Category Archives: advice to my son

This is 25

IMG_817125. Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. WTH! Unclear how I am the mother of all those years. Lord knows I certainly don’t behave that way.

Which brings me to my son. Dan. Danny. Daniel. DLev. Buckaroo. Seriously, what 25 year old man tolerates being called Buckaroo? Even embraces it.

My son.

I rarely blog anymore. But my kids’ birthdays are sacred. And blogworthy. So here goes.

This guy. He has taught me so much more than I have taught him by now. Me? I keep hitting home the same lessons. What is your end game? Keep your eye on your own ball. Be true to who you are. Be all you can be and be careful. Have integrity every day. Always resolve conflict with the party you are conflicted with. The love of reading. Floss.

Him? He challenges me. He makes me better. He makes me think.

Every day.

He taught me that you have to love people the way they need to be loved, not the way you want to love them. He DOES NOT like to be told what to do. In fact if I do, it is a guarantee he will do the opposite. He has taught me how to trust those you love to do the right thing. To believe that when you raised a child to be independent, that independence may come back to bite you in the ass (ok, not such a parental phrase, but go with it), but you are guaranteed to have a child that knows who they are. Always. Without a second thought.

But most of all, he has taught me about overcoming adversity. And shown me how incredibly strong a human can be when faced with a life(style) altering issue.

Here’s to you, DLev. I stand in awe of your strength. And your ability to find joy everywhere. All the time.

All you can, my love. All you freakin’ can!

Happy 25!

(please note I got your age right this year). 

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Filed under advice to my son, birthday, danny, family, sons

Mom Texting

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.10.31 AM

For a mom with high digital engagement, it always amazes me how much I suck at texting and IMing. Actually, I probably just suck at typing and it translates to those mediums.

Danny, my adult son, has moved home after college and commutes to the city. His schedule changes as he spends nights in the city often. Wanting to plan for dinner, I usually text him during the day to get his status for that night.

The beauty of my relationship with my kids? They have inherited the appreciation for the absurd. Second gen MFTA*, if you will.

Do you think I could start #pimpmom trending?

mfta moment

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Filed under absurdities, advice to my son, conversations, danny, humor, parenting, technolgy

Time To Cry Tuesday – Graduation (the final one)

danny-grad
A graduation post? Again? Didn’t I just do one of these? I suppose three years could be considered ‘just’ in some circles.

Each time my kids donned a cap and gown, I came here to share the overwhelming emotions attached to watching one’s child ‘grow up’.

There was Jana’s HS graduation; my first experience of letting go. I reread it today and it seemed like both yesterday and 100 years ago. (yes, I cried)

Danny’s HS graduation post brought back the memory of the pending empty nest (which by they way empties and fills again a few times before it is truly vacant). For some reason that was the first of two posts where I had an overwhelming emotional experience in a Starbucks. What the hell is that all about? (Yes, I cried again)

Then there was Jana’s college graduation. I marveled at the woman we had grown as I continue to do every day (yeh, more tears).

So many milestones, so many emotions.

But this time we finally got it right. Instead of all that overwhelming emotion, our graduation trip was a true celebration. We simply had fun! And although I felt very sentimental about leaving Madison after 7 years, I was more excited about my second child starting his life. Danny, in his matter-of-fact, self-assured manner, set the tone. He cut us the slack to be proud but kept the reigns tight on not making it all too big. We have simply had way too much big this past year, and he knew that. With humility and confidence he taught us how to do what he does best… be here now, go with the flow and most of all – enjoy life. (with shades on, of course).

Sure there were mixed emotions, how could one not miss a town with this view that had flyers for a band named Diarrhea Planet and reverse evolution graffiti on the sidewalk. This place is awesome. And my kids are more awesome for having lived there. But all things change. And change is good.

Here is my net of it all:

When your kids first leave for college it feels like an amputation. You think you are losing something you can never get back. You worry about your life changing drastically. Your heart aches as your head is telling you to knock it off and lose the drama. You dread your parental obsolescence.

Here – on the other side – you realize that your kids are not part off you, they enhance you. And you them. You never lose them, for no matter where they live they share their lives with you. Your life will change drastically, and that is a good thing… if you kept going at that custodial parenting pace much longer you would explode. And being someone again, instead of someone’s parent is the natural progression. Let’s face it, you have stuff to do!

Sure your heart will ache from time to time as you watch them struggle and grow, but it is a good ache. It is the physical manifestation of how much you love them. Just like when they were little, they will most certainly fall. The hard part is not trying to fix it for them when they do.

But most of all, parental obsolescence is simply a contradiction in terms. They will always need you, just differently. It’s all good.

Congrats Danny boy, thanks for the best weekend ever. You make us so very proud.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Now go out and be all you can be (and be careful).

 

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, education, family, graffiti, moms, music, relationships, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Flying of Time

boy-grows-up

Time flies. Where did the years go? How could he be so old? All those cliché lines of motherhood… why do I roll my eyes at these sometimes and at others they bring me to my knees?

Today I am teetering. Yes, I am more emotional than usual these days. And yes, having him home during the hardest 3 months of my life has been both a comfort and a joy. But the straw that broke this mamas floodgate today was this yearbook ad I did for my son when he graduated HS (yeh, it is both a blessing and a curse to have a mom who is a graphic designer). I came across it today on my Pinterest motherhood board (don’t make fun, I work in the mom blogger market). 

That ever-changing face. The same one that now sports a scruffy beard and fronts such a level head for an almost 21-year-old. This boy has turned into a man that I am so proud to say I raised. Part luck, part skill, parenting him has been such an amazing ride.

I am watching him this week between an internship and the journey back for his senior year in college. Gone are my days of checklists and phone calls, Bed Bath and Fed Ex, doctors appointments and errands. He has his list and he is checking things off as they are complete. He may not handle it the way I would (seriously, Dan, are you really moving into an apartment you have NEVER seen?), but he handles it all.

Also gone are the butterflies I used to get when my children would leave. Volumes are written this time of year about the leaving of the nest – but not many write about being comfortable with the dance. If we do our job correctly, they are good to go. And we should be ok with that, even if we get a little weepy during the transitions.

While perusing the motherhood board (for work, I swear!), I came across this quote that says it all for me:

It is easier to build a boy than it is to mend a man.

– Mahatma Gandhi

He is surely ‘letting his life proceed by its own design‘, of that I am quite certain. But he is using the foundation we built to spring from. And that is all any parent can ever hope for.

Faring thee well, my (man)boy, faring the well.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays, wisconsin

Eighteen!

There is nothing like the wonder of a 5th birthday party when the birthday boy gets to open his presents after the festivities. What I would not give to know what gift prompted that perfect little thrilled face on my boy. And the equally impressed face of my other little boy to his left. Of course, his sister – the Boss, was on hand to make sure he opened his gifts correctly.

Fast forward 15 years that flew by so quickly I am suffering from a little mommy whiplash today just thinking about it. And there is my boy, firmly planted in his new college life, most probably still fast asleep right now.

But waiting for him in the package room in the dorm would be the ever famous box of…

you guessed it: 18 presents. This idea came from my friend Karen and I copied her for Jana’s 21st. Of course sending it to Spain cost more than the contents but it was surely worth it.

So, to my 18 year old ‘baby’, may this day and your new life be as filled with wonder and excitement as your 5-year-old face in the picture above. And know that no matter how old you get, you will always be a little bit of that bowl hair cut sporting, basketball jersey and t-shirt wearing, lego building little guy in this mom’s heart.

Happy Birthday Danny Boy. Be all you can be and…

be careful.

Love you, man!

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, moms

Time to Cry Tuesday – Going, Going, Gone

“Mom, when are we going to go and get my stuff?”

That was the question in the last dream I had before I woke up. And there I was lying in bed thinking of what a busy day I had today and how guilty I felt that I did not have time to go with him to ‘get his stuff’.

Until I realized that there was no stuff to get (we had surely ‘gotten’ more ‘stuff’ over the past 4 days than humanly possibly). AND there was no Danny.

Yes, kiddies, after a year of ‘lasts’ and goodbyes ad nauseum as each of his friends left for college, my boy finally left too. Taking pride in being a family that is not prone to drama we were about on our last nerve until the moving day finally came. It feels like he has been going for so long I wonder why I felt so shocked this morning that he was actually gone.

So here is the thing; it comes in waves. When you think you have totally got your shit together and you know your kid is ready – and frankly so are you(ish) –  it grabs you around the chest and chokes you so can barely breathe. You know it is time for him to move on to start his LIFE (note the caps) and time for you to discover the next phase of yours. Of course you know all this!

And then there is that moment. Like the one in the Starbucks on State Street while I was ordering Shaken Iced Tea Lemonades and they had the nerve to play Cat Stevens Father and Son:

It’s not time to make a change,

Just relax, take it easy.

You’re still young, that’s your fault,

There’s so much you have to go through…

And there was my boy, sitting in the dim light at the back of the Starbucks with the sunlight streaming in through the window shining an eery glow around his silhouette. There he was with his scruffy beard and his Allman Bros. t-shirt and I realized that I had no choice but to let him go… for real.

And yes, I did start to cry right then and there in the Starbucks on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin. And no he was not all that happy with me but he did get it. Because he knew that by the end of the weekend when we left him and his sister, we would be leaving half our family halfway across the country. And there is simply nothing easy about that.

… Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away.

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Filed under advice to my son, college, danny, family, Jana, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – Boyz 2 Men

Hold on to your kleenex, kiddies, we are in countdown mode till the youngest child goes off to college. I will spare the drama, but this post had to be written.

Those who are walking down this road with me, we all know that this will be the fall of doing whatever the hell we want. And that surely does ease the pain of letting go. But every so often there is a moment. One that gets stuck in your throat and makes it just a little harder to breathe than you would like.

This past weekend I got my boy back for a few short days between counselor at camp and freshman at college. As we pulled into the zip code he had just enough time to shower before we were off to a 5 family farewell dinner with some of ‘his boys’.

Of course we had to torture them with the cameras a bit. But I am pretty sure that this post will make them glad that we did. For in picture number one below, you will find some of the very same smiles as picture number two. They may be hard to find, what with the facial hair and the hunky builds (I knew you guys would love that one), but they are the very same smiles that kept us moms going all these years.

We cheered at the sidelines for all these athletes, and of course virtually for our ‘mathlete’. We have lived through your joys and disappointments together as a community of families as if each and every one of you were our very own; because in essence you were.

We let you puke on our couches (as little ones) and in our cars (as not so little ones). Our homes were all yours, and of course so were our fridges and pantries. Never once did our love for you fail, even when your judgement sometimes did. The friendships you have shared through these years are nothing to be taken lightly.

May you always know the feeling of someone having your back the way you have here with each other. And may your moms survive this without putting you over the edge.

I love you all. Now go out and be all you can be.

And for G-d’s sake, be careful!

Oh, and of course remember to come back and eat me out of house and home whenever your hearts’ desire.

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Filed under advice to my son, carry a camera, danny, parenting, Time to Cry Tuesdays