Soap and water…


My son is home from college for Christmas break and while I’m happy he’s home, I have an inkling, he’s ready to go back. You see, he found himself in a bit a trouble toward the end of the school semester–running out of time for projects. In fact, one text exchange with me basically said, “I could continue to make myself crazy and try to finish the project in the limited time I had, or let it go and begin studying for the next exam…” Two guesses which one he chose…

Since he’s been home (Saturday Dec. 16), I’ve also taken him to task for not bathing. At school his chief excuse for not doing so was “I don’t have enough time…” Which translates into, “I sleep to the last possible second before class begins, so I can’t get that shower in before and then afterward, I’m to busy doing other things-some required, some for fun, to do much more than just fall into bed at the end of the night”. I asked him what his excuse yesterday is… “You’ve been home all day, playing video games… surely you could have found a moment to wash in between segments, right?” “I just don’t think about it…” He truthfully explained. “Perhaps maybe you should… I offered.

Yesterday, I accompanied him to get a hair cut, but since he’s eighteen, I really no longer have a say into how long he wears his hair. However, since I am paying for the clean-up, do get to offer unsolicited advice. As the woman began cutting his greasy overgrown hair she remarked, “You have such soft hair…” Realizing he would have to reply he said, “Well, honestly, I haven’t washed my hair for a few days–sorry…” Unfazed by his reply she countered, “That’s okay. Not washing your hair everyday, contrary to societal norms is actually good for your overall scalp and hair follicles,”. Seemingly before she had even finished that thought, my son shouted, “Did you hear that mom?” Smiling along with the other patrons and stylists, I replied, “Yes bay, I did. But she’s talking about your head…not your body…” He audibly grunted his disapproval at my reply, but turned his attention back to woman cutting his hair.

On the ride home, he asked, “Why is my showering so important to you…?” “Well, stink issues aside,” I began, “I’d like you to be successful. You see, when you’re interviewing for a job, you need to look clean and prosperous. If you don’t shower and clean, they will see a slob in front of them, not someone eager to positively influence their children. In addition, you must not like your friends too well because you’re not being considerate or respectful to them. If you can’t clean yourself for you, keep clean for them..” A small grunt came from his direction in reply, but I honestly believe halfway through my reply, he zoned out. Instead, the grunt was a more critical response toward me (can’t she just stop?) rather than an understanding of my point of view.


Day three since he’s been home..still waiting for him to shower… “I will….” He tells me when asked and I’m sure he will, just not positive it will be any time soon (Maybe by Christmas eve?” ).


name shmame…


My son has never been known as one who remembers names. My coming from a large family really didn’t make much difference as he would ask, “Which one is that again?” whenever one of my siblings approached. As my husband once remarked, “He doesn’t know your name, because he doesn’t care to…” What’s in a name anyhow?

Talking with his cousin Carolyn at Thanksgiving the other day, my son knew a few things…. She’s his uncle Bill’s youngest daughter, who lives an hour west from his current college residence and she’s going to be opening a new restaurant in the very near future.

“I understand you’re going to open a new restaurant soon…” He began. “Yes, yes I am…” She replied and then described a little about the type of food they would be serving.  Then my son cut to the chase. “I’m going to be in Columbus to attend an Anime convention with my friends…” He began. “…maybe we could stop to eat at the restaurant…” before adding his caveat, “This is a little awkward tho, we’re all really poor…”

Carolyn, seeing where the conversation was heading offered, “Well, Dyl, I can’t comp or give away that many meals, but if you come in I will set you up with some good appetizers. I’ll treat you well…”

Smiling in return, my son replied, “Thank you…. uh…. This may sound a little awkward too… What’s your name again?”

I might add, my husband was sitting next to him at the time and gave him with a WTF? look.

Meanwhile, his cousin Carolyn began to laugh hysterically, which allowed the boy to laugh, apologize and claim his ignorance for remembering names. She in return, once she caught her breath, told him it was okay… and gave him a hug in return.

My brother told me the story the next day and I simply dropped my head and laughed. What else could I do?

Carolyn’s sister Cori informed me she asked Carolyn to repeat the story several times over because she found it hysterically entertaining.

All the while, we all accept the boy for who he is faults  (bad memory for family members names) and all…





img_3682By the time we picked up our doll and her friend from the dance, they both looked spent. “Did you have fun?” I asked and they both concurred while adding, “But I am so tired…” “Spending all day in preparation of the dance, can do that to you,” I offered and they both grumbled in reply.

Once home I asked, “So how was the dance?” and my doll shrugged. “and that means?” I wondered. “I had a fun time,” She replied. “And Braeden?” I asked. Shooting me an awkward look, she replied, “Considering he brought a date…I think he was fine,”. Yes, my worry about the boy who asked to attend as friends was for naught. He brought an old friend who seemed to occupy his time very well. “How did that make you feel?” I asked and she shrugged again before replying, “I mean, I think its fine and his date was nice–they’ve been friends since like third grade. I just feel bad for another friend of mine who likes him and he turned her down, preferring to bring his friend instead and then hang out with rest of us.”

A little while later I asked, “Did you see “J” there?” She replied with a small, quiet-hard to hear, audible “Yes”. “Did you talk to him?” I asked. “I said “Hi” to him, but he was busy talking to Brittany all night”. She added. “Hmm, well it’s his loss,” I replied. “Whatever,” She replied. “Doll, some day he’s going to see the nice beautiful girl whose had a crush on him and think, Gee why didn’t I ask her out and you know what? He’ll have missed his chance,” I tried. “See, you have to call me “beautiful”, that’s your job. I mean, look at my pictures, I have one eye that’s larger than the other, I have an uglier than normal smile and I just look awful,” She replied.

“What have you been drinking?” I asked her and she shot me a dumb look. “Here, look at this..” I said handing her my iPhone, tuned to my Facebook page. “Look at all the people who are calling you “Beautiful” here–and many are not even related to you…” I paused while she looked over the pictures I posted earlier in the day, with all her friends before the dance. Then I began again,  “I understand all too well, how easy it is for one to only see their own flaws. So, if you won’t take my word -for calling you beautiful, take theirs… and get off the flaw wagon.”

After she handed the phone back to me I added, “Oh and as for “J”,  it truly is his LOSS. Don’t let this “crush” continue to crush you, okay? And one more thing, if he goes to play with your hair again, ask him, “Do you mind? or What are you doing? and begin a conversation with him. Otherwise, regardless how cute you find his gesture, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed by him over and over again. Stop.”

“Geez Mom, I wasn’t expecting a lecture from you right before bed,” My doll offered, before leaning in for a goodnight hug. “I wasn’t expecting you to be so self deprecating. Doll, you truly are a very beautiful girl–and the way you look on the outside is like icing on that beautiful cake. Just continue being the nice girl who attended a dance with eleven dates. I mean, who else can say the same, hmm?”

The more things change…


Aside from Cheetos’ stained fingers and a slight stink emanating from his overgrown head full of (greasy) hair, I can most assuredly tell you, when he enveloped me in one of his patented hugs, I felt complete again. It was as if a part of me had been missing this last month. Of course, much of this is true, considering, while at college, the boy had been aloof, completely detached from his parents and not really caring that we were curious about his classes and dorm life. Leading up to our first visit, my husband and I shared several conversations concerning his short college career thus far…

“I never thought I would internalize his new life (away from us) as a stressor for me,” I told my husband and he concurred, “Who would have thunk this kid held so much worry for us?” He added. “Who would have thought, considering how much this boy likes to hear himself talk, he could be so quiet?” I replied and we both grunted in unison. “Well, now we know, we need to force the issue and get him a phone, instead of relying on his iPod,” My husband confirmed as we agreed to terms on a new cellphone plan.

The first thing we did as a family was to drive to the nearest Walmart and send him immediately to the bathroom to wash his face and hands. Then we spent the next few hours replenishing his supply needs, getting him a haircut, a couple pairs of shoes and lunch, not to mention catching up on how well school was going for him. “I’m tired all the time, they keep us so busy…” he relayed. “How’s the job hunt?” I asked. “I didn’t get one job as an assistant in the theater department, but I’m waiting to hear back on the other two,” He replied. “Bay, you need to make an effort. Stop in the office and remind them you put in an application. Keep your mind fresh in theirs,” I tried to reinforce and he thanked me for the good ideas.

“Have you taken advantage of the Rec center and gone swimming?” His father asked. “Not yet…” Bay replied and then offered his plausible explanation why. “There are days I’m laying in bed and think, ‘I should go swimming…’ but then I realize, I have to walk down three flights of stairs, followed by a walk down a very steep hill, only to walk up another steep hill to get to the Rec center. Then I’d have to do the whole thing over again to come back and I’m exhausted just considering the idea”.

Yes, that’s my bay!

Shortly before we left for home, he showed me his grades,  acquiesced and took responsibility for why he was struggling in one class. “This is my fault. I keep forgetting to bring the right materials to class, but I’m working with the teacher to rectify this and am confident I’ll get the grades up by the end of the semester,” he said. “You do that…write notes to yourself if necessary…” I said and he smiled, “That’s what my counselor told me to do as well…” Nice to know we are all on the same page–I thought.

He also made a point of introducing us to his new friends (who he mobilized to help carry up his groceries, so we wouldn’t have to)  and told us about the different clubs and organizations he had joined. But, when the time came to leave, we exchanged hugs and well wishes, turned and exited his room. I stood there for a moment, expecting the boy to accompany us to the dorm lobby, to see us off.  Instead, his door remained closed. Looking at my husband I said, “Well, the more things change, the more they remain the same.”

Which prompted all three of us to quietly nod in affirmation.





When I entered the building, a student informed me I was not allowed to go up to a student’s dorm room, without a student present–which at the time made perfect sense what with today’s lock down, need for safety and privacy world. So I waited.

and waited..

and waited…

and waited some more.

My husband, who had been impatiently waiting in the car with our doll, parked the vehicle and offered to exchange places with me. “I was told I could not go up to his dorm room…” I explained and he replied, “Okay”. I in turn, walked back to the car and opened  my phone to a text message he’d sent the night before that read, “I’ll meet you in the dorm lobby between 9:30 and ten”.

“Mom, where’s Dyl?” The doll asked from behind. “Any number of places…” I began, “Except where he should be,” I finished. Looking back over the few texts he has sent me since leaving for college. Taking in a deep breath I said to his sister, “I can’t believe I haven’t seen him in a month, and already I want to kill him…” She smirked and said, “Keep taking those deep cleansing breaths, Mom”.


A few weeks back, after not hearing one iota from the boy I sent a text which read, “You need to do a better job of communicating with your parents…” His reply a few hours later read, “I’m sorry to have left you so despondent, but I have a shit ton of work to do here”. Leave it to Dylan to make me laugh even when I’m mad at him.


When my phone rang, I found my husband relaying how he said screw to the rules and went up to the boy’s dorm door and began pounding until he answered. “Oh dad, I didn’t hear my alarm…” Was our son’s reply. Ten minutes later, the both of them emerged from the main lobby doors and there he stood, all 6’3″ of my son, arms outstretched, calling my name and then enveloping me into a stinky, albeit welcoming; hug. “Mom, mom, I’m so sorry. I had plans to wake up early and take a shower, but overslept. So now you get to see me how my teachers see me every single day…” He relayed and I tried not to cringe on his details. As we pulled apart I asked, “Dyl… were you eating Cheetos this morning?” Looking back at me oddly he replied, “No, but I was last night…” then he looked down at his right hand, where his fingers were the distinct color of Cheetos dust. “Oh, I still have Cheetos on my hand…” He began, before raising his hand to his face and said, “Oh, I still have some crumbs on my face too…”

Forcing me to once again, try my best not to cringe at his details.
















the friend zone…


Toward the end of the last school year, a boy at school asked my doll–via text message, if she was interested in going out on a date with him. Seeing that this boy was not the “crush” and not quite knowing how she felt about him, she replied, “I’d rather just stay friends…” Coming into the kitchen that night, she said, “I just sent a boy to the ‘Friendzone'”, and then explained to me what she meant. “I mean he’s nice enough, but, I don’t like him that way, so I told him I just wanted to remain his friends (hence the ‘friendzone’ designation)”.

A few weeks ago, following a football game, I said, “Hey, I saw your friendzone kid at the game… he’s kind of cute…” She gave me annoyed look before adding, “Ew, mom, he already has a girlfriend and again, I’m not interested,” She replied. “I’m not saying nothing, other than he’s gotten a little cuter over the summer, that’s all,” I explained. “Yeah, whatever, mom,” She replied dismissively.

Homecoming, the annual fall dance is fast approaching and the doll and her friends have decided to forgo dates, and just attend as a group of girls. Except, there are other forces at work. “What would you do if  “J” asked you to the dance?” I asked about her crush. “He’s taking someone else– I overheard he and C talking in Latin, how the girl he was going to ask was in another class,” She replied. “What if anyone else did?” I offered. “Oh, I don’t think anyone else will…” She answered.

So over the course of the last three weeks, via in person conversation and text messages, the girls have been putting together the final pieces of their group “date” for homecoming–which sounds like a really good time. Except, the doll was asked to the dance by another boy–one she also designated to “Friendzone”.

The plot thickens…

“Braden just sent me a text asking if I wanted to go to homecoming as “friends”,” She began. “What did you tell him?” I wondered. “First I checked with all the other girls if it would be okay if he joined our group, and then I told him about our plans to attend as one big group,” he finished. “So, what does this mean?” I asked. “What do you mean?” She looked back at me perplexed. “Is he aware that you consider this a group date?” “That’s what I told him and he seemed fine,” She replied. “Well okay,” I replied, preferring to drop the inquisition for the time being.

But…as her mother, I do believe another motive is on the table…

Over the summer, Braden invited doll to a pool party he was throwing for his “friends”. However, according to her, not only would she have been the only girl, quite possibly the only person from their Freshman class to attend. Feeling uncomfortable, I told her to either say, ‘No’ and blame it on me or ask if you could bring additional girl friends along, to satisfy your mom’s worry as well as her own. In the end, she chose to blame me for not allowing her to attend. Now this same boy has invited her to the dance as “friends” which makes me wonder if he’s hoping for more and using the “friendzone” as a blind.

“Doll, have you talked with Braden about the dance and stuff?” I asked. “A little. I mean, I’ve told him about our plans to get pictures together, then we’re going to eat at Panera’s before heading over to the dance and he’s invited to come with us. But nothing has been set in stone yet,” she explained. “Do you think he might be expecting you to be his  real “date”? I asked. “You and Kay are on the same page, she’s been teasing me that I have a date, whereas I keep telling her we’re just friends. Mom, I don’t see Braden any other way, than a friend. I’m sure, I’ll dance with him a little, but I’m going to be having fun with my friends,” she naively replied.

“Okay, but hear me out K? What, if Braden used the line “Friends” to get you to say yes, but is really thinking about this as a date? I mean he did invite only you to that pool party over the summer. He might actually like you differently than you believe…” She looked back at me with a mortified look upon her face. “I never thought of it that way….” “I mean, I could be wrong and he might just see you as a friend. But you need to be careful with his feelings…” Nodding as my words sunk in, she turned, looked at me and said, “Why does everything have to be so complicated?”

Welcome to life baby!





the crush…


Don’t you find calling someone a “crush” interesting especially since that person could literally crush your hopes and dreams with one unkind remark; if they were ever to find out?

In the first week of Freshman year, my doll found herself “crushing” on a boy whom she happened to share three of seven classes with. “Mom, he’s so funny, and cute…” She told me as we drove home one day. Wondering what he looked like she described him as such, “Dark hair and black rimmed glasses”. “So he looks like Harry Potter?” I asked amused. “No, he’s missing that horecrux scar atop his head,” she replied and we both smiled. Then over the course of the year, I became acquainted with the nice young man–not in person mind you, but rather after she pointed him out to me.

Toward the end of Freshman year, as her friends sat around talking about their crushes, my doll, let it slip about “J”. Since then, they’ve been working overtime trying to get their favorite gal pal and this nice, funny young man together, much to my doll’s happiness and horror. “What are they doing to me?” She’s lamented on more than one occasion, following the fun disclosure from school. “Alexa pushed me into J at a pep rally and claimed it was an accident…” She mock complained. “Did he say anything to you?” I asked. “I don’t know, I was too busy slinking away and embarrrassed to notice,” She replied. “Too bad, you never know when sparks may fly….” I replied and was slapped across the arm in return.

This year, my doll gets to share two classes with J and still finds him dreamy. What’s more, her friends have also stepped up their game to push them together. Of course, I wouldn’t be a mean mommy, if I didn’t partake in some of the fun… Arriving late to pick her up from school, I noticed J sitting outside, presumably waiting for his ride too. Instead of pulling up in front of where she sat, I parked in front of J. As she opened the car door I leaned back and said, “Aren’t you going to say goodbye to J?” Watching a mortified look cross her face, she jumped into the backseat, quickly closing the door behind her. “MOM! Did he hear you?” She asked in a semi yell and screech. “I don’t think I was nearly as loud as you are now dear,” I replied as she threw her head into her hands and sighed heavily. “I can’t believe you did that!” She said, though muffled by her hands. “Did what?” I replied again and was greeted with, “Why do you persist in making my life difficult?”  Which helped produce an even wider smile.

Last week as we drove to school after a 2-hr delay, I happened to notice J was in the car behind us. As I pulled into the school dropoff sight, I said, “Hey, J is in the car behind us…” and for the life of me, I’ve never seen my doll grab her belongings and jump out of the car so quickly. “Wow!” I said and was met with a “Stop!” before she turned and walked quickly into the building, trying her best not to walk slow enough for him to catch up, or even pass pass her. I sat there simply amused by the sight.

“Mom, I overheard C and J talking about dates for homecoming. According to C, he’s asking someone…” She began. “Maybe that’s you…?” I replied. “No, C remarked how she wasn’t in our class,” She replied sadly. “Well, too bad for him doll. Besides aren’t you going with your girlfriends?” I asked. “Yes, but, sigh…” after a moment she paused and added, “I think it’s important to date while in high school–I mean, not find your soulmate or forever person, but to help you practice for when you reach college and beyond. I just think it would be nice to go out on some dates…” 

I nodded my head, listening to her thesis on the virtues of dating in High School with interest. At fifteen she’s never been on a date, let alone kissed a boy. My doll has a good head on her shoulders and we’ve shared some good conversations about the human hormonal responses to dating. However, this prompted me to reply, what I have learned from high school dating. “I know two couples from my High School class who dated all through school and married and remarkably, are still married today. I also know several others who married after high school and divorced five years later. So High School can be important in the dating scheme. But, don’t put so much importance on the idea, that you ruin the process, okay?”

A few days later she told me, “J doesn’t have a date for Homecoming”. “Hmm, his date fell through?” I asked. Shrugging her shoulders, she said, “I don’t know…” “Maybe he’ll go to the dance on his own…?” I said in return. “Maybe, I’m just happy I won’t have to see him be monopolized by one girl,” she replied. “Doll…” “Gotcha!” She said then laughed, before seemingly changing subjects until ten minutes later, showing me a secret video Alexa had taken of J in Science… “Isn’t he cute and funny?” She gushed. 

Oh brother….