Tag Archives: Tina Drakakis

The Holy Grail of Happiness (or The Best Thing About (Maybe) Moving)

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My husband & I decided to put our house on the market.

We don’t have to sell it but there was a time not too long ago that we almost did.  Our beloved perfect home came with a hefty price tag all those years ago and frankly, the mortgage is a big nut each month.  Always has been.  When my husband lost his job for a bit of time a couple of years ago, we watched in trepidation as that nut grew into an entire tree, leaning and inching closer to our heads and blocking out the sun with every week of a missing paycheck.  Going through financial duress while your kids are all going through college is not for the weak, trust me.

 

Things eventually turned around but that murky fear of what if they don’t really never has been forgotten.   It’s always simmering, bubbling beneath even the happiest of times.  So, while we’re in a stable place right now we decided to test the real estate waters and see if anyone else thinks this place is the bomb, too.  Besides, who doesn’t dream about downsizing?

 

We’ll soon see how that goes but that really isn’t my point in divulging this news.  Hell no.  Instead I am here to publicly proclaim that, because of this experience, I have discovered the Holy Grail of Happiness.  Are you ready?  Have you gathered ‘round closer?  Got your readers on?

 

I implore you to heed my next four words:

 

Throw. Out. Your. Shit.

 

I’m not even kidding; the results will astound you.

 

When we decided to unload our adored albatross we set up a five-month plan for ourselves:

 

Month 1: Purge.

We scheduled Goodwill pickups every month and got to work decluttering.  Heavenly gods of garbage, we had no idea how bad it was (truth:  one never does). We emptied out cabinets that were filled with glassware from our 1990 engagement party, plastic cups from every concert venue on the eastern seaboard and beer cozies from every pub giveaway ever grabbed (my gawd, there’s been a lot of beer in our lives and apparently it’s very important to keep it chilled at all times).   We gathered all the rarely used kitchen gadgets and duplicate cookware (sorry, five friends who once left behind a long-forgotten Pyrex pie plate, all have found another home) and threw them in the pile, too.   Banished were the bridal shower bedsheets and boxed up were the dusty dorm duvets.   It was a start.

 

Month 2: (Purge and) Patch.

We kept purging (sayonara, stacks of children’s books and outdated leather trench coats) but we also started repairing all the yuck.  You know yuck.  Yuck is all the nasty-ass things around your home that have become part of the scenery you’ve been ignoring for years.   We fixed the crack in in the ceiling we’ve stared at for more than a decade.  We patched up walls where little elbows had crashed through the years and smoothed plaster where ninja noggins had bounced.   We cleaned up the scuffs where tiny karate kicks had landed and continued to shell out piles of money to fix things no one would ever notice.  No lie, this sucked.  Like fixing your muffler.

 

Month 3: (Purge and Patch and) Paint.

Yes, of course we kept purging.  It became a Marie Kondo challenge of epic proportions, getting rid of cheerleading trophies and participation ribbons for any spelling bee, geography bee and instructional swim class my kids ever experienced.  Seriously, it was absolutely ridiculous. (You too, right?  WHYYYYYY???)   But now it was time to spruce things up.  We repainted the tired walls of handprints going up each staircase and touched up the bannisters to their original regal state.  We spiffed up the porch, the doors, the treads and the trim.  My husband then tossed together every forgotten partial gallon of paint that had been neglected in the basement and created a new color.   He rolled it onto the basement floor and gave it a crisp, clean facade.  My friend/realtor was impressed (a clean and organized basement tells potential buyers you take care of your things—who knew?) but my husband was merely on a mission to get those paint cans gone.

 

Month 4: (Purge and Patch and Paint and) Pack.

HELL YESSSSS we kept purging.  Why did I save every single report card from every single semester for every single kid?  Because we all do, that’s why.   While not as bad as some of my friends (I did not, like one, save baby teeth #gag), I duly saved everything else like most moms.  I carefully sorted through a filing cabinet of homemade Mother’s Day cards, second grade artwork, pediatrician growth forms, prom mementos and a plethora of keepsakes my now-adult children wouldn’t care to look at twice.  No joke:  it was incredibly hard tossing away all those sentiments of time flown but most of it was silly, even by mom standards.  We packed our most-cherished memories (no teeth) into meticulously labeled rubber totes and stacked them neatly in the basement (you know, on the nice painted floor).

 

Month 5: (Purge and Patch and Paint and Pack and) Prepare.

When all that was done (ahead of schedule – it really is amazing how addicted you become to Throwing.  Shit.  Out.)  we started staging the house.  In simpler terms this means eradicating all evidence that you ever actually lived there.  Spoiler alert: this was the toughest part.   Amazing and happy framed photos of my whole family adorn walls in every room of our home.  Even the bathroom.  To remove each one and carefully encase it in bubble wrap, not knowing when — or where —  it would come back out, was torture.  And it screamed of finality.  Wait.  Are we really doing this?  Are we sure?  Really?

 

Man, I hated that.

 

So now we wait.   We have no idea where we’ll go or what we’ll do if it does sell but I will say, the whole endeavor has given my better half & me a lot of opportunity to chat … and muse … and dream … and ponder what our next life adventure will be.   We’re in the second act of our sitcom life and it’s not such a bad thing having another common interest after 30-plus years together. We spend weekends creeping at Open Houses and put homes on our Please Wait for Us List … only to dutifully cross them out when they  get snatched up and move to our Ones That Got Away List.

 

It’s all good.

 

Even better, should others somehow not find our organized basement so appealing, we’ve already committed to a Plan B: unpacking some bubble wrap and staying put for a little while longer in our spit-shined, shit-free home. With this view.  Definitely not so bad.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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 9: Parenting Horrific Behavior. Would You Know? Could You?

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Usually around this time of year I become a bit melancholy.  It’s not seasonal blues, like those stomach flutters that used to surface with the sounds of the late summer Levi’s commercial coming from the console.  This anniversary month of my mom’s passing always seems to bring intense reflection, like an internal clock tower that sounds bells alerting me that another year has passed without her.  As if I could forget.  Without fail, August always makes me think of what she’s been missing.  It also makes ponder how I’m doing as a mom.

 

While I’m typically a little subdued to begin with, this year in particular finds the universal mood not helping.  Still absorbing the recent dreadful news of multiple mass shootings at the hands of young adults, I then scrolled across other appallingly awful headlines:

“17-Year-Old Kills Cat with Bow and Arrow”

“2 Teens Throw 6-Year-Old Off Museum Roof”

“Teen Expelled, Arrested for Racist Gun Video, Says He ‘Hates Blacks’”

 

What in the flying fkkkk is going on?

 

I’m a pretty avid fan of true-crime (not a podcast band-wagoner but a legit 1980s Ann Rule aficionado) and I know horrific, unspeakable acts of violence have been going on for decades.  The only difference is now we hear about them daily (thank you, Internet & frenzied mosh-pit of media).  Seems these stories are appearing more and more frequently and the sheer amount of young perpetrators is more than a little unnerving.

 

As a mother, my thoughts inevitably turn to the parents of the accused.  How did they – how could they –  not know something was seriously, horrifyingly amiss with their kids?

 

I think I’d know.

 

I think I’d know if my kid was hurting animals.

 

I think I’d know if my kid was using (stockpiling, fantasizing over, obsessing about) guns.

 

I think I’d know if my kid was hateful. Or racist. Or intolerant. Or more than just a typical, idiotic, sowing-his-oats-with-stupidity adolescent.

 

I would know.  I’m sure of it.

 

I’d know because at the risk of being incredibly disliked by my kids, I’ve always set boundaries.  Boundaries that distinctly indicated right and wrong behavior.  Boundaries that let them know when a line was crossed.  Boundaries that specified exactly what was not going to be tolerated and why.

 

I even utilized rudimentary (okay sure, judgmental) boundaries that also offered acceptable and unacceptable suggestions about societal presentation.  Take tattoos.  I don’t dislike tattoos and most of my loved ones sport them.  Some are even 100% mandatory (crushing your 1st NYC marathon at age 50?  Ink up, my rock star husband!).  But I’ve never allowed my kids to have them – unless they wanted to relinquish rent-free living in my home.

Why?

 

Because along with the obvious (if a kid has money to burn on body art shouldn’t a kid have money to contribute to my groceries or Game of Thrones bill?), I also believe kids are super dumb and shouldn’t have to pay penance forever for all the super dumb decisions they make in youth.  I remember exactly what I said to my daughter’s emotional appeal while in high school:  You don’t even wear the same clothes you did four months ago that you (*shriek) loved and had to have.  What makes you think you’re going to (*shriek) love a tattoo at 25 that you picked out at 18?   Please.

 

But here was my real reason:  Teens and young adults have enough going against them without the side-eye of a judgmental society. It was my mantra:  Life is hard enough, don’t do anything to limit your options.

 

Wait on it, I urged all my kids (so far, they have.)  And good grief, unless you’re outdoors braving the elements, lose that ridiculous hoodie.

 

I had a recent conversation about boundaries with my son (you know, a conversation about why I was being the buzzkill parent saying NO for the umpteenth time).  I told him about the father and teenage son I watched walking into a store ahead of me.  The waistband of the kid’s pants hung just underneath his buttocks.  I admitted to my son that my second thought (the first being, hmmph, I didn’t know that was still a thing) was, that poor kid.  That poor kid doesn’t have one worthy adult in his life to look at him and say, “Pull your pants up, you look like an idiot” and that was incredibly sad to me.  It made me wonder what else he was allowed to do unchallenged in his home.

 

I then told him about a cashier I recently encountered.  It was at an icky thrift store (which – disclaimer and stone cold admission —  I do NOT care for.  I went in with a friend who absolutely loves them.  Blecchh.  Sorry, I yam what I yam. I don’t like those and I don’t go to yard sales. I’m a Walmart gal through and through:  I’d rather buy it cheap and new than cheap and used.  Meh. We all have our thing.  Leave me to my draft beer in a plastic cup thankyouverymuch).  Anyway, here was this young man:  facial tattoos, spiked hair a foot high, earlobe plugs the size of teacup saucers chained to his nostril hoops … you get the picture.  It was truly the stuff of parental nightmares. The thing is, I felt really bad for him, too.  Was there not one voice of reason in his life to ever say,  Kid, what say you pump the brakes on that idea?   Or, How about waiting until you’re older to permanently scar your body.  Or even, No, you will not visit your grandmother looking like that, go upstairs and change.

 

I wondered, did any adult ever forewarn these kids about limiting their options in life?

 

Please, oh please, see my big picture here.  I am in no way connecting dots to declare that kids with ass-draggy pants and tattoos are all growing up to be gun-toting, hate-spewing mass murderers.  My kids are far from pillars of society and I am actively in the trenches of vaping and weed and booze … Really — a soapbox I have none.

 

I just think maybe we can start someplace small with giving kids the boundaries they need, even crave.

 

If I can sustain countless arguments holding firm on the small stuff – the piercings, the rainbow-brite hair, the endless sleepovers, the curfews and – my favorite — the relentless “you’re the ONLY parent who does this” nonsense … you can bet your sweet ass I’d have a thing or two to say about my kid walking around in a trench coat.  Or brooding around longer than what Dr. Phil would deem typical.  Or talking back to a teacher.  Or bus driver.  Or any adult.

 

Killing children.  Killing pets.  Spewing hate.  Hiding guns.  Using guns.

 

I’m really struggling with it.  Where does it start?  How do parents not know?

 

How could you not know?

 

I would know.  And if she was still here, my mom would know, too.

 

#   #   #   #

 

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/

 

A Momoir, Chapter 8: High School Graduation – My Big Fat So What

grad

I’ve reached the parenting milestone where every one of my kids is an adult but I’m quickly finding out my reaction to this coup may not exactly be the norm.

 

(Really Tina, you don’t say.)

 

As my youngest’s high school graduation loomed recently I became increasingly curious as the emotional Facebook posts amplified with fervor on my feed … while I continued to post apeshit OMGs over every Game of Thrones episode.  At my attendance at each of the requisite senior assemblies I watched as other moms passed around tissues … while I checked my watch, gauging my arrival to work.

 

I scrolled daily.

 

Where did the time go???? (multiple punctuation marks)

 

I just can’t believe it! (multiple sad emojis)

 

So proud! (picture, picture, picture, pic…)

 

And there I was, still tilting my head (posting IN MY MIND of course because I ain’t that troll spitting on others’ sunshine) and musing  Um, we’re all still talking about high school, right? Um, isn’t this supposed to happen?

 

Maybe there was something wrong with me.  Had I become world-weary?  Jaded?  Cynical?  I mean, for a school career, my kid had a pretty great run.  He did well academically, he had impressive moments on the field and he garnered a few local headlines that at times placed him above his peers.  Kudos.  Back pat.  Way to go.

 

Now, move on.

 

I’m sorry (not sorry) it’s just never been something I’ve ever thought was a big deal.  In fact it’s been unconditionally expected for all of my kids.  Truth:  They all came from a stable foundation, had a roof over their heads, food on their tables and parents who kept external stressors to a minimum during their educational run.  Getting through high school was their only job and while I enjoyed every moment on a bleacher and duly scrapbooked every news clipping, plainly put, I’m over it.

 

And (more truth): now more incredibly excited to see what they’ll all do when left to their own machinations.

 

There are certain moments I’ll always remember and keep in the forefront of my memory (God willing, despite being incapable of remembering where I was last week or where I filed those donation receipts) but there is without question one Mom Moment that I will hold onto for a very, very long time (you know, until the moment gets taken over by this kid running NASA or curing cancer or I don’t know, taking out the trash without being asked).

 

My paramount takeaway from my final kid’s high school experience was actually my own experience during his last hurrah, at his last assembly.  As the graduating class walked in, swishing in their robes, past the parents, and onto the stage, I (looked up from my watch, naturally and) caught a glimpse of some other parents as he walked by.  We live in a small Norm-from-Cheers town, where everybody knows your name and most, if not all, parents know each other by a history of six degrees of K-12 separation (or siblings).   Many of these parents – better than me, who’d arrived early and had scored the enviable, photography-worthy aisle seats (unlike myself, sitting in the back, closer to my car) watched as my kid walked by.  As he did, and since I had the panoramic of the auditorium from my vantage point in the back (totally planned) I caught sight of some parents and saw their smiles broaden.  I scanned some more faces and saw it repeated, and witnessed the creases in their crow’s feet deepen, too.  Some others applauded more heartily and fist bumped as he passed.   My insides swelled.  There was such tremendous and genuine affection and fondness in their expressions I found myself only watching the crowd as he passed.  Those that know him were beaming and it was a vision I will never, ever forget (memory be damned – it’s in a blog now   — #internetforever).

 

I don’t think anything could ever make me any prouder as a parent.

 

(In fact as soon as those wet towels are picked up I am soooo posting about it.)

 

Without question, I highly recommend reading the room whenever your kid walks in.  It just may give you all the validation you’ll ever need in life.

 

#   #   #   #

 

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/

 

A Momoir, Chapter 7: Hello, Happiness? Are you out there? Hello? Hello…?

happy

A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.

Despite being traced as far back as Jackie Kennedy, likely even earlier, I’d never heard this saying until my sister nonchalantly said it over Thanksgiving. My mind keeps coming back to it because it’s actually quite profound if you think about it. These days especially.

Why? Because as I’m finding out, a lot of kids really aren’t that happy. And if that saying holds any truth … good grief. There goes my dream of stress-free evenings of karaoke in my retirement village because there’s a fair chance I may be fretting forever.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately for good reason. With four kids in varying stages of young-adulthood there’s a smattering of unhappiness in my family on any given day. I can’t seem to keep up with it and most days I don’t know how to make it go away. As all moms know, the feeling of helplessness is the worst.

On the surface, my kids have lived fairly mundane, non-traumatic lives. Typical extraneous factors aside (not making a coveted team, middle school bullying, romantic heartbreak) they’ve all encountered life’s disappointments with little residual scarring. It might’ve helped that most of their setbacks were met with my steely shrugs. Hell, they were taught at an early age that toys from the dollar store would not last the car ride home: yes, you can have it but no crying when it breaks, k? Dry those eyes, get that chin up and move on. It’s not the end of the world. This too shall pass. Glass half full.

You get the picture.

But it seems my tough tactics notwithstanding, things got a little muddy in between SATs and graduation gowns. The Expectation vs. Reality of the real world is crippling our young adults and now I — and dozens of friends — are finding ourselves helping them navigate a reality they have been utterly unprepared for. I know plenty of kids (“kids” in their twenties) who are floundering, feeling unfulfilled, filing away their diplomas to work as bartenders and nannies and quitting six figure salary jobs because they’re just not happy. Um, what?

This confounds me for when I think back at my own young-adult journey it didn’t seem so … I don’t know, difficult. After turning my back on the circus that was high school (because hello, high school is a circus for every generation. Period.) I went off to college – where I stayed for four straight years: dropping classes, adding classes, switching majors, drinking too much, kissing wrong guys, coming home at Christmas because … everyone did. Three days after graduation I pounded the pavement with a neat stack of freshly typed resumes under my arm and took the first job offer that came. Thus began Chapter One of My So-Called Adult Life.

It was 1988 and we were all following the bread crumbs sprinkled by Gordon Gekko and Tess McGill (“….Leeeeeeeeeeet the river ruuuuuuuun!”) and when those first jobs sucked (at $14k a year most did), we typed up new resumes and got new ones. Chin up, move on.

We didn’t backpack through Europe. We didn’t take a gap year. We didn’t even come home from college until they closed the dorms on us. Today, if I had a dollar for every kid I know that went off to college and didn’t finish out the year (one of my own included) lord, I’d have some purdy nice things to unload on Ebay.

Sadly, our kids are setting out to find euphoric satisfaction in life and they’re becoming disillusioned to discover that is a most elusive achievement.

Recently I had a conversation with my daughter (23). I’ve written of her before because she is a brilliant being and a remarkable soul. She finished college in less than four years and is, ahem, no dummy. Currently she’s living across the country, experiencing the beauty of other regions, seeking her own life satisfaction and is – for the most part — happy. But she shared a thought with me that pointed out this dilemma rather succinctly. She said her generation has been groomed (thank you, Ted Talks and progressive professors) to be bold and follow their dreams. To engage in their passions. To focus on what makes them happy and just do it.

Yet what she and her friends are finding – all these years later – is that their passionate happy dreams … are not exactly paying their bills. Life, it turns out, is expensive. Some are becoming slowly cynical by this stark realization and finding themselves in a Now what? conundrum.

What’s so wrong with following your passion on the weekends? she mused.

I concurred and admitted that while I love to write, if I was forced to stare at my laptop and do it every single day I might begin to loathe it. Then I reminded her that most adults (cough, my age) don’t go skipping off to their jobs each morning singing songs and shitting confetti on their way but most would agree we’re happy nonetheless. Chin up, move on.

Her remarks made me believe that – despite the constant worry that comes with parenting a child from afar – the kid’s going to be alright. Luckily, she’s starting to get it (soooooo, talk to your bothers, will ya?).

Still, it got me thinking. Since all these grand ideas about happiness being force-fed into youthful minds are not turning out to be so grand after all, maybe there needs to be some menu changes on that advice buffet they’re chowing on.

For starters, we’re insisting that kids select college majors while they’re still in high school. That is absurd. The sheer amount of times my kids change their clothing or hair styles leaves me doubtful they’d ever stick with any decision that seemed like a good idea at 16 or 17.

We’re also jumping aboard a crazy train when it comes time for college applications. Here’s a thought: if a kid can barely get him/herself up and off to school – FOR FREE – what makes any parent think it’ll happen when they’re hundreds of miles away with thousands of dollars on the line and a gazillion other distractions?

Funny. We’re telling kids to go off and journey to find their life happiness when they’ve never used public transportation … or written out a check … or paid a bill … or even fully understand the words remit, interest, fee

I don’t know. Today is not the day I can solve this problem. It just seemed a helluva lot easier being content when we were blindly following the Brat Pack and dreaming about DeLoreans.

I keep my fingers crossed that my kids will come to learn that their road to happiness is winding and full of red lights …

… and that sometimes being stuck in a traffic jam allows a person some needed time to think about the direction s/he’s headed in …

… and that it’s always okay to change your course. Always.

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/

(SHORT READ!) Ugh. My Husband was Right. (I hate that)

pigs

(pigs in blankets — my idea, not his)

 

I don’t always listen to my husband.  I mean, come on, the guy sprouts jazz hands and waves them in the air (like he just don’t care) on dance floors.  But he’s pretty smart (never returns from NY without bagels and knishes for us) and every now and then he comes up with a pretty good idea.

 

He read a recent blog of mine and after offering his obligatory praise (see? smart) remarked that while he really liked it (dramatic pause while I failed in arching an eyebrow – seriously I am a biological bore – can’t roll my tongue either)… he said he thought it was a little long and remember when I used to write shorter, funnier pieces?

 

After I killed him in his sleep in my mind, I realized:  Hmmm.  He’s right.

 

A boatload of years ago I started blogging for the online version of a magazine-that-shall-not-be-named and used to post a slew of stories and funny experiences of my life.  Kids being a**holes?  Wrote about it.  Husband being insensitive?  Fer’surrre: written in all caps.

 

After that rag unceremoniously shut down their site (bitter much, T?) and I forged out on my own, I kinda got away from that.  Well, also in fairness, my kids hit their adolescence stage of development when, you know, every incident was a CASTASTROPHE and their mom was SO INCREDIBLY LAME so I did my best to protect their identities and embarrassment.

 

Well, now that they’re all cusping on adulthood and clearly could care less about their mom’s online presence (Breaking News, Kids:  Mom’s written a blog for a decade) I’m going to try to get back to that every now and then.

 

Sometimes I just want to rant (really?  Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper is released?  That is 100% bullsh*t).

 

Sometimes I just want to showcase my coolness (did you see Emila Clarke’s new tattoo of 3 baby dragons?)  *flips hair *  Sure, I follow her on Insta.

 

Sometimes I just want to throw a little shade on people I’ll never meet (MARIAH:  PLEASE STOP WEARING LINGERIE IN PUBLIC).

 

Sometimes I just want to spotlight stupidity (must we still be reminding women not to throw their nasty sanitary products in the toilet with embossed signage?)

 

And sometimes I just want my friend Mike to read some of my stuff because he’s always saying, “You’re funny, T, but that sh*t’s too long for me to get through.”  I get you, Mike, I get you.

 

So for these quick insights I’ll be keeping my eyes on the word count and when there’s a super short outburst coming your way I’ll use SHORT READ! or something like that in the title.  Maybe I’ll just post Mike’s picture.  Haven’t decided yet.

 

I’ve only got a few words left before signing off on this preliminary post of Seinfeld-nothingness so I’m just going to let everyone know I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole which is the “My Favorite Murder” podcast. Oh.  My.  Gawwwwd.  I just love it.  It is the hilarious reason why I’ve stopped interacting with my family while I’m cooking dinner and (admittedly) my coolness factor would have increased a year ago had I listened to my daughter and started it when she first told me about it.  Their tagline is “Stay Sexy.  Don’t Get Murdered.”  They are the best.

 

(Found a fork in the bathroom again, though, sooooooo kids are still being occasional a**holes.  Will have to get to that next time.)

Okay, that’s it.  I’m out.

MFM

(check them out)

 

(and this is Mike after reading one of my blogs….)

 

mike

 

 

 

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/