Tag Archive | growing up

“The Talk”

“They” say that you need to have “The Talk” with your children at around the age of ten these days!

Um… Eeeeeeek!

I’m pretty sure that I never had anyone give me “The Talk.” My “Talk” consisted of “Don’t do it. Until you’re married. Ever.” And that was is. What I learned about sex as an adolescent was anything that could be read in a Jackie Collins novel or learned in health class . It just wasn’t a topic that was talked about which seems to be the general consensus of most people around my age.

But as my oldest has reached that milestone of double digits, my husband and I are basically playing “rock, scissors, paper” to see who gets to have that conversation. I think he should have it because he’s the man and has the same “equipment” as my son, and he thinks I should have it because… let’s be honest, I’ll handle it better. Truthfully, neither of us want to have it and as two intelligent adults are being pretty squeamish about it. I’m not sure if it’s our own fear, awkwardness, or embarrassment or if it’s just that we want our son to remain young, sweet, and innocent forever. (I’m going with the first one)

We do know that the moment we walk through that door, there’s no turning back. Once he knows about where babies really come from, he’ll never see the world (or us) the same ever again. He may even be horrified at the mere thought of it, which would be quite fine with me.

What I really want to tell him that he’s entirely too young to think about anything other than baseball, Play Station, and sports, and then I don’t want to tell him anything else about it. I still want him to think that girls are “disgusting and stupid” and I want him to wrinkle his nose in disgust when we ask him if he likes any of the girls in school. Quite frankly, I’m not ready for him to grow up and  I don’t want to worry about those things yet.

I know that I don’t JUST want to talk to him about the sex part. I want to talk to him about love and that’s it not simply about touching a girl because he can. I want to tell him that his body is going to do weird stuff in the next couple of years, but “not to worry” and that it’s just part of growing up. Having “The Talk” means that sooner than later, I’ll have to worry about sexting, and porn, and inappropriate behavior. I’ll also have to worry about hormones, moodiness, and his sweet little voice getting deeper. I know  I’ll have to be diligent in identifying skanky little girls who want to move too fast, and be prepared to terrorize them when necessary, which I’ve been dreaming about ever since my boys were born (insert evil laugh here).

Even though it’s right around the corner I’m not ready for acne, and attitude, and being questioned about my level of intelligence by the child that I created in my own body. I’m just not ready and I’m so frustrated about it because ten years has just gone entirely too fast! It snuck up on me and I wasn’t expecting it to happen this soon.

Dang it!

I can’t consider having this conversation with him until I accept that he’s growing up, and have I already said that I’m just not ready? Does it sound like I’m throwing a temper tantrum? Because I am! I’m too emotionally attached and even though I still have another eight years to go until high school graduation. I’m so disturbed that we are well past the midway point with him and that the youngest son is following closely behind.

I feel as though by the time I truly get to know them and understand them, they’ll be off to college starting a whole new world, becoming something else entirely. Then the person I’ve been for the past ten years is going to be hopelessly lost and yes, I’m already lamenting about having Empty Nest Syndrome with nearly a decade left. But look at how rapidly this decade has flown by!

I know… I know… I’m making having “The Talk” all about me when it’s clearly not, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s really about preparing my kiddo for the next phase in his life and it’s not his fault that his mom is a wimp.

What everything boils down to, is, that I’m just not ready to have “the talk” even though I’ve been giving myself pep talks for months. I thought I would be ready by the end of the summer and that I could do it before school starts, but school starts in two weeks and I haven’t worked up enough courage yet, but I’m working on it.

Being a parent means that you have to be brave… so I’m going to stop whining, pull up my big girl pants, and look for opportunities to start teaching my kiddos about the things that make me incredibly uncomfortable. Chances are, we’ll all be uncomfortable, but at least I’ll have done my job and hopefully my child will be benefit. He’s ten for goodness sake and just told us that he only weighs fifteen pounds when he’s sitting on the toilet, because little boys do silly things like that. He doesn’t take himself too seriously yet so neither will I. I’ll explain things to him like he’s ten and not twenty, and let him know that we’re here for questions and concerns. So hopefully when he starts morphing and his body becomes one big uncontrollable hormone, at least he’ll know that the lines of communication are open.

And by then, hopefully I’ll be over my tantrum and well over myself so I can be the adult parent that I’m supposed to be guiding my children and preparing them to understand themselves and make good decisions about their sexuality and their lives, no matter how freaked out it makes me.  For now I’ll just relax, and try to figure out how a ten year-old will understand  “the Birds & the Bees.”

I probably just need to have faith that I’ve done a pretty good job of explaining life to them this far and I’ll probably do this part just fine too. ūüėČ

The Beauty of the Young Reader

There is something very special about children who read. 

Both of my boys are very good readers… now. But it didn’t come naturally which surprised me  because as a child I was inexplicably drawn to books. I devoured  so many that I can’t even come close to remembering them all. Some of my fondest memories are of walking to the local library and taking out as many books as they would let me. I remember going through the aisles for what seemed like minutes when it was probably more like hours, trying to figure out which book I would read next. 

I would pull my favorites off of the shelves: Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the Sweet Valley High Series, Nancy Drew, VC Andrews, Mythology, Anne Rice… re-reading the books I’d already read, the ones I really loved. I spent hours and hours reading, imagining and becoming  the characters, all the while living and breathing with them. Reading was a way of life. I loved books so much that my punishment was that my parents would send me outside and ban me from books for the afternoon!

I hate to admit there came a decade in my life when I forgot my love for reading. I read but not with the passion and voraciousness of my early years. I was working… a lot… romancing, socializing, building a career, and having babies. But then my husband got me a Kindle for my birthday and I read three books in one week.  It felt as though I had found a long lost friend, my love for reading remembered and reignited.

When my children were given reading assignments and I had to practically hog-tie them down just to read a paragraph, I was surprised. I think I expected them to fall instantly in love with words, like I did. But getting them to read a page was torture and I felt like an utter failure. Even though I read to them when they were little, they fought reading tooth and nail. 

But little by little, word by word, it happened. 

We took turns reading to one another, we read every night before bed, we talked about the books they were reading in school, we talked about where they were with their reading levels, and we recognized when they hit their reading goals. Their teachers gave then goals and then rewarded them when they made their goals and I realized that my boys were finally readers! 

They learned to love reading and we were able to cultivate it with time and consistency. My youngest was the student who read the second highest amount of words this past year and my oldest made 200% of his reading goal. I’m so proud of them, but I know that this love has  to continue to be reinforced and fed. I’m planning trips to the library and trying to figure out how to continue to make reading fun.

Through my writing I’ve met some other young readers who share my passion for books and for reading. I love how it bonds us, making us instant friends because we share such a strong love. I love how it opens so many doors and makes me a part of such a strong community. It’s as though we have an unspoken understanding that reading opens our minds to a world where everything is infinitely possible. 

Children who read,  become adults who understand that the world is large and endless, beyond anything we can imagine. I love that children can imagine that. They are our future writers, inventors, teachers, scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs. Children who read understand that the world is limitless and so are they and I can’t wait until the moment that my children truly understand this. 

I’m incredibly thankful that they are well on their way. 

Butterfly Kisses

My oldest son turned ten today. It’s the day I’ve been dreading because it’s the day he hits double digits, signifying that he’s no longer a boy, but not quite a young man.

He’s so far from being a baby and so much closer to being  an adulthood. Everyone told me to enjoy my boys while they were little because it would all go so quickly and indeed, it has. In the blink of an eye I have a ten year old! TEN! I’ve been his mom for an entire decade, which is completely unbelievable, and the sad thing is, my youngest isn’t too far behind him. They are each one year older this year which means they are another year closer to the day I have to let them go. Even though I know they will always be my babies, l dread the day they will walk away as adults. They are already changing so quickly right before my very eyes, both nearly as tall as I am and their feet almost as big as mine. My oldest has always had the cutest, sweetest, most adorable high-pitched voice. The day puberty sneaks in and steals it replacing it with an awkward, lower pitched one, I’ll probably cry my eyes out.

My children bring out the most sensitive part of me to the point that, I’ll admit it, I cry every night on the eve of their birthday. I realize that declaring this out loud may make you see me as a bit crazy, or strange, or neurotic, but I can’t help myself. Everything that has happened through out the course of my life makes me appreciate every moment I get to have with them. I know how short life is and I’m reminded of it every time I look in the mirror and am reminded that I am no longer twenty-something anymore.

Life flies by without warning at lightning speed. These moments of whimsy and unfettered happiness, every giggle and kiss they offer up reminding me that this won’t last forever. It literally breaks my heart because if I could freeze these moments, I would truly live in them forever, and I would viciously protect them from what lies ahead as they barrel head-on toward adulthood. 

I love that I get to take care of and watch over them. I love that the most difficult decisions they have to face are what to wear and which Legos to play with. I adore their innocence and irreverent sense of humor. And I am thankful that life hasn’t mucked them up, or disillusioned them, and that they still believe that I am cool, smart and beautiful. I am happy that they find joy in the simplest things and that the world hasn’t taught them yet, how to be afraid, or ashamed, or that they should change who they are or what they believe. They are still true to themselves in a way that most of us can’t believe we were ever able to be.

At their ages,  my boys aren’t jaded, hurt, angry, or bitter, their only emotions coming directly from their beautiful little hearts which are guided by truth and perfection. As I watch them grow, I know these days will continue to pass quickly, and as I hold onto them as tightly as I can, it feels futile, like sand sifting through my fingers.

It’s not that I don’t want them to grow up. I knew that having children would result in raising them into adulthood then letting them go on their own. I knew that they would get older and hopefully become functioning, responsible members of society. 

I know that raising them to be capable, strong, compassionate young men is a privilege and an honor. But that doesn’t mean I won’t miss their impish little smiles and their sweet unaffected spirits. It doesn’t mean I won’t miss their impulsive hugs and bashful kisses and how they still want to be little boys as they strain unexpectedly toward young adulthood. 

Having a healthy perspective about it all often evades me but I do realize that my oldest is only ten, and there are still several years of childhood yet to come. While I mourn for a childhood that still remains, I realize that my fear for them is still unfounded and that I need to indulge in the joy of cuddling with them today. So I try to live in the moment, never wanting it to end and realizing how lucky I am to get to have these moments at all. And I remind myself to cherish every hug, giggle, and butterfly kiss that they bestow upon me. I can’t promise that I won’t cry on their birthday eves. I’ll probably always cry because I’m a sap like that, and that will probably never change. 

But I do know to be hopeful and happy for the promise of the wonderful young men I know they will someday be. Always hearing their sweet voices in my ears as I feel their butterfly kisses on my cheek.  

 

We’re Growing Up

I wondered when it would finally happen and I realize, it’s happening now.

My children are no longer “babies.”

They are growing into young men right before my very eyes which gives me such¬†mixed emotions. While part of me is happy to see them¬†thrive and grow, the other part mourns the loss of the babies I once held in my arms. I can’t believe how quickly the years have already gone, and I anticipate the ones to come will pass with equal swiftness. I¬†am not even remotely¬†ready to be the mother of teenagers, or to have them shun me with the contempt most¬†boys of that age feel for their parents. I’m not ready¬†for them to¬†believe¬†they have surpassed intellectually and in their knowledge of the world. I’m not prepared¬†for them to begin blaming me for my shortcomings as a parent or resenting me for doing too much of one thing, or not enough of another.

I already find that I miss the complete and utter adoration and admiration when in their eyes, I was perfect, amazing, and could do nothing wrong.

I realize the window on my motherly perfection is beginning to close and there is nothing I can do to keep it open. My boys are becoming more savvy in the ways of the world as it becomes bigger for them, day by day. I am happy and excited for their new experiences, but at the same time, I am fearful. Perhaps, less for them and more for myself.

Being a parent was easier when I could hold them in my arms when they cried and their tears would simply disappear simply¬†because I was near them. It was comforting to me when I could soothe their little pains or problems with kisses and hugs, or words of wisdom they would listen¬†to with big eyes and open ears. But as they get older and their problems get bigger I realize their ears won’t always be as open, their problems will get much larger, and I will no longer appear to be as¬†smart as I was when they were two. It’s great for your ego when you have two little people who hang on your every word and think that everything you say is the most important thing in the world. The narcissist in me will definitely miss that!

It makes me sad to anticipate the changes that are before me as a mother and them as brothers. I liked¬†when my kids thought I was¬†fun, smart, and cool. They still feel that way, but I can see the veil slowly starting to lift until I am revealed to be “just mom.” While being a mom to young children is exhausting, it is also incredibly wonderful for your ego. After all, is there ever another time in your life when you are ever so incredibly loved and adored as when your children are young? Sadly,¬†I also see the slow but sure separation between brothers as they find their own friends and interests, and the loss of closeness saddens me. We’ve raised them to look out for one another and I hope they will always find their way back to one another as first friends and as brothers.¬†As the next phase of motherhood is barreling upon me, I find that I am full of trepidation. Will I know what to do? Will I be able to help them with their bigger problems? Will I be as effective and patient? What do I know about ‘boy’ problems? Will they care what I have to say? Will I still be able to guide them into adulthood to be good men?

I know I¬†can’t stop them from growing up and I am excited for this next phase of their lives. The independence and confidence that shines within them is amazing and incredible, and I am proud of all of us for getting them to this point. I look at them and am in awe that a decade ago, they weren’t on the planet, and now here they are bringing happiness to my life every day. While I have such hopes and dreams for them, I can’t wait to find out what theirs will be and how to help them get there.

I’m growing up with them and¬†I can’t wait to continue growing old with them.

 

 

Milestones…

My  birthday was yesterday.

My “pretend” birthday anyway. Like many adopted or abandoned children, I don’t have any idea what day I was actually born, although it is the date on my birth certificate. I don’t have a birth story and I don’t know what my first word was. I have often wondered where I was when I took my first step, if I was held and cuddled immediately after I was born, or if my birth parents loved me. I don’t have any recollection of the first bite of food I had, or any pictures of me right after birth, or video tape of any portion of my childhood.

All of these moments and milestones are missing, of which I am reminded on a day like yesterday. The day we actually celebrate my birth. I’ve never been big celebrating my birthdays, though I love celebrating others. Nonetheless, I have come to terms with my birthday and have even come to love and anticipate it.

Though my own childhood milestones are missing and I am quite terrible with remembering dates, I have come to appreciate milestones that I have reached as an adult. The day I got engaged, promoted at work, married in Vegas, and the births of my two children. I’ve had milestones this past year that I didn’t expect which were self-publishing my first book, the birth of my blog, and then releasing my second book.

In 2014, I anticipate the release of my third book, the completion of the “Eva Series,” and then who knows what after that? Someone once told me that life is a marathon and not a sprint. I know that sentiment has been around for quite some time, but for the past couple of years I have been learning to embrace it as one of my absolute truths. While life didn’t start with a perfect beginning for me, I believe that I have chosen the milestones that I’ve been able to reach in my adulthood.

I took a Facebook quiz recently that resulted in telling me that I use both sides of my brain equally. A dreamer, a thinker, a doer, and a romantic… I believe that I am enough of a dreamer to imagine and create, but disciplined enough to anticipate and “do.” All of these qualities challenging me and confusing me as a child, now finally coming together. The life that began so uncertain, now has meaning and direction as I continue to move forward toward Milestones that I am not even aware of, yet.

It’s funny how I often wonder when I will finally “feel like an author.”  With two books, and a third on the way, I still have to pinch myself that what I have fully completed works out there. I don’t even care if they never top any best sellers list. I am just so excited that I got to write them and that there are people out there that have even bothered to read them. I don’t know when I will feel like all of this has been real and that I have been able to accomplish something that I’ve always wanted to do. Will it be when I have released my third book, my fourth, my fifth? Actually completing and then releasing the first book was a huge milestone, one that I have been dreaming of my entire life.

Every year around my birthday I start to wonder what day I was actually born. It could be the difference of a matter of days, or weeks, or even months. I’m guessing that someone had to estimate my age when they found me, and then someone assigned a date of my birth. That someone in this world who was there when I was born, taught me how to walk, talk, eat, and live, is someone that I will never know. There are days when I let myself feel a little sad about that, but most days I just look ahead to what is in front of me.

I’m excited about the prospect of what lies in front me and the milestones that I have yet to reach. Even though with each passing year, I get a little bit older, I know that it won’t matter as long as there are things to look forward to. With each “pretend birthday” there will be exciting things to celebrate… driver’s licenses, graduations, more books to release, grandchildren, and who knows what else? I know that one day I may finally feel like an Author, and I am looking forward to it. But for now, I am just thankful that I get to celebrate more birthdays.

But I am the most thankful for those BIG moments that I get to remember, now, with the people that I love the most.