BulgingButtons

Not bad for a fat girl


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Happy Birthday to my Boy

Today was the first time in years that I didn’t serve birthday cake for breakfast on this date. You see, that’s our family tradition, or at least it was. Today, however, my son woke up on his birthday away from home.Birthday-cake-clip-art-clipart-cliparts-for-you-2.jpg

Now he wasn’t far from home, just a few miles away in the dorm, but still, he wasn’t here. He turned nineteen today, and it was strange not starting the day with a little birthday party.

He’s growing up, and changing, and so our traditions are changing too. We went to lunch with his grandmother today, and that was a wonderful way to celebrate. Not the same, of course, but still we spent time together.

Frankly, I was pleased that he made the time to do it. After all, when you’re a college student so many things compete for your time and attention, and typically your mother and grandmother don’t top the list. He did it for me. I know that. I appreciate it.

My son has matured so much in the past year. The change from a senior in high school to an almost finished freshman in college has been remarkable. He’s accepted the change with grace. I can learn from him.

Happy birthday, son. I love you.


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Why I Am Still Up

It’s nearly midnight and I have to be up early for work tomorrow morning. I teach kids, so walking around in a fog isn’t an option for me. I have to be “on” from the moment I walk in the door to the moment the last kid is gone for the day.

By the time I’m done, I’m tired, not to mention the fact that I resist going to bed just on principle, so I regularly stay up well past a reasonable bedtime. I’ve been a night owl for a long time, and the idea of an early-to-bed routine just doesn’t make sense to me. Honestly, though, I should embrace an early bedtime. By the time Friday rolls around I’ve accumulated so much sleep debt from the week that I can barely function.

Tonight I can still function, but I’m tired and ready for bed. Why, then, am I writing instead? Because the boy isn’t here.

Not in the same sense that he hasn’t been here since August. That’s different. He was in the dorm, and I could tell myself he was safe at his home away from home. Tonight is a completely different situation, at least from my point of view. Tonight he’s at a friend’s house and he’s taken my car, at night, for the first time.

Yes, he has his license. Yes, he’s responsible (3.83 GPA folks, woot, woot!). But he’s out. This is new territory. I know, it’s a little silly. By the time I was his age I had been out late in my parents’ car many many times. Not him.

My son has always gone at his own pace, which he rarely alters for anyone. His physical development left us wondering at times during his babyhood. Would he ever learn to crawl, then walk? How about talking? Would he master that? And shouldn’t he have learned how to ride a two-wheeler by age nine? Would he ever get the hang of it? Yes. To all of it.

It’s no wonder that he’s doing different things now than he did in high school. We all go through changes as we grow up and move from one stage of our lives to another. It’s normal. It’s important. And it’s something that I, as his mom, need to stop fighting and learn to live with. As I do, though, I think I’ll stay up for a while, at least this first time.


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Why Does the FAFSA Have to Be So Hard?

For the uninitiated, the FAFSA is the financial aid document that is required for colleges and universities in the United States. If you want to be considered for financial aid you have to fill out the FAFSA.not-difficult

The FAFSA is an evil document, approximately 10,472 questions long, and it asks you the most intimate financial details of your life. Not only that, it’s confusing because sometimes the information is about the student and sometimes it’s about the parent(s). Oh goody.

Well, last year I did it. I gathered all the necessary information and sat down with my son and filled that sucker out. It wasn’t fun, and it wasn’t quick, but we got it done. Between his grades, test scores, and demonstrated financial need (the fancy terms the FAFSA people use for how poor you are), he ended up with a considerable amount of aid, in the way of grants and scholarships. This is the kind of aid you don’t have to pay back, the best kind.

The thing about financial aid, though, is that you have to file a new FAFSA each year. And the thing about THIS year’s FAFSA that makes it different is that the information required is the exact same information as last year, that is to say the information from 2015 tax returns. It used to be that you used the previous year’s returns, but the rules changed and now it’s the information from two years ago.

Should be simple, right? I already did this, and I even printed the whole giant document out after I finished so I have a paper copy. Smart, right?

I shouldn’t even need that, though. I should be able to login, press a few buttons, and my information should magically appear, after all, they already have it. My friend assured me today that it would be a piece of cake. She lied.

My problems:

  1. I forgot the login to the link that takes you to the IRS.
  2. I got the security questions wrong. I mean, I didn’t really, but they thought I did.
  3. I reset the login and password, only to be told that there’s no record of my address on the IRS database from last year.
  4. I begin hand entering data, using my handy printout as my guide, when it tells me that the amount of my income doesn’t match what was previously entered.
  5. I check my 1040, line 37. I check my printout from the last time I did this. It matches. The computer disagrees, but it won’t let me log in to the IRS site to see what they think it should say.
  6. I fear that I’m caught in some type of loop, so I log out and attempt to start over. I can’t. I’m locked out and need to create a new login.
  7. The email linked to the account is my son’s. He is not here. I must text him to send me the reset code so I can continue this exercise in futility.
  8. He sends a code. I enter it. It doesn’t work.
  9. I tell him this and he sends another code that works. WTF? Did he just make the first one up?
  10. Apparently it wasn’t a fluke, I still can’t enter the information. I’m at an impasse, so I decide that the best course of action is a glass of wine and a blog post.

Perhaps I’ll try again tomorrow. I don’t get it, though. Why, oh why does it have to be this complicated?