Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Message to My Teenager

With the start of the school year, there have been several versions of 'messages to my teen' floating around Facebook. Most of them have to do with  ideas of teens getting into trouble, not listening to their elders, not focusing on what's important in life, etc. Those messages have always rubbed me the wrong way, because they start with the assumption that teens are wrong and adults are right, that teens don't have any idea how the 'real world' works and adults do, and so forth. And although I know that many people see these as 'funny' and 'just a joke', I never have felt that way about them. The fact that we say those things about teens is because it's so entrenched in our societal way of thinking about them. After all, you can't make a joke - funny or not - unless the subject matter is well understood by the listener.

So, here I was, reading these on Facebook, and feeling icky about it all. I decided to write my own version of the list in my morning journal, with no intention of doing anything with it other than working through my own personal feelings and beliefs. It was very cathartic to do, and left me feeling lighter and happier. I figured I'd share it on Facebook, because it might bring a smile to someone else's day - that resulted in several requests from people for permission to share this, while wanting to credit me for writing it. Posting it here on my blog, and sharing from this point, seemed to make the most sense.

**Disclaimer** (Oh, c'mon, this was bound to be here, right??). I am not a perfect parent by any stretch of the imagination! This list is my 'highest goal' list, all of the things that I believe and aspire to - but of course I don't always hit the mark. This is also how *I* feel about my teen, and my views about life. I didn't write it to 'sell' my viewpoint to anyone else. It was purely therapeutic for myself. I'm glad that others, who have a similar life viewpoint, have enjoyed it. If you don't, if it doesn't jive with you, that's perfectly fine. You go on and be your wonderful self in your wonderful way (that *is* on my list, after all!).


Message to my Teenager

1. Follow your passions, and your heart, no matter what level of school society believes that you should be in, and no matter what age you are. Nothing is forever, no one choice determines your future, everything can be remade at every moment in your life. There are countless paths to explore, in countless ways. Find the ones that light you up.

2. Say YES to the Universe often. I will say yes as much as I can to you, always looking to find ways that we can both find what we want in beautiful coexistence.

3. Join whatever activities make you shine - or none if you’re not an activity-joining kind of person. 

4. Drugs and alcohol are part of the human experience. I hope that if you try them, you are as responsible as possible, keeping the safety of yourself and others in mind. If you have questions or need help, I am always here, without judgment or censure, to help you.

5. The money you earn and spend is your own, use it in whatever ways you wish. I will not always be able to provide it, or to cover your debts, but I am here to share my advice on how I’ve managed my money - or mismanaged it - in my life.

6. If I yell at you, I’m sorry. Remind me that we’re on the same team, and that we can communicate our different needs without verbally abusing one another. We’ll both take a deep breath and try again.

7. Every moment, every day, every age has wonderful things inside to be discovered. Some days are challenging, but even the most challenging ones contain love, and joy, and magic, when you look for those things.

8. Be who you are, whoever that is, with joy. I’ll love you no matter who you choose to be.

9. If you ever need me, call me, and I will be there. It’s part of the Mom job, and one I’m always happy to do.

10. Live your own life, and go your own direction. Following others’ dreams won’t get you to yours. Leading others to your dreams won’t get them to theirs. Walk your own path, and let others walk their own paths.

11. Your siblings are part of your family, but there’s no requirement to be connected to them for the rest of your life. I hope you find love and friendship with them, but if you don’t, I understand that everyone chooses the people that they surround themselves with, and you get that choice with family as much as with anyone else.

12. I’ve made choices that I haven’t loved, but I’ve also learned that in every choice, there is the seed of knowing more clearly what I want in my life. If you get stuck on this, I’m happy to share my experiences with you.

13. If I have expectations of you that I am not meeting for myself, I’m sorry. Those are my needs and wants, not yours. I’ll take care of myself, and let you make your choices for yourself.

14. Learn whatever you are called to learn. Everything that you desire to know is important, it all has value. Don’t worry about missing knowledge; if you need it, you’ll find the paths to acquiring it, in the right way and time for you.

15. Respect your needs and interests, your personality, your energy, your approach to life. It’s uniquely yours and shouldn’t be compared to anyone else’s. Love yourself so much that you can only ever choose to be YOU.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Bacon has good ideas

Bacon: I'm left over from the boys' lunch. Wanna snack?

Me: I guess I could put you in a sammich, but I'm not really that hungry.

Bacon: I'm pretty good all by myself.

Me: Meh.

Freshly Picked Cherry Tomatoes: Pssst. Over here!

Bacon: Yo! Window Basil! You regrown yet?

Window Basil: I'm in if String Cheese is.

And so it went, until I ended up with these little beauties.

The lesson is - Listen to your bacon, it has much wisdom.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Touches of Love

Drew and I were just now sitting in the living room together, while he played Smash Bros. Melee, impressively sharing loads of information about characters, their histories, game franchises, etc. I sat and sipped my lavender latte and soaked in the sweet togetherness. I only understood about half of the detailed information  he was telling me, but that's okay. It wasn't about the game. It was about his love of it, and my love for him.

As we sat, he stretched out and placed his foot up against mine. He does this kind of touch often, staying in physical contact with people he loves. All small children do this to some extent. I didn't expect that my almost 14-year-old teen - who is bigger than I am now - would still do this. 

Maybe it's partly due to his autism, and his slower interpersonal maturity; he doesn't consider that it's 'not cool' or 'babyish' to share his affection this way. I'm glad. He shares his love without a filter of others' perceptions. He just loves.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lattes are Magical

This blog post popped into my head last night while I was riding the high of finally having an iced latte - with peppermint essential oil - after 2+ days of no coffee while I did a partial juice cleanse. My teen has been watching health documentaries for a few weeks now, and we sat down to view, "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" together the other night. It was good, and very inspirational. Seeing as how I have gained a little more curves than even curvy-loving-me is comfortable with - and my shorts are a bit more snug than I'd like - I thought this was a Great Idea!

=========== IMPORTANT NOTE TO SELF =============

Great Ideas are deceptive. They grab hold of you and shake you, pump you up and convince you that Everything Will Be Perfect If You Do This New Amazing Thing! Not to say that a new idea is bad, of course. But I tend to have a small problem with Great Ideas, especially ones from documentaries, infomercials, or inspirational books. I take them to extremes, and then suck myself into a vortex of hell for a few days while wondering what is wrong with my life all of a sudden. ALL OR NOTHING, BABY!!


So, being a Juicer Owner already, I figured, "Hell ya! I'll have juice all day, every day, for a week or so! And I'll lose like 10 pounds! And I'll feel wonderful for my upcoming trip!"

I like juice. I like homemade juice a lot. It's fun to make, and yummy to drink. A bit of a pain in the booty to clean up afterwards, but nothing evil.

Here's the thing; I also like coffee. With cream. Chemically-laden, full-fat, vanilla creamer is my choice. Lots of it. Some people have referred to my coffee as "milk" on occasion. I am okay with that. I only have one cup a day, mostly because two cups of coffee make me so twitchy that it takes my normal bouncy personality and turns it into a creepy cartoonish nightmare. 

One cup. Surely I couldn't have any kind of physical NEED for coffee if I only consume one cup a day. Right?

As it turns out, eliminating one cup of coffee + creamer (okay, okay... creamer + coffee) turned the inside of my skull into an overpowered Vise of Death. Complete with overwhelming nausea and a wish to crawl into a deep, dark hole, never to return.

Unfortunately, since I assumed that ONE CUP of coffee was no big deal, I didn't make the connection between the Vise of Death and a cuppa joe until a few days later. After trying nearly everything I could think of to help myself not want to gouge my eyes out with my thumbs, I made myself a soothing iced latte with peppermint.

And the angels sang. Rainbows appeared. A unicorn trotted into the room, bowed its head and presented me with a tiara. I may have wept. This most likely means that I am addicted to coffee. Or chemically-laden creamer. I am okay with that. If it means that I can live a unicorn-rainbow-tiara existence, then I embrace it. 
How I felt after my first sip.

This morning I made myself a really yummy apple-carrot-lime-cucumber fresh juice. Deeeelicious. And now I will have a Magical Latte, possibly with lavender. That's a Great Idea that I think will work out well.