Meanwhile, back at the ranch, spring has sprung and thank the Lord, because winter really did me in. It's the second bad one we've had in a row-bad meaning cold, and snow on the ground since December, and gray, gray, gray. We were blessed in that I was able to plan a week in the Seaside area (we stayed nearby, not in Seaside this year) and wow, after months of no sun, it's amazing how I am reminded that I NEED it. I feel more optimistic, more on top of things, I have more energy, and although I gave myself terrible sun glass raccoon eyes, I look a little less-well, pasty and vitamin D deficient with a tan We packed ourselves all in our van-and in spite of terrible traffic, a child who always gets motion sick and takes my seat in the front, we made it down with nary a squabble, and back also. We reminisced about past vacation drives-driving straight through 24 hours to Naples when the kids were tiny and we apparently had more energy, a few vacation drives where we considered leaving a certain someone accidentally on purpose at a rest stop in recent years (he might be the oldest), flat tires, Dad's crazy driving, and his famous "long" cuts. Maybe because I see our family vacations-all of us together at once-as soon to be dwindling, if they haven't already-it makes those moments-those once stressful, how did we get into this, what we were thinking with all these kids fighting over whose turn it is to sit in the second row-now just hilariously funny and so sweet. That's what happens as kids grow up.
(prom 2015-dress bought on line, inexpensive, no shopping! and my favorite ever)
Speaking of growing up-Abbey is near graduation and I made it! That's how I feel-four years of high school with a daughter-we made it! Dances, and friends, and dating and sports and grades and driving and drama and arguments, and hormones and clothes shopping and jobs and tears and laughter and frustration and proud moments and SO SO much growing and changing and maturing from freshman to senior year (for both of us). She is ready for college, but in a bad senior-itis moment, we (mainly Jeff) reminded her-this is it! The last days of high school. We only (thank the Lord) have to go through high school once. She's made such nice, nice friends, and worked very very hard, and did things she never thought she could. And just like those vacations above-some of the hardest times, some of those moments when you think "what the heck" are now funny or endearing or so sentimental they bring tears to my eyes.
Do I have any advice for moms of junior high girls going into high school? Yes, from lessons learned firsthand. (And things I still struggle with.)
Be gentle with them. Listen to them. You might remember what it is like to be in high school in the 80's or 90's, but you have no idea what it's like today. Understand their days at school, understand the pressure, it's nothing you've ever experienced! Teach, without anger. Love them for who they are, not who you want them to be. Be a leader though, heck they need a leader, and they need you to be steadfast in your value system, together, on the same page as a couple. Walk away when arguments get heated. Ask a lot of questions. Send your message in subtle ways about things you see and hear that concern you and are great lessons for life. (My mom is so good at this, and she did not pass this trait on to me, I need to work on the subtle part!) And listen, listen, listen. Feed them and make them sleep, even if you have to push them into bed (yes, I've done this before). :)