Post It Notes and Flowers

I’ve been going to bed pretty late the last few days. Nothing about this surprises you, I’m sure. But it’s been especially late the last couple of nights as we’ve been helping the kids with some school things. 

Last night, as I half stumbled half walked to my bed, I noticed a little something that Ramona had left me. 

I’m not sure what we did that was awesome, but she had left a similar note for The Dude on his side of the bed. (I’m the only one who got flowers, but that makes perfect sense. DUH.)

For two seconds I wondered what she might’ve done. We’re these covert “I’m sorry” flowers? Am I gonna get a phone call later? 

Hopefully not. 

At any rate, it was adorable and wonderful and a perfect pick-me-up after a really (REALLY) long day. I can’t even worry about a possible phone call. This time. 

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.

Trips and Updates and…Yeah

Remember that time when we drove down to SoCal almost every weekend this past fall? We got so damn good at making that trip in one weekend. And there was even a trip where it felt like a vacation? I mean, you probably don’t remember because I haven’t really written about it yet. I don’t really know why except…well, remember all those times we drove down to SoCal and nothing else got done? Yeah. That.

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It’s not very often that I get huge amounts of one-on-one time with each of my kids. Oddly enough, all these trips forced that to happen. There was even a weekend where only ¾ of us went. We missed Ramona something fierce. But there was also this special time with Beezus. For that I will always be grateful. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

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I felt really guilty that Ramona wasn’t with us. The entire weekend I worried about having a good time when she wasn’t there. But…then I remembered that she is going to have A LOT of quality time with her parents fairly soon. I’m sure she will wistfully remember the days when she had a regular partner in crime and will long for the days when she didn’t have all eyes on her for all the hours of all the days. This quality time was absolutely for a reason.

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It was the funniest weekend get-away. I found myself having time enough for a run-and running into Chelle. Who is one of the reasons that I even run in the first place.

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I was able to hug Tonya and say hello to the kiddos…even for a short time.

Tonya!

Sancho’s Tacos. Yum.

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I even got to hang out with this guy. I like him.

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Oh yeah…Softball was played. That was a thing.

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And, you know, the beach was there too. Man, I love the beach you guys.

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* * *

She didn’t get into Stanford, you know. It is very much okay and we truly know that she will go to school exactly where she’s supposed to go. But damn. I just wanted that for her, you know? And, of course, it doesn’t mean that she can’t go there ever. She could always do her graduate studies there. I don’t know, maybe she could camp out on their campus for fun. I’m sure that’s not frowned upon at all. Getting arrested at Stanford is totally the same thing as graduating from there!

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I have a really hard time accepting that I’m not in charge of all the things. The not knowing and the not being able to plan is REALLY hard. The UC’s and the CSU’s don’t give you an answer until spring. THAT’S A LONG TIME FOR ME TO WORRY ABOUT HOW FAR AWAY MY KID WILL END UP FOR SCHOOL. Or whatever. I don’t know. This is hard.

But damn, I just like them a lot.

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And just because I’m ridiculous…I really like this one, too. Just in case you didn’t know that. She’s just super damn cute and my gosh she’s probably going to hate being the only kid at home pretty soon. ::sigh::

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Parallel

I just finished watching an episode of Gilmore Girls. Don’t act like you’re so surprised. Netflix has given us all the gift of Gilmore Girls and, therefore, it is our Netflix-given duty to watch each episode. Don’t kid yourself; you probably just finished watching a GG episode, too.

Also, if you believe that I’ve only watched ONE episode of Gilmore Girls I probably have a bridge to sell you.

But here’s the thing…this episode? It was the one where Rory got a ‘D’ on her test and she questions all the things about going to Chilton and if she can take it. And then she stays up all night studying for her test and then she oversleeps and misses her test and she completely loses it on her class. And then Lorelei tries to help and ends up losing it a little bit on the teacher and the dean. She tries to get them to let Rory take the test anyway because Harvard dreams, you guys!

Then Lorelei talks to Rory and says she doesn’t have to keep going to Chilton and she can go back to her old school. Lorelei begins to question the Harvard dreams asking Rory if this is what she really always wanted or was it Lorelei that started this dream because she never had the big college experience.

I don’t have anything to add to this right now. Mostly I just wanted you to know about that particular Gilmore Girls gut punch. Also that those worries sometimes apply to Stanford and Berkeley and IB programs and softball. We should also have a conversation about the fact that me watching Gilmore Girls at this phase in my life will lead to other gut punches and blog posts. I fully expect to not have any friends by this time next year.

By the way, Rory assures her mom that the Harvard dreams are really what she wants. It was all she ever wanted.

I choose to believe her.

broken and fixed and life

I can’t figure out how to fix my mobile site after I broke all the things last month. I am just that good at breaking things. Sadly, breaking things isn’t something most of us can put on our resumes. Unless you break shit for a living and, maybe, I should look into a job like that.

So…yeah. I’m trying to fix the things that are broken on this website.

Until then, hopefully you’ll still stop by every now and then on your regular old computer. Which is probably the internet equivalent of me sending you a typed letter via owl. But whatever. We can’t ALL be super good at all the things, you guys.

Besides breaking things. Of course.

Seventh grade and senior years are going really well so far. These kids of mine seem to have a shitton of homework at all times and I almost feel bad for them. Mostly, I feel bad for me because homework all the time means I need to be a responsible parent and not let them watch tv or hang out with friends all the time. It also means that every so often, The Dude and I get roped into projects and other things that make our brains hurt a lot. Especially when you add that to all the other crap that senior year brings. College nights and applications and a bunch of little things that make us feel like we’re doing most things way too late or totally wrong and, sometimes, a little bit right.

I know this is ridiculous, but I’m legit proud of how well I’ve been holding up the first month or so of senior year. I’m not saying I should win any awards for stalwart mothering, but I haven’t completely lost it. Not even once. Not even when these arrived in the mail.

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The Dude has had a couple of moments that nearly broke my pretend stoic behavior. Like when I texted him pictures during her yearbook/senior portrait session and his response nearly knocked the wind out of me. He’s not usually the one who is blasted by this kind of thing. I took a turn acting like I was completely fine with all of it.

I try not to do it very often, but there are times when I can’t help but wonder what this time next year will look like. It’s weird to think about only one of our kids living at home. I know we’ll be fine, but do you get used to that? Is it weird to let the dog have her room once she leaves?

Don’t answer that.

I’m not going to let the dog have her room. Probably.

Deadlines for early applications are right around the corner. There is so (SO!) much to do and get ready for, I feel like I’m going to blink and it will be Christmas and we’ll know (for better or for worse) if she got accepted or if we pick up and start applying to her plan B and C and D schools. More than anything, it’s just really weird that this is our life right now. Awesome, but weird.

* * *

I wrote all of that earlier thinking that I would get it all finished and set to post this evening. About an hour ago, I got a text message from that senior in high school from her friend’s house as they build their last homecoming float. She mentioned how much fun she was having but how it was a little sad that this was their last homecoming together. And yeah…I cried all the way home from the grocery store, so all those things that I wrote about me being okay is sort of a lie. Well, it’s less true than it was before an hour ago anyway.

But I’m going to be fine. Really. I’ll keep saying that until we all believe it.

On Anger and Shame

I spent years trying to hide how young I was. Whenever I would attempt to make friends with other moms at the preschool, I would try like mad to avoid the conversations about high school and college days and the year everyone got married. I’m not dumb (and neither were they) they knew I was younger. I just didn’t want to get into how much younger.

There is so much shame in teenage pregnancy. I’m not saying that it’s something to aspire to, but it’s been close to 18 years and the shame I felt all those years ago burns almost as hot even today. I am not ashamed of the beautiful family that I am blessed with, but when I read this article that Kelly shared last week it brought up some very real anger and some pretty intense shame that I didn’t know still hung around. It’s been four days, and I’m still stewing about it.

I was 18 years old when I got pregnant. As teenage pregnancy statistics go, I guess I was on the older side of things. I have always been grateful that I was, at least, out of high school but I hate admitting that I am a college dropout.

A lot of you know my story. I even stood on a stage last year and read a letter that I wrote to 19 year old me. I thought I exorcised some of those demons. Yet an article about teenage pregnancy shame has sent me into some pretty deep feels.

I’m still really fucking angry and I really hate that I am.

I have spent so much of my life worrying that I’m going to hurt someone’s feelings if I told the truth and said how I really feel. I have stopped myself from telling so many stories, because it might make someone feel bad. But at the end of the day, who made sure that my feelings weren’t hurt? Who made sure that I didn’t feel bad?

Not many.

I am still angry that the religious institution that I put so much faith in abandoned me and made me feel like such a fuck-up. I am angry that I lost so many friends because I all of a sudden became the example of what not to do. I am angry that people tried to get me to put my baby up for adoption. I am angry that all the anger and judgment and shame gets placed on the teenage mom. I am angry that I have no happy memories of my wedding day because almost every single person in attendance was against us getting married. I am angry that I still feel the need to joke that “we did things backwards” even today as I meet new people because there is still so much shame in being a teenage mom – even though I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m mad that I can’t read an article on teenage pregnancy without feeling like I want to throw up.

I’ve buried my anger deep inside of me for many, many years. I have this beautiful family. I know how lucky I am. But I’ve spent so many years believing that I’m not allowed to be angry because my life has been so blessed.

That’s bullshit.

Instead of dealing with my anger, I’ve let it fester into a horrible wound that has never healed. As cathartic as it was to tell my story, I censored all the anger because I had built too many walls and it would’ve been too much work to break them down. And, of course, I put everyone else’s feelings before my own.

But you know what? I can be angry and grateful at the same time. I can sit here and let some of those demons fly knowing full well that I would do it all over again because my family is worth it. They are amazing and wonderful but it’s okay if I tell you how hard I’ve worked or how much I have sacrificed to make that happen. There has not been one bit of this that has been easy.

But I’ve given way too much power to the shame of it all. I wasn’t promiscuous. I’m not tarnished goods. And if you would like to talk about the “problem child” I’ve brought into this world be prepared for me to tell you about her straight A’s and Stanford dreams and her kickass little sister that rocks our world. I’m not sorry for any of that.

I shouldn’t be.

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the path to OFF DUTY

The past few days have given me pause top post anything here until I get over my rage. Okay, I haven’t had constant rage for a week, but…well, a good part of it. Our life is insane with two parents sharing tasks. So you can imagine what the insanity looks like when there is only ONE parent. And by the mention of my rage, you can probably guess that the solo parent is ME.

But here’s the thing: I do not have rage because I am solo-parenting it right now.

I have (had) rage because it has also been one of those weeks were SO MANY THINGS have gone wrong. Things that would’ve complicated a regular week. And, yes, some of my frustrations came from breakdown in communication with everyone in my family. It’s good that I know when there are schedule changes for school, practice or lessons. You know, so I can get people where they need to be. I believe there was a child of mine that wasn’t super careful or watchful and the dog ate something she wasn’t supposed to. That’s ALWAYS pleasant. Then there is the getting ready for an out of town tournament. And coordinating all things under the sun so that everyone is where they need to be.

It has been trying. And, honestly, a lot of damn time in the car. In rush-hour traffic. And trying to figure out how we’re just going to make it all work. Especially getting everyone packed and ready to go.

I only hope that I didn’t forget to pack anything.

Spoiler Alert: I PROBABLY FORGOT ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS.

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But? I’m super looking forward to a fun weekend. Hanging out with some of the funnest parents a softball team has ever seen. I get to see one of my very dearest, wonder-twin friends. And? I’m just telling you all now that I am OFF DUTY as soon as my husband gets back into town. Well, when he gets back into town and then after he drives the three hours to the tournament. BUT THEN.

What am I going to do? Well, watch softball, of course. But I’m not making ONE meal, driving anyone anywhere or cleaning up after ANYONE. Off-Duty is going to be awesome.

And oh so very needed.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

 

 

 

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