Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Heartbreak Kid

I could be at my son's 2nd scrimmage of the day, but instead I'm here at home.  Lessons need to be taught, and unfortunately this one's being taught by me being here.  There are so many times in a mother's life, or at least in my experience with motherhood, when the parent wonders, "Where the HELL did I go wrong?"  Seems I've had an awful lot of those moments, and last night began today's troubles...

My daughter had her final cheer last night--the end of the 2010-11 cheer season.  I was very excited to be going to cheer her on.  This is their father's week with the kids, so I hadn't seen or spent time with them like I usually do.  Although I'd seen my daughter at other events this week, I hadn't seen my son.  So I was quite happy to see him as well.

Arriving at the game, I saw him sitting on the top of the bleachers with his father.  I saw him look at me and even waved.  Nothing back.  Not a "hello", not a smile, nothing.  "Okay," I thought to myself, "maybe he simply didn't see me."  My husband, a friend, and I all found some seats not too far from my son.  I turned around and waved--he "pretended" not to see me.  "Brandon," I called to him.  "BRANDON!"  I hollered just looking for a "hello".  "What?" he said back after the 3rd attempt to get his attention.  "Are you going to say hi?"  I questioned.  He reluctantly made his way down the bleachers, murmured a quick "Hi" and hurried on back to his seat.

To say I felt hurt is an understatement.  Why do kids do this?  Why does MY kid do this to me?  I was embarrassed and really hurt that saying hello to me proved to be such a hardship for him.  I didn't want to carry on about this, so I let it go--enjoying the rest of the game and watching my daughter cheer (who, on this particular day, had no issues saying hello to me or hugging me or just being nice).

At the end of the game, as we were waiting to say good-bye to both kids, I turned towards my son.  He was doing everything in his power not to come over towards us. My daughter rushed over and gave her good-byes--even taking a picture and showing us her new routine she just made up.  Seeing my son was not moving on his own I said, "Are you going to come say good-bye?" Once again, with dragging feet, he slumbered over.  "What's the problem?" I asked.  "Why are you acting this way?"  "Whatever," was the thoughtful reply, and shook his head in that annoying way that he does.  I could feel my nerves walking toward the edge of the cliff and without clearly thinking said, "Real nice.  How would you like it if I treated you this way?  Maybe I won't go to your scrimmage tomorrow."  "Whatever," he repeated, "Bye."

I saw him walking away, took a deep breath, and tried to maintain my composure.  We were in a public place after all, and I was embarrassed enough.  In my mind, I was thinking, "I'm so not going to miss his scrimmage--why would I even say that?"  The Catholic guilt already pouring through my veins, ensuring my misguided motherhood would never allow me into the pearly gates.  When we got home, I found myself complaining to my husband about my child's piss-poor attitude.  Yet, I wasn't willing to really change anything about me to try to fix the problem.  I simply wasn't there.

My husband and I awoke early, hit the gym, and immediately headed to the 9 a.m. scrimmage.  We sat on the cold, hard bleachers--that were directly behind my son.  The wind was whipping, and we were both freezing our asses off.  My child never acknowledged our arrival--not a nod, not a small wave, nothing.  I continued snapping picture after picture--in the fashion that the "Mother of the Year" typically does.  After the first 1/2 of the game, I couldn't take the silent treatment anymore--especially when I had no idea why he was treating me in this way.  "Brandon," I called as he was putting something into his backpack.  Being less than 10 feet away from him, I knew he could hear me quite well.  His head never even lifted.  "Brandon!"  my voice raised, still no answer.  "I know he can hear me," I whispered to my husband.  "This is crap!"  Finally the head lifted, "What?"  No, "Hi, MOM!"  No, "Thanks for coming, Mom!"  No kind greeting or anything close to it.  No.  I'm the lucky parent that gets the "What!" greeting.  "I have your gloves," I retorted hoping to elicit some type of response.  "So," he snapped and headed back to his chair.

Feeling like I'd just been crowned with the "Worst Mother of the Year" trophy in front of millions, I began to fume.  Why was I even here?  Why have I planted my happy ass game after game for the last 13 years?  For this?  To be treated like yesterday's garbage?  And yes, as I was contemplating all of this, I had to take responsibility--after all, this IS my child.  My child.  The child that is shown love and given so many things, but who never has enough kindness in his own heart to give back.  And I have to take ownership of that.  I've never allowed him to see the difference between what he needs versus what he wants.  He always gets what he wants--even when he hurts people around him.  I mean, I was here--even after the way he had treated me at last night's game.

At the end of the game, he took his merry old time getting ready to leave.  Usually I'm the one that gets up and goes towards him.  The one that says the "Good-bye" and does the hugging--the whole feel-good ritual.  This time I stayed planted on the bleacher.  He would come to me or he wouldn't.  Either way, it was now going to be his decision, not mine.  That's when I heard him say to the four adults, including other parents from the team and his coach, "I'd better go say bye to my mom or I'll get in trouble like last night."  He sauntered over towards me and I couldn't help but wonder, "Where the HELL did I go wrong?"  My heart, on the other hand, was breaking saying, "Why would my son not want to say bye to me?  Why is he hurting me like this?"  "Bye," he said with a hardness in his voice--as though he was doing me a favor by gracing me in his presence.  "Bye," I said back, trying not to let my voice crack.  "Are you coming to my next game?" he asked.  This felt like a dare.  Like he was saying, "I dare you not to come."  It was a test.  And I was going to fail.  "No," the softness in my voice returned, "I won't be making it."  "What?! Why not?" the anger was evident.  He could now blame me for his poor treatment. "We'll see you tomorrow," I said refusing to be a part of his game.  I turned to walk away and the tears started down my face.  I couldn't continue to do this.  I couldn't continue to allow him to treat me so poorly and still be his cheerleader.  He needed to understand that when you hurt someone, especially your mom, there are consequences.  This time, it meant I would stay home.

I'm not the mom that misses games.  I'm the one that's always there--even in the cold, snow, rain, whatever the condition.  I've driven all over the state--to other states even--to watch my son play.  I've always been the consistency in his life.  Not being there is really hard.  I won't lie, I cried the entire way home.  I cried in my husband's arms when I got home.  I cried in the shower.  And I'm crying now.

I've decided to make some changes.  I've decided to no longer be the doormat for my child's bad behavior.  To no longer let him bestow his poor attitude onto me, with no consequence.  I've decided to stop with the things always given to him--as if he somehow deserves the things he is given.  And I'm scared at the same time.

So here I sit, at home, wondering how he did in this afternoon's scrimmage, knowing he won't call to tell me, and praying that he'll realize that I am his biggest fan.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On the Road to Success

What do I love about this picture--other than my adorable dog with the smile?  I love the way I look.  I love my hair--I mean look at that hair!  It's long, thick, and healthy.  And my smile--straight teeth and never wore braces or a retainer!  However, when my eyes travel downward, it's more difficult (oh hell, it's really, really difficult) to give myself compliments--but, for this blog and for the new optimistic boost for myself that I'm working on, I'm going to try (I literally had to rewrite this part like 4 times--this is HARD for me!).  I do look pretty good--for a 40-year-old chick that is!

So here's the truth: I have recently gained some weight.  I've gained 8 pounds over the last 2 years.  While that may not seem a lot to some, on my short 5'3' frame, it's appears to be more like 20...  I am not happy about it...  There's nothing worse than trying on a pair of jeans and having to wiggle my way into them.  I hate this friggin' muffin top bullshit and having to "hide" it with oversized shirts or sweaters.  And the hiding thing is such a mind game--I mean everyone knows it's there, including myself.  But my brain's hoping that if I ignore the ring around my waist, then maybe others will too--yeah, right.

Which brings me to my next point: My husband and I are on a mission, dammit.  We're on this mission to change some things about our physical shape.  Well, a lot of things if I'm going to be honest here.  For me, it's my jiggly ass and my protruding belly--not to mention my hopes that with better shape, my boobs will miraculously rise back into shape.  My poor boobs...  I'm not even going to go there today...  Anyway, we want to start feeling better about ourselves.  So to accomplish this, we've been hitting the gym early in the morning.  Really early in the morning.  We rise at 4am and get there around 4:20am.  We're also going 5-6 times per week--and working our asses off!  With Wednesday morning being our day off--and if we happen to skip out on Friday, we make up for it with a double workout on Saturday (like we had to do yesterday)... I'm excited!  I'm beginning to feel really good again.  My muscles are aching, and I'm loving it!  We're going to do this!

This summer, at the end of June, we'll be heading to San Diego, CA--and I plan on looking great in my summer clothes (especially the dreaded swimming suit which, right now, sucks the life out of me)!  Right now I'm on my workout high--and believe me, I know what it's like to be a few weeks in and wanting to just stay the hell in my bed.  I'm determined to make this time different.  I'm taking a deep breath here, knowing the bazillion times I've tried and quit before, and with my fingers crossed and my eyes looking above, I'm giving it another go!  Wish me luck!  

P.S. The dieting part is not so rosy sunshine... Did I mention having a Peanut Buster Parfait today?  Oops.  What can I say--it was damn good...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Not So Little Any More

My daughter.  This picture depicts her--the twinkle in her eye, the dimple in her cheek, the happiness that sometimes is unseen.  I love her so much.  And these teen years are killing me.  The cry for independence that she wants so badly, the little girl that I want to hold onto for just a little while longer.  When she was born, I "made" a special song for her--and sang it to her as I scratched her back every single night.  Now she tells me she's "too old" for the song--but I can scratch her back for just a bit.  She's too old for the g'night hugs, doesn't need me to attend ALL of her games (although I always do), and can walk through the mall ON HER OWN.  "God, mom, I'm not a baby.  I don't need you all the time."

My daughter.  On her own, for the first time.  I am so proud of her for all that she's been able to accomplish in her short 14 years.  She's mature and has already survived a lot of hardships.  When I see that smile, a little part of me thinks that I've helped put it there.  I love it when she's happy.  She flew to FL two days ago--her cheer team made Nationals at Disney.  I was thrilled for her--and she was excited to fly from the nest (at least for a bit).  Two days.  It feels like she's been gone for much longer than that. Sitting at the kitchen table, and seeing her empty seat, is difficult.  I'm thankful she'll be back on Monday, and terrified of how quickly these high school years are going by.  She's already 1/2 through her freshman year.

She's been calling every night--perhaps it's only because I've told her to do this, perhaps she does miss me a bit too.  All I know is that I love hearing her voice.  I love the excitement, the happiness that she's experiencing.  I love knowing that she's bonding with her team--something that doesn't come easily for her.  On the phone today she said, "Mom!  I LOVE Florida!  I think I want to like move here someday!"  "What about Cali?" I asked her, as she was just DYING to move there after our trip to Long Beach for Nationals last year.  "OH YEAH!  I forgot about Cali--I'm kinda like stuck between both."  My heart breaks just a bit when I hear her dreaming of leaving home.  Of leaving me.  Then I remember being 14; I remember my dreams of moving the HELL AWAY and straight to Colorado.  What frightens me is that is exactly what I did.  Moved away.  Immediately--far.  Why does she have to be so like me?

I'm already missing my little girl.  But I know she's going to make one hell of a woman.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Relationships.  Whenever I'm in a restaurant, coffe shop--where ever there's a couple sitting there and the woman's staring out into space, while the guy's checking his Blackberry--I can't help but feel bad for them. Perhaps it's because I've been in the woman's shoes before and it sucks.  Sitting there, wishing that there was something to say, but so much crap has fallen between the two of you that there's nothing left.  And so, you just sit there, sipping your coffee, pretending all is right in the world.

My husband and I have this relationship that's based on a friendship.  I not only love him, but I like him. He makes me laugh, listens to me, is able to have intellectual debates, we workout together--he's just a cool guy.  He was my friend before we dated, and I'm thankful for that.

It's taken me quite sometime to learn what's valuable in a relationship.  And makes me wonder why some people never quite get it.  Why being stuck in a relationship that's going nowhere is acceptable.  What I miss the least about my poor relationship choices would be the arguing.  When you're married to your best friend, there's none of that hating, life-sucking, I want to kill you emotion in place.  Now that I've realized that, I'm finally able to enjoy not only my partner, but our togetherness.

Yesterday while my husband and I were shopping at Wally World (our pet name for Walmart), we propped our Ipad on the cart.  Following our Saturday morning workout at the gym, we go for breakfast and make our weekly shopping list.  To say our spree was uneventful would be giving it too much credit.  The snow was falling as we headed towards the car.  My husband threw me the keys, "Warm it up babe while I put the groceries in the back."  I had the urge to tell him to give me the Ipad, but ignored it.  I was freezing and just wanted to get warm.  We listened to radio as we made our way back home, another non-eventful moment on this Saturday afternoon.  The moment we pulled into the garage, my husband leapt out of the car, "Shit!  Tell me I didn't!"  "Umm, hello--what's going on?" I asked, and quite patiently not knowing what the hell was going on.  The back door slammed shut and the trunk flew open, "FUCK!  I'm such an idiot!  You've got to be shittin' me!"  "What's wrong, babe?" this time feeling a bit impatient--what the hell!  "FUCK!  Are you fucking kidding me?"  That's when it dawned on me.  I realized instantly what had happened.  "NO!  Seriously?"  I jumped from the car and started looking in the car as well.  "You have to go back."  "I'm such an idiot!  Who does this?  This is $500 just left sitting in a cart!"  "Grab your keys and go--I'll take care of this.  And stop calling yourself an idiot--I don't like it!"  My husband grabbed his keys and took off, well went as fast as he could in the snow-packed street, back towards Wally World.  The store's about 15 minutes from our home.  I was thinking there was no way the Ipad would still be there.  Seriously, if I found an Ipad sitting in a cart would I take it?  Knowing I was having to even think of the answer told me enough--there's no way it'd be there.

This is where our relationship is different.  I know that in past relationships, I'd be on fire.  An Ipad is a lot of friggin' money!  Seriously!  But with my husband, just hearing him call himself names and being upset with himself is too much for me.  I don't like it.  I don't like him to be distraught.  He really matters to me.  He comes first--something new for me...  Saying he comes first is one thing, feeling this is quite another.  I'd never understood what these words meant until my husband came along.  As I stood there in my kitchen putting away all the groceries, and after praying to God that he'd find the Ipad, I thought to myself, "This is only an object.  Only money--doesn't matter.  The only thing that matters is my husband.  We'll get another one."  When the groceries were all put away, I waited another 10 minutes and then called my husband's cell,  "Hey honey, did you find it?"  "It wasn't in the cart, but then I went into the store and someone turned it into customer service."  "OH MY GOD!  Seriously?  Did they leave their name so we can thank them?"  "No they didn't.  I can't believe I was such an idiot.  Glad it was there though," the relief in his voice was obvious. "Honey, you need to stop that.  I don't like it.  If I lost something would you want me to start calling myself names?"  "No," he sighed.  "Then you need to stop."  He was only about 5 minutes away from the house.  The moment the garage door went up, I ran to the door.  I just love him--for all that he is and for all that I am with him.  The amazing part is being able to feel appreciated for being this new and improved me.  "Ya' know babe, you are such a cool wife.  This could've been a huge fight."

We're the same in this aspect.  We've both had those crappy relationships, where everyone's so hell bent on being right all the time that they forget about the importance of each other.  I want this marriage to be my last relationship.  I want my husband and I to be married until "death do us part."  Those aren't just words this time around.  For the first time in my life, I'm able to see those words require action.  I don't want to be that wife, sitting in the coffee shop, wishing that I knew my husband--wishing for words to say that simply aren't there.  And now I know that to prevent this from happening, I have to remember what so many couples forget--when your significant other fucks up they know it.  They don't need the holier-than-thou attitude reinforcing their mistake.  I know when I screw up; I certainly don't need the person I love reminding me that I'm an idiot.  All I need during those times is support--and I need to be just as forthcoming with that support when my husband needs me.  Relationships.  Sure aren't easy, and sure took me awhile to figure some things out...