Category Archives: Kids/Teenagers

Boys, Girls, and College

boys girls collegeI had plans to write a really funny and witty post about the differences between boys and girls and the preparation of college, but I may be falling a bit short (can’t you tell by my title?).

I had this brilliant idea to interview some friends who had experienced their son, daughter or both going to college (like I had the best idea in the world, because, umm, I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been done before).

I’ve been sitting on the results for a couple months. Results that really aren’t as dramatic or drastic as I thought they would be. Or surprising.

What I discovered is that boys prefer to just bring three to four pairs of shoes (holes and all), whereas girls will load an extra car full of them (as one friend put it, “enough for a display at Nordstrom”).

As if they might die if they come across an outfit that doesn’t have the perfect shoe to match. And they might. Actually, they probably would based on personal experience.

We should have bought stock in Steve Madden had we known it would be a problem.

In my opinion, college should be about sweatpants and Skippy’s but I didn’t go to college so I suppose my opinion doesn’t really matter here. Although, I did live in concert tees and Adidas in high school so I can’t be that far off.

I learned that girls need to have utensils, matching dish sets and a glass for every occasion.

You know, for those elaborate dinner parties they plan on throwing on the floor of their five foot by five foot dorm room. Chances of the Queen of England showing up is pretty slim, but you never know.

A boy? Oh, a Spork will suffice. Preferably plastic so they don’t have to wash any dishes. For those of you who don’t know what a Spork is, it is an eating utensil that looks like a fork but can be used as a spoon. I’m guessing this is the greatest invention for college boys since, well, condoms (which also happens to be an “essential”).

Boys need to be reminded that they should probably start a list, as well as reminded not to forget underwear and socks (not ALL boys mind you; some are very organized and a bit anal, but not many so don’t get too excited, moms of boys who have yet to experience the joys of college prepping).

Girls have their lists drawn up, laminated, and notarized by mid-April.  And their items all bought and organized alphabetically a month prior to their first day of class.

Girls need to take stuffed animals from their youth, photos of every friend from here to Timbuktu, pretty little lights, and stationary. You know, in case they want to write a letter.

Although today’s youth can barely write script and tend to send thank you cards via Facebook, but I digress, and that’s a topic for another time.

Boys are more simplistic. I saw some photos of boys dorm rooms on Facebook and with the exception of one or two, most are fine with a college pendant and their letter from high school football.

Don’t let a girl in there, boys. If given the opportunity, they will fill those blank walls. And fast I’m sure of it.

The long and short of it is that boys focus on functionality and don’t stress out. For girls, it’s all about the decorative touches, and the stress levels are through the roof. Like, duck if you see it coming. Like, “Sybil” crazy stress.

How are they the same?

They both pack snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. Pretty much enough snacks to last nearly four years. And depending on how far or close they are, they packed enough clothes for two to four seasons.

I don’t know why that last sentence surprised me. I thought for sure a sweatshirt would be good enough to get a boy and/or a girl through winter (if my memory serves me right, winter coats were an unnecessary piece of clothing at the school drop off line).

That pretty much sums it up. Girls stress out if they don’t have enough shoes and matching mugs. And boys can get by with crocs and a fork you can eat soup with.

So, for all of you with inquiring minds, who were losing sleep over it, there it is. You know what to expect. Either run for the hills, or accept the idea that you will have to do a lot of hand holding.

Whatever the sex of your child, college is a pretty cool experience. So, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. It’s over before you know it.

Running Around Naked With Scissors

60ccf2df6085019eb4bc1636128d0296Two weeks ago, we dropped The Kid off at college. As we were leaving, DH teared up, The Kid teared up because DH teared up and I teared up a little. Okay. That’s a lie. I cried. A lot.

We left her behind in her new place. The place she will call home for the next four years. A place where she will lay her head every night. A place that may be unfamiliar now, but in time, will become familiar.

I was worried as all mothers do, about many things. Will she be homesick? Will she meet new friends right away? Will she like her roommates? Will she like college in general? Will she be safe?

Will she miss her parents so much that she cries herself to sleep? How about her dog? Will she miss him? Her bedroom?

These thoughts ran through my head on the drive home. These thoughts gave me anxiety throughout the evening, keeping me from a peaceful sleep.

And then it happened. It happened almost immediately. I started receiving pictures of her and her new friends. She was smiling, happy, carefree and worry free.

And my heart lost the heaviness it was feeling for the last 24 hours. Then it got even better.

I received this text from her: “I’m not homesick at all! I’m having the best time!”

I took a deep breath. The first deep breath in hours.

I shrugged my shoulders, said to myself that our job was done, and welcomed our new status with open arms.

And I’m gonna be honest…

BEING AN EMPTY NESTER IS FREAKING AWESOME!!!

DH and I are getting to know each other again. The couple we were before our child. Before the stress and worry of raising a person.

We can run around the house naked if we want. And I do. DH doesn’t because he thinks the neighbors can see. But I say, it serves them right for looking in our window. One look at me running around naked in my present physical condition, and they will learn their lesson. They will learn a big lesson. And fast.

S-E-X (it does sound less naughty when you spell it out, doesn’t it?) somehow got better. Before we would plan it out, triple-dead lock our door, spend twenty minutes hanging up sound proofing material (I caught my parents a couple of times when I was a kid, and believe me it is nothing you can ever unsee).

During it all with one ear open to hear if The Kid got up to go to the bathroom or was yelling out for one of us. By the time we got down to it, the mood had usually passed. (I’m joking about the sound proofing, but I’m not sure why I didn’t think about it at the time.)

Hmm, let’s see…what else?

Dinners are less of a hassle because I don’t feel the need to have to actually cook a nutritious meal for my kid every night. Her room stays clean. And there aren’t thirty-two pairs of shoes at the back door by Thursday.

I can take my bra off at the end of the day or not wear one at all if I’m hanging around the house on the weekend without hearing these words, “mom, my friends are coming over.”

There is nothing worse than putting those babies back in the cage. I have apologized to my breasts more times than I care to admit. There should be a law about how many hours we are allowed keep the girls bound up each day. But I digress.

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I may not be hanging from the rafters yet, but it could happen.

We can just get up and go and do what we want when we want without worrying what The Kid wants to do or is doing. We see friends more often. Laugh more often. Spend more quality time together.

Do I look forward to seeing her next month at Parent’s Weekend? You betcha. Am I looking forward to spending almost a month with her when she comes home for winter break? Hells yeah. Do I miss her? Very much so.

Do I look forward to her emptying the dishwasher because I dislike that chore more than scrubbing the toilet? Can I get a ‘HECK YA!!!”

Do I love being her mom and cherish the last eighteen years? Without a doubt. I wouldn’t change a thing.

But it was time. It was time for her. And it was time for us.

Children are only meant to be with us for a short period of time. They are not meant for us to keep.

We are here to teach them how to grow into respectable, functioning adults. To be able to contribute to society. To be well-adjusted people who can raise some kids of their own.

It’s her time to be independent. It’s our time to be ourselves again.

So, to all you parents who are raising kids and are wondering how you will do when your offspring fly the coop? It’s okay. You will be okay.

Welcome it, embrace it, love it. It’s freaking awesome. Except when you have to empty the dishwasher.

 

It’s Gonna Suck Until It Doesn’t

imagesDH and I are going to be empty nesters. We will be coming home to an empty house within the next 48 hours. After eighteen years of tears, laughs, fights, hugs, hard lessons, and all that parenting involves, our job will be done.

It is the night before we leave to take our only child to college. Tonight will be the last night she spends in her own bed. The last dinner we’ll have as a family in our home, at our table. Tomorrow morning will be the last time I get to make her dairy-free pancakes.

Well, until that first break. I do realize she’ll be back. But you know what I mean.

It’s been a revolving door all weekend with The Kid’s friends coming to say goodbye to each other. Some of these kids I have known since birth, some since the age of five when she befriended them in Kindergarten, and some only the last four or five years. But it all feels the same. It sucks. And I’m trying with everything I have not to cry and blubber like a big fat baby.

Don’t get me wrong. I am excited for The Kid and her friends. I look forward to seeing what the future brings them. I know they are going to have the time of their lives.

It’s still going to suck. For me. These first few weeks, they are going to suck. I know they will.

But then, I hear from some well-versed empty nesters, that once they are gone, and you get used to them being gone, it’s not so bad.

For some, it’s more than “not bad” but down right awesome. Every once in a while I will catch a glimpse of some empty nesting friends on Facebook and it looks like they are having the time of their lives.

A few weeks ago, The Kid visited with my family down south for a week and a half, so we got a good taste of what it would be like.

I have to admit that we had a great time. We didn’t feel (as) worried, or stressed. We were at ease. It was like before we had a child. And it was kind of nice.

Because let’s face it, as wonderful and rewarding as it is to have children, it’s stressful as hell. I don’t care how many offspring you have.

Will I sob as I turn to leave her behind in a place that is completely foreign to her? Will I bawl like a two-year-old in the car during our three hour drive home? Will I cry every time I walk by her “empty” room the first few days?

You betcha.

Then after I get all that out and get used to the idea, I think I.m going to be alright.

It’s still gonna suck though. This initial feeling. And I’m not looking forward to it.

UnknownSo, stay tuned. Who knows, you might actually get to see a picture of me hanging from the rafters.

 

You Say You Want to Go to College? Be Prepared to Give Them Your Blood.

Pint of BloodI am not a connoisseur of higher education. I barely made it out of high school, so the idea of college for me never even entered my mind.

With that being said, I know college thirty years ago is not the same as college now. Not only has the price of college gone up dramatically since the mid-80s (500% — I looked it up) but it has gotten extremely competitive.

I’m surprised they don’t ask for your first born. But I’m sure that’s coming.

It starts with taking your sophomore/junior on the college rounds. Making a list, checking out schools, going on tours. You spend hours, days, nights driving, flying, staying in hotels. (Never mind the cost of all that. No offense, but I know an island I would rather have spent my money on going to that includes palm trees and Pina Coladas served on silver platters by cabana boys. But I digress.)

You get the typical spiel — they are all the same — from each school.

They cover what your ACT/SAT scores need to be, make sure you’re well rounded — GPA, job, extracurricular activities, community service, sports. Blah blah and more blah.

And you better make sure you show a real interest. What does that mean? Go on a tour or two. Or three. Call them, email them, send them a love letter, be in their face. Literally.

But guess what? It isn’t enough.

The Kid goes to a public school where she is getting an awesome education. One of the top high schools in the state.

Her class is extraordinarily smart. The Kid is smart. She gets good grades. I will say, her GPA suffered a bit because of her head injury at the beginning of the year, but she still meets the criteria. She takes extremely difficult AP classes and works hard.

She is community service girl, does sports, competes in dance, belongs to several clubs at school.

She meets all of the requirements and even exceeds some, for every single school she applied to.

But guess what? It’s not enough.

We let her apply to eight schools. She wanted ten, but we had to stop the madness somewhere. In my opinion, eight is ridiculous but we allowed it nonetheless.

Within the first couple of months, she heard from five of the eight. She got in each one with no problem. She received some merit scholarships and was even accepted into honors programs.

But none of these schools were her top choice. No. The top choice we would have to wait for. How long? Another three nail biting, sleepless months.

So, the day is coming up. We’re all a nervous wreck. Stress dreams fill our heads at night (yes, me too because you want your kid to be happy even though you know she’ll be just fine no matter where she winds up).

You wake up, check the college portal and find she’s been waitlisted. Tears ensue and dreams get crushed.

You say to your kid, “but, you met all the requirements. You wrote a kick ass essay, you gave them what they asked for.”

It wasn’t enough.

I am finding out it’s not just her. The smartest kids in her class, and friends she knows from outside of school, are not getting into their “dream” schools. These kids are no slouchers.

Kids who exceed 4.0 GPAs. Kids who excelled at and even got perfect scores on their SATs and/or ACTs. Kids that are the top ten in their class. Kids that work, do community service, sports, meet and exceed all the requirements necessary.

What the hell is going on?  Like I said, I am no connoisseur when it comes to higher education, but I don’t need to be to know it’s out of control.

I was talking to a friend whose oldest is about ready to graduate from college. They went through this process four years ago and she says it has changed even from just that short time ago.

These schools need to chill. Seriously. They need to stop with the 50-60+ grand per YEAR sticker prices, so kids can actually afford to get an education.

They need to stop with the ridiculously high demands they put on these children, so kids can stop stressing out and enjoy their childhood instead of starting to build their resume at the tender age of five.

I get that schools need to be competitive. I really do understand the need for that. But at what expense? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it a bit excessive?

All I have to say is, I’m happy we have only one child. I don’t have the strength, energy or heart (or pocketbook) to do this again.

I hope my grandchildren don’t have to go through this. I hope something happens to force these schools to take it down a notch. The world would be a much better place. Then I could grow my nails back. And sleep again.

Ten Simple Rules To Dating My Daughter

Disclaimer: This post is not about The Kid’s boyfriend. They have been dating for some time now and he is an amazing young man. I completely approve of him and their relationship. He is a good rule follower.

Ahh, the teen years. With this stage comes mood swings, driving, mascara, and boys. Just to name a few.

Boys. That one scares the shit out of me as much as driving. Although, having your head ripped off for saying “good morning” isn’t much fun either. File that under “mood swings” and shake it off.

But we can’t shake off everything. Like boys. It’s inevitable, so there’s no point in fighting it. We can have some control though, don’t you think?

Sure we can. The boys just need to follow a few simple rules.

  1. Keep your hands above the fabric. Keep your hands above the belt. Keep your hands above the neck. In other words, keep your hands to yourself or lose them. No one likes a hand-less boyfriend.
  2. Make sure she’s back by curfew. And when I say curfew, I don’t mean 11:01. I don’t even mean 10:59. Learn that I usually don’t mean what I say. Also, learn what I really mean.
  3. Do not drive like a maniac while transporting my daughter. Stay well within the limits of the speed (have you ever heard of getting a ticket for going too slow? Do that). Do not, I repeat, do not text and drive. The same thing goes for drinking, talking to Siri and putting your hands on her knee (if you do this last thing, you have violated Rule #1).
  4. Do not take her anywhere you wouldn’t want your younger sister going. The mini golf place? Acceptable as long as you don’t hide behind the windmills. The back row of the movie theater? Not.
  5. When you come to pick up my daughter for a date, always, always come to the door. Always. There are no acceptable excuses like you are running late or you have been maimed by the neighborhood dog and are bleeding to death.
  6. If you hurt her in any way, I will make a voodoo doll with your name on it. I don’t know how to make a voodoo doll but I’ll figure it out. I’m crafty like that.
  7. Do not make her do anything she doesn’t feel comfortable doing. If she says no, she means no. If you don’t understand what that means, perhaps you need to go back to kindergarten.
  8. Don’t be a player. Don’t “see” other girls. If you do, see #6.
  9. Be chivalrous. I believe in equal rights for women but don’t be a jerk. Please open doors for her, don’t walk ahead of her, offer your jacket when she is cold, make her feel safe. Now, when you two have jobs, she should be paid as much as you. Maybe even more.
  10. Treat my daughter with the utmost respect. When I say respect, I mean see Numbers 1-9. Rinse. Repeat.

That’s not too bad, right? I made it easy. Just follow the rules and you will have my undying love and affection. And if you don’t follow the rules? Well, like I said, I’m crafty.

Going To “Prom”

Prom season is upon us. The Kid is a Junior in high school so this is her first. I’m enjoying the time with her — shopping for the dress, shoes, making beauty appointments. I have a feeling that day is probably going to be very similar to what her wedding day will be like. And it’s weird.

When I was a teen, we called it “THE” prom. “Hey Karen, who are you going to the prom with?” Every time I add the “the” I get reprimanded by my teen for saying it incorrectly. Prom. As if it is a proper noun. Like saying France or something. Does it have its own capital too?

Then there is the way the girls are being asked. It’s a huge production. I don’t think most engagements are this elaborate. I bet The Kid’s boyfriend is sitting over in his house, planning out every detail by the minute. Sweating bullets to get it right. I sure would hate to be a teenage boy these days. Geesh.

When I was in high school, I had the same boyfriend in my Junior and Senior years. He was taking me to the prom. He didn’t ask. It was assumed. Period. And if you didn’t have a boyfriend? You either got a phone call on the telephone (or should that be telephone) or was approached after sixth period. “Hey, wanna go to THE prom with me?” “Sure.” “Totally tubular.”

Then there is the dress shopping. Facebook groups for all the Junior girls to join so that they can post a pic of the dress they bought. Why? So there isn’t a double. And if there is? Oooh, I’d hate to be at the prom. Sorry. PROM. I’d hate to be at prom.

I could see a cat fight brewing. Satin and taffeta and crystals being ripped to shreds right there on the dance floor. “You have my dress you biotch! Didn’t you check Facebook?????” I feel bad for the chicks who don’t have a Facebook page. Yes, it’s true. Believe it or not. I know, I couldn’t believe it either.

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My Junior and Senior Prom dresses respectively. Recycled before recycling was a thing.

For Junior prom, my bestie and I each bought a dress. Then the following year, we traded. It was a win/win. And we saved a lot of money. Because back in the day, I had to buy my own dress, with the money I made from the job I had. But that is a story for another show. And if someone came to the prom with the same dress? Eh. She had good taste.

How about the nails and hair? Oh, and the makeup? And if you buy open toed shoes? Go ahead and add in a pedicure. I’m sure that all will cost DH and me upward of a hundred bucks. God forbid you do your own. I offered to do it all for her, but for some reason she doesn’t trust me.

I don't know what the problem is? I do hair good.

I don’t know what the problem is? I do hair good.

  If I had asked my mother if she could make an appointment for me to get a manicure, hair job, and makeover, she would have laughed her ass off and then gone and purchased a home perm, a can of Aqua Net and a bottle of top coat. A little black eyeliner warmed by the flame of a Bic added to the inside of my eyelid, some blush (the same blush I wore to school) and voila! I was ready to prom it up!

Then there is the photo party. The photo party is way more important than the actual prom. This is true. No one seems to really care about the prom. PROM. For God’s sake. Prom. Prom. Prom.

I remember The Kid’s eighth grade dinner dance. The photo party was another large production. With someone hosting it. There was a tent with food and beverages all set up for the ten million kids that were there. It was lovely, it really was. The hosts did an awesome job. The kids loved it.

But there are so many teens in the shot that all their faces are just a blur. Then all that work to get them prepped for that evening, only to get a text halfway through the dance. “Can you come pick me up? We’re bored so we are all going over to Dante’s house for taquitos.” Okaaaaayyyyy. Umm…sure?

I have one kid, therefore, I only have to do this one more time. Phew. I don’t think I can handle any more than that. Next year oughta hold much drama. Bring it on. I’ll just pop some corn and observe. After we pay the bill, of course.

Afterthought: I completely forgot that our Junior prom was held in the gymnasium of our school. Carefully and lovingly decorated by the prom committee. Now? The kids (parents) have to pay for a fancy catering hall. Like I said, it likens to that of a wedding. We’ve all lost our f*cking minds.

Girl Scout Cookies. The Bane Of My Existence.

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You can suck it.

The Kid is a Girl Scout. She has been since she was an adorable little Daisy at 5 years old. She used to LOVE the Girl Scouts. She’s 16 now and of course, she isn’t in love like she used to be. She’s hanging in there though because she only has another year left and let’s face it…it looks good on the dreaded college resume.

It is GS cookie time. It has been for over a week but I keep forgetting. Somehow the job of selling cookies always lands on my shoulders. She used to love going door to door (with me, of course) up and down the neighborhood streets. Asking people to support her troop.

She also wanted the cheesy awards you got if you met certain goals. You know those awards that probably didn’t cost more than 50 cents to make in some third world country? Totally worth it.

When she was old enough to start selling cookies, her form would be practically full. Now? There’s so much white space you can write an entire novel on it.

Anyway, I forgot about the cookies until someone posted something on Facebook about them. So, I wrote this status on my wall:

“Aww crap. I keep forgetting it’s Girl Scout cookie time. Ugh. If anyone wants any, let me know. But you have to be within driving distance because getting them to people is a major pain in my ass and after over 10 years of this I’m kinda done. How’s that for customer service? Lol! (sssh, don’t tell our troop leader…). But I will gladly place an order for you with a smile!! xoxo”

Yeah, I know it was snarky. I know my friends are going to say I’m being mean and bitchy. Maybe I was a little rough. But I’m not kidding when I say I’m done. You don’t even need to put a fork in me to tell. It’s obvious because I have the appearance of a piece of chicken that was left out on the barby for too long.

Girl Scouts is an absolutely awesome organization. I don’t regret for one minute, the day I signed up my little angel. She has learned about respect and commitment. She has formed great friendships. She can pop up a mean tent and make chicken parmesan out of a cardboard box oven that would rival that of Martha Stewart’s.

But anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a lover of volunteering. And it pretty much takes a village to run a troop. Yes, her leader is awesome and does 99% of the work (thank you Miss K. You have literally helped raise my child, I am forever grateful to you) but I believe I have paid my dues. Both figuratively and literally.

Years of being cookie mom, running magazine drives, filling out those address books so your troop can have an extra $2 added to the account, having to be a chaperone at meetings, encampments, field trips. The f*cking permission slips for every dang thing. My hand a throbbing hot mess after writing out multiple forms in a row. I swear it takes an hour for the blood to start circulating again.

After being involved in the Girl Scouts for almost 12 years, I am tired. I will give to the poor, I will volunteer my time at the soup kitchen, I will make coffee for the parishioners at church. But please don’t ask me to sell one more god darn Girl Scout cookie. I just can’t do it anymore.

So, who wants some? We have Trefoils, Do-si-dos, Thin Mints….

The Day She Stopped Believing In Santa Claus

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This time of year inevitably brings about the curiosity from children on the cusp of what to think of Santa. You can see it in their eyes. They aren’t quite sure what to do. Their brains start to wonder how it’s possible but yet they are afraid of the answer.

This is how it went down in my house when The Kid was on that very cusp about 7 years ago:

Her: Mom, is there a Santa Claus?

Me: Yes honey, of course there is.

Her: Mom, please. I’m asking you to tell me the truth.

Me: Well, what do YOU think?

Her: Mom, just tell me. Please…or I’m screwed.

Did our 9 year old just say “screwed?” Yes, yes she did.

After DH reprimanded her for using bad language and after I stopped laughing because come on, that was funny, I needed to know what she meant. There are a few different meanings to “screwed” and although I knew she wasn’t referring to the one “screwed” that I automatically think of because I have a dirty mind, I needed clarification.

Me: What do you mean by “screwed” exactly?

Her: Well, what am I going to tell my children? How will I know if there is a Santa or not if you don’t tell me the truth?

And that’s how it happened. It is known as “the night The Kid stopped believing in Santa” around here and it saddened me. A little.

There was a part of me that was happy the facade was over. No more lying to my kid’s face. No more having this big, fat lie of a man taking credit for all of my hard work. No more trying desperately not to slip up, hoping some loud-mouthed brat on the school bus wouldn’t break her heart.

But it was sad because it was the end of her innocence. She had stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy the year before and I’m not even sure she really ever understood the whole Easter Bunny thing. I’m not even sure I understood the whole Easter Bunny thing. That right there is just plain creepy. If I saw a large, life-sized rabbit hiding eggs in my house, I’d probably stab him with a kitchen knife.

Because a fat man in a red suit coming out of my flue like a raccoon who went into the wrong hole is any less creepy. The only reason I wouldn’t stab him with a kitchen knife is because he is bearing gifts. Eggs? I don’t need to elaborate.

But I digress.

I knew it was coming. I’m pretty sure she was a little apprehensive the prior year. I could sense it. I’m guessing she was afraid to say she didn’t believe anymore for fear of receiving fewer presents. Little did she know it really wouldn’t have made a difference. One of the perks of being an only child? Maybe.

Even though she doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, she believes. She believes in the magic. The love and the generosity. The giving and of course, the receiving. And now that she’s driving? The crowds and the traffic.

Santa may be a lie, but only in that there is no fat man in a red suit flying all over the world delivering toys (damn, kids are gullible). But the spirit of Santa, what he stands for, is alive and kicking.

Merry Christmas my friends. Let the spirit of Santa be within you. And if your kids hate you for lying to them for the past 9 years? Eh. They are going to probably hate you in about 4 years anyway, so get used to it.

 

The Stage of Invincibility or Welcome To the Teen Years

Teen-age-mouse-comic

I remember when The Kid was an infant and I was carrying her around in one of those convertible car seat numbers. DH and I were at this store where they sell plants. I don’t know why because my thumb is just about as green as a carrot, but there we were.

A lovely woman walked up to me and said, “Enjoy this stage because it’s the easiest.” I looked at her like she was nuts.

I was in the throe’s of midnight feedings, witching hours and projectile vomit. Not to mention the dairy factory hanging from my chest that made more milk than was demanded. There was no way in hell that she knew what she was talking about.

It turns out, she did know what she was talking about. She was totally and completely 110% correct. The terrible twos were just that. And the threes were beyond awful. I didn’t think anything could be as hard as the threes.

But alas…there was something. The Teen Years. It’s like trying to pass a rock through your rectum. It’s really hard.

I remember being a teen. I sucked. Although my teen isn’t as horrible as I was, she’s still a teen. I will put money down that even Mother Teresa wasn’t all that great when she was 16. Okay, maybe she was. Bad example.

I’m talking about the attitude. You know the one? Yeah, that. Sometimes I fear her. My kid. The kid I pushed out of my down below. The kid I gave life to. The kid who is 31 years younger than me and weighs as much as that one persistent chin hair that keeps appearing out of nowhere.

When I ask a simple question like, “did you do your homework or empty the dishwasher,” I am met by Sybil, the girl with 16 personalities. Accompanied with the ever-present eye-roll. The eye-roll that is universally understood. It says, “I hate you, you are annoying, now go away.”

On top of that, there’s the worry. It was so easy when you knew exactly where they were. Which was usually within yards of us.

There was the quiet fear of injuries from jumping on beds or if they were going to decide to play Hide & Seek when you turned your back for 2 seconds at Kohl’s. Instantly turning us moms into crazed lunatics, screaming for our children, thinking they were gone forever, when they were merely feet away, mocking us from under a clothes round.

These days there are boys (or girls), and cars, and drugs, and alcohol everywhere.  Not to mention social media. Hoping they don’t befriend some deranged stranger who may come and chop her up into little pieces behind the mall.

All these things make you worry so bad, the grays are doing double-time. The wrinkles making a map to Hell on your forehead.

There is also the very simple, scientifically proven fact that teenagers’ brains aren’t fully developed; therefore, allowing them to truly feel they are invincible. This little scientific fact lasts until a human is into their twenties. God help us.

So, what is my advice to survive this stage that is called Teen-dom?

  1. A thick skin
  2. Advil
  3. Strong vodka
  4. Enough patience to make Job (you know, that guy from the bible?) seem like a toddler
  5. Prayer

Other than all that, teens are great. You know, if you like to sit through the same episode of *Caillou 2,000 times while someone is hitting you in the face with a mallet.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little. Perhaps the mallet isn’t necessary.

*For those of you who are blissfully unaware of who Caillou (kie-you) is, he is an annoying and whiney little 4-year old who was created to make the lives of parents everywhere absolute hell on earth.

I Am Suffering From a Big A.S.S. Problem

Note: This is not a book review

couch

I just finished reading a book. It’s not a book that was on my list. It’s not even a book that I ever wanted to read. It’s a book that The Kid has been trying to get me to read for months. She swore it would be the “best book ever.” It’s called “The Fault In Our Stars.”

So I read it. Mostly because she wouldn’t get off my back. Just so you know, she’s just about right. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was pretty damn good.

Anyway, for those of you who are unaware, this book is about a young girl who is dying of cancer. She is an only child.

I came to a sentence in the book where the dying child overhears her mother say to her father, “I won’t be a mom anymore.” Those 6 little words sucked the air right out of me.

I came across that line while waiting for The Kid to finish her physical therapy session. Physical therapy that she has to do twice a week until she gets the strength back in her left leg. One of only a couple of traces left from her accident.

I picked up my head to watch my only child across the room working diligently so she can go back to doing what she loves the most — irish dancing.

And I thought about that little sentence that held such power. With everything I went through the night of the accident, that never occurred to me. If we weren’t so lucky…I can’t make myself say it, so I won’t.

But we were so lucky. So incredibly lucky. I sit in disbelief some days at how lucky we were. How lucky we are.

I have been struggling with my daughter’s accident. This struggle goes against who I am. I am the type of person who gets over things easily and adjusts to change quickly. I forgive, I forget, I move on. I get over crap. I just do.

I watched in horror as my brother almost drowned when I was four. I moved with my family 12 times in as many years because my father was in the service. I was bullied and threatened when I was a young girl. I experienced the tragic loss of friends. I witnessed my child have a febrile seizure when she was 2 years old.

But this? This is a tough one. The first week was the worst. Of course. Then I seemed to be fine. I was. I was fine. And then I wasn’t…fine. Some friends told me, when it first happened, that I need to watch out for PTSD. And that I may want to see a therapist if I suspect that I am suffering from it.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? That’s ridiculous. Isn’t PTSD only for people who actually experienced something bad? I mean, I wasn’t the one hit by the car. And I didn’t actually see the accident. I wasn’t right there. So I can’t visualize it.

Except I can. I “see” it. All the time. I remember the voice of her friend who called me. The terror on the girls’ faces. I remember how frightened my child was. The blood. The ambulance. ICU. My dead cell phone. The adrenaline. I remember the details. All the little details.

I keep going over and over the “what ifs.” What if she was turned a little to the left, or a little to the right? What if she took bigger steps? Or smaller steps? What if the car hit her in a different place on her body? What if the vehicle was going faster? What if she landed differently?

Then I remember her guardian angels. That she was saved and protected. She had to have been. The car that struck her was doing 40 miles an hour. Forty. Why did she walk away from this accident with just a small head injury and minimal damage to a limb?

Was it for a reason? I believe it was. I’m sure the reason will reveal itself in time. That’s a big question that deserves an even bigger answer.

But for now, I struggle. I can’t forgive the city. I need to forgive the city. Because I love the city. I have always loved the city. And I would like to go there without that fear.

I am angry at Lorde. Even though it’s not her fault. We are the ones who purchased the tickets.  We are the ones who let them walk to meet us. I’m sorry Lorde, for this displaced anger. You are really cool. You are an awesome role model. My daughter adores you. I support her adoration for you. I even like your music.

I can’t forget that feeling of dread I had. That feeling, I fear, will never go away.

The guilt. Why wasn’t I there at that moment? If I was there, I would have stopped her from crossing the street. I would have protected her as I have for the past 16 years.

Some of my thoughts are illogical. I know this. But some of these thoughts seem to be beyond my control.

I saw a therapist last week. Because even though I really don’t think I’m suffering from PTSD, I’m suffering from something. I want to learn how to shut it out, how to deal with it in a more manageable way. To quiet my mind. To move on.

I shared with her all of my fears, my anger, the weird decisions I made, my thought processes, my guilt.

Guess what? It’s normal. All of it is normal. It’s what the professionals call Acute Stress Syndrome or Acute Stress Disorder.

I will get over it. I will stop seeing the accident when I look at my daughter. I will stop hearing her friend’s voice in my head when I close my eyes at night. I will stop worrying that every siren I hear is for her. This feeling of dread will go away. I will enjoy the city again. I will be able to hear a Lorde song without thinking of that night.

Umm, well actually. That last one may not be true. I mean, that was the reason we were in the city in the first place. So, yeah. That may take some time.

September of 2014 is a chapter in my life that will always be there. But I have turned the page and am now in the chapter of healing myself. And since my therapy session, because I was given the tools to move on, I am feeling better. I just take it one step, one day at a time.