Taking the long way home

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Last night Angel and I got back home from the Lana Del Rey concert. We ended up taking the long way home…

We headed out to Minneapolis early Friday afternoon and got to our downtown Minneapolis hotel by late afternoon. It was still cold outside with wind chills below zero. Even though we were only a couple blocks away, I was concerned about walking outside on a cold frigid night.

The hotel had an indoor walkway that we could walk to the concert in, but it closed at 8 PM. Although we had a map, we got turned around several times in the walkway. There weren’t as many signs as we thought there would be. Someone stopped us and gave us the wrong directions. We met up with another couple that was just as lost as we were. The girl was wearing a mini skirt and a jean jacket. I told her that she would have to walk back outside on the way back.

Surprisingly, despite getting lost, we made it to the concert a little early which gave us time to go through security, find the bathroom, and get a drink before the show. I spent $15 on a 4 oz old-fashioned that tasted like utter crap. I watered it down with Angel’s soda but it was still undrinkable. Gross!

Angel’s friend was going to meet us there and sit by us, but she came down with the stomach flu. The show itself was phenomenal. It was the biggest concert I ever went to. Before that the biggest concert I was at was back in the early 90’s seeing Reo Speedwagon at the county fair. This was Lana’s first concert of her new tour, so being the first show and being an inexperienced concert goer, I really didn’t know what to expect.

I was thinking about bringing ear plugs, but Angel said that would make me look way too old. I was already instructed not to look like a mother. Some of the young girls barely wore any clothes which concerned the mother within me a whole lot on such a cold night. There were a few other middle aged concert goers. Most were in their early twenties. The whole row behind us seemed to be in their early 20’s and were all smoking pot. The young couple next to me was making out the whole time. Seriously, I could have used a better drink.

Afterwards, I was satisfied that my ears did not ring. The acoustics were great. Lana played a lot of songs that we knew and she had a great performance. We walked back to the hotel in the cold. I had a hard time pulling up the hotel on my phone’s map. I was a little afraid that we would walk around the city in circles until we froze to death. Although my daughter is an adult, I felt responsible for her safety. We were very cold, but we were able to find our way back before we froze to death.

The next day we had lunch plans with an old college friend that lives near the city. She hadn’t seen my daughter since she was a toddler. It has been over 8 years since we last saw each other. We had a really nice visit, but had a long drive home.

I fell asleep on the way home which hardly ever happens. In my defense, I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night and felt rested. I was the only one that knew how to get home and since I was sleeping, we missed the exit. I woke up to different scenery. We drove a few more miles before I had the nagging suspicion that something wasn’t right. Sure enough, my little siesta cost us an extra hour of driving.

What good is knowing the way if I couldn’t show the way to go?? Seems like another whole philosophical blog topic, but I am much too tired to form a thought. I would like to think that we circumvented a crash on the interstate. But the truth is that I am getting old and tired..I fell asleep and wasn’t paying attention.

However,the long way home was a more scenic route with its rolling hills, cranberry bogs, marshes, reeds, and woods. I wanted to stop several times to take pictures, but I also wanted to get home and felt bad for making our trip a lot longer than necessary. So I snapped a few pictures when we stopped for a stop sign.

Angel and I did a lot of talking on our long trip home. It was nice having some uninterrupted time to visit. Next weekend she will be leaving to go back to college. It will probably be a couple more months until we see each other again. Despite taking the long way home, we had a lot of fun together..

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Heading to Orlando

I printed off our boarding passes this afternoon….we are headed to Orlando. The best part is that we will be meeting up with some good friends for a few days at Disney before the business part of the trip.

I got the feeling that we might be traveling on Sunday despite the hurricane. My daughter Arabella said that she was starting to feel sick. She is the kid that has gotten strep the last couple of times we left home without her.

That was a good(?) sign we were heading out of town.

Arabella had me take her temperature this morning. It was normal. She is a little congested, but that is all. I did feel really frustrated with her at first.

But instead of being angry, I decided to talk to her about…gasp…feelings.. She admitted to feeling afraid when I leave. It is touching that she feels that way in high school, but I am starting to worry about college. Will she be the kid that ends up living in my basement?? I was betting on the music majors…hmm…maybe I got this all wrong..

She is worried that I will die. Too tell you the truth, I worry about that every time I step on an airplane. So of course I had to book my first trip out of the continent to Asia. Nothing like a 22 hour flight to conquer my fear of flying!

Thank God for the little white pills that keep me from having a 3 hour long panic attack on a plane.

(Oh my gosh, I’m going to be flying 22 hours soon!!!!).

As for today, I am excited to go to Florida. Maybe I will have a few pictures to share when I get back…

Arabella’s letter

Our local high school encourages parents to write a letter to their child upon entering high school to be given to them at graduation. Sounds like an easy task for a ‘writer’, but it is not.

I don’t remember what I wrote for my oldest daughter and she never let me read it after graduation.

A few years back, I wrote the letter to my son and shared that letter with you. It was easier to write because quite frankly I was moved. We were going through some really hard times with him. Times a lot harder than him going to an underage drinking party at someone’s cabin. Let’s just say that I had a lot of words of wisdom and advice to share..

But it is not all about my middle child and his ability to rock the boat today. It is about Arabella, my baby, the child I have little in common with. She doesn’t even look like me. She was a horrible baby. She cried non-stop for the first year, day and night. After that first year, she has been easy going and probably my easiest child to raise so far (although we are only a year into the teen years). She has been practically a straight A student and seems to have her head on fairly straight. What kind of advice could I give her??

Well, here goes…

Dear Arabella,

As I write this on your first day of high school, I can’t believe that you are graduating already.

I have to wonder…Did you start your own business yet? What will the future hold now that you will be out from under our wing?

I remember the day you were born. You were the ‘famous baby’ in a published photography book. Your dad proudly showed the book to every visitor that entered our house for years.

Then came the first day of school. You were afraid to let go of my hand just like now I am afraid to let go of yours. It doesn’t seem possible that childhood could fly by so quickly. Now you are graduating!

We are so proud of you, not just on this one day. We are proud of your past accomplishments and are excited for your future endeavors. We know you will go far with your intelligence, persistence, and leadership skills.

Love,

Mom & Dad

I didn’t hit a deer, but…

Can you believe that I live in Wisconsin and never hit a deer?? I probably shouldn’t have said that, now I am doomed..I remember as a kid riding up north with Aunt Grace. She always said, “I wonder if we will see a deer?” It never failed that one would pop out of the woods after those words were spoken.

I didn’t hit a deer this past month, but I almost got hit by a car while out running. I was very angry and it prompted me to rant on Facebook about running etiquette for drivers. Seriously! After that post, the people that know me have given me a wider berth and do a lot of waving.

I also was the victim of road rage. There was a guy at the stop sign across from me. He was going straight and I was turning left. I waited for awhile and he didn’t make a move, so I started to head into the intersection. It was at that point that he floored it around me. I slammed on my brakes while he accelerated squealing tires, literally burning rubber, and spewing up rocks that scarred my car and scared me.

In both situations, I didn’t have time to respond. I didn’t honk my horn, give them the finger, or get a good description of the vehicle.

Then I hit a raccoon. This wasn’t just an ordinary raccoon either. It was the size of a small horse or large dog. It looked like it had been hitting up the Halloween candy big time, like REALLY BIG time. It left the front end of my car hanging on the ground and me having to come up with lies, more lies, something I am not good at doing.

Why would I lie? The dark evening that I hit the raccoon, I was picking up my daughter from a car pool. Angel had a day off of school and wanted to come home to surprise everyone. Paul was out of town for business and would come home to see our daughter unexpectedly there. I was the only one that knew of these plans. So I had no explanation for being out that night when I said I was going to be home all evening.

So here I was with a smashed front end that ended up costing over $1,000 in damages. That kind of excitement was hard to mask during a quiet uneventful evening spent at home.

My daughter received a ride home from the mother of a girl that she used to be friends with. This girl almost dropped out of college because she thought that the music program was too competitive and blamed it on my daughter. So the 4 hour ride included glares from the mom and awkward silence.

But apparently the long, uncomfortable ride home was worth it for Angel to surprise the family. It was pretty exciting to see everyone’s reaction. It was the first time she was home since she left for college.

Yesterday, I got my car fixed. I never would’ve guessed that a raccoon could do so much damage. Afterwards, I took a little detour and wandered through the garage to watch the mechanics work on vehicles. I knew I shouldn’t have been there. I felt like I was sneaking through the surgical department, but no one kicked me out. In situations like those, it is always smart to play the dumb blonde card.

My little adventure did cost me though. I ended up going out the wrong door and spent the next half hour wandering around the huge parking lot looking for my car. Embarrassingly enough, I had to ask for help finding my vehicle. I thought I would have to buy a new vehicle from the lot to get back home. Hey, it was starting to get cold out.

Being in the garage gave me a brief second of nostalgia for the old family auto business. I love the smell of garages, gasoline, and rubber tires (not burning ones though). It brought back childhood memories of my grandma ringing up the antique till, the rows of tires for sale, and Uncle Harold working on the cars. That is all gone now.. They are all gone now..

I am such a sentimental sap.. I picture them forever working there in my head..They are breathing, living on a faded out film that continuously loops through my head..they always look the same and wear the same clothes..

What can I say? It makes me happy, yet so sad.

Anyway, my car is up and running now. Let’s just hope I don’t hit a deer!

 

 

And so it begins…

It happened this past weekend. I was hoping with my last child I would have just a little more time..

Angel has been dating her boyfriend for almost 3 years.. Alex has had a girlfriend for the last 4 months…Thankfully, I approve of their choices!

I imagined Arabella staying single and living at home forever….hmmm… Maybe this type of thinking is an irrational coping mechanism?? Why can’t time just stop for a little while??

My friend Cindy was over this past weekend. One of her son’s is two days younger than Arabella. A group of neighborhood kids decided to go for a bike ride. One of the boys admitted to Cindy’s son that he has a crush on Arabella. Or maybe it was more of a ‘stay away I like her’ kind of thing.

Cindy’s son told Arabella that this boy has a crush on her. Arabella confronted this boy about his feelings towards her. The poor guy got so flustered that he steered his bike right into the ditch. He was crashed, crushed, hurt, and full of dirt calling out for his mother.

Arabella only likes him as a friend.

And so it begins…

The big skinny on weight loss

My 13 year old daughter is on a diet.

I never thought that I would be buying weight loss products. What a racket!!

Now before I get a lot of nasty comments, let me explain. I am not the stereotypical mom depicted on TV. Although I am lean and athletic, I don’t harp on a middle school daughter that has a barely bulge. I don’t replace her chocolates with laxatives. I don’t tell her that she won’t be loved unless she is thin like me.

If I am guilty of anything, it is ignoring that there is a problem. I honestly don’t know what to do. Would you? I have never had issues with my weight before. Sure, there are times that I feel fat. What women doesn’t?

The only time that I struggled with my weight was during pregnancy and right after. Most women do, except for an enviable few. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror after my first baby was born. I felt like I got hit by a truck. I probably looked like it too. But I took a strange pride in my body that was able to produce life. I felt a  connection to my ancestral bearers of life before me.

The most I ever weighed was 186 lbs. That was right before giving birth to my almost 9 lb baby. This is how much my 13 year old daughter weighs right now. She is a few inches shorter than me. Her BMI is borderline obese. Arabella gained 20 lbs since her last physical.

Kids pick on her and call her names like Arafatta and Fattie. It never seemed to bother her before. She even nicknamed her stomach Jab. She was always hungry. She made comments about having to feed Jab. She would eat seconds, snack, and stockpile candy. For her birthday, all of her friends bought her candy. A lot of her weight gain was behavioral and some of it was genetic.

After the kids had their physicals last week, Angel talked Arabella and I into getting measured for body fat, muscle, and metabolic age. I won’t bore you with the details. At 42, I got the body age of 28. At 13, Arabella got the body age of 47 (her dad’s age). She has 10 more inches around her waist then I do. She is over 50 lbs heavier than me.

Arabella wanted to try their weight loss products. Over the weekend, she spent a lot of time exercising and eating healthy. She lost a total of 4 lbs. She said that she feels healthier eating healthy foods.

So here I am supporting my middle school daughter’s weight loss. I don’t want her to have a complex. I don’t want her to tip the scale in the other direction. But I don’t want her to be obese, have health problems, or be ridiculed. The body image of a teenage girl is delicate enough as it is.

I have found with children that I can try to force them to change, but until they really want to change there is not much I can do.

I am happy that Arabella is starting to break bad habits and has decided to make healthier eating choices. The best thing I can do is support healthy decision making. Hopefully, this has more to do with starting healthier habits versus trying to be skinny.

Saying goodbye to Angelique Hope

It is finished.

I survived!

It wasn’t as bad as I imagined it would be. 

The hardest part of dropping off my newly turned adult daughter at college was watching her say goodbye to her younger sister. They hugged. Angel told Arabella to call her if she needs any advice. She told her to enjoy having her own room. A few tears threatened to escape when they told each other how much they will miss each other. 

Now why couldn’t they get along that well before??

For the first time in over a decade, I will be actively parenting only 2 children!

We woke up before dawn to pack all of Angel’s belongings, including her beta fish, into our truck. It was an 8 hour round trip for Paul and I. I am totally exhausted tonight, so this will have to be quick.

It was an emotional day. 

Bittersweet. 

It was hard to say goodbye. Hard to keep things together. 

I wanted to keep her forever. Instead, I let go of her hand today. 

It was okay. I know she is where she was meant to be doing what she is supposed to do. She is happy, healthy, smart, full of faith, and makes good decisions. What more could I want?

It is going to take some time before I don’t expect a response when I call out her name. 

She is not here anymore.

But my house is not empty.

I still have other children to raise..

I know she will be okay.

I will be okay too.

The end – 911, poison control, and other parenting mishaps

I called 911 once, but the call never went through.

I made the call from a big clunky cordless phone that sporadically worked. 

I am so glad the call didn’t go through. It would’ve been so embarrassing. I couldn’t imagine having to explain how my daughter’s finger got stuck in the toilet.

Well, it wasn’t exactly like that.

My mom gave Angel a toilet piggy bank when she was potty training. Everytime she went potty, she was allowed to put a coin into the toilet bank and it would make a flushing sound. Except on that one day when she put her finger into the bank instead of a coin. Her finger got stuck and I failed to get her finger out. I even failed at calling 911. It was terrible. Angel was screaming, her finger was swelling, and then she started to shake.

I immediately went into tunnel vision panic mode. My IQ dropped 50 points instantly. My daughter and I were hysterical. 

If you think that I am a nurse, doctor, or EMT…please stop….. Could you imagine?? Ha hahaha. 

I eventually discovered that I could release her finger by pushing down on the lever instead of trying to pull it out which locked it.

It’s a total wonder that Angel survived her childhood. 

Tomorrow we are dropping her off at college. We are saying goodbye to our firstborn for the first time. 

I have been anxious about this moment all week. Will I remain cool, calm, and collected as I wave goodbye for the last time? Will I be a weeping, hysterical mess of a person? I am afraid. I am not one for public weeping or making scenes.. Will I be heartless if I keep it together? Or will I be a slobbering raccoon eyed mess? 

When my kids were little, I told myself that I would keep a journal of everything that happened. 

I remember when Angel had many imaginary friends. One of them was named Volleyball. She was so upset when Uncle Luke told her that he got hit in the head with a volleyball. How could her friend do such a thing? Now I’m taking her to college…

Alex used to draw cute little stick people with big heads and eyes. He used to cry when he heard “monster” trucks go by because he was afraid of the monsters growling in the trucks. He was such a mama’s boy. Now all of his little drawing are put away in storage, he is driving, and he wants nothing to do with me…

Arabella used to drive us all crazy by pretending she was a cat. She would meow and crawl around on her hands and knees.. Now she is a teenager too.

Where did the time go?? I feel so bad that I never did write in my journal like I wanted to. I could’ve filled it with so many things.. Memories that are now fading or forgotten..

I did the best parenting job that I could. I don’t have any regrets.

Off her rocker-911, poison control, and other parenting mishaps

When I entered the bathroom alone that day, Angel was on her little rocking chair playing quietly. A few seconds later, when I came out, it was an entirely different story.

In the short time, Angel turned her rocking chair upside down. She was lying face down wedged uncomfortably under the two rungs on the bottom of the chair stuck and crying.

I had two choices. I could either yank her out by pulling on her back or I could grab her legs and try to get her chest, head, and neck through the two rungs. The second option wasn’t ideal as I didn’t want to trap her head and neck in the chair. So I tried to yank her out from her back. She wouldn’t budge since I couldn’t get her butt past the rungs.

Next I did what I thought was the best. I freaked out! I called my husband at work. He tried to calm me down and walk me through it. He told me that I needed to put cooking oil or something slippery on her in order to slide her out. Seemed kind of obvious, but in a panic my IQ drops 50 points.

After I calmed down, I ran into the bathroom and found some anti-bacterial soap. I pulled down her pants and applied globs of soap to her butt. After that, I was able to slide her out of the chair.

But the story doesn’t end there. Angel broke out in the biggest fire red bumpy rash that I have ever seen right on her rear. I was worried that people would think that I had taken to beating her. It certainly looked like I did.

Looking back, the whole experience seems kind of funny now.

It is so hard to believe that in less than two weeks she will be packing her bags and moving out. I am happy for her, but mostly I feel sad.

Eye blinks

I took the day off of work and spent half of it at the mall. 

It is out of character for me. I HATE shopping! I hate spending money. Mall clothes are absolutely boring. 

I, myself, prefer the 60’s bohemian style of attire. Flowers galore, even in my hair. Long flowing dresses. Gaudy rings. I would even have a hippie van if I could with lava lamps and beaded curtains. I decorate my house with floral patterns but don’t have what it takes to make a flower grow.

Or I prefer the punk look. Edgy, studs on my pants, dark eye shadow, lots of earings. Band t-shirts, jeans that are ripped. 

But mainly I wear athletic clothes. 

I am very picky about the clothes I buy, especially clothes shopping in the mall. Racks of clothes with nothing exciting to wear. But today that is where I ended up. I bought a deck of Pink Floyd playing cards and a floral hair band for myself. The rest of the items in my cart belonged to Angel.

My daughter Angel turned 18 today. I am now the parent of an adult child. Every time I think of that for some reason I think of AA. Crazy how my mind works…

We awoke this morning to storms with strong winds that brought area trees down. It was nothing like the sunny day that I gave birth to my first child. I closed my eyes for a brief moment, when I opened them she was gone. Eye blinks! I tell sleepless parents of newborns that they grow up fast. I never thought that I would be like one of those parents. I never imagined this day would come so fast when I held my little baby in my arms for the first time 18 years ago.

Angel, my mom, and I went to the spa this morning. The distant thunder relaxed me more than the soothing music did. Then we went out to eat. Afterwards, we went to the mall to start buying Angel some items for college. Shopping is so boring that it tries my patience. After awhile I just wanted to run out of there screaming. There is so much to see, my senses overwhelm me. I felt tired and needed to rest. I have more energy running a marathon than I do for shopping. Okay, okay…Half marathon.. Let’s just say that I have a low tolerance for malls. 

I really wish there was such a thing as a blog when my kids were really little. Maybe I could’ve vented about potty training or temper tantrums. I always told myself that I would keep up with writing a diary all through my kids early years, but I only wrote an entry or two total. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day. A lot of the day to day memories are gone already. Forgotten.

With that being said, I have decided to write a very short series entitled 911, poison control, and other parenting mishaps to write about the most comical things that have happened over the years. Not only will it be funny, but I will be able to write the stories down to remember forever. 

Happy 18th birthday to my adult child, Angel! I am excited to see what the future holds as she holds the pen to write the very first chapter of her adult life. 

XOXXO