Honestly, I don't obsess about age. If anything, I forget. Every once in a while, I make myself concentrate on how old I am right now and on what mature things people my age should be doing, and consider whether I'm doing those things. Then my stomach hurts so I drink a glass of wine.
Wanting to get in better shape again, I got a walk/run app. I need exercise structure, as much as I hate taking direction. My compromise is mild disobedience - varying my walking and running time a little so the app is not the boss of me.
After running a few times in one week, there was pain shooting through my left hip and my lower back was stiff. Limping around at work, I mentioned it to a colleague a couple years younger than I. She said that her hip started hurting when she was running. The pain continued to get worse so she went to the doctor who told her she's getting older and had a little arthritis in her hip. The solution: don't run.
My first reaction was to promise myself I was definitely running tonight. That unusual arthritis story clearly does not apply to me. I need to run more - not less. The pain will go away.
I haven't even fully explored running yet in this lifetime. I've always planned to make my girls run with me the way my parents used to make my brother and I run in the late 70s. In my mind, my daughters and I are wearing halter tops, dolphin shorts, and Nikes - with pom pom socks.
Is that really over?
I better go backwards for a few posts. Life is flying by and I haven't been writing for a bit.
Around New Years, my 8 year old Violet developed a phobia of vomiting at school, resulting in one rough school morning after another ever since. It made no sense because she only threw up once at school a couple years ago, but thanks to google and real professional advice, I now understand she's been displacing her worries.
During the worst of it, Violet was having panic attacks at all times of the day and night, melting down, belligerent, fighting to not go out the door, whether it was to see family or drive to school. One morning, I was so overwhelmed by the battle, I asked her dad to come over and pick her up. He might have dropped her off at the side of the road on the way to school, but I'm told for only a very short period of time.
Any well functioning sibling knows the squeaky wheel kid sucks up your parents' attention. But Daisy will not go down without a fight. My valiant 11 year old has a new level of I DON'T HAVE TO FOLLOW YOUR RULES message. Actually, I enjoy spending time with her more than I ever have, but when she's in a rebel mood, I'm in a new phase of parenting.
What I know for sure is Daisy does not want to show me her homework, clean her room, or take the dogs out. The only thing she seems to really want to do is gaze at her phone and say weird things as I walk by like, "How's your face?" before correcting herself, "Oh, you have no idea what I'm talking about because you've never watched my friend's YouTube." Right. "Pineapple." OK.
As I was telling on Daisy to her dad when he stopped by recently, she yelled, "WHAT THE FUCK?!" before stomping off to her room. I'm getting tired of the little girl drama . . . except that didn't sound like my little girl. I sat on the couch lost in thought until her dad asked me if I was going to do anything about that or did I expect him to. I can't remember who followed up that time but what scares me most is Daisy will be graduating from high school in six years. I don't have much time left to help her get the good sense to take care of herself in the world.
In the midst of my kids freaking out and all of us getting really sick in January, I didn't put as much time as I normally could toward a contracting opportunity I was totally excited about. And then the rad opp went away. Was my work not good or was I just not fast enough? This is the kind of stuff I can sit and stew over.
But I have to let it go, like so many other things. There's never been a time when I need to be more sharply focused on the future with its looming financial changes. I think I might be getting really mature or something because life has recently presented a series of hard lessons in things like patience, rejection, acceptance, and forgiveness. Though there are painful moments, I'm getting better at the not stewing.
Seeing my kids in the early stages of learning how to deal with anxiety and emotions brings out strong protective feelings in me. Last night I dreamt my kids joined a bunch of other kids to play on a balcony of a house filled with our friends and extended family. I opened the sliding glass door to get to the kids and noticed part of the balcony was open. Walking to the edge to look down, fearing that I would see a child sprawled far below on the pavement, I was relieved it was only a poor little kitty that had fallen. I got the kids back in the house and tried to alert my kids' dad, but he didn't seem to understand the danger and let them go back on the balcony again. That dream represents my current parenting challenge, except emotional stuff cannot be solved with safety gates.
For a long time my dog Sadie has been cuddling with an orange bear.
Then all this sudden Scout my other dog started sleeping with Daisy's old stuffed pitbull dog.
Daisy all the time starts talking in a baby voice about how the pitbull is so Scout's baby and how cute Scout is all the time. When Daisy starts talking in baby voice I, Violet, start screaming my head off shouting STOP STOP! MAKE HER STOP MOM! Then Mama starts shouting at me. I HATE IT! I usually run to my room and slam the door! Then everything is silent...in a little while I come out of my room and apologize to Daisy and Mama. Then i am in a happy mood and Daisy gets upset! But at some point everyone calms down and makes each other laugh...
Everyone's fine after that. The next day I, Violet, i get up really early early and make myself breakfast and then usually play Minecraft my favorite game. When Mama wakes up all devices go down...that's when the drama starts. Mama asks me to clean sometimes then when daisy wakes up that's when everything gets worse. Mama sometimes wants to go out for breakfast but me and Daisy rather just stay home and eat a breakfast sandwich. Mama tries to convince me and Daisy to go out for breakfast but we just complain if she makes us get into the car. We hate getting into a car in the morning. Once we have breakfast everyone is fine...at least for an hour. After we get back if we clean I complain. I say I JUST WANT TO REST!!!!!!!!!!! On Saturday nights we watch TV and play video games. Then i fall asleep. Daisy and Mama stay up late watching shows. Everything's silent in the house.
With Christmas 2014 a mere two days away, the kids and I have not been totally jolly. Things have been feeling serious with their dad confronting personal issues.
And me being distracted with trying to establish my side business.
I turned 44 earlier this month. That seems pretty serious too. Think fast because that's not early 40s anymore; there's stuff to figure out.
Having a winter break from my day job has resulted in three days of running errands and cleaning, including a mortifying experience with my fridge. I knew it was time to throw out that turkey carcass I was just about to make into a soup three weeks ago, but I had no idea I was stocking October meats and cheeses.
When I saw my kids turn to their devices this morning in front of the sunlight streaming through the windows, I announced we were going to the beach. Before stopping by the computer repair shop, making an exchange at the mall, and getting the car washed -- we were taking the dogs to the beach to find sand and shells to pour into the clear glass ornaments we bought for $1 a box at Goodwill last week. And by the way, we haven't done our charitable act yet this year, so add that to the list. The kids groaned and complained about another day of Things To Do, while I worked for a few more hours, allowing the stress to build up nicely.
By the time we got to the beach, I was totally annoyed with my freaking kids. To their credit, they did help me with chores yesterday, but they've been such complainers. I've been trying to open their minds to the fact that despite our personal troubles, which everyone has, we have food, shelter and people who help us, with love, which everyone doesn't have. But I understand they have feelings they don't know how to articulate, also known as complaining to mama about everything except what's really bothering them.
As soon as our feet touched sand, the kids went happy. It took me a little longer. The kids cheered me up by enthusiastically gathering bits of broken shell and scooping sand. We soon realized the sand was damp from days of rain and we would practically need tweezers to collect shells small enough to fit through the openings of the glass ornaments.
New plan. The kids would pick up trash on the beach for their approximate act of charity - let's call it a good deed - with the agreement that we are making a food donation by Christmas. Forget most of our errands today.
We were all a little overwhelmed after our last mall experience.
This was a better place to lighten our spirits.
And by the way, the thing I probably like least about having a kid in middle school is hearing YOLO! a billion times a day. I tried to tell Daisy it was tired, but she was adamant: "You're wrong, Mom! OK? YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!"
Violet, still safely in elementary school, vows never to say YOLO. Instead, she prefers JELLO. We decided it's code in our family for "Mellow ~ you're acting like a jerk."
We did stop at Target on the way home, which set off another round of complaints - maybe more of a half-round when Violet caught herself. We had several discussions today about why we've been upset with each other and the need for us to communicate in a more positive way when we're stressed. My takeaway was less cussing and calling names such as "you're acting like a brat," Violet's was less complaining and having fits when she doesn't get her way, and Daisy's was less obsessing over her phone and no sharing pictures of family without permission.
It wasn't until later that I realized it's actually Festivus today. It really did feel good to air our grievances and avoid the mall.
Clearing the emotional air seemed more festive than decorating, which is why my tree looks like this now.
Still, there is peace under this roof tonight. If you have a loose definition of what peace sounds like.
The girls and I joined my bro at my parents' home in San Jose for Thanksgiving yesterday. As the adults got into a loud debate over current events, Daisy taught her younger sister how to use iMovie, a little something she learned in middle school recently.
When the kids showed their movies, it was surprising to see all the action that had happened a short distance away from the grown-ups, if action means a lot of footage of two old dogs. It was also surprising to see what happened to Grandpa's chapstick in one of the featured films.
I once heard a friend discussing kids with another friend, dad to dad. I was taken aback when I heard them say, "I'm so glad I don't have uncoordinated kids." "Oh yeah totally. That would be a drag." Um, what's wrong with uncoordinated people?
For me, it's: I'm so glad I have funny kids. It would totally be a drag to be living with a bunch of serious, non-freaky little people.
The dogs didn't even debut their ghostbuster outfits. So bummed. Next year.
This was everything we needed to leave the house for one day last week and it wasn't even Halloween yet. Managing a week of dress-up days, a class party, a school dance, regular homework, project homework, and holiday festivities in the rain across two households was a challenge requiring a multifaceted approach.