perception is like a bend in the road….

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Being a writer and a blogger is a funny thing.  I am not a compensated blogger (and to check out how they often plan about things to write read this post), I write because I like to write.  I also write  because it’s my catharsis and way to work through things. I share my opinions, my garden, things in my life, and I even share my photography and recipes.

“Blogging” is a very widely used phrase today and face it, it is is fairly common  that with everyone you meet they either blog on their own or follow blogs. It is rare that you meet someone who doesn’t follow something.

Some people incorrectly refer to social media pages as blogs.  They aren’t, although bloggers share their work most easily via social media.

Perception, as defined is first of all from the Latin “perceptio” and is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information, or the environment.

Perception is like a bend in the road. Everyone sees the bend a little differently.

Human beings all see things differently.  Put a bunch of people in a room and show them a photo.  They all see different things.  Leave them in the room, and human nature takes over, and some of those who are stronger willed than others will try to impress THEIR perception upon people, tell them that their individual perception is the only one that matters.  You can literally watch as something goes from individual perception to more of a mob mentality. It’s fascinating.  (It happens in social media groups on Facebook all of the time. )

People are often so uncomfortable with the perceptions of others, no matter how benign. Some of these types like others to think blogging is a four letter word.  Or that the blogger is a bad person merely because their opinions and experiences are different from theirs. Or because a blogger is expressing some of their perceptions, experiences, and opinions openly.

Recently, I wrote a post about essentially the end of one chapter of my journey as a stepparent with a child graduating high school. I wrote about my perceptions, my feelings, my experiences. Today I heard from a friend.  Passing along a message from parents who did not like what I wrote.

Seriously.

I wonder, did they also have a problem about an article on stepparenting I wrote in 2017 for a regional magazine?

I am sorry they did not like what I wrote.  It was about my experiences. It makes me understand once again, why so many stepparents do not like to talk about their experiences.  It is often like we are not supposed to have feelings and experiences.  We are just supposed to soldier on and never talk about it at all.

Being a stepparent is the hardest best job I have ever had. At times it is exhausting and frustrating. And then there are those moments, those magical moments, where it all comes together.

I became a stepparent in my 40s. Most of my friends had been at parenting since their 20s, maybe early 30s. I knew when my sweet man and I got together it was a package deal, father and son. (They even have the same shaped hands.)

But being a fair bit older than parents with similarly aged children, I have felt at times like I was walking a tightrope without a net. When I am unsure, it is sometimes really hard to know what to do. Everyone wants to help and give you parenting advice. You don’t want to offend, yet sometimes you want to scream “stop” because the role of a stepparent is so different.

A stepparent is not a traditional parent.  You can’t replace the parent who is absent, and shouldn’t.  No matter the state of the relationship the natural parent (in my case mother), a stepparent must respect that bond.  And be aware, even if the bond is fractured, it does exist.

Everyone expects a blended family to emerge overnight.  That is a myth.  As much as you want life to be like a Hallmark Channel television movie, it isn’t.

Creating a blended family takes a lot of time and hard work.

As a stepparent I do not have that literal biological bond.   So there have been plenty of days I wanted to scream into my pillow “I can’t do this!” and I have cried buckets by myself out of frustration.  But underneath it all, if you nurture it and let it grow, is an amazing relationship.

As a stepparent you respect the family traditions you inherit with the relationship, and you work to create new ones.  Your job is not to erase the past, and together you create new memories.

For everything a writer writes, there will be at least one person who dislikes what you are writing about, and honestly, usually more.  And if you are a blogger, well just add to the numbers. Why? Because a lot of people do not consider bloggers real writers.

I am a real person.  I am a real stepparent.  I share some of my experiences because it makes others in my shoes as a stepparent feel less alone.  Much the way I also blogged my way through breast cancer.

Perception is a funny thing, and I am discovering it is especially funny when it comes to parenting.  I can never decide if it is because we are all supposed to have perfect Facebook-ready families at all times, or if people are just that uncomfortable if you are different, or your opinion is different, or if their kids think the moon is made of cheese and you think that is silly.

When it comes to being a stepparent, the parents I have met for the first time who are the least judgmental are individuals who were not born in the US.  As in people who grew up  elsewhere who came to this country and became citizens.  I think they are more kind a lot of the time because so many people can be so incredibly ignorant to those who are non-native born. As human beings we can be incredibly judgmental.  Sometimes it is very hard not to be.

I find this all to be a conundrum of sorts.  Here we are (in theory) supposedly teaching our kids to be good humans, yet often as adults we often can’t accomplish that on our own.

Well that’s enough from my catbird seat as a stepparent.

It’s all about perception.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

to the class of 2018

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Photo from my own high school graduation, 1981.   

The other day Spotify popped up with Don Henley’s The End of the Innocence in the song rotation.  Now it’s like an earworm.  The opening lyrics were playing in my head when I woke up:

Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn’t have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standing by

The song was written in 1989 by Don Henley and Bruce Hornsby.  Bruce Hornsby has been one of my favorite musicians since forever, and I liked this independent phase of Don Henley, so I have always loved this song.

I wonder if it is on my mind because this is the last week of high school for our son, my stepson?

I know that as a teenager about to graduate high school we are all annoying parental units, but where has the time gone?

GraduationI remember with great love the 10 year old with big eyes who loved hot chocolate and who used to make me apple slices with peanut butter on them.

Mind you I  love my 18 year old very much, but well…teenagers don’t make you apple slices with peanut butter or want to sit and drink cocoa with you.  They are here, and then they are out with their friends. Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.

Our son has done tremendously well in high school and we are SO proud of him.  He was accepted early decision to a truly remarkable school.  He is poised for success for the rest of his life.

And one of the best things I can say about our son, is that he is very much his father’s son in so many ways.  He is kind and loving and has a true generosity of spirit and loyalty to all in his world.  He has wonderful friends.

Time has flown.

In a sense, he (my son/stepson) and I have grown up together since as a stepparent I was late to this parenting game.

Sometimes it was very hard for me, I won’t lie.  Not because of our son, but the whole getting used to being a parent.  And being a stepparent is vastly different a role from being a parent.   It’s more of a supporting role.  And sometimes you have to keep your mouth shut, even when you don’t want to. (And well ME not having an opinion sometimes is torture!)

When he was in 8th grade I did not know if I could do it.  First of all, they all started dating then.  Dating in 8th grade is not something I did – probably because I was a year plus ahead in school, so I know back then, my emotional levels were completely different from my classmates. But it’s a different time and you do your best to adapt.

My growing up as a stepparent has not been without odd experiences.  Like the first dance.

I remember the first dance, the spring formal for our son in 8th grade like it was yesterday.  I was so incredibly nervous.    It was my first social function for the school as a stepparent.  They needed someone to photograph the group of kids going together to the dance, so I volunteered.  It is something I already do, and having a camera in my hands in new situations is very calming.

We were going to the house of the girl our son was dating for pre-dance photos.  First girlfriend, first dance, official stepparent debut.  And no one spoke to me while I was there. Seriously.  I walked in and no one said hello, no one spoke to me the entire time.  Not even our son’s date’s parents at whose home the photos took place. It was like one of those dreams where you are speaking to people, but you are invisible, so they glide on by, not hearing or seeing you.

I was ready to hang up the stepparent dress right then and there.  It was awful.  Almost as bad as my first experience in the car rider line when I accidentally got into the wrong line and people surrounded my car and started yelling at me like I was an ax murderer. But then it all changed. Then I met the parents that helped me grow and get through high school as a learning stepparent.

These were the parents who welcomed me before the 9th grade dance.  Parents of boys and girls in his class, and I am appreciative of all of them.  I love the time spent with them. They welcomed me to their circle. And from there, we watched our kids grow.  I no longer felt such the outsider.  I felt I had a place among them.

I just spent time with a few of them over Memorial Day Weekend as a matter of fact. We laughed and talked about high school with the kids. It was wonderful.  And every single kid has a  bright future ahead of them.

In a way this is also like my graduation as a stepparent.  Sounds weird but it’s true. I survived and he survived me surviving.  We survived him learning how to drive and me being nervous, SATs/ACTs, girlfriends I didn’t like, and generally growing up.

And that growing up is both of us. My son deserves a medal for surviving me learning how to be a parent and stepparent.  It’s hard.  And some days I swear I still stink at it. But again, I love this kid.  To the moon and back.  I did not give birth to him, but he is firmly and forever etched in my heart.

His father and I love him so much and are  so very proud of him. (And he will tell you I had the total meltdown complete with tears this morning when I told him how proud we were of him.)

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Back in the Dark Ages before social media and cell phones when we graduated

I have many friends with graduating seniors this year.  Some of whom are close friends I have known since we were basically the age of our kids.

To my friends: I have loved every prom photo, travel photo, dance recital , sports event, travails of boyfriends and girlfriends and swearing we of course did NOT drive our parents as crazy, every everything.  You guys have been my rocks, my teachers on the learning curve of not losing your mind on dumb stuff. It is somewhat surreal to think our kids are graduating as I remember graduation with some of you.  Lined up in our white dresses, with our flowers.

To my friends with all of this ahead of them, get out your tissues…it’s emotional parental puddle time. And take time to smell the roses.

Where has the time gone???  It feels like yesterday I was in his place, getting ready to graduate.

(And yes, I am passing along my earworm)

Thanks for stopping by.

 

kitchen elves needed.

Unless you were a complete suck up growing up, you avoided the kitchen when cleanup was needed. I know I did, although I always ended up somehow being the one that cleaned up the kitchen for the most part.

But in my defense my mother is still a master at getting other people to do what she wants done, and she was relentless when we were growing up. Come to think of it, she was also very good at getting other people to cook for her. It’s not like we had Mrs. Bridges in the kitchen it was more like me and my father. (But I digress.)

Mrs. Bridges was the beloved Cook from Upstairs, Downstairs the PBS Show. She had a veritable army of footman, maids, scullery maids, and kitchen help. Most of us don’t live like that, and never did. Which means we really appreciate a little help around the kitchen.

However I have noticed throughout my life, that cleaning up the kitchen means completely different things to men and women. And I love and adore my husband, but he and I have vastly different perspectives on this topic. And he gets really annoyed when I try to talk to him about it like I did this morning.

Face it, there are just days being a domestic goddess is harder than others. When I came down to the kitchen this morning I felt like the he-man woman haters club had held a chapter meeting in my kitchen.

There was stuff everywhere (including grains of rice lodged underneath the glass cutting board) and both sinks were loaded with dirty dishes.

So I spent a good part of my morning before getting ready to work cleaning up the kitchen and loading and running the dishwasher. That also meant time vacuuming up additional grains of rice from off of the floor.

I know, I know there are bigger problems on the face of this earth, but cleaning up the kitchen in a small house to me is a really big deal. Which means when you come in the front door it’s not too far to the kitchen. So as a woman you want everything to look tidy. Or at least I do personally.

I also live in a male household. So cleaning up the kitchen generally speaking falls to me. Not because anyone is chauvinistic, it’s just because I have a little bit of OCD going on when it comes to cleaning up.

Yes…one of my pet peeves are indeed dirty kitchens. I used to know someone that was such a slob and a pile-maker in the kitchen, that every time I came home from her house I had to clean something else up. I think to this day every time my kitchen is too dirty it reminds me of theirs.

I am also stepparent to a teenage male, and sometimes I don’t even think he sees what is in the kitchen. He is focused on being a teenage male. So he comes into the kitchen he gets what he wants and he leaves. That can be a little frustrating when it comes to cleaning up as well.

However, when my sister quipped recently that she didn’t believe either of her children (niece and nephew) knew what the dishwasher was, I know this is not just a male thing it’s just a kid thing. And I know from my other friends that there are many similar tales of “kitchen destruction” left in the wake of various aged children.

I guess it’s the whole thing when you’re a kid you don’t understand, but when you’re a grown-up you understand all too well. It’s kind of like you never understood why your mother got annoyed when there were multiple boxes of half eaten cereal in the cupboard, until you open your own cupboard and you have four open boxes of teenager designated cereal, and two are the same thing.

It seems to me that when we were growing up for the most part we had little assigned chores we were just expected to do. If we were lucky we got a little allowance out of them, but most of the time it was just we were expected to do it. We were expected to help.

Whenever I mention this, this is where my husband asks me if I was a robot growing up, and no honey, I wasn’t. We just had chores we were expected to do. And that was for me when my mother’s inner Pennsylvania German shined through, so I try not to be a bear about it as an adult in my own house. But I haven’t quite figured out what the balance is which will get me help once in a while when I need it …without me sounding like a nag.

It would be really nice to have occasional kitchen elves visit me. Unfortunately I live in Chester county, so I’m far more likely to get a mouse instead 🤣

Thanks for listening to my womanly gripes, and men? Live dangerously help your ladies clean up the kitchen. One benefit will be will you save money on hand cream and manicures.

Thanks for stopping by.

prom season means prom reminders

Victoria Pan, a senior at Downingtown East High School, earned the grand prize in the Positive Prom Message contest. This is her image as published on Facebook. See https://www.facebook.com/chestercountyAVOID/  https://www.facebook.com/DowningtownAreaCTC

It’s prom season. And well, prom is a lot different then the “good old days”. This beautiful illustration was the Positive Prom Message winner and Miss Victoria Pan at Downingtown East is the artist.  I hope Victoria doesn’t mind me featuring her art in this post – it is a beautifully executed and powerful piece of art that demonstrates maturity beyond her high school years.  Plus I just like it.

A lot of these proms are not close to home.  They can be at venues quite far away.   Lots of schools have parent group sponsored after prom activities,  instead of after parties of glory days gone by.

No matter how time has passed, it is still a terrific night to be a teenager and a nail biter of an evening to be a parent.

You want your kids to have fun. But you want them home in one piece. Proms need ground rules.

Who is driving to the prom? Who is picking up from prom? When do they come home?

What is the distance between the prom venue and the after prom event and to the various domiciles of kids? How long are these after prom events that schools and parents sponsor? I know of one that runs from 11 pm to 5 am. So, if a kid has a Cinderella license in PA and drives to prom, how are they supposed to drive legally to one of these post prom events? If parents are doing the chauffeuring, when do they get to sleep that night of prom?

When did prom get so complicated?  Or was it always this complicated but when we were teenagers we just did not pay attention to other than who we were going with, who we were sitting with at a table at prom and what dress were we wearing?

Yes, my junior prom way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth….

I do remember the whole dress shopping of it all.   We didn’t show a lot of skin back then, and the heels? Well our mothers made sure we could walk in them if we wanted to wear them. And there was a lot of “no” when it came to dress choices and parental eye rolling that we even suggested wearing a dress that made us look like hoochie koochie mamas.

Today if my friends and I were teenagers and we wore what we were allowed to wear back then, we would have looked like we were sporting Morman “modest ” clothing.

I also remember my mother and her friends rotated dresses between them – so if we were going to more than one prom it was like the mom version of “rent the runway.”  We borrowed someone else’s dress so we had no prompeat dresses from school to school. Who knew it wasn’t a new dress? (we’d never tell!)

Now prom is a big business and well half the guys don’t wear tuxedos anymore.  And what is with this trend that the guy’s tie and/or cummerbund matches the girl’s dress color? Is this like prom Garanimals? Sorry it is a trend I think is dumb.  It’s like yo Barbie, Ken will match you. And a great deal of the girls’ gowns do indeed look like Barbie inspired clothing, which I do not know is a good thing. It just is.

Girls are doing wedding caliber hair and make-up and nails.  How much does prom even cost today?

And then there is the whole promposal thing.  You can’t just ask someone to prom. It has to be this whole production.  Prom bombing a kid’s car to ask them to prom is one way to do it.

I saw this in 2011 and snapped a photo

These promposals have gotten competitive…and expensive.  At Bucks County’s Pennsbury High School they have been banned during school hours.

And wow, these promposals whether you are male or female seem like big pressure to me.  And what happens if someone turns your promposal down? Then what?

But once we get past the where the proms are, where the after parties and events are, and who is wearing what and who is going with whom, it boils down to kids being safe.

State Representative Duane Milne sent around a sober reminder today via e-mail.  I close with that because well, have fun kids but stay safe.  And take pity on your dear “old” parents who now understand why our parents were glad prom season came but once a year for a brief window of time!

 

 

on strike

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I love my stepson.  I do, He is awesome. But like many other kids those manners you have been teaching since embryo stage applies most often when you child is a guest in OTHER people’s homes. It’s so not cool to use those manners where you live! It simply is not done!

“Oh he is so helpful!”

“How do I get a child who helps me clean up the kitchen, set the table, walk the dog, and helps make the salad?”

“He is the PERFECT guest! And so articulate and conversational!”

Yes, I love hearing all this nice things….but here I sit laughing to myself that I wish I knew that person inside the four walls of our home!

Perfect manners. Outside the house.

Here?

Here I have a mutant ninja teenager.  He loves the inner sanctum of the bat cave, err his room.  Enter at your own risk.

Or the gaming palace, errr I mean the FAMILY room.

Want to make a teenager twitch? Have the temerity to actually sit in the FAMILY room and use it for anything OTHER than video games. Or hide their phone for a few minutes.

And when said beloved teenager is in the FAMILY room, you see him practicing to be a future corporate mogul and reclining like Julius Ceasar.  He has the head set on to communicate with his friends (and sometimes I swear they are more on the head sets to communicate than game). Then he has the super battery charger thingy in case he needs to plug in, text messaging/snap chatting/whatever on the phone, and for the technology trifecta, the tablet….with another game going on.

Teenagers contrary to popular belief can actually multitask VERY well and ever so efficiently….it just has to be something that interests them.  (Which aren’t parental units, naturally.)

When a certain someone was a little boy he loved hanging out with us.  He even showed interest in the kitchen.  When he was 10 he used to make me his world class favorite snack: he would cut up an apple, put it on the plate and carefully like he was mortaring bricks, would spread on peanut butter and even drizzle a little honey. And we would make hot cocoa together.

But at 17, you do not get that.  It is about friends, school, girl friend, gaming and not necessarily in that order.  Parental units are to be tolerated and used for rides to get places or buy stuff.  It’s not cool to hang out with the parental units, I do actually remember that much from being a teenager myself back in the olden days of yore.

Living as the only female human in the house I have resigned myself to a couple of things. One is socks form their own strange colonies along with random piles of dirty clothes.  The second is laundry looks much better when artfully displayed on the floor around the laundry hamper.

Another thing is the male of the human species have their own special, often somewhat primal non-verbal language.  They can move about the house  essentially grunting to each other and well sometimes the female feels somewhat invisible….until you cook or bake something that smells REALLY REALLY good.

One thing that doesn’t seem to happen very much in my house anymore are family dinners.  Teenager might turn into a pillar of salt or something if he couldn’t spend his time after homework on his games with his friends.  So I have pretty much given up on that ideal.  Which saddens me, but too many instances of teenager face (that special they are-bored-don’t-want-to-be-here-face), made me give it up.

But there is one thing I won’t give up on.  If teenager wants to be master of his own universe after homework, fine, but it is not my job to be the maid.  Yet somehow, I end up being the maid because teenagers never seem to know where the dishwasher is where they live…you are the maid and dishwasher.

Last night I cooked a lovely dinner.  Teenager did not join us.  But when he got off of his games and brought up his dinner plate (which was fixed and delivered to him by his father), it once again got deposited in the sink for the fairies or someone to take care of.

Proverbial straw meet camel’s back.  Time to go on strike.  I am not the maid.

So I decided to do to him what we once did to a summer beach house roommate who was a supreme kitchen slob: deposit his plate back in his room on a towel with a note (as seen above). Mind you I am being much kinder to him than I was to this woman once upon a time – we took a BIG beach towel and put it on her bed and onto the towel went a week’s worth of dirty dishes and glasses and detritus she had left trailing around for an entire week.  We had thought if we let her stuff pile up, she would take care of it but when that didn’t work, it was time for towel on bed. That worked and the rest of the summer she didn’t leave a mess in the kitchen.

Whether this leaving the plate back for my teenager to find will work or just be perceived as another parental unit nuisance remains to be seen.  I suspect I will have to go on strike a few more times.  Sorry not sorry but when I was his age I could not only cook, my sister and I were expected to clean up or help clean up.

Parents of teenagers are reading this and laughing, because you have to have one to truly get this new parenthood club.  I don’t ask for much, I just want a little help and cooperation once in a while.  And I am waiting for the feedback from some of my friends who do NOT have teenagers.  They feel free to liberally sprinkle parenting advice and while I appreciate their efforts, telling me what to do when they do NOT have a single teenager in residence is not helpful…and I will be sitting there with popcorn gleefully on the sidelines when their kids who “would never do that” become teenagers.

And I might get them the book by Dr. Peter Marshall titled  Now I Know Why Tigers Eat Their Young

Thanks for stopping by!

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just breathe….and keep repeating “they are teenagers”

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I love my teenager, I love my teenager, I love my teenager, I love my teenager.

Really and honestly, I do.  But now I understand that phrase that goes something like understanding why wild animals eat their young.

In the world of teenagers, mine is pretty special.  He really is a great kid, but he still drives me nuts. And today is one of those days.

And I am a step parent which means I am missing that gene connection which does sometimes make things even harder.  He and his father speak their own secret language and communicate via grunts and hand signals some days. But that’s what guys do, I suppose…..

Me? I would just like to be heard some days period.

Today is one of those days.

I ask the teenager in the house to do virtually nothing.  He doesn’t have tables to set or dishwashers to empty or kitchens to clean up or meals to prepare.  He doesn’t vacuum.  He doesn’t take out the trash. Sometimes he does mow the lawn for which I am eternally grateful, no sarcasm, as I am murder on lawns even though I can garden up a storm.parenting

For three days I have been waiting for someone to bring in the recycling containers. It has been horribly rainy so I get no one wants to get soaking wet bringing in trashcans. And usually I do it. This week I decided on the equivalent of a mom strike. I wasn’t going to do it.

Finally today I texted my teen dream and asked him  if I wasn’t yet home when he got in from school if he could please help me out and bring in the recycling containers.  Yes I said “please”.

When I came home, the video games were working just fine, but the trashcans were missing their teenager sitting still on the curb at the end of the driveway. And in the front hall framed items on the wall were hanging by the edge of their hooks due to a knapsack direct hit.

Deep breath. (Scream into pillow if necessary.)

I said hi  when I walked into the family room and asked why the cans were still out there. One ear comes out from under the gaming headphones and I get the “don’t-interrupt- me- I- am- gaming- look”. First he said why did he have to do that and then he said well he didn’t know and  while clicking away on the video game controller not even looking at me,  he was “sorry”.

And went back to his gaming.

Parent dismissed. Grrrrr.

Did I expect him to spring up from the sofa and run and bring them in? No. But I kind of sort of thought maybe I would get a “Sorry I will get them when I get off of the game.”

But I got nothing. Well that isn’t true, I got teenage attitude for his friends’ benefit.

Ok yes this is all normal when dealing with teenagers of any variety.  But I am a step parent.  And step parents have a harder go at this stuff because we are all told we are to be the child’s friend, they aren’t our children, we can’t discipline them and so on.

A blog called ManicMommy0914 wrote a post in February about being a step parent. It really resonated with me when she said:

Being a step parents role is rarely defined

When you have a blended family a step parent usually does not get called  “mom” or “dad” no matter how much more they do than the biological parent. The biological parent may rarely see the child but automatically gets the name “dad” or “mom” is this fair? No but fair does not matter when it comes to parenting, does it?

You are damned if you do and you are damned if you don’t

Step parents get a bad rep for being mean even when they have done nothing different than the biological parent. No matter what the situation is for the child if you are laid back about the problem then “you don’t care” if you take the punishment route “you are mean.” Which leaves the step parent in a rough situation because however they choose to handle the situation they are doomed….

You often live in a state of uncertainty

Step parents can be easily confused about where they fit in, or how they fit in to their step-children’s lives.

….I see biological parents walking out of their kids life all the time and step parents having to step up to the plate…A step parent is so much more than just a parent because they made a choice to love you when they didn’t have to….So here is to all the step parents out there. I applaud you. I respect you. You are appreciated. You are loved. Just remember any one can be a mother or father but it takes someone really special to be a step parent.

I have this post bookmarked.  It was like the writer was speaking right to me. I wish I could send the author a thank you note.

I love my teenager but his ten year old self was so much easier to deal with and understand. He drank hot chocolate and gave me hugs.  I feel guilty complaining but I am frustrated. And compounding the frustration are video games.raising-teenagers

I don’t like video games and I freely admit it.  Loudly. If I felt like they were other than a teenage addiction, maybe I would be more neutral or even ambivalent.  But that is all I see is the focus on the games.  At the expense of everything else.

A lot of parents don’t care how many hours their kids game and don’t limit it. I am not judging. But I will tell you what I get in my home with prolonged video game use: I hear the gaming a couple of floors up – my teenager has the headphones that allow him to interact and communicate (shouting often ensues)  with other gamers.  He just plays and plays and plays.  No stopping to eat or even get anything to drink  unless we remind him. And any adult interruption of the sacred art of gaming is not necessarily a bright or cheery thing to deal with. I have even gotten the teen attitude when I have tried to show interest in the games.

Much to my surprise there is a website about video game addiction. And yes I realize no teenager anywhere is going to want parents to read ANYTHING on this website.

In my humble opinion, I miss the days when kids went outside first before anything else. My neighbor and I were talking about this a week or so ago.  She asked me if I remembered being a kid and the weather was nice and trying to figure out how soon you could go outside, and where you could go and how long you could stay out. I do remember that. The weather would warm up and the kids in my neighborhood would pour out of their houses. Pick up games of soccer, kick the can, and so on. Even the teenagers.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “moderation in all things” and I am not perfect so I can’t expect the teenager to be.  But I would like some video game moderation. Not gaming first last and in between which is what it feels like to me now.  And I would like to be able to use my family room once in a while.

The irony is when my teenager is at other people’s houses he is the kid of impeccable manners. And he is helpful. LOL I need to get myself a teenager like that!

So someday the teenager will read this and look at me quizzically like I was writing about someone else….and someday farther down the road still I look forward to when he calls his father and tells him his kid or kids are driving him crazy.

Until then I will be doing a lot of gardening…..

Sign me parentis trying NOT to be loco.

Thanks for stopping by.

The-Boys-Room-by-Judy-Clement-Wall

to the naib family on the loss of cayman

cayman

Dear Naib family,

I just learned your devastating news and I wanted to add my voice to the many voices extending sympathy. I am so incredibly sorry. I don’t know you, didn’t know Cayman, only knew what a sweet boy he was through mutual friends who have children who attend school with yours.

My heart breaks for all of you in this time of sadness and no words can adequately express how any of us feel. He is your child and I am so sorry for the pain and sadness.

I am sitting here in tears, and you all are strangers to me. But the simple fact is when you become a parent, even a step parent like I am, you begin a journey of love that is like no other. It is complicated, messy, wonderful, amazing, enriching, and spectacular all at the same time. My child is but a year or so older than Cayman so this hits very close to home for me for this reason. Again  I am so truly and deeply sorry for your loss.

My most heartfelt condolences and prayers.

To my readers out there, please say prayers for Cayman and his family. This is such a  devastating loss that no human being would ever want for another.

Reluctance

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Robert Frost

RIP

 Philadelphia Inquirer: Police sources: Body of Cayman Naib, 13, found in creek bed near family home
Mari Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer

Last updated: Sunday, March 8, 2015, 4:20 PM
Posted: Sunday, March 8, 2015, 3:57 PM

The body of 13-year-old Cayman Naib, who disappeared from his Newtown Square home Wednesday night, hours before a snowstorm, was found Sunday by searchers, his family said in a Facebook posting.

A police source told The Inquirer that the youth was discovered about 1:30 p.m. by a search team with K-9 dogs in the bed of Darby Creek, a few hundred yards from his family’s home on a 13-acre property on Harrison Drive. The source said the location of the discovery was off St. Davids Road and Paper Mill Road.

The cause of death was undetermined. It was not clear if the youth’s body was in water. The body was turned over to the Delaware County Medical Examiner’s office.