better than we found it

Although I realize this age and stage is barely a blink of my eye, I am enjoying the adventures I am having with my favorite son right now.

Adventures that sometimes mean long car rides, eclectic music playlists, sharing jokes and talking about almost anything and everything; because conversation with a teenaged child is, for some reason, so much easier when sitting together in the mom car while on the road.

Note: it also sometimes might test a driver’s reflexes and attention to road conditions.

Driving to his happy place this week, we talked of microclimates, current events, fidget spinners and why he should not spend ALL the money he received as graduation gifts. We discussed the universal truth that everyone is/was nervous and a little scared to start high school – even his heroes – perhaps especially his heroes. I enlightened him on the origins of the San Luis Reservoir and the fact that it is as old as I am as we motored our way through the Pacheco Pass. He might think of me as old, but he was, nevertheless, impressed. This time.

Heh.

At his happy place, together we walked along the shore sometimes talking, sometimes not. Definitely skipping stones into the surf and laughing at our dog’s reaction to the beach for the very first time. We also carried a bag and gathered up discarded cans, bottles, bits of plastic, paper and anything else that clearly did not belong here.

This place won’t stay beautiful if we don’t take care of it. Right, Mom?

Absolutely!

This time together at this age and stage of his life might be fleeting, but it is also kind of satisfying. I’m proud of the young man this favorite son of mine is becoming.

You’re welcome World!

Leave this world a little better than you found it

~ Robert Baden-Powell

it’s complicated

Mother’s Day.

Who doesn’t think Mother’s Day is complicated…even just a little bit? I know it is with my Mommy Dearest and myself; but I like to imagine with my kids and me it’s okay…more than okay as they shower me with love via FaceTime, texts, cards, bath bombs, wine, chocolate, licorice, Hamilton lyrics and flowers.

It’s good to be Mom, y’all.

Then my beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy gifted me with a dozen roses delivered to The Big Top with a note expressing how he sees me as nicest, prettiest, smartest mom in the world, and I am done y’all. Done. Oh. My. Gawd. Yes. I cried.

He’s growing up. My baby boy. My fifth and final and youngest child. Grown up gifts, grown up cards with grown up sentiments and I…I am overwhelmed.

Then he comes to me to me at the end of the day overwhelmed in tears as he gives me the handmade gift he crafted at school.

I wanted you to have the most perfect day, Mom. I’m sorry that this can’t be perfect for you.

And, yes, I am a puddle of tears again.

It’s been a grueling, emotional time for this one…testing for his red-black belt in Tae Kwon Do, graduating from Middle School next week…so much more because, people, we are fifteen years old with angst and feelings and hormones.

I pause for a moment, snickering to myself remembering each and every mom in the whole, wide world who told me how much EASIER it is to raise up teen-aged boys, then I hugged my son as tightly as he would let me; whispering fiercely that this Mother’s Day was perfect – it was absolutely perfect.

After the flowers die, I have this, on my my bedside table to remind me. PS He reminded me again in this that I am the nicest, prettiest, smartest mom in the world

Mother’s Day, it’s complicated y’all. I have the BEST kids! Yes, sometimes I am certain that I don’t deserve them either.

Blessed.

I am.

 

 

the one he chooses

Just in case there is someone out there who hasn’t followed this circus life in the last year,

MY YOUNGEST CHILD IS GRADUATING FROM 8TH GRADE IN MAY!!!

Earlier this week, we attended a Welcome to High School meeting at the high school he will be registering for later this month and, again, I was overwhelmed with way too many emotions.
..my son…my miraculous son…my LAST child…HIGH SCHOOL…HOW IS THIS EVEN HAPPENING??!!
And then I was reminded that 8th grade pictures were due for the yearbook…the BABY pictures of the graduating 8th graders. Again came all the feels…just re-read the above.

Experience with the four siblings before him has taught me the importance of choosing the right baby picture because EVERYONE will be seeing that picture. Nakey baby, baby covered in food, dirt or gawd knows what, potty training baby or baby wearing anything that is not a legitimate hat upon their head kind of pictures are NOT ever the pictures that should be submitted for the baby pictures page…NO MATTER HOW CUTE! When in doubt it is best to consult the teenaged human child…always…trust me. But while it is important to consult the young graduate, it needs to be properly timed because adolescent angst and moodiness is everything and absolutely not the time to ask for their opinion.

I forgot and asked him anyway.

He shrugged and walked away.

While waiting for the right moment, I crowdsourced the question on social media. Everyone is OVER talking about politics and a thin-skinned president so why not?

For yearbook they want 8th graders’ baby pictures. Do I share the pic when he weighed 1 pound with all the tubes sustaining life or find a chubby baby pic when he was much older?

The response? 35% voted for the micro preemie, 28% voted for the “normal looking” chubby baby and 37% voted for him to choose. The biggest surprise for me was who voted for the chubby baby picture.

He was an adorable chubby baby…once he grew into a chubby baby with the help of a feeding tube in his belly and continuous, high caloric tube feedings. I imagine the chubby baby voters wouldn’t want to see the gastrostomy tube coming out of his stomach or the kangaroo feeding pump that was his shadow during those early years.

He was a beautiful micro preemie too. I wasn’t the only one who thought so during his 132 days in the NICU.

Looking through all the pictures of Daniel, as a micro preemie, as a growing baby and toddler, it is very hard for me to decide. I can’t decide. I ask him again, and, the sun and the moon and the stars were perfectly aligned so that he was willing to offer his opinion.

When I was tiny.

When you are tiny with all the tubes and wires attached to your body.

Yes. I’m a miracle. I want the tiny baby picture.

So he chooses and so it shall be.

 

the moment where we ask how did this happen

I’m really glad to be fifteen, Mom. And you know what the best part is? I’ll get to get my driver’s permit and practice driving. 

Why does my favorite son now imagine that this is the time to take a page from a sister’s, or another sister’s adolescent life story to give me heart failure?

True, today my son is fifteen; which makes us all old here. Remember when I first began this adventure and he was that adorable sweet-faced three year old?

Me too.

Well, he still has a very sweet face.

A sweet face with the shadow of a mustache and peach fuzz and baritone voice that reminds me that he thinks the best thing about turning fifteen is he will soon be able to get his learner’s permit…in six months and one day and AFTER he completes driver’s education which will be offered in his freshman year next school year.

SIGH!

I look at this young man I call son and am reminded that the fact he is alive is a miracle. Will I ever not pause to honor the memory of that early morning, the day that he was born? How tiny and fragile he was and, at the same time, how strong he was?

Likely never. Sorry, son.

But today I celebrate that day and the young man standing before me. Happy birthday my favorite son!

 

tell me again raising teen boys is so much easier

Because Mommy needed a lot of cheering up tonight because the furnace currently doesn’t work and it’s COLD here under The Big Top and she is mourning the end of what she thought was a wonderful friendship over the stupid of the last week and the stubborn rage of the offended party and aggravating bullshit of an afternoon conference call today…and this ridiculously stupid run-on sentence, my darling husband and favorite son took me out tonight for margaritas and Mexican food…good, authentic Mexican food. And just as I was finishing the first margarita, Daniel started to choke on the massive, huge, big-as-his-head burrito…like really choking.

OMG, he’s choking!

Always scary. Even scarier when the person choking has a paralyzed vocal cord

As Bill reaches over to help, Daniel is able to cough up the offending piece of food blocking his airway.

I’m okay! I’m okay!

Holding up his hand towards both of us, he makes it clear that he is okay.

He is okay…except for the fear in his eyes as he fights back crying.

Are you sure you’re okay, son?, I implore with the Mom-is-worried-and-scared-and-wants-to-hug-right-now tone.

He tries to look up as he barely whispers that he is okay but he can’t because then he really will lose his shit here in the restaurant.

Come on, Son. Let’s go shoot some pool. Bill pats him on the shoulder as they rise to head to the bar side of the restaurant where the pool table is. Mom can order another margarita while we play a game.

And today’s lesson: Sometimes Mom being concerned mom can only make it worse when you are a teenaged boy. Just let Dad  be dad and shoot some pool…as guys do…I guess.

So noted. I’ve got so much more to learn, I imagine.