Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Next?

We live in a society where apparently wire tomato cages are no longer acceptable and colored ones need to be in our gardens. Are you kidding me? In today's economy they're producing products like this? We seem to be more concerned with "stuff" and less concerned with helping people, particularly woman, lead less stressed-out lives.

Here is my crazy story for the day. These past few weeks leading up to high school graduation have been a crazed, somewhat overwhelming stream of days and nights, one after the other, with no break for a breather. I was pretty tired today and after work lay down for a brief rest. I awakened at 6:00 with my youngest son in the shower. I figured it was Friday morning and that I had slept through the night although it didn't really seem I had.

My son asked for money, which I assumed was for lunch out. He said he and his friends were going to Taco Bell and I figured with the finals schedule, most kids have free periods or leave early and get lunch out. I noticed with some alarm that my oldest wasn't home - I asked my youngest where he was and was told he had slept over at a friend's. My youngest appeared to be leaving for school so I gave him some Fiber One Bars to take for breakfast. He took them without any word. As soon as he left, I called my oldest to be sure he would be at school for the graduation ceremony practice. He laughingly told me it was Thursday. It wasn't Thur. I informed him but Friday! We bantered back and forth a bit. No one mentioned that it was Thur. p.m. so I kept assuming it was still Thur. a.m.

I started to question my sanity. Where and how had I goofed up my week like this? I still believed it was Fri. a.m. and actually made a cup of tea and ate a granola bar for breakfast. I was about ready to jump in the shower to get ready for work when I made some more calls and finally figured out that I had only been asleep two hours instead of the entire night.

I was pretty relieved at this because what upset me the most about this entire mix-up was the fact that I thought I had to work two more days instead of only one.

What a strange and somewhat disconcerting experience. To be so busy and tired that you lose track of time and the days. And this has not been the first time something like this has happened. I lost an entire week back in January!

You'd think that with all our technology and advances in science and manufacturing that some attention could be directed toward reducing the stress and strain existing in our lives. I guess what I'm feeling is that instead of even MORE choices at the stores such as these tomato cages (which ARE cute, I agree but entirely unnecessary) that we need to reduce our choices. Anyway, that is just my opinion. That of an over-stressed, over-worked, over-tired mom trying to keep it together as we enter the final week before graduation.

I must say everyone is getting a good laugh out of this. Sam mentioned that I have seemed VERY tired the past few days and my oldest son commented that I was really out of it. The fact that I ate a granola bar with tea thinking it was the a.m. when it was the p.m. is very amusing to me. Might I recommend Nature Valley Crunchy "Oats 'n Dark Chocolate" - very tasty!

Friday, May 20, 2011


I have not been able to blog the past week due to a computer virus that didn't allow me to access the internet. Luckily, my oldest, was able to download an anti-virus program and our service was restored.

Last night, was the long-awaited Senior Farewell Band Concert which debuted my oldest son's original band composition. I will post on that separately as it was a very special moment worthy of its own recognition. In this post I will relate some personal comments that I don't want part of that.

My sister and close girlfriend attended the concert with me. FINALLY, after all these years, I wasn't alone in the audience! My sister commented that she has never believed me when I've told her that there aren't any parents sitting alone at our high school events. She was going to point out a man and women she saw alone, until she looked again, and saw that their respective spouses had arrived late. She admitted that there weren't any people alone in the audience, save one man I stopped to chat with who was reading "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo."

She also acknowledged after the concert how polite, respectful and loving my sons are. She noted that my oldest was so modest and without an ego, despite huge amounts of praise bestowed upon him by the band director, parents and fellow students. He made a point of hugging my sister and referring to her as his aunt. She told me that she has to remind her two children to interact with adults, thank people and so on.

One of the highlights of the evening for me, besides the enormous pride I felt for my son, was when my sister said, "You raised your sons well. You raised your sons well, on your own." That little bit of recognition has been a long-time in coming. I think that most widows would appreciate acknowledgment of their feelings, and their reality. Also, a pat or two on the back for getting through some difficult and trying life situations.

My family would tend to downplay my reality - "It can't be that bad." "Other single moms are out there handling their lives. what's wrong with you?" "You focus too much on the negative." "There can't be so few single parents where you live."

Simply accepting my observations at face value rather than trying to contradict my reality would have been appreciated. Also, some praise at how I was coping, evolving and raising my sons on my own would have been a positive boost to my morale and self-esteem. Even late in coming, finally hearing some of these words was meaningful to me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Being There

Doing those daily postings for the A-Z Blogging Challenge took a lot out of me. Also, there have been plenty of goings on with end-of-school-year activities, etc. I do okay with life when it doesn't throw any curve balls at me. But when I get hit with debit card fraud, baseballs hitting the windshield, on top of Prom and all the normal day-to-day functions, I seem to sink.

The debit card fraud was a big scheme that hit the Chicago area via Michael's, the craft store chain. Skimmers were put on the debit/credit card scanners, which is how they got my card and pin numbers. A number of stores in my area were targets - I had gone to two of them! Luckily, my bank did not allow the transactions to go through - in California at an ATM where they had made a phony card with my info. They tried to withdraw $500.00, then $300.00 and as a last ditch effort, $100.00 - all denied. But I was without a card for a week and had to keep running to the bank for cash.

The windshield on my son's vehicle was fixed on Friday. I am still dealing with insurance on that. I spent Mother's Day with Sam and had a nice meal out. We went to an Asian restaurant owned by a friend of his. She is a married mom of three with her oldest 13 and youngest 3. While we were there, Sam mentioned that his friend had confided in him that she is so tired, complaining of no time to herself, spinning her wheels, etc. "See, you are not the only one," he added. I just replied that it seems pretty much everyone in our society is tired these days. But his friend has a husband at home to confide in and pick up some of the slack. There IS a big difference when you are parenting on your own.

Driving home from Sam's, I listened to a radio broadcast about parenting teens today. The panel of church pastors talked about why parenting is different than in the past citing higher divorce rates, kids living in two homes, both parents working, living in such an instantaneous society. When asked what parents can do to counteract these pressures, being there, showing an interest in and attending the kids' activities was given as the top response.

I thought about that at the volleyball games I attended Monday and yesterday. It is tough getting home at 8:30 and then having to deal with laundry, homework and some kind of decent dinner. But I've made being there for my sons my #1 priority the past 10 years in an effort to raise them to the best of my abilities and to launch them into life as rounded, decent, caring, respectful young men and citizens of the world.

There is a huge sense of pride as I see what fine young men my boys have become. My oldest will be playing his original band composition next week at the final band concert along with it being Senior Night for volleyball. He is excited about starting college. On the volleyball court I see such a leader, not to mention his athletic and music abilities.

People tell me that when I look at other married couples and are envious of their union, to realize that their relationships might not be all that they seem. But I tell you, every marital problem and difficulty during the 12 years I spent with my husband (and there were plenty) do not compare in any way to the stress and strain I have felt as an only parent. I'd take all of those issues multiplied vs. the complications and hardships I've had to face raising these fatherless boys on my own. So that on top of the blog challenge and debit card fraud and windshield is just another aspect to my weariness.

But on Mother's Day, despite my exhaustion and all, I was reminded that as a mother I did what I felt was in my heart to do for my sons - I have been there. Granted the house has sometimes, well, most times, been pretty much of a mess - but I was there for two boys who needed their mom more than ever, and I should hold my head up for that with pride.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Crazy Life

Just wishing for a little peace and tranquility these days. The past weekend has been a bit crazy with Prom. Then my debit card was involved in fraudulent activity - someone tried to use it in California but my account was flagged and the account closed before any money was withdrawn from my accounts - thank goodness for that! But it is disconcerting to know that my info. was obtained including my PIN # - I guess I feel as though I've been violated in some way. Tonight at Knit Club another member had the same thing happen to her debit card over the weekend in California as well. We both use the same bank. I was glad to know it wasn't some weird curse on me - apparently a number of other folks in the community were targeted.

To top it off, my sons' vehicle was hit by a baseball during batting practice in the high school parking lot on Monday - the entire front windshield will need to be replaced and I'm still waiting to hear if the school will help with the cost - my insurance deductible is $500.00 so I'll be paying for it without insurance reimbursement.

Those events have kept me hopping. Need a little R&R and time off to myself. It gets so hectic at the end of the school year. And I honestly have come to believe that life's glitches are much easier to deal with when shared with a supportive partner - facing all this stuff on one's own is very tedious and wearing - physically and mentally.