Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Thursday, August 29, 2019

A little boy who turned 'HOT' in a blink

So it begins.

Alright, last night my son was accosted by some girls at soccer practice asking for his phone number … and last weekend some of the soccer parents told me they overheard the boys talking about some girl from a neighboring school who called my son HOT. And now I'm having some issues - especially with the word HOT.

First off, I'm pretty sure hot is the word I used the other day in a lusty conversation I had with a friend about Avengers actor Chris Hemsworth. Hot is how I will forever describe Brad Pitt in my 90s guilty pleasure movie, Legends of the Fall. Hot is the vision of Ryan Gosling's abs in Crazy, Stupid Love. It is also the descriptor I could use for how my crotch feels during my kids' late afternoon August soccer games, but we're not going to talk my body temperature here.

In any case, HOT is not what I think of when I look at my nearly 13-year-old son the boy who was
once a 6-pound, 8-ounce colicky baby who never slept.

Now I'm stuck in this odd stage of parenting an almost-teenage-boy who will always be a baby boy to me. Because he's still that little boy who cried when I turned off the lights and left his room the night he first slept in his big boy bed. He's the little boy who sucked on a paci (that he called a 'fafa') until he was almost 4. He's that tan-skinned, brown-eyed boy who played 'garbage man' in the street every day after preschool. He is that little boy who I'm sure wore a Buzz Lightyear costume at the dinner table for weeks straight and who learned how to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom all by himself at age 5. He's the child who loved catching butterflies and squealed in delight when Caillou came on tv.

He's the boy who I'd find hiding with his blankie and books in a marker'd up cardboard box in the living room at our old house. He is the child who sweetly stuttered well into kindergarten and spent Saturday afternoons making pillow forts on the couch. He's still just that boy whose little hand always gripped mine when we walked through the grocery store parking lot to the car what seems like not so long ago... isn't he?

He's the boy who became a big brother at age 2 but still refused to poop on the toilet for another year. He's the precious child who believed in Santa til he was 10 and probably still believes in the Easter Bunny (because... chocolate, duh).

He's the sweet boy who lost his father way too soon, forcing him to be the only boy left in this house of girls. 

He'll always be that sweet baby boy to me. No matter how fast he grows (I still have a quarter inch on him), no matter how quickly he evolves into the breathtaking young man so many people are noticing, he's always and forever going to be my little boy.

Not HOT.

This post was also published Nov. 7, 2019 here at Love What Matters.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Kids, here's your back-to-school advice

It's the first day of school tomorrow. Lots of parents are scrambling around tonight, getting shit together for that early morning alarm. Or at least this parent is. Uniforms out, backpacks packed. Summer homework books and reading assignments all completed albeit at the last minute. 

One of the twins complained tonight about ALL the pictures I'm going to take tomorrow morning. She begged me not to take any. I said no. She asked if she could take the bus instead so I wouldn't be hurriedly shoving them all out of the car at the entrance of school to take the obligatory 'back to school' pic. I said no. Then she asked if she could have her own room (I'm guessing maybe she thought a third question would somehow get a 'yes'?) but still, the answer was no.

After they all went to bed tonight, I thought about all the things I said (yelled) to the kids today. About the loud car ride to Kmart earlier for the 8-pocket binder we apparently missed on someone's school supply list, the mad rush to get to three different soccer practices tonight, the screaming I did about slime in the garage or the military-type showers I marched them into in order to get clean quickly and in bed. But none of this helped or prepared them for school tomorrow. Or for life the next day or the next day. What the hell am I teaching them? Maybe how to be first out of a damn shower and into pjs for fear of their lives, I guess.

Somewhere along the line seriously WAYYY down the line I forgot how to be a damn parent. A helpful, loving and patient parent who can model for her children exactly what she hopes they could be someday as grown ups and parents themselves. Just "keeping them alive" doesn't seem quite enough anymore. I'm like a really mean drill sergeant or even a shitty boss you don't want to see every morning at 7 a.m.

I found an old notebook my late husband Matthew used in grad school at the University of Notre Dame. We had only been married four years. We didn't have kids yet. He often read business and management books and enjoyed delving into pretty much anything that dealt with how to be a good boss or more importantly, a good person. He excelled at that, anyone will attest. So I flipped through it and found his chicken scratch writing on a page about something he read about Lou Holtz, the former Notre Dame football coach whose tenure was alive and well in the mid-90s when we were in college up in South Bend together. Matthew noted that Holtz said everyone who is successful has gone through adversity, and that the crisis is a chance to make you stronger. Then he wrote Holtz's three rules to always follow:

1) Do what is right
2) Do the best you can
3) Treat others how you'd want to be treated

And I wanted to wake up all the kids to tell them, to show them how their daddy helps me parent still. You may have had a little adversity in your short, little lives and we've got the crisis thing down pat it seems, but THISthis advice is what I want for you, children. These are things maybe your mom isn't so great at but your dad was superb at. Because I know sooner than I can blink there will be no more 'first day' of school pictures. The practices will be over. I won't have anyone to cook noodle dinners for anymore. I won't be ordering anyone around these barracks and there won't be anyone to boss around. But I hope I will at least be able to say I was the best parent I could have been. I gave them life advice to live by and I helped model that behavior for them.

Pictures or no pictures, tomorrow is my first day, too. 

This post was also published Aug. 18, 2019 here at Filter Free Parents.