Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Life Moves Pretty Fast

Just five weeks ago our youngest graduated high school.  In 23 days he moves away to college.  Life as we know it is changing, and fast is an understatement.  

I, as a mom, am most definitely not prepared.  I'm not talking about making sure the laundry detergent is bought, and the sheets are washed, and the supplies are packed. (Frankly, none of that is done - we have purchased a shower caddy and two shower poofs).  I'm talking about the fact both of our kids will be gone and out of the house in month.  

I know my husband and I will survive just fine.  There will be fewer clothes to wash; groceries will be cheaper; and we will be able to walk out of a restaurant with a $30 bill instead of $80.  Sure, we'll have to tackle the yard work and shoveling snow together, but we do that now.  I will miss cooking for an army, because even though there are only four of us, I grew up in a house of seven and learned to cook for seven.  And since my mother learned to cook from her Polish mother, I learned that cooking for seven really meant cooking for 12.  So cooking for four, really means cooking for ten.  (I don't understand this logic either, just run with it).

Don't get me wrong.  I'll enjoy cooking for two, and then wait for the rare weekend when I can cook for all of us.   

Having kids means you are afforded an entirely new friend base.  You become close with your kids friends parents...and sometimes those friendships last longer than your kids friendships.  I've realized I'm in pretty good company when it comes to these friends.  Yesterday, one posted how much she wished her kids were younger again.  I miss those days, where the only thing that mattered was mom and dad.  Alas, your job as a parent is to raise your children to be healthy, well adjusted, contributing members of society, regardless of how much your heart breaks when you realize you aren't their whole world any longer, but just a piece of it.

Regardless of how I feel today about the fact that we will be pseudo empty-nester's in a month, life could be decidedly different.  I have a cousin who's son was paralyzed at 19, and now fights daily with the pain that came with a medical trial.  His parents are by far two of the strongest people I know.  The amount of shit they have tackled in the last few years is something that would make anyone of us curl up in a ball and suck their thumb. Nearly two weeks ago another wrench was thrown at them when the mom had an accident in their garden and lacerated her eyeball on a metal trellis.  She is in the same hospital where their son spent months of his life.  Thankfully, she is on the mend.

We have a friend fighting stage four cancer.
We have multiple friends that fought and won against breast cancer.
We have a scary amount of friends who divorced after 15, 20 and 25 years of marriage.
We have friends that lost not one, but two, of their children in accidents.
We have a friend who's spouse has trouble doing even normal every day tasks.
We have a friend who is raising her grandson because her daughter is fighting a horrible addiction both to a drug, and bad taste in men.

All of the friends mentioned above have kids.  Quite frankly, we are only friends with a couple of people that don't have kids.  I guess that just happens when you get older. 

So regardless of what you are going through, know that someone else is going through it too, or something worse, or different...or even having the time of their life. Enjoy the time you have with your kids, even if it means you'll only see them when they have time. Just remember, though, sometimes mom and dad come first, and we as parents need to lay the law, put down our feet, and most definitely piss off our kids.  It's your God-given right as a parent.  They'll thank you in the morning.  (Maybe not tomorrow morning.  Or the next morning....but some morning in the future).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Boys Will Be Boys

Yesterday was an eye opener.  We've been married for nearly 24 years, and have two (relatively) adult male children, so eye openers have been a staple for 22 of those years.

Why relatively?  Well the youngest just turned 18 five days ago.  Granted, at times he seems more mature than anyone else in our house...me included.  The oldest at 22 shows is mature, however, yesterday showed us he is still a kid at heart.

Our boys decided to hop in the truck and drive around town to catch the every elusive Pokemon.   This was a cartoon they grew up on and they collected all of the cards.  In fact, we still have those cards in various places in our home (desk, dresser, basement, possibly under a bed).  I wonder if they are worth anything...could they fund spring break? Part of me wants to jump on the bandwagon and run around town catching 'em all.  I used to love video games (Crash Bandicoot was my favorite), and I still spent mindless time playing Candy Crush Soda Saga on my phone.   The other part of me wants to relish in the fact that it is quiet in our house.   Better yet, this little adventure ensured they weren't fighting.  Thus, the eye opener.

In just four short weeks, our foursome will become a threesome once again, and then two weeks after that, the threesome will become a twosome.

I'm not yet in panic mode knowing they will both be gone.  I have begun the list.  Those parents with college age kids know what I'm talking about.  The list of all things we need to buy so they can live comfortably in a 12' x 10' room.  We have a better grasp on what needs to be bought and taken up for the first year, since four years ago we went through this.

This weekend (or next, or the weekend after that), will be spent washing clothes they will probably want to take; going through and organizing what games will be taken; and figuring out how many shorts a football player really needs for two-a-days.  We'll go shopping for sheets, and cases of Gatorade, and decide whether or not to buy paper plates or go without.  The youngest will be on the lookout for posters, and I'll be in the school supply aisle silently sobbing to myself.

We know that we will still see our boys quite a bit.  Since our kids will be at the same college for four months while our oldest finishes a minor, and our youngest will be playing football, we will be on campus.  What will be different is knowing that after we watch a Saturday game, we'll hop in the truck and head back to an empty house, where we know there will be milk in the fridge, treats in the cupboard, and quiet.

As a mom, I love the time we spend with our grown kids.  Last weekend, we took our 18 year old to see "The Secret Life of Pets", and in a few weeks we will all take a mini vacation and spend time together before they leave for the semester.

Our family dynamic is changing.  I grew up in a house where once my siblings hit 15 or 16, they were never home.  I was the one home with mom and dad.  Being 8 or 9 at the time, when the next youngest flew the coop, I felt like an only child.   Sure they came back occasionally, and even after two moved out at 18 they came back, but it never really felt like that Norman Rockwell family.  Does that mean that we have that Norman Rockwell family?  Not a chance in hell.  And frankly, I don't want that.  That's just too much damn pressure.

We love each other unconditionally.  We cheer each other on.  We laugh at each others jokes.  We laugh at each other.  And we fight.  Oh boy do we fight.  Does that mean as a family we have problems and can't cope?  No, it just means that sometimes I am right and everyone else in the house in wrong.  (Sorry honey...I know, I know.  You are the one that is always right).  It actually means although we value each others opinions, sometimes they just suck...and we will tell you that they suck.  Then we'll sit down for a dinner of homemade spaghetti, while I try not to laugh when one or more of the three males in the house farts to get me to laugh.

I wouldn't trade having two boys for anything in the world.  

Friday, July 8, 2016

I Have Been Deleted....

....and you know what?  I don't care.

It has taken me years to come to grips that I cannot please everyone.  I was not put on this earth to keep my mouth shut, or to coddle those around me.  I have realized that when someone deletes you, they are the one with the problem.

Yes, I have spoken loudly about deleting a host of people on my social sites after the boys graduated.  Did I?  A few, but not as many as I thought I would.

I was deleted by a family member today. This was the second time in two years that I have been summarily dismissed and told to have a nice life.  The first time was shortly after I spoke out about how our city, and our students, were represented in the media.  Six months later, I was re added...with a host of 'love you's', 'how was the game' and 'you must be so proud' messages.

This time, it stems from not sharing a hard copy of a picture that the person felt they had a right to.  It wasn't my picture to share, and told that person as much.  I was told today that I hold grudges; that I'm mad because they didn't show up to the boys party; and that they are sick of how I treated them.

Anyone that knows me, knows I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I do what I can to please those people around me.  I bend over backwards when it comes to keeping the peace among family and friends.  Yes, I might be loud and in their mind uncouth, but I call it like I see it, and it's taken me years to really not care about what people say.

So why write this down?  It does seem like I hold grudges, and that I do care.

I wrote this down as a reminder to myself that when someone doesn't get their way, it's their fault, not mine.  We don't have to please people 100 percent of the time.  Those that I'm friends with online know what they get with me.  They can keep me in their feed and listen to my ramblings on my blog, check out my pictures, and see my posts about how my favorite word is fuck.  They can keep me as a friend and unfollow me, so they can stalk me when they feel the need to read something I said.  Or they can delete me.  

I promise, I won't be offended, I just don't care. It's ok if you don't want to read my blog, see me post 100 pictures of a weekend away or a football game, post a recipe that I just have to try, or see me tagged in a picture of clown and wonder why I hate them so much. I'll still say hi to you if I see you, or maybe I won't.  I won't know that until the opportunity presents itself.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Life is One Big Countdown

1 day.  Tomorrow our baby turns 18.  That's impossible, right?  It was just yesterday that he graduated high school.  It was just yesterday that he played his last high school football game.  It was just yesterday that he joined track.  It was just yesterday that he ran the bases.  It was just yesterday that he went to the petting zoo.  It was just yesterday that he was born.

26 days.  In 26 days there is a mandatory high school football meeting that means absolutely nothing to us any longer.  A little piece of my heart is torn because of that.

27 days.  In 27 days, my husband won't know what to do with himself after work.  His old normal would be heading to the field to watch practice.  His new normal will be something decidedly different.

31 days.  In 31 days we will go back to our happiest place on earth and spend the weekend decompressing after a busy summer, and relaxing before college picks up. 

36 days.  In 36 days we will drive our youngest to college.  We'll pack up his clothes and TV.  His Xbox, his books, and his football.  His laundry detergent, cases of water and Gatorade and enough Pop Tarts and beef jerky to get him through two-a-days.  He'll go to the same college his brother went to, take completely different classes, have day after day of football practice that lead into Saturday games, study Chemistry and in his own words "blow shit up", and join a fraternity where he is a legacy.

37 days. In 37 days we may swing by the high school football field to watch the scrimmage for the new season.

47 days.  In 47 days, our oldest will finish his minor, to add to his major.  He wants to teach and coach at the middle school level...he also wants to design and build things.  We'll see which path sticks.

47.5 days.  In 47.5 days, we'll do one of two things.  Jump for joy that they are both settled, or cry like babies because they are gone. (Your guess on which one of us does each).  Will we also stare at each other and not have anything to say?  Will it become the new normal?  Will my husband really embark on the new naked room in the house?  (Sorry kids!)  Will I have time to write another book or finish my photography book?  Will we go on vacation alone?  Will we stop running out of milk, toilet paper, paper towel, bottled water?

52 days. In 52 days, our youngest will be playing at the collegiate level in the scrimmage that leads into the season.  We'll be there with smiles on our faces, and provisions in the truck.

59 days.  In 59 days we'll travel to the first away game of many.  We'll sit in the stands and cheer from the sidelines. I'll take pictures and try to capture these moments.

91 days.  In 91 days we'll be married 24 years. It seems like just yesterday he asked me to marry him.  Or even the day of, standing in the vestibule at Holy Apostles, where my father took my hand, looked me in the eye and said "Are you sure?  The car is parked right outside the door.  We can leave now."  (Side note, we've been together for 28, so in my mind it's really 28 years of marriage.)

103 days.  In 103 days it will be fall break.  I have no idea when we will see either of our boys.  One can only hope they end up at home.

131 days.  In 131 days is the final regular season game.  Yet another season that will go by too fast.

137 days.  In 137 days the crew will head out for deer hunting season.  Unless the team makes playoffs.  Then will we adjust on the fly.

5 1/2 months.  In 5 1/2 months, first semester will be done.  Our youngest will be tired, our oldest relieved.  We'll be leading into Christmas and our annual family vacation.  

2017 is right around the corner.  Another year will go by way too fast.  Our kids are grown and nearly out on their own.  I will still worry about them, and ask they call or text when they get somewhere they are going.  They will call when they advice, or are homesick. I'll watch for those texts that say "I love you" or "hi mom" or "I aced that test mom!) (HINT HINT BOYS!).  All a parent can ask for is that they are safe, healthy and happy (and that they make good choices).  And hope that once in a while they come back for a visit. Remember, boys, there is no place like home.

Friday, July 1, 2016

It Sucks Getting Old

Yes, I said it.  Here you are, a thirty-something, minding your own business: raising your kids; working your job; date nights with your spouse; volunteering for everything...then BAM!  Your 46.  You have trouble getting up in the morning.  Your back aches.  Your tired...all the time.

This week I decided to bite the bullet and go see my doctor.  Mind you, I've chatted with him online when I need a med refilled, or when I was in the accident nine months ago, but for the most part, I've avoided him.  Yes, I went in for my mammogram this spring, after having multiple biopsies (everything is good!), but avoided that dreaded Pap because frankly, who the hell wants to get up on that table and be poked and prodded?  I don't.  

I didn't go in this week for the Pap...knowing full well he was going to yell at me.  (He swears he doesn't yell, he just looks at you like you walked in with a 60 oz Slurpee and a box of Krispy Kremes).   I did, however, go in for some swelling of my ankles, and sore feet in the morning.  Why am I telling you this?  Because if you aren't feeling your self, make a point of going to see your doctor, even if you know he is going to yell at you.  

After his stern talk of why they my ankles swell, I was give a strict talking-to:  Here's your Rx for the excess water; go down and get lab work done (even though it was done in September); explicit instructions to avoid sugary drinks (damn you Dr. Pepper!), and carbs (are you fucking kidding me?), and drink more water (three days later I feel like I'm floating away).  Seriously?  Please put me on a diuretic, and then tell me to drink a gallon of water a day.  I'm down.

That night tests came back with higher than normal blood pressure (dude, you just took away soda and carbs, what the hell did you think would happen?); an under-active thyroid (could we be on to something); and vitamin D deficiency (I'm stuck in a warehouse office, with no window...the only light I get is during lunch - which typically is 20 minutes - at the end of the day, or on the weekends). 

Could this all be leading up to menopause?  Maybe.  Let's not even get into the night sweats and chills.

After a trip to the pharmacy, and the list of potential side effects, I'll apologize now for any reaction out of the ordinary from me, until they get this shit right.

So here we are leading into a holiday weekend.  The worst possible time for life changes. Or is it?  I'm going to try.

It's July 1.  I solemnly vow to drink more water; to take the meds; to get out in the sun; to avoid sugary drinks (damn) and carbs (double damn); and to get up and move during the day, even when I should be hunkered down in my office.