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?

What’s In a Name?

I’m at the 20 week mark, almost halfway through this pregnancy. It’s amazing the emotional roller coaster that we go through as mothers from conception till now… I can’t wait until the day we get to see that amazing face looking back at us.

The big looming question is, how are we going to greet our little one when we see him?

My thoughts on names are not to be taken lightly.

I’ve been asked if we’ll be having a Junior. I understand people want their name to be passed down to generations. Boy or Girl, how can we name a person after man, who is imperfect? I’ve been asked if we’ll have a unique name (as some are doing nowadays). To each their own. But not mine. His name needs a meaning. We have a few more months to pray on this, and I’m open minded with one criteria: I want to dedicate him to the One who gave us this little miracle.

After all, this is the name he should be proud to have:

  • His name will be on every personalized sticker and keychain that his aunties will buy him from various vacation spots.
  • His name will be called when he eagerly raises his hand to participate in class.
  • When everyone cheers for him as he runs down the football field, or basketball court,

…..or takes a bow after a cello performance, or passes a level at the spelling bee.

  • He will be beaming when he sees his name on his first paycheck.
  • When he sees his name spelled out on his high school diploma… and college diploma.
  • Then there’s that very special day when he signs his name on the title of his first home.

God created us, every one of us living beings. Yet in Genesis 2:20, He let man name them.  What a responsibility we, as parents, have to choose something so special and significant for our next generation.  And I’m up for the challenge!

So, in the meantime, here’s a little picture of our baby boy, hiding after dancing the morning away… 🙂

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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.

Holiday Blahs

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…. I’ve truly neglected my blog.  But a lot has happened over the past year – some I just can’t begin to writhe about…. yes, I meant “writhe“…. others I would love to share (and I will make sure to update my Empty Nester’s Bucket List).

So, as far as the good stuff:

Over the summer we took a road trip to New Orleans. It was awesome, fun & exhausting… I MUST write about it before the year ends!

I got promoted in my job! Something I’ve wanted, but didn’t know how to do…

Started a Mary Kay business. Phew, owning a business is Hard Work but surely has it’s rewards!

As far as the writhing, here’s a brief synopsis:

No buns in the oven yet.

Lot’s of difficulties in our marriage – can I call it the Terrible Two’s?

And, ’tis the season for the Holiday Blahs…..

I know for sure I’m not the only one who experiences holiday blues.  And everyone has their own reason why…. this is my reason.  Not sure if I’ve written before that I moved across the country at the age of 19.  With my (ex)-husband, and 2 babies.  But, let me just go back in some history – after all, this is my blog, and I’ve committed to be entirely transparent in my writing. When I was about 6 or 7, I was in love with my Dad.  As any youngest daughter, I was completely fascinated with my dad, I wanted to be an engineer like him, “we” had a song (“It Might Be You” from Tootsie), “we” had a favorite restaurant (Arby’s)..the list goes on.  I was truly a Daddy’s Girl.  And to this day I can still remember as vividly as it was yesterday, my dad bringing me to the Seattle Center to walk around and pick up fall leaves… we put the leaves in a photo album (the kind where you peel off the top layer of plastic, then place the photos on the sticky side of the page).. that dreaded day.. my Daddy told me he was moving away and I was not going with him.  My parents were not getting divorced. And looking back, I’ve wondered if it was just the times that kept them together. The word “divorce” was still taboo. But, all I knew was that my Daddy was moving away. I recall the night my dad left, I ran under the kitchen table and cried my eyes out and my mom yelled at me to stop crying. It was the hardest time of my life. Months passed and the times my dad came home were for maybe an evening and I didn’t get to see him.  He spent the time with my mom..then left early the next morning. Not sure how long my dad was gone (2, 3, 4, 5 years??) Not sure… but it seemed like an eternity but he came back… and then he left again… and then he came back. My mom tried her best to take care of my sisters and me.  But I didn’t know any better, she wasn’t very affectionate, so I looked to my friends to “get away” from the home I loathed so much.  By then – my teenage years – I grew to push people away. Especially my dad.  And especially the people I loved the most.

A couple years after I graduated high school, my (ex) husband and I decided to move across the country. At that time, I was done with Seattle.  My family back home meant nothing to me… as I thought I meant nothing to them.  But, now, 15 years later, they mean everything to me… and I still mean nothing to them. I call, text, email, connect on Facebook.  But get little response. I try to send gifts, but get little response.  What I have done and said to push my family away …worked.  So, the holidays are the hardest for me.  It starts with my mom, nephew, & sisters’ birthdays all wrapped up into the fall season.  Then as the holidays roll around, I get to see pictures of their get-togethers and family events posted online.

While I get to enjoy my own family of 4, it is most difficult to get into the holiday spirit… Outwardly, I decorate the house, cook the big meals, take lots of pictures.. but inwardly, I want to sleep the winter away…  I pray to God who mends all broken people to heal me and my relationship with my family.

If you, too, have the holiday blues.. I pray that you find those who love you and hold them close.. and if you find no one – seek them.  Seek a church, a network of people, a meetup group, get connected.. WE will get through this..