Lost and Found

My daughter lost her wallet yesterday.  She got on the city bus in front of our building, so she knew she had her wallet then, because she used her Metrocard (what we use in NYC to board public transportation) to get on the bus.  When she got to school, she went to get her ID, and realized the wallet was missing.  To belabor the point, she lost between getting on bus and getting to school.

When she realized she lost her wallet, she called me.  I could hear agony in her voice, it was low and as soon as she started to talk, she began to cry.  She didn’t understand how she could lose it.  When you’re an ultra responsible kid who has never lost anything other than a water bottle (which she does lose a lot for some reason) this was devastating.

And while I tried to console her, I knew that practicality had to come out.  “What was in your wallet?”  I knew she had a credit card and a debit card. I snapped my fingers to get my Husbands attention.  “Daughter lost her wallet.  Cancel the Visa, I’ll do the debit card.”  I got off the phone with my daughter, telling her she had to go to the main office and tell them she lost her school id.  Why I needed to explain to a reasonably smart person that someone could use her ID to enter the school fraudulently is beyond me.  She didn’t want to do this- she kept saying that someone would surely find her wallet.  I said it would be great if they did, but everything had to be canceled and places had to be notified that her ID might be compromised.  This went on by text way too long, till I told her it had to be done.

So my daughter was embarrassed to have lost her id.  I get that, but I also know that people are human and mistakes are made.  I also told her she could have been pickpocketed.  I wanted to race up the 52 blocks to her school and hug her, but a Mom can’t always be right there to physically comfort a child.  Sometimes the kid has to learn how to self sooth.

I then received a whole bunch of texts asking me to contact the MTA at 11 when the lost and found opened.  She was positive that her wallet would be found and turned in, all contents still inside.  She gave me the bus route, the time she got it- I’m surprised she didn’t have the driver and bus id.  Her optimism was impressive.  My pessimism was equally impressive.  I explained to her that the wallet was small, and would probably not be found.  Also, the Metropolitan Transport Association is not really known for its blazingly good customer service.  Just ask anyone who has been stuck on a train for 45 minutes.

At 11 I called.  After 25 minutes of trying to find the right department, it turned out I had to fill out an online form to document the loss.  Which I did.  Oh, the detail and general backasswardness of this report.   They asked for brand of wallet- they had no choice for piece of shit wallet she bought at TJ Maxx for 3.99. You have to list every item that was in the wallet.  Credit card.  Debit card. NYC Parks tennis pass.  School id.  Brandi Melville gift card.  American Eagle gift card.  Regular metrocard.  School issue metrocard.  Sticker from Brandi Melville.  (to tell you the truth- I was really impressed that she knew exactly what was in her wallet- not really surprised, but impressed none the less)  All this, when she wasn’t getting her wallet back.

Now of course, because I had spent 45 minutes of my life that I would never get back filling out a lost property claim, her wallet was found.  Husband got a call.  Wallet was  dropped off at a branch of the bank which issued the credit card inside.  Great.

Texted daughter.  Everyone is happy.

Here’s the thing.  My daughter just assumed the wallet would be found and turned in.  This girl has grown up a few blocks from a methadone clinic, and has seen people at the bottom of their luck, trying to quell an addiction that has destroyed their life.  She has seen people lying on the streets, passed out from drink.  She was seen people sleeping in the vestibule of the bank, homeless people showering in the sprinkler at the playground.  She knew a girl who died trying to jump from one building to another.  She knew a girl in her 7th grade class that got pregnant.  She has had friends who knew kids who committed suicide.  She has seen on a daily and routine basis how crappy life can be for others.  Yet- she has hope.

Why?  How?

Well, she has spent the past 3 years as a volunteer tennis coach at a program for inner city youth.  Shas spent the past 3 years as a tutor at a program for kids with no resources for extra help.  She tries to make life a little better for others.  One Saturday morning a month she gets up at 630 on a Saturday, and chops vegetables and sets out cutlery at a soup kitchen.  When she exits the church basement after prep is done,   I know it still shocks her how many people are lined up for that one meal.  She has sat next to children who are wearing coats and gloves and hats, and carrying backpacks that me, and other parents have given the school to distribute to families that need just a little help.  This is what gives her a little bit of optimism- she sees people trying to do the right thing.  She tries to do the right thing.

Will she always think that the good nature of people will prevail?  I hope so.  But it’s hard- because as stated, sometimes life sucks.

Now, my daughter is happy that wallet was turned in, most things still there.  Someone did swipe her two metrocards, and she was annoyed that the equivalent of 20$ was lost/stolen.  She wants to recreate how she actually lost her wallet, to the point she asked me how she could access the security cameras on the streets.  Seriously.

I told her that between her 40 pound backpack, purse, and big tote bag she had to lug around yesterday, it’s easy to get distracted.  She tries to fit a thousand things into a little tiny purse, and I explained that when you have so much stuff it’s real easy for something to fall out while retrieving something else. She has this delusion that she is perfect and completely aware of everything at all times.  Maybe this will teach her a lesson that she is indeed fallible.

So what’s the moral of this story?  People are generally good.  There is a cause for some optimism.  But we must always be pragmatic.

How’s that?

 

 

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Sweet Sixteen

Today is my daughters 16th birthday.  I can tell you exactly where I was 16 years ago today- in a hospital bed, recovering from 12 hours of labor followed by an emergency c section at 1 in the morning because I spiked a 104 degree fever.  I’m still convinced she was holding out for the 13th because that was her actual due date.  She’s that kind of person- always right on time.  Childbirth.  Good times.  But anyway.

There is so much I could say about my daughter.  It amazes me that she is actually my child.  She is intelligent, funny, hard working, confidant and resilient. She does not always succeed in what she sets out to do, but she always tries and always bounces back.  We often joke that we are not sure whose child we have actually brought home from the hospital, because she has traits that neither my Husband nor I possess.  We figure that there is some high achieving couple out there with our slacker kid.

Now, I personally know 3 other people who have the same birthday as my daughter- just think back 9 months…..Valentines Day.  Just saying.

But back to my amazing child.

She really is a good kid.  Her birthday always falls within a week of first marking period report cards and parent teacher conferences.  Now, for many kids, this might be a bad thing.  For my kid, well, it means we will probably be extra generous.  You see, my kid has literally never gotten a bad review from a teacher.  I’ll even say, that if teachers were to have favorites, my kid is the favorite over 90% of the time.  Am I bragging?  Yeah, a little.  My kid has made many things very easy for me.  I walked in PT conferences the other day- in my 3 minutes per teacher allotted time, I heard mainly “Well, I’d like it if she participated a little more, because I think her input would help the class, but I know she is fully engaged, so I’m not too worried.”  The two words that were most often used to describe my daughter are intense and focused.

But remember, with intense and focused come other issues.  I have to make sure she is handling stress properly.  I need to make sure she gets some sleep.

What I’m saying is- all parents have issues with their kids.  The issues may be different.

Why am I saying this?  Because frankly, I’m tired of being told that I have a “perfect” kid.  Because first of all, there is no such thing.  And secondly, I still have things to watch.  Just because my kid does well in school, and is responsible doesn’t mean I have no worries.  I have worries.  Every parent does.

But, I am also tired of hearing that I am “lucky” because my kid was just “born this way.”  First of all, what does that even mean?  Does that mean that she was just born responsible and hard working and resilient?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Maybe it’s a little of both.  Maybe there is something inside my daughter that gives her drive.  But maybe I have also seen that in her, and thought about how to bring it out.  Maybe I have helped her find her strengths and play up to them, and work around her weaknesses.  Maybe I have had good moments of parenting.

Maybe it’s nature and nurture combined.

People are always talking about nature and nurture- which one is better, which one works.  I’m suggesting that you need both.  You need to have raw material, and you need to figure out how to coax it into the best possible shape.  Take a box of Legos.  Figure out the best configuration with what you have in front of you.  Take what nature gave you and nurture it.

If you see your kid has a gift, or a talent, help that kid explore what it can do.  My friend saw that his daughter had a great eye when she used his phone to take pictures.  This was at 4 years old.  He let her play with his camera, and at 8 she is becoming an exceptional photographer.  He saw what she had, and figured out how to enhance it.  And she loves being behind the camera.  She struggles a bit in actual school, but her confidence is being built up because she found something she loves and is good at.  Will this continue?  Who knows.  But right now, she feels good about herself.  A child that feels good about themselves is a beautiful thing.  That feeling is what will get them through the tough stuff.  And life has a lot of tough stuff.  So figure out what your kid is good at, what they’re passionate about, and help them explore it.

So on my daughters birthday, I have rambled quite a bit.  I guess, because I didn’t really want this to be an ode to my kid.  I think you all know that I love my daughter more than anything in the world, just like those of you with kids love yours more than anything in the world.  That’s being a parent.  We love our kids.  We love them no matter what they do or don’t do, no matter how well they do at school, or at activities or at sports.  We just love them because they are our kids.

to sum up:

Love your kids for all their imperfections.

Tell them you love them.

Help them find their passion.

Make sure you know there weaknesses so you can figure out how to deal with them.

Nurture their nature.

And Happy Birthday to my favorite girl!!!

 

 

We Want Home Ec!!

I have read many posts recently that had the same common theme:  things a kid should know how to do before going off to college.  The lists included things such as knowing how to do laundry, basic cooking, checkbook balancing.  My first thought was “Duh….of course they should know how to do these things.  These things are part of being a responsible adult- they are things you need to know how to do.”  I’m not going to get into the “why” they don’t know these things- but apparently- many young adults are bereft of this knowledge.

Now, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I was in what was commonly referred to as Junior High, I was required to take 2 semesters of Home Economics.  I know, visions of this class bring back thoughts of burnt toast and really haphazardly sewn aprons.  it harkens thoughts of women touching up their make-up before husbands return from work.  Slippers and the evening paper waiting my the Lazy Boy, a pre dinner cocktail already poured.  But if you can get those thoughts out of your head, I want you to think about what was learned in that class.  Because all those life skills?  I learned those, and more, in my home ec class when I was 13.

I know Home Economics is a bad name.  So lets call it “Life Skills 1.0”  or “Adulting”.  And obviously, both men and women should be required to take this class.  It is just as important as any subject taught in school, and in some ways, more important.  Some of you are thinking, “well, I’ve taught my kids all these things.”  That’s great.  You get parental gold stars.  But extra knowledge in these areas is not a bad thing.

Here’s my real life example.  My daughter will be attending a Halloween party tomorrow night.  She’s going as “The Devil Wears Prada”.  Go ahead and copy the idea- I think she saw it somewhere and thought it was cool.  She’s going to wear devil ears, a black skirt and a red t shirt.  On the front of the t she is going to iron on letters that spell out PRADA.  Easy, inexpensive, everything my kid wants in a costume.  Here’s the thing:  she doesn’t know how to iron.  So yesterday, she asked me if I would help her.  (Full disclosure- though I technically know how to iron, I choose not to.  I am perfectly happy in wash and wear clothing, and I am totally cool with walking around unironed.  I just don’t care.  It’s also fun because it drives my Mother in Law crazy….I take my fun where I can get it)

Now, we own an iron.  It is somewhere in my apartment.  Where?  That’s a really good question.  I wish it was like my phone, and I could push a button and do “find my iron”, but as that is not an option, I’m going to have to actually look for it.  And later this evening, I will be McGyevering an ironing board and teaching my kid how to iron on letters.

And though she knows the basics of cooking (I love to cook and bake- so this was a natural for me to show to her) and she can handle an industrial washing machine- there are certain things she does not know how to do.  She has basic skill level with tools, she can hammer a nail, and knows the difference between a flat head and Philips screwdriver- but the last time we bought assemble at home furniture, she was really looking to me for guidance.  Yes- I had her assemble a small bookcase (FYI- my husband does not know how to do these things….I put together all the things that need assembly)  And I’m sure there are many other tasks my daughter would not know how to do.  So I think that a class that showed the basics would be a great idea.

So, because I love to make everyone think and participate- what life skills do you think kids need before they leave the nest?  Do you think it should be entirely parent responsibility, or do you think a semester at school learning these things would be a good idea?

Humble Brag

A group of parents were bemoaning how much harder the college application process is now, as compared to when we were all going to college back in the stone ages.  We were talking about resumes, and internships- things almost necessary now.  One Mother spoke up….”Oh- My son didn’t have a resume or an internship, and he’s a freshman at Cornell, so don’t listen to those things……”  Ladies and Gentlemen- this is a humble brag.  The woman was telling us, a bunch of parents of Juniors, that Cornell is a piece of cake to get into- that any kid with any credential can get into this school.  Let me give you a little knowledge- though Cornell is often known as the “Easy Ivy”- this is at best an oxymoron, as any Ivy, including Cornell, is extremely difficult to get into.  According to prepscholar.com, the acceptance rate is 15%, it’s considered extremely competitive, the average GPA for admitted students is 4.04, and average SAT is 1480.  Those numbers are far from average.  No one is calling Cornell a safety school.

So maybe the student mentioned didn’t have a resume or an internship- but what did he do to make himself stand out enough to get admitted into this school, when 85% of the applicants did not?  What did the Mother leave out?

Honestly- I’m OK with bragging.  I’m OK with someone saying, I worked really hard and the team I was on won the State Championship.  My daughter won a poetry contest.  My son just got a job at google.  I don’t mind bragging, because it’s honest- someone accomplished something, and it’s OK to talk about it.  I applaud anyone who has a goal and sees it to fruition.  I’m even OK if they’re are a little smug- because it’s OK to be proud of yourself.

But the humble brag……..

Accomplishing anything requires work and determination- to say that something just fell into your lap is disingenuous and frankly, sort of nasty.  When you humble brag, you are telling someone that you didn’t do anything to deserve what you got – but gee whiz- it happened.  You are devaluing anyone who works towards a goal and is unable to achieve it.

Now- let’s think about what is really annoying me about the particular humble brag I mentioned.

Back in August, my daughter began tennis practice.  She was talking to one of the Seniors, and this girl told her- “I know everyone has been really nice so far- but don’t talk about your grades and test scores- whether they are good or bad.  Keep stuff close to you.  Junior year- the kids get competitive. Remember- everyone is trying to get into the same 25 schools, and we all know they’re each probably not taking more than 1 student from our High School.”

So when you have a group of high achiever, Type A kids, you probably have a group of Type A parents.  No matter how you look at it- it’s a toxic situation.  Everyone wants to be the 1 kid that gets into one of those schools.  Every parent wants their kid to be the one that gets into those schools.  You begin to see everyone as the enemy.

Will I be any different?  I hope so.   I didn’t say something snippy back to the other parent, like- “well yeah- that’s the easiest Ivy to get into-” but I did think it.  That  would have been  passive aggressive, and more importantly- I still believe that somewhere, there’s a karma counter, and my being nasty would ruin my daughters chances of getting into the school she wants.

But- where I normally might talk about my kids accomplishments, I think I am going to keep a little quieter about it.  I think I’m going to hold my cards close to me, and not reveal where she wants to go, or where she’s applying.  I might not share her SAT scores or GPA when asked.  I might not post a picture of her if she wins an award or honor.  Because at the first meeting of the parents of Juniors- the claws were already starting to come out.

 

Why is That So…..

I often wonder why I am so screwed up about so many things.  Then I spend some time with my family, and I wonder how I ended up so normal.  You see, I think that your childhood experiences often come back and bite you on the ass.

The past few days I talked about seeing the reactions of a young girl seated in front of me.  After commenting with Chrissy, I realized that I was so fixated with this girl, because I clearly remember being a middle school girl.  And I remember my parents.  So I couldn’t help but become that middle school girl again.

My parents.  Where do I start?  Now- realistically, I had a basically OK childhood.  I realize people had much worse hardships than  I had, but at the end of the day, what others are experiencing really doesn’t matter, because you have to live with yourself (if you are of a certain age, you might remember your parents telling you to eat all your food because there were kids that didn’t have food- and you might have said, Ok great- ship this off to them)

Back to the parents.  My Father was cold and distant- he was physically around but not present.  My Mother- a narcissist, fixated on outer appearances and neurotic to the Nth degree.  So when you add up all these things, you end up with a kid with low self esteem, who never feels that what they are doing is worthwhile and who thinks that love is when someone constantly tells you all the things that are wrong with you..  Now- was my Mother constantly harping on me?  Probably not- but that is how I perceived it, so it was my reality.

And when I was in middle school- oh- the torture about my appearance.  My Mother was constantly telling me I needed to lose weight.  Oh- her obsession with weight.  My Mother had an anorexic mind set, and she proceeded to endow me with all sorts of bad views about eating (I was never anorexic or bulimic, but I still don’t have a healthy relationship with food)  I clearly remember my Mother taking me to a make-up counter and I started crying, because I didn’t want to wear make up.  I was in 7th grade, and all I kept hearing from her was that “After 10 years of age, all girls need to wear make up.”  Yeah- good times- Do you know how long it took me to realize that appearance wasn’t the most important thing?

She criticized so much of what I did- including my choice of books.  Now- I was a shy, awkward kid.  I didn’t make friends easily, and my Mother was not real helpful here, because she didn’t have many friends, and didn’t understand why you needed them.  So, when this is your reality, and you’re alone much of the time, you become a reader.  I would have been the kid to read John Green books.  Because he talks about kids who don’t quite fit in.  And I was that kid.  My Mother would have questioned these choices- she would have made me feel bad about books like this.  I know this, because she did make me feel bad about the books I read that weren’t “classics”.  (point of fact- I love classic literature, but sometimes you need to read something just because you can relate to it- there are many ways that you can improve your mind)  She didn’t understand why I would want to read something so “cheap”.

And I could go on and on about how my parents made me feel.  I can give you more examples of why this girls expression made me feel like the scared 12 year old that I once was.  But at the end of the day, I empathized with the kid- because it feels like crap when your parents don’t get you.

I know people say that kids are resilient.  But if they’re so resilient, why do we have so many screwed up adults?

Peace and love to all!!

Maybe I Was Too Judgmental…..

Yesterday I wrote about a person I had seen sitting in front of me at a show.  I saw that he was rigid and stone faced throughout the performance and I concluded that he was being cranky because he didn’t like the content/theme of the show.  Many people thought that perhaps this man had had a bad day and shouldn’t be judged.  Fair and correct point- I made an assumption based on what I viewed, but had no actual knowledge of the situation.  I know I have acted in inappropriate ways sometimes- I think every parent has.  I’ve been to the*%^$#& happiest place on earth, and have seen many parents lose their cool even though they are all at place where it should be fun, fun, fun.  Parents are allowed to have feelings other that absolute joy, and parents are allowed to show these feelings.  Your kids need to learn that everything is not always happy and pleasant.  And no one should judge what any other parent is going through at any particular time.  So I realize I made a snap judgement, and you should never judge another parent.

But….

FYI- I’m thinking of changing my name to But….. because I find that I use that word a lot….

I saw a middle school age girl almost jump out of her seat with excitement when John Green took the stage.  I saw her look at her Father.  I saw her smile drop.

I’m sorry- but I can’t help but feel for that little girl.

Middle school is hard for many kids.  There bodies are changing- that’s so much fun when all of a sudden things start popping out….And the emotions!  Oh- the emotions!  My kid was in this stage not so long ago, and to some degree she still has mood swings, but not like a few years ago.  They are confused and angry and they don’t know their place in the world.  Part of them longs to be an adult, but part of them still wants to be a child.  Their brain is developing, and they don’t quite know how to handle it.  One minute they’re crying, then they’re yelling, then they’re laughing.  The emotions of tweens is about as confusing as this paragraph.

So I felt for this girl.

I don’t know- but I think sometimes as parents we have to be better.  We’re the adults.  Maybe a parent needs to suck it up sometimes, and no matter how cranky they are, or how bad a day, they need to maybe smile- even if it’s just for the 10 seconds that your kid is looking at you for confirmation that everything is ok.   Yeah- I think sometimes a parent needs to be selfless.  I know it’s hard- remember- I wrote a whole blog entitled parenting sucks……By job description- parenting is not easy.

But this little girl- looking up at her father….and the mother was sitting on the other side of the father- if he was in a bad mood, why didn’t he take the aisle seat and have his wife between him and the kid?

See- because I can’t help but think about this girl…..

Now- lets switch this up a little. What if I said the parent was on their cell phone the whole time?  What would we think about a parent that was at a show but not paying attention?

I’d say the level of disengagement was exactly the same.  The parent was physically present, but emotionally withdrawn.

Let’s switch it up again.  What if the father was pissed at his wife, and that was the reason for the scowl?  Should you let marital problems interfere with your kids?

So, I’m torn- because I don’t want to judge anyone or their situation.  But, I also want kids to enjoy certain moments in their life, because I know that life sucks a lot of the time.

A Letter to the Father Sitting in front of me at An Evening with John and Hank Green

Dear Father Figure,

Hi.  It’s me, the Mother Figure in the seat behind you at Town Hall last night.  Remember me?  I was with my daughter.  You were with your kids, I’m guessing a 12 year old daughter and 14 year old son.  Yeah- you remember me now- the one giving you pitying looks…..Why was I giving you pitying looks?  Well, let me tell you….

First off.  John Green.  This is the go to author for much of Generation Z.  He writes about characters that they can relate to.  He writes characters that come alive and jump off the page.  His prose is prosaic, his words are quotable….he embodies  the angst and heartbreak they often feel.  He gets your children to read.

Let me repeat that.  He is getting your tween age kids to read.  To love reading.  To look forward to reading.

That’s a problem, right?

Your kids.

Reading.

Well- it must be, judging by the pissed off expression you wore last night.  Because you sat there- scowling.  Yes.  Scowling.  Your shoulders were tense, your body was rigid.  For a moment I thought that you were an angry statue.  You didn’t clap.  You didn’t move your arms.  You didn’t crack a smile.  You didn’t even smile when you looked over at your kids, who were obviously loving and enjoying the evening.  How does a parent not look at their kids and smile when their kids are quite clearly having a great time and a great experience?

Are we a tad selfish and self absorbed?  Does your obligation end at buying the tickets and accompanying them?  Do you think your daughter didn’t notice that you were not miserable, but angry?  Cause let me tell you- she noticed.  She glanced at you worryingly.  And this is just conjecture- but I’m guessing she was wondering what she did wrong.  Because that’s how kids are- they see their parents mad and they think it’s their fault.  Remember that- kids think that things are their fault.  So they think that when you are an ass, it’s their fault.  Well- they think that.  I know you are an ass because you are only worried about yourself.

Are you embaressed that your kids like these books?  That your kids watch Utube videos about literature and science? (cause that’s what these guys do- they make learning fun)  Would your rather your kids were watching sports?  Do you think if your kids read these books, listen to the podcasts,  they will be uncool?  Are these not the kids you wanted?  Do your kids not meet your expectations?

Well- get over it.  Get over yourself and your pre-conceived notions.

Cause what I see are two kids that like something that is good.  I see two kids that probably want to be better people, want to feel empathy.  They want to be part of the group that respects others and their choices.  Because that’s part of what the Green Brothers are about.  They sing about science.  They write books.  They talk about respect and they show empathy.

Respect and empathy.

The world would be a much better place if all kids learned respect and empathy.

Fyi- you- the parental unit- the  first teacher your kids had- you’re not displaying either of those things right now.

Even if you are bored, pretend to like it.  If you weren’t so irritated, you would realize that it’s a pretty good show.  These guys are funny- really funny.  And they are brilliant- that is blatantly obvious.  And oh yeah, your kids are into it.

Are you upset that he talks about depression and anxiety and mental illness?  Do you think if your kids never hear those terms they will never suffer from those things?

Wrong.  You are so wrong.  Issues like these have no boundaries.  Kids don’t hear about things like OCD and say, that sounds like fun, let me try that this week.  But maybe they will recognize something in themselves, and they realize that they are not alone.  They affect so many people.  Isn’t is better to be aware?  Isn’t awareness what helps fix things?

Well- you wouldn’t know that because you are least self aware person ever.  Yes- I’m judging you on outward appearance- sorry- you’re throwing off that vibe.  And if I think that- well, what do your kids think?

So here’s the thing:

Your kids like to read.  They are reading books that have some great messages.  They are spending their Tuesday evening with you, as a family, at a lecture/show.  Pay attention to them.  Try to understand where they are at.  You don’t get many chances like this.  They grow up and away really fast.  Embrace these moments.  Don’t be such a giant ass.

xoxo

The Mom sitting behind you

 

Underappreciated

Sometimes, things don’t go to plan.  You all know by now that I am a somewhat organized person, who writes lists, and schedules things.  But even with my over attentive habits things fall through the cracks, people get cranky, things happen.

On Friday night, I was at the Botanic Garden with the husband.  My friend with whom I had Sunday plans FINALLY texted me back- you know- while I was out.  Even though we had known we were going to hang out that day, my friend is a little more laid back than me, so we didn’t know what we were going to do.  You can imagine I was getting a little antsy about not knowing what I was doing- and I had sent her a list of suggestions….all which would require tickets, because in NYC, just about everything requires advance tickets and planning.  So while I’m wandering around the gardens, I’m furiously texting S, trying to cement plans…..

When I got home Friday night, I bought the tickets for our planned activity.  When my daughter got home, I helped her get ready for Saturday.  She was playing in a tennis tournament and had to leave early because not only did the tourney start early, it was is the far reaches of Queens, which is a decent trip from Manhattan.  On Friday night, she was as ready as possible for Saturday.

At 6am Saturday morning- she didn’t feel so prepared.  After a week of tennis and homework- her sleep to awake ratio was pretty low- she was tired.  Tired=cranky.  I made her coffee, I made her a hot breakfast.  I packed her a healthy snack.  I refilled her water bottles.  She was snippy towards me- complained that her breakfast was boring- couldn’t I have made her something different?

Let’s just say I was fixated on the words “hot breakfast”, cause I probably said it 20 times.  Lets just say that there were a lot of not so nice words said about 20 times. We argued about metro cards- she wanted mine, I asked her why she didn’t refill hers…..stupid, stupid things…..I told her she was ungrateful cause I didn’t need to help her out….she said I needed to do these things cause I’m her Mom…..

And she stormed off.

We went to the movies together Saturday night- we repaired things for the most part- but I was still a little annoyed because I was feeling underappreciated.  Yes- please get out your teeny tiny violin and play me a melancholy tune…..the underappreciated Mom……

But this brings us to Sunday morning.  Normally, I have things organized and ready to go- gym clothes out, outfit planned, blog pre written, tickets printed for whatever I’m doing…..but this Sunday, yesterday, I didn’t have any of those things done.

Why?

Because on Saturday, in the time I’d allotted to prepping, I was reading the new Dan Brown book.  Yes- I was reading in unplanned reading time…….

I know.

I’m a horrible person.

Shame on me.

So Sunday morning I was behind, because along with not having anything prepared, I also woke up late……

But then, my ungrateful daughter stepped in.  She walked the dog.  She printed out my tickets for me (of course, when you’re running late is the morning that it takes 40 minutes to print out 1 ticket, and remember I bought 2 tickets…..).  She helped me organize my clothes and toiletries because I was changing at the gym.  She filled my water bottle and got me an apple.   And she realized that I would not be allowed to bring my gym bag into the theater because of security checks, so she arranged to get my gym bag before I went off on my outing, as well as bringing me the freshly printed tickets.  Right, the ungrateful daughter.

So what did I learn?

  1. I do not do well if I’m unprepared
  2. Always print out tickets as soon as you buy them
  3. Dan Brown books are really engrossing even if I don’t understand them 80% of the time
  4. We all need a little help sometimes
  5. I need to bug my friend S2 about plans a lot sooner (the funny thing is, I have another good friend S1 and she is just like me- I’m seeing her Friday night, and we already know when and where and have confirmed with our other friends)
  6. Even ungrateful daughters can be a life saver
  7. I need to take deep, relaxing , meditative breaths…….

Peace and love to all!!

 

The Queen Can’t Win

Once upon a time, the Princess asked the Queen to read her homework essay.  The Queen read all three pages and pronounced it royally sufficient.

“Just sufficient?”  the Princess asked.

“No.  It was good.” the queen responded.

“Good or very good?”

“Very good. You answered the questions given.  Your thesis was strong.  Your choice of evidence was excellent.  Maybe there were one of two sentences that could be tighter, but over all- a very good essay.”

“Which sentences?”

The Queen scrolls down the essay and locates the slightly wordy sentences.  The Princess quickly readjusts them.

“Now is it good?”  the princess asks.

“It was good before.  Now it’s better.”

“I thought you said it was great?”

“It’s great.  It’s outstanding.  It’s the best paper ever on this question.  Your teacher will be extolling the virtues of this paper for years to come.”

“You’re just saying that because you’re my Mom.”

The next day we find the Queen at the not so regally located tennis courts where the Princess and her teammates play their home matches.  The Princess and her doubles partner have just lost a really tough match, 10-8.  The princess approaches the Queen.

“Nice match” the Queen says.

“We lost.” the Princess responds.

“I know.  But it was close.”

“What could we have done better?”

“You made some bonehead moves.”  the Queen says.

“Like…..?”

“No man’s land.  You guys sort of moved in.” (for those who do not know/play tennis- no man’s land is the area between the service line and the base line- you really don’t want to be stuck there as the opponent is returning the ball- almost impossible to recover a shot when you are there)

“We weren’t there that much.”

“Ok.  Whatever.”

“My God – you could be nice to me.  All you ever do is criticize me.  You’re my mom.  You’re supposed to tell me I’m great.”

The Queen walked away shaking her head.  She would never understand teenagers.  Scratch that.  She didn’t want to understand teenagers.  And she walked off to the not so regal subway to go home to prepare the royal banquet.

They still lived happily ever after…..

 

 

 

 

The Tale of the School Portraits

In the hallway of the royal palace stood pictures of the young Princess.  A wall filled with 8×10 portraits from school, soccer and softball.  Any visitor to the Palace would be greeted with smiling images, ranging from age 4 to age 14.  The team colors changed, the hairstyles changed, but the face remained constant.

Then the first week of Junior year, the Princess walked into the royal apartment and stated….”Do we really need to have this shrine of me when you walk in the front door? It’s embarrassing.  Why do we even have these pictures up on the wall?”

This was a rather frugal Queen, who had spent good money on all these portraits, so she felt it was well within her rights to display them.  But she also understood that this blatant display of parental pride could be a little daunting to people, and yes, embarrassing to the Princess.  So the Queen took out the royal planner and scheduled time to order a photo album, take down the pictures, unframe them, place them in an album, repaint the wall and hang up different artwork on the wall.  It was rather a long process, but worth it for the happiness of the Princess.

So about 10 days later, the Queen was able to accomplish the first half of the tasks.  Pictures down and organized, frames donated, wall painted.

Princess came home from a long day of school and tennis practice.

“Wherenare my pictures?”  she exclaimed.

“You said they were embarrassing.  I understand why you would feel that way and I rearranged things.”  Queen replied.

“But, but….it’s your house.  You didn’t have to do that.  You’re allowed to hang up anything you want.” the Princess continued.

“I understand why you wanted them down.  So that’s what I did.  It wasn’t a big deal.” (Well, the thought behind taking them down wasn’t a big deal, but you know, the process…..)

“Can you put them back up?”  the Princess asked.

“What?” the Queen exclaimed, trying to remember that she is going to try to be calm in all situations and take a moment. (FYI- this was not working out so well at this moment) “I spent the whole day doing this.  The pictures are already in an album.  I am NOT undoing it.”

“But it’s like all my memories are down and boxed up.  My life was on the wall, in chronological order, and now…it’s blank.”

The Queen went and gave the Princess a hug, kissed the top of her baseball cap.  “your memories are not gone.  They’re in your head, and in my heart.  And they’re now in a photo album on the bottom shelf of the coffee table.”

“So this is Ok?” the Princess said.

“Of course.  Life changes.  We change and grow.  Things can’t always remain static.  And look around, there are still plenty of reminders of you in the apartment.  Your artwork is on the walls, and some projects are on the shelves, and there are still pictures of you, of our family all around.  It’s just a little different.  Change is OK.  Change is necessary.”

And all was right in the royal household.  For a little while anyway.  Remember, the Princess is still a teenager.