Emotions and Regrets

It has been a whirlwind of emotion, beginning last week…

My eldest son graduated High School.  He had his 18th birthday last summer so the “empty nest” syndrome started kicking in last year, but it really hit me last year.

His graduation.

I just can’t believe it.  Last week, I started preparing a slide show to be played during his graduation party.  I was up until about 3am -4am every morning going through pictures of him…. Memories.  Some nights I would just cry myself to sleep thinking about all the memories we have had together.  Sheesh, he is just graduating!  He’s not even moving out (going to a local college)…. But, it was just incredible.  Not only was I looking through pictures of my first born, I was seeing how I grew up WITH him.  I had him at 18 and now my baby is 18!  I don’t think any parent could easily say they have “no regrets”… because I sure do.  I was 18 when I had him… Like I said, I was growing up: I had my “clubbing days”, my “I am just SO tired of being single” days, my “I want to be as good as the other moms” days, my “but…. How???” days.  And through all of that, my son was patient with me.  As he has grown older, there have been times when he has said “mom, that’s not how it’s done” and I listened to him… Because unbeknownst to me, he appointed himself as the man of our house at an early age.

My family flew in from across the country to celebrate with us.  They spent the week with us and it was amazing!  But, my 1-year-old baby was napping as we dropped them off at the airport.  When he woke up, he cried for my sister and I couldn’t help but flash back to the days my older boys cried when family had to fly back home… or when we had to fly home from a visit.  My heart is so sad because of this.  Why do I have to live so far away from my family?  The people who truly care of me and my children.  I tried, oh yes, I tried to move back a few times but there was always a reason to stay.  A job, a house… now being married.  I seem to have signed up for a lifetime of separation from my home… Regrets….

How do you get past your regrets?  I don’t believe anyone (with children) can truly say they have no regrets… can they?  Some decisions I have made affect them.. and there’s nothing they can do about it because they depend on me.  That’s where I’m at today.  I’m not alone, am I?

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I’ll Love You Forever

Ill Love You ForeverI was 17 and pregnant with my eldest son. Yep, I was a baby having a baby.  While I was pregnant, my ex-husband’s mother gave him this book, “I’ll Love You Forever.” Partly for her son, and partly for our new little one.  Back then, I was so bitter and emotionally bruised by my own upbringing that I didn’t quite understand the meaning of this book.  But, last week, my own son turned 17. 

Lord, oh, how the time has passed.

A couple nights ago, I could not sleep.  Thoughts ran through my mind about my 2 teenage boys:

Did I do a good job?

Did I do enough?

Did I give them enough?

Do they feel loved?

Do they know how much I love them?

Wishes…. Regrets…. Fears…

I wish I could give them more…

I wished I hadn’t made some of the decisions I made..

I hope they won’t have to struggle the way I did….

I hope they’ll always know I tried, even when I felt it was impossible. 

I hope they know I always tried to give them what I thought was best, sadly seeing sometimes it didn’t turn out that way.

I’m not even sure if these questions will ever be answered – or if I’d even want to know! But, as my eldest approaches his Junior year of high school, I’ll continue to reflect… I will undoubtedly love them forever….

Birth Control

Well, I have been on birth control for the past week. My next check will be on March 24th.  So I must wait.  So, while I’m on this birth control, I find it very appropriate to talk about my teenage boys.  Ahhh, the living “birth control” that my peers (some also parents) seem to laugh about.  Everyone seems to cringe when you talk about this stage of parenting. And I do a lot of cringing!

Having teenage boys is like having 2 toddlers, attention-wise.  My 2 teenage boys have very different styles:

  • The older one loves dub-step, keeps his room clean, loves to longboard (skateboards that are longer than the norm), and plays a guitar.
  • The younger brother loves hip hop, has a disastrous room, loves to play sports, and wants to be a deejay.

Just because they are different in styles & personality does not mean the challenges lie with one more than the other.  If it’s not their grades, it’s social networking, ever-increasing hormones, bullies, or peer pressure.  The list goes on.  We’ve had talks – about EVERYTHING.  More than once …a week, every week. Always, always… my attention stays on them.

And having lived on my own as a single mom for several years, I developed a little bit of a mean-streak.  I call it “wearing my emotions on my sleeve”, my family calls it “public outbursts”.

I’m not a big (muscular) person.  I’m rather petite.  My voice is a little mousy.  When I’m upset, I don’t think my tone or facial expression could even intimidate a puppy.  But I’m smart, and I’ll out-talk anyone who messes with me or my children (and sometimes my husband, but I have learned to let him be in charge in those situations).  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t happen often and it takes a lot to trigger that Crazy-Mother-Alarm.

Lately, I’m learning that I have to be more mindful of my public outbursts in front of my boys.  This weekend was a particularly new challenge.  My younger son was invited to a party last night and he was pretty excited about it.  He bought himself a new shirt to wear.  He was texting his friend who was going to meet him there. Listening to hype-music as he was getting ready.

Any decent parent can relate when I say I NEVER let my kids go to anyone’s house if I have not met their parents.  So, we GPS’d the address and both walked up to the house so he can join the celebration.  Lo & behold, we were greeted by a make-shift security guard who demanded $3.  I asked, “who are you?” He replied, “Security.” Mind you, this kid must have been about 16 or 17 years old.   (Reminder: we’re at a house in the suburbs)  He proceeded to argue with my son about the $3, when I finally said, “you do realize his mom is standing right here, don’t you?”  Then he straightened up and said, “yes, ma’am.”  I was very appreciative.

The other *air-quotes* Security Guard went in to retrieve the Party Host so I could ask if his parents were home.  The Host came out, passed me, and hugged the girls who were patiently standing behind me.  (They must have known about the ‘cover charge’ as they stood behind us like it was a line at the club).  The Host looked like he was drunk or high – kind of stumbling as he talked with the young ladies.   The Guard reminded the Party Host that I was there, he straightened up and said, “hello ma’am”.   I asked if his parents were there and he replied that no adults were there.  Here’s the kicker: I asked, “where are your parents?” He replied, “on their honeymoon.” I suggest, “so, that’s why you are charging $3 for your party?” He smiles and proudly says, “yes.”  I looked at his droopy eyes, then noticed the solo cups on the table behind the Guards……

I did all but yank my son from this young boy’s parents’ front yard and throw my son in the car. After all, he’s twice as big as me.  I said, “let’s go” and he got in and closed his eyes.  I am sure he was embarrassed.  I was embarrassed for him.  Why?   Because as a mom, sometimes you get a 2-second window to decide if you’re going to be “Crazy-Mom” or “Sane-Level-Headed-Mom”.  For some reason, the latter never shows up to the party.  Not this one, at least.

On the way home, I told my son what could happen if the cops came and there were no adults there. I told him he can be as mad at me as he wanted.  He said he wasn’t mad.  He had permission to tell his friends that I was just being crazy.  He said it wasn’t necessary.  I asked him if he was OK.  He said he was fineHe said the friend he was going to go with ended up not going either.  Why?? Cause his mom didn’t trust the Host.  Somehow, that made my son and me feel better.

One party missed: that’s all it was.  He went to one the night before and has another to go to next week.

We ended the evening on a Redbox Movie Marathon complete with Steak N Shake burgers and milkshakes.

It’s all worth it, folks.  I wouldn’t trade these teenagers for the world.

Firsts

On my way to work this morning, I was in a pre-coffee daze… Not sure if it was a song or a radio deejay, but something got me thinking about “Firsts”.

I’m in my mid-30’s, my skin is not as fresh-looking as it used to be – I’ve started to wear a bit of foundation… my morning and evening routines include about a sitcom’s time to apply the various creams and lotions from head to toes.  Coffee used to be a morning perk-me-up, but has become a “do-not-talk-to-me-before-I-have”… What I’m saying is, firsts are for the younger folk, right???

Obviously, I’ve had my first step, I’m sure it was AMAZING.

I’ve had my first kiss… my first almost-kiss was in the back some folded lunch tables and all my friends gathered around us to witness the event.. but I chickened-out (stage fright?) and ran away… my first kiss was spur of the moment, in the hallway between classes in middle school. Still awkward, but I’ll never forget it.

My first job = McDonalds. I smelled like grease every evening but I had first dibs on the selection of Happy Meal Toys.

But, as time allowed (my commute to work is about 45 min), I started thinking outside the box .. I’ve had some firsts as recent as this year.  My husband and I recently purchased our first bed together – our first big furniture purchase.  I attempted to bake a cake from scratch this year.

We went on a road trip this year – it was my first time taking a trip via “Megabus”.  It was definitely an experience to remember.

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Megabus Tip #1: Bring a Blanket!

Our Megabus trip brought us to New Orleans – another first!

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These Masks were beautiful, ornate… and inexpensive!

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One of many sights to see on the infamous Bourbon Street. Don’t be fooled – she worked that pole better than I could ever attempt!

I’m sure there’s more… but I’m only midway through my first cup of coffee this morning 🙂

That being said – I’m adding a task to my “Empty Nester Bucket List”: Make 2014 a Year of Firsts!  Won’t you add this to your list?  I’d love to know ….What firsts have you experienced recently?

~1Suburbanchic

Super Sonics Dancer Dreams

What are your dreams??

I’ve recently had a conversation with my 14-year old son… what do you want to be when you grow up?  His answer: a football player or music producer.  My first thought was, he’s getting too old to be “dreaming” .  What came out of my mouth was, “what is your ‘Plan B’?”

Now, what an awful thing to say, isn’t it?  “What is your Plan B??”  What a tarnished, grown-up, lousy response to a young, fresh-minded dreamer!

After all, I’ve had some pretty cool dreams in my school years..  In Elementary School, I remember watching my big sister with her High School Dance Team.  They were SO cool, with their big hair and sequined outfits dancing to Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation.  My best friend and I watched in admiration and plotted to be Dance Team Captains when we got into high school!  And we did…..  It was awesome!  WE had our own dance moves, our own style, outfits, and higher dreams to be Super Sonic Dancers!

In my Junior Year, I was all set for college.  I wanted to study Engineering (like my Dad).  Excited for my future, I had pretty good grades and was active in the community. And I was getting ready to start applying for scholarships…

Then, the summer going into my Senior Year, everything happened so quickly.  I reconnected with my first “crush” – in an October flurry, I found out I was pregnant. One thing after another, after another, and after another… dreams started turning into goals, goals started turning into to-do lists, to-do lists started turning into tasks… and tasks started turning into responsibilities…. know what I mean?

Now, 16 years later, obviously, I’m not a Super Sonics Dancer (here’s to hoping we get our team back, someday!) and I’m not an Engineer…. However, I did manage to put myself through college. I have a decent job, nice little home, family, and pets.  But, that vision and anticipation for what the future may hold has singed by … what can I say…. “LIFE”!

Graduation 2004 (Just Me and My Boys)

Graduation 2004 (Just Me and My Boys)

Will my son make big mistakes?  Will he have huge hurdles in obtaining his dreams?  No doubt, YES.  But, he’ll at least have the chances I never had to, at least, try.  Why let the obstacles I’ve encountered – though my own faulty decisions – affect my view of my children’s future?  It shouldn’t.

So, here’s to joining my son in his dream to become a football player, a music producer.. a TV star, a drummer, a break dancer (do they still have those?) whatever he wants to do!

And as for my own dreams… I am choosing right now to re-evaluate my vision.  Forget about that 5-year-plan! I just want to dream.. My dancing days are over, folks… no Orlando Magic Girl left in me… but, perhaps, instead of being a dancer, I can start that business I’ve always wanted.  Or own that “that’s my car” type of car, I’ve had my eye on.  Who cares what stage of life we’re in… we NEED to dream.  We need the anticipation of what the future holds..  and it’s there for all of us…  What do you want to be when you “grow up”? 

Slacker

I’ve been neglecting my blog…  In my head, not so much. I’ve had things I’ve wanted to write about almost every day.  But, time flies so fast and now it’s been 4 months since my last post and I have so much to say!  In 4 months:

Infertility: We have tried.  I took the last round of fertility meds I stored in my closet from before our hiatus in September.  Needless to say, no news to report.  We are still trying, naturally.

Empty Nest Bucket List:  I’d like to report some progress in this area! I have a lot of updates to my bucket list… and a family road trip coming up.  More to write!

Newlywed/Marriage:  Yesterday, June 23rd, was our 2-Year Wedding Anniversary!  I give all long-term married couples HUGE kudos and welcome ANY marriage advice you can give.  Year 1 was very difficult… and Year 2 was hard work!  I can say that our love for each other is stronger.  But I am gearing myself up for Year 3… let the battle (for a love-filled lasting marriage) begin!

I promise myself I will write more this week, lots to say and lots to read… can’t wait to catch up on with my fellow bloggers.

Facts of Life

Well, it’s 3:52am and I’m wide awake. Despite the long day ahead. Tomorrow we will be celebrating my younger son’s 14th birthday. Such a joyous occasion which I am very excited for, yet I lay in bed counting expenses in my head. How am I going to pay for it all? Don’t get me wrong, my salary is decent and I don’t spend extravegantly, but circumstances cause me to pinch a little bit, I mean a LOT more nowadays.

So, I lay in bed and calculate… literally… cake, food, drinks, games.. it adds up very quickly… now what can I eliminate? Not much.

So, naturally one’s mind would wander in the dark of night, with spouse peacefully sleeping away.  Did my parents deliberate as us 3 sisters grew up? When children are young you want to give them the world at their fingertips. But as they get older, you want to give them the future you never had.

So for now I’ll try to close my eyes and try to stop counting dollars and start counting sheep. Wishing my baby boy a very happy birthday and a much brighter future!