from PokemonGo to the Holocaust to living in tents

When it comes to raising our children, we all have goals along with our wishes and hopes and dreams for our children. Mine is very much influenced by my upbringing and past, as well as current relationships with some family members.

To my family who follows my blog, yes, this part might be about you…then again, you might be wrong in assuming so.

As a mother, one of the biggest things I wanted to nurture in my five was to think for themselves…forge their own opinions…express those thoughts and opinions. I wanted them all to know that their thoughts are their own and are definitely okay, in fact, they are perfect because they are theirs. I also wanted them to understand that they are well within their right as a thinking person to express what they are thinking…even if it disagreed with someone else’s…even if it was Mom or Dad’s. Especially if they disagreed with Mom or Dad. Of course there was the proviso that they must be respectful and kind because it’s Mom or Dad, or their friends, or their teachers, or any other thinking human being because I was also trying to instill in them the importance of, well, The Golden Rule. Be kind. Be respectful. Anyone who truly knows me would likely understand why this was important for me to have for my children. Yes, yes, yes, this has made my parenting adventure rather challenging because my five are fierce and very much strong-willed; kind of like their Mom and Dad.

Yes, Hollie, we were cursed as children too.

But, in spite of the years of challenges, I like that my five are fierce and I like that they can think for themselves and can and do, almost all the time, express their thoughts and their opinions.

In the news recently was the request for people to stop playing PokemonGo in The Holocaust Museum. “Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” Andrew Hollinger, the museum’s communications director, told The Post. “We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”

What’s The Holocaust, Mom?

And so began a conversation with my 14 year old about what The Holocaust is and what happened to more than 6 million people just because of their religion or ethnicity or sexual orientation at that time and he interrupts me drawing a comparison to a certain candidate. His thoughts. His thoughts based on what he sees and hears and reads all around him. His thoughts expressed. I shared his thoughts (no names mentioned) with friends and family on Facebook just like that because, wow, that. My son’s thoughts. Thus began commentary and conversation, as we often do on Facebook and other social media platforms; which, in my opinion, is more than okay. Agree, disagree, more than okay. Just be kind…on my personal space because we absolutely, positively can agree to disagree on pretty much anything as long as we are at the very least respectful. Don’t believe me? Ask my darling husband. Well, except that he believes Pepsi to be a superior soft drink over Coke. Oh my darling husband!

Take note here, don’t blast my Facebook wall telling me Coke is not better because it is. Okay, fine, you can. Just be kind. I might not agree with you but that doesn’t mean that I have been decieved or tooled by the media because, I promise you, I am absolutely smarter than that…so are my Fierce Five. We don’t have to agree. We both can look at one another’s opinions on just about anything and think to ourself, what the actual fuck?…I do it literally ALL THE TIME looking at some postings of some family and friends on Facebook and then I move on because BABIES! KITTENS! AMAZING VACATION PHOTOS! FUNNY VIDEOS! And I move on because we don’t HAVE to feel the same way about current events or who we believe will make America great again. And yes, this is a beautiful thing for me and for the beauty of America where we can still think freely!...Isn’t that ironic?

as long as there have been people

Perhaps the soundest advice for parents is: Lighten up. People have been raising children for approximately as long as there have been people.

~ George Will

They exhaust you, confound you, frustrate you, revive you, warm you and, just to keep you humble, remind you that your are much too fast becoming old as they grow up much too fast.

And it’s a good thing god made them cute.

Hazel: You know, like, people used to have phones in the old days that didn’t leave the house.

Hollie: The old days? Ouch! Hazel, some people still have those.

Hazel: But isn’t that like, soooo 90’s?

😑😑😑😑

:::stifling giggles:::

Oh take heart my darling daughter, the mother of my extraordinary, much too wise and worldly smart, grand daughter.

Just as they enchant us, they humble us every single moment that they can seize in there child-like grip…like when my own precious daughter described to me the giant, black music discs they played in 3rd grade…or had me explain what is it I mean by dial this number for me…because what is dialing a number anyway, mom?!

:::patting the spot next to me:::

Come sit next to me, here on the old mommy bench. Be sure to save the space next to you because someday…

Try not to laugh too loud when  that baton is passed.

 

forever in their eyes

Thirty years ago, I was called “Mom” for the very first time. Sitting at a family Mother’s Day brunch, feeling so beyond tired and a little nauseous (and jealous) while most everyone else around me was enjoying bottomless mimosas, someone wished a “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom” to me for the very first time. So it began while I was only about twelve weeks pregnant with my first born. I was Mom…and I would go on to always be Mom…my kids, the teachers, the doctors, the nurses, my darling husband, my kids’ friends and even my kids’ friends’ moms. There is so much more to the me that I am than me being Mom but Mom I shall forever be because of the people who made me Mom…Hollie, Zoë, Abigael, Jodie and Daniel. For them that is always first how they shall see me and think of me as…I am Mom; affectionately, Mommy Dearest.

I don’t pretend to imagine that I am the best mom ever. The mistakes made along the way are certainly proof of that. But I am confident that I tried my very best always with all the baths, the books read, the meals made, the homework checked, the car rides, the concerts and games and recitals and shows attended, the doctors’ visits and occasional trips to the ERs and hospital bedside vigils and the endless sleepless nights well beyond the promised post newborn baby period. Hollie, Zoë, Abigael, Jodie and Daniel perhaps might not think of all of these when they think of me, but I trust, hope and pray that when they do think of me they will know Mom, in one small way or another is always there when they need me the most because I am…even if it is just that voice in their heads.

To my darling children who right now are looking at this six year old family portrait thinking, “Really, Mom! You had to chose THIS picture of us to share?”, I will remind you of what your Dad and I do want this year for Mother’s Day, your parents’ wedding anniversary and Father’s Day…love you kids!…get on it!…make those family pictures happen!

Thank you, my children, for transforming me, turning me in to forever Mom. May you always see the good, the fun, the silly and every time that I was and am there for you and, perhaps a lot like this.

Well, except for the hair styling because, kids, we all know that is certainly not true about me thanks to so much photographic evidence…and whatever is chewy chicken to you.

Hazel’s Mother’s Day tribute to her mama brought back so many memories. I am certain I have at least five very similar tributes tucked away somewhere. It’s things like these that make a Mom laugh, cry and reassure them just a little that they really are all right…and the kids will be too.  Hazel’s Mother’s Day tribute also provides further proof that Hollie is indeed raising someone so much like herself…and, that she is, in all the good ways, a lot like me. That will be one of the good things about Mother’s Day 2016.

my puzzles

There are many amazing truths I have learned as a parent to the most amazing, extraordinary humans I know…next to my grand daughters who truly are deliciously amazing, extraordinary and exquisite, of course…but if pressed I would say that the most amazing thing is how unique and different they are even from one another.

Deep in the trenches of caring for and feeding them, I was often told how much they all looked like one another…as if I somehow managed to clone them. Yes, even the one whom I share no DNA with. Two of them often were mistaken for twins; which amused, annoyed and definitely irritated them both because come on…blue-green eyes…golden green eyes…strawberry blonde hair, auburn hair…athletic build, gangly elbows and knobby knees…”We are NOT twins!”, they would hiss. Raised under The Big Top in the same chaotic circus life that was our noisy life alone, each and every one of my favorite clowns is their own exclusive self…even if any of them were twins which none are not. Puzzles they are, each and every one of them. My puzzles.

Probably the most important thing I have learned to appreciate as a mother of five amazing, unique humans is all minds are puzzles and that is more than okay because as the mother of a child on the spectrum and children not on the spectrum I have come to discover there is no such thing as a “normal” child. Thank goodness!

Today is World Autism Awareness Day which is much, much more than just being aware that there are 1 in 68 people living on the spectrum; but also a time to focus on acceptance and appreciation in which all people have the opportunity to live a life filled with a sense of identity, purpose, and self-determination.

 

how to raise an adult

Step one, acknowledge that from the get go you have no idea what you are doing. Remind yourself of that truth…often. Don’t worry if you forget. There will ALWAYS be someone at the ready to let you know…pretty much ALL THE TIME. Take a deep breath. Cry, because, yeah, sometimes you will feel like crying. Nod your head in agreement with the know-it-all asshole, because they are kind of right. But hang on…

Step two, let them cry it out…literally. Oh my gawd, it will shred your heart every single time; still let them cry it out and find their own thumb or binky or whatever it is they need to comfort themselves because to raise an adult they need to learn to take care of themselves…yeah, even when they are brand new and can’t find their own thumb in the dark of night. And while you are at it, teach them how to wipe their own butts. Lord willing, they might never need help with that for a very, very, very long time once they master that all-important skill.

Make them go to bed…even if they aren’t sleepy.

Get them up in the morning and make them wash their face, brush their teeth, comb their hair and go to school.

Before they play, make them do the homework and do THEIR very best…even if it means they have to do it again…which means you have to sit there with them making them do it all over again.

Make them pick up their toys, their dirty underwear. teach them how to empty and load the dishwasher, do the laundry, take out the trash and to leave things the way that they found them…or better literally everywhere they go.

Encourage them to set aside some of their birthday money to save…even if they look at you like you are an idiot. I promise you they will almost always think you are an idiot. Give them extra chores to earn that must have toy, latest and greatest tech or those shoes that literally every one else has.

Tell them to lend a hand and help out their little brother or sister, feed the cat and pick up the dog poop because at some point in their life they will be responsible for another living thing.

They are going to lie or cheat or steal…I know you don’t believe me. Still, when they do…and they will…give them consequences, real consequences that will hurt just enough to make them realize only assholes and politicians lie, cheat and steal. Hint, technology and the Internet has made this part of raising an adult so unbelievably easy…so much more power and efficacy than “You’re grounded!

When they make mistakes, and you know they will because they are human, acknowledge that they messed up in a big way or a small way and move on. Make sure that they too acknowledge and accept their own fuck-ups. Don’t wallow in it. Just accept it, say you’re sorry, clean it up, leave it better than it was before.

Odds are high that they will move out and then ask to come back home…again…and again…and last time, I swear, again…or they will make some some of the worst choices ever that leave you with the debt on the loan you cosigned with them…or god only knows what else…just deal with it ..teaching them that this is part of being an adult…the really sucky part when you have to deal with the fallout of shitty stuff that isn’t even your problem.  That’s life. That’s adulting.

Once again, accept the fact that they are likely to hate you as much as they love you…oh, and, yeah, you’re still an idiot who has no clue what you are doing. Again, remember that still. They’ll likely toss it back at you declaring that you, and no one else showed them how to adult. That will hurt. That will hurt hard. Take a deep breath and agree.

Wait?

What???

Yes, agree.

To be an adult, to adult, there will come the day where one must take on the responsibility for being an adult, figuring out how to be an adult without mom or dad…no matter how great or okayish or absent or downright shitty those parents were.

Including making the tough choices like Batman or Superman or what cereal to have for breakfast…you know, the really hard adult choices!

That day will come…I believe…I wish…I hope and pray. Even better, the day when that adult you tried your very best to raise will be confronted with the same crappy, shitty, painful truths of their own failings while trying to raise an adult. Me, I’ll smile (perhaps a little bit smugly) as I pat the spot on the Parenting Failure bench and invite them to sit next to me. Hopefully, we both can sit there together on that bench and give thanks that those adult-like humans we raised are not like Kanye…please, no.

Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. — Anne Frank