I was reminiscing just the other day

My kids got Taylor Swift concert tickets for Christmas. It was all they asked for what they really, really, really wanted and swore they didn’t need anything much else. And for reasons I can’t completely explain, there are also two tickets for The Dude and I.

Don’t hate me, but I’m kinda excited.

The past couple of times ‘ol Swifty has been in town, we weren’t able to get tickets. Heaven knows we tried. But there’s a fine balance of wanting to do something for your kids and being able to afford your mortgage payment because the only tickets left by the time you actually get through cost nine million dollars. Being a grown-up is so lame, you guys.

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With this particular album, we made sure we were on some sort of notification email list-thing that would give us behind the scenes info and the code for presale. (Super technical terms meaning that teenager of mine told us when all the things were happening.) Even knowing all this, getting enough tickets was quite the ordeal. Let’s just say that the two separate ticket buying experiences (there are friends going with us and you could only buy a certain amount of tickets per household) left us all with heart palpitations and PTSD. It also leaves The Dude and I sitting by ourselves (with thousands of other people) so the girls can all sit together and I find this perfectly hilarious.

Timing is a funny thing, though. We’ve been TSwizzle fans for years and years. Yes, I said we. Some of my favorite memories with my girls have been singing TS songs over and over on repeat because they’re the quintessential growing up songs and super fun to sing at the top of your lungs. Even for an alleged grown-up. And this huge concert event in August comes right at a time these girls, and their parents, might need it the most. Because just a couple short weeks later, a few of these girls will be heading off to college where the soundtrack to this next chapter in their life might sound a bit different.

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So maybe the title using Taylor Swift song lyrics on yesterday’s post makes the lump in my throat grow into a huge bolder every time I read it. Because obstacles and mountains and expectations and goals and dreams and surviving and hoping that everything will be okay and then getting to a point where we’re more than okay. But also because these girls are the epitome of all the Taylor Swift albums, as silly and cliche as it sounds. They’re young and hopeful and scared and excited. These girls, man. They’re crashing through walls, moving mountains, making magic, fighting dragons and having the time of their lives. And all of this just…fits somehow and the timing is perfect.

Why You Should Never Use the Olympics to Keep Track of Time

My husband and I watched the closing ceremonies of the Olympics last night. I know that you are completely shocked by us watching anything Olympics, but sometimes we actually do watch TV together. (If this was an email or text, this would be the part where I’d put a winking smiley face.)

With the 2014 Winter Olympics now over, there were segments about the next (2018) Winter Olympics and, of course, the 2016 Summer Olympics.

You can’t help but think about where you’ll be in the next two or four years. (I have A LOT of Olympic watching to schedule into my life, folks.) How old will I be? How old will my kids be?

Sigh.

Yeah…THAT question.

For the 2016 Summer Olympics, Beezus will be home for the summer from her first year away at college. Ramona? Yeah Ramona will be getting ready to start her first year of high school. HIGH. SCHOOL.

The next time we see the Winter Olympics? Beezus will be 20. TWENTY. Ramona will (theoretically) be driving.

My head didn’t even have time to explode. It fell clean off.

This is why no one likes math. Once you learn to count, it’s all over. Counting things make you realize how awful it is to use the Olympics as a measurement of time. Or to track parenting years and milestones. It’s horrifying. I began to rethink my love for all things Olympics.

I couldn’t even help myself. When all these montages that felt like time machines floated across my TV, I looked at my husband and said “Beezus is going to be home from her first year of college when it’s time for the summer Olympics.”

He stared straight ahead at the TV for a bit and then said, “That is so sad.”

I sometimes forget how hard this is on the papas, too.

Maybe it’s good that the Olympics are over. We’ve been…obsessed. Our TV has been on so much, I think my brain is beginning to ooze out my ears. I’m also way too emotionally involved in all these athletes. And yes, Olympic math makes you realize just how fast time will fly. I don’t need any other reminders.

I can torture myself without any help, thank you.

Ramona the Brave

I cannot believe the difference in Ramona the past couple of weeks. I mean, they are subtle differences, but I can see the changes in her every day. I’m grateful that she’s doing better. I love that she loves certain parts of school. I’m relieved…well, I’m relieved that she doesn’t hate life.

thumbs up, baby
thumbs up, baby

She’s making friends. She’s enjoying school more and more. At least most parts of school. Homework and test taking are a struggle in a couple of her classes, but we’re working on that. We’re trying to figure out what works for her. I haven’t said anything, but I’ve been wondering about a slight learning disability and maybe even some sensory issues that I didn’t realize before. I’m not get into that right now, but she works so hard studying and yet struggles so hard on her tests and quizzes. I’m not quite ready to give her a label. I’m also not sure that I’m right. But let’s just say that this mama is working on doing a lot of research to understand the way she learns. (For the record, I still have don’t really know.)

What I do know? She loves band. LOVES it. I had no idea that she would take to it so well. She’s playing the flute and can play Mary Had a Little Lamb like a BOSS. Her close friends have come from meeting them in band class. I even got to meet one of their moms at last week’s school event. Which makes me feel like we’re actually getting to be part of the community. (Bonus!) And these friends seem so nice! Like, really nice! I’m almost afraid to say it out loud, but no drama! (4th and 5th grade was fraught with drama. It was not my favorite.) She is thriving and absolutely adores her band teacher.

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Last week my dear child got in trouble for her attitude and then grounded from her iPod and TV. Quite honestly, it’s the best thing that ever happened to her. I think she’s sleeping better. She’s not as distracted. She’s reading more. I’m not saying it solved all our problems, but my goodness she’s different without those two things. The Dude didn’t give her a time period of how long she’d be without the iPod and TV privilege. I don’t know how or when we’ll even start talking about it. But for now? It’s better for her not to have constant and easy access to them. It’s almost like her mind is at peace without them.

And in completely unrelated news, she got her very own razor this past weekend. Yeah…leg shaving milestone. Leg. Shaving. Milestone. Super not ready for that. I mean, she spent the day wanting everyone to feel her legs so that helped to bring things back a little bit, but yeah. These kids of mine are making me feel old.

Of course, it just took me several (SEVERAL!!) tries to spell “subtle” in that sentence up there so who knows? Maybe I’m just getting old all on my own. Looking into convalescent homes is next on my to-do list. Because of course.

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The thing about having your oldest child start her junior year of high school AND turn sixteen in the same week is that it makes you a bit nutty. Or raving effing lunatic. Whatever. You’re a nut job that is sad and happy and certifiably crazy. You just never know what Jill you’re gonna get.

But here’s the thing: I’ve woken up a lot of feelings and emotions this year. A lot of it surfaced when I wrote my LTYM piece. And then it continued to surface as I faced things that I didn’t know I needed to face. Maybe even forgive people that I didn’t know I needed to forgive. Maybe people that thought that teenage mom me shouldn’t, perhaps, keep a certain pregnancy…or maybe that I shouldn’t keep the baby. That I should give her up for adoption. And even more people that thought I shouldn’t get married.

I always thought that I wasn’t mad. But maybe I was a little. Maybe a little bit more than a little.

There were times that I worried that I was going to ruin that sweet baby’s life. We were too young…we weren’t ready. We had a lot to learn about being married and being parents all at the same time. We were ridiculously poor sometimes. We sacrificed a lot. We couldn’t give her and her sister everything we wanted to. I still have guilt and regret over the times when I have failed miserably. I worried that all those people were right. The ones that doubted us the most.

But I think now is the time that I let that anger start to go away. The anger at myself. At the other people. Because the best part of proving everyone wrong? It’s her. It is all her.

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photo: sarah maren photography

I’d gloat about being right, but I don’t even know how. Because I’m just still in awe that I get to be her mom. Even after sixteen years, I can’t believe she’s mine. She is magical. She is a blessing. And she is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. And I would go through every bit of sacrifice and hard time if it meant that I could still be her mom. Every single bit.

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us…last year’s birthday party

I know I need to learn to let go. I need to learn how to let her grow up and be the amazing person that she is. But I can’t yet. I want to be selfish for just a little while longer.

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photo: sarah maren photography

Because with a kid like this? It’s hard not to.

I’m just hoping you’ll put up with me

I keep forgetting to tell you about all this free time I (apparently) should be getting. Or at least that’s the opinion of someone I know. So I wrote about it.

We all make choices in life. And, well…I guess I choose to be busy. I could say no more. I don’t have to spend quite so much time with my family. Sure, I might be able to cut down the amount of time I spend driving in the car if my kids didn’t play so many sports. I guess I don’t have to go to EVERY game.

But I choose to do all these things.

My “me time” is usually spent with the people that mean the most to me.

I also need to write an update on our Summer Challenge. And while we haven’t been perfect at it, we’ve also had some successes at just being better about eating at home. Sometimes it means thinking outside the box. And sometimes it’s all about NOT TAKING THE EASY WAY OUT. One of the best parts of the challenge is coming up with things to make that I wouldn’t have ever thought of before. And realizing that I’m a better cook than I give myself credit.

Ramona is getting better and better at sixth grade. And so are her parents. We went to Back to School Night yesterday and feel even better about all the awesome at her new school. She has amazing teachers, the school offers so much to her education…and it’s just feeling so much better than before. She even has someone to sit with at lunch sometimes. Which makes my mommy heart feel a little better.

Beezus starts her junior year tomorrow. I’ve taken to Facebook to apologize for being THAT mom. The mom that is a complete b00b about her kids growing up and OMG could I please knock that off? But, yeah…a junior in high school. Happening tomorrow. This is weird, you guys.

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And if starting her junior year wasn’t enough to ruin me, she also turns 16 this weekend. So, you know, I’ll be getting ready for the big event…and sobbing quietly in a corner.

But because I can’t leave you with the sound of me crying (thank goodness this blog doesn’t have sound) there has to be something fun. Back a million years ago…before blogs were really even a thing, Sarah used to post her current song on repeat. And this isn’t a hip, new song that everyone should know about…it’s the amazing George Harrison. And the song and I just got reacquainted. And it’s on repeat. My only explanation is that it makes me happy and I love singing along at the top of my voice. (Again, we’re grateful that there’s no sound here.)

Thanks for the happy, George.