Monthly Archives: February 2017

With the best intentions…

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We are a family of procrastinators, regardless our best intentions. This explains why my husband and I met with the school college guidance counselor early, to find help navigating college waters, so we wouldn’t miss the boat entirely. Though we are still wading through that process, I’ll have to let you know how well that worked out later.

Today I find myself seated next to my Bay, on his 18th birthday at the BMV, hoping to get his temporary driving permit. Have I mentioned we’re procrastinators?  “I have a real fear of dying in a fiery crash,” he told me the last time we broached the subject to get his temps. “Bay, we all have that fear…” I offered though, he was not amused. On New Year’s Day he announced his plans to get his license before leaving for college. “How about as part of your birthday?” I suggested and he seemed nonplussed by the idea.

“Now bay, do you think you could skip rehearsals after school to take the test?” I asked this morning. “Moment of truth, I haven’t studied…” he replied. “Baaayy…” “In my defense, I couldn’t find the information pamphlets in my room…”He replied. “And you never thought of asking your father where they might be (When my husband removed the carpeting in his room, he came across the driving pamphlets)? “Mom, it’s my birthday, must you interrogate me?” He asked and I smiled.

“Can we come back when there aren’t so many people waiting?” He asked, before resting his head upon my shoulder when I said “No”. For the briefest of moments, I was transported back in time to when he last  drooled on my shoulder or emptied the contents of his tummy on my shoulder, or the first time he fell asleep…or… you get the point. But then he lifted his head when our number was called and smiled, “Eh, that didn’t take long. All I had to do was doze off…” While leaving the BMV, the boy stopped, “I’ll be right there…” He said to me, and approached another person waiting for their number to be called. “What did you do?” I asked as he exited the building and replied, “I had to tell the man what a cool Deadpool shirt he was wearing,” he said with a smile.

“Yes we are a family of procrastinators, because looking  up the necessary items needed to bring with us, not to mention going to the correct BMV might have been of help to us today. So what’s one more day to push back that fiery crash scenario right…?

I guess he could have blamed this all on me, for walking around much of today in a daze.  God help me, Dylan Edward, my baby boy has turned eighteen and then after school registered for the draft (while I tried my best not to cry). On the drive home from our misshapen adventure he asked, “Do you think I’m ready to go away to college?” “I think your ready school wise, yes. But living on your own has me…” “Worried.” He interrupted. “Concerned”. I replied. “It’s okay to be worried about me, in fact I love when people are–shows they care,” he explained. “I’m concerned something bad will happen and it will take me three and a half hours to get to you. That time frame concerns me,” I explained. “I’ll be alright you know,” he answered. “So long as you stop procrastinating…” I replied. “You first…” He replied.

I sighed.

 

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Trying to fly while mom’s clipping your wings…

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The other night, after my hubby had gone to bed, the doll and I went into different rooms so as not to bother the other. I turned on Netflix and began searching for something to watch, while she disappeared into the kitchen (aka her art studio), to continue working on a sketch.  Around 1 am, I stepped into the kitchen to remind her that bed time was coming soon and was interrupted by, “Mom, I’m on a conversation…” “Oh, Hi Natalia, Hi Ally…I began before adding, “Doll, tell your friends it’s time to start winding down,” I said. “Mom, they’re not here. You don’t know any of these girls…” She said. Giving her an odd look, I said, “Okay,” and then reiterated my previous statement, “Time to wind down…”

When the program I was watching came to an end, I loudly said toward the kitchen door, “Doll, it’s time to call it quits…” “Okay, Mom,” She replied and I could hear “Awwws” of disappointment come through he iPhone before she disconnected the call. When she entered the living room I asked, “Who were you talking to?” “One girl’s named Forest, the other’s name is Juniper–that’s not their real names mind you,” She smiled. “Who are they?” I asked. “You know that one artist I like?” She asked and I nodded, “Whenever she does live drawings, she opens a chat room so her fans can talk with one another. There are like four of us, who always complemented each other on their opinions and we decided to hold a Skype chat with one another…” She explained. “So, you’re talking with them over Skype?” I replied incredulously.”Mom, the camera is turned off as are my location services. But I can tell you one of the girls is in Australia, the other in California…” ‘And where do you say you’re from?” I asked. “They know I’m from Ohio… but I don’t use my real name–none of us do. We simply talk, no big deal”.

“I’m not so sure about that…” I muttered. “Honestly, Mom, I don’t see the harm. I mean you talk to people online all the time from all over the world and have had Skype chats with them…” “Yes, that’s true. The main difference being, I’m 52 and you’re 15,” I replied as she rolled her eyes. “I just keep thinking back to that time three year ago when you got so invested with a group of girls via PicCollage that when one said they were committing suicide, you…” I tried to explain but was interrupted, “I don’t want to talk about that. I mean seriously mom, I’m not as gullible now…” “I don’t know doll… fifteen is a vulnerable age and I’m not comfortable with this. It’s not that I don’t trust you, I don’t trust those I cannot see…” I tried. “But we keep the camera’s turned off for a reason…. try to think of this as I have a digital pen pal…” She suggested.

Thinking for a moment I said, “Okay, but, writing on a message board and getting to know someone over a long period of time, versus talking on Youtube for ten minutes before creating a Skype call is different…” I replied. “Mom, it didn’t happen quickly. I’ve been talking with them for about a month, before I joined the Skype call and like I said before, I don’t have the camera turned on and I don’t use my real name. Plus,  all we’re doing is talking about art,” She said. “How often have you talked to them via Skype before?” I asked. “Once or twice before…” She replied. “I’d like a moratorium on Skype calls until I can figure out if they are indeed safe…” I replied. “I’ll still talk to them via the chat room…” She replied, a little defiance in her tone.

Taking a deep breath to clear my thoughts before answering, so my reply made sense to both of us, she stood there arms crossed about her chest, waiting for my reply. “Baby, you know when you’re my age and you have a fifteen year old, this stuff will look tame by comparison. You’re daughter will say, I’m going to talk with Forest or Juniper, then hop in the transporter and disappear for a few hours…”  She smiled at the absurdity of my reply and relaxed. “Let me be a parent here? I trust you have a level head and you’re smart. But others aren’t trustworthy–which I hate to say, until you get to know them better. How about this….we compromise. The next time a Skype call comes up, you let me talk to the girls first…” She looked horrified for the briefest of moments before saying, “If this will make you feel better…?” I nodded in reply. “I’ll ask them next time we’re in the chat room together”. “Good… Goodnight, I love you…” I replied before she replied in kind, gave me a hug and we both disappeared into our bedrooms.

Being a parent in the digital age is not fun.

sarcasm font…

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The film club spent the past two weeks watching the Dead Poets Society, which I have not seen since the movie came out oh so many years ago. When I picked the kids up after they had watched the first half I said, “Carpe Diem! What did you think of them standing on the desks? Can you see yourselves doing the same?” The doll gave me a quizzical look and asked, “What are you talking about?” “Oh, I guess you you haven’t…” I began, before changing tact and saying, “Nothing…” “Oh My Gawd mom, did you just ruin the movie for me?” She asked loudly. “No,” I sheepishly replied before adding, “Besides, when do you ever pay attention to anything I say?” “Nice,” She replied, shaking her head in disgust. After a minute of brooding, she thankfully changed the subject, allowing the movie to talk to fade to dark.

Yesterday, when I picked up the kids, I asked, “What movie did you watch?” “The second half of the Dead Poets Society,” She replied. “Oh yeah, Carpe Diem; Seize the day and all that stuff. How did you like the movie?” I asked. “I did not not cry at the end of that film,” She said. “See I didn’t ruin the movie for you last week…” I offered. “How did you like them standing on the desks at the end saying Carpe diem?” I asked. The boy, who climbed into the car just then replied, “Mom, when they stood on the desks they said, Captain, my Captain…” “Whatever,” I replied before looking at the doll and asking, “So you didn’t cry huh?”

Looking back at me she asked, “Can you not read me when I’m using sarcasm? Because I’m getting the feeling you either are not paying attention to me, or something is wrong with you that you cannot read my sarcasm…” “Perhaps, like you with me, I’m not paying close enough attention to what you’re saying…” I said with a smile. “Nice,” She said, lifting her finger to the corner of her eye and assimilating a tear falling from her eye. “Ah, so you did cry…” I laughed. “Only at your lack of understanding,” She replied which made me laugh harder.

“CARPE DIEM or whatever floats your boat doll…” I shouted, before turning up the radio to effectively change the subject.

 

the old song and dance…

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One of the more fun times I get to experience in the mornings are the doll’s and bay’s quest to sit in the shotgun seat. “Doll, I’m the senior…!” The boy has argued. “Too bad, so sad, if you’re slow, you’re going to lose the seat,” She made her  argument clear on the second day of school. “I’ve been riding in the front seat the last three years. By virtue of age, the seat belongs to me,” The boy tried. “If you learn how to drive, you could have the front seat all you like. Until then, every person for themselves,” His sister countered and boy, he does not like playing by her rules.

Today he beat her to the car winning the front seat, while she acted nonchalant. “Ah ha, I’ve got shotgun!” he declared. “I’ve got a headache from your voice, please stop,” She replied and all I could think about was how in a few short months this argument will be gone and our morning drives into school will be boring.

*****

This morning on the way to school, the boy connected his iPod to the car stereo and blasted out the tunes he wanted to listen to, while his sister lamented in between sips of cold coffee, “Mom my alarm clock has somehow become a part of my dream, but not enough to wake me from my slumber. It’s like a dumb noise is going off, but not enough to annoy me to action”.

“Maybe it’s time you employ two alarms…” I suggested, knowing full well that probably won’t help her either.

Teenagers…

“You should listen to Genesis’ Home by the Sea,” I said to the boy, having awaken in the mood to listen to that song myself. “What do you know…” He said as the song sprung to life through the car speakers. “This is one of your dad’s favorite songs along with Second Home by the Sea, from that album. I remember when we saw them in con…” “Ma…Mom!” The boy interrupted. “What?” I replied. “I’m not taking Ancient History at the moment,” He said with a laugh. Shaking my head back and forth I mumbled, “I’ll give you something to remember…” Which only made him laugh more.

Ah yes, we had a nice drive to school this morning… no doubt the drive home will be just as interesting too.

*****

 

pitching a tent…

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Mrs. K’s daughter has arrived for a three week visit which results in giving me some free time to write, get things done around the house and well, binge watch the latest offerings on Netflix. But first, a blog… I used to be able to write five days a week, even while working full time, primarily because the kids were entertaining. The older they’ve become however, the less interesting they have become (said with a hearty sarcastic laugh).

Here’s what I got at the moment…

At the end of March (we hope), the boy’s s high school drama class will host a production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, where the boy will act as stage manager. Last month while visiting Muskingum University, during a conversation with the head of the Theater department, the boy was admonished for calling the play by it’s actual name, rather than referencing the production as “The Scottish Play” to ward off bad luck. “I’m not a superstitious person,” The boy said in return, before adding, “But yes, we’re producing the “Scottish” play,” The theater head turned back to him and said, “Whether you are or aren’t,I’ve been in the theater world long enough to know, it never hurts to be safe rather than sorry…” He smiled, nodding in agreement and reaffirmed once more, “The Scottish Play”.

Apparently there is a national Latin test for the top 100 high school students in the nation, occurring sometime in the next month. The other day, the doll happened to say, “Oh yeah, I need to study for the National Latin test…” Not understanding the significance with what she said, I simply replied,  “You have a Latin Test on Monday?” “No the National Latin test is sometime next month…” She replied. “What?”I replied surprised. “Apparently only two kids from each Latin class across the nation are invited to take part in the exam and Mr. Russo asked me if I would represent the school”. “Wow, that’s cool!” I replied, proud of her accomplishment. “Eh, I think it’s because everyone else in my class has a life on weekends, so no time to study…” She replied. “Boo! Don’t say that. Being chosen is an awesome accomplishment and you’ll need those free weekend to study regardless,” I said. “We’ll see…” she shrugged.

More tomorrow…

 

 

mom bashing 101…

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My family has reached a juncture where the kids find picking on me, not only an every day event, but also their duty. Much of their pokes have to do with how I pronounce or enunciate words. If you recall, a few weeks back, they both mistook my pronunciation of the word “phase” for “face” and then continued to “correct” me, over my objections. That is just one in the vast see of their mistakes. “Mom, you said, this…” The doll said laughing. “No I didn’t you must have wax in your ears…” I argue. “No, you misspeak all the time,” She replied. “I think I know what I said, so there must be something wrong with your ability to hear me…” I shot back. “Then what’s the boy’s excuse for hearing the same thing I did?” She tried. “You’re both in need of an ear cleaning…”

As you can see, I am under a constant attack by the enunciation police…

The other night, I decided to stream the new Star Trek movie, “Star Trek-Beyond,” and made the mistake of attributing the the nemesis of the show to the race of Cardassians. Except, when I announced who they were I said, “Oh my God, their Kardashians…” but realized I made a mistake almost immediately. “No, wait…” I tried to correct but it was too late, as both kids began laughing. “Mom, I don’t think so…” The doll said. “No, no,” I said, before laughing at my faux pas, I meant the Cardassians? Bay, isn’t that the name of one of their frenemies?” I asked, but he was too busy laughing and making fun of me to listen or reply. “Mom, I don’t think even the Star Trek writers could invent a family as campy as the Kardashians,” My doll replied. “Listen, I’ve been watching Star Trek much longer than you both. I’ve watched every episode from The Next generation to Voyager, so don’t tell me I’m wrong…” I said, pulling out my iPhone to verify the name. “Fine, CardaSSians, not Shians… but I was close!!” I said, looking for vindication. Instead I was met with a light tap on the head by my doll who added, “Face it Mom, you’re losing your marbles.

Looking back at her I replied, “Considering who I’m currently surrounded by can you blame me?”

No reply. “Sure now you’re quiet…” I added as a smile crossed my doll’s face, before we turned our attention back to the movie playing in the back ground.

writing and wringing are not synonymous…

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My children attend a catholic parochial high school and as one of the requirements for graduation, the boy will attend a three day God-centered retreat, a few hours north from home, next month. When the paperwork at the end of last year, describing the retreat, my newly self designated, agnostic son said, “Yeah, you can get me out of that okay?” Looking back at him I smiled and replied, “Uh, no. The only way you won’t attend is if your appendix bursts the night before,” I replied. “But mom, it would be disingenuous for me to attend something I no longer believe in,” He countered. “Why don’t you believe?” I asked expecting an answer similar to my own at his age….”Because church is boring and I’d rather not,” Instead he replied, “Because there are too many other things out there that can explain everything,”. “Bay, that’s where faith comes in…” I replied. “Faith…is like pretending there’s more to just having a boulder blocking your path,” He returned. Not wanting to get into a philosophical discussion with him at that time, I simply gave him a generic answer, “Bay, this is a requirement for graduation and as such, three days discovering whether you truly believe in God or not, won’t kill you. In fact, you might even have a great time…” I tried. “Not likely,” He argued in reply. “Then woe is you,” came my snarky reply as he lumbered unhappily from my sight.”

Last month, I attended a meeting which explained the content the kids would be given during their three day trip and the parents were asked to write him a letter, expressing to him how much he’s loved–how God loves him, etc. His father and I have decided to each write him a letter, because the nature of our relationship with him is different (I tend to be more loud…go figure; I try to push him out of his own way, whereas his father tends to talk and reason with him). In any case, the one proviso to the letter is that one of the letters must contain a paragraph to be read aloud so his classmates can hear (Good God!) At the meeting, two teachers demonstrated what a paragraph might say, to give us fumbling parents an idea of what to write to express love and respect for our boy.

The letter is due next week and his father and I have found writing those letters quite difficult. One would think, writing a daily blog about my goofball son would make this easy… but with so much to say, how do I begin? Lately, I’ve found myself wringing my hands daily in stress. “One minute I want to wring your neck…” I started one letter, before deleting the line. “No, that wouldn’t be a good thing to have read aloud,” I thought. “But only one paragraph from the whole letter is going to be read aloud…” I countered… “Okay, Bay, do you remember when you were small and I used to say I should have named you Payne….cuz you’re a pain in my ass…? No? Oh, never mind….” Start over…

I’m sure I’m putting way too much importance on this letter. You never know, his father’s may contain the magic paragraph (“though I don’t see how”-my brain snarks back). This morning while in the shower, I wrote a brilliant letter in my head, but then couldn’t remember the starting point afterward. Honestly, telling your oldest child how proud you are of who he’s become should be something worth reading and should contain more than just “I love you and am proud of you…” but frankly that’s where I find myself today. I don’t know…between wanting to wring his neck about missed scholarship opportunities and writing about his tenacity for making me want to wring his neck, I’m caught between a rock and hard place. However, with God’s will, I’ll find the right words and sentence structure, both of which I’m sure he’ll tell me are wrong.

I’ll let you know…