Exciting, frustrating, exasperating, frenetic, aggravating and thrilling, perhaps....but never dull.
My ex-husband Drew has a friend...a single father who was awarded primary custody of his one child, a duaghter who is now 18 and away at college. The young lady came home for Christmas. when she returned to school in early January, her father told Drew "I'm glad she went back to school, now my life can return to its peaceful routine." Drew was appalled.
But I understood.
Drew hasn't lived full-time with our daughters since they were toddlers. He has no idea how living with a teen -- especially an older teen -- can turn your world upside down.
Heck, mine can turn my world upside down with just one long-distance phone call.
Jen has decided to take one more step towards maturity and independence. She has decided to move off campus for her junior year.
I knew this was coming. Two years ago, at freshman orientation -- which took place in June, while she was actually still in high school -- the University's Director of Housing explained that there is very little dorm space available for upper classmen, and that most students are able to find decent rentals in the area and move off campus in their junior or senior year. And somehow I knew that my daughter would not be one to stay on campus, especially if all her friends were moving out.
Still, to actually be dealing with it...
there's a certain sense of security when your child lives in a dorm. You know that she's not dealing with her living arraingements all on her own. there will be a roof over her head, and she won't go hungry because she has access to the dining hall. You know that if she has issues with a roommate, she can have the Resident Assistant intervene, and if there's a truly horrible situation, the university will move her to another room. campus security will patrol the area. it's somewhat of a controlled environment -- I've heard of truuly awful things happening in dorms, but for the most part, a dorm is a safe place for a college student to live.
off campus housing is a whole different world. there's no one to act in loco parentis
I first heard about the plan to move off campus back in December. There were 5 of them, they'd looked at a house and wanted to rent it....but someone else put down a deposit first. Frankly, I didn't think they were taking the idea very seriously, didn't think they'd be able to cary it off.
Then came the phone call in early February..."Mom, I need a check for the deposit on the house ASAP..."
So I started asking questions...like "does the rent include utilities?" and "it's a furnsihed house, but what is actually included in 'furnsihed'?" "what happens if one of your housemates moves out, or doesn't pay the rent?" And the child was unable to answer ....
Buit the next day, my grown-up daughter called me back, told me "I spoke to the real estate broker, and she said...." and "if you want to look at the property, Mom, you can see it on the broker's website, it's...."
and then there was the laugh out loud moment.... when Jen called, the broker was on the phone with the parent of one of her prospective housemates. seems I wasn't the only parent who had many questions.
When you read this, I will be on vacation in the Caribbean.
WITHOUT MY CHILDREN!
I am celebrating a ...ahem...milestone birthday. My significant other and I have planned a romantic week aboard a cruise ship...I am sure a few margaritas and a bottle of wine or two will be involved....not to mention, some "boring" trips to Mayan ruins and rum factories...
The doors of the cage have opened, and the songbird is flying free.
Funny how your life changes, isn't it?
Ten years ago, for the last milestone birthday, I took a trip to Walt Disney World with my daughters. Jen was 9 and Becca was 7 and I was...at a very different place in my life. As a single mother who "lost" her children on alternate weekends, I couldn't imagine taking a vacation or celebrating a birthday without my kids. Every moment with them seemed all the more precious. So songbird and her chickadees spent 5 glorious days spending money I couldn't really afford at the Polynesian Resort, swimming in the volcano pool, watching the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, breakfasting with Cinderella and dining with Mickey Mouse. It was a glorious birthday.
But when I thought about how I wanted to celebrate this milestone, I realized the WDW days with my daughters were gone....at 19 and 17, their lives are very busy, they've got school and friends and plans of their own. I'm sure if I said "Let's go," they would...but it's just not the same as when they were little.
Ten years ago they were children, now they are young women. And I am facing an empty nest.
When Jen was born I figured out that she would graduate from high school in 2008. Two years later, when Becca was born, I calculated that she'd graduate from high school in 2010....and in 1992, that seemed so far away. Now it's here....and the years have simply flown by.
[song cue here: Sunrise, Sunset. Overused, of course, but so accurate.]
I figured, I could either mourn my lost youth, cry over the fact that my children are growing up and cringe whenever anyone mentioned the passage of time...or I could embrace this next stage in my life, celebrate the milestone and enjoy this new-found freedom that comes with seeing your children go off on their own.
I choose to embrace the changes. Bring on the next stage of my life. I am looking for a new adventure.
So I've spent the better part of 17 years as Becca's live-in chauffeur. There is no such thing as public transportation in our community, so children are completely dependent on their parnets for transportation. And gradually I slipped into the role of "car pool mom", the mom who is always available to drive not only her own children, but all of their friends, to the mall, the movies, whereever they hope to congregate.
That is, until I became her driving instructor -- and spent many months looking for that invisible brake. When you're teaching your child to drive, even though it's an adult activity, you're still in the role of parent.
And when she got her driver's license...well, she's been driving all over creation, but not with me in the car. She does not, however, have a vehicle of her own....unless you consider the purple two-wheeler I bought her when she was 8 a "vehicle". On weekends, Becca drives my car.
but it's different during the week. My car usually spends weekdays in the parking lot of the train station. I have a six minute drive to the station every morning, and a six minute drive home. And for the balance of the day, my car just takes up space.
Meanwhile, if Becca needs wheels...she enters into negotiations with her grandma. Becca would prefer her own car, of course, but she doens't really object to using my mom's Camry. So long as my mom does nto need her car, she will allow Becca to drive it.
But every so often, there comes a time when ...well, the car can't be in three different places at once, can it?
So one recent morning my mom drove me to the train station. But mom didn't pick me up that evening.
No, for the first time in my life....Becca was my chauffeur. There she was maneuvering though the parking lot along with some of the most aggressive drivers on the planet...and she managed just fine.
Not a bad week, I ate dinner at Olive Garden and still managed to lose a pound. Didn't get a chance to exercise this week -- too busy with other stuff -- but I did get a neat little gadget for the itouch -- a sensor to put in my sneaker when i work out so I can track my workouts by time, by distance or by calories burned.
As for the show....
the first hour...is a repeat of last week.
then the real deal begins. blue and yellow are back. only one team will stay on the ranch, and they will have immunity this week. blue had incredible weight loss, but yellow was even better and they get to stay. and they have the only vote at elimination.
glad to see Michael win immunity. even happier that red did NOT win immunity. sad for pink and the 2-pound disadvantage.
Miggy is a strong lady, even after major surgery she's still competing...but I still don't like her. still, her health issue explains her failure to lose weight last week. 24 hours after surgery she walked 13 miles...incredible.
then comes the workout...and Jillian dealing with Ashley's emotional issues.
workout over, it's time for the weigh-in.
we start with the yellow team. they ahve immunity, but it's their first weigh-in. they do OK.
next is Michael, also immune. he's well on his way to breaking records.
next up is pink, the team with the 2 pound disadvantage. they do well. even with the extra pounds, they have a good chance of being safe.
next up -- red. they need to have lost more than 13 pounds to stay safe. they lose only 9 pounds ....and pink team is safe.
ornage is up next...safe!
purple -- Stephanie loses 5 pounds and remains safe.
gray team needs to have lost more than 11 pounds....success.
black team's turn....and they are safe.
green team...Miggy...she had a hard week without Migdalia and with the surgery...she needs to have lost more than 3 pounds....she lost 5!
brown team is up....John needs to beat red team or he goes home....he needs to have lost more than 7 pounds...
he lost 6 pounds. no elimination vote, John goes home....
The house has become quiet...too quiet. Jen is back at school.
she left on January 24, after having spent more than a month at home for winter break. I must admit, there were times during the break that I wished she'd pack up and go back to school already. but when the day came....
You start saying goodbye to your children almost from the minute they're born. You're in the delivery room and a nurse takes your baby to wash and dress her...You send her to relatives, to babysitters, to school, to friends' houses, to camp....
But college is different. for the first time, you're not sending her off to be supervised by another responsible adult. Your child is now the "responsible adult," on her own and taking care of herself. And you have to trust her judgment. there are the inevitable phone calls home: "Mom, how do I....?" and "Mom, I need money for...." and occasionally "Mom, I want to come home!"
Jen is a second-semester sophomore now. in the last year and a half I've watched the child I gave birth to 19 years ago blossom into a mature, confident young woman. it's an amazing transformation.
the day before she headed back to school, I took her to lunch. and as we sat there chatting, I had to tell her "you are beautiful, Jen, and I don't mean on the outside..."
so she loaded up her car with clothes and groceries and etc., and drove back to school...
I started missing her the moment the wheels left the driveway.
Interesting week -- did well during the week, overlate like crazy on the weekend. never made it to the gym, either. still, when I got on the scale, my weight was lower than at the previous meeting -- a good thing.
As for the show....didn't see it Tuesday night, had to watch it on tape over the weekend. I must say....the red team is incredibly lucky, and incredibly stupid if they really think they're fooling anyone. and as for the green team...if I had the power I would have sent both of them home, they're both so negative and angry and antagonistic.