Preparation For Life!

Preparation For Life!
More than just a hay burner!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Joy of Silver!

If life was not so crazy busy herding my family over its challenges I could look like a trophy wife. Or at least have the energy to worry about it! Another clear "proof" that parenting is NOT for wimps - Barbie never had children! Parenting is that period of time when half way through the day...usually when you're in realize there is a food stain on your shirt, you have on two different tennis shoes or the reason your socks are uncomfortable is because they're your daughter's socks! As the children age it's easy to forget that you are too! Until that one dreadful day you look through the toothpaste splattered mirror and there they are...the tell tale signs of motherhood...crows feet lines around the eyes, a spontaneous pocket of fatty deposits at the jaw line, and a few unmistakeable silver hairs at the temple area! You've become your grandmother during the short six hours of sleep you received. The good new is, when you see this vision staring back your heart rate drops and a feeling of relief overwhelms you (at least it should). Does this mean I have reached the period of life when my disposable income will be my own? When my dinner table will be wine and appetizers and not the food pyramid recommended items for growing up nutritiously fed healthy children? Does this mean my summer vacations don't revolve around scheduled athletic activities involving the hauling of 35 cup cakes and a McDonald's keg of orange soda? Oh Let it be! The Joy of parenting at the next level is so totally awesome! If I never make another cup cake, bake a batch of cookies, or decorate a birthday party involving mass amounts of Dollar Tree decorations and a carpet steam cleaner again, let it be! Welcome the Silver!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Preparation for Life?

Exhaustion: A common side effect of "parenting" found during all phases of child rearing. Occurs most often after repeated attempts by human adults to prepare their young for life in the outside world. Adults have prepare their offspring with the skills they will need for success. My approach...Horses!

Horses eat through your disposable income twice every day at constantly rising rates. Often they need snacks (grain or other supplements). Horses require medical attention almost as often as your children do. Horses, just like your children, benefit from vitamins and grow out of their shoes every six weeks. In fact, Horses are really just teenagers. They both destroy their rooms (corrals) with little regard to how much you paid for them to have a space of their own! Both also tear up their clothes (fly sheets; blankets; and fly masks). Why was I thinking a Horse was going to help me parent my children?

After I had lost all my money; patience; any opportunity for self-gratification, and most of my mind...I witnessed the results! My children did learn something. Skills that have helped them in the world outside their parent's home. They are compassionate people. They know what hard work is and have good work ethics. They are not afraid of challenges much larger than themselves. They are strong, confident adults and can gently negotiate through obstacles set before them. I credit their Horses!

All those early morning stall cleanings, wheelbarrow loads and hay bales; the bathing, brushing, and hoof picking; the lessons when they did poorly, the unexpected dismounts that left them in the dirt, and the horse shows when they did NOT win, place, or show payed off dividends! My children are able to handle the difficulties of life. They dust themselves off and go on. They are resilient and tough. In a world where so many expect so much will come so easily, my children are using their stamina, maneuvering skills, and persistence taking to task a world much larger than they.

I credit the Horse...because the task of parenting my children to success was much larger than I. Bravo to the Horses: Dar-ling, Miska, Jet, Pepper, DeMazien, Catch and Honor. Bravo to the lessons taught in and out of the saddle!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Ties That Bind

These are interesting times for families. So many of us are living in modern family situations of blended families that include, "his, mine, and ours." Some parents are loving, nurturing and raising children who share absolutely zero DNA with them. The age old perception of the nuclear family doesn't appear to have quite caught up to some of our realities. It is truly a sad observation (and one that causes a parent to question the responses and opinions expressed) when human interactions with a new "family design" vary so greatly from those of the traditional "nuclear family." Worse is the emotional toil that occurs when a child "feels," by their own perception, that they are less important or loved by "relatives" because they lack the DNA carried by a "natural" child. It is truly disturbing as a parent to recognize the incongruity of others who claim to love your child while at the same time their actions also make clear that all God's children were not created equal. Whether intentional or not the use of terms that segregate a member of a family by singling them out by their "differences" to natural born children is detrimental. I believe a grassroots movement to break down these differentiators is long overdue. The ties that bind are not DNA.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Struggle for Self Discovery

Who doesn't at some point in their life experience a struggle of self discovery? Okay, the Greek Mythology Gods don't count. They're Myths! Us lowly humans however - now that's a completely different story.

My college daughter is clearly trying to discover who she is...a process that is almost guaranteed to send me seeking therapy. So far she's discovered that being an "adult" means she can voice her political viewpoints; vote her conscience; and make what most seasoned parents would consider "questionable" choices.

Parents don't really care what age their child has grown to when it comes to poor choices. Choices in friends; party behavior; and lest we forget the main irritant of my day...alienation of parental affection is just wrong no matter what age our children have obtained. My affectionate responses are definitely decreased when faced with young adult opinions regarding tattoos and body piercings! If I live to be a hundred I'll never understand the whole "inking" fad which appears to have taken the past decade by storm. The remarkable "age" number four child has attained is proving quite good at disturbing me in my "advanced years." Can't we just go back to Pogs, Beanie Babies or even neon spiral twist shoe laces? Even high top tennis shoes in patterns were changeable but a "tat" is forever! By the way, they never look good on granny! If you don't believe me volunteer at the senior center and check out the droopy inks that are unrecognizable!

Still, my daughter has remarkably positive "adult" qualities too. She seems to have good moral fiber (most of the time), a clear understanding of "good work ethic," and she gets her petite behind to her college classes where she obtains passing grades. This is really exceptional given the huge drop out rates; the propensity for first semester failing (due to parties and maligned study habits). She is also quite disturbed by her dorm mate's inability to use a vacuum, a toilet brush, or a even a garbage can! Good to know!

Is it any wonder a young adult like this can't stand her mother? After all, it's completely obvious her mother has turned her out into the world completely unprepared! And, for the record...there are times when I don't like her much either!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Empty Nester

Okay, so I'm not quite an "empty nester" yet but I can dream! If I had a quarter for every person that said, "you're going to miss your daughter when she goes off to college," I could have bought at least two Starbucks coffees! Why do so many women think we have to shrivel up into listless clumps on the floor just because our fledgelings finally (and after much begging and prayer) got out of our feathered nest? Not so Moms! I am happy to report that life succumbs to "normal" and there is a harmony and peace that replaces the dreaded roar of same sex young adult flapping their independent wings about the nest you built ever so long ago! What joy to have the pride and feel the success of sending your child off to gather their wits and seek their fortunes! As for the parent who remains at the empty nest...under all those warm soft feathers abandoned by the fledgelings, I rediscovered that novel I'd been meaning to read...and that project I never had time to finish...and my passport for taking those mini-vacations I never had the time for! Yeah Baby! Italy was Great! I found ALL my shoes and filled the organizer in my closet. And, Heathcliff in "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte was truly a tormented man! OH, and my college kid is doing great in the dorm she feathered just the way she likes it!

Monday, September 6, 2010

If I only knew as much...

Aah...if I only knew as much as my college student daughter. Or half as much as my soon to be married son. Or even a third as much as my grown son who is the father of one. If I only knew what they knew, my life would probably be bliss. My cup would probably "runneth over." And, my life would no doubt be "complete." This is where every mother reading this says, "For Real?" Other mothers know my children (and theirs) are full of themselves, and...well, full of malarkey!

It occurs to me that I spent less dollars (and Euros) on a week for two in beautiful Florence, Italy, than I did getting our daughter off to her first week, of her first semester, of her first year at college! When my spouse and I traveled to Italy after a 13-year wait we knew that we knew nothing about Florence; the Italian language; or the train to Pisa. We didn't need anyone to tell us what we didn't know. Yet, our children find it imperative to inform us we "don't know what we're talking about" and the many things we, "don't understand."

How I long for those beautiful Italians who looked at us and smiled, maybe they too were thinking, "those ignorant people." Our foreign hosts handed us a glass of wine, a slice of pizza, and took our photo on the historic Ponte Vecchio. Maybe we paid more Euro's than we should have, but no one told us we didn't know how to convert correctly. Our daughter is at this moment settled in her dorm at college and probably still thinking we are, "ignorant Parentals." I am thinking that I don't recall her handing us a glass of wine or a slice of pizza or taking our photo in the front yard...or anywhere really. Probably because she is underage and we don't ever have liquor laying around the house; she only serves pizza to people who come in to Domino's; and she'd rather take action photos of her friends jumping in the air.

I suppose if we put stock in the comments of our children, we, or someone overhearing them, might be inclined to believe that we have lived half-a-century and know nothing about college experiences or being young! We don't know anything about relationships, their struggles; longevity issues; demands; or the heartbreaks that come with any relationship. We don't know anything about raising children, or making sacrifices for the needs of a growing family. Certainly, we don't know ANYTHING about money management, landing and keeping employment, or the similarity between interest rates and throwing a lasso around a tornado! We have never learned anything about spirituality or the overcoming of sorrow; grief; or temptations. We have been remiss in our developing an understanding of both politics and human frailties. Foreign affairs is...well, foreign to us. I am of course being sarcastic. Except for a rare instance when our children have commented that we, "know everything," we regularly fall into their "knows nothing" category!

Aah, but I am hopeful for the future. One son is approaching thirty and has a school age child himself. Parents have a different appeal now for him and our advice is requested, sometimes even followed. In time, his siblings may also come around to think their "parentals" have some knowledge that might be useful on a minimal intrinsic level. Not yet so far but I am convinced that day will come. I hope they don't wait too long because I am beginning to feel "old."

Aah, when I finally know all our fledglings know and if I still have the finances; vacation time; health; and a current valid passport, I'll do Italy so much better a second time! Then, on foreign soil drinking local wines and eating local produce while enjoying the hospitality of gracious strangers, I will finally toast to my children for all they have taught me about youth; relationships; sacrifices; finances; commitment; struggles; faith; strength; failures; and weakness. I won't care how many Euro's toasting to them costs in Dollars because my offspring will have "arrived" at being self-sufficient nest building grown-ups and I will have the satisfaction of boasting of it!

Here! Here!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ARGH !!!

Is it the harvest moon? Is it the El Nina weather pattern? Maybe it's my Karma? No! I was never bad enough for this day!! It started off well enough but when I shifted my focus...well you've had days like this too I'm sure. I got up earlier than usual. Lots of energy motivated me to strip my bed and put my linens in the washer; unload the dishwasher; empty the kitchen and bath garbage cans; fold the load in the dryer AND put it away! Then as the sun moved I had to leave for work. My children are not "little" anymore and they certainly know the house rules! No worries right?

Wrong! Things began to fall into havoc during my absence. I came home to find that our youngest had decided to eat watermelon on my white mattress while the linens were in the washer - splattering a pattern indicative of a Jackson Pollock original work or art. I opened the refrigerator in a desperate search for trans fat in the form of chocolate, only to find someone had shoved the gallon jug of milk into a raw egg which had spread and then coagulated on the glass shelf. While using diluted laundry detergent to sponge the mattress, our teenager called to say her car (the one the husband co-signed for while I was on record as being opposed to getting the teenager a car), her car had been keyed while she was at the courthouse to show support for a friend. Did I mention it's a friend who isn't the sharpest pencil in the box and doesn't know when to come in out of the rain? Uh, that would be why a court appearance would be necessary! And what kind of people hang out at courthouses...uh huh...a lot of people who who aren't always respectful...the kind of people who key cars!

I decided I'd just sit and bag that pile of clothing that's been waiting to get dropped off for charity. Only the pile was now a carpet spread out and where the pile was - there was now a stack of movies. The movies our juicy artist had been watching on my stripped white mattress while her sibling drove the financed car to be keyed and the egg oozed out of its shell and then clung to the glass refrigerator shelf!

All things considered it's not like the morning when the horse was caught in the fence. That prompted the teen to call me from her cell phone and tell me about it as she kept rolling out the driveway! And, It's not like the morning when the man woke me from my sound sleep with these tender words, "pig's dead!" Certainly it's been a better day than some. It's just that menopausal memory loss prevents me from remembering just how good some days are! LOL

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Laughter Keeps Us Young

Nothing makes a parent laugh more than their children. At any age our youngsters can bring us to hysterical laughter driven into tears with their antics. The older they get the more personality they display in perfecting their antics. And, the more parents laugh thinking, "Why did they think could sneak that by me?" Or, "Wonder why they thought that I wouldn't catch on to what they were up to?" These questions remain a mystery for all parents. Personally, I think all children believe their parents are dumb as a box of rocks!

The really frightening discovery is when the parents realize their children possess great similarities to themselves. That's when the parent's don't know whether to laugh hysterically or sweat bullets! I tend to sweat bullets more often than I'd like to admit. My children are very convincing (some have even been cunning at times). I should laugh a lot more about the antics performed at all ages. They are just doing what you and I used to do right?

Except they are performing antics in a scarier world with greater threats to their well being and fewer chances of surviving random acts of evil. Because parents worry more, we need to counter the aging effects by laughing more, much more. Enjoy the parenting adventure every moment. We need the youthful and healthful benefits laughter brings to channel the antics into a safety zone!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Basic Economics's been a really bad day and I'm really cynical about some of MY children (names withheld intentionally) getting the whole economic reality anytime soon! Hairdressers, nail salons, and new releases at the movie theater along with vacation travel, new cell phones (with all the bells and whistles), and video gaming are priorities for some of my young adults. Have you heard this one, "I earned my money, I should get to spend it how I want." Yeah, I hear that one too!

Parents, myself included, view text books, auto insurance, and dental care nearer the top of the priority list. Recreation and entertainment are important and we all want our children to enjoy life. We just want them to have two pair of underwear so one can get laundered once in awhile. It would be noteworthy if us "parentals" could rest comfortably knowing the wheels under the buttocks of our grown children were legally on the road! You know, insured; with tires that have minimum tread, and something more than friends taking turns pushing it to move the thing forward! Like, maybe fuel?

Like I said, It's been a rough day and admittedly I am cynical today wondering if my adult "reproductions" are brilliant enough to learn economics?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sex Education and the College Bound

Fourteen or fifteen years ago, our daughter was playing under the hitching rail while riders saddled up their horses. "Mommy, Why does Miska have a hangie downie thing?" Quite suddenly the horses and their snickering riders were gone. That was the beginning of our daughter's sex education.

Now our daughter is going off to college (not a moment too soon either)! And, because parenting is not for wimps, I revisit sex education whenever I can and reinforce the information one more time. Remember we are talking STD's, HIV, and teenagers with a grandiose sense of immunity and immortality. Never let a sex education opportunity pass by. I know, I know, we have all said it before many times...but hey, one more time - reinforce what you've already said.

A distinguished elderly gentleman once said, "you know, young people run hot and sometimes it gets them into troubles and sometimes it gets them married. It was that way when I was young and it's still that way."

Yep! There's just one thing to add, nowadays running hot can also get you dead. HIV/AIDS and STD's are not topics for wimps! Youth are still running hot. So what if my kid thinks I'm a freak because I tell her yet again, "beware the hangie downie thing...and whatever else is running hot after you!" To which comes the standard reply..."MOM! Again, REALLY?"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eighteen Years Old

Vaguely. I vaguely remember eighteen (what I do remember was nothing to write home about).

Yet, each time one of my children woke up and said, "I'm eighteen!" they acted as though The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus had all visited them during the same night. From then on my children behaved as though their night visitors had magically delivered all knowledge. Having had the previous black space between their ears filled with super human brain cells they, "knew what they were doing."

"Adult-children" usually have wheels under their buttocks by this time (and under your auto insurance policy). According to "the parent has a responsibility to pay for their child's college." (Nobody paid for mine!) The good news: you can usually boast how you got him or her to age 18 with all their fingers and toes, no major head trauma, and they are college bound. The bad news: the hopping hormones are as big as 10-gallon paint containers; you've got high blood pressure and college loans; your deposits have been cashed; dorms don't open for 60 days; and your 18-yr old has a hot boyfriend or girlfriend! This is more proof that parenting is not for wimps.

There will be an increase in covering the gray at the hairdresser. Also an increase of insomnia. Tempers get shorter, nights longer. Parents faced with the magic of "eighteen" can't access medical or educational records but they still get to pay for the costs! Finally, there are very skeery issues facing our newbie adult/kids today. This is certainly not the time to wimp out!

Tactic: Gather the reinforcements; strengthen the ranks; call out the National Moms Association! Parent validation is highly underrated! I never overlook networking with my local chapter of "I Spy." Spying on your kids doesn't really have much immediate effect on the young adult whose view is blinded by the 10-gallon size hormones, other than make them angry, but it sure has made me feel supported! Some experts/Psychologists will say "kids deserve their privacy." Others will say, "kids want to know you care, they want boundaries." Here is what I say...

It may be my "denial" but I like thinking my children believing that their Auntie (or someone else who knows them) might be somewhere they are has a cooling effect on their actions. Go Auntie! Did I mention that this is how I knew my son had been in a food fight at Del Taco? Also how I knew my son kissed a girl at the movies? (Beware the cell phone four rows behind you!) Don't think we're sexist, Dad was reading a book and wearing Biker Couture at the coffee counter in Denny's during the "after" Homecoming Dance! Now that I have sons in their twenties I sometimes hear, "I always had his back; I am his greatest fan; and I am the smartest person he knows!" How cool is that for the meanest mom!

Why I Scrapbook...

My latest diversion is Scrapbook production...I can't rely on my children to keep my mind sharp in my golden years. Generally, they've ensured it's pretty cloudy now. I need to have a really good record to look at - something with journal notes. Something about my children - the ones who already spent their inheritance and their sibling's too! Oh yeah...all of them did! My scrapbook will be a reminder of which child is most likely to play out their revenge because I punished them when they were eight years old. Yeah...which one was that? And it will help me cherish the moments when they were babes in arms. Who is this photo of? Okay well at least I'll have the vacation photos to enjoy! What does this ticket stub go to?