Monday, June 25, 2012

Emotional Growing Pains

So we had one of those conversations the other day. The kind that start one way about one thing and end up another way about a total other thing.
If that sounds convoluted...we are sorry…

Life is complex like that.

We were discussing this blog. Then we were discussing a past issue that should have made it here. The next thing I knew there was real hurt on the table.

It surfaced through anger and frustration of course.

We were sitting together watching tv and then poof she was gone away from me.

The argument we were discussing was of course not the real issue.

I swear this stuff keeps me on my toes.
I let things cool down then I want to try and unpack what was so upsetting.

What it came down to was our communications styles and the fear or discomfort she has experienced trying to gain her independence.
A typical modern day teenager she is all but surgically attached to her phone.

Through it she keeps tabs with those she is friends with and plans her activities. My phone on the other hand is likely to get misplaced which is further confounded because it is usually on silent.

So when she has a random thought while out with friends and calls me I do not answer.

Instead of leaving a message or sending a text to let me know what the issue is she calls again and again or not at all. 

Eventually we reconnect and I figure, crisis averted.
In her mind to not have me at her beck and call feels like abandonment.

Thus she feels alone in the world which makes her angry.


Yes people feel how they feel. Those who love them have to deal. It is as simple and complicated as that.

To her credit she has tried multiple times doing the same thing so it is not just one instance that she is annoyed about. 

She has also brought this issue up to me from time to time. 

Again I would say once she is home safe and I do not feel like she was stranded somewhere in peril that is enough for me.

On my end she knows I ignore my phone so it is not personal. 

I tell her all the time if she would text or leave messages more I would reply more. I do not think she believes me.

She also has not had an emergency that I regret being unavailable to help her attend to.

There have been situations and heightened emotions maybe that is half the tricky part.
I sent her a note.

I told her some of these issues, since it morphed out to more than just her and I, were about growing up. 

We learn to create what makes us comfortable from the things that drive us insane.

"Go into personal assistant mode" I told her. 

"When you are going to leave the house, find my phone. Set it to ring and bring it to me. Don’t call me on a whim unless you just want to chitchat. This will improve our communication when not at home together."

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Home Cooked Double Date

It happened some time last year. 

The daughter and her best friend at the time both had new boyfriends. 

One had the bright idea for the boyfriends to meet each other. 

I did not know where this was going to take place.

What do you know it happened at my house.

I did not mind. My policy is that a boyfriend is not really real if the parents cannot meet him.

This meeting however turned into quite the event. Both girls were here having spent the night if I recall properly. Both boys were dropped off at some point during the day.

Now there was a gathering in my yard. 

Next the girls decided to make a big dinner for the guys. On the menu was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, water melon and ice coffee.

I made the drinks. The kids made everything else. Off they ran to the Mexican grocery store across the street. They picked up chicken drum sticks.

I tried to stay out of the way. The boys did too for a while and then they just could not resist the busy young ladies looking cute and making jokes.

My kitchen is not that big so I had to put a stop to all that non sense eventually. I sat in the living room with the young men as they waited through the afternoon. 

The boys were cute quiet and polite. They got a long well enough for strangers who had just met.
I knew the girls were delighted to be orchestrating a fun in house adventure.

Dinner was served and everyone ate heartily.

Dessert was light but it hit the spot. They were so full on soda and food they did not even enjoy the ice coffee. Instead a half of a game of Scrabble was played.
Finally one family arrived to pick up a young son and then another. I think it went well. 

I believe in parents and families seeking to get to know who their kids are hanging out with. I think welcoming suitors in to a family dinner is a perfect opportunity for this.

Remember to vote for us today before 4 pm PST. We can still make the Top 25. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

You Did What?

When was the last time you had to ask that question in total exasperation?

Did the school call and tell you your kid was suspended?

Did the other parent pull you aside and explain some incident they had to deal with?
Is there damage a huge mess or injury somewhere in the house cause by your child?

Are they hurt?

Was something inappropriate posted to social media?

My story today is of perhaps the first time for the latter.

It was middle school for her. 

I was just beginning to fully experience all the issues surrounding her differentiating.

No I do not want to be seen with you

No I do not want to go running errands or grocery shopping

Do not hug or touch me

Mom you are not cool all of that...

Oh and by the way your phone, the home phone they are all mine, get it? Mine!

It is here that Mom rolls her eyes...

One night her best friend wants to have a sleep over a our house. They are maybe 12. They are good girls. Not totally na├»ve but still very innocent. The first boyfriend was no where on the scene. 

We had begun to buy sports bras but still they looked like girls not women.

Things were so low key I went to bed. 

I left the girls up entertaining themselves in the living room where they were going to sleep.

I even let them keep my laptop.

To this day I have made all of about a half of a video with it. It has a built in camera that I had not worked at that time. Neither had she that I knew of.

We had of course heard of YouTube but she did not even have a Facebook account.

I awoke the next morning. The house was still in tact.

The girls awoke. 

Among other things they mentioned, both calling me mom,

"Hey we made a video and put it on YouTube last night. It is just of us dancing around singing and being silly in our night clothes."

My heart lept into my throat. 

You did what???

Did you think about that? 
Have you any idea what this girls family might think about that? 

Do you understand that your first employer is going to Google you?

Did it occur to you that you in your at home clothes prancing around might attract the wrong type of attention???
Head Desk

Head Shake

They stared wide eyed at me.

Yes I was shocked but I do realize this was my fault. I might link you but mercifully the girls forgot the name of that channel they were using.
Anybody got a cave I can send my kid to?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Photo Fun!!!

We had a busy day. I wanted to just share some photos with you all.

Mostly this is random art by my teen. Some is of her. Other things

are just things we see or saw about town...


 I WANT...hahahahah

Can I get an amen?

 "Ah...I forgot? No wait I've slept since then."

Halloween costume from the back. French Maid meets Strawberry Short cake.

 "Look Ma! I made a shirt."
"Ru Ru like a dungeon dragon..."

 "It was a shirt. I made a fun fetti bag of it."

Art or something like it.
 I was making a hat. Then her. Then we.

 A lampshade as a hat...knitted project... FAIL

She knit some water bottle cozzies.

 Her first knitted hat...

A snack.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ms. Sensitive

My daughter had her first, to me, recognizable mood swing the morning she turned 9. 

A hilarious story for another day.
What it really did for me was say “this kid has been affected by mood swings her whole life”. 

Remember I mentioned in the baby story she went from pale to beet red during her first bath in the hospital annoyed at the treatment for whatever reasons.

She was not a difficult baby but once she hit about 18 months OH LOOK OUT. She was not bad but she was demanding. I was determined to raise her unlike how I was raised. She was determined to push my limits and go to the edge of all of hers.

It has been a whirl wind. Something that I never expected is that she cried and cries a lot. I only cried when I got really scared as a very young child usually because I had done something wrong or because I had been spanked.

She cries if I fuss at her in the wrong tone or say the wrong things.

Sometimes I see it as just her nature. 

Sometimes I try to catch myself because I see she is really being hurt more than simply chastised. Other times I know I am hitting a nerve and that is the purpose.

I love that she has a heart for others and is in touch with her own for her own sake. 

I wish she were not prone to put up a wall when I try to tell her something is or has gone wrong with her behavior. 

I parent with my life long intention on the front side. The things I demand of her or reprimand her for are not about my comfort in the moment. I look at her life now and see the future she can create with the right thoughts and actions. 

More and more every day I see the young woman she has become. She has a fiercely independent streak much like both her father and I. 

She can be bold and assertive. She is fiercely loyal and will defend those she loves to the death. 

I don’t call her or see her as a cry baby. She is just sensitive. 

I think tears are healthy. I wonder if hers come from those deep early wounds that never quite healed. 

Parts of her will always be unique to her. She has suffered more loss or perceived more loss in her shorter in this moment life time than I.

My hope is that as she continues to grow and mature she will realize the value and potential of what she has been given and able to hold on to all this time. 

"Mom can I see a therapist or a counselor?" she asked me.

It broke my heart. That is crazy since I run around saying the world needs therapy. 

It hurt to think she might be thinking there are secrets I have not told her. In truth I realized she was saying:

A) She has her own secrets and 

B) She needs all the support she can get at this phase in her life.

I have always been open to that. More wise people surrounding her will always be an investment to bank upon.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Daughter Father Chaos

The second worse thing about being a single mother is co parenting with a deadbeat.

I never in a million years imagined the man I was dating would completely fall apart and not be able to be a good father if the need arose.

That however is exactly what happened. There are in our case perhaps extenuating circumstances but the hard cold facts remain:

He got me pregnant. 

He did not meet our daughter until she was 5 years old.

At that point he is dropped into our life and thinks he understands how to begin.

In fact he had almost completely no clue.

It is very common that men only want to look forward. They do not understand how or why they need to heal wounds from the past. 

Not being there created a huge gaping hole of a wound.

I barely understood it. My daughter was 5 and she did not really articulate so much as she reacted in the form of RAGE. 

Where have you been? 

Why is my life so different from the families I know where the kids have their daddies? 

What are we supposed to do now?

It hurt me to realize me being perfect could not shield her from her need for her father to be in proper alignment in her life. That is true of all children. Not having both parents creates a vaccum. 

Now it does not mean they are doomed. It is just something to be aware of as a parent or care taker.

Even if I had thought to get us into counseling I doubt that my x would have attended with us. He just had five years worth of catching up to do and no time to do it in.

He needed to be really sensitive to how our daughter reached out to connect with him. Instead he sort of barreled along and wondered why she did not just heel, yield, follow and obey with total respect.

It has been a long journey. Within less than two years the relationship between father and daughter broke down. She pushed him away hard and he went. I do not know what he was thinking. 

Well okay I do but it was dumb. A child needs their parents. 

If I had understood the mistake he was about to make I would have pulled him aside and tried to dissuade him.

Of course not that he wants a lot of advice from me. I guess he thinks I ruined his life. Because he can’t manipulate and control me and I deserve more than he could give me…

When he married the woman with 3 daughters and a son, when she bore him a son, it opened a portal between father and daughter. As that marriage crumbled the portal became unstable.

A few phone calls ago there was a knock out drag out fight between father and daughter and she called it quits again. 
I can only hope having lived with kids will help him hear more of the explanation for why she remains so upset. 

Yes there is a child support order on file.

Money comes in hit or miss. I do not let it interfere with letting them see each other or be in communication with each other. 
I never ask him for help with care or expenses. This has been a mistake even though he has not seemed like he was in a place to be able to help. 

It has left him ignorant to what her life is like without him. So all he knows is what he sees and experiences with her. 
He acts like that is all there is. 

Foolishness. Sigh

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hospitality Boundaries and Limits

My daughter, the gal with the giving heart came to me many weeks ago with a request: 

"Mom, can step sister #2 and baby almost 1 come and stay with us for a while? She is about to be homeless."

Yikes what could I say? We have a little extra room. 

Okay maybe even a lot depending on how you look at it. 

The daughter having moved down stairs, into the living room area, was willing to open all of that up. I figured we could make it work.

I wondered how much time we had to adjust to this idea. Not much or none as it turned out. So here they came. It was an adventure. 

I am not sorry that we did it. I know my daughter has learned lessons. She has also discovered where some of her limits and boundaries are.
I am not sure she will ever want to open our home up to host anyone again. Maybe if we had more space and the person could have their own room instead of sharing with her.

It is not that step sister did anything egregiously wrong. There are just the usual stresses of living with strangers and having a toddling baby scooting around.

Almost at the same time my daughter was pseudo adopting a new neighbors' out door cat. 

This meant having a new cat roaming around and slightly upsetting ours who is anti social and was already reeling from the idea of strangers being on the premises. 

I had to move her water source up stairs. Poor kitty.

I have a heart for single moms. I am just a softy that is where my daughter gets it. 
It is not just that I was 20 with no plan, no driver’s license, a part time job, no partner and, no college education when I became pregnant 16 years ago.

It was in many ways touching to have this new Mamma in our home. We agonized over how best to help her through and during this stage of what she is dealing with. 

We have been in her situation, homeless with little or no funding to help secure lodging for ourselves.

It can be harrowing. Staying with friends and family can be both a blessing and a curse amidst it all.

I asked my daughter to remember more fondly now everyone who ever took us in.  It is not just anyone who has the temperament, paid tenancy or not, to live with a single mother and her child(ren).

She looked at me with a bit of a new look letting that sink in.