Mother of Necessity

because sometimes, you just have to.


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I Just Didn’t Realize

confussedThe other day I asked “The Kid” to look over a blog that I had written about my folks to edit. (He’s my proofreader). He just stood there, silent with a sad look on his face.

I was puzzled by his reaction. I was thinking, well he’s just being a brat and didn’t want to help me. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I asked why? His response surprised me. He said “I can’t” Why not? “It makes me sad and heartbroken.” My heart dropped to the floor. I didn’t realize that for him editing the blogs about my folks hurt so much.

He is a great help to me and the folks. He is always there to lend a hand. He has been checking on me to make sure he is there for me. Always asking if I’m ok or asking if I need anything. So, his response surprised me.

He continues to say that he’s not strong like I am. That it’s not easy for him to read in black and white what is happening to his grandparents and reading how this is affecting his mom.

Poor kid. I didn’t even think about how deeply this was impacting him. I knew he was hurting but I didn’t know how much.

He has watched me have sobbing breakdowns, He has watched me stress, listened to my emotional outbursts all the while staying calm, listening, handing me a tissue and hugging me so often that I’m almost bruised. J He’s the strong one. That’s a lot for a young person to carry.

I am not the strong one. I feel emotions deeply. They cut me off at the knees. I cry in the silence of my own home so no one will see my weakness. I put on a brave face to get through the emotional roller coaster I am on. I smile and joke so I won’t feel the sadness or pain. I blog to get those emotions and thoughts out because I can’t handle them bouncing around in my head.

“The Kid” is stronger than I am. He has been dealing with the news of his grandma (Mimi) very well. Or so I thought. On the outside he is helpful, talkative, kind, loving, and supportive but on the inside he is falling apart. I guess neither one of us are that strong but I know that going through this as mom and son we will be right.

They tell you that that the passing of your parents is painful. I had no idea how much my heart would hurt and they aren’t even gone. This journey will be one of the toughest things I will endure.

Some of you that have already been on this ride, and it’s lingering after effects, know the pain I am talking about. It physically hurts and your brain feels like it’s on fire. Accepting those emotions is another small journey in itself.

You think you are mentally prepared for this journey, But you are not. There is nothing in this world that can prepare you for the wide range of emotions and thoughts that run through your head. It consumes you in every way.

There is some good news. That is I have a fantastic support system. I have a wonderful family that loves me unconditionally. I have some of the best prayer warriors out there. I have a son that loves me so much he’s afraid to share his emotions with me because he doesn’t want me to worry or add to the stress level. My folks are the best parents any kid could want. And, I still have time to spend with them and love them even harder than I did before.

I am blessed with riches that some people only dream of having. Every night I am amazed that I made it through the day. With the grace of God, a wonderful family and amazing friends I know tomorrow and the next day will be better. And I will continue to strive to do and be better for my son, my folks and loved ones.

I’m sorry Kid, I just didn’t realize how much you were hurting. I promise to do better and to help you through this. I love you!

P.S. Sorry for any errors on this blog or the past few and future blogs. I no longer have an in house editor.

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The Kid

 

The Kid at 18 months

The Kid at 18 months

I know today is not my normal day to post, But this week is special.

This week is my son’s 25th Birthday. There is no way I have a kid that is that old. Isn’t it a parent’s right to embarrass them? He has no idea I am writing about him. I will have him read this after I post. This way he has no say in what I write. I know…I’m a mean mom.

I know every parent says they have the best kids “EVER”, I am no exception. I have the BESTEST KID EVER!!!!

It’s just been the kid and I for a very long time. He has always been my biggest cheerleader. He is my son and I am proud to say he is my friend too.

We can chat for hours about nothing or about serious topics. We don’t always share the same views but I love that he doesn’t conform to what I think. (Most of the time)

He has a beautiful mind and he blows me away with his ideas. I would consider him an “idea man”. He has some great theories on how to rebuild our public school system, which needs some work in my opinion. He was ideas on new products and even new fuels.

I am his sounding board. He comes to me and shares his ideas, and I am the one that tells him his idea won’t work or challenge him to prove to me why the idea would work. We make a good team. His idea may be in the clouds and I am the naysayer.  You never know if one of those crazy ideas or theories will come into play some day. I’m hoping……he’s my retirement program.

Over the years we have had some ups and downs, but he continues to love his mom. He is so respectful towards me. He may not like me at times but he has never disrespected me. I must have done something right.

The Kid at 4

The Kid at 4

He is an old soul. When he was 4 he looked like a little man. He has always asked the hard questions and wanted the big answers. He never settled for the simple version that you can tell most kids.

At the age of 3 we were in the car having a nice summer Sunday drive and he asked me…How do you pray? I simply responded by saying, “you just talk to God like you do with anyone”. Thinking this would be a good enough answer for a 3 year old. Before I knew what was going on. He is yelling “HEY GOD” out the back window of the car at a stop light in town with about 20 people at a nearby ice cream shop.

I turn around and ask him what he is doing and without hesitation he responds…”I’m just making sure God hears me since He’s in heaven”. 

That’s when I knew my hand were going to be full for a long time and I needed to provide more concise answers to his questions. 

You know how most kids go through the “why” stage.  Where they are always asking why to everything you say or tell them. Well my son went through the “What’s that” stage for almost 2 years. This stage started when he could first put 2 words together. These were his first two words.

If I didn’t respond to his question he would ask “what’s that” till I gave him the answer he was looking for. This stage drove me nuts. It didn’t matter what it was, he HAD to know.  If he saw a real cow he would ask “what’s that”. If I was holding a piece of paper, I got the question. I couldn’t respond just by telling him it was paper. I had to tell him what color the paper was, what was on the paper, if the paper was for him or until he was satisfied with my response.

Thank goodness that was a phase and I no longer have to answer that question. I think I used up all my answers. He is still inquisitive but now he does his own research and I don’t have to hear….What’s That? (I kind of miss it)

The Kid at 16

The Kid at 16

He is a wonderful kid. I have never had to worry that he was hanging out with the wrong friends. Never had to worry when he was coming home or who he was talking to on the phone.

I always knew where he was and knew every friend he had. I didn’t even have to give him a curfew. He was always home at a reasonable time.

My kid is bright, inquisitive, respectful, caring, sweet, kind and handsome.

We lived a few blocks from an Aunt. He would go visit with her after school. They would talk and eat Popsicles. Our Aunt was sick and lived by herself. The kid loved his aunt so much that at 12-13 year old he would take the time and go visit with her because he wanted to. Not because I made him or even suggested. He did this on his own. I have to say, that is one of the sweetest things he has done.

He is an American history buff. He can talk your ear off about all the wars.

The kid likes meteorology. He can tell you when it’s going to rain just by looking at the clouds.

 He’s good at math. He passed a calculus course in college and never had a class in high school.

He likes to learn things on his own. He will study a topic for hours just to learn all he can. Not because he has too, but because he likes learning.

He loves physics. Now that’s a subject that he always has to explain to me.

He reads poetry to relax. He likes Emily Dickinson, Edger Allen Poe and Walt Whitman.

He loves cars. He can tell you almost every make/model and year of any car. His favorites are muscle cars from the 70’s. He has been a car fan since he was 10 months old.

He loves music. He listens to almost anything from classical to thrash. He’s not a fan of opera or rap.

I know I’m bragging but this will probably be the last time I will be able to do this in public. Because he’s going to hate me after I post this.

I have to say I am a lucky mom to have such a wonderful kid. I tell people God took pity upon me when He gave me The Kid. I think God looked down on me and thought….She isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, let me give her a good kid that won’t cause too many problems.

Whatever the reason, I am grateful and overly blessed to be this kid’s mom.

He is the best thing I have ever done with my life. He is constantly teaching me things and inspires me to be better. I love every minute of being your mom. I would do it all again, a thousand times over.

Thanks Kid for being such a great son. I will always be proud of you. I will always be in your corner.

I hope this year is your most fulfilling and successful year yet. Happy Birthday, Bud.

Hey!! Guess what?  Love you.  (Inside joke)

The Kid and me 2014

The Kid and me 2014


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Do We Cater To Our Kids?

kids

In my opinion, Yes I think parents today do cater to their kids. I know I am going to make some people upset with this blog. This blog is about what I witness at the store, restaurants, church, and the park, everywhere I go.

I see it every day. I see parents buying toys kids don’t need just to stop them from crying in the store. I hear moms asking their kids what they want to eat when grocery shopping. I hear kids telling their parents “NO” when mom asks them to stop acting up and mom just goes on and ignores the child.

I hear parents say they want to give their children everything they didn’t have. That’s great that you want your kids to have “things”. But do you have to give it to them at their beckon call? Why can’t they earn the “things” you are wanting to give your child?  We can teach our children that things in life aren’t for free and that you have to earn the things you want in life. Hard work has its rewards.

I hear parents say I don’t want to hurt their feelings by telling them “no”. What??? Really???

Do you really think this is how the world is? Isn’t it better that we hurt their feelings and teach them how to react better and do better? I hurt my kids feeling all the time, just so I can teach him. You can get over having your feelings hurt.

Seriously, I have never had a job where my boss didn’t say no to me. Boy, wouldn’t that be nice though. It sure would be nice to ask my boss to get paid and not work for the next 3 months and the boss says sure that sounds great…….go ahead.  Reality is your boss will laugh at you and probably make you work harder just to prove a point.

In the real world, we are told no all the time. No, you can’t drive 100 mph. No, you can’t drink and drive. No, you can’t have a raise. No, you can’t have the weekend off and so on.

Saying “No” to our kids is a way of life. We will teach them that sometimes we have to wait, or do without. We teach them there are rules to follow for their safety. We teach them that sometimes we don’t always get what we want. Even when it’s deserved.

I hear parents say, I want my child and me to be friends. Well, don’t we all want that, but let’s be real here. Our kids don’t need us to be their friends, we are their parents and that role includes discipline, rules, chores, curfews, love and respect. The friendship role comes later, much later.

When we are our child’s friend we are not teaching them to respect authority or us as parents. We are not setting guidelines for them to learn from. We are not setting the example of what a parent is. We are not teaching them limitations. We are not showing them right from wrong.

My question is: Are we doing our kids a favor or an injustice by catering to them?

My Answer: We are doing an injustice. Because we are teaching our kids to be ‘entitled’ adults.

If we as the parents are not teaching our children respect, rules, the word ‘No”, or giving them everything they want when they want it, we are raising a group of ‘entitled’ adults.

The way I see it, these group of children with have a much tougher time being accepted with friends, employers and co-workers. Because they are expecting everything to go their way. They are expecting a job to fall in their laps without having to make a resume. These kids are expecting to dress any way they want to go to a job interview or work. They are expecting the maximum income just because they think they deserve the max paycheck without any experience in the job. These kids will think that speaking ghetto will fly in the work force.

These kids are set up for failure. All because we as parents didn’t do our jobs and train our kids to respect others, work hard to earn what they want or deserve.

I’m not just picking on you. I have made some of these mistakes too. I protected my kid way too much. And he is paying the price now. It’s harder to watch them fail as adults then to train them right in the first place.

We are hurting our kids and their futures. Heck, we are hurting our own future because this group of kids will be running the country in 20-30 years.  Now that’s a scary thought. A group of entitled individuals running the country. We think it is bad now, Just wait.

Here’s a question for you to ponder: If your parents raised you by telling you “No”, made you earn the things you wanted, gave you curfews, you had chores and rules to follow: Why is this not good enough for our kids too?

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Work with what you already know is right and you can’t go wrong.

My intent here was not to offend anyone but to enlighten folks on what I witness every day. We are the parents, it’s our job to do right by our kids. I am not the perfect parent. I admit that. But I have done the best I could for my son to be a respectful, loving, hard-working, kind man. He will be the first to tell you, he has NEVER had anything handed to him. He has a better appreciation for what he does earn. He has pride in his work and the things he has accomplished.

We as parents, just like our parents did for us. Must Do Better. Not just give in to our kids but teach them.

Tell me your thoughts on this topic. Would love to hear your feedback.


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Making A Mountain Out Of A Mole-Hill

Mountain

I think this is my son’s favorite past-time. I realize he is still young and can freak out about things he encounters for the first time. But, really to stay in that freak-out mode and to build on it, just seems tiresome to me.

Let me set the stage. A few months ago my son had to replace the engine in his car. He had many choices to pick from but he decided to replace the engine. In this situation he did not freak out at all. (I did for a few minutes).

A few days ago, his car wouldn’t start. He checked everything and he could not find the issue. He comes in the house and is just deflated, his attitude is bad and he’s talking about how his savings will be gone once he gets the car fixed.

He continues to rant about how this, that and the other won’t work out. He just kept building layer after layer of how bad all this is, without even knowing what is wrong with the car or how much it will cost to fix.

He stayed in this phase/mode/mindset for over a day. Never taking any action to resolve the car issue.

As some of you know, once your kid reaches a certain age, we as parents can’t tell them anything. So, I didn’t say a word till he asked me.

That’s when I asked if he called our mechanic, he said “no”.

Here I go being a mom and telling my adult kid what to do. I tell him to get on the phone and make sure the mechanic can take care of the car within a couple of days. And then tell him to call for a tow truck to take the car to the mechanic.

He comes back to me and says the car will be picked up the next day and the mechanic will be ready for the car. Awesome….wheels in motion (pun intended).

The next day everything is done and within a few hours the mechanic calls my son to tell him it was nothing major just a faulty spark plug and he can pick up the car anytime.

Best part, not a lot of money out of my son’s savings.

He drove himself crazy for 2 days all because he made things worse then they were and expected the worst thing to happen. And it wasn’t that way at all.

My brother likes to say this kind of action is ‘going from zero to hammered’. I call it, making a mountain out of a mole hill.

We all do this to ourselves at some point. For me, I’m ok with being in that stage for a minute or two. But to stay in that stage for a day or longer is just ridiculous.

Nothing gets accomplished and your stress level goes through the roof. Then fear sets in because we are afraid of the outcome. All because we went on a tangent to make things worse for ourselves.

Lessons learned:

We make thigs out to be worse than they really are.

Nothing is as a bad as it seems (most of the time)

Don’t let a problem sit and boil, get busy and resolve issue (ASAP)

Take a breath when a problem comes up and then tackle said problem.

I hope my son’s example of what not to do is helpful for you.

Tell me a time when you made a mountain out of a mole hill and how you resolved the problem or what you had learned.


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The Day Finally Came

 

balloons

This morning (May 19th) at 2:00 am, it happened. The day all parents wait for.

As you know my son lives with me. Last May he moved back home after being away 5 years for college.

Within a month of being back he found a job. YAY!!!! He works 2nd shift. I like to be awake when he comes home so he can talk about his day. I want him to know I am proud of him and that I am there for him. I know he’s 24 but I want to show him I love him and be there even at 2 AM.

This past year has been a transition for both of us. Me, losing my job and him trying to find his place in this world. It’s been tough on both of us.

When I lost my job he was in my corner, cheering me on to do whatever I wanted. He has been my biggest supporter in this new blogging world I’ve entered. He gives me ideas for blogs, and sometimes a blog comes from a conversation we have had. He gives me suggestions to do bigger things to get my name out there.

My son has helped me this past year and all the struggles that has come up. All the while trying to figure out his next step to becoming the man he wants to be.

Before the divorce my son has struggled with a lot of different things. After the divorce his struggles were longer lasting and more important, life struggles. He has gone through anger stages, hate stages, disappointments in others, disappointments with himself and just in general growing pains.

He informed me about 4 weeks ago that he was moving back to the state he went to college. I was surprised but not really. I knew this day would come, that he would leave home for good. I really thought that was going to be last year. He decided to come home instead. Which was great. I love that he is here with me.

When he told me he would be moving at the end of June, I had a bazillion questions for him. Like any other mom, the questions were, where are you going to live, do you have a job there, how are you going to do this without support, on and on and on?

He looked at me and said, “I know I don’t have all the answers, but this is something I have to do. This is something I need to do. I no longer belong in this state.”

Then he followed that up with: “I have to do this by myself, I am asking you not to step in or ask a bunch of questions”. My response was, “Great, I have been let go of 2 jobs in less than a year”. We began to talk about his decision. I have concluded that he is right, my job as a parent is done and my role is changing. I am ready for that new chapter.

He is also right about being here. Where we live is not suited for him. He needs something better. He deserves something better.

I think he is very brave making this decision. I know I couldn’t just pick up without knowing I have a backup plan. I am proud that he is trying to find his way and even making the scary decision to move.

My boy is a man, it’s time for him to leave the nest.

That is something that all parents wait for and dread at the same time, our children coming into their own and leaving home. We could not be more proud and heartbroken at the same time.

But that is NOT the day we truly long for.

The past couple of weeks have been rough for me. Learning to keep my mouth shut and not ask questions about his move. He gave me a list of things that he needs. I have been going to garage sales, flea markets and dollar stores since he sleeps in the morning due to his job.

The reality sets in when you are buying chairs to towels. I am sad but grateful I have the time to do these things for him.

Since I have been gathering things for him to have his own place, I decided to write down all my recipes and instructions on cooking.

When he came home last night (2 AM), I handed him a binder full of recipes and instructions on how-to. I informed him what was inside and he flipped through it and said “cool, thanks”. He then goes to the kitchen to make a sandwich and went upstairs to his room.

That’s when “IT” happened.

After about a minute of him in his room he runs down the stairs gives me a huge hug and says….”YOU’RE AWESOME!!!!”

I just about fell off the couch. In a joking manner I ask him, what do you want? His response is “nothing”. You are a great mom and you need to be told that you are awesome more often.

I cried like a baby. So sweet of him to say those words to me. He continues to tell me that he is grateful that he got to stay with me after the custody battle. Telling me that having me as his mom was the best thing.

He told me, he would have been worse off with his dad and he would never be the person he is today without me as his mom.

The sweetest words a mom (any person) will ever hear, is a true heartfelt “You’re Awesome”.

I realize some parents never hear those words from their kids. For that, I will say, You Are Awesome. You raised your kids and they are decent people. Great job. That’s a lot of work and you deserve the praise.

Tell me your defining moment when you realized all your hard work paid off.


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4 Steps To Help With Empty Nesting

empty nest

Graduation ceremonies are over and graduation parties have been cleaned up. Now it is time to start planning for our kids to go off to college. Time for us parents to figure out what we are going to do when our child leaves home.

Scary thoughts come to mind. For us single mom’s our kids’ lives has made us who we are today. We have made our kids the center of our world. All the other stuff like our jobs are things we have to do in order to be with our kids.

With them leaving home, our role is changing. What are we going to do without someone to take care of? Our helper is leaving us. What are going to do without 3-10 other teenagers in our homes on any given day? The questions and fears are real.

For some of us this transition will be really tough and others, not so much.

Here are a few things that I did to prep myself when my son went away to college. He was 2 states and an hour drive away. This was a huge transition for both of us.

Be prepared. Be prepared for stillness in your home. Get yourself ready for the quiet. That was the big one for me.

Be ready for the meals for one. Get ready for less cleaning and less laundry. I didn’t realize how dirty boys are till mine left.

Be prepared for the emotions you will go through and think about your reactions to those emotions.

All of those heartfelt conversations at midnight will be over. Sad I know. But I promise the conversations you will have when they come home to visit are amazing.

There will be no more arguments over chores, playing video games and chatting on the phone to much.

Some big changes are coming. Get ready.

Being mentally prepared takes some of the pressure off when things do come up.

Relax. This is not the end of the world. This is only a new chapter in your book. Remind yourself that this is good for my child.

Relax and enjoy the quiet in your home. Enjoy not having to clean so often or do laundry every day.

Remind yourself that you did everything you needed to do to raise your child.

This is the time to enjoy the things you may have missed out on.

Time to let your child shine on their own and show us we did well.

The more relaxed you are the easier it is for you.

Do something. Don’t set in the emotions or the loneliness. Get up and do something. You have been busy for your child, now do some things for you.

Get back into that hobby that was pushed to the side since you became a mom.

Visit your friends whenever you want. Have people over to your house. It will be a nice change from teenager conversations to adult conversations.

Reinvent yourself. Do something you have always wanted to do but didn’t because you had a child at home.

Think about the positives. Think about all the great things that will happen to your child. Their journey is new and I guarantee you they still need you. It’s just in a different way now.

Think about how your journey as a parent and how it has changed you.

Think about how nice it will be to be in the bathroom with them not bugging you. Or how nice it will be not to have that dreaded question….what’s for dinner?

Going to the refrigerator and realizing that the milk container is not empty and the left-overs are still there.

It’s a positive to be in your car and not have to turn down the radio or listen to whatever yucky music they were listening to the night before.

This is a fun time for both of you. Embrace the opportunities you have. You know your child is embracing this big new world and you can do the same.

Having your home empty is not a bad thing. It’s just a new thing. Enjoy it, relax and have some fun along the way.

I hope these suggestions will help you. Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you.


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6 Things I Have Learned From My Son

 

I don’t want to admit it. But my son has been a great teacher to me. He doesn’t even know that he’s been my teacher for 24 years.

I have been blessed with a wonderful child. He continues to amaze me (good or bad) every day. There’s not a day that passes that I am grateful to be his mom.

I want to share a few things he has taught me over the years.

Unconditional Love: The moment that I held him for the first time, I really understood what unconditional love meant. I never knew there was so much love inside me, till I saw that little precious face looking back at me. It was as if my heart had grown to its full potential at that very moment. If I had never birth to my son, I don’t think I would have known that true unconditional love was possible. There was nothing in this world that could stop me from loving him, ever.

Forgiveness: He is so forgiving. If I mess up, he’s the first to say “it’s ok mom”. Even after 24 years, he has forgiven me for all the BIG mistakes I have made.  

My son set the example for me on forgiveness. I figured if my son can be so forgiving then,  so can I.

My son at 9 months old. Too cute.

My son at 9 months old. Too cute.

Communication:  I am a simple girl. My son, however is not simple. He is smart, technical and analytical. From an early age he would explain things in technical terms. I had a hard time following along. I had to learn a new way of communicating so I could connect with him. Raising this young man, has taught me many different ways to communicate. I know can relate to science, physics, and math when I talk with him.

If I didn’t have this type of child I don’t think writing a book or blogging would have come true.

All those years I thought I knew how to relate and talk to almost anyone. I was so wrong.

Keeping An Open Mind: Because my son is so technical and analytical, he has some ideas, theories and thoughts that are mind blowing. Or at least to me they are.  

I have to keep an open mind when he shares those ideas and thoughts with me. I never know when a great idea will come. He has ideas on how to make the public school system better, theories on a new kind of fuel, and even ideas about a new candy. As his mom I want him to think outside the box, so this makes me have an open mind and not shoot down every crazy or great idea he has.

Tolerance: I can honestly say my son is not like me. Relating to him has been a tough journey for me. He is so different then I am. He’s smart, I’m not. He’s like Sheldon from “Big Bang Theory” and I’m like Penny. Anyone that knows him tells me the same thing. He’s so smart, I can’t follow along with him.

He taught me to be tolerant and to accept his uniqueness.

I had to learn to be more tolerant of someone that was so different than me. Don’t get me wrong. I am tolerant of others that are different, but when you are raising someone that does not display anything that you can relate to, is difficult. Lots of listening, questions and understanding went into this lesson.

True joy: For me, being a mom is the one thing that brings me pure joy. Even through the awful times. I have joy in my heart because of my son. We may have arguments, and difficult times, but I still have that joy in my heart.

I didn’t know you could find joy in a disagreement. We can be in the midst of an argument and we will always find something funny and laugh together. He usually corrects my grammar in those moments.

He taught me that joy comes from loving someone with your whole heart.

What a wonderful thing to teach someone.

He brings me so much joy.

Tell me what your kids have taught you. I would love to hear your stories.