Finding OUR Waldo

Our son signed up to become a Marine, at the beginning of his senior year of high school, through their early enlistment program, which means we've had almost a full year to prepare for Glen's departure – although it seems like yesterday I grounded him until boot camp

Glen's recruiter, at Glen's high school graduation

And we played out each day, with a little more reverence for military families, while trying to better understand and appreciate our son's life-long dream of serving in the military was going to happen, whether WE were ready or not.

Still. I personally found myself feeling greedy and becoming even a bit needy – asking him to help me with the food shopping, or convincing him...why, YES!!!...I would feel MUCH better, if he would join me in an early evening walk...growing greedier and needier, every step of the way.

Our "group graduation gift" to Glen was a weekend family getaway to D.C.

On the day he shipped out, the six of us set our alarms for 3:00 a.m. and spent the next 90 minutes waiting for Glen's recruiter to arrive at the house – it was one of the worst and best mornings of my life.

The girls and I sat around the kitchen table, all bleary-eyed from cry-laughing, while Glen and his Dad tested each other's endurance for dead arm punches and purple nurples, because boyzzzzzz will be boyzzzzzz.

Saying goodbye to Glen was hard - heralding a new beginning for our Son, by welcoming the sun, not so much.

The girls suggested we go to the beach to watch the sun rise, in an attempt to distract us from all the, well, you know.

If you were to ask me to describe what it was like watching Glen walk out the front door...knowing we wouldn't be able to see or speak with him...I mean, no phone calls, no emails, no Skype, no texts...nothing more than an occasional snail mail...for the next 13 weeks...well, it's sort of like me asking you to hold your breath...for as long as you can...and then punching you in the gut.

First letter has been written and is on its way to boot camp!!!

Every day, my husband lets me be the first to check the mailbox, hoping TODAY will be the day we hear from Glen – nope.

It's been 12 days and, although we've received word from his DI (drill instructor) that he's doing fine, no letter from Glen, but it's okay, he's sort of busy, I guess.

My husband and I have joined a couple of Facebook groups in support of parents and family members who have recruits attending the same boot camp as Glen. Here's the really cool part – every week, the parents attending boot camp graduation take photos of other recruits training around the camp and, as a courtesy to new military parents, post these photos to the Facebook group, hoping we'll catch a glimpse of our recruit, with captions like, "Find Your Waldo!" and "More Waldos!

Waldo Sighting First
w, that first kid in line is REAL tall...heyyyyy...wait a minute...there's no mistaking that cleft chin and those flared Thompson nostrils...OMG!!!...that's MY kid!!!

We've found four additional sightings, this week!!! And we'll probably continue spending every evening, scrolling through thousands of photos, and texting each other...this sort of looks like him, yes?!?...for the next 11 weeks...and then it'll be OUR turn to pay it forward and help other parents find their Waldos...because that's what you do for family...besides, what's another kid or eleventy-hundred, right?!?!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

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 reasonably and as calmly as possible, at 5 o'clock in the morning, I, yeah, there isn't a parent prouder than I am of you...RIGHT THIS 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 2003-2017. 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!?!?!

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'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.


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 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

PLEASE Don't Call It A Sweet Sixteen Party!

My son is turning 16, next Friday. SIXTEEN!!! The difference between his turning 16, as opposed to my two oldest daughters having crossed that bridge...with very little pomp and circumstance, other than a group sleepover...YAY!!!...while my 13 year-old daughter is already clipping through fashion magazines for prom dress ideas...WOW!!! that the boy insists his turning 16 is really not ALL that big of a deal.

Gamer Glen

Guess what he wants for his birthday?!? G'head, I'll wait!!!

Glen: I have to tell you about something my friends and I did in school.

Aaaaaaaand, here's where being a mom of a teenager (for the last 9 years) comes in REAL handy.

Me: [blank stare]

Rather than jumping to conclusions (which is the only form of exercise I seem to be getting, these days) and imagining the worst possible things my son and his friends could have done, to want me to hear it from him first...because TEENAGERS...I've learned that's it's probably a real good idea to know...shut up and listen.

Glen: This kid invited us to a party.

Still shutting up and listening.

Glen: He's a special needs kid, it's his birthday, but we're not sure how we feel about going.

This is the part where my brain nearly exploded and it took ALL of my strength (mental AND physical) to not want to revisit the last almost-sixteen years of parenting my son, because clearly I'm NOT doing it right.

Me: What do you mean, you're not sure how you feel about going?

My husband and I have been especially mindful of our childrens' need to be able to understand and acknowledge empathy, however, our parenting doesn't always necessarily translate well outside of the home...because PEER PRESSURE!

Glen: We want to go, but for the right reasons.

So I asked him for their reasons:

  • Birthday Boy visits everyone's lunch table, for a few minutes, every day.
  • On this particular day, he invited each of the kids to his birthday party.
  • He had a list of 21 kids (TWENTY ONE!) who accepted his invitation and said they would go...and then as soon as Birthday Boy left their table...they whispered to each other how...nah...they really weren't going.
  • Throughout the day, my son and his friends were asking around, you know, to see who was going (or not) to Birthday Boy's party.
  • None of them expressed any interest in actually going.

And the number one reason why my son and his two best friends actually went to Birthday Boy's party:

  • How would YOU feel on your birthday...if no one showed up...seriously?!?

Not including my son and his two best friends, four other kids were there and they ALL had a really great time -- especially, Birthday Boy!

Don't get me wrong. This is not a post about how I feel my son is better than your son (or daughter) and, quite frankly, the boy is especially gifted at driving his father and I bat-shit-crazy...more often than me.

Glen: You can blog about it, if you want to.

But because people are always so quick to point out how (or when) a kid should (or shouldn't) act...especially if he or she is not your's nice to hear whenever a teenager is NOT driving his parents bat-shit-crazy.

Glen: Because not ALL teenagers are like that.

Aaaaaaand, my son thought it was good to know -- me, too!

Glen: But...PLEASE...don't call it a sweet sixteen party!

Sometimes, these blog post titles just write themselves...YO!

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Blogtexting, Almost!

Upside: I figured out how to insert images into blog posts from my cellphone...FINALLY!!!

YAY!!!! And, SHEW!!! Should make my posting every day (like Casey does, because she's wicked-smaht, like that!) a little easier...I know, I know...just smile and pretend like it could happen, a'ight?!?

Next Up: Figuring out how to add a title and perhaps set it up so the blog post defaults to "draft" and does NOT publish before adding a title and maybe even a sentence or two, sigh.


So now I'm all aggravated and totally forgot what I was going to write about my son surprising us with these warm and awesomely awesome cinnamon crescent rolls he baked fresh for us, for dessert.

On second thought, enough said.

©2003 -2015 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! Also, I'm attempting to blog EVERY DAY in 2015, I hope it lasts! #TFH365

© This Full House 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

He's Army Strong, Mom's Still in Training

As a child, I remember reading about the Declaration of Independence in history class and quietly smiling to myself, thinking...THIS!...this is why my family is here.

"Mom, I want to enlist into the military."

But I cannot think of too many words, other than those my 15 year-old son has been saying, since he was 4 years-old, that can simultaneously fill my heart with joy AND feel as if someone or something is trying to dig its way out of my chest, one spoonful at at a time.

"I spoke with an Army recruiter during Career Day."

And yet, in the last few months, I have heard very little else.

"I told them I want to be an Army Engineer."

My heart is about ready to burst both with pride and dread, all over my face.

Glen and Uncle Bud
Glen at his Uncle Bud's deployment ceremony, 2004.

Here's the thing, encouraging my 4 year-old that...YES!...Army dudes are indeed awesome, is easy -- especially, since he idolizes his grandfather (my dad immigrated to the U.S. in 1956) and his favorite super hero happens to be my brother, Uncle Bud the Army dude.

"And I told them that I plan on joining ROTC, next year."

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

"I'd like to visit West Point, can we go?"

So, my husband and I took a road trip, with just our son.

Glen and Garth NHRN at West Point
Most gorgeous views of the Hudson River Valley, EVUH!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous, perfect fall day with temperatures in the 60's (my favorite!), but it was also a bittersweet day; for Garth (not his real name) and me, I mean.


Hudson River Valley
I have lots of pictures of trees, they comfort me.

This post has been in my head for a very long time. It's still very hard to put the words together, because this is not about politics (I'm not that smart) and I'm not looking for a philosophical debate on history or religion (I'm not that clever, or awake, probably).


Day out with our future soldier, he's been wanting to visit West Point since he was chin height.

A photo posted by Liz Thompson (@thisfullhouse) on Oct 10, 2014 at 10:26am PDT

I'm just a mom, who loves her child(ren) with every ounce of her being, who's trying...really, really raise my kids to be...well...MUCH smarter, than me.

Battle Monument at West Point
Battle Monument, West Point

Now that they're grown (mostly) and can pretty much think for themselves (see previous parenthesis), I can tell you EXACTLY what the hardest part of raising teenagers is: trying NOT to feel as if you're losing control of...well...every thing.

Glen and Me at West Point
We are smiling, AM SO!

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.

I'm not going to lie, I'm proud AND scared as hell, you guys.

BUT! I'm going to continue to try really, really hard to stay strong; even though I know, that my kids know, I'm about a backstroke away from drowning in my own feelings.

"Thanks for bringing me, this was a good day."

Because, in my head, I can't help but see him as that same little towheaded 4 year-old...running around...always with the running...wearing his favorite Power Rangers sneakers, pretending to be a super his Uncle Bud.

Fried Oreos
He's an evil child, this one!

Upside of raising teens: when they grow independent enough to cook for themselves and start making you fried Oreos and stuff...yo!

©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 2003-2017. All rights reserved.

Better late than never, admitting you have a problem, being late.

Like any other 15 year-old boy (at least, the teenagers I've had the pleasure of ignoring me) my son likes to sleep (a lot!) and can fall asleep, at a drop of a hat, standing up, with one arm tied behind his back and holding up a "Do not disturb!" sign with the other, if need be. He gets it from his father.

Glen and Holly hiking together, sort of.
Glen and Holly hiking together in the marshlands of NJ, sort of.

The boy is probably lagging behind or running perpetually late, for almost everything, too. Guess who he gets THAT from?!? G'head, I'll wait!!! Although his is more of a laid-back, slow and steady sort of late, while I'm frantically trying to finish up all the the same time...and probably doing it wrong, too...not to mention...SQUIRREL!!!! 

Aaaaanyway, I was going through some paperwork at my desk (alright, so I was filing stuff from last year, let's just pretend it was today's mail, okay?) and my son...slooooooooowly...pops his head in to let me know that he's home from school.

Although my neighbors could probably hear him barrel through our front door, anyway. This is also the kid who feels the need to identify himself when texting me...or calling me...on my phone.

"Hi mom, it's Glen, I'm home!"

See what I mean? 

"I have late dentention on Wednesday."

To be fair, my oldest ran late nearly every day when she was a freshman (and pretty much right through graduation), but go figure this would be the year the high school decides to crack down on lateness.

"But, before you say anything, I get it!"

[one beat, two beats]

"In my defense, it's dentention I owe from a while ago!"

I didn't ask if it was because he forgot that he owed detention from a while ago, because TEEN BOYS ARE ALSO SUPER-FORGETFUL and, well, I just happened to ask myself that same question...right now...because SQUIRREL!!!

©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 2003-2017. All rights reserved.