Tag Archives: Parenting

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.

 

 

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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. 

 

 

Young Love: View From the Back Seat

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When I was in high school I remember doing whatever I could to get my boyfriend’s mother to like me.  I tried everything.  But despite my always cheerful and ever valiant attempts she always remained, I’ll say, cool towards me.  When I finally reached the brink of my adolescent insecurities I unloaded on my beau with a frustrated, what the hell?

He just shrugged.  “She likes you,” he offered lamely, “but she knows it’s not like we’re gonna get married or anything.”

Um, say what? You can imagine: at seventeen, that stung.  She knew.  Heck, deep down we both probably knew, too.  But she put it out there and there it stayed.  And I’ve never forgotten.

I can’t be certain, but maybe because of my early experience, I’ve grown into a mom lacking enthusiasm for adolescent romance.   For me, it’s always been a great source of curiosity when anyone else did.

Like my sister, for instance.  I’ve forever marveled at her unaffected exuberance of really, truly basking in teenage love.  She’d fawn over her kids’ boyfriends and girlfriends, buy them super nice presents at Christmas, happily accept their friend requests on Facebook and exude genuine excitement over anything about them.  Every high school relationship was treated as The One and it was utterly fascinating to me. Consequently (and alas, one by one), every high school break-up consumed her with incredible sadness — for a really long time.  It all seemed crazy to me.

I guess I never bought into the hype because well, adolescence is (pick one) silly, volatile, melodramatic and (most of all) fickle.  Let’s be real.  Is there a more ridiculous time in any life cycle?  When my daughter was in middle school (before it was the norm for third graders to carry cell phones) a young boy called our house and left a very detailed message on our home answering machine asking her to go on a date to the movies.  I listened to it, rolled my eyes towards the heavens, promptly deleted it and told my daughter about it – many, many years later at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  Why?  Because it made for a great family laugh and — like Carrie Bradshaw being broken up via Post-it note — there are some dating behaviors that are beyond reproach.  Rest assured:  no daughter of mine was ever going to the movies with any kid without a clue.

That was all well and good (and, okay, somewhat controllable) in middle school, but it seems before I could throw in another load of laundry – and despite my inclination to ignore them — I’ve acquired a slew of significant others in my life.   And it’s become harder to remain, I’ll say, cool towards them.

My eldest son, a young adult so not-sharing of information I couldn’t tell you his favorite color, suddenly started showing up with a stunning girlfriend.  Turns out they’ve been together for months.  She is well-spoken and personable and bright and — dayum! —  pre-med.  She possesses such exceptional attributes it  is impossible not to enjoy her.  She’s a darling.  Dang.

My high school senior has been with his girlfriend for quite some time, too.  As much as I tried to remain aloof and indifferent towards them, her ability to get him to do homework and come in before his curfew has broken down my tough demeanor.  She is an absolute delight to be around and I completely adore them together so of course it worries me. Again, 17.  Double dang.

My youngest, teetering on 16, might trouble me the most.  He’s been spending his time with such a sweet and charming young lady I find myself lamenting, this – they — would be perfect …. in about ten years….

Good grief, what is happening here?  Of late I’ve been wondering which is worse:  that these kids’ impeccable choices are turning me soft, or that maybe my sister was onto something.

It’s a tough seat to sit in for sure.  And because moms were once teenagers too, we know with assured wisdom that as much as young love blossoms with ferocity, it will also (more often than not) fade with some sadness.  Being invested in our kids’ relationships carries weighty fallout when a happily ever after doesn’t happen.

My little girl, now an extraordinary and beautiful young woman, is experiencing her first real break-up and – I have to be honest – my whole family is feeling the strain of her sorrow.  (Truth:  her grace and reflection while deep within heartache far surpasses her mother’s 1980s coping method of Diet Coke and cigarettes.  Geeze.  I thank God those DNA strands didn’t swim too strongly.)

We liked him.  We Sally-Field-really-REALLY liked him.  They shared a lengthy time together and we were all a part of it in some small way.  But it just wasn’t meant to be.  So now we’re all sad.

And my heart is hurting having to watch her go through this tough time.

 

I knew I shouldn’t have gotten him that bathrobe for Christmas.

I should’ve known better than to think my sister was smarter than me.

 

 

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.

 

Why We Hug

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Six years ago, a tragic car accident after his high school graduation took the life of my sister’s nephew.   Her own kids were all teens themselves when they lost their cousin, and the aftermath was unlike anything I had ever seen.  Saying the entire family suffered immeasurably doesn’t fully encapsulate the deepness of their grief or their struggle to move forward without Johnny.

I wrote the following piece six years ago. 

Today, my sister’s children, all young adults now, will say goodbye to Johnny’s brother, Jake, 22, who never fully regained his footing following the loss of his brother.

I just can’t bring myself to write again. 

 Losing a child is unimaginable for most of us..

Losing two is unfathomable.

*      *     *     *     *

 

 

 

We weave and bob through tragedy with every headline of every day.

What a shame…

How sad…

That poor family…

Isn’t that awful?

 

But eventually we move on to the circulars.  Or the crosswords.  Or (like me) the fake news, the drivel, the celebrity scoops.  Why not – along with sudoku it’s so much more enjoyable than all that heavy stuff of strangers.

One day, though, unspeakable tragedy pinpricks into our own little life bubble and everything halts.

I’d always believed that if anything ever happened to any of my children all one would need is a dustpan to come and collect me.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  Game over.  Yet having just witnessed the most unfathomable display of parental strength imaginable, I realize just how wrong I’ve been in my selfish imaginings.

 

 

My sister’s nephew died in a tragic car accident this past weekend.  He was heading off to college in a few weeks.  One minute he was calling his mom telling her he was heading home after a slice of pizza and a few minutes later he was gone in an instant.  To list his accomplishments would appear trite — there were far too many.  To remark how genuinely beloved he and his family are would seem cliché —  one need only to have witnessed the hundreds of people who gathered for him, standing in line for hours – most snaking around the building in direct sun.  Or the two thousand people who sat at his mass.

 

It wasn’t very logistical for me to attend his services.  Kids everywhere…husband traveling…700 miles of driving…3 or 4 states to travel through…  But I couldn’t not go.

 

I’ve known this young man for longer than I’ve known my own children. He and his 3 brothers were as close to my sister’s 4 kids as any cousins could be.  Like siblings.  All born within months of each other.

 

Here’s what I have become mindful of:

 

…. If you’ve never experienced a mother’s tortured wails as she collapses over her child’s coffin, pray to God you never will.  It is an image you will not soon (perhaps ever) fully erase from your memory.  It will stay with you and rear its gripping visual when you least expect it.  In quiet moments.  While driving.  Scrubbing stains out of the rug.  Glancing at a photo of your own kids with their cousins, a photo you’ve passed by countless times. It is the most wrenching thing I have ever seen or experienced ever.  Ever.

 

….Grandparents having to live through this will ask why they weren’t taken instead. They will repeat this to every person they greet.  They truly, deeply, do not understand why they were not.

 

….Nieces and nephews, usually so full of light and mischievous sarcasm, will not be.  At all. And it will frighten you.  And worry you.  Teen brains are a fragile piece of equipment to begin with.  Shouldering such a dreadful experience can be dangerous to a skewed processing system.  You know they’ll pull through this but you’ll wonder how.  And when.  And what the residual effect will be. And when the light might return to their eyes.

 

….There is always going to be one person who steps up to perform the most horrific and life-altering tasks during the situation.  My brother-in-law was this person.  Identifying the body.  Making funeral arrangements.  Turning away throngs of people because his sister refused to sit down.  This man has been on the receiving end of many (MANY) an eye roll from me, my standard jab for decades being, “Dude, you sooo chose the right sister because I’d whoop yo ass….”  But as his shoulders shook under my hug I could only squeeze tighter.  I worry most about him.

 

And so after grinding to a heinous halt, life – inexplicably — starts to slowly roll along again.

 

My sadness comes in waves.  Sometimes it’s a mere blip.  Other times overwhelming.  Things like this simply bring a focus into our own lives.  We try to picture ourselves attempting to survive such insurmountable grief and really, it’s unimaginable.

 

My kids plant wordless kisses on my face.  They get it.  Mom’s not quite herself.

 

We try to bring tragedy into our lives as life lessons.

 

“Mom, don’t wait up.  You’re tired, just go to bed, I’ll be home soon and lock up.”

Ummmm…..No.

 

“But it’s a party – can’t I stay out later?”

Sure.  But we’ll pick you up.

 

“Don’t you trust me?”

Yep.  Just not everyone else out there.

 

 

My mother-in-law died on the afternoon my youngest child was born.  The circle of life.  Upon returning back home I’ve gotten word that a local friend is in labor with her fourth child.  She’s already got three boys and everyone’s excited to see if she’ll finally get herself a little pink bundle or another beautiful bottomless pit of a boy who will single-handedly increase her grocery bill by a third.  Either way, the circle of life again.  A good thing.  A great thing.

 

We hug our kids tighter.

And wish and hope and pray that their time with us is not temporary.

 

 

 

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. 

 

Happiness Is Doing What Your Mama Says (even after she’s gone)

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My mom died five years ago today.

 

I’ve spent the past four anniversaries of her passing confounded by the shock and awe that goes into the passage of time.  I wrote about it last year, and the year before that, and so on.  I’ve always focused on my kids because – truly — nothing is a greater catalyst for maternal awareness than grief and loss.  It halts us:  little boys sprouting facial hair and muscled man-limbs in the blink of an eye, teenage girls blossoming into fascinating young women (with – eek! – boyfriends) and the dizzying commitments on calendar pages that keep us busier and busier (and busier…) with each passing year.  If only we had a dollar for every friend to lament, “Where did the time go?” on a post or picture.  It happens every day.

 

I think this year, though, I’m feeling different. I’m certainly still amazed by the quickness of time (and yes, I am still in disbelief that I can now legally grab a beer with 50% of my children). But I’m finding as time moves on, I am less paralyzed by the passage of it and more accepting of the presence – and present — of it.  I like it.  I really, really like knowing – and even not knowing – something’s coming ahead.  This slight shift in my personal paradigm keeps me excited and hopeful for the future, even on the down days.

 

Graduations.  Colleges.  Engagements.  Professions.  A stubborn boy’s long hair FINALLY getting chopped … There is so much greatness going on at every turn of our lives, and so much promise, it’s almost unfair not to be happy.  I have to be honest:  if my mom ever caught wind that there was anything other than joy where her grandkids are concerned, she would be one pissed chick.

 

So while I miss her like crazy, I can’t often stay sad for more than a moment or two.  That’s just not how she rolled.

 

I’ve no doubt part of my mind shift came with turning 50 this year.

50.

Holymutherfkkingsh*t, right? How the effing hell did that happen?  I’m pretty sure I can still dig up my tee-shirt that boasts “We work less and party more, cuz we’re the class of ’84.”  Seriously, this is something.  A lot of reflection comes with that magic number.  I remember planning my mom’s 50th surprise party.  We crammed all her friends into my tiny newlywed apartment and basically threw her a keg party.  She didn’t drink beer but we did, and as far as entertaining, okay, we knew little else. It worked.  She was elated – and equally annoyed:  she had just become a grandmother and was none too happy that her little baby Jesus didn’t make it to her kegger.  Still, she was surrounded by love.  And was until the end.

 

On these anniversaries I think of the friends my mom left behind and I am so, so sad for them to be going on without her.  I know profoundly the void they feel.

 

She taught me well.  Like her, I’ve become adept at insulating myself with friends who care deeply for me, friends I would do anything for in return.  Most are a phone call away.  Others, a car ride.  One, a plane ride taken on a moment’s notice.

 

Growing up, I used to read Erma Bombeck all the time.  I loved the stuffing out of her.  During winter break of my senior year of college I came across her column in the New York Daily News entitled “No Greater Friend Than a Best Friend.”  I clipped it and held onto it for a couple of months and then mailed it in a birthday card to Kristi, my best friend since 5th grade.  There was rarely a time we were ever living in the same state together for very long.   Kristi held onto it for almost a decade, then sent it back to me in a card for my 30th birthday.   I framed the yellow newsprint and sent it back her way when she turned 40.

 

Naturally it made its way back to me a few months ago.

It’ll hang on my wall for another ten years until, well, you get it.

 

 

How unfathomably fortunate that I have a 40-year friendship going strong?

How impossibly amazing for my mom to be the subject of such beautiful memories for so many?

How ridiculously wrong that my own children didn’t plan my 50th festivities???  (I kid, I kid.  I masterfully controlled every detail.)

 

I think about her every day but I honor her today.

 

You’re on so, so many minds today, Mom.

Cheers and love.

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. 

When the Internet Deems You Crazy: Employment DENIED

Interview Checklist  Job Candidate Requirements

 

Awhile back  I was (apparently) overlooked for a barista job at a major-coffee-retailer-that-shall-not-be-named because (apparently) I didn’t pass their psychological test.  You know, those quick, 40-minute online questionnaires that ask if you are definitely, likely or somewhat capable of public lewdness, ingesting illegal substances or ratting out Dwight Schrute for napping in the break-room.  Initially I chalked it up to the glass of Pinot that was perched next to my laptop while I took the test (which — fine —  may have impacted my honesty.   Hell yeah, of course I can take criticism AND work alone AND be a team player AND …) but I really couldn’t help but think, seriously?

 

I am educated.  And at times well versed. And an ass-kicking multi-tasker.  Yet when that ambiguous and awkward application was sent into cyberspace, nary a response was got.

 

My friend — who not only worked there but had urged me to apply — couldn’t believe it. She’d revealed the place was so short-staffed and desperate for help they couldn’t even cover all the shifts.  When she inquired about my application she got the news:  in their street-light benchmark of attractive applicants I was classified as “yellow,” which of course is better than the flagged (you must be psychotic) “red” but not as desirable as the (you must be Stepford) “green” distinction.

 

Really.

 

She must have given her bosses a pretty convincing you-have-GOT-to-be-kidding-me spiel because as soon as she intervened they pulled my file out of their Won’t-Go-Postal-But-Just-Might-Steal-A-Scone folder and called me in for an interview.

 

It was too late, though.  I won’t  lie:  the chip on my shoulder had already formed.

 

Still, I was curious so I went in.

 

The store manager appeared pleased that I seemed to have all my devices.  She went through the typical interviewing process and smiled and laughed at many of my aloof, sharp, and not-meant-to-be-cute responses (sample:  “So Tina, why do you think you’re a good candidate for this job?”  “Well, I’m not going to stand behind the counter and text my friends.”  If I remember correctly that answer came without even a hint of a smile on my face.

 

I was offered the job on the spot.

 

Really.

 

I didn’t accept the position but it was for the best.  I’m not much into designer coffee anyway and probably couldn’t tell the difference between a latte and a lager (oh wait, yes I could.)   I moved onto greener pastures where (lucky for me) all colors of crazy are embraced.

 

Still, it makes me wonder about all the good applicants that slip through the cyber cracks every day for countless reasons we’ll likely never know.

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait, Who You Calling Old?

mom jeans

Not gonna lie:  I’ve been known to be a little judgmental.  (It’s really just one of the many book titles I’m laying claim to in the innards of my brain:  “I’m Just Saying What You’re Really Thinking”)  So it’s  actually with great irony that I must report how very publicly I was personally  judged this weekend.

 

It came from a twenty-something waitress as she collected menus following my party’s drink and app order.  We asked about the live music scheduled for later in the evening.

 

She surveyed our table and suggested that we might want to leave before the band arrived.

 

Excuse me, what?

 

“Well….they’re a little……” her voice trailed off.

 

What, we pressed.  Loud?  Violent?  (I’m a big music fan but I draw the line at some of the stab-your-grandmother music that’s out there) What?

 

“Ummm,” she shrugged, “I just don’t think you’re gonna like them.”  She walked off.

 

Where’s Steve Martin when you need him:  Again,  excuuuuuse me?

 

Detecting a challenge, we scrapped our plans to move on to a different venue later on and instead got comfortable.  We claimed a pool table and kept the rounds coming.

 

When the band eventually began they opened up with a pretty awesome  Tom Petty song.  (Cue the confused looks at our table. Huh?)

 

For the next three or so hours they played great covers of everything from AC/DC to Van Morrison .  I lost track of how many times I lifted my beer to proudly declare “Ha, THIS is on my I-pod, too!” (it’s a Nano but, you know, whatever).

 

I kept thinking, that snotty waitress can kiss my Adele-sized ass.

 

Now, I’ll admit there might have been a few vibes that (maybe.  perhaps.  if you stretched) hinted we may not have been the hippest bunch.

 

Getting to the bar at 7:30 might’ve been the first red flag,  I get that.  Young people —  like vampires —  repel sunlight and bars before ten.  I know, I know, been there done that.  But I will boast that we were indeed asked to “kindly depart” after the bright fluorescent lights had been on for awhile at last call.  Not a proud mother-of-four moment (and certainly not the first fluorescents we’ve ever seen)  but hey, no one can deny our chutzpah.  It happens (so does taking the next day in its entirety to recover).

 

Also, there was one of us whose six-foot frame took out a speaker (and maybe a couple of bystanders) with a very animated fall on the dance floor (NOT ME).  Lacking the grace of Brian Boitano (funny, how these always seem to happen in slow-motion), okay, maybe that could’ve shined an aging spotlight on us.  (No one got hurt.  I think.  Maybe just their roadie?  I dunno…)

 

And (alright, alright) perhaps a mob of middle-agers hysterically fist-pumping on the dance floor was a bit telling..  Ah well.  Three fingers up to make a W:  What-ev-ah.

 

Maybe a final dead giveaway was how we interacted.  One thing that definitely set us apart from the youngsters around us as how we sat as a group and talked and laughed.  You know, TO EACH OTHER.  At one point, a group of four girls nearby all tapped away on cell phones at the same time.  Having fun, ladies?

We sure did.

Take THAT, kids.

Here’s an interesting end note.  Our waitress was arguably the worst restaurant worker in the history of food service.  Her lack of charm paled in comparison to her professional skills.  We had to hunt her down throughout the night, usually finding her sitting with friends chatting (I know, right?)  Yet we still tipped her well because we are a different generation that does the right thing.  (Not to mention that collectively we could put a sitcom into syndication with all the eyerolling actions of our own young-adult-spawn).  It makes us somewhat forgiving.

 

Yes.  That would be us:  forgiving, freakishly good dancing and not-quite-ready-for-early bird-food-specials fun mongers.      #We’llSleepWhenWe’reDead

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Home Sweet Hope

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I have loved every place I have ever lived, which is a little weird because I probably really (really) shouldn’t have.

 

In college, weeks before the start of my junior year, I got word that my two-bedroom apartment – my first foray out of the juvenile dormitories and into supersonic (yet perceived)  adulthood — had burned to the ground.  Room mates scrambled to find housing and I ended up sharing a dismal studio apartment where — for an entire semester — I shared equal time on a couch or the floor.  Dormitories be damned:  it was awesome.  For real.  My friend Betsy and I bonded like sisters, mastered extremely covert one-night stands and politely replenished the communal TV Guide and pack of Parliaments that adorned the coffee table.  It was bliss.

 

After I’d gotten married I was equally excited about my newlywed apartment and why not?  I had a queen-sized mattress for the first time in my life and my beauty needs always trumped those of my newest room mate.  That tiny bathroom was mine.  The apartment was so small I don’t believe I even noticed that my shiny new toaster oven took up the only patch of counter space I had in the walk-in kitchen (not to be confused with the dimensions of a spacious walk-in closet.  A walk-in kitchen is precisely that:  once you walk in, you can’t walk out if a person has come in after you).

 

My first house was right out of the book (the book of course being entitled You Might Want to Keep Looking).  Gaudy, garish and situated between a junk yard and a train station that —  professionally enough —  had been bypassed by our savvy realtor every time we visited.  Didn’t matter; it was our little slice o’ heaven.  We embraced the avocado green appliances and did what every other first homeowner did:  filled it with cheap furniture (bought on credit, twelve months no interest), pretended to really (really) like the 80s-inspired mauve-and-sage green color scheme and painted a nursery in pastel colors.  There were slugs in the basement (to this day I cannot comprehend how they were getting in), there was paneling on the walls and we were happy.

 

When we said farewell to our families and fled to the beauty of New England, we fell under the enchantment of the (cue in heralding angels singing) New Construction.  There was no garage (not unusual in these parts), there was only one full bathroom and it was blindingly vanilla.  Cheap (white) Formica, cheap (white) linoleum, cheap (kinda white) walls and we barely even noticed the poor quality of construction.  It was our own little Cape Cod castle and we were thrilled.  We dumped a pool into the ground, threw up some outdoor speakers, invited friends up the entire summer long and partied like rock stars.  It was our fun house.  The house that found TV stardom on a makeover show.  “Don’t touch our tile floor,” we pleaded.  But they did.  And we didn’t care.  Our home was brimming with laughter and babies and milestones and debt and I thought we’d stay in it forever.

 

Alas, life beckoned.  We needed to keep paying the bills so off we went again, only this time into a whole new world.  We got a true taste of luxury when life directed us to a beautiful college town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.  Fate found us riding the real estate wave full-throttle into a lush golf course community and ginormous brick home.  We went from having no garage to three.  There were hardwood floors and media rooms and bathrooms for every person old enough to wield a Lysol disinfecting wipe.  There were pools and socials and Bunco and chardonnay on the deck through November and it was nice.  Really nice.  But somehow it didn’t feel like home.  Something was missing.  We jumped at the first opportunity to transfer back and were heading home within ten months; amidst all the grandeur and greenery we didn’t even last a year.

 

So back to New England we came.  And once again I love my house.  There’s no rockin’ pool and there’s no drinking wine outside after say, August, and man, oh man, we are forever with plumbing issues (because there is never going to be a septic system big enough for the things that unfathomably exit boys-to-men bodies) but I just love it.  It’s a pretty house.  And it’s big enough for our family of six and all of our out-of-state visitors and it’s felt like home ever since our first night on air mattresses.  That we’ve been here ten years still catches my breath some days.

 

I’m not the first person to realize that a house with crowds of friends beats out a house with crown moldings every time.  And I know I’m not the only daughter who decided that an airplane ride back to her own mother was entirely too much distance.  And I certainly won’t be the last homeowner to express indigestion over an albatross of a mortgage.

 

But I do know that, without question, at this particular moment in my life, I am in my favorite home.  Ever.

 

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.