empty nest...now what?

    Thursday, September 3, 2009, 7:04 PM [General]

    I had so much fun being a parent.  Seriously, some folks treat kids like a chore, or a burden or a dire responsibility....but I always just had fun with it and my boys were a pleasure and I loved almost every second of parenting.  Now what?

    My youngest is moved into an apartment with his best friend and going to college...my eldest is a senior and ENGAGED to marry next summer....now what?

    I have spent this first week with my unemployment status unchanged, and my husband at work wondering "now what"?

    I've talked to the cat...she has no suggestions...unless you count her refusal to use the new auto-scoop litterbox I got her.  (a necessity when the chief litter changer lives in a new city now)

    I canned salsa for the last 2 days....but how much salsa can I eat?

    I could clean the back rooms for repainting now...but I'm almost afraid to.  If I change the Star Wars mural on the youngest's wall and make that new guest room I fear I'll forget the hand prints we made in glow in the dark paint to celebrate the completion of it...or the delight he had in showing off his room to his friends.

    I'm going back to school on the 15th of Sept, for Medical Assisting training.  So that will fill my mornings for 7 mos.  But what then?

     

    The wedding is my son's and future Daughter-in-law's to plan....I know how important the mom/daughter planning of those things are so I don't want to interfere.  I feel very....lost.

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    Time off for good behavior

    Sunday, April 19, 2009, 1:22 AM [General]

    I got downsized, which is the polite way to say that after 10 yrs the company I worked for dumped me.

    So....should I feel this good about it?  I mean, besides the misery I'm in dealing with the flu (thanks so for bringing that home) I am not all that upset at having no job, and no way to pay my bills.

    I got 10 weeks severence and have put in for unemployment (which I fricken deserve after all I put up with) but I feel I should be more concerned then I am.  Maybe times have become so downturned that the effect has been muffled....I just haven't felt the punch...when the other boot dropped I didn't jump as much as cheerfully wave goodbye and walk like a visiting dignitary to the exit, waving and blowing kisses (yes...I really did)

    I dunno....I'll get back with ya when my money runs out.

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    My Eldest Son Proposed to his Girl Last Night.

    Saturday, February 14, 2009, 4:07 PM [General]

    That's right...step one towards married life has been initiated.

     My College junior 20yo has asked his College senior 24yo girlfriend to be his wife.

     My husband seems more worried about this then I am, concerned he's too young, or about her being older.  But these aren't just children anymore.  They are both nearing the end of their college days, they both have bright job prospects after school, they both have dated for almost 2 yrs, and they met through the college gamer's society so we know they both share a big thing in both their lives.  And when I look at the way my son looks at her I can see how much he adores her.  He's very mature for his age, he's practical, and from the look of the ring he has better taste then I ever imagined LOL.

     I also point out to my husband that I was Jon's age when I became engaged to him, and that he was 26 at the time and look at us 22 yrs down the road.  I tell him that he looks at me the same way Jon looks at Danielle, and if they are lucky, that they should be very happy.

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    More then an Empty Nest

    Monday, December 29, 2008, 1:09 AM [General]

    Everyone said the hardest time would be seeing them off to college....well it seemed hard when I left my eldest son at college 3 yrs ago....but there were calls, many more then now, and texts, many more then now, and holidays and visits...many more then now.

     My eldest is 20, and in love...and I like her.  They are good for and to each other, everything a mother could want for her son....so why is my heart breaking at times?  Is it just that the Holiday break lasted 3 days instead of 2 weeks?  After all he has no job to get back to.  Is it because he he didn't come for Thanksgiving, or is looking at staying on campus for the summer to be near her instead of coming home to stay for a couple of months...is it just that I miss him?

     I am probably giving folks the impression that I am or was a smothering mother who wants to be in his business all the time, but that really isn't the case.  I went out of the way to foster independence in my sons, they cook, they clean, and they can do their own laundry, they can handle money and they know how to delay gratification and save for things they want instead of using credit.  I am PROUD of how mature, kind and gentle he has turned out.  But I suppose I imagined I'd be first in his heart like I was when he was 4 and he learned that Valentine's Day was about giving the person you love a card with a heart on it so he gave me a 5 of hearts from a card deck he found.  I carry that card in my wallet. 

    Everyone told me his leaving home was what would break my heart....but they were wrong...what breaks my heart is becoming less needed by my children.  I feel foolish for the sadness this brings out in me...it is the nature of things...like death and taxes...it is just how things are. 

    Our children move on, they find love, they make their own families who then become the centers of their worlds and we parents, eventually, if we did things right, become loving satellites, watching from further and further away, still loved by our kids, but people they visit now because "home" has become somewhere else.

    I know my son loves me, I know he does, without a doubt.  But I'm sadly learning that a child's love changes texture, their love evolves into something new to accomodate all the new people who enter their lives while parents are doomed to love their kids just as strongly as they did the moment they were born and they must try to move forward with this raw place where that evolution rubs like a pressure sore.

    Sorry....trying to smile thru it.  Could also be a result of my Lexapro RX running out this week too!  LOL

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    The Soft Center of the Hardcore Gamer

    Sunday, December 7, 2008, 10:10 PM [General]

    When you see gamers mentioned in the national media there are 2 stereotypes you usually get treated to.  The slacker, virgin, loser destined to spend his adult life in his mother’s basement wearing a soiled Star Trek uniform and eating Hot-Pockets, OR, the anti-social future/current, criminal spraying schools with bullets because they played Doom, or killing each other over a PS2.

    What the media and gaming critics ignore is that, depending on the period of time we live in, blame has been assigned to Rock & Roll, or just the popularity of the object…we’ve seen people act like animals over Cabbage Patch dolls, or Furbies….people used to get killed while someone was stealing their Huffy bike with a cool new Banana seat! 

    What is almost never blamed are PARENTS who are totally oblivious to their children’s building bombs and assembling arsenals under their own roofs, and becoming more and more mentally unbalanced. 

    It takes YEARS of ignoring symptoms, or worse, creating them through bad or neglectful parenting, to make children capable of killing others for attention.  But the media is very careful never to blame other humans for the way young humans turn out...not when the latest popular game, music, or the length of their hair can be blamed instead.

    But Columbine’s killers didn’t form in a vacuum and the vast majority of kids who have played the same games they did graduated high school, went to college, or got jobs and have never harmed anyone.

    Ignored are the gaming societies…actual PEOPLE who gather in a SOCIAL setting to enjoy a past-time they all have in common.  Ignored are the kids who have learned cooperative play, forged friendships, or become inspired to be the next entrepreneurs creating games they think others would enjoy. 

    Ignored are those in an industry that produced a system, The Wii, that has broad appeal for old and young, or the young people who have spent time teaching older people how to use this system to capture the fun of a game of bowling without worrying about physical injury, or who have helped physical therapists learn to use it to help people strengthen muscles and control their motions. 

    There is a REAL soft center to most Hardcore gamers, and ignoring that makes me sad.

    Video games, PC games, Card & Role Playing games aren’t enemies to be stopped.  They are opportunities to learn and teach in equal measure.

    My boys have been playing video games since they were in single digits and Sega Genesis had them defying gravity in a race for rings in Sonic the Hedgehog.  They learned that I would not tolerate crying, screaming or throwing.  If it occurred, they were put in time out until they could proceed calmly.  The game system wasn’t used as a babysitter.  They had to cooperate or not play. 

    In D&D my youngest learned to listen, formulate strategies and work with adults respectfully (some of his competitors were 4 times his age), in card games my eldest became almost mathematically precise in the way he assembled decks.  And at a time when his classmates were cruel and bullying, he found friends online that bolstered his self-esteem, and respected him for skills others couldn't see in him besides his father and I....like leadership, patience, and a wicked sense of humor.  (please remember that all his gaming and computer time was spent in FRONT of us in our living room...we all know that some socializing on computers can be very dangerous when you don't know the folks on the other end, so always keep these things in the open, but be open minded as well)

    An oft heard complaint from anti-gamers is that gaming is a waste of time and the “memories” our kids will have of childhood aren’t the quality ours are.

    My response to that is, who are we to decide what memories THEY should hold as sentimental?  Just because you can hark back to the ol fishin’ hole and remember you and your friends pulling in blue gill or skinny dipping doesn’t mean that memory is superior to the first time your child completed a challenging level as his friends cheered him on.

    I’m sure the old folks who enjoyed carriages and their saddle mounts were rolling their eyes when they heard their grandchildren reminisce about their first automobile…after all, how can a machine take the place of the first time you saddled your own horse?

    I tried not to giggle as I heard my now 20 & 17 yo sons talking about their childhoods during Thanksgiving break.

    “Remember how long it took us to finish Ocarina of Time?”

    “3 years.”

    “Because you were afraid of the redeads so you wouldn’t go into the ShadowTemple zone!”

    “You didn’t do it either.”

    “Because I was scared of them too….they were FAST.  But I couldn’t say I was scared because I was having too much fun laughing at you!”

    They both started laughing.

    “Man, I wish I was still 12 and it was just me and you and the N64 all summer.”

    “Me too.”

    These are the kids who get a tear in their eye when they hear a piece of music from a video game they played when they were 10.  These ARE real, sentimental, memories for them and I refuse to negate them because they aren’t identical to mine or approved by me.

    My eldest sent me a .gif that told me that they can see a loving side to gaming.

    The Gif was an animated story, it involved a young man's story of buying a video game that he got his Mother, a Wheelchair bound MS sufferer, to play.    She did all the quests and the game took her away from her pain even long after her sons lost interest in the game. 

    Then she passed away. 

    Months after her passing he decides to go into the video game's world.  In it the grass was overgrown, and the creatures in the game wondered where she had been. 

    He went to his long forgotten mailbox in the game and found it full of letters from his mother.  She had collected presents in the game and sent them to him....long after he had stopped playing she was still thinking of him and while she was limited by her body she still wanted to present him with these gifts in the game.  The .gif story's writer reminds fellow young people to love their parents while they still can. 

    My son told me he thought of how much he misses us when he’s at school, and how he cried for an hour after he saw it.  He is an incredible, gentle, mush of a grown man and treasurer of the Gaming Society at his college.  He hopes to be president of it by his senior year. 

    I just wish we could see this side of Gamers in the press and in society, because it is the dominant one.

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    10 Things I’ve learned from my Gamer Sons…

    1) Warthogs, Mongooses, Hornets, Scorpions and Pelicans ARE NOT animals.

    2) That if I use words like “pwn”, “leet”, “epic failure”, “FTW”, or “woot”, that I INSTANTLY kill their coolness….but I do it anyway.

    3) I have witnessed "teabagging"...and LOL.

    4) That my sons can, without being judged by race, religion, appearance, or physical prowess, become the defacto captain of a team of space marines, based on their knowledge, coolness under pressure and their preternatural ability to spot the enemy and waste them from a moving vehicle.

    5) I know what no-scoping is and have to hear my eldest complain that it was easier in Halo 2 then 3.

    6) That I CAN play a pretty good necromancer in Everquest 2. With no backseat gaming.

    7) That Bruce Willis should play the Master Chief.

    8) That you can have a sleepover, or party with your closest friends without anyone coming over, especially if a couple of them are sick.

    9) That custom maps are hilarious! (man-cannons facing walls)

    10) That love is a real emotion that Gamers are not devoid of.

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     and BTW...I just learned yesterday, that you can stream Netflix movies INSTANTLY, on Xbox 360...what's not to love!?

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