Mommy and Me at Playlist Live: The Aftermath

Watching them grow up is often a struggle for me.  My daughter’s excitement about coming to this event was infectious and at times extreme.  So it is no wonder that she experienced some disappointment; she had built it up in her mind to be something so spectacular that it was bound to disappoint in some way.

She is at an age now where the presence of her friends is part of what she needs.  It was nice to be here for her, but it would have been nicer had she brought a friend.  Someone with whom she could share her excitement and disappointment.  She could tell me about it and we can process it but that is not the same as being with someone who shares those feelings.

Indeed, the event was a disappointment in many ways.  She did not get to meet the people that she wanted to meet.  There was not much to do all day except walk around among the perhaps 15,000 people here hoping to meet someone she admires.  And the noise was incredible.  It seemed very much like watching a trailer for a movie that is really funny and then going to the movie and realizing that the only good part of the movie was the trailer.

I found the event fascinating in many ways.  So many young people in one place without any trouble going on.  I did not see any evidence of drinking, drugs, not even much profanity.  They were genuinely well behaved and often quite kind.  There were very young people giving out free hugs, songs, dance, and discussions on things such as bullying, body image, self expression.  And music that seems to appeal to this younger crowd more than it does me.  There were some with shirts expressing ideas that were troublesome (like the shirt that said “dead girls can’t say no”).  But overall I was really impressed with these young people.  That, however, did not make the event enjoyable for my daughter.

Throughout the day I watched her go from excitement and joy to sadness and disappointment and back again.  It was hard.  As the mom there is a huge part of me that wanted to step in and make everything better.  And there were times where I tried to do that.  There were also times where I felt I needed to let her be in the struggle, let her just experience being sad, overwhelmed, and disappointed.

We spent quite a bit of time throughout this long day processing her emotions.  She came to a point where she was able to understand that it did not serve her to be overly attached to having something happen, having a particular person being here for her to meet.  She understands the pitfalls of letting her excitement run away with her.  The need to reality check her expectations.  We called it a learning experience.  She had more independence here than  I have ever given her at an event.  I did not hover constantly although I was constantly in the venue watching over her perhaps without her knowing or sensing that all the time.

So quickly she will be an adult making all her own choices and I have to give her some time to start doing that where I can guide the process and be there to help her understand what went wrong and why and what went right and why.  But she needs to have her journey, not the journey that I want her to have but the one that is authentically her own.  I find my daughter to be a fascinating young woman and while it can be painful at times to let go and watch her struggle, it is necessary to do so.  With kindness, with compassion, with support, with immense love, I know she can face anything.

Being Wuddles

My son had a speech issue when he was younger and certain sounds were hard for him.  He could not say cuddles so it turned into wuddles and somehow that became his name for me.  I remember the days when he would wrap himself in a blanket and throw himself into my arms saying “Wuddles, I need some cuddles.”  This was after he learned how to say cuddles.  It was so sweet and would make my heart melt every time.

Our bonding was different than that between my daughter and I.  They were so sick when we brought them home, but he was much sicker than she was.  His lungs were not as developed and he had asthma which was quite severe.  He was in the hospital about 30 times until he was 8 years old.  The endless sleepless nights holding him while he struggled to breathe at home and in the hospital.  The vigils when he was on a respirator, waiting for him to wake up again.  My heart hurts just thinking about it now.  And I know it is part of what makes the bonding with him feel so intense.  And my gratitude that he is now healthy is palpable.

This week my husband was talking to the kids about getting tickets to a game and taking them but my son does not want to go.  I felt badly for my husband because he was trying so hard.  But my heart was so filled with joy at the look on my son’s face, his excitement, about the fact that he would spend the time just with me.  My 13 year old man/child looked at me with a huge smile and said “it will be mommy and me time just you and me wuddles.”

He.  Melts.  My.  Heart.  Every.  Day.

I just love them so much.

Moonshadow

Parenting challenge – teaching the kids how to study.

Cat Stevens “Moonshadow” was playing today and I could not stop laughing.  Last year my daughter was in 6th grade and needed to learn about the moon phases.  She was struggling in school notwithstanding two tutors but she has a minor learning disability so we try different strategies.

For this moon phase studying I wanted to see if I could get her to learn off flash cards like I used to make when I was in school and wow was she resisting.  So I turned to a musical assist (the kids say I have a song for everything).  Every time she resisted studying or making her flash cards I would follow her around the house singing “I’m being followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow.”  It drove her insane.  I also turned to Dark Side Of The Moon and Bad Moon Arising.  But mostly Cat Stevens.

She studied those flashcards like a boss just to get me to stop.  It was hysterical.  But after about ten days I was like when the heck is this test.  She had said it was in one week.  So I emailed her teacher who reported the great tragedy of this moon phase test.  It seemed that my daughter had already taken the test before we even began to study for it and had not done well.  She forgot she had taken the test.

But she really does know the moon phases now.

The struggle is real.

Mommy and Me – Playlist Live

Every year I take my daughter on what we call a “mommy and me” adventure.  This started several years ago because I wanted her to have some spectacular experiences and memories of things we do together.  Things she would remember all her life.

This year we are going to Playlist Live for the weekend.  A YouTube convention of what I guess are famous people among the young people.  I don’t use YouTube much so I don’t even recognize the names of the people my daughter says she is so excited to meet.  But she is so exited and that is fun in itself even though I am somewhat dreading the throngs of teenagers, the noise and confusion.

Being a mom is something that I always wanted and that I enjoy.  I’m also good at it.  Not perfect but really good.  I say that with relief and gratitude.

And I love being that mom.  The one the other kids call mom.  Two of my daughters friends even admitted that they stalk me on the internet.  That’s funny.

But mommy and me time is special.  And we have done some incredible things.

The first year we did this she was 6 and we took a limo to NY and shopped, had a beautiful lunch at a place called “Alice’s Tea Cup” where they sprinkled her with fairy dust, put wings on her, we shopped and had an incredible time.  The next year we took a limo to Boston where we shopped, had a fancy dinner where they wrote princess in chocolate on her plate (she wore a tiara all day), and then went to the Boston Opera House to see Mary Poppins.  The kiddy spa weekend when she was 8 was also a riot.  We got mommy/daughter couples massages and it was so funny to hear her say “mommy you never told me about this” while she got a massage.  I could not help but wonder what muscles hurt in her little 8 year old body.

Now she gets to participate in the planning of these adventures and so we are going to Playlist Live.  She has been asking to go to this for 3 years and I have always said no.  But this time she started with “I know you are going to say no, but…”  So I just looked at her and said “ok”.  The look of shock and excitement on her face was fun to watch.  It made me realize that part of these days is teaching her that dreams can come true.  A little planning, a little footwork, and they can indeed come true.  I know this because she and her brother are my dreams come true.

But, oy, a YouTube convention.