- Sometimes staying on schedule is so dang hard. What can I say? Another busy week that had me going until 7pm yesterday and working then driving to my parents’ today. Just busy, busy!
- I’m headed to see my sister and her family tomorrow. She’s been going through a really rough time and even though Hope and I will be going for a longer visit in about 7 weeks, I needed to see my sister sooner than that. Hope had to bail at the last minute because she decided to work. Actually she was faced with a tough decision–go to see her aunt as planned or finish her orientation for her new job this weekend. She chose the latter since she wants on the schedule sooner.
- It would seem, though that Hope thought I would change *my* plans. Um, no. I had always said we were leaving on Thursday so we could see my folks and I was boarding Yappy. I stuck to those plans. I love my dogwalker-boarder, and so does Yappy. Hope will soon have a work schedule and I’ll be heading back into the office soon. Yappy needs socialization with other dogs and to have away time from us since he now gets anxious if Hope leaves. I kept his boarding reservation.
- It nearly made Hope cry. As much as she wants to adult, she is perfectly content to be at home with her family. It’s sweet really and speaks to our attachment, right?
- Ok, real talk– *I’m* the one who wants to go out. I’d like to see Beau more than I currently do. I miss drinks and brunches. I need the panorama to end so I can go outside!!!!! (And no, Hope can’t come and crash my party! I need her to get age appropriate friends and go somewhere.)
- I’m gonna take a minute and say, Yo, this vaxx life is good. I’m still masking up because for the 50-11th time–a bunch of folks JUST learned how to wash their hands and legs in the last year and a half. They nasty, don’t wanna vaxx and yeah..you get the point. I don’t trust everybody who side-eyes those of us who are trying to save ourselves. Aside from that, this is the second time in 2 months that I’ve got to see my parents and hug them with wild abandon. I love it so much. Thank you science.
- There is an upside for me in Hope staying home. I have no one to look after but me for 2.5 days. Do you know how long its been since I’ve had a few days like this? I don’t have to share my hotel room. I control the remote; I choose all the food and if I wan to stop and there is no one to whine, beg, complain.
- Just look at the Holy Homeboy, would ya! Ha!
- I packed face masks, some of my good bath bombs and a couple of my special homemade cookies made with infused butter. I am lowkey excited. I’m excited.
- I need this weekend. It will not fix much, but it will give me a moment to begin to gather my thoughts and figure out my next move on this journey. I would like to start looking at a retirement situation in the Caribbean. I just got asked to contribute to another book. I want to keep writing here, but I want to give some thought about what the next chapter of our story will share; what does Hope want and inviting her to take a more active role. (She is available to answer questions on her page of the blog.) We’ll see what we come up with soon!
Tag Archives: Young Adults
- Hope is fully vaxxed! Yay! She got her second vaccine yesterday. I’m so excited that we are protected now. Of course I’m still operating life as though there is a full on plague…because there’s still a full on plague. I’m not down with the lifting of mask mandates. Folks are just nasty.
- The downside is that it seems Hope might be having some nasty side effects this evening. It’s always hard to tell with her though because she is super dramatic when she’s sick. She has a low pain tolerance and just doesn’t do sick well at all. So, after all these years, it’s still really hard for me to gauge if we need to go to the urgent care. I’m hoping she will be better really soon.
- I’m supposed to go into the office for the first time in more than a year tomorrow. I have a meeting in the afternoon. Yes, it could be done by Zoom, and if Hope doesn’t feel better, it may have to be by Zoom. There’s a part of me that it looking forward to it, another part that is wary, but really I’m more anxious about remembering to go into the office at all. I’ve got a nice routine. I get up at 6, walk Yappy and finish my exercise, tidy and shower and get dressed for work. Commuting is walking to the living room. I’m seriously fretting about remembering to go to the office.
- Is it bad that I already am planning a trip to Starbucks when I get into the office? I miss my starbucks run. I also miss my starbucks points. Of course, I now get my cold brew delivered in a box from Amazon every two weeks so…I’ll be fine if I don’t make it.
- I’m tired of working in my living room, but I’m honestly not ready to go back to the office. Outside is just gross.
- Hope finally has orientation for her new job next week. Finally. This is a long onboard for a retail gig. I’m eager to get her out and going and getting back on track to find her way. She is doing much better emotionally, but still not having something meaningful to do every day continues to weigh on her.
- She recently told me that she has no idea what’s next for her. She’s not ready to go back to school. She doesn’t know if she wants to change course–maybe pursue something entirely different. Her interests seem to be changing a bit. She’s a bit lost, and it’s hard. It’s hard as a parent because this part is something she has to figure out on her own. I am here to support her, to cheer for her, to financially help with figuring it out, but the hard work of figuring out what you want to do in this chapter of life is kind of a solitary thing to figure out.
- Somehow I’m finding getting sufficient patio time difficult. That’s especially frustrating since my desk faces the patio. It’s been so gorgeous out. Patio time is one of my favorite parts of spring/summer/fall.
- Still no movement on planning a vacation. I might really just have to put the idea on ice until I no longer sense this emotional block from just dropping a text to the travel agent. I mean, this ain’t hard. I can just tap out a quick message–location, time frame, price point. I might circle back in a month and reevaluate.
- I can’t really think of a 10th thing, so I’m going to sign off and finally go get the cocktail I should’ve had 3 hours ago!
I live for rest time on the weekends. The number of Zoom meetings I have during the week exhausts me. By Friday evening I just want to go to bed immediately after logging off.
These days the second shift really starts after work as I try to help Hope work towards some sense of normalcy after the summer drama. I try to spend a few hours of quality time with her and try to get her up and around a bit. It’s not easy, but we’re getting better at achieving a few small goals everyday.
This weekend I was determined to get us up and out to enjoy the gorgeous 80 degree days. Yesterday I got us up and out to visit a farm to do some good shopping: fresh pressed cider, apples, tomatoes, honey, and jams. Then we got Whole Paycheck for a sorbet Hope had been wanting to try. Then we headed home to watch Lucifer on Netflix while I made a dog sweater for a colleague.
We celebrated the election results, and enjoyed a special moment watching VP-elect Kamala Harris give her speech. Gotta say, watching that speech with my daughter was something I will never forget. For me it was reminescent of Obama’s first term and all the emotions I felt then.
Today I’ve been up since about 3:30am when Hope’s early morning insomnia antics disturbed my sleep. Since then I’ve been on the move, cooking, cleaning, bathing Yappy, finishing the dog sweater, returning Amazon items, shopping for new sheets, meal planning, reworking a slide deck for a workshop I’m conducting tomorrow, cleaning the kitchen a second time, and do on and so on.
I’m finally sitting, noshing on some reheated chicken fingers, thinking about just crawling into bed. I’m so exhausted.
And tomorrow, the rat race starts all over. I’m taking some time off later this month and a couple of weeks next month. Of course that means nothing tonight. This adulting thing is so dang hard.
Yesterday, on the long back from the farm, Hope asked me what were the top 5 things about being an adult… That weren’t material. It was one of the best and most challenging questions she’s ever asked. I talked about learning about myself, learning to be authentic, the joy of constantly learning, the freedom to do most of what I want with little consequence, and then Grammy called and I was spared from coming up with the final reason.
The exercise really did make me think hard about my own life and how I want to encourage Hope to keep pushing forward. Adulting is hella hard; it’s great but it’s really hard. Hope sees that and her first brushes with adulting have made her rethink independence all together. I low-key don’t blame her some days.
This is another busy week ahead, another week of adulting and another week of nudging Hope towards the same. Wish us luck
This week I received a blast email from Hope’s college president explaining the institution’s decision-making regarding coming back to campus. It was like 5 paragraphs long, and in my opinion, the major takeaway is that it’s very unlikely that Hope will be returning to in person classes in the spring semester.
I think it is the right public health decision. Her school is very small, less than 1,000 students, and while it is well resourced it simply can’t mount the surveillance protocols necessary to do routine testing and quarantines. It’s disappointing that they don’t, but most of the schools in my state, including the very large ones, do not have the ability to do it either. So, it’s definitely the right health decision.
Socially, I fret a bit about Hope’s continued development. She has always struggled with cultivating friendships, but at school she had settled in with a nice group of kids and seemed to really be developing good relationships. She was also getting more engaged in extracurricular programs. Academically, she still had some challenges, but I was delighted that she was doing well socially. I was starting see some wonderful developments, and then COVID-19 happened.
And now, our world is a lot smaller. The whole of this time home I’ve quietly fretted about what this loss of time will mean for Hope and other young people like her.
For my part, I am constantly engaging people, often to the point where I have little desire to engage after work hours. Even still, I regularly schedule happy hours and chats with family and friends so that I can get a bit of my extrovert energy boost.
Hope didn’t take to online chat fests where her school friends. Having a job helped a lot; she was able to meet folks and develop some social relationships. I had really resisted letting her work during the school year, but honestly, I feel like she needs the outlet. Overall, I’ve seen Hope regress back to the small world she’s had for most of our time together. I worry that not being in a space where she can really practice socially will really be harmful the long run.
As a parent, honestly, I have so many worries. Our recent crisis, which frankly isn’t over we’re just in a period of stasis, taught me a lot about my own fears. It taught me that some of those fears are well founded and that others are less so. It’s also taught me that parenting this period of early adulthood has some really unique challenges. I want Hope to be independent, but what that looks like the middle of pandemic is a bit of a mystery. I want her to develop healthy relationships, but there are some specific vulnerabilities that worry me and again—what does that look like during this time? When the risks of getting sick, spreading the virus and frankly possibly killing someone, figuring out what’s allowable while still giving some space and grace seems really complicated.
Adding to all of this is that several months ago I decided that I would try my hand at dating again. It’s been a slow, cautious endeavor, and I’m not even sure it’s been the right decision. I don’t go out much; I try to focus on talking and connecting a lot. Dating was always complicated and now it just feels moreso. I’m also stuck trying to figure out if me stepping out to date is fair to Hope.
I just don’t know.
With each week, I think we all feel the isolation and limitations a bit more. I’m trying to be optimistic about what will happen over these next couple of years with me and Hope. I mean, I believe we will weather this storm, but I do wondering if/how much collateral damage this pandemic will leave us with when it’s all over. What social skills am I losing and what skills is Hope being prevented from developing? Will we feel safe traveling and having adventures again? What is going to happen next in a year that honestly feels like a colossal dumpster fire?
I just don’t know, and well, this part of my parenting journey feels a bit like a black hole. I just don’t know what’s next. I’m hopeful. I’m optimistic, but I’m also a realist and I worry about our health, safety, mental health and overall wellbeing.
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.
A couple of years ago, Hope, Grammy and I were having dinner at a cute restaurant in Basel. It was the most expensive dinner we had on a two-week vacation to Paris and Basel. You’re thinking, “Really??? What did you have?”
Two burgers, one steak, one dessert and two glasses of champagne. The damage was close to $200 US. It was outrageous. Burgers for $35!!! Which is why I just went ahead and got the steak—it was $38. On the walk back to our flat, I decided that this Swiss dinner was going to be my new currency benchmark.
The mortgage is 6 Swiss dinners.
Hope’s new sneakers were half of a Swiss dinner.
Her college tuition was…well you get the point.
This week, Hope finally understood the joke my mom and I thought was so funny about my currency reference.
Yesterday Hope turned 19; sadly, I had to work all day. After I wrapped up, we went to get Korean takeout and hit up one of Hope’s favorite little Korean import store which carries all the latest KPop cds. Delighted to spend her own money, Hope purchased 3 new cds.
This is where things got interesting, and Hope and I started really talking about money.
Since Hope started working, she has put money into a savings account. She’s a bit overwhelmed by the influx of cash, and it’s a bit of a delight to see her contemplate purchases.
Hope has largely been oblivious to the cost of things. To some degree I protected her a bit. She had some really difficult and impoverished years. I wanted her to know that we were stable and comfortable; actually, I didn’t want her to know, I wanted her to believe we were stable and comfortable.
I ended up with a kid who at times came off as spoiled. She didn’t necessarily ask for a lot, but she didn’t take care of her things either. She would just ask for replacements, and it annoyed the hell out of me. I usually said no or delayed the replacement until such time as I thought she had earned a replacement. I thought she would learn to appreciate her things; most of the times, it seemed she didn’t.
Enter “Working Hope.”
Working Hope counts her pennies. She actually has 2 separate savings accounts. She studies her pay stub. She estimates her take home. She’s money conscious.
She’s treated herself to a few things, but really hasn’t spent much. The cds were the largest single purchase, and she fretted over the expenditure. I reminded her that she could afford the cds, it was her birthday, and that we all deserved the occasional treat. She grinned and said, “I’ll take these” to the cashier.
On the drive home, I asked Hope, “So how many hours of work was your purchase?”
“How many hours did you have to work to get your cds?”
“Oh.” She started trying to calculate the hours in her head but offered up a guess. It wasn’t close. I told her to pull out her calculator to figure it out. In the end, she determined that the cds represented two days worth of work. She was surprised.
I discouraged her from regretting the purchase; instead I encouraged her to consider the value of her hard work and consider that as she makes purchases. I don’t want her to fret over money, but I do what her to respect it.
Hope started asking me about the household bills and about what it takes to maintain our lives.
I told her to clear her calculator and start over.
Then I told her the rounded figures for the mortgage, the car, insurance, cell phones, internet and TV, condo fees, electric, monthly donations, grocery bill, personal care and maintenance expense, medical insurance and expenses, and a few other things.
The amount was sizeable, and I hadn’t even included my student loans, credit card, savings and investment contributions and “play” money.
She sighed and said, well, there are adults who work where I work. I wondered how do they afford these things? I told her that there are lots of people who can’t afford those things.
We went on to have an interesting discussion about money, income and income inequality, and why I have been pushy about education. Education doesn’t solve all problems, but it certainly can position you to better deal with some of life’s problems.
She had a mini meltdown and asked if she would ever afford to move out on her own. I told her that yes, eventually she would be able to afford to live independently. I don’t think she believed me, but time will prove me right.
This seems to be Hope’s coming of age year which is crazy because pandemic, social justice protests, murder hornets, Saharan sandstorms, cicadas, elections…etc, etc. *This* is the year that is when things are seemingly coming into focus for Hope.
I hope to keep talking to her about money. I’m hoping that in addition to the other lessons she seems to be learning that she will also learn the value of her time—it’s the most precious commodity we have. I hope she also learns to be discerning about her financial choices and continues to develop good financial habits.
One thing that is coming clear to me in all this is that Hope is starting to really see her own future and what the possibilities look like. It’s kind of like watching an alien see and consider earth. She’s surprised, full of wonder and confusion, while also curious and dreaming.
Thinking about Hope imagining living independently makes me smile. I’m proud of her. She’s come so very far in 6 years. I hardly know how to process what I’m seeing with her.
I just know that I’m proud of her, more so every day.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Hope is working two jobs this summer. Once it became clear that summer school wasn’t going to happen, I made it clear that Hope had to get a job. I remember that she sat right down on the couch that morning and filled out nearly 10 applications.
She had a job within 48 hours, and within two weeks she had a second job.
Honestly, I was surprised. In previous years, Hope had applied for jobs and never had any luck. I would repeatedly ask her if she needed help filling out applications. She didn’t. I asked her to call to follow up. I told her she might have to really put forth more effort, be eager, be hungry for the job.
It never worked out, and honestly, I doubted her. Worse, I made sure that she knew I didn’t quite believe she put in all the effort she did.
I have since apologized to my daughter because I was so absurdly wrong and I made things hard for her. Her penchant for laying around in her pjs in a messy room reeked of laziness to me. I felt like she had a lack of drive. I rode her about her schoolwork, her grades, her room and her inability to find a job.
And I sit around and wonder why she struggles so much with depression.
Now, I do want Hope to work hard; I want her to have a strong work ethic. I want her to understand what it takes to make it in this world and to be able to support yourself and have nice things. In the last 4 months, Hope has had a front row seat at watching me work. Why my work isn’t physical, the number of zoom meetings I have a day can be exhausting, and I don’t get a lot of work actually “done” on those days. Occasionally she pops out of her room to join me for tea and coffee, to ask how many meetings I have for the day or to ask when I get to stop working. One night last week I was working until 9pm.
What I’ve learned in these last few weeks of Hope’s employment is that Hope has a strong work ethic. She probably has always had a strong work ethic. She works differently from me; it doesn’t look the same and my own biases around what it should look like made me believe my daughter wasn’t trying.
Gosh, I have so many regrets.
Hope has taught me some valuable lessons about understanding her. I know she has always struggled with school, but I understand that she was working hard to keep up. I realize that despite her social anxiety she puts herself out there a lot to try to connect with people. I realize just how kind she is; her second week of working she was recognized for how many compliments from customers she received. I have begged her to use tools to help keep her ADHD in check; I see now that they didn’t click for her until she figured out the best tools for her.
Hope will be a sophomore in college in just 2 months, and I feel like I’m seeing her as a real young adult for the first time. I would like to think I taught her loads, but I am conscious of the ways in which I made things more difficult for her. That makes me incredibly sad and angry with myself.
I tell Hope I’m proud of her every day.
And every day she asks me why I keep telling her.
I tell her that I have always been proud of her, but she has shown me that she is so much more than I thought she was in this moment. She’s juggling jobs. She picks up groceries. She’s proud of her savings. She puts gas in the car, and she offers to run other errands. We talk about science and politics and history and trap music and she’s knows all the things. I’m actually starting to feel old around her.
She just needed this opportunity to prove herself to herself.
These months at home, I see my daughter through new eyes. I know she will be ok.
Hope’s college is planning to resume in-person classes this fall. I never thought I’d say that I hope they change their mind so that she can stay a little longer. Of course, I’m worried about COVID-19; I worry that with such a tiny campus (700 students) that one case can easily create a major outbreak, especially with the dorms. Add to that the school is in a town with another university where the leadership believes that COVID-19 is a hoax, and you’ve got one worried mom.
But the real reason I wouldn’t mind a few more months with my daughter is because I know that I will miss her terribly when she goes back. When I think of her returning to school, I get those early empty nest feelings all over again. I also don’t want to lose watching her mature into this formidable young woman right before my eyes. I’m super conscious that when she returns to campus, the times I see her after that will make it seem like she’s really changing so much faster. I want to see it in real time and up close.
But I know that’s not how these things work. She might be here, she might not. She may keep working; she might not. It’s really all a crap shoot right now and I don’t have control over any of it. I’m just going to have to ride the wave and see what happens.
What I do know is that Hope is really blossoming into this really cool person—she was already cool, but this is different. I’m starting to see glimpses of her future. It’s not perfect, but it is good. I think I can worry less. I think I my parenting can really switch to coaching. I know I can believe her and really believe in her.
I’m so very proud of her, and I’m glad and appreciative of the grace Hope has shown me over the years. I’m realizing that I got a lot more grace that I ever realized.
Hope is experiencing another first! She got her first job this week!
I had hoped that she would work and maybe take a class or two at the local community college, Well, the bureaucracy at the community college made taking a class unable to happen, so we pivoted. Hope buckled down and put in applications at numerous places in our local area. She got a couple of quick ‘no’s’ and then poof, she had a few interviews lined up.
I launched ABM’s Interview Boot Camp, where we practiced interviewing a dozen or so times. I’m always amazed at how poised she can be when she really sets her mind to it. It’s always so reassuring to me that she will be ok.
Within 24 hours of filling out a bunch of applications, she had a job at a local fast food restaurant. In the current economic environment, I really didn’t think she would find a job, much less so quickly. I’ve chalked this up to the universe wanting Hope to really have this experience for now.
I helped her fill out the tax forms and other paperwork. I measured her for her uniform so she could get something that fit. I soothed her anxiety about another new experience.
And then, she went off to start her first 8 hour shift.
I’m so proud of her.
New experiences still cause a lot of anxiety for Hope. She catastrophizes a lot; not quite as much as she used to, but still quite a lot. She is improving though, and I see evidence of her developing coping skills.
During the interview boot camp, I found myself laying out her options–go to the interview, do well, get the job. Go to the interview, do well, but don’t get the job. Go to the interview, don’t do well, but somehow still get the job. Go to the interview, don’t do well, and don’t get the job. In none of the scenarios will you get hurt or your future fall apart. It’s just an interview. Just do your best.
When she got ready for her first day, it was another pep talk. Go, learn a lot, embrace the training, you can do this. Watch and learn and remember that there’s a team of people, none of you want to fail, so you’ll work together.
I find myself often making her stop and consider the “bad” first time experiences since we’ve been a family. Oh, there have absolutely been missteps and some failures, but they weren’t the end of the world. I remind her that if she has to think hard to come up with a list because the number is relatively low, then you’ve probably got a good ratio and that somehow things will be ok, even if they aren’t perfect.
Today is day three of being gainfully employed, and she says she likes it. I think she also likes the idea of having a job and knowing that that will lead to greater independence. I’ve asked her what she thinks she’ll spend her income on; she said she will put most of it in savings. She still has 2 more interviews for jobs that pay more, but I think she will be content if those don’t work out.
I’m super proud of her. It’s really such a privilege to watch her come into adulthood and stretch. With each new thing, she faces her fears and realizes that she will be OK. She remembers that I’ll be there to support her.
Hope is a really a cool human; I love being her mom.