Friday, July 28, 2006

Three teens! I have three teens!

Today is my last day to say "I have three teenagers."

When they were little, Keith and I used to say "Someday we'll have three teenagers." It sounded ominous, but it turned out to be a really great time in our lives. We have had three wonderful teenagers since Holly turned thirteen in late 2004.

The first time they left together I took a picture. They were walking to Circle K, two blocks away, to get sodas. The boys had been that far before, to a shop that sold baseball cards and collectibles. The owner had some toys he would sell to very little kids for a quarter or a dime, and some gaming cards, too.

This time, though, they wanted to take Holly. It seemed they were going a hundred miles away and would be gone a week. Of course, it was only a few hundred yards and they were back in fifteen minutes.

A few months ago, they left again. It wasn't the same house, but it was the three of them leaving and me taking a photo from the front yard.

It seemed they were going a hundred miles away and would be gone a week. Of course, it was ten miles and they were back in seven or eight hours.

Tomorrow Kirby will be twenty years old.

Keith said when people at work are negative about having teens, he thinks it's just their loss for not knowing our teens.

The family together for my birthday, 7/24/06

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Store Champion

Here's what Marty looks like today.

Tonight he competes in the "Bag Olympics" as the champion for his store. Keith, Holly and I are going with him. He asked us to go in costume too. Then just before his round, he will take off the chain mail, sword and tabard, and be in his work clothes.

If he wins, he gets a little pin to wear at work, a certificate, lots of attention, and $250. Cool.

Nice, weird life. I just *love* Marty.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Trust and Freedom (for "Unschooling Voices")

Trust and freedom affect everything at our house, and came before unschooling. Those principles apply to eating and sleeping, to what we believe about TV and video games, money, housework and music.

August Blog Carnival , where many others responded to the same question.

Last month's "Unschooling Voices" Blog Carnival

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Twenty Years? Wow.

Kirby's 20th birthday is on the 29th. Holly and I were looking through photos of when he was little. Some of them were new to her. She really liked this one, so I thought I'd share it. With three teens, it's fun to have a reminder of when motherhood was new.

My memories of having a baby are not a part of Kirby's memories, and that's interesting to me. Kirby doesn't remember it any more than Holly, who wasn't even born then. I think of that sometimes about me and my mom. I do have a couple of very early memories, but two or three moments, out of the first two years. My mom had hundreds of memories, and notes, and letters, and photos.

Kirby's infancy was important to him, but not in a way of which he's consciously aware. The change in me, though, from being childless to being Kirby's mom changed me, and friendships I had, my awarenesses and appreciation of other mother/child relationships, and my status with other relatives. Now he's not a baby. He's not a toddler or a little boy anymore. Soon he won't even be a teenager anymore.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Good Big Moment

All at once, Marty was leaving to go to Sadie's to watch wrestling on TV, Kirby is at a Magic tournament, Keith is in Moriarty at an SCA event (indoors, feast, luckily) and I was out trenching the house because it's raining hard. A dirt pathway that used to be a little arroyo needed to be an arroyo again. The water was getting deep near Marty's window (his room's half underground). I got that flowing and came in to see what Holly was doing. I heard her in the shower singing "One Song Glory" with her strong, happy voice.

I LOVE THAT! I love it when we're each doing something energetic and useful. Nobody's bored. Nobody's wishing for another's moment or project. Everyone's happy to hear about what everyone else has seen and heard. I liked the simultaneous images of everyone doing something he or she had chosen and was enjoying.

Marty took my van because the windshield wipers weren't working on Keith's car. Keith's in the really-old truck, but I'm sure he'll be okay.

Today I cleaned the hot tub and fired it up, not knowing the rain was coming. Holly was watching TV and came out and said "The weather report says..." and it started raining wildly before she could finish. Cute. Before that, we had watched The Village for the first time. It wasn't as scary as we were afraid it would be. We were talking about other M. Night Shyamalan movies she might want to see. I used to warn her off of Unbreakable when she was younger, but she's probably old enough now to handle it. Without knowing we had had that conversation, Marty said he wanted one of those "Security" slickers that Bruce Willis wore in Unbreakable. (He was running up to see the big drainage ditch that's a block and a half from here, and was dressed nicely.) Raincoats and umbrellas aren't common in New Mexico. They're kids' toys, pretty much.

Today a mostly-unscheduled Saturday was rich in experiences and connections.

Who's here? or... "Awake too soon"

In the past week there've been two times I knew there was an extra teenager in my house. Once the indicator was a '65 Mustang out front. We don't have one, but Liam Bourdo does. A few days later, I came up in the morning to find a skateboard just inside the front door. None of my kids does that, so someone was over. It was Logan, who lives a few towns over, and had been doing fireworks with Marty and Holly the night before. No problem. It's nice to think of our house as a safe place for teens to show up and stay.

I just don't sleep long sometimes. It's been that way since I was a teenager. Sometimes I only sleep five hours and I'm done.

So I woke up at 2:00 (went to bed at 10:00) and tried to sleep. Tried to read. Tried drinking water but there wasn't much there. Got up quietly. House is quiet. But on the clipboard by the front door was a note that said "Went to Ryan's, Marty, 3:06 AM"

Well, the writing wasn't that clear, and it wasn't quite 3:06 AM yet. And if *Marty Dodd* left the house at that time, on a night when he's working the next day, that's some kind of physical or dire social emergency. I looked outside and sure enough, a car was gone.

But Marty was in the bed. I looked again, and possibly that "AM" was a "PM." And I knew Marty had been at Ryan's yesterday afternoon, and had left while I was away from the house.

But since I was on mom-alert now (and confused) I looked in Kirby's room, which had no Kirby. I got on the computer to see if he was online. His phone showed, so...

I love electronic connections—love, love, love them. Without any phones ringing or me talking (which might have woken Marty up), I know Kirby's okay. The "Glad there's a way to know" is half snarky, because he could've and should've left a note on the clipboard too. "Glad you're safe" was absolutely sincere, and other unwritten thoughts were sincere too.

I didn't ask what hotel or who he's with. Doesn't matter. Probably Howard Johnson's where many gaming tournaments are. It's not far from here.

When things like this happen, I can't help but think of how different our lives could be. Most people (in the high 90 percents) would wish me (and tell me and expect me) to be angry about getting up and finding a kid gone. But the fluidity and the trust and openness makes it safe in ways they probably couldn't even start to imagine. There are too many assumptions and "false truths" and traditional voice-in-head messages between them and the possibility of thinking that maybe it's not that big a deal.

At noon he has an interview for a shift supervisory position (I don't know what they call it exactly there). He wrote it on the calendar days ago. We talked about it. He bought new shoes today (Julie and Holly went with him to help, and Holly was glad that he bought the first pair she recommended, and they're just like hers). He will sleep at least six or seven hours before the interview, probably. I can't legitimately fault that, me with my four hours.

It took years of practice, desire and experience to be so accepting of things like this. Kirby will turn 20 this month too, so when I think back to what I was doing at his age, and what his dad was doing, I appreciate the tameness and safety of where he is and who he's with. I have seen and done worse. Many-to-most nineteen year olds are in less safe surroundings at this moment, I'm sure.

There was a guy on one of the morning talk shows the other day saying people don't sleep enough, and not the right way, and they endanger themselves and others, and ruin their health, and all that. When I looked at the clock about 2:10 or so, I remembered that, and started to worry, but then I remembered that worrying and feeling guilty is worse than just getting up and feeling fine about being awake. Some nights I sleep nine or ten hours (now that my kids aren't little anymore). Some nights I don't. I try to appreciate both kinds of nights and feel good about the softness of the bed, the coolness of the night, the quietness of the neighborhood (very still tonight), and the knowledge that I know where my husband and my children are, and they're all safe and enjoying their own moments.