Wednesday, July 09, 2014

All The Naughty Bits

So, Offspring is now 18 -- legally an adult, and allowed to make her own choices.  She's pretty good about choosing to do the right thing, and I have had very few problems with her over the years.  She's rational, thinks things through, and isn't afraid to say "no" to bad influences.  For example, she recently related a story about a friend of hers from high school.  He asked her to hang out one day (she has a large group of varied friends of all races, ages, backgrounds, and of both genders) and she was looking forward to it.  Once she was there, apparently, the motive behind his invitation was that he wanted her to smoke some dope with him AND HIS FATHER.  She was uncomfortable with that, and told him that she didn't do that, and she wasn't planning on starting.  He began to pester her, and then, he told her what he and his father wanted to do to her once she was "blissed out."  She pretended she got a text from our family friend who she babysits for, and claimed she needed her to come over, and got out of there.  How creepy is that?  I admire the way she extricated herself from the situation, and was pleased that she was able to think on her feet.  I also told her to feel free to use the "My mom is being a bitch and says I have to come home RIGHT NOW!" excuse any time she needed it.  She no longer "hangs out' with this friend, and has avoided him since.  

So, all that being said, she is about to head out into the Great Wide World to live on her own.  She's lived in the same house all her life, with her Dad and I.  I think we've been decent parents....not too strict, but loving and supportive.  She's about to get the ultimate taste of freedom -- living without restrictions.  She will not have a curfew on campus (that I am aware of) and there is a very low incidence of crime at her school.  We actually got an email update from campus that a laptop was taken from the dining hall, and it was such an aberration that the school emailed everyone to report it, and to seek its return.

With all that being said, I'm still reluctant to let her go completely.  I will miss her when she goes off to school, and I know I will worry about her a lot -- is she eating right?  How are the studies going?  Is she making friends?  Is she safe?  Happy?  Liking school?  Doing well?  Does she miss us?

Already, I can feel her pulling away.  She's anxious to start this new phase of her life, and I can completely understand that.  She's chafing at the bit, in her 'good-kid" way.  I feel like we are pretty permissive parents, and I think we've done a pretty good job in teaching her right from wrong, and giving her a good set of values to build upon.  But, still, i worry.  It's my job.

The problem is this: she's still led a pretty sheltered life.  She dated her long-distance boyfriend, Boy From Oklahoma,  for 4.5 years -- her entire high school years -- and has never really gone out with anyone else.  She has never allowed herself to "date" because she was committed to her relationship with Boy From Oklahoma.  She went out in a group setting with friends, but never allowed herself to "date."  She recently broke up with BFO because he no longer seemed interested in her...he didn't call her, text her, or want to Skype anymore, and while it hurt her, she felt the relationship had run its course, so she called it off.  I know it hurt her, but I think that she was no longer willing to settle for a nebulous relationship with someone who wasn't giving it their all.  In the same space of time, she'd been hanging out with a co-worker and her boyfriend and boyfriend's best friend.  I think she became interested in the boyfriend's best friend, and maybe wanted to see if this  relationship might be blossoming into something more.  Not that she was angling to meet a new boyfriend right away... but we discussed the ability and the open-ended possibility of her meeting someone new at school, and feeling free to pursue a relationship without previous entanglements.

So, as the days of summer pass, she begins to see more and more of this new young man, the best friend of her friend's boyfriend.  At first, the group of them all hang out together, and then, suddenly, she and BFBFF are an item.  She is hopeful, and looking happier.  I can't say that it did her self-confidence any harm in finding out that someone else was interested in her that quickly after her breakup with BFO, either.  She announces that BFBFF , in his shy way, kissed her, and wants her to be his girlfriend.  I am glad that her smile is back, and that she's happy, but worried how far this new relationship will go before she heads off to school.  Will leaving be hard for her, now that she's seeing him?  Will she try to keep the relationship alive from school?  Will she close off the possibility of dating at school because BFBFF is here at home?

She's been spending a lot of time at BFBFF's house, which is all the way across the city from us, in another suburb.  It's at least 20 minutes through traffic, and I recently gave her a "curfew" to be home by 1am -- not because I don't trust her, but because I worry.  I want to make sure that she's all right, and while SHE may not be doing anything wrong, there are plenty of people out there who ARE, and their lives may intersect with hers in horrible ways.  She's only been seeing BFBFF for about two or three weeks now, and they spend A LOT of time together.  So much so that I have to coordinate schedules with her to get her college health paperwork done and schedule a physical for her.  It's like I have to make an appointment to spend time with my own child!

Offspring asks if it would be okay if she stays overnight at BFBFF's house.  I tell her that I am not comfortable with that, and she wants to know why.  I explain that I know nothing about this boy -- how old he is, what his last name is, where he lives, or have even met him.  She insists that nothing "funny" is going to happen, but since she spends so much time there, it would be more convenient for her.  She brings BFBFF over to our house, and they spend most of the day here, watching movies and playing video games together.  He seems very nice, if a little shy, but that's the way Offspring likes them.  He's quiet, undemanding, and seems sweet.  A couple of days afterward, Offspring again presses the idea that she'd like to stay overnight at his house occasionally.  I still have a problem with this idea.

While he seemed like a very nice young man, he is 23 to her 18, and is still a young man who wants sex.  It's a fact of life.  It doesn't mean he intends to hurt her, or to pressure her unduly, but the thought is there -- how can it not be?  He lives with his parents and sister, so it's not like she'd be spending time at his swingin' bachelor love pad, but I still don't like it.

I explain that she's got a lot to do before school starts -- friends that she (not so long ago, she CRIED about all of them splitting to the four corners of the earth this fall) has not spent a lot of time with; an erratic work schedule; packing to be done; and what about her poor parents who have lived with her for 18 years, and will miss her sorely when she leaves?

On top of all this, one of her high school teachers has asked her to house-sit for him and watch his dog while he is out of town.  He has given her access to his apartment, filled the fridge for her, and is paying her $200 for the experience to boot.  I feel sure that if I say no to the overnight request, it will happen at this apartment anyway.  While I don't like to think of my child as manipulative, I know that at that same age, it was something I would have done -- "You say no to my plan?  Well, haha!  I have another option as a work-around!"

Offspring insists that it isn't about sex, and maybe for her, it isn't.  It may not be for him, either, but when it's that much more readily available, then why not go for it, hm?  I don't like the accessibility of it all.  But, I told her that she is 18, and I can't stop her, but I would really like for her not to stay over there.  She packed a bag so she could stay tonight.  I guess I have my answer.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Taking It Slowly

Trying to get back into the concept of blogging on a "regular" basis, and finding it like slogging through cement.  I used to have a billion ideas for blog posts, but now, the well has run dry.  I think that's why I stopped in the first place.  That, and it had become to feel like a chore, and not like fun anymore.

I do have an idea or two ruminating, but I'm not sure how to go about setting them up.  Stay tuned.  Ideas may come to me in the next few days....

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's Alive! (Sort Of...)

Wow.  Been a long time.  Yeah....sorry about that.  It wasn't you, it was me... I just needed some space.  really needed to work on ME for a while there.... I feel really guilty that I just sort of dropped you like a hot potato, but I can't go back and change it now.

Things are going along here.  Same stuff, different day, but with extras thrown in.  Still in the same job, still in the same school, though I've moved classrooms and work with a new face every day.  Still married to Juggling Freak, though I'm sure some days he wants to trade me in.  He may even take a loss on the deal if you make it worth his while.

Big news on the Offspring front -- she graduated from high school on May 23.  It's sad to think that I was stressing over her going into, what -- fourth grade?!? -- when I started this blog!  She was in the top ten of her class, was an Honor Graduate; got a medal for Academic Achievement in French; won 2 pins for Academic Excellence in Physics and Psychology; was a University of "OurState" Merit Scholar, and was in the National Honor Society, where she served in two separate offices, and was a member of the National Art Honor Society.  She participated in her school's Odyssey of the Mind team for 2 years, One Act Play team for 2 years, and was a member and co-president of the school's Comedy Improv team.

Yeah, I'm a proud Mom.

She will be leaving us to go to school in Kentucky.  Very nice school -- small, but everything I see about it makes me like it more.  When I asked her why she wanted to go so far away from home, her answer was, "If I'm going to go to college, I want to GO to college.  I don't want to come home every weekend, and go out with my friends and not get my schoolwork done.  Besides, this forces me out of my comfort zone."  I didn't raise no dummy.  She's got her head on straight about it.  Unfortunately, it's 8 and 1/2 hours away by car, so taking off for a weekend to see her isn't an option.  That, too, is part of her plan.  I think.  The fledgling is definitely leaving the nest.  I think she's ready, but I am not.  The house will be some empty without her here.  She's worked everyday for the last week or so, and the house has already been a little too quiet.  Not sure what to do about this Empty Nest thing.  I've decided I don't care for this "going off to school' thing anymore.  Maybe.

I'm still doing community theater down here in a little suburb of HumidityLikeABrickWall, and have taken on a larger role within that group.  I've directed a couple of shows, and I am now the Vice President on the Board of Directors, so that's keeping me busy.  Gearing up to direct another show this coming fall....

I am still a Girl Scout leader, though I have warned them WELL IN ADVANCE that this coming year, 2014-2015, will be my last year, and I am retiring!  I love my girls, and I've actually got a great group of supportive parents this time around, but I am tired, and ready to hand over the reins to someone else.  I'm moving on.  I have enough to keep me busy.

If anyone is still out there, I thought I might dust off the ol' blog and try to post more than once every third Thursday of a month with the letter "Q" in it.  Anyone interested, or should I let it die peacefully?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Still Out Here

Hello?  Is anyone still out there?  Just a few spiders, lurking in the cobwebby corners?

I have been gone a LONG while.  Much longer than I would have guessed.  Here I am, up at oh-dark-thirty, blowing the dust off my long-forsaken blog.

I'm reasonably sure that no one out there will ever read this, and oddly, I'm fine with that.  I think the main reason I quit blogging was because I was becoming dependent on the approval, or at least, the attention of others.  I wish I could say I've matured so much that approval doesn't interest me anymore, or that I no longer seek attention, but that would be just flat out lying.

I was going to say that I haven't changed much, but that's not altogether true, either.  I have.  I'm unhappy.  I've been unhappy for a while.  People began telling me that I'd lost my smile, and they were right.  I still haven't quite recovered it, and I'm not really sure why.  Where the smiles have gone, or why I even lost them in the first place.  Why I don't feel happy, like I used to.

I love my husband and daughter -- they are not what's making me unhappy.  They are both wonderful, and I'm thankful that they are still the bright spots in my world.  JF, Offspring, and I have been through a lot since I last sat down and typed out my thoughts.  JF went through a layoff; a job search; a job that did its damndest to kill him; and a new job that has been everything he could have wished for (except in the salary range).  Offspring graduates from high school next year, much to my wishing she'd stayed small and needing me.

I spent the lion's share of a year sick.  I picked up an intestinal bacteria overseas, and it was not the most fun year of my life.  I think that's when I began to lose my smile, along with 77 pounds.  After all, it's hard to smile when you're retching up to 15 times a day, unable to eat anything more substantive than yogurt.

I still laugh, feel joy in small things, and enjoy experiences around me, but it just doesn't feel the same.  I'm not really sure how to pinpoint what is "off", but I know that all is not right within me.  I don't think that I'm depressed -- at least that's not really how I would categorize it, but I'm still at a loss to explain exactly why I feel off-kilter.   Actually, that's a good way to describe it -- off-kilter.  The feeling that something, somewhere is slightly askew.  Tilted.  Wobbly.

All I know is that I should be asleep in bed, contemplating the inside of my eyelids, but I lay there in the dark, with hot, silent tears running down my cheeks for no good damn reason at all.  I'll be damned if I know what provoked it, but it got me out of bed on a must-get-up-early-in-the-morning night when I know I'll be tired as hell, trying to manage a classroom full of children who could not possibly care less about addition and the 3 components that make up a book.  Children who will fight, bicker, and talk all day long, and still manage to get nothing done except driving all of the adults in the room slowly bonkers.

So, instead, I ramble the house while everyone is asleep.  I dust books off, and read to keep the demons at bay.  I try to kill time online, but I know I'm only making my morning worse by delaying.  I now have only fours good hours left to rest, and that's if I fell asleep right now.  Instead, I ramble away to a long-forgotten blog, and wonder how I can get that smile back.  If I can get that smile back.      

Friday, March 25, 2011

It Never Goes Away

I have blogged here, sporadically, I'll admit, for many years now. I have tried to tell some funny stories and pass on whatever wisdom I thought I could to anyone who was of a mind to wade through it all. I've been irreverent, irrelevant, and irrational, sometimes all within one posting.

All my life -- or, at least, as far back as I can remember -- I have used humor as a weapon. I make jokes at my own expense, because it somehow lessens the hurt if you make the joke before anyone else does. And, there are always jokes. Always. The inevitable fat joke looms around me like vultures scenting out carrion. Or, that's what I've always told myself. Make the joke first, and it takes the sting out of it -- except, it doesn't. That's merely a coping mechanism.

I wasn't always fat. I grew up as active as all the other kids -- jumping rope, running, bike riding. Summers were spent outdoors until the last possible second, and you knew you were in trouble if you were still out when the street lights came on. I can still see, in my mind's eye, a much younger version of my mother standing on our front step, bellowing my (and my brother's) name like she was calling the farmhands in for dinner. I took gymnastics, ballet, tap. I swam from the very first warm day in the spring until the last possible second in the fall when my father would drag me out of the pool, blue-lipped and protesting.

It was only a matter a time before my family heredity set in, though. And, right about puberty, it came, with gusto. I come from a pretty full complement of larger people, and on both sides of my family. Wonderful people, all of them, but ones who just like food. I am one of those people. I like to eat. Eating has never really defined my life in that I am constantly planning on what to next put in my mouth. I have eaten to excess, yes. I have even self-medicated with chocolate, but I feel like everyone has done that at at least SOME point in their lives. It's not just about the food.

"Fat", though, HAS come to define me. It is the first thing that pops into people's heads when they describe me. Not "funny", or "intelligent", or even "nice." I am that "fat" lady. Those of you who have never grown up fat can never truly understand what it's like. Those of you who gained a little weight as you got older may think that you know how hard it was, growing up fat, but you really have no clue. How many nights I cried. How many nights I still do. How unloved you can still feel, even 25 years later.

I hold no illusions about myself. I am not "pretty", and never have been. I don't expect sympathy, or exclamations to the tune of "Oh, stop that, yes you are!" I know them to be untrue. I am plain. I know this. I have always known it. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't paired with "fat" as well. I am that friend that always had to get paired up with the unlucky best friend so there would always be two couples on whatever double date. Many times, I heard the comments about how hideous I was when they thought I couldn't hear. Hell, half of the time, they weren't even nice enough to try to hide those comments. I have been the subject of many a bet. I once even got a videotape where an obviously drunk college-aged guy was being egged on to vomit. One of the comments that was thrown at him as an inducement to vomit was my name and a picture of me. These young scions of nobility thought it would be a good laugh to not only tape it, but provide me with the tape so that my ugliness was not lost on me.

I go to incredible lengths to not look at my body. It only depresses me when I see it. I don't have a full-length mirror anywhere in my house. I spend awful amounts of money on clothes because they cost so much more for large sizes. There is even shame that I just can't go to a store and pick something off of a rack -- I have to try it on to make sure it will fit, or run the risk of having to return it later, and look some clerk in the eye and try to lie and say, "I didn't like that color after all." I lie to myself that I look good. I know better. I make goofy faces in pictures so you won't focus on what I really look like.

I thought that I would reach an age at some point where I didn't feel like the most unattractive person on the planet, or a total failure and waste of space, but it hasn't happened. And, unfortunately, it doesn't look like that day will ever come. I still get the comments, and they still hurt. I still hear people talk about me as if all the fat has blocked off both my hearing and my feelings.

It will never get any better, will it? Even if I did manage to lose some weight, I'd still be that ugly girl, on the outside, looking in. And there's not a joke in the world that will ever make that better.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Some of you who are long-time friends and/or Facebook pals may know about the passing of my much -loved Auntie B. I have spoken of her a time or two within these walls.

Auntie B. was was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in October of 2009. At the time, her doctors told us that it was terminal, usually within 3 years of diagnosis. This type of cancer, called Glioblastoma Metaform, was very aggressive. Auntie B. underwent the surgery to excise the softball-sized tumor a few days after her initial onset of symptoms. She made it through the surgery very well, and amazed us with her strong recovery. She was never one to moan about things -- she just put on her game face and got out there and got it done.

She was well enough to travel to San Francisco in May/June of 2010 for my brother's wedding. In fact, if it had not have been for her masterminding basically the whole trip, I'm sure it would have been a much different experience for my family. Auntie B. was lucky to marry into wealth, and she was very generous with the people she loved. Not only in monetary ways, but with love and affection, and her time and attention. She rented all but two rooms of an entire bed-and-breakfast in Cloverdale, California for our family for the wedding.

It was a wonderful trip -- we got to travel, spend time with family, and were able to share in my brother's special day. Auntie B. was happy. I was glad to see her looking so well . We got to talk, sitting out on the back porch at the inn, watching the sun shine down on the vineyards that surrounded us. We laughed. At was a wonderful time for us all.

Our luck was not to last, however. Scarcely a month later, her doctors would tell her that the tumor had returned, and was almost as large as the original tumor. "Letting it go" was not an option. She had another surgery, but this time, there was no bouncing back. She went home in a wheelchair, and never left it. She lost her battle on November 7th, barely a year later.

I miss her. I always will. I got a chance to visit her in early August before the second surgery, but then time slipped away from me. I had commitments -- work, school, Girl Scouts.... and I never got to see her again. I constantly scold myself that I should have MADE time, but I thought that it wouldn't come so soon. That there would be more days. And then -- there weren't.

I have always been petrified of death. I don't want to think about my life coming to a close; about no longer being and breathing. I start to slowly panic when I think about my lifespan being a finite thing. It scares me to my core. But, I have come to have a greater tolerance for it, because I know that Auntie B. will be one of the people waiting there for me. When my time comes, as it must to us all, I will hold out my hand, and feel hers within it once more.

Rest until then, Auntie B. I miss you, every day. I will be so happy to see you again.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Cookies Are Trying to Kill Me

Yes, it's true. While most of you may not automatically associate Girl Scout cookies with "pure evil", I certainly do. Maybe it's because I see so many of them compared to most of you. CCW will feel my pain, having been a troop cookie manager in the past, but most of you get happy smiles on your faces when you know it's cookie time. Not me.

More evidence that the cookies are indeed trying to kill me -- the strained back that I got on pickup day. I apparently compressed the sacroiliac joint in the pelvis, and boy howdy, does it HURT! I have pain killers and muscle relaxers from the doc, but they are barely denting the pain.

So, you guys enjoy the cookies. I'm going to stay over here, out of the way.