Thursday, June 27, 2013

Writing Prompt

Mama’s Losin’ It

            In keeping with my desire to make more time for myself and and recommit to to writing again I decided to participate in Writing Prompts with Mama Kat over at Mama Kat's Losin' It.  I decided to go with "trouble you got into one summer" mostly because my surly teenager has been in lots of trouble this week and I am trying so hard to keep it in perspective.  Our tiny one is small enough that she is still getting up to eat once a night sometime between 4 and 5 AM.  (When I am very lucky it is 6ish and when I am not so lucky it is more like 3:30, bu that is a story for another post...)  So in the wee hours of Sunday morning I get up to the tune of her low-grade fussing and wobble to the bathroom to make a bottle.  On the way back I look into my son's room and see that the couch he sleeps on (yes indeed, he sleeps on a couch...despite the fact that my house has two more beds than it has people living in it, and despite the fact that I have spent more money than I care to talk about on finding beds that really ought to make my kids want to sleep in them because they are so neat...again that is another story...) anyhow on his couch there were no super long legs sticking out from under the two small blanket he favors...That by itself is enough to make my heart sink a bit.  After all it is 4:30 in the morning and my bipolar boy who desperately needs his sleep is NOT in his chosen sleeping place!  and this is not the first time.  So I call his name down the stairs, hopefully.  but no scurrying in the kitchen from making a snack so I creep down to see what's up and of course my back door is hanging wide open and said teenager is no where to be seen.  I call off of the back porch for him.  Nothing.  It is obvious by now that he has snuck out on me.  It is also obvious that he thinks new Mama sleep deprivation has turned me into a total moron because when he comes around front to ring the bell fifteen minutes later, finding the back door locked, the lies he tells me about his whereabouts and activities border on the absurd.  It is probably wrong, but (getting back to the actual writing prompt here) I am not entirely sure if it is the sneaking and lying (which is wrong and rotten enough) or the fact that he doesn't even think highly enough of me to formulate a lie that a primate might actually believe that upsets me more.
            I lied to my parents plenty.  I snuck around a fair amount during my teenage years.  I was in fact dating a man seven years older than me and completely forbidden for the last two years of my minor childhood.  But I have to say I put some effort into it.  I knew my parents weren't baboons so I actually attempted to give my lies some thought and a firm basis in reality in the hopes that I might get away with the things I wanted to get away with. For the most part this worked.  I was my Mom's only and I think she often wanted to believe the best of me and so she did because my lies weren't completely ridiculous.  My Dad was a different story.  I got away with things, but as I was his sixth child it is most likely that I only got away with the things he chose to let me get away with.  I am pretty sure that by child number six you have heard all the lies, but are also aware of the lessons that can be learned by letting your kiddo get into just enough trouble to begin to learn how to sort things out for themselves.  While my Mom was easy to fool, I am pretty sure that my Dad took note of the elaborate phone chain required to reach me when I wasn't quite where I promised to be...It is unlikely that he bought the idea that every time he called me at a sleepover to say goodnight, I just happened to be in the shower....and would have to call him back.
           This has mostly derailed from the original premise of the writing trouble as a teenager rarely confined itself to summer, and I talk more about my son's mischief than my own, but this morning I can't quite get past the idea that my smart, lying son actually stood before my angry sleep-deprived self a few days ago and we had the following conversation:

Me:  Where the hell were you?  You do realize it is 4:30 in the morning right?

Him:  Um yeah.  4:30, that's pretty early.

Me:  you don't say?  but WHERE?  WHY?

Him:  I heard a noise out back.

Me:  Over the sound of your TV blaring you hear a noise?  In the area of the house farthest from your room?

Him:  Well I had the volume off on the TV then.  I was listening to music.

Me:  SO you heard it over your music and before going back there you stopped to turn your music off AND the volume on the TV up loud?  Seriously?

Him:  Um, yeah

Me:  So what was the noise?

Him:  It was Mr C.  (our neighbor)

Me:   Mr C?  at 4:30?  what was he doing?

Him:  He had his car parked blocking our garage and he was underneath it.  (he knows the garage blocking makes me see red...)

Me:  So Mr C, our neighbor who weighs better than 300lbs was out back, under his car (where I doubt he would fit without a lift kit), IN THE DARK?  making enough noise for you to hear him while listening to music?

Him:  Well, yeah.  They are a little weird next door.

Me:  They are weird?  What was he doing under his car?  (because I cannot resist this most absurd of questions...)

Him:  He was,   ummmm, doing his thing....

Facepalm.  Grounded.  Nothing left to say.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Let's get Wordless!

10 Simple Things to Smile About: June (And Random Tuesday Thoughts Rebel)

This has been my year for smiles and heart-happy moments so I'm taking a moment out to do 10 things to smile about with Emmy Mom.
1.  The school year is over.  Finally.  Did I mention how happy I am that the school year is over.  No more weekly Monday morning calls from Rob's reading enrichment teacher to tell me that he put his head down in class.  Forget that he reads at an advanced level.  Forget that he hates reading despite being quite skilled.  Forget of course that every single week I explain again and again the nature of his bipolar disorder and the effect his single medication has on his alertness at 7:30 AM every single morning.  BUT IT IS OVER FOR THE SUMMER and I am certainly smiling about that.  It is good to enjoy my easy-going laid back boy without the pressures of the local public school.  
2.  3 month old baby girl smiles and giggles!   

No further explanation required!

3.  Spending time with beautiful grown daughters.  Watching sisters born 19 years apart  enjoy each other.

4.  Spending long days at the pool with ten year old boys.

5. Teenage boys who are willing to wear their baby sisters.

5.  Grandmas who give awesome cuddles and read silly stories.  

7.  Thinking of my parents with smiles and laughter instead of tears.  I miss them every single day, sometimes with an ache that threatens to swallow me, especially knowing that they will never know and enjoy their tiny grand-daughter as they did my older kids .  But lately it is the sweet memories that surface most often.  

8.  Being married to the sweetest man ever.  Knowing that myself and the kids are the most important part of his world and seeing his choices reflect that every day.   I am lucky and I know it.

9.  Finally having a baby I can stay home with for a while.  Granted I am frustrated with everything breaking in my house and not having the money to fix it all fast enough.  But it is oh so sweet to be able to snuggle in the mornings and to be the one who sees her first smile of the day AND her last every single day for a change.  

10.  E-books.  I cannot say enough about how much it rocks that I can carry a couple hundred books with me on my kindle everywhere I go.  

If you've had plenty of things to smile about lately, or even if you just need a boost because things have not been so smiley... I totally recommend stopping over to Emmy Mom's place to remind yourself what's going rate for you lately.

Also please take some time to stop by and show some love to Stacy at Stacy's Random Thoughts for Random Tuesday Thoughts Rebel.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Eyes on her Dad...

The last few years it has been amazing watching the boy I fell in love with so many years ago turn into a father as he began parenting the three kids I had with my first husband.  His commitment to them melts me for the most part and I love the way they have grown to love much so that if we argue they often take his side and accuse me of picking him...but one of the best things about our tiny daughter is that I am getting to see him as a Dad with his very own baby girl.  It's been magical.  

I'm not sure what I expected exactly but...

        Four years ago when we were pregnant with the baby we lost I had huge expectations.  I expected to carry that child to term and fall into the familiar, easy rhythm of caring for an infant.  Of course I also expected my mother to live long enough to retire and enjoy lazy days with her grandchildren for at least another decade or so.  At 33 I was still operating under the mistaken assumption that I was choosing my life's trajectory myself. I did not expect Leukemia to creep up on us all and steal away my beautiful sixty-two year old mother's life over the course of three weeks.  I did not expect to lose that baby right before I lost my Mom.  More than anything I did not at all expect the journey that my grieving would take me on over the next few years.
        Needless to say the surprises continued.  Even in the midst of the sadness I felt over losing our baby, i didn't worry...I had gotten pregnant so easily four times already--we were raising three beautiful kids together-- and I expected that I would do so easily again.  I didn't expect it to take three years.  I didn't expect to give up hoping for another child only to be surprised by one after all.  I didn't expect to welcome my last little one into the world in the peace of my own bedroom with a lovely midwife and husband the only people in attendance....but all of those things happened and now I am just sorting out how I feel about it...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pour Your Heart Out: More Than Meets the Eye

This seemed like a good week to begin "pouring my heart out" with Shell over at Things I Can't Say.  So Here goes:

It turns out that, as humbling experiences go, there isn't much to rival sitting in room full of teenagers paying their respects to a dear friend lost far too soon.  The 14-20 set has it all over the adults when it comes to their ability to lay open their raw emotions and ease each other through the hard stuff.  To be perfectly honest, it was strange to sit there this morning among my two older kids and their friends, watching them say goodbye to their friend Hank for the last time.  The church was packed to the doors with teenage kids.  I think what strikes me the most is that if you had asked me a week ago about my son's friends, I might not have had much to say.  They are a hard-scrabble bunch--skaters and bmx riders.  They are not (most of them) necessarily the smartest  or from the best families.  Many of them have an open disdain for authority and attract trouble like pups attract fleas.   But then, the last six days have shown me something different about them-- something far deeper.

The Rec Crew at Children's Hospital
Teenagers know implicitly how to grieve.  They have an inborn knowledge of what it means to experience and express sadness and loss in a way that most adults have lost over time.  When their friend was hurt they dropped everything and went to the hospital by the van-load to see him and give support to his parents.  While adults cry silently they sob the same sort of tears they allowed themselves as children.  They print their love and loss on hats and t-shirts to let the world know always who they are missing.  While adults will struggle to stop grieving, to get over their sadness and return to their every day lives, these kids will wear their hearts on their sleeves for as long as they need to.  They will chide each other to wear helmets, "for Hank," and they will seek out his parents in ways large and small to try to support them as they grieve for their only son.  They are remarkable for doing what teenagers are known for--throwing themselves heart and soul into their lives and their friends and holding nothing back.  They are everything that we, as their parents, have somehow forgotten to be.

The Rec Crew in their element.
These kids have big plans for the next few weeks already.  Memorial t-shirts and bracelets have already been designed and ordered in Hank's memory to raise money to help his family pay for his hospital and funeral costs.  Some of them are working on a decal design for memorial safety helmets that Bell Helmets has agreed to find a way to help them make.  Just a week ago, my son's friends used to make me nervous.  I worried more than anything about the trouble he might find with them and the scruffy exterior they presented to the world at large.  It turns out that there is less to worry about than I had feared.  They WILL find trouble from time to time, but they will also throw themselves into the thick of things to take care of each other and their families.  My kids are lucky to have friends like Hank, like all of the others...and I know now that I am lucky to know them all.
Henry "Hank" Woodhall 1996-2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Never Certain if I am Doing the Right Thing Anymore

When my kids were small it was easier in some ways.  I carried all of the responsibility for their well being, but I also carried the power to make most, though not all, of their hurts better.  When the problems were skinned knees and bullies, unkind words and an unwillingness of others to share or do things their way, I knew the answers, or at least enough of them to be able to ease their hurt feelings and patch their scrapes and bruises.  A snuggle and a bedtime story went a long way back then to making the world right for them again.  Now all of a sudden, at 14 and 18 none of it works.  The parenting decisions I have to make with these almost grown babies of mine are choices between what might work and what might not work.  There are no absolutes, no concrete thing I can say or do to help them right their own worlds anymore.  More often than not I have to decide between telling them some truth that I know will hurt and the hurt they will experience if they delude those truths and make choices without an ability to see clearly the situation.  So often now I find myself lying awake in bed in the small hours of the morning wondering how to ever find the balance between honesty and kindness, between what IS good for them and what only FEELS good to them.   I hate that I can see when those two aren't necessarily the same thing.

I have talked a lot about my son the last few posts, and while that is in the back of my mind while I write this, what I am really talking about is my 18 year old daughter.  She flipped her lid at me last week over  my requirement that she clean up after herself while living here at home and decided to move in with her boyfriend and his parents.  She decided this all in the matter of a few hours.  I have struggled for some days now with a mixed bag of emotions about what has been going on.  I am constantly torn between being frightened for her as I know she is not even close to being able to support herself financially or emotionally, and being angry at her for thinking that it is okay to just move on to someone else's parents because your own want you to be responsible for your decisions and mistakes and their consequences.  I know that she is confused and afraid.  I know that she doesn't want to disappoint me and at the same time she is frightened that her relationship with her boyfriend won't last if they don't live in the same place.  I also know that there is nothing, including my own peace of mind that I wouldn't give up in a second to erase all these fears and problems from her heart.  But there isn't a way, and even if there was, I wouldn't know where to start...

So the problem that I have is this:  Is it wrong for me to pressure her to come home and take responsibility for herself gradually over the next few weeks, making a plan and working towards it to enable her to be able to move out on her own in careful measured way that will help ensure her success independently from us or her boyfriend?  I don't want her to never leave, well my heart wants that in some tiny minuscule way, but really I just want her to soar!  Ten years from now when she looks back on the first time she struck out on her own I want her to be proud of the way she did it.  I want her to move on from us in a way that lets her have confidence in her ability to take care of herself.  What I don't want is for her to come back here in a few months when the financial pressures and emotional pressures of living under a new set of family rules get to her and her bf , feeling crushed and defeated by her inability to create the changes that she wants for herself.  So how much of this do I share with her?  Where is the line between wanting her to see things more clearly and giving her a guilt trip to try to lead her to a better decision?  How much of our relationship am I risking when I tell her the things she doesn't want to hear, no matter how much she needs to hear them?

Needless to say I miss the old problems...the ones I knew how to solve.

The Vigil for Hank