Tag Archives: Parenting

Gone 9 Years: A Toast to My Mom (Who is Definitely Not Digging My Present Attire)

xmas fam

My mom died nine years ago today, a few weeks shy of her 70th birthday.  Her own mom died at 69 also.  Even though I’m not a chain-smoker (since adolescence, you know, the norm back then) and keep (relatively) healthy, there’s not a doubt in my mind when my own 70th birthday is on my horizon I’ll be holding my breath on the way to that (obviously) momentous milestone.  I hear that’s a pretty profound moment in any child’s life.

 

69 is way too young.  Especially when you are (relatively) healthy (chain-smoking notwithstanding), still incredibly stylish, newly-retired and just returned from a 1st ever trip to Europe.  Really.  It’s just not fair.

 

69 is way too early.  Especially when your youngest grandchild is still a toddler and the whole slew of older ones are in the throes of expertly keeping your kids exasperated.  Damn, if you could only see them all now.  All 10 of them.  We were all together this past Christmas and man, your heart would’ve exploded with happiness and pride.  So unfair

 

69 is way too untimely.  You had finally mastered your flip phone but had barely tried texting.  Of course you’d still be watching Law and Order but I think you’d really like Netflix.

 

Funny, the things a daughter won’t forget.  When my sister and I had endless babies crying and walls of crayon and strewn cereal and crap everywhere …. you’d gently remind us to comb our hair before our husbands got home from work.  If you were here today you’d definitely be dissing my overalls and oy vey, would have never kept silent during my gal’s Free to Be You and Me unshaven armpits stage.  (I’d get the full blown disappointment; the granddaughter would get the hall pass.  Naturally.)

 

You made sure we never picked out a funky dish pattern because it was important how food looked on it.  It was also important that the food colors be pleasing to the eye (no carrots and sweet potato together—too much orange!).  Funny, I’ve never had anything but white dishes.  Just another little something that somehow stuck.

 

I think about all the nuggets of knowledge I gained from you during our not-long-enough time together.  Your little tolerance for self-pity.  Your tenacity to get things done, figure things out, keep moving forward.  My childhood friends still remember you in admiration, still shudder at the memory of your cool exterior and, always, still admit in amusement how nice it was to see you soften throughout the years.  You lived a tough life yet never let a series of unfortunate events define your path.

 

You taught me dogged determination.  And fierce loyalty.  And unwavering strength.  You showed me how to plow through obstacles and brush aside setbacks because, get over it, it’s not the end of the world.  It’s never as bad as someone else may have.

 

I miss her all the time but especially in the dog days of summer, when the bell tolls on the anniversary date.  All the memories of all those long days and nights come rushing in and the weight of all the what-might-have-beens is crushing.   The last hot night I spent with her in her home is seared into me.  When she fell on her way to bed and couldn’t lift herself up anymore I knew.  When I couldn’t lift her up all by myself either  I knew.  I held the phone and agonized, pausing before dialing because I knew.  I knew once I entered those digits and that ambulance arrived, my mom would never again step foot in her house again.

 

She never did.  And I’ve never forgotton the anguish of that decision.  Funny, the things a daughter  won’t forget.

 

Nine years.  A lifetime ago.  Back before all my kids were (gulp) grown-ups.  Back when I had a 10 year old.  And 12 year old.  And 16 year old.  And 17 year old.

 

I am no different than anyone else whose heart stays heavy over a lost loved one.  I feel her most days and talk to her more.  Usually just a quick Thanks, Mom when something goes right or a sarcastic Thanks Mom when a kid’s being a smartass.

 

I was talking with my sister recently and was having a bit of a moment.  I’d just found out I had qualified for a sizeable mortgage all on my own, without the need of a co-signer.  Just me.  I know, right?  Like I said, it was a moment.   I was trying to explain to her what that felt like.  I struggled finding the words.

 

“It’s like …” I began.

 

“…you’re Mom,” she finished.

 

My breath caught.

 

Yes.

 

Yes, I suppose that could be true.

 

Cheers, Mom.  My hair’s combed and I’ve ditched the overalls today.  Just for you.  xoxo

 

 

 

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/

Chapter 6: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

Chapter 7: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/12/01/a-momoir-chapter-7-hello-happiness-are-you-out-there-hello-hello/

Chapter 8: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/06/14/a-momoir-chapter-7-high-school-graduation-my-big-fat-so-what/

Chapter 9: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/08/12/a-momoir-chapter-9-parenting-horrific-behavior-would-you-know-could-you/

Chapter 10: Click here: A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

Chapter 11: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/02/22/a-momoir-chapter-11-how-many-back-in-my-days-until-you-officially-morph-into-your-mom/

Chapter 12: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/03/17/a-momoir-chapter-12-when-a-teen-up-leaves/

Chapter 13:  Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/07/24/a-momoir-chapter-13-covid-edition-or-rather-still-not-skinny/

 

 

A Momoir, Chapter 13: Covid Edition (or rather, Still Not Skinny)

change

I started this pandemic the same way everyone else did. Well, obvs not everybody. I mean, I never ranted about wearing a face mask or crazily demanded my right to get a haircut but hey, ‘merica. Like many, I settled in for the long haul and tried to let go of the things that were entirely out of my control. I bid adieu to my colleagues, embraced the return of my college kids and (the worst) said sayonara to my shoes. I stayed-in-place like a good little girl scout and stopped caring about a lot (A. LOT.) of stuff.

Instead, I decided to use this quarantine time to reset. From the get-go I committed to focus on two things: gratitude and improvement. I wanted to see a difference in myself when this was all over and (well, have we met?) sure, make a splash and pop out of a cake at the end of it a better, greater version of Me. Skinnier, blonder, vegan? Who knows, but, dammit, I was going to be ready for my before-and-after close-up when this was behind me.

Well this long haul has turned into a Saturday night Easter vigil mass with four children in tow (ever been to one? Here, little nine-year-old, hold this lit candle for … awhile… GAH, only once friends, only once) – in other words, no end in sight — so here we are.

Since this pandemic is so very far from being over I decided to document a quick update.

I am currently in my fifth month of working from home and (plot twist) am neither blonde nor thin and if you know me (#bacon) will never, ever be vegan.

But I think I am better.

For starters, I haven’t faltered from feeling grateful. I’ve been grateful since Day One, if solely for bypassing that Nightmare that was Homeschool. Holymotherofgod did I dodge a bullet there. Not a day has gone by when I haven’t thought about the remarkable teachers and parents forced to reinvent the education system as we know it and whispered thanks daily for escaping that terrifying ordeal. God bless you all who did the homeschooling thing.

I was grateful for my job, my family’s health, my abundance of leggings (thanks, Steph) and my secret love of being a homebody. Sheesh, I could’ve written that viral piece of Gen X/1980s kids thriving in the seclusion of a pandemic. Stay at home? Keep yourself entertained? All the time? Joke’s on you, life: been there, crushed that. I was all in. Our nightly family dinners returned. My kids were, well, around more. Life became simpler.

Gratitude was a breeze.

So I got busy improving.

I stopped bothering with make-up and started reading — more books than I’d read in the past five years.

I stopped cutting my bangs (sorry, Marie Osmond, you’re left to carry the torch for our 50+ cohort) and started wearing Birkenstocks (I know, right? Ladies, lock up your husbands).

I stopped mindlessly checking my phone and started doing more crossword puzzles (but yes, fkkk those Friday ones. I threw the damn book away when those were all that was left and switched to another).

I stopped driving (once a week only, for groceries) and started walking 10,000 steps a day. When that became normal I shot for 15. Then 20 (again, still not any thinner so wtf but *sighs* we don’t have time to unpack that).

As the world’s pandemic fears morphed into a global awakening to racist injustice I committed to becoming more educated and turned to the people I admire most in the world for guidance: my kids.

I began listening to what they were listening to. Started reading what they were reading. Started watching what they watched (not entirely true. I will never watch that Avatar cartoon no matter how good it may be).

The podcasts getting me through my monotonous daily paces turned political, and I switched from true crime to Trevor Noah. And Pod Save America. And the NYT’s The Daily.

On television the void following my obsessive Outlander binge (oy! 5 seasons start to finish! Droughtlander here I am!), suddenly filled with Netflix documentaries. Stunned to my core by the appalling injustice of 13th, I was equally stirred by the peace depicted in Woodstock. The parallel themes of countercultures triggering dramatic change are an eerie nod to our present day cultural discord.

I wandered from the once-fluffy, now-fanatical Facebook and found my way back to Twitter and Instagram, where I started following educated and interesting people that have opened my eyes enormously. (No offense Facebook but you have become the Vortex of Aging Negativity and while you were fun for a while and I do still enjoy seeing the lives of my real (not faux) friends … let’s say there’s a reason the young people never really climbed aboard.

When the shocking behaviors of the country’s racist, caught-on-camera Karens started turning my stomach, I became obsessed with the Internet Detectives, the online superheroes who deftly and immediately expose each atrocious offender by publicly posting their names, addresses, license plates…. (I fanatically love this and cannot lie).

So sure, I’ve been ballin’ but my personal eat-pray-love renaissance hasn’t been all meditative serenity and yoga poses. Please. Far from it. With a son working as an EMT, there’s been a steady stream of mom-worry. I miss him. Also, we were hardly immune to the economic pitfalls brought on by Covid and still find ourselves running in place trying to grapple with financial stress and uncertainty.

Our home, put up for sale shortly before the lockdowns commenced, still sits on the market. While we once dreamed of downsizing, our new normal has flipped the switch on that idea; the oversized house we felt lost in not so long ago is now filled with people on computers all day long. We’ve found ourselves in a perpetual state of pause.

Employment was lost. Worse, it was lost a few months after the quarantines took effect, which means not only were we thrust into an already overloaded, log-jammed system that is excruciatingly flawed but (wait! there’s more!) the “bonus” pandemic money is now used up so ….cool, right? My business-owner friend couldn’t get her teenage employees to return to work because they were making a killing on unemployment. I’m super glad all the kids are making more money than they’ve ever seen in their short lives because fun fact: we haven’t seen a dime yet. If I did have bangs they’d probably be silver sooo….

Truth, it really (REALLY) sucks but even still, I remain grateful.

We flew our daughter back for a couple of weeks to work from our home (hey, come join us so you, too can complain about the internet!) and we hunkered down some more as an even bigger family.

We’ve been drinking wine, playing games, listening to Hamilton, watching John Mulaney stand-up and just being.

Just being a family.

And it’s been real nice.

What will you remember most about when the world changed?

We remember where we watched the OJ chase.

We recall exactly where we were when the towers fell.

And we’ll all know precisely who we focused on when Covid came to town. The President? Governor? Fauchi? Kimmel?

I was watching my kids.

During this ultimate gift of time I’d be a fool not to.

DSC_0275

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/

Chapter 6: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

Chapter 7: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/12/01/a-momoir-chapter-7-hello-happiness-are-you-out-there-hello-hello/

Chapter 8: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/06/14/a-momoir-chapter-7-high-school-graduation-my-big-fat-so-what/

Chapter 9: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/08/12/a-momoir-chapter-9-parenting-horrific-behavior-would-you-know-could-you/

Chapter 10: Click here: A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

Chapter 11: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/02/22/a-momoir-chapter-11-how-many-back-in-my-days-until-you-officially-morph-into-your-mom/

Chapter 12: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/03/17/a-momoir-chapter-12-when-a-teen-up-leaves/

Evolution of a Daughter

me&mom2 (2)

And then, in the blink of an eye, cancer.

Exhale.

You can only stand on the outskirts for so long before it grabs you in.  For first-timers, the words that are hurled from the onset are shattering.

“…tumors resting on three major veins…”

“…lesions on the brain…”

“…thirty percent…”

You find yourself gripped, nodding, stoically taking it all in (smartly, with a tape recorder going) and try to keep your composure because the last thing your mother – your rock – needs to witness is your own fear.

So you keep it together and let the world swish past you and do what you’re told.  See this oncologist.  Okay.  Go to this radiology appointment.  Got it.  Get to this surgeon.  Will do.

And before you know it you’ve spent a week – precious time in Cancerland – just preparing for battle.  You spend your afternoons watching endless episodes of Law & Order: SVU and Dr. Phil and Judge Judy (because that, my friends, is the routine of retired people).  But it’s okay.  You welcome the mindless and the mundane.  Much more happens in a week’s time.

You’ll start to hyperventilate in the middle of Kohl’s.  When you do, your friends’ words will get you through it.

Your husband will realize what an insanely difficult job you have as a mom and will appreciate you like never before.

Your teens – with cell phones attached to their bodies like extra appendages – won’t even text to see how things are because they are so afraid to know.

Your little boys – usually so wry and animated – will sound small – like little boys — on the phone.

You’ll wonder if you sent out your bills before you left but then you won’t even care.

 

In fact, you will brilliantly assess with unapologetic clarity that so, so many questions and worries in life  — actually, most of them — can be answered with a simple

“So what?”

 

Life throws curveballs.  We get that.

Miscarriage.  Infidelity.  Death.  Check, check, check.  Been there.  Done that.  Me, too.

 

We’re women.  We put on our big-girl panties and push up our sleeves and expertly deal with it.  We sniff out friends who will drop everything and listen.  We surround ourselves with other survivors and find strength.  And we get through.  There’s a shitload of wine.  And there’s an abundance lot of tears.  But we push through.  Because we’re women and that’s what we do.

 

Women are so incredibly strong about everything that Life – laughably – almost seems to come easy.  So Life keeps at it.  We are so unfathomably unbreakable that Life keeps hurling us zinger after zinger after zinger until finally —  eventually — it finds our Achilles Heel.  Life gives us children.

 

And then Life zings us agin because these children – the very beings that make us crazy for a very good portion of our lives – become the very pillars that we depend on down the road.

 

So at this exact moment I am a pillar of strength for the most important woman in the world to me.

 

 

(* reposted from 2011.  My mom passed a few months after this originally appeared.  Of course I still lean lean on my exceptional tribe of women and my adored brood of children for Life’s continuation of zingers because well, that’s the easy part.   xoxo)

 

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/

Chapter 6: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

Chapter 7:  Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/12/01/a-momoir-chapter-7-hello-happiness-are-you-out-there-hello-hello/

Chapter 8: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/06/14/a-momoir-chapter-7-high-school-graduation-my-big-fat-so-what/

Chapter 9: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/08/12/a-momoir-chapter-9-parenting-horrific-behavior-would-you-know-could-you/

Chapter 10:  Click here:  A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

Chapter 11:  Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/02/22/a-momoir-chapter-11-how-many-back-in-my-days-until-you-officially-morph-into-your-mom/

Chapter 12: Click here:  A Momoir, Chapter 12: When a Teen Up & Leaves

 

A Momoir, Chapter 12: When a Teen Up & Leaves

jr

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 dammed – 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 our other kids and silently pray that he comes to his senses and (cue in slap from Cher), snaps out of it.

 

I haven’t sat idly by, though, hand-wringing and despondent.  With the situation seemingly out of my 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.

 

 

*  *  * (Updated) Update *  *  *

(especially for those moms who may be experiencing this now)

 

This author’s son is now a young adult.  He is educated, employed, happy and independent.  He and his mom often share a laugh about the time he was a knucklehead.

 

Just. Hang.  In.  There.

xoxo

 

 

 

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/

Chapter 6: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

Chapter 7:  Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/12/01/a-momoir-chapter-7-hello-happiness-are-you-out-there-hello-hello/

Chapter 8: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/06/14/a-momoir-chapter-7-high-school-graduation-my-big-fat-so-what/

Chapter 9: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/08/12/a-momoir-chapter-9-parenting-horrific-behavior-would-you-know-could-you/

Chapter 10:  Click here:  A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

Chapter 11:  Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2020/02/22/a-momoir-chapter-11-how-many-back-in-my-days-until-you-officially-morph-into-your-mom/

A Momoir, Chapter 11: How Many ‘Back in My Days…’ Until You Officially Morph into Your Mom?

blogkids

I started writing this blog when my kids were little, way before I started taking joint supplements and sleeping with a white noise machine.  The trials and tribulations of our lives have been well documented throughout the years because I’m hoping all the anecdotes will give my family something amusing to look back on when I’m busy haunting them from above (you know, since the whole baby book thing wasn’t exactly my strong suit).

 

At any stage, parenting’s never seemed a cakewalk but it’s always seemed relative. There was always fodder for material and especially for a blog, there was also a community for figuring things out.  There was plenty of shared concern for surviving mystery hives or adolescent heartbreak or getting overlooked for the travel team (the injustice!) and there was never a shortage of advice (and commiseration) over lost homework assignments, kids incapable of getting to school on time or insufferable hygiene.  We all muddled through together and motherhood didn’t seem insurmountable.  My wise friend Jackie always raised her chardonnay to “Little kids, little problems.”

 

These days my adult kids have their own array of big-kid problems now but again, it comes with the calendar. They’re drowning in debt, juggling student loans, and trying to make rent.  They’re realizing what a paycheck can cover and – more importantly — what it cannotDayum, life is expensive, they lament.  Yes, it is.  News flash: it always has been.

 

It’s difficult watching your kids misstep in adulting and even harder keeping it zipped when some of their decisions are not, I’ll say, advantageous to them.  Poor decisions are tough to watch and even harder to witness when splashed all over social media (*throws head back, raises fists, gawwwwwwd, why is this not sinking in???).    It’s also rough because we’ve come to know: if our kids are not asking for advice ….  it’s usually a waste of breath offering it. My husband gets frustrated but I’m a bit more meh. Stop solving their problems with a fifty-year-old brain I often say to him.  Or, when it’s time for the jugular: You did the same dumb thing when you were that age.

 

Still, even now, when most of their mistakes have far mightier – and costlier — consequences than a promposal gone awry (*cue Mom’s nagging Pay your fkkkking parking tickets!)  I don’t mind this stage of parenting.  I look at what’s going on with “little” kids today and I thank my lucky stars that time is behind me.  I’m certain I’d be a lunatic trying to navigate motherhood in these times and I’m not so sure I’d agree with Jackie anymore; little kids seem to have way bigger problems now.

 

For starters, the social media is a complete nightmare.  Kids going off the deep end because someone didn’t like their picture?  Good grief.   My heart goes out to teachers.  I can’t even imagine what their days are like.

 

Add in the bullying, so rampant and accessible with (^^^) social media (Finsta?) and it is outrageously out of control.

 

Add in the heightened toxicity of enraged sports parents and it’s shocking.   Horrible when my kids were playing, they are – according to headlines — downright homicidal now.

 

Add in the seemingly daily reports of lewd and lecherous adults in positions of authority and you’re left side-eyeing everyone.  What.  The.  Effing.  Effff.

 

Add in the desperation for Canada Goose, Louis Vuitton, Lebron Nikes or anything Kylie Jenner is shilling lately and it seems impossible to keep up.

 

Add in the school shootings.

And the mean girls now emerging before second grade.

 

And everything else that has succinctly squashed innocence and I say my kids figuring out how to keep their electricity on sounds way less dangerous.

 

Kids are getting snatched in broad daylight.  I see faces from every state scrolling on my feed every single day.  Kids are communicating with complete strangers online.  Worse, they’re meeting up with total strangers.

 

I know, I know.  I’m not naïve and I am aware all this terrible, horrible no good scary stuff has been going on forever.  It just seems that the terrible, horrible no good scary stuff has reached a fever pitch with no ebb in sight.   I’ll take a 30-yo ‘kid’ still living in my house over this any day, thankyouverymuch.

 

If I was raising little kids today, I’d be swimming against a tide of opposition and I would not be able to let it go and Elsa my way out of it.

 

I don’t want to know a thing about TikTok.

 

I don’t want to debate anti-vaxxers.

 

I don’t want to give to a Go Fund Me so your kid can go to Germany.  Trust me: mine have never been and they are A-OK.

 

I don’t want to see breastfeeding or working or exercising or stay-at-home or ANY moms get shamed for doing ANYthing.  This is total bullshit.  Why does everyone feel entitled to expound negative opinions on anything that has absolutely nothing to do with them?   It is 100% maddening.

 

Please.  There’s even stupid stuff I wouldn’t be on board with (settle down, Target, no, I am not interested in buying decorations for the trunk of my car at Halloween.  WHAT IS THIS?).

 

I just want things to go back to normal before I have grandkids, that’s all.  We haven’t depleted all the normal in the world, have we?   (Quite possibly: just got an early morning text from my bestie, alerting me that kids at her local university got in trouble for having a Corona virus party on campus.  Sigh.   Thank God there was no internet when we were in college.)

 

These be crazy times and my observations are neither new nor illuminating.  I’m just glad my worries about pedophiles on the other end of video games are in my rear-view mirror and for that I am grateful.  To all the moms of little ones fighting the good fight every day, you have my sincere respect, my best wishes, and my appreciative props.  I’m sorry you must send in the list of ingredients on your bake sale brownies but I’m not sorry I missed that either.

 

If it’s any consolation I hear help might be on the horizon.  There’s talk of lowering the voting age to sixteen (that’s a super good idea, right? she mulls, reminiscing about her own 16yo fashion choices in 1982) so maybe soon we’ll be saying here comes Kanye to the rescue.

 

You guys can chew on that while I go hound a kid about the perils of late payments.

 

(Disclaimer to the Mom-Shamers:  no humans were harmed in the writing of this blog, which was meant strictly for tongue-in-cheek, exasperated entertainment only.  If any part of this this has angered you in any way, please:  be better than me.  Be Elsa.)

 

 

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/

Chapter 6: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

Chapter 7:  Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/12/01/a-momoir-chapter-7-hello-happiness-are-you-out-there-hello-hello/

Chapter 8: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/06/14/a-momoir-chapter-7-high-school-graduation-my-big-fat-so-what/

Chapter 9: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/08/12/a-momoir-chapter-9-parenting-horrific-behavior-would-you-know-could-you/

Chapter 10:  Click here:  A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

 

A Momoir, Chapter 10: Coming Clean: The Art of Mastering Uncomfortable Conversations

CARSON!!!

 

My daughter isn’t a complainer.

 

Nope, mama’s lil millennial is wearing her big girl panties, tackling life’s bumps and bruises all on her own, thousands of miles away and (*beams) I marvel at her self-possession quite often.  So naturally it was with marked amusement that while chatting over the long-distance lines she began complaining about her roommates and their (wait for it) inability to (are you sitting down?) clean up after themselves.  I know, right?  (*pours tea, gets comfortable)  Let’s go!

 

Since I was unable to storm her castle and shake my finger at those inconsiderate co-habitants I merely listened (and covered my mouthpiece to mask any sounds of enjoyment — a bonus: she couldn’t see my eyes trail upward while mouthing “Thank you” to the heavens either).  For sure, my exasperation with the Teenage Girl Messy Room of Stuff has been well documented throughout the years:  a quick scroll of my gallery could easily display our epic Battle of Adolescence.  I knew it was the wrong takeaway from her frustration but this was a karma-tastic moment, and I was here for it.

 

I allowed her the time to vent.  And plan.  And vent some more.  And she promised to call back when she figured it out.

 

In the end she did what she always does and got through her dilemma in a smart, shrewd manner.  She did collectively address the guilty squad but only after first bolstering her argument by cleaning up the place to a spit-shine level, then tossing the baton mop and tapping out.  Sort of  a Tag, You’re It!  kind of way.

 

As I listened to her it brought me back to my own uncomfortable roommate intervention when I was about her age.  My household foursome would typically divide and conquer our food shopping each week and attack the thankless task in duos: one week my bedroom-mate and I went, the next, the other two would go.

 

My cohort and I — fiercely frugal, coupon clipping and sale item sniffing — prided ourselves on packing the cupboards and divvying up the reasonable bill four ways.  Conversely, when the other pair returned on their bi-weekly excursions, it always seemed we were shelling out similar amounts of money … yet constantly running out of food (and Tab) by Wednesdays.  We started paying closer attention and it kept happening.

 

I cannot lie: it took some gumption and a fair amount of seething behind closed doors before ultimately getting to the showdown.

 

Umm, can we see the receipt?  we finally asked.

 

Umm, sure?  was their confused, kinda pissed reply.

 

And there it was, in black and white and more than disturbing.  It was stupefying, actually.  Worse than the lack of sale items purchased was the collection of oh-my-God-why-would-you-ever-go-to-a-supermarket-for mascara and other health and beauty products that had evidently found a home right in their bedroom.

 

Umm, paging the awkward police.

 

Indeed, it erupted into an expected are you freaking me kidding me discussion but in the end, it actually turned out okay.  There was no duplicitous or malicious motive. Really. Not even a little. The not-quite-embezzling twosome were (no disrespect here) just a couple of clueless airheads, with zero sense of wrongdoing and had assumed we’d been doing the same all along (because, again, clueless).  To them it was no big deal and they wouldn’t have cared if we had in fact, been stockpiling our Revlon Frosted Brownie.  (Side note: clueless airheads go on to become attorneys and therapists so kids, stay in school).

 

Anyway it all worked out, the air got cleared and we lived happily ever after (until the cops raided our apartment but that’s a story for another day).  My point: no friendships were harmed in the making of this cautionary tale of coming clean.  The same happened for my daughter’s band of happy housemates.

 

Still, parental pride being what it is, I’m glad my big gal donning her big-girl panties did her thing and found her gumption, too.  It’s not easy bringing up uncomfortable topics with people you like (and have the opportunity to leave your bathroom a bio hazard).  But it was nice to be her sounding board and witness her maturity and thoughtfulness in bloom.

 

It’s even better knowing that big kids still need their moms every now and then, even if just to vent or run things by them (and their dads, too, but you know, for Venmo).

 

So excuse me while I go shake a finger at the inconsiderate co-habitants still squatting in my own house.

 

It hasn’t worked yet but you can’t blame a mom for trying, right?

 

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/

Chapter 6: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

Chapter 7:  Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/12/01/a-momoir-chapter-7-hello-happiness-are-you-out-there-hello-hello/

Chapter 8: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/06/14/a-momoir-chapter-7-high-school-graduation-my-big-fat-so-what/

Chapter 9: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/08/12/a-momoir-chapter-9-parenting-horrific-behavior-would-you-know-could-you/

Just One Page

boyz

I had a conversation with my son the other day.  He was questioning his decisions made on his future path.  He was feeling some self-doubt.  Expressing a little fear and concern.  Kinda having a little pity party on a blue day.

 

Now, I don’t recall ever talking to my own mom about such things.  It’s not that there weren’t some benefits to those independent ‘80s (*she mulls, thinking about the Loverboy concert she’s attending that evening*) it was just different back then.  Here was a Mom Moment for sure and I didn’t want to mess it up.  After first basking in our moment of intimacy I gave him the best counsel I knew, albeit with simple words:  small steps.  One semester at a time.  But, I appealed, with a serious commitment to being successful in those steps until you can course correct.

 

I reminded him that every action in life comes with a redo option.  Not necessarily an eraser or backspace button but rather a recreate click.   The key, I opined, is to try to succeed at whatever you’ve committed to and keep striving for excellence — even if you hate what you’re doing — until a next step becomes an opportunity.  I advised him to stop looking at every choice made as the end-all and try looking at life in smaller chunks of time.

 

It seemed to soothe his uncertainties and our chat ended with a hug.  Mom Moment Expert Level: Achieved.

 

I felt pretty good about appearing so wise and assured … until my inner cheerleader escaped from inside me and sat on my shoulder with her megaphone pointed at my ear tskking  You are SO full of shit.  Try practicing what you preach.  Then she rolled her eyes because hello, she’s me after all.

 

Small steps?  Little chunks?  She was right.  I am more than slightly full of shit.

 

I love to write and always want to keep creating but it’s not always easy.  There’s the time factor and the TV-binge factor and the housework factor and the multitude–excuse factor and for the love of God, the stop-mocking-your-husband-and-kids factor and then  boom, there’s the huge, obvious elephant in the room:  I don’t write half as much as I used to.  And that just sucks, for a number of reasons. The most important being, it’s my passion.  Everyone knows when we don’t partake in our passions, we seem to wither on the vine.

 

I know I do.  If I go for long periods of time without writing I sink deeper into a funk until the act, even the idea of putting thoughts into words becomes insurmountable.

 

This week just as my inner cheerleader was calling me out for being phony I received a short note from a columnist I’ve adored for decades.  Out of the blue, she wrote to tell me she unearthed a piece I’d written forever ago and simply wanted to tell me how much she enjoyed it.

 

Naturally I yee-hawed all over social media about it (because GAWD, how freaking cool?) but it also sent me down the rabbit hole of clicking onto her website, rereading the treasure trove of articles I’ve loved throughout the years that made me want to  be just like her.

 

I came across one where she talked about the struggle of writing and how sometimes you just have to start with one page at a time and call it a small victory.

 

Committing to succeed small steps at a time.

 

Imagine that?

 

Well, whaddaya know.  We are soul sisters after all.  And I just made it to the end of one whole page.

 

Y’all check back again soon, ya hear?

 

I may not have many words of wisdom but I’ll certainly have words.

 

Do yourself a favor and check out the inimitable Beverly Beckham.  I really, truly adore her and want to be just like her when I grow up.  https://www.beverlybeckham.com/

Today I start by doing what she suggested.

 

#   #   #   #

 

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/

Chapter 6: Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

Chapter 7:  Click here: https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/12/01/a-momoir-chapter-7-hello-happiness-are-you-out-there-hello-hello/

Chapter 8: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/06/14/a-momoir-chapter-7-high-school-graduation-my-big-fat-so-what/

Chapter 9: Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2019/08/12/a-momoir-chapter-9-parenting-horrific-behavior-would-you-know-could-you/

A Momoir, Chapter 6: I’m Not Always Like You, Mom. But That’s Okay.

terms

My kids always roll their eyes but they know better than to squint them and call bullshttt when I tell my stories.  They know the truth: that I am a living, breathing product of the (legendary) Unsupervised Generation.  I drank in junior high school.  I hitchhiked.  I rode public transportation before friends taught me how to drive.  I smoked.  I cut class.  I snuck in.  I snuck out.  I pretty much did unscrupulous things every chance I got.

 

My mother knew none of this.

 

I also did my homework without being told, got myself to school (and work and EVERYwhere else) without help and filled out college applications without so much as a sniff of curiosity from my mother.  I likewise ate what was prepared, picked up after myself and made sure to disagree with her in my head or into my pillow rather than unleash a fate far worse than my imagination could ever muster.

 

Despite the lack of assistance (or Uber) it was not a hard life.  If I’m being completely honest, it was fondly enjoyable even (you don’t say) without the internet.  It seems my generation was adulting before there was even a trendy term for it and I don’t remember anyone ever complaining about it.  There were fun times (drinking age = 18 = #seriously) and scary moments (drinking age = 18 = #seriously) and there was no shortage of regrets or mistakes or lessons learned.

 

Oddly enough, I grew into a mom who knows where her children are most of the time.  Kind of a weird paradox, I know.

 

Every year around this time at the anniversary of her passing, my thoughts drift to my mom.  She’s been gone seven years now and while there are moments when it feels like cliched yesterday, there are other times when it feels like I’ve been flailing through motherhood lost and adrift without her for longer than I can remember.  I often think about how similar we are (apologies to my better half for the insufferable German stubbornness) but more telling is how different we became as moms.

 

I imagine most people try to improve upon their own histories.  I know I do.

 

My earliest memory of telling my mother I loved her was from a pay phone in the hallway of my freshmen dormitory.  As I grew older it bothered me more and more that it might have been the first time I ever said those words aloud.  It affected me so profoundly the term became my personal pillar of parenting.  I’ve raised four kids who have been hearing it – and saying it — their entire lives:  into their phones, over their shoulders and across my kitchen counter.

 

My mom was a woman of few words when I was a teenager.  A divorced mother raising three kids alone wasn’t exactly the norm back in the early 80s.   She had a lot going on and kept her business to herself (lord, she would loathe Facebook today).  She didn’t banter with my friends (cannot lie, she was a wee bit feared), she didn’t know any of my friends’ parents and she was barely civil to my boyfriends (alright, looking back, perhaps she may have been on to something).

 

When I went through a high school breakup the only way she knew about it was when she heard Phil Collins’ “Throwing it All Away” on a six-day loop through my bedroom wall.  I’ll never forget her coming into my doorway and warily whispering, “Please.  Play another song.”   That was it.  No sentimental mother-daughter moment or long car ride for ice cream.   Onward I went.

 

Conversely, I chat up my kids’ squads all the time (interesting aside: my mom never used hip terms like squad because she could’ve cared less about appearing hip.  Again, why be hip when you can terrify?).  My own home often bustles with kids and I can get a hold of every parent with a single tap.   Contrary as well, when any of my own litter experiences heartache I am at the ready.  My eagle eye and alert ear can detect the slightest change in demeanor, attitude or (sigh) hygiene and my maternal senses hurl into overdrive.  I am at once a bevy of constant communication and presence to my troubled teens.    It appears I have become the nurturing contradiction of my own adolescence.  This is entirely surprising to me because – again — I never felt slighted or deficient in my own adolescence.  I can’t even recall any friend ever confiding in her mom back then either.  That’s what girlfriends had each other for.

 

My siblings and I would kid my mom mercilessly about her earlier Teflon exterior.  She was a tough one for sure but man, oh man, did she mellow out as time went on.  It might’ve been her second husband, who arrived just in time to steady her, lessened her load of financial worry and loved her endlessly.  More likely it was the welcome stream of good fortune that befell her family the second half of her lifetime.  After a difficult decade or so, my mom’s life blossomed and happiness settled in to reveal her softer, fiercely funny side that was clearly dormant in my own youth.  She was able to witness her three kids all marry and create enjoyable lives for themselves.   She was showered with ten – TEN! – grandchildren, the joy of which infused her every thought and attention (alas, cue in the dejected and forlorn look of abandonment from said second husband, forever delegated to the 11th spot in her life).

I wish she was here to see them all now.

 

I especially long for her to see mine.

 

My oldest was a high school senior and putting us through the ringer at the time of her illness.  Whisper as we tried to shield her from our own distress, she knew.  She always knew.  I would give anything for her to see how he turned things around to shine so brightly.  She would be over the moon with pride at the impressive young man he’s become.

 

Long before she died my mother had already taught my daughter how to sew but her protégé had only just begun to display her innate talent.  In the time she’s been gone my creative gal has gone on to teach herself how to knit, then crochet, then paint, then create jewelry, then, just recently, open an online store.  Without question these two special ladies were kindred spirits of an enviable kind.  I know the magnitude of her granddaughter’s natural gift would fill my mom to her absolute core and I wish she could revel in it.

 

She would still get the biggest kick out of my second son, whose devilish grin as the tween she adored now radiates the stubbled face of a young man.  He captures every nuance of my mom’s own unassuming and affable personality and she would be tickled at their spitfire similarity.  Gawd, if she ever caught sight of him in his college dress blues she might never stop showing his picture around Long Island.

She’d probably favor my youngest the most, a mere little boy when she left us. There was never any harm helping out the baby, she believed, because from any vantage point all the others always seemed unfairly ahead of the pack (*writer shakes head, remembering childhood).  My littlest’s unrivaled charm would find her putty in the palm of his hand.  If she could see him now she’d gush at his every accolade, triumph in his every touchdown and sneakily slip him a twenty whenever they were alone.

 

I get jealous of my fortunate friends who still have time with their moms.  I really do.  I hate that my kids won’t see their Nanny’s eyes glistening at their weddings.  I hate that they don’t get to hear any more of her stories.  They wouldn’t dare roll an eye at hers.  I hate that she’s not here to teach them more.

 

But if I find myself on a lonely road, I know too well my friends will eventually find themselves on a difficult one.  Aging parents leave battle scars endured only by the strongest of daughters.  I hope my familiarity and understanding of this stage of adulting is a comfort to them, for I’ll be at the ready for all of them when they need me.

 

I miss my mom at some moment in every day.

 

As the years tick on without her I shall remain incredibly bemused at our similarities (sarcasm, anyone?) and increasingly content with our differences (ummmm, mea culpa, mom, for the bandwagon Facebook brags).  Something tells me she would be nothing but overjoyed at the perfect metamorphosis of the Mom she raised.

 

(Finally, for what it’s worth, here’s my maternal postscript to my kids:   Yeah.  Just because I did it doesn’t mean you can.  Remember, spidey senses.  I catch EVERYthing.  Wink.)

 

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/

A Momoir, Chapter 5: The Magnitude of the Middle-Aged Mom

wine

 

I’m at that age where my chin hair is growing in quicker than my leg hair.  It’s okay, so far there’s not a lot of it.  Just the occasional (cough, frequent) white, barbed wire-ish strand that I’ll absent-mindedly touch, then maniacally pick at, then frantically keep feeling for, then obsess over for the remainder of the day until I can yank it.  (I now keep tweezers in my desk at work.  I also keep fiber powder in there, too, so I bet you can tell where this is heading.)  It’s not pretty but it turns out there are far worse things to fret about once you reach The Milestone birthday.

 

I try to remain positive but I’ll admit I’m finding middle age to be quite galling.  Things are happening to my body utterly out of the blue, completely without reason and entirely against my will.  Yes, there are things women who’ve celebrated The Milestone know are coming.  We’ve been duly cautioned that hitting a certain age may find our hair turning to straw, our necks morphing into topical maps and our midsection gaining independence as its own sovereignty. We’re also aware that despite how much we slather, our crypt keeper hands will forever tattle our true age.  But hang on now.  There is some serious unpleasantness happening on the downslope of that hill that people keep leaving off the memo.  Some of that stuff probably deserves a heads up.

 

For instance, how come no one ever tells us we will never sleep again?  FortheloveofGod, most of us haven’t even caught up yet from the sleep deprivation of having babies.  It is cruelly ironic that this bombshell comes on the heels of hearing every fitness expert alive shouting the same warning:  that women cannot ever (EVER) lose weight unless we are getting a good night’s sleep.  Whaaaaat?

 

Where’s the asterisk on this throat-punch revelation that also reveals – SURPRISE! – 90-minute-intervals of (let’s call them) naps are your new nighttime from this day forward.  Hissss.

 

Every single night I find myself sweltering …  until I am convinced I am frost-bitten … or I am passed-out-exhausted …. until I am wide awake an hour and a half later – for the rest of the night.  My better half and I (wisely) upgraded to a king-sized bed a few years ago and between our alternating aches and pains and our temperature battles and our long-nights-journeying-into-days… I’ll be dammed if that bed sometimes just isn’t big enough.  It really blows.

 

Also, speaking of missing chapters in the guidebook, what about the poo?  (That opening paragraph wasn’t a red herring; you knew this was coming.) Good grief, just when we’ve got diapers AND adolescence (those inimitable non-flushing years) in our rearview mirror, all of a sudden poo is a thing again?  What.  The.  Fkkkkk?   I used to go away for entire weekends and – legit – not go to the bathroom until I was safely back home three days later (yeah, that freaked out my man in the worst of ways).  I used to marvel at friends who could effortlessly go multiple times a day, whenever and wherever they wanted to (complete freaks, if you ask me) because nope, that was not me at all.   Welp.  No sooner did I blow out a few dozen candles on a birthday cake did a tsunami of change sweep in.  I’ve had more times when I’ve entered a ladies room to pee and — what the – let’s just say did a helluva lot more than pee in there.  No joke:  when it first started happening my initial shock was palpable:  I wouldn’t have been more surprised if another baby had dropped out of my body and into that toilet.   Worse, no sooner did the new me start seeing lavatories in a different light did my doctor start heralding fiber as the cure-all to everything.  You have got to be kidding me (now you understand the aforementioned office staple, next to my tweezers).

At this point though, a couple of years into my brave new world of Milestone Menopause, my reaction is a more mellowed meh and a shrug.  Sigh.  Tis just poo.

 

Fo’ sho’:  this getting old thing is not for the weak.

Without question, there are some pretty awful things about middle age: the overwhelming feeling of incompetency that comes with re-entering the work force (or – kill us — the dating game), having to navigate the holy hell that is social media (screw you, Snapchat, you’re stupid), even the phantom pains that spring up for no apparent reason (like rising from the couch.  UGH).  Throw in ridiculous weight gains and all the daily directives to give up sugar and dairy and alcohol and animal protein and carbs and be sure to walk six miles a day and do yoga stretches and meditate and take your Me Time and enjoy life (without dairy or alcohol or animal protein or carbs) and OHMYGAAAAWD.  Who saw this coming?  Remember when we used to complain about baby throw-up on our shoulders?

Deep breath.

Here’s the glass half full:  It’s not all doom and despair.  There are some super cool things about middle age, too.  It is without question a great, great time to be a mom.  Our kids are getting older, becoming real people, doing awesome things and becoming more companions than charges.  Somewhere down the road they become fun:  we can now play off-color board games with them and watch R-rated movies without hiding under pillows with embarrassment.  Another truth: I am a completely different mom than I was so many years ago, a lot calmer and less uptight.  Hell, I’ve even stopped screaming.  Now I go low:  the more my kids yell in protest (because hello, I’m not dead – there are still RULES, PEOPLE) the lower my voice gets when reacting to their nonsense.  It’s like a villainous whisper out of a Saw movie and I highly recommend it; kids can’t grasp what hit them when we start acting like Anti-Mom, the total stranger who’s shown up to guide them from this day forward. Trust me, good times.

Middle age also gives us a boatload of hall passes for dumb things.  We can completely ignore pop culture now because it has very little to do with us and that’s a blessing.  Remember when it did?  Remember when a sexy, ripped sweatshirt, some leg warmers and a dream made us believe we could escape a steel town?  Remember when we wore business suits with (cringe) sneakers and socks and didn’t think for a minute it’d hurt our chances at a promotion?  Remember how we worried if our lives measured up without city friends or coffee shops or Manolo Blahniks?

Turns out, a surge of self-confidence comes in with The Milestone and makes us realize we could care less what people think about our minivans and mom jeans.  I don’t understand any song on the radio and I don’t want to because it seems everyone’s supposed to be grinding or smoking weed or living the thug life.  Please.  I’m happy to stay out of the loop on a lot of things now.  Pass the Dutchie and allow me my presets of classic rock stations, thankyouverymuch.  Keep your Kardashians and if I need a role model I’ll just Google Christie Brinkley because holy mackerel, have you seen her lately? — that chick is ridiculous

 

We’ve been liberated:  anyone out there really give a rat’s ass about Iggy Azalea?  Didn’t think so.

We’re in a pretty good place now for sure but I’d be remiss if I didn’t reveal the absolute worst thing nobody ever tells you about hitting The Milestone.  This one’s a doozie and I completely understand why no one talks about it.  It’s the freight train that body slams you and knocks out your breath and is far more sinister than sleepless nights and bowel issues and belly fat and reading glasses in very room of the house.

 

What could be so bad, you ask?

 

How about the insane ticking of time – more like a Telltale Heart thumping – that is constant within your head?

 

Once you’re over The Milestone mountain there’s rarely a day that ends without at least one thought about the passage of time.  It usually catches me by surprise when I least expect it, on the most innocent of occasions, and some days it’s just devastating.  I once scrolled past a Facebook meme and became paralyzed at the words:

“One day you will pick up your child for the very last time and not even know it…”

The raw truth of that statement shattered me.  My mind raced to try to remember.  When did I last hoist any of them up onto my hip?  How old were they… five?  Seven?  Eight?  How could I not know?

 

How could I not know?

 

That simple sentence stayed with me – and saddened me – for days.

 

Another time my son tried to drum up some laughs by popping in an old video of his mom — super-duper un-sober — at a neighborhood party a dozen years earlier.  Alright, alright, alright, while not my finest mom moment, I’ll admit it was pretty funny.  But as the tape played I soon became fixated at the sight of him — my tow-headed little prankster — running around the scene in the background, no more than 5 years old.  It was like falling down a rabbit hole.  I became transfixed, watching him jump into my lap and snuggle into my neck, my neck which now, a dozen years later, may be morphing into a topical map.

It was debilitating.  I pretended to laugh along with him in present day but inside … my heart was aching at the past, watching both his little hands hold my face and kiss me sweetly.

My eyes flickered between the screen and his college-age, muscular, hirsute frame.

 

How in the world did I get here so fast?

Tick tick tick.

Thumpthumpthumpthumpthump.

 

I don’t care about my crows feet.  I don’t mind the girth of my muffin top.  And being ready for bed by 9pm most nights really doesn’t bother me, either.

But the ferocious speed of traveling down the other side of the hill?

That is without question the absolute worst part about hitting The Milestone.

Really.  I’d take the poo any day over that.

*     *     *      *      *      *

Missed the start of A Momoir?  Catch up here:

 

 

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/

Chapter 6:  Click here:  https://tinadrakakis.com/2018/08/24/a-momoir-chapter-6-im-not-always-like-you-mom-but-thats-okay/

 

 

 

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. 

Alone Again (un)Naturally

relax

My husband just doesn’t understand me, not even for a minute.  My kids might be mildly amused by me (if they even noticed).  But the reality is, I am filled with unabashed glee when left entirely alone for a few glorious days.

 

My better half would rather rake sunflower seeds than spend any significant amount of time by himself.  This might stem from having a job which alternately finds him either in the isolation of a home office or the insufferable free-for-all of an airport.  Not sure.  But I love it and look forward to.  When his annual Guys Ski Weekend rolls around – conveniently after the exhaustive holidays have passed – I become giddy.  Leaving soon?  I ask innocently over my coffee cup on the morning of departure, willing my words to sound curious (instead of eager).

 

It’s only a couple of days.  72 hours really.  Actually, only 48 (of time awake) if I’m nit-picking.  But most women know:  it’s awesome.

 

In the weeks leading up to it you know I got busy.  I made an impressive list of all the incredible things I was going to do to make my life an organized Garden of Eden.   I also planned new exercise regimens, compiled lists of time-saving chore hacks and amassed healthy recipes to try.  I researched new shows to binge and books to download and selected restaurants that I’ve been dying to try.

 

Welp.  Almost immediately my noble intentions swerved sideways so I accomplished little to none of the aforementioned plans.    Because again, it was only a handful of hours of leisure, amiright?

 

Still, I made the best of it.  Here’s what went down:

 

Day One:

 

As soon as the last of the male-stench had exited my building I started off by cleaning it — which (I cannot be alone here) always makes me immeasurably happy.  I blasted Donna Summer Radio.  And Def Leppard.  And Miranda (Ironic Moment of the weekend:  just how much Black Shelton is played on this station).  Anyway, within a few hours my home got just the way I like it.  The best part:  it actually stayed this way for a few days.  This turned out to be serendipity: when unexpected downpours thwarted my high-heel-wearing Girls-Night-Out, my gleaming home became the venue of choice for an evening that’d been in the works with a great friend.  No problem – there was nary a drop of pee on my toilets and I had a pot of meatballs simmering.   We drank wine in yoga pants, shared a meal and caught up for hours.  It was divine.  And not once did any intruder barge in to open the refrigerator and peer inside for eight straight minutes.

ski 3

 

Day Two:

 

Alright, maybe I was moving a little slower today (*shakes head ruefully, mouths Pinot) but I couldn’t stay down for long.  The crazy New England winter weather had flipped its fickle switch and brought an unexpected spring-like day.   Off I went outside, work gloves and wheelbarrow in tow, to clean up all the downed trees from the wicked storms that had turned our property into a war zone.  Now to be clear, this is not usually my gig.  I’m actually a big fan of gender-separated workloads and live quite happily mopping floors while the men in my life mow the lawn and fix stuff.  But I was looking for some bragging rights.  I’m pretty sure nothing screams my wife is hot more than the image of her hauling away branches bigger than her own body.  So I became one with my yard and had some fun with it, even stopping midway to post a pic when I came across a beer pong ball, hidden since a June party.  Go ahead fellas, keep sending me those shots of your raised beers at Après happy hour.  Mamma’s at home, gettin’ it done. #Iamwomanhearmeroar

ski lol

 

After that, I cleaned myself up and went out to do a little food shopping, my brain swirling with the memorized Instagram images of all the roasted Brussel sprouts, toasted quinoa and sweet potato chips I was going to make because I just knew it was all going to melt my pesky muffin top in the New Year.  Turns out, by the time everything was unloaded and put away the sun was going down and death-defying drops in temperature mocked the earlier beach day.  My morning workout of manual labor started to catch up with me and I was dragging.  I declined an invitation to go out, threw on some sweatpants, grabbed a comfy blanket and my book and clicked on a cheezy movie.  Okay, maybe not a woman roaring anymore but …. #STILLawesome

 

Day Three:

I awoke to find it was still frigid outside so naturally I figured The New (Exercising) Me would have to wait a little longer.  I read the Sunday paper to the backdrop of Frank Sinatra Radio and a funny thing happened.  Nobody rolled their eyes at my nostalgic tunes or came sniffing around asking about bacon. I putzed around doing laundry and cleaning out my closet before devoting the afternoon to peeling, cutting, roasting and portioning my newly acquired root vegetables for the week.  (side note:  The New (Healthy) Me had no idea how time consuming this was when I started.  I think I’ve figured out why all those Facebook recipes are on fast-forward).  I continued tidying up things around the house – you know, nothing major, just all those things we walk past every single day and ignore – stopping every now and then to get lost in a random photo album I’d come across.   Not gonna lie, melancholy showed its morose face for bit.  The grey day began to drag.   I checked in with my oldest and made plans to see him during the week.  Then I texted the skiers and told them since I hadn’t heard from them all weekend I was keeping busy posting awesome old pictures on social media.  I wasn’t ……

 

lol ski

 

…. but their lol-responses delighted me.

 

When my husband called that night and coyly asked if they were missed, I responded truthfully:  yes, they could come home in the morning.   I was done.  And getting kinda lonely.

 

It’s pretty wild how quickly a couple of days go by.

 

You hear that?

 

It’s the sound of silence.

 

It’s pretty awesome.  You know, for a couple of days

 

Read any good books lately?  Start one here:  A Collection Of Eyerolls:  A Momoir

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/

 

 

 

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.