Posts Tagged ‘teens’

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Planes, trains and boats (and I’m not on any of them)

July 28, 2013

This past week, I put my Emma on a plane.  Ballsy of me, ballsy of her; the whole trip is quite ballsy:

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She is now in Paris.  Navigating the Metro, the Eiffel Tower, figuring out which museums to see.  She’s not with a group or on an organized trip.  It’s just her and a friend, making their way.

I’m not surprised that when she called today, she seemed a bit subdued.  Or that she expressed some concern about finding their way outside of Paris to Versailles “on their own.”  (her words.)

They’re staying with family friends, so they aren’t completely adrift, but I think that having this time to plan, to execute, to budget – on their own – is an interesting wake up call.  It responds nicely to the exclamations of “I am an adult!  I can make my own decisions!” that were creeping into her arguments before she left.  Arguments for a later curfew, mostly.

She’s not an adult.  One more year of high school, and lots more years to mature.

Yet, I’m happy that we can provide for her an experience that will help her to grow into an adult.

She’s spending a week in Paris, and then a week in the countryside, staying with her friends’ parents’ in-laws.  There, they will hike, they will swim in a lake, they will milk some cows.  And I will be checking my phone, my emails, my growing number of grey hairs, much less.

Meanwhile, the 15 year old is safely ensconced in her remote overnight camp for a month.  Well supervised, well sunscreened, and beautifully cut off from internet and television:

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Last year, David and I fell down on our job of sending her letters from home.  At her camp, each “session” is two weeks, and we are allowed to visit on the mid-point day.  Before I knew it, the first session was almost over, and I hadn’t sent her a SINGLE letter.  This was horrible.  Wretched.  Terrible.  Bad.  We started getting letters that said “why haven’t you written me?” and “I can’t believe I haven’t gotten even ONE letter?  Is everything okay?” We did better after that, but it didn’t reduce the scarring.  (Fortunately, she was having a fabulous time, and this didn’t impact her experience … but it gave her a LOT of ammunition to complain.)

This year, we’re working to fix it.  We sent her postcards from the town right outside the camp on the day we dropped her off, and we’ve been alternating letters and packages EVERY DAY since.  And we EACH send something every day.  I’m hoping I can erase her memories of last year.  I’ve sent her, so far, temporary tattoos, a purple pen, nailpolish, stickers for her nails, and 2 letters.  David has sent her books.  I have some other little trinkets to send over the next few weeks.

As I’ve said here before, my kids are theatrically inclined.  They do musicals and plays, and Emma is now in the high school’s [very competitive, not that I’d brag] Improv Troupe.  Julez’s camp does a musical, too.  They work on it for the full month, and perform during the last week.  Last year, the musical was Seussical, and she was the Cat in the Hat.  This year, it’s The Little Mermaid, and she wrote to say she is Sebastian, the …. lobster?  Sadly, because her camp is 3 hours away, and on an island that can only be accessed by a boat; and because parents simply aren’t invited – we can’t see this musical.  But I take solace in knowing that I will hear the songs for months, during Juliette’s showers.  So I’ll have some sense.

David and I are enjoying our temporarily empty nest.  I’m on the verge of very intense trial prep, but so far things are under control enough that my weekends are untouched.  Yesterday we went and saw TWO movies, and then had some quick, cheap, delicious tacos for dinner out, and then came home and watched West Wing for a few hours.  Wild and sexy, us two.  Today I’m thinking of organizing my home office, so that perhaps one day it will be at the point where I don’t feel that I need to close the door and hide it from all visitors.  We’ll see how that goes.

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Drama on the Home Front

October 22, 2012

In some ways, I feel like I would have used this as a post title in the past.  I know I’ve used similar.

The nutshell:  In elementary/middle school (my girls were in a K-8 school), my kids were in plays.  And they were successful.  They had lead roles.  Because they enjoyed it and did well, I decided that it would be the way I gave back to the school.  So in my last year of law school, I offered to be a “parent volunteer coordinator.”  By the end of that year, I was a producer.

One of the best experiences of my life.

And I did that, and got to know kids and parents and processes.   I felt like what I learned as a producer informed my experiences as a lawyer.  I learned how to deal with people, how to deal with my own failings, how to rein myself in, how to deal with people, how to convince people to do things they *really* didn’t want to do.

And my girls kept thriving.  They got great roles, they enjoyed the social aspect, they had self-confidence.

Then Emma got to the high school and … well.  They didn’t cast her in any shows.  She did other things, she was resilient.  her sister – still back in the K-8 school – kept getting lead roles.

Then it was Juliette’s turn to go to the high school.  She ended her 8th grade year as the lead in Anything Goes, and she was strong in that role.

I was worried.   It might be bad to admit that I was worried that after Em was rejected for 2 years that Jules would get in to the show, and Em would feel deflated.  Now, Emma has been just — amazing.  She hasn’t been shattered by the decisions not to let her in.  She’s shrugged and said, “I just wasn’t a good fit.”  Last year, she was sad. But she spent the summer doing different acting things, and she has been really strong with crew, and she’s been fine.

But as auditions came up, it was clear that Emma wanted in.  Juliette also wanted in, but after having seen her sister struggle to get in for 2 years, she wasn’t so confident.  She was looking at the Freshman Play as her better chance.

I was really unhappy that auditions took place during my week of travel.  I stayed in touch via phone and text, but I hated being gone.  With auditions on top of sports, the girls were out of the house until 8 and 8:30 p.m., and then got home to eat dinner and do homework.  One one of the audition days, David told me that J was up until 12:30, and E until 2 a.m.

After Freshman Play auditions, J found out pretty quickly that she got a callback.  She was so very excited, and really energized.

A couple days after musical auditions, both girls found out they did NOT get call backs.  Jules wasn’t too surprised, Emma was looking at the bright side (“now I can focus on crew!”).  Emma also said, “well, the policy is that no callback doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a part.”  But I said that to her last year when she didn’t get a call back, and she told me I didn’t know what I was talking about.  (Hmpf.)

Then Jules went to the Freshman play callback, and felt like it went really well.

I got home Friday night, and Jules was a ball of nerves starting then and through the weekend.  “What if I don’t get in?  I really want to do the play! What if I don’t get in?  I might not get in.”

I was encouraging.  Reminded her of her past successes.  Told her I really thought she’d get in.

Monday rolled around.

Mouse didn’t get in.  She texted me, and said she was really sad.  Friends of hers did get in, and she didn’t, and the musical callbacks were the following day, and everyone was a buzz, and she had nothing.

When we were all home that evening, she just dissolved.  She cried (she doesn’t do that so often).  She was very, very sad.  I gave her hugs and let her sit on my lap (which is hard, considering I’m 5’6″ and she’s 5’8.5″).  I wiped her tears, and held my tongue when I thought things like, “it’s good to learn how to do deal with disappointment.” and “well, we still really don’t know about the musical.”  I just let her cry and told her I knew that she was very, very sad.

That was Monday night.

Tuesday a.m., she had the puffiest eyes in the world.  She went to school, still a little glum.

I started to get nervous on Wednesday because she was still glum, even a little snippy.  I didn’t want to see her get into a funk.  We started talking about her doing Volleyball on a private “club” team this winter, since she didn’t have a sport or drama.  She was game, and I thought we’d be okay.

Thursday was my big arbitration, as I mentioned.  I debriefed with colleagues, and made my way to the T station with a friend.  As I was descending the escalator at 6:15, my phone rang.  It was Emma.  She never calls, always texts.  A friend of mine recently told me that HER daughter was crossing the street and got HIT BY A CAR.  So I freaked out.  I answered the phone with “are you okay?!”  First there was nothing on the other end.  Then some yelling.  I got even more nervous, and said again, “are you okay??”  My friend was getting nervous.

“O MY GOD, MOM! THE CAST LIST IS UP AND ALKJKLJHOUWINBEOJN”

“Wait, Emma, what?!?”

“The cast list!  For the musical!  It’s up, and Juliette and I are BOTH ON IT!!!”

I then came back with “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?” and then had to give my friend a thumb’s up, and she was very nervous that my daughter was dying or something.

So I asked Em if she knew if Jules knew, and she said no – Jules was at Volleyball. It was 6:35 then, and we thought Juliette was a volleyball practice, there at the school.  So Emma decided to stay at the school and be there when volleyball ended so she could be the one to tell her sister the news.

I went underground, and chatted with my friend, grinning like mad.  This was such great news for my girls.  It was so great for Em, after years of trying and being told no, and it was great for Jules to be so happy and so rewarded after such a low thinking she hadn’t made either show.

I got back above ground at 6:50, and my phone INSTANTLY rang.

“MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!!!”  It was Jules. But it wasn’t 7, so I didn’t know if Em had gone into the practice and interrupted, or what?

No.  Jules was at an away game.  Poor Emma was sitting there outside the gym waiting and doing her homework on the floor for NO REASON.  Juliette was on the bus, and a friend texted and told her “The cast list is out!  You are on it!”  And she [again] cried with happiness.  Then she called me.

I ended up texting Em to tell her that J found out.  She knew already, but asked, “please don’t tell Davey?”  So I quick texted David and said, “can you please play dumb with Emma?”  Because OF COURSE I told him the moment I found out!  But she was bummed that she missed telling her sister.

So I got home that night to 2 girls that were just exploding with happiness, and me on a huge high after the positive arbitration, and . . . wow.

Such a happy house.

 

 

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Kids + Legal Mumbo Jumbo

March 28, 2012

Mouse’s braces came off today.  One of my favorite things about that was that Lemon was so excited for her.

At dinner, we were talking about Mouse’s arrival at the high school in the fall.  In the context of the girls’ similar appearances, I laughed and said, “Mouse, you should go into the high school as [Mouse] [Suz’s last name], and Lemon, you should stay [Lemon] [Ex’s last name].”  They got a kick of out that.  “Dude!  You look like Lemon!”  “Oh, yeah, we’re good friends, and she even slept over my house FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS!!”  HA HA HA!!  Say the girls.

But then Lemon said, “you know, now that your braces are off, you kinda do look more like me.”  Mouse agreed.

Other funny braces conversations:

Lemon:  “Was it wrong of me to think I looked WORSE when my braces came off?”

Mouse:  “I know!  I thought that, too!”

Me:  “Why?  Like you’re missing jewelry or something?”

[not saying “you know, you do look weird.” because she does.]

Lemon:  “No, it was like my teeth were too big.”

Mouse:  “YES!!! And [a boy] told me to ‘take off those creepy fake teeth’ – and I told him, ‘I got my braces off!'”

Then they were a bit wild, and during the wildness, decided it was the perfect night for a HOMEWORK PARTY!!!!  WOO HOO!!!

These things.  They melt my heart. I want these girls to be friends. And here we are.  It was not always the case.  The middle grade years were hard.  Hatred may not have been an exaggerated term.

But now?  Lemon is having friends over this weekend.  They’re having a Lord of the Rings Marathon.  Lemon and her friends thought, “Hey! It would be fun if Mouse watches with us!”  And they invited her. And she said yes. And they are all excited.

Big sigh.

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So — Work.

I’ve already made clear that this move from BigFirm to New Firm, which is a “Medium Sized Firm,” has been a great one.  But I just want to talk about it for a minute.  Another minute.  Because I have already talked about it.

In the Big Firms, filing deadlines are stressful events.  You have a senior associate, and a mid level associate, and maybe 3 junior associates.  They are working off a rough outline provided by a partner, or a Partner.  They got maybe 10 minutes of said partner’s time, and hoped against hope they were going in the right direction.  If not — they wouldn’t know until the eve of filing.  Deadlines loom, and still no feedback – but then 12 hours before— feedback!  Rewrite! Not good enough!!  Revise!!

My friends and I would say, over and over “It doesn’t have to be this way . . . ”  we know about deadlines 20-30 days in advance. Why does all the stress happen in the 12-24 hours before said deadline?

But now!  I am at a medium sized firm.  And I have better partner access.  I have more control.

Tomorrow is my second filing.  Last time and this time, I’m home by 6:30 the night before. The brief is DONE.  For real.  I will do a final proof in the morning, before a post-lunch filing goal.

We are golden.  It is remarkably stress-free.

Ahhhh.

 

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Happiness and Headaches

February 1, 2012

Happiness

  • I’ve accepted the offer from the new job.  Man, does it feel good to know that I have landed without a gap in employment.  Hooray!
  • The new job agreed to my starting AFTER February vacation week, so I don’t have to be in stress-mode while Mouse is home from school and her friends are all away. Lemon will be traveling with her crew team, and we are not traveling without her.  We thought about it last February, when it was freaking cold out we didn’t yet know that I’d have this transition forced upon me.  But since today – February 1 – it was 60 degrees outside – we aren’t feeling too bummed about the change in plans.
  • The old job owes me 3 weeks’ vacation pay.  I didn’t know that until yesterday.  That will be a nice chunk o’ change. I am seriously considering a late-June re-do of last year’s vacation.  The house itself is very affordable, we will drive rather than fly, and we will all be happy with cooking in the house.  It could be great. It could be perfect.  Just what we need.
  • I’m home a lot. I don’t have much work left, and most of what I do have can be done at home.
  • When I’m home, I get to hang out with my kids.  And I like them.  And I have fun with them.  I love how much they make me laugh, I love how much they find what room I’m in, and hang out with me.  I love that Lemon came home today and laughed from the door way, yelling (to me), “Honey, I’m hooo-ooooome!” And that she then met me at her sister’s basketball game, and we went out for a sushi “snack” afterwards, chatting all the while.  Where are the nasty teen years?? (Don’t answer that.)
  • Mouse had a doctor’s appointment (annual physical) yesterday.  I picked her up early, we went and grabbed some burritos, and then went to talk about how damned healthy, tall, athletic and smart she is.
  • My girls are really enjoying each other lately. I may enjoy that more than them enjoying me.
  • Tomorrow is mine and David’s 5th wedding anniversary.  When we went away for our birthdays this year, we realized that it was also our 10 year “dating” anniversary.  He got a haircut today, and he looks super-cute.  Also, he probably noticed today at the basketball game that I raided his sock drawer, but he didn’t complain.  He’s a great guy.

 

Headaches

  • I had a 3 day headache.  For real.  Like, my head hurt.  An Advil fixed it, but I had to complain, because it just fits here so well.
  • While I had posted previously that the Ex “was less resistant” to the idea of kicking things back to the level they should have been at all along, I was being overly optimistic. We are going back and forth with proposals.  He’s dragged the sharing of travel costs and tax deductions into our discussion, and he pisses me off.  Then he throws in his usual condescending asinine comments (i.e., “I am very sympathetic to the financial and professional difficulties you face at the moment . . . “), and I want to rip his face off.  For reals.  I still think we can reach an agreement, but dealing with his bullshit in the meantime drives me bonkers.
    • I wanted to retort that while I am facing a paycut, it was something I always knew was coming, AND!  Another thing!!  This is not a “professional difficulty,” at all!  This is a very logical and typical move at this stage of my career, and is resulting in increased experience!  You dummy!  Instead, I ignored his blah-blah, and responded only about the issues at hand.  So, ha!  You cannot rattle me!  [except that, really, he did.  because he’s a jerk.]
  • Also, the Ex just canceled the girls’ summer visit again.  So now David and I will both be working, and I think that the girls will be home.  Without much to do.  Last year, with me making gobs of money, we filled the time with crazy-costly camps (no, really — the girls were in camp with the grand-daughter of the owner of the Patriots, and with the daughter of the owner of Newbury Comics … we paid dearly).  This year, Lemon will likely be looking for someone to pay HER, and Mouse will be, uh . . . .
  • Just after I came to terms with my reduced salary, I called the H.R. person at the New Job to find out about health insurance details.  They were bad.  Very bad.  I almost cried.  I didn’t know what to do – I was totally unprepared for the costs.  I know I’ve been spoiled and spoiled and spoiled, but this was a blow.  I have since spoken with some people that tell me that while the number was double what I pay currently, on a salary that’s half of what I currently have, it’s “normal” and “fair.”  Fortunately, they told me that AFTER I decided to negotiate this point with New Firm.  So, this maybe should be up there in “happiness,” because it looks like there will be movement on the issue.

So, thanks for reading!

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I’m not ungrateful I swear . . .

November 25, 2011

I tried to do a “things I’m grateful for” post on Wednesday.  But then Lemon came home from a friend’s house and proceeded to have the usual “I’m leaving for the Middle of the Country tomorrow!” meltdown, and I got distracted.  Then yesterday (Thanksgiving), WD and I mostly stayed off our computers.  We took the girls to the airport for their 7;15 a.m. flight, and then went back home and into our bed.  I slept only fitfully until I knew the girls had landed safely, and then slept HARD until noon. Then we sort of hung around and read books and chatted all afternoon, until our delicious dinner out.

Today, I was up early to meet a friend for a walk, which was good.  It was a nice crisp but sunny morning.  Now I’m back with my Dragons, and with my laundry and my play producing.  I’m talking WD into putting up our holiday lights on our balcony, and we’re thinking about Christmas shopping for the girly-q’s.

Last year, we were relatively obnoxious with the Christmas gift buying. This year, we will not be obnoxious.  I found the “Want, Need, Wear, Read” outline over at Mom to the Screaming Masses, and plan to adopt it as my mantra for this year.  We will tell the girls that things will be a little more modest this year — but we won’t be quite all the way to austere.  Their “wear” will probably be Uggs, and I think Lemon’s “want” will be Harry Potter movies.  Not sure yet how many (I haven’t done the shopping) (oh, wait – I just did.  The complete set of all 8 movies on Blu-ray is $70.  So she’ll get that).  But she also wanted a keyboard, but she can’t get both.  For “need,” I can’t think of much that they need.  (Nice, huh?)  I am seriously and without a shred of joking thinking about socks & underwear.  Maybe socks, underwear & “extras” (what we call scarves, gloves, hats).

I have less ideas for Mouse.

But that’s my day.  Gift-planning, reading, walking.  Encouraging light-stringing.

Here’s the partial-post from Wednesday night, exhibiting my partially-formed list of things I’m grateful for.  If I had finished, I would have added anecdotes about my friends, my parents, my cats (I do love my cats).  At least.

 

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As easy as it may be to wallow in the week following a lay-off, I find myself having a good time, and feeling very, very grateful:

  • Last night, I checked in on my 15 year old daughter just before she went to bed, as I usually do. She is 15!!  That age where people are supposed to be glum, and supposed to hate their parents.  Stuff like that.  I offered her a hug, and she took me up on it.  The hug lasted a very, very long time.  When she was 1, 2, 3, 4, even 5 — thinking about having her on my lap for minutes upon minutes was nothing.  It was accepted.  But last night’s prolonged hug wasn’t “nothing.”  I am grateful for the hugs that I still get.
  • Today, Mouse called as she was leaving school at noon (pre-holiday release time).  She was thinking of seeing a movie.  She was going to have lunch at a friend’s.  “Oh, and hey – mom?  A is making me say this:  Um, J and I are a thing.  As of today.  Okay?”  J is a boy that I’ve suspected as a possibility for some time, but Mouse has denied it. A is Mouse’s closest friend (since 1st grade!) – the one who insists that she’s my third daughter, who posts on Lemon’s Facebook wall as ‘your other sister’ every day.  I am grateful that even when my teenage daughters do NOT want to confide in their mother, I have a relationship with their friends that kicks in.  I know this is a lighthearted middle school relationship, but I do truly believe that if there were a problem – a real problem with my girls –  the same would hold true.
  • My girls are leaving tomorrow early in the morning to visit the Ex in the Middle of the Country.  I don’t like this.  I like them here.  But WD and I are doing what we can to make the holiday special, even without the most special parts of our days.  I am grateful for WD.  Because he helps to make my days special.  He knows what’s hard, and he works to make it better.  We are going out to dinner tomorrow night, at a nice restaurant.  We are /

(That’s where I stopped.)

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Ballet, thwarted

November 4, 2011

I am supposed to take Mouse to the ballet tonight.  We were going to see Romeo & Juliet.  Her class is going to read the play this year, and she has other reasons for being very drawn to all things Romeo & Juliet, so we were pretty excited.  I got the tickets via Rue La La, and it was the first time I was so very enticed to buy something through there.  The tickets were $40/each, which felt easy.

Of course – she woke up feeling like shit this morning.

She is nauseous, thinks she’s gonna barf, feels dizzy and seems to be running a mild temp.

She is home from school. I tried to get her to rest and then try to go in late, but no dice.  Still felt like crap.

And my work that needs to get done today cannot be done from home.  And Writer  Dude has his Writer’s Group today, and one of the members got an editor-friend to go along with, so he really couldn’t/shouldn’t miss.  So Mouse is home moaning, groaning and clutching her stomach – alone.

[Actually, she’s sound asleep, dead to the world, phone in hand to call me if things turn for the worse.]

If a day of rest makes her feel better – should I take her to the ballet anyway?

Decisions, decisions.

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Facebook Friends

October 4, 2011

Well, that was fun.

Both of my girls are on Facebook. They both entered the fray in the spring of their 7th grade years.  Lemon was a little behind the curve for her grade, and Mouse was pretty much part of the great Flocking (i.e., most of her friends/grade signed up within the same weekend).

They both were given the choice — either you be my friend (or WD’s), or we get your password.

Lemon (potentially the cleverer of the two ….) said “I’ll be your friend, but get your paws off my password.” And I later discovered that she learned how to set up “groups,” and to block the group she’d labeled “Parents.”  Hmmm.

Mouse?  Well.  She gave us her password.  And instantly friended us.  Every time she changes her password, she tells us: “Hi!  My new password is ‘iamamazing!’ Love you! Bye!  KK?”

[See the difference in personalities?  See why my life is actually (sincerely) very fun?]

Lemon wasn’t on Facebook for long before she was BEGGING us to Stop. Commenting!  Not cool!  Actually disgusting! Leave me alone! [Yeah … I know that’s why the groups were created.]

I did stop.  I was responsive. [and the groups disappeared!]

When Mouse came along.  I continued to refrain from commenting, except every now and then.

[Truth be told, I comment “every now and then” with Lemon now, too.  She doesn’t hate it anymore. I do try to be respectful, and *I* think I only make comments when they’re clever – causing Lemon’s friends to think: “oh, so that’s where she gets her witty sense of humor!”]

Tonight, though – I got caught up.  I made a comment on a picture of Mouse (this picture — because OMG – who could resist?):

I said “she was the cutest little monkey!”

because of the new little ticker-thing on Facebook, the girls (Mouse’s friends) saw that I commented.

Because some of them are OBSESSED with Facebook, they responded to me within seconds.

Because I remembered that Lemon used to get so mad at me for commenting, I thought better of my comment, and deleted it!

The girls who hadn’t responded, but saw the responses to my response, were very confused.

There was uproar!!

“Mouse’s Mommy! Where did your comment go!”

Mouse joined in.  “Awww, where did my mommy go???”

And then I embarked on 30 minutes of Facebook comments (on a couple different posts – a photo and a declaration that the girls planned to stay up until MIDNIGHT tonight) –

They were cute, and they were fun.  Lemon even joined in, “liking” my posts.

The fun ended when the girls (13 yo friends of Mouse) asked if they could friend me, and I said no.  Consistent with my policy.

[Because I don’t need all of the 8th and 10th grades knowing that I swear on Facebook.]

Fun girls.