Category Archives: Mean Mommy’s Memoir

The boy and the doll (brother and sister superheroes) take on the world

Breathers…

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The doll is taking an online summer school health class and for some reason she’s decided to wait until the end of each day to do the reading and take the chapter quiz, which has put her in a very testy mood each night. “I’m going to murder someone soon!” She announced. “Doll?” “Mom this laptop keeps freezing…” she retorted. “Why did you wait until the end of the day…” I began but was cut off. “When I do my homework should have no consequence on why this stupid laptop freezes,” she angrily retorted. 

Last night, while the boy was happily sitting on the living room floor playing a video game, listening to music through his headphones, his sister decided to take umbrage with his presence, while she worked unhappily on her homework from the loveseat behind him. “Must you breathe so loud?” She yelled. Oblivious to her remark he continued to play unaware. A minute later she offered, “My God, you sound like you’re snoring!!” “Doll!! Knock it off!” I scolded. Then she replied, “He needs to learn to breath through his nose! He’s so freaking loud!!” She said as her voice rose with ire.  “Doll, go and do your work in another room. He’s minding his own business and furthermore, I don’t hear him breathing loud. You’re merely taking your frustrations out on him. Knock it off!” She moaned in frustration and quit complaining, but remained in the room.

After a spell, she apologized about her outburst saying, “I’m sorry about my behavior. My chapter on “stress” was stressing me out!”  Smiling, I shook my head and replied, “Fine, but perhaps if you didn’t wait until the end of the day to do your work…” She nodded in reply, then promised to do the work earlier in the day from here on out. But, knowing my procrastinating doll, I doubt little will change in that capacity.

in days of old…

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When I first began writing my Mean Mommy’s Blog, I was a stay at home mom with plenty of time on my hands. Today, when I finally get a chance to sit down and write, the day is over and my writing abilities and stamina are long gone. Between working with the elderly (who deserve my undivided attention while in my care) and my children’s developing lives, I really haven’t been able to find the time to write; which is sad, because a lot of neat things are happening and if I don’t write about them, I’m too soon to forget. Yes, being 53 is tantamount to losing one’s brain. 

But alas, this is where I happen to be at the moment. So, something has to change. Either I quit working (that would not be beneficial to anyone) or scale down-which I have been doing. But something has to change so I can clear a path for writing-both for my readers and for myself. I miss the act of writing, editing and publishing. I truly aspire to write something daily, but can’t seem to make the connection from my head to my fingertips to the keyboard. 

So this is where we are…

This Mean Mommy’s Memoir will continue to exist when I find time to write and tell you funny stories, but with a twist. 

Last year shortly following the political conventions, I began posting beautiful pictures as a way to spin some beauty around the ugly campaign season and found doing so helped make myself feel better too. As we’ve seen from recent days, while beauty is all around us, somehow humans are inexplicably blind-preferring to see and invent evil at every turn. Therefore, I’m bringing back the pretty pictures-human, plant, earth, water, sun whatever tickles my fancy. These I will try to post daily, but via my other blog site, Segues on the Path. This way maybe we’ll all start to experience some joy and begin to feel better about the world around us (politics be damned). But if not, at least I will. Look for this blog to begin Monday June 26.

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As for the Mean Mommy’s blog, it will remain the same; something akin to this. Enjoy! 

Last month at the start of the boy’s Baccalaureate Mass (Catholic graduation ceremonial blessing) a thought occurred to me that I decided to share with my hubby. Opening my iPhone, I typed into my notes section of my phone “I think I may have left the iron on” then handed my phone to my husband-who was seated on the other side of my doll in between us. Shaking his head in a “So?” manner, I retrieved my phone and wrote, “Let’s hope the house doesn’t burn down…” and handed my phone back to him. Leaning across our doll, he noted, “Don’t you mean pray, I mean we are in the perfect place to ask that our house doesn’t burn down…” Looking back at him, wanting to smack him, I only nodded. Our doll, sensing my ire leaned over and said, “Dad’s right,” and then smiled warmly at me. “Fine,” I replied, then turned my attention back to the ceremony at hand, adding a prayer that our house didn’t burn down during the ceremony.

After all the fanfare subsided and we returned home, I found the iron still turned on, laying flat down on the ironing board. However, the power strip the appliance had been plugged into was turned off. So I guess my prayers were answered, tho in a round about kind of way.

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accidental late nights with my doll… (are the greatest nights of the week)

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Not too long ago, I wrote a blog concerning the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, (a show about teen suicide) which I recommended viewing. Since then, there has been a lot of backlash against the program, primarily for the show’s failure to list a suicide prevention hotline for teens considering suicide to call, in addition to the ease and popularity of viewing this TV-MA program among teenagers; without parental supervision. My doll and I watched the show together, which led to a broader discussion about the maturity of teenagers problem solving skills. In doing so, we’ve also been able to keep an open dialogue between us-which I treasure and consider a blessing to us both.

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“Mom, I need to talk to you!” My doll said as she opened the door to me early Saturday morning. I had just walked home from my parish festival, after having volunteered all evening. “What’s going on?” I asked. “Mom, there’s this boy from my class….” She began and for a moment I blanked out. “A boy, what the..?” before regaining my composure and asked her to start over, quipping, “You’re talking too fast for your old mom to keep up. Now slow down and start over…” She looked back hard at me and asked, “Have you been drinking?” “Water? Yes. Beer? Yes–Lot’s of both? No.  Now start over…” I implored and directed her to join me at the kitchen table where we could share a more intimate conversation.

“Okay, there’s this boy in my class who…” and again, my mind began to swirl, but instead of getting lost in my thoughts, I re-engaged in the conversation, “I don’t think has too many friends…” she said.”Was he in any of your classes?” I asked. “No, I only saw him in the hallway, when we changed classes, but, I never saw him talk with anyone, so I began saying “Hi” to him, whenever we passed each other.” My heart smiled knowing I have a caring daughter who’s still adhering to the promise she made to herself, upon entering High School: to not be so shy. “In any case, we became ‘friends’ on Instagram over the course of the year and talk every once in a while, more about animals than anything-he has a cat; until today when he sent me an invitation to attend a pool party he’s throwing next Saturday.” She explained.

Finally, the dilemma quickly came into focus…

“Okay…” I replied tentatively before asking, “Do you want to go?” “I don’t know…” She replied with an exasperated tone. “Doll?” I began again, “Do you consider him a friend or more an acquaintance?” I asked. “I mean I think he’s nice, but, I don’t know him very well so he’s more of an acquaintance than not. Yet we are friends on “Instagram,” She waffled. “So I’m not sure where he sees me. And, if he doesn’t have many friends and built up the courage to ask me and I say no…I don’t want him to think I don’t like him too…” She rattled off. “Doll….wait, you can’t worry about that… ” I said and she gave me back an odd look.

Reading her face I wondered if there was more subtext going on than just attending a pool party. “So, you’re not sure if he has any friends, right? I asked. “Well, I know he’s in the band…” She said. “Okay, that’s good, then his band mates should account for something. What about your friend in the band, why don’t you ask her about him?” “I did and she said he’s ‘okay’ but that she really didn’t know him very well..” “Oh…” I replied. “So you see my problem?” She asked. “Doll, just because you haven’t seen any evidence of friends, does not mean he doesn’t have any… however, I get what your saying,” I replied. “Mom, he just comes off as an introspective person and if this is his way to reach out and try to make friends, I don’t want to be the one who shuts down his self esteem…”  “Doll, you are not allowed to be responsible for him if you turn down his invitation. That’s not fair to anyone, especially you,” I said and then added, “And if you need a good excuse, blame me and say your mom won’t let you da….” I started but was immediately interrupted, “Whoa!! I said nothing about a date!” She scolded.

“Doll, remember, I’ve had a few drinks here, okay? Sometimes my semantics are out of whack, ” I returned, adding,  “So let’s try this again. You tell this boy you’re mother is uncomfortable with you attending a pool party at a boy’s home -especially one she doesn’t know. In addition, tell him ‘She doesn’t let me do anything without having a trusted friend with me’–see there is power in numbers doll.  Then ask him if there are any girls you might know who will be attending, or better yet, ask if you could bring a girl friend along too? You see, that way it’s not you saying “no” to him, it’s me. Then when and if you can’t find a girlfriend who’s going or wants to go with you, you have a reason to say, “Sorry, my mom won’t let me. What do you think?”

She didn’t answer for a few minutes, weighing the good and bad in my proposition. “What if…” She began, but I shut her down. “What if nothing. In the morning, send him a text using me and then we’ll cross the next bridge when we come to it,” I said.

Then our conversation changed, while she considered her options. “Here let me show you what he looks like…” She said, pulling up his Instagram profile on my laptop. “Oh he’s a good looking kid…” I said and she replied, “He’s not ugly, but not really my type…he has a pensive personality…” “Well, there is nothing wrong with that…” I replied as our conversation meandered toward something else. After a spell, I glanced over at the clock and saw the time had advanced to 2:30 am and announced, “Doll, we need to go to bed-you’re dad’s going to be up soon and wondering what the heck we’re doing…” “Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize it was this late…” She added. As we stood to leave the kitchen, we hugged and she said, “Thanks for talking this out with me,” to which I replied, “Anytime doll, I love you and that’s what I’m here for,” before we separated, turned out lights and went off toward our respective beds.

Walking into the upstairs bathroom to brush my teeth, I ran smack dab into my husband, who was busy getting ready for work. “Can you believe how lucky I am?” I said to him. “What, did you fall asleep at the kitchen table again?” He asked. “No, I’ve been talking with your daughter about a boy who invited her to a pool party next weekend. I think she’s going to beg off by using me. But the point is, she met me at the door and wanted me to help her sort this out. She wanted to talk to me. We are very blessed to have a teen who wants to talk openly to her parents…” I said feeling proud, blessed and very sleepy too.

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The pool party is this Saturday and as suspected, she was unable to find a girl friend willing to go–so her mother poo pooed the whole idea. In addition, she picked up a baby sitting job during that same time period, which she feels is kismet… and best of all, she’s still talking with me about all sorts of stuff.

Win Win Win across the board.

Muskingum…

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Over the past year, the boy, his father and I have traveled to various University open house events, to allow the boy to find his collegiate home for the next four years. In my heart of hearts, I wanted him to attend a certain school twenty miles from home–far enough away to give him the “college” experience, but close enough to home in case of an emergency. But as my luck prevailed, he chose Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio…three and a half hours away.

Three and a half hours…?

“Considering the distance away, this school better be all that and a steak dinner…” I thought when he signed his acceptance letter to be mailed back, including my $200 deposit. But the school’s location does have one or two things going for itself.. first of all, the school is located an hour southeast from Columbus, OH where a large contingent of first cousins live-not to mention my brother and his wife. If problems should arise that he can’t get a handle on, he has a strong network of family ready and willing to assist him–until his father and or I can get there.  Secondly, the school is located in a very beautiful part of the state. Unlike his hometown, the campus sits high upon rolling hills, which the students must traverse to get to classes. His father and I especially like this as the boy will finally get some much needed exercise. As the boy likes to say, “The Freshman fifteen will be in weight loss due to walking everywhere…” Let’s hope this is true (tho not holding my breath).

Wednesday night, the boy and I drove down to the campus so he could attend their “Preview” day aka Freshman Orientation Thursday morning. Almost immediately they separated the students from the parents, sending them off to “meet” other students and learn more about their future. Meanwhile, us parents had our own orientation to the way things go on campus. One of the ideas they kept stressing to us was to “Care” about your child–but from a distance. Care meaning, Communicate, Ask questions, Resources–remind them to manage their time better and Encourage them to succeed.

When I arrived, I had a long list of questions. By the time we left yesterday, all my questions were answered, save two–primarily because the person who coordinates the area was on Summer break. Instead I was given an email and said, “She’ll respond to you fairly quickly…” In addition, the boy believes he’s found his college roommate (they exchanged emails and have been talking back and forth) and a place to call home for the next four years.

“Well, what did you think?” My husband asked. “I hate to say this, given the distance and such, but he’s going to thrive there…I have no doubt,” I replied. “I told you it was a good school…” He replied. “There was never a question about that. You know me, I don’t like to drive on the e-way at night. But, as for the faculty and staff? They will be holding him with kit gloves and keeping him from falling through the cracks. I had a great conversation with his Mentor–who sought me out, I might add who explained the program to me from top to bottom. Later she met with him too and he told me on the ride home, he was planning on calling her “Mom” which I let slide, ha. But you know, in two months time, he’ll know everyone and everyone will know and like him too.” I explained. “Now I just have to get used to the distance and figure out how to afford another cell phone for him to take…”

Yes, Muskingum University in New Concord, OH… The Muskies (their mascot is a tough fish), live Magenta (my all time favorite color even before we had ever heard of the name Muskingum and the only school in the nation with that color palate) and Gray (school colors), Welcome to our family.

Now to get everything in order before August 25–when we drop him off and run/drive away toward our new surreal futures…

what a week…

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A birthday, a graduation, an anniversary, another birthday, last day of school swim party and sleep over, a birthday party and then a day of rest. Whew! Welcome to the week that was… and to be honest, while today is a holiday for some, for me,  I’m hanging out with Mr. L. instead.

Newly minted Sophomores

So instead of a long drawn out blog, I figured I’d just post some photos from my very busy week and call it good…

Dylan E Lewis receiving his diploma

time to eat!

96 never looked so good.

the proper way to photobomb your sisters photo…

laughter to cut the tears…

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May 23. 2017 Cathedral Baccalaureate Mass

“It’s okay, Mom, just breathe…” The boy said to me as we drove to the Rosary Cathedral; the sight of the 2017 Graduating class’  Baccalaureate Mass. “Shh…” I said then took a deep breath, tried to speak again, then accepted his “It’s okay…” as I tried to recompose myself. “This is so dumb…” I said aloud, then laughed and tried to put a sentence together without tears but couldn’t quite muster the ability. Trying to think of something else, I finally managed, “Bay, you see, these four years… it’s just the first eight years took forever–at least they seemed that way. But now– it’s so fuzzy and you’re here and…” then I quit, knowing the tears I was trying to keep from ruining my make-up, were going to do so regardless. “I think what’s the most difficult for me to understand,” The boy began, “Is that now, I’ll be considered an adult…”

With his admission, my tears of sadness only moments earlier, were immediately transformed into tears of laughter as the tables turned and now I attempted to console his fears of growing up. “Mom, I’m serious. It’s a bit disconcerting for me to be considered an adult,” He added. “Bay, there’s more to being an adult than a high school diploma…” I replied. “Oh I know, it’s just…” “You have to be responsible now, right?” “Yeah, I can’t lay around in my underwear anymore and play video games all day, instead of going to work or class…” He explained. “I see…” I chuckled. “Well, don’t fret about it today…” I offered as we turned into the church parking lot and my big kid, with graduation gear in tow, began walking toward his destiny.

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When I left to spend the afternoon with Mr. L today, the boy sat happily on my sofa, in nothing but his underwear, playing video games. “I see you’re putting off adulthood for one more day?” I asked. “Not putting off, but rather,  still getting used to the idea”.  “Uh huh…” I said before turning to leave.

 

 

2 snakes, a bull frog, several snapping turtles…

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Chestnut Sided Warbler

As is our annual May tradition, the boy and I picked up his friend A, and drove out to Magee Marsh is Oak Harbor, Ohio, to participate in the great warbler bird migration. The only problem being, the much herald warblers decided to skip the event. Among the throngs of crowds there to see these elusive birds, there were a great number of theories as to why those birds were more elusive than usual. Some said the strong Springtime storms carried the birds over the Great Lakes; instead of giving them the

Blue Grey Gnat Catcher

chance to rest. Others noted our early Spring weather may have had a hand in changing the birds migratory patterns. Regardless the correct answer, the result remained the same. Warbler sightings were few and far between. At one point the boy lamented how in the first hour of “looking” they had only seen 2 snakes, a frog and several snapping turtles, causing him to rename the event The Great Amphibian Walk. Later, the boy spent twenty minutes trying to point out a bull frog to another man, which caused another to say in passing, “Things must be really bad if the only thing worth looking at is a bull frog…”

 

Palm Warbler

When all was said and done, while the number of birds we hoped to see were few, we still managed to enjoy our time together on the shores of Lake Erie. Oven bird

Black Throated Green Warbler


Blackburnian Warbler

However… fearing the early Spring weather had messed up the birds migratory patterns, I did manage to spend an afternoon earlier in the week, with my mother in law; snapping up pictures of many birds who had moved on by the time the the boy, A and I had arrived.  Here is a mixture of the beautiful birds who passed through my area on the way to their summer homes.

Red Breasted Nuthatch

Black Throated Blue Warbler


Prothonatory Warbler


Yellow Rumped Warbler