Parent Friends…or Not?

Yes, today will be a rant, and maybe even a whine.  But this has been on my mind all week (remember, I am stuck in a recliner all day), and I decided all of you would just Love to let me get it all out, so I quite thinking about it, and can get on with life.  Or at least reading all of your wonderful blogs that keep me going and sane right now.  Okay, here we go…

Last week I was sick, and couldn’t make the football game. I loathe when that happens because I hate to miss seeing Little One cheer.  But, with the way seating happened, all I would have seen were people’s rear ends, which while some would have been nice to gaze at, would have irritated me because they would have blocked the cheerleaders.

There is a group of us that sit together at the games. Husband and I usually arrive early, and then try to make sure there is room for the others.  Now, we don’t see these parents outside of school events, but we all chat, and we see each other through football and basketball season, so we are together a lot.  At the games we chat, we cheer for our kids, and we have a good time.

Husband went by himself to the game. Little One would have been really upset without a parent showing up, and he loves to watch the kids play football.  After all this time we know most of the kids who play.  He had his folding chair, and when he arrived, no one had saved him a place.  And no one offered to move to make room for him.  And he barely got a hello.  Everyone had to move shortly after this to the parking lot behind a chain link fence, and again no one in the group made any effort to include him.  He chatted with other people during the game, but he didn’t feel part of it all like he usually does.

When he got home and told me this it really peeved me. One of the Moms knew I was sick and couldn’t make the game.  I would have saved a place for her husband, and made sure Husband knew he was flying solo and to chat with him.  What we got was the opposite, which besides getting me mad, also made me question the friendships.  Which has made it difficult this past week to interact with the Mom I text with a lot.

What do these parent friendships, where we sit together weekly at games for our kids, chat, and get to know each other really mean? I frequently bring their kids to my house after school when their parents are at work, and take them to the game or get them to the school to ride the van to the game.  I’ve had a parent bring Little One home a couple of times when I’ve had a doctor’s appointment.  I know we don’t have life long bonds going here, but I thought there was a definite group where we sat together, and looked forward to being together weekly.  Perhaps I was wrong.

I’m not going to say anything to any of them tomorrow, because it would just cause unnecessary drama. And it wouldn’t make a difference; I can see the blank looks I’d get for asking why they didn’t make a place for him at the last game.  And, it also feels wrong to me to bring it up.  But I will be seeing everyone in a different way, and interacting with them differently.  I can’t help it.  They’ll put it down to my not feeling well, and being in pain.  Because we see what we want to see.  And right now, I see people who really aren’t friends.

Bad Girl for Volunteering!

At Oldest One’s University there is an Alternate Breaks program, where during spring break student’s go to different cities and work with the homeless and underserved populations. I had told Oldest One about this program last year, and she recently applied to take part in it.  She was accepted into the program across the country, which costs a bit more than those in states closer to us.

We were still fine with it, since the program gets grants and solicits donations to make the fee the students have to pay very low. It is a fraction of what we paid for her Costa Rica trip.  And, since there are a couple thousand kids that apply, and she got chosen, we are also very proud of her for getting a spot.

She set up a GoFundMe page to try and get donations to help pay for the trip. She posted it to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  I only have Facebook, and I shared it asking anyone who wanted to support her to please donate.  Most people either ignored it or commented they thought it was great she was doing this.  Except for one person.

A family member’s fiancé, who tends to be negative (one day I’ll tell you all the story about meeting her…Oy Vey!) commented “Why leave the state to help the homeless? Couldn’t you help locally??”  Oldest One does help locally, and through University groups does volunteer projects to help the underserved populations.  I was just amazed that someone could look at her trip, and make it seem like a bad thing to be doing.

Oldest One could have asked us for money to go to Florida for spring break, where I’m guessing things go on I don’t want to know about. But instead she asked to go as part of a college program and spend her break helping those having a rough time of it.  Yeah, she is a rotten kid.

Oldest One answered the comment before I did, in, as one of my friends said, a very mature and articulate way. She very nicely pointed out that she will be able to do more, having an entire week, and that she will be able to interact with them in a very different way than when she only gets a few hours.  And she also pointed out how many students weren’t able to be a part of this.  My comment was how proud we were she wanted to help people on her spring break instead of partying.  Not surprisingly, the negative commenter didn’t say anything else.

With all the stories we hear of kids the age of Oldest One doing idiot things, and being narcissistic, you’d think Oldest One would get this person’s support for getting into this program and for wanting to do this. It shows a different side of this age group, and one I’ve seen in a lot of kids, that they care, want to make a difference, and are worried about the plight of others.

I didn’t delete the comment, or de-friend this person, even though several people told me I should. That she is negative and possibly narrow-minded is her loss.  I also don’t know how to de-friend someone, and I’m too lazy to figure it out.  I support my daughter, and many other people do also.  I’m proud of her, and excited for her that she has this opportunity.  One Negative Nellie isn’t going to change that.  Oldest One, and Little One too, are going to help make the world a better place.

Unsettled

I am antsy. I have started two books, and couldn’t get into either of them.  That is so not me.  I can’t find a comfortable position, I keep yawning but I’m not tired, and I can’t focus on anything.

I was busy today. I had to call a work contact at the University about a parking ticket Oldest One got (had to pay it), and take care of some work emails.  I had medical paperwork to fill out.  I needed to figure out all sorts of different dates for the various paperwork stuff I did.  It was stimulating.

It’s the recliner. My beloved recliner.  That I’ve been sitting in for months.  I think all the sitting has gotten to me today.  Tonight.  The most I can do is change position to try to find a more comfortable one.  It’s not working.  I’m not working

Tomorrow will be better. I’ll wake up and it will be a better day.  I am nothing if not hopeful.

No Reading?!

Somehow I managed to get a scratch on my cornea, right in the middle. Wow, is that painful!  Luckily this heals quickly, so what started Sunday morning was much better by Tuesday night.  The bad part, besides the eye pain, swelling, and constant watering, was that I was restricted from reading until my eye was 90 percent healed.  Which meant I was not able to read until Wednesday.

That was horrible! It’s not just that I’m stuck in the recliner, but that reading relaxes me.  It helps me not stress out about life.  If I have to go too long without reading I get antsy, and cranky.  It is my addiction.  I was so relieved on Wednesday when I could open my Kindle and start reading my current book.  I’m happy to say both my eye and my mood are very improved!

I was stuck watching TV, and I am not against watching TV, because there are a lot of shows Husband and I follow. Which are at night.  Daytime TV is pretty bad.  I’m not even that picky, but I realized there are only so many shows about finding or improving houses I can watch at one time.  Same for weddings and wedding dresses.  I can say with authority now that my living room really needs to be painted.

I realized that even though I say I’ve come to terms with being mostly confined to the house, I really haven’t. A few days without being able to read showed me that.  I’m not cut out to sit at home all day.  I like to be around people, even if we are all in our own cubicles, we still interact throughout the day.  I like to accomplish things, and run around, and have more plans than I can possibly get to in one day.  Reading helps me not dwell on that, but really, I’m like a grounded teenager, grinding my teeth and muttering under my breath about how tough I have it.

But, right now I have a new book to start, so I don’t have time to dwell on this. For the next several hours at least.  An adventure is waiting to take me out of the recliner, so I’m mentally packed and ready to go!

Ready to be Done

I planned to make this about Little One today, but everything I began swerved off track. Little One got me up this morning to do her cheer hair, which is a high ponytail with a side braid on the right.  The new uniforms are in, so this is the first Friday Varsity cheer gets to wear their uniforms to school, and at the game.  She looks adorable in her uniform!  The skirt was too big, but since they got the uniforms yesterday I pinned it for today (and have extra safety pins in my purse) and then Husband will sew it over the weekend.

I barely made it through doing her hair. I was in so much pain from standing that when I made it back to my bed I was in tears.  I barely slept last night because of the pain.  I could barely shower because it hurt so much to stand that long.  And that is a shower where I don’t shave my legs.

Since the weekend I’ve gotten progressively worse, so I don’t think the last 2 procedures, which were going to fix the issue, worked. Or I’m not understanding how they work.  I told Husband that I am questioning the original diagnosis, and really think it has to do with all my back issues, and not a small nerve trapped in my thigh.  My pain doctor probably thinks the same, since I’m now arranging for surgical consults.

My quality of life really isn’t what I want. I try so hard to be cheerful, and laugh about it, but then a day like today hits and I’m in so much pain I’m not finding much to laugh about or to smile about.  I also hate that I can’t do anything.  I am dependent on Husband to go to the store, and the pharmacy, and to pick up my medical records and scans.  I can’t drive, it hurts being a passenger, and even with a cane walking is difficult.  Yet tonight I’m getting in the car and attending the game to watch Little One cheer.  With lidocaine, ice packs, medication, and a special chair that fully reclines (I don’t sit in the stands, but next to them).  I don’t want to let the important things pass me by if I can help it.

I’ll go to bed tonight and be hopeful that when I wake up tomorrow the pain will be gone, or at least a lot less. Our plans for the weekend all take place in the living room, but since it is football season, and we watch college and NFL, that takes up Saturday and Sunday, so all is good there.  I’ll eat some chocolate, because that makes the world better.  But what will really help, and keep me fighting to get my life back, is Husband and the girls.  They make me smile, make me feel loved, and keep me going.  With them I can overcome anything!

So Done with Science Projects

I was so happy when Oldest One finished her science project in eighth grade. One done with the dreaded science project! My hopes were dashed her freshman year of high school when I found out our school required a science project through twelfth grade.

I know that science projects have merit, and kids do learn from them. But I have yet to see one that doesn’t require some sort of parental involvement, even if it is just running around town frantically buying needed items to finish it in the next 24 hours. This year doesn’t look any different.

I walked into the house after work to find Oldest One unhappily glaring at the computer because she couldn’t find a project she liked. She decided not to work with a group this year, but to do it on her own, and she wanted something exciting and big. I told her I didn’t see how she had time for a project like that, and maybe a scaled back one would be better. That was shot down. I had sent her, at her request, several websites with science projects for twelfth graders that had some (to me) cool looking projects that weren’t going to take the next two years. She didn’t like any of them. She left for cheer with no project.

Little One had wanted to do a science project determining what kind of food a bunny liked better, using from homemade to bought organic to bought bagged bunny food. Her teacher said that was too easy, and instead assigned Little One’s group of three the science project of seeing which paper towel was the strongest. What? For eighth graders? Apparently the teacher hasn’t seen what happens when food doesn’t agree with a bunny, and the bunny doesn’t quite make it to its litter box. Not pretty. I decided to let this go, buy every brand of paper towel there is, get some rocks from the yard, and let them have at it.

Last year Little One and her group did a maze and determined which animal, a dog, a cat or a chicken made it through with the best time. I had two kids and a chicken spend the night for that one. Husband helped with the maze to make sure it was sturdy, and I downloaded the pictures (and offered the visiting chicken some food). That was a fun one to watch; three seventh grade girls trying to herd a dog, a cat and a chicken through a maze several times.

Oldest One, with me sitting at the table for support (because the projects she was looking at were beyond this administrative non-science person), finally decided on two projects she would discuss with her teacher at 10:30p last night. She had realized that she didn’t have several months, and wasn’t trying to win a scholarship for her project. I admire she wanted to do something exciting, with anatomy or neurology or cancer (and Husband and I said no to doing anything with mice and cancer cells), but it wasn’t practical. She told me this morning she would be doing an experiment about blood coagulation. I even think I can help her, by ordering the materials she needs, and cleaning up after her.

Only four more years of science projects to go after this one. Well, if Oldest One does research in college, great, I’ll just hear about it, not have to live through it. This will not be one of the things I look back on sadly when it is over.

Barbie Table Memories

It happened on Mother’s Day when Oldest One was about 5 and Little One was about 2.  The Barbie Table had been problematic for several days.  The Barbie Table came about as a way to keep all the wonderful rooms Barbie lives in (and that Mattel realized was a much better way to go then a simple townhouse that took up a corner) along with furniture and clothes in one place and somewhat organized.  It was still messy, but a contained messy.

Oldest One was in a non-sharing mood, and kept getting mad at Little One for wanting to play at the Barbie Table with her.  So, about a half hour before Mother’s Day dinner with my Mom and Dad, Oldest One lost it and yelled at her sister again, at which point Husband was done.  He went into the playroom with two large garbage bags, swept everything on the Barbie Table into the bags, and told Oldest One she had lost the Barbie stuff until she could share.  That caused a meltdown, and Oldest One went into her room to cry, with my Mom following her.

I had no problem with what Husband did, we had taken toys away for not sharing before, it was just the timing.  Right before dinner on Mother’s Day wasn’t the best timing, but really, with kids, is the timing ever good?  Oldest One calmed down, we had a nice dinner, and a few days later the Barbie Table was back.  My Mom had a completely different take on this.

My Mom called me the next day and gave me a lecture about my supporting Husband over the girls.  She informed me that I should never choose Husband over the girls, and the girls were always going to be in the right.  She proudly told me she never sided with my Dad when it came to my brothers and I, and that she always supported our views instead.  That explained a lot about my parents relationship.  She wasn’t happy when I told her that Husband and I always tried to back the other when it came to the girls, and that we felt working together was the best way, and we weren’t going to side against each other.  Harder to do sometimes as the girls have gotten older, but we still strive for that.

Fast forward to today, when my Mom’s Boyfriend (we’ll call him MB) didn’t like me, or Husband, or the girls, and my Mom never tried to defend me.  Apparently I remind him of his deceased daughter who he didn’t get along with.  Pretty hard to overcome that.  And the things my Mom began to tell me about myself, my life and my family weren’t nice.  What she told my brothers about me was awful.  Never once did I hear her say anything good about me, just the bad.  What happened to siding with the child?  Not that I agreed with that, but it would be nice to think that a guy who has known me less than a year would at least get chastised a little bit for being mean, rude, and just not a good person.

My Mom wants to act like none of this happened, but it did, and it really upset and hurt me.  I know she won’t be here forever, and I know at some point this needs to be resolved.  Oldest One is inviting her to the graduation.  Little One isn’t, but after how my Mom treated Little One’s Bat Mitzvah, and then forgot Little One’s birthday, well, it’s understandable.  But when I think of having a conversation with my Mom about all of this I just get so angry at how she treated me, and how it’s okay for MB to think and say bad things without anything being said to him about how he acts.  I also feel childish thinking and feeling this, but at the same time I just can’t get over it.

This is on my mind at some point every day.  I try not to let it be because I do get so upset, but my Mom and I used to talk every day, and she used to do a lot with us, and was a big part of our lives.  We haven’t seen her since September, we don’t talk anymore, and she has missed everything the girls are doing for over a year.  At my Dad’s funeral an old friend of my parents, whose wife had died many years before, was there with his daughter, who is my age.  My Mom later told me that he had remarried, but was divorced, and during his marriage his 2nd wife hadn’t wanted anything to do with his daughters, so he hadn’t seen them during the marriage, two or three years, and was just building a new realtionship with them and his grandchildren.  She thought that was awful of him, and that he should have stood up to his wife and not abandoned his girls.  Yeah, I think that too.

What are Designer’s Thinking?

Prom dress shopping ended without a dress, and with my friend and me wondering who is designing these dresses for teenage girls.  I’m okay with short skirts and short shorts (as long as the rear end is covered when bending over), and I was once known for the short skirts I wore.  As a student employee I had a skirt or two I was asked to not wear to the office again.  But compared to the prom dresses I saw I was dressed for a convent.

The worst ones were two piece outfits; a long skirt, and then a top the size of a sports bra covered in sequins.  It looked terrible on the hanger, and I can’t imagine it actually looked good on anyone.  Not what I want to see any teenage girl wearing at prom.  Then there was the dress Oldest One tried on that was quite deceptive on the hanger.  It was so low in back underwear couldn’t be worn, and the cutouts were so deep the front was compromised.  I’m okay with a low back, but I would like her to be able to wear underwear without it being seen.  And I want her front covered.

Do these designers think us parents want to put our daughter’s in these dresses?  I saw dresses where the material was in strips on the top, so skin showed on the top and there was no back.  Or the dresses that have the see through material on top; it doesn’t look good on a wedding dress and it sure doesn’t look good or appropriate on a prom dress.  I have an idea where the designer’s heads were when they designed these dresses, and it’s too bad that this is what they think a prom dress should look like.

We didn’t see any girls trying the inappropriate dresses on, but we didn’t see anyone without a parent either.  It isn’t like these dresses are affordable, because some of them were in the $300 range, which was well outside of what I was willing to pay for a dress that had all the material.  I understand why many schools ban certain types of prom dresses these days.

I know, I sound really old, but these dresses were just so awful and inappropriate.  I don’t want a picture of my daughter I wouldn’t want to put out because of what she is(n’t) wearing.  Her taste might be different than mine, but last year she chose a very classic and elegant look, which the dresses with low backs and barely there fronts will never have.  I think designers need to quite trying to be cutting edge (or their idea of it) with prom dresses, and keep to the cute and the classic.

What is up with February 22nd?

I’m not sure what it is about February 22nd, but it seems to be the most popular date to plan every school or club activity possible. Or at least the last weekend in February is.  And my family is used to trying to get to several activities in one day.  I remember this happening in years past, but this year every time we turn around there is something else we should consider doing.

To make it more fun the girls have been/are sick.  Yesterday Little One stayed home from school feeling like she was going to throw up.  Not that she got up, felt bad and went back to bed.  There was an extended time period of melting down and crying and insistence that she would fall behind if she missed classes (she currently has all A’s…).  I finally had to leave for work, which I arrived at 30 minutes late so I had to stay 30 minutes later to make it an 8 hour day.  I felt Husband could handle it just fine…he got her to go back to bed.

Then, 10 minutes before I was about to leave Oldest One called, and she was in tears wanting to know where I was.  That morning she was stuffy and felt a migraine coming on, so I made sure she had migraine medication and told her to take Sudafed.  Turns out she wanted to know where I was because the school cheer coach had sent her home from practice because she was sick.  And she was calling me from her car as she drove home, which is a huge NO.  I told her to take Advil when she got home and I’d be there in about an hour and to never use her cell phone while driving…to which she replied “you do it all the time.”  I don’t, but I have, so I told her to do as I say not as I do, that I loved her, and finished the call.  She has a temperature, body aches, a sore throat, and feels like she is going to throw up.  Fun times!

Sick girls makes the weekend easier to figure out.  The activity going on where Oldest One will attend college is out, because we aren’t taking her on a 2 hour drive for a 6 hour event when she doesn’t feel well.  And technically it is a 3 day thing, and she decided yesterday she just can’t do that to herself, and it will be fine if she doesn’t go.  Off the list!  Also off the list, sadly, is attending the school dance team’s competition.  We know several girls on the team, and wanted to go support them, but their competition is at the same time as basketball playoffs.

On Tuesday our club cheer gym decided to try and fit a competition in Saturday, which would have interfered with the girls doing a community service event with their respective honor societies.  Luckily (awful way to put it) there are so many sick kids they decided against that.  So the girls can still drag themselves to the community event.  Which interferes with the Girls Varsity basketball playoffs.

Both Girls and Boys Varsity basketball made playoffs, and the schedule was just put out yesterday.  Games on Friday, and if won, on Saturday.  Which the girls may or may not cheer at, but which we will go to so we can support our “other” children.  Except Girls Varsity plays at the same time as the community event, so we aren’t sure about making that one.  Boys Varsity plays at night, so those should be easy.

Which brings me back to why February 22nd is so popular for every activity known to mankind to take place on?  I’ll probably never figure it out, but next year I’ll just mark the calendar to hide under the bed and pretend the last weekend of February isn’t happening.

The Amy Glass Controversy

I just read the Amy Glass article that has generated a lot of chatter.  She titled it “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m not Sorry.”  I took it to mean she was out to generate discussion and cause controversy, because if she truly sees the world so black and white without many shades of grey then her world is awfully small.  I also don’t really like the term feminist (used in this article and others she wrote).  I know my girls can do anything they set their minds to, and they will be successful at whatever interests them.  I think the same for boys.  I’m glad we women have so many opportunities, and are limited only by our imaginations, and I am grateful to all the women before me who made it possible.  I also don’t see anything wrong with either gender staying home, having an important job, or choosing from the million options available to live life.  That said, here are some thoughts on the article…

I was 28 when I had Oldest One, and I’m not sure if I fall in the young mother category.  Looking back I was young and clueless, but I had no idea.  Husband and I had been married for a year and a half, and it just felt like the right time to start a family.  We have had no regrets because our family has brought us so much joy.

I have a good friend who decided not to have kids.  She and her husband travel, they both have jobs they love, and they dote on their nieces and nephews.  I don’t see her life as less fulfilling, just a different way of being fulfilling.  I don’t think she looks down on me for my choice to have kids.  We’ve known each other since high school, and what is important is that each of us is happy with our choices.

That wasn’t really the gist of the article.  She goes into why we don’t celebrate promotions for women, or women taking the trip of a lifetime.  Ummm, I’ve celebrated promotions.  When my sister traveled to Australia, New Zealand and Asia for a year on her own we all celebrated her return, and wanted to hear about it.  We didn’t celebrate these with a huge reception, but I’ve been to backyard wedding receptions with 15 people and wedding receptions with 300 people in a swanky setting  People celebrate what they choose and how they choose, and whether it is celebrating a wedding or birth, or a graduation or promotion, what really matters is who is celebrating it with you.  If you are alone, or had to grab people you barely know, well, personally, that is a sad life to me.  But if you celebrate with people you love, be it family, friends, whoever, then you have a wonderfully rich life.  I didn’t know until I read the article that there were limited life celebrations.  I’d better get under control and stop celebrating the wrong stuff in the wrong manner.

I also have to say that getting married and having kids may seem like easy tasks, but they really aren’t.  Yes, anyone can go to Vegas and get married pretty fast to someone they barely know.  But being in a marriage, and staying in a marriage and growing together in a marriage isn’t easy.  It takes work.  It is definitely more difficult at times than any job I have had.  And so very, very worth it.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for the biggest most important job in the world.  The same with kids.  Raising kids is hard.  When you first hold that baby you have no idea what you are in for.  You might think you do, and you’ll laugh at that later.  Again, I wouldn’t trade having my girls and raising them for any job.  It’s been hard, it’s been amazing, and it has hands down been the best thing Husband and I have done.

And it is hard to work, raise kids, and manage the household.  I don’t do it alone, Husband does it with me because we do our life together.  I think to say men don’t care to manage a household and equate it to being stupid and not important unfortunately makes the person spouting it seem that way.   “Real work” and housework are both equally important, whether you are married with kids, married, single with kids, single, have a partner, a roommate, whatever.  Maybe laundry doesn’t seem important, or paying those pesky bills, or fixing a leaky roof, or doing the sink full of dishes, but they are.  Little things also make life keep going.  Why is it okay to pay someone to do those things, including raising kids, to have a career, but it isn’t okay for a woman to do them as a career, or in addition to a career?  Looking at a clean kitchen after I’ve finished scrubbing it down is an amazing feeling (but don’t tell my Husband…he usually cleans the kitchen!).

Amy is entitled to her position, and again, I think she was looking to be controversial.  For me being a wife and mother has been the best and most satisfying job.  And I’ve had the big job.  I left it because it was the worst thing I ever did, and I was the unhappiest, most depressed and angry me I had ever been while in that job.  The job I loved best was staying home when the girls were babies and concentrating on them and making edible meals for everyone.  Right now I have a good job, by no means a big job, with interesting people, I smile a lot, and I get to be a wife and mother to the most amazing Husband and daughters in the world.  If it is possible to have the best of both worlds I am pretty darn close.  I hope Amy loves her life and the people in it as much as I love mine and the people who make it wonderful.