Tag Archives: parenting

Pain is the new black


The interesting and artful disorder (some would just call it a mess) in my daughter’s room is shifting. Her yellow, pink and green walls are becoming more visible as I pull posters down, pack her books and cd’s and sweep away the dust. I can’t bear to remove the large posters of the mother animals kissing their babies, even now I tear up as I write. In one picture a long-necked giraffe mom bends down to nuzzle her new clothes-stick legged baby. The other picture is even larger – a close up of a baby elephant, so innocent, standing protected between its mother’s feet.

How dare my daughter grow up and leave me.

Mother and daughter, Urawa, Japan

Mother and daughter, Urawa, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I met her at the airport recently as she stopped here in North Carolina on a trip from Los Angeles to South Carolina to visit a friend’s family. In the name of über security I couldn’t enter the airport so she walked to greet me and we hugged on the marked border of Exit and Enter. As we came together in our mother/daughter embrace our tears burst forth and wracked our faces and bodies. My bunny shook she cried so hard. I got to kiss her puffy cheek, my favorite thing to do with both my children.

Then it was over.

“Oh mom,” she said.

Oh, my sweet girl. Oh my walking heart.

The ever alert security fellow would not allow HRD to renter from whence she’d just come so she had to stand in line again for another sweep. Glad they are doing their jobs. But, oh gosh, my husband was one of the many who made it through airport security within the last year carrying a knife. He’d forgotten it was in his carry-on and even though his carry-on went through the X-ray machine and on to the plane it escaped everyone’s notice. Dude held the little knife up, amazed, when he got home.

“We should call the media,” I said.

TSA Passenger Screening

TSA Passenger Screening (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I don’t want the attention,” he replied. Understandable in this world of competitive headline saturation.

So I, a mother who brought her identification, a print-out of her daughter’s itinerary, a letter from the government bearing her daughter’s name and our home address (the same address on my driver’s license) could not get a pass to enter the airport and eat breakfast with my older teenaged daughter.

There needs to be some sort of visitor security check-in line for people who don’t want to board a plane but want to visit with someone passing through, or just walk a close family member to a plane. Just one woman’s opinion but it’s a good one.

Meanwhile, the interesting assortment of flotsam in HRD’s room awaits. Usually I cry as I clean. It’s hard to raise your babies  – hug them, squeeze them, feed them and clean them – so they can leave. In the world no one will ever love our babies more than we do, no one will care so much about them in quite the same way. Give it up, give it over, let it go.

It’s really hard.


Throw Caution to the Wind


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Certainly it is not news that raising children is hard. It’s hard emotionally, financially and physically. Being a role model, not the temporary teenage Miley Cyrus kind but the day in and day out mad sad glad bored tired, kind of role model can be tough.

I’ve failed my mission more than a couple times. My daughter, 18 and full of exciting grown-up life, experienced what I call one of my slip-ups. Except “slip-up” implies a onetime occurrence and this went on for about 10 years.


My two children are like any other two children in that certain traits seem as inborn as their hair and eye color. My daughter, who I mentioned in another post is and always has been shy. My son, not as much. Cautious maybe, not shy. In fact when they were younger and still openly depended on me, my daughter relied on her brother in social situations. Her brother is three years younger than she is yet she would follow him and let him break the ice with other kids.

In fact when EJD (our boy) was about 3 years old my husband and I had to watch him because more than once he tried to go home with other families. Not that he was miserable in ours but he was having so much fun with whomever he latched onto he didn’t want it to end. He seemed to figure, “Why not?” Come to think of it, I used to take him to a very large zoo and let him walk next to me. But he’d get entranced with something, an animal or a person, and forget about his mother. Most kids panic when they realize their parent isn’t nearby, he never ever did. Curious, many times I watched him to see his reaction when he realized I wasn’t there.

He never got upset by my absence and always I had to retrieve him. He was just interested in the world.

My daughter, HRD was another story. She wouldn’t even sit by other toddlers in her mommy and me class. She had to sit on the other side of the big room. That reticence remains.

I never insisted she  stay with a group or a team. After she tried it and inevitably didn’t like it – in soccer she would stand limply near the edge of the field or half-heartedly limp after the spinning ball – then I would let her stop. In the spirit of good mothering,
as years passed and I saw other kids playing soccer or in a ballet recital I tried to convince her to participate, because while it was not the best for her I was also afraid her lack-of-involvement made me look like a bad mom.

But there was yet another reason that I allowed her to avoid team anything.

Her social pain was palpable because she inherited that trait from me. I think. I’d say her dad is also not the most outgoing person. But I was with her and I understood and identified with her discomfort. Instead of moving beyond my own trepidation, I sank in and let her avoid what made her uncomfortable.

Sigh. Parenting mistake #879,999,979.