Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Enjoying Empty Nest

by on Friday, November 23rd, 2012

We have been enjoying our empty nest time, which is not nearly as empty as we expected. My son comes home every weekend now to work. He has started his own company called Knew Royalty which is selling t shirts with his artwork. They are busily printing t’s in our basement and going to launch the website in a week or so. It’s quiet during the week, but not so much during the weekend.

We love him, why else would we let him set up such a messy thing in our basement rooms? I hope he is successful, I love his art and it seems like a good venue for selling it. Soon he’ll have posters printed too, another avenue, along with hats, girls t’s hoodies and long sleeve t’s.

Good luck Dylan!

Spring Break

by on Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Ugg. Parents of seniors, is this some crazy way to cause more grey hair?  My baby, my last child at home, is trying to fly the nest soon.  Spreading his wings and taking off for warmer climes.  I am feeling like I need to be restrained.  Trying not to say too much, “Have fun Honey!”  Don’t forget your toothbrush, sunscreen, razor, bathingsuit, money, phone charger, do you have the GPS and the address, try not to get into too much trouble and don’t trash the hotel room. That’s it, “Have fun Honey,”  says me with zippered lips.

Torture.  Let him fly.  The one who causes you the most worry. He will return, hopefully with fond memories, not a police record.  Soon his adulthood will be upon him and responsibility will beckon him to a state of semi-normalcy.  My daughter says, “Don’t worry, he’s a smart kid” and talks of bringing board games to the beach.  Ha! Right.

When they stop listening you know you’ve said too much.  A little advice goes a long way because they will do what you do, not what you say.  I am so looking forward to about 4 years from now.  Breathe, another one of life’s little processes.

 

Roller Coaster Ride

by on Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Hello. I have been neglecting you.  I had a real roller coaster of a month this February.

Roller coaster rider

It began with Imbolc.  Opening to changes.  Lovely meditation ritual with my husband.  Opening our minds to the new year ahead.  Ok, perhaps too much.  I have been feeling happy lately though, really happy!  I honestly haven’t felt so relaxed and free in such a long time!  Thinking back, it has probably been since the kids were little and the future was SO bright!  That’s how the month started.

Then, things happen in 3’s in my life, maybe because that is my life path number.  Our heating system broke.  At first it was just one of the basement zones, then as Mike was fixing it it became clearer that there were more things wrong and finally the whole thing blew.  At 10 o’clock at night on one of the coldest days of the month, the heating system broke down.  Took him all of the next day to get the thing fixed, it was down to 60 degrees in the house when I started teaching lessons.  So that was one thing, then I remember there was a second thing that went wrong but perhaps it was so insignificant to the 3rd thing that I don’t remember what it was at all now.

Let me just say that the 3rd thing is being resolved as I am writing this. It began 3 weeks ago, and due to the privacy of it’s nature I will not be telling you what it was. It caused such an emotional reaction in members of my family that even that was a problem.  Mike blew up and put the fear of god into us and then the rest of us were freaked out and depressed and scared…I think that Mike got over it after his blow up, but the rest of us remained in the freak zone for one week, two weeks, then as things didn’t get resolved, and were difficult to get resolved, for a third week.  Personally, I was in living hell.  I need broken things to get fixed and quickly.  I need order and control in my life.  Control. This living hell was due to the fact that things were out of my control and there was nothing I or any member of my family could do to fix the problem.  Out of control and the possibility that members of my family could be in danger or in trouble. I couldn’t sleep, I had panic attacks daily, and then my freaky state was not helping anyone else either.  I was causing freak in other members of the family.  All the while, I think Mike was oblivious that he had caused such anxiety in the rest of us. I did let him know the damage he caused. Out of control.  More sleepless nights, more anxiety every day.  I just wanted the problem to be dealt with.

With all this going on, Mike and I went to Florida for a week, leaving Dylan at home with the dog (another stress factor for me).  I had been hoping that the problem would be resolved while we were away, but of course not.  So on the night we returned home I had an opportunity to confront the one person in control of the situation and stated my feelings on the issue.  There was nothing else I could do.  And geez, after that the problem was dealt with. A few short words, and she went home and dealt with it.  The out come hasn’t been completely determined yet, but the danger for members of my family are over.  I am so relieved. Members of my family are relieved as well and life goes on as it should.

I am glad that Dylan is growing up, graduating high school, going to college in the fall.  I am so ready for it.  My little boy, the one who causes me so much stress and worry.  Because of his life path, I am hard wired to worry about the kid.  I just can’t help it.  I never worried about Erika so much, but she is so self sufficient and a type A personality like me.  I know she can handle things in her life.  I will feel like I can let go of much of that with Dylan after graduation.  He will be on his own soon. He is no longer a baby needing protection and a safety net at home.

In the mean time, we went on a fun trip to Florida.  An adventure to watch Erika compete in an eventing show, where she has been away for these last few months working on her skills and getting training.  It was really great just to get away from my computer for a week…no emails, no work, no kids, no responsibilities.  And then we planned the last day to go to Universal Orlando and see Harry Potter World. Mike and I at a theme park with NO children! Ha! We had a blast!  We went on all the roller coasters, all the fast rides, then we went back and did them again!  At the end of the day we were exhausted, and exhilarated having had way too much fun.

The feeling has stayed with me too, especially now that that other problem has been dealt with.  I have a new lease on life and a new outlook. Yesterday I went and got another piercing on the top of my ear.  Another battle won, and now I have the jewelry to prove it.  I’m not sure if that makes much sense, but for me it is a battle scar. Proof of victory, I made it through.  I rode the roller coaster and came out very much alive!

Warning, life may be dangerous. Proceed with caution.

Entering the blogosphere(post date 8/1)

by on Friday, January 27th, 2012

We went up north this weekend, just my husband and I. Not the first time I’ve left Dylan home, but but the first time he was home for a couple of days and nights in a row.  Not a problem, I turst him and am sure he can take care of himself nad the dog who is a puddle and pathetic when I am not around ( according to accounts from my family when ever I am away) I also decided not to call my neighbor who watches what everyone does on the streetis doing.  I decided not to tell her that D might have some friends over, but not to worry.  She’ll be paying close enough attention anyway.  Didn’t want to put him more on her radar than he already is.

I had a great time!  Even left the laptop at home(no internet anyway) and forgot about work, and the kid for a couple hours both days. SURPRISE!  I can do thias!  By all accounts things went well at home, of course i’m not there yet…writing this from the car. Pretty sure the dog isn’t dead and the kid will clean up after his “party”.  Will let you know later what the reality us after arrival.

Happy and relaxed for now.

 

AAHH the Holidays

by on Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Busy crazy busy.  Everyone is too.  Shopping, cleaning, cooking, baking, wrapping, and then the parties and fun get togethers.

You can be jealous, I have finished my shopping.  Yes!!  But I have everything piled in my bedroom now and have to wrap it all.  I cleaned carpets yesterday because I’m hosting a Cookie Exchange this weekend for all my students’ families.  And I have the cookie dough all made too, just have to bake them now.  Still have to shop for snacks for the Exchange and cider.

Getting ready for the Holidays is a lot like getting ready to take your family on a vacation to another planet.  There are things you need that you would never use anywhere or anyother time, so you have to fight through crowds of shoppers who are also traveling.   You’ll have to visit all your friends since you may never see them again, at least not for a very long time since the planet is so far away.  Pack all the necessary and strange items for traveling in special containers so that they won’t be damaged in outer space.  Then, plan and eat a big meal before you go into hyper sleep in the space ship.  Don’t forget shopping for that too.  And make sure your family is together, and safe, tell them they are loved and you’ll be back soon.  When you finally get it all together, thank the Goddess that we can finally relax and sleep it off, for a week if you are lucky.  Then, celebrate!  Because your home, undamaged, and loved, and you lived through it all and things can go back to normal again.  Outer space is interesting and you can look forward to traveling again next year.

What strange rituals we have.

It’s my last Christmas with Dylan at home, of course he’ll come home for the holidays next year, and the years to come.  But I feel like it is the end of many of our children’s holiday rituals.  We finally got our tree up and Dylan said, “We can’t decorate it till Erika comes over”.   So we had to schedule that around her work and studying for finals.  I feel like it will be just Mike and I doing it in the future, getting the house ready for them to come home.  And even though Erika lives in town, she always spends the Christmas days sleeping over.  Our Christmas morning ritual will have to never change!  When we wake up we push Mike out of bed too then all get our coffee and our stockings to begin opening.  Well, they used to bring their stockings into our bed and we all sat there to open them but now there’s not enough room!

What will our future rituals look like?  I hope for many things to remain the same of course, but allow them to make their own too.  When they have families of their own they will want to continue the traditions.  That’s when those things will be more special to them.   Not for a while though yet…college first.  We have just opened a different chapter, that’s all.  Travel to a new planet.

Proud Parent

by on Saturday, November 5th, 2011

I’m super proud of Dylan this week.  I picked up his Senior pictures and they are really cool.  I’d have to scan it to post it on here and there’s a learning curve involved with that.  Then, he got his letter of acceptance from UWMilwaukee, his school of choice.  Hooray!!!  We expected him to get in but I think there was a little doubting voice in the back of all of our heads.  Even D said he was worried that he didn’t fill out the forms correctly.  So I told him that now, and it’s only November, he can cruise through the rest of his senior year, no worries.  BUT… I do want him to still get good grades.  He’s funny, he said, “What?  Forget that!   I don’t care about grades any more Mom!”  Ha ha, kidding of course.  Of course.

Wow, my little baby is all grown up and going to college!  I get all misty when I show people his senior pic’s, not like with Erika.  When I picked Erika’s senior pictures up I  sat in the car and cried for 5 minutes before I could drive home.  I guess it’s because he’s the second child,  I’ve been through it already. Or, more likely, I’ve put my emotions on hold for a bit because part of me expects Dylan to screw up again.  I’m holding my breath.  I’ll cry when we get him all tucked in to his dorm room.  Likely I’ll cry a lot.

 

Teen Brains

by on Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I just read the most interesting article about teenagers’ brain development.  The gist of it is that Teenagers are really programed to piss us off, fight authority, be daring and dangerous and do all the things that really annoy us in order to go out and conquer the world.  Without them our species may have died out centuries ago.  The article is in the October issue of National Geographic.

I enjoy reading stuff like that because I’m morbidly curious with what happened to Dylan with his concussion and the after effects too.  I read one story about a man who began to have seizures later on in life due to a concussion he had as a teenager.  The story was in the book Musicophilia about people with weird disorders that affect how they interpret and/or perceive music.  This particular man was at work one day and he heard a violin playing in his closet clear as day.  He then walked over to the closet and couldn’t find the violin so walked out of his office looking for it.  When he woke up in the hospital he found out that he had a seizure  the moment he began to hear the violin.  From then on, he knew he was going to have a seizure whenever he heard that violin music.

Back to the Nat. Geo article, it helped me to understand something else about Dylan’s recovery.  The article talked about the brain finishing growing and creating permanent synapses.  It doesn’t actually get done in this process till we are about 23-25.  What our doctor told us was that Dylan’s recovery would actually take a back seat to the growth process going on.  One of the reasons it took him so long to recover.

I also enjoyed reading about other parents’ frustration at walking the fine line between allowing their kid to be doing adult things, and treating them as children still.  It is such a foggy arena.  I always felt like I was tiptoeing between restricting his behavior and telling him to go out and have fun.

I really hope to be beyond all that very soon…

Proud of You Dude!

by on Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Dylan’s progress reports are in for the first half of the quarter.  Last year he took a very non-challant approach to his grades, much to my dismay.  He is a very smart kid!  So needless to say, I was a little afraid to look at his grades.  I’m so glad I did though because now I can be proud of him again!  He has mostly A’s and a couple B’s, but those are in  functional statistics and Bio Technology.  Hooray Dylan!

My expectations are too high for him…or maybe not.  His sister is a type A personality who does very well at whatever she tries.  In highschool she was a straight A student with a 4.0 GPA.  I don’t expect that from D, but I do expect him to get at least a 3.5.  He is smart enough for that! But he is the one who even when he was 2 I knew that he would be the one pushing my buttons and challenging me.  He would also be my Karma coming back at me from my highschool days.  I knew this when he was still small.  The challenges  with him did exceed my expectations though.

Let me explain.  Dylan used to play hockey.  He was getting very good at it too!  In high school, freshman year, he didn’t make the team so he played for fun in a league at midget level.  In our state hockey is very popular and a midget level  rec league usually is all the high school kids who didn’t make the team or didn’t want to.  Half of them have beards and look like they weigh about 200 pounds.  It was the end of the season, March, and they were playing a tournament up north.  I was home with Erika and Mike had gone with Dylan for the weekend.  After the saturday night game, I got the call from Mike.  Dylan had been taken from the game in an ambulance to the local hospital.  It was a head injury, he was conscious, but he wasn’t feeling too good.  His coach made the call after Dylan came off the ice and collapsed.

Dylan had been checked hard from behind and headed into the boards by a big kid who took 4 hard strides and railed him.  There was no call on the play, but the kids on the team said Dylan was saying some really funny things after that.  There was a break in the game and they went into the locker room.  So 15 minutes later when he was back out on the ice, no one thought anything about it, he was skating pretty well!  Then he went down again.  This time his feet went out from under him and he landed on his back and head.  He got up, he wasn’t knocked unconscious, and went to the bench.  Thank God his coach was an eye doctor, he took one look at Dylan and called 911.

Funny coincidence. Dylan’s concussion occured on the same day that Liam Neeson’s wife died of an unattended head injury on the ski slopes.

Concussion.  Usually you think concussion, no big deal, you’ll feel better in a couple days.  So the next 2-3 weeks were a learning experience for all of us…including his doctor I think.  He was so dizzy he couldn’t walk, couldn’t focus enough to read and he didn’t sleep.  School was out of the question.  Good thing Spring break was the following week, we thought it would give him time to recover. At the end of 2 weeks, Dylan still wasn’t sleeping.  Riding in the car and walking short distances made him woozy.  He had taken 2 weeks off of TV, movies, computer, reading, drums, games and even visiting with friends.  What was a 15 year old to do!  He could listen to music, and I did let him text his friends.  It began to look like he was probably not going to heal very quickly and we made arrangements with the school for him to be gone for an extended period of time.

Without writing a book here, which I could easily do, it took him a year to feel normal again.  He had to drop all classes till the end of the year except one, social studies, which he was able to attend  beginning in May(just one class a day was all he could handle of normal life) .  He had to make up a couple core classes over the summer so he could move on to 10th grade with his classmates.  The one thing his brain was having the hardest time with was math.  Processing math problems was giving him major headaches.  We felt like that was probably the area hardest hit by the concussion and he ended up having to take Geometry again.  No big deal there.

My expectations for the kid were dramatically lowered, so I feel like I can be extra super proud of him when he does succeed.  He is a really smart kid, who had to overcome a lot!  The ordeal changed him a lot too.  I think he was going to go to school for music at one point, (oh god not another musician in the family!) but switch his focus to art.  The one thing he was able to do while he was recovering was draw.  So he became really good at at because it occupied lots of his time.

That’s why he will be applying to college for art.  I am still learning about ways the concussion affected him!  And I am so super proud of him for all he has over come.  And, D, way to go on your grades this quarter!

This is a 4' by 4' hardboard painting by Dyl 2011

Parenting Choices

by on Monday, September 12th, 2011

Ha Ha!  My mom read my blog this weekend.  I’m not sure why I’m laughing!  Her reaction was exactly what I expected it to be.  (I love you mom!)  She reacted to the post about my son’s drinking ticket.  And she can’t believe I’m so “angst” ridden.  Oh mother.

Every thing I learned about parenting was what I learned not to do from my mother’s experience and behavior.  Mom, I know you know that about me, so if you read this, it will not be news to you (I hope).  She had no help at all in the parenting department either though.  Have you seen the movie “The Help”??  It is about my mom and her sister…not actually, but their lives could be plugged in to the characters in the movie and the movie would be the same, almost.  Their mother wasn’t much of a parent.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my grandmother and I know with all my heart she loves her family and does everything she can for them.  She is, however, from a much different era.  She came from a family that was not affected by the great depression.  A family with servants and vacation homes, and an airplane.  They spent long vacations traveling Europe and Asia.  Parenting wasn’t really on her “to do” list.  So you can see that my own mother was probably a little clueless.

So times change though, my mom married right out of college and got pregnant right away.  She stayed at home with me and pretty soon my brother too.  She was pretty unhappy though and my dad wasn’t much help either.  They divorced by the time I was 7.  In the 70’s women were career minded and so mom started a business and got busy with that while my brother and I floated between our parents houses.  I will have to admit here that I was not the easiest child on the block.  I was a little hellian.  I was probably trying to get attention from either parent, mom who was working and dad who was drunk most of the time.

So when I had children I wanted things to be different.  And greatfully, in the post 80’s world people started to realize how important it was to the children to have someone stay home with them.  And my circumstances happened to provide that benefit to my kids.  I really think they are both better off due to that one small thing.   Even now  in our society though, it is so hard for parents to do that.  I feel lucky that I was able to be there for mine.  I feel lucky that I was able to provide a stable environment for my children and a home and place of love for them.  Maybe it seems like such a ridiculously small thing to many people, but to me it is a huge accomplishment.  Since I didn’t have those things growing up, it became really important to my children and to future generations of my family as well.  I want them to  have that feeling of home, a place where they can always come and let themselves down, cry if they need to, be safe and be well cared for.

So, I love you mom, I made choices you could never make. And I love you because I wouldn’t be me without you!!

Trust

by on Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Wow.  So the job of parenting sure isn’t over, and the issue of trust is in my face again not 2 hours after my last entry.  Phone rang at 9pm and it was the Police dept. saying I needed to come pick up D.  First day of school, first day of senior year, first football game of the year and he gets a ticket for underage drinking.  AARGH!

So I picked him up and the officer was very nice about things, apparently D’s girlfriend was in worse shape.  She had been throwing up which is how they got caught. Dylan knew it was going to draw attention to them so he was trying to get her out of there.  She puked into a trash can, then as they were moving towards the exit she ran into the girls bathroom to puke again.  Apparently she kept telling Dylan to leave her, she knew she was going to get busted too.  Dylan the chivalrous would do no such thing.  The cops breathalized them and she was much worse off than he (hence the puking of course). Dylan had only a .08.  Only.

He burst into tears when he got in the car with me.  If you have ever seen a 6 foot tall manchild crying, well it totally breaks your heart.  I tried to stay angry of course, but needed to figure out why all the tears.  Mykala.  He was so upset that she was going to get in trouble and he knew it was his fault.  They had been drinking together and he felt responsible.  Of course he did, she’s younger than he is.

Ok so now the mom in me wants to know what the hell were they thinking.  They had a plan and the kids they were with had a designated driver.  Ok, good.  But they had been drinking at my house.  Not good, really not good.  How could I not know about this?  We had to sit down and talk.  We got home and discussed things with his dad while Dylan remained a puddle because he was worried about Mykala.  If he had been a jerk and left her on her own he wouldn’t have gotten the ticket.  He showed compassion and respect and at the same time he gave up his own self interest to take care of her.  The double edged sword got him anyway though because he had done something careless.  How do I deal with this as a parent. 

I was proud of him for being chivalrous but angry about the stupid drinking.  Proud that there had been some thought about driving, angry that they had done it at my house.  Bottom line was that if he hadn’t gone with her to help out, he probably would not have gotten ticketed.  Then, as we were wrapping up the conversation, Mykala’s mom texted Dylan.  She was so sorry that he had gotten in trouble too.  So then she called.  I think Dylan was the bravest 17 year old kid in the whole world last night.  He had a 20 minute conversation with his girlfriend’s mom about their partying, and the woman was actually apologizing to D!

This was all about trust right?  Initially I grounded him for the weekend from hanging out with friends.  But then I had him clean and do a bunch of work around the house and set him free again.  Fly away butterfly. Hard to be mad at him when there were so many other positives. He is making good choices…and bad ones, but didn’t we all at that age?  Isn’t figuring out life what being a teenager is about? 

Do I feel like a good parent?  Not exactly.  Is he going to be drinking at our house again?  No.  But that brings up other issues like where does he drink and is that safe (because 17 year olds do experiment with alcohol)?  Will he make good choices?  Seems like he probably will.  My job isn’t over though, not by a long shot.