Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Older than Dirt at 38?

By: Samantha S. Daviss

This past weekend I was so blessed to get to see one of my college sorority sisters and spend some much needed time with her. She is one of a kind and I love her dearly, but she lives thousands of miles away in Africa, where she and her family are doing an admirable job for our society; but nonetheless, I miss her like there is no tomorrow. She is the kind of friend that completes my thoughts without me saying a word, she totally accepts my fowl mouth (in fact she makes mine look clean), and she has been one of my biggest fans through all my ups and downs in life.

Since she is gone so much, a group of us got together from college and let it be “her weekend”. So of course I had to give her a hard time about her choice of activities, and that was to going country western dancing; so I felt it was my duty to remind her that that was an activity we used to do together circa 1996, when we were still young and cute and in our very early 20s. However, it was her weekend.

My husband wasn’t nervous, but the thought of us at a country western bar made him a little uneasy, so I put him at ease by reminding him that they are all 40, and I am rubbing shoulders with it. Now none of us look just awful, but we certainly aren’t those 20-somethings out on the dance floor in tube tops. I’m thinking that a mom’s muffin top won’t look that appealing in a tube top, just my opinion. I painted a very clear picture for him that all will happen is we will stand around the little table, drinking beer and watching all the activities of the evening.
But then, my prediction changed, I was in fact asked to dance. I have to admit it was a lot of fun, I hadn’t done it in so long, almost a decade; that I had forgotten how much fun the spinning, the two stepping, the twirling all was. But I sure got a lot sweatier and out of breathe a lot faster than I had in the past. But it was an adventure, that’s for sure.

So in typical fashion the guy who had asked me to dance started to make the typical “dance floor small talk”; he asked if we came here a lot, and of course I laughed and responded with “no, we are old and between us all we have 9 kids”.

Kindly he tried to tell me I wasn’t old. “You’re not old, my dad comes here every Saturday night; and he’s really old.” He said smiling.

“Well good for him”, I responded. “How old is your dad?”

“Oh he’s older than dirt, he’s 33.”

In my head I am screaming….”What the…, this kid has no idea what he is even talking about! He doesn’t know what old is.” I could out run, out walk, out lift, out do him any day of the week (thanks to the nonstop activities of my boys)…so I politely asked him, “Did you say he was 33?”

“Yeah, why?” he asked inquisitively.

I just giggled and said, in typical Texas fashion, “Oh, sugar, first of all you don’t know what old is, and for the record I must be dead in your eyes…because I am brushing up on 39 years old.”

I wish I could tell y’all the profanity he released, but I will spare you. And about that moment the song ended (thank goodness, because the conversation between us sure did). Do you remember the turtle that got left spinning in the middle of the road from the dust of the speeding cars passing by?  

 Well, that is exactly what I felt like, the turtle spinning on her tail in the all the dust and speed from him sprinting off the dance floor.

I don’t think that young man could have left me in his dust any faster than he did on that dance floor. Not that I wanted him to stay, but I just stood there laughing at how badly I freaked him out with my “old age”, and thinking how one day he will be here soon, and realize he is decades away from getting “old”. Life is just now really starting to get good for me.

So remember next time you look in the mirror and feel like you are aging, at least you don’t need to go pick out your headstone, like I do apparently.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cutting the Cord

By: Samantha S. Daviss

Being a mother is one of the most demanding jobs…both physically and emotionally. You are blessed with this little baby that is completely dependent on you after nine months of nurturing it in your womb, or being blessed with it from another source (via surrogacy or adoption). But nonetheless, this person, this actual living human being is placed in your arms with a hardy pat on the back and you are sent on your merry way to raise it.

No instruction manual, no tips, nothing…maybe a few diapers and some formula, but that is about it. 

You just have to hope and pray from your experiences that you do the best job you can do not to “screw them up”. But with that come such love, admiration, and devotion to this little person you just met. Your heart is immediately changed forever…you finally understand what it means to feel love at first sight, to love someone so much you would die for them, and to have unconditional love; that no matter how much they screw up, you love them anyway.

It is a love that is indescribable. But as the time passes and years go by, you have to learn to let go, or “cut the cord”. Luckily it happens in progressive stages, but each stage is difficult for parents. First there is the first crawl and first step. That is their first movement towards their independence, to being able to go and do what they want to do without your assistance or guidance. Then there is the first day of school; that is probably one of the biggest challenges for parents. You have to drop this precious person off at a strange building, with a strange person (the teacher) who is going to teach, care and nurture your child for 8 hours out of the day.

Then comes the sleepovers with friends. When they are younger it’s not so bad, but as they get older and start driving and start dating, this is where it gets scary. Are they really at their said place, are they safe? We, as parents, have to relinquish some of our power and realize this is part of their growing up process, and trust them. They need to learn to handle themselves away from us, it is great social building blocks, and responsibility enhancement tools. But still the fact remains, that you are totally and completely in the dark of their safety, their whereabouts, their anything. You are not in control—and that right there is the biggest issue parents have to understand and come to terms with.

And the biggy…the double whammy…graduation and college. I guess it is best they both happen so closely together, because if they didn’t most parents would go crazy. They graduate from high school, while entering adulthood, and then three months later you are supposed to send them off to college, in a strange town, with thousands of strangers, in a strange dorm or apartment, and they haven’t the slightest clue as to how to do their laundry, put their dirty dishes in the sink, or iron their shirt. So it’s do or die, sink or swim for them.

As a mother, the pain we feel from setting these little creatures free into the wild, is the most daunting emotional task we will ever sustain. But it has to be done. We can’t keep them under our wings forever. They must experience life on their own, but we still have the comfort of knowing they will still come home, they aren’t completely out from under our wings. They need to go on spring break trips with their friends (hit the slopes or lie on the beach), the time of family vacations is coming to an end. If you are lucky you may get to squeeze a summer trip in there, but for the most part this is their time to fly. They need to stay on campus on the weekends and go to the football games, hang out with their friends, and just be young carefree adults; not be expected to run home every weekend.

But finally, the end comes to a close. Don’t worry parents they will always love you, need you, and miss you. But the time has come for them to be set free. Whether or not they get married after college or wait a few years; as hard as it is for us to relinquish the power, it is their time to live their own lives and make their own decisions. It is way more difficult for us, than it is them. As parents we forget that they are grown people, too, and they deserve the right to be asked…do you want to come home this weekend for a visit? Do you want us to come out there for a visit? Are you able to come home for Christmas? Or better yet, do they want to come home for Christmas? It can’t just be an assumption anymore on our parts, they deserve the courtesy to be asked these questions.

It is hard for us as parent to realize that just because they can’t or don’t want to come home, doesn’t mean they don’t love us…it just means that we did a good job. We raised healthy independent individuals that have established and created their own lives.

Parents need to cherish the memories, but don’t lay the burden of guilt on our kids if their actions aren’t exactly what we want them to be…because remember it is the circle of life. We have to learn to let go and let them live their lives the way they want, not the way we want them to live it. In our minds it wasn’t so long ago that they were this sweet helpless babies, but the truth is, it’s their time to experience their sweet helpless babies and feel that same love.

Being the Mom Your Kids will Remember

By: Samantha S. Daviss

As females we are always concerned with how we look, how our outfit fits us, do our shoes and handbag coordinate?...silly minor “girly” things. But as girls we reserve that right to worry about all that stuff.

I recently spent the weekend with one of my girlfriends for a girls’ getaway, and I definitely have a pattern in the women I choose to surround myself with through friendship. They are all extremely strong, independent women that make me proud to call them my friends. They are there when I need them at the drop of a hat, but we don’t need each other to function. But that is just all of our personalities, very strong and independent. But this girlfriend and I were sitting around talking, and we came up with the perfect phrase for all of us, and it is “Ball cap to ball gown”.

That phrase couldn’t be more fitting for my friends and me, but as a mom it is so important to me that my boys understand that I am that same person as their mother. I want them to understand that I am and always will be that mom that will jump in the swimming pool with them, play some water baseball, and out flip them on the diving board.

I may not be feeling extremely comfortable about how I look or feel in my swimsuit, I may not want the rest of the pool to see the cellulite creeping down the back of my legs; but I certainly don’t want my boys to look back on their childhood and NOT remember their mommy rough housing with them in the swimming pool.

I also want my boys to understand that girls can (almost) do anything boys can do. This past weekend my husband and I were out working on our lot that we are about to build on, cutting trees down, moving stones around, moving fences around; basically a lot of manual labor, that I have to admit felt great.

But when I say girls can (almost) do what boys can do; I tried to start our chainsaw and I didn’t have it secured as tightly as I should have and I almost lost a foot. But that is about par for the course for me with my gracefulness. Regardless of my shortcomings in the grace department, I want my boys to remember that mommy helped daddy clear the lot for their house. I don’t want them to have voids in their childhood memory that mommy escaped or ran inside to the air conditioning while daddy did all the work.

Boys are supposed to look up to their dads; as my boys do. They worship the ground he walks on. He plays with them, he teaches them, and most importantly they are his entire world; and the three of them know that about him. Even when he is reprimanding them, they still know their dad loves them.
I am not trying to take that away from my boys, I want them to worship their dad. But I am trying to teach my boys that their mommy is always there for them too. They may not pick a mate like me, and that is okay; but I want them to remember that one minute their mommy was playing in the pool with them or cutting down trees, and the next minute she is all dressed up and ready to go out for and evening on the town.

I don’t want my boys memories void of my involvement in their lives; I need them to know that no matter what happens in their lives I will always be there by their sides cheering them on through victory or defeat.   

I am not saying my way is the right way; but it is my way. And I will always be front and center and in their faces; reminding them to put those electronics down and go outside and play and use their imagination. That it is okay to be the “weird kids on the block” that aren’t allowed to have the electronics in the restaurant; the kids that actually have to sit and talk with their family.

And even though I may annoy them at times, and they may want me out of their way; I will never be out of their memories. I don’t want them to look back on their childhood and remember me as the mother that stood in the kitchen making dinner, or that mom that was always at the spa or shopping. I want them to know their mom can go from “Ball cap to ball gown” in the blink of an eye and they still be my number one priority.

I may have to put my ball gown on in the car on the way to the event (been done before) as to avoid any flying food, play-doh, or any other objects that may damage my gown, but that is the life of a mother with three boys, I guess…but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.