Grounded Until Boot Camp

It's been 36 minutes, since I hugged my son and wished him luck, reassuring him "not to worry," and "you got this," as I followed him through our front door and watched him get into his recruiter's car. I then proceeded to spend the next 36 minutes reliving the last 17 years, as parents do, with every passing milestone, I suppose.

However, this time, Garth (not his real name) isn't home to reassure me that "he'll be fine," and there's really "no need to cry," because he's staying at my parents' house, helping to take care of my Dad and getting him to his dialysis appointments, and then taking him to visit with my Mom in a sub-acute facility (she's recovering from a real bad fall), while I continue to work from home, until the weekend, when we switch places and, well, the last six weeks haven't been easy on any of us.

"I don't feel like you guys are here for me."

Most especially, our son.

"I talk about my enlistment and all you do is shake your head and look sad."

I have had sooooo many thoughts and opinions about my son's imminent enlistment into the Marine Corps, but I've been pretty much keeping them to myself.

"I don't feel like you support my decision."

Until now.

Needless to say, my husband and I are very proud of Glen and, as an American born of immigrants, I'm humbled by our son's dedication to "honoring his Grandparents and all their hard work, wanting a better life for future generations" (those were my son's exact words, when explaining his desire to enlist, during our interviews with each of the military branches).

"We've done everything we can to help you get here, haven't we?"

Keeping every deep, dark and terribly awful fear imaginable from creeping out of my heart and slithering its way up onto my face, not so much.

"So yes, I'm sad. And afraid. Just as your training will involve learning how to protect others, while protecting yourself, you're going to be a pretty tall target, and there will be people whose job will be to try and kill you."

I was being brutally honest with him, and myself, because it's been 60 years since my parents first set foot on American soil and danged if it doesn't seem like the world is moving backwards, we're ALL standing on shaky ground, right?!?!

"As your Mom, my first and foremost wish has always been for you to be happy."

It's hard sometimes, you know? Pretending to be fearless. Especially for someone who wears her heart on her sleeve...[raises hand]...not without leaving a permanent dent on my face, I mean.

"And your father and I will always fear for your safety (okay, mostly me), but do NOT mistake that as our being unsupportive."

So, I set my alarm for 4:00 a.m., which every parent reading this will undoubtedly understand it to have been unnecessary, as I was awake for most of the night and I finally gave up on sleep when my son's alarm went off at 3:00 a.m., as we sat together, in a mostly dark and quiet house, waiting for him to take his next steps towards gaining his independence and logging in another sleepless night for me and his Dad.  

36 minutes later, I became >this< much closer to graciously accepting my new role as a military mom...as reasonably and as calmly as possible, at 5 o'clock in the morning, I mean...so, yeah, there isn't a parent prouder than I am of you...RIGHT THIS MINUTE...my son...AND DO NOT EVER FORGET IT...or consider yourself grounded until boot camp!!!

Edited to add text received from my husband, GarthNHRN: Your post sounds like he's going now. You should make it clear this is a medical and he doesn't go until next summer.

Okay?!?! Soooo, we good?!?! Good!!! Which pretty much guarantees you guys another post, next August, you're welcome!!!

 

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

Blogging Under the Influence of Teenagers; It's Constipated!

If you were to ask me, as a social media enthusiast and OG blogger (never mind, just exactly HOW old gangstuh, you whippuh-snappuh, you!), hey Liz (psssst, that's me!), what IS the MOST difficult part of blogging...wait, I KNOW THIS!...for me, it's typing out this introductory sentence. This first paragraph is crucial, as it serves as a mini-outline for the blog post: It tells the reader what the blog post is about -- the hook, if you will.

Here's mine: Life with teenage/adult kids does NOT get any less complicated, in fact, I haven't performed THIS many face-palms in the history of This Full House and I've been blogging for...wait, WHAT YEAR IS IT?!?....holy Hannah Montana...I've been over-sharing for 13 years!?!?!

13466288_10153632846060808_581779520024350054_n
The kid formerly known as Mini-me -- she's MUCH prettier and smarter all growed up and everything, if you haven't already figured that out!

GAWD, I'm old. But I still look good, yo. Anyhow. These last six months have been...what's the word...hang on, there was a tried and true old blogging adage we used to use...wait...I KNOW THIS!!!...oh yeah, nucking futs!!!...okay, fine...technically, it's two pretend words...unless I type it like...NUCKINGFUTS...yeah, works for me, how about you?!?!

[blows bangs out of eyes, scratches at underground zit on chin]

Aaaaaanyway. Life is moving REAL fast, like in...wait, what do you MEAN you're a senior in high school...sort of crazy, and, well, I have a funny story to tell you.

But first, here's a picture of the newest high school senior in da house. Cute. Right?!?! He's also working part-time at the fast food restaurant that shall not be named (that one is for Melisa's husband!) and "making bank" <--- not sure if that is even a relevant term any more, but whatevs ---> and, for the folks who are JUST catching up, Glen has been preparing to join the military, since the age of 3, BUT he's made a final decision about exactly which branch of the military. 

 

Soooooo, this is happening. Researching his choices, I'm holding it together pretty well (sort of), you guys.

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on

It's not the Air Force (although, they did have the prettiest recruitment center and I realize that pretty recruitment centers should NOT have anything to do with his decision, but it was nice to be able to visit a pretty recruitment center, just saying), or the Navy (visited them on an off day, I think), or the Army (like his Uncle Bud).

This week, my husband and I will sign the early-entry papers, allowing my son to enlist as a Marine -- which probably should have been the first sentence of this blog post and welcome to my brain, lately.

I have sooooo many thoughts and opinions about my son's imminent enlistment into the Marine Corps., but I'm actually saving those for another blog post...or twenty...along with my transition into working full-time and becoming the sole-breadwinner...although, my husband makes a real pretty Mr. Mom...also blog-worthy, for another time....you're welcome!!!

Glen: How could you joke about something like this?!?

I don't remember EXACTLY what we were talking about...because, I am the mother of two teenagers and two twenty-somethings...brain cells are at a premium...but, I was cracking an inappropriate joke about it, so it must have been pretty heavy.

Me: Because it's either laugh or cry, my son.

[blank stare]

Me: Sometimes the only thing you CAN do is to laugh, to keep yourself from crying, my son.

[BLUB,BLUB, BLUB, GRRRRBLUB] 

Garth(NHRN) [hollering while running out the front door]: GAH!!! Friggin' house is constipated, AGAIN!!! 

Moral of the Story: Maaaaaan, boot camp is going to seem like a sabbatical (okay, not really) and is this boy going to miss us, or what?!?

May the road rise to meet you, may your backflow be nominal and may you NEVER run out of toilet paper, my son. In the meantime, if anyone needs me, I'll be right here, trying NOT to cry and pretending like this blog post ACTUALLY made SOME sort of sense to you, yo!

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

I Just Texted, To Saaaaaaaaay, I Looooooooove You! I Just Texted, To Remiiiiiiiiind You, Take Your Meds, DUMBASS!

I've always been a big fan of Fridays. In fact, my first published article (outside of this blog) from October 16, 2003 (forever ago, in Internet years) is entitled, "TGIF" and dedicated to all my fellow full-time stay-at-home Moms, who also looked forward to Fridays, as I did, at the time.

Eleventy-three years later, I'm now a full-time working-outside-the-home-type Mom, while my husband plays the role of the stay-at-home parent (way better than I ever did, btw!) who's grown to truly appreciate the magic of three-day weekends, too!

Last week, I was able to take off the Thursday AND Friday before President's Day (our office was closed, yesterday) and, well, I was looking forward to spending my mini-vacation of doing absolutely nothing of real importance, with my clan.

Thumbs Up
Had fun hanging out with the night shift, but hoping to go home sometime later today. And this is where you tell me just how much of a dumbass I am, for not keeping up with filling my bp meds, and I'm all thumbs up in agreement. #dontbelikemekids

Until, my being admitted into the hospital at midnight, this past Friday and, well, there's a reason why my husband and I don't really exert very much effort into scheduling to do stuff -- for us, life almost always has other plans -- although, when it comes to resting up, some people would argue that my being in the hospital sort of forces one's hand, and to those people I would say...NAAAAAAAH, BRUH!!!...and I would also feel it safe to say...one does not simply rest or relax...in a hospital.

Get Well
My middle girl came by to sit with me and she brought me presents. She knows her mama, well :)

Especially, now that my kids are old enough to recognize when their mother or father (but, mostly their mother) is being a total dumbass, especially about not taking better care of her/himself (again, mostly me) and my BIGGEST takeaway from this latest episode of...DON'T BE LIKE ME, KIDS...is that my kids will call me out, for being a dumbass, in a heartbeat.

Me: So, they're not letting me go home for another 24 hours.

Middle Girl: Aaaaaand, whose fault is that?

Here's the thing, the thing is -- I haven't been taking very good care of myself and, although I did have my blood pressure medication refilled AND re-scheduled a follow-up with my cardiologist regarding the same exact issues that caused this latest hospital stay, I realized it a little too late.

Instinct tells me to insert something really ironically funny about my spending Valentine's Day in the hospital, but heart disease is no joke -- my Dad is fighting for his life, as we speak! It did, however, give me an opportunity to think about the last few months...A LOT...and played a HUGE part in holding myself accountable for being THAT dumbass, because I do NOT want to cause my kids any additional heartache, when taking care of a sick parent...not if I can help it...I mean. 

I Heart You
26 years, 5 cars, 4 kids, 3 cats, 2 many fish to count and 1 doofus dawg since our blind first date, this truly IS the best Valentine's Day gift EVER: Receiving a heartfelt text from GarthNHRN, before being wheeled down for my echocardiogram...priceless :)

And, honestly, I can't think of a better way to spend a Valentine's Day, can you?

[the sound of crickets, chirping]

Fiiiiiiiiine, dinner and a movie would have been pretty awesome.

Text

Getting texted by my 14yo, reminding me to NOT be a dumbass, isn't too bad, either.

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

The Book Thief

My husband and I have always been avid readers. I'm not sure exactly how many books (hardcover and paperbacks) we've collected over the 25 years we've been married, because that would involve digging them out, dusting them off and actually counting them and, well, ain't nobody got time for that, but I'm pretty sure the number is in the hundreds.

And I have a confession to make. Ready? Okay! Here it is: I am a historical romance novel addict, from way back. 

My love affair...ahem...with historical romance novels...siiiiiiiigh...runs deep...heh, I said deep...and long...oh my gosh, fiiiiiine, I'll stop, right now...and I'm pretty sure I've read (and re-read) every Lisa Kleypas novel in the house, because my oldest daughter also happens to be a big fan of Ms. Kelypas (seriously, Lisa, you write good!) and the kid buys way more books than I do, which works out very well in my favor.

Aaaaaand, if you happen to be a newbie parent...WELCOME ABOARD!!!!...this is where you should be thinking to yourself...heyyyyyy...you know what?!?...I can't wait until my babies grow up, start making their own money and buy books that I happen to like to read, too...not a bad gig, you guys!

Until.

My in-laws have been married for 60-something years and have collected probably close to eleventy-trillion books, which they have started sending over to our house, because we only have a couple hundred and...HEY!!!...what's eleventy-trillion more, right?!?

Actually, they sent over a box or two to donate to our local library and, as I was going through the boxes, I realized many of them were really old (and musty) books. I love really old (and musty) books!

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I took a bunch of my favorites and organized them by the color of their spines...okay, it was my youngest's idea to color-coordinate the darn things and NO she did NOT get her OCD from me...anyway...I think these books add to the vintage-y feel of our house.

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I also found an inscription in one of the books gifted to my Father-in-Law from his sister on Christmas 1945 and, well, Aunt Jeanne passed away last spring and I'm not even sure my Father-in-Law even realizes we have this book, because he's still not over the fact that he and my Mother-in-Law were not well enough to travel up to Massachusetts for her memorial, so I'm keeping it.

14yo: Oh...my...gosh..would...you...guys...just...LOOK AT THIS!!!!

Our youngest also loves books.

Hope Books

Except her taste runs a little darker (and scarier) and it must have been all the Stephen King I read while pregnant with her.

14yo: This book says it belongs to the library!!!

[one beat, two beats]

14yo: Which means Grandpa never returned this book to the library!!!

[eyes go wide]

14yo: GRANDPA STOLE THIS BOOK FROM THE LIBRARY?!?

Me: Actually, Grandpa probably bought that particular one during a book sale at the library.

Grandpa: Nooooo, I stole it.

I'm a little scared of what we'll find out during next week's Sunday supper (or Sunday Suppuh, if you're from New England) yah!

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

If Wonder Woman & Mr. Mom Had A Baby

GarthNHRN and I have been married for 25 years (and YES, it totally does sound like a lot of years to be married and IT IS a very long time to be married, to the same person!) and we've been parents for 22 years (wut?!?!) and I've been a full-time mom (while working part-time from home as a professional blogger, writer and content producer) ever since.

Until this past April: When I accepted a full-time position at my current job.

And then my husband lost his job, in October.

This is the first time I'm speaking of it in a public forum, because my husband is much more private about his thoughts and feelings, while I'm more of a better out than in type of over-sharer.

You guys have lived through some of the best and possibly THE WORST times in my life, most recently with my Father recovering from heart failure AND kidney failure.

 

Watching a new day unfold from my parents' kitchen window and hoping for a better day for Dad. His recovery has been a...

Posted by Liz Katkics Thompson on Saturday, January 2, 2016

I can honestly say, without hesitation AND with complete confidence that GarthNHRN would also agree, these last 5 months have been absolutely dreadful AND have offered up some of the MOST stressful periods of our ENTIRE marriage, EVER.

On the OTHER hand!

We've experienced some of the BEST stop, drop, laugh your ass off, snort-worthy funniest moments...EVER!...as a family...and, oh YES...there is the food!

 

My husband made us lunch. And my first thought was...WOW!!!...he really needs to lower the bar, a little. And then I ate it in like four bites. Carry on, Garth(NHRN)!

Posted by Liz Katkics Thompson on Monday, November 2, 2015

Now that I am working full-time and commuting into the city (a.k.a. New York City, if you're NOT from Jersey) my husband and I have gone through a sort of Freaky Friday role reversal kind of thing. For example, GarthNHRN does ALL the:

  • Cleaning
  • Cooking
  • Driving kids to school
  • Food Shopping
  • Laundry
  • Picking kids up from school

And then, he does a whole lot more:

  • Drives my Dad to (and from) dialysis every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • Does the food shopping for my mom, while Dad is at dialysis 
  • Because dialysis takes about 3 - 4 hours
  • Each time
  • Has met with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and pretty much every "ist" there is to make sure that "my" parents are getting the best care possible
  • Without going bankrupt
  • That last bullet is ongoing

Aaaaaaand yet, the man still manages to make the rest of us feel pretty gosh-darned thankful he's around.

 

GarthNHRN (singing from the kitchen): Tiiiiiiny bubbles, in the wine...Me (singing along): Maaaaaakes me happy...GarthNHRN: All the time...I love it when my husband ad libs :)

Posted by Liz Katkics Thompson on Thursday, January 14, 2016

Long story short: If Wonder Woman and Mr. Mom had a baby, he or she wouldn't be even half as awesome as GarthNHRN, however, I imagine it would look a lot like this:

Have you seen Channing Tatum & Beyonce's "Run The World (Girls)" vs. Jenna Dewan-Tatum's "Pony" lip sync battle?!? It. Is. EPIC!

Aaaaaaand, before you get your boxers all in a bunch, honey (not YOU, I'm talking to GarthNHRN, but feel free to hang around, Queen Tatum Bey, honey) this post is meant to be a reminder...for the times when...you know...you are feeling most un-awesome...or whenever we're having a bad day...but not today.

Okay? Okay. Now YOU do me (TWSS!)

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

NaBloPoMo 2015: Happy ThanksgivingChristmasNewYearsValentinesEaster!

I used to be a planner, also super-organized (and this is the part where my husband would insist otherwise and I would end any possibility of a long, drawn out debate, by insisting back "WAS SO!" Because I am a great debater, like that!), but those days seem so long ago.

Holidaze
I knew if I just held out long enough, mismatched plates and glasses would become a thing (are so!).

In our house, the holidays were my Olympics! I researched recipes, collected odds and ends for binge-crafting sessions with the kids and made lists for ALL things holi"daze". 

This year? I'm lucky if I remember to wear matching earrings, and leaving the house with shoes on, and I can't tell you how many times I've caught myself wondering if I had remembered to use shampoo after already having gotten out of the shower.

My mommybrain is all grown up and waiting for someone to strain my carrots, dammit.

Now with Dad in and out of hospitals and rehab centers, since the end of August, I can't seem to think past remembering to eat lunch. Our parents play a large part of our celebrations and, now that our kids are getting older, (us too!) I keep reminding myself that every day we spend together is a gift.

"What's gonna happen on Thanksgiving?"

Thanksgiving has ALWAYS been my son's favorite holiday and now that he's turning 17 (ugh, really?!?) and has the appetite of a 17yo (a.k.a. never NOT hungry) he's taken over the menu-planning :)

"I haven't even thought about it, so don't know what we're doing, Bud!"

Truth be told, I'm still trying to figure out where September went.

"Well, if Papa is still in the hospital, we'll just have to bring Thanksgiving to him, that's all!"

[one beat, two beats]

"I mean, it doesn't matter where we have it, or if we cop a squat in the corner and eat off of trays, as long as we are together, right?!?"

I'm still trying to clear the massive goober that has formed in my throat, so I have yet to get back to him on that one, but I think maybe he already knows the answer and it was more of a rhetorical question, because these kids are way smarter than me. 

"Wait, is that Christmas music you're playing?"

My oldest daughter, on the other hand...

"YUP! Don't judge!"

Gahdfuhbid, it's like she doesn't EVEN know me!!!!

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