Monday, May 28, 2012

Tears of a mom ?

Someone asked me if I’d cry at our daughter’s high school graduation this week.
Nope, I said. No tears for me. I’ve got to remain focused. I’ve still got two more teens to see through the 12th grade. There won’t be any crying until the last one graduates six years from now. After that, I might cry.
Motherhood is a marathon — and not always in a wacky Bay to Breakers kind of way. I’m only one-third of the way into this particular motherhood marathon, and I need to pace myself. A mom cannot run out of gas with six years of high school left to go.
Motherhood can be a grueling marathon — the kind in which you fall down and scrape your knees raw and bloody. Motherhood is the kind of race in which you’ve got a really bad blister on one foot and with each step it only gets worse. In this marathon, every other mother seems to be running way faster and better than you. Even worse, the crowd is filled with bored teenagers. None of them are cheering you on because they are all texting each other or rolling their eyes.
I often feel like I am going in circles as I repeat the same advice/ instructions/threats over and over. Maybe motherhood is like a NASCAR race. In the Motherhood 500, the drivers/moms all start at the same time, but some of us need a pit stop along the way for more air in the tires, or other crew support. Some of us moms may narrowly avoid crashing in a spectacular pile-up.
On second thought, maybe motherhood is more like Bay to Breakers. And if so, what kind of runner does that make me? I could be one of those elite runners at the front, setting the pace and breaking course records. Or maybe I would be part of one of those centipedes. I could be the one running in a gorilla suit or dressed as Elvis. I would not be the one running naked.
I used to be mystified when parents of teens would talk about how they couldn’t wait for their kid to turn 18 so they could move out.
Tsk, tsk, I used to think. What kind of a mom wants to kick her own kid out of the house? Oh, how naïve I was. I was the mayor of Naïvete. I was the Queen of the Kingdom of Naïveland.
These days, I’m the one who’s counting down. The endless quizzing about homework assignments, tests and math grades will be over. I’ll turn over my responsibilities as the drill sergeant whose goal is to get everyone out the door at 7:35 a.m. precisely, five days a week. I’m ready to turn over the reins. OK, maybe half of the reins.
No, we’re not throwing her to the wolves. She’s going to college, and we’re paying for most of it. We’ll continue to freely dispense parental guidance even when she thinks she doesn’t need it. But she’ll be 18. A so-called “adult.” That means she can take it from here.
And I can’t wait.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Prom 2012

Annabelle recently went to her senior prom.
These are her best girlfriends. What a great group of girls.

This year Annabelle had a date for the prom.  He arrived late because of a track meet... It was kind of a cute moment when he walked into the backyard and they saw each other. (I'm sure she was really glad I was there to record the whole event ;)

Naturally I forced them to take a bunch of photos together. 

 Annabelle puts her own spin on formal wear with her colorful socks...

Cute couple!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

An open letter to teens everywhere

Dear teenagers: This is your parents speaking. You know, the people whom you avoid at all costs these days.
We have a few requests, if you don’t mind.
First of all, would you please answer when we text you? Texting is really efficient, but only when you actually text back. You’re busy — we get it. But when you answer, we can stop fretting about whatever we were texting you about. And fret-free moms are much happier moms — trust us.
Another favor: Would you please be home by curfew? We parents have this weird problem. We can’t rest until you’re all home and tucked into your beds for the night. On top of that, we are old and need all the sleep we can get.
Yes, we were teenagers once. We know what kind of “fun” you are up to. But we just want to make sure the fun doesn’t include a ride in a police car and a night in jail. That is so not fun for a parent. So, throw us a bone, OK? Be home on time tonight and we can stop threatening to take away your car keys.
And how about slowing down a bit when you’re driving? We know you’re in a big hurry to get wherever you are going. But we’d feel so much better if we could picture you driving 5 mph under the speed limit with your hands firmly at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Think of our weak hearts and blood pressure and ease up on the gas pedal.
We know that your teenage brain is a little haywire right now, but if you could dial down smart-aleck attitude, we’d be ever so grateful. And stop being so defensive. We’re not trying to control your life, only the important parts— like health and safety and graduating from high school.
About your siblings — give them a break, would ya? They may seem annoying, but they secretly worship you. You are the awe-inspiring big brother/big sister. Why not work that idol factor more? Think of them as your own fan club or personal assistant. They might even pay you for your autograph or help you clean your room just for being allowed inside.
While we’re at it, how about turning in those homework assignments on time? If you’ve actually done the work, why not just take that extra step and actually give it to the teacher the day it’s due? You’d be amazed at what completed homework assignments can do for your grades. And here’s another really crazy idea — what about actually studying for more than one night for your next test? Just think of how your report card will thank you.
Teens, I can just hear what you are thinking right now: “I am really learning a lot of helpful tips from this column! This will really improve teen/parent relations at my own home. Jennifer Huffman’s kids are so lucky to have such a smart mom.”
You don’t have to thank me. Just text me when you get there.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day walk

I had a very nice Mother's Day picnic with Grandma Sue and Grandpa Bob and two-thirds of the Huffman girls.

However, the day started out a little rocky.  

Oldest daughter did not want to get out of bed to go to church with her family. 
They say humor can be a moms best weapon with teenagers. So, I literally JUMPED on her bed while singing LOUDLY in an attempt to get her going. 
And then I threatened to take her car keys away if she did not go. 
For how long? she asked. 
Until graduation, I said. 
Fine, she said.

20 minutes later, we were all on our way to church. 

In the middle of Mass she informed me she had "forgotten" to do an assignment and would need all afternoon to work on it. 
Fine, I said. 
At least I got her to go to church. 

Here are some pics from a fun picnic we had later that afternoon at Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen.

You can see why he called it "Beauty Ranch." 

May Birchbox

Love the May Birchbox! It's a Gossip Girl themed box. I don't watch this show, but I like the goodies inside, like perfume, nail polish, notecard, headband holder, etc. I just saw that Birchbox is doing a men's box delivery as well. COOL. They should do a teen box as well with cute, super trendy items.

Most embarrasing mom, the high school version

I first wrote about becoming the “Most Embarrassing Mom” a few years ago. Our kids will tell you that I have won this contest hands down, but unfortunately, I can’t seem to stop embarrassing them, especially now that they’re in high school.
Are you the parent of a high school student? Have you ever been accused of embarrassing your child? Our girls are looking for someone to relieve me of my title.
Here are some tips on how you, too, can become the “Most Embarrassing Mom” of a high school student:
• On the first day of school, help your freshman bring her books to her locker. When she can’t open her locker, ask another freshman, preferably a boy she has never met, to help her.
• Ask your daughters if their high school needs chaperones for any field trips or school dances. Better yet, volunteer to work in the cafeteria at lunchtime. When you see her in line, make sure you say “Hi honey!” in front of all her friends.
• Quiz your daughter about who her friends are going to a school dance with. Ask if each one is a “nice boy.”
• When a boy comes to pick up your daughter at your house, make sure the whole family is there to meet him. Ask the young man what his “intentions” are. Before they leave, make them get together for a picture. Ignore the stink-eye your daughter is giving you.
• Wave to your teen while she’s doing her cheerleading routine during halftime. Invite her grandma to come to the game too, so you can both wave at her. Tell her how cute she looks in her cheer uniform in front of her friends. Take more pictures.
• Hire your daughter’s friend to help you with a project at work. Tell your teen how “responsible” her friend is. Ask your daughter for her friend’s phone number so you can text her about the project. Each time you get a text from her friend, announce it to your daughter.
• Take your daughter shopping for a prom dress. Suggest gowns that you think are “really pretty.” Make your daughter try them on. While she’s in the dressing room, discuss strapless bras with the saleslady.
• Tell your daughter to “slow down” whenever she drives you somewhere. Continue to narrate potential obstacles in the road like she’s a student driver. Tell her you have been driving for 28 years and you know what you are talking about. Remind her she’s only had her license for nine months.
• Take your daughter on college tours. When visiting the college bookstore, ask the person at the register what her major is and where she’s from. Make sure your daughter is within earshot so she can hear you asking these questions.
• Be the mom that asks the most questions during a college tour. Start each one with “My daughter wants to know…”
• Download digital copies of your daughter’s artwork on your smartphone to show any teachers you meet on college tours.
• If you see a student going inside the dorms, ask if you can go in with them and see what a dorm room looks like. Introduce your daughter to the student.
If you “embarrassing” moms need a break from the job, I have another idea for you: Let the dads take over.
Just think of the endless possibilities for embarrassment.