Monday, July 22, 2019

Parenting is SO Hard!

Being a parent is the hardest thing I've ever done. It's also been the best, most rewarding, and emotional journey I've ever been on. It seems to me as we head into the eye of the teenage storm that there is no right way, this is the "you just can't win" phase of parenting. If you are an absent parent, a parent who is more into yourself than you are into your kids, or the parent who is technically there, but puts yourself first in terms of things and experiences, your kid as a teen will recognize that they are not your priority. Of course there are people who struggle with addictions or other issues that limit their ability to be the best parent they can be, even if they want to do better. There are parents who are overbearing, abusive, and crazy overprotective. Even for parents who make their kids their priority, they provide them with opportunities from a very early age, they participate in a healthy home life with relationships that support teamwork, travel for personal growth, sports, success, and fun, and lift their kids up with affirmations of all they can do and tell them daily they love and are proud of them. The teen will of course easily recognize the less plugged-in or abusive parents as those who don't care, they may feel not loved or even that they don't matter at all. We can all see that, but what about the latter group of parents? For me personally, it's been a rude awakening that there is no winning when young humans reach this particular age range and time in their human development. For those of us who have spent the last 15 years encouraging our kids to try, to do things that scare them, to foster a healthy self-esteem while also teaching them to be humble and kind. How on earth do you not cry when your child shouts at you that you are holding them back? When you voice that you think they would be crazy good at "fill in the blank" and they gasp with, "Why do you want to put me in your box?" What box? I'm simply noting that I believe in you, sharing ideas for how your personal strengths can work into different career paths. It's been so hard to not cry when your child who used to hold your hand, wanted to cuddle on the couch, and share their ideas with you only wants to get as far away from you as they can. Just a parents mere presence in the same room as said teen will elicit eye rolls and a heaviness in the air that just sucks. I know it's normal. I know it's just a phase and all the time we spent encouraging them and lifting them up will come more clear to them as their brains fully develop. In their 20s they come back around and acknowledge that they love us and appreciate all we've done, but until then, this really sucks! sigh...

Monday, July 15, 2019

My Bad Day is Not So Bad

Today has been a day! Lots of juggling, details rapidly changing, people agreeing to one thing and then changing their minds and deciding not to keep the commitment. Buyers who are NOT my clients (I represent the seller) calling me to discuss the house, what? I had to shop for a new dryer when the dryer that I am replacing is still new in my mind, only 3 years old. That presented challenges that are just too bizarre to even spell out here. I went to get the dryer and wouldn't you know, I blew out my flip - flop! All of this is a nuisance... but it's like being pecked by a chicken, not deadly, but painful! Too much is just too much. I want to be a good person, I want to help not only the people I love, but anyone who needs it and I have it to give. It gets harder and harder when agreements are not kept. I know this sounds like complaining but it's really more an acknowledgement of how good I have it. I have close friends who are dealing with serious cancer diagnosis, others who are barely surviving each day because of chronic pain, depression, and suicidal tendencies, and others who are working SO hard, sacrificing everything to get the education to start the second half of their lives. I am lucky, my bad day is a walk in the park for anyone in fear for the lives of their loved ones. Tonight I am going to sleep thankful. Thankful for so much including the friend who has my back, who bridged the gap between my current financial situation and my next escrow closing so I could get a new dryer, that my hubby and son are on vacation together at a national game convention, thankful that all my people are healthy.

I really am grateful, and I will keep being me no matter how others show up or don't show up. How I behave speaks to who I am, how others behave speaks to who they are... I say this to Mason all the time, so I will start my day tomorrow taking my own advice. Sweet Dreams friends, there is always something to be thankful for. Oh, and on the note of my flip-flop breaking, there was a thrift store right next door so I popped in and got these little lovelies for just $5 each! BRAND NEW! How's that for a way to turn this day around?

Monday, July 8, 2019

Congratulations Jennifer!

Huge CONGRATULATIONS to one of my best friends Jennifer Taggard who graduated with her Bachelor's Degree today!! This woman has come such a long way since we met at Sierra College a number of years ago. She is a phenomenal woman, a force of determination, loving, compassionate, funny, strong, and a bright light in my life. Jen, this degree is certainly an accomplishment, but you already are and have been so much more than enough even without the piece of paper. Love you girl!

I’m completely pooped out! This week I was teaching kids acting camp, and then in the afternoon, back to back cooking demos at the State Fair. It was all about "Fun with Food" and cooking with kids. Homemade ranch dressing, salad on a stick, no bake cheesecakes with fresh fruit, English muffin pizza, and a banana smoothie. My feet are throbbing and my knee is aching but it was a phenomenal day and week of acting camp!

On the motivational note, words are not "just" words or sounds. They have meaning, not only in the words themselves but in why you choose them, how, when, and where you deliver them, but most importantly why. Are you communicating to make yourself feel better, to create effects on someone else, or to really elicit positive productive change? Ask yourself next time you have an important conversation, "Why do I want to say this?" You might be surprised how often you choose different words, or even to not communicate at all.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Things Mason Says...

June 2019 Mason: Mom, your IGA is pretty weak. Me: Really? Why do you think that? Mason: Your posts don’t have very many likes at all. Me: Is that what makes an IG account strong or worthwhile, lots of likes? Mason: Well yeah, you have to have lots of likes. Me: What if I don’t have lots of likes, but one person tells me in a comment that my post was just what they needed to hear? Mason: Well, that’s good too, but really, you need lots of likes. Me: I’ll take the one comment sharing that I touched someone over lots of likes. Mason: Yeah mom, that sounds like you, your heart prefers the words more than the likes. July 2014 Mason: Dang this Pandora! There is no reason it shouldn't be loading, we are in a major neopolitan area. Me: Uh, I think you mean metropolitan. Mason: Oh, yeah. What is neopolitan again? Me: Either an ice cream flavor, an era, or a region depending on how you are using it. Mason: Oh yeah, okay, then that's funny, major neopolitan area! Shaking my head, he cracks himself up! He gets that from me. June 2014 Mason: Mom, I went on a genealogy website and I found my great grandfather, and he's still alive. Me: No, that can't be right, I know both of your great grandfathers are no longer with us, they have passed. Mason: No mom, I'm sure this is my logical great grandfather. Me: Well now I know that it's not true because nobody in our family is logical! Of course he meant biological. :) July 2010 While listening to a comment about ending world hunger Mason emphatically said to me, "I'm never ending world hunger!" I replied, "Why not?" "Because I'm always hungry and if we end world hunger how will we know it's time to eat?" Mason reasoned. I laughed, I didn't even know what to say.

Monday, June 24, 2019

God Help Get Me Through The Teen Years!

Life is not easy, and it’s certainly not always pretty. Raising adults is hard and I feel incredibly lucky that my marriage is not difficult or challenging. What a blessing! I don’t want to throw Mason under the bus, though I want other moms out there to know that even when you have a kid who in some areas of life is exceptional, they are still normal in most of the other areas. And normal means they argue, they roll their eyes, they do the “heavy sigh” and say their nonverbal communication is nonexistent. They ignore us, they say they heard us and answer in ways we want to hear and then continue to not respond, and then when we finally lose our shit and yell at them, they look at us in complete and utter amazement and ask us, “Why are you yelling at me?” This story is as old as time itself, and I know it’s normal. But then those times come when they behave so badly in front of somebody who is offering them the gift of a lifetime, epic advice and knowledge that you just want to put your head down and cry. I am truly sick to my stomach with the way Mason behaved today, and I know I should grant him grace because he’s only 15, but there comes a time when our kids have to wake up and recognize when somebody is making time for them, giving them valuable information for free. I hope he got that tonight, I truly hope tonight was not in vain. I hope when Mason reads this many years from now, he will remember when Carol Gardner wanted to help him with college applications and how to submit the best information. Carol's former husband was in admissions for Harvard and she had some really good info about how to have his applications rise to the top to the stack and he acted like Carol was being a nuisance. I'm sure in years to come I will chalk this up to him being a teenager, but right now, I am so embarrassed.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Happy Father's Day!

I'm feeling like I am the richest woman in the world. I don't have a fat bank account but we have paid our bills. I feel like I go above and beyond for the people I love, I do work that exceeds expectations, and I finally have all of my immediate family in my life. My marriage is beyond my wildest dreams and I have amazing friends. 

Yesterday was Father’s Day and it was like no other I have ever known. The first thing that was different with it is that Dave was home! I don’t recall when the last Father’s Day that he wasn’t away with work. The next thing is that Mason planned ahead and on his own and got Dave two gifts…gifts that suited Dave and not Mason. My Father’s Days as a daughter, especially as a young girl were always a challenge because though my dad was in my life, he wasn’t all that much of a dad in terms of the warm-fuzzies parenting that I think other people grew up with. When it came time to buy a card it was hard! I didn’t want to lie so I wanted a card that said, “Happy Father’s Day.” Not, “You were the best dad…” or “You made me feel like I could do anything…” Do you know how hard it is to find a card that simply says, “Happy Father’s Day?” Well, I do. I love that Dave is a plugged in dad for Mason. They do not have a television sitcom father-son relationship, but they have a good relationship. On Saturday, Dave got a card in the mail from Michael J and Sari, Michael was thanking him for reaching out all those years ago and Sari wrote a beautiful note about wanting to get to know us better. Talk about all the feels!! Finally, the cherry on the cake of a day was that Michael J chose Father’s Day to reach out to his bio-dad Mike. Mike texted me to tell me he was freaking out, LOL! I called him and he was smiling so much I could hear it in his every word. Way to go Michael J, way to go!! He hit this one out of the park! I’m so proud of him.

I will continue to be me and recognize how much I have learned and grown in the last 28 years. It's interesting, 28 years is such a long time, but in reality, there are huge changes in me stemming from the last 6 weeks. I look back and I see that I have had two great loves in my life, and a child with each of them. I’m even luckier that I am married to Dave and we have been able to raise Mason. 
Life is funny, it's sometimes hard, it's absolutely not fair, but it is what we make of it and if I do not wake up tomorrow, I will still be smiling and feel like it was all worth it. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

My Visit With Michael J and My Girl Sari

I went to Southern California with the sole purpose of spending time with Michael and Sari. I had called to let them know that I want to know them, I want to know where they live, where they like to grocery shop, and what they like to eat, all in all, I want to really know them. I asked when would be a good time to come for a day or two. I assured them that I did not want them to feel pressure, that their house needs to be clean or that they need to do anything special because I’m coming. We worked out some dates, I booked my hotel and off I went. I wasn’t nervous but I was curious what I may be walking into. Let me clarify, I was trying not to create narratives before I got there, but I was sort of preparing myself for the possibility that we may have some less-than-pleasant conversations. I had resolved to go, to be present and to talk openly about whatever they wanted to talk about. I arrived Thursday evening and we met at their house for dinner. Michael had prepped for us to make and eat sushi, It was so much fun! I brought a bottle of my favorite wine and we spent the evening eating and talking non-stop. 

On Friday, Michael picked me up and we went on a food-crawl! LOL! Michael and Sari eat a plant based diet and he works at a vegan restaurant, we started there, at Real Food Daily. We started with jack fruit nachos, then we shared a real food salad with a almond and shallot dressing, and Michael wanted to share a lasagne, but I had to say no! I pointed out that I would not be able to match him dish for dish if lunch was any indication of what we were going to be continuing the day eating. We did get the lasagne to go and they shared it the next day for dinner. He is so easy to talk with, he is smart, funny, curious, and he is a great listener. We talked about how awesome it is to be getting to know each other, how easy it’s been. We talked about religion, some politics, brain function & development, the social climate we are living in with regard to race-relations, injustices, and what kinds of things we can do to improve the world we live in. I wanted to know more about his childhood, his siblings, and his world travels. 

After lunch we went to pick Sari up from work and we went back to their house for a couple of hours and talked some more. Yes, we talked A LOT!  We then headed back out to their favorite neighborhood where on Tuesday and Friday nights, they have vegan food trucks, local music, and just a fun time out. We stopped at a market/deli and had a vegan chicken sandwich, we split one 3 ways, then headed to the food truck festival (it wasn’t really a festival, but it had that kind of cool vibe) and one of their favorite bars. We ordered jack fruit tacos and a vegan mac & cheese. Let me just say, all the food was off the hook good! The jack fruit nachos were my favorite with the whole food salad running a close second. I can’t wait to go back again and again so I can try everything on the Real Food Daily menu. We landed at the bar and had some drinks and ate the food we carried in. 

These two humans are so easy to be with, they are open, articulate, and fun. After we ate dinner, they took me to the back of the bar to play a game called “ting.” It’s a simple concept, a large washer on the end of a string that one holds, lets go, and swings toward a 4x4 post with a hook on it. When played for points, you get a point if your washer hits the hook, making the “ting” sound and more points if you actually hook the washer. This is actually a skill based game and I’m proud to say, their instructions were good enough that I hooked my washer twice! We made our way back to the table and talked until I swear, we couldn’t talk anymore! Not really, but we covered all the important life topics; politics, life, family, sex, marriage, relationships, health, nutrition, religion, education, immigration issues, how they met, where they’ve traveled, money, child rearing, budgeting, cooking, you name it, I believe we touched on it. It was an epic day and as tired as I was at the end of the day, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted another day with these amazing people. 

As the time we spent together plays again and again in my mind, my favorite part of the visit were the hugs and the sincere eye contact. Physically being with Michael and holding him close to me just feels so good. I am feeling more and more confident that I will have the rest of our lives to continue to connect. I don’t mean that to sound like I have had doubts, but one can’t all the way know what is the right things to do or say. I’ve done what I know to do, I’ve called or texted when I’ve felt like calling or texting, I’ve asked questions, I’ve answered questions, and I’ve just been me, all the way. I can’t wait until we can see each other again, my heart is bursting with love.