Friday, April 16, 2010

Adventures in Real Parenting: And If You Tell Anyone, I'll Do It Again

 Last night I cried.

Contrary to what I may occasionally write here, this is not as common of an occurrence as you may think.  I treat crying pretty much the same way I treat throwing up.  I fight it all the way.

And although there are a myriad of contributing factors involved - hormones perhaps?  I did feel utterly compelled to buy chocolate yesterday....., suppressed stress, changes in routine, etc., I still ultimately blame motherhood for the tears that overcame my best attempts to hold them back.

First there was Nate and a lot of noisy pain after he fell and cut up and banged his elbow and arm.  Funny how he and his friends can fly screaming around the winding streets of our subdivision, a gaggle of yahoos on a go-kart, dodging police, rock throwing preschoolers and sisters begging for turn on the contraption and all is hunkydory.

But he walks across the yard carrying a tennis racket and bam!  He's on the ground and his arm is busted.  But then, who am I to talk?  I had an OxyClean FAIL this morning that ended up with me getting some of it in my eye and taste of it, as well.  It doesn't go well with coffeetongue.

After much moaning and indecision about going to the doctor, ice application and Ibuprofen, Nate went to bed with a belly full of pork chop and fresh strawberries and woke up feeling okay enough to go to school and declined a trip to the doctor's office.

Nevertheless, worry, worry.  My worry switch had been flicked into the ON position.

What really pushed me to tears, though, wasn't the kind of scary, worrisome parenting stuff.  Instead it was the nice stuff.  The stuff that, even though it makes you cry, it also makes all this worth it.  Chloe was the culprit.  Or more specifically a paper she wrote.  She emailed it to me late last night expecting I would proofread it this morning for her.  I saw it in my email and thought I'd take care of it right then so she wouldn't have to wait and I wouldn't have it hanging over my head as something to forget in my long list of Friday errands.

Wanna know what the paper was about?  Facebook.  Of all things.  And it was an excellent paper.  That kid knows how to write and I'm not saying that because I'm her mom.  If I thought anything she was about to hand in for a grade was crap, I'd tell her so.

In the paper, she wrote how Facebook had allowed her to stay in touch with friends she went to school with from kindergarten through sixth grade in Illinois.  And now how she uses it to stay in touch with friends from high school who have scattered for college, military service and work.  And how she uses it to keep in touch with family near and far.  And how it's comforting to see your mom's constant (constant?) status updates and posts, especially when you want to be independent,but it's still nice to hear her "voice."  Wahhhhhhh!

I lost it.  I cried first when she wrote about how she'd seen so many graduation pictures from her old Illinois pals that she almost forgot that she wasn't there with them, part of it.  Wahhhhh!  Guilt! Guilt!  And then when she admitted that sometimes she wanted to hear the sound of my voice, well.......there are no words I was so touched.

Ten minutes after I told MathMan, I'd be right back - I was just shutting down my computer, he came looking for me.  I was in tears at my computer.  He became alarmed.  I like to cry alone, rarely letting him comfort me.  "What's wrong?"

I blubbered out some response, quickly followed up by the PMS explanation.  He hugged me, rubbed my back and kissed the top of my head.

When he left the room, he said "You know, it's okay to cry."


The chocolate remains untouched.


  1. I do love that you were crying about the good things, about the confirmation that you daughter while growing more independent still wants and needs you.
    This gives me hope as I daily want to pull my hair out with my 16 year olds.
    Have a wonderful day Lisa!

  2. Except for the two times that I got a virus from a Facebook hacker (totally shutting me down and costing me about 40 hours to get it working again), Facebook is wonderful.


    Facebook don't care and neither do the McAfees and Nortons.

    On a really good note (using the plethora of time my Facebook hiatus has provided), I have lost 35 pounds since the first of the year (7 pounds last week). About 20 more to go.

    Facebook does NOT help with this strategy.

  3. That's great that Chloe wrote such a touching essay. (And I agree with her about Facebook! I don't know how I ever got along without it). I think FB (and of course e-mail before that) has really changed how kids who are away at college interact with their families. In my day we were definitely not as close to our parents; long distance phone calls were expensive and snail mail letters were the main form of communication.

  4. Tears of Joy! Ahh, Facebook, the golden age of wireless . . .

    This made Us very happy this morning. Thank you.

  5. Eat the damn chocolate already. Sheesh.

  6. "Facebook" and "it was an excellent paper" is a bit of an oxymoron. She must be a good to write about fluff and nonsense and have it make sense.

  7. It's great when you find that even if they don't really need you that some times they miss hangin' with you.

    Glad Nate is okay. :)

  8. Without Billy, OxyClean will always fail.

    Crying over parenting stuff? What kind of parent are you? I bet your kids won't even grow up to be bankers and politicians.

  9. It's okay to cry.

    It's okay to eat chocolate.

    It's great to write beautiful posts.

    And... I hope that next fall, when my daughter heads off to her freshman year, that she feels the same way about my status updates.

  10. My worry box is always full. One worried conquered, another one takes its place...never ending.

  11. Good for you to have a nice cry. I love a good cry but today I bought Toblerone.

  12. That nice stuff has a way od sneaking up and getting you every time.

  13. Sniff. Sniff. It's the cold. Really.

    I get teary-eyed over my girls sometimes. Those damn kids steal your heart, don't they. . .

  14. That kind of thing is about the only time I ever get teary too. Knowing she did that makes me know FB has some value after all.

  15. My kids can get me teary, too. Nice connection with your daughter!

  16. *sob*

    I love Chloe. [I love your entire family, but I'm focusing on your eldest right now...] When kids move away to "create their own lives, parents often feel left behind. Unnecessary. A burden, perhaps.

    What a great gift your daughter has given you.


  17. sniff, sniff
    I love FB mostly because of my kids.

  18. Sweet. Now this is the good part of being a parent. You've done such a great job.

  19. It's very good to cry! Releases all kinds of nasty toxins. Isn't it amazing how our kids have a direct line to all our anger AND our tender love?

  20. We're wide open to that sort of stuff - particularly once they're "away." Then they can say these things or do these things and it goes all the way to the center of our hearts and bursts. Light, heat, noise - and we're rendered jelly. It's proof the umbilical cord is metaphysical, attached to both parents, and never falls off.

  21. Aw! I'm not a huge crier either - I'm just glad your were HAPPY tears!

  22. It IS definitely OK to cry. Healthy, even. And that was very sweet what Chloe wrote. I'd cry. But then again, I'm a big crier.


And then you say....

(Comments submitted four or more days after a post is published won't appear immediately. They go into comment moderation to cut down on spam.)