5 Reasons Why Parenting Teenagers Pretty Much Rocks.

e6d9de30055353f430ba613192aa5210

When my kids were babies, we were sort of in the thick of things.  Diapers, the right pre-school, sleep schedules.  When they were in early school age, it was all about homework and reading and lunches.  It was hard.  I was not the Mom that adored my kids in the Summer.  I experienced my own agonizing boredom, when by 10am on a hot Summer morning, my kids were either camped out in front of the TV, or were wanting food.  Or attention.  Or something.

Parenting at that age, simply put, was not what I had been told. I had visions of happy Moms sharing healthy lunches with their kids, playing games, napping peacefully.  Nowhere in this picture were rolls of red duct tape spread out all over the house, grimy fingerprints on sliding glass windows that never seemed to get clean, or falling into bed exhausted at night. Add to this that their Dad worked in farming, and was largely gone in the Summer.  I was crazy.

Everyone warned me about the teenage years.  It will be madness.  They will argue with you.  Drugs.  Alcohol.  Scary things.

The opposite happened for me.

Suddenly these boys started to become young men, and all my fears were laid to rest.  We had long talks about important stuff.  I set good boundaries, and made it safe to come to me.  I also admitted to myself that this was the time that were supposed to start to disconnect, so when my son was mad at me, he put a note in a special box, and made me PROMISE never to look in there.  The lock broke, or it never worked, and the note is still in there.  And I haven’t looked.

So here’s my list:  5 Reasons Why Parenting Teenagers Pretty Much Rocks

1.  They Appreciate A Home Cooked Meal.  Ice cream.  They will never stop loving trying out new ice creams that you bring home.  Or your cooking.  They will come home to smells of something bubbling on the stove, and will have an instant recollection of Home.  You.  They will tell you, “Mom, this is the best place to be”, and even though your house is smaller than their old back yard, they will tell you they can’t wait to get here.  Because of the food.  And as long as you keep the cupboards and refrigerator stocked, they will love to be here.

2.  Cars.  A kid with a new car will become the automatic and instant new chauffeur in your house.  He will love driving so much, that he will OFFER to pick up any sibling needing a ride.  My life seriously changed with the advent of the first driver.

3.  Laundry.  If you do it right, and I mean like 8th grade right, your own kids will do the wash, dry, fold and put away on their own.  Especially if you don’t do it for them EVER in the beginning.  They will realize that if they want clean clothes, (and they do), they will have to do all of that, even if it means staying up until 11pm.  This you must do.  Because at no point will you love washing their sports gear.

4.  Electronics.  My boys got their first cell phones in 3rd & 1st grades, respectively.  I taught them how to use them proficiently from the beginning.  Obviously, electronics, social media and the like are very important to me.  So, I monitored, and then let go, and from what I’ve seen, I’m not concerned with how they use it.  BUT.  As a parent, I had to stay completely on top of the sites and apps that they use.  In fact, one step ahead is even better.  Recently, they went to a party for the first time together.  The youngest, a Freshman, at his first High School party.  We did some troubleshooting…like, just in case you drink or do something, the other brother gets your phone immediately and shuts it down.  They know each others’ passwords.  If I text “WRU” at any point in the night, they go to their Details page within 5 minutes and hit the “Show My Current Location” to me.  It works. (The oldest did ask me to not use CAPS, and I acquiesced.)

5.  They Are Never Here.  I know.  I’m going against the Mom code on this one.  Nothing makes me happier, though, than to see my kids with a wealth of good friends, and a full calendar of activities.  Both are in Boy Scouts.  One loves Football and working out, the other is all Soccer, Basketball, Baseball.  They both have different church youth groups.  When I was sick today, the oldest went to my church on his own.  The one I adopted when our family divorced.  He and his brother decided they wanted to try out that church’s youth group.  They love their social network.  So, when they’re gone, I know they are happy.  And that they are preparing for the world.  This thrills me.

My job isn’t over.  There are bumps.  But, this is the happiest parenting time in my life, and it just keeps getting better.  I remember those hard early years when someone deftly said to me…You won’t really know you’ve done a good job until they are almost adults.

This I know to be true.

Heart Thoughts.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

I drove by you tonight.  I have gingerly avoided that particular way for some time.  I would take the long way around, or simply stare straight ahead, so as to not have to look and see you were with someone else.  That someone else was occupying what was the very center of my life for the last 20 years.

And these words needed to come.  They’ve been stuck in my throat for 11 months, and for as long as I’ve tried to convince myself that it was for the best, that it was time to move, that I needed to get out of there.

But, my home.  Ripon.  I’ve missed you.

I didn’t want to admit it.  I couldn’t wait to leave what felt like the clutches of a small town around my big town heart.  How every corner held a memory.  How finally I felt like I could free myself of the shame of his long affair.  How I felt responsible for harming my children by staying much longer than I should have, or at least left when I knew…or how I harmed them for not staying.  For not trying harder.

Tonight, I drove by the street.  My street.  I slowly looked toward the back of the court to you.  No one was there, but I felt my throat close up, and I kept driving to my girlfriend’s house, a block away.  I kept going into the night, ignoring a nagging lump in the base of my throat.

At the end of the night, as I dropped her off, I saw you again.  Your porch lights were on, and your new owners’ cars were in your driveway.  Maybe they put their kids in bed, or were sitting in the spa.  But, you were winking at me to move along. Linda, you don’t live here anymore.

First I got mad.  That I had to give up my children’s home, my commitment to this town, that I was never really from there. That it was the perfect place, and why did it all happen this way?

I got to Second street, passing the park and remembering small children on the slide …my children.  My life.  Random memories.  Creme puffs at the Senior Center, my running partner’s red front door.  When I turned onto Fourth Street, the tears came.  The thousands of miles run starting on that corner.  Blinking back the sting, I tried to push away the feelings with logic.  How can you be feeling this now?  You don’t live here.

And I finally admitted to myself that I loved it there.  That I wouldn’t have traded a minute.  That I didn’t stay one minute longer than I was supposed to.

I got to the top of the overpass.  Mile 1.  Mile 1 for 5 years of 6 marathon trainings.  Where I would get my mojo started. Where I learned that you can do anything.  That you can train for a marathon at 4am when your babies are sleeping, and that you will get to see the sun rise at just that right moment.  And I let out the tears.

I headed home, just crushed with grief, thinking I made a mistake, that maybe I should just take us back there, that maybe you CAN go home again.  I couldn’t shake off the weight in my chest, so I just.  Drove.  I thought it just wouldn’t go away, this thing I had been avoiding.

Until I turned onto my street.  La Loma, Modesto.  The most perfect house I’ve ever had, because for the first time in my life, it is mine.  It isn’t a husband’s or a father’s.  My boy Chet is thrilled to see me from all day alone.  I make my bed with my Friday fresh sheets, I wash dishes, and I avoid writing.

Until just now.

My heart ached, until I saw the very truth of my present reality.  As I sit here, I realize what I have always known…that I’m in the exact right place at the right time.  The words bubbled out and here they are, and I feel better.  That place was years ago, and this is right now.

My heart had a workout tonight, and I pushed through it.  And now.  Simply put, I’m home.

I Couldn’t Muster A Prank

9d8402a866ed424a5b4a76843189485d

My April Fools.  Usually, I’m calling people telling them I’m married, or engaged, or pregnant.  Or I lost my job or got another job.

I was going to give up April Fool’s Day.  Yet, the first person I saw, I told my bump was a baby.  Sadly, it’s a little bump.  Of weight. In any event, April Fool’s Day happened.

The rest of the day, I just couldn’t go there.  One year, I sent my sister a bouquet of flowers from an old boyfriend…Al Alexander, who…by the way, I loved first.  In 7th grade.  It was really funny until we realized he had passed away many years before then.  That wasn’t so funny, and was kind of weird.

It’s April 1.  In 3 days, my nephew would have been 34.  Would Have.  It’s our family’s first year without him on his birthday. And on this birthday, the Angels and the Dodgers play the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium, the home of his beloved team. I remember him showing me his LA tattoo from shoulder to hip, and how proud he was to be a Dodgers Fan.  On Monday, the home opener against the Padres happens.  Forgive me if I am just not that excited.

This week, I came home from a spiritual retreat with so much joy in my heart.  I put up a profile picture on Twitter & Facebook that defined the joy I had all weekend…it’s definitely not a beauty/edited/selfie shot, but one of friendship and love…and it makes me happy.  By Monday afternoon, I was exhausted and blue.

I’ve run.  Just not a lot.  I have a bib for Merced, and today got into the Wharf to Wharf.  I ran 23 miles in March.

When I got to school, I was a bit lost in my exhaustive commuting haze, and a student told me I had something in my hair. I kept trying to pull it out.  He said it three times.  Finally, I realized that this 9 year old got me.  Me of the Master Prank.  So today, I guess I left the holiday to the 4th graders.

Which is sort of appropriate.  Since I just couldn’t do it.  Catch me in 2016.

Old Lady Running.

B0J02gtCYAEV3zm

I saw the girls.  Four of them in their late 30’s.  Dressed to the nines in matching running gear.  One girl was in lilac from head to toe.  They looked amazing.  Glowing.  Of course they passed me, cruising around a 10 minute mile, chatting.  No one out of breath.

At first I started to feel ashamed.  Here I am, trying to recapture my fitness from 2012, slogging out 3 miles at a 12:30 pace. Some runners would laugh at that. (Not my friends, but you know.)  I really had to go to the bathroom, but I was unwilling to stop, trying to break the obsessive habit of a one mile stop.

I looked down at my ragged clothes, the gear I’ve been running in for about 3 years.  My cut off Dollar Store socks for arm sleeves, my youngest son’s hat when he was a little boy.  And, I didn’t even want what they had.  I wanted what I had.  I continued to my goal, trying to just. not. stop.

I looked up, and as they were getting closer, they all smiled at me.  And then I realized.  I never ran when I was 30.  Or 40. My first marathon was 50, and 6 of them later, I’m 56 years old.  I accept the limitations of my age, but I work within them too.  I know I have to take Vitamin D.  I must have estrogen and progesterone, or no one will get out alive.  My hair is gray under all this color.  I am over my goal marathon weight by 11 pounds.  It’s hard.  But, it’s not unmanageable.

I forgot how good it feels to run, eat oatmeal with blueberries, have good coffee.  Week 1 comes to a close tomorrow with a long run of 5 miles.  It’s daunting, but it will happen.

I am 56.  I’m re-training my body and my will.  Carry on.

@Twitter – I Want You Back

eyu

I miss the old days of Twitter.  Back when you could put out a tweet, and a few people would engage in a lengthy, sometimes mind numbing and fun conversation.  In the early days of Twitter, we used a hashtag to see what was trending, not to over-punctuate with clever phrases.  You could tweet a hashtag, and tweeps would jump on a topic, as if to just throw in their two cents worth, and move along.  Engaging, interactive.

Early tweeters will recognize and remember this time.  Clean tweets.  Lots of laughing, real laughing.

Today, my blog is 8 years old, and Twitter is 9.  So many changes.  And, I have just one request.

Twitter, I want you back.  Like you were.  Stop inserting ads into my timeline.  Stop giving people props for having the most retweets, and hey, is that a favstar?  It’s like Twitter used to be like this really huge coffee shop of ongoing discussions, and now there are a few tables left, with companies taking up more of the space.  The #chat feature seems to have grown exponentially.  I received a document with over 100 Educational Chats.  I always love Sunday night #runchat.  When I participate in the others, I think, am I really participating, or am I just wanting my opinion to get out there.

Am I interacting, or am I collecting followers?

I left Twitter around 2011 or so.  I came back a year or so later to a very different landscape.  I have always liked an open Twitter stream, because I like to interact with the real people of companies.  Who can forget Arnold Schwarzenegger, The LA Marathon & Pete Carroll, having K-Swiss give me a great pair of recovery shoes for blogging.  I interact off an on about brands with the actual tweeters, not the company.

I met you.  All of you.  My runner community.  Many I met and ran with personally.  It was a lovely time.

All I’m sayin’ is, keep whatever you have now, but bring back the thing that made Twitter great:  raw, engaging, challenging conversations…bring it back, and I’ll be the first one in line.

#Chet, and 3 Miles Unplanned.

unnamed (2)FullSizeRender (2)

He has his own hashtag.  He’s been brought home in a squad car.  The people who owned him before me, found that he was just too much trouble, so they simply opened the gate, and let him run away.  He was brought to a local shelter, and was secluded from the rest of the dogs, because he was just too unruly.  We were looking for a new dog, and found him on the shelter website.

He got away today when we were packing cars.  I was halfway to work when I got the call.  I called my school, turned the car around, and headed home.  I spent 3 hours driving, calling, sending out photos, putting out APBs for this dog.  I finally decided that I needed to run down to Dry Creek to look for him, as he seems to have an affinity for chasing the squirrels there.  He was found 1.5 miles from my home, and as I suspected, near the park, thanks to Facebook.

Oh, and I ran the 3 miles I was supposed to run, but they were unplanned.  I was running with a leash and flyers, and stopping to talk to every single person coming down the trail.

This is a running post, though it might not appear as such.

Chet is home.  Carry on.

Merced in the Distance

53a753be44cc8c5dd38820284221130a

All of my posts seem to be starting this way.  Starting over.  Beginning again.  Comebacks.  We have a theme, here. Today, started my return to distance running.  At the gym.  Strength training was first on the docket, so off I went.  I plunked down some dollars to race the Merco Half Marathon this summer.  I thought I should get some focus.

I don’t know if I’ve found it again.  I really can’t tell, since I seem to be really good at starting over.  At running.  At love. Whatever.  I’m sensing that this is my path.  I used to be able to stick to stuff.  Back when I ran six marathons.  Back when I was married, like, forever ago.  It appears that going the long haul these days is something I need to re-learn.

And.  There are some things you should leave.  So I’ve done that.  I’ve digressed.

Back to the point.  The last time I ran long was the first part of the LA Marathon, a year ago yesterday.  Then, the move, the death, the unfamiliar neighborhood, and in a year, I’ve run 5 long.  Maybe.  I recognize that I get really excited at the beginning of a training plan.  I start to map things out, and look at sunrise and sunset schedules.  I plan my food.  And then… I just drop off.

So here I go.  I lifted weights today.  I have a plan for running this week.  I have no other plans…I’m having trouble with insomnia, for some weird reason.  I’m no longer a morning runner, as the insomnia increases when I stare down my alarm clock.

In any event.

Will see if I can go the long haul and use the bib I bought this June.  Merced?  Why not?

Unearthing the Blog

f4af73b64bb3413bc225945c801ed641

It’s been 2+ months since I’ve written.  I’m way deep in the several social platforms with many friends.  Since I last wrote, I’ve fallen in love, but kept an eye on the door, since I’m not so good at relationships.  I’m like the little girl from Dances With Wolves.  I have a “Stands with a Fist” attitude when it comes to this area of my life.  This is one of the first times I’m not addicted to a relationship, and it feels really…weird, for those who know me.  Then again, madness sometimes rears its ugly head, and I feel unsober, to say the least.

I’m swamped with teenagers and college searches.  With Football and the best type of protein powder.  My oldest son’s Soccer team won the D7 championships, and he was 1 of 2 goalkeepers named to the local area All Soccer team.  With Baseball and now a Soccer camp at UCLA.  The Eagle Scout to-be has 5 months to complete his Eagle project, and it’s making me crazy.  The youngest loves his Football, like I’ve never seen, and wants to work out 24-7.

I love my job.  I absolutely love it.  I’ve become a Google certified Teacher.  My 4th graders download and upload to their drives with panache.  They check their calendars, and fill out forms, create spreadsheets, and prepare California Mission slides.  They interact, and there is not one moment wasted.  Today, I offered them free time, and they chose to continue drawing parabolas.  More graph paper, please.  More pencils.  There is no homework in this class, except to study spelling words, because they really need to rest when they leave school at the end of the day.  I can’t thank my college roommate enough for The Daily Five, as my life has become so easy.

Kids are reading.  Like, all day.  When I’m sick, they interact with me on Gmail.  All day.  I love them.

I run a little bit here and there.  Nothing like I was doing.  Ever since I moved last May, I never really have found my mojo.  I ran 44.95 miles since the turn of the yearly calendar.  It was dark, I didn’t know my area.  Well, I joined a gym, and I’m not going to that, either.   I have those 10 pounds to lose to be at my favorite San Luis Obispo marathon weight, but the body has moved around a bit, so 10 won’t quite cut it.  I’m full on Estrogen & Progesterone’d up.  I found out that last Summer I actually WAS crazy.  1.5 days later, with girly hormones back in my body, I felt wonderful.

So, here’s the deal, and here’s why the blog gets uncovered.  I put some money down on a race in June.  A half marathon in Merced.  Stuart, from Quadrathon blog, challenged me to pony up, and start training.  I have a base.  It’s not a good one, but training starts this Sunday.  I will be in LA.  The same day as my last race a year ago, the LA Marathon.  Sort of weird, but perfect in a way.

And here’s the thing.  I’ve been writing this thing for 8 years.  It’s chronicled everything.  So, I dusted it off, and sat down to write more than 140 characters, or share short updates in different networks.

Now, it appears, I have more to write.  Especially since my running has always lived here, and I’m looking for it again.  Starting this Sunday.

Stop Judging The Selfie.

9f59869c24ea59816b0348740a84d6d6

Do you know me?  I’m the girl that spends the first 15 minutes of our time together taking selfies.  No.  Not with one of those annoying selfie sticks.  The slightly off center, often out of focus and fixed up ones.  You know your selfie game is strong when the two of you knows who has the longer arm.  You try to edit out the needed botoxed places, and you never ever post anything without the approval of your girlfriends.

You edit and tag the photo, and spend a few minutes or 15 trying to decide which filter makes you look not crazy or pale or whatever it is you’re looking for.  You want to bask in the sun?  There’s a filter for that.  Use it.

You could do the selfie game.

Or, you could pretend to have someone take your picture and then they beg you to tag them (I’ve done that too).  Or you could be the guy that hates having his picture taken, hates selfies, refuses to be in any pictures.  Either way, they are all on the spectrum of narcissism, yet your selfie taking friend takes the hit, because she seemingly loves her pics on the internet. I have one friend who constantly changes her profile picture, and I love it because she just looks more beautiful today than yesterday.  It’s good.  Because I love her.

So, you may wonder what exactly is the benefit of this selfie deal?  It comes with the tags.  I put it on instagram, and when it goes to every social media account I have (except Tumblr, that’s 13th & J, mofo), I have the ability to tag.  And here’s the beauty of the tag on Facebook.

First, if you go to your tagged friends profile page, you see these little 3 dots.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8c9/898740/files/2015/01/img_7152.png

After you click on those, this box comes up.  Pick “See Friendship”.  Facebook will then filter everywhere you and your friend have been.  All of your selfies, check ins, music shared, tag status updates.  It’s maybe my most favorite reason to selfie.  It’s not for you.  I mean, it is, look, here I am at Starbucks again (don’t judge).  But, here I am with my bff, my kids, my man.  And much later when I look at our relationship, I use this tool to peruse our history.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/8c9/898740/files/2015/01/img_7153.png

I love the selfie, because I love you, and I love our friendship, our relationship, our love.  I want to catalogue all of it, and this is the best way to do it.  Today, I took a selfie filled with eyes that are in desperate need of work.  But this wasn’t that selfie.  I stayed up late with 2 of my favorite girlfriends, eating pie and drinking coffee, and talking about  love and romance, and how exactly any of us can risk getting hurt.  Yet there we are talking about doing it anyway.  So, my picture today was a 2am bedtime, no makeup, throw on a scarf and a Huskers shirt selfie.

And, when I look at this picture, I look at 2 girls who were college roommates almost 40 years ago, talking to these college girls at the next table who were in our sorority.  I see two girls laughing over and fixing phone apps, talking about men and sex  and college for our kids, and all of it.  I don’t look good.  Not even.  But the selfie I was going for captured the moment of pure fun and joy, because I had much to discuss with her regarding this week.  And when those college girls looked away from us, we were giggling with the common understanding of how many lives we’ve lived since we lived in Room 2 or 15 or wherever it was, and how even after all this time, I’m the one who lost the keys and banged on the window, and drank too much at Jim’s Place, and how now I can fix her phone because my ADHD world has it’s advantages.

Stop judging the selfie.  Just hand me the camera.  In 5 years, you can look back on this day and remember how much fun we had :)

If not now, when?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 933 other followers

%d bloggers like this: