Nothing like receiving a notice from GoDaddy.com that the company is discontinuing all their Quick Blogcast blogs, to spur me to finally post again!! According to my blog “dashboard”, it’s been 701 days since I last posted. WOW. To say I’ve been busy would be an understatement, but it’s the main reason I haven’t posted since the summer of 2012. At first, it was a case of writer’s block– I got to a point where I just couldn’t think of anything to write, and I always told myself if the inspiration wasn’t there, it was time to stop. It didn’t take too long to get inspired again, but by then, I had boarded the Busy Train, and it was picking up speed.
Not only was I offered numerous freelance writing assignments that summer, but my mom moved from being 13 hours away from me to 7 minutes away, and anyone who has moved a parent out of a house they’ve lived in over 50 years knows the work and time involved with that. It didn’t help that the company who ran mom’s estate sale ripped her off royally– I began an investigation worthy of CSI that continued for months. Meanwhile, my older daughter started her senior year of high school, and anyone who’s gone through that as a parent knows the work and time involved with that, too! Yep, I had two “seniors” on my hands– an almost 18-year-old who was still learning to drive via the lovely “parent taught” option, and an 88-year-old who was learning to navigate her car in an unfamiliar city. (Once, I found myself riding shotgun and teaching both on the same hot summer day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon!! Can you guess which driver made my knuckles the whitest?) Within about four weeks, I sat in two different DPS offices helping each get their Texas Driver’s License.
Longtime readers will remember I often said if I didn’t post for awhile, my kids have left me speechless. And that was another reason for this blog hiatus. Allison, my oldest, got “senioritis” so bad, it left me truly out of breath. If I’d posted that fall, the posts would have all been downers, and I didn’t want to subject my readers to that, or my daughter to all the negative words that would have spewed forth in print, if I’d even had the energy to write…in a nutshell, the used car we’d bought off Craig’s List for her to drive was a privilege for her, not a right (as she thought it was), and once she got her driver’s license, that privilege got taken away at a head-spinning pace, as curfew was broken again and again. She’d brave it through an embarrassing week or two of Mom and/or her friends having to drive her everywhere, then get the car back, and break curfew again, often on the very weekend she’d finally gotten the car back. I was often confounded. She got a dream job at a cool boutique, but didn’t like it, and just quit asking for hours. Also, as happens to many seniors, she didn’t care about homework or grades any more, since colleges mainly determine entrance eligibility from grades and GPA only through the end of the junior year of high school. But I cared, and with every email and phone call from teachers letting me know there were missed assignments, etc., I worried. “Do you really want to go to summer school and not graduate with your class?” was a common exasperated question that year, from me to her.
Meanwhile, my younger daughter was caught up in drama with 8th grade cheer and trying to raise, on her own, around $1,000 to go on a solo Girl Scout Destinations trip to Costa Rica. I helped her with the paperwork and attended meetings to find out more, not to mention I was still the Scout leader of her troop…the troop definitely met a lot less that year! She babysat like crazy, worked at Destinations cookie booth sales and sold old American Girl doll stuff on ebay, to raise the money…
And then there were the college applications and essays, the college visits, the college acceptance letters (hooray!), senior photos, more college visits…we finally donated the “aravan” to charity and I got another used minivan, this time with lots of mom-friendly additions like in-floor storage and automatic doors. (I felt like a flip phone user who’d just traded up to a Blackberry! Yeah!) In the spring, my mom got a fracture in her spine, involving me being at her side at doctors’ offices, and also that spring I became president of the local chapter of NCL, the mom-daughter organization I blogged about in an earlier post (What possessed me to VOLUNTEER to add one more thing to my plate? I remember I kept telling my husband, “I’ve been president of organizations before. Everyone else has the really hard jobs, I just manage them,” and “I want to give back to this organization– it will be a piece of cake”…famous last words…)
Mom was in so much pain and could hardly walk that she wasn’t able to attend graduation or the graduation party we threw in our backyard. But Daughter #1 did graduate, and with honors– go figure!! This was followed closely by a two-week family trip to visit our French exchange student in Paris and my sister in England. The planning for that family trip was done by me, with much of the planning going on right in the midst of college visits and graduation plans and everything else, including a memorable day when all four of us waited for hours together to get our passport photos renewed…
Mom improved; Ben Arffleck, our poodle (yet another senior!) got most of his teeth pulled, and just when I thought I’d get back to the blog again, after we returned from Europe and Emmie was off to Tennessee on a church mission trip and then to Costa Rica, I spent many hours in emergency rooms and doctor’s offices with mom once again, this time for an intestinal bug that just wouldn’t go away. “I feel so bad I’m tying up your time like this,” Mom would say, but really, her problems couldn’t have come at a better point in the year. My kids didn’t need me at the time, NCL doesn’t meet much over the summer, and my writing jobs were manageable. I can give you all kinds of time, I said. The blog will just have to wait.
And so it has, for another long, busy year, a year that involved taking our oldest child to college, helping the other child get started in high school, helping oldest child transfer to another college mid-year, watching my mother-in-law pass away too quickly after being diagnosed with cancer, writing lots of freelance assignments, volunteering at church and numerous other organizations, planning a family reunion, and steering the NCL chapter, whose membership is bigger than any other I’ve helped steer before (over 220 members). I had cut down on my volunteer work since elementary PTA days and had forgotten that when I take on a leadership position, usually I don’t just do “what’s required”– I go the extra mile, which means lots of extra time involved. I think I did a good job as NCL president but I’m glad it’s over! This summer, Mom’s health is up and down, but she’s managing, my oldest has a summer job and my youngest stays busy with dance, driving school, and teaching guitar lessons.
Does that mean I FINALLY have time to get back to the blog? Well, for now, I need to at least transfer all my old posts to GoDaddy’s new WordPress blog site before they disappear. There will probably be a link to that blog at uncoolmom.com after tomorrow. After that, we will see! I’m encouraged by all the traffic this blog has seen even when I haven’t been “tending” it. And I do have so many good things I want to share, none the least of which are the changes that happen to your relationship with a child as they finally mature into adulthood. If you ever read my “manifesto” which was eternally parked on the sidebar of the original blog, do you remember what I said about not being a wimpy parent and worrying so much about being “friends” with your child, at the expense of raising children who have no tough consequences for their actions and who then can’t deal with the real world? And that if you are a loving parent with integrity, that someday your child will be your friend? Well, it’s really happening. I was right! I’m not so uncool anymore in the eyes of a certain college girl! However, the name of this blog won’t change, as my other teen gets upset and rolls her eyes at me on a pretty regular basis right now. Stay tuned!