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Posts Tagged ‘Friendships’

Last summer, I blogged about my sweet children driving me insane.  We spend a lot of time together, and a year ago, I didn’t even have work to separate us.

I remember that feeling of, “OMG CAN I READ TWO PAGES OF MY BOOK WITHOUT YOU NEEDING SOMETHING?”  But I also remember taking deep breaths and, for the most part, keeping my swearing only to myself because I knew someday it would change.

Someday, they would have lives.

That day has arrived.

This summer, my son is teaching himself Latin, in addition to continuing his own Japanese IMG_7939language studies.  He spends a lot of time translating Japanese poems and Latin books he finds online.  Starting in a week, he’s working at the UW a couple days a week helping Japanese students.  He’s heavily involved in BloodBourne and Dark Souls , and he’s also watching a lot of Japanese anime, with and without the captions, as part of his Japanese self-studies.  He speaks a lot of Japanese to me, and I either reply in stilted German or bad Spanish.  Not that I know what he’s saying.  But then he doesn’t know what I’m saying, either, so we usually end up laughing.

He walks about 20 miles a week, and he comes out of karate rolling on laughter about inside jokes that he happily tells me, and sometimes I even laugh, but I’m removed from it all.  We used to walk together, and he would tell me all his story ideas and goals for the future.

He used to cry if I left the dojo before his practice was over.

IMG_7953Meanwhile, my daughter has discovered a social life and social media.  She texts her friend travelling in Italy and takes solo bike rides around town. She makes music videos on an app called Music.ally, which is pronounced musically, not Music Ally, OMG.  The music videos are complete with outfit changes, scene changes, sound and video mixing, and sometimes, the dogs’ participations (not necessarily willingly).  I’m horrible at memorizing lyrics. I tend to make up my own.  My daughter remembers everything after hearing it once, and she wants to “help” me learn the real words. But it’s rapid fire, and I am left behind, like I was for years when I would have sworn it was “Amber rain” and not “I’m all right.”

She goes into her room and talks to her friends or stays up until 1 am reading or makes music videos or creates amazing animals out of clay while listening to Rachel Patten, who is her most favorite singer ever.

She still tells me everything she and her friends do together, or what they texted or said and shows me her videos and theirs.  She talks to me about her books in depth and lets me read them and asks me questions that are echoes of questions I have asked her about books down through the years.

Bu she closes her bedroom door when she goes into her room to do anything.

This summer, I am find myself longing for still moment when we can all just sit in the same room for more than 30 minutes.  I find myself wanting to hang out with them and listen to their silly jokes about sex and “out of the mouths of babes” reactions to news, politics, life.

They still annoy me with their lack of understanding for how to put toilet paper on the toilet paper roll or take the garbage bag out of the garbag can before it is so full, it literally explodes when I try to take it out.  They still need me to buy food for them, apparnently, because several independent expeditions I have sent them on have resulted in a lot of not-what-I-asked-for. And they still need me to be there for them when they need me, and tell them everything is going to be OK when they don’t think it is.

They don’t like it when I’m gone too much in one day or too many times in one week.  They miss me when I take a weekend.  They talk to me all the time, and we spend a lot of time together, still, especially given that they are 16 and almost-13.

But.

Last summer, I was still parenting children.

This summer, I would say I am more of a mentor–much loved, I know this– to two amazing people.

And, I hesitate to say this because of all the “DON’T BE YOUR CHILDRENS’ FRIEND” articles out there, but…they are my friends.  Young friends, still.  I still need my own friends, and always will. I still get to make them do things and I have no problem calling them on their stuff.

But…I like them.  As people, as kids…the toilet paper and garbage bag issues aside….I like them.

 

I will be honored if, someday, they choose to call me their friend in return.

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Alternate History.

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Hello, my name is Elena, and I am a FB addict. I just can’t help myself: when I should be doing other things, fulfilling other commitments, I just need my FB. I decide to go in for a quick look, a tiny peek, and then I get tangled up in statuses and profile pictures and applications that tell me what Starbuck drink I am. I lose time to saving the planet by sending people pretend flowers. I burn breakfast accepting friend requests and tagging people on my “Notes About Me” page. When a friend recently apologized for not accepting my friend request because he had been so busy, I wondered what on earth could he have been doing? It had been TWO WEEKS! I can barely stay away from Facebook for two days.

A year ago, I had no Facebook in my life. Was I happy? Was I content? Did I have enough friends? Yes, yes, and definitely yes. True, I felt very isolated some days. Being a stay-at-home mom is not the life of luxury I imagined as a kid. With newborns and babies, time is one long moment during which you might not speak to anyone else even close to your age for several days. Toddlers are a bit easier: you have a little more energy, and you start to take the kids places and meet friends for coffee…but then you decide, when your child presents you with a wilted dandelion after a very long week of Terrible Two temper tantrums, that it’s time to have another baby. And you’re back to Square One.

Since my eldest entered preschool, I’ve felt my days are bits and pieces, snips of comings and goings and clock-watching to make sure he was picked up even while making sure my daughter didn’t nap too long or miss her meals .

Now that my eldest is in elementary school, and my youngest is in preschool, some days I spend almost the entire day in the car, running back and forth, shopping for groceries in between dropping one off or picking another up, squeezing dentist appointments in between soccer practice or pony class.

Yes: now I do have time to have lunch with friends, or get to the gym or just sit and read, if I ignore the rug that needs vacuuming. Of course, doing any of that (even the vacuuming) means I also need to ignore the itch at the back of my neck that tells me I need to work on my writing projects every day.

So, am I really so bored that I need to give up fifteen minutes to the writing “25 Things About Me,” or five minutes to finding out what song I am?

Not so much.

But here’s the thing: I’m having the best time doing all of that, and an even better time having all my friends in one place. I always wanted to live in a place where I and my family and all my friends and their families—old, new, liberal, conservative, Lattes or Skinny Mochas—could co-exist happily. Sounds like a Peter, Paul and Mary song, I know. But that was my dream, and look! Here we are: in my own little cyberspace town, having a common bond, at the very least.

It’s not as if I’m choosing my kids over FB. Yes, I’ve burned their breakfast a few times because I was checking statuses, but the truth is I’ve been burning bacon for years without Facebook’s help. Bacon takes awhile to cook, and I get…distracted. Sometimes I even forget I am cooking bacon and start to take a shower (that only happened once, and I was tired that day).

My point is, my Facebook addiction isn’t hurting anyone. It helps me feel connected, it gives me somewhere to go for a few minutes when it’s difficult to get out, and I REALLY need to talk to someone who isn’t asking me where their book is or what do I have to eat THIS week. Some would argue it’s a one-sided conversation on Facebook. I see it as a conversation with a time lag.

No, I have to say: this is a much, much, much better addiction then when I was addicted to carb-free ice cream (and just so you know? Even though it’s carb-free, you can’t eat a giant bowl of it every night and not put on weight, or not have crying jags the next day from the artificial sugar giving you insomnia and mood swings).

So, never mind. I take it back. My name is Elena, and I am proud to be a Facebook-er.

Welcome to my little town.

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