Tag Archives: Parenting

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.