Not bad for a fat girl

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Being With Myself

Well hello there. It’s been a while, and I have so much to say. So much that I find myself tongue-tied. Where to even begin?

I’m sure you all want to hear about my battle with strep throat, and how it sucker punched me. I’m equally sure you want to know that the medication I took for it didn’t exactly agree with me on all levels. I’ll leave it there for now, and let your active imagination fill in the blanks. Or better yet, don’t.

Then there was the epic trip to The Big Easy. Yes, it deserves all of those capital letters. New Orleans is like no other place on earth, and what better way to experience it than with seven like-minded female friends in a rented house near the French Quarter. I walked, I laughed, I danced, I drank, I ate, I slept, I sang, I played. I loved that trip, and I cherish the memories we made together. Yes, even the memory of paddling in circles in our defective kayak, but that’s another tale for another time.

Of course there has been the ongoing struggle with college applications and scholarships. There are so many t’s to cross and i’s to dot that it can make you crazy. The good news is that it forced me to do my taxes early, so I don’t have that hanging over my head. The bad news is that it never seems to end. Son is still waiting to hear back from three schools, and the waiting is hard on him. Ok, I confess, I don’t like it much either.

I guess what I’m trying to share with you, in a not so organized manner, is that life has been pulling at me lately, and I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by all of its demands, both positive and negative. I’m in need of a brain break, one that doesn’t involve jazz music, or packing suitcases, or riding in a car with an inexperienced teen driver (did I mention that part? no?). One that doesn’t shoehorn in quick visits with out-of-town relatives and 30 parent-teacher conferences and trying to find time to really enjoy spending time with my mother. I know it sounds selfish to come back from a trip and ask for a break, but I need it. One where there aren’t piles of ungraded papers to greet me upon my return.

In the immortal words of Fergie, “I need to be with myself and center, clarity, peace, serenity…”



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I Need a Little Shabbat

Last Friday night at this time I was sitting in a synagogue breathing out the stress of the week and breathing in the peace of the Sabbath. It was calming and energizing at the same time. It gave me a fresh perspective and a positive outlook. I was able to enjoy my family and count my blessings, while I offered gratitude for both.shabbat-candles2

Fast forward a week and I’ve just walked in the door from an eleven hour workday at the end of a busy week. I could have easily stayed another three hours, but frankly I’m hungry and tired and not good for much more work today. Still, I have the work to do, so I lugged it all home in my full-to-overflowing L.L.Bean canvas tote bag. That thing is a workhorse.

I don’t feel the peace of the Sabbath tonight. I feel the stress of too much work, and I don’t like it. I have a writing deadline to meet, some lessons to plan, an important document to deliver, and a suitcase to unpack (from last week!) in my immediate future. Throw in some laundry, a trip to the credit union, a trip to the grocery store, and a couple of chapters of manuscripts to read and review, and there goes the weekend.

I think I have to make a choice. I think I have to prioritize. I think I can send off my work, light my Sabbath candles, and take some time for reflection. It’s not perfect. It’s not even technically correct, but I think it just might work for me. I’m pretty sure that it’s okay. Even a little bit of Shabbat is better than none.


So Many Questions on the Path to College

This business of being a parent to a senior in high school is difficult, and I don’t even have one of those kids who’s involved in a million different activities. He’s not driving, he doesn’t have a job or a girlfriend, and he doesn’t even hang out with his friends outside of school. I’m lucky. I get to actually have him around.

Ok, so it’s not like we bond over hot cocoa and play scrabble, or take long walks around the neighborhood together, but he’s here. Yes, there’s a certain amount of badgering on my part (where’s your retainer? can you please pick up that towel? when are you going to walk the dog?) and a certain amount of grunting on his part, but I know where he is and what he’s doing. What will happen this time next year? Will I be able to handle it? I only have one kid, so it’s not like anyone will step up to fill the void once he heads off to the dorms (but in what state?).

Sure, it’s true that he’s gone quite regularly (as in weekly) to spend time with his father, but somehow that’s different. For one thing I’ve had a couple of years to get used to it. For another, the longest stretch that he’s ever away is four days, every other week. I can handle that. College is a lot longer than four days, and at the end, he’s not supposed to come back. I mean to stay, anyway. At least hopefully not.

In the meantime, there’s this craziness of getting in all the applications. Frankly it’s stressing me out. Not because of the deadlines, either, because I know that if I don’t stay on him it won’t get done. What does that say about college? Following is a list of questions that trouble me. Hopefully other parents who have lived through this nightmare process can talk me off the ledge.

  1. Will he be that freshman who NEVER washes his bedsheets?
  2. Will be brush his teeth?
  3. Will he lose his retainer the first week?
  4. Or will he throw his retainer away?
  5. Or will he be done with the stupid retainer by the time he goes to college?
  6. Will he EVER call me?
  7. Will he EVER pick up the phone when I call him?
  8. Will he make friends?
  9. Will he study enough?
  10. Will he go to his classes?
  11. Will he know enough to not schedule early morning classes?
  12. Will he even have a choice in his schedule as a freshman?
  13. Will there be co-ed bathrooms?
  14. How do I feel about co-ed bathrooms?
  15. How does he feel about co-ed bathrooms?
  16. What will happen if he runs out of toothpaste?toothpaste
  17. Why am I so obsessed with his teeth?
  18. Why is he so nonchalant about his teeth?
  19. Why is he so nonchalant about deadlines?
  20. Will he actually be admitted to a college that he really wants to go to?
  21. Will he ever admit to being excited about any college?
  22. How will we pay for college?
  23. Will he receive any of these scholarships that I’m making him apply for?
  24. How do people pay for college without getting into tremendous amounts of debt?
  25. Will he make the most of his college experience?

and a bonus question

How will I survive this transition?

The truth of the matter is that no matter how much I worry, he’s going to do what he’s going to do. So far his choices have been mostly good. Still, I’m a mother, so that means my default mode is worry, but I need to remind myself that up until now he’s been about a million times better than I ever was at his age, and I survived college. Oh sure, there are a few instances that I will never ever admit to, but by the time I was a senior, I figured out how to get on the dean’s list (here’s the secret: don’t just do the assignments, actually go to class). But I was a SENIOR! He’s only going to be a freshman. My baby!

In the meantime, I’m going to insist on reviewing his essays before he hits the send button, and I’m going to hound him about that stupid retainer (I think I may hate it almost as much as he does). This stretch of life is a little complicated and full of unknowns, but I’m going to try my best to enjoy it, because I know it will be gone in an instant, and then there’s no going back.