Wednesday, October 29

That's So Weird

When the kids were little, I followed a number of bloggers who wrote about life, centered around family and family-centered learning. Their kids were also smallish, but older than mine. It was fun to get a peek into what was coming up - what milestones, what achievements, what challenges. To these ladies, some of whom are in-person friends now, I will be forever grateful.

But I noticed a few years ago that the word "weird" began cropping up in a large number of their posts. Where once there were descriptive re-tellings of events, the reports became a little vague ("We had a good turn out. The kids had fun. Someone set fire to the stage.") and stories were often left out, replaced with what felt like a passing glance ("life is just weird," or "boys can be so weird, God love 'em"). That seemed... odd.

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
~ Hunter S. Thompson

I didn't get it. Did something happen? Are they okay? Did the kids mutate and she just can't say anything? A veil descended over the blogging end of parenthood with the ascendancy of the teen years. It was a little disconcerting, and if not for late-night chats with friends, I might have gotten a wee bit panicky.

But now? Now I get it. Teens are awesome, and amazing, and sometimes absolutely frustrating - but it's never just because. There's always a reason behind what they do. (I knew that, once. I'm glad I remembered before declaring it's time for them to walk the Earth and do weird things somewhere else.) And sometimes, moms don't really care what the reason is (if my mother were here, this is about where she'd raise her eyebrows at me and mutter, "You think?") I get that, now, too.

I have long ago accepted that I am a little crazy and a little weird. It wasn't that exciting a revelation, though. Turns out everyone is.
~ Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing.

They are funny and brilliant and exuberant and Oh, so sleepy, all at the same time. And there are some tremendously endearing stories to be told, but they'll have to wait for the anonymity of time, for the buffer of maturity, maybe for an intimate evening with other moms over a bottle wine, swapping sweet, weird stories about years gone by. Right now, in the interest of blogging and honoring my relationship with my kids, I've finally come to grips with the use of the word weird.

And let me tell you, sometimes, life is just weird. Oh, it's good. And it's amazing. And I laugh more, smile more, *think* more, enjoy the inside jokes more with the teens than ever before. (It was pretty fantastic to begin with, so this is really saying something.)

You have this ability to find beauty in weird places.
~ Kamila Shamsie, Kartography 

My music exposure, which had pretty much stalled out at whatever I listened to in 1998, has exploded with new stuff, all courtesy of the boys.

They challenge me to maintain the same levels of integrity we've taught them to expect.

And yet, they're still learning, still growing, still trying things out and discarding what doesn't work (sometimes picking it up and trying it again, just to be sure). In these man-sized bodies, with these Titan-sized dreams, there are still the kernels of the large-pawed puppies they were just a couple of years ago. Beside that, there are echoes of the little boy with his pet slug, his favorite cape, tugging my arm to show me a wren's nest... and the whole thing collapses in on me, sometimes every day, sometimes several times a day. I don't always know what to do with it. It's weird.

Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything's different.
~ Bill Watterson

They still bring me their treasures, and I still cherish them, but it's with a quieter awe that I accept them, now. I get how much it means to share your most valuable gifts with someone, and I'm freakishly honored that they still share them with me.

So if you notice your friends who once told such hilarious and delightful stories about their children suddenly get a little hush-hush, don't panic. Look for the twinkle in their eyes, the laugh that escapes in the pause of a sentence, the little head-shake and loss of words. It just means life gets a little weird sometimes. It'll be okay. It'll be better than okay.

Be the weirdest little weird in all Weird Town.
~ Grace Helbig

Always, always kiss those babies!

Monday, October 27

I Have Learned Something Very Important

We must use the wall calendar. October was absolutely harrowing as far as time management, and I've spent the last week trying to figure out how I dropped ALL THE BALLS in so many ways. It didn't make sense.

This morning I sat down with the boys to go over the calendar and Lo, and Behold - October is blank. We never filled in October's plan, and evidently the mantra, "If it isn't on the calendar, it doesn't happen" is more true than we realized.

Without it, the days zip past in a whirling blur of picking up, rushing out the door, and not having anything ready for dinner until it's way past bedtime. Without the trusty wall calendar, every event is a surprise and preparation fails to happen. I know this now.

Not that October was unpleasant. We had a lovely time.

We've been to museums...

And toured Cathedral Caverns...

Celebrated with friends...

And visited an apple orchard...

We did forensics labs with friends,

Enjoyed Historic Downtown Decatur during the 150th anniversary observance of the Battle for Decatur,

And captured this magnificent ruff at the Renaissance Faire! (James ducked down onto one knee when he requested the honor of taking a photograph with the Queen - I told him I wish I'd known he was going to do that because it was awesome and hilarious and caught me completely off guard so I didn't get a picture. He said he had no idea he was going to do it until he got in front of her and it just seemed like it had to be done. Love impromptu fun!)

So, all in all, it was a wonderful month. But November's calendar is filled in, if for no other reason than that I don't like eating at 9PM.

Kiss those babies!