Subourbon Mom


2020 – An Ingrown Hair on Humanity
August 20, 2020, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Misc. Humor, Parenting, Travel | Tags: , , , , , ,

Over the last two weeks we have launched one of our birds out of the nest and into real adulthood, and gently booted the other one back into fake adulthood (a.k.a. college).

Launch

During this process I learned a few things:

  1. My kids have a lot of shit – that we helped them move around the country, put up on walls and launder.
  2. They have better decorating taste than I will ever have
  3. If you rent a scooter (think razor scooter) to tour a city, just know that if you sucked at Mario cart, you will also suck at riding one of those
  4. You can switch the way a refrigerator door swings – seriously, I didn’t know you could do that at all
  5. Nashville will either make you start to hate fried chicken or ruin it because whenever you have it anywhere else it just won’t be good enough

One of the funniest things I heard was on the 10-hour car ride to launch Daughter #1 into her new, adult life in Nashville. We had lots of time to talk about what it might be like and what had happened over the last 6 months.  But I think she put it best when describing how a lot of recent graduates must feel around this time as they get jobs or head to college:

Mom, my life has been like an ingrown hair.  For a while I was growing and then I got stuck, but I was still growing, and it got all irritated.  All of the sudden I sprang out and I’ve moved, and I’m free!

From the mouths of babes, people – 2020 has been an ingrown hair of a year.  First it was growing and happening, and then it got stuck, but things were still happening. The world got irritated, but we’re trying to treat it with a salve of Dr. Faucci, the CDC and governors trying their best; with first responders and hospital staff and caregivers; and most of all, with sympathy, empathy and patience.

We’re still waiting to spring out of this craziness, but when we do, the relief will probably feel the same.

(I tried to find a funny ingrown hair meme – please don’t ever do that.  You can’t un-see what comes up.)



Crossing the Shaky Bridge to Middle Age

Women of a certain age joke about menopause all the time.

“If I had a dollar for every time I get distracted, I wish I had some ice cream.”

“I don’t have hot flashes, I have short, tropical vacations.”

“Menopause – it’s a thin line between love and homicide.”

This happens…that stops happening … and thank God THAT doesn’t happen anymore (you can Google the symptoms – it’s not secret knowledge, despite what our mothers’ generation thought).  I always thought that knowing those things made me have a pretty good handle on it, mentally.  My kids are grown and I’m definitely ready to kiss the whole period/PMS thing goodbye.

So, when mine stopped happening, I diligently started counting down the months until the magical 12-month mark with no period – then it would become official.  I’d be in a new stage of life that didn’t involve trips to the store because I ran out of tampons and packing extra underwear to take to work and on vacations (just in case).  I was looking forward to emotional stability, sleeping through the night and becoming the wise old matriarch I am destined to be.  I was even getting used to this new, fatty swim ring permanently hanging over the top of my pants, no matter how many sit-ups I did.

And then, at 11 months and 3 weeks – I got it again.

Are you freaking kidding me?

I was at the finish line, looking official Middle Age in the face and she laughed, said “Bitch, please,” and drew another 365-day line in the sand.

A couple of nights later (and one emergency trip to CVS for supplies), I dreamed I was pregnant (I’m not).  And in that dream, I was very upset.  I cried and wept, feeling angry and betrayed and trapped. I remember wailing “I don’t want to be 70 when my kid graduates college!”

50b

It took me a few days to process what was  happening with that dream. I finally realized that even though my body decided to have a last laugh or last gasp, whichever way you want to look at it, in my mind I had already moved on.  I’ve raised my two wonderful daughters and experienced  the joys and agony of watching them go through the ages and stages. I am ready to start a new phase of life.

That’s something the OBGYN, memes, Facebook and even your friends probably don’t talk about – the mental and emotional adjustment of menopause. I’m sure most women feel it is liberating, devastating, or some combination of the two, but we just don’t talk about that part of it.

Memes are way funnier, let’s be honest.

But eventually you either embrace or resent this new phase of life, this new you. You come to terms with it, or if you don’t, society will most likely not be very kind to you. There will be a lot of pursed lips and head shaking when you show up in your Daisy Dukes, 4-inch wedges and bikini top at age 60, no matter how in shape you think you are.

On the surface I was annoyed, but deep down getting my period again shook the fragile estrogen bridge (made of HRT pills and a secret stash of Midol) I was clinging to, as I tried to cross the chasm between youth and middle-age.

Bridge1When I look behind, I see a thinner version of me chasing my children, arranging play dates, juggling work and parenting and a busy social life, and generally burning the candle at both ends without a thought. I see Hubby working hard and picking up the slack, leaping into the chaos when he got the opportunity, and juggling the same crazy things.  It’s a busy, almost frantic life back there, and I get tired just watching them. When I look forward, I can see the other side, at least what we’re told is there: great, worry-free sex, wisdom, acceptance of certain physical flaws and changes that actually celebrate the life of a woman.  I see Hubby and I standing together watching our girls make their own way in the world, their own families, their own memories.  I see us figuring out this new existence together and connecting in a new way.  I see us being the team we were in the beginning.

And I realize that I’m looking forward to getting over this bridge, despite the bottles of Aleve, the moments of missing what used to be, and the memory losses that are already starting to peek around the corner at me.

So, another 365-day countdown begins. Now, if only I could remember where I put my calendar….

 

 



Venmo – A College Freshman’s (Unintended) First-Year Diary
March 26, 2020, 9:00 am
Filed under: Middle Age, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , ,

As a parent, you know when your kid goes off to college to live in the petri dish they call a dorm, there will be times when they have to “adult,” like making doctor’s appointments or figuring out how to get to Target because because, God forbid, they can’t have a car on campus Freshman year.  What we didn’t realize was that all of these things would be documented in Venmo, the payment app.

You can parent your college kids however you want to, but one of our decisions was to let both of our kids charge Uber and Safety rides to our cards, so that they never felt like they had to get in a car with someone who’d been drinking so they could get home.

They used it.  A LOT.

(And we were glad.)

We also allowed them to ASK for help when they needed it, like for doctor’s appointments and things that normally wouldn’t be in their budgets. But what we didn’t count on, but were happy to pay for (mostly), were the MANY charges from multiple trips to urgent care, Target and CVS for medicines….and many other “necessary” items.

Since her year got cut short, I thought i would share this little financial diary.  For so many reasons I’m sad that her and her sister’s years were cut short…and one reason is because I will miss these entertaining requests:

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And then there are the requests for daily living, because adulting is expensive:

 

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Welcome to adulthood, young lady.

And welcome home.  🙂

 

 



College Orientation – You Had the Power All Along, My Dear

We recently attended college orientation for Daughter #2 at a large university, and to be honest, I was lucky it ended up on my calendar. Not because I don’t care but because, like everything with the not-the-first-kid, you are just a little more relaxed about it. Added to that, it’s very disconcerting to suddenly not have access to every detail of your child’s schedule after being in charge of it for eighteen years. I had to text her the night before and ask if there were any parking passes we had to print out, what the address was, or if there was anything else that needed to be done ahead of time – shockingly, there wasn’t. Daughter #2, like her older sister, had it all under control.

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I like to think it was good parenting that made it happen, but I’m pretty sure it had more to do with me accidentally leaving them at restaurants or school, trying and failing to explain simple math, and letting them believe that many of the phrases I use are common phrases until their friends asked what they meant. I was clearly not to be trusted (I never understood algebra and I said “Fooped” instead of “Sharted” because I didn’t want them implying the word Shit…it sounds stupid now, but it made sense when I was tired and they were little).

The orientation started with the usual official school cheer, and we stood and made arm motions over our heads and yelled the appropriate things, like a bunch of sadly sober, not-quite-caffeinated-Village People.

At Daughter #1’s orientation, I paid close attention to Dean Somethingaboutliberalartsandgraduatinginfouryears, and Associate Dean of WhatdidshesayIhavetopee.  The second time around? Nope. I was busy feeling superior and counting blonds vs. brunettes in each row to pass the time.

And then they took our sweet babies to meet with their advisors, or hang out with the cultish, singing and dancing university groupies to get them acclimated to campus life. Some parents looked scared and bereft.

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Others looked around like plane passengers do when they’re trying to decide who would be worth having aboard if there was a crash on a tiny Pacific island. There were a few that I would not have trusted with the exit aisle…just sayin’.

The Deans of Random Departments spoke about how great the school is (yeah, the choir knows – our kids applied and we are writing a substantial check for them to go here – we get it), followed by lunch in the Dining Hall. That hasn’t changed, except that we never got to pick from a pizza bar, Mexican, a grill menu, a vegan menu, and a Chinese buffet. My school had one of those things as a theme, and God help you if you didn’t like flat burgers.  I spent many a dinner standing at the cereal bar, picking the stupid strawberry things out of Captain Crunch because…seriously, who orders Crunchberries instead of plain Captain Crunch?

The parents’ Resource Fair was okay, but the table I really wanted to see would have been called “Crap You Still Have to Buy.” Since we don’t find out until August what dorm Daughter #2 is in, I’ve already decided I’m going to buy every variety of drawers and basket in Target and start playing Tetris as soon as we get there.

And finally, there was a speech by the Mental Health Professional on how our roles as parents and children transition when they go to school, what to say and not to say, and things to watch out for. For that one, I put down my Candy Crush game (sadly, I’m on level 800-and-something) and paid attention. It never hurts to hear how this momentous change is affecting your baby, and what you need to do to make the transition easier.

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I made notes about what local delivery services were available (every college town should have Insomnia Cookies) to send things on bad days. I felt guilty about not writing more letters to Daughter #1, but realized that probably wasn’t going to get any better for Daughter #2, so then I felt extra guilty – I suck as a parent for not doing that for the first one, and suck even more for knowing I probably won’t do it this time, either.

I was nervous and scared for my baby, until I remembered that I’d already had my chance to be an attentive mom…and I was. Aside from accidentally leaving them at restaurants or sports events (I swear, it was a mis-communication…OMG let it go!) and swearing a lot, I know I must have done something right because they’re ready. They are strong, independent young women, ready to try new things, accept new challenges, and let me know, “I got this, Mom.”

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Small Talk vs. Verbal Incontinence
September 7, 2018, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Parenting | Tags: , , , ,

2.-And-neither-is-small-talks.-You-suck.-Really.

I used to be able to attend adult functions and make the necessary small talk society requires. I could talk with a complete wallflower, as long as I followed my mother’s advice:  “Just ask questions. People love to talk about themselves.”

Now? Not so much.

I don’t know if it’s an age thing or sheer laziness, but mostly I think it’s because I just don’t have the energy to care anymore.

Some of the worst small talk functions are school parental gatherings.  Sometimes I’m genuinely interested, if it’s a family I like or friends of my kids, but mostly I end up pasting a smile on face and listening to what the other children did over the summer, the awards they won and what teachers are currently on the collective parental shit list.  I do all of this while making snarky comments in my head.

These events do not bring out the best in me. And I think after what I said at the last couple of gatherings, I should probably stay home.

I recently went to a “Meet the New High School Director” coffee.  I showed up, along with the other parents of kids whose parents really don’t need to be there (trust me, he’ll meet the parents of the kids who need a little extra “guidance” soon enough).  I hung out with my mom friends until it was almost time to leave, and finally decided I should actually go meet the guy.

I waltzed up to a group of moms (I knew a couple) and introduced myself. “Hi, I’m so-and-so’s mom, it’s so good to have you here blah, blah, blah…”

Awkward silence…which, of course, I had to fill.

“Well, I’m sure I’ll be in your office at some point this year!” I chirped.

“For good reasons, I hope?” he asked, looking at me oddly.

I panicked.  “We’ll see!” I said. I gave a little wave and practically ran out the door.

When I told Daughter #2 about it, she said, “Great Mom – now he thinks I’m a delinquent.”

“So do you want me to say anything to him at Back to School Night?”

“Maybe tell him I’m not a delinquent?”

“Hmmmm…nope.  I think we’re going to set the bar low and let him be pleasantly surprised.”

“You’re the worst mom ever.”

small talk1

So that was the first event.

The second, awkward, “please-let-me-suck-those-words-back-in” moment happened a few days later. Hubby and I were standing with the mother of a younger child at a school function.  She was stunning – the kind of mom that I’m secretly jealous of because she looks sophisticated and sleek.  This beautiful mom had makeup on, like most grownup women do, and I’m pretty sure she used primer (apparently it’s a thing now), too, because her face was perfectly smooth, and her makeup was flawless. Like my daughters, she has learned how to apply it and look gorgeous – I put on makeup and look like I fell onto a Kardashian’s face in a bar at 2:00am.

So, there we were, and I was talking about how my girls where more makeup than I ever learned how to use.  “Oh my God, I mean, they put on ‘primer,’ which I think is just ridiculous, because a face is not a wall in your house!”

I couldn’t stop it, even after it dawned on me that I was probably insulting her.  When the event was over, Hubby looked at me and said, “You know she wears makeup, right?”

“I know.” I sighed.  “And she’s beautiful.”

“And you know you were just going on and on about how too much makeup is bad, right?”

“Yes! I know! I could hear the words come out and I couldn’t stop it!”

“Just checking.”

Ugh. I really just should have listened to my mother’s advice and only asked questions.  Not once during either of these encounters did I do that – I simply filled any void with my verbal diarrhea.

Tonight is Back to School Night. God help me if any of the teachers address me directly. I’ll probably blurt out a question like “Was teaching your first choice as a profession?”  So to all of Daughter #2’s teachers, here is my blanket apology in advance:

You will never be paid enough or honored enough for the work you do.  Please keep trying to educate our children and fill in the gaps that we have left yawning open in their character.  Every day you rise above pettiness, exhaustion and frustration to embrace these young people as they try to make sense of a senseless world, and for that you should be shown the respect and encouragement you deserve. 

Plus, you look pretty.  And your tie goes with your pants….




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