Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Has any of you seen "Something's Gotta Give?" with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson? There's a scene where Jack's character has broken up with Diane's character and they show her in numerous situations afterward bursting into loud "ugly face"tears, wailing at the pain of the breakup. It is pathetically funny.

For the last couple months, I have pictured myself bursting into loud ugly face tears over the phase of life we are in.
As of April 18th, we are raising two teenagers. TWO TEENAGERS.

This morning, I did the mental wailing as I watched my son (with Dad in the car) drive off to school. He has his learner's permit and in about 2 months will have his license.
Last week, we bought him a car. Well, let me rephrase that. Last week, we bought a "third vehicle that is Mom's and Dad's but will be availabe for Blake to drive." It is very important to my husband that we do not call it "Blake's Car."

Here's the crazy part. We bought a red mustang. It's a 97 and has 130,000 miles on it. But after spending a day with our mechanic, it was given a clean bill of health. It was our neighbor's and it was their first baby before little Logan came on the scene 4 weeks ago.
When he first mentioned it to us we were both very clear with our "No Way!!" Then a few days later Paul said "You know, it would be SO convenient to just walk across the street and hand them a check and not have the nightmare ahead of us to go car shopping." We hate car shopping. We are not car people. And we are so not cool enough to be driving a red mustang.

Just like we are not cool enough for our Jeep liberty with the sun roof. We are the couple who took the Jeep out one spring evening with the sun roof open and the radio blaring. After half a block, I was reaching for the radio dial saying "That is just too loud," while Paul was closing the sun roof saying "well, that's just too much wind." And I repeated with mock sadness "we are SOOO not cool enough for this vehicle. So we bought a red mustang, which I have started affecionately calling "Blake's little red pony" because we are not allowed to call it Blake's car. And the clincher on the whole deal was being able to walk across the street and avoid the pain of car shopping. So now it is done, the "third vehicle that will be available for Blake to drive" has been purchased.

I must say I feel a little indulgent. It is not at all what we had in mind for our 16-year-old. But the price was absolutely great, we trust the previous owners, it checked out well with our mechanic, and we get to avoid car shopping. And I am wailing on the inside as we approach this milestone. Because I know the next milestone is college. Oh my stars, what will I be like then?

I am also wailing on the inside most weekends as Kayla announces her plans. Her weekend usually goes something like this:

Friday evening: hang out at the park "Can we give (fill in the blank) a ride?" to watch a ball game...or just to hang out.

Saturday afternoon: The Mall. Although I have just been told that she and Becky have challenged themselves not to enter our mall for 10 days. TEN DAYS. They are courageous young women.
Saturday afternoon/ post mall: a movie. Or another ballgame at the park.
*note: Kayla is usually not allowed to be at the mall or the movie in the evenings without a parent so things must be scheduled carefully around her over-protective parents' hang-ups.

Saturday night: the weekly game of ditch at Becky's house or Kayla's house. This is what we used to call hide-n-seek only they play in teams. Last week we saw an impressive girl victory when the boys failed to get their whole team to the base. My husband stood in the yard and said "Boys, this is just painful." I didn't think it would be kind to point out to one boy that not only had he just been tagged by a girl, but an ASTHMATIC girl.
When I said to Kayla one evening "I thought ditch was where you rang a doorbell and ran off the porch. I don't want you doing that," Blake piped up and said "Uh, mom that's DING-DONG DITCH." Well of course, I felt so dumb.

Also, it is considered questionable to allow one of your team members in ditch to "puppy dog" the base. That means have somebody hide right by the base so that when the runners think they are home free, the "puppy dog" can run out and tag them at the last minute. The girls employed this tactic. The girls also discussed having Kayla fake an asthma attack so when the boys ran to her to see if she was ok, they could tag them all. This lead our neighbor to say to his 5-year-old son who was watching with fascination "see, Son, girls are tricky. Remember that."
It was fun watching the "ditch" game. And it was fun that Kayla didn't mind us being around. Of course she knew that, since boys are involved in this weekly game, we would be making our presence known - FREQUENTLY.

My point is, our kids are busy. ALL THE TIME. This is why I insisted that they both get cell phones a couple years ago, because I wanted to be able to have frequent check-ins from both. And I must say, they are both really good about checking in.

There was a time when Blake was at a friend's house much of the time but we still had Kayla around. Now they both have such incredibly busy social lives and so many friends, that we rarely see them on the weekends. I miss them, but I think this is how it should be. I think God gives us this time to prepare us for the empty nest.
Paul and I have decided that through the summer, on Sunday evenings we would take a family trip to Dairy Queen or Shaved Ice just to have a little time with our kids. So as I was eating my chocolate cone the other night I was able to justify it by saying "it's for the children. I will do anything for our family..."

But there are still those moments that make me want to melt into a heap of tears because the time is going so fast:
Kayla's 13th birthday party.
Purchasing a third car so our son can drive himself to wrestling and school (and drive his sister around.)
Paul making a special trip to the home of Kayla's boyfriend so she can give him a birthday present.
Shopping with Kayla where we no longer spend time in the toy aisle but the makeup aisle and the purse department instead.
Hearing Blake's voice on the phone asking if his girlfriend can drop by.
Hearing some of the questions that our son has asked his dad, which I cannot share because that would break a confidence. But they are questions that has given us a glimpse into his character and made me weepy and say "maybe we're doing an ok job after all."
Hearing my daughter's alarm go off BEFORE OURS so she can get herself up each morning and start flat-ironing her hair. These children that NEVER slept as babies are now getting themselves up and around without us entering their rooms.
Blake coming in to my room at night when Paul is traveling to say "Mom, I've locked up so you don't need to go back down. Is there anything else I can do?"
And the list goes on.

And so does life. Life goes quickly. And that is a good thing, I guess.
It means I don't have time to melt into a puddle of tears several times a day.
And that is a good thing too. Can you imagine the looks my children would give me?