Yellow Back Seats

keep-calm-and-pee-your-pants-4I want to apologize for not really being around. Besides my little Jeter post the other day, I’ve been out of commission. I’m not sure most of you know what happened. I talked about it on my Facebook page but I know not all of you follow me there.

The Kid was struck by a car a couple of weeks ago. She’s okay now. We had a scary night in ICU where I lost 20 years off my life, but she is a miracle really and is doing really, really great. So, now it’s back to normal. It’s good to be back.

I was reminded of a story from a very good friend of mine. This friend has been in my life since 1979. Probably the one person, besides my family, who I have known the longest.

As you know, I was supposed to be on the Dr. Oz show. I commented on my Facebook page about how I was going to pee my pants because I was so nervous. This has nothing to do with anything about what I am going to talk about, but since when do I not get off topic at least once during a post?

I never made it to the Dr. Oz show because the accident happened the night before. I know, tough decision. The Kid or Dr. Oz. Hmm. I mean I was in the city anyway. I’m kidding people.

So, getting back to my pee story from my youth. I have several pee stories but this one is particularly funny.

I was about 15 years old. I was hanging out with my oldest friend when her mom offered to take us to the local high school parking lot to let us practice driving. Yes, we were underage and without a permit but I think because of statute of limitations or something, all involved are protected.

My dear, oldest friend was a terrible driver (sorry J, but you did fail your driver’s test, remember? Was it twice? Hmm?). I was in the back seat, J and her mother were in front. Driving with J was like being on one of those bucking bronco guys set on the highest setting. I was being thrown all over the backseat (yes, this was also before seat belts were a big deal. And yes, I’m that old).

I tried so hard to hold it in, but I just couldn’t. I never laughed so hard. Okay, so that’s a lie. I have laughed as hard and peed too. Because I have a problem. And the problem has gotten worse since I bore my child because we all know what children do to our bodies.

Anyway, I let it out. All of it. All over the vinyl seat. But I didn’t worry. I knew it would dry up nice since it was vinyl. No one would notice. Except it was my turn to drive. When I got out and J’s mom climbed into the backseat so me and Jen could be up front, she saw it.

And gave out an, “Oh Mo! Not again!” Yes, again. I had done this before on her dining room chair, in her yard, on the floor. My friend J has this ability to make me laugh hard. Even now I have to strap on a Depends if I’m going to see her. Her laugh alone makes me lose it.

So yes, I have a problem. And I have many, many more stories just like that one. So please. If you are going to plan on being funny and making me laugh, just warn me ahead of time so I’m prepared. I should probably just start carrying around a diaper bag. Should I have it monogramed?

As far as my friend J is concerned? I hope you all have a J in your life. J’s are awesome. Love you girl.

 

Calgon, Take Me Away

teenagers

I often brag to people about my teenager. You know, when they ask me if I have any kids and I say, “why yes I do, I have a 16 year old daughter.” What inevitably follows is, “ooh, I’m so sorry about that. How’s it going?” And I honestly can tell them that really, she’s pretty cool. She’s pretty good with holding back what she’s really thinking, rolling her eyes at me or bringing on too much sass.

But, like anything else, there is the exception. And that exception was today. No, today was not the only exception. Because as much as I would like to think I birthed the perfect child, I did not.

I had just gotten home from My Job and I wanted to jump on the elliptical for 30 minutes before I had to take her to her orthodontist appointment. Since I wore my work-out clothes to My Job (one of many awesome perks), I only had to grab a bottle of water and inform The Kid of my plan.

The night before she had a friend sleep over (really her cousin so if she acted like a piss ant and I acted like a piss ant back it was family and it’s not as embarrassing, it’s just not. My niece already knows I have a screw loose, no surprise there). I peeked in her room before heading off to my elliptical.

Me: OMG you lazy girls are still in bed (it was 1:22pm)???

The Kid: Yeah.

Me: Okay, I want to leave here at 2:10 for your appointment.

So, I’m huffing and puffing, sweating to some Al Green 29 minutes and 30 seconds into my workout and I hear this:

The Kid: MOM, WE DIDN’T EAT LUNCH!

But it wasn’t said in the, “oh my goodness silly us, we forgot to get up and have some lunch so now we’re hungry but since we were just being silly lazy people and didn’t feel like getting up even though we had like 5 hours to do so, we’ll just have to wait until after my appointment since we are, after all, leaving in approximately 16 minutes” kind of way.

It was said in the “OH MY GOD DON’T YOU KNOW WE DIDN’T EAT LUNCH AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT BECAUSE THERE IS JUST NO FOOD IN THIS HOUSE??” kind of way. Just so you all know, I grocery shopped the day before so whatever.

Insert a very deep breath here. Or some wine. Better yet, an IV of tequilla and keep it going until midnight. Because everyone who knows me knows I have very little patience to begin with. Throw in a PMS’ing or whatever happens to be the problem of the moment teenager into the mix? Not a very good combination to say the least.

Through gritted teeth, my reply was, “you are 16 years old, make yourself some lunch.” But of course, I cannot just stop there. I have to vomit all the venomous shit out of my mouth as I possibly can so that I may feel better.  Things like, “don’t you know where the kitchen is?” and “open your eyes and look for food” and “give me a break you aren’t five” and “wanna knuckle sandwich?” Actually, I didn’t say that last one but I came close to it. And I also really wasn’t as kind as all that sounds.

The afternoon just kind of got worse from there on out. Let’s just say that now she’s not allowed to watch television or anything until she’s married. Or finishes her reading assignment for the summer. It will be interesting to see what comes first.

One Side of Empty Nest Coming Up

empty nestIn two years, DH and I will become empty nesters. The Kid will be going off to college. Because she is an only child, there is no other kid left behind to help retain our status of Full Nesters. Is that what they call that? If not, I just made it up. Catchy, isn’t it? Feel free to use it.

First of all I have this to say: WHERE THE HELL DID THE TIME GO? That cute little girl who looked up at me with those adorable blue eyes and blonde ponytails now looks down at me (yes, she is nearly 2 inches taller than I am) with now beautiful blue eyes. Gone are the ponytails, replaced by long blonde locks.

Needless to say, I pretty much blinked three times and here we stand. I was warned about children making time go by, but I never fully appreciated it until it happened to us.

Last week, as you know, The Kid went off for a week on a mission trip far away. I cried as I was hugging her good-bye because all I could think of was, “what am I going to do without you? How am I going to manage not seeing you around for a whole, entire week? Not able to communicate because cell phones are off-limits during the day? Who will empty the dishwasher?” That last one is particularly true, because quite honestly, I really hate emptying the dishwasher. I just do.

She will be back in a couple of hours. Yes, it was odd not having her around. I missed her. I did. But there was one thing I realized as the week went by…I am going to be just fine. I spent a couple of days with a dear friend of mine who I don’t have the chance to see very often because she lives a couple of hours away. That was a bonus.

But what was even better was spending one-on-one time with DH. Although I always pretty much have known this, we have something in common besides love. It’s called like. We like each other and had a great time tooling around in the jeep, or on the boat, having dinner together whether it was at home or out. We could canoodle without closing and locking the door as if it were Fort Knox. Walk around in the nude if we so chose to.

I will be so happy to see her when she gets home. I can’t wait to spend time catching up with her on her week and ours. I’m not sure I’m completely 100% ready for her to leave for good, but I do know this: I will be just fine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get dressed. 😉

Growing Up Too Fast

“BZZZZZZZZZZZ,” went my alarm clock at 3am yesterday morning, followed up by the alarm on my iPhone.  Because when you have to wake up at 3am, you take all the backup you can get. Why did my alarm go off at 3am?  Because The Kid was flying the coop.  Spreading her wings.  Leaving for a mission trip with her senior youth group for a full week.  Off to South Dakota to help build some houses for the poor. This chick will be wielding a hammer, planing some wood, caulking windows perhaps.  All for the good of humanity.

It will be a great experience.  But this is the first time she will be this far away from home for this long without me.  Well, last year she flew down south to visit my parents, but she was with family. That was different.

Sure, there are chaperones going.  One being the pastor of our church who is totally cool and just loves the kids. Still.  I won’t be there to remind her about stuff.  You know, to put on sunscreen, drink plenty of water, wear a hat, eat her vegetables.

I won’t be there.  Period.  I am relinquishing control.  I knew this day was coming, but I’m just not ready.  What happened to my little baby? The baby who depended on me for everything?

I guess DH and I did good.  She’s off for a week to do great work in a place that she’s never been.  She’s going to see how people live who don’t have everything, or even anything. This will be a humbling experience for her. We are so proud. It’s pretty brave of her, going somewhere so foreign without us.

So, as DH and I are standing there saying goodbye, hugging her for dear life, I start to cry.  I hear her say, “gawd mom” as I’m squeezing the life out of her.  My baby is growing up.  In exactly 2 years from right now, we will be getting her prepared for college.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it.

So, should I turn her room into a spa or a mom cave? Ooh, I’ve always wanted my own luxurious bathroom. Decisions, decisions.

This one will do just fine.
This one will do just fine.

Teenagers Don’t Suck Anything But The Life Out of You. Sometimes.

TeenagersWhen I was pregnant with The Kid, I absolutely dreaded the thought of having a teenager. Especially a girl teenager. Freaked me the freak out. Honestly. I was making plans for either having her enrolled in a military boarding school by the age of 13 or me running off to a hideaway for “Moms with Teens” for 5 years. One or the other. Because there was no way there was going to be room in this house for the both of us. No way in hell.

Of course, this is going purely on assuming that she was going to be just like me. And if she was going to be just like me, there was going to be a little problem. Because although my dear mother says “you weren’t that bad,” I kinda was. A little. The crap I did would be enough to send me, as mother, running to the nearest homeless shelter. Because that sounds more appealing. Homeless vs. Hormone Laden Teen. You’ll find me in the woods. By myself. No forwarding address.

We all assume teenage girls are awful. And they are. For the most part. But, there is the exception, of course. There is always an exception. The Kid isn’t horrible. I am becoming increasingly pleasantly surprised. She’s not a dang thing like me. She doesn’t cut class, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t hang out at the 7-Eleven drinking beer. I haven’t seen a hickey on her, she’s a great student and an all around happy kid. Okay, so I’m pretty sure she doesn’t do these things. My mom didn’t think I did either. Oh shit.

Still. She’s a teenager. There are days that can suck. I could definitely do without those times where there is nothing I do or say is right. Other times I am her most treasured friend. You know. Like when we are at the mall. Hmm. 

Glad I Didn’t Name Her Fern

You know, I wonder from time to time how it is I was able to raise a person.  Then I saw this on Facebook a while back and knew I couldn’t be alone:

raising a kid

Seriously.  How true is this?  Besides the fact that I don’t have one single plant inside or outside of this house because I do totally kill them, a whole, live, real person exits our bodies through our vaginas or through a hole that is cut in our stomachs and then we have to keep this real person alive.  Same thing goes for people who adopt, have a surrogate and/or are a guardian.  However you achieve one of these little people, we have to keep them alive.  We also have to keep them from turning into total assholes.

We have to do all that for at least 18 years.  Because after that, it’s totally up to the person/people that we raised to keep it going.  Hoping for the best.  Hoping they learned something from us.  Us.  People who were totally thrown into the fire.  I mean, I babysat when I was 12, but does that really count?  How can it?  Watching some rug rats that weren’t even mine for a few hours a month hardly gives me the credentials to raise actual humans.

And when I ran into an old friend or acquaintance and they asked me what I had been up to, I wish I had the wherewithal to answer, “keeping a person alive.”  That is totally compelling and sounds a little more intriguing than, “oh, I walked around the mall with the stroller brigade and bought crap off the clearance rack at Gap because I hate to pay full price,” don’t you think?

I also believe that this raising a person business should be a major bullet point on our resumes.  Damn.  I should be able to run an entire corporation based on that skill-set alone.  And I couldn’t find a job when I was looking for one because I didn’t have a degree?  Pfft.

Here is how my resume will look:

Past Experience: 

1998-Present – Kept a person living from infancy through the present time.  She knows how to walk, talk, use her manners and is fully toilet trained because of my persistence, hard work and dedication.  She has grown into someone others seem to like, which I feel is a strong accomplishment considering all the total buttheads out there.

I expect the phone to start ringing any time now.

 

Driving In Cars With Teenagers

The Kid recently received her driver’s permit.  Actually, she got it exactly 14 days, 12 hours, 27 minutes and 32 seconds ago.  But who’s counting.  Besides the fact that I am completely freaked out that she is 16 already, I am completely freaked out that she is driving.  And I am really completely freaked out that she is driving and that I am in the car.

DH took her out first.  To the parking lot of the local movie theater.  It’s the perfect place — large, open and empty.  The operative words being large, open and empty.  I was kind of bummed that I wasn’t there for her first time behind the wheel.  But then I had an opportunity to take her myself.  I promise you, it was a treat.

After doing the parking lot a few times, she said to me, “mom, I think I’m ready for the roads.  You know, the real roads.”  Yes.  She claimed she was ready for the real roads.  The real roads with stop signs, yellow lines, curbs, people and cars.  And because I can be easily persuaded and she’s got the gift of negotiation, I caved and took her driving on the real roads.

mom driving with kidBesides the fact that she got honked at, drove (just a little) onto someone’s front lawn, barely missed about 12 mailboxes, had a bit of pedal confusion issues (no, honey, that pedal on the right is not the blinker), stopped so hard at stop signs that I have whiplash, nearly drove through our garage door, gave me about 50 more unwanted gray hairs and knuckles that have taken on a permanent white hue, all is fine.

After much thought (2.3 milliseconds), I have decided that this is a job for DH.  And I am not to take her out again until I feel confident enough to be able to close my eyes.  Because that’s how I shall only be the passenger in a car that is being manned by The Kid for a while.  With my eyes closed.  I will keep you posted.  That is, if I’m alive.

Generation Bad News

love-poster-quote_1800-2What is it about this generation?  When I was a kid, all we worried about was if Maria wanted to fight you because you kissed her boyfriend.  “Meet me behind the school after the last bell.”  So, we might go home with a black eye or get punched in the stomach and forced to vomit the meatball sandwich we ate for lunch, but so what?  We had our life intact.  No one thought to bring a gun or a knife to school.  I’m not saying it didn’t happen, I’m just saying it didn’t happen often.

Last Friday a bright young woman’s life was snuffed out.  For no reason.  She said “no” to a boy who asked her to prom and he didn’t like that answer.  So instead of being a man and walk away with his head held high, he decided to be a coward instead.  He took out a knife.  And without thinking about the repercussions, he took her life.  Just like that.

Last month, a teenage boy choked his girlfriend to death, then threw her in a stream.  All because they got into a fight.  This happened in my parent’s town in North Carolina.  In another part of the state, a teenage girl poisoned her grandmother because this grandmother took her cell phone away from her.

A year and a half ago, a young man went into an elementary school and killed 20 children and 6 others.  Then there’s Columbine.  Virginia Tech.  And this isn’t all.  Google “violent crimes committed by a minor.”  You will be shocked.  Children as young as 12 are on this list.  It’s disgusting.

So, here are my questions:  What are we doing wrong?  Why are our children killing others?  Why is there such total disrespect for human life?  Where is the fear of God?  Or morals?  Are we being too permissive?  Are we not imposing enough boundaries?  Are there too many outside influences beyond our control?  Too many violent video games?  Too much social media? 

I am in an outrage, as I’m sure many of you are.  I’m not happy that I can no longer feel that my child is safe at school.  That every morning there is a police officer standing at the entrance of the school in the event that some kid may lose his crap and start shooting at people.  I’m not saying that I’m not grateful for this police officer.  I am.  I understand that this is the new normal.  It still doesn’t make it right.

How did it get out of control?  I’m not judging.  We allow our teenage daughter to have her head in her phone way too long.  We give her not only what she needs, but what she wants more times than we probably should.  Maybe she doesn’t have enough chores around here.  But she has boundaries.  She knows right from wrong.  We took the time to show her the importance of compassion, how to love others.  We taught her to be strong and confident.  How to handle rejection.  How to be a good sport.  Respect human life.

We, as parents, need to step up and raise our children.  Don’t you have conversations with your friends that sound something like this:  “Geez, when I was a kid if I talked to my mother the way some of these kids speak to their mothers, I’d get an ass-whooping.”?

I don’t condone hitting your child.  I don’t agree with that.  But something is lacking.  Somewhere along the way, we messed up.  I could be wrong, but doesn’t it start in the home?  So, people, let’s fix this thing.  I can’t take another news story of a child taking someone else’s life.  There is something so wrong about that.  We need to stop the violence.  And we need to stop it today.  Who’s with me?

 

Smells Like Teen Spirit. Or Beer.

I'm 17 here.  I know because my sweatshirt says 1985.  My favorite sweatshirt that I got at NJ and some chick stole from my gym locker.  I cried.
I’m 17 here. I know because my sweatshirt says 1985. My favorite sweatshirt that I got in Long Beach Island, NJ and some chick stole from my gym locker. I cried.

I am abso-freaking-lutely amazed at what kind of mother I have turned out to be. I mean, I actually have limits on my child. I expect her to do well in school. I abhor it when she is sassy.  I am petrified of her drinking at a party but realize this may happen so I tell her if she does drink to be smart and call us before getting in a car.  And when I say “smart” I mean think-about- having-one-beer-or-maybe-even-just-a-sip-and-dump-the-rest-out-in-the-bathroom-sink-so-your-friends-don’t-call-you-a-nerd smart.

Am I serious?  Who said that?  Wait. Let me look in the mirror to make sure that is me talking and not some wack-a-doo who has taken over my body when I wasn’t looking.

Hey man, I may be 47 (cough gag spit) but my brain still feels 16. I often reminisce about my teen years. The friends I had, what we did, how we did them, how I would miss a class here or there.  Telling the parents that I went to see “The Karate Kid” when instead I was hanging out at the A&P parking lot downing a Bud Light or three with my gang.  Totally rad and bitchin’ fun, man (80’s lingo in case you missed that).

Solo cup also holds Koolade.  Although, that's probably not in there.
Solo cups also hold Kool-Aid. You know, because that’s what I’m drinking.  Wait.  How did Kool-Aid get in my beer?

Even with all that, I act like a middle aged tight wad of an old hag. “Mom, I got a 78 on my history test.”  “What???   You got what? You’re smarter than that. What’s wrong with you?  Why didn’t you study harder?”  Really?  This coming from the woman who as a sophomore in high school was lucky to score a 65 on a test?  Seriously. She doesn’t score that low often.  And it’s not even that low. What’s wrong with me?

And drinking?  Ha!  Beer and Bartles & Jaymes orange wine coolers were my drink of choice when at a party. Yeah, I was not one to go for the cola bar.  Unless it was accompanied by Jack.

And a little sass?  Hell, I remember an incident when I actually picked up a chair and threw it at my mother. I got kicked out of the house for a night for that one.

When I was 15, I wanted to stay out until the wee hours of the morning and hang out with friends. When my stodgy parents put a curfew of 10pm on me, I pouted and swore that when I grew up and had a daughter she would be able to do whatever the hell she wanted. And I meant it too. “I HATE YOU MOM YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE!” was my mantra.  I flipped her the bird more times than I care to admit behind her back. I did it so much, I’m surprised my finger didn’t actually fly away.  Yeah, I was sweet.  I drank beer, pretend smoked cigarettes (because although I thought I was a badass, I was part Pollyanna in disguise.  Ok, so maybe Pollyanna is pushing it), ran away from home, cut school and got poor grades.

Well guess what?  I grew up. I had a daughter. And that daughter is exactly the age I was when I proclaimed to the world that the night could be hers, even if it meant partying with no curfew and having all the beer she wanted at her fingertips.

Guess what else?  Even though I feel like I’m still 16 at times, my brain must have matured. Because, yeah right.  I don’t think so. Over my dead body. And if I find marijuana in your room, you are grounded for life.  And trust me when I tell you, I will never go for that “I’m holding it for a friend” business.  I may have bamboozled your grandparents from time to time with that one, but you will not bamboozle me.  Also, you will be tested when you get back from the movies.  Don’t worry I trust you.  Kind of.

Spoiled Rotten

A few weeks ago the top news story in the Northeast was about a teenage girl who was suing her parents for money.  From all accounts, it looks like she is just a spoiled little brat who was devising a plan to get all that she wanted (including keeping a degenerate boyfriend and staying out as late as 3am if she so chose to) while her parents pay for her education.

I believe the judge denied the teenager’s request and the girl went back home.  It ended well for all of us parents.  Could you imagine if she had won?  I shudder at the thought.  I was going to write this big post about how I felt about the situation.  And then this morning I had a conversation with a friend about kids today and how spoiled they are and how badly we hover.  Which could possibly be partly what happened to this child.

We live in the age of The Helicopter Parent.  We all do it.  Ok, excuse me.  Most of us do it.  There is the exception.  I have a friend who is the parent of 4 kids and she’s got these kids doing what they need to do, when they need to do it without a complaint from them.  I am in awe of her.  Still, at the end of the day, there is some overprotecting going on.  What, with all the crap we hear in the media about kids going missing, etc. how can you blame us?

But there is a price to be paid.  My generation figured it out.  My parents didn’t do it for me.  We had street smarts.  Hell, when I was 11 years old I had to walk to and from school where we lived in Yonkers.  Alone.  I lived in 7 different places in 12 years.  I had to suck it up.  I would become close with other kids, then BOOM.  The Army moved us again.  Too bad.  I had to pick myself up, brush it off and move along.  There was no time to mope and cry.  Besides I wasn’t allowed to.  Seems rough, right?  No.  It’s called life.  And quite honestly, I’m grateful to my parents for the way I was raised.

So if I was raised that way, as I’m sure most of us were, why is there so much coddling?  “Oh, let me clean your room because you have too much homework.  Oh, why don’t you take the day off of school, you need a breather.  Oh, no, you can’t walk down the street to Diane’s house, you might get stolen.”  Everything from doing their homework to calling Abercrombie to see if there is a size 1 in the faded skinny jean they just “have to have.”

I do it all the time.  Actually, I don’t do the homework.  I don’t believe in that.  Besides, my kid would fail.  Anyway, guess what?  We aren’t helping our children.  Not at all.  We make it too easy for them.

The Kid and I toured a college last week.  A college that is at the top of her list.  When we got there, I was expecting a show of extreme excitement from her.  Because she is, by nature, an easily excitable person.  She will deny this for the rest of her life, but I could tell by the look on her face that she was completely freaked out.

I’m hearing a lot of stories of kids dropping out of college lately.  Kids just not able to take the pressure.  They don’t know how to take care of themselves.  They can’t keep up with the work.  They miss mommy.  It’s scary.  What do I do to prevent this from happening to my kid?

Suddenly, we are on the final stretch of our parenting journey.  And it dawned on me that we have about 2 years to get her ready.  Because as much as I will miss her and will probably cry my eyes out for a good week after she leaves, I do not want her coming back home.  Not under those circumstances.

Oh God, I have to go.  This helicopter just ran out of gas and is plummeting to the earth.  Which is good, but I have some repairing to do.  It’s going to be a long 2 years.  Wish me luck.

Linking up with Shell