Enjoying My Little One

I had a 3 day weekend, which was great.  What was even better was how much time I got to spend with Little One.  She is at that moody, sometimes unpredictable teenage girl stage (only moody with Husband and me, of course), so I’m never sure what to expect.  I know she’ll come out of it, but she started two years earlier than Oldest One…does that mean she’ll get out of it sooner?

Friday I went right from work to watch her cheer at first a Varsity girls basketball game, and then at the Varsity boys basketball game.  Fun, but exhausting.  I love to watch her cheer; she completely lights up and you can hear her loud voice over any yelling crowd.  Then we got to eat dinner at 10p at night while watching TV together.  All in all a very good day.

Saturday I took her shopping.  Again, I never know what to expect, but we had a lot of fun together.  She needed some new tops, some yoga pants for cheer practice, and some jeans.  We went to four places, and we stopped for ice cream.  We chatted, we were silly, and we just had a great time being together.  She even called her big sister to tell her how much fun she had.  I love the times when we are just together and bonding, so Saturday was an awesome day.

My Little One is growing way too fast.  I knew she would, but it was easier watching this happen with Oldest One, because Little One was still little.  Now I know this is it, and once she leaves for college my babies aren’t babies anymore.  They will still need Husband and me, and they will still will want to come home, but they are on the path to their lives.  It’s good, because that is what you hope to raise your kids to do, become independent adults.  But it’s staring me in the face, and as I’ve said before, I’m so not ready.  I doubt in three and a half years I’ll be ready.

So I actually try to enjoy the moodiness, the eye rolls, and the impatience with parents who aren’t too bright.  Because it will be gone all too soon, and although it is nice when they realize you do know things, it also means they are away at college and need advice.  I try to embrace her messiness (and she is one incredibly messy kid; I don’t know how she does it!) as much as I embrace her silliness.  I’m just trying to enjoy it all, because by tomorrow I’ll be driving her to college.  Which, again, is a good thing.  But I’m just not going to be ready for this, ever.

I Don’t Want Them to Cry

Dating.   Relationship.  Boyfriend.  All words as a parent I’m just not that fond of.  And luckily haven’t really had to deal with.  I’ve seen Oldest One’s friends go through relationships and angst, and I’ve even hugged some as they cried because the boy didn’t want to be with them anymore.  Oldest One had a couple of boys hurt her feelings, but she didn’t really date.  Little One has already had a boy make her cry.  I know it is a part of life, but I hate to see my girls cry, especially over a boy who just isn’t worth it.  Yes, that is so parent talk to say that.

Last night I stayed up late to chat with Oldest One. We talked about grades, and her roommate, and an upcoming sorority event she is really excited about.  And then she mentioned B.  It’s not the first time I’ve heard about him, but I wasn’t too excited to hear he was back, because from a parental view he is nothing but bad news.

She met B along with a bunch of other kids in the dorm when school started. She thought he was cute, and he seemed to like her.  Then he started to spend time with another girl in the dorm, G.  But G said she wasn’t spending time with him, he said he wasn’t spending time with her, but yet there they were together.  And it seemed they were, from what she heard from others in the dorm, losing their clothes when they were together.  It happens.  Then it turned out B had a girlfriend back home.  Quite the player, at least in my mind.

So Oldest One and I talked about it, after she quit talking to him. We talked about how it was better to find all this out about him early, and about how she wanted someone who would treat her a lot better than that.  Someone who would respect her, and wouldn’t lie about things.  You know, someone decent.  Because there was nothing I heard about this kid that was good.  He’s young, he can do what he wants and say what he wants, just not with my daughter.

But last night she said they are talking, and there were circumstances she didn’t know about. She of course didn’t go into those circumstances with me.  I asked her why she would want to consider being with someone who lied and didn’t respect her, and she went back to these circumstances.  Apparently these circumstances absolve him of all lies and rude behavior.  I said if she wanted to be friends that’s great, be friends with the world.  But don’t date someone who doesn’t respect you and who isn’t nice to you.  I asked her what she would say to someone telling her all of this.  Apparently I overstepped my parental bounds at that point because she got irritated with me and cut that conversation off.  But not before telling me he might be one of our Thanksgiving guests.  Yippee.

I have a lot more I’d like to say to her, but I know I have to let her get hurt if she decides to date him. It’s not like I didn’t have a B in college, I did, and I’m pretty sure he was worse than this guy.  And a whole lot older.  But I remember how much it hurt, and I wasn’t even in love with my B.  But I sure liked him a whole lot, and I was willing to overlook a lot of things I shouldn’t have.  It was a good learning experience, and I know I have to let her have her learning experiences with relationships.

I just don’t want to see her hurt, and upset, and crying. I don’t care that it’s a part of life and growing up and figuring out who you are and what you want in a person.  I want to keep my daughters from getting hurt, which is impossible.  So I’ll do my best, instead, to be there when I’m needed.  I’ll listen when she needs me to, and try to not criticize and put B down.  When things don’t work out, I’ll support her, and send a lot of chocolate.  Most of all, I’ll continue to love her unconditionally.

The Hovering Helicopter

Helicopter Parents. I’ve read articles about them, and how not to be one, and I try.  I’m sure in some ways I am, because I worry about the girls.  But I’ve always tried to let them solve their own problems, because I won’t always be able to help.

When Oldest One was in 6th grade – I think – she ran for a class office.  We made posters, and helped her write her speech…the usual parent things.  Problems came about when the girl she was running against started to take Oldest One’s signs down and put them in the trash, and started bad mouthing her.  Oldest One told us about it, and that the principal had called the other girl in, and her parents were called.  We talked about it, and how she felt, and what she could do about it.  Ultimately the other girl won, and Husband bought a beautiful vase filled with flowers for Oldest One to cheer her up, and which did put a smile on her face.  A co-worker berated me the next day, saying I should have made a big deal of what the other girl did, and I should have demanded she be taken out of the running.  Basically, she was saying I didn’t do enough.  I told my co-worker I could have done all of that, but what would my child have learned?  Life isn’t always easy, people aren’t always nice, and you don’t always win.  Better for her to find those things out now, and learn to cope, then to be a 20-something having a major meltdown at her first job.  Oh, and Oldest One went on to hold offices in high school, so, yes, it all worked out.

This was all brought to mind as I texted Oldest One today. Although she went and paid her parking ticket last week, it is still showing on her Bursar account.  I have to pay the balance on the account today, and I’m not including the ticket, since I know it’s paid.  I texted her to remind her to go to the Bursar’s Office with the receipt to have them remove the ticket charge.  She is busy today, can she go tomorrow is what I received as an answer.  She can, but there might bet a late charge, so I told her she needed to make sure it was removed along with the ticket.

Could I call the Bursar’s office myself? I could, although since she is 18 I don’t know if they would talk to me.  But I don’t want to.  She needs to start handling this stuff herself.  I’m reminding her, but ultimately she has to do it herself.  She needed to go to Student Health, so I told her to take her insurance card, pay for the visit with her debit card, and I’d put the money in her account to cover it.  Because she is old enough to make the appointment herself.  She still needs our help, and our advice, but she is at college now, and needs to start doing things and figuring out things.  I haven’t talked to any professors or her advisor, because I shouldn’t.  I don’t want to either.  But I’ve suggested she do it, when the situation seemed to indicate it would help, and she did, and it was a good result for her.

Letting go is tough. Kids grow up too fast for us parents, and our instinct is to throw our arms around them and protect them from the world.  Doing everything for them is one of the ways to do this.  But it doesn’t help the kids grow and learn, and understand what to do next time.  I’m always just a phone call away, and I’ll always stop what I’m doing to listen and to chat.  But it’s time for her to start making her own appointments, and to figure out how to get the Bursar to remove a charge that has already been paid.  Bigger challenges are on the way, and if we don’t give our kids a chance to conquer the little stuff, how can we expect them to be prepared for just living?

My Little One

I love watching Little One cheer. She completely lights up, and she is charged with energy.  Cheer coaches have told me how electrifying she is when she is “on”.  I like that she has so much fun doing it, and that it makes her happy.

I remember her very first cheer competition, when she was in 2nd grade.  She had spent the previous year watching her big sister do competitive cheer, and she couldn’t wait to join a team.  She was super nervous when the day came to compete, and she wouldn’t smile at all until it was all over.  I have a great picture taken of her right after it was over, and she has a big smile on her face.  That entire first year she couldn’t smile or do facials while competing until we were at nationals.  The very last competition of the season she finally smiled while doing the routine.  It was great!

I have always done her hair for cheer, except now she is so tall I need her to sit in a folding chair in the bathroom. She does her own make-up now, and likes to make sure there is some sparkle to it that the lights of the football field will pick up.  When the cheer team takes a water break, or has a break after their half-time routine I’m lucky to get a brief kiss in passing, because she has so many people to talk with.  That’s okay, because I’m just happy to be at the game to watch her cheer

She isn’t doing competitive cheer this year, due to my medical issues and her knee problem. She’s in a high level tumbling class once a week though, which she loves, and I’ll probably give in and let her take a 2nd one after the first of the year.  She comes home so happy, with such a big smile, ready to sit down and tell me all about the class and her accomplishments.  I look forward to that.

I tease Little One that she can’t go to the same university as Oldest One, that she has to live at home and go to the local university. She isn’t having any of it.  I told her to have fun in high school.  She can look forward to college, but she needs to live high school, and make good memories.  She can’t wait for her senior trip, and to start having the experiences she’s seen her big sister have.  I wouldn’t mind spending another hour with the 2nd grader who just finished her first cheer competition.

Dancing and Cheering

Tonight is Little One’s dance program at school.  Tomorrow is the first cheer competition for our cheer gym.  I had to get Little One’s hair and make-up done this morning because they are performing for the school at an assembly, and then tonight for family and friends.  I still don’t have the lipstick I need for the girls for competition tomorrow.  I’ve been to Wal-Mart and Target and they carry the brand, but not the color.  I’m trying Walgreens, CVS and K-Mart tonight after the dance program.  Oh, and as soon as the competition ends we need to run to the basketball games so the girls can cheer for the school.

I remember how excited Husband and I were at Oldest One’s very first holiday performance in Kindergarten.  All the kids looked adorable, especially ours (with her Pebbles hair-do), and they were so cute as they sang.  Little one was in preschool when she had her first one, and her eyes were sparkling with excitement at being in front of all those people and getting to sing.

Oldest One started competitive cheer a year before Little One, and it took me an hour and a half to do her hair and make-up for the first competition.  We had to be there at 7a, so you can imagine how early we were up.  The next year when Little One started I was at about 45 minutes a girl…the pouf and fake pony tail were a challenge.  Now Oldest One does her own hair (well, I put the curlers in the night before, and no more fake pony tail) and make-up, and I do Little One, and we rarely have to be at the competition site before 11:30a since they compete at later times these days.

There is only this year and next, and then Little One is done with PE so won’t be taking dance at school, and won’t be in the dance program anymore.  This is Oldest One’s last year at our cheer gym – this is her seventh year with them.  Little One still has four years left with the cheer gym after this one, and she has already been there six years.

Husband claims he won’t miss any of this.  There are parts I won’t miss, like badly run competitions, last minute extra practices, and how cold it can be watching the dance program.  But I know I’ll miss cheering for my cheerleaders, and shaking and banging the purple and zebra tambourine the girls gave me one Christmas, which saves my arthritic hand from not moving after clapping too much.  They’ve told me they listen for that tambourine, so I make sure it is loud.  I’ll even miss the expensive out-of-town competitions, because we have some great memories from those trips.

Yes, again, this is a year of looking back as the girls are leaping forward.  I’ve just been having such a fun time with them growing up, and everything they do that I get to support and watch.  I know that won’t end, it will just be happening in a different way.  And, after going to the competition and then running to the basketball game I’m sure by the time I get home tomorrow the misty eyes will be gone, and I’ll be complaining about how awful sitting in bleachers all day has been.