Boys v Girls

I had a friend suggest this topic and as I thought about it, it fell right in line with a conversation I was having with a few other friends earlier this week and figured, sure, lets give this a whirl!

As most of my regular readers know, I have 2 boys. I’ve raised them to the best of my ability, with each of them having their own challenges. There are parents who are fortunate to have boys AND girls. My mother was blessed to have me first and then along came my brother. She had a nice balance between the two genders and we each put her through our own version of hell. The fact that she’s still alive and also NOT locked in a loony bin at this point says a lot about her character and strong will. I hope I got that from her. I think I did. My kids will say I did.

But then….

There are the mothers of only girls. They don’t have any additional testosterone flowing the house, unless they get a pet. So here’s how I see it. The doctor announces “It’s a beautiful baby GIRL!!” and the world turns pink. Pink everywhere. Pink rooms, pink clothes, pink ribbons for her hair. And then baby 2 is a girl. And just when you thought you had everything pink, you discover, oh no, there is WAY more stuff to buy! Diaper bags, and little frilly cover ups. Mounds of lace and pink! You can’t watch a Pepto commercial without thinking of the baby.

Then, as they grow up, there may be less pink, but the shopping hasn’t stopped. Dresses and shoes and make up and leggings and bows and cute little decorations for their rooms and bathroom and lockers and cars. There is crying. LOTS of crying and most of the time no one knows why. Some days it’s ok to her why she’s crying. Other days it’s waaaaaaay easier to tip toe all the way out of the house and sit outside til she’s done. Even in the rain. Or 46 below zero. PLUS wind chill.

Dads have to protect their precious little ones from the evil horrible wretched boys that will all too soon come searching for your princess. Lock and load, Dad, lock and load.

My boys have given me challenges, don’t get me wrong, but just in such a different way. They have made stupid, boneheaded decisions that make me question their IQ and their sanity. Or mine. I mean, the oldest went through an Emo phase that I never thought would end. I was starting to wonder if I should just resign myself to the fact that he would be working in some comic book or trying to go on the road with Fall Out Boy. But then, miraculously, he came out of it.

As I was thinking about all of this, I realized that worrying about an Emo phase or any of the stuff I worried about with them is nothing compared to the worries of a mom with more than one girl. She has to worry about the technology of today and what they are doing with it. Worry about boys (especially the “serious” boyfriend who, let’s be honest, only has one thing on his mind no matter how nice, upstanding, good grades, dad is a pastor, drives a BMW and always address you as “Mrs.”) and teen pregnancy, going to the Homecoming Dance or Prom, or the party that she says she’ll be home midnight and isn’t home yet. The heartbreak of the boy who said he loved her, til the next girl came along and she was dumped via text. The pimple that appeared right at the end of her nose on picture day. In the day of the life of a girl, that is traumatizing.

So even on my worst parenting feeling days, when Ryan brings that bad grade home (which so far this years he’s getting GREAT grades…..A’s even!!) or when he tells me his phone is broken AGAIN, that it’s not nearly as bad as raising more than one girl. I have the utmost sympathy and compassion for you. I truly do. God gave me two boys for a reason. Plus, I would be SOOO broke buying yet more clothes. And a mani/pedi session. And that cute bag. And did you see those shoes??????

boys v girls

Crazy Week, please let it be over!

So, yea, I kinda fell off the face of the blogosphere didn’t I? And I was on such a roll too! I’ve had some weird, some sad, some funny as hell things happen though, so before I go off for my run, I thought I would leave them with you to ponder the ridiculousness of my life. Have at it.

Let’s start back to last Sunday, when my crazy, idiot, horrible, white-trash, no-mortgage-payin neighbors decided to call the cops on US! What a freaking joke!! They called because we have a security camera in our backyard (which has been up for over **2** months!!!!!) and they were suddenly, on a Sunday morning as I sat in church, concerned that it might be capturing their backyard. So I had to leave church, come home to deal with police at my door. I showed them the camera, I showed them the app of what the camera displays, I showed them the lovely pepper plants that the camera was originally for, and I offered them a bottle of water (to show how kind I am!). Yea, well, WE aren’t doing ANYTHING wrong by having a security camera, outside, pointing at our pepper plants. And even if we were pointing directly into their backyard, there is nothing wrong with that either! He said something about there not being any expectation of privacy when you’re outside. Anyone can take a picture of anyone, anytime, anywhere, if they are outside. Now, he calmly pointed out that if we had pointed that directly at their bedroom window, that could be a problem. I told him I didn’t want to make myself nauseous at the thought of anything going on inside their house, let alone their bedroom. ::shudder::

So the cops laughed with me for a while, talking about trivial things like how hot it was, were they sure they didn’t want a bottle of water, then they went back over the wretched neighbors to let them know there was not one damn thing I was doing that was wrong. And further, if they call them again over a non-issue, not only will they file charges against them, but I can then file harassment charges against them. Ha! I bet when she was relaying this info to others, she left that little part out. Mmm Hmmm.

Then Ryan started school. Sophomore year. First day of school didn’t bother me. I didn’t well up with tears. I didn’t hug him till I crushed him. I didn’t hold him til he was pried from my grip preventing him from not going out the door. No, no. The tears came crashing down yesterday as I was looking at Pinterest!! PINTEREST!!!! Seriously?? I’m looking at fattening recipes which I will never make but I’m drooling nonetheless. I’m looking at cute ideas for my house that I will never have the funds to do. I’m looking at adorable outfits that will never look that cute on me. Then I see some fall stuff. I don’t even know if it was for a classroom or just home decor, but it was apples, and pumpkins and cinnamon and stuff. And I BURST into tears. Bawling, sobbing OMG-what-am-I-doing tears! And I love fall!! Second favorite season! Love it! But my boys birthdays are in October (both of them) and Rob will be 25 and Ryan will be 16. 16??? OMG! Tears flooding my eyes!! Can’t see the cute purple outfit on Pinterest. Can’t see the perfect gray kitchen that I long for. Aaaaccckkkkk!!! Close Pinterest. Let’s forget this even happened.

As for the laughter, because really, that’s my favorite part, Saturday I went to a party with some friends. This was awesome because it wasn’t just girls hanging out at a bar, feeling old and deaf from the music that’s too loud. (I know I’ve said it before, but really, mid 40s women should not be hanging out at a bar every week without starting to look a bit pathetic and desperate to hold on to their youth. Have some class. Going to a bar can be fun, but really, we all have houses or apartments or condos. Go there. Be an adult. Much more fun.) So we went to a PARTY! This is a friend who has a party every year and I swear every year it gets better and better. I also love that we go together as a group, and people we have met there remember us from year to year. It might be the only time all year that we see each other, but it’s so awesome to get “Chrissy!!! I’m so glad you’re here!!” screamed across the lawn, complete with a hug and a peck on the cheek! I mean, seriously, who doesn’t love that?? So we got our drink on, laughing, talking, laughing, mingling, laughing, passing out glow sticks and glow necklaces, drinking, laughing.

It was one of those nights that when you wake up the next morning and besides your pounding headache, your stomach muscles and jaw aches from the laughter. Yep. One of those night. So much fun and looking forward to next years bash already!!

But as that party usually signifies the end of summer, so does school starting, fall stuff on Pinterest, football, Homecoming (Oh Lord, Homecoming is coming up. Where did I put those tissues???), and taking the boat out for winter storage. I think we might be ready to sell the boat. Even Michael isn’t fighting the idea as much anymore. The season for the boat may be over. We’ll see how that goes. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the transition from summer to fall and not stress about things I can’t control. Serenity now…..Serenity now…….

True Love

47 years. That’s a long time no matter what. It’s a long way to go, day by day. It’s hard to think 47 years ahead of where you are right now. The world changes so rapidly anymore, that a few months from now could be so radically different than anything we could imagine.

47 years is how long my parents have been married. It’s not a “milestone” anniversary. It’s not a Hallmark greeting card anniversary. But it is another year for two of the most wonderful people I know. In a world full of divorce, and remarriage, and another divorce, and another remarriage, to see that true love still exists, still flourishes, is an amazing sight.

My parents met by living next door to each other when they were very young. Back then, it was very common to buy a home and stay there. Grow your roots there. As they grew up, they went to different schools. My dad is also 4 years older than my mom, so they wouldn’t have exactly crossed paths a lot anyway. Except they were right next door. My dad was in college at THE Ohio State University, working his own way through college because his parents didn’t have the means to send him. My mom was in her senior year, and my dad asked to take her to her senior prom. Oh the pictures of them together on that night are fabulous. He proposed to her that night and they married the following year.

I was born the year after that. My brother 3 years after me. My Dad worked, and went on to do more schooling, and got promoted and worked and did more schooling and got promoted………
He started his career at a national company, an entry-level position and retired the company CEO and President. And my mom cared for us, raised us, sacrificed for us, all the while being the wife behind the man. Elegant at all the important social gatherings they had to attend. Gracious at the events she had to host. They both rose to the occasion and never lost each other in the process.

Dad retired several years ago. The adjustment of always being on the go was one I worried about. But with most things, they handled it with ease. There have been significant health scares for both of them. Mom developed GBS right after Dad retired. It was one of the scariest times in all our lives. Dad and I lived at the hospital, willing her to get well. And she did. Dad has had cancer a few times but has beaten the odds so far. (Knock on wood) He is currently cancer free and his latest screening came back negative. Cheers all around.

So to anyone who thinks true love isn’t alive anymore, they only have to look to my parents as an example. Because true love is alive and well. And I hope there are many, many more years to celebrate more “non-milestone” anniversaries.

And so it goes….

I couldn’t decide what to title this blog post. I couldn’t even write the past few weeks because I kept thinking I needed something insightful, or popular, or relevant, or now. But when I woke up this morning, I thought….this is MY blog and I can write about anything or nothing. I can sit here and write about the color of my underwear if I want to. (Bright pink today for anyone interested)

What really prompted me to write this today is that tomorrow is my husbands birthday. And you might think this is about his birthday, but it isn’t. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. Because woaaaah baby, do we have a story to tell there. But instead, his birthday got me thinking that it’s almost the end of March. This is Spring Break week for Ryan. After this week, it will be April. APRIL!!! He gets out of school mid May. So you know what this means??? This means that my youngest son will be finished with his Freshman year of high school in mere weeks!! How can this be?? No, really, I want an answer, how can this be?????

It just makes my brain start working in over time. 3 years. So much will happen in the next 3 years. It goes by so fast. I wish I had a pause button sometimes. Or at least a slow-down button. When my oldest was in high school, it just seemed to pass with a blur. One minute he was a precious Freshman walking into his huge high school, the next thing I knew, I was ordering senior pictures, and a graduation cake, and moving him away to college. Boom, it was over.

And now, it feels like the same phenomenon is happening again. Moving too fast. Blink. One year is over. I mean, we have already scheduled classes for next year. We’re getting those blanket college inquiries. He’s going to have to start trying to decide what he wants to do, and if and where he wants to go to college. Of course, right now, he’s still the little kid who thinks he’ll be able to move into a mansion in West Palm Beach after graduation and he’ll join the NBA. The NBA part might be a joke, but not the West Palm part. Or South Beach. See?? He isn’t picky.

But that makes me realize that in 3 years, we can go south and get out of this cold weather hell. A condo on the water? Yep. Sign me up. Of course, that’s to say Michael doesn’t need to move sooner. Who knows what his job will bring. But at the very latest, 3 years from now, I’ll be packing and dealing with moving 900 miles away. Wow. In the meantime, I’ll just keep stressing out about how my baby is almost done with Freshman year. And how I can’t possibly be that old.

A New Day Dawns

I love days like today. It’s sunny. Blue skies everywhere you look. Feeling renewed from church and a wonderful weekend. It’s hard to not imagine that it’s 75 and perfect outside while sitting inside at my computer.

Taxes need done, bills need paid, but I just keep looking at the window of my computer loft at the woods behind my house and the sunshine pouring in. I am straining to see the beginnings of a bud on the trees, but not yet. Snow crocuses are breaking through the mulch, so I know spring really is just a few short weeks away.

A sense of renewal comes with this time of year, a feeling of hope just out of view, but almost there.

Maybe it’s due to that feeling or something else, a waning, a crack. We decided to give Ryan his phone back, his Xbox back, and his laptop, although the latter is a limited basis and at the kitchen table only. That does not mean he is still not grounded from parties or sleepovers. Ohhhhh boy, he is. He suffered a week with no contact with anyone except while in school. It’s time to put that part behind and move on. He’ll get small things restored as trust improves, but he knows that will take time. And surprisingly, he’s grateful for what we’ve already returned to him. Maybe there’s hope for the silver lining in this after all.

Parenting Teens – Standing strong in times of trouble.

I wanted to follow up, explain, expand, perhaps clarify from my post yesterday. I’m glad some are actually discussing this huge problem we have around here, I’m saddened to hear that most are still burying their heads. But that brings me to my main topic today.

I have not been elected the police of Westerville among high school students. I am not some vigilante running around trying to find kids doing wrong or illegal things. I do not have some self-imposed moral high ground. Actually, if anything, from where I stand, I feel like it’s the opposite! Until Monday morning, I was the parent who would’ve said “My kid wasn’t even there!” or something to that effect. We have discussed these issues for years with our son. He’s taken the middle school and high school classes at church. He even attends church with us every Sunday! We have told him how alcohol, in his bloodline, is literally like drinking poison. But that’s a different story for a different time.

I want to use a very real example of parents burying their heads. If this sounds remotely true, please pay attention. Our schools have a Ski Club. Buses take the kids roughly an hour north to ski for a few hours, bus ride back home. It was reported by students to advisors, teachers, and parents that many, many students were smoking weed on the back ski trials. This was not a one time occurence. Not by a long shot. By the time it had finally escalated to some parents being told that their kids were doing this, what did they do? A big fat nothing. Oh they got a “talking to”. They asked their kids, who denied it and then it was over. How many of them searched their phones? How many searched their rooms? How many went to buy a home drug testing kit, handed their child the bottle and made them on the spot go fill it up??

I wouldn’t have. Not my son. He wouldn’t do that kind of thing. He knows better. We taught him better than that. Blah, blah, blah. The child who has the nurse for the mom. The child who has the successful junior executive for a dad. The honor roll child. The child who is involved in sports, or drama, or any other club or group. The child who has both parents working in their own business to afford all the good things in life, but not spending time with the child. The child who has a stay at home parent, like me, and I have no idea. You ask if they have done it, they say “Gosh Mom! Gosh Dad! How could you even ask me that?? Of course I would never drink! I would never smoke that!” And Mom and Dad want to believe soooo badly, that they do. Even if the signs are there. And those parents, even in light of what has been brought to light this week, are still believing their child.

Then we have the parents who do know what is going on. And they are fiiiiiinnnnnneeeee with it! Well, that’s just dandy. I am not your child’s guardian. Parent your kid your way. None of my business. But do not expect me to be ok with it when it comes to my child. We can agree that we have different philosophies, different ways of raising our kids. But my child won’t be with your child. They say “It takes a village” and I agree with that. But the village needs to at least have the same general guidelines or that village has chaos. Our world has enough chaos without adding in mixed signals of “Well, so and so’s parents don’t care the he spent the night at that girls house or that he drank, or that he smoked that weed” (Remember, I am talking about mainly about 15 year old Freshman in high school here!)

These parents are of the mindset that they’re going to do it anyway. Again, freedom to parent how you see fit. I am not of that mindset. Maybe I am the outcast, the strict one, the delusional one, the unrealistic one. I am not ok with standing by and allowing my child to do these things without consequences.

So please don’t paint me with a broad stroke brush that I am climbing up some moral superior tower spewing my own beliefs and expectations on all the good citizens of Westerville. I most certainly am not. And if you have a different opinion, I would love to hear it. The more us parents talk about this, openly, honestly, without fear of how you think it will look in the eyes of someone else, the better it is for our kids. We have almost 3 1/2 more years to go. Banding together, helping each other and leading by example will only make our wonderful community better and stronger.