we are THAT family


Here we are at the Green Valley Mountain Resort for Nationals!

Whoo-hoo!

This place is glorious! Off the strip, in Henderson, away from all the glitz, glamour and depravity and despair that is the Vegas that we love and not love so much, this is the perfect place I am thinking for a Dance Nationals Competition and Convention.

I’ll try to post pictures and a more fair assessment after my favorite dancers have done a little bit of dancing and competing later. For now I am exhausted. Literally. The last 36 hours I have had perhaps a couple hours of sleep choosing instead to kiss my favorite son and see him off to his seaside adventure and annual spoiling thanks to Auntie Toni followed by packing and driving through the night to get here in Las Vegas…er, Henderson.It really seemed like a great idea, driving all night with a 2 year old and a 6 year old crammed into a car loaded with so much dancer stuff. It really was a great idea as everyone, but the driver (me), did get some sleep.along the way.

SOME” being emphasized here.

Oh, and no one judge me for leaving a bag of barf along the roadside somewhere in between the middle of nowhere and Yermo, California.

Nevertheless, we are here…

yeah, we are THAT family. You pretty much KNOW that we are here, no matter where we are, because 6 year old and 2 year old sisters and exhausted mommies.

Perhaps after a good night’s sleep…

Good night!

 

give them wings


Lindsay, over at Suburban Turmoil, beautifully described an analogy that is not new to any of us that unfolded outside her front window.

And now I miss back home and cardinals because you just don’t see cardinals around here.

She then posed a question on Facebook:

To all of you who’ve raised children to adulthood- Based on your experience, what’s the best advice you can give those of us who’re still in the trenches of parenting?

So much wisdom was shared. And then I added my 2¢ worth because I am the mother of four children over the age of 18. I’m no expert but I somehow managed to get this far so why not offer? After all, she did ask.

Patience, lots of patience. From the time they are walking and talking teach them and expect them to take on self care, taking care of their own things and doing things for themselves.
As they grow and discover their passion and interests know that it isn’t always going to be the same as yours or what you imagine or expect it to be and begin to learn to be okay with that.
Let them fall down or fail sometimes. Then love them and guide them as they get back up and try again.

Not bad considering I was dispensing such wisdom while standing in line at Safeway on stop number four of today’s errands, which my 12 year old, who accompanied me,  was cool with during stop number one. As I was trying to form a coherent thought to share, he was making sure that I knew he was over my errands. And it was then that I remember why it was I rarely took his older siblings with me on errands once they were too big for the baby sling.

Clearly I need to work even more on the patience. I can’t imagine that I will ever have the patience that it takes to be an extraordinary mom. Still I press on.

But I have managed to nurture and teach these clowns how to take care of themselves. They can do a pretty good job at it too. Some of them are so good at it they are taking very good care of others too. I can thank the time I spent with other people’s high school aged children years ago for the inspiration that someday my kids would know how to keep track of their own toothbrush, do their own laundry, hang up their own clothes, clean their own room, pick up their own prescriptions from the drug store, carry their own suitcase, yada, yada, yada. Sure I failed at teaching them how to bargain shop because Safeway time was “me time” but they have managed just fine because they have come to realize that yes, they can take care of themselves.

The learning that their passions and interests are not always the same as mine has been an education yet surprisingly not nearly as hard to accept as I imagined that it would be. Well, after I accepted the passion that Hollie chose to pursue because suddenly parenting her wasn’t nearly as exhausting when I was watching her do and create and beautify the way that she does. It actually was kind of exhilarating. Added bonus is she makes me look good. These adult children of mine are really just barely getting started still I am working hard at just cheering them on as they chase those dreams, explores those interests and live those passions. Theirs are not mine. They shouldn’t be. Not ever. Still I get to passively live them with my adult children and my world opens up even more.

The hardest part of all has been letting them fall or fail. I am a parent of millennials. Any good parent of millennials would never, ever let their precious angel baby fall or let anyone fail them ever…no, not ever! I’m not really a very good parent of millennials still how could I possibly just stand there and watch them fall?

Right?!

But I do.

I have. I probably have Daniel’s former physical therapist to thank for being brave enough to do just that. But just like when they were wobbly toddlers, they somehow manage to get back up again and again and again. And I praise them because they did it all on their own. I also quietly heave a sigh of relief because I am still mom.

I’m sorry dear parents in the trenches, it doesn’t get any easier even as the nest empties. It’s a lot quieter. There is (sometimes) less laundry. You learn not to cook as much for dinner every night. You answer every phone call, every text, every FaceTime and you hold yourself back and mostly just listen because, more than anything, that is what they need.

Hard?

Hell yes, it’s hard.

How much easier it would be for me to lecture them, tell them what they are doing wrong, what they should do, what they could have done.

But I gave them those wings; wings that were made to fly. So I take a deep breath, I say a prayer, I bite my tongue and sometimes I shut my eyes tight as they do just that. They fly.

Today’s reward:

Clearly I’m not the only one impressed with the magic she makes.

 

 

this time on my own terms


I have to confess that as much as I LOVE holidays, I kind of hate them too. They almost never fail to disappoint. Such is the life of a survivor I guess. No matter how scary, no matter how toxic, I have always held out hope that Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Independence Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Arbor Day, ‘Any” Day would be warm and love-filled and absolutely, most definitely toxic drama free. That hope beat with my heart through my childhood and went on limping into my adult life. Yeah, but “hope in reality is the worst of evils because it prolongs the torments of man”. Thank you Nietzsche! You so totally rock…and suck just a little bit.

Still I remained ever the optimist with hope in my stomped upon heart because I am what I am and I continue to be so in spite every single drama-trauma that is often holidays in my life.

You gotta have hope, right?

But as Mother’s Day approached bitterness seeped in. Why hope for all the things everyone brags about every holiday on Facebook: being surrounded by the kids and their spouses and all the grand babies, showered with gifts galore which must all be shared on Instagram, the blowing of the bubbles, the kite flyings, the brunches on the beach, the surprise parties, the barbecues and on and on and on. Why wish for these things? Why hope that you would be invited and included when you know it won’t happen?

Fucking Nietzsche!

Reading Annie Lamott’s essay again certainly helped to add to the bitterness.

Dang!

Right?!

I can see some of the points Lamott makes. I mean, for me at least, it seems that holidays that are important to me have become a chore for others; as in oh geez, we better do something for mom or the wife here or she’ll be mad and when mom ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy…The last couple important holidays to me have felt exactly like that. Maybe that’s how they really were or maybe they were but a part of my own imagination. Still the last thing I wanted was a forced celebration because we have to kind of thing.

Then Bill’s grandmother passed away. And Mother’s Day was but two days away. And all I could think about was Bill’s mom, Hazel’s daughter, without her mother for the first time. And Mother’s Day was coming. And I was soured by the whole idea of this is my day. And…and… Saturday night I insisted Bill go be with his mother.

Sunday morning there were roses, waffles and mimosas and bacon…yes, bacon…a lovely hand-made card from my beautiful son, small gifts that are so me from some of my girls, bear hugs and sloppy kisses from my grandbabies, FaceTime from my daughter living in LA followed by an afternoon of mimosas and chick flicks while my darling husband was in Santa Cruz with his mother. There was even a text from my brother, yes, that brother, with Mother’s Day wishes and gratitude for me taking care of him when we were little. Dinner came later than usual after Bill came home with a delicious salad, roasted rosemary potatoes and a dirty martini prepared by me and a perfect medium-rare steak grilled to perfection by my darling husband.

Mother’s Day celebrated, celebrated mostly on my terms. No tears. No pain. No suffering. No drama. No trauma.

Mother’s Day on my terms.

 

laminated is forever


One of the perks of having your grandparents live across the street is you have a place to hide your Mother’s Day present that you made at school from your mom’s prying eyes. Her mom could never just wait for the surprise and clearly Hazel knows this. So it was hidden away safely in Auntie Abby’s room. Risky, I know because given the state of that room the potential of ever seeing it again was moderately high.But it was only for three days. A risk worth taking for Hazel.

Early this morning came a visit from the neighbors from across the street. No pictures because moms with bedheads but there were lots of hugs and kisses and “Happy Mother’s Day” wishes. Then Hazel ran upstairs to retrieve her Mother’s Day creation for her mommy. Abby kept it safe, praise be, glory, hallelujah!

Everybody now…Awwww!!!

Hazel read what she wrote on the back:

I love my mom, because
she give me hugs.
My mom is silly.
She taks me to the park.
I love you mom forever..
You are the best mom in the hall wide werld.

This kid is amazing! Yes, Hollie LOVED it. How could she not? Still Hazel felt compelled to point out a ever so slight imperfection because Mrs. N. laminated it. There might have been an eye roll as she pointed this out.

But laminated is good, Hazel.“, I offered. “Laminated means that your mommy can keep this amazing gift forever and ever and show it to you and your kids someday.

Hmmm…

How is it that she is a cynic even before her sixth birthday? Oh yeah, she’s her mother’s daughter. So to prove the point I run and grab one of the laminated Mother’s Day gifts that I have.

From Abby for Mother’s Day 2003 or 2004. I can’t remember. Still as perfect as it was the day she presented it to me because laminated is forever.

Everything she wrote ten years ago or so is pretty much applicable today because I do rock…especially because she says I do.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m going to now return to celebrating Mother’s Day on my terms.

 

when the bee stings


As far as I can recall, I have only been stung by a bee twice in my lifetime. Am I lucky? I don’t know. I don’t really care. The first time was enough for me. I was 7 years old. That little fucker came out of nowhere and stung me for no reason other than to sting me. Really. I was minding my own business walking home from school with my little brother and my 1st grade best friend, Kerry Klower when that bee flew out of a bush as I walked past right into my arm which it stung. Stupid suicidal bee! It hurt. It hurt so bad. I’m sure some of the pain was also because my little brother was screaming then laughing hysterically along with my friend as I stood there frozen letting that stupid bee end it’s life causing me such extreme pain. Kerry’s mother digging the stinger out only added to the pain. Remember I was 7. But I was a smart 7 year old because I resolved to avoid bees at all costs. And I did until I was in my 40s and again literally ran into a bee while I was running. That one hurt too. Stupid suicidal bee!

Sitting in my car in the school pickup queue yesterday afternoon the last thing I planned on was running into a bee. No. I was re-reading Nicholas and Alexandra, which I read years ago when I was in junior high, while enjoying some iced green tea, a Macklemore and Ryan Lewis playlist, and the hot, 90° breezes blowing through the open windows of the mom-car. Suddenly…bzzzzz…

OH DEAR GAWD!!!

This huge bee flew right into the car and was buzzing like crazy around my head…my face.

OMG!!!

Screaming, I swatted it hard back out of the car and proceeded to roll all the windows up at once. Of course that only served to piss off the suicidal little buzzer as it began to hurtle itself against the closed window of my car. I’m sure no one else in the pickup line saw the bee when I consider the way that people were staring at me like I was off my meds or something. I wanted to roll down the window and yell out, “OMG! Did you see that crazy, giant bee! He came right at me!!” But that would have meant that I would have to roll down the window and that crazy, buzzing fucker was still trying to somehow get into the car banging up against the window of my car. Let the other parents continue to think I’m crazy. I am not getting stung again…not today!

Did I tell you that it was 90° outside? It got a helluva lot hotter in the closed up mom car that was protecting me from the suicidal, crazed bee. So I start up the car and turn on the AC because I wasn’t about to die from heat exposure waiting for Daniel. He still is one of the last kids to come out to the pickup because he must say goodbye to each and every one of his teachers, present and former and all the yard duty workers before he leaves school. God only knows how long I would be waiting and it seemed that that crazy bee wasn’t going anywhere as it still was repeatedly flying up against my window. Eventually the crazy bee left as kids began to come running out of the school…possibly to look for another victim…who knows. He was gone; that’s all I cared about, I thought to myself as Daniel climbed into the now cool car.

Ahhh! Air conditioning! Thanks Mom!! It’s so hot outside. This is perfect.

Lucky for you a bee was trying to get into the car otherwise I wouldn’t have had the AC on.“, I tell Daniel as I start to drive down the street.

You mean this one?

WHAAATTT!!!

:::hysterical laughing:::

I got you, Mom.

Oh my god, Son!

:::more hysterical laughter:::