July 28, 2009

As Soon As I Finish This, I'm Going To...

So I just spent an hour trying to customize my blog into a new look. Hmmm...wish I'd paid attention in computer class back in college. (Yes, college, we didn't have computers when I was in pre-school, where they learn that stuff now). I attempted to do this at 5 in the morning, too, since I couldn't sleep and thought I had nothing better to do. Obviously, I didn't find much success; I changed some colors, I think. Woo! Better slow down, this technology is wearing me out.

Coulda spent the time writing, but what's a day without procrastination? Here I am, The Girl Who Wants To Be A Writer, with all the morning in front of me to do with whatever I please, and I choose to ... rearrange my blog? I believe this is the modern day version of labeling all the tabs in my binder, making sure they're in the right order, writing my name perfectly in the upper right-hand corner, (erase and start over if not perfect the first time), making sure my pencil is sharpened, or I have the "right" pen, is the lighting good? Chair comfy? Right music on? -- all before taking on the near-impossible ten-minute math assignment. For Pete's sake, my mother used to say, just do it! Stop fiddling around with all that stuff and do it.

Funny, but I hear myself saying the exact same thing to Jack when he begins to tackle an unappealing or daunting task. He can turn any one-page homework handout (fill-in-the-blanks, no less!) into a PhD thesis-length project. This is the best time to hit him up with other anappealing activities, though, over which we usually fight. Like, in the middle of that flippin' science project, as he re-laced his DCs (well, they were crooked, and it was impeding his scientific creativity) I asked, casually, "Hey, wanna take a break and go get your hair cut?" He practically jumped at an opportunity that normally sends him into a tailspin of depression and self-pity. (I guess getting a haircut is torture. I don't know.)

This is because I get him. I know how that little brain works, inside and out. Anything I can possibly do instead of this, will be a better option. Almost. Some things are out, say, like emptying the dishwasher. Or putting away laundry. Those are usually non-negotiables. Tantrum no matter what (yes, I said tantrum, and yes, he's 11). But, if I word it right, and maybe throw in a small bribe, I can get a lot accomplished when he's procrastinating.

Just as I can myself, when I'm putting off that one thing I just can't seem to commit to. I can get entire loads of wash done and you wouldn't believe how much crap I can clean out of the junk drawer when I'm in avoidance mode.

Like this morning. Look how pretty my new blog is.

July 23, 2009

Choos Can Wait


Joanne asked me if I owned Jimmy Choos. As if! My last title was in reference to the Shontelle song, T-Shirt, which I L.O.V.E.

nothing feels right when im not with you,
sick of this dress and these Jimmy Choos.
taking them off cause i feel a fool,
trying to dress up when im missing you
ima step out of this lingerie,
curl up in a ball with something Hanes.
in bed i lay,
with nothing but your T-shirt on.

In my post, I guess what I was refering to was the simplicity of the t-shirt, the letting go of the facade: let me just sit here (in my case) in my VS velour sweats and my Jack's Mom sweatshirt, and be true to me...

I tried on some Jimmy Choos once. In Vegas. Probably more than half drunk. I pulled Shawnie into the store saying that I just wanted to know what it felt like to have them on my feet for a minute. I picked out the most fabulous Carrie Bradshaw pair I could find, and had the salesguy slip them onto my perfectly pedicured feet (I was on vacation) and then I stood up to admire them in the mirror, as if I were Cinderella herself.

They felt like shoes, pretty much. I mean, nice shoes, yeah, and adorable, but $650 goes a long way in Las Vegas, even if you're barefoot. I have nothing against expensive shoes, I really don't. For my birthday, John got me my first pair of Ed Hardy's (I'm such a trend junkie). I was coveting the sneakers, but he got me the flip-flops, and I have to say, I wear them every day. They are my favorite shoes ever. Sure, they were more than 2-for-$8 in the Safeway checkout line, but they weren't equal to a car payment, either.

But I don't begrudge anyone who wants to spend their money in that way. Someday, maybe even I will. Like if I stumble into the Cash Cab and win a thousand bucks out of the blue, maybe I'll race into the first Choo or Blahnik boutique and blow it all on one, glorious, delicious box of feet candy.

July 21, 2009

Sick of These Jimmy Choos

...dancing around the kitchen in 100 degree heat, pretending to be Beyonce, listening to my very favorite new song...T-Shirt...

getttin' better all the time

But Wait, There's More

Of course there is. There's more to life than the challenges we face every day, more than the stuff that tests and tries us as we move along, helping us to define our boundaries and our breaking points.

Sure, our situation with Matt is painful. Or, in more appropriate and accurate vernacular, it just plain sucks. Every minute of it, all the time, it's here. He's not even here; he doesn't call or visit; there are very few reminders of his presence left in our house. I have completely converted his room to a playroom for the younger kids. Everything he owns is gone. He's gone.

And yet, everywhere I turn, he's right here, with me. He's ten or six or even 14, sometimes, making me laugh, invoking pride, coaxing love. I long for him, but not in the way a mother longs for her son to return to childhood. I don't wish he were little again, I wish he were here now. Whatever is happening in his heart is out of my reach, and I must remind myself of that, every day. I am constantly saying my mantra ~ this is not about you, this is not because of you, this is not within your control. Sometimes, I believe it. Other times, I wonder how, why, did this happen if it wasn't my fault? I'm his mother, aren't I? Didn't I say I judged the Columbine mothers?? Didn't I actually make that comment: "how do you not know your kid is hoarding automatic weapons under his bed? "

I'll tell you how you don't know. You just don't. You pay attention more than you think you should, you evesdrop and monitor and look and listen and pry and do all the things you swore you'd never do to your kids; you get involved in school and care about their grades and try to know their friends. And somehow, despite it all, they still grow up. They still have minds of their own and plans of their own and dreams you will never quite understand. They struggle with issues you only vaguely remember and that, quite frankly, seem trivial to you now. They fall in love (for real) and they hurt and they fear - and most of the time, while you're checking their MySpace page and doing urine tests, they just want to tell you how that all really feels.

But I wasn't listening. That's not really my fault, that just makes me a mom. A regular, caring, involved mom who doesn't know how to talk to a teenaged boy, on his own terms. Crazy how completey normal that sounds, isn't it? I'm not sure I've ever met a mom who can. And so our kids go out there, as we so boldly and blindly lead them, and they make their own decisions, regardless. Even, I think, when we truly believe we've got them going in the exact direction we want, they're not really going that way at all.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard, If it were my kid...I'd ground him I'd kick his butt I'd send him to military school I'd talk to him I'd get him in counseling I'd make him work around the house I'd I'd I'd I'd I'd.....and you know what? I did. I did all of it. I did it until he hated me and disappeared. Would I take it back? No, probably not. I didn't do anything wrong, I just didn't do it his way.

So here we are, and yes, this can be all-consuming if I let it. I miss him at times more than I can stand; and, admittedly, most of the time, I'm glad he's gone. It's so much more peaceful here and the atmosphere is so much less volatile. It isn't ugly anymore, even though I traded ugly for silence. And the silence allows me room to think and grow and learn from this, to see Jack in a different way, to work on my family from a different perspective. It doesn't eradicate hope, by any means.

And, like I said, there's more. There's so much more than this; the good in my life is so abundant and so worth the gratitude I try to show every day. So maybe it's not that I'm in denial, or avoidance, as it is that I'm just refocusing on the positive.

Sun. Iced tea. Visits from old friends. Firepits. Cute sandals. Gladiolas. The Jonas Brothers.

See? It's almost all good.

July 20, 2009

While I Was Gone...

Wow, time flies, doesn't it? Suddenly it's been months since I've written here. I don't even know where to start, except by saying that so much happened in that time period, accounting for my absence, but not excusing it. I should have been writing the past few months...seriously. I could have saved a fortune in therapy and alcohol, probably.

I would love to go back and tell the story, but I'm not sure how it would come out now, after the fact. Maybe a little Reader's Digest version would be good:

In November of last year, my 16 year old son, Matt, "ran away" - in quotes because he actually only went as far as a friend's house down the street. I tried to work with this kid's mom, to get her to talk to Matt; we tried family therapy and parenting classes. As his grades tanked and his attitude deteriorated to the point that swearing at me and coming and going at his own will was standard behavior, I even tried God. I started to pray - me?! - for my son, for our family, for all the mistakes I was convinced that I had made that had led us to this place. By Christmas, we seemed to have repaired things, but in February it all went sideways again.

He's been gone, for the most part, ever since. Two arrests, one for shoplifting, one for domestic assault, and a night in juvie later, my kid has gone to live with his biological dad and refuses to speak to me nowadays. Of course, he refused to speak to his dad for the year before that, but when it's mom vs. jerk-of-a-dad vs. homeless, I guess your options are limited. He failed most of tenth grade and his dad doesn't care - as long as they're buds again. That's all that matters. He even told me that: he said he wasn't really interested in parenting, just having a good relationship with his son.

Wow. So there it is. Neither of them talk to me, unless it's a mean text or a rotten email or an in-my-face confrontation like last week, when Matt stopped by friend's house here in our neighborhood and took Jack for a ride in his car without asking me first. I can hardly look at him anymore; I have no idea who he is, or what he did with my son.

I wrote last year about The Boy I Knew, and it feels like I will forever be fighting this. Him. Us. People keep telling me that he'll grow out of it, that he'll come around. My closer friends, the ones who know him, are less optimistic, but still hopeful. As for me, I don't know. If I think about it too much, I can't bear the sadness, so I tend not to think much. I tend to pretend that everyone's right, that this is just a phase, and that if I stop stressing about it, it'll go away and all will return to normal soon enough.

My heart thinks differently though...my heart just wants to love my son and right now, it can't. That's the hardest part of all.