A talk with my son

We went to renew the registration I hold for the car Papa passed down to Jedi.

We waited in line and waited only to realize we needed an emission check. Small annoyance. Several traffic violations in 30 seconds that made me want to smack him upside the head. Sensing my alarm, he says, in what I can only assume was an attempt to comfort me, “I don’t drive like this when you’re not in the car, Mom”.

My response? I thanked him for saving this special demonstration for me. We laughed. We sang alongside one another to Queen. We set a tentative date up for our next family flick: Bohemian Rhapsody. Also, I have a ‘promise to participate’ in a family vacation karoke performance by the same name as we drove to the emission test center.

I decided that I wanted him to try to use the self serve station. This involved me trying very hard to stay restrained by safety belt and not get out and do it myself. I sat with the discomfort and watched. Ok, I also laughed a lot. It was just so cool to be able to watch him dare greatly to be awkward and uncomfortable and laugh at himself in an effort to learn. It was great to see him finding new working parts to his car and connect the dots at how they played into the greater machine.

When kids are little we all have a tendency to overlook those teaching moments. Day to day it seems like nothing changes, but then you’re driven to an emission test, watching a young man learning and it’s mesmerizing how how everything has changed. My little boy is still in there. I see him in the wonder in his eyes.

We started discussing passport services back in line at the BMV. He’s hoping to take a trip to Hong Kong before enlisting in the military. This led into a brilliant idea and discussion about putting him in contact with every personal friend I know who has served because I feel like I can fully accept and support his decision to serve so long as it is a well informed decision. Im an Army brat. My Dad served 20 years. It’s a lifestyle of many sacrifices for the entire family. I’m very honored to know someone in every branch of service. I hope it is of benefit.

When we left the BMV, he brought up the topic of PTSD in the military. I was thankful for this door being opened. I listened to his thoughts. I was disheartened to hear that he thinks upcoming generations will be more desensitized and this will benefit the military. However, I also understand from working in service to others. Tears welled up in my eyes and words began to fail me. I didn’t know what the right thing to say was, but I wanted and felt a great need to say something.

He has decided to enlist after graduation next year and I want him to make the most informed decision. Not recruitment crap. Momma didn’t raise no sheeple. It’s a fine line to walk when has talked about serving since he was little and I know he wants “it” and I have so much

I went with my heart.

I said, ” Son, I hope with every fiber of my being that future generations won’t be more desensitized, but perhaps, will begin to feel like it’s ok to not be ok. The idea that it is more badass to bear/bare vulnerability than be ‘the strong, silent type’. I also feel like more parents have awareness about the need to provide our children with the proper tools to process their emotions. It’s evolutionary to be wiser than past generations, right?”

I hope.

I really do hope for him … and all of us really.

THE Note to Self, an epiphany.

Sometimes, when I’m recovering medically, being alone let’s my mind wonder to dark corners. I get really hard on myself. 

My Dad called tonight and he wasn’t having any of it. 

As I cried to him about all the things that keep a middle-aged, single mother up at night, all the things I put away from everyone else, but Dad, he stopped me in my tracks. He told me that HE. ADMIRED. ME. That I was was one of the strongest women he knew because I have survived multiple wounds and sufferings beyond what most people would be crushed beneath singularly. 

I said, “Dad, I just feel like I’m always trying to do the right thing and I keep on coming up short.”

He replied, “You have an adopted special-needs son who would likely be dead if not for you and who you treat just like your own biological children, because he is to you and anyone else who knows you. You advocated for him through everything. You might not have much but you always get what your kids need. You raised some incredibly resilient kiddos. You have life long friends because you’re a wonderful friend. That’s incredibly rare, Stephie. C’mon, give yourself some credit.”

Just as I was going to bed, I started thinking that I had not accomplished as many things as I had wanted to today, when my dog, Zeke, walked into my room. I just looked down at him and smiled, realizing that even on my worst days, I’ve rescued five animals. Things may not be the way we want, but yet, still we have what we need; and no matter what ANYONE else may think or say…my kids still say “I love you, Mommy” and that’s all the things. 

The smallest act of kindness outweighs the grandest intentions.

Things my kids say:

Jedi:  I want a vape pen so my room smells nice like yours. 

Diva: Her room smells ah-mazing. It smells good because she cares about it and keeps it clean. Im obsessed with your bed, Momma.  Do you know I laid down and fell asleep in Mom’s bed for like an hour and when I woke up my skin was softer. 

Me: How is that even possible?

Diva: I DONT KNOW! But it’s totally true. Your bed is magic.