F is for Family

May 30th, 2013

happy-familyLike all mothers, I have two families: the one I happened into and the one I made happen. I had nothing to do with the former (I simply arrived on the scene) and everything to do with the latter.

What can we learn (or unlearn) from our past?

What did I learn as a daughter than makes me a better mother?

You can read more — here — at mom.me where Lizzie and I are blogging on the A to Zs of Teenagers.  This one is F is for Family.

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E is for Eating

May 14th, 2013

FoodPile

Eat more. Eat less. Eat healthier. Eat slower. Eat breakfast. Eat with the family. Don’t eat standing in front of the open refrigerator. Eat a piece of fruit if you’re hungry. Don’t eat in your room.

 

 

Does any of this—does all of this—sound familiar?

Lizzie and I write about the battle ground of food in our ongoing column, The A to Zs of Teenagers, at mom.me.  Here is it.

D is for Drama

April 20th, 2013

dramamasksI’m talking about the drama of the mother-daughter relationship, that joyful, painful, hot, cold, ying, yang, dizzying, tumultuous blend of intense bonding and icy distance, long hugs and exasperated eye rolls, deeply shared moments and stone-cold silences, glorious sun and ferocious storms.

The random acts of kindness.

The random acts of meanness.

You can read more — plus Lizzie’s take on teen girl drama – here at mom.me where we are blogging on the A to Zs of Teenagers.  This one is D is for Drama.

C is for Coffee

April 1st, 2013

coffeeIn those dark days of Lizzie’s mid-teenhood, when we rode an emotional rollercoaster that almost did me in (and would have, had I not made it into a book—My Teenage Werewolf: a Mother, A Daughter, A Journey through the Thicket of Adolescence), it seemed as if the only times we stopped squaring off against each other, the only times we weren’t busy spoiling for a fight, were when we were sitting across a little table at our local hang-out sipping our coffee drinks.  In this new post at mom.me, C is for Coffee, Lizzie and I talk about what this time meant to us.  When I read what Lizzie wrote, it almost made me forget how I used to want to wring her neck.

This post is part of our The A to Zs of Teenagers series.  Check out A is for Advice and B is for Boyfriends.  Next up:  D is for…you guess it, DRAMA.

B is for Boyfriend

March 7th, 2013

boyfriendLizzie and I discuss what makes for an ideal boyfriend in this second in a series of (maybe) 26 posts we’re writing for mom.me.  Read it here.

When I saw our names together as authors, I got all misty-eyed.  Not that I would wish being a writer on her…but who knew, in the darkest days of werewolfdom, that we would be collaborating on posts, both paid authors.

A is for Advice

February 27th, 2013

adviceMothers are free with advice.

Daughters are loathe to take it.

Gee, that’s news…

But Lizzie and I have our own unique take on this thorny mother-daughter subject.  We’re blogging together at mom.me… from A to Z.  This is our first post: A is for Advice.  Take a look!

 

Further Adventures in Mother-Daughter Land

January 4th, 2013

Noticed that I haven’t posted recently? That’s because all mother-daughter issues have been resolved, and there’s just nothing to write about.  That’s because I have learned all the lessons of motherhood and am now busy readying myself for sainthood.  That’s because my werewolf is an angel, and my house is as calm as a yoga retreat.

Not.

Actually, I HAVE been blogging about the ups and downs of life with a teen — at mom.me, a big, lively site that includes articles and essays and blogs on parenting kids of all ages.  And the, um, adventure, continues.

Here are links to my most recent posts.  Please do click and take a look.

On Not Being College-Bound
Learning to let my daughter control her fate

 

Watching My Daughter Drive
Why it breaks my heart, just a little

 My Kid Doesn’t Care About Voting
Finally 18, and just not interested in the election

 

On the Brink

October 1st, 2012

Did you know, at age 18, what you wanted to be when you “grew up”?  And now that you are grown up, are you doing whatever it was you thought you wanted to do – you knew for dead certain you wanted to do — when you were 18?

I ask because Lizzie just started a two-year culinary program with a specialization in patisserie.  And I had this vision of her, in five years, making signature desserts for some amazing, serious-about-food-but-not-snotty, quirky-but-not-terminally-hip restaurant. In the Northwest, of course.  Maybe even in Eugene.  I’m thinking Whitaker district, right next to the Ninkasi Brewery.  (My visions are pretty specific.)

And then I had a vision of her behind the counter of her own bakery.  In these post-cupcake times, where you can get artisan bread at Safeway (sort of), I wonder what her specialty will be.  She’ll have one, I know.  She’ll have brought back ideas from her culinary tour of Europe.  (Alas, I will be impressed into service as companion and note-taker.  Such is the drudgery of being a trailing Mom.)  Whatever it is her bakery specializes in, it will be irresistible and addictive and eminently tweetable. Yelpers will be falling all over each other praising its deliciousness.  A charming, quirky video of her business, shot and produced by her brother Jackson with animation by her brother Zane will go viral, thus simultaneously catapulting her brand to national status and the boys’ careers to stardom.  I will be asked to head the bakery’s Mediterranean operation, establishing culinary partnerships in Italy, Spain, Greece and the south of France.  (Impressed into service once again.)

Or, on the other hand… five years from now she may be a firefighter or in the midst of veterinary school or coaching girls’ track or couch-surfing the globe.  Because who really knows, at 18, what she will be at 25 or 45 or 65?  Isn’t it wonderful that we get to grow and change and change again, invent and re-invent ourselves, have second and third acts, and even encores?  I watch Lizzie on the brink of it, and I’m so excited for her.  I can’t wait to see what happens.

My pearls of wisdom

September 18th, 2012

I’m trying to remember any advice my mother gave me when I was a teen.  And I can’t.  I can’t remember a single piece of advice.

It is inconceivable that she never offered any.  It must be that she offered quite a bit– all mothers do – and I chose not to hear it.  Or I heard it and so immediately and completely ignored it that it never got stored in my brain and thus, lo these many years later, cannot be retrieved and recalled.

So why am I surprised (miffed) (okay, hurt) when my own daughter neglects to listen to my counsel, fails to embrace the wisdom I attempt to bestow upon her, the quick and elegant solutions I propose to her problems, the thorny situations I so easily clarify by the blinding intelligence of my insights?

I’m not completely stupid.  I know enough not to offer advice about friends or love or fashion. (About the latter I am deeply ignorant anyway.)  But when I recently offered advice about something I know as a long-time insider – navigating the terrain of college – I was shut down.  Immediately.  It’s been a blessedly long while – months maybe – since I last felt the particular chill of that teenage stare, since someone did an about-face and left the room while I was talking.  But it all came back in a flash.

When is it that your kid thinks you’re smart again?  My girl thought I was a genius when she was three, six, ten.  I had the answer to everything.  Then, just about when she turned twelve, I got really really stupid all of a sudden.  When, exactly, do I get my old IQ back?  I’m waiting.

(Okay.  I do remember one piece of advice.  It was that old one about wearing clean underwear in case you’re in an accident and taken to the hospital.  Years ago I was riding my bike, got hit by a car and was on a stretcher in an ambulance on the way to a hospital when I started to laugh so hard that the EMT thought I was hysterical.  I had just remembered my mother’s advice.  And it was too late. )

Sweet sweet summer

September 11th, 2012

There can be magic times in a teen’s life, I think, and one of them is the long, lovely summer between high school and college.  It was that way for me, and these past two and a half months, it has been that way for Lizzie. Although I worked like a dog all that long-ago summer – I was a kitchen drudge in the White Mountains (three meals a day, seven days a week, one day off every two weeks) — it was also an expansive, wondrously thoughtless time, a time of no expectations, a time when everything seemed possible and there was no hurry to find out what might be next.

High school, which lasted for, I don’t know, something like twenty years, was finally over.  The “first day of the rest of my life” would not begin until mid-September at college orientation.  I remember a mesmerizing blankness, a kind of trance.  It may have been the last time I felt liberated from both past and future.

And now it’s been Lizzie’s turn.  This has been her summer. Her days are unplanned, some lazy, some full to the brim.  Everything is off the cuff; everything is an adventure. Her friend base has expanded — doubled, tripled – no longer constrained by who happens to be in her classes, no longer hampered by lack of transportation, no longer hemmed in by 10 pm curfews.  Her activities have expanded – serious girlfriend time (no high school angst/ mean girl cliques), night-sky gazing, trips to the beach, taco sleep-overs, uber-gaming…and lots and lots of time with the new guy.

Yes, there is a boyfriend.  I do not yet have permission to talk about him, so I will just say that he texts her compliments when they are apart, tells her how great she is, how beautiful she is, how smart she is.  I had a boyfriend that endless summer too, one – like Lizzie’s new guy — who didn’t know the high school me.  And everything seemed possible, and there was no hurry to find out what would be next.