Here we are a year later. I'd do that recap thing but what's the point? This is just going to be a current stream of consciousness of things that I've been thinking about or going through lately.
I had Luke pretty young. 24 isn't young based on previous generations or even my old high school peers who are working on their second marriage and fourth kid. Living in the city though, women have their babies a little later because these are the people that focused on their careers before starting their families. This makes me a young mother.
No one really puts emphasis on how parenting is like going through high school again. What I mean is, dealing with other parents is, many times, a pissing contest. "Oh my son makes straight A's" or "Oh I work out everyday for three hours, manage my own company, haul my three children to various after school activities, AND live in a million dollar home."
We put unnecessary pressure on each other. We still try to one-up each other like it's high school. Why? I don't understand. Add to it that we live in an affluent part of Atlanta and I'm *always* the youngest and single mother.
As with high school, I've never really cared what people thought of me. Would I like my child to make all A's? Sure. Is he ever going to? Probably not. And i'm 100% OK with that. All I have ever asked of him is to try his hardest and pass his classes. He's 8. He doesn't try his hardest but somehow his A, B, and -yes- a single C, report card qualified him for gifted testing. I'm not sure how he pulled that one off but he did. We don't know the results of those tests but we'll see. I'm not holding my breath because it really isn't something he's interested in. But back to parenting being a lot like high school-
I didn't care in high school and surely don't care now. I'm proud of what I provide for my son and he's a generally happy kid. I couldn't ask for more. I'm happy for those that live in large houses and have all of the nice things. Please don't pass judgement on me, I'll do the same in return.
Why am I talking about this? Well, the following conversation went down yesterday and *rage* doesn't even cover how it made me feel.. (Luke told me this story when I picked him up from school yesterday)
Luke talking with his friend on the playground:
Luke and friend in agreement: "We should ask our parents if we could have a sleepover!"
Luke's friend: "We should! But my mom said it will have to be at our house because you don't have a dad and your mom can't watch two kids."
RAGE. RAGE. RAGE.
Before I pass judgement as I previously stated I wouldn't do, I'll say that I didn't handle this conversation with the dignity that I should have.
I was visibly angry. How could another mother dare say that to their child about mine? Doesn't she know that kids this age will repeat anything we say? How dare she judge me when she doesn't know me? Did this plant any ideas in Luke's head? Make him feel bad about his life? Question my parenting?
I told Luke I'd email this other mother if he wanted me to. We have an open relationship. We talk about anything because I don't ever want him to feel like he can't say something to me. He knows that I will go to battle for him if he ever feels less than he should. But as everyone who knows Luke knows, he is way more mature than I will ever be. He said :
"I just told him 'thats' fine'. You shouldn't be mad either. It doesn't really matter what people think because I have a lot of people that love me."
And there you have it.
I have wanderlust. Hard. Bad.
Since finishing school three years ago, I've made it a priority to travel. When you're a 24-year-old with a baby, you just can't do all of those fun things because you're caring for another life. The cool thing is that now Luke is older and he's able to accompany me on our journeys. We've been to NYC twice now [me three times], Florida too many times to count, SC, NC, [driven thru] AL, etc. Next month we are both going to Nashville together to visit friends and then the following weekend I'm taking a solo trip to DC.
I feel like exposing yourself to new places/experiences/cultures is vital to personal growth. Taking my mom to NYC twice really opened her mind. She's been around the world because she grew up in a military family but hadn't actually traveled much into her adulthood. She's a small town Southern woman who will tell you she's a Republican (this is debatable). Opening her eyes to the fact that Northerners really aren't the evil people that the South has portrayed them has opened her mind the process. I'm thankful she is adaptable.
This goes the same for Luke. I visited Florida every year with my family.. some outliers were visiting Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado but the majority of the time was spent in the south. I'm thankful that we were able to take vacations as many Americans can't these days (another argument for another day), but I want to expose Luke to everything; different regions, countries, etc. We both took our first plane ride together two years ago. What a lucky kid! I'm hoping to expand my horizon as well as his in the process....
Which leads me to... we're driving the Pacific Coast Highway this summer! We're going to fly to San Francisco and end in Los Angeles or San Diego... we haven't decided yet. We can't wait. I'm hoping for the car ride to be screen - free but you never know.
Lastly, VOTE. I remember last election year I knew who I wanted a to win and I went to an election party (RIP Manuels Tavern) but I didn't really care about politics. I feel like the older I get, the older my son gets, the even older my mom gets, I need to have a voice. SO VOTE.