Tag Archives: adolescence

About a Boy

about a boy

 

I had a pretty awesome “homework” assignment last night.  One of my son’s teachers asked for an essay – “in a million words or less” –  describing our child, our “scholar.”  This was a seventh grade Math teacher and it struck me as brilliant for a couple of reasons.

First off, it’s seventh grade Math.  Yawwwwwn.  How much compelling personal interaction could possibly go down in a typical math class?  In a 43-minute Algebra lesson with so much material and so many learning types to master, could there ever be any time for group anecdotes about weekend cookouts or opinions of the latest Adam Sandler movie?  Mmmmm, doubtful.
Second, this particular son of mine is that kid – the fairly quiet student who laughs at the class clowns, and perhaps secretly strives to be one.  I have no doubt his teachers don’t get an inkling of his true personality until after Christmas break.
So she wanted to know who her students are and blew right past the requisite fill out this questionnaire routine.  Another hidden agenda of brilliance:  how telling to hear the actual voices of parents.  Who’s a braggart… who’s a worry-wart… who’s incapable of decoding their, they’re and there?  I just thought it was great.
So off I went and had some fun.  I just hope he had the kahunas to hand it in.  It’s (naturally) extra-credit and we recently had checked off our “You-will-do-any-and-every-extra-credit-offered-to-you-because-you’re-a-dummy-if-you-don’t” discussion.  We’ll see.
I hope his Math teacher has a sense of humor.  Here it is:

 

There’s a lot you should know about my scholar Luke …..although much of it would make him turn six shades of crimson and want to crawl into his desk….

That little conundrum leaves me with little to reveal.

I guess he wouldn’t mind if I told you that I believe he’s a sharp lil’ whippersnapper, with his Mom’s love of humor and his Dad’s love of sports (because to Luke, ESPN really stands for Every Sport Possible No-lie-will-be-watched-on-every-television-set-at-all-times).

Luke won’t give you any trouble and certainly won’t be to blame for any nonsense that might arise within your classroom (because anything that happens will likely be his younger brother’s fault.  Really.  Go ahead, ask him.)
My scholar is a reflective kid, usually just observing the world around him, taking it all in, and keeping a lot of notes.   He “gets” it.

 

He knows the words to every song on the radio.

 

Won’t talk to his mother about girls.

 

And is extremely well-liked (and that’s not just his mom talking).

 

(Caution: Do not tell him this.  He already thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips, so in this house, we try to keep the compliments to a minimum.)
In general, I think you will thoroughly enjoy having him in your class.  We kinda like having him around here, too.  Especially on the days when he showers – then he smells realllllllllllll nice.  (Actually, if I’m being truthful, I guess I have to mention that he showers every day.  That’s a good thing for 7thgraders, right?  In fact, he showers so much that he’s almost at the 40-minute-shower stage of adolescence that starts peeling paint off the walls.  So, he’s right on track.  It’s all good.)

He’ll stay under your radar ….

….. and chuckle at the jokes that go over everyone else’s heads…….

 

Have fun with our scholar – we certainly do.

 

 

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook.

College Bound: Gone Like a Freight Train

college bound

 

“She

(we gave her most of our lives)

Is leaving

(sacrificed most of our lives)

home.”

The Beatles

 

 

“She’s gone, I’d better learn how to face it.

She’s gone, I’d pay the devil to replace her.”

Hall and Oates

 

 

“Gone like a freight train.”

Montgomery Gentry

 

 

 

 

The girl has left the building.

 

Off to her tenth floor dorm room in the most congested section of her rolling and rural D1 campus.  There might be more occupants on her floor than were in her graduating class.

 

She is stoked, on her way to change the world and no one – no one – who knows her is surprised.

 

She spent her last summer here like a ghost.  Working around the clock with her three jobs, I’d sometimes go a couple of days with only the smell of her shampoo whizzing past me.

 

She was a blur.

 

Looking back I realize it was probably the world’s cosmic balance that did this, forcing me to get used to her not being around.

 

She’s been restless on her journey out of adolescence and that restlessness had been swelling at a NASCAR pace.  By the time the last of the graduation party fire pits had smoldered she was done with her insignificant, small town.

 

I get that (she is her mother’s daughter after all).

 

I waited a couple days after we dropped her off before venturing into her room.  To be completely honest, I could’ve gone in with a steam cleaner or a backhoe (cue in knowing nod from every mother of a teenage daughter).   It was baaaaaad.   I had bitten my tongue the last few weeks of summer because I just wanted a nice, argument-free send off.  It was stressful enough just getting to departure day so I let the room go into zombie apocalypse/Area 51 locale.

 

Still, as the hours ticked away on her final night at home, I could tell her anxiety was revving — as witnessed by the psychotic and shrill “WHERE’S MY INSURANCE CARD????   (and then, ten minutes later, barely audible), Oh, here it is…”

 

That happened a few times.

 

 

She left in a breathless whir of excitement and anticipation for a new chapter and it was everything the books say it should be:  melancholy, bittersweet, and (far be it for me to lie) a little bit of can’t-wait on both of our behalves.

 

I sent my oldest son off to the Air Force Reserves a couple of years ago so this certainly isn’t my first rodeo of shipping a kid off.  With him it was different, though.  Where she is restless, he was reckless.  Seriously, I never slept so well as the day he was safely nestled in boot camp (cue in knowing nod of every mom of a reckless teenage boy).  So I know a thing or two about missing my kids.

 

I find myself being so genuinely excited for her I don’t miss her as painfully as I thought I would.  She checks in often enough (way more than she did while she was here full time) she’s providing more detail about her experiences than even asked for, and basking in the pretend-grown-up-lifestyle that she’s been so desperately craving.  (To be clear, I am fully aware this will come back to kick me in the arse when she returns for winter and summer breaks.  I know the Rules?  What is this notion of rules you speak of?  litigation is percolating.  For sure, good times are a-comin’…

 

So while she’s gone I will wait patiently for her next call or text, and savor each tiny daily victory that finds me NOT rushing around like a madwoman each morning looking for my comb … or cream … or mascara … or beige sandals with the cork heels (why look for them when they are without question in her dorm room?).

 

 

For the time being there are no wet towels on her floor.

 

… yet I don’t have anyone to watch “Rock of Ages” with each and every time I find it on cable.

 

… and my heart feels a little pinging sensation when I realize – with surprising sadness – that I don’t have to special order a vegetarian dish when we order take-out.

 

… and I am decidedly NOT smelling expensive shampoo so much (Old Spice and Axe, yes.  Herbal Essence?  Nope.)

 

 

 

But I know she is only gone for a while.

 

And I miss her.  A lot.

 

 

As I was wrapping up this piece another text from her came through which read simply,

 

“I miss you guys.”

 

 

 

See that?

 

Maybe all that Lunatic-Fringe-Psycho-Mom-Get-Me-Outta-Here stuff isn’t brimming on the surface anymore.

 

Maybe she heard an 80s song from “Rock of Ages” and thought of me.

 

Maybe after getting my picture text, she’s a little excited to sleep in her clean room at Thanksgiving.

 

 

No matter the reason.  You know I’m saving the text.

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram.

 

Missed the start of A Momoir? Catch up here:

Chapter 1, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Chapter 2, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

Chapter 3, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

Chapter 4, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/12/02/a-momoir-chapter-4-a-moms-plea-to-seth-rogen-enough-with-the-masturbation-already/

Chapter 5, Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/04/20/a-momoir-chapter-5-the-magnitude-of-the-middle-aged-mom/

You Should Never Argue with a Crazy Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma, You Ought to Know By Now…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

I had four kids in seven years and right about now’s the time when that little stroke of brilliant timing (or lack thereof) is kicking me in the ass.   My youngest is 13 (I just watched him eat twice since dinner ended.  No.  Wait.  He here comes again…) and my oldest will be 21 in a few weeks (he believes that anything in the ballpark of that number gives him the green light to crack open beers in his room. Then throw the empties under his bed.  Yeah.  I may be down to three kids soon.  I  digress…).  Throw in a 15-year-old (who spends more time grooming himself than his five family members combined) and a free-your-mind, what’s-the-big-deal, 19-year-old college sophomore (who has yet to meet a house rule that “makes sense” to her) and you can see why I’ve gotten a bit testy this summer.

 

In a nutshell, I’ve got a crew of kids coming and going at all hours, eating incessantly and displaying less-than-favorable teenage behavior, all while leaving a trail of clothes-dishes-wrappers-towels-slop in their wake.  It’s making me see a shade of red which far surpasses the sunburn on my side boob (because really, isn’t there always that one spot you miss?).

 

Eventually though, somewhere in the dog days of summer (like now), when I have tripped over my final straw of strewn sneakers, my testiness turns into rage.

 

When my good nature is taken advantage of – I won’t sugarcoat – I get pissed.  I start to reflect on the good life I provide for them.  Then I think about all the cooking and cleaning I do, as if I’m running on some sort of masochistic hamster wheel.  Then I begin to fixate on all the things they don’t do (if only that damn dog didn’t don his invisibility fur all summer maybe, just maybe they would know he’s here!).  Then, finally, when I realize my simple house rules are broken to the point of parental ridicule, well then I become incensed.

 

Psycho Mom used to make an appearance during times like these.  She’d rant and rave and carry on like a crazy woman and take away electronics and ground any kid in her peripheral and maybe in time she’d regain control for a little while longer. These tactics still work for the teens; I’ve duly hidden my boys’ X-box until their summer reading is finished and one kid’s already lost his phone for the entire summer for being a dum-dum.  But as kids become older sometimes the game rules have to change.  If you’re raising your young adults like I am (see my 5 tips from an earlier post), your kids are already making financial contributions to your household.   It’s hard to ground a kid who’s driving around in his own car that’s insured by his own dollars.  Tricky indeed.

 

So now Ball-Buster Mom pops by instead to take over the disciplinary reins.  Example:

 

My husband and I recently took our two youngest away for the weekend, leaving the two young adults at home to proceed with their employment obligations, take care of the invisible dog and well, act like responsible young adults.  Left behind with them was a litany of clear (VERY clear) instructions and expectations.

About that…

 

I won’t bore with the details (hell, I’ve already been to this rodeo and have written about it here) but let’s just say that within six seconds of entering my home upon our return, the young adults were busted.

 

Friends staying over without our knowledge, approval or consent?  Check.  Partying like it was 1999?  (Despite your insistence to the contrary, that one little bottle cap under the toaster oven screams otherwise, so…again) Check.

 

 

So the guilty were charged accordingly.  Since they both used my home like a hotel room, they were each made to ante up the cost of one: $125 a piece.

 

As a receipt for their weekend play, they were given full disclosure and sage advice:  Should it ever happen again they’d likely be charged quadruple that amount and would find themselves on the needy side of some pretty hefty finances.  Last I checked, those student loans had co-signers on them.  Just sayin’.

 

 

So Ball-Buster Mom made $250.

 

She’s probably going to put it aside and use it to get to Long Island in September when her high school reunion takes place.  Then she’ll tell everyone this story and yuk it up with all her old friends who did the exact same thing back in the day.

 

 

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular, 1984” first on her list of achievements.  She takes on cyberspace @Eyerollingmom  and Eyerollingmom.

Keeping the Peace: 5 Things Your High School Graduate Needs to Hear

Teenagers hands playing tug-of-war with used rope

 

 

Nothing screams middle age like having high school graduates for kids.  And nothing screams may-not-make-it-to-old-age like the arguments that ensue with these kids once they’ve tossed a tasseled mortarboard into the air.  If you have the pleasure of living with young adults under your roof, pour a glass and make sure there’s ink in your printer.  Remember seeing your mom’s yellowed Dear Abby column taped to the fridge?  You may want to start up that tradition.

 

If living harmoniously is your goal, then without question, these 5 things need to be said to your young adult:

 

 

You will contribute financially to this household.

You can call it rent, or room and board or even living fees.  But the truth is, something’s got to get coughed up each week and it has little to do with the obvious fact that everything increases with every warm body that is planted in a home.  Food, water, electric, cable, everything.  That’s a no-brainer.  The more important reason for pitching into the household is because you should, that’s why.   If you’re not working hard enough to fork over money each week, then you’re not working hard enough.  Period.  Throw in a few home cooked meals and access to laundry and you’d be up a creek if you had to REALLY pay for all this stuff outside of this home.  Be happy to hand over a minimal yet reasonable amount.  You don’t see it now but this absurd and unfair demand is building character and an appreciation for what things cost, of which you truly have no idea.

 

This is my house, therefore it is MY bedroom.  You get to sleep in it.

You are welcome to enjoy continued privacy in this space that is covered under my mortgage payment, so long as you respect this space.  Foul smells coming out of it render your privacy null and void.  The detection of wet towels, food items or ANY suspicion of conduct unbecoming also nullifies the terms of your privacy.

 

We are your family, not your room mates.

Picking up after yourself is a sign of respect for those who live among you.  Not doing so is a blatant sign of immaturity which indicates you simply do not understand this.  No one wants to see hairs in a sink, step on toenail clippings or find food, utensils, blood, body parts or schmegma in the bathroom.  If people can figure out what you’ve eaten for breakfast based on the remains left on the kitchen counter, you are being rude. The maid is far too busy pruning the money tree out back.  Put stuff away and get rid of your own mess. Common courtesy, that’s all.

 

Rules are in place for respect, not ridicule.

We get it.  We were there once, too.  You’re not the first kid to return from college only to shriek about all the humiliating injustices of your parents.  But if you’ve been given a curfew, it’s likely because you’ve given us reason to give one.  If you’ve been given limits on the car you’re driving, the same holds true.  The easiest fix for this is to start doing what’s requested of you, understand the importance of proving your maturity through actions over words and earn OUR respect.  Want to come and go at your own leisure? Simply buy your own car and pay your own insurance.

 

 

Being over 18 doesn’t make you a grown up. 

Please.  Stop stomping your feet, diploma in hand, and screaming that you’re an adult now.  It only makes us giggle.  The only thing you’ve accomplished to date is getting through high school.  Big whoop.  It’s the 21st century, filled with technology that practically reads the books for you.  You’re supposed to finish high school.   Whatever path you’re on right now doesn’t detract from the reality that you are presently living with your mommy and daddy and you will not – cannot – be considered a grown up under these amusing circumstances.  Until you are financially independent you are decidedly NOT a grown up.   Don’t be mad.  Don’t sulk.  And don’t ever be foolish enough to think the grass is greener elsewhere.  I defy you to find a living situation better than here (yet if you do, I will most certainly help you pack your things).     My motivation is solely love.  I am doing my part in preparing you to be a good wife, mother, or husband, a stellar employee, an upstanding citizen or an under-the-radar inmate.

You.  Are.  Welcome.

Love,

Mom

 

 

 

 

.

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore)   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. –

When it Comes to this Mothering Thing, Who’s Better at it: You or Your Mom?

okay mom

I never talked back to my parents.  Yet my own kids talk back to me. A lot.

 

My children also raise their voices to me when they’re angry. Think back: would you ever?

 

Worse still, I often have to tell my spawn to do something multiple times — multiple times —because my continuous requests are repeatedly ignored.  Can you even imagine?

 

As another Mother’s Day approaches I can’t help but reflect on how remarkably different I parent than my mother did.  When I dig deep I have to admit:  there are times I feel completely overrun by the people in my home that are less than half my age.  I don’t think my own mother ever felt that way one day of her life.  In fact, she wouldn’t put up with one minute of what I tolerate from my children.

 

Does that make me a worse mom than her?

 

In all fairness I should throw it out there that my kids are not rotten.  Not in the least.  And never have been.  They were never the tantrum-throwing toddlers in the restaurant, or the give-a-pinch-when-a-grown-up’s-not-looking schoolyard brat or the current topic of conversation in the teachers’ lunchroom (didn’t know about that? oops, spillin’ secrets here).  They happen to be the epitome of respectful individuals when out in the real world and are quite well liked.  Actually, if I’m being completely honest I’d have to say they are, in fact, fairly boast-worthy children.

 

So why do they shit on me?

 

Usually after a particularly bad display of disrespect from one (or two, or three, or all four) of our kids, my husband and I will have conversations about this, scratching our heads (okay, maybe while downing beers).  We question how in the world we got to be parents of children who easily display behavior that would’ve resulted in a swift backhand from any – and all – of our own parents.

 

We think back and remember the fear in our homes and the physical repercussions of any type of conduct unbecoming.  It certainly wasn’t unusual back then.  Actually, it was very, very typical.  We all did what we were told – the first time – because it far surpassed the alternative of NOT doing so.

 

But there is no fear in my own home today.  There is no apprehension for questioning or stating opinion or disagreeing.  It gets loud, sure, and at times inappropriate, but no one’s ever hesitant about speaking up.

 

There are other blatant differences in my home now that speak volumes to how very different my parenting style is from my mom’s.

 

For instance, my kids talk to me way more than I ever talked to my mother at their ages – about cringe-worthy topics that would zap the frost straight out of my mom’s bouffant.  Eighth grade girls doing decidedly un-eighth grade things in the way back of a bus on a school trip?  Sixth grade classmates experimenting with drugs?  You name it.  Details are anted up without pause, over nightly bowls of pasta or during car rides to practice.  Like, nothing.  No big deal.

 

Also, my kids tell me they love me – all the time and for no particular reason.  My first distinct memory of saying “I love you”— out loud — to my mom was from a payphone in the middle of a dormitory hallway during my freshman year in college.  As I am forced to go through my third Mother’s Day without her, my heart still gets heavy when I think of this and my regret pains me.  It was way, way too late in life to have started that.

 

No doubt about it, my kids are being raised in a different world entirely.  My mother didn’t socialize with my friends’ parents. I would venture she didn’t know most of their names at all.  She didn’t come to many school events and never checked to see if I was doing homework.

 

If I had to make a list, I’m pretty sure I’m involved in a gazillion more things with my four than my mom ever was for me.

 

Yet the loves of my loins – all of them – have moments of intolerable selfishness, insufferable self-absorption, whininess, rudeness and petulance.  And – why hold back now — they occasionally swear.

 

So I do wonder:  Who’s done a better job at this mothering thing, me or mine?

 

What do you think?

 

With all her failings, my mother’s love for me was ferocious and I knew that every day of my life.  She raised kind, smart and capable children.

 

With my own failings, my love for my children is ferocious and they, too, know it every day of their lives..  I am raising kind, smart and capable children.

 

I’d say we both win this one.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of us – the successful ones, the failing ones and the holding-on-for-dear-life ones.   We got this.

 

 

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was just featured in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” She takes on the cyberspace @Eyerollingmom  and Eyerollingmom.

Eyerollingmom’s Top Ten Truths of Motherhood

mothersday

 

Eyerollingmom’s Top Ten Truths of Motherhood

10)        Every child – not just yours – picks his nose and smears the contents on the wall near their bed.  A brilliant Mom will allow them to harden, then hand over a scraper, then say, “Get to work.”

 

9)         No matter how stinking cute your toddler looks in his feetie pajamas … you will want to be rid of him approximately twelve years later. Keep photos of this stage handy.  You will need reminders when he travels to the un-cute side of adolescence.

 

8)         The first few times you sit in the passenger seat of a newly-permitted teen driver, you will believe you might eat a roadside mailbox.

 

7)         When a child wets the bed … flipping him over to the opposite side of the mattress is intelligence, not laziness.

 

6)         Adolescent girls like no one.  Not their mothers.  Not their friends.  Not themselves.  Zip yourself snug into that thick skin and hold on tight.  For this tsunami of time I say, “Got girls?  Get wine.”

 

5)         No one – at any time – ever – cares to hear your labor and delivery stories.  Why?  Because everyone else’s are way funnier, far more dramatic and significantly gorier.  Really.  Just ask them.

 

4)         If your child ever has the utter misfortune of eating poop … and his siblings have the serendipitous good fortune of witnessing it … there will never again be a more riot-inducing laugh fest at your dinner table.  Forever.

 

3)         Don’t act all smart and self-righteous for banning your ‘tween son from Facebook … or limiting his computer time … or taking away his Xbox … when you’ve already (naively) provided him with a smartphone.  For middle schoolers, these are merely handheld portals to porn.  Shazam.

 

2)         If you’ve skipped pages of bedtime stories … or driven past the library only to hear a small voice in the backseat say in wonder, “Hey, I think I remember that place …” … or signed homework pages you’ve not actually looked at … then rest assured, you are far from alone.

1)         Every once in a while your kid is going to do something incredibly stupid.  Or sorrowfully bad.  Or dishearteningly immoral.  Or fretfully embarrassing.  Or uncharacteristically out of character.  Without question, it will be the darkest days you’ve ever encountered as a Mom.  You will be overcome with sadness and will wistfully recall the good times, the fun moments, and the sweetness of happier days.  Keep the faith.  SOmetimes kids are just dumb for a little while.  One day when you least expect it, when you stop paying attention, and stop longing and praying, the clouds will suddenly lift.  And your awesome and funny and beautiful and charming and loving child will be back.

 

And you will feel the Mom joy once again.

 

Happens every time.

Happy Mother’s Day to All of us!

 

 

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and was featured in the 2014 Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements.  (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore).   A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook. and@Eyerollingmom on Instagram. 

 

Missed the start of A Momoir?  Catch up here:

Chapter 1, Click here:   https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/07/29/a-collection-of-eyerolls-chapter-1-yes-billy-joel-we-will-all-go-down-together/

Chapter 2, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/08/13/chapter-2-sometimes-kids-suck-a-lot/

Chapter 3, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/09/22/chapter-3-sorry-were-tied-all-kids-are-filthy/

Chapter 4, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2017/12/02/a-momoir-chapter-4-a-moms-plea-to-seth-rogen-enough-with-the-masturbation-already/

 Chapter 5, Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/04/20/a-momoir-chapter-5-the-magnitude-of-the-middle-aged-mom/

 

Desperately Seeking the Humor in Perfect (ly Flawed) Children

perfection-sign

I used to blog a lot more often than I do now and coming up with a legitimate excuse for the slowdown has been well, trying.  It’s certainly been easy enough to wallow in a series of unfortunate events, specifically, that my original blog site of 5+ years just up and shut its doors with a month’s notice.  It forced this self-proclaimed techno-tard to start anew, without a built in (and – cough – ego-soothing) fan base of hundreds of readers that I’d come to kinda sorta delight in.    I’m still clumsily navigating my way through what millions of other bloggers do with ease and truth is, sifting through (and sure, reposting) five years worth of material is sometimes easier than coming up with new and exciting stuff.  It shouldn’t be this hard but when a personal pity party combines with life whizzing by at a Nascar pace, it’s daunting in more ways than one.

 

I still own four kids and (God Almighty, YES) they’re all still doing incredibly stupid and blog-worthy things but here’s the thing:  as we’ve all aged in the six years since I first began telling tales about them, it now seems to be taking longer – wayyyy longer — to find the humor in all their trials and tribulations.

 

Almost  unbelievably it seemed one day I was spilling stories about a kid hawking his Dollar Tree fig newtons for lunchtime profit and the next I was gasping for air in a teenage tsunami of sneaking out, drinking, lying, denting fenders, …

 

What the …?

 

Kind of a bummer, right?

 

I find myself suddenly pondering when and how this particular nonsense might become hilarious and where, oh where, are those damned little Legos that used to claim my unsuspecting arches and find me howling in fury?  If I had a dollar for every time I ranted about wet towels on the floor I’d have a down payment for a liquor store I now need to get me through this adolescent and early adulthood stage of development.  It’s seriously making me pine for the sleepless nights of infancy.

 

Little kids, little problems.  For sure.

 

So yeah, I’ve been a bit stuck for a while.

 

Lucky for me I’ve discovered that life can surprise you, can inspire you and can smack you in the ass every so often and make you feel creative again.   Thanks to some pretty amazing people I have decided to try to get back on my horse and get this blog thing up and running more frequently.

 

For the inaugural Boston performance of “Listen to Your Mother” I spent my Saturday on stage with some ridiculously inspirational women.  I sat among a Teacher of the Year, a Boston Globe columnist, a bunch of published authors, an adoptive mother of nine (not a typo) and a slew of other professional and remarkable women I at times couldn’t even comprehend why I was with.  I’ve really got to admit, I couldn’t help but feel electric amid them.

I soaked in undeniable energy from my co-performers but also had a different, more personal source of motivation for wanting to be a better blogger.  The faces of my kids were in that audience and they were beaming.  That was kinda cool.  Even my daughter, the topic of my adored piece, was smiling.  Fun fact:  she had the chutzpah to take a bus in from college to see the show – even after I’d texted her the photo of all the empty liquor bottles I’d just found under her bed …).  That girl’s got moxie.  Like her mutha.  I like it.

Maybe seeing their mom up there “killing it”  (their words) was more cool than it was embarrassing.  Maybe all the dumb-dumb things they’re doing right now really aren’t that funny but probably are very universal for parents of high school and college kids.  Maybe continuing to blog about them might make other moms realize (sing it, Billy Joel) that we will allllllllll, go down, TOGETHER.

 

So I’ll go back to jotting down all my little thoughts like I used to do (because now that Middle Age is my friend, these ideas and anecdotes fly in …. then out … of my head without a shadow of proof they ever existed to begin with (ugh…  gotta write it down sistas, ya got to……) because every now and then a bunch of funny thoughts makes a funny little blog.

 

I’ll leave you with my unexpected morning: Fourth born (seventh grader) tells me that after a week’s vacation, he was up at 4am “almost” throwing up.  It’s not that I don’t love my Little Baby Fug to the moon and back, but (sigh) he is my pathological liar.  Since I had to spend my morning screaming and grounding and taking away electronics and unhooking  Xbox AND locking the cable box … I was steamed.  Who pads their morning routine for crap like this?  Not me.   When I came home today he was working on a poster/project that mysteriously went untouched all week.  He probably won’t get sprung until Memorial Day.  Dummy.

See?  I’ve got tons of these.

Stay tuned.

*   *    *

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The Good, The Bad & the “Girls”

Girls_HBO_Poster

 

In my perpetual quest to remain hip I try to keep my eyes and ears open.  I sniff out emerging trends (Red jeans?  Of course!  Tucked into black boots? Hell no – Santa Alert) and admittedly, jump on a lot of late bandwagons (thank you, HBO OnDemand, for the perfection that is True Detective).

That said, after hearing my 17-year-old daughter gush over the HBO series “Girls,” a show about modern-day 20-something female friends trying to make their way in the world after college, I decided to give it a whirl.

I really didn’t care for it but she nudged me on.

I tried a few more episodes yet still got a weird, uneasy feeling in my stomach.  I told her I just wasn’t that into it.

“Maybe you’re just too old” she shrugged.

What?  Pffffft.  I think not.

Bolstered by a slew of Golden Globe nominations, I gave it yet another shot.  Still nothing.  Nary a chuckle.

I got through all 10 episodes of the entire first season and numbly thought of all the miles I could’ve clocked on my treadmill had I just gotten off the couch once in those five hours…

But I believe I’ve figured out why an undeniably hip show is eluding my undeniably hip sense of humor.

The female characters are crude.  Not in the Sex-and-the-City-Samantha-Jones cheeky kind of way but in a crass, Good-God-I-hope-my-daughter-doesn’t-do-that kind of way.

I get it.  It’s a comedy.  And I love comedy.  But the whole desensitization of really (really) private things seriously gives me the heebie jeebies.

Also, I’m not entirely convinced college educated young women are so  … I don’t know … self-loathing.  Their flippant banter about oral sex and office harassment left me wondering if young women really do talk like this. (I’m kinda hoping to hear from a few after this …   and I’m really hoping to be told I’m out to lunch.  If you’re young and hip and reading this – please check in!)

I remember feeling the exact same way when my oldest son (now a semi-grown man at 19) used to watch those man-cave scratching movies like “Knocked Up” and “Pineapple Express.”  Those movies made masturbation and getting stoned look like the epitome of hilarity.  And (worse) normalcy.  Poor, poor Seth Rogen’s mother …..

It finally dawned on me why these types of movies grate on my nerves and polarize me:  seeing these “characters” puts a face on my very vision of parental failing.  These larger than life portrayals of such flawed and unfazed youth are the stuff of my nightmares:  kids with no direction, no money, no motivation, and the worst:  no apartment of their own – Jesus Christ, they’re the scarlet letter symbolizing my utter failure as a mom.

No, no, NO!

I don’t want my kid spending his meager paycheck on weed.

And I’d rather die a thousand deaths than know my daughter was tolerating her boss’ hand on her skirt.

I honestly don’t know what I’d do – in real life – if these situations in these comedies were playing out in real time in my kids’ lives.   What I do know is that I would find it decidedly Unfunny.  (Quick aside:  for an EXTREMELY funny look at flawed — yet SUCCESSFUL — Generation X, Y, whatevers ….  check out “The Mindy Project” on FOX.  She just rocks, is all.)

So yeah, maybe I’m not as hip as I used to be.

Maybe I’m simply more scared.

Damn this parenting thing.

Signed,

Stifler’s Mother

 

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Sleep Me off My Feet (PLEASE)

exhausted

When I was in college, you knew it was time to start getting ready to go out on Saturday night when my roommate, Theresa, exited the shower, walked across the apartment in her towel, and cranked up “Caribbean Queen.”

It was like a dog whistle.

Within minutes, bathrooms were bustling, Stiff Stuff was spraying and lips were lining (with precision).

And it was 10pm.

 

Nowadays, if 10pm rolls around you can be damn sure I am hoping my night is almost over.  Why?  Because I am freaking tired, that’s why.

 

I’m not exactly proud of it but I’m certainly not ashamed by it either because I know I am faaaaaar from alone. I want to sleep so badly but all my kids are at their rite-of-passage vampire stage so I’m outta luck.  I have teens coming in later on weekends and that stinks.  I have ‘tweens staying up later on weeknights and that stinks worse.

 

I know we all signed the (We’ll) Sleep (When We’re Dead) Contract when we became pregnant and that was all fine – back then.  But for the love of God, was it signed in placenta fluid?  Is there an expiration date?

 

Listen, I’m entitled to be a little cranky.  I happen to be running this show alone now.  My husband’s job keeps him out of town a lot and I must admit brag that I’ve gotten awfully good at keeping things afloat as a single parent. So long as everyone’s alright with egg sandwiches for dinner and a minimum of clean socks, I’d say this machine is running incredibly smoothly, thankyouverymuch.

But I have to be honest.  I am beat, man.  Throw in the Middle Age First Amendment (Thou Shalt Not Sleep Three Consecutive Hours Once One Hits 40 Years Old) and you are looking at an explosive yet very potential mixture  of sleep deprivation and homicide.

I can’t be like my kids and catch up with sleep on Saturdays because come on, there are dogs to be walked and husbands to reconnect with over coffee and  — you know – that litany of things on a never ending Weekend To Do List to tackle.

And forget lazy Sunday sleep-ins because let’s be real, we all know how those go: if you’re not where you’re supposed to be on Sunday mornings (cough, church) you’re definitely where you want to be (baseball/soccer/football field or well, a diner….) so THAT never works out either.

I suppose I could try sleeping a few hours as soon as I got home from work, waking up in time for dinner but — seriously, who can do that?  Oh wait….that would be a high school senior, who naps, then effortlessly drinks coffee at nine to stay up for three more hours of homework.  Screwy, right?

 

I think the greatest irony to this whole dilemma is that …

 

by the time all the chaos of kids and chores and commitments winds down …

 

… the Middle Age Second Amendment is suddenly upon on:  Thou Shalt Not Sleep Past 5amEver.

Can I get a collective “Craaaaaaaaap…..” from all my tired sistas out there?

 

 

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Through the Looking Glass (gulp)

babytyping

 

My daughter recently asked me to read her college essay.

 

I was honored.  She’s a stroke of brilliance, that gal is, so I was secretly delighted. I’m not a notorious helicopter parent in the least so – as it was with my oldest son – I didn’t know a thing about it.  I wasn’t even entirely certain where she was sending it either.

 

As a rule, I keep out of the whole college thing.  Really, I do.  Sure, we talk about it and have dinner discussions and car conversations and all that jazz but I hardly embed myself in the minutia that most parents do. Why?  Because I honestly believe that if a teenager cannot successfully get him/herself into college without a parent’s help, well, then perhaps they’re not quite ready for such a massive, maturity-driven endeavor. That’s just me.

 

By his senior year, my oldest son was a classic ding dong in high school.  I love him like mad but good grief, that kid held a 22-average in Math, barely got out of bed, and made me believe I spawned Satan that year.

 

It’s easy to understand why I embrace this hands-off approach:  I was so pissed at him the whole stinking year I was ready to stand with my arms crossed across my chest and gloat like a madwoman with a slew of “I told you so”s by the time graduation arrived.

 

Cue in visual of bubble popping.  It never happened.

 

Because …

 

HE, my adored ding dong …

 

got himself into college — every one he applied to — without one iota of help from me.

 

(caution, parental brag ahead:  He then went on to throw the Irony discus at me and got himself into the Air Force Reserves as well.  He graduated with honors from there and is in his freshman year at college as I type.)

 

Go figure.  Life.  Funny, right?

 

 

So here I am doing the college thing again.  Only this time I’m a wee more interested because my daughter is soooo not a ding dong,

 

I was excited to read her essay because as an AP/Honors/All-Around Super Student, hallelujah, I was due, man…. I knew it would be terrific.

 

I poured a glass of wine and started.

 

It began with the words, “My mother writes a blog.”

 

Um …..

 

 

What?

 

I took a hearty swig before continuing.

 

 

 

 

I won’t go into detail about the content except to say that when I finished, the swelling of pride in my heart equaled the shotgun-like-blast to my temple.

 

Hooooooo boy.

 

 

Think about it:  pick one person who knows you the most, can see your soul the clearest and well, let’s not sugar-coat it, alternates between loving and loathing you the fiercest.  Now ask that person to describe you.  Now ask that person to provide greater detail about those descriptions.

 

Talk about enlightening.  Have I mentioned the whole love/loathe thing?

 

If she sends this out beyond admissions offices, she will become famous.  I, in turn, will become screwed (although, perhaps immediately appealing to Chelsea Handler as well…  not too shabby).

 

I write about my life  and the people in it all the time  I tell what I believe to be humorous accounts of my family, I detail the days and the friends that make me frustrated or sad or joyous and, okay, sure, I rant about the idiot sports parents that make me furious.  I don’t really think twice about the content too much because – and here’s the Aha Moment – I assume that since what I’m writing is true … then it certainly can’t be … wrong.  Right?

 

The shoe being on the other foot was interesting indeed.

 

Truth is, I like it way better being behind the thoughts and words than in front of them.

 

(Loud?  Am I loud?  Really? Are you sure?)

 

Yikes.

 

 

Of course the piece was brilliant.

 

I never had a doubt.

 

 

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