Heather

So, you've got a kid "not" going to college - ME TOO!

One of the many things I love about blogging, that really hasn't changed in the last eleventy years, is it gives parents (like me) an opportunity to revisit a moment...that may otherwise have drifted off in the ebb and flow of nurturing a family...or a much simpler time...lost among the trials and tribulations that go along with raising teens...because TEENS!

Now, we have Facebook. So, it's sort of fun to be able to reconnect with childhood friends, seeing our kids all grown up and moving onto college  **sniff-sniff**   and how in the heck did THAT happen, because in my mind, we're ALL still like 17, right?!? RIGHT?!?

[sound of crickets, chirping]

Riiiiiiiight. What was I saying? OH YEAH! So, I've consoled quite a few of my Facebook friends, because sending off your kid to college is a really big deal. 

Unless you have a kid [or kids] who isn't [who aren't] going to college, like me.

Long story, short: although our two oldest daughters' situations are totally different, my husband and I have stood by their decision to put off college, because...well...suffice it to say, if the tables were turned...and YOU told ME that it is the right decision...I'd trust you to know your kid, better than me.

"Heather and Holly send their regards!"

My son had his first visit at the orthodontist, a few weeks ago.

"Oh, that's nice, send mine back!"

The girls had their last orthodontist visit a few months ago, which means the length and cost of their treatment was pretty much the equivalent of a bachelor's degree...YO!

"So, where is Heather going to school?"

UGH!!! Here we go, again.

"Actually, she's decided to take a gap year."

Now, here's my problem. If it were me, I'd be all like...oh, okay, that's good...because, you know, NOT my kid...and I really need to stop thinking about what I would say or do in a particular situation.

"Oh, well, I hope she learns something really important!"

Aaaaand, I need to stop taking OTHER folks so literally.

"Oh yes, she's a personal assistant to a local artist AND a production assistant for our county's teen arts program...it's right up her alley." 

Because, really, how many of us...love...Love...LOve...LOVe...absolutely LOVE our jobs...okay, I do...but, I mean, straight out of high school?!?

"Because, we WANT her to go to school...right?!?"

I literally turned and looked behind me...thinking she was asking someone else...because, I'm real quick, like that...and not really.

"Actually, it's a REAL good decision...FOR HER."

Now, I'm not quite sure if the orthodontist has children...or if she's even married...and it doesn't really matter, but it seems to me that...at this point in our conversation...common sense would tell you...STFU!...right?!?

"Well, I hope so!"

She shook her head...actually friggin' shook her head...clearly, SHE was disappointed.

"All kids go to college!"

Here's the thing, this is my personal opinion as a parent of older kids (20, 18, 15 and 13) and not having a college degree, my ownself.

"Sort of like, all dogs go to heaven?"

I'm NOT going to argue the benefits of going to college...there are many, I know...however, pushing MY kids to go to college...for the sake of going to college...well, that's just stupid.

"You know, the movie, all dogs go to heaven?"

She'd never heard of it...AH! HAH!...so, she does NOT have kids...aaaand, I'm okay wit-it.

"Good luck at school, Heather!!!"

I took Heather to the dermatologist, last week -- because we are ALL about supporting folks who've chosen to enter the medical field and are perhaps STILL paying for THEIR education...YO! -- and the receptionist was really being nice, I think.

Heather looked at me for a second, rolled her eyes and then answered her.

"Hey, thanks!!!"

Siiiiiiiiiigh. We then walked out and I gave Heather's shoulder a little squeeze.

"It's just that...well...I didn't think it necessary to explain myself to her."

Nope, and yep, because this kid is WAY smarter than me...too...and I'm okay wit-it!

The End.

©2003 -2014 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything!   

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

3 weeks; 21 days; 504 hours; 30,240 minutes and a pair of fake eyelashes.

Heather Prom 2014
so, this happened. the girl formerly known as thing two (when i started blogging 11 years ago) looking all growed-up and beautiful for her senior prom.

To everyone else, it's just a very lovely capture of another milestone reached in the life of a teen. To me? It is one more bittersweet reminder of just how quickly the years have gone by or how they're sort of speeding up and beginning to make me feel a little like throwing up, even.

Long story, short: I've been working a lot of hours, lately. Like, if I'm not sleeping...then I'm pretty much working...and the kids have been awesome about helping out...I mean...as much as can be expected, their being kids and all.

Which means there's a lot of debating on whose turn it is to: change the dishwasher, feed the animals, switch the laundry, walk the dog, take out the garbage, mow the lawn, and forget to take something out of the freezer for dinner.

Okay, that last one was probably me, but one of the really GREAT things about raising teens is when THEY start remembering things for you.

"I'm taking Heather to get shoes for the prom, after I pick her up from work."

Then they get old enough to drive and can take their siblings to work and stuff -- that's just all sorts of awesome, right there.

"Don't forget, I get out at 12:55 today, so we could get my hair and makeup done!"

Even longer story, short: seniors are let out early on prom day, which is also all sorts of awesome, except the buses still run on a regular schedule, so I glanced down at the timestamp on the spreadsheet I happened to be working on and...DAMMIT...but spreadsheets can be evil little time suckers.

"I'm leaving now!"

My oldest daughter was working (because, you know, eventually I'm going to need to allow her to have a life, too) so I was left in charge of picking up my middle girl.

"Mom, you'll never make it."

Here's the thing. My middle girl does not drive. The vocational school she attends is 30 miles away and it does not have a driver's ed class, but since she was hoping to go to a city college, she was perfectly okay with putting off getting her driver's license for a while.

"We'll get there in time, don't worry."

20 minutes later (give or take a minute, or another 20) I pulled up to the school, she got into the car and then 3 weeks worth of stress (both hers and mine) boiled over, words were exchanged and, well, it wasn't pretty.

30 minutes later, we walked into the hair salon all puffy-eyed and emotionally spent.

To her, the last 3 weeks, of what should have been an exciting time of announcing college decisions and preparing for her senior prom, have become nothing more than 21 days, 504 hours, and 30,240 minutes of disappointment.

To me? It was yet another reminder of just how far I have come to feeling like an absolute failure at all the things...especially, not knowing how to make my kids happy...anymore.

"Mom, she forgot her eyelashes." 

I watched my daughter's eyes move from her reflection in the mirror to mine, as our hairdresser asked the make-up girl to take me to the beauty supply store, a few doors down.

My hairdresser is also a very good friend of mine and she has a teen, enough said.

"I picked these, they sort of flare out like wings, I thought these would look cool."

My daughter nodded her head.

"Yeah, I like those."

We both stared at the fake eyelashes for a few more seconds, before our eyes met and we smiled at each other, at the same time...even.

My oldest daughter got there soon after that and we both sat there together for the next 90 minutes, while folks continued to fuss over her sister, both of us content with watching her enjoy each and every minute of it.

Heather Prom Primped

And then it hit me, as these sort of parenting-type things often do, like a brick upside the forehead.

"Why don't you go home with your sister, while I settle up the bill."

Parenting teens is sort of like being strapped into a roller coaster...all day...every day...and whose success SHOULD be measured simply by our ability to walk away without a) throwing up and with b) all your body parts still attached. 

"Nah, I'll just wait and ride home with you...Momma."

Then again, we could all just throw our hands up in the air and screeeeeeaaaaaaammmmm...allllllllllllllll...the...frig...waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay...dowwwwwwwwwwwn.

Happy prom day, Heather. I love you. I'm glad it turned out to be a good day, after all. 

©2003 -2014 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything!   

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Never trust a mother with a camera.

My two oldest girls are 2 years apart, so Holly was still in diapers when Heather was born, because potty training is hard enough, let alone bringing home a brand new baby sister, thankyouverymuch.

Holly and Heather in the pool!They spent the next 3 years together, as each other's constant playmate, before more babies came along and, well, then it became...EVERYONE IN THE POOL!!!...while other parents looked on (in horror, mostly) wondering what it was like to raise 4 children under the age of 10:  it sort of feels as if you are walking around in a drunken stupor...all day...every day.

Holly and Heather box art.

These two monkeys, however, get the credit for molding me into the mother that their siblings would grow to know, as they each continued to help keep their mother (a.k.a. me) in check.

Even today, although they don't always like each other, they share a lot of the same interests and, now that they're 20 and 18 (ZOMG!!!), they've both grown accustomed to being able to stand up for themselves...as well as each other...especially, when their mother (again, me) is being totally unreasonable about curfews, or going to concerts, that happen to be playing two entire states away and such.

Mothering adults can be quite a sobering experience. Until, realizing that I had accidentally set my cell phone on video and then this funny little gif happened:

Silly Gifs

No matter how much these two grown up monkeys insist that...you know...I knew EXACTLY what I was doing, but don't tell them...m'kay?!?

 ©2003 -2014 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook, a way for you to subscribe to receive This Full House blog post by Email and everything!   

I'm NaBloPoMo-ing it, feel free to check out what I've NaBloPoMo-ed, thus far (PHEW!) and let me know how I'm doing (I mean, 30 posts, in 30 days, really?!?) when you have time, of course!

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Quite possibly my best parenting advice, evuh: just do you!

Me and Heather May 2013
Her future's so bright, we gotta wear shades :)

If you were to ask me to choose the most challenging aspect of our college-search journey, besides agonizing over financial packages, my short answer would be: watching my kid agonize over EVERYTHING ELSE, including my agonizing over financial packages.

For my middle daughter, now that it's crunch time (applications for merit and presidential scholarships are due December 1st), it's having to submit a personal essay: specifically, introducing herself to the admissions officers, by sharing with them what SHE feels makes her unique.

"But you're a pretty-terrific kid."

Aaaaand, here's where Heather, along with the rest of her siblings, would typically call "BS!!!" and insist that I'm just saying that, because I am her mother, and I'm supposed to say things like that.

"I don't want to sound arrogant!"

I just stood in the middle of the kitchen and stared at her, in mid-pancake flip, because I had a funny feeling that this was going to turn into one of those self-defining moments that, if done incorrectly, could scar your child for life and...YES!!!...I tend to over think stuff, like that, ALL THE DANG TIME.

"Ummmmmmm...."

See what I mean?!?  Often times people mistake me for being a "good listener", when I'm probably just too busy trying to figure out stuff and my kids are already pretty good at answering their own questions for me, anyway.

"Because women get called-out for being over-confident quicker than men do."

Here's the thing: raising kids is hard, raising selfless teens is even harder; but raising up girls is dang near impossible, without being slapped in the head with a double-standard or twenty and this parenting thing is hard...YO!

"Can you come read this for me?"

Thankfully, my kids also know that I work well with the assistance of visual aids.

"OMG!!! You're crying, it's THAT bad?!?"

On the contrary, and I'm not just saying that because I am her mother, here's the part that moved me to tears -- shared with Heather's permission:

Continue reading "Quite possibly my best parenting advice, evuh: just do you!" »

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Stupid migraines, dumbass'ologists.

Helping grandma trim her Christmas tree 2013

I blogged about helping my in-laws with a few chores around the house and shared this picture on Facebook, of my kids helping their grandparents put up their Christmas tree, when I noticed that one of my kids was missing...just like last time.

Helping grandma trim her Christmas tree 2011

It's funny to see how each of them have grown and changed in such a short time -- seriously, Glen is nearly 6' 2" tall -- realizing that our middle girl was once again sidelined by a migraine...not so much.

Heather has missed a lot of school days over the years, but her migraines have become debilitating and I once again received the dreaded "I've got Heather here in my office, ready to puke her brains out, again" phone call from the school nurse, last week.

Long story, short: her migraines are becoming more frequent and she has a headache almost every single day, so we've made an appointment with a neurologist at the end of December.

I really hate it whenever my kids are hurting, but it seems Heather has drawn the short straw, especially when it comes to dealing with physical ailments that require visiting doctors specializing in anything ending in "ologist".

She is also smack-dab in the middle of the college applications rush, so it's NOT like the girl needs ONE MORE THING to worry about.

Having to wait an entire month to see the neurologist doesn't help, but we're hoping for some positive news and...more importantly...much needed relief from her migraines.

Heather's text
Aaaaaand, then she sends me this text, her first day back at school.

I mean, the poor kid's got enough on her plate, as it is...especially with me being her mother and our having to share a brain and everything...right?!?

[blank stare]

Stupid migraines, dumbass 'ologists.

©2003 -2013 This Full House with a fan page on Facebook and everything!

I'm NaBloPoMo-ing it, feel free to check out what I've NaBloPoMo-ed, so far (PHEW!) and let me know how I'm doing (I mean, 30 posts, in 30 days, really?!?) when you have time, of course! 

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

Teaching our kids how NOT to take a compliment, nailed it!

Teaching kids how to take a compliment

I made a lot of dumb choices, early in life (okay, fine, very recently too) and now that I'm older (never you mind just how old) do I understand that stupid choices, more often than not, lead to making better decisions, later on.

But, don't tell my kids...not just yet...okay?!?

Oh, but I feel it safe to say that anyone who knows me (most especially, IRL) would probably agree:  my husband is an example of a pretty gosh-darned good pick.

But, this post is NOT about him (you're welcome, sweetie!) or necessarily even about me.

It is about my husband AND me, because a bulk of our parenting decisions have been based on stuff that we either:

  • Experienced ourselves, as children
  • We've royally screwed up, as young adults

So, we've tried to raise our children to be all the things that we were/are not and, at the very least, a mashup of our better parts, like:

  • I like to keep things light and encourage self-depricating humor as an art form
  • He is super smart and has good sense, especially knowing when to laugh at my jokes

You know, stuff like that.  Teaching our kids how to take a compliment, not so much.

Continue reading "Teaching our kids how NOT to take a compliment, nailed it!" »

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.

ProTip: Sexual Harassment is No Joke -- Guest Post by My 17 year-old Daughter

Dealing with mean girl and mean boy mentality isn't easy, but discouraging meanness in others, outside the classroom, can be real hard -- especially, from a teenager's point of view.

Unless, we're talking about sexual harrassment and my 17 year-old daughter happens to be within earshot.

We don't often read about young women standing up for each other (or adults, for that matter) so, I asked Heather if she would mind my sharing her story.  She agreed.

So, I then asked her if she would mind writing it herself, which is sort of like my handing over the virtual car keys to an aspiring journalist):

Heather's Guest Post 350I've never been one to stay quiet when it comes to a situation that I happen to have a strong opinion about. It would probably be better for everyone if I just held up a sign that reads something along the lines of "strong opinion ahead, prepare yourself” every time I open my mouth.

I guess I was just born without a filter. Thanks, Ma.

Sometimes it even comes in handy. For example, I was recently involved in a situation that I just couldn’t ignore:

In the afternoons, there are two extra passengers on my bus. Two boys. The two boys have been irritating my friend since the first day they showed up. Every day, it seems, they have to comment on how good she looks, how cute she is, how they like her outfit, etc.

You may be thinking: “Oh, but that’s sweet. Everyone needs a confidence boost once in a while. What’s the big deal?” Well, the big deal is that they don’t say it in a nice, innocent way. Trust me; when you hear it, it doesn't take a genius to detect the sexual implications and undertones to each and every brutish comment that spills from their mouths.

It makes my friend uncomfortable, and, to be blunt, it disgusts me.

So, a short while ago, the bus came to pick us up from school. We climbed on, plopped down in our seats, and retrieved our headphones, ready to drown out the obnoxious conversations that echoed throughout the parking lot.

My friend was looking at her phone, not paying attention to the rows in front of her, when I glanced up.  

One of the boys was holding a notebook over the top of the seat. On the page it said: “I’M HORNY :)"

I was shocked. It was beyond obvious that the message was intended for my friend, but she didn’t see it. I just rolled my eyes and tried to ignore the snickering brats.

Then the notebook rose again.

This time, the page said: “TITS??”

I lost it.

I stood up in my seat, gave them my worst glare – it’s pretty nasty, ask my Mom – and told them that they needed to stop now and that the things they wrote were disgusting.

And what did they do after I yelled? They laughed.

Fortunately for my family – and the faces of the two boys – I didn’t get violent. Instead, I stood up even taller and told them that the situation wasn’t funny at all. I may have used stronger language than that, but I think you get my point without direct quotation.

The entire bus was staring at me in shock. Why was I so angry about some guys making crude comments to a girl? Doesn’t that happen all the time? Aren’t girls used to it?

And therein lies the major issue: nowadays, actions like these are just brushed off and given excuses such as “it happens all the time” or “boys will be boys”.

I’m sorry, I must have missed the memo, but since when has sexual harassment been okay? Since when has it been considered "out of the ordinary" to stand up against someone who’s being altogether disgusting?  Since when has speaking your mind not been a thing?

I’m not going to sit there and pretend to be okay with something that I feel is wrong just because no one else seems bothered by it.

And do you want to know what bothers me the most? The fact that I end up feeling like a villain; the fact that I, a seventeen-year-old girl, am labeled a bitch for “taking things too seriously”.

I can take a joke. I just can’t seem to find the humor in sexual harassment or the mistreatment of women.

Can you?

No, sweetie, I most definitely DO NOT!!!  Oh, and if you're wondering whether or not her speaking out made a difference:  the boys haven't said a word, since.  Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story and you just go ahead and keep on speaking your mind, Heather.  It's how you do.

10/19/13 Edited to add, what Heather didn't mention in the post:  she called out the boys for "sexual harassment".  They insisted it was NOT sexual harassment.  We really NEED to be teaching our young men, differently.

© 2003 - 2013 This Full House

© This Full House 2003-2016. All rights reserved.