Holy terror

Last year my daughter brought her kitten Lola to Tulsa to live with us.  Courtney was moving into a different apartment in New York City and she couldn’t have pets.  We agreed to kitten-sit until she graduates in May.

We have our own cat, Meow (I know it’s corny, but can your cat say her name when asked?)  And we’ve had several cats through the years, but none like Lola.  We had a cat that liked to sleep on the tires of the car, but needless to say, he didn’t live long.  We had a cat named Madison that Tom called Fattest One.  He was a great cat except he liked to jump in laps when you least expected it, causing more than one man’s voice to change an octave or two.

But we’ve never had a cat who gets on the dining room table. We’ve never had a cat who gets on the kitchen counters.  And we’ve never had a cat who just refuses to obey.  Until Lola.

Last night I measured out two tablespoons of cough medicine and set it on the kitchen counter to take before I went to bed.  I was watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills doing my devotions when I heard something fall.  I walked into the kitchen to find a sticky mess all over the floor, the cabinets and the wall. And Lola?  She was eating, pretending like she had no clue what had happened.  It took me almost 15 minutes to get the syrup off of everything.  Once it was clean, I walked into the living room only to discover that Lola had knocked over my glass of Crystal Lite.  Twelve ounces of raspberry lemonade spilled all over the living room rug.  As I was soaking up the lemonade, Lola jumped on the dining room table, knocked a folder containing pages and pages of Tom’s journal onto the floor, and then dashed into the kitchen to eat.  Again.

After a night of Lola’s antics, I decided I better go to bed before I put her in a box, taped it shut and mailed her to New York – via pony express.

I pity the mothers of toddlers.  Terrible two’s, three’s, four’s, and sixteen’s are exhausting. Who am I kidding?  It’s all exhausting.

The difference between kittens and toddlers?  Not much.  Except I can banish Lola to the basement with a bowl of food and water and get a good nights sleep.  Parents, on the other hand…well, isn’t that why God gave us grandparents?

The MOJO of Christmas

Christmas is magical.  And if you’re an Odessa, Texas, Permian football fan – Christmas is pure MOJO.

Kids are so honest.  Listen how my son tells the story of the birth of Jesus – and notice my daughter’s little voice when her daddy makes the request.

Nothing sweeter than the little voices of my babies.  Twenty years ago they were babies, today they’re who I want to be when I grow up.

Magic I tell you, pure magic.

All I want for Christmas

Twenty years ago today, this is what my son wanted Santa to put in his stocking.  So it shouldn’t have been a shock to me when he became a teenager, that, not only would his favorite scent be Sulfur, but his bedroom window would be the best place to shoot roman candles and bottle rockets.  At least, according to him.

And in case you’re wondering, Santa did NOT come through with his last minute request.  It helps when you sleep with Santa.

Oh the joys of parenting boys!

Do-overs

In my last post I told you how much I missed my kids.  Nothing’s changed, but I wanted to share a few tips with you so that you wouldn’t have to experience 1,500 miles of distance between you and your children like I have to.

First of all, I always told my kids that they could go anywhere.  I told them not to limit their college selections based on close proximity to home but rather to use that time to go out and see the world.

What was I thinking?

When Stephen was a senior in high school we took him to Los Angeles and it was during that trip that he decided he wanted to live on the beach and go to college at UCLA.  Courtney’s junior year we took a trip to New York and that’s all it took to convince her that she was destined to attend New York University.  What were we thinking?

The summer of 2006 was horrible.  Courtney graduated from high school and was headed to NYU and Stephen, after 2 years at the University of Oklahoma, had been accepted at UCLA.  In August, we rented a U-Haul and drove Stephen’s belongings to California, then boarded a plane to New York to get Courtney situated in the Big Apple.

In a one week time frame, my kids were bi-coastal.

I cried the ugly cry all the way home from New York.  Then I spent several months drowning my sorrows with double stuffed Oreos.

It was awful. I gained 30 pounds and slept with my cell phone in case they called.

I thought that raising my kids to think for themselves was the right thing to do.  I figured that the worst that could happen would be that they would vote for a Democrat.  Boy was I wrong.

Now Stephen is working and living in Houston, and in a few months he will be transferring to Denver.  Courtney has decided that pursuing a career in screenwriting will mean that she will move to Canada after she graduates.

If you don’t want to end up like me, with an empty nest, here are my suggestions:

1.  Never take your kids to vacation spots that are also college towns.

2.  Aside from the geography that they study in 8th grade, don’t tell them that life exists outside a 50 mile radius.

3.  When they question the existence of  cities like New York City or Los Angeles, LIE.  Tell them those aren’t real places, just Hollywood fantasy.

4.  Most importantly, lay on the guilt.  Tell them how sad you will be if they move away. And,

5.  If all else fails, bribe them.  Or lock them in their rooms, whichever comes easier.

I am proud of my kids.  I live my life vicariously through them.  Stephen spends every third or fourth weekend in Mexico or Italy vacationing.  Courtney is being mentored by the best writers and moguls in the media world.  Stephen makes more money than his dad does and Courtney is becoming a very sought-after entertainment graphic designer.

I don’t know whether to be jealous of them or excited that when they put us out to pasture, they’ll be able to afford designer Mu Mu’s for me and a room with a view for their dad.

I miss my kids

It was April the last time I saw my beautiful Courtney, and my Stephen is in Houston.  While I’ll get to see Courtney at Thanksgiving in New York, it will most likely be Christmas before I see my son.

I miss my kids.  And it’s my fault.

When I was raising my kids I used to tell them that after high school they could go anywhere.  That was the time for them to see the world – there’s more to this life than Oklahoma.  I love the Sooner state, but I wanted them to have a choice – to see what was out there and then make the choice as to where they wanted to live.  If all else failed, they could always come home.

I admit, I was trying a little reverse psychology, and it didn’t work.  I thought if I told them to go, they would choose to stay.  I was wrong.

And now, as the holidays approach, I start getting sad.

That’s to be expected.  But I’ve also reached a place in my life where my kids are happy and they don’t really need me as much as they used to.  Whereas before I would get at LEAST one call a day from Courtney and a call or two a week from Stephen, now I’m lucky if Stephen has time for me once a month and Courtney does good to have time for me once a week.

I understand that they are living the lives I raised them to live, but I didn’t know it would hurt so much.  I LIKE my kids, I LOVE my kids, and I MISS my kids.  I spent 25 years being their mom, and now, they don’t need me.

So I’m baking.  I’m sending them all the goodies that they can’t get anywhere else.  I’m tempting them, enticing them, bribing them – whatever it takes – to remind them that there’s no place like home.  Caramel popcorn, fudge, party mix and puppy chow – all their favorites.

If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change anything.  I know they’re living the lives they were intended to live.  But I would suggest to other moms out there – make home the place that nothing can compete with.

Or, just drill it into their little minds that Mom always comes first.  Period.

Guilt works too.  That’s my next approach.

Stupid empty nest…