Category Archives: growing up

CLAP, CLAP, CLAP

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CLAP, CLAP, CLAP

too busy 1I spent an afternoon with a few girlfriends and one of them asked me to help her load pictures from her camera onto her computer. I said, “Don’t you have 3 kids at home who can upload, download, share, and/or tag anything faster than you can say the word help?” “They have no patience for me,” she responded. Another girlfriend, “they only want to show me something once.” Then, “they are always putting me off…too busy.” Seriously, I thought? No patience? They’re too busy?

I’m wondering how these kids would have responded if their mothers had the same impatience when it was time for potty training. Can you imagine as they cried because they needed a diaper change if we rolled our eyes and
said ….Really? Again?

When it was time to teach them to ride a bike without training wheels how about if we said, “are you kidding me? too busy 2Didn’t I just show you this yesterday? Don’t you have a friend you can ask?”

I’m sure you fondly remember making yourself available to teach them how to throw a baseball, a football, a frisbee, to ice skate, swing a racquet, a golf club, do a cartwheel, a forward roll. Just imagine their faces if we had said, “does it have to be done right now?”

The list goes on and on of what we did with patience and smiles. We spent weeks explaining how to tie one’s shoelaces, sip from a cup, and then when it was finally accomplished we clapped like they had won the Pulitzer. You put your own socks on?! You pulled your pajama pants up?! YAY! Clap, Clap, Clap! I clapped so much I had calluses on my palms.

I can’t remember ever once rolling my eyes at my kids, can you?

I didn’t think so.

A friend had the best retort when her son complained about helping her with her iPod. “Look, she said, it took me months to potty train you. Sit down and show me this.”

Right on, girlfriend.

I admit, technology issues do need to be explained a few times before I understand enough to be proficient. But once I have it down I’m pretty good at remembering how to do it. And sometimes, after getting impatient waiting to be shown how to do it, I figure it out. Our kids must think that if they just ignore us, maybe we will have to figure it out on our own. Maybe it’s their way of showing us tough love?

too busy 3Maybe we should have tried the tough love approach when they wanted us to teach them to parallel park.

But what a feeling when on my own, I do figure it out.

Hah! I want to shout. I did it! I did it!

Who needs those uber-busy, hyper connected, impatient and oh so brilliant, incredibly fast texting children anyway.

After realizing nobody was coming home from college or driving 900 miles from Michigan to show me how to make an on-line photo album, I researched, did a few trial and error uploads to my computer, Photoshopped all the photos so that nobody looked better than me, got rid of red-eye, tagged people, I even added music! I cropped photos, made an album cover, and allowed people to post and share comments. Then I sent all the photos out electronically for printing to Snapfish.

All on my own thank you very much. too busy 5

As I hit SEND I secretly wait for someone to clap, to say YAY, to give me a prize, a ribbon, a trophy, anything as I had done for so many years.

So I called my mother.

And she clapped.

(Thank you DL for the inspiration, and for my Mom who always clapped the loudest)

I need to find something to complain about ~ fast

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I need to find something to complain about ~ fast

happy8I’m happy. No….really, it’s not good. There is nothing worse for a writer who has made a career out of complaining.

Acceptance is the key to my happiness. I’m still juggling, still busy, but without kids at home to suck the life out of me, I’m busy with things that I choose: volunteering for 2 non-profits, cooking classes, piano lessons, writing…you’re bored already, aren’t you? I’m not complaining, but are you laughing? I didn’t think so.

To find the humor I decided to go back to when the complaining started.

happy3Remember 16? You complained about your mother, complained about best friends who liked you when they were in your company but talked about you when you were out of sight. You complained about boyfriends who liked you on Monday but then suddenly liked your best friend on Tuesday. Good times!

25-30 and humor is easily found. Complaining is front and center. You’re on your own and happy to have a career. Maybe you’re married to your soul-mate (the most ridiculous description ever), possibly you have a family. But let’s be honest as we reminisce…you have a few days when you think; maybe I’ll just change my name and keep driving. Smiling? I thought so.

At 40 you’re tired, stressed, and the bathroom scale lies. I was the Queen surrounded by a court of willing and friendly participants who excelled in taking complaining to an art form.

At this age you complain about who spends more time driving, complain about practices and competitions, complain happy9about the college process. It’s been years since you wanted to wear heels, you wonder why you ever thought he was your “soul mate” in the first place, and you’re worried you are becoming your mother. Nobody you know is happy. Its side-splitting hysterical.

And then even though you’re worn out, slightly blind, slightly forgetful and slightly lumpy, the complaining just stops and you’re suddenly no longer tired and remarkably happy.

Which totally ruins the image I have worked decades to achieve.

I’m happy that I’m well past the age of 16 and don’t need to act as though I like you if I don’t. At first it was happy5thrilling to have 650 Facebook friends, but then I accepted that if I didn’t like you in high school, college, or at work I don’t need to like you now.

I accept that no matter how hard I work out I will never be a size 2 and I’ll never look good in neon. I’m suddenly happy wearing black or gray. It’s a timeless look I’m after now: elegant, sophisticated. If I have a craving for lime green, I’ll mix a margarita.

I accept that no matter how much I spend on face products, no pore reducing, line eliminating, plumping, firming, puffiness extinguishing, bleaching, peeling, hydrating concoction will change that fact.

I accept that according to most beauty experts minimal make-up is the way to go at my age. I’m happy with this advice, but not because I read it in a magazine: I simply can’t see well enough to put it on.

I’m VERY happy and VERY accepting that it’s been proven dark chocolate and wine are good for the aging process. That it’s better to be a little overweight and with higher blood pressure then to lose weight and have lower bloodhappy6 pressure as we age. I kid you not….read the 90+ study (http://www.mind.uci.edu/research/90plus-study/). All these years worrying…who knew I was on the right track?

I’m happy and no longer complaining because with child rearing in my rear view mirror I can go out to dinner and a movie during the week, every station on my car radio is mine, my mascara is where I left it, and as long as I avoid looking at myself from the side there isn’t much to complain about.

I LOVE MY LIFE!

Am I happy? Yes!

Is it funny? NO!

My writing career might very well be over.
happy7

S.T.R.U.G.G.L.E

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My son, my first born, just graduated from Georgetown University, and a word I knew he had no idea the meaning of was about to become his reality. S.T.R.U.G.G.L.E. Even if only just a little, I think to myself with a hint of a smile.tp diploma

It’s not really his fault that he doesn’t know the meaning of this word. Are there any kids in my neighborhood or any of his friends who know what it means to “struggle”? I think not. (My husband will say that I don’t know what it means either, but this isn’t about me.) Thanks to us insane parents, everything has always been easy for them as we have done everything to make their lives struggle free. And it’s been exhausting. “Batter up!” as they say, and it’s no longer my turn!

Georgetown had been rigorous and competitive, but this wasn’t the struggle I was hoping for and smiling about. I was thinking of life’s struggles: rent, car insurance, dealing with the cable company, withholding tax.

I had been preparing him for months that in today’s precarious economy (a) he may not graduate with a job, and (b) he shouldn’t expect to love it. He would need to struggle along with many other college graduates, to find one.
It wasn’t that I didn’t think he was job worthy, it’s just that when you have HR people asking what type of animal he thought he would be instead of asking about his credentials, It was clear finding a job wouldn’t be that easy.

So what happens? He lands a dream job before he graduates in an industry he loves and wanted. (I guess he answered the animal question correctly). One minute he’s clinging to my leg in Kindergarten and the next thing I know he’s packing up and heading for Michigan. My husband and I looked at each other and wondered what just happened? What about the struggle to land a job, the terrible economy? Who would take out the garbage? I was sad to see him go….sort of.

tp beachUp until this point the struggle for him and his friends was wondering if they should come back from the shore on Sunday or Monday. Now, no matter what they decided, they needed to get to work on Monday.

Before, the struggle for them was making a decision on which of 1000 channels they should watch rather than caring how much money it cost. Now, with having to pay for those channels, suddenly any channel over 13 may not be worth it.
And do these channels just magically appear? No. They will need to be in touch with the cable company where I’m hoping he will be put on hold for 30 minutes and struggle to remain sane after he is cut off a time or two. Am I smiling? You bet.

Now he will have to deal with a boss. Would he be able to first look him up on a “rate my manager” internet site and pick who he wanted to work for, like the “rate my professor” site he used at college? NO!

My son was appreciative of his life at home, but there was no way he knew how good he had it. I could picture him saying at a very inopportune time…”what do you mean there is no toilet paper?” OMG I am rolling on the floor.

So he’s been there for a month and every time he calls I am waiting for him to say how much he misses us and that he wants to come home…that the struggle to be on his own is more than he can handle. But guess what? He’s not
struggling – at all.

Turns out the folks in the Midwest are wonderful and friendly and everyone wants to know why he doesn’t sound like Snookie and her friends. The cable representatives are in fact very competent and their prices are cheap so he still has 1000 channels to pick from. His neighbors have invited him to dinner. Gas, food, and rent are cheaper. Maybe it’s just NJ that sucks.

His weekends aren’t spent studying and catching up with projects. He’s not exhausted from the rigors of college. He likes his boss and co-workers and finds the job challenging. He’s getting paid to work and he loves it. He’s, shall I say…happy? I keep thinking, well just you wait till its February in Michigan, Mister, but I don’t want to sound bitter.

I miss him, but clearly he’s not struggling which should make me proud. I am. tp heart

We are visiting soon and guess what? He says he will be cooking for me and just because I can’t help myself and because I can’t think that he’s totally self-sufficient, I tell him that I’ll do the dishes.