Subourbon Mom

My “Senior Project”

yougotthisAs the end of Daughter #1’s Senior Year approaches, the final sprint towards final exams, AP tests, and Senior Project has begun. Not to mention prom, graduation, college selection, and the never-ending game of Senior Assassin (more on this later). For Seniors this means tearing themselves away from watching vines and shopping for prom dresses and studying for exams, throwing together last-minute power point presentations and agonizing over roommate selection. ugly prom dress For parents this means panicking when you realize you never ordered graduation announcements, approving and paying for the last prom and graduation dresses, and deciding how to celebrate this momentous of times – do we have a keg at the party for the adults or not?

It also means attending the Senior project presentations. At our school, Senior Project is a year-long process involving learning a new skill or challenging yourself in a new way (like learning to make cheese, hatching and raising chickens, trying to understand the lyrics to Rhianna’s songs, etc.), documenting it, doing a research paper, and presenting the whole thing in front of a small group of parents and teachers.

As I sat there watching these impressive young adults show how they started their own yoga classes, created scholarships, ran half-marathons, published their own international blog on Russian politics and even learned how to fly fish, I wondered What the hell have I been doing with my life?

I was impressed and depressed all at the same time. These young people were avidly exploring new ideas, challenging themselves and getting out of their comfort zones in ways that many adults never will.

Thank goodness these kids will be in charge of me when I finally become an adult.

I was depressed because I took an inventory of my recent years and realized I haven’t done much in the way of challenging myself other than to start a new job. Somehow I don’t think trying new food at the local Iranian restaurant counts.

And then I realized that my Senior Project isn’t done yet. I’m still researching how to raise successful women on a daily basis. I’m nearly always out of my comfort zone. My PowerPoint presentation is currently still housed in my laptop under “Pictures” and in the copies of report cards and assignments I’ve kept over the years. And, I present my project in front of my parents every time they visit or call.

I don’t know what my final grade will be, but I’m no longer depressed. I’m more and more impressed with my project every day.

Now if I could just figure out how to cite all those parenting how-to websites I’ve visited over the years.


Three Juans Don’t Make a Right

collegeThere are times when every parent worries about their kids—not because of grades, or because they play a sport, but because sometimes they say things that just make you shake your head and wonder how they managed to live this long.

Daughter #1 and I were sitting at the kitchen table the other night, pouring over the stack of college brochures she’d brought home. We finally got down to the last three. She was leaning in close, looking at the brochure for a big university down South—which I encouraged because neither she nor I have any interest in going father north than where we are right now.

I asked her, “So what is it about that school that makes you want to go there?’

Daughter #1 glanced up at me, leaving her finger on the picture of a girl sitting on a green lawn with a book in her lap. “Look Mom, I’d wear that outfit. She looks like me.”

Seriously, that was her answer.

Not to be deterred by her answer, I asked why she was looking at another southern school.

“I like red.” she answered.

Sigh….and that’s how a teenager with a 4.5 GPA decides how to spend thousands of dollars on their education.

But I don’t know what we’ll do when they’re out of the house. How will I survive without conversations like the following?

Daughter #2, Daughter #1 and I were all sitting at said kitchen table, when Daughter #1 started making fun of how Daughter #2 says some words. “Milk” is pronounced melk, and she says I Juan instead of “I won.”

Daughter #1: “You do too say it that way. Juan is a Hispanic boy’s name.”

Daughter #2: “No I don’t.”

Me: “Actually, you do.”

Daughter #2: “Mom!”

Me: “But I think you’re not saying Juan, you’re saying wan, which actually means looking all washed out.” I tried an example: “You look wan today.”

Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 just stared at me, used to my random insertion of pointless facts into conversations. Sometimes they’re even true.

Daughter #2 thought about it for a second.  “That’s one of those words that sounds like what it means.”

Daughter #1: “Yeah, like faaaaaat. Or thin.”


Daughter #2: “It’s an onomatopoeia.”

Me: “No, onomatopoeia is a word that is a sound, like Bang. ‘Wan’ isn’t a sound.”

Daughter #2 looked deflated.

Daughter #1: “C’mon, Mom, let her have it.” She looked at her sister. “Good job! You Juan!


Why I Drink–Or Actual Conversations in My House

Wow–times have changed in our house.  The conversations have moved from questions like, “Mommy, are unicorns real?” to “Mom, did you ever smoke weed when you were in high school?”

That question alone has sent many a parent into a tailspin. Add to that the following recent family conversations, and you begin to see why bourbon’s calming effects are…welcome.

Yesterday, my newly-minted driver, Daughter #1, went to Whole Foods after soccer practice and got some chocolate milk for herself and her sister. After deciding it tasted good at first, like  butter or melted ice cream, apparently it wasn’t so hot at the finish.

Daughter #2: “It tasted kind of like udders.”

Hubby:  “How do you know what udders taste like?”

Me (to myself…):  Oh no…

Daughter #2: “I harken back to my youth.”


An actual, recent road trip conversation:

On a road trip in the car, Hubby decided to pass the time (briefly–he learns quickly) by beating out the rhythm of a song on the top of my exposed thigh.

Me: “Just so you know, it’s really not cool to play the drums on your wife’s thigh fat.”

Daughter #1 (in the backseat):  “I know! He does it to me too!”

Hubby (to Daughter #1):  “Yeah, but yours is all muscle. It makes a different sound.”



And finally, after Daughter #2 owned up to lying to one of her teachers last year, Daughter #1 couldn’t stand it:

Daughter #1: Mom, you laughed when Daughter #2 told her teacher she had a disease so she could wear her short shorts to school, but you got mad when I told my teacher I couldn’t turn in my homework because the printer was broken when it wasn’t. That’s so not fair!

Daughter #2:  It wasn’t a total lie–I was still getting tested.*

Me: There’s a big difference between lying about not doing your homework and wearing shorts that are too far above the knee, when you’re legs are a mile long.

Daughter #1:  (Sighs…)  I guess either way you’re going to end up a hooker.

Hubby:  True, true.


*(Daughter #2 does not have a disease.  She’s fine!)

Jesus Would Have Used His Turn Signals

Driving around with brand new teenage drivers, or soon-to-be-drivers can be like hanging out with an alcoholic at a party who’s just gotten back on the wagon.  There is an enormous amount of self-righteousness packed into one place.

“Mom, you’re going over the speed limit.”

“Mom, the light turned green. Put your phone down.”

“Mom, I think that policeman is trying to wave you over….mom?  Mom? Why have your eyes gone black??”

One of my biggest driving pet peeves is people who don’t use turn signals, especially at stoplights.   FYI People—they are not optional or just a courtesy!  They are required by law!


I can’t tell you how many drivers have seen me yelling and gesturing (with my windows safely up) as they paused in the middle of the intersection, looking bewildered as everyone waits for them to go straight because they forgot to put their turn signal on.

Daughter #1, our newest licensed driver, is now beginning to understand my frustration, and has come up with some of her own creative descriptions of these drivers, none of which can be printed here.

Daughter #2 however, has more fun pointing out the times when I myself forget to use my signal (as if!), or when, according to her, I wait to long to use it.  The other day, we were getting ready to turn onto our street when apparently I didn’t use my signal until too late.

Daughter #1:  “You didn’t use your signal, Mom.”

Me: “Yes, I did.”

Daughter #2:  “Well, you waited long enough.”

Me:  “Don’t mess with me today. It’s too hot.”

Daughter #2: “Why? What are you gonna do?”

Me: “Just–don’t. It’s not worth it.”

Long pause…

Daughter #2: “It’s worth it a little bit.”

Sigh……so please, in the interests of keeping people safe, and because playing chicken in the middle of an intersection isn’t cool, use your turn signals. IN the words of one of my youth group leaders back in the day, WWJD?



Prom–The New Wedding

Ahhhh…spring. Cheers and whistles ripple across athletic fields as the sports season winds down. Pollen hangs in the air like a miasma, and prom dresses fly off the racks at all of the local stores faster than the NBA punished Mr. Sterling.

Looking at prom through parent goggles is a strange odyssey.

images-6Let’s start with dresses. Our newspaper listed some numbers associated with prom. Apparently, the amount spent on average for prom dresses: $250 to $500. I was floored—until I went prom dress shopping. (Word to the wise—waiting until three weeks before prom is not a good idea. There are only size 00 and size 16 left.)

For a mere $100-$200, you too can own a cheaply-made dress with plunging neck- or backlines that would make Christina Aguilera blush, and enough fake jewels sewn on to make Cher look like a Quaker. God help you if you want something else—which is (thankfully) what Daughter #1 wanted: something less flashy but still long, and in a regular size.

We found a great resource, “Rent the Runway,” where you pay a minimal amount ($25-$150) to rent a brand-name runway dress for a week. While none of those dresses appealed to Daughter #1, I’m keeping it in my back pocket for the next event I have to go to. (If anybody ends up using this catalog, let me know how it works out!) In the end, we bought a beautiful dress (for you women who care, it’s a glorified maxi) that she will be able to wear a dozen times, and not get stuffed into the closet as a precursor to all the bridesmaids dresses she will be wearing in her twenties.

The average amount guys spend on a tux these days? $120.

As for transportation, I don’t think many of my friends took limos to prom. These days, the amount many teens (i.e. their parents) spend on transportation: $400.

Seriously? What’s left for the wedding?

My generation was the first (I think) to instill the school-sponsored after-prom party, which we attended for the least amount of time required before going out on our own to a party at someone’s house, and usually with a fair supply of “social enhancers” to go with us. Lately, I’ve heard some parents talking about what their kids are doing after the prom, and a couple of them mentioned the kids might be getting hotel rooms.

Um, maybe I’m out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure nothing good ever came from a bunch of (or two) teenagers renting hotel rooms.

And of course, there’s the increasingly popular “asks” to prom: signs on overpasses, messages on car windows, and a bedroom filled with balloons, just to name a few. It sure makes my wedding proposal, which was perfectly romantic and in no way public, seem like we were Ward and June Cleaver. I would hate to be a guy and have to ask someone to prom these days—talk about pressure! It seems that if you don’t do something spectacular to ask your date, you’re just not really trying. And, if you do something spectacular, God forbid she says no. Talk about humiliation! I don’t know if I’d ever recover.





As long as we’re skirting the prom/wedding border, why don’t jewelers come up with a “prom ring?” For a mere $100 or so, you can rent a specially-designed ring for your date, which indicates she has been asked and accepted—it would help eliminate any questions or guesswork. Plus, it’s just anther step closer to an actual engagement ring.


Or why stop there? Why not just schedule spring break right after prom? Since so many kids go to the beaches or other exotic places on spring break, why not just make it a practice honeymoon? It would probably be cheaper than an actual spring break trip, since many of the Caribbean locales are just starting their off-season in May.

So again, I ask, what’s left for the wedding? Just sayin’….


Oh, and no, I didn’t forget that I promised the underwear post this time…it just had to take a backseat to prom–some rituals just need to be commented upon.

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