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My daughters are growing up. There is a bitter-sweetness to all of this. There is an ending to an era coming up, an ending to this stage where I am needed for all these different little tasks. They can, for the most part, be relied on to handle things like making breakfast, taking showers, and doing their own homework. There is still the occasional editing and definitely the drama of teenage hood to go through, but they are becoming their own creations. Now, I rarely resented any of the things I had to do to make sure they were cared for, and there is a part of me that misses it, but I was barely more than a teenager when I had my first child. The change isn’t all bad.
I find myself letting go a little. Not of them, never of them. I will do what is needed to guide them, defend them, and comfort them. That part will never end, thank God. However, I find I still have this creative energy flowing through me, and I can’t use the “sorry, I’m too busy being a mom” excuse for not doing these things I have planned. I do have the “sorry, I got a new game to play” for short periods of time. This would be why there was a bit of a gap between this post and the last. I can only use that for so long though… or it gets a bit ridiculous. I have ideas, plans, and even occasionally, time.
Oh yes, time. It’s a luxury that I am just starting to see glimmers of. I seriously need to stop just looking at it as if it is some sort of jewel and USE it. Then I can work on my writing, my ideas for illustrating, and maybe even use some of it to get rid of the extra weight I am carrying around with me.
Here’s the best part of all of it. I don’t have to leave anyone behind to do this. My eldest is headed off in her own directions, and my youngest happens to have similar interests to mine. I get advice from both of them. I still have to filter the advice I get from the nine year old, but they do notice things that I miss sometimes. Both of them still come tell me all about their lives, achievements and even losses, the great thing is they occasionally want to hear about mine too.
Time to get down to the business of me…

How odd.

So my eldest daughter is 16 now. How odd.

Obviously, I expected that my children would eventually grow up. I have the same maelstrom of emotions brewing about them getting older as many parents do. Joy at watching them blossom, fascination with the unique way each of their minds work, and completely unsure about what exactly will occur for me once they are ready to strike out on their own.

I don’t know what will happen, and most of the time, I’m okay with that. There are days when I feel a bit panicky that they will both move away so far that I won’t get to see my grandkids grow up, or that things will go horribly wrong and they’ll never leave home. I kind of expected that sort of day on her 16th birthday, but no, not today. I had to text her Happy Birthday wishes, because she is out-of-state, pursuing what she loves. I thought that might sting a bit; make me feel old, or induce some nostalgia for the days when she was little. The only thing I felt was pride. She was off doing what she loved, doing it well, and not letting anything hold her down.

Now, at the end of my day, I sit. Just like so many other days, sitting in front of my computer at the end of my day, as the sun shows her face to the world. I reflect a little as I drink my Pinot Noir, about how it seems like it’s always been this way, and yet how much has changed. How quickly time changes the world, and those of us who live in it. How odd it is that we only really take notice of those changes, when we take the time to stop.

How very odd indeed.

My husband and I celebrated our tenth anniversary about a week ago. We went out to eat at a nice restraunt, and visited the wine shop down the road. Before you ask, of course we bought some wine, and some chocolate; we like to buy wine and chocolate whether there is an occasion or not. A pretty traditional anniversary celebration for us. One of our traditions is that we make wine for our anniversary at a local winemaking place called Denali Winery. We put it together in May, and it’s ready for bottling on or near our anniversary. We get about 24-26 bottles of wine out of it, and on the big day we share a bottle of last years wine, and a bottle of the new wine. My husband gets me wine glasses that are in some way special, to commemorate. This year I got this little lady.

The story behind this one is that a girl of noble birth and a goldsmith fell in love. Her father was so irate that she fell in love with some one “beneath her station” that he had the young man put in jail for some contrived crime. His daughter however, was so tormented and saddened by this that the father could stand it no longer. He told her that if her goldsmith could make a wine glass that two people could drink out of at the same time, without spilling a drop, he would get the goldsmith out of jail, and she could marry him. This is what he came up with. See, that little bucket that she holds over her head swivels, so that when you hold her upside down, her gown is the main glass, and the bucket becomes another small cup that tilts to allow both parties to drink at the same time. It does work best if the shorter party uses the swivelling cup though.

He can be romantic, at least once a year.

What did he get? I got him steel balls for his anniversary. No really, it’s what he wanted. You know, those little tiny magnetic steel balls that you can make all sorts of stuff with. What kind of steel balls were you thinking of?

Things to do

These are the things I should be doing today:

1) Working out on my elliptical.

2) Cleaning up the doggy-doo in my yard.

3) Bottling wine.

4) Cleaning up the piles of paper and other accumulated stuff in my home.

5) Working on my website.

6) Calling the DMV to figure out how I’m supposed to document “logged driving time” for my teenager to get her license.

7) Eating and sleeping.

What I’m probably going to be doing:

1) Setting up an account with a company that cleans up doggy-doo for $15 a week.

2) Thanking God that cleaning up doggy-doo is not my job.

3) Bottling wine.

4) Looking at my website, checking all the links, and putting it off until next week.

5) Calling the DMV and waiting on hold until I give up.

6) Eating, and if I’m lucky, taking a nap.

7) Playing Lord of the Rings Online.

What makes me not a normal mom?

Well, I’m not entirely sure.  It could be the fact that I work nights, or it could be the fact that I am a bit manic, with the occasional bout of narcolepsy, or it could be that the animals in my home outnumber the people 3 to 1.

I never really thought about it. I had a unique perspective on life, but I have never really tried to pinpoint at what point I go from being an average working mom to slightly odd. I didn’t ever realize that it was something innate, that can be detected when I am doing something that a million moms have done without being labelled unusual in any way.

All I did was walk my third grader to her classroom. Normally I just drop her off, but it was her day to bring in cupcakes, so I was helping her bring them in. Under my black overcoat I was wearing jeans, a solid color long-sleeved shirt, and sneakers. Nothing that really stood out. We walked down the hallway together, and Caela, my daughter, stopped along the way to show me the snowman she had painted. I dropped off the cupcakes, she introduced me to one of her classmates to whom I said something along the lines of  “Nice to meet you”. Then I gave Caela a hug, and started back down the hallway to get into my car to go home.

Somehow, in all this normalcy, I still got called out. From behind me I hear the little girl’s voice.

“She’s not a normal mom, is she?”