This morning after Brother left for work, I couldn’t sleep. I had one of those deja vu feelings. All I could think of was “I should make sure that she’s up.” Yes, it’s the first day back to classes after your Christmas break. Just like in high school, I felt the urge to check and make sure that you remembered to set your alarm. I wanted to be sure that you got up and didn’t just snuggle into your warm blankets and go back to sleep. I looked at the clock. It was 6:10am.
I kinda dozed off while listening to the news. I woke up with a start and almost jumped out of bed. Did she leave yet? She’ll miss the bus! I should tell Dad to see if she needs a ride! It was 6:55.
After falling asleep for a bit more, I woke up and began my day. I gathered trash from Brother’s room, and threw his laundry downstairs. I turned to your room and I saw your stuff, all packed and ready to be shipped off to the dorm with your BF. It was almost a shock. I nearly expected to reach behind the door to grab your towel and laundry. I missed the smell of your shampoo and perfume that would normally be lingering after you leave the house. It was 11:30.
And so. I did some laundry, colored my hair, and took a shower. I had an odd feeling of expectation. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Dad was home already and it was nowhere near time for Brother to come home yet. The feeling hung over me while I did some dishes…..and then it occurred to me…..
I was waiting for the front door to open. I was listening for Bandit to get excited as you threw down your backpack. It was 2:35pm.
Yes, I miss you every day, some days more than others. But I am used to you being gone. I know that you are a text, call, or FB message away. I just found it so very odd that my heart remembers your schedule when I can’t even remember what day of the week it is sometimes.
I hope that you and K are settling into your new living arrangements. I hope that your first day back to classes wasn’t too stressful.
Well, it has been one month since Babygirl left for college. She has settled in nicely and gets along great with her roommate. She has gotten into the rhythm of classes, study, gym and social life.
We are both learning new things.
Without her here, I learned how to use the elastic exercise bands that were left in her room. I have learned how to put video into my blog using HTML. I updated my laptop and when a certain program disagreed with it, I managed to delete it and restart my computer all by myself!
She is learning that even people that you have known for years, have a darker, inconsiderate side when they are away from home. She has learned how to spend the night alone when her roommate isn’t there. And she has learned that if you leave your laundry detergent unsupervised-even for five minutes- it will disappear.
I’ve gotten used to chatting with her on Facebook. We both have skype but her internet connection in the dorm is horribly slow and sporadic. For a university, I find that surprising. She dropped her phone into soda, and the week it took us to replace it was horrendous. We couldn’t text ‘goodnight’ or ‘Got time to chat?’ I missed her face and her voice.
But there is one more thing that I have learned….
My daughter is a beast.
Babygirl has joined the “ultimate frisbee” team. For those who don’t know what that is, she has described it as a cross between soccer and flag football. There is lots of action and chances for injury.(She has already given a teammate a black eye!) She attended a tournament that was only hour away from home and since some friends went to watch her, she came home with them overnight and returned for phase two the next morning. She walked in the door, face beet red from sunburn, and limbs brown from the sunshine. She smelled like outdoors. I watched her walk into the kitchen and noticed how muscular she has become. When she talks about it, there is a light that shines in her eyes. I always knew that she liked sports, but this was…new. Wanna see what it looks like?
Yes, my sweet little girl is doing that. Now that my friends have seen it, we are planning a road trip or two to see her play.
First of all, my nephew. What a fabulous baby! Can I just say, I could eat him up!! He was awesomely good. He took a nap at dinner time and I got more than a little scared. I mean, after all, when my own kids did that shit, they stayed awake until three in the morning! I really had no desire to relive those days….or would that be nights? Either way, I shouldn’t have worried. Ethan was pleasant when I woke him up after half an hour and at eleven, he rubbed his face on his blankie and went right to sleep. Aunt Chrissy got to sleep and even had to wake him up at eight in the morning! My brother called and asked if I would consider keeping him one more night. Seriously? I would. But Ethan is only one and he doesn’t know me very well. I think that that if he knew me better, I would have gladly said yes. Maybe next time.
The next thing was something I was looking forward to. I bought two tickets to see the Philadelphia Union play soccer. I had invited my niece Morgan to go with me and she is one of the few nieces that I haven’t spent alot of time with when they were little. She plays soccer on the high school level and both of us were excited. Until……she was invited to go to the shore with a girlfriend. She called me to tell me that she was bailing on me, but quickly added that her mom would go in her place. I was a little disappointed, but after all she is only sixteen. I would have jumped at the chance to go to the shore without my parents too! The night before the game, my SIL called to say that she had no sitter. Now I was sad. I finally decided that what the hell, I’d go anyway. Son2 was going, but he was sitting on the other side of the stadium. It would be a growing experience for me to go and sit alone to watch the game. I was all psyched up for that and then I was surprised by a call from Son1. He had heard from his brother that I had the other ticket and he wanted to go. And that is how I got to spend Saturday afternoon with both of my sons. I know it is only a matter of time until these ‘mother/sons’ events turn into time spent with them and their own families, so I treasure every minute.
As for the rest of my time, I am flexing my writing muscles. I am in the process of sorting and storing my blog posts, as well as adding more to my own ‘short stories/novellas’. They may just go somewhere someday but I’m not going to fool myself into thinking that I am writing the next American novel. Maybe a collection…..who knows.
And so that was it. Labor Day was spent chilling with my man. We spoiled Bandit. He was bathed, taken out for an outrageously long walk and taken in the car to the pet store where he picked out not just one– but two–new toys. *Sigh* This empty nest syndrome is starting to get to me!
****NEWS FLASH****Coffee beans have risen in cost 19% since JUNE!! Say it ain’t so! I’ll give up chocolate before I give up coffee…..FOR REAL,YO! That shit isn’t even fucking funny!!!
My day started with my brother dropping off his youngest son, Ethan, to spend the night with his aunt. Brother can’t afford to treat his family to a vacation so when he called to say that he was taking them to shore overnight and could I watch the baby, I quickly agreed. I forgot how bad a shitty diaper smells. I forgot how fast a baby can get to the stairs. I forgot how piercing their cry is when they watch Daddy leave without them.
Ethan cried for only fifteen minutes and after that, I was treated to this:
I changed him after that, and he rubbed his face on his blanket. Before I knew it, he was beside me on the couch, fast asleep. When he woke up, I saw much more of the previous playfulness. He is such a happy little boy and when his whimper turns into a cry, it only lasts a minute or two. He ate dinner, started to cry a bit, and laid down with his blanket. At seven o’clock, he was in a clean diaper, cuddling his blanket and fast asleep. I was stunned and a bit pleased that the day had gone so well. The baby is asleep for the night!
I spoke too soon. Eight o’clock rolled around and he rolled over – wide awake. I am hoping that he goes to sleep again. Now I am dreading the possibility of a crybaby that won’t stop screaming until well past midnight!
Today I had my mammogram done. Now I need a flat bra.
Today I had a bone density scan. I can no longer use the line “I’m not fat, I’m big boned.”
Today I answered the phone when my brother called. He asked if I could watch one of his six kids (Ethan-who is one year old) He said on Wednesday and Thursday. I said sure because I never see his kids unless it is a holiday, and even then, his ‘sometimes wife’ tends to keep one or two of them. I can’t remember the last time I saw him with all of his kids at the same time. I was happy that he asked me and I told him that I was looking forward to it.
“What time do you need me?” I asked him. Mentally, I’m preparing for what cleaning I have to do and what can wait until the baby gets picked up.
“Oh I’ll drop him off on Wednesday, probably early, but I don’t know what time I’ll get home on Thursday.”
He is going to take the family for an overnight at the shore and he is asking me to watch Ethan overnight. He can never afford to do something like that and so I’m glad to help him out and I hope they have an awesome time.
I have no problem handling a kid of any age during the day. We can take walks, frolic in the yard, play with play-doh, or any number of things. However, I don’t usually have an overnighter with babies. I don’t usually do that until they are old enough to reason with. I can explain where mommy is and show them the clock and they will know that daddy is coming home soon. We can watch movies all night until they fall asleep.
Oh Lord, what will I do when he cries and I am tired and Hubby can’t sleep and starts bitching and Son2 needs to get up at 5:30 and might wake up the kid and he starts crying again and now I’ve had no sleep no shower no alcohol and his daddy isn’t coming home until 8pm?
Aaaaallllllrighty then. This oughta be interesting…….
It’s been barely twenty-four hours since we left Babygirl at college.
We had a nice drive out there, unloaded the car and loaded up the dorm room. Everything fit, but she was a bit exasperated by mommy’s desire to help her unpack. She wanted to get her schedule and roam around for a little while. We got the schedule and a few notices about the social things that were going on last night but she immediately noticed one thing….she only had four classes listed. She added up the credits and they added up to what amounted to…..ready for this?…..part time student status.
Well there was nothing to be done yesterday. That had to wait for today when she met up with her student advisor. We left her with her boy and roommate. There were dewy eyes, but no tears. I was proud of myself.
So, first thing this morning, she set off in search of one person who could fix this. Apparently there is no one who can do that. She was shuttled from office to office – at one point she sat for two hours waiting to talk to a man who could only tell her that he couldn’t help her! Full of frustration, anger and anxiety, she called the last person in the world who was equipped for this type of emergency…..
Yep, she called me. I woke up with raging allergies which set off a killer migraine. I had already thrown up twice and was almost ready to rip out my own eyeball when the phone rang. She tried to explain what was happening and I needed her to repeat everything over and over until I could comprehend what she was telling me. Did we need to call the school? Did we only pay enough tuition for a part time student? What was happening?? Through her tears and her trembling voice I could finally make it all out. I wanted to hug her. After all these years of being uncomfortable with hugging, that was all I could think of doing. There was no way I could fix this for her. There was nothing that could be done until tomorrow. I couldn’t comfort her. I cried, making my nose stuffy and making my head pound even more.
I suggested that she print out the financial records that show that she has paid her tuition and that she is in a dorm. That way she will be armed when she goes to the various offices. Her printer isn’t hooked up yet and she’ll have to use her RA’s or another student’s.
She had a half hour until she met a friend for lunch so I told her to sit down and relax. Her roommate had made coffee so I suggested that she have a cup. And then she sobbed out “I can’t even do that! I don’t have any milk for it! I’m going to the store later!”
It was going downhill for both of us.
Finally, we came to the decision to breathe and wait for tomorrow or at least for calmer minds. I hung up the phone, ran to the bathroom to be sick and then threw myself on the bed. I buried my head into my pillow and screamed….and screamed….and screamed. Then I called Lostmahead to vent and cry out my feelings of helplessness. She came running. After a cup of tea and a hug, she went back to work and I laid down to try to sleep.
Two hours later, (I still hadn’t slept) Babygirl got in touch again. Her status is changed to full time student. Her credits have gone from nine to twelve. And as we chatted, she was offered a job in the bookstore. (It would be hella nice if she got a discount on her books!!) As long as it won’t interfere with her scheduling, she will take it.
While not everything is in place, at least most of it is. As Lostmahead pointed out, Babygirl has handled past problems with teachers and bosses with admirable finesse. I should place my trust in that ability and simply remind her that some things take time. (she is like her mom in that we both have problems with patience)
And so, in the first twenty-four hours of being the mother of a college student, I have gone through
*The horror of not being able to comfort my child as she sobbed through the phone line.
*The frustration of not being able to make this mess go away.
*The pain of trying to comprehend important information with a sledgehammer pounding in my head.
*The relief that things are working out.
*The elation that there may be a job.
*And the pride of knowing that my girl may have had a breakdown, but she pulled herself up by the bootstraps and managed to get the ball rolling on the right track.
I haven’t had moodswings like this since I was pregnant with her!!
Babygirl has been packing her things here and there getting ready for her big move. The foot of my stairs has been piled high with bins of linens, school supplies and clothes. Little by by little the mountain has grown. Last night we went on a big trip to Tarjay to get lots of storage, laundry, and stationery. I was relieved to see that Target is ‘college friendly’. All the things we needed were there and the prices weren’t as bad as I had feared. We now have one last shopping trip to make– CVS. This one makes my charge card shudder. You may be aware that the things sold in CVS are the ones that cost the most….pain relievers, cold remedies, girly supplies, and vitamins. Pepto, allergy tablets, and eye drops. Facial cleaners, and deodorant. I am expecting to pay more in that store than we spent in Target and Kohls combined. Oh, we have picked up some things like shampoo, lotion, and conditioners in other places as we’ve seen the sales, but there are still far too many others left to get. Luckily for us, our girl Shenanigans works there and will be hooking us up with the employee discount. It is a huge help.
This morning we pulled out everything and separated it on the living room floor. Everything was packed according to ‘kitchen’, ‘shower’, ‘bed’, and ‘desk’. Seeing it all spread out, it looked like overkill. Surely there was no way that she needed all of these things! We packed and repacked. We lined up bins to be sure that the bulk of her things would fit under the bed. (Yes, it will-surprise!) By the time we had finished, the chaos had been tamed and pared down to a controllable pile.
And now there are five days. Five days! She will be working on a couple of those days. She will spend time with her buddy Nick, who won’t be going to Shippensburg this semester (but hopefully he will join them in January) She will spend time with her boy, who will be with her again a week later. And then? Whatever remaining time she has, I’m hoping she finds a minute or two for Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop, her brothers, and the girlfriends who will be staying behind.
I don’t expect the “mom/daughter’ time. I will be happy talking to her about being careful, how to do laundry, and the best way to organize her stuff. I’ll remind her about the dangers of drinking, the importance of study, and being considerate of her roommate and others she will come in contact with. This will be our time together.
But I am looking forward to the emails, webcam visits, and facebook updates that will tell me that she is healthy, happy and doing all things collegiate. I await the messages that tell me she is doing well in classes and keeping up her grades.
But most of all, I want the messages that come between the lines. The ones that say “I heard what you were saying, Mom. And you prepared me for independence.”
Yes, I am a fanatic. The USA is no longer in the running for the World Cup. While this puts a damper on the anticipation, it doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm for the game. I only watch ONE game at a time now and that is a good thing. There is one more thing though, and it is a very big thing…at least to me.
On Sunday, I received my Mother’s Day gift from my sons. We went to the opening of PPL Park to see the Philadelphia Union take on the challenger Seattle Sounders. I have been looking forward to this for over a month. To say that I have been excited is an understatement. I got to wear my son’s Union tee shirt (I really do need to get one of my own!) and party with the Sons of Ben who are the official fans of Union. I knew we would gather with this group and I expected lots of men. I was surprised however to see a lot of families and quite a few women. I knew that I would get to sing and cheer with this rambunctious group. I was not, however, prepared for the wall of emotion that I was slammed into.
First of all, it was an inferno of 96 degrees….in the shade…and there was none! I sucked back my beers far too quickly in my desire to cool off. And then the cheers……
There is something about hearing men sing, whether in a choir or a group of drunken soccer fans that just speaks to me….ha ha.
We went in through our own entrance and to our own section.
It was amazing to watch the stadium fill with blue, white and gold tee shirts and jerseys. We cheered and sang and drank our beers. I applied and reapplied my sunblock. Then I drank more beer in my pathetic attempts to cool off. My sons and I discussed World Cup developments, stadium structure, and the day’s lineup.
The thrill I felt as I watched the team take the field is indescribable. The cheers that went up were deafening. I had a lump in my throat as we sang the national anthem. And then the game began.
I cheered, I sang and I tried once more to cool off with more beer. My stomach dropped as the Sounders scored. “Please, no losing today of all days” I prayed. And then it began.
Just below me, the Union scored. Not once, not twice, but three times. Our win was secured. “Elation” does not begin to describe the feeling shared by everyone in that stadium. And when it was over, no one was in a rush to leave. We lingered in our seats as the families streamed out. We waited while others joined the exodus. And our waiting paid off.
The Union players came out to take a victory lap around the stadium much to the delight of the remaining fans. I managed to meet Nick Zimmerman, Jordan Harvey and my favorite one-named wonder and goal scorer, Fred. I got their autographs too!
Despite all the sunblock, I got some sunburn…not much, but some. And some sun sickness — horrible chills and then burning skin. All those beers didn’t help a bit. Well, maybe they did. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have spent so much time in the restrooms!
The numbers? A $25 ticket, a $10 cab ride after the game, roughly six twenty ouncers, two bottles of water, half a bowl of jambalaya….and one glorious memory of an afternoon spent with my grown sons.
***I promise to cut back on the soccer posts now. Thanks for indulging me.
I haven’t posted lately and there are lots of reasons.
#3- There was the graduation. It was a beautiful day, beautiful ceremony and of course, the beautiful graduate.
#2- I spent some time sanding the walls in the bathroom after all the spackling that I did. I also did a few jobs around the house but being ever careful of my back, it was one day of work and the next day of rest. I’m reading again, and it’s something that I haven’t taken the time to do lately.
#1- The biggest thing that has been taking up a huge amount of my time is the World Cup. Teri asked me if I had always loved soccer or was it something more recent. I actually played some intermural soccer in high school and both of my boys played when they were growing up. I tried to follow the Philadelphia Wings when they were around, but the US wasn’t quite ready to embrace soccer as a ‘legitimate’ sport. European soccer has always had a place in my heart.
In very many of the past years, I either had little kids here all day or no cable (once upon a time). Therefore, I missed watching World Cup and was relegated to reading the sportspages or catching the updates if the evening news felt it worthy of a story. This year, I have no kids here yet. I may not have any at all this summer. Whatever, I have to stop my spackling, sanding, painting, etc to sit for the two hours it takes from pre-game to post-game shows. Hubs came home early yesterday to find me covered in dust from sanding, with my feet up, enjoying a game and a soda. Oh well. I didn’t give a shit. I saw Desmond Tutu dance with joy as the games opened in his country. I was there when the USA tied England. I screamed when I watched Daniele de Rossi. I’ll get done all my stuff before Saturday (the graduation party) I have no worries about that.
For now, I’m spending my afternoons in South Africa, fantasizing that I am on the sidelines, watching those studly young men playing game after game of soccer……….
A long time ago, there was a little girl-you-who was furious at the injustice of time. You watched Jimmy and Georgie go off to preschool without you. (The first time you had all been separated.) If only you had been born one month sooner! It wasn’t fair! You wanted to go sooo badly! The next August, all you would talk about was ‘school’. You couldn’t wait. You knew all your numbers and colors. You could already write the alphabet and your name. The countdown began and time dragged. When you finally went to pre-school, your smile couldn’t have been any bigger.
Two years later, you were so excited about real school. You liked your teachers. You made new friends. You were learning to read. “Mommy, what’s this word?” was constantly heard around the house. The day you read “The Monster Under My Bed” all by yourself stands out like it was yesterday. You read it to me three times in a row. From that day on, there were never enough books in the house.
Eventually, your teachers were ‘stupid’. Your classes were ‘boring’. You were too smart for your own good. Correcting your teachers once or twice a day didn’t go over well. We placed you with other ‘smarties’ and you bloomed some more. You were reading at an 8th grade level in 4th grade. You enjoyed seeing Summer Stage every year, so we went to see an adult performance of “Romeo and Juliet” even though the high school tried to persuade us that you and Brenda were ‘too young’. I remember looking at you as you watched the swordfights. You were transfixed. It was one of the best things we have done together.
When we moved, I was afraid of the changes. I shouldn’t have been. Socially, you adjusted quickly. School-wise, for the first time, you were behind the other kids. We had moved to a progressive school district. But you caught up quickly and began to flourish. They encouraged your reading and your art. Suddenly you were asking for pastels, paints and easels. You had sketchpads and drawings everywhere. And you discovered the camera.
Finally, high school arrived. And with it came the drama of boyfriends and girl fights. You were the peacemaker among your friends, refusing to take sides or preferring to walk away rather than argue. I watched (with some jealousy) as you began to travel, sometimes with school and sometimes with friends. You have always been so fiercely independent. Now you just walk out the door with a wave. It was strange for me. It’s my job to say, “Do you need anything?” or “Got everything?” or “Who are these kids you are with?” But I already knew the answers. You had it all, and I knew who was there. I could still miss you, but I wouldn’t worry.
This past week, we did the countdown again. This time we counted the days until the end of your scholastic ‘training’. You have learned all the basics for the future. Between your family and your teachers, you are prepared for the leap into the world.
As I watched you try on your dress and do your hair last night, I was amazed at how much you’ve grown. You have become a strong, beautiful, loving woman. You are still that little girl who gets excited about life, but now you are the woman who is excited about life has to offer you.
You have grown up to be Holly, but you will always be my Babygirl. Daddy and I are so proud of you. I tell you all of this here and now because I fear I won’t be able to speak on Friday. The words won’t come and if they do, tears of pride will come too and you know I hate to cry.
Just know that you are amazing. And I love you like crazy.