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Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

Lesson Learned

Have you ever thought about what it really means to be a parent?  More specifically, a Mother?  A Mama?  I must say that my definition of this term was pretty standard for most of my life.  When I was a child, I knew what my Mama meant to me.  I knew the emotions and feelings associated with that word.  I knew that even though me and my Mama didn’t always see eye to eye that she loved me and she knew best and I’d better do as she said if I wanted to succeed in this life.  Yeah, right!  Of course I can write that now.  At the time, I would have vehemently denied agreeing with a lot of what Mama told me.  Turns out, she was right about almost every single thing she ever told me.

Fast forward to me embarking upon my journey through Motherhood.  All the rules that once applied went out the window.  All the truths that I once held near and dear are, as it turns out, no longer valid.

I thought I had it all figured out.  I thought I knew exactly what to do.  Well, not all the time, but most of the time.  And I felt like the choices I was making regarding my kids were the right ones, and the very best ones I could make for them at the time.  I sometimes looked at other Mother’s and wondered what in the world was wrong with them?  How could they let their kids do this?  How could they just ignore that behavior?  Or worse yet, I’d look at the kids and think to myself, what is wrong with your Mama that you’ve turned out the way you are?   If I were being honest right now, I’d tell you that not only did I think these things, but I also voiced these opinions, quite a bit.

I’m sure there are a whole lot of people out there saying the same thing about me at this point.  I’m sure there have been people who haven’t always agreed with all the choices I’ve made regarding my kids.  I’m also sure that deep down, I really knew that I didn’t know exactly what to do in every situation, but I did the very best that I could possibly do.  Like all the other endeavors in my life, I’ve given 110%, and beyond.  Especially where my boys have been concerned.

But ya know what?  I’ve learned a very important lesson in this journey.  One that I probably never would have been able to grasp if I hadn’t been in the situation I’ve been placed in by time and circumstance.  And this lesson is so earth shattering and soul-shaking, and yet so simple and so real and so humbling.  A lesson that I’m sure lots of Mothers before me have had to learn the hard way, including mine, bless her heart.

Are you ready for it?

Ok.

Here it is.

No matter how you raise your kids, they’re eventually gonna do things you don’t agree with on their journey to becoming whoever it is they’re meant to be in this life.

That’s it.

There is absolutely no one on the face of this earth who can prepare you for this little truth in life.  No one can tell you this is going to happen.  No one can warn you that this might happen.  There is no book you can read that will alert you to this fact.  There are no seminars you can attend to learn about this phenomenon.  There’s no television show that’s gonna get this message across.  There’s no guru you can visit who will enlighten you to this fact.

Nothing.

No one.

This epiphany only happens once you’re in the midst of your own kids stumbling off the path, or in some cases, jumping straight off the flippin’ cliff that’s just to the west of the path.  Sure, other’s might warn you about these things happening, but your kids would never do any of those things.  After all, you raised them better than that.  You taught them right from wrong.  You showed them the right way to be.  You talked to them about all the dangers they might face out there in the world.  You tried to have an open relationship with them where they felt safe to talk to you about anything.  You did the very best that you could possibly do and your kids will never turn out that way.

Never say never.

That still remains one of the most honest and real things my Mama used to tell me.  It was true back then, it’s true today, and it’ll be true tomorrow.  My journey through Motherhood is far from over, but it sure isn’t turning out to be the trip I always envisioned when my boys were little.

My one and only piece of advice for any parent out there, but especially to all you Mama’s…

Never say never.

If Only…

Do you ever think about which tv family you wanted to belong to when you were growing up?  For that matter, did you ever want to belong to a tv family when you were growing up?  Or am I the only one?  With all the scandalous reality shows out there nowadays and the other, somewhat questionable “family” programming, it makes me yearn for days gone by when almost any problem that could ever possibly arise could be solved in under thirty minutes.  Maybe an hour for the really big problems that required two episodes.

I’ve always, for as long as I can remember, wanted to be a Cosby kid!  They were, and still remain to be, my favorite tv family.  No matter what was going on, they always seemed to have fun in that house.  Even when one of the kids did something really bad, there was a calm and rationale conversation, the punishments were doled out, and then all was right with their little world once again.

How wonderful would it be if you could just sit your children down, have a frank, firm, but still funny conversation with them about whatever it is they’re doing wrong at the time, and then, get this, they’d actually listen to what you had to say, correct the problem, and everyone would go back to living a normal, civilized, fun, happy little life?  I know, I know.  Reality doesn’t quite work that fluidly.  It’s a shame, though.  Don’t you think?

This happens to be one of my very favorite scenes from the show and it reminds me of the things I’m dealing with right now with my son.  The ever constant “comeback” for every little thing I tell him or try to explain to him.  The trying in vain to slack off.  The “I know more than you know” attitude.  It’s all in there.  Only Cliff and Theo have a much calmer and very humorous conversation along with an important lesson thrown in there.  At my house, it doesn’t ever seem to be this easy.

Back to reality…

I know I, for one, could really use a good day right about now here in the land of what I have lovingly dubbed Teenage Hell.  It would make my heart sing just to be able to talk to this boy of mine and actually get through to him.  And believe me, I’m under no grand illusions that everyday is gonna be perfect and there’s never gonna be any drama or trouble.  He’s a teenage boy, for God’s sake!  I know I’m dealing with what some may refer to as a ticking time bomb.  But, come on!  Every day doesn’t have to end with me feeling like I’ve been bashing my head against a brick wall, does it?

My friends and family that have already went through Teenage Hell keep assuring me that yes, things will eventually get better… but it may take a few years for things to calm down.  They keep telling me that this is normal and that these are gonna be the hardest years of parenting, but that in the end, if I stay the course, it’ll all be worth it and he’ll be just fine.  Most of these people who keep telling me these things have raised some pretty outstanding young men, so I guess I should take comfort in their words and trust that in the end, it’ll be alright.

In my heart of hearts, I know that we’ll all make it through this and I’m even fairly certain that we’ll all come out alive on the other end.  But, I think sometimes I’d just rather live in my fantasy tv family land where everything is hashed out, lessons are learned, happiness abounds, and love prevails, all in 30 minutes or less.  If only…

Daybreak

This morning, I’m reminded of something I’ve been told many, many times in my life by many, many different people.  “The Good Lord won’t put more on you than He thinks you can carry.”  Which also reminds me of another thing I’ve read and often said.  “I sure wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

The sky this morning is just beautiful.  Bright vivid colors of orange and yellow as the sun is making its debut over the mountain top.  It reminds me that with each new day comes a new beginning.  A chance to start over.  A chance for a renewal in the hope that “Every little thing, is gonna be alright”.  A chance to stay positive and not get bogged down in the muck and the mire of life as the Mother of a teenage boy.

I’m also reminded this morning of another great saying that I, myself, use quite a lot.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

Hmmm…  Isn’t the third time supposed to be the charm?

The Battle

I have come to the point in my life that I have dreaded for so long.  I’ve reached the proverbial end of my rope.  And I knew it was coming.  I knew it was gonna happen.  I have no grand illusions of getting through these next few years unscathed.  But I really, really wasn’t expecting it to be this hard.

Teenagers.  More specifically, a teenage boy.  Two little, seemingly insignificant words, but for me, they inflict great stress, worry, fear, doubt, and at times, hatred.

Hatred might be too strong of a word.  I swear, I don’t really hate this once wonderful boy.  But, at times, I just want to run as far away from him as I possibly can and never look back!  Any parent of a teenager can relate.  I hope.  If not, then please have mercy on me and don’t judge me too harshly.

I know that teenagers are, at times, completely foreign to us parents who are just trying to help our children turn into productive members of society.  But, I swear, and I know each generation of parents says this about their kids, but I swear, these kids today are worse than I ever was growing up.  And Lord knows I was one mouthy teenager.  God bless my poor Mama for having to endure me.  But I truly believe, with all my heart and soul, that my Mama woulda killed me for sure if I’d have done some of the things my son is trying to get away with.  I say trying because I’ve not lost complete control… yet.

That being said, as previously stated, I do think I’m at the end of my rope with this kid.  I think my breaking point has been reached and it’s time for an overhaul before things get really outta hand.  Right now, it’s mostly just the normal teenage crap that I’m having to deal with; the mouthiness, the know it all syndrome, the I’ll be nice long enough to get my way syndrome, the I don’t know or I forgot syndrome, etc.  Any of y’all proud parents of older kids out there knows exactly what I’m talking about.  But I feel like I’ve gotta get this thing under control or it’s gonna morph into something far worse than just a know it all kid who’s sassy and lazy.

And my absolute favorite response from everyone I’ve talked to about this, “It’s gonna get worse before it gets better so prepare yourself.”  Uggghhh!

What the heck am I supposed to do with that kind of honesty?  Couldn’t they just lie to me?  Just a little?  Just enough to give me a little glimmer of hope for a brighter tomorrow?

The truth is, No, they couldn’t.  Because I’m not a woman who wants the truth sugar-coated.  I want the cold hard facts.  These same people keeping reassuring me that things will get better and that this is just a phase that all teenagers go through and that I just have to hold my ground and stay on him and it’ll all work itself out in the end.  I sure do hope they’re all right.

My biggest problem is that I’m sometimes a little too lenient and I have times when I’m not very consistent.  And I’m learning that this is probably the key to my whole problem here.  But in my defense, he didn’t come with an instruction manual and I vehemently loathe playing the bad guy all the time!  This past week I found myself wishing for just one day, one day, without any tension or conflict with this kid.  Just one day where I could sit back and enjoy being with this once wonderful boy that I know is still hiding somewhere deep within the recesses of all this ugliness that just seems to emanate from this kid.

Bam!  Reality set in real quick and he and I had a Come-to-Jesus meeting the other day and here I am, playing the bad guy, yet again.  I see all these other families where they appear to have good relationships with their kids and the mothers don’t look like they’re gonna climb a clock tower with an Uzi and the fathers are cool, calm and collected and their kids are always just so polite…  Wait a minute!

On the outside, we look like that, too!!!  Because for all his faults, that boy of mine is always well behaved and very polite when we’re out together with friends or at a family function.  He’s always on his best behavior at those times.  It’s only when we’re alone together that he shows his behind!  Maybe, just maybe, most, if not all, of these other families are having the same kinds of issues at their house.  Perhaps, all these other seemingly “perfect” families aren’t so perfect after all.  Maybe they’re all just trying to muddle through these teenage years just like we are!  And perhaps their kids, just like mine, are really good people inside and they’re just trying to find their way through all the hormonal changes and peer pressure and sexual changes and every other weird thing that happens when you’re a teenager.  Maybe…

But, that doesn’t stop me from wanting peace and harmony in my house again.  And it sure doesn’t mean that my rope just extended a few more feet.  There will still be order and civility in our house!  Teenagers or no teenagers!  I’m still working on cracking the code for turning this torturous monster/loving boy into a good man one day.  I’ll let y’all know if I figure it out.  If any of you out there have any suggestions, feel free to share.  I’m always open to learning new things.  And I promise not to climb any clock towers any time soon.

Thanks again for being patient with me.

Monsters

How many of you, dear readers, are sharing your house with a monster?  A monster that eats you outta house and home?  A monster that just keeps growing and growing and growing?  A monster that, at times, sucks your will to live?  A monster that some of you may refer to as a teenager?  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  Honestly, having been a teenager myself, once upon a time, in a land not so long and far ago, I try to be understanding and I try to remember what it’s like to be around adults who just don’t seem to have a clue.  But, I swear to all that is good and holy in this world, if I live through these teenage years and don’t strangle the life right outta that boy of mine, it’ll be a small miracle.

Perhaps I’m exaggerating, just a tiny bit.  There are times when I forget that, for the most part, he’s a pretty good kid.  I forget that there’s a lot of things he could be doing right now, but he’s not.  I forget the absolute pure unadulterated hell that his older brother has put me through.  And I forget that, he is still just a kid.

That being said, he’s also my kid!!!  And I know that he knows better than to do some of the things he tries to pull because I’ve taught him better!!!  And I also know that he’s old enough to know the difference between right and wrong and for some strange unbelievable reason that I just absolutely cannot seem to wrap my mind around, he will still choose to do the wrong thing from time to time.  He’s probably not nearly as bad as I’m making him out to be in this little rant of mine, but again, he’s my kid, and he’s just not supposed to be that way, dang it!

Here lately, our biggest issue is his mouth.  All you parents of tweens and teens know exaaaaaactly what I’m referring to.  That sassy, talking back, always has to get in the last word, arguing with every single word you say, mouth!!!  And the fact that he’s cranky because he’s sleepy from having to get up at a quarter ’till six every morning to catch the school bus has really not helped matters in this department.  He’s even went to bed early on several occasions, on his own, just to catch up on some sleep.  And this seems to help, some, but there are still bad days peppered into every week.

I’m really trying to be understanding and not completely lose it every time he opens his mouth to be a sassy teenager.  I’m trying really hard to encourage him in positive ways and refrain from having thoughts of tying him to a piece of furniture and duct taping his mouth shut to avoid those nasty little smartalecky comments and tones that just seem to ooze from his lips on really bad days.

*Just so you know, I would never actually tie him to anything or apply duct tape to one of my children.  That’s just cruel.  Anybody that knows me personally can attest to that.  But, anybody that’s ever dealt with one of these monsters can also relate to my actually thinking about doing it and find the humor in it!

So, that’s where my train of thoughts has derailed this morning.  Right at the corner of Holy Hell! Here We Go Again! and Praise God! We’re Having A Good Day!  

So far, we’re having a good day today.  But, then again, I was only with him for half an hour this morning before I drove him down to the bus stop.  I surely hope this good day will continue this afternoon when I pick him up.

Again, just to be clear on this, for the most part, I’ve got a pretty dang good kid.  But some days, my pretty dang good kid gets on my nerves, pretty dang bad!!!

 

Where Has This Year Gone?

Today is August 1st and I feel as if I’ve lost a couple of months in 2011.  How in the world could it already be August?  How can we already be planning which school supplies to buy?  It was just last week that the kids finally got outta school!  Wasn’t it?  We’ve only made it to the pool a few times this summer and we’ve only been camping a handful of times!  Aaaarrrggghhh!

I know in the past, summers have been absolutely nerve-wracking when I was staying at home with kids, but this summer has just went by waaaaaay too fast!  I haven’t gotten to do even half the things on my to do list!  I feel like I’ve been robbed of time by some unseen force in the universe!

In one week and one day, I’ll be sending kids back out into the world of backpacks, pencils, paper, tests, school buses, best buddies, new teachers, PE, and all other things associated with school.

It’s kinda bittersweet.  I had such big plans for this summer.

Oh well.  I guess all in all, it wasn’t too bad.  We got to do some really fun stuff.  We got to see old friends and spend time with family that lives waaaay too far away.  And we got to spend a lot of time together and enjoy one another, with only a few meltdowns along the way.  Not too bad for a summer break up here at the cabin.  The kids and I fared pretty well up here in the woods and on the days when Mountain Man got to stay home with us, it made it even better!

So, I guess we’ll do our back to school shopping and start getting everything ready this week.  And come next Tuesday morning when I send my teenager back to middle school and the little one back to grade school, I’ll only be sad for a minute or two and I’ll allow myself one tear.  Just one.

‘Cause then I’ll have the house to myself again for a few hours everyday!!!  WooHoo!!!

 

 

A Tale of Two Boys and Two Girls

Mountain Man and I, along with my sister, her boyfriend, and another friend and her boyfriend, took all of our kids and a couple of strays on an outing to a water park over the weekend.  All in all there were six adults, 4 teenagers, and 3 little kids and we had a blast.  But the best part was watching these 2 teenage boys from my camp oogling after these 2 teenage girls from my friends crew and vice versa.

They all found out they were going together a few days before the actual event and the never-ending texting ensued.   This was wildly amusing to watch for all of us adults in the group.

Those boys, one of which is my son, had to make sure they smelled good and fixed every single hair on their heads before we left that morning.  Then, when we met up with the vehicle carrying the girls, I found out they’d been doing the same thing that morning before venturing out to be seen by these two young men.  Primping, fixing their hair, putting on make-up, making sure their clothes were just right.  And all of this just to go down a water slide and jump in a pool!

I found this to be so amusing and it brought back memories of myself doing the exact same thing when I was their age.  It didn’t matter that the water would wash away any trace of make-up or flatten the highest bangs and best “wings” I could tease and spray up.  I’m sure all you ladies remember this classic hairstyle from the 90’s.

No, it didn’t matter that well over an hour spent in the bathroom in front of the mirror would be gone with the very first dive into the pool.  This grooming was an absolute necessity at 13!  It had to be done!  My very existence depended upon it!

It’s fun getting to be a parent and watching your own kids do some of the same things you used to do.  Even though it’s a little different ’cause I have a 13 year old boy and he’s obviously not gonna to be coming to me for make-up tips or other feminine issues.  But, none-the-less, it’s in those little moments, devoid of crankiness, attitude, mouthiness, and all other run of the mill nasty teenage conflict and drama, that I actually enjoy being the Mother of a teenager.

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