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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

Raising Husbands & Fathers

I don’t know whose photo this is, but I hope they don’t mind me using it.15032168_255671434847402_4705620029773180601_n.jpg

I love this photo. I’m always worrying about who my children are and what types of adults they will be. I want them to be kind, strong, stable and loving towards their own family one day. To support and defend their family. All I can do is my best.

I love my 4 Boys and know that some days I really feel like I am screwing them up. I hope that isn’t the truth. I know I can be hard on myself and them as well some days. I can only hope that I have instilled something amazing in them. Something wonderful that others will see, so that people gravitate towards them and they are surround with love, always.  🙂

xoxo

Photos Are Our History

Good morning!☀️🌞😃 

This is such a true statement. I’ve talked to people that have burned, thrown away or tore up old photos. I don’t believe in that. I think that photos are your history. With good memories, or bad. They are still your history and something that should be cherished.

I wish that I had more photos of myself when I was young. I have one of myself with my father. I have another of myself with my Mother. Another of my Grandmother, myself and my Cousin Keith. A couple of myself while very young alone while enjoying summer vacation. A couple teenage ones. Now, a lot as an adult. 

I take tons of photos of my children. They hold so many memories for me. One day when they look at them, I hope they will hold wonderful memories for them and show them their history.

That brings me to another subject. Don’t forget to save and also print out the photos on your phones. I think thousands, even millions, of photos are getting lost each day, because we dont download them and print them out. What a waste. Take some time and do it. You will be happy you did. 🙂

xoxo 

One Lonely Mommy

 

I think I just need to get right to it.

I cried to 3 of my Boys the day before yesterday. I was a mess.  Don’t get me wrong, I was super happy waking up, even after dropping off my 3rd Son for his 8th grade trip, whom I am missing immensely.

I woke up and was ready for a great day. A friend of mine shot me a message asking if we wanted to go over to the Boardwalk for a while then over to the swim center for some free swim time.  Sounded great to me!

I went into the office to run the plan by my 3 Boys that are home for Spring Break. None of them budged from in front of their computers.  They all said, “No thank you Mom.”

You know what? I went upstairs and cried. Then I came back downstairs and told them all why. I told them that i am sad and my heart hurts, because I feel like they don’t like to spend time with me.  Ever. That I always have to be the bad guy and pressure them to do, anything.  I mean anything.  A movie, a hike, camping, go out to eat. You name it.

You know what people? There are days that I feel so lonely and I live in a house with 6 other people. The majority of them sit on their computers all day.  In that damn office, all 5 of them, and I won’t see anyone for hours. I don’t get asked what I’m up too. I don’t get asked anything. Some days no one will even come and talk to me.  The only time I get any communication is when I ask if someone wants something to eat, ask if they want to do something, or go somewhere, or if I go into the office and speak to them. That sucks!  That’s lonely.

This isn’t a poor-me post. This is real. My feelings are real. My life is real. I miss my kids. All. The. Time. They can stay away from me when they are in college, or get wives of their own, dammit! I love my kids and want to do all kinds of fun things with them. It freaks me out when my family doesn’t want to spend time with me. Not even an hour of hiking, or going to the damn grocery store.  Come on!

Is it so much to want to feel like I am loved, needed, wanted and fun to be around? Is it so awful to want someone to make the plans with me for a change? I’m not talking about my friends. I mean my family, especially the ones that live in my house. I crave family time. Crave it terribly. So terribly that I broke down this week. Damnit.

I feel like it shouldn’t even be a thought in my head to feel like this. I do my best at all time, to spend time with my Husband and children. All the time. It feels like shit to get turned down.  Constantly.

Okay, I’m done. It doesn’t change the way I feel though.  It doesn’t change how lonely I feel a lot of the time in my own home. 

xo

 

Rituals

Good morning!  This was my comment after watching this video this morning.  You’re going to laugh!

“May 6, 2013… that’s how long I have been saving this video in my email inbox. Today is January 25, 2016! It’s about time right?!?! Yes! So, I watched this 1st wonderful video (while chopping an acorn squash in my kitchen, instead of sitting on my butt. Which is how I started it.) and am thinking… hmmmm… what kind of ritual would I like to have in the morning? Something different than I already have from my amazing life? Ha!! I’ll let you know when I figure that out. Thanks for all you do ladies! Can’t wait for day 2 tomorrow. 🙂 ‪#‎Healthy‬ ‪#‎TheLifeOfAMother‬ ‪#‎JustForMe‬ #TheSelfLoveRevolution”

I’ve been saving them for the right time to focus on “Me”.  Haha, can you believe it!  Focus on me? You would think I would have watched these a very, very long time ago.

The truth is, I try and focus on myself as much as I can.  Yes, I have a super busy life, yes, I like it that way. Husband, Father, 4 Children, Myself… all in one house. Believe it, or not, we have a pretty damn good balance.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t get off kilter from time-to-time, because, believe me I do.  It just means that this wasn’t first on my list.  Does that also mean that, I am not first on my list?  No, I definitely try, I just get sidetracked.

After watching this video, I really feel like I need to stop and figure out a ritual that I would like to have that is different from what I already to. Take today for instance… My Husband kissed me goodbye. I got up, used the restroom, put my contacts on, combed any lasting lice eggs out of my youngest Son’s just-washed-hair, cleaned up, washed my face, flossed my teeth, brushed my teeth, put on my skincare products, brushed my hair, then got dressed. Kissed my 3rd Son goodbye for school, cooked 5 scrambled eggs for the 4th Son, ate a yogurt, powdered the two dogs with flea powder, put them in their kennel, then was off to take my 4th Son to school. There was my morning, thus far.

If I just look at that little part of my morning, I think that it was pretty productive.

I didn’t even mention everything that I did after I got back from that school drop off. Let the dogs out of the kennel, the 3 of us made our way upstairs to my room, chatted with the cable company, chatted with the sales guy, Alec, at the gym my boys want to join, cleaned my room, text with my 4 of my girlfriends and 2 of my Nieces, did Day 1 of a 30 day Squat Challenge, vacuumed my bedroom, watched this 1st video while chopping an acorn squash and putting it away for later, then made myself a yummy #LunchForOne, said good morning to my two oldest that have today off from school, had an intense conversation with my 2nd Son about his behavior towards others and how it makes them feel, then finally sat down to blog.

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Phew! Haha! Yes, a pretty normal day for me.  Now that I read back through all of that, what have I really done for me?  Perfect reason for me to find a new ritual.  Time to get my head together and figure that out ASAP. Maybe on the drive over to pick up my little Cousin from school?  Or, maybe while I’m sitting in the carpool line picking up my youngest Son and 2 others that I drive home on the daily?  Haha!

I’ll figure it out. I love to journal. I love to paint. I am a woman who goes through spurts and doesn’t really stick to the thinks I love, unless it is washing my face and tending to myself that way.  At least I can say that I take care of myself with using amazing skincare products, having clean and nice clothes, a beautiful closet that I love to dress out of, books that I love to read and living in a town that I can never get enough of.  🙂

xoxo

16 Years Ago Today…

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Thanksgiving 2015

16 years ago today I was had been in the hospital since two days before, trying desperately have my first Son. Later in the evening, after 52 hours of labor, two hours of pushing and an awful experience with a c-section, Alex was born.

They handed him directly to us, Andrew and I. His little head of hair was glowing golden and I started to cry, then everything went blank.

I remember waking up to my Niece, Charmaine’s, voice. “Kathleen wake up. Kathleen.”

I remember hearing voices in the hall, which I think were my Sister and my Husband.

I remember him trying to latch-on for the first time.  It took a few tries, but he was a big eater.  Just wanted to lay there all the time.  Eat and sleep. When he wasn’t in my arms he was with Andrew.

The new love in our lives.

I can’t believe that was 16 years ago. It is so sweet the love that I had for him and how much more it is today.

He is an amazing child. Strong, gorgeous, serious, happy, athletic, grumpy, analytical, witty, independent and so much more.

I want to write about all the things I remember, but that would take a world of time. Instead, I am going to just keep it short and say that I love him with all of my heart.

I know him better than he knows himself. I know his quirks, sighs, deer-in-the-headlight-look, smile, walk, body movement and all.

When I think about how much he has grown and what a wonderful young man he has become, it brings tears to my eyes.

This may not be a very flowing and great post, but I am emotional today. It’s all so bittersweet and goes by too quickly. I truly always wish that time would just slow down.

I miss all the little smiles, naked carefree littles, that my children were. They aren’t like that any more.  I was hoping that would never change, but it does. I will attempt to say, that it did, even through I tried to keep their silliness in tact. I try to remind them all the time of who they were then, how they were then, how they smiled, loved and were carefree. I want them to remember that that doesn’t have to go away. I do my best, but they will become who they will. I just know that they will be amazing. As they always were.

I love you, Alex! Happy 16th Birthday. 🙂

xoxo