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Entries in kids (3)

Wednesday
Feb222012

Guest Post: Kids home for the weekend? An alternative view

I wrote a post about how happy I was when all the kids are home.  It makes me feel nice.  It touched a nerve with guest post author Karen Ocean who submitted this perspective.

Want to know what a mom thinks? 

Let’s start with what brought them there?  Was it all the things we hear about – dirty laundry, the movie channels we have at home, the “mommy” food, the $20 bucks you have in the cabinet for whatever and the child grabs it and says I’m going to get a pizza and I’ll be back. 

Really are they home to spend time with their family or are they needed a respite from the constant goingAs a mom, I think that’s what they are looking for.  They just want to be in a comfort zone!  I know when my 20 year old comes home, it’s all about “chillaxing”.  It’s not about catching up with me or anyone else in the family.  It’s about familiarity and the ability to just be – without all the “constant going”.

For all the years I parented her and guided her. I now let her guide me into the world she lives and sometimes it makes me think, didn’t I teach her that or talk about that with her when she was younger?  Oh good, she was listening.  Then there are the times I think why did she do that, what was she thinking why she didn’t talk to be about how difficult that course was that semester.  Why did she hide it?  And then there’s the friend that’s a boy  – NOTE – not boyfriend.  We all know what’s going on there and did I teach her enough about that?!

So I go back to the idea of sit back and let her teach me and I know that when she really needs me, I’ll listen, help as best I can, give advice when asked – okay, can you tell my own mother taught me that?  And just be there for her, her mom - that reliable person who did so many things for and with her for all those years.

What will you do when your kids come home – no matter what age they are?

 

 ZF2S4MKB5CY9

Wednesday
Feb012012

Kids home for the weekend

A friend recently posted a picture on Facebook resonating with me.

When parents become empty nesters, the initial excitement quickly gives way to an open pit in your stomach…emptiness.

I’m sure children think it’s all like that old Staples commercial:

(Children note: It is like that for a little bit.)

The little thing you nurtured from childbirth is out on their own.  One of the kids once came back from college and observed, “Before, you knew where I was every minute.  Now, I have a whole life you know little about.”

This is where you hope they’ve grown up with the right values, and will make good decisions as they continue their life.

When the kids call, or drop in, or send an email…..or communicate in any way…parents tend to like it.

So to my friend with the kids home for the weekend….enjoy!

How do you make it special for your children when they come home?  

Do you make special dinners?  DVR favorite shows?  Make breakfast where you might otherwise not?

Wednesday
Dec072011

Alcohol, Driving and Kids

I keep a list of topics to cover in this blog, adding to the list whenever something comes up. When I get ready to write, I grab a concept and think about it for days. Time doesn’t permit me to JUST think….I think as I go about my regular routine….and come up with a “flow.”

My topic was completely different until I got my hair cut this morning. My long term stylist Mary greeted me with, “I was just on the phone with a friend of mine. 5 college kids were in an accident this morning. One got ejected from the car.”

Now normally the discussion would end with how that’s a shame, were they drinking, and a swift shift in the conversation.

Not today, and not for Mary. Mary continued, “Can you imagine those poor parents, getting a call or a knock at the door, especially at this time of year?”

Well, frankly I can’t imagine it. And at that moment, I changed the topic of my blog post. I thought back about other car accidents and kids.

My daughter t-boned a car (illegally cutting in front of her, making a left turn where prohibited) and I got the call at work.

“Dad, I’ve been in a bad accident.” 

“Where?” 

“By the movie theater.”

“I’m on my way.”

My office was in the back of this building. As I ran down the hall, a co-worker yelled, “Go OJ Go,” a reference to a Hertz Commercial featuring OJ Simpson in a happier day.

Once I got to my car and started for the movie theater, I called my daughter’s cell. My SON answered the phone.

“They are loading her in an ambulance dad.”   My mind wasn’t working. Ambulance?  I just talked to her. “Which hospital, Bud?”

I rushed to the hospital. (At a time like this, why do we rush?  She’s at the Level 1 trauma hospital, being tended to by the finest. It’s not like my being there is going to help her recovery. Intellectually, I understand it. And I know I’d rush again.)

This is the only time I heard those rumored words from the EMT, “She was lucky to be driving a Volvo, otherwise….<head shakes>”   We didn’t CHOOSE a Volvo for her. It was a hand-me-down family car. It was by chance. (Mind racing: I do believe in looking at the crash test results before buying a kid car. A car without perfect scores won’t get purchased.)  HOW IS MY DAUGHTER?

As we picked the fine pieces of windshield from her tear covered face, we (hoped|knew) she would be OK. Of course, tests were performed to ensure our parental intuition was correct, and nothing lurking and unseen was missed. It turned out she was shaken, and physically fine. It took a while for her to be comfortable in a car….

Some other local kids were not so lucky.

On October 12, 2005, I got a call from a data center nearby saying they were running on generator, and couldn’t figure out why. It was a nice night, without storms, and this made no sense. Driving over, the road was blocked by the police.

“Really bad accident ahead. Some kids hit a pole. It’s really bad.”

The power was shut off to the data center so the kids could be removed from the vehicle.

This is one of those stories where you hear things for ages. I heard the hardened first responder threw up upon arrival, as the power was still on. I heard 3 girls in a Land Rover, with two sisters passing away. I heard the sisters were rushing home, to “make curfew.” 

The site of the accident was covered in flowers as the teen friends mourned.

For this post, I went to the site to take pictures, over 6 years later. The adjacent land has been cleared, although the memorial is still there. It’s like the landscapers knew to leave the scene undisturbed.

A number of crosses remain to this day. Some large, others looking impromptu. People drive by every day…I wonder if they know or remember?

The parents put two candles in their windows….symbolizing the two sisters. The tradition of candles in the windows of New England homes goes back centuries…and represents a beacon for a weary traveler. Were the parents waiting at home, staring at the candles, waiting for the sisters to come bounding through the doors?

How did those parents learn of their daughter’s passing?  Was it a call?  A knock at the door?  How did they react? 

The years have passed. The candles were eventually extinguished, and the house sold. Have those parents ever recovered?  Do they still mourn?  Are they even together anymore?

So I have many messages to conclude this post:

Parents

  • Put your kids in safe vehicles
  • Offer to pick them up if they can’t drive (and without harassment)
  • Encourage a phone call if a curfew is going to be missed (without harrassement)

Kids

  • Don’t drink and drive
  • Get someone else to drive if you can’t
  • Drive to your skill level; it’s better to be late and alive than ontime and dead

First responders and hospitals

  • Thank God you do what you do.