Tag Archives: high school

Kids, I Love You. Now Cut the Crap.

brady bunch

A friend shot me a note the other day which read simply, “Can you please write a blog about boys pissing on the toilet seat?” …   To which I immediately replied …

 

“No, but I can write one about boys pissing into cups and Gatorade bottle and leaving them in their bedrooms … and then hurling them out the window when their mom loses her shit over finding them…”

 

(My friends know:  this is 100% truth and the reason my husband will not drink out of plastic cups anymore.)

 

Honestly.  So many stories still untold.  It’s like the Naked City – only there’s usually actual nakedness (because kids can’t find towels because they’re still wet and scattered on various floors).

 

There’s a reason why all these gems float around my head and never make it to the page.  I’ve found myself in that interesting yet ironic state of Perpetually Pissed and Profoundly Proud Parenting:  when my entire emotional state fluctuates between one extreme and the other.

 

Kids cause that.

 

I don’t know what to write about half the time because by the time I’m done revealing reasons of happiness or reflection I usually want to throat punch someone.

 

If you think about it, it’s a pretty remarkable paradox.  And no matter the ages of my kids, and despite how many times I remind myself that much of what now happens in life is out of my hands, these kids still have complete control over which way that pendulum swings.

 

My 3rd kid just graduated high school and of course, it was the momentous, magnificent whirlwind of ceremony it should have been.  (Disclaimer:  this coming from a mom who has repeatedly deemed graduating high school No Big Deal because really, aren’t you supposed to?)  But the Kid did alright.  Acceptance into a damn good school, a couple of nice scholarships and a bona fide bang-up senior year chock full of awesome memories.  My heart’s been full for seemingly months at a go and I will not lie, it’s been a fine, fine time for us.

 

Welp.  My boast balloon burst as soon as I got the text message at work asking if I’d left him a template for the Thank You cards he was writing following his grad party. A template.  Followed by his query, “How do I address an envelope?”  Good God.   Off to college he goes?

 

To quote a very agitated tween, I just can’t even.

 

Bringing up the adolescence rear in our household, my youngest, too, turned his sophomore year into an impressive array of academic and athletic accolades.  Really, he’s the Mayor.  So adored.  So praised.  But yet astounding that he hasn’t yet choked on the ridiculously short leash we have him on due to all the stupid choices he keeps making.  He seems to keep forgetting he is our fourth child and we have seen this movie.  And we know how it ends.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

To quote another very agitated tween, I’m shaking my head.

 

But wait — the Jeckyll and Hyde of emotions isn’t limited to the confines of my home anymore either, for even those that have flown my coop (some states may refer to them as “adults”) are adept at keeping my angst ablaze.

 

Like … my oldest, off in his first apartment (yay!), carrying a full-time job AND full-time school course load (hooray!), excitedly bragging about booking flights for his first “grown-up vacation” (wow!) …   which he planned … on the very weekend of his sister’s college graduation.  Are you kidding me?

 

Or … my daughter (she of the above reference)  … announcing upon said graduation (pride!) that to begin her first job (congrats!) she would be driving cross country (what?) … to  Utah (ummmmmmm)  … alone (whaaaaaat???) … and …  not to worry .. because everything will be fine

 

(End note:  in the end, she did not.  Due to sheer logistics, not parental pleas. Naturally.)

 

Sigh.  Remember when we thought baby colic and constipation was a thing?  (*slaps forehead)

 

A very wise friend once declared “Little kids, little problems.”

 

These aren’t problems, I know.

 

They’re just slices of life that keep that damn pendulum swinging.

 

And parents already know:   life’s pretty amazing dodging that thing.

 

 

#     #     #     #

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. 

 

 

Advertisements

Forever & Always: an 80s Kinda Gal

16

 

I have to admit (though if my kids were to miraculously start reading my blog I’d feign dementia) that as hip as I am (that’s right) I am, at times, well, a little lame. In fact, I’m actually all sorts of lame for a variety of reasons.

 

For starters, I totally fake my way through the French words in “Lady Marmalade.”  I know….seriously.   (Hypocrite lame?)

 

I am vain to a fault, having worn lipstick through four childbirths (a subtle mauve) and also popped every blood vessel in my eyes because I made sure my contacts were in, too. (Insecure lame?)

 

I have never seen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”   (Uncool lame?)

 

I think tattoos are a really bad idea on most body parts (unless you’re planning on being perpetually nineteen and skinny … then I stand corrected).   (Judgemental — or jealous — lame?)

 

I can’t text without using proper punctuation (naturally it takes me five times longer because finding the apostrophes is always troublesome).  (Grammar Nazi lame?)

 

I loathe baking.  The only reason I even own a rolling pin is because one holiday season a neighbor creatively attached one to an invitation to a cookie swap and stuck it in my mailbox (of course prompting my immediate response What the hell is a cookie swap?)  (Lazy lame?)

 

But perhaps my lamest admission is that I really (really) heart the 80s. (Aqua Net lame?)  I spent my adolescence, my college years and my Melanie-Griffith-Working-Girl stage in that decade so who can blame me?  John Hughes movies, white zinfandel pinkish-pretend wine,  grocery shopping in track suits … (oh wait, maybe that last thing was just Long Island …).  It was just a funny time – so big and brash and booming.   The best.

 

Lately my friend Theresa and I have been debating the Worst. Song. Ever.  Whenever we think of one we text it to each other (properly punctuated on my end).  So, while I’m sitting at the Macaroni Grill and my phone beeps, I’ll look down and all I’ll see is “Raspberry Beret.”

 

I crack up.

 

And when she’s waiting at a practice field, her phone lights up and displays “99 Luftballoons.”

 

It’s been going on for a couple of months now and I’ve just realized that all of the songs we’ve been using are 80s tunes.

 

“Eye of the Tiger”

 

“China Girl”

 

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (my God, I think I just threw up a little in mouth just typing that one)

 

“(I’m Only) Human” (man, I hate that one)

 

“Shy, Shy” (funny:  just texting the name Kajagoogoo alone is worth sending…)

 

Still good stuff.

 

Just some really (really) lame music.

 

And it was all played a couple of weeks ago at my high school reunion (I can’t even begin to go there yet because I’m still processing the visuals from it).

 

Maybe soon though.

 

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. –

 

The Other Other-Woman

 

 

Two people toast with red wine at dinner

 

 

Last night I shared a glass of wine with the other woman.  We sat across from each other, not quite knowing how to proceed, not quite certain who should go first, not quite adept at morphing a previously computer-screen-correspondence into a face-to-face conversation.

 

 

 

I could see why the love of my life was drawn to her.  We were eerily similar.  I’d gathered that from our emails.  We sounded alike…on cyber chat .  We reasoned alike.  We held the same values and morals.  Yes, morals.

 

 

 

This was no adulteress.  Oh no, not at all.  This was the woman – the mother – whose home my teenaged son had run away to.

 

 

 

He called it moving out.  But conventional wisdom would argue that throwing some clothes in a duffel bag and heading out the door without an inkling of what’s happening the next day is no such thing.  He had run away.

 

 

 

He had had it with our outrageous rules, our absurd expectations and our irrational belief that teens should be responsible and respectful on their journey to adulthood.  So — without angry fanfare or slamming doors —  my oldest child left our home six days before his high school graduation.

 

 

 

 

 

And now, on the eve of his one-month anniversary date (breathe) of life on an air mattress, his preferred mother and I sat in my home and shared some shrugs.  And Pinot.

 

 

 

 

 

The situation, as an understatement, was hard.  Devastating, in fact.  It was the ultimate in rejection for a mother:  a child that doesn’t want her.

 

 

 

And I didn’t pretend to understand it.

 

 

 

I didn’t understand it because it didn’t follow the script of a Lifetime original movie.  There weren’t any “I hate you”s or abuse or betrayal or Meredith Baxter Birneys.  We’d been navigating the typical insanity that comes with adolescence and (insert back pat here), actually thought we were doing damn good so far.  There were boundaries and consequences and forgiveness and laughter and acne.  Nothing too strict, nothing too lenient.  Having survived our own teenage years in the ‘80s of New York, gawd, if anyone knew about pushing the limits of youth, it was us.  Fully aware of setting standards and precedents for the three kids that followed behind, my husband and I rolled with the teen madness.

 

 

 

Never had we imagined our rolling would come to a screeching halt.

 

 

 

At first we waited.  He’ll be back, we reasoned.  We hadn’t allowed him to take his car – surely he’d have to get back and forth to work.  But no.  He relied on his friends and – we’ll be dammned – they came through.  So far, for an entire month.  Well alrighty then.  Interesting bunch, those teenagers.

 

 

 

The other mother contacted me immediately.

 

 

 

She lived a few blocks away.  I explained to her my son did not get kicked out of our home, that this was all his own doing.  She has two teenaged sons herself.  She understood.  She said she’d keep me posted on events as they occurred and thus our cordial relationship began, allowing me to become privy to more details of my son’s life than I’d even known when he was in my own home.

 

As far as shiteous situations go, I had stumbled into a remarkably awesome one.  This other mother was sharp.  Gave him an early curfew and chores and expectations. Boundaries.  Consequences.  Hmmm.  Weirdly familiar, right?

 

 

 

She admitted she couldn’t come up with a logical excuse for – after four weeks – throwing him out.  He was the consummate house guest:  polite, obedient and respectful.  In truth, she really, really liked him.

 

 

 

Yeah.  We get that.  We do, too.

 

 

 

She talked to him daily about the value of reconnecting with his family and told him she just couldn’t  understand why he wanted to go through this without them.

 

 

 

Yeah.  Same here.

 

 

 

 

 

Still, we put a positive spin on things for the sake of the kids and silently pray that he comes to his senses and (cue in cheek-slap from Cher), snaps out of it.

 

 

 

I haven’t sat idly by, though, hand-wringing and despondent.  With the situation seemingly out of control I did what any other mother in my position would do:  hauled my ass into therapy.

 

 

 

After a full debriefing her assessment was unsurprising:  I was a reasonable person trying to reason with an unreasonable adolescent.  She said that since my son was not relying on me for anything the situation was most definitely out of my control and I should let it go.

 

 

 

Let it go.

 

 

 

Let it go?

 

 

 

Let go of a child?  (He is a high school graduate, she reminded. On paper, an adult.)

 

 

 

But…..but….but…..

 

 

 

But nothing.

 

 

 

I plunked down a few co-payments for a few weeks but eventually started to space out my visits.  She was wonderful but hearing a therapist tell you something you already know is not exactly cost effective.  My girlfriends do it for free.

 

 

 

So there is no happy ending to this cautionary tale, unless one looks at the (okay, almost amazing) relationship I’ve made with the other mother.  We talked for hours – and not just about my son.   It was obvious:  having met under different circumstances, we’d likely be good friends.

 

 

 

 

 

She is giving him a safe environment to straighten out his head and I am giving him the freedom to figure it out.

 

 

 

I am without explanation as to why my son is attempting to assert his maturity in the most immature way imaginable.  And it is unfathomable to me why he needs to go through this – or anything for that matter – without his family around him.  And it is crushing.  I won’t lie:  it is the most crushing and hurtful and indescribable pain I have ever felt as a mother.

 

 

 

But he is a good kid and we are good parents.

 

 

 

I guess I know deep down he’ll be back one day.

 

 

 

I just wish it had been yesterday.

 

*    *   *   *

 

Update:  Somewhere in between the time this author had the courage to write this….

 

 

 

…and print this…..

 

 

 

…her seventeen-year-old returned home.

 

 

 

 

 

It was a long 47 days.

 

 

 

 

 

Ironically – it was also just as long (if not shorter) as this author’s own silent treatment to her own mother…

 

 

 

… when SHE was seventeen years old.

 

Exhale.