Monday, May 28, 2018

Our Kids Grow Up Too Dang Fast!

A Facebook post from a very teary-eyed day last week.

Dave and I married later in life which made our timing for a big family pretty nill. It's not to say we didn't try, but it was not in the cards for Mason to have siblings. That makes me a little sad as I think siblings teache us invaluable lessons about ourselves and life. Oh well, it was not meant to be. With that said, I've made it known since the day Mason was born, "I'm not missing it." Dave would say, "Missing what?" I would always reply, "Not a minute of any of it. Field trips, dances, holidays, birthdays, you name it...I'm not missing a minute of my mommy journey with Mason." I built my career around flexibility and I have not missed a moment, although I have had to share with Dave on occasion, if I couldn't be there, Dave has been. As Mason winds down his time in middle school, it's been emotional for me, and let me share with you, for him, too. 

In the last three years, Mason has grown easily 7 inches, he now has body hair, and his voice is completely different. He slid that voice thing in under the wire of the completion of his 8th-grade year. The cracks and squeaks when he talks are just too funny not to acknowledge. He's learned some valuable life lessons and blessed me with the honor of bouncing his ideas about these different situations off of me. I hope he always feels like he can talk to me, and even more so, that I have good insight into what life might be trying to teach him. So far, so good. 

It's just so hard to see him so close to going out on his own. We have four more years of school and then it's time to see him off to college. As of right now, he does not like the idea that Dave and I want to relocate to the eastern part of the United States, but I think as he gets closer to going off to college, his fears will subside, I hope they do. He's always been independent and had a wanderlust for life, but he also really loves our time together as a family. For now, we are surviving the perfect storm of puberty and menopause and hopefully, I can let him go enough through the next four years that he won't feel like he needs to break away. 

Now we are heading into the last week of middle school and looking forward to summertime! I am working on a movie the month of June and Mason has two cooking demos scheduled in July. Dave is doing the work he needs to finish his Bachelor's degree and prepare to retire after 33 years of military service, that happens officially in February 2019. You can rest assured we will be filling in all those other days with time on our boat at the lake, making more memories that will make my heart happy that I didn't miss a minute of being Mason's mom. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Life's Not Fair!

Making decorations for the 8th-grade dance.
How many times have you told your kids, "Life is not fair." Mason is learning this, so do tell, what is one time you had to learn that truth?
One of mine was when I worked for an employment agency in San Francisco, I was the Northern California Regional Manager and one of my primary jobs was business development. I was visiting client locations most of the time and I would call my assistant when I had a job to fill and she would write up the paperwork and start looking through our database for candidates that fit the bill. I called her with an order for two positions that the client wanted to direct hire for (not temps this time, so they would just pay a hefty fee to hire them from us outright), so she did what she normally does, took the info from me, filled out the paperwork and off we went. People got hired and my payday came around and guess what? My assistant, who was relatively new to the working world, got paid BOTH of my commissions for those two hires! We are talking over $12,000. You can imagine our surprise when we opened our checks that Friday. I called the owners of the company and the bottom line was this, her name was on the orders that were submitted. Yes, it was, because I called the order into her to write up in the interest of great customer service. From that day forward, I didn't call another order in, they waited until I got back in the office the next day. Talk about not fair! But I will say, Karma came back around shortly after I left the company, the owners fled the country leaving their LA and SF offices hung out to dry because of tax fraud. 

Mason is also learning that people can be very kind, compassionate, and fair. A few weeks back Mason got in trouble at school. There were a number of factors to the situation but one piece of it was he ran up behind one of his friends and put his arm around his neck messing around like he was choking him. Well, he was choking him! It was forceful enough that his friend really couldn't breathe and got scared. In very swift actions the principal and vice principal called his mom and asked if she wanted the authorities called and in that instant, she said yes. We were all called to the school and as all the information came out it became clear that Mason did not intend to hurt his friend, he really was just playing and was being more aggressive than he realized. In the end, there were no charges pressed but Mason was suspended for two days and he was put on the list of kids that are not allowed to attend the end of year activities such as the 8th-grade dance and the water park field trip. Because this was his first offense, the school was allowing him to walk in the promotion ceremony. 

Not long after the dust settled on the incident, several of us moms were working on the 8th-grade dance decorations and the other mom approached me to say she thought Mason was being punished too harshly. He had written her, her son, and the school principal a formal apology and accepted his punishment. I let her know that I really appreciated that she see's Mason as I do, a good kid who made a bad decision, but I would not be asking for any special treatment or exceptions on Mason's behalf. It turned out that she and her son went to the administration and asked that Mason be allowed to go to the dance and the water park. They put their requests in writing, it was agreed that there was no malice, and all agreed Mason could participate. How about that? This is one of the times that life did turn out to be fair or at least kind. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Happy Mother's Day - Let's Keep it Real.

Sunday was Mother's Day, it was a pretty good day considering history shows that there seems to be some pressure that comes with holidays that invariably create angst for various members of our family. I'm sure this being the first mother's day without both of our moms, there was an undercurrent of sadness. With that said, I did have the best time teaching Mason (and my neighbor Jen joined in) to decorate cupcakes and he created a scavenger hunt for me. At the end of the clues, I found a shot of tequila and a handwritten letter from him that read: 

"Dear Mom, I love you, but let's talk about the word love. The word love, at least when I heard it, it made me think of Paris, the loveliest place on earth. And in Paris, people love art so they made an entire museum of art called the Louvre. The "Louvre" sounds a lot like loo, which is French for toilet. So when I say, "I love you," what I really mean is, "I toilet you." And since this is a love letter, it's actually toilet paper. Letters are written on paper and this letter is about love, so it's TP. Toilet, Your son Mason - PS I wrote this at the comedy club in my head, "The Mind." Where my shows sell out, all my jokes are funny, and I get to eat for free.

It's Monday so let's keep it real. Don't buy into the idea that all the exciting things you see on your friend's social media feeds are a blissful life, especially in light of Mother’s Day - it's likely just the “Kodak moments,” and the good news they want to share, but not the whole picture. Real life is messy houses, dirty cars, account balances that don't always meet the need, kids that drive their parents crazy and parents who don't always love being parents. We are all doing the best we can this minute, or maybe we are slacking and know we can do better, either way, it's all good. If no one else has told you lately, you are enough, in fact, you are awesome!

Monday, May 7, 2018

The California Honey Festival

Mason did a cooking demo at The California Honey Festival on Saturday and it was a dilly of a day! We had the usual prep to do to get out the door, but the night before we went out on the boat, so we needed to hose it off and clean it up before we left. What I am about to share was not funny, it was not funny at all, but as with most things, as time passes we can look back and see the humor in what could have been a REALLY bad scene. I sent Mason outside to take care of the boat clean up and he came back into the house to tell me the hose would not reach so I needed to move the boat closer to the driveway. I did and went back to the house to finish getting ready to leave. I was brushing my teeth when I heard my neighbor calling me in a voice that made me urgently run outside, not the normal, "Tell Mason just a minute, I'm brushing my teeth" response. I bolted out the door and saw Mason holding the boat trailer with two men behind it begging someone to bring the chocks to put behind the tires of the trailer. Our neighbor across the street was running out in her jammies carrying a rock bigger than she is, while I jammed the 4x4 pieces of wood behind the tires. The boat on the trailer had rolled down the whole length of our yard and our neighbors yard and the deck was just a few feet from resting in the metal bed of our neighbors truck! Now there were so many things running through my mind but as the adrenaline slowed and I realized that Mason was just trying to help by disconnecting the boat from my truck, he forgot to re-chock the tires from when I had just moved it. What impressed me the most and I can't quit thinking about it, is he didn't lose his cool, he held that boat and kept it from rolling downhill until our neighbors who heard him calling out, came to get behind it and hold it with him until I got there. How many kids would have panicked and just watched the boat roll into the neighbors truck? Yes, this could have been bad, but Mason made a mistake, he kept his cool, he got lucky, and hopefully, he learned a very valuable lesson. 

So right on the heels of all this excitement, we had to leave to get to the honey festival. We were late, meaning we arrived just as his demo was supposed to be starting and I kid you not, he walked on that stage, Mr. Marks was putting his mic on him as he started presenting his dish while he unpacked his grocery bags and did not miss a beat. I'm Mason's mom and I know what he is capable of, even more so than he is sometimes, but I have to say, he impressed me with his professionalism, his ability to keep his cool, and to step up and perform when many adults I now would have been the effect of all the things that had happened to him earlier in the day. My son is growing into quite an amazing young man.
After all that excitement, we slept in on Sunday and Mason and I had a sort of fun conversation...
Me - “You know Mason, Facebook memories showed me that we have a history of you misbehaving on Mother’s Day, and not being very nice.
Mason- “Really?”
Me - “Yeah, the least you could do outside of behaving, is make sure our house is always stocked with Jose Cuervo tequila. You know moms need tequila.”
Mason - “Mom, I’m 14, I can’t buy tequila.”
Me - ”Mason, you are a resourceful kid, find a way. It’s Mother’s Day.”
Okay, I don't really expect him to buy me tequila, at least not until he is 21, but it was funny nonetheless.