Emotions and Regrets

It has been a whirlwind of emotion, beginning last week…

My eldest son graduated High School.  He had his 18th birthday last summer so the “empty nest” syndrome started kicking in last year, but it really hit me last year.

His graduation.

I just can’t believe it.  Last week, I started preparing a slide show to be played during his graduation party.  I was up until about 3am -4am every morning going through pictures of him…. Memories.  Some nights I would just cry myself to sleep thinking about all the memories we have had together.  Sheesh, he is just graduating!  He’s not even moving out (going to a local college)…. But, it was just incredible.  Not only was I looking through pictures of my first born, I was seeing how I grew up WITH him.  I had him at 18 and now my baby is 18!  I don’t think any parent could easily say they have “no regrets”… because I sure do.  I was 18 when I had him… Like I said, I was growing up: I had my “clubbing days”, my “I am just SO tired of being single” days, my “I want to be as good as the other moms” days, my “but…. How???” days.  And through all of that, my son was patient with me.  As he has grown older, there have been times when he has said “mom, that’s not how it’s done” and I listened to him… Because unbeknownst to me, he appointed himself as the man of our house at an early age.

My family flew in from across the country to celebrate with us.  They spent the week with us and it was amazing!  But, my 1-year-old baby was napping as we dropped them off at the airport.  When he woke up, he cried for my sister and I couldn’t help but flash back to the days my older boys cried when family had to fly back home… or when we had to fly home from a visit.  My heart is so sad because of this.  Why do I have to live so far away from my family?  The people who truly care of me and my children.  I tried, oh yes, I tried to move back a few times but there was always a reason to stay.  A job, a house… now being married.  I seem to have signed up for a lifetime of separation from my home… Regrets….

How do you get past your regrets?  I don’t believe anyone (with children) can truly say they have no regrets… can they?  Some decisions I have made affect them.. and there’s nothing they can do about it because they depend on me.  That’s where I’m at today.  I’m not alone, am I?

I’ll Love You Forever

Ill Love You ForeverI was 17 and pregnant with my eldest son. Yep, I was a baby having a baby.  While I was pregnant, my ex-husband’s mother gave him this book, “I’ll Love You Forever.” Partly for her son, and partly for our new little one.  Back then, I was so bitter and emotionally bruised by my own upbringing that I didn’t quite understand the meaning of this book.  But, last week, my own son turned 17. 

Lord, oh, how the time has passed.

A couple nights ago, I could not sleep.  Thoughts ran through my mind about my 2 teenage boys:

Did I do a good job?

Did I do enough?

Did I give them enough?

Do they feel loved?

Do they know how much I love them?

Wishes…. Regrets…. Fears…

I wish I could give them more…

I wished I hadn’t made some of the decisions I made..

I hope they won’t have to struggle the way I did….

I hope they’ll always know I tried, even when I felt it was impossible. 

I hope they know I always tried to give them what I thought was best, sadly seeing sometimes it didn’t turn out that way.

I’m not even sure if these questions will ever be answered – or if I’d even want to know! But, as my eldest approaches his Junior year of high school, I’ll continue to reflect… I will undoubtedly love them forever….

Firsts

On my way to work this morning, I was in a pre-coffee daze… Not sure if it was a song or a radio deejay, but something got me thinking about “Firsts”.

I’m in my mid-30’s, my skin is not as fresh-looking as it used to be – I’ve started to wear a bit of foundation… my morning and evening routines include about a sitcom’s time to apply the various creams and lotions from head to toes.  Coffee used to be a morning perk-me-up, but has become a “do-not-talk-to-me-before-I-have”… What I’m saying is, firsts are for the younger folk, right???

Obviously, I’ve had my first step, I’m sure it was AMAZING.

I’ve had my first kiss… my first almost-kiss was in the back some folded lunch tables and all my friends gathered around us to witness the event.. but I chickened-out (stage fright?) and ran away… my first kiss was spur of the moment, in the hallway between classes in middle school. Still awkward, but I’ll never forget it.

My first job = McDonalds. I smelled like grease every evening but I had first dibs on the selection of Happy Meal Toys.

But, as time allowed (my commute to work is about 45 min), I started thinking outside the box .. I’ve had some firsts as recent as this year.  My husband and I recently purchased our first bed together – our first big furniture purchase.  I attempted to bake a cake from scratch this year.

We went on a road trip this year – it was my first time taking a trip via “Megabus”.  It was definitely an experience to remember.

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Megabus Tip #1: Bring a Blanket!

Our Megabus trip brought us to New Orleans – another first!

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These Masks were beautiful, ornate… and inexpensive!

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One of many sights to see on the infamous Bourbon Street. Don’t be fooled – she worked that pole better than I could ever attempt!

I’m sure there’s more… but I’m only midway through my first cup of coffee this morning 🙂

That being said – I’m adding a task to my “Empty Nester Bucket List”: Make 2014 a Year of Firsts!  Won’t you add this to your list?  I’d love to know ….What firsts have you experienced recently?

~1Suburbanchic

Holiday Blahs

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…. I’ve truly neglected my blog.  But a lot has happened over the past year – some I just can’t begin to writhe about…. yes, I meant “writhe“…. others I would love to share (and I will make sure to update my Empty Nester’s Bucket List).

So, as far as the good stuff:

Over the summer we took a road trip to New Orleans. It was awesome, fun & exhausting… I MUST write about it before the year ends!

I got promoted in my job! Something I’ve wanted, but didn’t know how to do…

Started a Mary Kay business. Phew, owning a business is Hard Work but surely has it’s rewards!

As far as the writhing, here’s a brief synopsis:

No buns in the oven yet.

Lot’s of difficulties in our marriage – can I call it the Terrible Two’s?

And, ’tis the season for the Holiday Blahs…..

I know for sure I’m not the only one who experiences holiday blues.  And everyone has their own reason why…. this is my reason.  Not sure if I’ve written before that I moved across the country at the age of 19.  With my (ex)-husband, and 2 babies.  But, let me just go back in some history – after all, this is my blog, and I’ve committed to be entirely transparent in my writing. When I was about 6 or 7, I was in love with my Dad.  As any youngest daughter, I was completely fascinated with my dad, I wanted to be an engineer like him, “we” had a song (“It Might Be You” from Tootsie), “we” had a favorite restaurant (Arby’s)..the list goes on.  I was truly a Daddy’s Girl.  And to this day I can still remember as vividly as it was yesterday, my dad bringing me to the Seattle Center to walk around and pick up fall leaves… we put the leaves in a photo album (the kind where you peel off the top layer of plastic, then place the photos on the sticky side of the page).. that dreaded day.. my Daddy told me he was moving away and I was not going with him.  My parents were not getting divorced. And looking back, I’ve wondered if it was just the times that kept them together. The word “divorce” was still taboo. But, all I knew was that my Daddy was moving away. I recall the night my dad left, I ran under the kitchen table and cried my eyes out and my mom yelled at me to stop crying. It was the hardest time of my life. Months passed and the times my dad came home were for maybe an evening and I didn’t get to see him.  He spent the time with my mom..then left early the next morning. Not sure how long my dad was gone (2, 3, 4, 5 years??) Not sure… but it seemed like an eternity but he came back… and then he left again… and then he came back. My mom tried her best to take care of my sisters and me.  But I didn’t know any better, she wasn’t very affectionate, so I looked to my friends to “get away” from the home I loathed so much.  By then – my teenage years – I grew to push people away. Especially my dad.  And especially the people I loved the most.

A couple years after I graduated high school, my (ex) husband and I decided to move across the country. At that time, I was done with Seattle.  My family back home meant nothing to me… as I thought I meant nothing to them.  But, now, 15 years later, they mean everything to me… and I still mean nothing to them. I call, text, email, connect on Facebook.  But get little response. I try to send gifts, but get little response.  What I have done and said to push my family away …worked.  So, the holidays are the hardest for me.  It starts with my mom, nephew, & sisters’ birthdays all wrapped up into the fall season.  Then as the holidays roll around, I get to see pictures of their get-togethers and family events posted online.

While I get to enjoy my own family of 4, it is most difficult to get into the holiday spirit… Outwardly, I decorate the house, cook the big meals, take lots of pictures.. but inwardly, I want to sleep the winter away…  I pray to God who mends all broken people to heal me and my relationship with my family.

If you, too, have the holiday blues.. I pray that you find those who love you and hold them close.. and if you find no one – seek them.  Seek a church, a network of people, a meetup group, get connected.. WE will get through this..

Slacker

I’ve been neglecting my blog…  In my head, not so much. I’ve had things I’ve wanted to write about almost every day.  But, time flies so fast and now it’s been 4 months since my last post and I have so much to say!  In 4 months:

Infertility: We have tried.  I took the last round of fertility meds I stored in my closet from before our hiatus in September.  Needless to say, no news to report.  We are still trying, naturally.

Empty Nest Bucket List:  I’d like to report some progress in this area! I have a lot of updates to my bucket list… and a family road trip coming up.  More to write!

Newlywed/Marriage:  Yesterday, June 23rd, was our 2-Year Wedding Anniversary!  I give all long-term married couples HUGE kudos and welcome ANY marriage advice you can give.  Year 1 was very difficult… and Year 2 was hard work!  I can say that our love for each other is stronger.  But I am gearing myself up for Year 3… let the battle (for a love-filled lasting marriage) begin!

I promise myself I will write more this week, lots to say and lots to read… can’t wait to catch up on with my fellow bloggers.

E.N. Bucket List #14: Road Trip

Ahhhh…. It has been another great weekend! Along with all the chaos and GPS recalculations, this weekend could not be more perfect.  My best friend graduated from college yesterday and it was a wonderful excuse to take a road trip.  For over a month, I have planned a no-rules weekend for my son, but who knew how much fun that would be for me!

For instance, the “no-rules” Bacon Sundae from Burger King.  Yep, I actually ate this entire sundae and it was AWESOME.  My son ate it like he was starved – it was gone in 2 minutes flat.  This was at a stop in Ocala.  I asked the cashier what city we were in and she had to ask her manager.  Hmmmm…. shouldn’t she know what city she works in?? But anyway, it might have been a delirious trance from the Almighty Bacon Sundae.

Burger King Bacon Sundae… it really does exist!

In Columbus, we got to see my friend graduate which I have to admit I was a little more emotional than the Graduate herself.  But we have known each other through the ups and the (very bottom) downs.  I was just so proud of her.  Ok stop me before I start crying again!

Graduation Ceremony, Columbus GA

After the graduation, we stopped by a mall in Atlanta to do a little shopping, then I took my son to Dave & Busters.  (GPS Tip: GPS addresses are not always accurate! If you don’t know the area very well, look up the location address on the internet first, then type the address into the device.) It took 3 tries and 40 minutes to get to the Dave & Busters that we realized was 3 miles away from our original location. Needless to say, I took a short nap while he played and came back to the car with this:

The rubber chicken? No….he brought that with him from home.  He won the light up green glasses, along with light up white glasses, and a pack of basketball cards at Dave & Busters.  We hung out the rest of the evening with my friend and her family, then headed home early this morning.

Since the rental car did not come with Satellite Radio, we plugged in his iPod: The Beatles Greatest Hits.  Friends, we listened to the Beatles during our WHOLE road trip.  (and yet I still can not explain the meaning of the Yellow Submarine)

A couple other highlights from our road trip:

We kept seeing these big wheat-looking plants all over the Georgia Interstate.  To me, they looked like huge allergy bushes. I googled “wheat bushes Georgia Interstate” and “grass bushes Georgia Interstate” and could not figure out what type of plant they are.  Definitely beautiful, but not too sure if I want to get too close to them and break out into a sneezing fit!

My son’s #1 goal was to find a Firework Stand and not just any stand would do.  If it’s connected to a Pecan Stand, he would not even waste his time, he envisioned a Firework warehouse.  And thank goodness, we found a store called Ceremonial Fireworks in a city called Micanopy (Mi-can-O-pee, he said it is NOT prounounced “my-canopy”).  In this picture, my son is happily holding his Waterproof Fireworks.  Might I add, he held these in his lap the rest of the way home, and excitedly blew up my leftover breakfast burrito in a metal bucket later in the evening….. Boys.

This trip was absolutely a treat for me!  And though hubby and my younger son could not come with us, they had a blast at my son’s football game then going to the Tampa Bay Bucs game (looking good, by the way).  Dad & son time was truly needed as well.

By the way, in preparation for my road trip with my elder son, I took the ‘Baby’ (my 13-year old) to Disney World’s Hollywood Studios last weekend.  So, I leave you with this:

Can You Find The Hidden Mickey?

Can you find the Hidden Mickey?  The cool thing about Disney World is that they hide Mickey Mouse profiles all over the parks & resorts.  This is at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Hollywood Studios. (Hint: Relax your eyes and focus on the yellow tiles)  😉 Enjoy!

#14 of my Empty Nester Bucket List = Road Trip DONE!

Dinner in Bed

Today was a long day.. it might as well have been Monday.  My eldest son just came home from College Night at school.  I could not participate because my younger son had football practice and hubby had to work (woo hoo for the new job!).  Thankfully my neighbor took him as her son attends the same school.  I was already in bed with my dinner: hummus and pita chips

Pita Chips and Garlic Hummus

I got up to greet him and noticed he was looking up a college in my hometown (across the country).  I felt I handled it pretty well, asking him if he plans to go there.  I had no argument since it is the college I’d planned to attend as a child. I listened to him talk about how his friend is from Seattle as well and how they both want to go to “U-dub”.

But these feelings I hate revisiting start bubbling up… my babies.. at this time, my only children.. May be leaving one day.  I have to think, if they planned to go away to a local college, would I be feeling this type of anxiety?  Probably so.  Maybe not at the same level but as a single mother for several years, they were my Only family here on the East Coast.

I had a great conversation a couple weeks ago with my “fertility counselor”.  She said, “if I tell you to stop getting dressed now what would you say?” (don’t worry this will make sense in a second) I responded, “I can’t I’m already dressed.”  She said, “ok, now what if I tell you to stop eating dinner?” Politely, I responded, “It’s not even dinner time yet.” Then she put it all together and reiterated what my son told me (in a previous post).  The past is the past, and the future is going to happen eventually but right now neither one exists.

So right now, I’m going to go to sleep and tomorrow morning I’m most likely going to take my son to school… then work, then pick up my son from the Fall Dance, then make dinner, then probably sit in bed with hummus and pita chips till I’m done watching my DVR, then go to sleep and start the next day all over again.

Sweet dreams 🙂

Ikea and the Cheap Date

Well, I have to say that this past weekend was what I truly needed: A Break!  Well, sort of.  We lived and breathed football, as usual.  But we managed to sneak in a few other things.  For one, I’ve been continuing my Fall Cleaning Project, and in my determination to make our little place look bigger, I set out to Ikea to pick up some mirrors!  I find it interesting how my children HATE going shopping with me. In fact, I have to bribe them to go to the grocery store with me, using a $5 spending limit on whatever their snacking hearts desire.  But….. when I mention IKEA, their faces light up and they are always willing and ready to go! Perhaps it’s the vibrant colors or the luring smell of Swedish meatballs but I dare not jinx it with my questioning!  For me, Ikea is like the Target of home decor stores.  I always go for one thing and come out spending $200 which somehow includes a piece of furniture.  But that day we bought exactly what we needed… Mirrors (pictures soon).

Later that evening, we planned to go on a date.  Since we are taking a break from the baby-making, we decided to go to a place called the Wine Room.  A small spot off of Park Ave about 15 min from our place.  This place has wine bottles racked as far and as wide as you can see.  Couches for relaxation, light music in the background (that evening was oldies R&B music), and a Cheese & Tapa bar in the middle.  As you walk in, you can purchase or reload a money card (sort of like a game card at Dave & Busters), they give you wine glasses, and set you free to taste away.  Along the walls are, for lack of better words, “vending machines” of wine bottles where you can choose to purchase 1, 2, or 3 ounces of your selection for a price per ounce.  Some as low as $1/oz. and others $15/oz. or more!  Let me just tell you, having Not a sip of alcohol for at least 6 months, I was a Cheap Date.. Yes, ladies and gents, after 6 oz. of the $1.50/oz Chocolate Raspberry wine, I was feeling happy.  Hubby was happy, we had a good evening 😉  NOTE: For those of you with a Sweet Tooth, I highly recommend Chocolate Cellar California Wine, it tastes like a Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.

“Screen Shot” taken from Google Maps, see the arrow on the floor? Courtesy of Google Maps

Finally, drum roll please……. we have decided that we found a ‘Home Church’! (A “Home Church” is one that we can finally settle down, get involved, go to regularly..etc. )  I must say, we have visited over 10 churches over the past 3 years.  And if you have had this experience, you can relate to how tiring it can be.  Sort of like dating, you want to give the new relationships a try, but if there is no chemistry you must search again.  but after 4 visits, I believe I can say we have found a church we love.

Though they are little tidbits from a great weekend, I can honestly say I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and ready for a great week!

And, I hope you all enjoyed your weekend as well 🙂

My Bucket List(s)

A few weeks ago, we had a little family get-together at the beach.  The weather was beautiful and, though it rained a little, we saw the most magnificent rainbow on that Saturday evening.  The next morning my eager boys got up about 7am to go to the beach and so I got up with them and we headed out.  Just looking out at the vast ocean, listening to the endless sound of waves crashing, birds chirping and kids laughing got me thinking.. what am I going to do if or when this is over: parenting

So, I got out a piece of scrap paper and pen and started writing an Empty Nester Bucket List.. well, it started out as 1 list but then spilled over into 2: “Empty Nester” and “When They’re Gone”

Being on both sides of this parenting spectrum, so much of me has been poured into being a mom.  Blood, sweat, and tears (literally, all 3) have been put into raising these boys, as well as, trying to have a baby.  And a little part of me is saying ‘just start preparing for the worst.’  Does it have to be the worst?  I have friends who live the childless life happily.  Some with kids going off to college, others who choose to travel.  It can’t be that bad, right?? To me… it feels like it would be the end of the world!

And so.. I started writing.. Things I want to do before the boys leave for college:

Join the PTA – having finished college while they were in Elementary school, I missed out on being an active PTA member, I would have LOVED to join the Bake Sale or chaperone more field trips

Do Outside Activities With Them (Golf, Football) – Yeah, this will take some coercing. Haha… I’ve offered to throw the football with the boys, but being a girly-girl, I DO throw like a girl.

Teach Them to Drive – Yep, its almost that time, and I’ve already started teaching my 15 year old.

By the time I was done, I listed 17 things.. Then I started thinking, well what about AFTER they leave for college???  So I continued:

Start my Business – I’ve always wanted to open a re-used book store / coffee shop.

Find a Mutual Hobby with Hubby – Yes, we get along so well because (1) we enjoy doing things together like watching movies, trying new restaurants..etc (2) we give each other ‘individual’ time/space  But we don’t really have a Hobby that we enjoy as a couple.

Finish their Baby Books – well, they did get started when they were babies.. but, as the years have passed, pictures and mementos have gotten stuffed in the front of the book to be properly scrap-booked in later.

Not that I think I’ll ever be ready if they decide to move back to the West Coast.. but I think at least if I can check off the things on my list, I’ll have felt like I didn’t waste my time while they are still under my roof 🙂 And the things I’ve listed on my “After They Leave” list sound pretty exciting to me!

Lunch Time!

So, last week my son made me this.  It was the first day of school.  He’s going into 8th grade – big man of middle school…and he made his momma a sandwich for lunch.  Awwww… It was the sweetest thing.  I loved it: turkey, a huge slice of Velveeta cheese and a glob of mayo. “Mmmmm, yummy” is what I said.  But having already gained 10 lbs from the fertility medication, I stored it in the office fridge for 3 days , eating a slice each day.  This is only a glimpse of the sweet children I have.  Don’t get me wrong, they are 2 typical teenage boys with their own sets of issues.. but it’s these little things that make my heart melt!  And melt it does!!  I spent half the day in the office bathroom crying the day he gave me that sandwich…  Was it the hormones?  Am I dreading the Empty Nest syndrome?  Was it just the stress of everything going on?  (Are you confused?)

Well, you see, I just got married a little over a year ago.  Like many newlyweds you start making plans – house, baby, family…etc.  Well, it didn’t happen as planned.  By recommendation from my OBGYN to see a fertility specialist, we began a series of fertility treatments… in a nutshell: I have been on hormones for OVER a year!  (And don’t get me started on the house situation; I’m sure many can relate to how difficult it is to sell a condo in our economy these days!)

Secondly, I’ll just give you a brief synopsis of the Stage 1 Empty Nest Syndrome that’s creeping up on me.  We have been living on the East Coast for 14 years and 9 years ago, my ex-husband moved back to our home-town, on the West Coast.  My boys spend their summers with them every year.   And this year my son, the sweetheart 8th grader, comes back with a birthday card for me!  In the card, it very lovingly says, “Mom, I love you and I’m here for you no matter what happens.”  So I turn to him and say, “if what happens?”  And he so sweetly says, “well if I decide to move back to the West Coast.”  Hmmm, that wasn’t a shock, I have always figured they might eventually want to move to our home-town.  But that was not the type of birthday card I expected!  However, it did get me thinking…. If the boys leave, and the fertility treatment doesn’t work…. Besides my husband, I won’t have any family here on the East Coast.  And that’s where the thoughts started pouring in….

Where do I go from here?  I need to prepare myself for the worst case scenario.  And this is why I started to blog.  If you have comments, advice, your own blog to share, I’d be happy to read up!  This somehow seems like a new path in my life.. but I’m just not sure of where it’s headed!