Birth Control

Well, I have been on birth control for the past week. My next check will be on March 24th.  So I must wait.  So, while I’m on this birth control, I find it very appropriate to talk about my teenage boys.  Ahhh, the living “birth control” that my peers (some also parents) seem to laugh about.  Everyone seems to cringe when you talk about this stage of parenting. And I do a lot of cringing!

Having teenage boys is like having 2 toddlers, attention-wise.  My 2 teenage boys have very different styles:

  • The older one loves dub-step, keeps his room clean, loves to longboard (skateboards that are longer than the norm), and plays a guitar.
  • The younger brother loves hip hop, has a disastrous room, loves to play sports, and wants to be a deejay.

Just because they are different in styles & personality does not mean the challenges lie with one more than the other.  If it’s not their grades, it’s social networking, ever-increasing hormones, bullies, or peer pressure.  The list goes on.  We’ve had talks – about EVERYTHING.  More than once …a week, every week. Always, always… my attention stays on them.

And having lived on my own as a single mom for several years, I developed a little bit of a mean-streak.  I call it “wearing my emotions on my sleeve”, my family calls it “public outbursts”.

I’m not a big (muscular) person.  I’m rather petite.  My voice is a little mousy.  When I’m upset, I don’t think my tone or facial expression could even intimidate a puppy.  But I’m smart, and I’ll out-talk anyone who messes with me or my children (and sometimes my husband, but I have learned to let him be in charge in those situations).  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t happen often and it takes a lot to trigger that Crazy-Mother-Alarm.

Lately, I’m learning that I have to be more mindful of my public outbursts in front of my boys.  This weekend was a particularly new challenge.  My younger son was invited to a party last night and he was pretty excited about it.  He bought himself a new shirt to wear.  He was texting his friend who was going to meet him there. Listening to hype-music as he was getting ready.

Any decent parent can relate when I say I NEVER let my kids go to anyone’s house if I have not met their parents.  So, we GPS’d the address and both walked up to the house so he can join the celebration.  Lo & behold, we were greeted by a make-shift security guard who demanded $3.  I asked, “who are you?” He replied, “Security.” Mind you, this kid must have been about 16 or 17 years old.   (Reminder: we’re at a house in the suburbs)  He proceeded to argue with my son about the $3, when I finally said, “you do realize his mom is standing right here, don’t you?”  Then he straightened up and said, “yes, ma’am.”  I was very appreciative.

The other *air-quotes* Security Guard went in to retrieve the Party Host so I could ask if his parents were home.  The Host came out, passed me, and hugged the girls who were patiently standing behind me.  (They must have known about the ‘cover charge’ as they stood behind us like it was a line at the club).  The Host looked like he was drunk or high – kind of stumbling as he talked with the young ladies.   The Guard reminded the Party Host that I was there, he straightened up and said, “hello ma’am”.   I asked if his parents were there and he replied that no adults were there.  Here’s the kicker: I asked, “where are your parents?” He replied, “on their honeymoon.” I suggest, “so, that’s why you are charging $3 for your party?” He smiles and proudly says, “yes.”  I looked at his droopy eyes, then noticed the solo cups on the table behind the Guards……

I did all but yank my son from this young boy’s parents’ front yard and throw my son in the car. After all, he’s twice as big as me.  I said, “let’s go” and he got in and closed his eyes.  I am sure he was embarrassed.  I was embarrassed for him.  Why?   Because as a mom, sometimes you get a 2-second window to decide if you’re going to be “Crazy-Mom” or “Sane-Level-Headed-Mom”.  For some reason, the latter never shows up to the party.  Not this one, at least.

On the way home, I told my son what could happen if the cops came and there were no adults there. I told him he can be as mad at me as he wanted.  He said he wasn’t mad.  He had permission to tell his friends that I was just being crazy.  He said it wasn’t necessary.  I asked him if he was OK.  He said he was fineHe said the friend he was going to go with ended up not going either.  Why?? Cause his mom didn’t trust the Host.  Somehow, that made my son and me feel better.

One party missed: that’s all it was.  He went to one the night before and has another to go to next week.

We ended the evening on a Redbox Movie Marathon complete with Steak N Shake burgers and milkshakes.

It’s all worth it, folks.  I wouldn’t trade these teenagers for the world.

Lost and Found

The little joy of entering the blogging world is that you can type any topic in a search field and you automatically ‘follow’ posts of people who are thinking the exact thing you might be at the moment!  A couple weeks ago, I found myself in a Fall Cleaning Frenzy and I started following “Declutter”, “Cleaning”, and “Organizing” and my oh my did I get some great cleaning tips!

I have cleared out a lot of cluttered space and can finally breath a little.  The other benefit of decluttering is finding little treasures you forgot you had.  In my case, it was 5 disposable cameras.  I thought surely the pictures would be long gone, I hadn’t used a disposable camera in years!  They sat in my car for about a week because I couldn’t find a store that still develops film!  Finally coming across a CVS with a Photo Lab, I dropped them off and a couple hours later, I got the most precious, valuable pictures I could ever imagine.

I think he’s wearing a Halloween Costume

Boys at Summer Camp

Goofy Boys

The last picture is my absolute favorite.  The smiles and goofiness, the memories!  Several of the pictures I could not recall who was in them or where we were.  But, I am so happy to have found them!

Now… if I could only find a floppy disk drive somewhere, I next to the cameras were about 15 floppy discs with labels that say “Pictures.” I’m on a treasure hunt!

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!

A Little About Me

When you’re younger, you look at your people of influence and wish “I had a story”.  Something interesting that others might be able to relate to.  And something that would define you – separate you from others.  My teenage son came to me recently and said, “Mom, I wish I had a story.. ” and my first reaction was, “son, you don’t want to chase a story, just live your life and enjoy yourself.”  Well, looking back, I have a story, not much of what I want to tell.  But I’m sure a little of that will come out here and there as I share my thoughts with you.  And perhaps you can share some of your story with me.

The reason why I want to start writing… well, there are 2 major things I am going through right now: 1) As my 2 teenage boys grow a foot by the day, my ‘Empty Nest’ syndrome has suddenly kicked in. 2) This month, marks a year of trying to conceive with a fertility specialist and next month we will be doing IVF.. in what feels like my last hope.

So I hope in this I can find laughter, hope, and sanity.