Go Boldly Into The Feelings, Parents...

I missed Senior Awards last night. Scrolling through social media this morning was a bad idea. You know how they - the wise people of FB - say that we shouldn't compare, we should CONNECT through social media? Well, that's all nice and dandy until you miss a milestone and then feel the harsh pangs of guilt while scrolling through everyone else's pictures. (Disclaimer: I'm a little emotional about ALL the things. Hoping to process here. Writing = Therapy.)

Sorry...I digress...last night was Senior Awards night and I couldn't make it. My husband was obviously there but he couldn't stay the whole time since he had to take care of other children and a bed-ridden wife. But he was there for her special moment. He assured me that I shouldn't feel guilty and that I shouldn't be sad because I've been to ALL THE THINGS. Nonetheless, sad, sappy, sick girl remained.

Here's the thing, well, one of the things. I still can't entirely wrap my head around the fact that my first born, my little girl - once lover of all things pink, watcher of Bear and the Big Blue House (I absolutely ADORED the singing moon Luna!), consumer of salami and cheese like a true Italian, singer of Sara Hickman, reader of Angelina Ballerina, and NOW, lover of all things bohemian, watcher of too much Netflix, consumer of mass quantities of Starbucks, singer of country music, lover of Jesus and HTYM, but STILL my baby - is finishing high school. How did that happen?

I don't know about you, but lately, I turn into a bucket of tears just folding her laundry, or walking down the street (she used to stop and crunch every.single.crunchy.leaf.), or hearing her voice mail memo when she doesn't pick up. In his defense, Michael has been making LOTS of space for my emotions and he's been very sensitive. So last night, I know he was trying to make me feel better when he gently pointed out that, due to my PITA vertigo, I looked a tad bit like a heroin addict and would likely embarrass our daughter if I showed up to awards, walking like a zombie+looking like a junkie. In truth, I haven't even been able to walk to the bathroom without nearly falling over so he was right. It was better if I just didn't.

But I couldn't stop thinking about the moment when our daughter, our about-to-fly-the-coop daughter, had her name called and I didn't hear it. Walked up to the stage and I didn't cheer for her. Smiled full of pride and I didn't capture it. (Torture...I'm good at torturing myself.) I really wanted to do all of those things. But I couldn't. And I was still connected to the moment - the LAST of all awards ceremonies - emotionally. And that's my issue.

What it comes down to is that I missed out on a moment. A moment that mattered to me, that I wanted to store for all eternity in my memory, along with all of the other important moments. Because they are fleeting these days. And even though sometimes she's an emotional, snarky, impatient, eye-rolling teenager, even as she practices her independence and it breaks my heart a little, I know I don't have many more milestones that I get to witness first-hand, front-row, camera-clicking, heart-swelled, knowing that I had some small part in getting her there. Because soon, there will be so many important moments that she'll be experiencing all on her own, that I won't even know about until she shares them with me. From a distance. As it's meant to be.

Moms and dads with kids leaving for college, it's okay for us to feel the sorrow for the future moments we're about to miss. The important thing is that we don't forget to embrace all the RIGHT NOW moments. Let's soak in the celebration, be present in the prepping, and see them, memorize their features and squeeze them tight every chance we get. These are the memories that we will treasure when the house feels empty, the texts come less often, and our babies bravely chart their own paths. Even though they won't see us, we'll be praying for them and cheering them on through it all.

Go boldly into the emotions friends, know you're not alone. Come over...maybe some vodka+LaCroix will help, (when the spinning stops). I'll hold your hand as you tell me all the things your dear one has accomplished and we'll learn how to navigate this new stage together.

Sending love and strength from my couch.


By the way, when Bella got home last night, I climbed out of my bed and into hers and told her how sad I was that I missed the event. I told her that she is so so LOVED, even though I might've been the only parent in all of Tesoro that didn't make it. And finally, I told her that I was so, SO proud of her. Then I gave her a great big hug. She hugged me back, told me she understood and said that I really shouldn't leave the house looking the way I did..."Zombie Mom". We laughed, and I'm going to hold onto the humor instead of what I missed. Thank you writing-therapy!!

Holly and Jenn

Letter to Baby, On Her 18th Birthday

To Baby
September 16, 1999

Good morning. It's just after 10 a.m. Yesterday, when I got home from work, your father and I went to sushi for dinner and a little celebration. You see, we have both established ourselves in our careers and in our home and really have wonderful things to be thankful for.

When I came home from dinner though, I wasn't feeling very good...I guess you're not a big sushi fan yet. I went to bed early and felt a bit of a buzz throughout my whole body. Little did I know, you were the electricity flowing through my veins. My sleep was restless and my dreams kept waking me. I hope they didn't wake you as well, my little child.

When I woke up this morning, still feeling out of sorts, I decided not to go in to work. Your father was up and on his way to his third grade class and you and I stayed in bed for a few more hours of leisurely slumber. I arose at 9 a.m., showered and dressed and set out for the store. Your father didn't want to pick up a pregnancy test last night so I was on a mission to do so. I bought three yogurts and an EPT. Scott at Lucky's shared in the anticipation with me while I was in line. He simply said as he bagged my things, "You and Michael will be great parents." I wonder if he knew...

I got home and used the stick and three minutes later, I was aware of you. My hands shook, my heart raced and my eyes cried. It was the best moment of your life thus far, for it was when you revealed yourself to me. And it was the best moment of my life thus far, for I started to get to know you. And I gave you a name..."Baby."

I love you my child, and I can't wait to share the news with your dad, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles. You are going to be so blessed with family and friends and unlimited love. But for now, and for the next six hours until your father comes home from work, I will have you all to myself, and I will walk proudly with you, I will talk softly to you and I will keep you warm and safe.

With love forever,
Your Mommy

Today, our sweet Baby Bella turns 18. She is a beautiful spirit in this world, compassionate, intuitive and wise beyond her years, yet at the same time, she holds onto the magic of her childhood. In some ways, we're not ready for her to grow up, and in others, we can't wait to witness all of the grand experiences she'll have, the beautiful relationships waiting to be formed, and the many ways that our Bella will leave her fingerprints on the world.

Godspeed, sweet girl. We love you always.

Mom and Dad

Holly and Jenn

My Emotional Relationship With ExtraCare Rewards and Why My Son Is Now My Servant

I am a selfless person. In most instances, I will fulfill the needs of every single member of my household before I even contemplate my own. The chores: I will do the lion's share because they are so busy. The lists: I will cross off all the things before putting my feet up. (Wait, that's funny. I don't think I do that...the feet thing.) I know it's a mom thing, but sometimes I feel guilty if I put myself first. Anyone get me?

If you answered yes, I think you will understand my reaction to a recent situation. I came home from work the other day and found my thirteen-year-old, still sweet and considerate Noah, playing Fort Night (ugh...for another post) with a wide array of junky snacks. There were three boxes of Cheez-Its, two tubes of Pringles, some beef sticks and a giant Arizona Ice Tea. (Or is it Iced Tea?)

This is how the conversation went:

Me: Hey bud.

Son: Oh, hey mom.

Me: How was your day.

Son: Pretty good. How was your day? (See, considerate.)

Me: Busy. And good. (I may have munched on a few Cheez-Its here.)

Son: You like those?

Me: Yes. Yes I do. Where'd you get them?

Son: CVS.

Me: That's fun. Looks like you scored today. Did you and your friends buy all this?

Son: No. Just me.

Me: Wow...that's a lot of stuff for just you.

Son: Guess how much it all cost.

Me: Hmmm...I'd say $15.

Son: Nope. Just $2.50.

Me: What? How? Some sort of blow-out snack sale?

Son: Well, actually, when we first got there, I just got the Arizona. But when I checked out, the guy
gave me the receipt and it had $18 of coupons.

Me: Wait. Are you talking about the ExtraCare Rewards?

Son: I don't know but it was $18 in free money. So I had to go spend it.

Me: So you spent all $18 on this junk food?! (I possibly waved my hands a bit wildly here.)

Son: Mom, even you like the Cheez-Its. I'll share.

Me: But you spent ALL of the $18? All of MY Rewards?

Son: Well, the guy gave them to me so I just used them.

Me: But...but, they're mine.

Son: (Puts down the XBox remote in response to my whiney voice and maybe the tension in the room.)

Me: You see, they accrue from all the purchases I've been making at CVS. Like your hair stuff. And razors. And your sister's face stuff. And everyone's Easter stuff!! Everyone else's stuff. That I buy. And each time I check out, I wait for that special, really long receipt, that thanks me for all of my time and effort and patronage at CVS. I really look forward to my ExtraCare Rewards. And now they're gone!

Son: Sorry. I didn't know.

Me: (I had no nice words so I said nothing.)

Okay, so maybe I got a little emotional about my youngest stealing accidentally using what was rightfully mine, but the thing is, I kind of feel like those Rewards are exactly that: a reward. MY reward. For all the planning and all the sourcing and all the buying-for-everyone-else. I can purchase a blow-drying-curling-brush for half the cost with those rewards. I can invest in some fancy hair treatment oils and face masks with those rewards. I can buy the really good wrapping paper (to wrap their stuff in) with those rewards. I can secure a whole new summer palette of Esse nail polish with those rewards.

But I get none of the guilt-free-shopping-just-for-me if someone wastes them on a shit-load of crap!! (Pardon my French.) Am I alone here? I don't think I'm alone here. Perhaps there's a support group for people who strive to have a healthy relationship with their ExtraCare Rewards.

But for now, Noah owes me. And maybe, just maybe, I'll kick my feet up while he does some of my chores.

Rant over.

Holly and Jenn