Posted tagged ‘growing up’

HOW Did It Happen???

March 13, 2011

The Prince turned 17 a couple of weeks ago.


Which means he no longer has a ‘restricted’ driver’s license and can drive after midnight even though he may or may not be coming from or going to a real job.

Which means he is just a year and a half away from graduating from high school.

Which means he is only a year and a half away and a summer away from starting COLLEGE.

Which means he is going to be putting his big boy pants on and looking for a real job to help pay for a car/gas/books/food/date nights/whatever.

Which means he is only a year away from casting his vote and having a real say in what is going on in the world.

Which means he is actually going to have to make decisions about things more important than just what he should have for a snack before going to bed…..or which channel to watch on the television…..or which homework to let slide this week.

Which means he is no longer my baby boy.

Just HOW did that happen?

Just how did this:

……..evolve so mind boggling quickly into this???

Useta Be

September 17, 2009

Useta be…..we would cuddle in the lazy boy rocker with a blanket and a bottle and enjoy a few moments of quiet and calm for those last few moments of every day.  I would steal a few glimpses at my favorite tv show and always be drawn back to your sleepy eyes and round little cheeks and oh so very sweet hands.

 Useta be… would perch in the crook of my elbow, our temples pressed together at the side of our faces, the whispery soft feel of blood pumping to your brain carrying thoughts and wishes and dreams…..soulmates.

Useta be……(before the air bag deemed it unsafe) you would perch in your car seat next to me, clapping your hands and hooting and hollering along with the latest Disney Sing Along cd.  ‘Davy Crockett’ and ‘Tiki Room’ singers had NOTHING on our mutually off key chorus.  We made up with enthusiasm what we lacked in ability.

 Useta be……we snuggled together in your bottom bunk to read aloud at night and you would protest mightily at my Kindy Teacher use of voices for all of the characters.  My big bad wolf was just too dang scarey.

 Useta be… liked the clothes I picked out for you to wear….well, most of the time anyway.

 Useta be….. we would lace our fingers in the car, talk about things we saw at the side of the road, make up stories with your spelling words and share the things that went on in your world.  We could solve any mystery…..any problem…..anything.

 Useta be…….mine was the smile  you looked for when you needed encouragement to try something new,  pride when you accomplished a goal and comfort when things were not going so well.

Useta be……

 Now, the teenager that you are, has lost the ability to speak in entire sentences,  doesn’t crack a book unless its absolutely necessary,  listens to music only you can hear through your ipod ear plugs,  mumbles in response to even very basic questions,  scowls disdainfully at outfits of my choosing and seems to smile only if there is something to be gained.  Homework is yours and not to be shared.  You rage when I ask you to pick up your socks and every chore is completed with a stomp and a growl.   You don’t want to talk.  You’re too big to cuddle.   You’re too private to share.

“You are too involved in my LIFE!” 

Just humor your  Mom here, son. 

 I am missing the useta bes…….

Growing Up….

June 9, 2009

   For the past two days I have taken my son to school and left the daughter home to finish getting ready.  This was our plan for the school year.  That I would have some quiet time with both of them in the morning.  Then she got involved in before school activities like open gym and jazz band practice.  Snow fell and ice formed on the roads.  It seemed rather wasteful not to eliminate the extra mileage – and time – and swing by the middle school after dropping him off at high school.  It gave me an extra hour and a half at MY school before my classes started.  Saved gas.  Saved time.  It did not save money since the Princess and I would ‘power shop’ at Meijers some mornings, or hit the local breakfast restaurant on the days she didn’t have open gym or jazz band practice.  Since this is the last week of school, my report cards are done and duly printed and ready to be folded, open gym is over, the jazz band played their last concert last week, I decided to let her sleep in a little bit in the morning and take him to school alone. 

       It’s interesting how much he has grown up over this winter.  He still doesn’t eat breakfast  or speak in anything other than a monosyllabic grunt in the morning.  In the afternoon there is more to say.   But today… was a milestone.  He actually smiled at me.  First time in a long while.

     We were talking about final exams and homework.  He was grunting basic answers to my basic questions.  Then I very happily said that I was glad school was ending.  As of this Thursday, no longer will he be able to holler ‘I’m doing my HOMEWORK!’ when he is asked to do something like set the table for dinner or unload the dishwasher or fold his laundry.  Battlegrounds.

    “As of Thursday, your little tushy is MINE for twelve whole weeks.” 

     And he grinned.  Actually smiled! 


     He is now fifteen and a half.  He is taller than I am.  We bought new shorts a couple of weeks ago and he is down two sizes.  He has navigated his first year in high school with perfect attendance and Academic High Honors.  He got the certificate and the bumper sticker but missed being invited to the Academic Awards Assembly by .13 percent or something like that.   He has his driving permit and complains half heartedly when I tell him to drive.  Only half heartedly.  He is looking forward to the high school’s summer soccer practices and rec league.  (Remember my post from last summer about dragging him there kicking and screaming and then sitting in the car with him until someone he knew showed up and he wouldn’t look like a dork??)  Today we signed up for soccer referee classes.  Alone.  He wasn’t stressing about being with someone he ‘knows.’ 

    And wonder of wonders he actually cleaned his room this weekend.  REALLY cleaned his room.  I’m not sure what brought that on….and I am not looking in the closet….yet.  I am just stunned to learn that the carpet in there is still the same color as the carpet elsewhere in the house. 

     It’s been so long since I have actually SEEN it. 


Greeeeen Acres……

May 31, 2009

  I just washed my hands.  I wish I had of thought to take a picture of them before lathering them in soap and scrubbing my nails.  They were an amazing sight.  First of all, I have never had fingernails that were long enough to have caked top soil and Miracle Gro jammed under them so deep that the top of the nails were black.  Second of all, it has been a LONG time since I have had reason to drive my fingers deep into top soil and Miracle Gro. 

We planted a garden.

Well, it’s a small sort of lawn box actually.  It’s an eight by four foot patch nestled next to our equipment shed at the top of the hill my kiddos used to practice snowboarding last winter.    We built a frame, pulled up sod (transplanting it to a bare patch next to the driveway in case anyone wonders how we could destroy actual growing grass), filled the space with 12 bags of $1.19 top soil and one huge bag of Miracle Gro soil and planted vegetable plants.  Tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers.  Two seed rows were also set in place – one with summer squash and the other with sugar peas.  We planted a half row of peas today and will finish the row in a couple of weeks in order to extend the picking season for them. It’s what it said to do on the envelope.  It’s mostly likely going to be too crowded for the size but I don’t care.  I’ll weed things out.

And I can’t wait.

I sat out on the grass in the sun for a long time looking at all the hardy little fellows in their mounds and tomato cages wondering if they were truely going to make it to harvest.  I was planning to purchase a watering can to make caring for them easier.  (The prince likes to squirt the little darlings with the hose not realizing he is washing away the soil around their roots. Heh) I was also wondering what sort of garden the Obamas have planted at the White House and how big of a garden my friend Mary and her little Rabbit are  planting this weekend.  And I was singing the inevitable ‘Green Acres’ theme song in my head.  Heh

When I was growing up the back end of my parent’s half acre of property in the middle of Michigan suburbia was planted and cultivated by my Grandfather.  He planted corn, cucumbers, tomatos, potatos and pumpkins (which we sold in October for spending money) every year.  We also had a stand of sour purple grapes (perfect for squirting in the faces of any ‘enemy’ we captured and tied to the clothesline post while playing with neighborhood friends), a row of rhubarb (you haven’t tasted rhubarb until you have had it straight from the bush – warm from the sun – the end tamped into a Dixie cup of sugar), raspberries (again – eaten warm from the sun out of a dusty, dirty hand) and a pear tree.  I remember detesting being sent to the fields to pick corn for dinner.  There was one summer when my father’s oil seal plant was on strike, that the garden became our supermarket.  I remember dinners of corn on the cob, sliced tomatos and cucumbers.  And that’s all.  Yum.

My mother had a love/hate relationship with those garden years.  I found out later that she liked having the produce readily available but hated having to constantly yell at us to ‘stay out of the garden!’  I can still hear her voice from the back door of our house.  Things were much more relaxing for her when my Grandfather remarried and planted his garden closer to the home he shared with his new wife.  Then that back field became a baseball field, a minibike track, home for an underground fort (my dad had a conniption about that one when his riding lawn mower took a nose dive into it one day), a tree house and a ‘snowmobile death trail.’

I always managed to carve out some little space for a garden though.  Nothing much.  Tomatoes…sugar peas…. pumpkins.  One year I was growing watermelon for fun.  Just one little melon actually formed and I went out each day to turn it so it would be perfectly round and green.  One day I went out, lifted the little thing to turn it and it was suspiciously lighter.  Something – a rabbit or a rat – had eaten a hole in the side, and then cleaned out ALL of the pink melon inside.  Arrgh.

I got married and we moved into to a ‘controlled community.’  My parents sold their house and moved to another state.   Our ‘gardens’ became  a few pots of patio tomatoes.  I had mulled over a raised garden bed for years but could never get anyone motivated to do it.  Until this year.

So today, at last,  I sank my bare toes and fingers into warm, rich and loamy soil.  I dug holes and slipped in tiny potted seedlings, added water and covered the roots with dirt.  The sun was hot and the wind was blowing cool.  And I was humming.  And wondering.  And remembering.  And loving the entire process.

Now, there are shovels and clippers and diggers to put away.  My back hurts and my bare feet itch.  And I have vegetables growing in a  garden again.

Life is good.

I Should Have Just Let Her Run……

May 15, 2009

I kept my daughter home from a track meet today.  Yesterday I sat in the pouring rain and freezing wind for another school track meet.  She threw the shot put 22 feet. She came in 4th and 2nd and 3rd in various races.  And she complained about her knees hurting.

Today was an ‘invitational.’  Considering that she has a soccer practice tomorrow night, two soccer games over the weekend and another track meet on Monday and Thursday, I figured an Invitational could be blown off.  I’d rather have her feeling good for the school track meet on Monday.  Her coach didn’t mind.  SHE did however.  She wanted to run.

But  parental precedence prevailed.  Instead of track we did the girlie thing and went shopping for a new bathing suit.  She has an out of town tournament in another week and the whole team is looking forward to the pool at the hotel.  The Princess left her bathing suit in a bag of wet things at camp last summer so a new one was on our ‘to do’  list for this weekend. 

Honestly?  I’d much rather tussle with my dentist over root canals – minus pain numbing meds – than bathing suit shop with either of my children.  Heh.

We went to a newly opened local shop and gathered up an armful of possibilities in various sizes…along with a couple of cooridnating boys’ trunks to wear over a girly suit.  Don’t ask.  It’s been a horrible fashion issue with us for the past few years.  Along with cut out backs and spaghetti type straps.  No two piece numbers or bikinis or tankinis for this gal.  Nothing like that ‘feels’ right.  And she hasn’t a clue about ‘Speedo’ and wanted to know who he was and why his name was on all of the suits.  She rolled her eyes when I said I was coming to the fitting rooms and was much relieved when I found a chair to sit in OUTSIDE the stall. 

The first hot pink and teal number was ‘tight’ around her waist. ( I later found out it was the miniscule cups in the top that bothered her.)  The plain black number was simple and functional but didn’t feel ‘right.’  Even with the black and gray skateboarded toned trunks over it.  The orange flowered one was too….’pretty’.  The hot pink one had a cut out back . She didn’t want to risk a ‘funny looking’ tan.  The last one was a winner.  The straps are wide and the back comes up a little higher.  It fits perfectly right now but we are worried about summer.  The salesperson tried to see if another store would have it one size larger.  No dice.  Bought it any way…for the upcoming out of town trip.  We will worry about summer later. 

Soooo….she put the suit on to show her dad when we got home.  And wore it a bit to stretch it out.  Sleek black with red racing stripes and perfectly fit.  The child as well as the suit.  No longer a skinny little girl, and thanks to track/soccer/skateboarding, she is toned and muscled.  Her legs have gotten longer.  Her natural complexion already bears a healthy warm tan.   Straight black hair swings to the middle of her back.  She is old enough now to go to our community pool on her own.  In that suit.  With her skateboarding buddies.  Mostly ranging from elementary to high school age.  Guys.  Dang. 

Who really needs a bathing suit anyway? 

I should have just let her run…….


April 26, 2009


Uh…yes he is.  Got a good report from his driving instructor for hisfirst journey on the road…..which happened to be during the whale of a wild storm system that plowed through and left us without power for eight and a half hours.  It can only get better….right?

After the dance….

February 13, 2009

I hate seventh grade. 

I hated it once.  I hated it twice  (with the Prince) and it’s not any better this third time around.  In fact, it’s worse.  This time I am going through it with a Princess.  A Princess who has never really shown an interest in girly things.  A Princess who  is all about sports.  And moving.  Fast.  She is all about jeans and  bikes and snowboards and soccer balls and skateboards and basketballs.  Oh…and texting. 

This boyfriend/girlfriend thing is very new to her.  She has long been disdainful of friends who gushed about this boy and that boy.  She was never patient enough to sit through their conversations.  Never.  In Kindergarten she was perceived as being slightly odd because she was more likely to be playing ‘tanks’….bumping and chasing and bashing on the playground….with the boys.  Later she was perceived as a leader of sorts because she led a small contingency of girls onto the playground football and soccer fields.  And they played rough.  With the boys.

Most of her guy friends see her as a ‘bud.’  Someone to compete with.  Someone to laugh with.  Someone to play computer games with.  Not someone to ‘go’ with.  (It makes her crazy when I ask where they are going. LOL)  But when the Christmas dance rolled around someone asked her to ‘go.’   A nice kid she’d known in Kindergarten.  A cutie.  Cute enough to  make her want to wear an actual dress….and tights.    They danced and they hung together but were off with other friends as well.   And  he broke up with her after the holiday vacation.  ‘Whatever…’ she says she told him. 

But as the weeks passed and the Valentine Dance was looming, she began hunting around for someone to ‘go’ with.  We talked for an hour in the car the other morning.  The central theme was that girls mature faster than boys.  That she was the ‘whole package’ – smart, fun to be around, athletic, pretty – and when they finally caught up to the girls in their orbit, the guys would be buzzing around her like bees.  SHE would soon be able to pick and choose.  That said she was content to go to the dance alone… just hang with her friends. 

So off she went.  Snazzy black slacks, black tee under a bright red sweater, loose black hair swinging to the middle of her back, huge smile…..and ugly white tennis shoes with one neon green shoe lace and one neon orange shoelace.  To hang with her friends.  And eat pizza.  And play basketball.  And maybe dance.  Maybe.

Two hours later we picked her up and she was yakking away about what she had done.  Just hanging with friends was definitely more fun and easier than ‘going’ with someone.  Oh….and she danced.  And then she slapped someone.  An eighth grader who was TOUCHING her!  While everyone was ‘dirty dancing’……

I hate seventh grade.

Did I mention that?

Bob Wernet’s Super Chief

June 26, 2008

Every family has one, I am sure. The little greasy spoon…restaurant dive….that holds memories galore. For my children and I, it’s this place. The Super Chief. Foot long coney dogs with buttery grilled buns and messy, mild chili. The greasiest, best tasting onion rings in the world. Cherry cokes still made with real cherry syrup and bits of real cherries in the bottom of your cup that plug up your straw. I don’t think I have ever had anything else there in….forever. I know we went for breakfast one Saturday once…but it wasn’t the same.

We had an argument today about how many people the place holds. I said 33 but the Prince said I am imagining things. HE says it’s less. At any rate it’s small. They have added a small patio with picnic tables for the summer months. Maybe 4 tables. The cozy crowdedness is actually part of it’s charm. We have never had to wait for a seat. And there is always a steady stream of customers.

The Super Chief has been a favorite of my family’s for a good long while. Back then it was a drive in. You pulled your car in and someone came out to take your order. Food was brought to your car on a tray that balanced on your half open window. The perfect place for a summer evening dinner. I am not sure when they moved to this building. It may even have been a move back. My dad used to stop in for chili dogs when he was still driving a truck….way over 50 years ago. Once we gave my dad a tee shirt form the store as a Christmas gift. He was wearing it in Daytona Beach, Florida and was stopped by someone who knew the place. So they chatted a while. Memories….and chili dogs.

When my son was about 4 years old and my parents were visiting from their new home in Florida, we went for lunch. I remember him in shorts and a tee shirt, feet in tennies swinging, as I explained our family history with the place while my dad leaned against the counter and talked with deceased owner’s wife. My son had a quizzical little look on his face for a moment and then said. “Pop brought you hera when you were a yiddle girl….and now you are bring me hera.” The frown deepened a little. My guy. At four he had figured out a new concept. Continuity….and chili dogs.

The restaurant is right around the corner from the building where I would spend hours working on materials for my classroom every summer. I would drag the kids there, set them to work and promise them the work session would be followed by a visit to the Super Chief. One such late summer day we sat in a tight corner booth having a rollicking conversation as we sipped away on cherry cokes. The Prince and I had discovered a – then new – Lewis and Clark coin in my change purse. We were talking about how cool it was when the Princess piped up with some comment. The Prince was rather disdainful and told her she didn’t even know about Lewis and Clark. She informed him that she did so. It was Superman! Heh. (Before school routines involved watching a bit of ‘LOIS and Clark’ on television every morning.) That particular day a very well dressed lawyer type woman who had been reading the paper at the table next to us during our exchange, stopped by to tell me how much she had enjoyed my family that day. Heh. That’s the type of place it is. No secrets…..and chili dogs.

Another time we were there during the winter. Just the kids and I…again. Funds were a little tight that day and I knew she wouldn’t finish a whole foot long chili dog, so I planned to eat part of the Princess’ meal. When the waitress came to take our order, she asked if I wanted anything. When I said no, the Princess burst out that we didn’t have enough money. Well, two orders of onion rings, three foot longs, three cherry cokes and no bill later….we were the recipients of the owner’s generosity… something she does all the time, I was assured. Heh. Heartfelt generosity….and chili dogs.

Bob Wernet no longer owns the Super Chief. Neither does his wife. Bob passed away in 2002. The new owners have pledged to run it just as it has always been run. And just to make sure, Bob’s wife shows up for work there – every day. She has a huge candy bucket that comes out when kids are handy. The same Native American art works hang on the walls. Cheesy paintings of perfect people with feathers in their hair. There is a sculpture of Chief Pontiac on a shelf over the drink dispenser. And a drawing of Bob on the wall next to it. We took a friend with us this time. And a camera. I planned to take pictures for this blog entry. Unfortunately, we forgot to get a picture of the chili dogs before we ate them. Heh. Guess you will have to see one for yourself! Onion rings….and chili dogs

Bob Wernat’s Super Chief is located at 340 W Walton Blvd , Pontiac, MI
And they do take outs too. Phone – (248) 333-2028


February 19, 2007

In two days my son will be 13 years old. We were given a gift when this four month old bundle of dark hair and eyes that totally disappeared when he smiled was carried off that plane from Seoul, Korea. He has taken us down paths we never thought we would travel….and some that we would rather NOT travel. He is bright and funny, a gifted soccer player with a player’s determination that belies his off field personality. He has no interest in the girls around him….yet. He thinks chores around the house are a total waste of his time. Reading bores him. He plays the trumpet in the school band only because it got him out of the required chorus or Music class. He is becoming interested in the world around him and asks the kinds of questions that I think are making him a responsible citizen of the world. Questions about why things are the way they are, how they came to be and what could change. He loves a good joke….and an occasional bad one. He is a rock and roll lover wannabe who suffers in a family that prefers country music and show tunes. He dabbles in writing….but not enough to make a statement….yet. He has the kind of quiet leadership qualities that cause people to look up to him more than he knows. He has always been shy….a kid who stops at the precipice of a new challenge to survey the ‘lay of the land’ before jumping into the fray. His sister makes him absolutely crazy but I really feel that if she needed it, he would be a protective force in her life. A school psychologist (who is a friend) told me she sees him in the halls at the middle school, happy and silly and surrounded by friends…..a nice kid. I am SO glad she was able to give me that visual picture to carry in my head. I refer to it often when we struggle with the preteen angst at home. And there is LOTS of preteen angst.

So he will be 13 in just two more days. I am proud of him. I am proud of the child he was and the teenager he is about to become. I am proud of my son. Happy Birthday…….

The Planets are Alligned

January 25, 2007

I just want to bottle it. All of her enthusiasm. All of her joy. Everything is so very RIGHT with her world right now. She was chosen Kindergarten Safety helper of the month. She wore a skirt to school for the first time since picture day in first grade and no one laughed. The curlers she sleeps on leave these gorgeous black ringlets cascading down her back. Jamie brought hockey sticks to play with in the morning while they wait for school to start. She has gotten TWO 100% on Spelling tests in the last month. She has a part in the drama club play with THREE WHOLE LINES! Her soccer team is headed for the National Indoor finals in another month. Fractions are killing us but that’s okay…as long as she tries her hardest. And best of all, a friend ‘complemented’ her in the lunch room by telling her that she was popular….and not like the mean popular girls in the movies…”because she is nice and friendly to EVERYone ALL of the time.” Like I said before, I would love to bottle this time so I can pour it out on those angsty days that lie ahead of us. All that enthusiasm. All that sheer joy. These are beautiful days for my beautiful daughter.