Don’t Let Your View Above the Clouds Cloud Your Judgment

 

IMG_6149How many times have we heard, “the sky’s the limit”?

According to the President of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, the sky is not the limit.

Hmmm…

That was the sales pitch we got a year ago when looking for schools for my son, Richard.  Sold.  How can you beat that pitch?  Especially, when your son wants to spend his life above the clouds?

Well, I blinked and here we are.   Dropping my first born off at college. 

My home in Dallas will be quieter without you.  I will miss hearing you play the guitar even with that amp on its highest volume.  I will certainly miss watching you play hockey.  I will miss you coming home during the school day so I could make lunch for you and your friends.  I will miss your smile.  I will miss your hugs.  I will miss my money.  Kidding.  Just making sure you’re actually reading this.  I will miss you arguing with me about nearly everything.  I will miss you.  I will miss those blue eyes.  I have my own soul searching to do trying to figure out how my life is going to change without seeing your handsome face all the time even though I saw less and less of it as your friends got more and more of your time.  It’s ok.  I get it.  Friends are important. 

I teared up looking at the packed bags on your bed at home.  So much stuff.  No way all those bags would fit on your bed.  It’s not as simple as packing for camp.  One trunk would do for those 4 weeks but this is 4 months.   I’ve got 4 hockey bags full of clothes, and towels, and pillows and shoes, and, most importantly, a framed picture of you, me, and your dad taken on your first day of kindergarten. 

That was 13 years go.  Can’t decide if thirteen is a lucky number or not.

These past thirteen very short years have been full of love, life, adventure, heartache, and a quite a few lessons learned.  One being a hangover.  You didn’t actually think you would get through high school without a hangover, did you?  I would certainly rather you feel that pain for the first time in my home versus your dorm room. 

Knowing you are off on your own for the first time in your life, I want you to have fun but I also want you to use your wise mind and not your emotional mind when making important decisions.

Why would I make the distinction of the two minds?

Many decisions we make with our emotional mind, we tend to regret.  Decisions made using your frontal lobe (also known as your wise mind) will serve you far longer.

Please use your wise mind when you drink.  As your mind starts to relax and your wise mind goes away, PLEASE be careful.  Drinking impairs your ability to make smart decisions.  When you’ve had enough, just go home and go to bed.  Only you will know when enough is enough.

Drinking happens in college.  I get it.  I had my fair share of fun.  I’m sure you know this but drinking can invariably lead to sex.  And, yes, sex is inevitable in college.  I’m not saying don’t do it.  Because I’m not one to stick my head in the sand and ignore what’s really going on.  It’s okay.  Do it.  Have fun.  Enjoy the moment.  I want you to have fun but not at the expense of another person.  I know I’m a broken record and you’re sick and tired of hearing me say this but it’s IMPORTANT to remind you…

So PLEASE remember these three things…

She must be of age which is AT LEAST 18.

She must consent.  And don’t forget that an inebriated woman CANNOT consent to sex.  And, finally, wear a condom.  I’m not ready to be a grandmother and Robert is too young to be an uncle and I need to focus on getting the girls through high school.   Not a grandchild. 

Condoms help prevent sexually transmitted diseases.  Let’s not get one.  If you were to get one of the more popular STD’s like herpes, that will be your roommate for the rest of your life.  And, one, you won’t want to hang with forever.

I could spend the rest of this blog telling you to go class, to study, to get good grades, to eat well and forgo the 3am urge to shovel down a pizza but you already know all this.  You’re more of a sushi kind of guy anyway.  Better hope they have it at the school cafeteria.  And, on that note, you better get used to the school cafeteria as that is where you will eat most of your meals.  Not the best food but you’re now on a budget.  And, I’m guessing sushi won’t be on that budget.  Learn to eat Ramen.  I did.

So much going on in this head of mine right now.  I just want you to make smart decisions.  It’s up to you to be the best man you can be.  I can’t go to class for you.  I can’t study for you.  I can’t fly those planes for you because you know full well I’m scared to fly.

I’ve spent the past 18 years trying to raise a confident and, more importantly, empathetic young man.  But I didn’t do this alone.  I had your father right there next to me raising you together.  Divorced or not, we raised you as a team.  As a family.  We have done all we can. It is with a heavy heart that I am giving you my blessing to go soar above those clouds because in my heart of hearts, i know that is where you belong.  It’s your new home.  My home will always be your home but I understand it’s your time to soar.  

Don’t forget, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.”  Your father and I have given you all the necessary tools in life to make it on your own.  You’ve been given more than I was ever given and I’m not referring to material things. 

Now, is your time to soar.  To fly above the clouds.  To make a difference in this world.  “Oh the places you will go”…

Caught in the Middle on a Travel Day from Hell

lil rich plane lean

We’ve all had travel days from hell.  The days with delays, temperamental people, bad coffee, more delays, and terribly bland food (apparently, salt is on the no fly list).  The list goes on and on.  Not to mention the joys of TSA.  Isn’t that a book?  “The Joy of TSA.” Oh wait.  It’s “The Joy of Sex”.  Not “The Joy of TSA.”

So, I’m running late.  Nobody’s fault but mine.  I own that.  But let’s hit every snag possible on my already late morning.  Who doesn’t love a 7 am flight?  I’m on the verge of missing my flight and don’t particularly want to hang out in Orlando all day long.  I already spent way too much time with Mickey and friends in my past life as a mother of toddlers and little humans.  Luckily, my 17 year old has outgrown Disney.  Besides, we were there for his first college visit.  Nothing wrong with your child wanting to go to an aviation school close to the beach.  I’m not discouraging it.

I digress.

Did I mention I haven’t had my coffee yet?  That will be my first stop after TSA hell.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  I mean metal detector.  Right?

Gotta love a cavity search of your dignity.  First me, then my bag.  Nothing better than enduring the indignity of having EVERYTHING taken out of my bag just to toss out one thing.  My deodorant.  Oh Hell.  An aerosol.  I forgot.  So, let’s take everything out for all to see and just leave it there on the table.  Luckily, the TSA agent was successful in confiscating my weapon of mass destruction.  No problem, honey.  I’ll just pick up my panties off of the table and put them back in my bag.  Did you like the pink ones or the black ones better?  You look like you could go both ways.  I mean I do.  So, I’m not judging.  Just curious.  That’s all.

Anymore delays and I will miss my flight.  My son gets TSA pre-check.  Lucky bastard (ok, he’s not a bastard…I was actually married to his father when I delivered him).  I ask him to get me coffee because he had a 10 minute reprieve skipping the TSA hell with his god given gift (ok, it’s random but why him—this doesn’t help my cause of teaching him that sometimes we have to wait in lines).  Just get Mom coffee before I explode.  Or is it implode?  Probably both.  What else do you have to do with this gift of time bestowed upon you?  But the Starbucks line is too long so he can’t be bothered.  WTF is wrong with your generation?  I get it.  The line is long.  However, I NEED coffee and you don’t (not yet, anyhow).  Who wants to wait 20 minutes to get a Starbucks?  It’s really not that good of coffee, anyway.  Regardless, I wait.  I’ve already had my dignity stripped so I may as well pour some mediocre coffee down my throat to cleanse what’s left of it.

“Mom, last call.  Hurry Up.  You’re going to miss the flight”.  These are the texts I am getting from him while he leisurely waits at the gate.  Thanks.  I’m almost there.  Why don’t they have a quick line for the simple coffee drinkers?  I don’t need some latte, frappucino, cappichino, frothy, milky whatever.  Yes.  I misspelled those words.  Don’t have it in me to drink them nor look up the correct spelling of them. 

Alas!  I finally make it to the gate.  Only 2 people behind me.  I’ve had the doors shut on me before.  Not happening today.  Thank God.  But wait.  There’s one more delay.  Because this sundae doesn’t have its cherry yet.  I’m told I have too many bags.  What?  Seriously?  I need to shove my purse in my laptop bag.  What difference does it make at this point?  I’m at the gate.  “Ma’am, you will need to put your purse in another bag.”  So fucking ridiculous.  Wonder why my new BFF from TSA didn’t tell me that.  My guess is she was too busy enjoying my indignation.

Argh…

Finally, I’m at my seat.  The flight is not full and I can lean back and sleep.  Or write this blog.  Whatever.  Please.  Nobody talk to me.  I can’t take it any longer. 

Now, I’ve been on lots of planes in my life and realize that the space is tight and everyone has to do their part and get along.  I’m aware of flight etiquette for the most part, but this one really stumped me.

The seat plight.  To lean back or not?   When that seat in front of you comes straight back ALL THE WAY, one feels cramped.  Really cramped.  And, I’m a small person.  Can’t even imagine a large man or woman, for that matter, dealing with this.  So, as my son, feels the pinch, he automatically goes to lean back his seat.  Whew.  Some distance.  I feel for him.  I really do.  I once had a guy in front of me lean it all the way back and then asphyxiate me with his flatulence.

Until…

The woman behind him immediately scolds him and tells him she is claustrophobic.  Ummm?  Ya think?  We are ALL claustrophobic on this damn plane.   So, being the polite kid he is (to others, but not necessarily me), he obliges.  Out of respect I suppose.  Or maybe he was too scared to say anything.  So, now, he’s stuck between rock and a hard place.  I mean a seat in his face and the verbose woman behind him.  What to do.  What to do?

Hmmm…

So, herein lies the question.  He respected the woman in front of him needing her space and didn’t say a word as she leaned her seat back.  It’s her right to do so, no?  And, he respected (albeit reluctantly) the woman’s need for space behind her.  And, thus, he is caught in the middle.

I’m confused.  If you’re claustrophobic, why aren’t you sitting in the exit row?  Plenty of room there.  Do your needs come before his?  What gives you the right to take away his right to lean that seat back?  Poor kid.  I’d say he took it like a man but then again if it was a large man in that seat, I can guarantee you he would have no problem leaning that seat back especially with the one in front of him in his face.  Turns out, she tells the flight attendant that she and her husband moved from her original seat so no one would be in the middle and they would have more room.  Nice, huh?  Barking demands and they aren’t even in their assigned seats. 

I was really stumped on this one.  Lil Rich gets a check in the win column for simply being nice.   And, I’ll take a Bloody Mary to go with my travel day in Hell.

Thank God, it’s only a 2 hour flight.  And no connections. 

 

Does Size Really Matter?

bert-first-day-of-school-2016

Get your mind out of the bedroom.  This isn’t about what you’re thinking.

It’s the second day of school and my youngest is already shooting off his mouth…

Argh…

Two emails in one day.  Really?  Can’t we go a whole week without your mouth getting you in trouble?  Shocking.  I know.  A child of mine who has a mouth that could get him in trouble.  He is the fourth, after all.  His preschool teacher told me that she was worried about his delayed development.  He rarely uttered a word back then.  She advised that perhaps I should hold him back to give him another year to catch up.

Oh, how his verbal skills have dramatically improved!

You remember lining up by size.  Tallest to shortest.  I remember it well.  I was ALWAYS in the front.  But I’m a girl and it didn’t really bother me.  I was and am still short (for my age, anyhow…wink, wink).  Clearly, I’m not surprised that my son is tiny.  He barely weighs 60 pounds and that’s when he is dripping wet.  And 5 of those pounds is his hair.  He does have great hair.  He’s got that going for him.  So, as they line up tallest to shortest, guess who’s in the front.  Yep.  My little Robert.  He felt sure there was a girl shorter than him and made sure his feelings were known.  As the teacher puts him in the front, his indignant response (aka his mouth) got him in trouble.  Apparently, “that’s bullcrap” is not acceptable language to say to your teacher in 5th grade.  At least that’s what his teacher emailed me.  And on day two.    According to him, he said it to himself.   That would mean his teacher read his mind.

It’s going to be a long year.

I just don’t get it.  Why is it we even have to point this out?  Next time, let’s line them up by color?  Can you imagine the backlash that would get?

As the school days would progress, so would the comments about how short he is.  Middle school can be so challenging.  Kids are brutally honest.  I get that.  And, I’m okay with that.  Most of the time.   After being called a midget for the umpteenth time, I asked him how that made him feel.  His response, “Mom, that’s her problem.  Not mine.  I’m okay with who I am.”  Epic win, buddy!  Proud of you.

I always thought being short was different for a girl. I was worried about my youngest being the smallest.  Turns out, I didn’t need to be.

He is confident with who he is.  Sometimes, the best gift we can give our children is confidence.  Material gifts come and go.  But not self confidence.  I think about the 9 year old boy who killed himself last week in West Virginia because he couldn’t take the bullying anymore.  Yes, I said 9 years old.  Robert is 10 years old.  Let me repeat. Robert is barely a year older than the little boy in West Virginia.  He is constantly teased (or bullied or whatever you want to call it) about his height.  His strength and self confidence impress me.  I can’t imagine what that mother is feeling, especially with September being Suicide Awareness Month.

Middle school teasing and bullying and simply being mean probably won’t cease.  I can only hope his confidence will sustain him through these middle school years.  Wish it had for the little boy in West Virginia.

I suppose size does matter to some.  But not my little guy.

 

 

I’ll Take a Mimosa with that Mammogram, Please…

IMG_0043

O.

M.

F.

G.

If only I could start and end the blog with OMFG.  Enough said, right?  My friends out there who have had one know exactly what I’m talking about.  As a 46 year old woman, I should have just completed my 7th mammogram.  Had I started at 40 when I was told to start.

But, I’m not exactly a rule follower.  When I was pregnant with my third, I skipped the glucose test.  Gestational diabetes?  Please.  I’m not drinking that syrup again.  Ever.  My OB almost disowned me.  So many rules to be broken!

I digress…

Back to the mammogram…

As you check in, there is a cardboard stock piece of marketing material that shows 20 different languages which they can converse with you.  As I look at all the languages that can be translated, my eye hits Hmong.  Hmong?  Have you ever even heard of this language?  Me either.  Apparently,   any language can be translated by calling a service.  I think this is a great service to the many women out there getting a breast exam done who don’t speak English.  It’s tough to understand all this in plain English.  Imagine not understanding a word they tell you.  Talk about overbearing.

After promising to donate my entire net worth to the 20 language speaking desk clerk, I am escorted by a woman with the personality of a drone into a quiet room with faux maple lockers and pink gowns that barely cover my rear end.  Luckily, I am wearing my cut off jean shorts because that’s what women in their 40’s wear.  And, no, she did not offer me a mimosa.  That would be a nice touch, though!

After only a 15 minute wait, I’m escorted passed the male/female handicapped restroom in the all women waiting room.  Huh?  Could be a gender neutral thing in the all women waiting room but what do I know?

As I enter the examining room, I think to myself, “You want me to put my breast in that?”

IMG_0041

Are you serious?

So…I suck it up.  Actually, I flatten it.  There is no sucking it up.  (Imagine a guy having to put his testicles in the compress.  Now, that is a visual I would pay to see!)  Technically, the machine flattens it.  It’s like a cold compress with the same crushing power as Jaws.  Notice the -45 degrees in top left of the screen.  Ummm?  What does that mean?  I may get vertigo.  The technologist, as she is called,  (not technician–clearly there is a difference–don’t ask me as I don’t know the difference) looks at me like I’m crazy when  ask her if I can take a picture of this process.  I told her it was for a blog.  She says, “That’s one I’ve never heard before.”  She has heard it all I suppose.  Things people say when they get uncomfortable.

Let’s face it.  This is as awkward a moment as they come.

Before any breasts are placed in the cold compress, she has to do her due diligence and ask me serious questions.  The obvious, “Are you pregnant?  Any breast cancer in your family?”  The not so obvious, have you been in contact with MERS-CoV?  What the fuck?  It’s apparently some middle eastern virus that affects you, the cold compress or the middle east.  I’m not sure which.   Again, I don’t speak Hmong so I probably don’t have it.  Again, where is Hmong?

As she places each breast in the cold compress, I tell her this is clearly a 2 person job.  I don’t know how she does this?  But she is good and obviously knows what she is doing.  I’m impressed.  She stands behind some sort of protective barrier and starts punching buttons.  Each breast is squeezed so tightly that I start to cringe.  My butt cheeks start to tighten up.  Not sure how my ass is related to my breast but it was an automatic reaction.   She informs me that she must flatten it where the tissue is evenly distributed.  I’m just praying she hits the right button and it stops before my breasts become real pancakes.

All that and it’s only the first breast.  I have two.  I think to myself, “Shampoo.  Rinse.  Repeat.”  ARGH…

I asked her if she had ever visibly seen lumps in a patient.  She had, in fact, seen some in a few patients.  Those are immediately escalated up to the radiologist.  Imagine the anxiety those women must feel.

Luckily, I will have to wait the full two weeks to get my results.

I am fully aware that I use humor as a defense mechanism for when I am clearly out of my comfort zone.   Trust me when I say I was completely out of my comfort zone today.  Because I was.  But breast cancer is real.  Very real.  And very deadly.  Over a quarter of a million women get breast cancer each year and over 40,000 will die from it.  And men aren’t immune from it either.

Get your mammogram.  Don’t wait.   Do it yearly starting  at 40.

It’s one hour of your time and could save a life.  Yours or someone you love.  Not that you know anyone who speaks Hmong.  But you never know.

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I love you, Lil Rich…however…

lil rich and me football

If you ever put your pecker where it’s not welcome, you can bet your sweet entitled ass, I will NOT be writing any letter to any judge telling him or her all the wonderful things I love about you.  Let me be very clear about this.  Do NOT put your penis, your hand, your finger, your tongue or anything permanently or temporarily attached to your body into any orifice of another woman WITHOUT her consent.

Just to be clear.  Here is the definition of rape.  Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent.

Why won’t I write that letter to that judge?

Because I’m angry.  I’m angry that another parent refuses to own up to their child’s (errr…adult child) behavior.  I’m angry that an unconscious woman was raped and he is seemingly “getting away” with it.

Your father and I are raising you to be a kind, gentle man who respects others.   Not take advantage of another human.  Never mind taking advantage of another person completely unconscious.

I will NOT be lamenting about the fact that you would be devastated about choices you made over an “event” YOU caused to happen.  Let’s be real.  Rape is NOT an event.  An event is something like the 5K Turkey Trot we have run many times.  Rape is…well…rape.  See definition above.  Let’s not sugarcoat it.  It’s rape.  Plain and simple.

And, if you so choose to spend 20 minutes of your life putting your pecker where it isn’t welcome, then those 20 minutes of YOUR doing is something that will alter the course of your life.  Not to mention our lives, as well.  Forever.  So, for the love of God or whomever you turn to in your moment of crisis, DO NOT DO IT.  I’m not even hinting at the thought that you would EVER even think about this, I’m simply letting you know where I stand should this ever happen.

Whereas, I was never raped in college, I was raped over and over by my stepfather as a child.  The long term effects this has on a woman are ever lasting.

You will go off to college in just over a year.  You will drink.  You will do stupid things.  You will make questionable decisions.  You will be on your own for the first time in your life.  You will most likely succumb to peer pressure.  It’s okay.  We all do.  We all make poor choices.  We all make mistakes.  BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF ANOTHER PERSON’S HUMAN DIGNITY.

Brock Turner royally fucked up.  Don’t make that same choice.  I don’t care how drunk you get.  Get a blow up doll.  I know most mothers wouldn’t give that advice to their sons, but, then again, I am not most mothers.  I was the one who taught you how to throw a football.  Taught you how to play hockey.  Sat in the water for hours on end holding the ski tips up so you could get up and ski.  And, when you finally got up, I was a sitting duck in that water.  But that’s what parents do.  We are there to teach you.  To educate you.  To raise you.  To love you.  To have your back.  I will always have your back, but if you take away something from a woman that she will never get back, I won’t have your back.  You will be on your own with your own hell to pay.

I know this is extreme but I simply can’t take one more parent excusing their child’s behavior.  Minimizing it.  And not owning up to it.

You know I love you.  You are my first born child.  I am extremely proud of you.  I am proud of the man you are becoming.  So, I am begging you to make good choices.  We’ve been saying that since you were in Ms. Joanne’s class in pre-k when you were 3 years old.  I will continue to say this whether you are 3 or 18 or 40.

I realize this is a very UNCOMFORTABLE subject.  I also realize I am crass and crude.  But I’d MUCH RATHER have this conversation with you than one that starts with, “WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?”

You are an amazing young man and I couldn’t be prouder of you.  But don’t EVER let 20 minutes of a royal fuck up ruin your life.  And what a life you have ahead of you.

lil rich and parents