How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Okay, let’s be honest and admit that moms don’t get summer vacation in the traditional sense. I always loved the lack of school hours and homework to deal with. The best part of this summer? No school in the fall!

My oldest graduated from college. My middle is taking a break from college as distance learning was too much for her and she can’t tolerate a mask for in-person classes. My youngest just graduated from high school and is taking a gap year to bank some money for school. We’re hoping to talk him into taking his first two years locally to save even more cash. Our local community college is quite good and has a program which partners with the school where he plans to get his bachelor’s degree. It would be a quarter of the price.

Back to the title topic. I spent four months (yes, that includes spring) working on a very large garden plot. It’s needed attention for years, but arthritis poked it’s head up a few years ago and made gardening very painful. (I keep my physical therapist in business!) Since then, I invested in a 16 inch tall folding stool and take a hiking stick with me for when I need a boost to stand up. I bit the bullet and started removing the weeds from this garden one spade full at a time. First, I’d take a regular shovel and loosen the soil. There were tons of weeds matted in there. Second, I went through with my hand trowel and pulled out every weed I could put my fingers on. Third, I’d run my fingers through the dirt looking for large roots to pull out. Fourth, when I had a big enough area cleared, I spread a bag of mulch.

Mulch would have been cheaper to purchase by getting a truck load, but this process was slow enough that it was far better to cover the dirt as I went to discourage new weeds. I’ll need to continue to check back through now and then, but it looks so pretty now.

Currently, I’m going around the house to remove weeds, fill in mulch where it’s getting thin, etc. This morning I transplanted some butterfly plant which had spread itself to another area of the garden. The plants are mature and beautiful, but looked messy. I don’t know if they’ll survive the transplant, but it’s worth a shot rather than just pitching them.

If I ever finish eradicating the violets from my garden spaces, I’ll be turning my eye to edging the sidewalk and driveway. I bought a hand tool for this last spring. DH has a gas powered edger, but has an awful time getting it to start.

I almost titled this post “The War of the Violets”. I’m finding huge clusters of root crowns (rhizomes?) with thick pieces four or five inches long. It’s rather satisfying evicting them. They’ve been winning up to this point, but the tide is turning. Next year I’ll work to get them out of the lawn to help slow their return to my domain. (Cue evil laughter)

Also on my to-do list is planting mint around the storage shed to discourage mice and spiders. My kids might ride their bikes more if Shelob has to look for a new home. Mint will spread and be invasive too, but better mint than violets.

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The No Contact Trend

Our oldest child, after a very strained year in which most of the contact was from us to her, has decided to cut off contact with my husband and I. She wrote us a hate filled, six page e-mail which she sent to us the day after our son’s open house. Also, one week after her graduation from college. The letter spelled out all the ways in which we’d been horrible parents. My last post discusses the letter more.

The end result, after we offered to go to counseling with her and had that offer rejected, is that she has decided to end contact with my husband and I. Honestly, after the last year with her, we don’t feel the difference yet.

Turns out, “going no contact” is a whole thing that is out there now. There are chat rooms in which people bash their parents. I should be surprised, but the hate letter we received seemed to be filled with buzz words and phrases.

My husband and I each wrote our daughter a final letter which we put in an envelope of papers which we gave to her at our last meeting. Both of us told her we’ll be here if she ever changes her mind.

Last night, DH and I were discussing the whole thing, and he told me that he had been tempted to just write “thank you”. Why? Because she removed a lot of stress from our life. She claimed we were manipulating her, but actually the reverse was true. We asked about once a month if we could visit her, beginning in August, one month after she moved out. She didn’t agree until November, when she found out we had savings bonds to give her which had been forgotten in the safe deposit box. Her grandparents had given them to her in the young years. Since we were coming, she asked us to bring the rest of her things as well.

Her demeanor during the visit was cold, we received one word answers to everything we asked, and she barely spoke if not asked a question. She never said thank you for the work of packing up and hauling her things or for the goodie box we brought her.

She refused to come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, although she was good with going to her boyfriend’s parents on Christmas Day. We called her on Christmas in the early afternoon, but the girl whose phone is always in her hand couldn’t be bothered with us until late in the evening. She only came home when she found out that because of a surgery her dad would be having, we wouldn’t be able to take her presents to her until April.

We didn’t pester her with frequent phone calls or texts during this year as she made it crystal clear that they weren’t wanted. Now and then I would text a picture of the cats just to let her know I was thinking about her without stirring up controversy.

We were walking on egg shells around her, yet we were the emotionally controlling/abusive ones.

Do I hope that one day she’ll change her mind? Of course…as long as it’s genuine.

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I Never Thought This Would Be Me

Our oldest daughter has been pulling away from us for some time now. She was happy until her sophomore year of college. Since then, things have gone down hill. Our son just graduated from high school, and until a week before the open house we did not know if DD1 would be attending. She came, and that made us happy. We thought the relationship was beginning to mend. We had visited her the week before and she even let us share a meal with her.

After she left the open house, staying about an hour, we found out that she had given each of her siblings a letter to be read after the open house. DD2 handed it to me to read without me asking and before she had even unfolded it. It was a bomb shell. I wondered why DH and I hadn’t been given letters, based on what she had said to her sister.

Then I checked my e-mail Sunday afternoon. My jaw literally dropped open as I read. DH woke from a nap and asked me what was wrong. I told him to check his e-mail. Eventually, I printed the e-mail because it was so long and so involved. It’s a six page letter skirting right to the edge of accusing us of mental abuse toward DD1 and wanting us to take the blame for all of the letter as written.

One of the problems is that the letter is filled with things remembered differently from how they happened or were said. We didn’t want to make her wait long for a response or to argue, so we sent her a paragraph response in which we told her we loved her and that it was good to have the issues on the table. We also said that discussions like these should be had in person or on the phone, not in e-mail or texts.

We had a video call last night. She wants us to accept everything she charges as truth in order to move forward in the relationship. We asked if she wants to continue our relationship, and she isn’t sure.

We are a family who has done things together, especially laughing. I quit work to raise my children. DH came home after work instead of schmoozing at the bar to climb the ladder. Now we sit on the edge of our daughter essentially divorcing herself from us.

Life can really slap you across the face at times.

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Still Rolling and a Bit of Rambling

The effort to get more ‘from scratch’ recipes in the meal rotation is coming slowly, but it is still progressing. Many are not worth the effort, for one reason or another. They may take way too much work or taste too much like a recipe we already use. One rice dish I tried didn’t taste much different from making plain rice. It wasn’t even worth revising to improve it. We did add a slow cooker Mongolian Beef (reducing the amount of brown sugar), my guys liked a sourdough flatbread, and we all liked a recipe for parmesan rolls. I try to not flood the meals with new items. It’s much easier on all of us to spread it out. New recipes take more time and effort as they aren’t familiar, and if too much of the meal is new and turns out poorly, the meal can leave us all hungry.

My garden orders arrived and I’ve planted two apple trees, two peach trees, two honeyberry bushes, and a blueberry bush (I already have two for it to cross-pollinate with). There are still two elderberries and a bunch of strawberries to put in, but we have some low overnight temperatures this week, so I’ll wait a short bit to put those in.

I got some moss killing granules and will try spreading those to help our lawn. DH used to take care of the lawn but gave up a few years ago. My garden would benefit greatly if the lawn were more robust, so I’m willing to put some extra effort in this summer and see if it helps. Besides, DH had his neck surgery and is currently in physical therapy to rebuild his arm strength, so I may not be called on to mow as much this year.

What I will likely recruit kids to help with is mulching our large landscape mound. It has needed mulch for a couple of years, but I’ve been working to kill violets. I’ve tried Round-Up, laying down copious amounts of cardboard, digging, and I can’t remember what else. I don’t know what my next move is, but the mulch needs to happen this summer. We’ve had truckloads dumped in the driveway in past years, but I was younger then and could commit to a whole day of shoveling and spreading mulch. This project will be by the bag. I can fit about twelve bags in the van at a time, and that will be the limit for one day. Arthritis has slowed me down, but I’m not letting it stop me completely.

Planning for vacation has begun. DS has chosen Arkansas for his graduating-from-high-school pick. He had been deciding between this and a D.C. history trip, but it just doesn’t seem like the best time to visit D.C. It’s really a shame as he was only four when we took the kids, and he’s such a history buff. Oh well. We had started to plan a trip to Arkansas a few years back, but I was having doctor appointments about knee pain (later diagnosed arthritis) and weren’t sure if a surgery was coming. I’ll still need things to do while some of the hikes take place, but that’s okay. With arthritis in the knees, ankles, and feet, I don’t want to risk being stuck on a mountain or in major pain all the way down.

Part of planning right now involves keeping my eyes open for grocery sales. When we have a trip filled with state and national parks (many of our vacations), we have to be ready to eat lunch out of the car as restaurants are usually pretty scarce right near the parks. The extra challenge is that my kiddos (and I) don’t like sandwiches, and we can’t count on being able to keep things cold. I’m watching for a small jar of peanut butter, applesauce cups, fruit cups, and saltines to go on sale. Fresh fruit is great when we can grab it, but it doesn’t keep well, and Arkansas gets hot. I’ve made jerky for a large trip before, but it doesn’t keep as long as store bought, and on that trip we were picnicking from day one. I’ll likely make biscuits and cookies before we leave, and I have small cans of tuna with tabbed tops for hiking.

If you’ve ever looked at where to cut costs on a road trip, food is a biggie. We always take whatever we can, even if it’s just water and snacks. We’ve done rentals instead of hotels when we’re going to be in one spot long enough, and then we cook many of our meals. When renting, I’ll pack as many of the shelf stable groceries as I can. I’ll make a menu plan to minimize food waste and will even ‘package’ the dry ingredients for our meals. Groceries in tourist areas tend to be at least double what we normally pay, so it’s worth hauling what we can. DH gets super tired of french fries when we travel, so having other foods he can have as alternate sides (as fast food places anyway) is a huge blessing to him.

So, I will be continuing to try new recipes and working to make more meal items from scratch. This is reshaping a habit, so I need to give myself grace in this area as long as the goal remains and some progress continues.

I need to keep preparing for vacation.

The house still needs a thorough cleaning and re-organizing.

One foot in front of the other.

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Rolling Along

I made my first loaf of sourdough bread this past week and while it’s mostly okay, it’s a little dense, which means the starter isn’t quite as robust as I thought. This is a learning process for me. DH loves sourdough, yeast was pretty scarce last spring, and there are all kinds of benefits to eating sourdough vs. yeast. I still plan to make yeast breads, cuz that’s just me. I love bread and am still learning to like the taste of sourdough.

Our bathroom project is winding up. We need the counter to be installed, then the plumber will come to install the toilet and hook up the shower, tub, and sink. Then the main workers will come back to finish the last couple of things. The shower rod will be drilled into the tile and that was best to leave until later so the tile can set up/cure/whatever term is used here. My daughter and I have been enjoying the lack of workers in the house. It’s not the individuals, it’s the fact that people are in and out all day and I don’t feel myself when the work is going. It can also be pretty loud.

I need to find more scratch recipes to try. I wasn’t too active on that project this week.

I’ve been crocheting and loving it! My carpal tunnel doesn’t always agree with my hobby. My physical therapist taught me a stretch which helps, although it looks as dorky as can be. If you ever sang the Junior Birdman song where you make the goggles on your face, that is the stretch. DH made sure that he has a good picture. I don’t care. I did it in public while I was waiting for him. I wanted to crochet and that makes it more possible.

I’ve been crocheting baby blankets. No babies coming from anyone I know, but I have yarn and am working on finishing projects, and I don’t know if I’ll always be able to push through the carpal tunnel. The first baby blanket let me play with velvet yarn. This yarn is super soft, but even though I tend to have tight tension, little loops have poked out in many places. It is slippery stuff! Now I’m using some soft yarn that I had meant for a different afgan, but have changed my mind as to how I’ll use it. I cheated and bought new yarn for a third, but in my defense: the yarn is expensive, I wanted to play with it, and there was a really good sale.

My oldest is still keeping us at quite a distance. It’s tough, but we’re giving her space and reaching out here and there to let her know we’re still here for her. I hope that one day she’ll want to be part of our family again. There isn’t a lot we can do other than to pray for her and her boyfriend.

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Working from Scratch

Let me preface this post with the following: I love Rice a Roni, Pasta Roni, eating out, anything that makes my life easier in the kitchen. I love baking but do not enjoy cooking. Yes, there is a difference. I’ve tried to explain that to my husband many a time.

On to the purpose of this post. Having watched the world this past year (since Covid shut downs last March) and especially changes in my grocery store, I think price hikes are coming. The last big change in the grocery store was in 2008 when gas (for us) went up to $4.25 a gallon. Everything cost more to ship to the stores and container sizes shrunk while prices either stayed the same or inched upward.

My grocery store, a regional chain with good prices, has recently changed how sales work. It used to be that buying yogurt with a sales price of 20 for $10 meant you bought it for 50 cents a container, no matter how many you were buying. Now the sale signs specify that you have to buy 20 to get the $10 price. I’m going to have to pay close attention to signage going forward.

I’ve always cooked some things from scratch and also have box mixes on hand. Here and there I will look for new recipes to mimic some of our favorite convenience foods. Some of those stick and some of those quickly find themselves in the recycle bin. Lately, I’ve made a new effort to find recipes to add to our favorites.

It’s always good to make sure there are leftovers in the fridge if you plan to try two or three new recipes in one meal. Just saying.

Do I aim to never purchase my beloved chicken flavor Rice a Roni again? No, but I do aim to use it much less.

Several years ago I learned how to make real rice. Yup. I was raised on Minute Rice. I still keep some in the cupboard as I have a quick little lunch cheat which combines Cup a Soup and Minute Rice. More convenience food. It took a few tries to get my kiddos to eat the real rice, but we use it often now. The last time I purchased a 50 pound bag, it was only $23. That bag will slip into two five gallon pails or three icing buckets from WalMart bakery (our bakery will give you the lid and I think it’s only $1.00 per bucket). I have an easy to handle Rubbermaid container for the pantry. This takes a few extra steps, but saves a bunch of money over the one or two pound bags in the grocery store.

Evening often finds me tired, so I’m thinking of taking advice from the wise people on the internet and create my own ready-to-make packaged food. Yes, I’ll be using plastic, but I already own it so why not put it to work? We’ll see what works.

Now to scour through Allrecipes and Pinterest and maybe Food Network looking for some new recipes to try.

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Remodeling and all of its Joys

We’re knee deep into the remodeling of the kid’s bathroom and the scary drywall is gone. The two bathrooms upstairs have had moisture issues for pretty much all of the twenty years we’ve lived here, but we’ve nursed the issue until we were able to swing the finances for the remodel. It’s likely that the counter won’t be installed for another three or four weeks, which is a bit of a bummer, but tile is going up in the shower and cabinets are installed.

I’m ready to be finished. It’s been a year of upheaval and I’d like to start putting things back to rights. My daughter’s room is partially in my (some day) sewing room as an access panel needed to be cut for the tub installation, and now there is a hole in her closet awaiting the finishing of said access panel. We may need to remind the guys of that project, but for now they’re working on other things.

The tough part is that this crew is stretched thin and were called to another job site yesterday so no work happened here. Also, the night after the tub went in we found water leaking down the kitchen wall after our daughter took her nightly shower. Apparently that was the amount of water needed to make the leak show. So we had to turn the water off and send our son to school without a shower the next morning. It got fixed right away, it was just a frustration.

Patience. I need to exercise patience. I got to legitimately leave the house for a couple of large blocks of time this week. As I am the point person for them to call for questions and the only person not hanging in the basement far away from the noise, this was a blessing. I may need to invent some reasons to get out in the next few weeks.

The bathroom will be beautiful when it’s finished. The guys doing the work are good at what they do and genuinely good people. My sewing room will be all that much closer to being my sewing room. My daughter’s closet will be a bit more streamlined (I plan to help in putting things back, which means we’ll be packing away things which don’t fit but she just can’t let go of yet).

Focus on the positive.

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One Foot in Front of the Other

Clearly, I’ve not been faithful to writing in this blog over the past year. That’s something to work on. We’re hoping for a better year in 2021, but things don’t look a lot different from 2020 so far.

One change since I last posted is that my MIL is back in her own home. That was a weird and stressful situation, but I think she’s happy. She was avoiding DH that final week she was here, scooting out the door before he came downstairs in the morning, and not coming back from her house until 8pm or so. We think she was afraid of hearing the actual day she needed to move out. We aren’t sure why as she was clearly miserable here, but wow did she blow up when DH told her. Fortunately, the school was sending the high schoolers home for virtual school and had a bunch of requirements. We used these requirements as justification for needing the room in which MIL was staying. Her house would have its kitchen fully in order by the date DH gave, and all major appliances were in. The biggest thing at the time was that all doors were not installed and no closets were put back together yet.

By mutual agreement, we did not gather for Thanksgiving or Christmas (she moved home a week before Thanksgiving). DH and I are not angry or nursing a grudge, and I hope she isn’t either. We were just together a long time and we need a long time to heal from it. At one point, DH was considering a job which would have required us to move. His mom had moved to our town to be close to him, so we considered building an in-law apartment on whatever home we would purchase. Shortly after she moved back home, DH told me that we would never have an in-law apartment. Neither MIL or our kids ever knew that a move was considered, so that expectation wasn’t out there for anyone beyond the two of us to expect.

Our son was allowed to go back to school in person a few weeks ago. Of course, he’s been hiding a cold the past week, fearing a school-imposed quarantine. He’s in a two hour building trades class and already missed two months of hands-on instruction. Also, his pre-calc and physics grades dropped during the virtual stretch and he’s sighing with relief to be back with the teacher. Yes, their classes were live, but it’s not the same over the computer.

Our middle has had some challenges with school. We allowed her to drop to two classes. It was a compromise. She’s really struggling with virtual classes, but we didn’t want her to skip a semester entirely. One of her professors wants the kids to meet in groups, virtually of course, and that is not an easy task. Fortunately, this girl is no quitter and will struggle on through frustrations.

So things with the younger two kiddos is overall good.

Then we get to our oldest. She moved in with her boyfriend. Joy of joys. We are not this young man’s biggest fans, and not just because they are now living together. The first time we met to get to know him, this young man made fun of my lunch order, never said thank you for the meal, he and our daughter fairly ditched us while we walked campus together, and he told us personal things about his parents which frankly I didn’t ever need to know. It was not a good first impression and the impression hasn’t changed, though I’ve reminded myself of the list of his positives a number of times.

This child told us about the move via text…even though we had seen her in person just a week earlier. She hadn’t really been crazy about us coming to see her (it had been four months), but she wanted us to bring the rest of her things to her. In December she told us, via text, that she was dropping the teaching major to simply be an English major and would graduate this spring. I can’t recall the last time she actually answered when we called – and we don’t call often. We haven’t crowded this girl with calls, texts, whatever since she started school. The safest thing for me to do these days is to text her a picture of our cats once or twice a month. She doesn’t tell us much about her life and doesn’t have any interest in what’s happening back home. Her father had a disk removed from the spine in the neck region just a week ago. He called her the day before the surgery – she knew he was going to call because he asked what her availability would be that day – and she was talking to other people on her end during the less than five minute call. I sent her cat pictures yesterday, and although she actually communicated a bit further with me, never asked about her dad.

I’m starting to get excited about having a craft room. I have been making plans for my oldest child’s room for a while now, thinking toward the day that she would no longer need it. Then it was MIL’s room, then my son’s classroom, now storage for the bathroom fixtures soon to be installed. The bath remodel begins next week and will take four to six weeks. After that, the popcorn ceiling will come down and the light fixture will be changed. It’s getting flaky. After that, DH wants to use the room to store our things while we take the popcorn out of the master bedroom, replace the light fixture, and repaint the walls. THEN I can set up my craft room. It’s partially set, as we bought a futon after DD1 moved out. She needs to know that there is still a place for her to sleep if she wants to visit. Also, I went ahead and bought a desk for sewing and crafting so DS would have a good place to do his school work. I already had a desk picked out and saved in a wish list, so that wasn’t a hardship.

Meanwhile, I’m looking at a myriad of bookshelf styles, deciding what I want: ladder style, traditional open shelves, combination of open shelves on top and doors to hide things on the bottom shelves, color, etc. It’s a lot of fun. I’ve already sorted through some of my fabric scraps. I had a bunch of manila folders which had filed DD2’s home school work, so I cut those down to fit the plastic chest of drawers which was purchased during the flood repair. Now the drawers are filled with small “bolts” of scrap fabric. I love opening the drawer and seeing all of the colors grouped, fabric types grouped, and all of it easy to see to make selection for projects easier. More sorting needs to be done, but it’s a start. Again, I can’t fully set up the room until the bathtub, toilet, faucets, etc are out and other renovations are completed.

This room is going to be my oasis, and I’m loving that I can make it as girly as I want. In decorating the rest of the home, I’ve been considerate and kept the masculine perspective in mind. Some guys don’t care how their homes are decorated, DH does. In my room, my taste will rule. I’m adding some bling. I’ve already purchased a small, blingy lamp which DH shook his head over. Don’t care. I’m getting inspiration from Pinterest too. That is one dangerous website for someone addicted to crafting.

So, while the year has already had some challenges, there are positives on the horizon. That is where I need to stay focused.

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We All Know That 2020 is a Horrible Year

I could fill pages with how horrible life is right now. I throw a mean (self) pity party.

So, I’m going to do my best to instead make a list of good things. I need this for my sanity. A statement may start looking negative, but hang on to the end so I can turn it to the positive.

DH and I had to make a tough parenting choice, but have already received affirmation that it was the correct choice, based on more recent news/events/adult child choices.

My MIL has been living with us for four months and tensions have increased with one major blow up last week, but her house is close to being able to be painted and then flooring can be installed so we are much closer to her being able to move her back to her own home. (four to six weeks)

DH and I are more tired and sore on a daily basis than ever before in our lives, but as just stated we will soon be able to start recovering. In the mean time, we’re so slap happy that we’re laughing a lot.

DD2 is finding her stride with her college classes and is yet again showing herself that she is capable. This semester bumped her up to four classes (three last semester) and she had a truly rocky start with one of the classes. Being stubborn can be an asset at times.

My son is growing into a fine young man. He has a love for God, compassion for others, is intelligent, helpful, and too many other adjectives/qualities to bore you with.

My cat has been giving me lots of cuddles. I am her human. She adopted me a few days after we brought her home. She “nursed” on my shirt a couple of times. (Not in a gross way, just the loose fabric.) She cuddles no one but me, which is sad for the rest of the family but special for me.

We spent a lovely Saturday with my mom celebrating her 80th birthday. We had a good visit with my mom and got a day off from working on MIL’s house at the same time.

DH has been working from home since mid March, yet we still are enjoying the moments here and there during the day to chat. He’ll hear me working in the basement and come out to see me, or I’ll poke my head in for a minute or two. This is after twenty six years of marriage and knowing each other for thirty six years.

DH is treating me to a couple’s float session next week to show me how thankful he is for all I’ve done to help with his mom and her house…even after she and I yelled at each other. Maybe because he’s had his issues with her too.

DH and I are having fun thinking about all the things we’re going to do as a family once our draconian governor lets entertainment businesses reopen and we aren’t needing to spend nearly every evening and weekend working on MIL’s house.

My son will give me a quick back rub when I’m covered in dust from sanding joint compound and am waiting for the shower to be free.

My son comes down to see us for the few minutes before bed when we crawl home each evening. Did I mention that he’s growing to be a fine young man?

DH has a job which has been able to be worked from home throughout these shutdowns, hasn’t had to take a paycut as some we know have, and he had an home office well before everyone was sent home.

Our bathroom remodel is finished, after three months. (Delays due to shutdowns and other problems.)

Men from a nearby Amish community gave us help with drywalling two-thirds of MIL’s house (DH had a good start on it), then another crew gave that drywall it’s first mud coat (again, DH had mudded the drywall he had installed), then this week a crew came to install her kitchen cabinets. What a blessing to us! We don’t know these men, they just wanted to help flood victims. The kindness of strangers can be overwhelming.

I guess what I can see in reading over this list, is that we need to look for the good in every bad situation. Sometimes we have to look super hard, but our own attitude will determine if we can find it or not.

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Parenting

I never thought I’d have to give out any real degree of tough love.  We were blessed with three fantastic kids.  Each have had their challenges over the years, but really good kids with good hearts.

Our oldest recently texted.  She signed her first lease two months ago, assuring us that she had worked all of the numbers and an apartment would be more affordable than living in the dorms.  Her father and I knew that she wanted her independence.  All of her friends are in apartments and her room and board paying job announced that it would no longer pay room and board (twelve thousand dollar blow to the budget, two months before the start of the school year).  DD1 made a hasty decision in anger, ignoring our offers of counsel.

For two months, the only text she initiated was to tell me how much she spent to wash her clothes.  I texted back that it sounded about right, and that conversation ended there.  She has not initiated any phone calls.  Now she texts for us to co-sign a loan for her.  No mention of the amount of said loan.  Also, a request that we tell her how much we will be contributing toward the fifth year of school, which is not covered by her current full tuition scholarship.  Oh, and (paraphrasing) can you hurry up and tell me soon?

As a parent, I have to say that this was not a heart warming communication.

DH and I are in the middle of rebuilding my MIL’s house after a devastating flood.  We spend six out of seven days there for at least a couple of hours and are physically and emotionally exhausted by that alone.  Both of us are dealing with physical infirmities right now while trying to work.  I have felt as if my younger two children have been severely neglected this summer, just due to this house.

DH and I actually have come to look at the time spent working at the house in the evenings as our “date nights” because we’re alone.  We can’t count the number of times we’ve looked up to find MIL staring at one of us.  She doesn’t look away when we meet eyes, either.  It’s weird.  We’ve also had to take the lead on every single step of this re-build.  She starts nothing.  We are craving to get back to “just us”, as we put it.

Our bathroom remodel is still going – nine weeks later after starting two months late due to COVID.  There have been bumps in the road there as well and we could use two full bathrooms again.

Our plates are over-full.

Now DD1 wants money.  We offered some suggested actions to take, but it was clear that she simply wanted a dollar figure and a promise of a signature.  The promise did not come, and she ended the call in tears.

I never wanted to be standing in these shoes.  I saw my sister go to my parents time after time for money, cars, and a co-signed loan which she and her husband stopped paying on and never mentioned after their last payment.  I’ve seen my aunt and uncle raise their three grandchildren while my cousin flitted from job to job to job, always starting with promise and ending over stupid things.  I’ve seen the story played out in my best friend’s brother, and heard similar stories from other people.

Our daughter is a responsible person, she just leapt to a decision too quickly, without counsel, and now has to adjust to the realities of her decision.  If DH and I agree to co-sign that loan, we potentially start down a bad road which will not be a true help to DD1.

She will never know how awful that phone call was for DH and I.  She will never know how much we are hurting for her.

We did not remind her of all of her assurances as she leapt to this path.  We did not remind her of the month’s rent she essentially threw away in order to help her roommate leave home as soon as possible.  We did not remind her that school aid could go toward a dorm room where it could not be applied to an apartment.  We did not remind her that she had agonized that the third roommate was living on peanut butter sandwiches, and that it could be an economical choice to help her own situation.

There are so many things we wish we could discuss with our daughter, but she is not ready to receive any of it.  All she wants to hear is a dollar amount, and I’m sure she feels a bit sour toward us at the moment.

At this moment, I hate being a parent.

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