Tag Archives: kids

How did THAT happen?

I’ve come to realize I’m not the most observant person, otherwise I likely would have seen this a while ago. Over the past few weeks I’ve been noticing certain things “missing” at home but I’ve never noticed anyone coming to take them.

No, the computer is still there, all the electronics, what little valuable jewelry I have is still tucked safely away in an open box on top of my dresser. My kitschy knickknacks are still on their shelves, and the dogs are always relatively undisturbed. There’s been no evidence of anyone breaking in, either through the door or one of windows.

And yet some things are just … missing.

At some point, when I obviously wasn’t looking, someone took my children and replaced them with young adults. Their childish giggles have turned to laughter – often at my expense, particularly when they’re laughing together. Their hands reaching out to take mine have been replaced by hands waving as they drive off on their own. And though they still sometimes turn to me for advice, they’re also prepared to give some.

The funny thing is I started noticing these missing things when I wasn’t even home. First when my 20-year-old son – the one I’ve been calling “Man/Boy” but should probably think of something else, or just call him “Justin” – asked me to mail his voter registration card, and then again a few weeks later when he talked to me about having gone and voted early. We were talking outside and then he went to his apartment and I opened the door to mine and noticed it then. Something was gone.

Earlier this week I noticed it, too, when I was in Ames with Teen Girl – my high school senior daughter who is seriously thinking about Iowa State. ¬†Here we were, two hours from home and suddenly in the middle of this eight-hour campus visit I got the feeling something was missing. Sure enough, when we got home it wasn’t there.

This morning it really hit home – I took Teen Girl to go take her ACTs and met Man/Boy in the parking lot at 6:30 a.m. He had a mandatory seminar he had to go to for work, and he was actually leaving early. This is the same person who struggled to get out of bed at 6:30 to get to school just a few years ago.

I still catch myself every now and then wanting to give some piece of over-obvious parental advice, or caution them against Bad People or making Wrong Decisions. I forget sometimes that they’re 17 and 20 and instead try to picture them at 10 and 13. Or younger.

It’s great watching my “kids” start to become the adults they are going to be. But sometimes I wish time would slow down, just a little.

 

 

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On to 2010

Every year I make a list of things I resolve to complete during the next 12 months. I write them down, fold them up and put them in an envelope, then store them away until the end of December, when I pull them out to see how many I’ve actually accomplished.

This year I’m making it a little more public. If I can’t do a great job of holding myself accountable to my resolutions, then maybe anyone reading this can help me along.

1. Yeah, yeah, the weight loss thing. Every year it’s the same thing, and every year it’s the same result. This time I have a goal in mind: I want to drop at least one size before my son’s high school graduation in May. Notice there are no pound restrictions attached? I don’t care what I weigh, just what I feel comfortable in.

2. Do something new and different each month. I’m not thinking of bungee jumping or riding a camel bareback, but things that take me out of my comfort level, just for a bit. Like, when meeting a friend for a drink going on into the bar and waiting alone. Going to a movie alone. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee. Push the personal development just a little.

3. Do a “vegetarian day” one day each week. Take the day to cleanse out all the fats and toxins absorbed by meat.

4.¬† Enjoy the kids’ company. I was once cajoled for spending too much time with my kids and not enough time on me, but you know what? My time with the kids is limited. I’ve got one graduating this year and the other in three years – and then I’ll have so much time with myself I won’t know what to do.

5. Breathe. Sometimes — a lot of times — I get so caught up in the busy-ness of life that I forget to breathe. I need to remember to do that more often.

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Kids and dating

A man recently asked me what my kids would do if he were to show up at my house sometime.

I was floored. We’d been talking for a few weeks and hadn’t yet actually met in person, and he was already thinking of meeting my kids.

Hold on, buster. Not so fast.

I’ve been divorced for seven years, and have dated some, not a lot. Of the handful of men I’ve dated, my kids — now teenagers — have met just one, and that was two months into the relationship.

I don’t know what the rules are for meeting kids, or how the kids will react. What I do know, though, is that I have absolutely no idea what it must be like seeing your parents date.

Apparently I’m not alone. Take a look online and find plenty of columns, like this one, aimed at helping parents get their kids prepared.

I’m from the generation that was beginning to see the swing of divorce come into acceptance. While I was one of the lucky ones — my parents just celebrated their 43rd anniversary — many of my friends’ parents were divorced. Even then, though, I don’t recall any of them dating.

So what is appropriate? Do you introduce someone you’re just dating to your kids, or do you wait until it’s developed into some semblance of a relationship?

For me, I’ll wait until it’s something worth bringing them into.

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