I’m pretty sure July 3rd is ‘Take Your Kids To Work’ Day. I asked Mad Dog about it, but he wasn’t buying it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my time with my boys, in fact it’s kind of awesome. Being able to hang out with them with no agenda has been incredibly fun. However, after they spend loads of unstructured time together, this leads to frustration and maybe occasional acting out. Therefore, please, “Take Your Kids to Work” Mad Dog.
In all seriousness, I am grateful how much I enjoy their company. This is the reward of parenting. All the blood, sweat and tears has paid off. Not to say their won’t be challenges ahead, but at least for this moment, being a mom is a lot of fun.
Moving forward I understand that they will not want to hang out with me forever. Even though I am entertaining, am an excellent Jazzerciser (this is cutting edge cool, right?) and know a lot of really famous people:
Ah, but we will always have the memories of this summer … I intend to make the most of them.
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.
We have been incredibly busy as we manage all the ins and outs of moving. It seems for every action-item crossed off the to-do list, twenty more eagerly pop up to fill its place. While I have been outwardly focused on all these necessary tasks, a part of me is aware that taking time to smell the roses with my boys is essential.
In the midst of this craziness I am making an effort every day to be present for them and to keep up with many of our traditions. We have made it to the pool, the movies and for ice cream. These are the pillars of our summer.
One day, as I contemplated the complicated logistics of our schedule, I had the strangest thought. A Target run was first-up and I actually wanted my boys to go with me.
Well, that was a first.
I scanned my body for illness. Then I did a quick mental-health status check.
I seemed to be functioning ‘normally’.
Was this what end-of-days feels like?
I don’t know.
I do know that my boys are so much fun! They have the ability to entertain me while on errands and sometimes, they are actually helpful!
Truthfully, T.Puzzle is still a bit of a loose cannon when we are out and about, but I can take it. I survived the terrible twos, threes and fours…
In every woman’s life there are defining moments. There are milestones such as college graduation, falling in love, having children, etc. Once children are a part of the picture, suddenly their milestones become our treasured markers of the passage of time. For instance, the first time Full Speed reached earnestly to play with a toy hung from the arm of his baby carrier, I was overjoyed. I was convinced by this simple act that I had given birth to a certified genius. We were at the mall and the air was heavy with the scent of salty pretzels and my overblown perceptions of my ‘super baby’. Still, it was an awesome moment and to this day whenever something great befalls my kiddos, it’s like it is happening to me as well.
That’s why when my boys lined up against the backstop at Wrigley Field before the start of the game, I was giddy with anticipation. Mad Dog had arranged for them to be part of the nine lucky kids that got to run on the field and meet a player. We had no idea which player it would be. We hoped for the best and made peace with the worst (you know who you are). I was seated alone and peered anxiously at them to see where they would run. Once given the signal, they were to sprint to the position that would coincide with the player they would meet.
I almost couldn’t take it. Who would they get?!? Who!?!
Finally, they were off and running. It seemed obvious Full Speed was headed towards the outfield. But then, oh my god, T.Puzzle ran to FIRST BASE! He was going to meet ANTHONY RIZZO! I repeat….ANTHONY RIZZO!
Is it obvious he’s my favorite player? Hmmm, what gave it away?
I jumped for joy and screamed so loud the fans in my section thought I had lost my mind. I was able to compose myself enough to articulate that both my kids were out on the field and one was meeting ANTHONY RIZZO. This made sense to them, but I could tell they still thought I was mildly insane.
T.Puzzle had a brief exchange with Anthony (yeah, I’m now on a first name basis with him), and got him to autograph a baseball (proudly on display in our front room). It took all of two minutes but for me, it is a defining moment that still brings me great joy.
Full Speed was sent to right field and had a lengthier exchange with near-giant Jason Heyward (well, giant compared to Full Speed and most of America). J-Hey was so genuine in what he said to Full Speed, he is now Full Speed’s favorite Cubs player. I love that, clearly he is a player that is gracious and I’m so glad he had such a positive impact on Full Speed.
We were racing through O’Hare International Airport. I felt the adrenaline coursing through my veins as we embarked on the first phase of our summer vacation. No, we weren’t racing to make a flight or anything like that. Mad Dog, in that way of his, was pushing us to get to…wait for it…baggage claim. We weren’t even late for anything. He is a man who can’t stand to be still so what happens when you land at your destination? You sprint to baggage claim naturally.
Through the bobbing and weaving I managed to shout over to the boys, “You realize this trip would not be possible without me. I am the whole reason we are here.”
They didn’t break stride as they looked towards me.
“I set the back-up alarm to make sure we made our flight this morning. This was absolutely crucial to our trip’s success. So, however amazing this trip is going to be, and it will be, it’s all because of your mom and her super awesome back-up alarm setting abilities.”
You see, the night before, Mad Dog ‘asked’ me what time I planned to set my alarm for. The truth was, he already had in mind the exact time he wanted. It was also clear that I was the back-up alarm.
Why he pretended that my back-up alarm mattered when, in fact, it did not, only shows how smart he is. He knows my sensitive self likes to feel useful in situations like these. He tried his best to include me. But really, in the realm of travel logistics, it’s best to step back and let him roll. (In his defense, he travels a lot for work, so he clearly knows what the heck he is doing.)
Mad Dog takes in what I’ve said and casually states, “Actually, you were the back-up to the back-up alarm.”
Full Speeds turns to me and says, “How’s it feel to be demoted to third string, Mom?”