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3 Weeks Today I Left My First Born at College.

It’s been 3 weeks today! Oh man, I’m dying! Hahaha!! Laugh if you will, laugh at me, go ahead. I don’t care. I’m laughing at myself a little bit too. I can’t help it though. I miss him!

I was walking upstairs last night and glanced down the hall to his room. I shouted, “Where’s Alex?!” From the office I hear, “what?” from my husband. I started to laugh and said, “I’m just kidding, but I was hoping that he was just in his room taking a nap.” Oh man did I.

On the other hand, I know he is exactly where he needs to be. He is working hard, starting to feel the stress of his classes, making friends, found the grocery store, took a friend out to sushi, learning the bus system, attended his first football game (that got delayed, then canceled and rescheduled for the next day) and sat in the sweltering metal stands, joined his first club, feels bored from time-to-time and so much more. Yes, he is exactly where he needs to be. I just keep telling myself that.

Each day I expect to see him come downstairs to take his shower. Come into the kitchen with his wet hair and a smile on his face, hug me and tell me good morning. Ask me how I am. Fill up his bowl with Cheerios and warm them up in the oven. Filling the kitchen with scents of oats. Watch him tiptoe to the kitchen table to eat and read his fan fiction sites. I miss those morning. I miss it all.

It’s so odd to be so torn as a parent. Knowing you are doing the right thing and feeling sad in your heart all at once. Remembering that you are doing the right thing, but feeling the sadness of the persons absence. Especially for a person like me that doesn’t usually feel separation anxiety. Ever. I guess there is a first for everything.

Over this past weekend, a long 3-day weekend, he didn’t want to come home. We were on a FaceTime call and I mentioned him coming home. I could tell he didn’t want to say that he didn’t want to by the look on his face. Also, that he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. He is so sweet that way. I let it go and said we could chat about it again another time and to just think about it, knowing that I knew didn’t want to come home yet.  I talked myself though it in my head… ‘Okay, he is happy, having fun, him not wanting not come home is a good thing. Right? Right! Keep remembering that, Kathleen.’ That went on for a long time. Over several days. Hahaha!! Yes, several days.

Guess what I am doing tomorrow? Going to see him!! Damn straight! When we spoke last night I told him that I was coming for a visit. That I missed him and that I couldn’t stand it any more! Hahaha!! He looked happy. (He also told me that his friend Zoei was dying to meet me. That’s pretty cool!) When I told him I was bringing my camping pad to sleep on his dorm floor, he kind of snickered and didn’t now what to say or how to react. Hahaha!! I left it in his court to come up with one. Told him that I would call him today. What he doesn’t know is that I have already looked at AirBNB for places to stay in town. Hahaha!! I just want to see if he can come up with a plan, because he knows that I WILL sleep on his floor. If you know me, you know I am super good at flying by at the seat of my pants, but always have some type of plans in my head just in case.

I must say, with the sadness of missing my Son, the proud and happy feelings of him happy supersedes the sadness by far.  🙂

xoxo

His First Day of Class, My First-Born, My Freshman in College

The alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. Today was the day. It was five days ago when we all got up to shower, eat breakfast and do a little last-minute car packing. We piled into the cars at 6:30 in the morning. All six of us. In anticipation for the day ahead. The day we were moving our first-born into his dorm at East Carolina University.

I didn’t sleep well the night before. Anticipation? Sadness? Concern? Did I get him everything he needs? Did I pack that? Is he happy? When will he come home the first time? Tons of thoughts swirling though my head. Keep in mind, I am a great sleeper, but from time-to-time, I am just awake. For no reason at all. Well, I think my first-born leaving home is a pretty good reason for not being able to sleep that night. Ha!

The drive is just under two hours. He drove with me. His younger brother falling asleep in the backseat. Head bobbing. Hair flipping around. He finally lays down since he has the whole backseat to himself. Alex is with me in the front. We are chatting, listening to My Favorite Murder Podcast. He announces that he is going to sleep a little too. I smile and drive into the sunrise. Checking out my surroundings, listening to the podcast. Looking at Pierce in the backseat sleeping, then looking over at Alex. He is crashed out, mouth wide open, obviously napping wonderfully. I snap a photo of me smiling and him sleeping with his mouth wide open. I can’t help myself. I want to cherish every moment.

We arrive to the huge parking lot at the stadium and get our place in line. Talking, joking and me taking photos. Waiting to get inside and get his keys.

After the stadium and picking up his keys, we drove over and arrived at his dorm. The six of us got all of his things up to his dorm and the organization started. As a mother, I want my children to always be comfortable. To have all that they need. From the 3-inch mattress pad, to the rug on the floor. I’m hoping I got him everything that he will need for the whole year, but not too much to clutter and sit in the same spot all year and not get used. It’s all I can hope for.

Once I have him set up and I am finished with my part. You know, the part that makes us moms feel good. It was kind of like nesting for our babies again. Setting up their room, making sure they have everything to get by. All organized and ready to go. Once you are done you stop and look around. Ask yourself, am I missing anything? Will he be comfortable? Does this make him happy? I look around and it hasn’t hit me yet that this is his room now. He won’t be sleeping at home any more. Nope, it hadn’t hit me yet at all. Not like I thought it would for the months leading up to this.

My Husband and our youngest three Boys said our goodbyes with hugs and see-you-tonights. We walked back to our cars and I was still fine. No tears, no anticipation. No concern.

We had lunch, checked in to our hotel and relaxed for a bit.

Later that evening, our youngest, my Husband and I went out for beers and a soda. We chatted, the three of us. After a bit, we met up with another set of parents that I met during orientation in the library a couple of months prior. They dropped off their son that day as well. After a little conversation, we learned that we were all feeling the same. Even my youngest. We are proud, but will miss them. We are concerned, but they will succeed. We are nervous, but know that they will be able to handle themselves. So many emotions flying around that table.  We laughed and had serious moments too. It was wonderful to share with other parents that were going through the same thing.

The three of us got back to Alex’s dorm to meet his roommate and his parents. They were so nice and we met his roommates older brother as well, that lives off campus and is an ECU junior.

I think we felt a little relief. Well, at least I did, knowing that his roommate was a nice kid. Happy and smiling. They seemed to be communicating well. At ease with each other. Their room set up comfortably. The whole atmosphere just seemed calm. Thank goodness! Ha!

The three of us, once again, said our goodbyes to let Alex hang out with his new roommate, head to dinner and finish organizing his desk. Tons more hugs and I love you’s were had, of course. Then we were on our way back to our hotel.

Still no tears. No trepidation.

The next morning we had a date to meet Alex around 9 for breakfast. We gathered our things from the hotel and started to make our way. The 6 of us. For the last meal that we would share together until I don’t know when.

We found a couple of parking spots on the street and headed over to his dorm. He was ready and waiting. Roommate still asleep, so we met outside. We made our way to Einsteins on campus for bagels and some time together.

It was a great breakfast. Everyone at ease. Having great conversations. Laughing, poking fun and enjoying our time. We made it last for as long as we could, then it was time to head back to his dorm.

Once back to Alex’s dorm we hung out a bit. Introduced his middle brothers to his roommate and chatted a little while. It wasn’t until I asked the roommate to take a photo of us all that it hit me. “This is it! Hold it together!” The thoughts going through my head. Taking deep slow breathes.

Photos were taken, then hugs started to happen. I started to lose is. Slowly and quietly. Once that happens, everyone seems to know… here goes Mom. She is going to start to cry. I have to say I have the sweetest family ever though.

We said our goodbyes with a ton for hugs and I love you’s. I just feel like it is never enough, Then we walked out of his room and down the back stairs to the outside. I put my sunglasses on even before we left the room. The tears were already welling up.  Streaming down my cheeks as we descended the stairs. Already hearing the, “Mom are you okay,” questions from one of my boys. Which one, I can’t remember. Then walking out into the heat and sunlight through the parking lot and my second oldest put his arm around me as we walked to the street. I remember feeling the comfort of his arm around me and thinking how lucky I am. After crossing the street, grabbing my husband’s hand and holding on, for what felt like dear life. The tears still flowing. Trying not to sniffle and silently wiping my tears. Getting to my car and my husband and I crying in each others arms. Feeling so proud of our wonderful first-born. Feeling so sad for us. Like something so dear has been taken away. Crying and holding on tight. My husband let go and kissed me, then started down the street after our two middle boys to his car. My youngest son took his place and he and I cried together. Holding each other tight on that sidewalk. I know he was feeling the same. At loss already. Crying into each others arms quietly. Reassuring each other with sweet words that we will be okay. That HE will be okay. That we will come and see him soon and hope that he will want to come home and see us too.

It isn’t just hard on the parents it is hard on the other kids in the family too. Even though the older ones don’t show it, a mother knows. I could see it as we all walked away from his dorm that day. Every one of us quiet. Every one of us somber with our heads down. Not our usual silly selves. It’s hard on us as a family. I’m sure Alex felt it too. I hope one day he will fill us in on how he was feeling that day we left him for his new adventure.

As we drove out-of-town, I cried. My youngest held my hand. I held his. We were full of tears together. Then we smiled at each other with those reassuring smiles. Trying to just get though our feelings of the moment. Of the morning that we had just had.

IMG_3163It’s been 5 days since we moved him in last Wednesday. Those feelings haven’t gone away. Our first-born started his first two classes at college this morning. I am crying steadily and having to take breaks while typing this. Blowing my nose. Wiping my tears. Hoping that I don’t get a sinus infection. Hahaha! Feeling so excited for Alex. Hoping his ‘first day of classes’ were amazing and that his teachers aren’t assholes. Hoping that he got smiled at and that someone new introduced themselves. That he made a new friend and shook his teachers hand. My emotions and thoughts are all positive ones of accomplishment for my son and ease to get though the day.

I feel so lucky that I got a text this morning from him saying, “Morning”. To quietly let me know in his own way and he is up and ready for his day. That meant the world to me, more than he will probably ever know.

It is so odd to have to raise a child and then let them go, so to speak. I don’t want to let them go. I always will want them in my day-to-day life one way or another. A phone call, a hug, a text, lunch, a walk, to FaceTime, a letter in the mail, anything. I’ll take anything I can get. My children are my world. Why would I want that to end when they turn 18? I don’t and if it’s up to me, I won’t let that happen. I will always love them, nurture them, advise them, reassure them, let them know that they are loved and supported. Even as adults

My children are not my best friends, they are the loves of my life, my little boys, my children. Now and forever. That will never change. I feel lucky to have them in my life. I feel excited and happy when I see them each day. I am not a parent that looks forward to having an “empty nest”. Not because I don’t want them to succeed and have amazing adult lives, but because I feel like they will always have our home. The home we all have when we were together. Something to look forward to, coming home to when every they want. Home is where you are loved. Home is where your family is. Home is your anchor.

To all of you parents and siblings out there sending your loved-one off to college. I send you love and hugs. You are not alone. And to all of you off to college… YOU, are not alone. 🙂

xoxo

Parents & Teenagers & Unspoken Words

I worry. I worry consistently about my children. I know they don’t share everything with me. Probably not even half if I am guessing. I find it so strange, then I look back to confiding in my Mother. I guess for some, it just doesn’t happen. Even if we think we are close to them and we know it all, we don’t. We never will and this terrifies me.

I want to be there for them when they are sad, feeling broken, happy, maybe they have met someone new. It doesn’t always happen. I feel like I am pulling teeth and they are giving me a painful look when I ask them about their day, their friends, their relationships, anything. I feel hurt. Maybe I’m selfish? Selfish with wanting them to be happy 29 out of 30 days a month. I want to see them smile. I want to know they are okay.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe I have a strong relationship with all of my children. I know that they love me. They tell me they love me daily. Kiss me good-bye and good night evey day. I take great care of them in all of the “Motherly” ways. I just know there is more to it than that. More going on with them, than what they give me willingly.

I go to bed terrified at night when I haven’t seen one of them smile all day, or even make an effort to talk to me. I can’t stand the distance. Especially when I know something is wrong. I can see it in their eyes, their body stance, the way they hold their mouth. I have a right to feel terrified. I am their Mother and I feel noting but love for them and want to keep them safe in any way that I can.

Some humans don’t discuss what is on their mind, because they don’t want to feel like they are overly talking about themselves, being self-absorbed, complaining, or whining. Sometimes we do it because we don’t want someone to feel sorry for us, feel like we are a burden, or weak. I’m sure I could list a hundred more reasons why we don’t talk to others about our feelings, our thoughts, or what has happened recently in our lives that has made us feel off. Sad. Alone. Even miserable. We’ve all done it. What we forget is, we are not alone. There is always someone who will just listen. The problem is, we are afraid.  Don’t want to seem incapable of handling our emotions. Frankly, it sucks!

We need to talk, we need to express ourselves, we need to vent, we need to cry, we need to wallow, we need to work it out. If we don’t, then it sits in a deep pit. A dangerous pit that the only way out is to climb out of that damn pit yourself, or let someone help you. To grab onto their hand and let them pull you out.

Today I am in worry mode. I have been for several months now. We moved to a new State. It’s been 9 months. I don’t feel in my heart that anyone has really adjusted well. Especially my 4 teenagers. They miss their friends. They miss the ease of our old neighborhood. They miss their daily routine. I bet they even feel like life has been stagnate here, like not much has moved forward.

Sometimes in life you do things for your family, because you think it is the right thing for you all as a whole. California housing prices were sucking us in. Living to just pay for the house you are living in and the bills to keep that house alive, are just not a way to live. Children don’t know that though. They see a well-oiled machine and then their parents just threw a wrench into the engine and broke it.

I never realized it would take this long for them to adjust. To feel happy again. With social media today, I thought that it would be easier for them to keep in touch with their friends. Unfortunately, I believe it has been just as much as a hinderance. Especially with how things are today.

Social media started out as a way to keep in touch. Connect with friends and family and sometimes make new friends. Today it seems that it breaks more relationships than it keeps alive. Especially for our children. Posts and words are taken negatively, texts are misconstrued. Someone is always feeling defensive. People that are being honest are taken as liars. The liars are getting away with causing so much pain and the honest ones are the one’s suffering. Some suffering more than others. It truly breaks my heart.

I remember when we communicated a lot over email. Even our emails started to get taken the wrong way. We all know that 5 people can read the same email and if asked about that email, we would get 5 different interpretations. Imagine that with the short simple texts. It can be hell, I’m sure. It always seems when something is read these days it is deciphered depending on the readers current mood. It’s interesting and detrimental all at the same time. Especially with our teenagers. It scares the hell out of me.

It all dwindles down to the way we communicate with each other. I’m for sure a talker. I want to talk about everything. Know everything. I love honesty and truth. I love having a conversation of the heart. I always ask a lot of questions. I love to learn. I love having a conversation about the weather. I love having a conversation about the color of the dirt. I love hearing about your day. I love hearing about your successes for the day. I love hearing about the argument you had with your friend. I love hearing about what your plans are for the weekend. I love hearing about how your girlfriend pissed you off. I love hearing about how dumb you thought that kid was in your class today. I love hearing about what scares you. I love hearing about what made you angry today. I love hearing about your job. I love hearing about your dreams. I love hearing about it all and I just want to talk to my kids and Husband all day long.

I want them to need me. I want them to want to spend time with me. I want them to know how much I care about them. How much I want to listen to them when they are hurting. I am always here. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen. Then I am back here hoping, wanting, poking, prodding and begging them to let me in.

I am their Mother, so I know they don’t want to tell me everything, but I would hope that they would let me in a little. Show me the honesty and sharing that I have taught them. Come to me when they are happy and when they are also feeling down. Let me help them. Give me a chance to tell them that there is always another wonderful road to explore, even though sometimes we take a wrong turn.

The unspoken words are the ones that worry me. No, they truly scare the hell out of me. xoxo

Not Even 30

Yesterday came and went

It would have been your Birthday

Your 30th

A day to celebrate

Celebrate your wonder

Your Smile

How cherished you are

Not a day for tears

To ‘cheers’ without you

Without hearing you laugh

And without seeing that contagious smirk

We still toast you though

Your loving memory

A memory of a life lost

Forever lost

Lost

I wish I knew that you were lost

I wish I knew your pain

I wish I knew when you were scared

Or mad

Or over it all

I wish I knew it all

Now I just feel sadness

Shocked is the only way to describe

Loss

Lost

Full of a bucket of tears that keeps refilling itself

With no end

No end

I love you

My sweet little Brother

I love you.

xoxo

To homeschool, or to not homeschool, that is the question.

My 15-year-old Son has asked me to homeschool him since he was 3. Then, it was simply because he wanted to be home with his Momma. Today it is for different reasons. Very real reasons.

As it sit here reading about, public on-line school, homeschooling and virtual flex on-line schooling, I realize there is so much to learn and so many questions to ask. It’s so hard! Ug. It can be very expensive too.

Public on-line school is pretty much the same as your brick and mortar school. Just doing it from home. You have all of the wonderful conveniences of the teachers there when you need them. It is free. Books and materials area free. You work on the same school schedule as the rest of your local district.

Homeschool is a combination of what you make it. You do most of the work with your child. You set up the classes. You help with class work. You can set up on-line classes, college classes, out of the home classes, etc. You set it all up and make the plan.

Virtual flex on-line school you can start at any time, you have teachers that can help you, depending on the program you choose to go with. You set the pace with your child. The school has all of the curriculum set for you. You pay them for this service, which can be very expensive. Up to almost 7k a year. As low as $400 per semester.

I am finally caving in with my Son and am going to make a decision this week about what he will be doing for his next semester of his Sophomore year. Allow him to be schooling from him. Researching internships for him, setting up some college courses. Sounds like more work for me, doesn’t it? It is. I will do it, because I want to see him happy. That smile is worth so much.

My concerns. He has high expectations and wants to attend a particular college in the futuer. I don’t want to jeopardize his future by me not knowing which school is best for him. It is scary to hold someone elses future in your hands. I want to make the right decision for him. All of the what-ifs go through my mind.

Brick and mortar school is safe, as is the on-line public school. I get a little scared with the homeschooling solely, or one of the flex on-line schools. I have been calling and asking a ton of questions regarding progression of courses, AP and Honor courses and if he was to apply to Oxford would they look at their school as an accredited facility.

This morning my head is spinning, yet again. I’m not showered and my scalp really needs to be washed. Hahaha!! It is after 10:00 a.m. and I am still sitting here in my glasses and robe. Waiting for a call back from one of the schools that we are interested in. Waiting is the hardest part. I can imagine how Pierce has been feeling waiting 12 years. Hahaha!!

Onward with my research and phone calls. 🙂

xo

My Children and Understanding Organic

I had to laugh today. One of my Son’s was home sick today and he was looking for something to cook in the pantry as I was getting ready to walk out the door to pick up his Brothers from school. He was in a, butter noodle, mood.

He says from the pantry, “everything Organic is disgusting!”

I proceeded to tell him that organic noodles taste no different from non-organic noodles. I explained to him why something is considered organic. We went back and forth a bit.

When I got home a bit later, I saw he had the bowl of noodles. The organic ones. I think I finally, finally taught him what Organic means. Or maybe it was that he finally just listened. Ha!

He kept thinking that somehow when something is organic it didn’t taste good, or the ingredients were somehow tainted and would make the product taste gross. Hahaha! Just goes to show that people can be so narrow-minded. Also, those narrow minded people can choose to listen and understand what the facts are.

I love that he listened. 🙂

xoxo

SafeSound Personal Alarm Thoughts?

teardrop_backpack_cut.jpgSource: SafeSound Personal Alarm

What does everyone think about these?

I was texting with a friend the other day about all of the crap that has been going on in Santa Cruz County. Burglaries, missing people, gang violence, heroin addicts along the river, tweakers walking into your home, car and business trailer thefts, delivery box robberies off of your porch, murders and the list goes on and on.

Anyway, she mentioned to me that she is now going to the gym pretty early in the morning and having to walk to and from her car in a parking garage. There aren’t always people around to help if there was a need, so she was going to go and get a pepper spray. I told her I thought it was a good idea and I know that Big 5 sold them.

I spotted this, this morning. It looks pretty great. Easy to use. I wouldn’t put it on my purse, or backpack I don’t think though. Just because, a lot of the time, that is what the asshole will go for first. Maybe carry it in your hand, or on your keys? Maybe on the zipper on your jacket? Maybe have several in different places?

I also think this would be great for kids, boys and girls. Adults as well. All humans. Safety is pretty key in our world, unfortunately.

Getting assaulted is nothing new. It has gone on since the beginning of human kind. Why not be safer in any way you can. You have nothing to lose. I may have to put these in everyone’s stockings for Christmas this year. Not a bad idea at all.

What do you think? Would love your opinion… 🙂

xo