Tag Archives: Vacation

Hola!

Hope and I are vacationing in Mexico. This is the first vacation of this kind that I’ve shared with my daughter, and let me say, it takes some getting used to.

I am learning so much about my daughter on this trip. First, she is as goofy and clumsy as ever. She is a young woman; she may not be grown=grown, but she is blossoming. Some aspects are great to see, others are awkward and still, others are “I could go to my grave and have lived well not knowing that piece of information.”

I’ve always tried to create a strong line of communication between me and Hope. It isn’t always comfortable, but it works. It allows me to gently point out miscues, work harder to meet her in the middle and feel a bit better about some of her decisions, many of which are different from mine at her age. There was a time when I would have really disparaged those decisions, but as I continue to unpack my own baggage, I try to lay down the judgment and stay present when she needs me.

Not easy, but it’s a constant goal.

I usually take this kind of trip alone or with friends; it has been a bit strange doing this with her. Not bad, but strange, like I’ve crossed some boundary. I get to set the boundaries, I decided I wanted her to have this experience of a beach/pool vacation full of rest and relaxation. We’ve checked that box; maybe we will do it again sometimes. I don’t know.

Today has been the first day that Hope got snippy with me. I knew she was moody, and why so I just apologized and moved on. As the day unfolded, we talked about the moods, the feelings (sorry, no love match at the resort) and how we just gotta move on. Meanwhile, one of the workers at this place has decided that we’re a couple, Hope is his stepdaughter, and that he’s coming back with us to the US this weekend. Amusing. It’s unrequited love, but it’s a nice ego snack.

In any case we’ve got a couple more nights here together, and I’m eager to see what happens next.

Ruins at Tulum
Our panoramic view

Passing Time

At this rate I’m only posting once a month. I wish I could commit to more, but things are really crazy! I’ll get there.

There are currently so many things happening all the time and then you remember: there’s still a pandemic and we might be on the brink of WW III.

Anyway, Hope and I go on vacation in 25 days.

We’ve both been battling a bit of the blues lately. I think mine is related to work juggles and hormones. Hope’s blues are related to some social issues she’s wrestling with. I noticed things shifted a few weeks ago. I didn’t say anything; I just kept an eye and ear out. I reminded her that she could talk to me without judgment. She declined. As the lead up to my annual conference bore down on me, I could see her withering a bit like a flower. The week of the meeting–everything was a blur.

But within 24 hours after the meeting I was ready to call the therapist, the psychiatrist, and the PC doc. Things had declined fast. We eventually talked about it and even though I was worried, I saw my daughter express herself better. I saw her tell me what she was feeling and why. She engaged in healthy self-protection behaviors. I saw someone who was suffering, but this Hope had more tools and better coping skills.

I’m always proud of Hope, but I made a point to tell her I was proud of how she was handling things even though I know she felt kinda shitty.

I still called and made the psychiatrist appointment today. I’m super proud of her, but we both think she could use some help with brain chemistry as she works through some things. But wow has this kid grown recently. It is the coolest thing to realize; it really is.

Hope commented today that it didn’t feel like we had been together 9 years as a family. I asked her how long it felt; she said, I don’t know, just not 9 years.

I’m pretty sure it’s the specificity of the number. Some days it feels like we’ve always been a family. Other days, it feels like the time is moving so quickly that it just couldn’t really be that long. Layer pandemic time on all that and it just feels like a long, comfortable time.

So, yeah, that’s what we’re doing: having a time. Living, working, studying, teaching Yappy how to talk using AAC buttons, dating (both of us are dating and that it a hoot), and just living.

The living ain’t exactly easy, but we’re doing ok, still. 🙂


Ten Things on Thursday: 9/30/2021

  1. I’m on vacation!
  2. But first, I’m watching FL news and a young woman of color named Mya Marcano is missing. She’s been missing for a week. The FBI just decided to join. And a Black man is missing in Broward County. I *know* I would never have heard about these folks but for I wanted a little US news while in another country.
  3. It’s not that I think Gabby Pettito (sp) shouldn’t have got all that attention, but being young, white, blond, Eurocentrically pretty, thin and doing an instagram blog of her and dude’s great White adventure in a van helped drive that attention.
  4. It’s that I need that same energy for BIPOC folk who are missing. I need that same energy for everyone. Seeing the attention and resources always directed in one direction is really painful.
  5. BTW: I’m purposefully no longer saying “conventionally pretty.” What’s conventional about it beyond an fixation on Whiteness and White features. POC who are considered pretty, often have some features that mirrors White features–slim noses and lips, hair texture that is free of kinks, slim body with slim hips and butt. Those POC features that we celebrate are exceptions, caricatures at times. So, I’m going to narrow the scope and be specific about the generally accepted beauty standard, while recognizing that there are others.
  6. Now, back to my vacation. I’m here in Mexico alone. I’ve lain on the beach for a couple of days. I’ve eaten fairly modestly. I’ve drank excessively and alllllllll day. The beach bartender takes good care of me and quickly realized that if he just put the drinks in my steel cup, it would save himself some trips to my chair.
  7. I’ve got one more day before heading home; had my COVID test today.
  8. One thing I’ve done daily is read the WashPo and the NYTimes scrolling all the way to the bottom. The luxury of just reading the paper for enjoyment and to to find out if the world is going to end soon. I mean, it is, but I was reading to to read. I also allowed myself to read about rando ish I’m just curious about. I mean I usually do that, but this is more researchy stuff. I’ve realized I’ve neglected my nerdiness in ways I have been to overwhelmed to notice. That made me sad. Another daquiri helped.
  9. And I’m reading a book. At current rate it’s possible I might finish it before returning to work.
  10. I needed this and I”m looking forward to going home to my Hope and Yappy. I’m feeing refreshed!

Ten Things on Friday: 9/24/2021

  1. I’m feeling the joy of knowing in a few hours I will be leave for more than a week. I seriously cannot wait to get on that plane, land and head to the beach.
  2. Hope will hold down the fort for about 5 days. I know she can do it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t also say that I fret. I’m guessing that’s just a mom thing.
  3. I’m also fretting about Yappy. He’s so attached to me and this will be the longest I’ve been away from him since the beginning of the pandemic. I know he will be a bit sad as a result, and well, that also makes me sad.
  4. I’m still going to the beach tho.
  5. I actually do not plan to do much big “thinking” on this trip. I’m tired of thinking. Work-think and Home-think have just been exhausting for the last year and a half. I do have some life decisions coming up to ponder, but I have no interest in pondering them next week. My brain needs rest, and I genuinely intend to meet its need.
  6. It feels like so much has changed in the last year, and somehow also that nothing has changed. It’s a really kind of confusing reality. The monotony of life continued, though it looks different now. You watch the news and it’s almost overwhelming how much is going on, but then again, didn’t I think that in the “before” times? Especially when that dude who was in office couldn’t stop tweeting? Anyway, I have some decisions to make about parenting, about my personal and professional futures, about home stuff, extended family stuff. Some things I need to move on, others can wait, and yet somehow everything always seems urgent.
  7. It’s not and I plan to rest. I’m nearly giddy.
  8. Today is the last day that Hope and I will be able to have dinner together before I leave so we planning to get takeout. It’s looking like we’ll be getting Indian food. Naan…..YUMMMM.
  9. I’m thinking about opening a small Etsy store for some crochet items this fall/winter. I’m thinking of selling custom dog/cat sweaters. I’ll be sketching out a few projects over the next few weeks. I enjoy it and Lord knows I’ve given away tons of stuff in the last 2 years. I think I’ll still have giveaway projects, but I think I’d like to hustle a little. We’ll see!
  10. Today I’m setting out all the self-care items I plan to take with me. I’ve got a short list, but I think I’m going to put them all out and make final decisions. I seriously can’t wait to get out of town.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 7/7/2021

  1. Today was a good day.
  2. Hope and I enjoyed a great day on the beach. A long time friend of mine who lives abroad is in town visiting her family; I happened to see a picture a few days ago and we were able to connect on the beach for a few hours.
  3. Then my sister came thru with the kiddos and I played with the little cuties until it was time to come inside.
  4. Hope jumped waves with her cousin and stepped out for dinner with her older cousin.
  5. We went to the candy store and to get slushies.
  6. It was as close to a perfect day as we could get.
  7. It’s barley 8pm and Hope got in the bed about an hour ago, and was asleep by 7:30.
  8. You know what that means? It means I’m practically alone!!!! I’m fixing myself a cocktail and heading to the balcony in my pjs to watch the dolphins at dusk. There was a huge pod out this morning and it was wonderful watching them!
  9. Tomorrow the hurricane remnants are supposed to hit the area. We might get some beach time in the morning, but it will likely be a low key day shopping and hanging out with family.
  10. I’m hoping the next couple of days are as amazing as today. Hope and I deserve it.


Ten Things on Thursday: 7/1/2021

  1. Just one more day before I’m on vacation for a little over a week. This break is much, much needed.
  2. I’m feeling a bit better now that I had that PTSD talk with Hope. I’m still really anxious, but this week it’s more manageable. I talked to my therapist about next steps; I’ll work on that when I get back from vacation.
  3. Meanwhile, Hope is getting it together with work. Earlier this week, she wanted to call in again because of cramps. Ok, so yes, sometimes we have cramps and yes, they are miserable. Sometimes, if they are severe you might need to call in for work, but sometimes you can’t. I made her go to work; otherwise, 3 weeks, 3 call outs. She was pissed, but life goes on.
  4. Things I’m looking forward to during the next week:
  5. Time with Beau.
  6. Pool date with the bestie.
  7. Sleeping.
  8. Napping on the beach.
  9. Pretend fishing with my 4 year old nephew.
  10. I’m hoping that some of the Hotel services that have been put on hold during the pandemic have returned; I really want to have a lux time at the beach. I deserve it. Later y’all.

Memorable Memorial Weekend

Seeing my sister this weekend was amazing. Seeing the kids was an amazing bonus, and if I haven’t said it recently, you parents of toddlers are the real MVPs. That 4 year old and that almost 2 year old wore me out.

My youngest nephew, the 4yo, is obsessed with working and productivity, so he took me imaginary whaling. Yep, whaling. He gave me a repurposed toy that was a fishing rod (don’t ask how you catch a whale with a fishing rod), another repurposed toy that was the net. There was diving involved and a trip to the imaginary tool shed to get more fishing line. I indulged all the imaginary play that was thrown at me. I was so happy that after 18 months he drifted right back to me as his Auntie.

My niece only knows me through the screen. She let me kiss a boo boo and hold her long enough to get a sweet hug before she screamed for my sister. I’m hopeful that on my July trip she will be more familiar. It really made me think about how much time we’ve all missed spending together. She was 6 months old when I last saw her in person.

My oldest nephew is a sweetheart backed into the gangly body of a 22 year old who won’t cut his hair or clean his room. He asked me a totally innocuous question about a band that I didn’t know; not only didn’t I know what he was talking about, I thought it was something different entirely. Saturday, May 29, 2021 was the day I fell from cool Auntie status. Good thing I’ve got the 4yo to keep me busy.

My middle nephew is 12. And yeah, let’s just say that’s a hard age and leave it there.

My sister and I ordered burgers, watched Dr. Pimple Popper (a truly disgusting, yet satisfying show), and cut the lights at 11pm. It was heaven.

I went to Ikea and bought all new dishes and glasses. Parenting wreaked total havoc on my William Sonoma/Pottery Barn wares. I’ve been operating with a bunch of mismatched dishes and glasses for 6 years now. I’m excited to have my kitchen to look less like a dorm and more like a grown folks place. REAL WINE GLASSES.

Today I paid bills. Baked cupcakes, whipped shea butter, made baked beans, did a face mask. I needed this long weekend for sure.

Oh, Hope is donning that red shirt! She’s already perking up a lot.

It’s been a nice weekend.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 5/12/2021

  1. Mother’s Day was nice and quiet. My sister took me and Hope to brunch on Saturday. I set up my new treadmill. Hope could barely contain her excitement and ended up giving me her gift on Saturday. I was really shocked at what she got me–this wonderfully sleek backpack for traveling. I had seen it on Instagram and commented that it was cool and would be great on my travels. I immediately talked myself out of buying it. Well, Hope bought it for me. It was incredibly thoughtful.
  2. But it was the short letter she wrote me. In the last couple of years, Hope has taken to writing me letters as a part of the gift. They are the best part of the gift. It was a wonderful salve to my soul after this last year. I’ve worked hard to be a good mom during one of the most traumatic events we’ve gone through together. She thinks I did ok and loves me. For real, I’m good.
  3. Oh yeah, the treadmill is nice. Super thin, quiet and it makes me happy. I’m back to taking about 5-10 minutes of each work hour to hop on the treadmill. This weekend, I’m rearranging the desk again so that it’s easier to slide it under my desk when I want to stand. I liked it so much that I did talk myself into getting a new Fitbit; the battery life on my old one was fading daily. It was time. Now I got all this sexy fitness technology.
  4. I’m modestly trying to scale back some of my eating. I’m swapping things out things, a protein shake here, a breakfast sandwich there, 2 cookies instead of a big slice of cake. Hey, the cookies are…special. Made them myself with some freshly infused butter. Fun times.
  5. I’m starting to count down the days until my trip to the beach to see family. I miss my niece and nephews loads; it’s been hard connecting with my niece. She’ll be two in a couple of weeks and I’ve only seen her in person twice in her whole little life. She recognizes me on video, but I’m anxious to see will she recognize me in person.
  6. Even though I’m ready to take that trip, I apparently am not ready to take a real vacation. I thought I had very well decided to move forward with booking a trip for me and Hope to the Caribbean. I want to go to the DR, and I’m also interested in starting to look properties. I want a small cottage on the beach as a part-time retirement home. I gave it a lot of thought and concluded that I was ready. Somehow though, I have not reached out to my travel agent. I lost a ton of money tied up in booked vacations last year, so I’m over planning things myself moving forward. I need someone else to fight those battles. Anyway, several weeks have passed and this week I had to face the fact that while it’s easy to say it’s not intentional–I get excited about booking trips, discussing options, looking at AirBnBs; booking airport transfers. For me not to have any effort to get started planning is making me do some reflecting.
  7. I’m realizing I’m not ready for outside to open yet. As much as I miss people, home really has become this uber safe place. Outside is still gross and germy and I’m not sure how much of that I’m willing to absorb yet. I’ve told my boss I have zero interest in traveling until 2022. I just feel like I’m not willing to take that risk for work. I might be willing to take the risk for my own enjoyment, but not for work yet. I intend to wear a mask indefinitely. I still have a healthy stash of hand sanitizer. I don’t think I”m planning because I’m just not ready, even if I really want to be.
  8. Hope got a job at Target. I anticipate that she will start in a week or two. I know that this will be a really good thing for her, and for me.
  9. Low key, I’m starting to looking at a 2nd car. I”m not in a rush; I’ve told Hope some of the things I need to see out of her before I am ready to make a purchase. One of those things is a down payment and insurance saved up. We’ll see!
  10. I spent a chunk of time thinking about Hope’s biological mom on Mother’s Day. It’s not new, but this year I just wished she had been here for Hope. I think the last year, Hope would have really benefited from that connection. I actually think of her often and how proud she should be of her daughter. I hope one day they will find one another on their own terms.

Vacation Where?

Today marks the first day of my 5th pandemic staycation.

It’s downright depressing, especially with FB reminding me that 2 years ago I was in Rome, 3 years ago in Athens, years before that in Montreal. I miss traveling terribly. Oh the places we will go when this pandemic lets up.

Hope has finally come to an age where she’s a bit more fun to travel with. Yes, she still struggles with impulsiveness. Yes, we still have at least one episode of losing my ish and flinging myself on a bed with all dramatic pretense. Hope can still turn on the spoiled princess persona that she’s adopted occasionally when we are traveling. All that said, I love seeing the world through her eyes. I loved taking her to various places, seeing things, hoping some of all this good experiential learning takes hold.

More than anything right now, I wish we could get away. We could both use the change of scenery. I think it would do amazing things to lift our depression. Also, it would be nice to have someone bring me food via room service.

We will be visiting my parents later this week now that they and I am vaccinated. This will definitely be the highlight of my week. We haven’t seen my parents in person since July of 2020 when we scooted down for a day with them. I’m thinking we might actually make it a weekend thing and maybe take in a museum, get some take out, definitely order room service. It will have to do, and I *am* looking forward to it, but the way my wanderlust is set up…

I’m thinking about maybe booking a trip to the Caribbean this summer. I desperately need to get AWAY. I mean, already today, I’ve answered 3 work emails and had one zoom call. This doesn’t happen when I’m traveling.

Boo. Hiss.

The only one happy about the current state of affairs is Yappy–who whines if I go to the laundry room without him.

Anyhoo, I’m entertaining myself watching a completely nerdy show on Prime about the Illiad, while looking up some of these 2nd tier Greek gods on Wikipedia. I might actually have to crack open Homer again. Of course, this is also contributing to my need for travel, but for now, it will have to be enough.

Maybe Greece again next year. I have so much more exploring to do.


Things I wish Hope Knew

Today…Oy vey, why bother rehashing other than I managed to walk 7.5 miles today, so I feel no guilt about the chocolate I plan to consume tomorrow.

I am determined to get this trip back on track tomorrow if it kills me and/or everyone else. As I walked to the convention center earlier today after getting a text from Hope that really, really let me know just how self centered she is, I started thinking about all the things I wished she knew about me, my life and my life with her.

Then I started thinking that I’m sure my mom wishes I knew all the same things about her.

There’s so much about this life that is unknown. There’s so much that you have to live to just know–people can tell you but you can’t really know unless you have the life experience. Lots of adulting is like that. It feels like all of parenting is like that. And parenting a child from a tough place? Forget about it. You can explain it with formulas, diagrams and powerpoint presentations and you won’t even get close to understanding.

Not. Even. Close.

I really started thinking about the things I wish I knew from my mom and things I wish Hope knew about me. I wondered if any of the knowledge would really change anything or if it would just make me feel better–not that those two things have to be mutually exclusive.

Here are just a few things I wish Hope understood about me.

I am not Google. I’m not, really. I am wicked smart but I do not know everything. I am inquisitive by nature. I often will watch a show and look up something mentioned that interested me and then pause the show and spend the next two hours down an information rabbit hole gobbling up information about that tidbit. I know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff, but I also do not know a lot about everything. The reality is very few of Hope’s questions really, genuinely interest me. Very few of them trigger my need to look up something, and with her being 17, I am uninspired to look it up for her. I am not Google. There is an app for that.

I have real grown arse problems. No she doesn’t need to know that work can be challenging or that I wonder whether a new relationship has real potential. But I need her to know I’m human. I screw up; I make problems for myself that could be avoided sometimes. I have steamer trunk baggage that shapes how I view myself, how I view the world, how I navigate through it and how I struggle to parent. I wonder if I’ll have enough to retire or if my parents have taken care of their affairs so that it won’t burden my sisters and me when the time comes. I worry about my weight and whether I’ll breeze through menopause like my mother did or if I’ll be hell on wheels like apparently my grandmother was. Will my health continue to be ok despite a host of hereditary and genetics disasters that seem to loom over my head? I wonder when I”ll be able to afford getting a new fridge with private school tuition and who I’ll get to install the two new AC units I’ve ordered for the house. Will I die with student loans and oh yeah, how will this private school tuition thing really work out? Will I ever manage to train/treat Yappy out of his anxiety before he chews up all of my good shoes and purse straps?

I wish she knew I was human with tender feelings–parenting makes those feelings more tender, not less. I wish she knew that even though I’ve gone to therapy monthly and sometimes much more frequently since I was in college that I’m far from “ok.” I struggle;  I have depression and anxiety too, and BOTH have gotten worse since I became a parent, and sometimes as much as I love her and as much as I want her to heal, I just want her to hush so I can have a moment to breathe. The highs are high, as we’ve seen recently, but the lows are also hella low.

That I have impostor syndrome like a mug. I wish she knew that I have way more confidence dealing with school folks, counselors, administrators, doctors than I do parenting her. Parenting her is by far the hardest job I have, and it is mostly thankless. I remember when she was first placed with me, during the rough transition period a doctor suggested that she had RAD. I didn’t accept that, refused to in fact. She’s definitely not RAD, but there’s no question that we have attachment issues that I struggle to acknowledge. All is certainly not golden around these parts. We’ve had a good stretch of late, but the reality is that it’s a struggle.

So I fake/wing it. I think lots of parents of all kinds of kids do this. We just wing it and pray that we don’t eff up our kids up at all or worse than they came to us. I wish she could have a peep behind my parenting veil to get an idea of what I see and experience. It’s funny, as I write that, I know it wouldn’t make a difference for us. Hope has greater empathy for dogs whose collars she believes are too tight than for other humans. I wish seeing me in all my messy realness would make a difference, but this isn’t a neurotypical, normal household with regular run of the mill drama. That expectation is just not even realistic at this point. Still, I wish she could see and I wish she could grasp it.

I heard you, but I’m just ignoring you in hopes that this problem will go away or that you will solve it on your own. Yeah, I said it. I remember asking my parents some ridiculous things. I also remember them not answering me sometimes. I don’t answer Hope sometimes. Yes, it’s purposeful. Yes, I want you to stop. Why? Because it’s annoying; I’m tired, and I’m really in search of quiet. Also, I can’t or don’t want to solve your problem. I’m tapped out, done, finito. Go try to solve it yourself. Sometimes parents are petty and annoyed with dumb kid ish. #facts

I love you, but I don’t like you very much sometimes. This doesn’t affect my commitment to you. It’s just a recognition that sometimes kids (little, middle and grown) can be jerks. When you’re jerky I don’t like it. I don’t really want to be around it. There’s a difference between the trauma and anxiety stuff and jerkiness. Sure sometimes it can overlap, but generally they are distinct. When you use the jerkiness to manipulate based on the trauma and anxiety, it is infuriating and I feel stuck. I’m a contrarian by nature, so I also just rebel against the jerkiness. It makes it hard for me work through these behaviors. I hate them, but I don’t hate you. But I really wish you would stop being a jerk; it’s getting in the way of a lot of your healing and my parenting. Don’t be a jerk.

I’m sure there are countless other things I wish Hope knew and that she will learn about me. Right now, I’m just trying to make it through. I’m committed to getting some rest tonight and to continue working to get us back on track tomorrow.


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