Category Archives: Adult children

On Tattoos

Last November, while visiting Spawn #1 in Wisconsin, she said something to me that I will never forget. It went something like this:

Spawn #1: Hey, mom…I was thinking that maybe we should get tattoos together.

Me (mouth agape): Really? You’d want to do that with me?

It was as if she had bequeathed me with a crown and a sash emblazoned with “Coolest Mom Ever”. I was gobsmacked. Honored. Dumbfounded. All at once. 

The child who gave me grief from approximately 2005 through 2012, and after whom several of my gray hairs are named, actually likes me. You’ve no idea the confidence boost this gave me.

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I have no tattoos. At least not yet. 

It’s not like I have anything against tattoos. Especially on other people. Except I think it’s a little weird to see a large tattoo on someone’s body depicting a picture of their children as babies, complete with their names and dates of birth. Or when people have tattoos on their faces. I think those are especially spooky. But that’s just my personal opinion.

Discussing the possibility of me getting matching tattoos with Spawn #1 with Hubs has been interesting. He jokingly made a comment about anti-tattoo sentiments found in the Bible. Something about “graven images”. He also stated that he’d prefer not to see the mother-daughter tattoo on me when he takes me to “Funkytown” (wink wink). I really can’t blame him for that. It could be a buzzkill. 

So that just means if we are to get matching mother-daughter tattoos, at least for me, placement is going to be key. Perhaps on my ankle. Or on the inside of my wrist. Either way, I don’t know that I can resist the honor my daughter has given me by coming up with this sweet notion.

In fact, Spawn #2 may want to join in. That would make it all the more special, right? They almost got a tattoo a few years ago, upon their 18th birthday. My in-laws were visiting from out of state. My mother in law, being the progressive, open-minded jewel of a woman she is, wanted to join us in our first foray into a tattoo shop. The “waiting room” consisted of a black leather couch and a couple of chairs with a coffee table centered in between. Their was a plethora of nudie and tattoo fetish type publications which MIL, to our amusement, peered through.

Spawn #2 was extraordinarily nervous, but determined. Part of their reasoning for getting ink that day was to prove to themselves that they had overcome their fear of needles, which had plagued them since elementary school. I was proud of them for doing this.

In the end, however, Spawn #2 chickened out. They came out of the backroom, weeping and tattoo-less. Nonetheless, I was a proud mom. I told them that it was okay, they have all the time in the world to get a tattoo. They showed bravery and determination by getting as far as they did that day. And after all, it was just a tattoo. It wasn’t like it was a shot of an antidote that was going to save their lives, for Pete’s Sake. 

So maybe 2017 is going to be the year that the women of our little family get some ink. Both Spawn #1 and #2, along with the cutest and smartest and bestest 3 year old on the planet will be coming to visit us in Colorado next month after all.

This could be perfect timing.

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Perhaps this one?

The boy who owns my heart

I feel like I’ve spent an ample amount of time and energy writing blog posts about past experiences in my life. I’m in a really positive frame of mind today, as the sun is shining here in Colorado and I just returned from my morning neighborhood walk.  I’ve had thoughts about writing stories of my encounters with nature, furry creatures, and people I don’t yet know whom I pass by on these walks. I’ve given myself a mental directive to practice mindfulness during these walks by counting the number of bunnies in my neighborhood (highest total was surprisingly only 7). But today I found myself thinking about a little boy who owns my heart.

He’s got the most beautiful head of golden blond hair. He speaks in complete sentences now and often says the funniest things. He loves playing with toy cars, eating strawberries and cucumbers, and when he is riled up and cranky, his parents banish him to the “crabby corner”. And he still loves the “stinky feet” game I play with him. It involves him laying down on a bed or floor while I take each one of his ticklish, chunky, silky soft feet and smell them, exclaiming “Pee-you!” each time I take  a whiff. This activity elicits the most gleeful giggles I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.

I’ve had it in my mind these past few months that this summer, he was going to visit me and the hubs in Colorado. It’d be his first ride in an airplane, not surprising at the tender age of 3. He’d flirt with fellow passengers, especially those of the female persuasion. He would be mesmerized by the clouds he sees through his window seat, to the point where he’d take a sweet little snooze for a while. However, this trip is likely going to have to wait till next summer, when he’s 4, due to financial and scheduling constraints. I am going to embrace this fact and use my time between now and then to imagine/plan the adventures we will have with him next summer.

Oh, the things we will do, the places we will go!

We will take him to the Butterfly Pavilion, located not far from us. There he will check out the in house beehive and Hubs (the scientist) can tell him why bees are so important to us humans here on earth. If he’s brave enough, he will let a big, furry spider sit in his hands while one of the employees tells him what spiders eat and about their natural habitat. He will walk through their amazing butterfly garden, with the sun streaming through the windows and ceiling. Maybe a butterfly will land on his foot, like one did for me when I last visited. We will be sure to dress him in something bright and colorful that day to increase the chance this will happen.

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver is likely to be very exciting for him as well. There I imagine he will cling to my legs as we approach the flood exhibit. He may cover his little ears because it gets pretty loud. The water will likely splash him a little bit, which will cause him to shriek with excitement. He will have lots of questions at the Aquarium to be sure, like “what is that?” and the favorite toddler question “Why?”.  He will giggle and point at the otters who flip and flop and glide through the water while simultaneously keeping their little eyes on the humans who are delighting in their antics.

Most certainly, he will be exposed to the wonder that is Rocky Mountain National Park. Hubs will need to take his Nikon to get shots of this little man exploring all the naturally stunning beauty to be found there. Beforehand, Hubs can take him to buy his own pint sized fishing pole. Then I can get some shots of Hubs teaching the little guy how to fish. A hike would also have to be on the itinerary, though with a 3 year old it shan’t be one that is overly long or challenging. It’ll probably involve a stop along the way to have a picnic lunch. I’ll have to pack some of those disgusting-but-loved-by toddlers mashed fruit pouches, peanut butter sandwiches, and juice boxes. And lots of handi-wipes of course.

Hubs and I will scope out the best parks with playground equipment within a 10 mile radius and visit them with the kiddo. We will take him to church, where he can meet our new church family and hear some great music. We will take him to the Science Museum in Denver, to which we have not yet been. And we’ll take him to one of our lovely Farmer’s Markets and encourage him to sample new and foreign-to-him foods, and capture his reaction. We will take him to a water and/or amusement park, accompanying him on rides which he is tall enough to be on.

This child of which I speak is our grandson Christopher. He makes my heart burst with happiness whenever I am with him. The highlight of this summer for me will no doubt be times spent with him when we visit Wisconsin in July. It’s hard to imagine there was actually a time, not long ago, when I was so caught up in my own self-image that I told everyone that while indeed, my daughter was having her own baby, I would not be called “Grandma”. Time (and love) has such an awesome way of changing one’s perspective, does it not?

Dear Moms

Dear moms of children ages 12-22,

It gets better. You don’t have to take my word for it, but you should. I have been in your shoes. I’ve experienced unnecessary dressing room drama, engaged in numerous battles over the refusal to eat lovely and nutritious meals put in front of my children (child really-you know who you are), and hosted multiple obnoxious “friends” for sleep overs.

And I survived it all. Fortunately my two kids came out relatively unscathed as well.

These two children I speak of are not perfect. Neither achieved straight A’s in any grade between 1st through 12th. Neither were gifted athletes (they can thank my genes for this as one who was consistently picked last for team sports in gym class back in the day and cannot safely ride a bike). Neither were hard workers.

Slowly but surely though, between the ages of about 21 and 24, I started to see them shine. My oldest managed to graduate with her Associates degree from technical college at the age of 23, while simultaneously juggling a full time job at a fast food chain and becoming a mother for the first time. My youngest, the artist in the family, bounced around a few places (including a stint in college which lasted a solid two years), before landing in Indianapolis where she is making a (albeit meager)  living on her art. She also learned how to speak Japanese and spent time there during her college years.

These two former knotheads are now hardworking, appreciative, resilient, intelligent and thoughtful young adults. I treasure my relationships with them now and am beyond proud of who they are becoming.

If anyone had been able to foresee the future back in about 2008 in respect to my children, I can’t say for certain I would have believed them. At the time, I figured clown college or digging ditches were more likely in their future than what they have now achieved at ages 23 and 24.

Instead, they went and surpassed my expectations. Kids are full of surprises.

So, hang in there moms. It will get better despite what may or may not be occurring in the present. You’ve got this. SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

Wishes on Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day just around the bend, I’ve been doing a lot of pondering about my journey as a mom. I’ve been a mom for almost 25 years now, which is hard to fathom as the memories of my children’s births are still fresh in my mind. My kids are in fact no longer “kids” as the oldest is soon to be 25 and the youngest turns 24 this summer. I surely made mistakes along the way but I’ve always tried my best. Looking back, I would hit a ‘do over’ button if one was available in a number of circumstances. I like to think that most mothers out there would say the same thing. Of course, that is a way for me to feel better about how I did as a mom, right? But I don’t intend for this post to be about the past. I want to talk about the future: specifically my wishes for my children’s futures.

Wish #1) That my children to retain as close a relationship to each other as possible. The reality is, they are the only two people on this planet who were parented by me and the Hubs. They have their own stories about us as parents, for better or worse. They were each other’s first friends. They understand what buttons to push and not to push with each other and they have a unique ability to comfort each other in times of trouble.

Wish #2) That my children will always trust their gut instincts. When faced with a choice, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, and there’s a niggling feeling in their literal guts, brains, or hearts, I pray they do not proceed with that choice. I wish for them to appreciate the fact that their body is sending them an important message which they must heed. And if they don’t feel they have the courage to make a different choice or simply say “No”, I hope they will call or text me as I am a pretty good sounding board.

Wish #3) That my children make their physical and mental health their first priority. My children both have big hearts. Hearts I of course wish to protect. They are caring, kind, and generous young people. They both have been known to go out of their way to help others, such as loaning money or a place to crash to friends or even friends of friends. I am proud of them for their kind hearts and actions, believe me. However, I worry that the energy they expend on others leaves them with too little to dedicate to themselves. What I wish for them to understand is that if they choose not to prioritize their self-care by having annual physicals, regular dental appointments, adequate sleep, balanced nutrition, and healthy stress coping mechanisms, they will not only be decreasing their quality of life and happiness, but they will have less energy to give to others.

Wish #4) That my children maintain a sense of humor about themselves. When I was growing up, and probably through much of my 20’s, I took myself waaay too seriously. This was very much tied to feeling self-conscious much of the time and having low self esteem. As I’ve gotten older (and I like to think wiser), I have come to the realization that in actuality, I don’t have to be perfect. I can make a comment to someone, quickly realize it didn’t come out as cleverly as I intended, and laugh it off. Because it turns out the sky doesn’t actually fall in when I’m just being me.

Wish #5) That my children never, ever forget that I am always here for them, come what may. I will always listen to what they have to say to the best of my ability, and refrain from judgement. I will always have their backs. My love for them is infinite.

Wish #6)   That my children maintain their hard work ethics. I wish for them to envision what they truly desire for their futures and know they have my full emotional support with every step they need to take to make their visions become reality.  I wish for them to not stop when faced with obstacles along the way, but forge a new path to achieve their dreams.

Wish #7) That my children be life-long learners.  I sincerely hope they follow their curiosity and see where it leads. To further their educations for personal enhancements or professional growth, or simply for the sheer joy of it. I wish for them to strive each and every day to be the best version of themselves. To live as authentically as possible. They owe this to themselves as well as to the world.

Wish #8) That my children do their best to not sweat the small stuff. I know from personal experience that this is a huge waste of time and energy.  I wish them to remember to ask themselves the following questions when they are feeling stressed out by a situation or circumstance: Will this matter in a month from now?  Or next year? Or in 5 years? Often the answer is going to be simply “no”. In my view, most everything in life is temporary.  As I’ve often told myself in times of extreme stress “This too shall pass”.  This phrase has helped me through a lot.  I suspect my unique, smart, kind, funny, and beautiful children will find it useful as well.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!