Dear Jack

This is your mom. You know, the one who birthed you. Remember me? Sometimes I make you dinner – but most times I buy you dinner. Does that ring a bell? Oh I know! I’m the one who talks to herself all day saying things like, ” lights out!” “wash your face” and the classic, “you can’t wear those shorts again”. Yep. That’s me.

Ok so I know summer is in full swing and you have lots of plans. Which, btw, I love. You don’t know this but our calendars are synced – so every morning I get a reminder of your “to do” list. Today was:

  1. 20 sit-ups
  2. find rope swing place
  3. go to pool
  4. edit video

Whenever it pops up I’m inspired to make my own list – but it wouldn’t be as fun. It would be something like:

  1. defrizz hair
  2. drink 4 cups of coffee and have a carb
  3. go to meeting
  4. go to next meeting

Not that great.

I’m so happy you and your friends are out on your bikes everyday. You’ve found a way to get to the pool and to most of your friends’ houses without going on major roads – thank you for that. I love your intense desire for independence and adventure. I hope you are always always like this. Yes, I know it’s a dangerous world with dangerous people – but you aren’t afraid and so that makes me less afraid.

And now that we have some summer days under out belt, I have some new rules:

  • Your phone is meant primarily for…get ready for this…communicating via voice or text. When you are gone for hours and I write you a text in all caps – that means I’m worried for your life. Please write back. PLEASE. Thank you.
  • Stop carrying things while you’re riding a bike – it’s dangerous. This goes for basketballs, money, a tripod, etc. Please put these things in the empty backpack that’s on your back meant exactly for this purpose.
  • Icees and slushies are not food. If it’s neon blue or green – it doesn’t count as a meal.
  • Get back to the house while it’s still light means I want  you home before it’s dark – it doesn’t mean that you should ride your bike at night with your phone flashlight on. Nice try.
  • Remember I have eyes everywhere. So make good choices. (also your sister follows your snapchats and she is even more protective of you then me so you’ll have to deal with that).

So, to close…Go. Explore. Have fun. Be safe. Keep sending me pics of your day – I live for those photos.  And for god’s sake, text me back!

xoxo   

    
 

GoT Speak

Sorry about the acronym. Do you watch Game of Thrones (GoT)? You don’t? Why? Are you reading or parenting or something? You need to watch.

For those of you who do watch, maybe you’ll agree with me here. Not since Breaking Bad has a show had this much impact on my daily language (Yo Mista White…). I basically have either emojis or GoT dialogue in my head all day.

My gut reaction when new people introduce themselves to me is to say ,” a girl has no name.” Or how about when I sneak an extra cookie from the cookie jar and say to myself,” shame…shame…shame…” as I walk back to the couch.  Or when I say, “You know nothing Jon Snow” in my head every time I’m mad at my husband. Seriously. That’s not normal.

Last night my son, who is almost finished with 6th grade, showed me what he got from school that day. He’d won an award for physical fitness. In our house, we show-off all good grades, artwork, etc. on our bulletin board in the kitchen. We’ve done it with both kids since they were little. Usually they both mildly object but deep down I know they love it.

That said, I knew this award meant more to him then a good grade. He prides himself on keeping active and fit and I knew he was so thrilled to get this in front of his friends.

But then I noticed something…

 
A tear. A little corner was ripped off and then taped back.

“What happened to it?” I asked.

“This kid grabbed it from me and tore it.” he said matter-of-factly.

“What? Why? When? Where was the teacher? Who was it? What’s his name?” I could not contain my anger.

In that moment I completely channeled my inner Cersei from GoT. Even though she’s mostly evil and unequivocally messed up – I wished in that moment that I had the The Mountain next to me and I could have said,” I choose violence.”

Because I did. I do.

For those who don’t watch the show – this week, in a pivotal scene, after those lines are uttered – a man’s head is basically popped off like a bottle cap.

Terrible. Awful. Why would that be what pops in my head?

This world is violent enough and it’s the last thing that I should be thinking about, but oh would I love to have a moment with that little twerp. His parents are probably wolves.

This is when my husband would turn to me and say his favorite one liner (his own),” When did you get so angry?”

To which I always say,” You alright! I learned it by watching you!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog dump

I got called out. Last night we were all sitting around talking about things (end of high school, end of school year, politics, The whip and nae nae, etc), and my daughter quietly turned to me and said, “Mom, why can’t I see any of your blog posts pop up on my Facebook anymore?”…. Why? Oh. That’s easy. Because I don’t write them. LOL. Ahem. Got a problem with that? Then they all started.

“Why don’t you write?”

“Are you done with the blog?”

“Do you need ideas?”

No. No thank you. Ideas I have. Infact, that may be the problem. I have too much stuff to write about. I can’t organize it all. It doesn’t all go together. It’s a mishmash of opinions/thoughts/experiences. It’s good stuff, it’s bad stuff, it’s all over the place. It’s a schizophrenic mix of events during the past few weeks that I’m afraid I can’t prioritize.  Look, even me describing it is a hot mess. But I’ll try. I’m warning you all now. There’s stuff in here that is really really great, and stuff that’s really really meh. But I have no time or patience to separate those things…so here you go.

I hated Disney. There. I said it. It’s been weighing heavily on my mind. We had a really good event there. It wasn’t crowded. The weather was amazing. My family loved it. The service levels at the resort are bananas good, the people are super friendly- but guess what – not my thing. I even met and hugged Mickey himself and felt…nothing. I guess I’m dead inside.

I did not hate my 20th wedding anniversary. 20 years. Same dude. #goodlife

I turned 44. Here’s where I stand. I have a shitload of white hair. My lady bits are having some issues (you’re welcome for the overshare), looks like I have to be a normal human and see a doctor more often.  I’m grateful for the very deep relationship with my manicure/pedicure gals. Nothing feels warmer than me walking in and all of them smiling and saying, “hello Neha! Mani/pedi/wax?” Yes. Yes. And really yes. I’m also happy to have friends who are still around even though I talk to them less than I write this blog. I’m thankful for all the usual stuff too (kids, family, job, yada yada).

I’m obsessed with Seinfeld, again. This may be bad news for my obsession with Everybody Loves Raymond, I’ll let you know.

God grant me the serenity to accept my family and friends who love Trump. In my mind I imagine even Oprah has friends and family like that – and what would she do? Would she look down on them? No way. She would openly embrace them and love them. For they know not what they do. I’m gonna be like Oprah. Forever.

I am sick of talking about how busy I am. I’m done. I can’t hear myself anymore. If I were listening to me I’d tell me to shut-up. Enough. What am I? The Queen of Sheba? No. Not. I’m riduclous. I will find something else to talk about. Starting tomorrow….I’ve got a lot to do today.

We went to a wonderful, beautiful wedding. I love weddings. I love all of it. I find nothing cheesy or boring about weddings. This is the great mystery of my life. I love weddings but I also loved eloping. Go figure. Maybe I like OTHER people’s weddings. Anyway – it was beautiful and fun and touching. Mazel tov to Keith and Danielle (and Cora the cutie!).

Guess what? The day after that wedding I went to another wedding…err.. wedding celebration. Two lovebirds who found each other later in life but make every day and every moment count. The love story of Marcello and Lorraine gives me serious feels, as my son would say. They are joyful and generous. As I get older I no longer find humor in marriage sarcasm. I love couples who love. Openly and happily. During one of our book club meetings a few months ago (Babes with Books lives!), a new member described her dating life with her then boyfriend by saying,”we spent the next two years falling in love before he proposed.” Come on! That’s some beautiful stuff right there. I told you I’m getting old and soft. One more thing to share about this day…during the time that Marcello and Lorraine were falling in love in Italy, he took a photo that captured a special moment in their courtship. That day, that beautiful photo memory ended up on their wedding cake as a surprise to the couple. Tears flowed from both the bride and the groom. No hiding that kind of emotion and love.

Work is going well. My team and I have lots of fun together. Atleast I think we do. Am I one of those people that think their team likes to hang out with them when deep inside they are all miserable and unhappy and would much rather be anywhere but with me? I dunno. I’m going to start a group chat with them and find out.

My daughter went to senior prom. My son got his blackbelt. It was the best weekend ever.

I’m wearing color, and I don’t mean grey. Or is it gray. I don’t know how long it’ll last and I still like wearing all black – but I get a lot less slack this way. People like it when you mask your inner darkness with chunky yellow jewelry. If I were an evil super villian I’d get away with it all just by wearing a light, flowery shirt. Just an fyi.

Beyoncé. Lemonade. Everyday. When you’re talking to me, just know that’s what’s going on in my head.

Have you had enough? I’ll try to be better..I still have more to tell you…it’s just that I’m so busy🙂

Who’s Mothering Who?

  
Had I known that you both would be so funny and smart and fun – I would have had an army of you.

Then there would be a whole gang of people who hated cooked carrots, had inside jokes and made world promises that couldn’t be broken. The only thing on TV would be Cops, Inked and Catfish, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch would be a food group.

Ofcourse there would be music constantly, everywhere. I would only hear what you wanted them to hear, like cool indie hits and the occasional rap song with a bad word. But with each other you’d talk about songs and artists that only you knew. I would overhear and ask who you were talking about, and you’d smile and tell me the name and move on with your conversation. No need for me to know more. You’d given me just what I could handle. 

When you weren’t laughing together you’d be fighting. All that Scorpio sting and passion would erupt every few days – and quickly smooth over. And the stubbornness. Omg the stubbornness.

In the end, the world would be full of politeness and kindness. And full of more humans that were beautiful inside and out.

But I didn’t know. I had no clue. I thought I was bringing you into this world. I thought I gave you life. I thought I would be the one teaching you. I had it all backwards. 

Thanks for letting me keep trying to mother.  

Times they are a changin’

Last week we decided to make what seemed like a few small changes. We have a playset in the back yard that hadn’t been used in years. With a 17 year old about to graduate and a 12 year old boy obsessed with his trampoline, we thought it was a safe bet to get rid of it.

But as it was being taken down, piece by piece, I had a sinking feeling. I don’t remember being that emotional when we moved them from the crib to the bed – maybe because the rest of their room was still covered with toys and they were still a version of land locked with us at home.

The other change was a much needed refresh of my daughter’s room. New paint, new dresser, new bed. It was time to say goodbye to Ikea furniture that lasted her for more than a decade (held together by glue and prayer). But even when we were cleaning out the room it still felt like she would be in it. She picked the colors, the furniture, etc. It didn’t feel like an end, just the next step.

When the kids went from carseat to booster to nothing, we celebrated. When the training wheels came off, we celebrated. Even when my son left his elementary school last year, we celebrated. Our babies were amazing but we have a lot of fun with our kids. We live in a neighborhood that let our kids bike around, walk around and now drive around. We always felt so happy when they made another, brave step. Maybe because at the end of those steps they came back home. It didn’t feel like an end.

The playset being taken away felt like an end.

I know it’s normal and parents all through time have done this. I know there are bigger moments to come, graduation, weddings, etc. But this feels like a big movement. A home that doesn’t have little feet that’ll climb the slide. A home where I don’t stand at the kitchen sink and watch them play. Truth be told they haven’t touched it in years, and it’s a great big eyesore, which is why it was so easy to decide to get rid of it. Still it stung.

Here’s a look down memory lane and then the memory being demolished and taken away. Just kidding. Not really.
 

   
    
    
  

 

TTYL

For almost every single weekend this summer, we’ve been on the go. It’s been so much fun. Visiting friends and family, celebrating milestones and plain old hanging out with them has been a blast. Loads of fun in the sun. In between all this, work has sucked up the rest of my time. Which is normal I guess. Work hard, play hard is a family motto. But when you spend a few months in a whirlwind, somethings get dropped. Spontaneous meet-ups. Sleeping in. Spending a day “putzing” around, as my father-in-law would call it, that stuff falls by the wayside. This past weekend, the official end to the summer, was no exception. We had planned on fitting in everthing we committed to. A housewarming, a surprise party, dinner with old friends, furniture shopping, etc. What we didn’t account any time for was the following:

  • taking my daughter out for test drives so she feels ready for her driving test. But between the obligations of a 16 year old and the stuff we always need to do – we never seem to find the time
  • my son had asked for weeks to go to a trampoline park, but it was 30 minutes away – in the oposite direction of everywhere we needed to be.
  • spending time with the kids when they were done for the day. You know that time? When they’ve had their fun with friends and they come home, tired, hungry – ready to zone out. It’s the time when they are most likely to tell you stuff. But I’m always the first one asleep because I run around like a looney all day.

It’s so hard. Because we want to do all of these things. We so wanted to be there for Corinne’s housewarming. She’s starting a new life and I’m so proud and excited for her. We wanted to be there for Marcello’s surprise 60th. I don’t know anyone who is more full of love and life than he is. Maybe his beautiful gal, Lorraine, the one who surprised him! We wanted to meet Rachael and her new beau for dinner in Philly. We met Rachael when we first moved to Yardley, she watched our kids for us for a couple of summers. She was/is the best! We really wanted to do all of these things. But instead, we said no. Even though we’ve said yes for weeks, we said no. We said no and hoped that these folks would understand and invite us again. We said no so we could do random, unplanned, unaccounted for things.

And here’s what we got out of it:

  • My son’s face when I told him that our plans had changed and I could spend the entire day driving him around.
  • My daughter’s excitement at being able to spend the afternoon driving (and then fighting about her driving)
  • Having two days where my husband and I were home base and the kids were able to bounce around from friend to friend and know we were home if/when they needed us – or that they could invite friends over to our house.

Seems small. Seems like no big deal. But it was exactly what our little family needed. We plan on making it up to everyone! But not next weekend. We’re busy.

Don’t read this before, during or after a meal

There was a smell. It was coming from my son’s room. Not the usual shoe smell that I’ve come to terms with. Or the pee-like smell that I’ve also encountered. This was much much worse.

Rotting eggs. Throw-up. Someone throwing up rotting eggs. That’s what it was like.

I am going to be very honest here. I haven’t been to his room in about a week. I wasn’t avoiding it or anything – but he dresses himself (when he wears clothes) and I say goodnight to him downstairs (because it’s the summer and he doesn’t like to go to bed at 9:30pm like I do).

I may not have actually gone into his room, but I know I’ve passed it these past few days – like when I follow him to the bathroom to watch him brush his teeth or when I do a spot check when he’s in the shower to make sure he’s actually standing under the running water. See, I parent.

But this morning I walked past it and almost passed out. You know when you can taste a smell? Like every good mother of an almost 12-year-old I told him to go in there, bring down all the dirty dishes and figure out what the smell is, while I stayed safely downstairs. He said,” what smell?”.

I bit the bullet and went with him. Into the room. It was a sight to see. He lives like a squatter in there. A well dressed squatter with cable.

We took out all the caked on/baked on/tried up dishes that he collects like a hobby. We stripped his bedding and took out all the trash (in the actual trash can and all around the room). He felt very satisfied after this decided to take off to the pool. I was in a daze. Feeling guilty for obviously neglecting this kid and his living situation for so long. How could I let it get this bad?

I decided to go downstairs and pretend we did everything we could. I told myself I hardly even smelled it anymore. Then my daughter walked by it and said,” what happened in Jack’s room? It smells like throw-up and it’s coming into my room”. Great.

I went back up to his room and got on my hands and knees and started smelling parts of the carpet. I have no dignity.

Under his desk was the bag he uses to take to the pool – he must have forgotten to grab it when he escaped. As I picked it up, white curd dripped onto my hand. I would have screamed but my mouth had shut itself from fear. Inside was the bottle of milk I had given him to take to the pool last weekend. Not last weekend as in yesterday. The weekend before that! I quickly took the bag into the bathroom and put it in the sink until I calmed myself down. Why don’t I own a hazmat suit? Or a mask?

I decided there would be no “cleaning” it. I went and got a garbage bag – it was time to say goodbye to the pool bag. It was over. DOA. As I put it in the trash – I noticed 3 dollar bills in the inside pocket covered with the horrific white curd. I could hear my mother in my head,” just clean it off, its money. You can’t throw out money.” I also heard another voice. The one that said,”pretend you didn’t see it. It’s not a $20 dollar bill. Give it to the universe.” I liked that voice better.

Once the bag was out of the house I hosed down his room with Lysol. And then Febreze. And then I put a layer of baking soda on the carpet. Pray for me.

Thanks for letting me get that out of my head. Don’t have milk with dinner. Or cottage cheese. Or Gorgonzola. Sorry.

P.S. – you know it’s bad when I can’t take a picture of it. I’ve taken pictures of cat poop. This was worse. It was a crime.

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