motherhood

From Here on Out

The worst part about having teenagers isn’t the unpredictable moods (mainly my own), its the damaged self-esteem having become the shortest member of my household.

I hate being the shortest.

However, this was what I prepared for, this moment in time when I could no longer intimidate them by being bigger.  I did all I could to earn their respect.  I carved rules into stone and quashed revolt to the best of my ability.  It’s all led to this…I genuinely enjoy them as humans.  

This has pushed me into a new precipice of parenting. While I am still a quiet, constant support in their lives, what they do with them is no longer up to me. I will serve them best if I keep my opinions to myself.  I’ve had my shot at being a teenager. I gave it my all and it’s not up to my boys to fulfill any of my unlived dreams.  And, anyway, I feel like I’m just getting started. 

I plan to appreciate wherever my one, wild, and precious life takes me.

The point of all this, and yes, there is actually a point, is that I want to declare that my boys are in charge of their destiny from here on out.

I want Full Speed to choose his college (if college suits him) and career path based on his own criteria.

No limits.

From what I can see, he is thoughtful in his musings about his future. I trust him and I trust life to take him wherever he needs to go. As long as he is following his curiosity, the answers will come.

As for T. Puzzle, who at this stage remains committed to verbalizing the least amount of words possible on any given day, I support this endeavor. Who I am I to know what he needs? Maybe my penchant for feeling-based talks aren’t the answer to everyone’s problems. What works for me may not work for him. I did recently ask him to at least alter the inflection when he says “good” or “ok” just to give me some auditory variance.  If he decides not to, that’s fine by me, too.

The greatest superpower a parent has is their ability to witness the incredible, pure essence of what makes each of their children awesome. This will help see you through the conflict particular to raising teenagers.  

And remember, the best way to get them to listen to you is to say as little as possible.

I think T. Puzzle is really on to something there.

dogs, family, motherhood

In the Name of Love

I once read in a novel the amount of nicknames you give someone is equal to the amount of your affection for them. If this is true, Max is one of the most loved beings I know.

Here’s a list of some of his many names:

  • Maximus
  • Maximillian
  • M.Diddy
  • McGoogs
  • McGoogle
  • Maxaroni
  • Rage Monster
  • Buddy
  • Bud
  • Maxy
  • Maxseamus
  • Moodle Doodle
  • Best Friend
  • Maxwell Snugalugs
  • Mr.Snugs
  • Sad Kitty
  • Max Damon
  • Moo Goo Gai Pan
  • Baby Boy
  • Old Man
  • Mr. Max
  • Little Old Baby
  • Mr. McGoo

Like many of you, I am not quite sure how to make the world better right now. My heart has been a bit frozen from fear and general overwhelm. I often think, “What can I do?” Is there anything I can reasonably contribute that might help?

I have this blog so I intend to start writing more. Maybe I can channel some love into the world through this keyboard and maybe that’s something. It doesn’t feel like enough, but it’s all I have to offer you.

All each of us can do is start where we are and love as much as we are able.

Moodle Doodle wholeheartedly agrees.

inspiration, motherhood

Maple Syrup Mountain

Somehow, after years of trudging my way through the trenches of motherhood, I have reached the ultimate pinnacle of triumph.  T.Puzzle and Full Speed make me breakfast once a week!  And not a sad, soggy, partially frozen waffle sort of deal, but a glorious, made-from-scratch, giant golden, fills-your-whole-plate kind of waffle situation.

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To be fair, they learned from the best.

Mad Dog used to frequently make us homemade waffles on the weekend.  Then, life got way too busy until everything came to a quarantined halt.  He took this pause in time to resurrect this beloved tradition and managed to teach the boys how to do it from start to finish. T.Puzzle runs point and Full Speed is the technical support (readies supplies, melts butter, perfectly times the bacon preparation).  Whatever they are doing is working.  The waffles turn out amazing and then the whole house smells delicious for hours afterwards.  

And then,…they clean it all up afterwards!  Sure, there are times that the waffle iron gets left on and the batter mix floats over my kitchen in an apocalyptic-sized cloud, but I’ll take it.

Now that I am at the summit of motherhood freedom, I’m sure T.Puzzle will tell you it’s a swift dive downhill for me into creaking old age.  And this may be so, but while I’m here taking in this fabulous view, I plan to party like a rock star and eat as many waffles as humanly possible.

motherhood

Coping

This is how I am coping with the pandemic.

I’m not.

Well, that’s not totally true, some days I fake that I am okay better than other days.  So, there’s that, but mostly, I have no idea what I am doing.

Here’s what helps:

1.Taking a million photos of my dogs:

 

2. Cracking jokes with my boys:

 

3. Reading updates on Roho (he’s doing awesome).

4: Watching baseball.  So. Much. Baseball.

5. A gratitude practice.  I particularly love this journal:

Start with Gratitude

It includes unique prompts that make you stop and reflect about your day. This way it’s not a rote listing of the same things over and over.  The only one I struggle with is “Favorite people I saw today.”  The answer is always the same: Full Speed, T.Puzzle, and Mad Dog…it’s the pandemic y’all (I always add that in so if future generations look back at it they won’t be sad that I had no friends).

6. Get outdoors until I remember I live in Texas and it is currently a thousand degrees and I retreat indoors before my face melts off.

7. Question why I live in Texas.

8. Eat chocolate.

9. Eat more chocolate.

10. Allow for bad days, offer myself some kindness, and hug my boys (T.Puzzle LOVES this!).

11. Cardio kickbox my way through some aggression.

12. And last but not least, remind myself that there are awesome people like you in the world.

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humor, motherhood

Close Quarters

I’m not sure exactly why my family still allows me to wield a knife.

To give some context, a few weeks prior to quarantine I decided to begin a meal kit delivery service.  Lucky for us, we now have a few meals a week planned and delivered, but the dark side of this is, well, …me.

It all started innocently enough. Sure! I thought. Why not have the boys alternate nights and ‘help’ me.  Our first forays into the realm of kitchen adventure were tense.  I barked orders and became increasingly exasperated by each and every OBVIOUS question.

Case in point:

Full Speed (asking this while I have burners going and the oven already ablaze): “Where are the paper towels?”

You mean the paper towels that are two feet away from you sitting in the very spot they have sat for NEARLY TWO YEARS?  You mean those paper towels?

OR

“Full Speed, could you grab the pulled pork from the fridge?  It’s on the third shelf from the top.”

An inordinate amount of time passed, even though I am busy with twenty other things, I pause because I didn’t ask him to go to Timbuktu to get it.  Our kitchen ain’t big folks!  I look up to see him squatting down absently perusing the bottom draws of our refrigerator.

“Um, Full Speed.  Those are DRAWERS, I said SHELF.”

Thinking this solved the issue, I went back to work.  And, still, no pulled pork arrived.

With painstaking effort to not lose my cool, I glanced up AGAIN.  This time I found him looking at the inside door catchalls that hold condiments and drinks and the like but NOT THE PULLED PORK.

“Full Speed,

IT

IS

ON

THE

THIRD

SHELF

FROM

THE

TOP.”

I said this while thrusting my finger at the pulled pork like an accusation.

The whole scenario, while only lasting a minute or two, left me feeling drained.

Fortunately, for all involved, I had finished the chopping portion of our meal prep so the knife was already put away, but other times, I won’t say the danger was imminent, but there were some dangerous moments (at least in my mind).

It’s a harrowing existence as the lone emotional being in a house of super laid-back men.  I wouldn’t want it any other way, but I definitely am the most shall we say ‘expressive’ of our family.  Most of my outbursts and/or meltdowns are due to the stress of our current situation.  Contrary to popular opinion, I am falling within a normal category of cooped-up-and-about-to-lose-it behaviors.  My favorite is when Full Speed then imitates my meltdown.

“I’m Mom and I’m mad for no apparent reason.  Stop looking at me. Stop taking up space. Stop existing.  Just. Stop.”

He does this while flailing his arms about while shouting hysterically.

He’s not wrong.

I commend you if you have yet to lose it.  Please tell me how you have managed this feat.

Please.

And, if you have lost it, know you are not alone. Just dust yourself off and get on with your day.

I trust you know the difference between a drawer and a shelf so obviously you are already crushing your day.

 

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T.Puzzle vs Mad Dog in chess T.Puzzle 30 Mad Dog 1 And, there was one tie so Mad Dog has to feel great about that.

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My foray into painting with watercolor because weirdly I have tons of free time. #LetsMakeArt

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Quarantine Easter. Grateful to be together.

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Guess who loves her family in quarantine? #SorryNotSorry

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Max showing off some of his prodigious napping skills.