I haven’t blogged in a bit. Because all that I want to write about is Maddie’s Senior year and her leaving for college and I feel like if I write about it, it makes it so very real. But guess what…its very very real whether I write about it or not.
I looked at the calendar the day before school started and realized she cheers at 10 regular season games, has Senior Sunrise, Senior BBQ, Senior pictures, Homecoming, Prom, Senior Sunset & graduation. As of right this second Ive watched her cheer at 3 games already, been to Senior Sunrise, Senior BBQ and Senior pictures. And its flying. Flying. Flying by.
I had several SEVERAL miscarriages before Maddie. As Ive talked about before. Some of them very late term. One at 19 weeks. It was so devastating and to this day I still struggle with it. With all of the losses. And Id go through them all again to have the two amazing kids I have today. There are days I feel like the shittiest parent on the planet. Days I wonder why I got the privilege of having kids because I sure as hell don’t know what Im doing sometimes.
My kids have heard me cuss since birth. I listened to Eminem on full blast while pregnant. I let Andy eat dog food for a week straight when he was 3 because its all he would eat. And I was tired. And it has protein. I did homework projects for my kids. Because I needed them done. And I didn’t have patience to watch them glue a volcano together. They watched the unedited version of “Friday” one night after I went to sleep. When they were 6 and 7. I let them watch WAY too much tv, play WAY too many video games, call people assholes when they were being assholes, skip school when they weren’t really sick, drive without permits, talked about drugs and sex very openly. From the moment they started asking questions. I let Andy drink coffee, at a young age, because it helped his ADHD. I laughed at the video of him sledding down the school’s main staircase last year that led to his suspension. I even passed it on to friends. When he drew a penis on his scantron sheet for his Algebra test, I laughed. I was pissed. But I laughed. I have been so far from a great parent (in a normal person’s eyes) that its not even funny.
And yet they are funny, smart, witty, socially intelligent, opinionated, driven, kind, assholes, lazy at times, normal average, happy people. Somehow.
I always said if I got my kid to 18 years old with no jail time and no pregnancy then Ive succeeded. I set the bar for parenting super high, ya’ll. And here we are. She’s months into her 18th year. No jail time. No pregnancy. I call it a win.
And she’s so stressed about college its crazy. Way more stressed than her hippie Mom. Somehow we have this idea that at 17 or 18 a kid should know EXACTLY what they want to do with their lives, know which college offers that, apply to that college, make sure you took the proper pre requisites and stay on that exact path. FUCK. I didn’t know what type of GAS to put in my car at 18. Let alone what the SHIT I wanted to do with the REST OF MY LIFE! Because at 18, the REST OF YOUR LIFE is a fucking long time. And now at (almost) 46 I know….its not really that long of a time. So Im writing this to Maddie to let her know what she needs to worry about. Because its not what you want to be when you grow up, how much money you want to make, which college specializes in what, how you get an internship, when you want kids, and every detail of what you want your life to look like.
Because the most beautiful part of life is really the NOT knowing. SOOOOOO much of your life will be planned. Your professors will tell you when papers are due. Your bosses will tell you what hours to be at work and when you get vacation. Your car will remind you when you need an oil change. Your phone will beep with a reminder when you have appointments. And thats all fine.
But please remember to not always set an alarm clock. Dont always do what people say. Dont follow the crowd unless the crowd is headed for love. Go skinny dipping, stay up late talking to your friends. Watch the sunrise with a boy and a yoohoo. Go on a road trip with girlfriends. Take a few Fridays off. Dont plan everything. Say yes. Dance a lot. Then dance some more. Ride on the back of a motorcycle. Go watch a not so well known singer in a dive bar somewhere in Texas. With a boy. Get a tattoo. Swim in the Pacific. Pet some llamas. Change majors. Maybe twice. Join a sorority. Or don’t. Be kind to unkind people. Trust me. This one is hard but trust me. Cut your hair short once. Keep your toenails painted. Have an amazing fucking playlist on your phone. Make sure Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen are in it. Hug your Dad. A lot. Save some money. DON”T spend your money on fancy clothes or apartments or Pottery Barn decor. Spend your money on EXPERIENCES and places and trips and friends and t-shirts. Write letters. Its a lost art. Give some money away. To people who need it. And walk away. Expect no recognition for that. EXPECT no recognition for anything. But do good things anyway. Because thats what decent humans do. Explore some religions. Be one. Or don’t. Take some solo hikes. When someone hurts you, forgive them. FORGIVE them. It doesn’t mean forget or trust again. It means FORGIVE. Trust me….its more for you than them. Give people second chances. Not thirds. Follow your heart…not always your head. Wear nice underwear. And cry when you need to cry. Dont hold that shit in. It festers and makes you sick. HAVE FUN. And don’t always be in a rush. I was always in a rush. It took 40 years to learn to be still and enjoy the very moment I was in. Instead of always worrying about the next moment. You are smart. You are funny. You will be just fine. And whatever it is you decide to do, you don’t have to decide now. Or next year. Or the next year. I promise it’ll be ok. Planning is over rated. Sometimes its cool just to let whatever is going to happen, happen. Dont always set an alarm clock. In fact…if you do life right….your goal is to not need an alarm clock. Change the world. But right now, this week, this month…enjoy your senior year. Every last second of it. Im so freaking proud of you.
“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance”