Looking for some writing inspiration this morning I picked up Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear. Right there in the first pages she states the thing I need to hear – “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear”.
I realize I have been living much of the time in fear mode lately. About what? Everything. Mostly my teenager. And this has distracted me from pouring myself into writing, from living in peace and joy. And most importantly, it has impacted how I’ve been relating to the teenager. It hasn’t been good.
I’ve had a few aha moments about this relationship over the past few days and why it’s so tricky. What it comes down to is I need to be more curious, less judgey, less full of my own expectations. Someone once said your kids will change from the happy, bouncy puppy of their pre-pubescent years into a skittering cat who doesn’t want to be pet or garnered with attention unless he chooses it.
We are in the muck of it now and people tell me this won’t last, it won’t be forever. Eventually the puppy will be back and the relationship will shift and heal. It’s hard to look that far into the future and so holding my gaze steadily on the present, I must look for more ways to be curious. I need to remind myself that everything is coming into my life for a reason, to teach me something, to help me grow.
And so I need to get back to writing, to myself, with courage and hope and love.
Today is the day! It’s finally here. Although if it were a year ago, my sense of peace and serenity in this moment would be a little easier, not slightly clouded by a thought that something could go wrong. The first day of school.
Even as thoughts of possible COVID situations appear like unwanted wasps circling my head, I have been laser focused on this day for weeks, the day when one very important part of all our lives returns to some semblence of a different kind of normal. In-person school.
The pros and cons have been considered. The school plan studied, questioned and verified, giving weight to the decision to send our son back to school where he was a once thriving student who loved to learn. The year feels like the freshest start we have ever needed after months of home/online school, a dearth of activities to keep us occupied over the summer months, and spending altogether too much time together in close quarters.
As a parent, there are very few words that pain me than when my teenager says …but there’s nothing to do. Or, what can I do? Or, I’m bored. Reaching back into my own childhood, those questions and statements would be met with a list of chores guaranteed to keep you busy for days and would teach you that uttering such phrases to your parents was a very bad idea. To my chagrin, that does not work with my own kid.
Since we are all new to the land of The Cape, we don’t have a handy list of things to do when the weather isn’t cooperating. And so we Googled it (or more precisely asked Siri) when presented with overcast and rainy weather on our second day here. The list was good but it required us to be in “normal” times and not our current social distancing, everything’s closed state of being. It sent me back to our second summer visiting Delaware when he was barely three and we were unlucky enough to presented with four consecutive days of rain and very little to do outside of shopping at the nearby outlets. You can imagine this isn’t a three-year-old’s idea of fun. Fortunately we had packed a dvd about farm animals and we watched it non-stop until our eyes were bleeding but it kept him occupied. When we couldn’t take it any longer, we packed up the car with two days left on our week’s rental and headed home.
That’s where my thoughts were drifting yesterday afternoon, not even twenty-four hours into our trip as I stared into a pair of sullen eyes. The kids is addicted to The Office and even episodes of that would no longer placate him. Let’s go for a ride, I said. Always an option regardless of the weather and so we jumped in the car and headed to explore what lay beyond our very “boring” room at the Inn. We hunted down a shack selling lobster rolls and the best clam chowder I have ever tasted. We drove a little more but then I remembered my quest to visit the nearby bookstore and so entered the address into my mapping software and guided my husband on what turns to make.
When we arrived at the sparsely stocked new/used store they both looked at me with a look that may have said $%@& but I gently pulled them inside and said I’d buy them anything they desired if we could have a few minutes of peaceful browsing. The store does not accomodate more than one family of browsers so we had to wait our turn at the back of the store until the others had been checked out. In the end, the visit netted three new/used books and at least two happy people (me and my husband, in case you didn’t guess). I bought a book that has over 100 people waiting for it at the library both online and hard copy and the book seller warned me I wouldn’t be available for family interaction for the next day or two until I finished it. This sealed the sale for me!
We did not come up with any other options about spending the rainy day but somehow we mananged to survive and today the sun is gloriously shining for a beautiful day at the beach. We made it to the other side. At least for now.
It’s not lost on me that it is a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and I’m with two twelve year old boys who want to do inside things. Don’t they know winter is coming?! The naïveté of youth.
I spent the early part of the afternoon outside with a book which I could barely stay awake to read. I’m certainly not complaining because napping in the sunshine is my favorite. The rays beating down, almost caressing you to sleep, the book splayed on your lap, a forgotten companion.
The boys were inside, shooting each other up on Fortnite (or whatever it is they do on that game). They couldn’t care less about blue skies and sunshine in their zombie-like state. Eventually I pulled the plug and after moaning a bit, they thought a trip to the trampoline park would be fun. Why not?
The place is nearly empty. Most parents have better sense than to let their kids stay inside all day, but this parent is too tired to come up with alternatives so here we are. Sunday afternoon at the trampoline park, 80’s music instead of sunshine beating from above. Mom gets an hour to write and read.
I have been on a mission to blog every day in September. It went pretty well until today which was a long day of activities for my son. I started a few different posts and was going to talk about how parenting can be very boring at times or the pitfalls of over parenting (cue Felicity Huffman’s jail sentence) or how certain activities can help with parenting like my son’s involvement in Taekwondo. I titled that one Tough Love Taekwondo.
But my brain is tired and I couldn’t really pull together what I wanted to say about any of those topics in a meaningful post. So here I am at the end of the day unable to think of much more than putting my head on the pillow. My momma said there’d be days like this. Days where tired is good even if you didn’t get to tick much off your to-do list.
Before I continue you my story about my journey to quit sugar, I have to tell you about yesterday. It was a busy day where I had a multitude of errands to complete before driving my twelve year old to his first overnight camp experience. I hit the ground running with a car appointment that led to some unexpected expenses. I need it in good shape before I hit the road next week so I’m happy to have brought it in. From there I briefly checked in with my sleeping child and bounced to my next appointment to have my hair cut and colored so I would be ready for the next few busy weeks. Once home, I decided to let my still sleeping child rest on because I figured camp might leave him with some sleepless nights ahead.
By one, when he wasn’t awake yet, I peeked in to gently poke him awake (sleeping bears and all). This can often lead to him waking in a bad mood which it most certainly did. Why didn’t I wake him?! This was his last morning to play Fortnite (mommas don’t let your babies grow up to play Fortnite) and talk to friends before going internet and electroncs free for the next five days. I knew I was in for a tough couple of hours ahead. I let him play for a bit while I packed the car but I told him we had to leave by two so we could grab lunch on the way there. The only way I could get him out of the house was to turn off the internet and that never makes him happy.
I knew the musical Dear Evan Hansen was based around the suicide of a teenager and despite having that experience in my life, I didn’t give much thought to how it would make me feel. My brother’s suicide was deep in my past, 32 years ago, a whole lifetime away or so it seemed from where I was. Yet it was a fresh wound on Saturday evening as I sat in the darkened theater on West 45th Street catching tears in a well-used tissue.
Before I go further, I must let you know I absolutely adored the show. The cast, the music, the writing. Phenomenal. I will definitely see it again when it tours in my community and I’ve already downloaded the music on my phone. It’s kind of folksy and very Broadway at the same time. Live theater opens something in my heart and I know I would not want to live without it.
Did you ever tumble headlong into a world you had no idea existed? I was looking for something to pass the time last week and after visiting a few YouTube pages and finding little to entertain, I opened up the Netflix app on my phone and clicked on a title called Yummy Mummies. I thought back to the period just after I had my son and I would watch TLC (The Learning Channel) for hours on end. I particularly loved shows about pregnancy and babies and thought about this nostalgicly as I settled in to watch a show about some pregnant moms-to-be from down under. This was a rabbit hole I didn’t climb out of for many hours: it was ridiculously addicting.
It was also unlike any other reality tv show I have ever watched and I have a couple of seasons of RHOBH under my belt. These ladies (particularly Maria from Adelaide) take diva to a level that makes me fairly uncomfortable as they nest by accumulating designer baby gear (Dior bottles, Versace receiving blankets, matching baby and mum Burberry pajamas), peruse for “push” gifts (diamonds, Rolexes and Range Rovers) and plan babymoons on the Gold Coast. I live in a completely different world where Michael Kors and Coach are the highest of my designer aspirations and where my kid grew up in clothes from Target and occasionally Macy’s.
I admit I was completely taken in by these characters and couldn’t stop watching (my favorite was Rachel). There was a bit of a feud/competition between the Melbourne moms (Lorinska, Jane and Rachel) and Maria (mostly on Maria’s part) about who would have the better baby shower, etc. They would constantly make fun of each other and I guess the entertainment value was to find out who would do what next. Maria’s mom (mum) was, just, WOW! I can’t even find the word for it. She certainly had a hand in raising her daughter to be the narcissistic diva she is today.
The other ladies were fairly tame and reminded me of the characters from Sex and the City if they had kept going and all had babies. They dressed to the nines as they shopped for their push presents and induldged in lunches, pampering and more as they got ready for motherhood. I’m not saying this has been the best way to pass the time, but it sure was an eye opener about how the other half lives. I was never happier to settle into bed in my Target pajamas at the end of the day.
What are the first four words you don’t want to hear as soon as you walk into the kitchen in the morning? Today, for me, it was “we’re out of coffee”. What!? How is this even possible? This is 2018. Amazon delivers our coffee pods like clockwork. Something went awry. But we have those make your own coffee pods and regular coffee, right? Nope. I decided our new kitchen needed a new Keurig and those don’t fit in the new machine. I opened the cupboard and there it was. The sample set that came with the new Keurig. So officially I saved the day, right? You betcha.
Today is my day off. Aka, the day I schedule all those pesky appointments that sound ok when you make them months ago. Today was mammogram day. I always like to get the earliest appointments but this morning I was cursing myself because I really wanted to lie in bed for a while even though I have so much to do to prep for the holidays that are coming at us fast. On my way home from the appointment, I did a quick swerve into Walmart to stock up on Pike Place Keurig pods. I am going to hide some in our bedroom just in case this happens again!