Category Archives: teenagers

Do you lose your boobs?

True story:

A daughter is still new to the menstruation game. She is young and can really do without it. Honestly, she does not see the point. Her mom tries to shed some light on the subject.

Mom: Honey, as a girl matures, things happen to her body. She gets her period, she starts to grow breasts, and her body changes. Right before your period every month you can tend to be a little moody.

Daughter: I know, but why?

Mom: Well, this is all the beginning of changing a girl’s body into a woman’s body. And then as a woman gets older, like mommy, she goes through something called menopause. Her body changes again and she stops getting her period. And again she can tend to be a little moody.

Daughter: Oh no mom! Does that mean you are going to lose your boobs?!

Mom: (Laughing) Um, no not exactly. But they sure don’t look like they used to.

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Jeans, a Hurricane and Wet Feet

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I know what you are thinking, “She has finally snapped. The pressure of her son’s graduation has snipped the remaining thread she was hanging by”.

Close.

Long and short of it, Danny’s brand of jeans are nowhere to be found sending us on an exasperating quest. Some bizarre storm blew through a sliver of Long Island leaving in its wake the worst damn gridlock I have ever seen and the AC in the kids’ car is spewing ice cold water on our feet every time we make a turn.

Honestly, none of this matters. But it does give you a little glimpse into the type of day that Danny and I had – the last day together before graduation.

And there it is folks: The Last Day. Staring me down with its beady little eyes. Making me threaten to curl up in a ball and hide under the headless mannequins in the mall while searching for the perfect pair of boy jeans and finally letting it all out with either a primal scream or uncontrollable sobbing. (both of which are not all that desirable to witness your mom doing when you are a 17-year-old boy who is also at the end of his rope).

So we found jeans and the car will wait in line to get fixed. And I, being one who with a strong distaste for drama, did not lose it at the mall. It was tempting, but I used restraint.

Then I walked in the house and there it was…

The graduation gown hanging on the back of the door.

And the tape loop of a little boy turned man furiously ran through my mind. Legos. Why can I not stop thinking of Legos? And blocks. And Brio trains and bridges on the basement floor at 6AM Sunday mornings when I was dying to sleep. And little blonde bowl haircuts. Apple juice – why is the smell of apple juice so damn nostalgic?  And Axe, why do I tear up at the thought of the whole upstairs smelling like Axe Body Spray? Could I actually be craving the smell of sweaty soccer socks? Have I lost my mind or would I give any amount of money to drive one more carpool or sit on the sidelines of a soccer field in the broiling heat/pouring rain/freezing cold just one more Sunday morning in Center friggin’ Moriches or better yet Ronkonkoma?

This is what mothers do at times like these. We reflect. And we share. And we promise our sons we will keep it together when everyone knows that keeping it together is actually the last thing we are skilled at.

So here’s to the class of 2010.

And their moms (and dads). And to sons thinking that maybe it is ok to let mom lose it once in awhile… because they know that the act of keeping it together may be the one that finally sends her over edge. And that crying at graduation is the mom version of separation anxiety. And perhaps our sons remember that feeling from way back when…

as they watched us drive away.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under college, danny, family, humor, moms, shopping, teenagers

Time to Cry Tuesday – Zen and the Art of Letting Go

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There are times in your life when you simply have to let it go. When you are a parent – and a control freak to boot – letting go is not the easiest thing to do.

But I know better. Time marches on and either we march along with it or we get trampled. Ok, so maybe I feel some boots on my back right about now. And I know I am not alone.

So, to all of you who are trying to march into step with the graduation class of 2010, here it is: the Time to Cry Tuesday post about graduating your youngest child.

The other day, during the 4-hour end of school/pre-camp errand, Danny and I found ourselves in the bookstore and I came across Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. This 1974 novel was one of my most favorites back in the day – whenever the hell ‘the day’ was. Maybe High School, or college. I like to recommend some quality books to my kids in between the trash so I suggested that he read this. After being rejected by over 121 publishers it went on to sell over 4 million copies and was translated into 27 languages.

I suppose I was not alone in my love for this book.

While he browsed, I stopped at the Starbucks to try to alleviate the sleep-deprived haze I found myself in that is all too familiar this time of year. I began to refresh my memory by reading the back of the book. Up until this moment I had done a damn good job of holding it together. He is ready. He is excited. He is moving on to the next chapter of his life with the confidence and unbridled passion that only a young man of almost 18 could have.

I was good, I tell you, until I read this:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a powerful, moving, and penetrating examination about how we live… and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better… an unforgettable narration of a summer motorcycle trip across America’s Northwest, undertaken by a father and his young son. A story of love and fear – growth, discovery and acceptance – that becomes a profound personal and philosophical odyssey into life’s fundamental questions…

And that was when it happened. I broke. There in the Starbucks while ordering the grande iced latte (not even half caff, for G-d sake) I could not breathe. What if I had not imparted enough to him? Could I have done more? Could I have ‘lived better’ by example? Why did I never take a motorcycle trip cross country with him when he was younger ? (ok, that one is a stretch) Wait, I need a do over! I am sure there is some colossal parenting task I did not achieve well enough. Seriously, it went too fast, how could he make it without me?

And then I looked across the store.  And there he was, with that scruffy almost-beard and that ultra-confident, but in no way cocky little swagger that he has. And I realized the only wisdom that was not realized was my own:

The Art of Letting Go.

My friends, the road is long. And then it ends(ish). But as we who have graduated the siblings before these kids know, being a parent is a life-long job. And this stage is in many ways more fun than any of them. They are the people we grew from babies.

Their own people. And with any luck they will take care of US when we are old. (which may be sooner than I think if I don’t get some sleep soon)

To my boy, may we always have days like these past few weeks we have shared. Thanks for humoring me through them. And for making me so very proud to be your mom.

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

And be careful.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Time Capsule

If you are an elementary school teacher this is a must read. If you are a parent of a child of any age, grab the tissues.

Tonight at dinner I remembered the time capsule that Danny had put together in his first grade class. This could be the single best project he did in elementary school. Mrs. Smith was his teacher and the only generic thing about her was her name. A fabulous Teacher (with a capital T) he ‘looped’ with her from first to second grade. This was the woman who recognized the fact that this little boy would spend more of his energy trying to sit than it took to do his work – so she let him stand. The same one who worked patiently to get him to read even though he had a slow start – and assured me that he was going to do fine. And of course she was right as he has become an avid reader.

Tucked away amongst newspaper front pages and Y2K party favors, custom baseball cards and a bag of 1999 coins, were some amazing artifacts, including the cover with the instructions to open December 2010. We deemed this a mistake and decided that now was the time to open it.

1. Cover of the box – notice the drawing of Franklin the Turtle in the center.

2. Picture with said Franklin

3.  A ziplock bag with the proverbial ‘the dog ate my homework’ remains – Mel got an A – and her puppy picture.

4. A letter from 7-year-old-Danny to 17-year-old Danny – lots of talk of goldfish.

5. His predictions of the future – yes he did say that matzoh balls would still be his favorite snack food.

6. And our favorite – self portraits at 7 and 17. We love that he predicted his blonde hair would turn brown.

Lesson learned: don’t ever throw this kind of stuff away. And most important, savor every moment because that 10 years flew by in a blink.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Beep Beep

Standing in the kitchen I heard that sound.

Beep. Beep.

I opened the garage door and there was a red Jeep Rangler in the driveway with 3 of my favorite High School seniors rearranging themselves to accommodate the skinny little butt of my son in the back seat.

Hugs, waves, love yous and off they went down the street with the flaps off and the breeze blowing.

HS senior’s dream if you ask me.

HS senior’s mom’s big fat lump in the throat.

Sorry, but this was the only vision of that driveway I could conjure up in my mind as they drove away.

(hold onto your hats kids, this is the beginning of the graduation countdown, it’s going to be rough going from here on in every Tuesday)

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – Say a little prayer

basketballwithmike

Ok, grab a tissue now because this one brought my whole family to tears.

High School sports. High stakes in the lives of young athletes who dedicate themselves to being the best they can be in order to play their game of choice in college. They switch schools, travel endlessly and make any sacrifice asked of them in order to realize their dream. They never quit and they never say die.

However, the tricky thing about sports is how in a split second the game can change. Not the game, but the GAME. The whole ball of wax sometimes hinges on a moment in time. This weekend we witnessed one such moment. Our boy (not our genetic one, but the one we choose) came down wrong on his ankle and was carried off the basketball court. In those minutes after the injury the shock, fear and anger was so thick you could cut it with a knife. And that was me, can you imagine how he and his real parents felt.

I have written about this young man before when his team won the state championship. (I recommend that you click that last link as his story is a great one – don’t worry, I will wait).

I am happy to report that with any luck the injury is hopefully only a sprain. But the pain in the heart runs way deeper with the realization that you just never know. I am a fatalist. And a coper. And that is fine when I am dealing with my own stuff, but when it comes to one of the kids – not so much. When you see a young person work so hard for something you want to see them succeed. And yes, the coping piece is a big lesson, but not today, k?

He is a trooper. Right after the ER visit he was sitting at the dinner table pounding cupcakes and cracking jokes, trying his best to suck it up when we all knew how hard this was for him. BTW, We were quite impressed with his skill of eating a cupcake whole in one bite. (oh to be 16!)

So, on this Time to Cry Tuesday, I want all of you out there who have ever had a dream – whatever your religious persuasion (and even you atheists) – say a little prayer for our guy to get back on that court again soon and play his heart out…

before he drives his mother absolutely crazy.

(had to use this picture again because I simply love it. The one on the right is my son)

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Time to Cry Tuesday – One in a Million

A million. That’s a hell of alot.

Of anything.

But members of a Facebook group? Many have tried but few have succeeded. Here are few examples of the success stories:

Barack Obama has 1,073,090.

Stephen T Colbert has 1,171,385.

None of this seems to be an obstacle for Speck Mellencamp. The 14-year-old son of Indiana rock star, John Mellencamp, has created the group 1,000,000 people to join, my dad john mellencamp will quit smoking.

Some will say he is crazy to attempt this. Others will ask why John agreed to it. Still others will wonder whether this is a publicity stunt. (I can assure you, it is not).

In my opinion none of this is relevant. What would be relevant is the fact that a 14-year-old son found a way to get through to his dad that just might work. Speck took the language of his generation and spelled out loud and clear a sentiment that maybe, just maybe, his nicotine-addicted dad just can’t ignore.

“Sure kid, get yourself a million members and then I will quit.”

Hmmm, never underestimate the power of a son’s love for his dad. Or the internet. Or the combination of both.

I LOVE THIS KID!

Why has this hit so close to home for me? First, there is nothing I love more than a parent and child story. And a close second would be a creative way to use social media. That coupled with the fact that the Mellencamps have been the kind of friends to faraway members of our family that we are infinitely thankful for. They have been there for them in person when we could not. And for that we will be forever grateful.

For all of you out there who are skeptics, shame on you. There is nothing more thrilling than a young person who will not take no for an answer.

Speck, you are one in a million, whether you hit your goal or not. You are surely destined for greatness. And John, you are one lucky dad who better get ready to pay up because my money is on the kid.

Now friends, go out there and join the group. Tweet, stumble, digg, kirtsy, carrier pigeon or whatever else you can to help spread the word.

(FYI, as of this writing the group has 5,595 members. It was launched the day after Thanksgiving)
UPDATE 12.1.09 11PM: over 42,000 members and picked up by AP. USA Today, Rolling Stone, Washington Post and going strong!)

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.
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