Tag Archive | parenthood

Graduation Season

This week has been low on posts, I know, and I’d like to say I’m sorry but really I’m not. As you may remember, the girl is graduating high school this year and this week has been busy with ALL the things. We had the last band concert (I cried a little during the senior video but that was all). These are her BFFs (best flute friends).

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Then we had Baccalaureate…

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Last night we had the choir concert. Choir is second only to band in her life, and I love that music is her passion. She sings beautifully and had a short solo last night, which was a delightful surprise to me. (She swears she told me about it, but I really think I’d remember something like that!) I didn’t really get emotional until right before the senior video, when I looked around and spotted her across the room, and she saw me and we just made a little funny/happy face at each other and it hit me that I won’t have as many of those little moments anymore. And then the video was showing a baby picture and a senior photo of each kid and the photo of my cute little toddler popped up and bam, there went the tears. (This is her choir director. We love him.)

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Anyway, please forgive me for not having the time to blog this week. Today I’ll show the proof that I have definitely been knitting at all of these events, though! I finished my beautiful beautiful Girl Power socks.

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Yarn is Show Me Yarns Bootheel in color Girl Power and I love everything about it. I mean, I haven’t worn them yet because it’s been 85 degrees here for days upon days and I can’t stand the thought of wool socks on my feet but somehow I know that they will wear beautifully too. And I’m almost done with my Nebraska Rollers too!

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Tomorrow is Graduation (EEK!) so I fully expect to get these done by the end of the weekend. These I might actually be able to wear sooner, since they’re shortie socks. Next I want to make these skimmers to try with my flats!

 

Road Trip, Part 1

I have so much to share! I’m pretty sure this will be a multi-post story, because otherwise it would be TL;DR for all of you. This past weekend, the girl had an audition for the music school at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, so she and I got to take a short road trip. The audition was Saturday, so we drove down Friday morning to give us plenty of time to explore Lincoln. We were most excited about bookstores, so our first stop was Bluestem Books, and it was our favorite! It was a beautiful shop with a big knitting section right in front:

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There was also a charming children’s room with a big, squishy armchair, and a lovely literature section, with lots of collectible first editions. We both found a couple of books there. From there we went for lunch, and we were told to try Runza. I loved this table sign:

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Sadly, they call it “hand-knit” when it’s really crochet, but it’s an awesome scarf and I love that they’re doing this! Our second bookstore experience was A Novel Idea, and it was a fun store too. It was more funky, had an eclectic selection, focused on reading copies more than collectible copies, but we still found books to buy. And two shop cats to pet! I also loved that they featured knitting/crafting books in their front window.

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This was the awesome staircase between the basement and first floor. Wouldn’t you love to do this in your house? I would!

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We had our first experience with room service (loved it!), ate a lot of junk food, and walked all over downtown Lincoln. The campus is right next to the downtown area, which is super convenient. We had a delicious meal at Vincenzo’s, a locally owned Italian restaurant, and made our way to Indigo Bridge Books. It’s an independent new bookstore, so it had a small selection of new books, as well as an attached coffee shop and other fun stuff (notebooks, pins, totes etc). I was very tempted by this bag.

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We made sure to visit Hurt’s Donuts, open 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. It was sort of like a secret club, hidden inside a big building downtown. We had three people stop us as we left to find out where it was. They have so many wild and crazy donuts and we bought six and all six were delicious. Choosing just six was very hard. (FYI: Andes Mint, Dirt, Twix, Cookies & Cream, Cosmic Brownie, and Cookie Monster.)

Of course the real reason we were there was the university. It was cold and icy so it was hard to explore the campus too much.

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But there were good informational sessions, and a pizza lunch where we got to sit with the flute professor and ask whatever we wanted. The audition went well, at least to my untrained ear, and the girl felt good about it, so now we just have to wait for some good news. And if it’s good news we get, the girl has her Cornhusker hat ready to go!

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It was just a really fun trip, and I’m so glad I got to spend this time with her before she runs off and leaves me. Next time, I’ll tell you about all the yarny goodness, and believe me, there’s plenty of it!

I’m getting old

I am no longer 29.

I took a selfie today, as so many people are doing right now, for that app that matches you to a museum painting. The chosen painting was a little off, as most of them are, but that wasn’t what struck me. No, what I saw when I looked at the picture was a streak of gray running through my bangs.

It’s been there for a couple of years, slowly getting bigger and more noticeable, partly because I stopped coloring my hair and the gray stands out more against my natural ashy blond than against the golden blond my hairdresser gave me for years. But I’m also getting older, and the grays are multiplying, and in more places than just my bangs. And do you want to hear the weirdest part?

I like it. I like that little gray streak. I am no longer 29, or 35, or 39, and I don’t want to pretend I am. I’m 41, and I’ve earned every gray hair on that head of mine. I’m proud of what I’ve done in those years.

I’ve delivered two children, and my husband and I have raised them to be wonderful teenagers, which means learning how to soothe a colicky baby, how to get a toddler to go to sleep, how to potty train a boy, and how to get those kids to become independent little people. (Okay, I’m still working on that last one). 41 means I survived all those busy/crazy/stressful/lovely childhood years. I’m still unsure how that whole empty nest thing will work, when I don’t have to be Mom every day, but that’s a problem for 44 Bonny. At 41, I like my life with teenagers.

I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart for over 20 years, and we have a lot of happy memories. But there have been many times when it’s been damn hard. There have been times when I honestly wondered if we’d make it. But we’re stubborn, and love each other enough to do the work and grow and figure out how to support each other in healthy ways. It’s still not perfect, but no relationship is. I’m a better wife at 41 than I was at 31, for sure.

I had a successful career, and I was able to walk away when it was no longer the right fit. Then I went back to work after a hiatus as a SAHM, and it was hard since I was switching fields and had a four-year gap in my work history. But I found something and I’m making it work. It gives me a healthy work-life balance, and at 41, I know how important that is to me.

I’ve made wonderful friends, and I’ve had some friends drift away. I’ve lost beloved pets and adopted new beloved pets. I bought a car all by myself. I’ve written books, full novel-length books, that I don’t think are terrible. I’ve learned skills that sustain me creatively, especially knitting. I’ve traveled to fun places, been to awesome concerts and shows, listened to gorgeous music of all genres.

I lost my father. And my father-in-law. And my husband’s grandfather. All three truly great men. I’ve gotten a hint of what it’s like to take care of the person who took care of me as a child. I survived a prolonged bout with depression, my first (and worst, but not last), at least partially tied to grief and loss and stress and physical changes. I’ve learned my own signs of depression, and I’ve learned that medication can make a huge difference. I’ve learned that life is so much better when you’re not crippled by depression and anxiety. I’ve learned that it can ebb and flow and it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

I’ve learned that it’s so much better than okay to be weird or nerdy or geeky or whatever you want to be. It’s so wonderful to be passionate about the things that bring you joy, no matter what other people think about it (my Twilight shrine pleases me to no end). I learned to embrace my naturally wavy hair and stopped wearing so much makeup every day. Because I like who I am at 41. This is me, take it or leave it. I never could have said that at 29.

I’m a better person than I was ten years ago. I’m more patient, more open-minded, more forgiving, more supportive. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have a temper. I still get mad at my kids and my husband sometimes. I still get frustrated and I still say unkind things at times. But I’ve learned how to sometimes hold my tongue when my words aren’t helpful. I’ve learned–am still learning–how to apologize when I need to. It’s so freaking hard for me. But I’m trying, and doing much better with it than I could have done even five years ago.

No, of course I don’t love everything about aging. My kids have to help me with technology sometimes. I go to bed before 10 every night. My back aches more often than I’d like. My vision is getting worse and I don’t love that the skin on my eyelids is starting to sag ever so slightly. I don’t mind the wrinkles yet, but I know that may change when there are more and they’re more pronounced. I know I will experience more unpleasant things as I age. But I like to think I will be able to handle those changes, just as I’ve handled them so far.

In the grand scheme of things, 41 is not really that old. There’s still a lot of cool stuff ahead of you at 41. So when my birthday rolls around, I don’t need to make the jokes about how “I’m only 37, haha!” I want to be genuine, and honest, and celebrate every single one of my years.

I’m 41. And, guys? 41 is pretty damn good.

Edited to add: it’s not my birthday, but thank you for the well wishes! I’m just thinking about aging today.

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p.s. believe me, the gray is a lot more noticeable in real life!

Looking Toward the Empty Nest

The other day, I said something that felt extremely weird and kind of freaked me out. I was talking to someone at work about my kids, and I said “My son is 14, and my daughter is almost 18.” It was the first time I’d said it aloud that the girl is going to be 18 soon and the reality sort of smacked me in the face. I know I’m not the first to say how fast they grow up and all that, and it’s true, but it’s more than that. If nothing else, I don’t feel old enough to have an 18-year-old!

I don’t wish they were little again. I very much enjoy my kids as older people, and I think I’m a better mom to older kids than I was to toddlers and young kids. I do wish I’d had more patience when they were young. I wish I’d taken more videos of them. If I could travel through time and visit their younger selves for a short time, that would be delightful, but I don’t want to do it all again. I think it’s more that you get to this point as a parent and realize the biggest part of your job is almost done, and just when they get to be really cool, interesting people, they leave you.

Then you start to question yourself: did I do it right, or right enough at least? Did I give them a happy childhood, fond memories to look back on? Do they have the skills they need to become independent, responsible adults? Will they be okay on their own?

I feel confident that she does have the skills, and she will be okay. I’m excited to see where she lands next, and watch her do all the exciting college things. As another parent told me, this is what’s supposed to happen. It’s a good thing, a happy thing.

But we all know there’s a thread of sadness too. I enjoy her company very much, I enjoy us as a family very much, and to know that we’ll see her so much less is a hard pill to swallow, even as I tell myself that it’s a good thing. She wants to go out of state, so she might be four hours away, or she might be ten hours away. Wherever she goes, she’ll be able to come home for visits. And I want her to go out into the world, to have the courage to venture away from home and try new and exciting things. I’m the tiniest bit jealous of the adventure she’s embarking on.

I am so very happy for her. But I am a little sad for me. I will miss her, if for no other reason than she’s more chatty than the two men in the house and she keeps me company.

However, a little is okay. I feel more optimistic and excited than I feel sad. But I also I think I’ve been in denial so far this school year. I thought I’d be a mess, crying at every “last” event, but it hasn’t happened…yet. Maybe it’s because we haven’t had that many true “last” things yet; most of them will come this semester. Maybe we’ve been so caught up in all the day-to-day stuff, all the college application stuff, that I haven’t had time to consider what it all represents. But I feel it looming. The college acceptances are coming in, the choices are getting narrowed down, that big birthday is coming closer. An empty nest is not that far away. I have primarily been Mom for the last 18 years. Who will I be after that?

I confess, I have entertained thoughts of life after kids, and they’re not all bad. The husband and I have talked of traveling a bit more (especially if we can get one of those grown-up kids to dogsit for us). We’ve talked about moving to a house that’s not a fixer upper in an area that’s not determined based on the local schools. We’ve thought about what paths we might want our careers to go, once we’re not quite so constrained financially. So yeah, it’s a little exciting for us too, for me. That’s what I’ll try to focus on as we move into this last stretch of senior year.

I don’t usually do those “pick a word for the new year” challenges, but it seems pretty clear that this year’s word is “Bittersweet.”

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Hell Hath No Fury Like A Mother Scorned

Mom-fury is real, guys. I’ve been a mom for almost 18 years now, and I’ve been mad on my kids’ behalf before, but yesterday was the first time I felt pure white-hot blinding fury. I have calmed down some, but the anger is still there.

Someone treated one of my kids badly. Someone in a position of power decided to lash out at my child in front of their peers and at least one teacher. Someone let their emotions take over, and let them spill out in an unreasonable, unprofessional diatribe that devolved into criticism unrelated to the trigger. This person saw that my child was upset, that my child was *crying*, and kept going. Not only kept going, but told two other adults there, “Oh, I made your kid cry” like it was something to be proud of. This person texted me later, “I am so sorry I upset them” but didn’t have the decency to apologize directly to my child, either by text or in person.

Just writing this is bringing the fury back. I have no idea what possesses someone to treat another person, a STUDENT, that way. I have no idea why the other adults present didn’t do anything, didn’t ask her to stop, didn’t intervene to mediate, didn’t at least suggest they go somewhere private.

Let me stop here for a caveat. This is important: this is not a teacher at the school. I don’t believe this person is officially employed by the school. This is a person who is only there very part-time, working with a very small group of students.

Now comes the hard part: how do I respond? I didn’t do anything yesterday; I knew that was a bad idea. My gut tells me to email this person and let her know how angry I am, and that her behavior was appalling and unacceptable. My gut tells me that I need to write a complaint to at least one authority figure, because it’s not right that this person is allowed to interact with students and treat them like this without being held accountable. My gut tells me this is bigger than my child, that I have a responsibility to speak up when something bad happens.

BUT. Doing all of that could create problems for my child. Working with all of these people is unavoidable, and it could make relationships with them awkward, and have repercussions for my child’s success both in and out of school. Speaking up very likely would result in no changes, because this person is respected for their experience and knowledge, and no one wants to rock that boat.

And that alone infuriates me too. Why should this person not be held accountable? Why should this person get away with this behavior? No, my child was not physically harmed. But in my mind, it was bullying. The action that prompted the tantrum in no way warranted a full emotional meltdown in front of other people. It was a minor disagreement that should have been handled privately. Thankfully my child is strong, and has a wonderful support system, and they will be all right. But will the next one? That is one reason silence feels wrong. This is about more than my child. This is also about the next child on the receiving end of a humiliating tirade. If we never speak up because we think nothing will change…well, we’re right. Nothing will ever change. And I’m not sure that’s the world I want to live in.

To be clear, we WILL address the situation with this person. We are just trying to figure out the best way to do it. I want to address it immediately and directly and make it clear exactly how wrong the behavior was; my husband wants to be more strategic and try to guide the relationship to a better place. He wants to address it without pissing off this person, because that likely will not help matters. I can see the benefit of his strategy. But it doesn’t satisfy my mom-fury. I still want to take it further.

So, I don’t know. It’s a really complicated situation, and I can’t tell if I’m blowing it out of proportion because of my mom-fury. I am conflicted. I am sad and angry and frustrated. I am going to sit back for now, and try to come to a resolution that feels right for all of us.

Back to work?

It has been four years since I left my last full-time position, and, maybe surprisingly, I’m ready to go back. I have been home when I was needed most, I’ve gotten my kids past the most critical stage and now that my daughter is old enough to start driving herself around, I can reach for more. I wouldn’t change anything about the last four years. It was absolutely what I needed to do.

But this is what I need to do now. I miss contributing something vital to the world, something on a bigger scope. I miss being part of a team that’s working together to make the world a better place, one step at a time. I love my creative endeavors, but they’re small, low-impact, solitary. I miss collaboration. I miss using my brain to learn new things and then helping others learn those things. I loved being a trainer, loved helping my peers and staff grow. I loved making a difference in clients’ lives. I’ve got these writing skills, and I feel like I could be using them in so many more ways. I could make an impact in the community…and that’s thrilling.

In no way do I mean this as a criticism of stay-at-home parents. I’ve done it in two long stretches now, and appreciated it both times. Parenting is a huge responsibility, and I admire and respect those to do it full-time. I *know* it’s a job, and a hard one. But it’s also a personal choice, and what works for one family may not be the best choice for another. It was the right choice at that point in time.

But now, my kids have grown up a lot. For that matter, I’ve grown up a lot after all the things I’ve faced the last four or five years. I have more to give, and I want to make a bigger difference. I will still knit, though I might focus more on what sparks my creativity and less on custom orders. I will still write and work on getting my book published. I will still proofread for other writers, though it might take me a little bit longer. But I want to do more. I want to challenge myself. I feel like this is my second wind, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.