Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mommy needs a Makeover

Snapchat experiment
A few months ago I colored and cut my hair. It was darker, flippier and made people look at me twice.

"Did you darken your hair? You look so different."
"I didn't recognize you!"
"Love your new look (winky, winky. OK I made that up. Nobody but a weirdo or my Mom winks at me anymore. I'm 47 for God's sake!)

Anyway, in my world, change is welcome -  no matter how small. All this "live in the moment" and "being present" talk exhausts me sometimes because frankly, I'm bored with the moment. I've been working at the same job for 10 years. Married to the same (wonderful) man for 25 years and living in the same house for 22 years. At 32 I must have been going through something like this because I got a tattoo. An astrological and now graying tattoo that to this day I forget is there until I see my drooping backside in the mirror and think, "What the hell was I thinking getting a tramp stamp?"

My Dad has this awesome saying, "You change, to learn to grow." I can't remember the last time I tried anything new unless you count getting a Snapchat account because I was amused by the funny apps my foreign exchange daughter kept showing me and making me laugh harder than I have in a long time. Suddenly I could be a bunny, or a goth, or Golem (I do a mean "My Precious!" given the chance and voiceover). It was stupid but fun. Until of course my own biological daughter berated and unfriended me because apparently Snapchat belonged to her and her alone.

So, I'm kind of stewing in my stable little world waiting for something to happen. I have always believed in fate and signs and such, but realize that Hugh Grant is not going to walk into my office and ask me to dash off to Britain, and I do not have the patience for knitting or talent for starting my own band. My husband once bought me the ukulele I just had to have one Christmas. I played it all of four times.

Don't get me wrong, I am so so grateful for my life and health and friends and family. I admire people who work at the same job for 30+ years (shout out to Dad), and eat the same thing for breakfast and are confined to a very small world due to circumstances beyond their control and never complain. But I am not that person.

I need more than a haircut. I need a life makeover.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Young love

 A couple weeks ago my 16-year-old daughter proposed her birthday present to me: to have her boyfriend over for dinner.

Now, you may scoff "what a self-centered teenage thing to do," but consider the backstory....I had been encouraging her for months to have this fella over more. They had been dating for at least five months (though there was some passionate first love drama a couple years back) and she was always going to his house to hang with his family and watch movies. They were obviously the chosen ones. I was the stepmother.

Seriously though, I had myself believing "doesn't every teenager want to have their significant other over all the time to hang out with their parents?"


But for whatever reason, this she did. This was the second time the young man with the deep voice and swagger had been to our house (at least that I know of), and while a boyfriend of few words, he was polite and treated my daughter with respect and answered my allowed three questions:

Are you planning on going back to school? 
What are you interested in studying? 
Do you still think about playing baseball? 

"I have no idea really."
"Actually maybe..."

He was obliging. She was highly annoyed.

Still, they ate the pizza I had picked up along with the salad her Dad had made. We made small talk and then they went back to her room (yes we even let her close the door now though she doesn't see the point since her bedroom is off the kitchen and we can "hear everything." Reverse psychology? Perhaps).

Still, it was a lovely birthday present for me, the Mom who just wants to be loved. To be cool. The Mom with the house where all the kids like to hang out and watch movies and eat popcorn; the one they want to share their problems with and cry with when their home life isn't working out...or not.

I have recently come to the conclusion that I have to let my kids live their own lives. Now almost 20 and 17, I'm happy my kids are independent. If I embarrass them, score for me! My job is not to have them like me but to provide them with direction and self-sufficiency skills -- right? Right?

My wish for my kids used to be "if they are happy and can support themselves that is all I wish for."

Today a friend told me his cousin once told him, "If my kids don't go to prison then I will have succeeded as a parent."

I'd like to think my bar is a little higher than that, but if my birthday present is to hang out with my kid and the boy she loves so be it.

Maybe next year they'll take me bowling!