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Back to School

Don’t cry, Jen.

You knew this was coming.

So stop it.

Just get ahold of your damn self girl and face it.

Jennifer, you have TWO teenagers starting high school and there is not a fucking thing you can do about it! Right?

I. Must. Deal.

Even though all I want to do is to stop time and go back to when they were about to begin Kindergarten….when they were young. All impressionable, their minds like sponges. Their eyes were wide open to possibility and hearts were unscathed. When I could make decisions for them and lead them in the right direction. When I could protect them from the world, bubble wrap and all. (Or at least try.)

Now they are young adults and I have to let them do it on their own. Was this how my mother felt when we all went to high school and college? Like she was losing her “day job”? Fuck, I mean I have spent the last 16 years of my life raising and nurturing these guys…and now I just get fired? They don’t need me anymore?

Holy shit.

I honestly can’t see I’m crying so hard. (And no, I’m not getting my period. And NO I’m not peri-menopausal.) I’m fucking freaking out! I’m 45 years old, and my entire life has been about my kids. And sure, I’ve been working and doing and living. I’m not saying I haven’t been doing shit for myself…but this is seriously sending me over the mommy edge to nowhere, ok?

I have just in this exact minute come to the insane realization I only have FOUR more years with my boys until they leave me. Well, even less for Jonah…he leaves in THREE!

I can’t breathe.

So here’s what I know, and plan on doing for the next four years:

  1. Work less, play more. Sure, work is essential and I’ll do it. I’m still going to write my blogs, and finish my next book, record my podcast once a week, and travel when I have to. But when I’m done, we will do things together and spend more time together. Life is too short to sit around staring at the ceiling and playing Fortnite. (Rez me, Zac!)

  2. Full Engagement. When they talk, I’ll be listening. My phone will be on the charger or in my purse…and I will be all ears. I’ll be asking questions and waiting for the answers. And my questions will be open-ended, not just “yes or no”, so we will hopefully keep having terrific, meaningful conversations like we have now. Tick, tock…omg.

  3. Bucket List. I told my guys to make a “Bucket List” of all the stuff they want to do before they go to off to college. Things that we haven’t done yet here in Charlotte, around the city, or maybe even around the country. Jonah wants to go skydiving. Ummm, I told him to call his Dad for that one. Moms don’t “do” outdoor activities like throwing ourselves out of airplanes and dying. 😉

  4. One-on-One Time. I really think it’s vital to get alone time with each kid separately. Even if it’s for a couple of days, I want to have really intimate talks about life with my boys. I know they always seem to open up more when they are alone with me as opposed to being the three of us. (Oh and they snuggle then too.)

  5. Game On. Whether it’s a baseball game for Zac or listening to Jonah do the commentating for a basketball or football game up in the box…I’m going to be there. Rain or shine. Band concert, art show, whatever. Fuck with only four more years of this shit where else do I have to be? And why would I miss it if I can be there?

I hear moms of toddlers bitching about life and how hard they have it. I listen to moms of ten-year-olds whining about driving to dance or soccer every day and how it’s so annoying. I hear moms of sixth graders complaining about how their teens are assholes and they wish they would just move out already.

Shit, do you know how thrilled I’d be to be right back there with you to bitch, whine, complain and be annoyed all over again? (Rhetorical). In fact, I’d change places with any of you when my boys go back to school. Oh please, what I’d give to have my guys beginning first grade again! But ya know what? If I could do it again, I’d do it minus the fucking bitching and I would enjoy every, single minute. I’d put down my phone and I would listen, watch, and connect with my kids.

Stop crying, Jennifer.

So as summer slowly begins to come to an end, your kiddos start stressing about their schedules and beg to go back to school shopping….maybe take a deep breath and be lucky you have them for as many years as you do. Because before you know it, they will be looking at colleges and driving cars….and oh my g-d., kissing girls. And you will be crying hysterically as you write about it to share with millions of people. 😉

xo j

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