Friday, January 25, 2008

I still got it!

I'm going to brag: Miss 14 is in Algebra, I can still help her with her Algebra! I am a good mother! Heh! I'm bragging because I still vividly remember sitting in Pre-Algebra class in high school, shut up, yes I was too dumb to get into regular Algebra first, and while I sat there I stared at the overhead. I stared, and stared and stared. It looked like a foreign language and I could not get it. I have always gotten fair grades, I could have gotten great grades, but I rarely studied outside of class, and sometimes even skipped the homework. But in Math, I felt like an idiot. Miss 14 is a great student, straight A's in fact, except for math, where she has a B. It's not all my fault; Hubby was worse than I was in Math. Ahem... on to the story: I was a bad math student, not horrid, as I still managed mostly B's. But I didn't "get" it. It was so hard and it seemed everyone around me simply whizzed through it, I was frustrated with it. I took the Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, and then finally Advanced Algebra. All while many of my friends were in Calculus by then. I still felt stupid. Then I got to college. I had to drop an Algebra class because the professor was insane. Seriously! He slid around the room in his stocking feet writing on one board, then to other and wrote on that board, all part of the same problem. I couldn't follow the stocking-footed professor, so I dropped the class. Knowing I still had to have Math credits to graduate I stressed-a lot. After other circumstances and stops and starts, I decided to major in Elementary Ed. I took the elementary math course. The professor was brilliant. Suddenly I had one of those light bulb moments: I got math, I just got it. It wasn't hard, it was a puzzle! I LOVE PUZZLES! I took the other math courses I needed (including more Algebras) and they weren't hard either. Maybe it was my brain maturing, but it wasn't a struggle any more, sure, it still took work, but it didn't feel like I was completely lost any more.

I keep telling Miss 9 and Miss 14 this story. Mostly they think I am crazy for enjoying math problems. But I hope they also think, that some day the light bulb will turn on for them too, they just have to keep working at the puzzle.

I also believe, that for some of us, and this includes elementary, secondary and college students: your brain needs to just mature to the point where you "get it." My theory is that this also isn't just for math, sometimes our brains wiring just isn't connected the right way for what we are learning, but if we keep plugging along, the connection is made and FLASH! there goes that light bulb.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Middle Child

A positive post for a goal for the day.

I am lucky. I wanted to add sometimes after that, but I am trying to be positive.
Miss 14 has been my saving grace lately. She has been nice to me for a little over a week. I think she sees and senses, because I try hard to hide it, the turmoil I have been in lately. Yesterday she sat with me in the kitchen to do her homework while I was working on supper. Yes, she should have been at swim, but her heart is acting up, again. Over the weekend she did her fair share of getting ready for the swim meet, she cheered for her sister, she kept an eye on her sister at the meet when she could. Miss 14 asked me to play a game of cards with her even though she was exhausted and I was crabby. It was the perfect break I needed. Last night she said goodnight, then noted I was headed to the bathroom to get ready for bed, so she came and sat in the bathroom with me and giggled about stupid things. Quite honestly this is a short list of the positives I have seen from her lately. I realize it's probably only a small break from the normal teen behavior. But I have to say, I am so lucky to have her.

Monday, January 21, 2008


The weather here is always changing. In fact the current weather is completely normal for January. It's supposed to be below zero at night and darn cold even during the day. But we have been spoiled so far this year, with balmy temps and no snow. We still don't have much snow, but the balmy temps have flown the coop!

We had a swim meet weekend here at our house. Miss 9 and Miss 14 both had to swim for 2 days at a home meet, and Hubby and I worked at the meet. We spent many, many hours in a hot, humid environment while the outdoor temp was below zero. Each day when it came time to leave, we were all wet from pool water and sweaty from the heat. My pants literally froze.... you read it right, they froze when I stepped out the door. The girls' hair was frozen, with hats on. My poor toes, who spent all day in the wetness of the pool deck, were now stuck in their normal socks and shoes, and the moment they touched the chill of the frozen sidewalk, they fell off! Well, ok, so I exaggerate for effect, but they were cold, and despite coming home and wearing slippers and taking hot showers they are still cold, a full day later!

Miss 14 had an awesome meet. She took first overall for her age group in one of her events and was so proud of herself. 1st place is a first for her. Miss 9 had a good meet as well. She did manage to DQ a few events, but now we know what she needs to work on: flip turns. Hubby and I got to spend hours sitting together and working time clocks and stop watches and soaking our tootsies in some lovely, chlorine-y, germy water. So, it's all good.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I may run away

It is Friday and for that I must thank my lucky stars. Not because this weekend will be a joy, it won't, but because maybe if I am very lucky the ending of this week will bring us closer to getting back to normal.

It has been a living h#// this week. Not that it all began this week, oh no, it's has been going on for a long time. But this week simply compounded it.

I can not completely blame Mr 18, but darn close. I realize the pain he is in this week, and believe me we have made many, many concessions for it. But being cussed at and screamed at, doesn't cut it at my house. No matter what has happened in his life being disrespectful to his parent's and siblings is a definite no-no.

I had a long post planned for today ranting on his thoroughly horrid behavior. Believe me it was going to be a doozy. I was convinced that it was just him. To some degree, it is worse with him, but after talking to another Mother of one of his close friends and classmates this morning, I realized that it's not just him. I don't mean to wish any of what we are going through on anyone else, but it was such a relief to hear from her that her son is behaving in pretty much the exact same way. Even though we aren't close, and even though we seldom visit, we had a nice laugh together realizing we shared some common, though torturous, ground with our "adult" children. She recently visited with another of the boys' close friends and her son is in the same boat.

I think there should be a Parent's of Teens support group in this town. We all face the same moods, rants, ignorance, unaccountability, irresponsibility, lack of motivation (.... need I go on?) It would certainly be a great benefit to have that support and allow the realization that we aren't alone in our stresses. Instead of crying to ourselves, we could cry and laugh with each other.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

and I can't help

Mr 18 learned of a tragedy yesterday: a friend of his took his own life. It is indescribable to think of the horror these parents are feeling. Mr 18 and his friends are nearly incapable of functioning at this point, they merely walk through the days in a fog. The hardest part for me, is there is nothing I can do to help, except sit with him when he is here and tell him that I can't fix it for him, but I'm always right here when he needs me. Mr 18 is emotional on a good day, and this has taken a huge toll. He doesn't like to talk to us when he's having emotional troubles, but now and then, if I happen to time it right, he will open up a bit. He was home for lunch today. I waited to put my lunch in the oven until just as he got home, but I made sure it didn't look intentional. I sat at the table with him while he ate his lunch, but I tried not to say anything unnecessary. Eventually he started talking a bit:
"I skated with him almost every day last summer."

"I know you did. I wish I had known him better. Did *friend* skate with him, too?"

"yea, every day, even when I couldn't."

"How is *friend* doing?"

"He hides it. (pause) It's hard."

"Yes, it is."

"He was out recording music with his band... that night... I just don't get it."

"Did those friends know anything was wrong?"

"No one did.... *other friend* went and sat with his Mom all day yesterday."

"that was nice of him, I can't imagine how hard that was."

"me either. It's the only time I have seen *another friend* cry. I've never seen him cry before."

silence for a while... then he says:
"I told the guys I would come and just sit with them for a while."

"Ok, I can't fix this for you; but I can be here if you need me."

"I know"

Not too many words spoken, and it doesn't sound like much to an outsider, but this was a good step forward.

We live in a small town, this isn't something that is going to be un-noticed. The young man graduated last spring, he has a lot of friends at the High School, and yet Mr 18 said that no one at the high school has even acknowledged what is going on. There is a large part of the student body going through some serious emotion and the administrators have yet to see fit to discuss it. Will there really be any learning going on right now? Are the teachers and administrators unable to see the pain these kids are in? Or are they just ignoring it? It won't go away. There is a big roadblock in the way of education at that school today. Pressing forward with business as usual will not benefit the students or the staff. This young man was a big part of this High School. The loss of his life isn't a non-event. Honoring him and remembering him will help these kids to heal. Ignoring what has happened will only increase the tension the students are feeling.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Who says January is boring?

I've heard people talk about January as the month when nothing happens, and earlier, after the holidays, I may have even been thinking it myself. After this past week when I filled up my calendar's dates for the month in record time, I just don't think that anymore.
January=relaxing around the tv/fireplace/under the electric blanket! I don't think so! When did life decide January was a good time to be busy? When the weather is frigid and snowy and the wind chills dip to 30 below, it's NOT a time to be busy! Who didn't get this message and decided to inundate me with things to do?
There... I got that out of my system. Phew! Now on with normal every day rantings. I picked up Mr 18's senior picture proofs today. They are wonderful. It's going to be very, very difficult to chose which ones to use as portraits and which to give to relatives. I also have a hard time looking at them and imagining that he will be going away soon. It just seems surreal. Then, when I speak to him and he's in one of his moods, it's not too hard to believe.
Hubby and I drove 2 hours out of town this morning and then hopped back on the road and drove 2 hours home again to be here in time to pick Miss 9 up from school. Hubby had work to do out of town, and I was lucky enough to be dropped off at the mall for an entire 2 hours. I found some awesome deals, so I can't even complain. I got this adorable skirt to wear with my new boots, 2 sweaters at 60% off, and 2 sweaters at 50% off. Yay for bargains! More fun~less guilt.
Tomorrow I get to chaperone and drive for a field trip for Miss 9. She's very excited for me to be able to do that. Hubby may have to stay home from work as the weather is supposed to be awful with wind gusts to 50+. It's hard to work outside when the wind call almost blow you over and the temp makes you feel like you've been hit by an ice truck. Yuck. I hate the wind.
Miss 14 is battling another case of swimmer's ear. Such fun for her with a swim meet coming up this weekend. I wish their was a cure for that: well I wish there was a cure for many things, but that's the one on my mind today.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not Dead Yet

I didn't die. I just chose to skip keeping up with this blog. That's the luxury I get when no one reads it anyway, right?
It's been a busy life at our household since Fall. We've had State Cross Country, where Mr 17, now Mr 18, placed in the top 16% of the state! Whoot! He was pleased, and I was pleased that he was pleased.
Miss 14 also had State Swim, but she didn't actually swim, she went with the team and cheered.
Miss 9 has been doing some brilliant work at school, and in spite of hours of homework with her, I feel like she is making progress. I am so grateful.
At the moment we are struggling with a case of senioritis in Mr 18, along with his own troubles that he has brought on himself. I'm not sure when he will learn, but he keeps going after girls with boyfriends, then wondering why they don't want him. It's a vicious cycle, and I know he hurts inside, but it's bringing this family to it's knees to tiptoe around him like we have been.
I have been working infrequently, yet I have managed to stay incredibly busy at home. I wouldn't mind a job a day or two a week for a few hours though.
Hubby is still swamped at work; we also have a ton of work to do for tax season which is very, very soon for us. I had been all caught up... until we had our major computer crash, and because I'm an idiot, we have nothing left of all the work I did previously.
I'm setting a goal now, to keep this blog up a little better this year. Let's see how I do...
New things since I last posted:
1. I got a new couch and chair for the living room. I ordered them and got to choose the exact fabric and style I wanted for each. I pink puffy heart them!
2. I have a new niece who is beautiful! I haven't got to meet her in person yet, and I don't know when I will get to. This makes me sad.
3. Miss 9 has started serving at mass. It took some prodding, but she is doing a great job. Her anxiety almost prevented her from doing this at all. It was a big step.
4. My sister spent a few weeks with me here at home this fall while she was pg with my new niece. It was amazing to have her here and be able to share that part of her life with her.
5. Miss 14 has realized her lifelong ambition from her kindergarten graduation: she wanted to be a swimming lessons teacher and now she is a swim coach. She is brilliant at it!

The list would be long and tedious for anyone who had to read it, so I will stop.
I will post again soon.