Tag Archives: parenting

Wisdom of Pooh

7 Feb

For the Superbowl, we gathered with a few neighbors for the ritual of football and too much food. As the game began we noticed the men had congregated on one side of the room and the women were on the other side. When one woman commented about our “middle school party” situation one of the husbands who clearly had one ear on our conversation said “That is because we are at a Superbowl party…..to watch the Superbowl.”

Yea, yea we caught the high-points – men yell during football – so we knew when to look. And we paused to watch the commercials and half time show.

My daughter had just texted me that her sort of boyfriend (she says they broke up but he seems around a lot) and his friends didn’t show for the Superbowl party he had requested and now had way to much pizza and was annoyed. I am ready for this guy to hit the road – he is very nice – but he is his own obstacle. I commented to my neighbor “I think my daughter is trying to fix him.” My neighbor commented she tried to fix several boyfriends before she met her husband. Then she asked which Winnie The Pooh character I liked as a kid. Both she and I had an Eeyore. We both had hoped to love Eeyore enough to get him to smile. We wanted to ‘fix’ poor Eeyore.

My neighbor said “Now I wouldn’t have patience for Eeyore. Get over yourself Eeyore!” I commented “Hey you would be in a bad mood too if you walked around with a tack in your ass. Let go of the tail Eeyore – move on with your life and forget about the tail!” He was seriously obsessed with the perfect tail, constantly losing his tail, looking for his tail and enduring a painful reattachment of the tail! Another neighbor looked at both of us and said “It was Winnie The Pooh all the way.”

Not sure we actually hit on some deep wisdom or too much wine.


Another Reason An Empty Nest is Good

20 Jan

I never took a lot of vacations without my kids when my kids were little. I was one of those neurotic moms who was sure their kids would fall apart or worse should I be so selfish.

Both of our kids grandmother’s were on the older range of grandparents. OK, I did ask my mother to babysit and to my surprise she said “No thanks”. She loved her grandkids but didn’t want to have to run them around and take care of them overnight. Seriously, it was a lot of work!

So now as I readily pack up and go off on trips, I now appreciate the empty nest. It has taken me over a year to settle into appreciating the next phase of life. I’m a slow learner. I still miss the everyday moments of just being with my kids – although perhaps my oldest son’s boomerang back to home for his senior year helps. It helps to see your kids enjoying their independent lives. Let me revise – partially independent. We still foot the bills!

But I like the freedom that has arrived with an empty nest. It has taken a while to not focus on the empty part, but now I am seeing life beyond the nest. I have strangers, friends and acquaintances asking how long does it take to adjust – for me 18 months. For my neighbor – 1 day.

I have some catching up to do…….

On vacation in Steamboat Springs!

I Am A Slow Learner

11 Jan

ages 4, 7, 9

It is interesting as kids age from teens to young adults. I still think of them as my babies and want to mother them, and give them advice and try not to smother them. And I mean smother on many levels!

They are old enough to make their own decisions and mistakes and I find I can now look back on my parenting and see my mistakes as a parent. I was definitely guilty of doing too much for them and trying to never let them fail. I now see failure as a good thing in maturing to an adult. (Although I don’t see any good come out of my own failures!)

My latest examples…..My middle child was heading back to college this semester and I find he dropped a lot of classes (rather than take a failing grade) So I paid $10,000 for a couple of classes? So I’ve decided to let go – he has a bit of money, so I told him he was paying for the semester. It was his money to lose and if he does well – I will repay him, but I was no longer funding him to play video games and ignore life. Today is the first day of classes and he sent me a text “In class”. YAY! It is a start, but I will take it as a positive step. I hope this is his turning point. He will have to change his habits to succeed and I hope he does – but he will have to bear the failure this time. 

My oldest son…..he partied his first 3 semesters at a private east coast prestigious University. We (along with the University)finally said – “ENOUGH!” brought him home and told him to get a job. When he couldn’t be bothered, his Dad took him to his office to do filing. He quickly found a job. I hoped he would find he would rather go to school than work at a low paying job. Unfortunately the company quickly realized how capable and smart he was and suddenly he was making 6 figures. So much for my wicked plan..But he got a new boss who was quite unethical and a bit of an ass (YAY!) and my son decided to go back to school. He learned he wanted to “be the boss” and for that he would need that piece of paper. But this time, he realized how hard it is to earn the money to pay tuition and took out a loan and pays part of his own tuition. And, he is on the Dean’s list. 

I look back to lower school, middle school and high school and how my love for them prevented me from just letting them fail…..I didn’t make them get summer jobs or really require a lot of household responsibilities of them. They are wonderful, loving boys and I look back on a lot of fun in their childhood, but I think a little responsibility could have gone a long way. 

My daughter? She is clearly from another planet. She is 18 and a hard working responsible kid. I have no explanation. I won’t take credit but will just give thanks for the blessing.  

Grading Mom

9 Dec

How do you measure if you were a good parent?

I figure if my kids are all productive happy people – I will have done ok.
I was listening to my own mother talk about stories when we ( my brothers and I ) were younger. Perhaps it is just a difference in perspective or a bit of revisionist memory – but she wasn’t the mom she remembers!
But she has mellowed and well….I am a relatively happy productive person and all my brothers are successful happy guys…so by my test she was a good mom. And 30 years later – it is kinda funny to think about her turning to my about to be mother-in-law and saying “you know she is a real bitch!” Yes – referring to myself! It is still what my cousins and I all remember best about my rehearsal dinner.

So interestingly enough….this fall in a conversation with one of my sons, he pointed out how I had failed to recognize when he had suffered bouts of depression. I listened to him then noted to him – it is difficult to tell the difference from a surly teenager who may have played video games all night and then finally crashed from someone who is depressed. I apologized for not being aware – but the conversation just cannot leave me.

So interestingly enough……my daughter recently was invited to take an acting workshop. The woman who taught the class is very well known in the film and theatre industry. She was trying to get the participants to learn to go deep inside to access feelings to use in acting. She told the students to think about their relationship with their mother – recent interactions, conversations. My daughter looked around the room and everyone was sobbing. She called to say thanks mom ” I had nothing. I couldn’t recall one time that was painful or difficult”

I’ve always told my kids “I am trying to give you plenty of material for therapy”. Could be a self fulfilling prophecy!

Bad Mothering?

31 Aug

This past weekend there was an article in the Denver Post. The article originated with a reporter (Steven Schmadeke) from the Chicago Tribune. It was concerning a lawsuit that had been dismissed by an appeals court brought by two children against their mother for “bad mothering” Of course I had to read this article. I’ve always told my kids I give them plenty of material – whether they use it in counseling or in stand up is totally up to them. Never considered they might sue me for my incompetence.
Apparently 2 kids whom were raised in a $1.5 million home by their attorney father (first clue – dad’s an attorney) have spent the past two years pursuing a lawsuit against their mom for “bad Mothering”. I had to know – what she did that was so bad. I had to know how we were different and therefore would never occur to me.
The evidence of bad mothering? Failed to buy toys for one, and sent another a birthday card he didn’t like, failing to take her daughter to a car show, telling her then 7-year old son to buckle his seat belt or she would contact police, haggling over the amount to spend on party dresses and……wait for it…….calling her daughter at midnight to ask her to return home from celebrating homecoming.
WHEW! I’ve never done any of these. My daughter never wanted to go to a car show, my kids at 7 feared me more than the police, I always gave in when my daughter shopped (she looked so cute!!). She failed to send her college student care packages. It doesn’t specify how many she missed. I just sent one yesterday to my middle child – and I had already planned to send it before I saw this article.
She isn’t accused of beating her kids or leaving them in a hot car while she went to a bar. The court file was a foot thick. But it all seems so trivial. Her attorney said she found her kids wanted “the benefits afforded by a family relationship, but none of the restraints.” (Is that code for “her kids are a couple of brats?” )
Thankfully, the suit was tossed out. I cannot imagine the precedent this could establish. And, mostly I hope my kids didn’t see the article. They don’t need any ideas!

It is always something!

9 Aug

The sprinkler system died on Sunday. OK – it didn’t die but it’s spleen ruptured. So a $650 surgery is required to get it back on its feet. Wow! Well, Obama care doesn’t cover sprinkler systems and since I really like my grass to be green in the summer and I treasure all the trees and shrubs and flowers I will cough up $650.

My husband’s response to the diagnosis – “S@^!t! It is always something” And, yes it does seem like there is always something to repair. One step forward followed by one step back. But we have to put things in perspective and count blessings.

It is only the sprinkler’s spleen. I have been through a child losing a spleen. It is much more traumatic and much more expensive. He lacerated his spleen at a Boy Scout Camp. We received that call no parent wants. “Your child is conscious but being airlifted to a hospital” A couple days in ICU and he stopped bleeding internally and seemed like he would keep his spleen. A year later – a cyst had emerged where he had injured the spleen and adhered to his stomach wall. The spleen was huge – much like a giant sea slug in his belly.

The Da Vinci robot was enlisted to remove his spleen. And today, he is a happy healthy albeit sometimes annoying college student. He plays way too many video games and cares too little about his future. His dad is right…….It is always something.


Care free and enjoying a sprinkler

I’ll take the sprinkler system over an injured loved one. Of course why does it always occur on the same month college tuitions are due? What is it about cosmic karma that seems to make these bills collide?

A real feathering of a nest!

23 Jul

I noticed a bird flying in and out of a small spruce tree near my back door. I didn’t pay much attention to the bird. I kept seeing the bird everyday as I watered my pots of tomatoes, basil and mint. I saw it was a pair of robins. I mentioned the nest building to my husband. He said to look and if they were building a nest to knock it out as the tree is right by the back door.

I said absolutely not. There could be eggs. It spoke to my maternal side. But I forgot about the birds and about the nest. Then one day last week I noticed the bird and the nest. They had built a nest right where I could see it from my kitchen window. I can’t see it from any other vantage point outside. And, not only was it a nest, but it was a home for two brand new babies.

Their tiny heads barely popping up with enormously wide beaks as the mother robin fed them. It has been my personal joy every day all throughout the day to watch their progress. I tried to see if I could snag a photo without disrupting their happy household. But to no avail was that to become. I don’t really mind that I cannot document their progress. I am truly enjoying seeing the feathers sprout day by day.

Both mom and dad are extraordinarily vigilant. I have to admit even I have been on the watch for any predatory magpies or crows. When they aren’t feeding the two demanding infants they are trading off foraging for more worms or berries or keeping them safe. They were wise when they chose their building site. It is protected from many elements being so close to my house. It is so nested into the crook of the spruce it is shady, and hidden.

I feel like this is a gift that has been given to me. I am constantly dragging my sons and my husband to watch them. Today as I see the babies pushing more and more upward and the feathers growing I know these parents will have an empty nest soon. I wonder if Robins mourn that moment or rejoice or like me celebrate and mourn all at the same time. I am thankful for the gift of being able to watch their nest.