Summer is for Reruns – Rules For Parenting A Teen Edition

Continuing with the theme of being too lazy to write new stuff of showcasing my favourite posts from way, way, too long to mention ago, I thought we’d review some of the rules pertaining to parenting a teen. I have updated this post from November 2005 to reflect real names where necessary*, as it was originally written on my first blog, Desperate to be a Housewife, and back then I was hiding my family behind nicknames I no longer use in my writing.

Whether you’re in possession of a teen right now or are blissfully ignorant of their, well, sometimes ignorant ways (because you still have sweet, lucious, innocent and perfect little babies and toddlers) — I hope you’ll take note of these rules that never made it into the Original Parenting Handbook. You know, the one delivered to all of our houses by the stork? Along with the baby? Yeah, that handbook.

Something weird happened Monday morning…

While dropping Ashley off at school the other day, an odd thing happened. Perhaps I should say a REALLY odd thing happened. An event of epic proportions never before seen by a parent with a teenager on this green earth.

Ashley and Nita got out of the van with their usual, “thanks for the ride Mrs. P” and “thanks Mom!” Then they joined their friends that were just getting out of the truck in front of me. Because there was too much traffic in the parking lot for me to pull out immediately, I kind of just sat and watched the girls for a moment. Not to say I dared to look directly at them for more than about 2 seconds each…didn’t want to break parent/teen code [EEW6.4(a)]…but as I was glancing at Ashley’s friend Maggie who had just joined them…MAGGIE TURNED AROUND AND WAVED AT ME!!!

Now, Maggie is a great kid…a brilliant soccer player, a very talented singer (I’ll be there in line after her parents to buy her first single) and a beautiful girl. What I didn’t know about Maggie was her propensity to be lured by “the Dark Side”. I mean waving at a friend’s parent…an old person…in broad daylight? Was she not aware of this completely unacceptable social faux pas?

I’m only telling you this because I was made aware of the “waving” rule [NOT89.1(d)] very early in Ashley’s teen years…Grade 6 to be exact. I picked her up from school one day and the following conversation ensued:

Ashley getting into the van: “Don’t EVER wave at me again!”

Procrastamom: “What? I waved because I thought you didn’t see me.”

I saw you!

But you looked like you were looking all over the place for me. You walked by the van three times!

I saw you just fine. I was trying to ignore you…especially after you waved! You shouldn’t do that to me Mom, it’s embarrassing!

Does this mean the matching sweaters I just bought for you and me are out of the question?

Eew Mom, NO!

What about me picking you up from school in my housecoat and curlers? Is that out? Could we hold hands and skip maybe sometime? Or, next time you can’t find me, I could roll down the window and yell, “Over here Little Lamb!!!”

Oh my god…you are so weird…

So, you see, I’m totally schooled on the “waving” rule. There’s nothing like having a teenager to encourage you to bring yourself up to code.

Anyways, back to Maggie…after the initial shock of being waved at, then turning around a full 180 degrees in my seat to check that she wasn’t, in fact, waving at someone else (let’s see…cabdriver? nope, not him…geeky science teacher? nope…must be me then), I turned and waved back. Just one of those little, limp-wristed, dead fish waves. Just so I actually acknowledged I’d seen her…but not so enthusiastic that I embarrassed her…I mean, she’d just outed herself…Maggie the Pariah…who was I to make it worse?

My question is this. Do I call her parents and report this odd behaviour? Suggest intervention? Therapy? Because if it were Ashley I’d want to know…

(*Ashley’s friends names were changed to protect their privacy and to protect me from ending up as an example on one of those Hate Club Communitys on Facebook)

Summer is for Reruns – Anniversary Edition

Sunday the 27th was our wedding anniversary and the first time in 17 years that we hadn’t spent the day together. I was in Canmore reveling in the nuptuals of some close friends and Richard was home with the kids. Money Certain circumstances prevented us from all travelling together and I had quite a few moments of melancholy over the weekend when I stopped to remember that they weren’t all with me, enjoying the festivities.

We each got a text message for gifts (Him: HAPPY ANNIVERSARY — Me: U2 LOVE U!), which is appropriate because, apparently, there is no traditional “must-give gift” for a 17th anniversary.

I did decide that I want to renew our vows in our 25th year, so I only have 8 years left to plan for that. I’m sure I’ll get to it around July 26th, 2016. Oh yeah, also, I’d better tell Richard my plans before then…gah! I’m already overwhelmed!

Obviously, I didn’t write anything here for this anniversary, so I’ll take you way, waaaaay back to 2006 when I really tried to show Richard that I cared by writing more words than would fit on a text message:

15

I never needed love

Remember after we first met in grade 11, how we’d sit next to each other on the school bus with our knees touching? We’d share the earphones from your walkman and we’d listen to “When I’m With You” by Sheriff all the way to school. Rewind. Listen again. Rewind. And again.

Like I need you

Remember how you thought my name was Becky for a whole week after you met me? You were afraid to call me by name, because you weren’t quite sure if you’d heard me right when I introduced myself. Finally your sister told you that she was sure my name was Vicky and not Becky. You call me Vick. I prefer Vick.

And I never lived for nobody

Remember how you asked me to “go out” with you after that first dance in September 1988? I said, “yeah sure, I guess so.” You said something about your poor bruised ego. When you asked the question I was trying to act aloof. I really wanted to climb to the top of the highest roof and scream “yes! I want to be your girlfriend! I am so madly, deeply in love with you I could probably throw my body from this rooftop, if you’d just ask me again! Yes! And yes!

But I live for you

Remember how we’d spend hours and hours driving around in your dad’s truck, just talking? Even at 16 years old we had deep, meaningful conversations about our dreams for the future. How we wanted a family some day. How we were going to get married and be together forever. We knew all the way back then. We still have some of our best conversations in the car when we’re driving long distances. They’re some of my favourite times spent with you.

Ooh babe

Remember standing in the bathroom at your Mom’s house staring at that pregnancy test after our trip to Banff? Remember we cried, because we were only 19 and how were we going to do this? I remember feeling that first twinge of happiness too, because at that moment I knew there were now two people in my life to love. I thought you might have felt that way too. After Zeenee was born I knew. You give perfect Dads a bad name. You are the best one.

Lost in love is what I feel

Remember how we struggled financially those first years? We rolled pennies for milk. We worked for ridiculously low wages. We fought a lot. I finished school after Zeenee was born. Then you went to school so you wouldn’t have to spend your life working for minimum wage. You worked two jobs AND went to school! How did you live through that? How were you able to be such a good husband and father back then? You were. Things are so much better now, but I’ll never forget how hard you worked for us. I admire you for that.

When I’m with you

Remember July 27th, 1991? I wore an ivory maternity dress and you had a perm! At the Devonian Gardens in Calgary, in front of 50 friends and relatives, we promised to love, honour and cherish each other for evermore. So happy that day. I never thought I could be more madly in love with you than I was then. I am.

Maybe it’s the way you touch me
With the warmth of the sun
Maybe it’s the way you smile
I come all undone
Ooh babe
Lost in love is what I feel
When I’m with you

Happy 15th Anniversary Sweetie.

Vick

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Look — someone else is celebrating an anniversary too! Only Bossy has been MARRIED as long as we’ve been together. Happy 20th Miss B!

Goodbye Gumby

I prayed it was a sick, twisted joke perpetuated on Facebook. I didn’t want the rumours to be true. I would have accepted crying all these tears for nothing, lying awake, feeling grief. If only it hadn’t been true.

My daughter’s friend and soccer teammate passed away on the weekend due to an alcohol related incident. The messages were sketchy at first – text messages were passed along among friends, leading to emails, then phone calls – and the details of what happened are still vague. It appears that ‘S’ was drinking at a party on the weekend and passed out, later choking on her own vomit.

When I heard the news I couldn’t help picturing S’s Mother’s face first. I can’t imagine what this has done to her…I don’t want to think about it too hard. To wear her shoes would be impossible at this point. She must feel destroyed.

We called S “Gumby” because, when she played soccer, she seemed to be able to contort her limbs in defiance of both physics and gravity. She could be four feet to the right of where the ball was going to land, but she would manage to stretch her body over to that space and beat her opponent to the play, all the while still running at full speed. She was the most amazing soccer player I’d ever seen, whether she was playing forward or defense or even goalie. Our Gumby was a force! All of this AND she was a great sideline player, cracking jokes and laughing and cheering on her teammates while enjoying a water break.

These teenagers of ours, they are so full of light. They are SO FULL OF LIGHT! Contrary to popular belief they are not the morose, slacker, stereotyped beings we see on TV and in movies. I don’t claim to know this about all teens, but of the ones that I do know? I see this in all of them. They are full of ambition. They are incredibly social. They are good. It’s just that at this age (16-17) teens are stuck between the dependence they still have on their parents and families and the need for independence that’s pulling them out into the “real world”. They are still learning and it’s that pull that sometimes causes them to make mistakes. We just have to hope that most of these mistakes they make will cause minimal damage, because the way this went down is not the way I ever wanted my kids to learn a lesson.

Please do me a favour and hug your teenagers today. Hug them and tell them you love them, even if they squirm and complain. Let them know. I have hugged my Ashley so much this week. We have talked and remembered and cried.

Please also remember that teens WILL drink. They just will. Whether they continue to drink a lot is up in the air, but most every one of them will try it. So, while you’re talking to them about alcohol, while you’re reminding them that you don’t want them to drink, tell them about other dangers besides drinking and driving or public recklessness. Remind them to always lookout for their friends at parties. Heck, how about looking out for all other humans who are drinking? Tell them that someone who is passed out is not sleeping. Loss of conciousness should always be taken seriously and paramedics should be called immediately. They’re going to try new things, but maybe we can help to keep them safe in the process.

Rest in peace Beautiful and Talented S.

Eating my words

We spent Sunday on Vancouver Island, visiting with some friends from Calgary who were staying in Victoria for a wedding and short holiday. We took the ferry over in the morning and spent the day shopping and eating and catching up with our very good friends. Also, we finally got to meet their daughter who turned two at the beginning of July. Among the things I miss most about living in Calgary, friends are at the top of that list.

My friend Louisa and I spent a good part the day gabbing about Calgary. Me, gushing about how much I missed it and her listing it’s faults – it isn’t green like the West Coast, they don’t have the shopping that we do, the lifestyle isn’t as good, etc. I get to see it firsthand this weekend and judge for myself, as I’m driving with my parents tomorrow to a wedding in Canmore, then hitching a ride into Calgary with some friends and staying with Louisa until late Monday night when I fly back home. I’ve planned a big dinner outing with all of my good friends on Sunday night and I’m simply salivating in the fact that I get to see them again…I can’t wait.

Anyways, on the Ferry ride back Sunday night we were all too tired to move. Lucky for us, our car was parked at the front of the ferry, affording us the best view on the boat and leaving us with no choice but to leave our butts in the carseats as is, lay our heads back and enjoy the sunset. About an hour in, Richard took the kids upstairs to go to the bathroom and I got the sudden urge to pull out my camera and capture the Beauty for all eternity.

IMG_3692
IMG_3684

When my family got back to the van, I proudly showed Richard my work by flipping through the pictures I had taken. I gushed at the sunset, the beauty of the ocean, the colours in the sky. And that’s when my husband looked at me and said:

“How can you say that you want to go home when you have all of THIS on your doorstep?”

I don’t think I really do want to go home for good. I just need a little taste of Calgary every so often to remind me how truly lucky I am right now.

Does this happen at your house, too?

The remote for the TV in our Living Room has been missing since suppertime. Every couch cushion has been flipped and every chair searched under. I’ve investigated the bathrooms and the closets and I’ve even looked out on the back deck.

The TV has stayed off for this many hours because, while I’m willing to crawl around on my hands and knees looking for a little black rectangle of plastic, I’m certainly not going to be caught standing in front of the television changing channels and adjusting the volume MANUALLY like some lowly peasant from 1981. I’m also not in agreement with simply watching the television in the basement, because it is all the way down there and I am currently all the way up here.

So, tonight I’m noticing that there are other things to do rather than watching the goggle box. Did you know that people actually walk their dogs in an evening and that it’s still light out around here well after 8 o’clock? And that one can actually clean or blog or read a book, instead of watching reruns on the Home and Garden Channel (Location Location Location is my favourite)?

True story.

Five on a Friday

Teena at It’s All About Me! posted a Friday meme that looked like so much fun I just had to join in.

Your Top 5 Songs With Numbers in Title (can’t use the number 1).

(Initially, I couldn’t think of any other than Deepsix, so I whipped out my iPod and copied down any song that had a number in the title…that’s why there’s more than five songs here. That and I have a hard time following directions)

Deepsix – Matthew Good Band
Five Long Years – Colin James
Grade 9 – Barenaked Ladies
Song 2 – Blur
Summer of 69 – Bryan Adams
Switch 625 – Def Leppard
Two Steps Behind – Def Leppard
Zero- The Smashing Pumpkins
1979 – The Smashing Pumpkins
38 Years Old – The Tragically Hip
99 Ways to Die – Megadeath

Then I took it a step further (because I’ll do ANYTHING to avoid the month end reports sitting on my desk) and listed all the bands I had with numbers in the title:

Level 42
Eve 6
U2
4 Non Blondes
Seven Mary Three
Soul II Soul
Third Eye Blind
10,000 Maniacs
8 Seconds

Add any you can think of in the comments!

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PS: Hoping my friends down South and also up North have a great day off today celebrating Independence Day!

I’ve eaten lunch since I wrote this, so my blood sugar’s back on track

I have heartburn all the way down to my toes and the 48 Tums I have ingested this morning haven’t helped a wink. I don’t think the Costco Chimichanga I brought to eat for lunch is going to help things, but a Frosty from Wendy’s will probably go a long way towards healing. Blended with Oreos of course.

——————-

Having woken up three mornings in a row with a strange lump on the back of my neck (that drains by afternoon and seems to go away), I have been feverishly consulting Dr. Google all day. I guess if it concerned me the other two days, I should have been Googling back then, but hey! it was the Canada Day holiday and I had better things to do, like enjoying the high temperatures and eating gargantuan amounts of watermelon. Today I have nothing better to do but work, so OF COURSE there’s time for obsessing over WebMD. So far, I’ve managed to rule out Parkinson’s Disease, Lyme Disease and African Sleeping Sickness (No, not really, but that was House’s diagnosis of his patient the other night and my symptoms don’t exactly match hers. Okay, they don’t match at all. Also, she had blonde hair and I don’t).

Lymphoma was mentioned, but that’s extreme and my husband would only roll his eyes if I told him it was suspect. I have a leeeeetle problem with Hypochondria, especially when it relates to using my toe cancer as an excuse not to have sex. This is an undiagnosed disease that I’ve suffered from for almost seventeen years, since I got married in 1991, and it flares up at least once a week.

I think I’ve narrowed it down to the lump being caused by scratching at my scalp due to some dandruff I’ve had lately (TMI!) and causing a little infection of the lymph nodes. I’ll probably go to the doctor eventually, if I get a minute between taking my youngest to football practice three times a week starting tonight. Of course, I also left the buying of the football cleats to sometime between getting home from work tonight, cooking dinner, eating dinner, cleaning up from dinner and getting on the practice field by 7:00. I sure hope they have his size at 7-11.

See? I have no time to be sick anyways, so ignoring it is probably the easiest option.

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I’ll be dead soon anyways, due to my stupid neighbour who thought it would be considerate to run his very loud, muffler-less Harley for TEN MINUTES this morning at 6 a.m. before leaving for work. See, the next time he does it I’ll surely be sentenced to the electric chair for stealing that bike, repeatedly running over his junk with it and then sticking the handle bars up his nose for good measure!

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