author moments, family

Got Wheels Will Travel

Ah, to be sixteen again. Fresh wheels. Gas in the tank. No “have tos” as it’s the weekend. Where to go. Who to see. Back. Forth. Back and forth. Back again. Around again and again.

This about sums up the life of my youngest. Fridays mean off with friends. Time to blow off steam. Sleep in Saturday as it was a long week (in teenager eyes). Need to rest the mind and the body.

Mid-day rise on Saturday. Nothing on the calendar so off she goes. Zoom. Zoom. Here, there, everywhere. An errand. A drop off. A visit with a friend. Some food. Back to home base for a quick change. Evening plans are in motion. 

Off again. Social life calls. Sleepover calls name. I must. I must. Snuggle up Sunday is here. Lazy time thanks to the busy go-go-go that began Friday. A few chores, a quick favor for another, a car wash, a pick up at a friend’s. Zoom. Zoom.

5pm hits. Dinner time is approaching. Maybe it’s time to see the teen for a few minutes and share a meal. Maybe some conversation or maybe not. Head phones. Social media. Homework. Prep for the week is now here.

Where did the time go? Once a teen gets a set of wheels or gets independent by way of driving, relationships change. Mommas are no longer needed. Well they are needed but not in the same way. It’s beautiful to watch but it’s sad at the same time. The time you once spent together is now replaced with time with others.

When it’s your youngest or last it hits a little harder. Empty nest syndrome is near in sight. You look for opportunities to savor the time that remains before college or adulthood. Once the 18 number hits your value fades. You are needed but not as much as the sisterhood of a sorority, of a sports team, or a love interest.

The relationship in my mind drifts until 26 years of age. At this point the need resurfaces. Maybe for financial guidance. Maybe for grandparenting time. Maybe for help of some sort. Whatever the reason it’s a long wait.

I think my favorite age of kids is 8-11 years. Fun to play with. Old enough to listen. Not too much sass talking. And overall it’s a time they still need you. To get here or there. To buy this or that. For food. And so on.

Parenting doesn’t have a rule book. It’s expensive to say the least. It’s full of memories, both good and bad. Parenting shows your flaws as well as your strengths in your offspring. That might be the hardest part of parenting. Looking in the mirror.

Seeing the stubbornness.

Seeing the attitude.

Living with a mini version of oneself.

I still wouldn’t change it for the world but I do miss the favorite age I mentioned above. I have three kids in three different stages. They all give me joy, stress, and aw shit moments. For this rant I’m just putting it on paper. A way of confirming what life is for me now. 

challenges

Just Show Up

Life is hard, lifey, challenging, et cetera.

We all know this. We are in it.

Right now, what keeps coming up for me is one small thing:

Just show up.

The first step on the path to success is just showing up.

When a friend calls, overwhelmed with life, just show up.

When you need to get to the gym to start your day the right way, just show up.

When there’s an issue at work that needs addressing, just show up.

When you’re not sure what to do, just show up.

If you’re as exhausted as many of us are, it can be so tempting just to hide away from problems, tasks, anything that needs to be done. Life is too much. Why bother? Nothing matters. Do you ever feel that way?

Still, in the face of it all, here’s the challenge: show up. Does showing up solve the world’s problems, or even my own? No…but it does set me on the road to solutions. If you don’t show up, things can’t happen. If you don’t show up, progress doesn’t get made. If you don’t show up, you lose the chance to be good, to be great, to even contribute.

How I show up is a matter for another post. Today, start by just showing up. Do what you need to do. Get there.

change

The Alarm Went Off

It was a weird chirp sound. One I wasn’t familiar with. What is it? Where is it? The hunt was on. It was my countdown clock for 1095 days. Tucked in behind a few things on my closet shelf. Waiting for its special day to chirp. 

3 years gone by in a blink or two. Just like that 1095 days is a part of the history book. I blinked. A pandemic. A few birthdays. A cool countdown with a bunch of crud and coolness intertwined in those three years. All categorized in journals, online and in the vault. Many thoughts for future books but also many shifts due to environmental changes over time.

I certainly would not have thought three years ago that today would be what it actually is today. I guess my crystal ball is foggy at best. Worst plans, best plans, who lived, who died, and so on. Change is the the one word that keeps coming to mind when I think of these past 1095 days.

Changes of many kinds. Bend. Flex. Adapt. Reframe. The words that I seem to say over and over these days. Looking forward to the next 1095 days. Maybe I’ll have a comparison post when my alarm rings again. Maybe not. Time will tell but for now I’ll just say change is the only constant in life.

Welcome to 2022.

perspective

I’m Back

I took a writing hiatus. It was just a couple of weeks but that means my funnel is thin. Things could be worse I suppose.

While I was away I was doing a bunch of this, that, the other, and then dealing with some unneeded bullshit. It happens but it sucks when it’s from sources who should just keep their ugliness to themselves.

That statement in itself can be all encompassing.  Unfortunately it’s life. Life has ups and downs. For instance I’ve had some moochers in my life. They have been around for a couple of years now. I’ve exercised patience. I’ve trimmed back on kindness. No matter what olive branch is offered the mooch status remains the same. Take take take. I’m sure after the holidays my patience for ignorance will expire. I can only hope the moochers have a plan. A plan of being self-reliant. Fingers crossed for the moochers.

While I noted moochers above I also deal with a stalker. Not just any stalker. One who creeps. Persistently puts their presence in my path. The sole reason for the stalking is ludicrous at best but I guess I’m that person’s entertainment or fascination. Out of an abundance of caution I change the vehicles I drive. I change my arrival times and locations. I avoid certain places. Hopefully the stalker enjoys my life show but I have no idea why one would be continuing to follow me for so long. It’s a shit show most days but any individual stalking me should know I am well aware of their presence. It’s clear my life is far more interesting than theirs. I’m sure they even read this blog. Oh wait I know they do. Funny, right? Maybe this is a hint to move on. Or more like a subtle nudging to move along.

Oh, my fall travel spots. I’ve hit the cold up north more than once. I headed out west and lived my best ranch girl life. The airports. The car rentals. The hotels. The people in my path. The experiences as a whole were remarkable. I learned. I grew. I laughed. I smiled. I ate way too much. I even shopped til I dropped. No regrets despite being a roadie for many weeks.

Thank goodness for FaceTime. I had many strategic calls but also many puppy chats with my two main ladies. Teddie and Bear were always treated like royalty while I was away and the pet sitters always made times for FaceTime chats. As I sit at the airport waiting on a holiday flight delay I know my girls know I’m on the final leg of my travels and will greet me as soon as I open the door at home. The excitement they will have will be beyond description here. 

Until my next post I will leave you with this tidbit. 2022 is on the horizon. A new year. The pandemic has begun to fade. As the new year rings in I will be shifting my online post writing to pen and paper for my next book series. The muck and crud had us focus more online since early 2020 but as the world shifts so will our brand. Back to the basics. Back to writing. You will still catch a rant here and there online but the bulk will shift to secrecy until you can flip the pages of the next book.

Now the big question is what’s next up? That’s hard to say. Many projects were mid- stream but some sit on the cutting room floor just because they seem so yesterday or pre-pandemic. Or better yet the time before I am the me I am now. 

The me I am today may choose a different creative path than I would have in 2019. A little older.  A little wiser. I little more fascinated about writing for different audiences. Kids books will always hold a sweet spot in my life but so do many other projects. Guess you will have to see what’s next up. Whatever it is it has to fit in with my crazy life that runs on warp speed most days.

challenges

The Off Season

I am a teacher. I work from 8:00 am (or earlier) until 4:00 pm 190 days a year. During those hours I am a role model for little kids, a good colleague to my co-workers, and so on. What happens when I head out to stores to do errands after school?

As an elementary school teacher, I honestly still watch myself a lot of the time. I know I could look up at a store or restaurant and see little eyes looking up at me with an incredulous squeal: Mom, it’s Dr. Friese!! This has happened many times. For that reason, I can’t be cursing or loading up on margaritas when I am out and about, especially within a certain radius of my school.

This self-censorship of sorts extends to social media. I rarely post anything except for very “innocent” family or fitness updates. I stay out of photos where drinking or other grown-up activities are involved. I don’t post political content as much as I can avoid it. I have just a handful of select parents who can see what I post. Otherwise, I just refuse most of those requests, but I am still aware than many people could be looking. I sit through legal presentations each year that share examples of teachers losing their jobs because they post themselves doing legal, adult things online that a parent used against them. Better safe than sued or jobless is my mindset, I guess.

Some comments lately had me wondering if this is fair…as a teacher, I feel expected to hold up some sort of rated-G moral standard no matter where I am. The other roughly 14 hours a day and 175 days a year I am not at school, I often mentally steer away from situations where I can be captured doing “inappropriate” things. But is it fair to expect that I’ll just be basically angelic most of the time? Is being a teacher what I do or who I am? Who gets to decide?

Others close to me have been in this situation lately as well. A friend who is a nurse had a family member go through a medical crisis. She wasn’t completely happy with the way all the care was going and let the staff know it. She wasn’t ugly or unreasonable as much as firm and inquisitive. She was told she wasn’t being professional. But her role in this situation was that of a family member advocating for her parents’ health. Does she have to be a professional even in her personal life?

What other jobs seem to carry the expectation of acting a certain way 24/7/365… am I always a mother? A father? How about the captain of an athletic team? Do I have to behave “as a captain” even in the off season? What does that mean? If I am a forklift operator or a chef, I don’t have the weight of those jobs following me around all the time. How about an athletic coach to young people? A politician? A priest? A police officer? Why do some jobs or roles become identities and others allow you to clock out and just be who you are?

I don’t have solutions for this. It just troubles me how some jobs or roles are seen as 24/7 while others can be left behind when work is over. It’s not even the highest paid people who can just shed their professions at will. Some onlookers use these roles as a weapon when they don’t like what you are doing. (Heaven forbid you’re a teacher and post something with spelling errors!)

In the end, we are all just human, with likes and dislikes, flaws and foibles and lives outside of our work. Just a few early morning thoughts.