Sad Teens…Sad Moms

sadteensI knew that having two daughters would be a double edged sword – fun with all the girly stuff and frustrating with the eye rolling puberty stuff. What I didn’t realize was how hard that the difference in both girls can be and how heartbreaking as a mom it would be. I have two beautiful girls that have so many talents and wonderful traits about them. They both have a sense of humor, a sassy swag that makes you laugh, big hearts that come with big tears and big hugs, strong personalities and a wonderful view of the world. One daughter is popular, lots of friends, a wise soul and can try a sport or gymnastic move with ease and grace. Loves being with people, is very empathetic and loves to babysit and save money. Our other daughter struggles in school, spends her money as fast as she gets it, has no desire to babysit or even do chores for money. Because of her struggles with social interaction, non verbal skills and in some ways on the spectrum for social skills…she has ONE friend.

As a mother my heart breaks for her and her social struggles. She knows right from wrong and we teach her how to be a good friend…etc. But because she is perceived as “different” among middle schoolers her age because of her “issues” – no one gives her a chance. Friends she once had when life was easy in the elementary years no longer give her the time a day and can be down right mean. I understand friendships change along the way through school and life, I get that and have lived it. But does that give kids the right to be rude and mean??? I admit, I can be rude and mean if in a bad mood, who isn’t? But to intentionally be rude and mean to a person because they don’t fit the “normal” mold is just sad. Instead of concentrating on not bullying, how about we concentrate on how to be a good friend and including people that aren’t the most popular, the richest, the prettiest, the most fun? When a child is different and stuggles with social issues they have a happy face and a sad heart. That sad heart can lead to greater, sadder things down the line in life. Being a mother is the hardest job…no doubt about it. And when you see your child hurt and screaming inside because no one calls her, no one invites her to things, people laugh at her quirkiness, or discard her because she is different and wont give her a chance…that breaks a mother. Obviously no one wants a pity call or a pity invite. That is not what I am saying at all. I want kids to be taught that no one teen is better than another. Every time a kid on the bus is mean to her, every time a kid rolls their eyes at her, every time boys at lunch laugh at her and every time kids don’t talk to her…it darkens her. They do this because she can’t read social cues that you and I take for granted. When kids laugh AT her she thinks she is funny and they are laughing WITH her. That is how Non Verbal Disorder works. So in turn that makes her different. Which in turn doesn’t fit “the mold” of a regular teenager. Which results in the question I hear every week:

“Why don’t I have friends like sissy?!” – How does a mother answer that?! What do I tell my daughter?

family, marriage, Uncategorized

Love is patient…Love is kind.

MarriedCoupleCartoon “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Twenty two years ago last week I met the love of my life. I was a tipsy bridesmaid in a green satin dress. He was a cute charming guitar player in the band….This week we will be married 20 years. I look back at all our friends and some family who have been married and divorced throughout this time. I see new brides to be planning over the top expensive weddings. I see shows like “Say yes to the Dress” and “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” and wonder…how and why?! And don’t even get me started on the show “Dating Naked”. I wonder what IS the ingredient that makes a marriage work? It is a mixture of things, patience, respect, and the greatest: LOVE.

I wonder do some give up too soon? Does all the glitz and glitter of the planning part cloud their judgement? I don’t know… I don’t have the answers.

For us, we did a lot of things. We did live together before marriage (ooooh, I hear all the gasps of air as people read this)…but yes we did. Mike was 32 and I was 25. We were grown adults. We were engaged. Why have 2 rents and 2 sets of everything? It was practical and worked for us. We have fond memories of our first “home” together and call it the Love Shack. It was cheap, lackluster but filled with love and allowed us to save money to buy our first home.

We came from two different backgrounds. Mike came from a divorced home where he had to grow up fast and be the man of his family. He helped care for his sisters and mom. I grew up with married parents (still married 48 years!). We had different pictures of what married life was supposed to be like. Mike was married briefly for a couple years before…an unhealthy marriage with no children. I was not. His dad and wife got married a month after us – also married 20 years.

I believe all these differences made us who we are today. Yes, we have a good solid marriage, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had our share of difficult times. We have gone through addiction, infertility, religious differences, adoption and reuniting with a son I had as a teenager. We vote differently, pray differently and relax differently. We have different looks on money. We have had AWESOME salaries and months of grilled cheese. Some of these things just about ripped us apart and left me wondering if we would make it. And other of those things made us happy and complete. Point is, we hung in there and didn’t give up on each other. I can see where it would have been easier to yell “it’s over – get out”, but we never did. We fought through the storms and made it to the other side stronger and more in love.

Do we argue and fight – hell yes. Do we make up and forgive and love – yes. Mike has seen me skinny, fat, happy, sad, bitchy, nice, broken, all together, fed up, you name it – he’s seen it, experienced it and still here loving me.

I believe it is hard and takes work, the work of both people. You share the load…its not always equal and fair, but it all balances out. We have learned to take time for “us” – because it was “us” first. Granted we are not always good at making time for us, but we try – even if its a quiet 1/2 hour together watching the news. Nothing glamorous. If we as a union aren’t happy and finding the time to reconnect and talk…we drift apart. That is easy to do – especially when you both work and have children. We at times tend to put ourselves as a couple last…when in fact it should be first – because we are the foundation for our family.

If I could tell couples about to get married a few things, it would be to remember the reason for the wedding – to unite a couple in matrimony…it is not about the dress, the flowers, the meal, the wine etc. In 20 years those details aren’t the things that matter the most. Don’t go to bed angry – no one sleeps well. You don’t have to be right and get the last word in (and I am guilty of this too often!). Hold hands for no reason. TALK TALK AND TALK: communication is key – mind reading does not work!! Trust me! It is ok to have a different opinion, just respect the other one. You don’t have the bigger and best of everything to be happy. Love one another, support each other, respect each other even if you see things differently – it is not a contest to be the right one (even tho it secretly may feel good)….


Back to School…


Usually this time a year I am giddy, dancing around, happy happy HAPPY that they are going back to school. Summer has grown tiresome…we need structure, a routine, earlier bedtimes and all the talking and arguing needs to end. But this year I find myself anxious and worrisome. (My bite guard is getting its worth at night!)

This year I have a sweet 11 year old who will be entering Middle School (cue the scary horror movie music). While she is excited in the true Tweener sense, I see the worry and nervousness in her eyes. She is worried about getting to her classes on time, opening her locker in under 3 tries, where does she put her clarinet on the first day – band room or locker, will she get to lunch in time to sit by her BFF….etc etc. I want to take her worries away and let her know that it is ok to feel this way and by the end of the week it will all flow and be easier. She has lots of friends. Her locker is by half of them. She is popular and fits in with no problems. She works hard and hates to fail. Sometimes that means she worries herself too much on perfection. As Elsa would tell her: “Let it go”.

I also have a Middle School savvy teenager who is in her last year of Middle School. She is cool as a cucumber as far as her locker, getting to class on time and knowing the routine and what to expect. She is not nervous…however her momma is. While the routine is easy for her, its the nuts and bolts of her brain that worries me. She is my Venn Diagram girl…ADHD with impulsiveness, socially on the spectrum, anxiety disorder and Non verbal learning disorder – which simply means her actions don’t match up with her thinking and reasoning. All those things over lap and most of the time work against her. She comes across immature and obnoxious to other kids her age. That means her only true friend is a neighbor girl that doesn’t even go to her school. Middle school kids can be mean. Kids may laugh at her and she thinks they are laughing WITH her, Socially she acts younger than she truly is and could care less about name brands of clothing etc. While middle school kids think those are all bad things and make her feel like a loser…I see the positive in them. Immature – great! When she is 45 like her mom, she will feel 26 🙂 While other kids are wearing expensive brands and thinking they are all that – she is happy with Old Navy skinny jeans. She doesn’t NEED things to feel good about herself. She is authentic and real. She is naive but that protects her from the others that don’t see her beauty. She will wear her hair the way SHE wants – crazy or not…but she is being HERSELF and not falling into a stereotypical mold just to fit in. While at times these are a struggle and so opposite of her sister, they will be great assets to her when she is older. As a mom I worry because of the kids and people that don’t see her beauty and humor like I do. She doesn’t fit the mold of a 13 year old and that is ok. I need to “Let it go” and support her and give her extra love and support to make up for those who don’t. I do that happily.

Here is to a school year of firsts for some and lasts for others. Middle School years are scary for parents and kids….teach your kids to always make good choices, be kind and patient and they will do great!

So for now, chill your champagne so after the bus pulls up tomorrow you can celebrate!