They leave, shut the door,
grown up children, back to school
Give away my heart.
They leave, shut the door,
grown up children, back to school
Give away my heart.
During my college years (which I can remember vaguely but with fondness) I always needed SOME sleep. I never was one of those “all-nighter” students, I needed at least four hours of sleep. My main problem and yes, it has carried on still today is that I hate the taste of alcohol (hang my head in shame,) so I wasn’t the wild, party girl type. 6:00AM was right in the middle of my sleep.
6:00AM was ONLY for the love of my two sweet young ones, 21 months apart. We called my son “the farmer” he was awake every morning at 5am toddling in his little one piece sleeper to wake me up because “he didn’t want to miss anything.” When I think about it, he’s still the same way now at 21.
Our daughter, came screaming into the world and kept screaming. I was up with her many times a night so if it was 6:00 am or 3:00am it was just to pick up my sweet girl, hold her in my arms and feel her body immediately relax.
That’s what it takes if you want to be a mom, like I did. I wanted to be a mom since I was six years old, I became one at 33, after two and a half years of painful and emotionally draining infertility treatments.
So at 3am, 6am, sure I was tired. But holding a crying baby in my arms, was nothing short of a miracle to me and it never upset me or made me mad. I was able to hold my baby as I sat in the rocking chair, all my dreams having come true. Who was I to complain?
Dear Almond Joy,
I MISS YOU.
Sigh. I’m usually not THAT sentimental about my kids being in college (ok, stop laughing) but it’s Halloween and we have a big candy bowl out filled with chocolate and I am not outside with my little ones, holding their hands and talking to the other moms. I’m not complaining about the weather or seeing the joy on their faces when they can barely pronounce “Trick or Treat.” I’m also not at the door for them to stop by with their friends and for them to say “Hi Mom” and sneak an extra pack of candy for their bags too and I can’t even trade with my kids from our leftover stash for things that I love and that they hate. It’s just not fair.
We are home waiting for the little children in the neighborhood to ring our bell, for our dog to go crazy and bark (we put her in her cage) but the thrill is gone. We have perched the old light- up plastic pumpkin on a high table for another year so that the trick or treaters can see the lit up pumpkin smile face from the street. SCORE! They know at THIS house, there is definitely candy to be collected.
For us old folk? Depressing. Why does there have to be an age limit on trick or treating and for those who know me, I am not kidding. I am very “childlike” fine, childish and I am the same height as my daughter, 5’3 and a half so basically if I had a face mask on, how would they know I’m a mom and not a kid? I think the trouble would be that I wouldn’t have anyone to trick or treat with me. Also, the fact that I am ACTUALLY considering this is quite alarming. I know.
Every year I have bought (too much) candy for our family to give out and of course to enjoy the leftovers. Is it necessary to even ask what I buy? Our favorites. Chocolate. Not to tempt me this year, I asked my husband to buy the candy because he always lectures me and says just buy one thing, just one type of candy that we don’t like and it won’t tempt us. “Okay, I said, you do it.” A couple of weeks later he did. He went to the grocery store and I thought for sure he would come home with licorice, something he detests. Nope. Peppermints? No. How about lollipops? That works for me but he wouldn’t eat them. However, if they were Tootsie Pops that would be great, not fattening and a fun thing to have in your home. I’m going to use this idea for guests. “Would like some coffee,or tea, ice water, Tootsie pop? Strawberry or Orange? (I’m keeping the grape ones for myself) I LOVE this idea!
Hubby comes home quite happily from the grocery store and shows me how HE handled the Halloween dilemma as if telling me he could do it the right way. He pulls out two bags of…assorted candy? No. CHOCOLATE. All chocolate, different brands in two bags and not a Mounds or Almonds Joy in one of them, no Whoppers either. “Hello, what happened to the let’s get only one thing that we don’t like rule?” You know the one you said you could handle?” He laughed heartily, “Oh that, I just couldn’t help it, you know, I saw the candy and besides, we like these.” My case in point.
So now, I don’t even have my three favorites to trade (anyone have Whoppers, Almond Joy or Mounds?) because I have a whole bunch of extra Mr. Goodbbar, Snickers, Twix, Peanut M & M’s, Krackerl, and Milky Way Bars. But, don’t worry, we like them too; they won’t be here alone, we’ll try to help as much as we can. They won’t go to waste. I promise.
Days go by that seem ordinary, nothing really special seems to happen that you can remember. Maybe, we are just too tied up with our everyday lives to take a breath, and break down our day into moments, seconds, even. I try to do that but more often than not I forget and the days blur together like wet watercolor paintings. Once in a rare while something happens that makes you stop right in your tracks and hits you in the heart and stomach like a wonderful, joyous sucker punch. Yesterday, it was meeting Jack.
Even while I am writing this my eyes tear up and I honestly can’t explain why exactly. Is it that for once something good happened, some miracle answered? That the child I met was so beautiful, angelic, almost ethereal ? I was absolutely honored when I was introduced to her son, Jack. His lovely, pink-cheeked mother, looking exactly as she had years ago, introduced me and Jack held up his hand to shake mine. Something my 19 and 20-year-old children would never think about doing. Was I crying about the miracle of Jack or did it evoke memories of the miracle of my son, a junior in college and daughter, a sophomore in college to me? Each their own miracle and I do not say this lightly.
We had a rough time getting pregnant with our son, two and a half years of infertility treatments, shots, blood tests, ultra-sounds, medication, driving to the hospital at 5:30 am for my blood to be tested, for sonograms, back at night for more blood tests, shots. I did all of this in silence because back in the early nineties, no one talked about infertility. It was a shameful secret. My colleagues, boss, family and friends would make such hurtful comments and jokes all the time about “So, when are you going to have a baby?” Grandparents were no different but finally we had to tell them; we thought they would be more sensitive but they weren’t. People say remarkably ignorant and cruel things even though that is not their intention. I’ve always watched my words to other people but this cemented it. When we conceived our son it was indeed a miracle. Our daughter, 21 months later, was again, another wonderful miracle. Just as I was about to call the doctor for treatments, I learned I was already pregnant! Now we are blessed with two kind, smart, wonderful young adults, it seems like just a minute ago that they were still young.
Jack’s mom is a kindergarten teacher who worked across the hall from both of my children’s kindergarten’s teacher. When I ran into her yesterday I knew exactly who she was. I am the type of person that never forgets a face. I, of course, thought she had no idea who I was but she stopped me, she remembered me and my name and my children. This time, I was the one who was shocked and incredibly touched. How amazing that she remembered me! How could that be? That was always my role.
Then there was Jack, beautiful, angelic, pale skinned cherub, Jack. I remember he had to fight to live, I think he was premature but I truly can’t remember the details. I just remember there was difficulty and when he was born, even though I didn’t know his mom directly I was euphoric. I was so thrilled that I ran to buy a present for her son to welcome him into the world. It didn’t matter if she knew who I was or not, I didn’t care. As someone known to be sensitive to other people, her joy was mine too.
Seeing her face yesterday was more beautiful than a sculpture, she glowed with happiness and with pride. I was so touched by her happiness and by young Jack. I thought about it at night and obviously today too. Jack, maybe when you are older your mom will show you this but just know: that as much as everyone loves you know, you were loved by many people before you were even born. It’s like you had your own fan club waiting for you, every single day. We crossed our fingers, we said our prayers because your mom is such a special and warm person we knew she deserved a boy exactly like you.
Dedicated to JP and Jack.
Photograh: credit to photographer
words and lyrics by John Lennon
TO MY CHILDREN: THIS IS KNOWN AS SATIRE. DON’T GIVE ME “THE FACE.”
Dear Moms and Dads of College Students,
It’s been a long summer so I need to start this letter with an apology, I feel so badly for all of you. Believe me, I am going through the same thing with my two, you are not alone. We are all here in solidarity. I’m writing to you today, on behalf of those of us parents who have been through this for a few years already and we want to forewarn you on the things that might be coming around the corner. We had no one to tell us, and believe us, we wish we had, so here is some helpful information, a guide, as you will, for YOU to get adjusted to college life. Let me put it bluntly: This is a phase after freshmen year usually called: YOU CAN DO NOTHING RIGHT.
After that as your child gets older you will all be; ” AS STUPID AS F**K. Usually it’s the condescending tone of voice, the eye roles, the groans of disgust and the stony faces that will give you a clue. Now? You see them huddled over their computer screens not even acknowledging your presence. “Huh, what, did you say something.” The only question I get asked (think back to grade school) is “What’s for dinner?” What happened to manners? What happened to “NO TEXTING AT THE TABLE?” What happened to “can I help?”
We know nothing, our advice (unwanted) is not listened to and who asked us anyway? Face it people WE JUST DON’T GET IT. The kids are not “home” they are here to stay as if they were staying at a MOTEL and you, mom and dad are the full-time, 24/7 concierge. What? You didn’t get that message from the college newsletters? Oh, well, right, it’s ASSUMED. Duh.
College students know much more ABOUT EVERYTHING than we do because basically WE KNOW. NOTHING. We are the “older generation” and people like us, well, we just don’t know the same things that they which they have practically learned in training pants. “Sigh (in a condescending tone) I’ve shown you this on the computer three times already” “I know, I say sheepishly but I forgot, it’s not my fault. I have NO short-term memory.” I beg pathetically. Deep heaving and annoying sigh, “Oh fine, mom, I’ll show it to you ONCE more but write it down.” At this point, embarrassed and demeaned you say, “Never mind, I’ll google it.” which is what you should do in the first place or called Apple even if you are on hold for two hours. Some things WE need to learn, this is one of them.
Who are these strange grown-ups dropping in at our home? I don’t recognize them this time, I don’t even know their friends who are sleeping in our family room. We want to make our kids happy so of course we say yes to their grown-up sleepovers. My gosh, we are not living in our home anymore, we have become a bed and breakfast, lunch or dinner. More likely, we have become a free-motel. Our warm, compassionate kids have become distant and aloof and self-involved while they haven’t stopped for a second to think about us. Why? Because we don’t exist except to pay the bills and welcome their friends with a smile.
The question begs to ask “who are we?” We are just the same old Mom and Dad that haven’t really changed much compared to their quick minds and independent thoughts. We’re stuck in the mud, while they zoom off to have fun with their new friends, to study what they want and to pop back here to see their old friends when it is convenient for them. We are no longer part of the equation, well, ok, maybe at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Once you accept it, it gets SO much easier.
It’s almost time for them to leave, for them to go back “home” to their suites and apartments in college. They have their own cars now. We don’t have to drive them up like the princes and princesses they are. They can unpack by themselves with the help of their suite mates. They will call once a week, maybe more. And, knowing us, we will be there for them at any and every time because that is what parenting children is about, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
A penny flipped mid-air, the sound of dripping water from an old rusty pipe, white pistachio ice cream in an orange, ceramic bowl. Many, many things will happen during the day, most won’t leave an impression, but some will, things you may have not even have noticed consciously. What have you remembered in the corners of your mind? The pop of very dark, red blood on my ankle after I cut myself, fixing the sink without asking for my husband’s help and my subsequent satisfaction, the texture and exquisite taste of lemon cheesecake swirling on my tongue.
Still not feeling happy but not feeling as depressed, it may take a while. Being on this plateau is fine with me, I am not complaining. I am trying to place the world in different compartments. There are parts of myself I do not like, I need to own these. I am less patient than I used to be, I am unkind when pushed straight up against a brick wall, lately, I get angry more easily, sadder too; I am most definitely, flawed.
Relationships, each one, are so hard. Our age must be a part of it. We are the aging boomers.Is it our age? . Not so much peace, love and rock n’ roll anymore. Who has the time, the money, the stress free life? There are no relationship that are easy, they all need work and nurturing. Just what is the right ratio? You only know when you have bumped up against it. Things hurt me more than most but that is something I can’t change, people have called me an Empath Intuitive, for what that is worth. I need to know more about this. Anyone?
I try to let things roll off my back but they get stuck. I am too sensitive, yes I know. I’m sorry. When people show coldness it feels like stabbing to me. Whoever said “karma is a bitch” first is so deadly right but that is how we learn, isn’t it? The lessons we need to learn usually come from within us.
I feel my mood slipping away, as if I were once again, caught in a tide pool of waves crashing around me. For all the majestic beauty of the ocean it can also be terrifying, disturbing and very dark. When I was a teenager I wandered away for a very long time, stayed away for hours, longer than I ever had, hoping that someone would miss me. Many hours later, I came back waiting for the howls of relief that I had returned and the shrieks of “where have you been, young lady?” but no one had even noticed that I had gone.
Where is my energy, (not just because I have Fibromyalgia but even before the diagnosis? Where was my fight, my determination, my drive? I feel like I’m a 33 record in a 45 playing world. (ask your parents!)
My red-brown dog, Lexi, lies against my legs, her show of affection, I still miss my first dog, Callie. You don’t forget love. You can’t, it’s impossible, If only it was that easy. Love lies in your memory and your heart, it reminds you of what you have done wrong and what you have done right. It shows us all that we are fallible and vulnerable. Live your life, but stop and tell the important people you love that YOU LOVE them. Now, before it’s too late while riding the ups and downs of life. I’ve always hated roller coasters. In life, we have no choice but to hold on tight.
Tonight there is no one to talk to, no one who cares enough, who knows me well enough and understands my past pain. Sure, there are people I could call but it’s not the same. I want someone to sit next to me on the couch like my old best friend, because she understands and knows the real me. She knows all the family dynamics as I know hers. Why does she insist on disappearing like she does? Why can’t I just forget her altogether? I’ve teetered on the edge for years now.
Today, I think back to when we were younger. Back in the old days when we were both single and desperately wanted to get married but independent, happy, working together. Going to the Village after work, seeing movies, drinking strong coffee, eating good street food. Coming home and talking for hours more. I remember talking to you while the mice ran over my feet in that scary store front apartment.
I was mugged one night, after being out late with you and the next night I asked if you would walk me home; you walked me home, my friend, without hesitation.You said you would do it every night, forever, until I was comfortable and I know you would have. I had asked my sister before you, she automatically said “no.”You were always there for me and I was there for you. I know your secrets, Denise, some your husband don’t know and you know mine. We had a special friendship. Remember when we were pregnant with our first kids in the swimming pool at my mom and dad’s? That has to be one of the happiest memories of my life.
Many, many years ago when you had your impacted wisdom teeth out, you actually let ME go with you and come back and you let me tuck you into bed and make you a milk shake. This for you, was utter trust and love. I’m sure you didn’t like having anyone help you. You let me and I felt honored and proud.
We are both mothers now, we each have two children, both not far apart in age. I thought for sure your second child would be a girl, how could it not be? I know a part of you is probably emotionally damaged but I know I am your best friend and down deep you are mine. You make no effort and since its been so long I don’t expect it and I don’t even want to start another time to make an effort. It is too painful. I’ve told you this before, when we are together we sync so well back into best friends that it makes me miss you more when we part and I cry.
So, instead, I am talking to myself, upside down. I’ve tried so many times to connect with you, I’d probably see you more if you lived in France. You live an hour and a half away and your relatives live about 25 minutes from me. You will always be my best friend in my heart but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss what we had, when we were young. In spite of it all, I miss you, I love you, that will never change but even after all these years, it truly hurts. I wish it didn’t.
For Denise F.
I’ve had enough of my down, depressing mood, my attitude needs to be adjusted. Now. I felt lonely and sad for a few weeks and yes, I did have reasons. It started with the husband. Let me tell you, women friends, I’ve been married for almost twenty-five years it’s no walk in the park. Contrary to what my single friends think, being married is hard work, it’s not just holding hands and looking lovingly into each others eyes anymore, that was then, this is now.
We know that every marriage goes through phases, blah, blah, blah and that it is normal, it’s hard to go through one of those rough patches when your husband doesn’t “get it” and frankly you know, deep down inside, he never will. Let’s be honest, after 24 and a half years he is not going to suddenly turn into the romantic, powerful guy you picture. He just isn’t. But, he may well be your best friend and companion and if you are sad, lonely and feel betrayed by the family you were born into, he’s got your back. He and your children are your family.
He’s the father of your children (the ones that are practically grown-up now) he was the one that said comically “assume the position” when he offered to give me the infertility shots every night at the same time so I wouldn’t have to do it myself. He dried all my tears, he stood up for me when people were mean to me, and yes, he can get nasty but so can I. We’re getting older TOGETHER, at least we have each other to discuss our fears, our anxieties, we have each other to love. I need to remind myself more and more of the wonderful things I DO have, I’m lucky to have a husband like him, he really is my best friend. I am also blessed with amazing kids, both of them, each one so different, such good, smart, warm and witty young adults. I hope that they will think I’ve been a good mother, that’s truly important to me.
I didn’t have the most nurturing mother but she still loved me and worried about me, way too much. My father was very supportive and loving but he had his bad side too, who doesn’t? My sister, well, I wouldn’t choose her to be my best friend, we have exact opposite personalities but when we do get along, it’s great and we can talk for hours. It’s nice to have someone who shares my history if not my utter love for the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off one of my all time favorite movies!!! Honestly I think it is one of the greatest movies of all times and she walked out of it. She hated one of my favorite movies. Now we do the opposite of each other, if she loves something I will stay away and vice versa.
I am leaving the past in the past. Forever. I won’t worry about the future, since I have no control over it and I will try to stay in the present, one minute at a time. Appreciate the good things in life, the small moments I can capture in the blink of an eye, a pretty bird with a beautiful song, a bright yellow flower, a cup of coffee with swirling milk. I want to start reading fun books not my depressing ones, and laugh more. Life is too short and way too unpredictable. It can change in a single breath. Please join me and try to enjoy your good times too. Seek them out, you will find them and before long, they will find you.
little bird, you don’t have to apologize for having a new home, i understand completely. I said the same things to my parents when I was your age. I remember thinking that college WAS my home and of course it is. you come back for some vacations, you have moved on and will continue to move on and out. Don’t you think I know that, of course I do. I understand and I support it and I am proud of both you and your sister’s independence, the grown ups you have become. If I shed a tear or two at times, it’s okay, I’m not good at transitions, I never have been, starting from when I was a little girl. Don’t take it too seriously, please. You know I have always been the most sensitive person in the planet and always will be, at times it is both a curse and a blessing. believe me, I have tried to change myself for years but as you know, it really hasn’t worked.
i’ve told you before that I just need a little time to get used to things, even on vacation. when dad and I were dating long distance, he knew i needed 24 hours to get used to him again, some people are like that, its not better or worse, it’s a personality trait. not everyone is as incredibly adaptable as you and your sister,where you both got that trait from we have no idea (okay, maybe my mom) but dad and i are thrilled you both have it.
I was fine saying goodbye to you today until i heard your sweet voice asking “you’re not even going to hug me?” do you think i didn’t want to? could i say no to you? I ‘m laughing at the thought of me not wanting to hug you, of course i did, just didn’t want the flood gates to open up, kind of like now. waiting for that darn transition to kick in (it hasn’t been 24 hours yet) I am writing this for me and for you, and you know how i get when i feel like i’m writing something mushy…not a sight to be seen. you’ve seen it many times before, but now i’m also laughing at myself too which is a very good sign. I know that you are happy and independent and i am so proud of the person you are. my goal in raising a son, was to bring up a good man, truly. when i found out we were having a boy, i was honored, blessed that i could try to make a difference to help shape a boy to become a wonderful young man.
you have become all that and more. you know i feel that way. sometimes we don’t even have to talk, we know what the other one is thinking with a look, or a smile or a quick nod of your head. this gift will never go away, no matter where you or i live. we are connected. forever. so have the best time of your life, and, because i’m a mother, it’s in our handbook to also add “please be safe.”
i love you.
We have always played silly games in our family, especially when our children were young. It started out of necessity because every day we would hear the same monotone replies from both kids: ‘How was your day? Good. What did you do? Nothin’ (and the missing g is not a typo) This wasn’t working well so I thought about it and figured if we worked it into a game, with the family playing, maybe we would be able to get a little information from our children. It was worth a shot. We started replacing “how was your day?” with “What was the high of your day? What was the low of your day? and What was the funny of your day? We went around the table and all four of us answered. It’s amazing what you can learn when you just change the words around. The kids loved it and they got to choose the order of who would go first, it worked!
Call me old-fashioned but we tried to eat dinner as a family every night. I stayed home with the kids, made dinner and when “Daddy” came home we ate together. If he was late I’d either give the kids a snack or feed them first. I’d have to say that 99 percent of the time the four of us ate together, with no television on in the background and thank goodness, this was before cell phones. Now, our children take some of our old games and play them with their college friends( which I find totally amusing.)
You can play many of these games by yourself. Surely you could think of the high, low, and funny of your day? This next game is one I thought of tonight, (I haven’t yet brought it up to the children and don’t know if I will.)
If I could choose to be anyone in the world who would I pick to be?(This is a GAME people) Easy. Angeline Jolie. Didn’t have to hesitate. I didn’t have to think about it, that is rather sad isn’t it? That lovely, gorgeous woman has everything and more of everything else too. Look at those perfect teeth and that warm smile.
I think she is absolutely stunning, beautiful and striking. She has charisma, she seems comfortable with herself (that might be an understatement) and with an audience. ( I’m going to pretend to have amnesia with the kissing -her -brother episode) She seems to have a lovely husband and they have such chemistry between them; they sizzle, even after all these years. Sigh. They each have careers they love and they can limit how many movies they want to do or not want to do. That, my friends, is power. They have a beautiful family and as many children as they want. They want more, they get more or make more. They have enough money to buy houses and boats, probably small countries maybe even big countries. More importantly, they give of themselves and do wonderful work for those who are less fortunate than they are. (I know that’s pretty much everyone) but they do great things for the world and the environment. What’s NOT to like?
After all these years, Brad and Angelina seem like they are good friends, great lovers (I’m sorry Jennifer) and that they have a wonderful family and they keep their family as a priority. They keep the kids away from the press as much as they can and they know how to deal with the paparazzi. “You want to see the twins? Sure, we’ll pose for People and give the 5 million dollars to charity. Nice!
Angelina is my pick. All mine. You get to play the game but just remember you can’t copy my answer. Who would you choose to be in the fantasy game? You don’t have to answer here on the blog if you don’t want to though we don’t judge anybody on this blog site. We listen, sometimes we laugh. But, just a little and it’s truly all in good fun.