- Hope is coming along with the work thing. I stopped her a couple of nights ago to just tell her I loved her and was proud of her. Still doing silly baby adulting things, but she’s progressing. She regularly picks up groceries!
- I’ve lost 6 lbs! I’m not really doing anything special; just logging what I eat gets me in line. I’ve picked up my exercise a little, but really it’s just so I can eat what I want in better moderation. I have no desire to be chisled or buff; I just want to be kinda healthy.
- I realized something this weekend; I’m fortunate to be parenting in an era when so much more information and resources are available. I know I still make countless mistakes, but there is so much more to learn from and it’s at my fingertips. That’s got to be good right? I hope that all APs work hard to fill in our knowledge gaps.
- Because parenting is hella hard.
- I booked my vacation last week. Cancun for a week in 2 months. I can’t wait. I’m going alone so I can just really rest without having to entertain anyone else. I am so excited. Hope is excited to work and stack her coins.
- She is really committed to saving for a car. I am enjoying her chase a goal; it’s been a while.
- The internet was out in our home most of the day. It was like living in 1985. Of course Hope missed the tech blackout because she was sleeping. Lucky her. The episode sent me into a tailspin of anxiety. I was able to work most of the day using my phone as a hotpsot, and I was productive. But I was still super anxious about not being able to fix it myself.
- I’ve got some major electrical work to do in this house; hoping that the estimate isn’t too crazy. The breaker box needs to be moved and replaced. Oy vey.
- I’m also thinking about spring vacations with Hope. I’m hoping and wishig that folks would take this varient seriously. I need to get back to real travel. Folks not willing to take appropriate precautions to prevent spreading COVID are making it terrible for everyone. This pandemic is the worst group project ever.
- I had a lot more to say, but I’m really distracted; so I’ll just wrap this up. ❤
Category Archives: The College Years
I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember. As mom to Hope, my mental health has definitely wavered in ways I didn’t anticipate; I don’t mean that to sound bad, but parenting is hella hard.
I’ve learned a lot about myself and my mental health and emotional wellbeing during these years as well. I’ve been consciously working on being better and stronger and figuring myself out. At 48, I’m still working on that.
Hope will be 20 in about two months, and I don’t expect her to be where I am. I don’t expect her to be as self-reflective or as clear about life. But as we head into a year and a half at home and almost a year since the down-slide started; I find myself wanting Hope to take more ownership of her recovery.
I know she wants to get better, but there’s really not a lot of activity behind it. I know it’s got to be hard cooped up here, without school, friends, or a job. We are now past the stage of devastating depression that left me terrified; she’s improving. I’m relieved. But that’s it.
I’m still shouldering Hope’s recovery; I”m not sure if she’ll ever take the lead. At the smallest suggestion of *doing* anything, a litany of excuses come tumbling forth, sometimes before I can even complete my sentence. I hate that and really never respond well. Just this evening I had to take a deep breath, remain calm, go deep into the communication skills tool box and explain how it makes me feel when she makes excuses.
There are times when I really wonder when and how long Hope will need my intense involvement in her mental health care. I know that my feelings about it are colored by my own journey, how my intense need for achievement as a proxy for worthiness is so different than Hope’s. I know that comparing our journeys is stupid, a fools’ errand, and yet there are quiet moments where I ramble off how I took on getting myself help almost as soon as I entered college and how I’m still managing appointment schedules for a young adult who is literally doing nothing all day but surfing YouTube and TikTok.
And then I feel guilty about even remotely comparing us, and then I start the crazy thought process all over again. It’s so ridiculous.
But I do wonder…does Hope want to own her life in a way that looks…kind of normal? I don’t know if she’s healthy enough to really consider it. I don’t know if her trauma’s of the last year, that involved some really bad adult flexes, have just made her regress in ways that push off adulting for a long time. I don’t know. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t either.
I’m trying to be patient; I’m trying to follow her lead 70% of the time and push/pull her 30% of the time. Once I post this, I’ll be sending her places to apply for a job. I know that getting out and working will help her. I aspire to bickering over the car and finally deciding to buy a second car because her life will have grown to such a need. But that’s probably a long way off.
For now, I am shouldering and powering the return to the fragile health status we had before. It’s rough when you desperately want to return to a more normal version of not normal, but here we are.
Long weekends are super precious. Despite having no commute, I’m exhausted on Friday afternoons. Saturdays and Sundays seem to go buy in the blink of an eye, and then it just starts again.
This year, of course, Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day fell back to back; hallelujah.
I worked on a couple of crochet projects. Enjoyed my long, luxurious afternoon bath. Hope and I finished the final season of True Blood. Yappy got lots of snuggles ,and I made him a new sweater. I cooked chicken and waffles for Valentine’s dinner. I spent the evening with my own significant someone, who might actually get a blog name after all. Things haven’t felt so…psuedo-normal in a while.
Hope has been having repetitive nightmares for weeks now. She sometimes wakes up sobbing and terrified. It’s been a challenge. For whatever reason, she enjoyed a brief respite of no bad dreams. (Lots of potential reasons for the dreams; we’re working through it with the mental health folks.) The dreams are so damn persistent; I’m hoping this short break foretells that things are about to get back to normal. In any case I’m glad she got a break. My big girl Valentine.
Yappy turned 6 last fall, and promptly assumed the personality of a grouchy old man. He wants to dictate the direction and length of every walk. If he senses water dripping from anywhere above him, the situation is untenable. He’s very demanding about how I place the blanket on him and even how I lift the covers to let him snuggle with me in bed. He’s been working on training me to get it right for years now. This weekend Yappy allowed me to repeatedly try on his sweater as I was making it and after his first walk in his new sweater, we came in, I unhooked his leash and he bee lined it to Hope’s room. He’s been so good about making sure Hope gets lots of his attention. He switches back and forth between us when couch cuddling now. One of my favorite things is to see the two of them playing or snuggled up asleep together. It’s really just the cutest, purest thing. A girl and her dog. (He still chooses me at night if I’m not at my someone’s house). My fuzzy Valentine.
And yeah, I’ve got a special someone. At first I didn’t really see it going anywhere. Now I see some possibilities. He shared something about himself this weekend that really made me go, “Ohhhhh, ok, now a lot of things make sense. Ok, I see what I’m working with here.” I also realized how much it must’ve taken to share with me. I don’t take it lightly. So, while we exchanged small gifts for Valentine’s Day. The sharing was really the thing. My low-key Valentine.
Oh, and I discovered a cold brew tap in a box that I can order online. You just open the tap, sit it in the fridge and get your sip on. The way I love cold brew? Looking forward to coffee for tomorrow.
Also, folks who recommended progesterone cream….good looking out. Finally onboard and hoping to level out a bit soon!
Hope everyone had a marvelous weekend.
Each year I do a vision board. I have it blown up and I keep it framed in my bedroom so that I see it daily and am reminded that there are things to do.
My 2020 board included things like evolving my parenting now that Hope is in college, chasing some adventure, self acceptance, health and as always love.
How does the meme go?
How it started…It was to be a year of great promise.
How it ended…It was a year of survival.
COVID-19 pretty much took a wrecking ball to the year.
Hope is currently not enrolled in school, and I’m back to daily, active parenting. Just when she was becoming more social and connected, everything was cut off. It all made her really vulnerable, and just like that trouble found her. It’s been really hard dealing with the fallout of the summer’s drama. The pandemic made it just that much worse—there are so few outlets for having any sort of social connection.
Adventure? Well, going to the grocery store became an adventure. Going anywhere became an adventure. I feel like my world just closed in this year. In January I was counting down days to a trip to Israel in March, but instability in the region made my travel buddy want to cancel. We rebooked and planned a trip to Costa Rica, but then COVID hit and our trip got postponed to November. November came, along with a surge in cases, and Costa Rica was cancelled. In July Hope and I took a day trip to see my parents. That was a highlight for the year.
My vision board has hiking and relearning how to swim on it, meanwhile the pool never even opened. Adventure finally came about two months ago when I decided that we would start visiting local farms in the area. It was fun, and I have a lot of jam in my pantry now. It was wonderful having fresh pressed cider and fresh picked collard greens. I will likely sign up for a CSA in 2021 so that I can be sure to keep the goodness coming.
While I’m grateful that I found small ways of creating adventure, I’m sad that my world shrank in so many ways.
I have had a lot of time to think about what I like and dislike about myself. I’ve also had a lot of time to remember that Hope watches and learns from me. I have been able to make a lot of progress on self-acceptance. Listen, I’m not saying I’m “there,” but I’ve at least switched my thinking from focusing on my looks and size, to focus on what my body can do and what I need to do to make sure it is able to keep doing those things. I lost about 20lbs this year, most of it in January-March, but have largely kept it off. I walk every day. I’ve managed to increase my daily steps substantially. I cook more.
But I also still make a cake every 4-5 days; I still eat too much sugar, I still haven’t mastered hydration and my coping mechanism when it comes to consumption is still…an issue. 😊
I’ve been fortunate that I didn’t take a financial hit this year. I’m grateful for that. It’s meant that I’ve been able to keep debt low and afford some things that have made quarantining more comfortable—more streaming subscriptions, a new electronic standing desk, and some other odds and ends. I’m now contemplating some updates to the kitchen and my bathroom. I mean, if I’m going to be hold up here indefinitely, I probably should make it pretty and comfortable.
The flip side is that this has been one of the most challenging years of my career. The emotional toll is heavy. Dealing with rampant White supremacy in the midst of a pandemic is draining. The murder of George Floyd will be with me for a long time. The fall out has changed the way I think about the work I do, the pleasantries that I’m sometimes forced to engage in, the patience that I’m nearly always in short supply of. And watching some folks just fade back into racial oblivion is…toxic, yet to be expected during the best of times.
It’s been hard.
And love? One of the great loves of my life passed away in January, Elihu. I miss him every day. I wonder what I could’ve done to change the course of our relationship, even though I know my ending it was the right thing to do at the time. The loss of E came on the heels of losing another one of my great loves just the year before. Dating this year was trash. I am seeing someone, but I know it’s not a great fit for me, so I also know it has an expiration date. What can I say pandemics…#shrug. I’m hopeful that maybe I’ll make a meaningful connection in 2021—not meaningful like the Match commercial with Satan and 2020, but meaningful nonetheless.
But I suppose there are some bright spots.
- I survived my own bout with COVID early in the year.
- Hope had two jobs for a while and was really good at them.
- Yappy is much more affectionate with Hope, even if he is primarily still very attached to me.
- I managed it all without completely falling apart.
- I deepened some of my friendships.
- I did a lot of writing and creating, though not in this space.
- I found another level to my voice regarding diversity at work.
I’m also super conscious of the fact that lots of folks would trade places with me in a minute during this crapshoot of a year. Hope and I are fine. I would give my left foot to hug my mom and dad, see my sisters and snuggle my niece and nephews, but I guess I’ll settle for waving on camera. In the grand scheme of things Hope and I are very fortunate to be comfortable. Our families have not suffered any losses. We are able to afford what we need and largely what we want. We have each other and Yappy.
I have no idea what my vision board will look like for 2021; right now I just want a giant picture of OUTSIDE, but I’m guessing I should be more specific.
Merry Christmas folks.
I know I have stopped writing as frequently. I hope to really embrace writing again in 2021, but this year my brain was already at max cap.
Anyhoo, we are surviving. Some days are better than others, and this time of year can be emotionally challenging during regular times. I have enjoyed a lot of downtime this week and still have another week off. I really needed this time, and Hope has needed me with fewer distractions.
So about this robe… About 5 years ago we were picking up some things at Walmart. Hope spotted these robes and beelined to them. She played in the racks; she rubbed the robes on her face. She begged for me to buy her one.
I scrunched up my nose. This robe was cheap velour with a front zipper and a nehro collar.
In short, it was your grandma’s winter house coat. I was like, “Um that’s kinda old for you. It’s kinda a granny robe.”
Hope saw something different.
She saw luxury.
She saw comfort.
She saw functionality.
So, I bought her one. And she loved it. She’s asked and received a new one every Christmas since. Two years ago, she was so delighted, she slept in it on Christmas Eve.
This year, none of the local stores carried the robe. I snagged one on the website. As it does every year, the new baby blue version has brought her immense joy.
Shared with her permission and urging… Because she’s proud of her granny robe. Her college friends even *call* her Granny! It’s a whole persona.
She’s already posted on her own socials. I’m amused that at 19 she still loves this robe so much. It’s very much become a part of our holiday tradition!
Now we’re watching The Christmas Story–the Muppets version. 😂😂 #mychoice #ihatemusicals #butlovemuppets
Have a great holiday for those who observe and for those who do not, may your take out be delicious! ❤️
I am still in the emotional whirlwind. We’ve been stable the last couple of weeks, but it’s like a stable version of hell, soooo it sucks.
I’ve been angling for a breakthrough in this situation. I made a request that went unanswered.
I’ve been patient. I haven’t lost my schitt in front of Hope. I have moderated my outward emotions. I have not raised my voice. I have tried reason. I have tried science (I’m a nerd, leave me alone). I’ve leaned into every bit of every skill in my toolbox.
I announced to Hope on Sunday that she had 2 days to move the needle or I was taking matters into my own hands and escalating things.
Nothing happened so, I made my move today.
There is a part of me that wonders if it is the right decision, and there is a part of me that sees this escalation as the only path toward making sure I’m doing my job of looking out for Hope’s wellbeing.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks thinking about what I was like and who I saw myself as when I was Hope’s age. In some ways we are alike and others so vastly different. I realize just how much I took for granted looking back now.
I certainly engaged in my share of shenanigans in high school, but I was also a “good girl” so I showed up to college with some innocence. Despite all that Hope has been through, she also showed up with a bit of innocence.
I was an avid reader and continue to be an endlessly curious woman. I was certainly academically ready and my curiosity meant that I was always looking to understand all these new experiences. I am intrinsically motivated and I had some very specific goals to accomplish during college. I avoided just about everything that would possibly derail me—except a ridiculous boyfriend who was handsome but not at all what he appeared to be. Even that, I managed to escape with some emotional wounds that certainly shaped the way I viewed future relationships, but in the grand scheme of things, I got off lucky.
Hope and I are very, very different in this respect. She is not motivated in the same way, and trust over the last 6+ years I’ve tried to understand what motivates her. I still don’t know, and I’m not sure she does either. She is naturally curious, but I’m still not sure that she has figured out that she can channel and leverage that curiosity in ways that would directly benefit her.
I never doubted that my family was my support system and that they would be there for me. They had been engaged with me my whole life, so of course I felt secure in that.
Hope has only been with me for 6+ years, which on some days seems like an eternity and others seems like the blink of an eye. We are very attached, but I feel like there’s a part of her that is just out there. I get it. I will never, ever fill some specific holes, and I don’t try to. I can only be what I am to Hope. I love her dearly. I know she loves me, but the path to our family is a littered with loss.
That kind of loss changes you. It changes your brain development and function. It changes you emotionally. I am sure it changes you at a cellular level. And those changes…
Well, I believe that those changes have left my daughter vulnerable to all sorts of things.
She has come so far over these years, but emotionally, she’s not 19. She’s like a 15 year old dropped into college student aged stuff. And, some of it, she can handle and other stuff…it’s just clear she’s out of her depth.
There are few times I’ve been as afraid for her as I am right now. It’s consuming me. Between work, which continues to just be barely bearable because of workload, our family crisis is taking whatever is left.
So, I escalated things today to see if I can get this situation to some sort of resolution. I don’t know what that resolution is going to look like and that terrifies me. I don’t know what my relationship with Hope will look like when its all said and done. I don’t know what she will do next. I don’t know what the next revelation will be or how much it will hurt to hear whatever it will be. I just know that there will be more emotional upheaval before its all over.
And I just…I am just so very sad. So, so, so sad.
Hope is dating, and without spilling all her business, she has her first boyfriend.
I am emotionally all over the place about this. I am happy for her; she is delighted that someone outside of family is smitten with her. She is smitten, and it’s adorable.
I haven’t met dude, and Hope has indicated that my invitation to have dinner is premature. I have made sure that she has communicated that he could become a hood ornament on my car if he treats her poorly.
Yes, I threatened him. Hey, it’s on brand for me.
Anyway, I’m happy for her because she’s happy. As for me? I hate it.
Now I don’t hate it because I don’t want her to date or because I don’t think anyone will ever be good enough. I hate it because it is forcing me to grow and change parenting strategies during a period of great upheaval.
Yeah, I don’t want to deal with this right now.
Work is draining. Diversity work is head and heart work. It’s teaching, coaching, advising, holding accountable, brainstorming and strategizing and doing it over and over. In periods when there isn’t large scale social unrest, this work can be taxing. I’m good at walking away from it at the end of the day and resting my head and heart and diving back in. But in moments like the one we are in now, the push and pull of work feels unending even when I walk away from my desk at 5pm.
Since the video of police officers murdering George Floyd hit the internet at the end of May is has not been uncommon for folks to call me after hours or on weekends. The back to back zoom meetings are unending. The need for consultation has only expanded. Boundaries are sometimes hard to maintain.
I took the first week of July off, and I don’t even remember that I had time off a few weeks ago. I live for the weekends, when I just crash. The pandemic keeps me home, and exhaustion keeps me on the couch or the patio.
I am constantly feeling like I’m on E. I plan to take another week or so off this month, but honestly, I know it’s not enough time, especially since I’m trapped at home with no place to go. I could use an adventure right now.
So, the notion that I need to also adapt my parenting to accommodate Hope’s love life has me in my feelings.
I fret that they want to go out and spend time together—doing what where? It’s a gotdamn pandemic? Can’t go to the movies, many restaurants aren’t open. And what’s his COVID-19 prevention routine? His roommate doesn’t even want Hope to come to their house (and I don’t effing blame him). And is the curfew I’ve set ok for a 19-year-old in her first real relationship? And how about that I can barely make it to 10pm keeping my eyelids open, is she really making it home on time? When Yappy and I knock out for the evening we both can sleep through bombs.
What are the right questions to ask? What are the new privacy boundaries? How do I check in to make sure she’s ok?
She looked at me like I’d grown horns when I asked her to be sure to have the location feature activated on her phone; she asked why. I told her because if something happened to her with him, I want that phone to tell us where she is. She told me she would be fine. I said, I know, but just in case…
Like Hope, wrestling with this new phase has been on a slightly slower schedule than a lot of my contemporaries. I thought we would have covered some of this ground over the last few years. I was kind of shocked, but happy, that this didn’t happen her first year of college.
This summer has just been a whiplash of developments for Hope. They’ve mostly been good. She’s worked hard. She’s kept a schedule. She’s dating. She’s actively trying to figure out this chapter. I’ve been distracted with work and really in a reactionary posture related to parenting. I’m usually a step ahead of Hope, but I haven’t had my eye on the ball.
And that’s not entirely a bad thing. Hope needed a bit more autonomy and independence. That’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t.
But it makes me feel…neglectful somehow, and that raises all kinds of complicated feelings when I think about the situations Hope endured early in life. I know that it’s not a fair comparison on a lot of levels, but I do feel like she definitely hasn’t got the best of me since she’s been home due to the pandemic.
And now, she will be home at least until January since her college decided to go remote. Her being home means active dating and active parenting continues, right here, right now.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of this. I know this. My rational brain knows that all of this is normal, that things will be fine and that Hope will be fine and I will rise to the occasion, but real talk: I don’t want to deal with it.
It’s hard admitting that. I have so much guilt about that. So. Much. Guilt.
But really, I don’t wanna.
I’m glad Hope is home and safe. I’m glad she’s happy and learning what it is to be really be smitten and to learn about herself as she continues to blossom. I’m excited to see how I will change during this time. I’m looking forward to having her around through the end of the year.
But I do need people to stay at home, social distance and mask up so that she can go back to school in the spring and I can go through empty nest emotions again.
This last month of staying at home with Hope has been hard for me. She has been testing limits in ways that are new. It’s normal; it’s age appropriate, and I hate it.
Since the ‘stupid games’ episode, Hope seems to have forgotten a number of truths: I no longer trust her because she lied. I rarely forget. We are not roommates; I am her mother.
This week Hope announced her plans to me on a number of occasions. She was going to the outlet to shop for shoes (Ok, she really needed shoes). She was going on an all day date (Oh really? Did we forget we were supposed to be experiencing the consequences of stupid decisions?) She was taking the car to go out on Friday.
This is where I drew the bright line. Hella irritated by these declarations brought on by Hope’s trying on of adulthood, I said no. I initiated a conversation about how I’m trying to give her space to develop some independence, but I needed her to reframe her declarations to requests. We ain’t roommates; that’s my car and she needed to ask to use it. There are still expectations of a curfew and I fully expect to be told where she’s going.
That conversation was several days ago, and I’m still struggling with Hope. She is a good kid, but she is wildly immature. She recently ordered about $100 of slime.
SLIME, y’all. 🙄 A sophomore in college and binge spending on slime. Woooosawww. Ok.
When you see those kinds of purchases rolling into the house and then get *told* about how your car will be used without any consideration about any plans you might have… Well it’s triggering.
I’m committed to not yelling, to discussing things like adults and to coming to positive resolution. Yeah, all that. But real talk, I didn’t issue any ‘declarative statements’ to my parents until I was living completely independently with my own address in another zip code. This version of young adulting is foreign to me, and I. Don’t. Like. It.
I can’t even get Hope to do the chores I ask of her when I ask, so my emotional struggle these last few weeks has me hot under the collar. Lots of deep breaths.
I have tried explain my response to these shenanigans. I have attempted to articulate my communications needs. I have tried to find some grace, especially since I only have another month with my daughter before she heads back to campus. But, real talk, I’m seriously annoyed.
And what’s even more annoying? There only so much I can do. I’m super conscious of that. This is a gray area. I need to offer some rules and guidance— less of the former and more of the latter. I’m trying to grow the trust (super hard lately) and independence while insisting on respect for me, this home and my things. I’m also hyper aware that there are things I would never do to Hope, like threaten to put her out. I did tell her that if she wanted to do all the things she thinks she’s grown enough to do, she might make plans to get and finance her own apartment next summer since somethings just ain’t ever going down here. That said this will always be home, but it comes with some rules.
I’m struggling, and the more I struggle the more irritated I become. I worry that this conflict will engulf us. I need to avoid that, but I need Hope to find her emerging lane and promptly get in it.
I’m really worried about Hope going back to school next month, what with the pandemic and all. That said, I am looking forward to missing her a bit. I’m ready for a parenting-cation.