Category Archives: Parenting

The Planner Failed To Plan

You ever know about something early yet nothing gets done? It isn’t entirely your fault, though. Life happened, kids got all needy with their needs and your financial sitch got dicey a few times. You knew none of that was going to get in the way. You saw said thing coming and then it all pretty much went to shit.

I am a little light in the pocket and on a normal April Thursday, I would not be phased. Only, this April Thursday is different. It is the wrong time. Graduation is a month away.

Remember said thing you saw coming? Imagine you saw it coming eighteen years ago and stood idly by while the slowest train in history pulled into the station. You had a daily reminder living and growing before your very eyes yet you didn’t plan. For shame.

On paper, before kids, it is easy to say “We will save $5 a week until he/she is 18.” Or “We after they are born we will start saving for college.” But when life hands you lemons and you have no patience for lemonade you wave off their little $5. Suddenly the furnace is broken or you need just one more day of gas or you have no job and you think ‘I have plenty of time.’ And instead of saving you start surviving.

Here, eighteen years later I realize (painfully) the planner failed to plan. Aint that somethin’? The one person who can compile planners, charts and papers at the drop of a hat didn’t prepare for this moment. And here I stand staring blankly at the nothingness I have to offer.

Life lesson #75: plan for the inevitable. There are a few things that happen in life we have the responsibility to actually prepare for death, birth, flat tires, car breakdowns, and at least one hospital visit. If you have kids, high school graduation always comes (at the same time in life…go figure).

Luckily, most high school graduates who are itching to take the real world by storm don’t care much about dinners or brunches celebrating their accomplishment. About 99% of these young men and women are clamoring to shed the flimsy gowns and uniform dress attire and head to the nearest party. Spending their first moments of freedom with their elders and parents isn’t exactly top of mind. And because of that, I release myself from all the guilt of not being planner perfect and responsible.

Even though I would prefer to have the graduation brunch of a lifetime with cloth napkins and delish chef specialties, I know it isn’t worth the trouble. He really won’t care. And even though I failed to plan for the inevitable, it isn’t decorations or amazing graduation gifts he is concerned with. Deep down, what matters to him most is that we are there. He cares that we are somewhere in the crowd proud of him for being his own kind of great.

~SM

Hard Head = Soft Arss

Oh, the joy of selfish, self-centered, selfish (did I say that twice?) teenagers. They are truly what makes the world go ‘round. Them and all their ‘Me Me Me’. It makes the world a much better place and it provides parents of said teens a respite from the everyday struggles of Life Life Life. Said no one ever.

Being a parent of a teen makes you question every wrong thing you ever did…EVER. I find myself sitting in the dark going over the boneheaded, disrespectful, annoying, self-centered things I ever did to The Parents. I was often met with general hissed words that went something like ‘as much as your mother/father does for you….the least you could do is…stop being so damn selfish….’ You know, typical parent to teen conversation.

But parents are dumb. They don’t know anything. They have no clue how it feels to be [insert asshole teenage issue here]. They are all old and stuff. What do they know?

Welp, parents know more than you, assclown…is what she doesn’t say to her eighteen-year-old-self-absorbed-know-it-all child. Instead, I stand down. I wave the white flag and snicker behind their back. Know why? Yea, you do. You know why. You know the moment they step foot onto that real-world sidewalk life comes fast. Cars break down, paychecks get sucked up by everything but wants, love hurts, food does not just magically appear in the pantry, and the decision between a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas is life changing. See, they don’t know that. They have no idea what they are about to walk into.

But those are lessons you just simply cannot teach. They just have to cut teeth on ’em, as the old folks say. It is a train wreck hard for us to watch, but for them it is necessary.

When the teenage monster rears its ugly, hormonal, pimply, smelly head, I rarely say a thing. There will come a time when they are sitting in the dark and think back on every idiotic moment and cringe. They may or may not apologize. They may or may not pick up the phone just to hear my voice or come visit just for a hug, but I will know they know. Life isn’t so easy, is it? Can’t always have your way, can you? Pouting doesn’t work out there, does it? Mmmmhm…didn’t think so. It is okay, you needed to figure it out for yourself. No amount of yelling, grounding or PS4/iPhone snatching was going to get through that thick skull. Only life can do that (wink).

~SM

Family Mending

In just a few days, I will experience a one year wedding anniversary for the second time. To look back beyond the last 365 days, the way I saw things going is not exactly how they turned out. For instance, I never quite expected to be celebrating one year of wedded bliss yet again, with a whole new person–my person–I might add. I most definitely never saw our beautifully complicated little family coexisting in legit bliss—give or take a few bumps here and there.

It was never intentional, the family we created. We (the adults) never saw any of this coming. I often tell YG when people make decisions it never affects only them. There is a ripple effect and it disrupts even the most secured. What we do today, no matter how minuscule, can have a profound effect on tomorrow. All of our decisions set the course for this moment, right here, to unfold exactly as it has. It is a little funny to see/hear people’s reactions when they find out who our cast of characters in this odd play is.

The bomb we dropped as adults produced a huge shockwave rippling the earth, reaching the farthest corners of our friends and family. There are always options when shockwaves happen. That which has fallen and been destroyed can be repaired or it can be left for dead. The displaced can turn away in search of something new, better, stronger. Not everything is worth repair. Not all foundations are meant to be examined and restructured. Not all relationships are capable of being better. All it takes is a little assessment. When the damage is assessed, what is left…is it important enough to be fixed? When the rumbling ceases and the ground no longer threatens to split wide open, when the structure has fallen, when the foundation is leveled, who is left? Are they important enough to rebuild? Are they important enough to roll up sleeves and dig in with bare hands? Or is it more beneficial to just turn away in search of newer, better, stronger?

Our foundation, as feeble as it was, needed repair. It needed to be given fresh eyes. Nothing we have done thus far has been for us. No dinners, no parties, no cordial conversations were ever for us. We never intentionally sought out this weird, yet functional family. We sought one thing: stability. That was the entire reason to rebuild what was lost. If the foundation was stable (this time), then all who entered, all who were meant to be sheltered from the cold, wind and rain could rest in comfort and love.

We began with forgiveness, added growth,  sprinkled in the release, and covered it with love. We made it big enough to withstand us all and then some. It took time for it to be completed and it certainly was not easy, but for those who enter it is safe, warm and full of love. Time heals wounds, yes. But love erases the ugly scars.

None of this has gone to plan, but that is okay. Seeing the beautiful outcome of what could have been a disaster, everything abandoned—nothing repaired, is more than enough for me. We all learned a valuable lesson about movement. Nothing can ever be if we don’t first move. The optimal direction is forward, but not all are capable. I am just so grateful to the past and the present we were able to step forward for the future. Alright, Alright.

~SM

Humble Much?

Each of my children is special. Yes, most parents believe that and they should, but it is clear to see from an early age that each of my littles has a serious purpose. One was born with a spirit of observation and understanding. Another the spirit of pure, easy joy. And, another with the spirit of accomplishment. Only one, however, was born with the hardest of heads and the softest of…

The Boy was forced into this world (after deciding in utero that being in there was way better than being out here). Shortly after he was rolled out onto the scene (literally), his brain was trying to make the body do the impossible. Crawl? Please. I would rather walk. Walk? No thank you. I would rather run. And, eventually, when his body and mind began to work in tandem he did just that.

The Ex and I endured years of him running, jumping and dare deviling. On any given day, strangers stop him to shake his hand or wave hello. “How do you know them?” I ask. As a youngin I would get a direct answer like “Oh, he’s Coach so and so” or “I played against him in [insert sport here]”, but today I get a cocky smile, a wink, and a “Cmon Mommy. I’m [The Boy].” Humble much?

As he grew into a young man and life started getting a smidge difficult, I would remind him to attempt humbleness. To him, everything is easy because…well…he’s [The Boy]. Until it isn’t. And when it isn’t we are subjected to fits of silence and the banana face.

There is something peaceful about being humble. The action of stripping off the ego and admitting you are not [insert egotistical thought here] feels freeing. Breath comes easier, shoulders lower, muscles relax. We are no longer fighting against what we truly don’t know. We are no longer swimming upstream.

Last night, his room washed in darkness, his long body sprawled across the bed, and his head covered I wanted to tell him to be humble. His most recent nemesis (the driving test) had him pouting and struggling to understand why he could not pass. He was [The Boy], after all. “Yes,” I wanted to say, “you are amazing. Yes, you are special. Yes, God blessed you to be a master in your gift, but not everything in your path will be easy. Sometimes, son, you have to step down, tamp down the confidence. Humility is most important because in the humble is where the learning happens.” Instead, I just stood in the doorway and watched him ignore me. After a moment, I shut his door and walked away without a word. This time he would have to find it out on his own. Hard heads make for soft behinds. Pretty soon, he will get tired of having a sore ass.

~SM

Best Wishes To My Beloved

Beloved,

Time is moving so quickly, yet to you, it probably feels as though it is moving at a snail’s pace. Life is about to come at us fast as if it hasn’t already. We will look back on this day (and all the others) and wonder where the time had gone. I have loved many, but none like you. We are forever connected, no matter how our roles may change.

You will leave. You will grow. You will find trouble and love and adventure mixed together along the way. You will get your heart broken and have moments of loneliness. Tears will fall, time will fly and life will be electric–buzzing around you with possibility.

I will leave. I will grow toward gray. I have found my trouble and love and adventure all mixed together along this journey. My heart has been broken and I have cried. Tears fell, the time has flown and the electricity of life is still buzzing, just perhaps not as loudly.  What little advice I can offer is to keep your feet on the ground as much as you can. Be humble in the moments when the world calls you to be anything but. Hold your heart open and extend the softer side of yourself during the time when being hardhearted is easiest. Speak after and think it through first. Words, your words, are bond. Mean what you say but hear the other side. Admit when you are wrong and be open to learning, always. Don’t just look ahead, but find some time to broaden your vision to see it all.

I have not been perfect.  But that is the beauty of life, you see. In the imperfection lies the meat of living. Embrace your imperfections and never stop moving. Always push forward, especially when you don’t feel you can. An inch is just as far as a mile. Watch. Listen. Learn.

Life is coming and it is coming fast. Before long you will have loves of your own, bills of your own and hard decisions of your own. Don’t be afraid to look back, to ask, to grow, to cry, to love, to listen, to be silent, to be you. Put all trust in Him and grab onto Him to steady yourself before you stumble. Greet every day with a smile, even when dark clouds are overhead.

I have had the pleasure and the privilege to love you. I will continue to love you from afar as you inch away from home base. Just know, no matter what I have or where I am, I am your home and home is always open.

Enjoy this moment and all of those moments coming. I know I will.

With Love Always,

Me

Hi-ho, Hi-ho

I just had a baby. Yes. Me. The woman who said she would never have another child nor get married. I managed to (a) have another one and (b) marry the baby daddy, too (Young Gun…’member him?). I made plans and God laughed. Doesn’t He always?

Said four-month-old baby is miles away getting fed and changed by daycare ladies while I am at work squirming in a hard arss chair (which I am convinced is grinding my vagina bones into dust little by little). I have checked the daycare daily report feed about thirty times in the last two hours. I can’t even. This is not for me.

I say work is not for me but in all actuality it isn’t the working that’s not for me, it’s the being back in…hmmm…. society? Not saying SAM’s aren’t apart of society. I just wasn’t. I barely brushed my hair or cleaned my underboob (or wore a bra) while I was a temporary SAM.  Now I am thrust back into rush hour traffic, eating Pop-Tarts for lunch, and fake smiling. I have been thrown back into wearing underwear and shoes. I am subjected to professional stuff. If I was not one of those go-to-work-only-to-daydream-about-being-home kind of people before, I am today.

I mean, I could totally flip my desk over and burn up the road. I could call Young Gun and tell him I quit this $!@#. He would understand. He would say okay and freak out behind my back. I could plan my day around going to the WIC office and applying for government assistance. I could go to Starbucks and work on the next great American novel. I could be with Cookie. There could be fresh baked cookies or muffins for The Boy and The Girl when they get home from school. Dinner could be ready as soon as Young Gun hits the door. There could be forest animals flitting about and little singing dwarves dropping by. It could be….

A mess. An absolute mess. Who am I kidding? None of that would happen. There would be fresh nothing for the older kids, dinner would still be rushed, burnt and late, the only animals flitting about would be Tinkerbell and all her little flea friends. I would end up sitting at Starbucks getting fatter (and broker) by the day and writing the next FB post instead of a novel. *Sigh* As much as I don’t wanna admit it, sitting in a cubical on this vagina-bone-grinder might just be where I need to be—for now. At least until I grow up a little or win the lottery…whichever comes first (wink).

~SM

Feeling Replaceable

The biggest problem with loss is the feeling of being replaceable. Sure, it is nice to be the dumper or the two-week-noticer, but when you are not, it doesn’t feel so good. I got a taste of that when I was unexpectadely reminded that even though I am the mother, there is always room for one more.

It is something you think about when you have an ex anything and there are kids involved. You forget there is the potential for your off spring to bond with another adult. You ex has bonded, but you could give two shits about that particular bond (matter of fact you have often wished they got stuck together like humping dogs in the street). No. What worries you most is her (or him) glopping themselves onto your kids with fun stuff like shopping and outings and your kids sticking. After all, you are the rule setter, the drill sergeant, the taxi, the bill payer, the yeller, the spanker, the bad guy and on the tired days the ‘i don’t care’ guy. You don’t get the luxury of every other weekend fun in the sun spoil time with your children. Your spoil time and your mom time is intermingled together and it can be hard to tell the difference. To them…you are just mom…and to you…well…maybe you are not entirely replaceable but you certainly aren’t alone and it hurts.

It hurts somewhere way deep down, in a place no one can quite touch, when you think about being replaced. When your boss lays you off to replace you with someone younger and cheaper–it hurts. When your significant other breaks it off to replace you with whomever–it hurts. When your kids replace you with a girl/boyfriend, or just activities and friends in general–it hurts. But I suppose it doesn’t have to.

Looking at it behind mature lenses, we are truly irreplaceable. Someone can fill our seat momentarily, sure, but we are marvelously, wonderfully made uniquely enough so that no one person can step comfortably in our footsteps. There is only one you. There is only one me. Of course…I prefer to seethe and throw a tantrum about the potential of the Replacement, but that’s only because that feels better than being all yogi-om and mature. Realistically (here’s the mature crap again), I should know my worth and I should know my place within this world and in the hearts of those who truly love me. Why…I am smwart. I am kand. I am impowtant. Can’t take that away, no matter how much glitter and gold is thrown in the air.

~SM

Cinderella: The Demise of Relationship Reality

I sat in a theater seat next to The Girl and watched wide eyed and hopeful as (Cinder)Ella found her true love. I can’t lie, I believed in that whole story book love until a few years ago. I believed in Prince Charmings and Love At First Sightings. I believed that love is everlasting and can heal all ails. I believed in big beautiful dresses and romantic moments. I believed the fairy tales spun for my enjoyment as a little girl and I carried the possibility of those tales with me for well over 30 years. Sitting there, watching ‘true love’ spill off of the screen left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Reality is far from that depiction of relationships. It saddened me a bit.

I remember the year I told the kids Santa wasn’t real. It changed Christmas forever. It just doesn’t feel the same. The magical bubble had been popped and now it feels like just another lazy t.v. watching day off from school and work. Watching Cinderella felt similar. The magical bubble of true love and fairy god-mothers and beautiful dresses and Prince Charmings had been popped. It felt just like another lazy movie watching day off from work and school.

At some point little girls began to believe in the picture Cinderella and her Prince painted. The ugly duckling, the diamond in the rough being polished by true love (which prevails all–even ugly stepmothers).  The long suffering turned into happily ever after by the mere locking of eyes and the glitter of goodness. The happily ever after was left to the imagination of girls barely old enough to spell their names. They believed Cinderella and her Prince lived in a beautiful home with beautiful happy children and fortune always. Little did they know none of it was true.

The wedding with gowns and tuxes and grand parties and glasses clinking is a nod in Cinderella’s direction. The big houses filled with 2 kids (one of each gender), a dog and a cat are nods into Cinderella’s direction. But where is the debt or the sleepless nights? Where are the ‘i hate you’s’ or the ‘i’m leaving’s? Where are the dirty diapers and the lay offs? Where is the changing of the guard when the infamous ‘mid-life crisis’ hits? Where is the day when love just isn’t enough?

I sat next to The Girl a little sad for her. Relationship reality was found no where near Cinderella and her handsome (deliciously gorgeous) Prince, and should she choose to believe in the story unfolding on the silver screen it might come with a rude awakening someday. I stared at the screen hoping to naively believe in that again, but to no avail. It was no use. Relationship reality has set in and set up shop. Perhaps it is best–fairy tales belong in story books and on silver screens…not in homes filled with bills and dirty diapers.

~SM

Mommy Dearest

“Nooo moore wire hangers!” Everyone (even if you have not seen the movie) knows the epic, crazy mother, Joan Crawford (Faye Dunaway) line. Obviously, she would not have won Mother of the Year, but it is also obvious that she had no clue what she was doing (as a parent) and perhaps wanted to. We can all relate to that–can’t we?

I am just going to put it out there for those who do not have children and for those who do but live in a bubble: being a parent sucks. Of course it is a blessing to be in charge of another human life; to watch them grow and blossom; to carry on a part of you–probably the best part of you; but the guilt and the mistakes and the many no-take-backs we as parents endure makes the job pretty sucky. Just sayin. Would I trade it? Absolutely not. Would I trade the parental guilt? Hellz yea I would.

I have been mulling this parental guilt thing over for about a month or so. It started when some kids we knew had private school interviews. Suddenly, thoughts (more like questions really) of why weren’t my kids doing that, am I a slacker parent, did I not work hard enough, did I not make them work hard enough burst any sort of happy bubble I had.  Yesterday, while taking a 15 minute walk in the park, my mind was swimming with thoughts of fitness, weight loss, races I wanted to run, new running shoes–and suddenly the parental guilt came. There I was walking, thinking about myself (literally) and The Boy was at practice down the hill. Shouldn’t I be there watching? Should I have stayed in the car with The Girl and talked to her? Shouldn’t I be thinking about them and school and making flash cards and pounding Life’s rules and regs into their heads? Was I a selfish parent?

Half of the time I have no clue what I am doing. The other half of the time I just throw my hands up and hope for the best. I feel terrible, quite honestly. It feels like everything is moving so fast and I have no control over what is happening. My life is moving in a positive, yet Sadie-centered direction, but at the same time The Kids’ lives are moving at the speed of light in an unknown direction. How does a parent parent that? Am I no better than Joan Crawford when I have a ‘no more wire hangers’ melt down over gum wrappers or shoes or cups being left in random places like the bathroom? Am I a detriment to their success? Am I creating monsters? Are they going to be lazy or driven? Will they aspire to succeed or live on my couch forever? Is it okay for me to live my life too? Are they spoiled? Do I not say no enough?

Ugh…all of these question with no answers is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Perhaps I should neutralize that with some cake and think about this later….

~SM

Tick Tock On The Bio-Clock???

Let me preface this post by saying that I have no intention, I repeat, no intention of having a kid. That being said…

My aunt told me there would come a time when the clock would tick–the bio-clock that is–and it would start small and then get louder and louder until….baby or naugh. I am not sure if it happens after a woman’s children are grown or half way to grown or in her 30’s or mid-30’s, but I am pretty sure mine is ticking just a little bit. On the other hand, it could just be the fact that I am getting older, things are changing and I actually sorta can tolerate children (gasp!).

Quite honestly, I never wanted kids. They are time consuming, body damaging, money hogging, time consuming (not a typo), food gobbling, crudely honest little people. When you have children, you are in charge of a whole person for the rest of your life. Every decision they make essentially comes from how they were raised (this statement excludes people like Hannibal Lecter). You have to worry about them when they are babies and then when they are in grade school and then as teenagers and oh, God, driving and then in college and then after college. It is maddening to think of the responsibility of caring for a tiny person. I never wanted any part in that responsibility. But then….

I am a parent. I would say (aside from their sloppy rooms) I done good. Partially due to the village surrounding The Kids, partially due to values I (ok and The He) were instilled with, and greatly due to God. I (ugh, we) managed to make them okay little people despite my womb’s objections. I should dust off my hands and be done…but…something….tick tick tick….

Babies are popping up everywhere! They are on television. Family members are having them left and right. They are coming into the office. Babies are everywhere and everywhere they are the more I want one to squeeze one and pet one and feed one and name her/him George (yes…Looney Tune ref). I can’t say for certain that is my clock beginning to tick. Perhaps it is. Or perhaps my mind is adjusting to different views of new life. No matter the case for the bio-clock making it’s presence known, it needs to settle down and fast. I can see the finish line. It is right there, just a few miles away…I can’t possibly introduce a new little person into that glorious vision of freedom, clean house, and dinners for one….besides I have no baby daddy potentials. The next baby daddy needs to be pretty freaking awesome both in looks and in bank account. Yea. I said it. And you agreed…a little.   😛

~SM