This summer has me so overwhelmed with change that I feel like part of me has shut down to cope. I am operating more in logic and less in feeling.
The feelings will have to come later.
Before we knew we were moving to a new state, we signed Full Speed up for a three-week academic class held on a college campus. Even then, while I was thrilled for him to have this unique opportunity, I was not particularly happy about him being away for three weeks. Throw some travel and our family changing addresses into the mix and I am surprised I am still standing.
The most unsettling part of this process with Full Speed was how extremely collegiate it all felt. We had to make sure he had linens and towels. He also needed shower shoes and a caddy for supplies to be used in the dorm showers.
Once we arrived at his dorm, it continued to take on a surreal quality. A feeling of yes, he is only thirteen, and yes, he will return home, but also a feeling of what our future without Full Speed may look like.
It’s not great, folks. Not great at all.
The positive is we obviously love our kid and should be grateful that we are missing him.
It would be rather telling if we broke out the bubbly and celebrated his departure with a joyful clink of glasses. There was no toasting. Only a sinking sensation that Full Speed is well on his way to carving out his own life.
I cannot tell you the willpower it took to not cry when we left him at his dorm. I held it together. I don’t know how, but I did.
My goal is to stay focused on the present moment and be mindful of what will feel supportive to him in terms of how much I communicate with him.
Unfortunately, him live-streaming his day to my phone is not an option.
Weird, I know.
Instead, I sense he is consumed by new routines, meeting new people and mastering the intensive curriculum ahead.
Texting his mom should not be a priority.
I get it.
I don’t have to like it, but I get it.
I have always known that my children have never really been mine. The most ‘ownership’ I can claim over them has maybe been the nine months I carried them. Once they arrived in the world it has been my one of my greatest honors to walk along beside them as I do my best to let them go.
Now, more so than ever before, it is time for Full Speed to walk ahead alone.
I love you, Full Speed. I am so proud to be your mom.
May this opportunity open your eyes to the infinite possibilities of life.
And remember, I am only a phone call away.
You’ve got this.
For the record, I can neither confirm or deny if T.Puzzle is missing Full Speed.
Ok, I lied.
I can confirm he totally does though he would never say it out loud.
And, I thank my lucky stars to have this one-on-one time with him.
When I started this blog nearly nine years ago, I had some lofty writing aspirations.
These have yet to be attained.
Over time, I have come to accept that though my audience is small, it is mighty. I also appreciate WFAM as a precious container of my little family’s memories. This blog has given me so much more than I have given to it.
With summer break in full swing and the boys needing ways to stay entertained, they have been voraciously reading WFAM from its inception forward. I keep getting these WordPress alerts on my phone that my ‘stats are booming!’, when in fact, it’s just my two boys reading dozens of posts in a day.
Still, it makes me feel cool.
So, my advice to any writer out there, it’s super helpful to give birth to at least two members of your readership. They are invested in what you write more than most and your stats will thank you for it.
Since summertime consists of an abundance of free time, we are constantly negotiating how much screen time is allowed each day. Just now I had told both boys that at 5:00 they could resume video games. At 5:23 T.Puzzle comes up to my writing desk (really, where else would I be?) and says, “It’s 5:23! I’ve been reading so many WFAMs I lost track of time!”
“Wow!” I said. “That’s quite a compliment.” Then, I thought about it for a beat and said, “Is it the writing or the content that you find so compelling?” (who wouldn’t want to read about themselves all day long, right?).
T.Puzzle, ever so hard to impress said, “It’s actually pretty funny.”
On the morning of Father’s Day, I magnanimously promised Mad Dog that I would only have 1.5 meltdowns in honor of the holiday. You might say I’ve been slightly emotional this week as the stress of moving continues to stretch my inner resources.
In typical Mad Dog style he lets the seasons of my many moods all roll right off him. He told me that he only remembers what is perfect about me and easily forgets the rest. This, he told the boys, is the key to a happy life:
Forget about what isn’t perfect and remember the rest.
“Is that why sometime you forget about Full Speed?” T.Puzzle said.
Hopefully, Mad Dog has some wisdom on improving interpersonal sibling communication.
Through the years, as a mom, I learned when a task begins to feel mind-numbingly unbearable, there was good reason. Sure, we all have to do things we don’t like in regards to maintaining a home and a life, but when I feel an overwhelming loathing towards an activity, it’s time to examine it. Usually it’s because this activity should not solely be my responsibility and it’s time to share the love. For example, I got to the point of hating to tie my boys’ shoes. Thanks to velcro, this took them what seemed like forever to successfully master (to be honest, the jury’s still out on T.Puzzle). When my discomfort over tying their shoes outweighed the time and patience it would take to help them master it, the cloud lifted. I had to let go of perfectly tied knots and then I was free, well, at least from tying shoes.
There are many tasks like this and when I get super-annoyed by shouldering the brunt of them, I reach out for help. Again, I have to let go of perfection and savor the relief I feel at the help I am offered. Thankfully, all my boys are willing to pitch in and keep their grumbling to themselves (again, jury’s still out on T.Puzzle). So, I didn’t think twice when I asked Mad Dog to help me straighten up our main floor. He quickly agreed and then shouted, “Boys! Come straighten up down here!”
I stopped dead in my tracks.
“Oh no, you are not going to delegate! Don’t you dare! I want it to look nice!”
Soon, the boys were in the living room folding blankets and picking up dog toys.
Mad Dog lounged in his chair ‘supervising’.
The boys were on to him.
“How come we have to do what Mom asks you to do?” Full Speed said.
“It’s called leadership. By delegating tasks, all get accomplished. It gives you the opportunity for growth and the joy of achievement,” Mad Dog replied.
“So basically you give us all your chores, but you take credit for them?”