Tag Archives: parenting

The End of an Era

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Last week it all ended. High school is a thing of the past for The Girl. In a mercifully concise 1 hour & 26 minute ceremony, she & 315 of her closest friends walked across a stage set up on the school football field & accepted their proverbial “Get Out of Jail Free” cards.

The week leading up to that day was a flurry of prom, visitors & enough family togetherness to last me until The Boy’s graduation in three years.

And then it was over. And all was quiet.

The Boy still has a couple of weeks to finish up his freshman year & I will admit it’s strange to get him out the door on his own although it was just a year ago that they were in separate schools with different start times. But memory fades & it seems like they have always made that 7 am walk to the bus together.

It was bittersweet for The Girl. While she was happy to have made it, tears were shed on the way home. “I’ll miss everyone,” she said simply.

And now she’s on to new things. She’ll still be at home. She’s not entirely sure what path she’s heading down, so she’s opted to attend the local community college (my bank account thanks her). She also signed up for a summer EMT course which surprised (and impressed!) all of us.

Meanwhile, I follow a page on Facebook catering to the parents of teenagers – particularly those who are moving on to new ventures. I have read post after post about the sadness that comes when your kids start moving on with their lives & away from yours.

Only I’m not sad.

Isn’t this what we’ve worked for? Wasn’t this our goal? To raise our kids so that they could stand on their own. For their entire lives, The Kids have heard me say that my job is to make sure they are able to live on their own. And while their laundry & cooking skills could still use some honing, they’re getting there. More & more they are independent of me. As The Girl works on getting her drivers license at the same time she’s getting her EMT license, The Boy spends time out with friends. Which leaves me time to do the things I want.

We still connect during the week. There are still dinners & game nights & movie nights & honestly, I’m still surprised every time I suggest doing something & they say yes. But do I expect them to always be available to hang out with me? Absolutely not.

This was my goal. This is what my parenting was about. To get them to a point where they can be their own person.

I remember a parent/teacher conference with The Girl’s History teacher in her freshman year. As we waited in line to see this particular teacher, there was a form we were supposed to fill out about our child. The first question was “Do you check your child’s homework every night?” I wrote, “No” (probably in Burt’s Bees “Hibiscus” colored lip balm because I can never find a pen). When it was our turn to talk to the teacher, she noted my answer.

“So you don’t check her homework?” she asked, one eyebrow raised askance.

“I do not. She is 15 years old. She’s perfectly capable of knowing what her assignments are & getting them done,” was my reply, slightly appalled that this was even a question at the high school level. When she’s 30, am I supposed to call & ask if she did the work her boss gave her? Am I supposed to ask if she’s paid her bills or fed her pets or put gas in her car?

I love my kids. I want the best for them. But I also want the best for my life. And I have plans for my future as well. Does that make me a bad mom? Maybe. Do I care? Not in the least.

When I had them, it was with the understanding that I would do everything in my power to keep them safe. And it was with the understanding that I would love them unconditionally.

But it was also with the understanding that they would someday be their own person. That they would be on their own & lead their own lives & not be present in my life every day.

“Oh, they’ll always need their moms,” say some.

Maybe. But it’s okay if they don’t.

It means I’ve done my job.

Lou Graduates

One Thing

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Yesterday was a long day.

Looooooooooooooong day.

As I was brushing my teeth, The Boy came into the bathroom, full of energy, asking a million questions & talking up a storm.

Me: “Buddy, it’s been a really long day & I just want to go to bed.”

He chattered on for a few more minutes until I finally just needed quiet.

Me: “Seriously, bud. I can’t do one more thing. I’m all done with today & I can’t do even one more thing. I just want to go to bed.”

The Boy: “Well, isn’t THAT one more thing?”

Here’s a link to a hipster video for a really great song called “One Thing.” See what I did there?

Don’t Be That Kid

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Me, to The Boy: “If you want to keep your hair long, you have to keep it clean. Don’t be the Smelly Kid. You can be the Funny Kid, or the Geeky Kid, or the Smart Kid, or the Weird Kid. But don’t be the Smelly Kid.”

The Boy: “Can I be the Emotionally Awkward Kid?”

8 Feet Under

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We’ve had quite a lot of snow where we are in the past six weeks. About 8 feet. Maybe more. We’ve stopped counting. It’s actually snowing as I write this but at this point the storms are like my love life. Anything that shows up with less than 6 inches really isn’t worth the effort.

My driveway currently has walls of snow on both sides. Literally, walls. When all you can see is white, backing in can be a challenge & can take a few tries.

It doesn’t help that The Girl has taken to singing the Benny Hill theme song whenever I do.

Dear Reader: This is not actually me. Just wanted to make that clear.

 

 

 

MomDay Monday – Crazy Boy

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I sat down at church today. The Kids were both serving so it was one of those Masses where I could actually pay attention to what was being said &  maybe, just maybe, reconnect to a God I have been feeling fairly out of touch with. The procession came in & there were my two, robes on, hair combed as much as possible, candles lit, looking calm in a way they never look at home. Each of them glanced over at me & gave me the ‘Sup? nod as I sang along to a version of “Morning Has Broken” but with different words that got me wondering if Cat Stevens borrowed it from an old Christian hymn or if someone trying to update their church’s music borrowed it from Cat Stevens.

Then she walked in; hurried & hassled with three kids in tow. They looked to be about ages 8, 5, and 2. And they sat Right. Behind. Me. Not even trying to obey the “leave one pew between you” protocol that most Catholics observe when there’s room and there’s always room except for the CAPE days… Christmas, Ashes, Palms & Easter. My immediate thought was, “Crap!”

This two-year-old – I’ll call him Crazy Boy  was every bit a two-year-old. He was happy mostly. Two-year-old boy happy. Which means lots of yelling, kicking, throwing & jumping.

And something in me snapped. Not in a bad way like you’d think if you knew me. But some little part of that God I’m always trying to connect with snapped His fingers & said, “She’s right behind you for a reason.” And I remembered another blonde-haired, chubby faced, big-headed boy who acted the same way. Who used to bring me to tears trying to keep him calm & quiet in a church full of people who just have to turn around & see what the commotion is. People who have made me think more than once, “Listen old lady… when you’re dead & gone, who do you think is going to be in this church? That’s right. This loud-mouthed boy. Someone has to be the future so turn your sour puss around & stop your scowling.”

That was right before Crazy Boy grabbed my sweater & I felt a wet, sticky, little hand on my back. I turned around & said, ‘Well, hi there!” He grinned from ear to ear as his mother quickly pulled him away, apologizing & explaining that she usually leaves him with his grandmother for Mass but couldn’t this morning. As the foam book about elephants sailed past my left ear, I said, “He reminds me of my youngest who’s up there now.” I pointed to The Boy sitting on the altar & continued, “Don’t ever feel bad about bringing them.”

I’d like to say the spirit of God overcame Crazy Boy at that moment & he spent the rest of Mass calmly sitting, but that didn’t happen. Crazy Boy just kept on being crazy.

And I started crying.

She was right behind me for a reason & it wasn’t just so that I could console her. It was so that I could see how far I’ve come. Crazy Boy was my boy not that long ago. And there he was, sitting on an altar, serving at Mass. After the hours trying to keep him calm; after the miles worn in the carpet at the back of the church walking him around; after bringing him screaming & bleeding to the hospital for stitches because he ran head first into the corner of a pew, there he was. Robe on, cross around his neck, carrying a candle, & helping the priest. Calm Boy. A friend came up to me after Mass & told me that she was so proud of The Kids, that they looked so reverent when they were serving. Reverent. Not a word I would use for them especially after I swear I saw them hitting each other up there on the altar.

Back when my boy was Crazy Boy, I didn’t think it would ever end. But it does end. It gets better. So much better. The Boy & I have been butting heads a lot lately. A. Lot. Want to know how much? He gets $10 for allowance on Sunday. During the week, if he doesn’t do what I ask him or if I get smart-mouthed, he loses a dollar. We start fresh on Sunday. It’s Sunday night & he’s already down to $6.

Today was a reminder that it gets better. That in a few short years, he’ll be out of this phase & onto other things. Today’s smart-mouthed kid who owes ME allowance money will be in high school, college or off onto a career as an Evil Genius.

Because it always gets better. And I thank God for that.

This is how we do reverent.

This is how we do reverent.

 

Please Don’t Let Him Be a Lawyer

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The Boy, defending himself after losing his new Samsung tablet: “I didn’t lose it. I just put it somewhere I don’t remember.”

Me: “You’ll make a great lawyer someday.”

The Boy: “Yeah… ‘Your Honor, my client didn’t stab that guy. He just misplaced a knife in his head.'”

Me: “That’s lovely.”

The Boy: “Your honor… my client didn’t strangle that woman. He was simply hugging her…. tightly… around the neck.”