Tag Archives: parenting

Faith Over Fret

In just a few short months, The Boy will be living on his own hours away. Over the summers, he would be far away for weeks and months at a time. I never worried much. He was safe. He was not out in the world alone, figuring it out. He was never really far from reach. But with adulthood looming ahead, I am worrying myself to death.

They say when you are close to death life flashes before your eyes. Welp, I can tell you when your kids start driving and becoming more independent, their life flashes before your eyes, too. All the wonderfully wicked things that could happen run rampant in your brain. Suddenly, 48 Hours Mystery and Dateline are all too real and you twist your stomach into a pretzel imagining the worst. The thought of following them everywhere or at the very least putting a hidden camera in their car no longer seems far fetched. Them walking the dog at dusk feels like a kamikaze mission now when before you wished they would go outside if only for five minutes. My days and nights are spent in a silent panic over the inevitable–they are leaving.

This place is big, bad and scary. And sure, really, really icky stuff happens out here, but if we worry too much we will have ulcers and wrinkles. Fretting never did anyone any good. Part of growing is falling. Part of getting the recipe just so is taste testing. Worrying about the parts of life we have no control over is worse than the thing we fear happening actually happening. There is nothing, no ting, worse than the thought of something fearful. When the Boogie Man jumps out and the roller coaster ride is over, all is right with the world. It wasn’t as bad as you thought.

Faith is an important part of life, whether you believe in a higher power or not, we all have faith in something. We believe in the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Whatever we are fearing, it just simply is not that bad. It may feel bad and it may cut to the marrow, but we are capable of making it through. We were built to make it through.

By the time I hand deliver The Boy to his new life, I will have a handle on the fretting. It feels worse than it is. He is right where he is meant to be, going on the path he was meant to be traveling. He is here for a reason, unbeknownst to me. I was just the vessel and the taxi and the caf and the atm. I have to have enough faith to overcome the fret and trust the process. Besides, I don’t need not one more gray hair–I have a complete collection already (and you don’t even want to know where).

~SM

Thank God for Baseball

Running through the day ahead, I stopped at the thought of the game tonight. My throat tightens, my eyes water and I wave tears away before they fall. For anyone who has children, it is safe to say they save you. There is a moment when the every day becomes too much and, as if they can read your thoughts, they come with a word, a smile or a moment. This act comes far and few between as they enter the space between being a child and putting away childish things, but it still does. And when it does, it means even more.

My children have saved me and they never knew. They have managed to take care of me just by being themselves. Seeing The Girl cross-legged in her bed in the wee hours, hair piled atop her head, laptop open, notebooks and text books strewn everywhere ignites hope. Seeing her see her possibility gives me life. Watching the baby rock back and forth on her tiny knees, raring to take off to nowhere, breathes life into my soul. And then…there is baseball.

Our lives have been lived on highways and byways, our Saturdays and Sundays swallowed whole. Our bank accounts drained for the purpose of investing in purpose. There is something to be said about the end of a long, hot ball game Saturday. Everything is dropped at the door, shoes are tossed in which ever direction they are kicked, everyone sighs with the release of home in their bones. The early 8 AM game and the late 8 PM nail biter have long since rolled off the shoulders and everyone is spent. And it will  happen all over again tomorrow. The long week of rushing from work to kids to drive-thru to practice to home to barely sleeping and repeat is also ahead of you, but you would never trade it for peace and quiet. You need this. You breathe this. You are a part of the dream and by proxy, you dream this.

I sat at work, waving away the tears thinking of him standing on the mound—smile slipping from under the game face and the arrogant walk off before blue even marks his last k with a barked “strike!” Today, he would save me. He would take away thoughts how’s, what’s and why’s. He would temporarily lift the weight. He wouldn’t know it as he leans forward, feet planted in the dusty red of the infield. He would never realize as he stands in the box trying like hell to hit his mark. Nothing about his glance to the bleachers and his wink would tell he knows, but I do. I know. For a few hours, I get to breathe. Baseball and all that comes with it has saved me…

~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

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

Steal Away Home

When I decided to leave The He, my first inclination was to go home. Pack our crap and burn up the road. I wanted to take my ball and run home as fast as I could. It is coming up on a year since moving out and the urge to leave is still there, but The Kids…not so much.

My life still feels up for grabs when it comes to leaving Atlanta. I have been here for over 10 years and this was the first year I actually explored and enjoyed the city. I still have so much to see and do here, and there is a growing appreciation for the things it has to offer. When I go home, it feels slow and sleepy. But then if we move home we will also be moving all of our activities with us so would it really feel so slow and sleepy?

Part of me also feels by not moving home I would let down the people who want us to come back. The other part of me feels by moving home I might possibly be leaving behind various possibilities not yet unearthed.

My parents are getting older and so are the children. Luckily for them they have had summers of Carolina livin’ and their relationship with The Grands has not suffered because of distance. But if we stay, what will they miss out on? No one is guaranteed another day…what/who will they miss if we stay here? On the other hand, they have been here all of their lives. We (The He and I) managed to do something for them I was not able to experience as a kid: They stayed put. The Girl and Boy stayed in the same elementary school K – 5. They lived in the same house since they were babies (until recently). They were stable. This past year their stability went out the window. So, in light of Life changing events, do I stand still and hang on to their last little bit of stability? Or do I plan to throw caution to the wind and leave?

Quite honestly, I have 5 years left. The Boy will be off to college in 4, the Girl off in 5. If they want to stay, as their mother, I can sacrifice that small piece of time….right? Home will be there and I suppose if God sees it fit for us to leave, we will. Some days though…just some days when the weather is beautiful and the wind is blowing just right, I want to be home. I want to be in Mommy’s kitchen listening to Daddy mowing the grass, watching the Kids do kid-at-grandmas-house things. I want to have get togethers with the Crew on Friday nights and see the Nephews. Some days I just want to be with family and not so much on my own. This is quite a conundrum to be in. *sigh*

~SM

Coming To Terms: Valentine’s Hater

Yup. I am a Valentine’s Day hater. When I was a youngin and didn’t quite know any better about the ways of the world and love, I was hopelessly in love with anything love related. Love stories. Valentine’s Day. Engagement. Soul Mates. Then there seemed to be something magical about the lot of love stuff….now? Well…

The Girl was buying a Valentine’s gift for a friend and she pulled me into the red/pink/white section of hearts, cards, and ‘I luv u’. Everything in the designated ‘BUY ME NOW! Or else your wife/gf will never let you live this down!’ section made me physically ill. Even the cards made my palms sweat. The scattered shoppers gave me odd looks out of the corner of their eye or snickered at my disgusted grunts and moans. I hate Valentine’s Day.

When The Girl popped her head around the corner of an adjacent isle, she shook her head and stepped out. “Mommy!” she said with a surprised yet enthused look on her face.

“What?” I answered picking up a heart laden gift bag like it was a dirty diaper.

“Do you have to make that face?! It’s not that bad.” She shook her head again and grabbed my hand and pulled me down another isle. “C’mon. I’m almost done.”

There she was, spending her own money on a gift to show someone she cared and there I was ruining the experience. I suppose when your eyes open and perhaps even when you get a little experience under your belt, certain things in the world just have a different feel. Valentine’s Day has a vomity, break out in hives kinda feel for me. But just because I am a VDay hater doesn’t mean I should ruin it for everyone else. I made an attempt to straighten my face and I even made myself buy a card for Young Gun (who also dislikes VDay), but after about 20 minutes of it riding in the car with me, I decided to take it back.

No matter how much you like/love someone friend or otherwise, making an over the top effort to gift on one particular day is asinine. I just can’t. And you know what? I am comfortable in acknowledging my Valentine’s Hatership. It is just a stupid day–what about the other 364? Just sayin’

~SM