Don’t let your babies grow up to be adults…

You know, parenting sucks.  Period.

There, I said it.  You don’t have to.

They don’t come with a guidebook.  There isn’t a contract you sign, you just hang on by your fingernails and hope.  There may be praying involved.  Lots of praying.

You grow this person.  You spend 9 months dreaming of your baby girl, or your baby boy.  You spend 9 months pinning hope and dreams on them,  what they will grow up to be, how they will be…who they will be.  You pin all YOUR hopes and dreams on making their lives better than your own.  That you will do anything and everything to ensure they have the world.

9 months.  9 months of your body changing, your insides moving around to accommodate this little being that you are growing with all these hopes and dreams.  Never once do you think that you started changing and accommodating to grow them, you will spend your lifetime changing and accommodating for them.

It’s true.  You will.

I have spent the better part of my life putting my children first in my life.  Before myself.  Most mommies will tell you they do the same thing, we all do.  We all say “I’m going to put me first!” and it may last for an afternoon…but let’s be real, we are terrible at the follow through.

We bathe, nurse, change diapers, feed, teach them to read, tie their shoes, recite their ABC’s and ride a bike.  We are there with a band aid and a hug for when they get hurt.  A cracker when they are hungry and a story with voices when they are sleepy.  We are superheroes and we shrug it off like it’s nothing.

Ladies, it is EVERYTHING.

We spend our whole lives as mommies in control of everything.  From naptime to bath time, we control their world.  We decide what they eat, what they wear, what they watch and who their friends are.  We are Zeus.  And while they are young, that’s okay.

As they get older, they want freedom.  Freedom to make their own decisions, own experiences and their own friends.  We allow this, in small doses.  Just enough so they feel freedom, but not enough that they go off the rails.

Then they become teenagers…God.help.us.  It is a battle to the death.  Over clothes, curfews, makeup, boys, girls, grades and respect.  It is a battle royale that you think you won’t make it through, but I promise you…it gets worse.

See, they graduate, they become “adults.”  Only, they haven’t listened to anything you have told them as teenagers and now blame you for not teaching them how to be an adult.  They hurl words at you that would peel your skin off, they make sure you know exactly how inept and stupid you are.  How you have not prepared them for the real world.

Now, don’t get me wrong…these are still your babies.  You still would lay down your life for them.  Now it’s time to change the rules.

You are no longer the mommy to children.  You are the mother to adult children.  This is different.  No longer are you required to dress them, bathe them, negotiate curfews and grades.

Now you have to treat them as adults.  Just as the world does and how they are perceived.  You won’t do them any favors by treating them like children when everyone else treats them like adults.  In fact, you are hurting them.  (Not that I speak from experience)  You are not making them capable of creating and maintaining adult relationships.  You aren’t teaching them action and consequence.

You have to make sure they understand actions, consequence and personal accountability and responsibility.  Teach them compassion.

If you think raising your child to be outspoken and bold will work out.  Ask their first co-worker or bosses.  While these are good traits to have, they need to be tempered with respect and compromise.  Because the real world isn’t about who is the biggest bad-ass.  It’s about who has the work ethic and who gets the job done.  Yelling at the boss about what you think is right or wrong isn’t going to get you promoted.  It’s going to get you fired.

They will always be your babies, I get that.  They will always need their mommy.  But as adults, they need mommy to be truthful and honest and level them with the truth when they get too out of hand.  When they need a reality check, to know they aren’t always right, they aren’t always wrong, but that they need to be still and listen to the other things.  Mommy needs to be a steady rock.

Remember YOUR hopes and dreams you pinned on them…they may not be THEIR hopes and dreams.  And that’s okay…you did NOTHING wrong.  You gave them opportunity and hope.  You gave them imagination and dreams.  Now you have to let them find their way.

As your children grow up, you grow up.  You learn things about yourself that you pushed aside and forgot about, long ago.

Children need to be taught that everyone has something to learn, all the time, at every age.  I am 47 and I have yet to stop learning.  Currently, I am learning that I don’t deserve to allow anyone to run all over me in the name of family and love.  I don’t have to allow anyone to question my love or my integrity.  No.one.

I am learning that no one is entitled to anything.  Everything I have, I have worked my ass of to get.  My whole life.  No one has handed me a single solitary thing.  At 47, I deserve what I have, I will share with those that deserve it and everyone else will have to take care of themselves. I am learning my self-respect isn’t tied to what others think of me, but what I know in my heart.

I am learning that I need to have patience and to bite my tongue.  Because as your babies become adults, they have to learn so much…they aren’t the center of the universe.  Nothing is handed to them.  They will have to work, and work hard.  They will need to learn patience, respect and compromise. There is much this world has to teach them…

…but without mommies, they wouldn’t even know how to tie their shoes.

They’re mine, thank you.

Well…I’ve landed in the ER. Finally, for the first time in five years, my wife is having to sit next to me and wait.

Before anyone freaks out, it’s my knee. I was chasing a shopping cart in the Wal Mart parking lot and something popped…and I could no longer put weight on it. No big deal…it hurts, don’t get me wrong but it’s not at all life threatening. There are people here that are in worse shape.

Pain is manageable, so manageable that I have refused pain shots. I sit here, full clarity with an ice pack, the Broncos and my wife.

When we got home and I realized I couldn’t walk, I cried…which freaked my wife out. Once the Daughter heard me, she jumped in…then the Boy. I’ve got the most excellent set of “human crutches” that anyone could have.

So I was ordered into a recliner while my army brought groceries in, got me ice packs, pillows and ibuprofen. I was told to sit on my hindquarters until they could figure out what to do with me. I felt four. But a loved four.

The daughter is handling the delivery of a new bed and dinner for the two of them…we are waiting in results. I wanna go home to my family.

The wife is keeping the mother and sister, the bestie, the LP, her bestie and Bossman updated. They have all offered love and prayers. Bossman called me stubborn…but that’s code, right?

So I will prolly go home with crutches and an immobilized knee. I’ll go to work, I’ll shuffle around and make Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll spend time with loved ones and exasperate them by not sitting down. It’s called tradition. Only this year, I’ll show off my crutch skills. God.help.us.

But this family of mine…genetic and chosen…I say this…I love you so…thank you for worrying and praying and talking with me.

I’m a tough ol’ broad…I got this.

Mommy World.

My kids have two mommies.

It’s okay…I acknowledge it isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect for us.  I am bio-mom.  I carried these two bundles of joy,  I shared a heartbeat with each of them.  I’ve loved each of them 9 months longer than anyone else ever will.  I have made my share of mistakes, I have made your share, my neighbors share, my 3rd cousin twice removed’s share….I have screwed it up more than I care to think about, but I own it.

These two are of me, they look like me, act like me, sound like me.

I have taught them the truth may hurt, but everyone is WORTH the truth.

I have taught them that even though they are head and shoulders taller than me, I can still put them in their place.

I have taught them to respect themselves, because in life, many others won’t.

I have taught them that yes, adults do suck sometimes, and even the ones that say they love you and won’t leave, do.  It’s not their fault, it’s on the other person.  They aren’t to give them any energy.

I have taught them unconditional love.  Period.  No excuses, no reason.  Love is love….and there is always room for more of it.

I have taught them that I will walk through fire for them.  I love them to my very core and there isn’t anything they can do to change that.

Then I gave them the Wife.  And it’s changed our lives, all of us.  I have known her for 30 years, we have been a family for 4 years…it gets better every day.

I once asked the wife why she loved them so much, her answer was simple, “In the beginning, I loved them because I love you and I see how much you love them…how do you not love someone so much? Now, I love them because we have our own relationships, we have our own things…they are as much mine.”  She’s the goods.

She hasn’t “thanked” me yet for these relationships, but she hasn’t run for the hills either.

So everyone understands, my kids have two mommies.  It’s okay.

I had a conversation with the sister today that made me think about what actually constitutes a family.  See, I had two mommies, no…not in THAT way, I had my bio-mom and my step-mom.  Everyone should have a step-parent like mine.  She never felt like a step-parent and she never treated me like less.  I love her everyday and think of her often.  She left my life after the divorce, but in my heart, she left me with a sister, a brother and a 2nd mommy that I will always love and lessons I will never forget.

In today’s society, there are so many single parents, by choice, by death, by separation, the list goes on and on…here’s my take on it….

there are so many that need love, need guidance, need structure and support…why shut folks down?  Because of their sexuality?  Seems short-sighted and petty.  Maybe that’s just me.

My kids got/get asked all the time “your mom is gay???” and both without missing a beat, without hesitation, “yes.” Simple and true.

Yes, they have been picked on.   But I’ll let you in on a secret; kids pick on kids, regardless of whether or not mommy is a fag.  All kinds of reasons….

  • Mommy is fat.  (it’s okay, I am)
  • Mommy isn’t blonde.  (tried it once, not pretty)
  • Mommy isn’t a stay at home mommy.  (Bossman would cry)
  • The daughter’s hair was too short.
  • The boy’s hair was too long.
  • We didn’t live in the right part of the neighborhood.
  • We didn’t have a hot tub.

Kids learn what we teach them.  These two have learned there are lots of different ways to love others, that it’s okay to have one parent, or two, or two mommies, daddies, step parents, foster, adopted, whatever…they have learned family isn’t always genetic.

Sometimes, the right one walks in the door.  This person will take away the hurt and replace it with love and honor.  This person will show a child it’s okay to trust, to love someone who isn’t “the norm.”

Besides, my definition of normal is way different from yours.  Example, I think it’s completely normal to have 7 pairs of the same shoe in different colors or the same purse in 4 different colors.

What? not normal?

told.you.so.

Teachers. Students.

Life keeps changing.  We are entering this school year with the Boy and the Daughter both beginning classes and new chapters in their lives.  They are headed in incredible directions…I am both proud and devastated.

They no longer need me to hold their hands or pick out their clothes. I no longer have to buy crayons or construction paper. There is no more recess or naps. I am no longer as needed as I once was.

I have taught them independence, I have taught them to find their own voice, their own path…we have battled and we have laughed.  Mostly we love.

I am a mommy. To my core. I live and breathe for these two. They are my babies. Always will be. I pray for their successes in life. Every day.

Let’s add some folks to this prayer list…

To the teachers in my life, I pray for your wisdom and bravery. It’s not easy what you do. It’s not easy what is expected of you. I applaud that this is your calling in life, to shape these minds, to teach them. I give you every ounce of support and honor that I have. I will thank you, on behalf of many parents, for taking our babies and giving them the world. I will thank you now, for the future leaders you hold in your hands. I appreciate each of you.

To the returning students and new students, I pray for your adventure. The knowledge you will gain, the friendships you will make. Take these lessons with you throughout your life. You will need them all.

Listen to your teachers, counselors and principals, they will only want the best for you. You may think whatever they are teaching is dumb…I promise, it’s not…one day, you will need to know the square root of something or if “I” comes before “e”and you will realize its because of that teacher….you know…

Remember, not everyone will be your friend. You won’t always fit in. Be yourself. If someone treats you wrong, find people who treat you right. If someone bullies you or wants you to be a bully, say no. Always. You don’t know what someone else is living, surviving, don’t be a shit person. Be a good, stand up person. Be a leader. Lead others to the right path and be encouraging of others. If you are a follower, follow the right path. Life is full of experiences, good and bad…take the lessons from each and pay.it.forward. Surround yourself with people, others like you, teachers and adults that will lift you up.

Don’t ever let anyone tear you down. Be fair, treat others as you wish to be treated. Remember, everyone is equal.

To the parents of students and teachers…it’s up to us, to put ourselves in their shoes before we scream and yell about how unfair it is that little Johnny or Mary has homework. Read to your kids, teach them. Help the teachers. Support them and make sure yours kids get it….that they are there to get the lessons that will carry them, through their lives. Remind them to listen up, stay awake and do the work, no matter how dumb they think that book report or diagramming sentences may be.

To the parents, we did it. We made it through another summer. Congratulations!

To my love….thank you. For staying sane and keeping me sane. I owe you a drink. Or two…

Rules of Summer Living.

It’s that time of year…summer.  Kids wait for it all year, parents count the days until the next school year starts…so, in quiet sister/brotherhood of all parents, I submit the following rules…

(1) Yes, you can stay home.  By yourself.  No, I can’t take the summer off.  I have to work, sorta, to pay for your summer entertainment.  You will need to appreciate this time in your life….when you grow up, you too, will have to work…buckle up.

(2) No, I cannot create magnificent dishes for you to enjoy while I am working.  There is Nutella and Mac & Cheese….feel free to enjoy both.

(3) Yes, you will have chores.

(4) Yes, I understand you are on vacation….let’s consider this a “stay-cation” and pick up your room.  If I find anything on the floor, I will hold it hostage until the school year starts.

(5) No, 7:00 AM is not a bedtime.

(6) Yes, you will have a curfew.  And chores, did I mention chores?

(7) If you use every single towel in one afternoon of pool fun, you will wash, dry and fold said towels before midnight.  And suffer the wrath of Mommy Who Does the Laundry.

(8) Do not call Mommy allllllll day long at work.  I have a job, you are eating Nutella….shut up and appreciate your childhood.

(9) Do not sit in front of your Xbox all day and when I walk through the door expect me to feed you immediately, see #8 and enjoy.

(10) Every once in a while, get up from said Xbox and stretch.  If you spend the summer hunched over a gaming console, you will look like the only freshman Quasimodo.  Go outside, get some fresh air.

(11) Putting the fan in front of the window does not constitute fresh air.

(12) You will need to do the following on a daily basis:
Shower.
Brush you teeth.
Put on clean clothes.

(13)  I am sure, your horrible teachers will give you summer homework. It’s their summer “fun”.  We’re adults, we can do so… Suck it up, you will do this homework and read, so I do not have to send you to Pre-K before your freshmen year starts.  Nor will you wait until the night before school starts to cram it all in.

(14)  Do not EVER tell me you are bored.  You have Xbox, Wii, 800 cable channels, a pool, a bike, friends in the neighborhood and a park with a basketball court at the end of the street.  Telling me you are bored will get you more chores, such as cleaning baseboards and toilets.  Take your chances if you feel lucky.

(15) Have fun, stay safe.  We are proud of you….

 

Parents, I will pray for all of us this summer.  And it’s only 90 days or so until the next school year.  I am already planning a day off once school starts to recover, count.on.that!!!!

 

 

Taco Night.

I love to cook.  For friends, for family.  I love being in the kitchen, creating dishes that will nourish and bring us together.  How the room begins to take on energy and life…the laughter, the smiles, the conversation.  I have found when I am in the kitchen cooking, folks come there…to be in the room, some to snack, some to “help,” some to just visit.  The kitchen is truly the heartbeat of our home.

It’s been a rough, hard patch for me and I think because of that, I haven’t had a creative urge.  I have been so ruled by my emotions and my anger and irritation, that nothing has been enjoyable to me.  Not even cooking.

It hit home yesterday, at the Boy’s football game.  They didn’t do well.  In fact, they lost. Terribly.  And the wife and I inadvertently sat in the wrong section and were a few rows back from the opposing team families.  This is relevant only because they were cheering….loudly.  And beating my son’s team.

How DARE they?!?!?  Didn’t they know that these young men were going to be devastated when they got in the car, didn’t they realize that these young men were going to blame themselves, individually for their team loss.  How dare they sit in the stands being noisy, cheery and happy that their own young men were winning!!!!

I don’t mean I was unhappy.  I mean I was completely irritated and spoiling for a fight. Every time one of them clapped or said “Good job!” I got upset.   Loudly upset, daring one of them to turn around, say something  or even shoot me a dirty look.  I am telling you, it hit a low yesterday.

The wife had to point out to me that if it had been our team, our son, I would have been loudly cheering, loudly proclaiming  “Good job!” and clapping until my hands were numb.  She told me that I was way too irritated and it had been a becoming a more frequent occurrence.  That my moods had changed and I was less happy, more quick to anger.

It was sobering.  She has no idea how this hit me.  I have quietly sat and thought about this since yesterday.

I have gotten so cranky lately.  I don’t know why.  I have let so many other people rule my emotions and my thoughts.  For no good reason.

This week, we did something I never thought I would be able to do.  We bought a car for the Daughter.  It was more the wife than me, which means so much more, because she did out of love.  Not because she HAS to love the Daughter, but because she WANTS to love her.

I told the wife and the Daughter, we just realized that she needed that one small break…that one step that showed her that she could have faith.  That she could lean on family and that our love for her, our faith in her, would be enough to help carry  her.  She was completely shocked and I loved every tear she cried.  If ever a kid deserved the happy, the moment of good shock, it was the Daughter.  And the wife made this happen.

I can never have the ability to tell her how much this meant to me.  How much it meant to me that she worked for this deal.  I was, am, will always be in awe of the level of her compassion for others.  I can never tell her how grateful I am for her, how her love transforms me daily.

That is a lesson I need to always remember…I am transformed every day.

My New Year’s Commitment, not Resolution, was to allow my family, my home to center me.  To bring me back to my core and remind me that even in the smallest way, I matter, that I am part of something special.  I just have to remember to ALLOW my home to recharge my batteries.  To ALLOW my family to bring me back, to help me find my center.  I tend to forget this lesson.  I tend to push it aside, to bring the work, the outsiders, the negative into my core.

It took some obscene cheering and a wife making an innocent statement to snap me out of it.

I realized that I have an amazing family.  I got to spend some really great quality time with the Daughter on Thursday night, just learning about her as a young woman.  We’ve had many of these times since she’s moved out and I feel better about our relationship now, moreso that I ever have before.  We are closer than ever and I treasure the fact that this person, this beautiful woman is of me….that her values, her morals, her life experiences are of me.  It’s mind-blowing.

So on Thursday, it was decided that we would do “Taco Night” on Sunday.  Taco Night is the Daughter’s favorite meal…and the glee was un-containable.  I would almost think that she fasted for three days to prepare.

I have spent the day recharging….as I committed to at New Year’s.  I have changed from one set of jammies to another.  And did nothing.  I sat, watched TV, read, checked Facebook and just chillllllllled out.  I need this, so much.  This CTRL-ALT-DEL on my life.  It’s become imperative in my life.

I love my job.  I find that there are times, I tend to bring my work home.  I have to be careful, because I am the type of person that can let my job take over my life.  I try to leave it at work, or at the very least, let it go on the 40 minute drive home.  And lately, I haven’t done that.  I have seen my conversations revolve around my day, not around my family.

I needed today to remind me that my family is my everything.  My whole reason to get up, to breathe, to do what I do day in and day out.  I needed to honor the commitment to me.

So after sitting around all day, I began doing my do….I began creating a meal for my family.  In the heart of this home, the food, the smells, the energy….it surrounded me and reminded me that I have a family I have to nourish.  Not only with food, but with faith, with love and with peace.  It’s my job to feed them, to love them and I am good at this job.

So as the family gathered around a table overflowing with good food, we laughed, we shared, we spent cherished time together.  Who knew that guacamole and tortillas could pull me out of my funk.

As I watched the Daughter and the Boyfriend leave, with enough leftovers for a family of four, I knew that tomorrow will hold new promise.

Tomorrow, I will wake up to another day in my blessed life and I won’t take it for granted.

WIth the kitchen cleaned, the Boy tucked in and the house quiet again, I find my end of day…and it will end with me, next to my wife, centered and peaceful.

ahhhhhh…..

Tyrannical Dialogue.

Gotta love the Boy. He is a smartass of the highest order. I have NO idea where he gets that…

Today went something.like.this:

the Boy:  “I need a new iPod..”

Me: “instead of a new TV?”

tB: “no, in addition to…”

tB: “I’m a technology kid mom!!! My TV has a built-in VHS…what is that!!?!!? It’s grammas old TV…where do you even get VHS…what is it !!?!?”

M: “it’s VCR tapes and don’t worry…it’s old, it needs to go be with Jesus.”

M: “you want an iPod for Christmas, then you can just play games in the guest room.”

tB: “I need technology, I crave technology…”  {he sings along to Justin Bieber…again}

tB: “can I play my game tonight?”

M: “no.”

tB:  “why not?”

M: “because it’s school week, those are the rules, AND you’re grounded AND I said so.”

tB: “what if I do all my homework? AND do it correctly?”

M: “no.” {serious side eye from me…}

tB: “all my chores?”

M: “no.”

tB: “all your chores?

M: “no.”

tB: “take a shower? Do my laundry? Brush my teeth?” 

M: “no, no ,no…you will take a shower, maybe even two…you smell like a sweaty dog, you finished your laundry yesterday and you WILL brush your teeth..”

tB: “man, you are a tyrant!”

M: “do you know what a tyrant is?”

tB: “a beautiful loving mother that lets her favorite son play XBox?”

M: “no.”