Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘teenagers’

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  All the truths that I once held near and dear are, as it turns out, no longer valid.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.

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What I Learned Today

I always try to learn something new each and every day.  More often than not, it’s usually just something little and mundane that really doesn’t matter at the time.  But in the long run and the grand scheme of things, all those little things eventually mix and meld together and they combine with all the bigger lessons of life and encompass all the knowledge and wisdom that I hold near and dear in this world.

Well today, my lesson wasn’t what I might classify as a little thing, but more of a life lesson, and it sometimes astounds me that there are still life lessons out there to be learned at my age.  Not that I’m old or anything, but sometimes I find that I’m a little full of myself and think that I’ve already learned all of the life lessons out there.  And it’s in those moments when I’m absolutely sure that I know all there is to know about something that God decides to put me in my place, as He should.

So my lesson in humility for the day….

I can only do what I can do.  No more, no less.

God has a way of quietly whispering this to me at times and screaming it in my face at others.  But He always gets His point across.

I made myself a promise a while back that I was gonna write something, anything, each and every single day.  Then, my world came crashing down all around me, and as usual, I poured my heart and soul into trying to pick up the pieces and fix everything.  I’m a fixer.  It’s in my nature.  I can’t help it.  So, again, I ignored my promise to myself and stopped writing… again.

While I was in the midst of picking up pieces and attempting to fix everything, I had an epiphany… again.  I had to learn the hard way that I have absolutely no control over other people, yet again.  It was an illusion that I whole heartedly believed with every fiber of my being concerning him.  I just knew that if I did everything right, I could shape his life and help him change his stars, and who knows?  Perhaps, I really have done these things and the fruits of my labor are just yet to be seen.  But right now, in this moment, I can only do what I can do.  No more, no less.

Do you know how horribly difficult it is for someone like me to accept this absolute truth in life?  God keeps trying to teach me that He’s the one in control.  But, sometimes that’s just so hard for me to accept.  But for now, in this moment, I think I’ve finally got the message, loud and clear this time.

I can only do what I can do.  No more, no less.

But that does not mean that my faith is gone.  No, no, no.  Far from it.  My perpetual hope in him to eventually find his path in life and remember all the lessons I’ve taught him and mature into the wonderful man that I’ve always known he was gonna be when he grows up is still there and I still believe.  I will always believe.

But…

I can only do what I can do.  No more, no less.

Becoming an Auntie

I got the call a little over nine months ago.  My Mama was calling me and she had me on speaker phone.  Again.  I hate when she puts me on speaker phone ’cause I can barely hear her, and when I do actually hear her, I can’t understand her because of all the other various noises in the background.  However, this time it was different.  It was quite in the background and she was happy.  In fact, she sounded downright giddy!

I answered the phone with my usual “hello” which was very quickly met with something along the lines of “Do you have any baby clothes you wanna get rid of?”  I had to have her repeat the question because, 1)I couldn’t hear her, and 2)I was sure I’d misunderstood her.  Again, “Do you have any baby clothes you don’t want anymore?”  I laughed, rather heartily, because my two babies are both teenagers and I quickly reminded my Mama that my youngest was 13 and that any clothes I might’ve been saving had long since been given away.

It was at this point in the conversation that my Mama got tickled and I heard other, muffled giggles in the background.  A few seconds later, Mama is telling me that my middle sister and her husband are expecting their first child.  I’m not real sure what the next words out of my mouth were, but I think I might’ve called her a liar or asked if she was joking or had gone temporarily insane.

After that, there was definite outright laughter in the background and I could hear my sister and her husband confirming what Mama had just told me.  I was so excited, I think I squealed!  Just a little, though.  I congratulated the new parents to be and with a few more brief sentences, the phone conversation was over.

I remember being so excited at the thoughts of being an Aunt.  I have two boys of my own, but I’ve never been someones Aunt!  Fond memories of my favorite Aunt and all the time we’ve spent together over the years washed over me.  I was filled with such hope and love for this little being whom I’d yet to meet.  Anyone out there who’s an Auntie can hopefully relate.  If not, then this is yet another fine example of the depths of crazy lurking within.

Now, let me tell ya, nine months passed with snail like speed when I was waiting, rather impatiently toward the end, to meet my babies.  Those same nine months don’t go by any faster when you’re waiting to meet your niece or nephew.  It’s not the same kind of waiting, but it still seems like the day will never come when you get to look upon a new little life and know that you share something special with this little being.

So, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Along the way, I got texts and phone calls about the new Mommy and baby.  My sister sent me a picture of the first ultrasound.  My little nephew’s very first photograph.  My nephew.  Another boy.  The third grandson for my Mama.  He was precious.  Simply precious.  And yes, I’m fully aware that in an ultrasound picture, especially one sent to a cell phone, one can’t really see the baby’s features to tell if he/she is gonna be a cutie, but trust me, I knew he was precious.

My sister and her husband took what seemed like forever to choose a name for my nephew.  They were going back and forth for months but they knew they wanted to give him a family name.  They finally decided one of his names would be Charles after mine and my sister’s Paw.  The other name was going to be one from my brother-in-law’s family.  It wasn’t revealed until right before the baby was born.

So, again, I waited.  And waited.  And waited some more.  And finally, the day came.  The day we’d all been waiting for.  The day I’d finally get to meet Little Charlie.  And again, you must remember that I’ve never been someone’s Auntie, so this newfound form of love was totally foreign to me.  I was so excited to finally meet this little bundle!  I felt like I couldn’t get to the hospital fast enough!  My youngest son and I met my baby sister, who had already met Charlie the night before, shortly after he made his grand entrance into the world, and we were off to pick up my Mama and then on to the hospital so I could finally meet him.

I’m telling ya, the excitement I felt that day cannot really be put into words.  It’s a feeling that’s just indescribable!  And that was just the beginning.  Once we finally made it to the hospital and we finally made it to my sister’s room, I felt a sudden surge come over me.  Someone else had my nephew when we entered the room, but she was a very sweet lady and gave him over to us willingly.  My Mama got him first, and I tried really hard to remember that when it was me laying in that hospital bed with people coming to see my babies for the very first time, I was just a little hurt that people completely forgot about me and went straight for the cute, pink, cooing baby in the room, so I made sure to speak to my sister and her husband.  Albeit briefly.

Then….  It was my turn.  I was finally gonna get to meet my nephew.  I was finally gonna get to hold Little Charlie.  Oh, and have I mentioned that, while I do not have an addictive personality, I think I might have an addiction to babies.  I love everything about them!  Their sweet smell, the precious cupid’s bow lips, the beautiful color, and those feet!  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  Those adorable little piggies!!!  A strange desire comes over me whenever I see little baby piggies.  A desire that gets even stronger if I can hold said baby and smell said baby while looking at said baby’s little baby piggies.

At first sight, I was hooked!  That precious little baby boy is just beautiful.  He is perfect and wonderful and just…. beautiful.  It was love at first sight.  At first sight, at first smell, at first touch, and especially at first sound.  He cooed so sweetly.  He was just so stinkin’ cute!!!!  Immediately, I felt my addiction grab hold of me and begin the tug at my heart strings.  The tug that makes me think I want another baby.  This tug can be dangerous if I let it completely take hold of me.

Then, it occurred to me.

I’m an Auntie.  I have the best of both worlds with this little fella.  I get to love and cuddle and coo and swaddle this sweet little precious baby boy, and then I get to go home and sleep, and eat peacefully, and have sex every night if I want to, and go to the bathroom by myself, and watch an entire movie from start to finish uninterrupted, and shower alone, and read a book if I want to, and write a blog if I want to.

Insert reality here.

The high left me nearly as quickly as it had taken hold of me.

It occurred to me as we were walking back to the car to return home how truly lucky I am.  I’ve already experienced the newborn baby thing and made it through the toddler years.  I’ve trudged through the elementary school years and now I’m in the deep throes of the teenage years, or Hell, as I like to lovingly refer to this stage of development.

So, I’m thinking I really like this Auntie deal.  All that love to share, all that hope for another new life, all those elated baby feelings, and all the freedoms of having older children back home who can pretty much take care of themselves, and will soon be grown and gone.  I don’t want any more babies of my own, but I really think I’m gonna enjoy being an Auntie.

Secrets To Happiness

Here lately, life has been…

Ummm…

Well, I’m almost afraid to type the word for fear that I’ll jinx this new-found thing that’s going on around here.

Oh, what the heck.  I’m just gonna throw it out there.

I’m HAPPY!  I mean really happy!

Not that I’m usually angry or sad or anything like that.  I mean, yeah, every new day brings new challenges, disappointments, frustrations, and various other negative things.  I’m pretty sure that’s normal when you’re raising kids, taking care of a house and your family, trying to find new ways to save money and dealing with crazy extended family members.  But for the last little bit, I’ve just been super dooper looper giddy.  And it feels sooooooo good!

That doesn’t mean that everything is perfect in my little corner of the Universe.  Far from it, in fact.  But for whatever reason, it’s a lot easier to accept the bad when you’ve got the best surrounding you with love and acceptance each and every day.  I’ve known for a long time now that Mountain Man loves me for who I am, unconditionally.  But it never ceases to amaze me just how deep that love goes and just how much better things are knowing that he’s around.

So, I’m not sure if these are truly the secrets to happiness, but they’ve helped me immensely.

1) Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Things are not always gonna be perfect, no matter how hard you try.  There’s always gonna be laundry and dishes piling up, and from time to time, there’s gonna be “stuff” laying on every surface that will hold something.  That’s life.

2) You can’t fix everything, (or everyone).

You are one person and no matter how hard you try, you absolutely cannot fix all the world’s problems on your own.

3) You are not in control of anything!

When you stop and think about it, you really don’t have control over anything in this world except yourself and your own actions, and that’s even limited at times.  Once you wrap your mind around this concept, it’s easier to let things be and not worry about every little thing.

4) Worrying doesn’t help!  Period!

Seriously.  Does actual worrying ever fix anything?  No.  All it does is cause internal turmoil and angst.

5) Accept yourself.  

Don’t expect too much from yourself or other people.  Know your limitations and know when to say enough is enough.  Always strive for your best, but know that sometimes good enough is good enough.

6) Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.

A very wise man has told me this repeatedly, but I’ve not fully mastered this one, just yet.  I fully see the logic behind this concept, but I’m constantly guilty of putting others in my life before me.  I think that’s an innate part of being a woman and a Mother.  I am starting to see the truth in this statement and I’ve put it into practice, just a little, here and there.  I kinda feel a little guilty when I do, though, so this one’s gonna require baby steps.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the first one to use these little tid bits and I’m certain I won’t be the last.  In fact, the very first phrase listed happens to be the title of a book!  These things just happened to enter my thoughts this morning and I thought I’d share.  Plus, there’s that whole thing I’ve got going where I’m trying to write something everyday.

Again, thank you for being patient with me.  I am, most definitely, a work in progress.

Am I Getting Dumber With Age?

Do you believe that as we age, we lose a certain amount of knowledge with every passing day, month, year, decade, etc.?  I’ve read several articles eluding to just that and here lately, I’m beginning to wonder if there’s some truth to these findings.  I haven’t quite figured out what’s going on just yet, but some days I feel as though I’m actually getting dumber.

I’ll be having a conversation and I can see the word I want to use for just a split second and then, poof, it’s gone and I have to pause for a moment to try and recover it from somewhere deep in the recesses of my somewhat rather large head.  You’d think that having a head as big as mine is, there’d be plenty of room in there to adequately store all these words in some sort of organized way so they may be retrieved when needed.  No such luck for this gal.

Honestly though, there are times when I seriously debate whether or not I’m actually losing brain cells, or just misplacing them, as the years keep passing by.  I mean, I always thought that you’re supposed to get smarter with age, wiser.  I’ve really been wracking my brain about this over the last few weeks because my condition just seems to be getting worse with every passing day.

I’ve joked around for years now that Aricept is in my future.  For those of you that don’t know, Aricept is a drug that helps to slow the development of Alzheimer’s.  While I don’t believe I have early onset Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia, I just know there’s gotta be a reason for all this forgetfulness!

I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with Post It notes pretty much my entire adult life just to keep me on track and remind me of the little things that I just can’t seem to keep straight.  You know: what to grab before I leave the house in the morning, where I placed an item that I’ll be needing later in the day, what I need to do for someone before I go to bed, etc.  That’s not so bad, right?

Oh, and one of the best examples of my ability to possibly be the world’s most scatter brained, yet educated woman occurred shortly after I started college.  This story will undoubtedly be told long after I’m dead and gone.  And please bear in mind that during this period in my life, I was a married, full time, adult college student, working two jobs, and raising two boys, one just starting kindergarten and the other in second grade.  Neither of my boys rode the bus at this point, either, so to say that mornings were hectic at my house would be a gross understatement.  Looking back, I have a feeling this might’ve led to my forgetfulness at the time.

Trying, in vain, I might add, to get all three of us up and ready for school, was at times, some of the most difficult days of all of my years being a Mother.  It never failed, my youngest son was an early riser, so he was always up, ready and raring to go at the crack of dawn.  And he was always so happy.  He’d greet me every morning with a smile and a big hug and kiss.  I sure do miss those good morning kisses.  While my other son could have slept through a nuclear attack outside his bedroom window without ever even rolling over.  And he was the devil incarnate!  Talk about someone who’s not a morning person!  Wow.  Looking back, it’s a miracle we ever made it through any of those early school mornings.

Anyway, my morning had to start with coffee before I was able to function.  Until the caffeine hits the synapses, I’m completely useless as a human being.  So, I get about three sips of my coffee, while getting the kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed, getting myself fed, dressed, folding clothes that were in the dryer, re-loading the dryer, starting another load of laundry, putting dishes away, taking out the garbage, studying again for another yet another anatomy test, making beds, returning an important phone call, cleaning up spilled milk, assisting with tying shoes, packing lunches, making sure stray toys hadn’t found their way into back packs or jackets.  You know, just the usual morning stuff that every Mama has to go through.  Wait.  What?  You mean all Mama’s don’t do this every morning?  Seriously?  Hmmmm.

Somewhere in the midst of all the insanity and chaos that was taking place all around me, it occurred to me that I had only had just enough caffeine to tickle and tease my senses.  I could still smell the coffee lingering in the air, but for the life of me, I could not locate my cup!  I searched everywhere!  I’ll bet I made fifty trips up and down the steps in our apartment looking in every room, on every counter, dresser, and nightstand.  I knew I’d actually had a cup of coffee that morning.  I could still taste the last sip I’d taken.

I tried to retrace my steps to locate my missing java, but it was GONE!  Completely vanished into thin air.  I started asking the kids if they’d hid it from me as a joke, I was asking myself if I’d hid it from me as a joke.  This was getting serious.  I literally thought I was losing my mind that morning.

Just when I was ready to just wave the white flag of defeat and crawl back under the covers, I happened to glance over at the microwave.  And wouldn’t ya know it.  There sat my coffee mug inside the microwave where I had put it earlier to warm it back up.  I had to just laugh.  I laughed until I was crying because I felt like I might just truly be losing my mind.  My kids laughed with me, (not at me, of course), and then we headed off to school and work.

I’ve never actually lost my coffee again since then, but I have brewed countless pots of hot water and even recently made a big ol piping hot pot of nothing.  I remembered the coffee, but forgot the water.

I’ve always said that it’s a good thing I’m cute, ’cause God knows there’s gotta be a trade off for Mountain Man to keep me around.  For while I consider myself to be very intelligent and well read, these days my conversational skills just aren’t up to par.  I’m blaming multitasking and stressful parenting for all my forgetfulness.

I’m hoping that this too shall pass.

If not, let’s hope I stay cute for a long, long time!

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?

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