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August 16, 2007

Having thoughts

As I was lying in bed last night, trying to clear my head of the goings on of the day and settle into a good night's sleep, my mind suddenly focused on an image of my son lying next to me in bed when he was about 18 months old. He was a particularly sweet baby and always was affectionate and playful with me. I remember pulling out my camera and snapping a picture of him lying there, his tiny little legs bathed in sunlight. He had the widest smile on his face, a smile that reaches into my heart and tugs on a few heartstrings every time I see it.

I realized last night that I miss those tender moments of his youth. Childhood is so precious and so fleeting. My heart aches when I think about how he was the one who made me a parent and helped me grow and mature into motherhood. I miss those times and find that sometimes I'm a bit sad that I'll never experience them again. At the same time, I look forward to other stages of his life and continuing to be his mother as he grows and matures.

So I'm just having thoughts. And that's okay for now.

May 17, 2007

The me that you know, she had some second thoughts

I have an unusual habit. I read mommy blogs quite a bit, yet the only thing I have in common with most of the women who write these blogs is that we're all mothers. My children are mostly grown. Theirs are mostly under the age of 5. My son will be 24 and my daughter will be 17 this year - memories of breastfeeding and diapers faded from view a long time ago. I guess I admire who these women are. Perhaps it isn't so weird for me to observe their shared lives, as they now are me, once.

These days I find myself looking forward to the next phase of my life. I want some of what I gave up in my 20s. I missed that decade of freedom that is a rite of passage for most. I traded it for motherhood and getting married to a man who wasn't meant to be my forever. Now that I've found a relationship that works for me and a man who nurtures who I am, I'm ready to become more of the women I envision myself to be. This is an awesome gift.

I am becoming. My life is being redefined every minute that I move towards the person who I've often thought about... that person who gave up a scholarship to college and instead opted for marriage and a family... that person who followed her dreams of becoming a writer... that woman who found a stronger calling with technology and the internet... that person who still wonders a lot about what tomorrow holds for her and what she'll become.

In September, I turn 40. This fall, I am going back to school because I want to experience more of what this world has to offer me. I will take more risks and push myself to grow. I will listen and trust my intuition. I will remember that I am a creator and that anything is possible for my life and for me.

Edge pieces, completed. Now it's time to work on the middle of the puzzle.

August 24, 2006

Another sign I'm getting old

My daughter has her driving permit now. God help us everyone.

January 06, 2005

Googling For Help

I'd like to consider myself a modern parent, in touch with technology and the trends among the youth of today. I'd like to think that I know enough to have my 14-year-old daughter talk to me and bond with me in a good mother-daughter sort of way. I don't.

It seems communication has broken down between us and her actions lately have been anything but encouraging. I'm officially distraught, and I've been talking to everyone and doing my own bit of research to help me help her help herself. It's perplexing.

Last night I bought a new book, Laying Down the Law. I'm slowly reading through it. I spent this morning looking for answers on Google, typing in combinations that include the words 'teenager' and 'troubled' and 'help' and 'treatment' and 'parenting'. I made a call to the referral line for the behavioral health division of our insurance provider and got a list of therapists specializing in adolescents.

I'm pushing forward with this and fighting for my daughter's future. It's a damning chore, but this is what parents do.. especially modern mothers like me.

December 17, 2004

Twenty-One

Today is my son's 21st birthday. It's unbelievable to me that he's that old. The day he was born is still so fresh in my mind. I'm so connected to those memories because his birth changed my life forever. He is the child who made me a parent.

I was 15 when I became pregnant (and 16 when I delivered). It was my junior year in high school, and everyone had known for several months that I had a decision to make regarding whether to keep the baby or give it up for adoption. That consideration came into the picture a few months before just after I had finally told my mother that I was pregnant.

I had done a terrific job of concealing my pregnancy up until that point. I performed 200 sit ups a night, wore loose fitting clothes, and had a hearty appetite (which explained the need for loose fitting clothes). You hear and read about those girls in high school who go to the prom and have their babies in the bathroom and NO ONE EVER KNEW THEY WERE PREGNANT. And you wonder how that's possible. I'm here to tell you that it is VERY POSSIBLE. I could have been one of those girls.

Even though I was certainly gaining weight, I didn't look six months pregnant. I was wearing a size 9 jeans and had merely grown thicker through my middle. My mother never questioned me whatsoever. No one did. I took pride in my ability to mask the life growing inside of me.

Of course I knew I was pregnant, even though it hadn't been officially confirmed with a pregnancy test. Even so, I made myself question my situation. I had missed periods, but I wasn't very regular. I even had had some breakthrough bleeding a few months into the pregnancy that made me think that I was irregular. I know it sounds illogical; it probably is. But it is exactly where I was mentally. I knew I was pregnant, but I would only allow myself to consider that fact subconsciously. Consciously, I was acting as if I was a normal teenager.

Ultimately, a school official is the one who noticed, and shortly after I told my mother about it, everyone around me knew. Within a WEEK - ONE WEEK - I looked like I was six months pregnant. Those size 9 jeans were no longer part of my wardrobe. THAT is what suppressing reality from yourself can do. Had no one ever questioned me, I wonder if I would have been one of those girls having her baby in the bathroom stall. IN THE BATHROOM STALL. CAN YOU IMAGINE?

But it didn't work out that way, and I'm glad it didn't. Travis being born brought a lot of laughter and love into my life, and we ultimately grew up together since I was just a child when he was born. I miss him running around in my house and showing such enthusiasm for life. I miss his sweetness and open heart. I wish sometimes I could go back and say or do a few things differently that would help guide him in the right direction. As a parent, I expect I'll always wonder if I did ok by him. I did the best I could, and so did he.

But I'm glad he's grown and is living life on his own, on his own terms. He likes to venture a bit off the beaten path, just like I do. Though I wish he were doing more beneficial things with his life than random jobs here and there and hanging out with his friends drinking and doing god knows what (well, I know what, but this is where the ignoring reality stuff comes in handy), I'm glad he's healthy and happy. And relatively safe (as much as any 21-year-old can be).

Happy Birthday, Travis. I love you.

October 26, 2004

@#!^% Teenagers!

It was just yesterday when I mentioned that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in regard to my daughter, Casey. And today she underscored that point by acting all of 13 and trying to pull the wool over my eyes. How dare she! Doesn't she know that I was the master of deception when I was her age and that I KNOW EVERYTHING?

Right now, I'm really tired of being a mother. REALLY TIRED. I would pay good money for a long vacation from parenting. I'm 37 years old and I've been doing this since I was sixteen years old. I know I started young and all, but nearly 21 years of parenting HAS DRIVEN ME CRAZY. I find myself longing for the silence and stillness that's in this house when she's visiting her father or a friend for the weekend. I long for days where there is no homework to be checked, no allowance to be dispersed, no punishments to be handed out and no CRAP to deal with. I'm so very irritated about all of it. THIS WASN'T IN THE MANUAL! I want my money back!

No, I didn't believe her when she told me she was outside sitting right where I could see her when I actually WENT OUTSIDE TO FIND HER, CALLED HER NAME AND SHE DIDN'T ANSWER.

No, I didn't believe that she was on the phone because I PICKED UP THE PHONE AND GOT DIAL TONE! Ha!

And what's worse... WHO THE HELL WAS DRIVING THAT CAR she got out of? LEAVE MY DAUGHTER ALONE! Don't you know that she's not even 14 years old yet?

And for the eternal, life-long question that I know I will never be able to answer: HOW DID MY MOTHER HANDLE ME WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER? Dear God, the woman should be showered with gifts.

My son wasn't an easy child to deal with when he was a teenager, but the worries that come along with having a daughter who is a teenager (and who looks far older than her years, mind you) far outweigh the worries I had with him. Boys are easier. Boys are stupid and will do things right in front of your face. Girls, on the other hand, will nod and smile and tell you they understand the rules and then will go behind your back to break them. AS IF.

During the next segment of my life, after my daughter reaches the age of maturity, is to lavish myself with exotic trips around the world and get the hell out of dodge. I don't want to deal with any child-related problems. I just want a vacation, and I intend to take one. Calgon, where are you?

And maybe I owe my mother more than I realize as well.

October 25, 2004

Falling Apples

Today I went to my daughter's school to pick up her report card and to participate in a student-led parent conference. During this conference, she had to follow a script and read aloud to me all the different things the teachers wanted her to say about the assignments and the grading system they used. Essentially, we reviewed all her schoolwork for the past semester, talked about her strengths and weaknesses and even had a moment or two to chat with her teachers about what a social butterfly my daughter is.

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," I assured her science teacher after he mentioned that Casey could be making an A in his class if she would just shut up and listen during class. WHAT A CONCEPT!

"She gets it honestly, you know" I said. "She comes from a long line of talkers, and it's always been hard to get any of us to be shut up when we're supposed to."

"Oh, well that explains it," said the science teacher. He then turned to my daughter and continued, "Now I know where you get that sarcasm of yours, too."

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