Summer Update – One Down…

… two to go.  Months, that is.  Seriously.  This is insane!  Have you looked at the calendar?  It is June 24th already!!!

Today we are officially one full month into our summer vacation.  And we have been doing lots of summery things… staying up too late to catch lightning bugs or looking for the super moon, grilling everything we get our hands on, enjoying the summer brews, spending our afternoons running through the sprinkler and swimming at the pool.  But, at the same time, we have also been adhering to quite a full schedule, which does not seem the least bit summery to me.

Kid A just left yesterday for four weeks in the Governor’s Honors Program.  She already traveled to the beach and New York City with friends for a week.  Kid B just returned from five days at goalkeeper camp, and she is in the final week of a three-week-long summer bridge program (so she can get her driver’s permit this Fall).  Oh, and she is signed up for another soccer camp at the high school during the evenings this week.  And remember that we drove to Alabama for that regional soccer tournament as well.  Kid C earned a promotion to dancing en pointe, so she hasn’t stopped her twice weekly classes.  And last week she attended a summer intensive dance program from 10AM – 4PM every single day.  That’s nuts, right?  How did this become our relaxed, summer schedule?

In the past, I would put my foot down and we didn’t do camps or activities or much of anything in the summertime.  We just watched movies, read books and hung out at the neighborhood pool.  Then we would spend a glorious week at the beach.  I soaked it up like the summer sun, because doing nothing can be quite fabulous.  And I truly believe it is therapeutic and necessary, especially because it seems as if we do all of the things during the regular school year.  But, as the kids have gotten older, things have changed and we don’t seem to get as much down time, even throughout the months of June, July, and August.  Sports and school and their social lives have all gotten so much more intense.  Out of necessity and albeit grudgingly, I have adjusted.

But the boys are a different story.  They are still young and I can get away with keeping their summer schedules blankety-blank, just as I like it.  While the older three are off practicing for college and soccering and dancing, the boys and I are doing a whole lot of summertime nada.  Kid D has been playing real and virtual ball (all of the kinds) outside and inside and Kid E learned/ is still learning how to swim on his own.  It has been really fun, even the “I’m bored!” parts.  But then they both got super complain-y all of a sudden.  It took me a while before I realized they might be sick.  In the summertime.  Who does that?

So then I had to add a doctor’s visit to the calendar, but fortunately the doctor figured out that both of them were being so whiny because they had sinus infections.  Or maybe allergies.  Whatever… please just fix them.  So the doctor sent us to the pharmacy to treat both possibilities simultaneously.

We had to wait for our order, so I made my way to the foot care section (I needed toe spacers for Kid C’s newly acquired foot pain obsession due to dancing atop her toes… that’s crazy difficult, y’all!), and the boys followed me there.  This year Kid E also learned/ is still learning how to read.  Conveniently, the feminine products share real estate in the foot care aisle (I was not aware that the vagina bone’s connected to the foot bone.  Mental note to discuss a more logical store organization with CVS.)  While I was determining which gel product would best keep my baby from getting bunions, I hear Kid E yelling to me from just a yard away.

“Mom, what are max pads?”

I completely and blatantly ignore him.

“Mom!  I mean, what are MAX-eye pads?  What are they, Mom, huh?  What are they for?  Max-EYE pads.”  He started getting louder.

“Nothing.  They are for nothing you need to know about, ” I whisper.  I’m so not in the mood for this.  I would so much rather be feet in the sand, face toward the sun right now.

Kid D is all of a sudden interested in this conversation too.  “No!  They are not max-eye pads, they are maxi pads!  See, it says ‘maxi pads,’ not ‘max-eye’ pads.  Mom, what are maxi pads?  Look at how big the package is!  What are they, Mom?  This box is huge!”

I hear all of the people in the pharmacy snickering as I navigate this minefield.  Thanks for the solidarity, sisters.  I guess I’m on my own.

“They are grown up lady woman things that you do not need to know about today.  Put them back on the shelf now and stop yelling, please.”

Kid E becomes incredulous.  “I just want to know what they are for!  Just tell me what the max-eye pads are for, Mom!  I just want to know!  Tell me!  Tell me, please!”  More blatant laughter from the traitors in the pharmacy.

Simpler summer times… no schedules, no camps and no boys asking questions about girls getting their periods

I quickly calculate that I have two choices here.  I can go for shock and awe, or I can distract.  And although I consider myself one of the hardcore members of the fan club for the former, I have not yet gotten my full summer recharge and I am not up for speeches and questions about tampons versus pads.  So, I opt for the lazy choice – the latter.  I chose a complete and utter cop-out.

“Hey, didn’t I see water guns at the front near the gum?  Why don’t you boys go pick out some squirters and we can play with them once you feel better.”

Fortunately, they run off without any more questions and I am spared continued awkwardness for the moment.

I do, however, plan to look into summer camps for these boys as soon as possible.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Braden’s Memorial – Part Two

I spent all last week thinking about what I would say at Braden’s memorial service.  Interspersed with my bouts of crying, I would have thoughts pop into my head… memories I wanted to share or things that I felt would be important to say.  It was meant to be a celebration of his life, so it was not supposed to be all sad and weepy.  But I couldn’t get up there and recite dirty limericks either.  I was struggling to find a balance.  Plus, I had written a blog post on Tuesday called Remembering Braden that several people had already read, and I felt it was important to say something new.

I am most comfortable writing here on WordPress, so that is what I decided to do.  On Friday night I forced myself to sit down and write a “post” about Braden.  I figured that I could practice speaking it, but I could always fall back on reading it if I got too choked up at any point.  Plus, Kid A would be up there with me and she could always help me out if I needed it.  Unless she started cursing again.  Jeez.  I wonder where she gets that from?

So, here is the gist of what I said at Braden’s memorial last Saturday…

I remember the first time that Kid A mentioned Braden to me… we were driving in the car.  It was Summer 2011, and she started telling a story about some friends from Chattahoochee… Emily, (who had just graduated) and her boyfriend, Jared, and another boy who was his best friend.  And the way she told the story, I just knew that she liked this other boy.  So I paid attention.  She told me a little bit about him… that he was smart and funny and good looking and he had a job and he was on the cross country team and he was the oldest of six kids (Is his mom out of her mind?) and (she hesitated)… he was almost 18 and going to be a senior.  Keep in mind… Kid A was just 15 years old at the time.
 
Shortly after that was the very first time that I met Braden… it was still summertime and I was down in our basement playing video games with my boys.  Donkey Kong had just died somewhere on the eighth level and I may have yelled out a curse word at the television.  No sooner had I done that, then Kid A came walking down with Braden trailing behind her.
 
Braden spent a lot of time with our family.  I kind of insisted on it because he was this almost 18-year-old boy dating my baby girl.  Sheepdog cleaned his guns a lot more often when Braden was over, but quickly we came to see that he was a very respectful young man who cleared his plate after dinner and played with our other kids and doted on Kid A.  But then my Mom Radar was up and flashing because I figured he was just putting on a show so we didn’t send him packing (or shoot him, in Sheepdog’s case).
 
As time went by, we got to know the real Braden. It turned out that he was a pretty awesome kid. He knew good music.  He got a lot of movie references that Sheepdog and I made.  He read books and was actually interesting to talk to.  And even though Braden eventually stopped clearing his plate from the dinner table (don’t worry – I always made him go back and do it), I was happy that Kid A chose such a good egg to be her boyfriend.
 
Soon we met Stacy (Braden’s mom) when the kids went to Homecoming and then Steve and Heidi (Braden’s dad and his fiancée) when Braden played the Chief in Cuckoo’s Nest, and we met his sisters and brothers too.  Braden loved to tell funny stories about all of the wild adventures of his big, crazy family, and it was nice to put faces to the names.  He regaled us with tales of family and friends from all over… Pennsylvania and Nebraska and Georgia and Florida and DC.  So, yes… I know all of your dirty, little secrets, friends!  I actually think that is why he fit in so well with our family… we are big and crazy too.  Family was so important to Braden.  We talked about it often… how much he wanted to have a big, crazy family of his own one day.
 
Over time, Braden’s passion for everything became more and more evident.  Football season got into full swing and he was excitable, to say the least.  Our second oldest daughter, Kid B, was very much into soccer and she and Braden started watching European league games together.  I never realized that there was anybody louder and more fanatic than football fans, but I was wrong!   And do not get Braden started on politics or social issues.  Sometimes he would get so wound up about an issue, I would take an opposing stance just to see how fired up he could actually get.  It was kind of fun.
 
But Braden wasn’t perfect.  He was sometimes sullen and sarcastic and moody… because he was a teenager.  And then he got his first car… The maroon BMW.  Oh, how he loved that car.  And then he crashed that car and he got sullen and moody again.  Teenagers.
 
Then came that awful day… March 2, 2012.  I had gone to get my hair done… I have a lot of gray hair from an 18-year old dating my baby girl, so I was in the chair for a couple of hours.  When I got done, I checked my phone.  It had blown up… I had a bunch of texts and phone messages from Braden and his dad and his mom.  I knew that Braden had been feeling really sick and his grandfather, Walt, was going to take him to see a doctor.  When Stacy told me the news, I was in shock.  I remember emailing my dad, who was out of the country at the time, “How in the world do I tell Kid A that her boyfriend has leukemia?”
 
I will tell you, after those first few days of haze and confusion and denial, after reality started to set in, everybody rallied.  Stacy and Steve, friends, family, people in the community… it was an amazing thing to see.  And there was Braden, this 18-year-old kid who had just been told he had cancer and that his white blood cell count was so high that he should not have even survived the night, and he was still really positive.  He was passionate that he would beat the leukemia and that he would go to college and eventually get married and have a family, just like he had always planned.  And with so many people supporting him and a great team of doctors and nurses in his corner, we all believed he had a really great shot.
 
The next fourteen and a half months had many ups and downs… the roller coaster ride of cancer.  Hospital rooms and tests and procedures and more tests and doctors and then the bone marrow transplant from his very brave sister, Maddie.  And then good numbers from tests and every time he got sprung from that dreaded 4th floor, it was such a celebration!  It was joyful!  Oh, how I hope I never have to smell that awful hospital soap again.
 
But after the summer ended and most of Braden’s classmates went off to college, I saw things get harder for him.  He struggled with staying positive.  His body had been beaten up by the cancer and also the medicines that are supposed to knock the cancer out, but his mind started to get tired too.  Don’t get me wrong… he was still passionate.  Did anybody get on Facebook during the presidential election?  Am I right?  He always had something to say about something, and I loved that about him, even when he voted for Obama.
 
But by his 19th birthday, I saw less of a light in his eyes.  He felt it coming.  He told me after he blew out the candles on his cake that he knew it would be the very last birthday he celebrated.
 
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Braden changed then.  He became much more contemplative.  He had a lot of time to sit and think and he didn’t waste it.  He thought about what he wanted after he was gone.  We talked about things at length over the last few weeks… about hopes and dreams and fears and regrets and wishes for the future.  He became much wiser than any teenager.  He kept saying, “This is what I want for my dying wish…” and I was like, “How many dying wishes do you think you get, pal?” 
 
His answer was always, “Unlimited.”
 
So, I give to you now the things that Braden wished for…
 
He wished for his sisters and brothers to go to school and to try hard and do well – because you are all smart and super talented.  Specifically, he wanted Cameron to take all of those AP classes.  No excuses.
 
He wanted his mom and dad to find happiness within themselves and the strength to help the family move on.  He wanted you to continue to create family memories, both together and separately.  
 
He wanted the family to tell Eric about him as he grows up.  As a matter of fact, he wanted us to talk to everybody about him all the time, so no one would forget him.  
 
He wished for Kid A to go off to college and get married and have that big, crazy family of her own some day.  
 
He wished that the rest of his family and all of his friends will go on to live happy, healthy and productive lives.
 
He wished that Jared and Emily would just go to Europe and shut up about it.  
 
He wanted us to look out for each other because he knew we’d all be sad after he was gone.  He wished for us to accept that some things we have control over and some things we just don’t.  He wished that we would live up to our potential and make the most of every day we have in this life.  
 
Do big things and do them with passion.
 
Do them for Braden… to honor his memory and to celebrate his life that came to an end much too soon.
 
Braden memory card

You Are My Mother

My three sisters and I usually go in together on group gifts for all of the major holidays.  This Mother’s Day was no exception.  We got Mom a new beach cart – sweet, right?

The deal is that we also send her our own cards.  However, I frequently forget to mail mine.  This Mother’s Day was no exception.  To make up for it, I wrote my mother a song, sung to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine,” originally recorded in 1939 by the Pine Ridge Boys from Atlanta, with a copyright 1940 by Peer International Corporation, words and music by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell.  P.S.  I’m going to butcher all of that right now.

You Are My Mother by Stacy Swiger

The other night, mom, as I lay (not) sleeping
I dreamt I mailed your Mother’s Day card
But when I awoke, Mom, it was still on the counter
So I hung my head and I cried
 
You are my mother, my only mother
You make me happy (well, most the time)
You’ll never know Mom, how much I love you
Because I forgot to mail your lovely card
 
I’ll always love you, because you’re my mom,
You grew me in your baby oven
You changed my diapers, you kissed my boo-boos
You were the first to give me unconditional love(n)
 
You are my mother, my only mother
You make me happy (well, most the time)
You’ll never know Mom, how much I love you
Because I forgot to mail your mediocre card
 
You taught me so much, like “please” and “thank you”
You taught me how to write my name
You taught me how to cook, and bake, and sew things
You showed me that having kids can drive a mom insane
 
You are my mother, my only mother
You make me happy (well, most the time)
You’ll never know Mom, how much I love you
Because I forgot to mail your bush-league card
 
You survived my teen years, then planned my wedding
You watched my kids when I went back to work
I am so sorry for the times I hurt you,
When I was selfish, annoying, or a jerk
 
You are my mother, my only mother
You make me happy (well, most the time)
I’m telling you now Mom, how much I love you
Oh, I’m so happy I never mailed that effing card!
 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM!

 
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A Mother of a Holiday

“That’s it!”

“I have had ENOUGH!”

“I am not going to put up with you ingrates any more!”

“If I have to say it one more time, my head will explode!”

“OK, I’m done.  You have broken me.  Are you happy now?”

So, it’s been fun at our house the past few days.  Please, sense my extreme sarcasm.  I have said all of the above, or comparable paraphrases, at least once in the past 24 hours.  I don’t know if it is a full moon rising or shark week right around the corner, or what, but I am a right angry mother.

Kid D has been home sick all week.  It is not his fault that he is sick, but for-the-love-of-all-things-holy, why do boys have to be so freaking needy when they are sick?  It is a cough and some mild puking.  It’s nothing to get in a kerfluffle about.  I realize that the whining is a genetic male defect, and I know that you’re bored, but please let me sit on the toilet without you knocking on the door so you can tell me that Craig Kimbrel had his 100th save against the Giants last night, and he’s the second youngest pitcher in the MLB to do it, and you’re hungry for something but you just don’t know what.

And Kid E has decided to stop sleeping through the night again.  For no reason.  He says he gets lonely.  I’m too tired to even come up with a response to that.  The broken sleep thing kills me.  There is not enough coffee in the world (especially when Sheepdog and Kid A take the very last K-cups in the house) to fix me right the next day.

And the girls are in full-on battle mode with each other.  Kid C came to me and complained that Kid B is a tyrant.  They share a bathroom, and Kid B has apparently set forth some rules that Kid C does not necessarily agree with.  They fight over time limits in there, closed doors and lights.  This morning Kid C was straightening her hair in the dark so as to not awaken the Kraken.  They fight about who left what in the shower.  And Kid A and Kid B constantly fight over clothes (clothes that NONE of them ever put away after I have lovingly washed, folded and delivered to their rooms each week, even after I have reminded them daily).  I tell them they have to learn to figure it out on their own, otherwise they will get eaten alive in a sorority house or in the workplace with dudes or on the playground with the other mommies when they grow up.  Stand up for yourself, but be kind and thoughtful to the people around you at the same time.  But nobody listens to me.

Until I have had enough.  Then they all had better lend an ear.

It got so bad with Kid A that I gave her a Come to Jesus in the kitchen when she got home yesterday.  She has had a really rough year, but enough is enough.  Enough with the disrespect.  She is dismissive to the other kids and rude to me, unless she wants something.  Her phone, laptop and car are all up on the block for repossession if things don’t improve ASAP.  She is never home and when she is, she is usually disagreeable.  To a degree she is “just being a teenager,” but there are some behaviors that are simply not acceptable.  So the rest of the kids got dressed down last night or this morning as well.

Did I mention that Sheepdog is in California for work and some biking?

Motherhood is hard.  There are no instructions or rules, so you just have to make stuff up as you roll along.  And not only do I second guess some of my decisions, but everybody else around me does as well (don’t worry… I most likely judge you right back).

Also, motherhood never ends.  You have to do it when you are sick, or tired, or sick and tired.  You have to do it on weekdays and holidays (even the federal ones).  Sometimes you have to do it when you husband is on a business trip, or crappier yet – sometimes moms have to do it all alone.

This is getting really negative.  I need to make a U-turn.

There are also a ton of rewarding things about motherhood.  I can’t articulate any of them right now, but deep down I know that there are a lot of great reasons to purposely choose motherhood as your life sentence.  There really are.  I swear.

OK, not such a great effort, so I’m heading back to my rant.

Do you know what I really hate?  I hate Mother’s Day.

There, I said it.

I hate all of the commercialism, the flowers (dead in a few days) and the cards ($5.99 for folded paper, really?) and the candy (did you not see me struggling to work out every day this week?).  I hate the stress of coming up with the perfect gifts to let my mom or mother-in-law know just how much they mean to me.  I hate that dads and kids are forced to create a perfect day for moms on this randomly designated Sunday in May, because it rarely rises to meet the mark – for the dads, the kids or the moms.  I hate that my annual trip out of town over the second Sunday in May (Mother’s Day – Run Away and No, He Didn’t!), got canceled again due to scheduling conflicts.

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So, here’s what I propose.  Get rid of Mother’s Day.  It is too much pressure on everybody involved.  Nobody has a relationship with their mother that is simple enough to be tied up with wrapping paper and a bow, and everyone involved knows it.  Just make sure to tell your mom (and any mom, for that matter) how great you think she is, whenever the thought strikes you.  You don’t have to save it for any particular day.  Crappy jewelry turns green or goes out of style; a compliment is forever.

And maybe you could also put away your clothes, stay in your own bed, don’t talk back, and be nice to your sister.  Oh, and get well soon, Kid D.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Happy Birthday, Kid A!

Seventeen is the atomic number of chlorine.  It is the seventh (lucky) prime number.  When you turn seventeen you can see an R-rated movie or donate blood.  It is the year when Harry and the other wizards came of age.  “Seventeen” is a song by the band Winger.  And it is the total number of syllables in a haiku (5+7+5).

Today is Kid A’s 17th birthday, so this one’s for her…

Born in a blizzard.
Middle name rhymes with “fire.”
You made me a mom.
Parenting Experiment #1

Me with Parenting Experiment #1, January 1996.

Happy 17th Birthday, Kid A!

I love, love, love (most of the time) navigating this crazy, winding path of mother and daughter with you.  My birthday wish is that you will always remember what brings you peace and happiness, and that you make time for whatever it is each and every day.  I love you unconditionally, forever and ever.  xo Mom

Happy 2013!

Hello, friends!  Oh, how I have missed you all.  And I have missed writing my stories, but you know the drill… December is a big, fat, hairy beast.  And it defeats me every single year.  It is my white whale (Call me Five Baby Mama).

I did my best to make our holidays uncomplicated, yet memorable.  Full of quality family time, but not so much that we feel the need to move to a deserted island with no forwarding address afterwards.  I did the planning and decorating and shopping and wrapping and delivering in small increments all month long so I wouldn’t be stuck down in the basement at 2AM on December 24th with nothing but scotch tape holding my eyelids open while I tried to assemble some crazy plastic contraption with more parts than there are letters in the Chinese alphabet.  But December still got the best of me.

The kids started getting sick back at Thanksgiving.  I have hand-outs from our pediatrician with the following titles… the stomach flu, croup, infectious mononucleosis, and pneumonia.  Fortunately, there was no cross-contamination and everyone got their own special disease.  Trust me, that did not happen by accident!  And they were all sick at different times, so the “sickiness” seemed to last forever.  A big shout-out to Kid B for staying healthy!

Then came December 14th and my heart broke so hard and loud that I felt it on the outside of my body.  I don’t normally watch the news because it feeds my anxieties in a very unhealthy way, but no one could escape the horror story.  My tears did not stop falling.  They still haven’t.

Then came Christmas Eve and our new family tradition of Chick-Fil-A and peppermint milkshakes, and our old traditions of Sheepdog re-telling the story of Jesus’ birth and me reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and putting out a note and cookies for Santa.  Our Christmas morning was full of smiles and hugs and Skype and wrapping paper and joyful noises.  We are very, very, very blessed.

Kid A asked Santa for a vintage typewriter for Christmas.  The Big Guy delivered an awesome one with keys en Espanol

Kid A asked Santa for a vintage typewriter for Christmas. The Big Guy delivered an awesome one with keys en Espanol.  Click, Clack, Moo (egg nog).

Then, since I couldn’t manage to get out of it, we had Christmas dinner for thirty people at our house.  No, I’m not kidding.  We had to find thirty places for thirty heineys to sit and eat.  And we managed to pull it off!  So on the night of December 25th, Sue, Tom, Bonnie, Joe, Tooker, Josh, Stacy, Ellie, Braden, Molly, Abby, Cal, Cam, Keri, Charlie, Foster, Luke, Nora, Rob, Kelli, Wilson, Phoebe, Mallory, Quincy, Brandon, Becky, Brady, Cooper and Eden all listened (most without giggling, although Brandon always fails at this) as Reverend Bob gave the blessing.  Then we sat down and ate together and laughed and shared stories and memories and made some new ones too.

And speaking of holiday memories… one of my biggest projects this December came in the form of a request from my dad.

Many, many years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, he fell deeply in love with a girl named Sue Speed.  He loved her so much that he asked her to marry him when they were just nineteen years old.  And being a dumb boy, he did it in a fairly unplanned, unromantic way… in the backseat of a car, with his pregnant teenage sister and her baby daddy up front driving.  In the middle of the Cardiff Circle.  Luckily, Sue Speed loved him back so much that she said YES anyway, and they have been together ever since.

But my dad has always regretted not having proposed with more style (partly because my mom tells him he should).  So, this Christmas he had my cousin Ashley design my mom a fabulous new ring, with both old stones and new ones too, and he asked for his daughters’ help in planning a new and improved proposal that would knock her socks off.  And we did it.  We gathered together as many old (and some new) pictures of our family’s Christmas memories and I put together a DVD that showed them off and then featured our Top 10, with Number 1 being the lame proposal (which we so fabulously re-created using Rob and Kelli as “Uncle Bobby” and “Aunt Janice”), and at the end my dad turned to the camera and asked for a re-do.

We played the DVD on Christmas Day when all thirty of us were gathered together and at the end my dad walked over to my mom and re-proposed.  He got down on one knee and talked about everlasting love and still getting excited to see her when he was driving home from work every day and it was sweet and romantic and my mom thought he was nuts.  Luckily, she still loves him back so much that she accepted once again.

So, here for your viewing pleasure is the fruit of my labor and a peek into our crazy family antics…

And then I recorded the new proposal…

I am so proud to be a part of this big, goofball family.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Here’s to happiness and health in the new year.  Wish me luck in 2013…

The Going Out Speech

Kid B went to a party in the neighborhood last weekend. She had another friend from school with her. They spent hours getting ready upstairs. I’m talking pedicures on their toes, trying on all their clothes. I asked if they needed a ride to the clubhouse when they were finished.

“No!… I mean, thanks, but we can walk from here.”

ALARMS!!! SIRENS!!! JINGLE BELLS!!! SPIDEY MOM-SENSE TINGLES!!!

My educated guess is that they were meeting up with some boys on the way to the party. Harmless enough. I remember making out with a boy or two playing spin the bottle in eighth grade, and I had waaaaaaay more freedom to roam around my hometown during those years. As long as they weren’t brushing their teeth with a bottle of Jack first, right?

But as more memories came flooding back of the things my thirteen and fourteen-year-old self thought and did, I decided that I should at least say something to them before they headed out for their night of (hopefully) harmless antics (after first doing a casual breath check for alcohol). They were clear so I gave them my standard going out speech:

“Girls, look at me and listen when I tell you this. When you go out this door, you are not only representing yourselves but you are representing this family as well. Have a good time, but also behave in a way that makes you proud of your actions. Don’t be whores.”

Kid B shook her head in acknowledgement (and a touch of embarrassment, as I had just yelled “whores” out the garage door and into the night) and her friend asked if she could have my spiel on an index card. I had given them a similar pep talk on Halloween night before they all went out trick-or-treating, so she knew the drill. She claimed that my speech made her feel cared for and good. Or she was making fun of me. Either way, at least the sentiment of being loved and worthy of self-respect was in their consciousness as they walked down the driveway.

I realize that soon my going out speech for Kid B is going to have to change a little. I recently included an aside on “not having sex in the basement guest bedroom” in one of my soliloquies to Kid A. At one time or another I will more than likely refer to the following… cheating, grinding, alcohol, 3rd base, sexting, skipping school, making out with teachers, shoplifting, prescription drugs, illegally downloading music, unprotected sex, meth, unprotected sex while on meth, vandalism, eyeballing, “No” means “No,” drinking and driving, and fashioning bongs from household items… and that’s just a warm up.

For the record, I am against most of those things.

But even though the topics that I cover (mostly for shock value and quite often ripped off from a recent episode of Glee) may vary and I may be a hypocrite for telling them not to do those things and they may or may not follow my sage advice, my kids (and their friends) will always know that they are important and special and that I care enough to yell “whore” out into the dark night for them.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

"Son, unless you are always wearing a hoodie, you'd better keep your bird in the cage.  I tell you this because I love you." Photo: Yahoo Images

“Son, unless you are always wearing a hoodie, you’d better keep your bird in the cage. I tell you this because you are important and I love you.” Photo: Yahoo Images