Aug 30, 2015

The Kids Are Alright......

I hope it's a beautiful day where you are, Uncorked fans.

I don't know how you guys do it.  Raising kids, I mean.  I'm having somewhat of a midlife meltdown (not my first, won't be my last) about how old my nieces and nephews are getting.  I have five in total.  My sister and brother got married within a year of each other, so both couples starting having kids at virtually the same time.  The order between the two families is: boy, boy, girl, girl, boy.  Both boys are sixteen.  I think that's what's killing me the most right now.  They are juniors in high school, have their driving permits, and really deep voices.  Then we have the sophomore niece, a niece going in to her freshman year of high school and then the 8th grade nephew.  Yikes.
My very faves. How did I get so lucky?
(Nov. 2014)

I think why this is so bothersome is because I remember that period of my life.  I wouldn't say I remember every detail crystal clearly, but I remember places, people, emotions, friends, boys.....Because of these memories, I worry about the kids. Each one of them.  When my nieces and nephews were small, I was a worry-wort. Like crazy worrier about the kids. My sister-in-law even brought it up to me, how much I worried. Put it this way, if I had my way, I'd still be holding their hands while crossing the street.  And yes, I've woken up in the middle of the night and checked if they are breathing. I have cut their food in to microscopic pieces to ward off choking.  I wanted to wrap them up in bubble wrap when they were learning how to walk.

The root of the problem is that I never want them to get hurt.  In any way.  Physically, emotionally....I want zero hurt to come to them.  E-V-E-R.  And I know that's completely unrealistic.  Completely. I'm the one that always says disappointment, failure and hurt help grow  you as a person.  You can't win 'em all type of thing.  Sometimes you don't get picked first.  You don't get the job. Sometimes the girl breaks your heart.  Sometimes the boy breaks your heart.  Girls are mean to each other.  Boys are dogs.  See what I'm saying?

I think about my nephews in their junior year.  That was a really pivotal time for me.  I had found my niche of good friends at Catholic All Girls School, and now the boys from Bergen Catholic were coming in to the mix.  I was fortunate to have an awesome group of friends.  The boys were definitely less trouble than we were.  I hung out with the football players and they had discipline, followed rules, worked toward a goal. Me? I threw great parties, made people laugh, and got repeatedly kicked out of Latin class.  We were all so close. I was lucky.  I had good, fun  people in my life.

Sophomore year was less clear.  It was kind of like purgatory.  In high school, I wore a uniform. (Best thing ever, by the easy) Navy blue for the underclassmen, maroon for the upperclassmen. Sophomore year was hanging with the girls.  We couldn't really go anywhere, too young to be invited to the real parties.  I just remember wanting to be an upperclassmen.

Freshman year I was just trying to find my niche.  I was friends with most every clique.  I just wanted to fit in and have friends.  I actually did my schoolwork and didn't really cause much trouble.
The Academy of the Holy Angels
(best name for a high school, ever) 

Eighth grade was particularly hard.  I remember that not being a good time.  I was in Junior High School, and was floundering.  Again, not feeling like I fit in.  The pretty popular girls liked me, but not really enough to include me in everything. I spent a lot of time in Citizens Park with my edgy friends smoking. I can't remember if I smoked or not.  I remember mean girls. I think I was probably mean to some people.  Girls passing notes.  I remember feeling like an elephant in the world of swans.  Let's put it this way.  By the time I went to high school, I was pretty relieved.  I had a lot of friends, but not a lot of close connections.  I needed a change. And I needed to focus on things other than whether or not people liked me.

George Washington Junior High
Ridgewood, NJ
So this is why I worry.  I can't protect them.  I can't stop anything from happening to them.  I can't punch the face of the girl who breaks my wonderful nephew's heart.  I can't shadow my niece on her first day of prep school.  I cannot keep them from making poor decisions.  I want to scream "I've already done it all and this is what you should stay away from".  The stakes are so much higher today. Social media turns uncomfortable situations (oops, I kissed her boyfriend) in to national, viral events. Everybody sues everyone. Drugs are totally different and way more scary.  They drive faster.  In fact, their entire lives move faster in general.  They grow up too fast.  And their crazy Aunt Lucy watches. Telepathically trying to steer them away from pain, hurt and discomfort.

I still want to wrap them in bubble wrap. I know they don't want to be in bubble wrap. But still.

I give parents so much credit for having the guts to actually parent. Having the strength to have difficult conversations with their kids. The ability to let go and watch them make mistakes.  Not sure I could do it.  The stakes are so high.  You want your kid to be a functioning member of society. You want your kid to be nice.  You want the absolute best for them. Parenting takes a strength that I will never have. So, I watch.  I brag about my five little pumpkins. I show people photos. So ridiculously proud of each one of them. And I pray that they will go through life with minimal pain.

Is this normal? Who knows. But you can be sure I'll be watching them from my invisible jet. Ready to fend off evil at a moments notice.
image courtesy of starcars.wikia 

Until next time......

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