Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Growing Pains

Alyssa has one week of her freshman year of college left.

Let's let that sink in.

One more week.

We moved her to College Town the first week of August and she's spent maybe three nights here at home since.

I'm trying to feel all the feelings over here and let it simmer and not burden her with my missing of her. She's living her life. She's loviving her life and I want nothing more than that.

She's had a great freshman year at school. Her College Town is only an hour-ish away from home. She's thriving. I'm so proud of her. She works, she does her homework, she sees her friends, she Snapchats with me.

But I don't think she'll ever live here with us for any length of time (like more than a day or two) again.

She will ALWAYS have a place wherever I am. I hope she knows that in her heart but I also know that she doesn't ever really want to come home again. I get that even as I grieve for myself.

We've raised her well. She's smart, she's independent, she's resilient, she's strong. She's loyal and kind and she owes nothing to anyone other than kindness and respect for her fellow humans. She gets to live her life and I'm so happy that she's doing that.

I'm rambling here. I think every parent of independent kids miss those kids even while they're proud of them. I WANT this for her even thought I miss having her around the house.

I would welcome her back here in a heartbeat and yet I know that if she ended up back here at home, it would be because something happened to derail her current plans for her life and I don't want that for her. I want all her dreams to come true, even if that means I never get to tuck her into her bed under my roof again.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Messy

On a recent trip with my mom to visit my aunt and grandma, it was decided that the kids (kids being individuals who wre 16, 15, 14 and 8) would dye Easter eggs.

One of my aunts asked if we'd dyed eggs the previous year.

I admitted that we had not. She asked me why.

I told her that the messes my now 15 year old made were more tolerable when she was 4. I mean, four years old make messes, right? It's a learning experience.

However, the fact that my 15 year old still makes the same kinds of messes she once made when she was four is much harder to take.

I try. I try really hard to be patient and just ignore the messes until I can clean them up but you knwo what? It's just easier to avoid the activities that tend to be super messy.

The activity of dyeing eggs is one that needs a little manual dexterity unless one is going to just dip their hands directly into the dye. Guess how one of my children chooses to dye eggs?

Yes. I do believe our Easter egg dyeing days are coming to an end.

Is it wrong that I'm not actually sad about this?

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Edgy

I always wanted to be one of those cool, edgy girls. You know, the ones with the cool ear piercings and funky hair. The ones who didn’t give a shit what anyone else thought of them.

I was not that girl.

I tried a few times, though. I got a fun piercing in the upper cartilage of my ear. Alas, my non-edginess mean it never healed and when I took the earring out to clean the almost-infected (is there such a thing as almost infected?) piercing, the stupid hole closed in the five minutes the earring was out.

So that was that.

When I was 28 I got a belly button piercing. It was so cool. I wasn’t even all that thin but I did it anyway. I was NEVER the type to wear a crop top and show off my piercing but knowing it was there made me feel a little cooler, a little edgier.

Again, though, my lack of cool kicked in when I took it out while in the bathroom in a bar called The Corner Pocket in Fremont, Indiana. Why did I do such a thing? Oh, well, that’s something I’m very much not proud of. My (ick) boyfriend at the time said something off-hand about not really liking the piercing and so…yeah. Not my strongest moment as an independent woman.

Eh, I’ve forgiven the 30 year old I once was. I mean, she was confused and sad and she’s come so far to be the woman I am now so…whatever. Can’t go back and tell her not to do that. Can’t go back and tell her that that dude was worthless. She had to learn those lessons and come out the other side.

If only she’d been edgier, right?

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Science Homework Hell

*sigh* Yet another post about the nightmare that is 8th grade science homework.

I’m bored and I’m writing this shit.

The most current chapter was about Newton and his idiotic laws that don’t actually affect anyone (except that they kind of affect us all, you know, what with gravity and all) other than those who go into jobs where they have to figure out momentum and acceleration and force and all that bullshit.

You know what Olivia is not going to do with her life? She’s not going to be a crime scene investigator. She’s also probably not going to be an engineer of any kind. She’s never, NOT EVER, going to use the formula to figure out momentum. She’s just not.

Hell, I’m 51 years old, I work outside the home(have done so since I was 16, thank you very much) and I have never, NOT EVER, needed to use the formula to figure out momentum, which, by the way, is Newton’s third law, in case you were wondering.

I know. Who the hell cares? Not me, that’s for sure. And yet, there we were, for what felt like the 111th night in a row, doing science homework and figuring out momentum when all we knew was the force and the mass of something.

OMG. Please, someone tell me why a child with an IEP had to do this kind of homework. She got nothing out of it except to see her mother distraught and crying. It was ridiculous.

Each evening on my drive home, I’d tell myself that tonight it would be different. I wouldn’t internalize the difficulty of the homework. I wouldn’t let it get to me. I would just…do what we could and not let it ruin our evening.

And yet…there we were, trying to figure out the moment of something with a ridiculous formula that didn’t even make sense.

Let me remind you, I have a freaking bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. I am not stupid. Olivia is not stupid. But this homework…was impossible.

Earlier in this unit of 8th grade science, I sent Alyssa a snap telling her how sorry I was for when she was in 8th grade and she was going this homework on her own. I feel like I failed her because I didn’t know how hard her homework was. I never want her to have to tell her therapist, “My parents always said they never had to worry about me because my sister needed so much more help than I did. “ I mean, damn, there’s a guilt trip for you, right?

The night I cried, Lyss suggested I just google the answers. I replied that I TRIED to google them but each time I put in the question, the stupid sites would want me to log in to read the answers. It was as infuriating as the homework itself.

Finally, Thursday rolled around and I pulled into the driveway. I took a deep breath and readied myself for a stressful evening.

Olivia met me at the door to inform me that…there was no homework that night. She asked immediately if we could go to Gram’s.

I replied cheerfully, “No! We’re going to take a nap!”

I settled her on one end of the couch, myself at the other, our feet meeting in the middle. We each had our own blankets that also covered the other and fell asleep for an hour and a half. She read fan fiction on her phone while I snoozed.

And when I woke up Tom was cooking dinner. I know. The stars aligned, the angels sang and all was right in our little world for a few minutes (back on the guilt trip, I feel weird and guilty for writing that sentence knowing what’s happening in the world and especially in Ukraine right now. The horrors, the insanity, the evil that people (Putin) are capable of just feels suffocating and here I am bitching, whining, moaning about 8th grade science homework. What a self-centered little bitch I am.)

Saturday, March 5, 2022

I Never Knew Teeth Could Be So Beautiful - Olivia Ordinary

After three years and four months, Olivia got her braces off on March 3. It was a big day for her. Not only were the braces that had abused her mouth for 3+ (THREE) years coming off, but she could finally chew gum and eat popcorn and Starburst and suckers. She could brush her teeth and not have to dig food out of the hardware in her mouth.

She could smile and see shining white teeth.

She was, obviously, ecstatic.

We all were.

And the cherry on this awesome sundae? Her sister happened to be home that evening when we got home from the orthodontist. Sure, said sister didn’t actually come home specifically to celebrate the loss of brace face. But we didn’t let that stop us from celebrating with KFC and root beer. Alyssa even let Olivia think she’d come home just for the occasion of the braces coming off.

I’m very proud of kind Lyss is to her sister.

Olivia took a lot of selfies that afternoon. She declared that her smile was now it’s very own filter. It was so bright and white. Her teeth are so straight.

She enjoyed the food, the attention, the selfies. She enjoyed running her tongue over her now-smooth teeth and asking everyone (me, Tom, Lyss, Gram, Pawp) to touch her teeth because they were so smooth and slimy (her word).

It was awesome; and gross, but mostly awesome.

I know this is a rite of passage. I know that everyone’s braces come off at some point but can I just say how glad I am that she got to have this moment? Some parents with kids with 5p- syndrome opt out of braces even though our kids tend to have some pretty serious orthodontic issues. I get why some do choose not to go the orthodontic route. It wasn’t easy.

I had to put her bands in for her for months. I am so, SO grateful to never have to put my fingers in her mouth ever again. Braces are painful and if a child isn’t able to comprehend why they’re being tortured. But with Olivia, she understood the point of the pain and was able to handle it.

And now that it’s over, I’m so glad we did it. She loves her new smile. She loves her teeth.

Just before she fell asleep the first night with her braces off, she said happily, “I never knew teeth could be so beautiful.”

That confidence, that feeling like she’s special and beautiful and perfect, you can’t put a price on that. Even though, in this case, we kind of can since this case of orthodontic treatment cost $6700. But it was worth every penny to hear her joy, her reverence as she beheld her new, perfect, braceless smile.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

This Side of Covid

We made it thorugh almost two years of this pandemic before the virus infiltrated our house.

I find if interesting that just a couple of weeks ago Julie and I were comparing notes about Covid, about how neither of our immediate families had had to deal with it yet. Just a week later, she let me know that her husband and daughter were both positive.

And here I am, on day four of quarantine from work, positive.

Thankfully, the vaccine worked in that it made my symptoms very, very mild. I thought it was just a cold until I lost my sense of smell. That's what made me test one more time and here I am.

I am still congested and have moments of achiness but nothing that would have kept me home from work if I hadn't tested positive. I mean, we all go to work with colds all the time, right? I feel pretty much fine other than a cough (which I always get when I have a cold. I always have.) and the occasional headach, which, again, is just life for me.

As of day 1 of my positive test, Tom and Olivia were both negative. We're testing them again on day 5 so we'll see how that turns out.

I feel lucky and grateful to modern medicine for vaccines and boosters. I am here to say they work.

Stay safe, stay healthy, get your shots.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Cooking (Parenting?) Woes

I hate cooking. I hate coming up with things to cook, I hate doing the actual work of cooking, I hate begging my child to eat the food I’ve just cooked.

I just…hate it all.

On a recent Monday evening, after working for nine and a half hours, driving a half hour each way to and from work, helping O with her homework for over 40 minutes, I was at the kitchen sink, washing dishes after having made food for Liv and then nagging her to eat it before I had to heat is up AGAIN and I must have had a look of frustration on my face because Tom, from across the room and on the other side of Olivia, asked me what was wrong?

I muttered, “I hate cooking for her.”

Now wait. Let me explain that Olivia’s back was to me, I said this quietly enough that she did not hear me. But you know what? She’s 15 years old. She knows I don’t actually enjoy cooking. She can read the room and knows that I’m annoyed more often than not when I’m cooking. She doesn’t actually care that I hate cooking. She truly isn’t bothered by my pissy attitude at all. She could not possible care less about how I feel about cooking. She will continue to ask me to cook for the rest of our lives with nary a smidge of guilt over my feelings on the matter.

Ahem. Now that that’s settled…Tom made his way across the room with disappointment in his eyes. He was SO disappointed in my attitude. I could feel the disappointment oozing out of his pores. **Can you hear my eyes rolling from all the way over here?**

Once he was standing beside me, Tom said in a low voice, so that our darling precious snowflake wouldn’t hear, “I think most moms enjoy cooking for their kids.”

Oh…really? Most moms enjoy cooking for their kids. If I hadn’t been in such a pissy mood, I might have laughed. Instead I glared at him and said, “No. They don’t.”

He was astounded. He was flabbergasted. How could a mother, a loving, wonderful mother, NOT enjoy cooking for her offspring? Wasn’t it the goal in every mother’s life to cook day and day out for her children?

I told him to google the phrase, “Why do my kids have to eat every day.” I suggested he look up articles on the drudgery of cooking every single day for ungrateful beasts who don’t want to eat what you’re cooking.

Well, that made him run with the idea of being appreciated. He can acknowledge that O doesn’t appreciate the cooking we do for her. But he just couldn’t handle the fact that I vocalized my passionate dislike of cooking for her.

He’ll get over it. Or not, honestly, I don’t care one way or the other.

I did take to FB and post a question for all the moms out there. I asked if all moms enjoy cooking for their kids.

Big surprise…not all moms enjoy cooking, for their kids or for anyone else for that matter. Of course, some moms do and that’s what I expected. All but one of the comments on that post were from women, who all mentioned what they, personally, felt.

The one single post from a dude said something like, okay, fine, I’ll quote him: I think parents in general like cooking for their kids…I have always enjoyed cooking for the kids! *the exclamation point is his.*

I couldn’t…I just couldn’t stand it. I had to simmer for a bit because…damn. Dudes just can’t help but be dudes, can they?

They just have to generalize (she generalized but hey…I’m so over it all) and of all the comments, all the kind, individual comments from women who said that they, PERSONALLY, felt, this dude had to pipe up and generalize that most parents enjoy cooking.

No.

My reply to Dude: “Dude’s name if you read through the comments, you’ll see that maybe half, but definitely not most parents enjoy cooking for their kids. Maybe if more dads enjoy it and take over the drudgery of daily cooking some of us moms would be less annoyed ty the whole process.” It was applauded by one of the other moms because, well, it deserved to be and because, damn. Seriously, dudes?

Update - FB dude replied again, this time implying that there's something wrong with how my husband and I communicate. Whatever. I didn't respond because, well, he's stupid and I have nothing nice to say at this point. But it comes down to him basically proving my point and so with that...