of someone close to home reaching for that gold would inspire her to continue.

In the end, she decided to stop.

And I had to let her make that decision.

After years of being the decision maker, there comes a time when you have to let them decide on their own. It happens gradually. So gradually that I didn’t notice it sneaking up on me. Little by little they start making their own decisions – being their own person, even! When did that happen?! One day you’re laying out their clothes for morning & making them whatever the hell you want for their school lunch. The next, they’re coming downstairs ready for the day with absolutely no help from you & eating whatever they hell they want.

She told her coach.

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The rest of my response goes on to say that she will now go on to rock Health Occupations – the shop she chose as her concentration at her technical high school. Another decision she made all on her own.

She will go on to make many more. Some I won’t agree with, I’m sure. Hell, I don’t entirely agree with this one. It took a lot for me to tell her I was proud of her for making a decision that was right for her when what I wanted to say was, “ARE YOU CRAZY?!? YOU’RE AN AMAZING SWIMMER! DON’T QUIT NOW!”

But as she approaches the second half of her teenage years, I have to hope I’ve done enough to prepare her for a life of making her own decisions.

Because they are no longer mine to make.

She Said What Now?

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The Boy has been taking drum lessons & recently joined a band called The Blast. They’re all about the same age & they have some serious talent going on.

This is The Blast performing “Spiderwebs” by No Doubt at a local festival.

After hearing them practice this particular song one day, I was humming it to myself & sang the line, “It’s all your fault I screen my phone calls.”

The Boy: “That’s what she says?”

Me: “Yes. Why? What did you think she said.”

The Boy: “I thought she said, ‘It’s all your fault I scream my balls off’ & I thought it was a little weird for a kids band.”

Save 5% for Home

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The Girl has chosen Health Occupations as her concentration for technical high school. That means she will graduate from high school as a Certified Nursing Assistant & can start working or go on to further her education in healthcare. (Take that, regular high schools!)

As she finishes up her freshman year, they’re learning the basics of being a CNA…. taking a pulse, checking for respiratory distress, & the all important making a bed. Hey… someone’s gotta do it.

She got a 95% on her bed making evaluation.

I guess she saves the other 5% for home.

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