Friday, October 16, 2020

Sweet and Sour!

 I won't candy-coat it, raising children is HARD and getting them through the teenage years is twice as hard!
I'm sure no mother likes to think of her child as "difficult" but sometimes these challenges are unavoidable and definitely undeniable. I have arrived at parenting what?
Olivia turned 13 this past summer and even though she has been an overall uncomplicated daughter and mostly sweet, I'm starting to see the sourness come out as she grows into her skin and develops her own sense of self. At the moment she's going through the "my parents have no clue" stage, where not only thinks she knows it all but also that she knows way more than either of her parents does.  I know we all probably went through a similar stage and we turned out fine but I would be a fool to deny that in this process, being the parent is much harder than being the teen. 
The bickering usually starts when I offer a dissenting opinion on any given subject or when I dare to criticize one of her decisions, friends, actions, etc (but I'm the mom, right!?); what starts as a minor disagreement is quickly followed by a major eye roll, a loud "but mom!", and at times a door slam and walking away... man... it's tough! 
I want to be clear that in no way I'm saying that Olivia is rude or disrespectful towards me but she does have her moments where clarity just isn't there and the teenage attitude gets the best of her. I can't stand it! I know teenagers are immature and this is all part of life but the ever-growing difficulty of our relationship frustrates me to no end. I always envisioned this great relationship with my teenager, where I could raise above and always be the adult, but sometimes I fail miserably and feel like such a loser!

When talking about modern parenting, it is important to acknowledge that today's parents face many challenges that didn't exist 20 or even 10 years ago; the increasing access to information, the decay of our society as a whole, the politics, the "influencers", technology, social media; I could go on and on but I think I've made my point.  Many of these challenges are so new that as parents we are still developing ways in which to deal with them and teenagers are learning right along with us; it makes an already difficult situation even worse.  I've always had a "beef" with app developers that create apps that aid children in lying to their parents and hiding stuff altogether.  Apps such as Snapchat and Tik Tok seem to be made with an explicit intent to allow children to live ahead of their years and often force parents to unknowingly relinquish their authority and while one could argue that children and teenagers don't need a phone, the truth is that a phone isn't the only way for children to access these apps or get a hold of all the information (or should I could it disinformation?) that is always going around and many times constitutes indoctrination and brainwashing. 
I know I'm not alone when I say that dealing with a teenager has turned out to be among the most unpleasant things I've gone through as a mother and at the risk of sounding dramatic or trivial, I really hope this stage is over soon because sometimes I feel so lost and defeated.

How are you dealing with your teenager?  

Friday, July 24, 2020

11 and 13

It has been a week since my girls turned 11 and 13 and I wanted to keep my personal "tradition" by writing something to honor them. 
I have been parenting for 13 years now; I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions for that long too and even though most days I feel like I'm succeeding at it, I would be lying if I said that there aren't terrible days when I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing.  As a mother, I question myself a lot; I often wonder if I'm modeling the behavior needed to raise good humans, I wonder if my kids love me, I ask myself what else I could be doing to make their lives better, I wonder if I'm doing my absolute best effort at giving them all the tools they need to be great people and to succeed in life and because this week someone I know tragically lost her 4-year-old child, I have also found myself wondering how much time I will have with my children in this earthly life...too many thoughts fill my mind.
But despite all my self-doubt and the terrible parenting days, I know my children are an absolute blessing; they are healthy, smart, loving, and kind-hearted people who are making the world a better place and for that, I am happy and satisfied.

On July 16th Gaby turned 11 years old, she will soon be starting middle school and even though she's shy and mostly a loner, she's an absolute joy to be around.  Gaby loves reading, playing Roblox, eating all the sugar, and spending time with her cats (cat lover like her mama!).  Gaby is a girl of few friends, very private and quite irritable at times, part of her personality so we understand her. This year's celebration was very different from prior birthdays (for obvious reasons); she chose to have 2 friends over and thoroughly enjoyed her afternoon. I realize Gaby doesn't need much to be splendidly happy but she does crave love and affection so I will live to give her as much of that as I possibly can, all the days of my life.  Happy Birthday, Gaby! We love you so much!

On July 17th Olivia officially became a teenager, although I could argue she has had that teenage "sass" for some time now ;) Olivia is a shining star; she has such a magnetic personality and a huge heart! She loves Harry Styles, decorating and re-decorating her room, fashion, and make-up (not sure where she got that one from! LOL).  She has also become quite the shopper but I can proudly say she's super conscious about money (she did get that from me, thank God!). As opposed to Gaby, Olivia is very outgoing and a complete social butterfly, I really love that about her! She spent her birthday with one of her friends and had an absolute blast regardless of current limitations. Happy Birthday, Olivia! Go be a teenager!

I thank God every day for my children, I am grateful for all the blessings that are poured onto our family every day, I am also grateful for the not so good days when I question myself and when I fail because they are an opportunity to learn and grow.  I pray that God gives me the wisdom to raise good people and hope that if my kids only ever remember one thing about me is that I will always try my absolute hardest to love them for who they are. 

And last but not least, I would like to offer a special prayer for the mom who lost her precious child this week, may she have the strength to cope with such terrible loss and may we all be conscious of the collective suffering of a life lost. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

The hate that keeps on giving

It used to be so easy to blog, I'd just think of some happy anecdote or a fun topic to share and "boom" it was all great in my happy blog world!

Then the pandemic started and everything (and everyone!) turned sour. The "happy mom" in me started to wither away.  
It all started with a hate email I received, presumably from someone I went to elementary school with (someone who probably hasn't seen me in over 25 years since my elementary years were in Venezuela).  According to this "hater" and apparent stalker, there is an official "Adriana hating club" made up of people that take my pictures off the internet to make fun of me, belittle me, and occasionally wish ill on my children and my marriage, claiming it's all about karma because (according to her) I was a bully in school.  The email is probably one of the most horrific things I have read in my life but funnily enough, it only made me feel sorry for whoever wrote it (it was an anonymous sender) because not only was it entirely false but even if whatever she wrote on there was true, what kind of person can harbor so much hate for someone after so long?.  First I was shocked, then angry and then a bit amused. But the point of bringing this up isn't to fish for sympathy (believe me, I got over that email pretty quickly!) but to point out the fact that after that email, seeing the "ugly" in people became an everyday thing, feeling disappointed in people became a sort of norm and my eyes were strangely open to the insurmountable amount of hate that others harvest in their heart, sometimes for people they don't even know or will never meet. 
With all that has being going on in the world, social media has quickly become a repository of hateful commentary, often disguised as causes with a purpose or respectful disagreements between people who are presumably on friendly terms. It became a toxic addiction for everyone and suddenly even my closest "tribe" turned into keyboard warriors with no regard for anyone's feelings.  I realized that getting along with hypocrites is rather easy but standing up to "friends" is the complete opposite. I've had friends comment on how much the internet affects their mood or how watching something on TV turns their day sour; this is upsetting, it's unsettling and I know it won't end any time soon!
I am concerned with our world and not only because of the obvious (we all know what I mean!) but because the root of all those problems is simply the hate that keeps on giving and will keep on giving for as long as we feed it.  I don't recognize many people anymore, it's hard to see where people stand and even harder to have hope in a world that progressively fell on its knees and now blames it on a pandemic or tragic events that have uncovered the ugly in us. 
I want to go back to the time where I could blog carelessly without fear of offending someone for something, I long for the mundane, I long for the "happy times" that brought everyone together, I want to trust that everyone who is close to me only wishes the best for me as I do for them. I want to be able to get on social media without fear of "bad news" or "bad juju".
I'm tired of fakeness, I'm tired of haters, I'm tired of Debbie downers, I'm tired of people politicizing everything, I'm just tired of the hate...the hate that keeps on giving!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

But...this was not what we planned for!!!!

On the weekend of February 22nd, we were driving up to Orlando for one of our fun Disney weekends when Iggy mentioned something about a virus that had been ravaging China for a couple of months and had moved on to Italy seemingly with similar power.  I will be honest and say that even though I'd heard about the infamous "Coronavirus" a few times, it wasn't something I knew much about and by that time it wasn't at the forefront of my mind.  He then proceeded to suggest that our Spring Break travel plans might have to change slightly if the situation kept up.  See, for a while (since August of last year to be exact) I had been carefully planning a dream trip to Italy; I had sat for endless hours crafting our unforgettable itinerary, complete with tickets to a private audience with the Pope, Easter Vigil at the Vatican, VIP tickets to see Michelangelo's famous David and even a few relaxing days in Tuscany with wine tours around Italy's most famous wineries. I had handpicked the most beautiful hotels, deciphered the most scenic roads, researched hot restaurants and even planned to meet up with some family and friends along the way...the trip was truly designed to be a "trip of a lifetime", so I was certainly bummed by the sole remote idea of having to cancel or even postpone our dream Italian vacation...
The next few days were sort of a blur and all of a sudden Iggy's casual comment about not going through with our trip became a likely reality; Italy was a no-go for the time being so we quickly talked about changing up our plans for a stateside vacation instead.  After looking at possible vacation spots, we settled on Boston and maybe a drive to Montreal since it's so close; tickets were surprisingly cheap and I found a couple of perfect Airbnb spots that would certainly make it a perfect trip.
A couple of weeks (or maybe just a few days?) went by and "Coronovirus" was no longer a distant threat, it went from being "a far away virus" to a "virus in our backyard" in a short time.  All of a sudden, I went from planning dream vacations to planning meals and ways to keep the kids entertained at home for what was to come.  Quickly businesses started to shutter, things started to slow down, people started to panic and school was canceled indefinitely...this was definitely not what we planned for!
Quickly I found myself feeling vain and guilty at the thought of having worried about not going to Italy just a few short weeks ago; I felt dumb for thinking that this wouldn't be MY problem...selfish maybe?  I know it's natural to worry more when an issue affects one directly and because pretty soon we all realized that this was a WORLD problem, my worry instantly multiplied. Don't get me's not like I wasn't worried before, but the realization that the virus became our new reality struck a chord in me.  I overwhelmingly started thinking about everything that could go wrong; from health to job losses, to the economy crashing, to my parents getting sick, to being bored to death at home, to the world as we know it collapsing all around us... this was not what we planned for...this was not our Italy trip... or our Boston trip or even anything that we ever dared imagine...
And with that, we all realized that we're much smaller than we think and that life is fragile, that our dreams are vulnerable and that our plans are just that... plans, some which may never materialize and we have to learn to be ok with that because there are things that are much more thousands of people dying, millions losing jobs, the world shattering around us!
I should be packing today, I should be checking the weather channel to see if I'd need a jacket or two for when I went strolling around the streets of Florence, I should be deciding which outfit to wear to meet the Pope, I should be looking forward to Easter mass in Italy, I should be hearing happy news and planning more trips but instead, I'm cooped up at home already tired of my own cooking, tired of my children whining over silly stuff and about to lose it trying to get my kids to do homework on lessons that nobody is teaching and especially hoping and praying that this will soon be over.  I am praying for the world, praying that soon I can go back to church and pray some more there...
But the irony of this?  I am still HAPPY... I still feel BLESSED...even though this was NOT WHAT WE PLANNED FOR...I am fortunate to have a house big enough to be comfortable all day, we have enough food to get us through this quarantine and the next one, I have enough hobbies to keep me entertained for months and enough faith to know that something good will come out of this because God makes no mistakes and I am sure that His plan is always the best plan!
A friend recently shared this article and it gave me so much perspective; it dawned on me that all the tears and all the frustration make up a shared feeling of humanity that keeps us connected in ways we never knew before.  I have a newly found sense of acceptance of life's unexpected twists and turns and I am confident that we were meant to live through this, meant to understand that even when life doesn't go as planned, the sun will always shine!
So for now, I'm done panicking, I am done resenting the missed vacation, done stressing about distance learning or even about when this will end.  I will bask in the good that will come out of this and make the most of our togetherness!  And I will see you all on the other side! ;)

Happy Blogging! :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Funkiness ensues

Happy New Year!... I know, I know..we're already in mid-February so the happy year is not so "new" anymore, but I swear it has taken me this long to get back into some sort of I could also say that the new year is not so "happy" yet?

The world seems to agree that January dragged on, from natural disasters to celebrity deaths, it has all been a bit funky and our family did not escape the "funkiness"...
Oliver had an abrupt change of preschool teachers a couple of weeks ago and he has regressed to some abnormal sleep patterns that are driving us insane, the girls have been having a hard time at school with the insurmountable amounts of homework and responsibilities; Iggy has been working like a maniac (although I could argue this has become his norm) and I'm just exhausted from having the critical job of being everyone's "cleaner-upper"...that's what moms are for, right?
Back in November, I decided to go back to work after 6 years of being a stay-at-home mom. Granted, I was perfectly content with my SAHM title and luckily we did not have any financial needs that would force me to work, but after some deep thinking and lots of prayers I felt it was time to put myself out there and do something for "ME"....and who doesn't love extra money?!?
For a while I had been longing to find a "job with a purpose", I wanted to do something I was passionate about and what better time to do that than when working wasn't really a pressing urgency?  So by the grace of God, I found the job, a dream job with a dream schedule that still allows me to be there for my children, pick them up for school and show up for the occasional daytime school event...what else can I ask for?
It has now been almost 3 months since this big change and while I literally LOVE the job and the atmosphere in which I work, I would be lying if I said it hasn't been a huge adjustment for all of us. The homecooked meals have decreased, our "togetherness" has suffered, exhaustion is always latent and the overall funkiness of a dynamic change has ensued.
Somehow I have lost "control" and now I need more help with many daily tasks that I so easily did by myself for the past 6 years. There's no time to double-check homework, or neatly fold laundry every day or even make beds and do dishes religiously like my Type A personality requires; I think even the poor cats aren't fed as often as they were used to and those long and deep conversations with my tween-aged daughters are not that deep and long anymore...and clearly blogging hasn't been in the forefront of my mind either! (I do hope to become better at all of these!)But in the midst of the chaos, I am happy and I am confident I made the right choice by going back to work even though the groove isn't all that "groovy" yet. Despite all the funkiness that has ensued, somehow I managed to chair a 350+ guest gala for the kids' school, I am still heavily involved in church and community events and I am still 100% me.  I have learned that by showing vulnerability and asking for help, there is always room to be better and it really does "take a village".  So thank you to everyone who has lent a hand in the past few months; thanks to those friends that realize that even though I mean to call and be there, the intention doesn't always materialize and that's ok. Thanks to the understanding teachers that have put up with my crazy emails, to those friends who have lent me a shoulder to cry on when I'm overwhelmed, to the people who pretend I don't look like a mess on weekends and to my husband and kids for having my back and supporting my crazy decision even though they were the first people to be affected by the consequences. You all make my world a better place and for that, I will always be grateful! Happy Blogging! :)