A Message To My Adult Children

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Look at you both, one about to graduate from college and the other getting ready to study abroad for a year.  You must be so proud of what you have accomplished thus far and pleased to see where your hard work has taken you.  It hasn’t always been easy but you have persevered thanks to your evolving maturity and strong values.

There is nothing more rewarding as a parent, than to watch your children thrive and become caring and happy adults.  This is what your father and I have always wanted for you and will continue to want in the years to come.

You have heard the same messages from both of us from a very young age.  Scatter kindness.  Be compassionate.  Empathize.  Help those in need. As annoying as those messages may seem,  as you continue to grow, I can only hope that they become second nature.

My message to you as you embrace the next stage of your young life, is to strive to become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.  You may reach your career goals and feel you are succeeding but as your mother I can tell you with certainty, that true success is measured by your  integrity and kindness towards others.  Nothing else comes even close.

Go out there, always remembering what is most important.  Treat others with respect, put yourself in others’ shoes, imagine what someone may be going through, give them the benefit of the doubt and think with your heart, always.  Success and happiness will follow when you truly love yourself and can share that love with those around you.

Be open-minded.  Embrace the differences in others.  Be flexible and willing to try new things even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.  Absorb the experiences fully because they all count in ultimately making you the person you will become.

Be proud of your heritage and your culture.  Don’t be afraid to share all parts of yourself to others.  Never feel shame for what you are or where you come from, instead, be the good example of your race and ethnicity to combat the unfair judgements and misunderstandings others have formed.  You have watched me embrace the pride in my culture and raise my head up high when discriminated against.  You are half Puerto Rican, it is a part of you, carry that part of you proudly through out your life.

Life is not fair.  Bad things will happen.  Things will not go as planned and life will be cruel at times.  You will hurt and feel undeserving of such struggles and wonder how you will survive them.  I can’t protect you from the obstacles you will face and may not be able to make them go away, but I will always be there to listen and most importantly, to model and illustrate the coping mechanisms I have learned throughout my life when dealing with adversity.

You have both observed me struggle with my health issues and have seen how I have been able to move forward, in spite of them.  You have watched me refuse to be a victim of my circumstances and steer you away from blaming others for your pain.

Your father has been the example of what having integrity looks like.  An honest, compassionate man who has sacrificed his needs for all of us.  Always willing to give of himself to make us happy all while demonstrating and balancing his extraordinary work ethic.  A man who never tires of doing for others in the community and who has made a significant impact on others’ lives.

My beautiful children,  I carry you both in my heart, always.  I wish you only the best as you face, head on, your new experiences.  I hope that there is always room in your hearts for your father and I and for the beliefs  we have instilled in you.    

No one else in this world loves you more. 

 

Mom

 

 

 

Sometimes, The Apple Does Far From The Tree

wallpaperswide.com

wallpaperswide.com

They say that I am a replica of my mother.  The hair, the eyes, the face and the mannerisms.  Being that she is an amazing and beautiful woman, I take that as a compliment.

In turn, my children have a pleasing combination of my husband and I.  Big brown eyes, olive skin,  kindness in their hearts and a healthy dose of stubbornness and drive.  We love them both to pieces.

But it was after a phone call that I received from my twenty year-old laid back son that I thought to myself,  Who is this young man?  “Mom”, he said softly,  “I don’t want you to freak out but…I bought a shotgun.”

What?

My son?  

My son has a gun?  

My little sweet guy owns his own gun?

I have to admit that although it was not a complete shock to hear this from him, an avid fisherman and outdoorsman who has been begging me to let him hunt since he was younger, the thought of him owning a gun raised the hairs along the nape of my neck to record highs.

After attempting to remain calm and pretending that I was not horrified, I asked him to tell me more about his purchase.  He bought it from a friend who is a hunter.  “Don’t worry mom, my roommate has a locked gun case for his shotguns so I can keep it there.”  

I knew that his very nice roommate was a hunter and that he stored his guns locked up in their apartment, but I had already tucked that knowledge away in the very rear of my brain, convincing myself that it was not so.  Now, my son had his gun to add to their growing collection.  

I am going to let you tell your father about your purchase when he calls you this evening- was the last thing I said to him before hanging up.

This fine young man of mine grew up in one of the most liberal towns in the country.  A wonderful place to grow up in but a town where everything is questioned and where political correctness is spewed out of its resident’s mouths ad nauseam.   A town where the word blacktop was banned and replaced with, pavement.  A happy valley  filled with distinguished “experts” on every topic and where democracy, is sometimes a curse.

My husband and I (well, my husband mostly) taught him to gently dispose of insects found in our home by placing them outside and setting them free.  We taught him to deal with conflict using words instead of violence.  We even discouraged him when he pretended to shoot us with his little hand.

wikipedia.org

wikipedia.org

Save the whales!

Free the birds!

Think globally, act locally!

War is not the answer!

Be Green!

Teach Peace!

Coexist!

These were the bumper stickers he grew up reading on the way to religious education on Sunday afternoons.

At nearly 21 years of age, in addition to being a hunter, he has decided to study law enforcement and become a police officer.   Really?  How did this happen?  Who does he take after?  Where did this come from?  

Although  I know that hunting, when all rules and  protocols are followed, is a safe sport and that many people grow up having guns in their homes, it will take me some time to get used to the idea that this will be a part of our lives.

 I cannot help but wonder,  how and when my wonderful son decided to become his own person.  Someone who follows his passions and interests regardless of what others say.  Someone who is confident in the person he has become and who does not feel the need to follow in anyone’s footsteps.  A hardworking, responsible and compassionate young man I could not be more proud of.

It is times like these that I am reminded that sometimes, the apple does fall far from the tree – but it is a good apple, nevertheless.

 

 

 

Comes Home A Young Man

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He is born one month early, a bit underweight.  His eyes are wide open, his apgar score an 8.

A content precious infant,  sleeping away.  Cries only heard when he needs us, smiles and giggles most every day.

Belly is filled with oodles of love, legs try to bounce and hop.  Curiosity takes over his hungry mind, questions bombarding non stop.

Wants to be just like his daddy, but adores his mom just the same.  School is a new adventure as he starts to “play the game”.

Bathroom words are hilarious, he can’t stop reciting them at bay.  As parents we try to be serious but laugh because, what can we say?

Balls, swords and bikes are a plenty, as he figures it out on his own.  Soon the pimples start showing and maybe even a broken bone.

Deodorant is a blessing in a house that is quite small, dirty socks on the table, underwear in the hall.

Car keys go missing and worries increase, he prefers his friends now and tries hard to please.

Twelve years of school soon come to an end.  Who is this young boy graduating, wasn’t he just ten?

The time has now come, to leave the cozy nest.  College is upon him and all of the rest.  He leaves apprehensive, anticipation is high.  He loves his family but it is time to say goodbye.

His parents and sister mourn his sweet presence, dinners are quieter, dirty socks missing.   He appreciates his family and becomes their biggest fan.

He leaves as a teen and comes home a young man.

You know your teens are “growing up” when…

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1.   They agree to go bowling with you (in public)

2.   They – thank you (at least once a year)

3.   They utter the words, “You.are.right.” and actually mean it

4.   They ask how THEY can help you

5.   They do the dishes – just because

6.   They laugh at your corny jokes (and they are all corny)

7.  They ask to borrow your clothes

8.  They tell you they love you – even when they don’t need money or the car

9. They ask you how YOU are feeling

10.  They use the “s” word – SORRY

11. They tell you your holiday sweater looks nice on you

12.  They ask you what YOU want to do

13.  They watch a movie of your choice with you, on a Saturday night

14.  They are considerate and only laugh at you BEHIND your back

15.  They miss you when you or they are away (and not because they are hungry)

16.  They volunteer to cook a meal

17.  They point out when you are drinking too much (darn it)

18.  They ask you for the recipe to one their favorite meals you make

*This past weekend my teens went bowling with Mr. Brickhousechick and I.  They watched a movie with us on Saturday night AND my almost 20-year-old asked me for my chili recipe.  He made it once he got back to college and served it to his buddies.  He sent me a picture titled, “So Good”.

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My parenting work is done. 🙂

How to Get Your Children to Collect Their Own Specimen – Like in Science Class

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Is there anything you would not do for a loved one?  

Anything?  

How about for one of your children?

As an official Mama Bear, I totally get that instinctual reaction one has to protect their young at no cost.

I have always told my children, who are now young adults, that I would DIE for them in a second.  And I believe that just as much now as I did the day I gave birth to them.

I am happy to be at this stage of my mothering and child rearing.  I can sleep in as late as I want, I don’t have to cook all the time, I am no longer a taxi driver AND Mr. Brickhouse (the name I will refer to when speaking of husband from now on) and I get plenty of alone time (assuming all spiders are killed.)

I still love to spoil my big babies and continue to dote over them, especially when they are not feeling well.

Case in point:

One of my children (who will remain nameless) had been feeling ill recently.  So much so, that a trip to the emergency room was in order.

Without hesitation and dropping all the important things I was in the midst of (mostly blogging), we headed over to the ER.  On our way there I spoke to his/her doctor who told me to stop by her office before going to the ER.

My poor baby was in a lot of abdominal pain and I could not stand seeing him/her suffer any longer.

After convincing the doctor that, no, my child was not “just constipated” and that his/her pain was interfering with his/her life, the doctor began her aggressive pursuit of the culprit of this debilitating pain.

After getting some medications and having mass amounts of blood drawn for testing, we headed home.  But not empty-handed.

We were given a lovely happy meal prize souvenir of sorts to enjoy, which needed to be returned within 24 hours.

They call it a “hat”. images

I suppose if you were to turn it upside down and wear it on your head, it could protect you from the burning sun.

But it was raining that day and besides, the instructions specifically said NOT to turn it upside down.

To ease my child’s anxiety, I assured him/her that I would do the collecting.  All he/she had to do was to provide the necessary specimen and that I, being the loving Mama Bear that I am, would take care of the rest! 

“Really mom?  Are you sure?  That is disgusting!”

“Yes dear.  That’s what mom’s do.  I can handle it.”

I was not about to show my very active gagging reflex that had begun the minute we were handed the “hat”.  I would remain strong.

This is where I, for the sake of all Moms and Dads all around the world, engaged in a brilliant case of psychological manipulation.

“You know dear, it’s because I love you so much that I don’t mind doing the collecting.  In fact, I am sure you would do the same for me when I am 106 years old and living at your house with you and your family.” 

And so,

WHAM!  

Right on cue!  He/she replied:

“Actually mom, never mind.  I can do it myself.  Don’t you worry, it shouldn’t be too bad.  I wouldn’t want you to get sick and it’s not fair to make you do it.”

SCORE!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so my friends, the science experiment was completed without Mama Bear having to do a thing.

You are welcome.

ps. Susie Lindau, I hope Justin Bieber does not have to do any “collecting” for his food poisoning.