We’re One Weird Family

weird family

Maybe it’s Mother’s Day that has brought about our most recent conversations.  I’m really not sure.

Lately it has been comical to hear my girls talk about awkward moments due to the loss of their mom.

When Michelle was riding with a friend and her mother, something was said about moms helping at school for some project.  The friend quickly reprimanded her mother for saying the “m” word in front of Michelle.

“It’s OK,” Michelle assured her.  “You can talk about mothers with me in the car.  It doesn’t bother me.”

Stephanie then shared the time last summer at camp where they were paired with a peer for prayer time before bed.

“The girl got on my bed and said, ‘My friend’s mom has cancer.  Can you IMAGINE your mom having cancer?’”

“Well actually…”

DJ was recognized at the Senior Salute, an end of year assembly for the National Charity League.  It’s a Mother/Daughter service club that Lisa started with her six years ago.  Each girl stood on stage with their mom and a short speech was given about their relationship and their work together over the past few years.  DJ decided she’d be recognized with another friend whose mother died a year or so after Lisa.  Pretty good strategy for what could have been a fairly awkward situation.

Last Tuesday Michelle asked me if dogs had periods.

To be perfectly honest, I had to think a minute.  We don’t have dogs, and I don’t recall ever seeing a doggie tampon (This is yet another reason not to have a pet).

I assured her they must and then DJ chimed in saying indeed they did and that there were diapers that could be purchased for that time of the month.

Apparently Michelle went to school and announced her findings to her girlfriends.  When she returned home that afternoon, she said, “Kimmy can’t believe I asked you if dogs had periods.” I asked her why Kimmy thought that was so odd.  “Kimmy said it is weird that I ask my DAD questions like that.”  We laughed.  I suppose she could have called the vet.

Last week we also talked about girls who are “loose in the booty” as my oldest kid describes them and why girls might be prone to be boy crazy.  We talked about self-esteem and how critical that it come from within and not from some shady dude who pays you a little attention.

The week before we chatted about Michelle’s class field trip to the Poe Center where they got about 75% of the sex talk.  I filled her in on the rest.  Stephanie told her at the Poe Center she was going to have to stand up in front of the group and talk about girls’ breasts.  “They actually call them breasts.  I hate it when they call them that.  They’re boobs.  Old ladies have breasts.”  Thankfully, Michelle was spared the chest chat.

I realize our family is a bit odd, maybe more open than others.  But I’m gonna take that as a win as we celebrate our sixth motherless Mother’s Day.

On The Go!

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Last Thursday night DJ and I headed out for our last college tour. It was accepted students’ day at George Washington University in DC. We left Raleigh at 5 PM.

Stephanie fussed as I walked out the door, “Dad, you’re NEVER home!  You’re gone all the time!”

I reminded her that she was the one who spent four days the week before on a school sponsored Outward Bound trip and that it was also she who had plans both Friday and Saturday nights for the weekend that was before us.  That didn’t seem to matter to her. Apparently I should be at home when she wants me there. Or, to be safe, always.

Although in my head I knew she was being unreasonable, I  did feel a bit guilty for leaving.

I had warned DJ that we had to leave Washington right at 2 PM on Friday so that I could get back before 7 to see Michelle’s school play. Although she had only a small part, I felt it important that her parent be in the audience.

DJ understood, “Dad, we always leave these college visits early.  You always have to get back home for something.”

She said it matter of factly, no irritation intended.  But, irritation was taken. Another slight breech to the parenthood portal.

At 4:30 Saturday, I gave up. We were right around Fredericksburg, Va, and traffic was at a standstill, similar to what it had been since we pulled out of downtown two and a half hours earlier.  I was doomed to disappoint again.

I jumped from I-95 to US 1. I was working my GPS and my iPhone traffic alert aggressively seeking alternative routes.

One thing is clear:  I’m going to have a massive heart attack in my car one day.

When we finally hit Richmond, it was 5PM. The GPS indicated we’d get to the theater by 7:45. That’d be too late. At least I’d equally disappoint all of my kids!  No favorites.

I cranked up the speed and wondered what was worse, teaching my 17 year old that it was OK to break traffic laws in the name of Peter Pan or lying to my 11 year old, telling her how much I enjoyed the performance i did not see.

A 17 year old has a more mature mind.  I broke the law.

We came to a screeching halt at 7:19 in the driveway of the school. I jumped out of the car and ran toward the door. The gas tank light was on empty. The place was dark, Act 1 complete.  The lights came up, and Michelle entered stage left.

Hot damn!  I made it.

It’s hard to be a parent.

91 Useless Hours

 

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I am done.  I’m moving to Florida.

Can you imagine living in Boston?  I mean, why, why, why would you choose to spend your life, or even 45 minutes, in a place that feels like the Siberian Tundra?

Over the past three weeks, my children have missed more school than they’ve attended due to inclement weather, and they have also watched more TV than imaginable.

As busy as my oldest daughter seems to be, we recently calculated the number of hours she has spent watching the TV series Gossip Girls over the past few weeks.  I believe it to be about 91.  NINETY-ONE hours.

Can you imagine what could be accomplished in that amount of time?

Extreme Home Makeover could do an overhaul of your entire home, demolish and rebuild, in 91 hours.  You could fly around the world in a Boeing 747, TWICE, and have enough time leftover to play a round of golf.  If she moved quickly, 91 hours might even be enough time for DJ to fully clean up her room.  Well, the way it looks today, that might be pushing it.

DJ, Stephanie and Michelle don’t just watch a single show.  No, all three log-on to Netflix and watch television series.  Like from show 1 to show 200 – or more!  Michelle is addicted to Gilmore Girls.  Both of her sisters have completed that epic and have moved on to others.

They are now asking me to upgrade our Netflix account so that more people in the family can watch different shows at one time.

Guess what?  That ain’t happening.

Well, unless all four of us get trapped in this house for another 24 hour period.  Come to think of it, Netflix may be the only reason someone in this foursome is not dead yet.

 

Awkward and Beautiful

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Sometimes you gotta do stuff you don’t particularly want to do. For my ninth grader, it’s shopping for underwear with her father.

I don’t rotate mine as often as I should.  I just get so attached to them.

Perhaps it is my bad example that puts us in the panty pinch.  I have a specific test for tossing my intimates.  When jogging, it sometimes feels like my shorts are falling off.  If I look down and my pants are intact, I realize it’s my boxers that have gone south underneath my sweats.  Although preferable to the alternative, I’d rather the inner layer slide down while running down Ridge Road than the outer, this sensation is my signal:  this pair must go.  Elastic is such an important part of the underpant.

Stephanie came to me last weekend with an urgent need for an undie upgrade.  She reluctantly chose to hit the mall immediately, rather than wait for her aunt or another viable female to schedule a trip.

As we walked through the doors of Crabtree Valley Mall at 8 PM on a Tuesday night, she grabbed my hand, “It is so embarrassing to do this with your dad.  I so hope I don’t see anyone I know.”

“There are other things I’d rather be doing too, like digging or welding.  But baby, we’re just making memories.  Twenty years from now we’ll remember this night – our first trip to Victoria’s Secret.”

They had a sale, 5 pair for $27.  Finding her size and the style she liked was a challenge.  Although there seemed to be designated slots for each type, it looked like an underwear tornado had touched down on that table.  They were all mixed together.  It was like trying to find a specific pea in a crock pot of vegetable soup.

Men’s boxers are in packages, sized by waist.  Women’s aren’t.  Some mediums would have barely fit over my head (no, I didn’t try).  Others would have fit William Howard Taft.

“Stephanie, I think you need to try these on – we need a baseline.”

You’d have thought I’d suggested she run naked through the store.

“Dad.  I’m NOT trying on underwear at the store!”

“Whatever.”

I held each pair up, opening the waist to see if I thought It would fit.  In the end we bought ten.

I actually cherish these moments – the ones that other dads don’t get to experience.  They’re awkward, uncomfortable, funny… and beautiful.

I’ve got the Snapdog Blues

My two oldest kids now participate in Snapchat.  It is the new Twitter.  For weeks I called it Snapdog.  I don’t know why.  Just got it stuck in my head that Snapdog was the name.  My kids found that irritating so that’s still what I call it.

With Snapdog (chat), you send a photo of yourself to a friend, or an enemy I suppose, via your cell phone.  When they click to open it, they can only view the pic for three seconds and then it disappears.

Presumably, I could take a picture of my privates and “sext” them to some unsuspecting Snapdogger.  I figure it would take at least 3 seconds for them to figure out what a close up of that was – not something you see on a daily basis – and then swala – poof – the “proof” is gone.  My privates are private once more.

The problem is, for those who are technically savvy, the pics and/or videos, can be found from that vanishing Snapdog spot by simply plugging in the iPhone to a computer and pressing a couple of buttons.

I had 15 girls spend the night last week.  If you’re having one or two, why not bring them all?

When one of the 12-year-olds arrived, her mother standing at the door, three other 12-year-olds were standing in the front hall.  None looked up.  All were holding their phones Snapdogging those who were not in attendance.  Perhaps we should have invited them rather than the ones who were there since they didn’t seem to want to talk to each other.  Not one welcomed the newcomer – no screams or silly hugs.  Not one spoke to her mother.  I could have shoved a banana up my nose and danced the Rumba, and not one would have noticed.

Throughout the night, the photos were flying.  And every girl who was not invited, although to me it felt like every girl was invited, got to peek in on the fun – that they weren’t having.  As an adult with no spouse, I sometimes feel like I’m the only one not spending a weekend evening hanging out with my wife.   What a delight it would be to be able to see pictures of everyone else enjoying themselves with their spouses while I sat home alone sending selfies through Snapdog.

I think my girls are smart enough not to send inappropriate photos of themselves through social media.  But who knows?  Michelle made a bucket list last week – it looked like this:

Michelle’s Bucket List

1.  Skinny Dip

Yea – that was numero uno.

I’m gonna take her to a pool this summer and throw her in naked – wanna get that one checked off the list ASAP.

As much as technology has enhanced my life, sometimes I just get the Snapdog Blues.  What happened to Hide-n-go-seek?  Spin the Bottle?  Truth or Dare?  Ahh – now those were the days.

Cowabunga!

Posted by Danny

I’m not sure if there was ever a time in history where a parent was considered cool by their teenager. I got along well with my parents and usually enjoyed being with them, but I don’t think I would have ever considered them cool – especially not when I was in high school.

I distinctly remember a trip to K-Mart as a teen. Not only was I mortified to be in that store, it was not a cool place to hang out in 1979, but I was also there with my parents. At one point when they couldn’t find me, they began to call my name in unison, “Danny, Danny Tanner, where are you?”

If I’d had a sword I would have jabbed it through my jugular. I’m still scarred by that moment in time.

Now it is my turn!  I get to be the parent of a least one teenager for the next decade.

I don’t desire to be the coolest parent around; you won’t find me hosting parties for my kids with kegs of beer that I’ve purchased. You also won’t find me sloughing off curfew or looking the other way when a “C” shows up on the report card. But I am striving to find ways to connect with my rising sophomore.

On our recent beach trip, DJ asked me if we could rent a surf board. My initial instinct was that her request was ridiculous. Neither one of us would ever be able to surf, and I was sure she’d be frustrated and done with it after rental day 1.

But a little voice inside my head told me to “shut up.” It told me to take this opportunity to connect with my kid and potentially rack up some cool points (I think I have negative 645 currently). So I bit.

What I gained in coolness in renting the board, I apparently lost when I tried to start talking like a surfer.

“Dude, I’m really amped about surfing. I hope we have some epic waves.” I used a surfer accent.

As we drove up to the rental shop, DJ jumped out of the van.

“Hang loose chic, I gotta get my wallet.”

“Dad, you’re such a dork.”

The owner told us the rental for three days would be $35. He then gave us a bar of wax.

“Sick DJ. We have our own wax.”

Sometimes I don’t know when to stop.

When we got back to the beach, I’m fairly sure I looked pretty darn cool walking along the shore carrying my board. But that’s when the coolness stopped.

DJ went first, she’d done this before. She paddled out on her belly, then sat up like a champ.

“DJ – there’s a gnarly wave coming your way! But look out for gray suits (I’d been on line, that means sharks).”

She tried several times but couldn’t stand up.

“That was bitchin’,” I thought I’d earn points by throwing in a cuss word – she is 15. “Now watch this.”

I paddled out and worked to sit up, my legs thrown across each side of the board. It took less than a second for the entire board and 46-year-old surfer to do a 180. Not front to back but right side up to upside down. My hair was brushing against sea shells, my feet above water.

I wondered if this could be considered a wipe out.

I tried again.  This time I swear my head brushed up against a sting ray.

“DJ, I think you should practice some more.  I’m going to go check on the boogers (boogie board riders).”  Thank goodness I have other children.

DJ surprised me.  She stuck to it and surfed multiple times each day.  I even got to the point where I could sit, with my head OUT of the water and even attempted to stand up a couple of times.

I think we’re less Hawaii 5 – 0 and more Gidget.  But who cares, we had a great time and spent hours chilling together!  Maybe I’ll say yes more often.

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