Mother’s & Daughters

What is it about some mothers and daughters that cause their relationship with each other to be so notorious at times? I have often wondered if as mothers we see the qualities we dislike most in ourselves in our daughters and we try to fix them.  I know my relationship with my mother was sometimes difficult, especially when I was an adolescent and again when I was a single mother.  The same holds true for my relationship with my daughter who will soon celebrate her 30th birthday. She and I get along pretty well now, but there have been times in the past when things were not so stellar.  Like me, she can sometimes be headstrong and determined to do things her way.  (Is that really a bad thing?)

I have done a little reading (enough to make me dangerous) about mother and daughter relationships and this is what I learned. According to an article I read, the three biggest things mothers and daughters usually argue about are hair, clothes, and weight.  All three things relate to physical appearance.

When I look back at the times my mother and I really went head to head, they usually but not always, centered on one of those three things. She either didn’t like the way I was wearing or the color of my hair, a dress I was wearing made me look a little “frumpy”, and well, “You’ll lose the weight when you are ready.”

“All I ever really wanted was for you to approve of me, Mom!” That was the conclusion I finally came to and when I decided I was adult enough to stop looking for mother’s approval, our relationship improved a thousand times.  She could make comments about my looks until hell froze over, and I did not care. When I stopped reacting to what she had to say, we stopped arguing.

In hindsight, looking back at my relationship with my daughter and two of the times we butted heads, they both relate to physical appearance.

When my daughter entered high school, I made an appointment for her at the Clinique counter in a local department store for a makeover. She wasn’t allowed to wear make up until her first year. She attended a parochial school until she graduated high school, and makeup was expressly against dress code until then.  I thought it would be best if someone other than her mother gave her a few makeup tips.  Kids usually listen to the advice of others over their parents at that age anyway.  The consensus among kids that age is their parents don’t know anything. I know mine didn’t!  The only grew smarter as I grew older. I thought I was being very progressive and insightful by doing this.  This would surely solve the problem of her wearing too much make up as most girls her age have a tendency to do.  It would also save a lot of confrontation between the two of us over the very subject.

In reality, all it really did was set me back about $150.00 when I purchased the cosmetics the salesperson recommended. Did she follow the makeup tips that were suggested?  Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!  Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

I can’t remember the number of mornings my beautiful daughter would come down the stairs to the breakfast table OVER made up. Sometimes the eyeliner was so onerous and dark I thought a raccoon was coming to breakfast. Or, the foundation so carroty in color and thick, I could see a line along her jawbone where the foundation ended and her natural complexion started.   Sometimes the eye shadow was so blue or green that her younger brother would whisper to me, “Jenn looks gross!”   Something funky was always going on with her makeup.  To me, my daughter was beautiful (and she still is).  She didn’t need all of that stuff.  I continually tried  telling her this.  It was when she got to be my age she would need a little extra help.  I also tried telling her that boys didn’t like to be with girls that wore too much make up.  What did I know anyway?

One morning on the way to school, Jenn made the mistake of asking what I thought of her makeup. The second mistake occurred that morning when I told her exactly.

“It’s too much, Jenn. It looks a little slutty.”

“Ahhhhhhhhhhh!” she screamed. “I can’t believe you just called your own daughter a slut!”

“I did no such thing,” I said. “I said your make up looks slutty.  There is a difference!  Besides, if you don’t really want to know what I think, don’t ask because I will never lie to you!”

As she continued to vehemently screech  her dissatisfaction with my response, I gently asked her, “Are you pms’ing, Jenn?”

“No, I am not!” she  bawled.  I knew immediately that she in fact was.

After that, she never asked again about her makeup, and I never offered my opinion.

Around the beginning of her junior year in high school, my daughter told me,

“You know what Mom? My English teacher told me the foundation I have been wearing is a little too dark for me. She recommended I try another one that is more the color of my complexion.  She said…”

I smiled to myself, and thought, “What have I been saying? Thank you, Miss English teacher.  I love you!”  LOL!

Here is my card today.  I felt a little autumn-ish, so I worked on a Thanksgiving card for today.  This is what I cam up with.  Hope you like it.  I LOVE these colors together.

For All Things - 3

I always look forward to your comments whether they are about what I’ve written or created, so feel free.  Until next time…

Happy Stamping!


Another Difficult Thing (Continued)

On Wednesday (my last blog post), I began writing of the second most difficult experience I have ever had. This is Part II  of that experience.

That Christmas there was a lot to celebrate. Chris made the 6 hour drive from Roswell to Colorado Springs with another classmate to spend the holidays at home.  My mom and uncle from Ohio also visited that Christmas.  Chris and I drove to Denver International Airport one evening to pick them up.  Since I have poor night vision without my glasses, Chris agreed to drive us home.

As we were barreling down I-25 at 75 miles per hour and conversing with my mother and uncle, I glanced over at Chris. I noticed his eyes were wide as his head turned from me to the road in front of him.  He looked like he had just seen a ghost.  His lips smacked, and his fingers on each hand extended with the palms of his hands in contact with the steering wheel.

“Chris? What’s wrong?”  I asked.  My heart was in my throat.

All he could manage was to look from me to the road in front of him.

Again, I asked, “Chris? Are you okay?”

No response, but again his head turned as if looking at the road and then me.

After a few seconds the event subsided. “What in the hell was that?” I asked.  “Are you all right?  Do you need me to drive? You looked like you saw something scary!”

“I’m fine,” was all he said.

It happened a few times again after that. Before he went back to school after the holidays, we had him checked out at the Air Force Academy hospital.

What we described to the doctors resembled Absence Seizures. Absence Seizures usually occur in young children.  Chris was about to turn 21.  According to website, absence seizures are “lapses in awareness, sometimes with staring.  They begin and end abruptly, and usually are so unnoticeable they can go undetected for months.”

The website also says there are two types of absence seizures. Directly from the website, these two types are:

“Simple absence seizures: During a simple absence seizure, a person usually just stares into space for less than 10 seconds. Because they happen so quickly, it’s very easy not to notice simple absence seizures — or to confuse them with daydreaming or not paying attention.

Complex absence seizures: During a complex absence seizure, a person will make some kind of movement in addition to staring into space. Movements may include blinking, chewing, or hand gestures. A complex absence seizure can last up to 20 seconds.”

I had never noticed anything like this in my son ever before.

His father and I stayed in denial for quite a while. However, I will say, I think I began to accept reality sooner than his father did.

Concerned for his safety, his father followed him back to school when he had to return to Roswell after the holidays. In retrospect, we were not concerned enough.  We should have NEVER let him drive back to Roswell!

Try as we might, we could not convince him that he should not report to the Merchant Marine Academy the following June. We kept telling him they would send him home as soon as they discovered his condition.  However, like all young people, he had to learn the lesson for himself.

That summer, my husband and I along with Chris and his dad flew to Long Island, New York. After a few days, we left Chris to begin his first year at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Two days after we returned home, that fateful phone call came. Chris experienced two episodes and was hospitalized. The academy was beginning paperwork to send him home.  They were however, putting his appointment on hold for a year.  If he got his medical condition stabilized within a year, he would be allowed to return to the academy.

He never did get to return.

Being away from my child at a time when he was experiencing such mental anguish over the end of his lifelong dream was heart wrenching. I cannot say first-hand how he was feeling, but I can say that I had an ach in my chest so strong that it felt like a burning dagger had pierced my heart.  I would have given my life at that moment to stop any pain he might have been experiencing.

To say he was angry (and rightly so) when he returned home was an understatement. Never one to talk about his feelings, Chris took the opportunity to take out his anger on those that love him the most. Isn’t that usually what we do?

As soon as Chris returned home, a long-time friend hired him to work part-time in his archery shop.  The friend’s concern was that Chris might become depressed, so he wanted to keep him busy.

Another thing we did right away was have him enroll in classes full-time at the University of Colorado here in town. “Just because the Army won’t take you, doesn’t mean you can’t get a Bachelor’s degree in something and go to work full time,” we told him.

Meanwhile, Christopher tried one anti-seizure medication after another, sometimes a cocktail of three or 4 combined, to no avail.  He’d go for a few weeks without an event, and then he’d have one.

One Friday evening around 7:00 p.m., I received a phone call from his father. Chris had been in a car accident.  He had totaled his truck.  He had a seizure after stopping at a red light on the way to his father’s house.  For some reason we were still thinking we could keep him safe while following him while he drove.  DENIAL   DENIAL  DENIAL!

Fortunately, no one, including our son, was hurt. There happened to be no one on the road.  THANK GOD FOR SMALL MIRACLES!  We were very lucky!

Every state regulates its driver’s license eligibility for people with different medical conditions. Colorado does not require physicians to report when they have a patient that has seizures and does not have a set amount of time it requires a person to be seizure free. It is up to the individual with the disability to self-report to the state.

After the accident, Chris stopped driving. If he needed to go somewhere, his father or I drove him.  Sometimes his friends would give him rides to and from wherever he needed to be.  He rode the city bus whenever he could, until the city cut back on some of its bus services.  Chris began walking the three miles to and from campus whenever he could. I bought him a bicycle, and when the weather was nice, he would ride his bike.  I would drop him off at his university at 6:00 a.m. some mornings on my way to work where he made friends with a building custodian who would let him into the building early to wait for his 8:00 a.m. class.  Sometimes I would pick him up on my way home.

I agonized over Chris. I wondered if his situation would ever be resolved.  Would he ever be able to be independent and self-sufficient?  Would he always have to have another person around to help him?  What woman would want to marry him knowing he had epilepsy?  What would he do when his father and I were too old to help him anymore?  What about when we were gone?  Would he have to live with his sister?  Would it be fair to ask that of her? Would he ever be able to find a job that would provide him with a decent living?  I literally lost sleep over this situation.  Isn’t that what parents do?

Finally, his neurologist referred him to another neurologist at the Anschutz Medical Campus—University of Colorado Denver.  This new neurologist ran a battery of tests on Chris and felt he might possibly be a candidate for surgery.  The goal was to find the exact point of origin for his seizures and remove that portion of his brain.    I had known about this type of surgery years earlier and attempted to have him seen at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio shortly after he returned from Long Island, but Chris wasn’t ready to hear about it at the time.  In addition, his doctors were not ready to consider it yet either.  They had to try all of the medications available first.

I took a week off work to be with Chris while he was in the hospital. I told him I was going to stay with him and he yelled at me, “You are not camping out in my room the entire time I am in the hospital!”

“I will if I want to! You might be 25 years old, but I am still your mother and I will be there at least the first 24 hours after you come out of surgery.  You can argue with me as much as you want, but you aren’t going to get your way on this one!”

If he realized the seriousness of the thought of brain surgery, he sure was hiding it well. He didn’t seem scared at all.  That’s probably because I was anxious enough for all of us.

Two years ago, Chris had a left temporal lobectomy and with the assistance of his medications, he has been seizure free! He began driving again after one year of being seizure free. Except for the time he went away for a weekend with some friends and didn’t take his medications, he has been doing well.  That weekend of fun cost him three months behind the wheel.  As long as he takes his meds, he is good to go.

Chris does not believe the surgery helped, but I will argue the opposite every time. Before the surgery, the medication alone did not work.  Now, it works!  It helped.

Chris is finally finishing college. He had to take a year off after the surgery.  In a few weeks, he will be finished with his student teaching.  He will be a high school physics and chemistry teacher when he is done.  He is proud of the scar he has on his head.  I think it might remind him of the long road to success it has been.  That is okay.  Usually the long road makes us ever more grateful and appreciative of the good things we have in our lives.  When I asked him why he chose teaching after he lost the military, his response was, “Well teaching is a leadership position, isn’t it?”

“It sure is, Chris. One of the most notable ones there is!”

You make me proud, son.

Here is today’s card.

Holiday Wreath - 1

I really like the way this card turned out.  I love the colors!  They are Pistachio Pudding and Wild Wasabi.  Would have never thought to put those two together.   I was inspired by one of the cards in the current issue of Stampin Success.

Hope you enjoyed your visit today.  Thanks for stopping by.  Until next time…

Happy Stamping!



My Most Embarrassing Experience

The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me took place when my son was in eighth grade. I was fortunate in that for the first six years of my teaching career my children were able to attend the school in which I taught.  I did not have to worry about before and after school care, and we had the same days off each year.  I also had the pleasure of being my children’s 8th grade Language Arts and history teacher.  My children might have another opinion as to whether or not it was a pleasure to have their mom as a teacher.    They could not get away with anything!

The incident in question happened one day in the middle of one of my son’s Language Arts classes. One of the guys decided he should “break wind”.  Gross!  Something most 8th grade boys or just boys in general think is funny.  With a disgusted look on my face, I walked over to the window and opened it.  My son immediately piped up.

”What’s the big deal?” he asked. “That’s the first thing you do at night when we get into the car to go home at the end of the day!”

The class had a great laugh at my expense. Mortified, I laughed along with them.

When my son and I got into the car to go home that night, I quickly engaged the child lock on the power windows.

“Oh my god!” my son shouted.

Ahhhhhh! Sweet revenge! “That will teach you,” I thought.

Here is my card today.  I call it Lovely As A Tree Meets Festival of Trees.  I’ve paired an oldie but goodie which can be found in the Annual Catalog with a new set from the current Holiday Catalog.


Lovely As A Tree Meets Festival of Trees

I will admit the lighting on this isn’t that great.  That’s because I loaned my digital camera to my son to use while student teaching to record some of his lessons.  That leaves me with my cell phone camera which does an okay job, but my other camera has a flash on it.  The things we do for our children!  If only I would have the opportunity to embarrass him in front of his class as he did me when he was in 8th grade!  You never know!  Maybe when he gets a job I will pay him a visit one day.  🙂

I did some heat embossing on this.  That seems like the thing for me to do these days.  I’ve rediscovered heat embossing.  Sorry, but the Pool Party Seam Binding is no longer available, but this color is available in the cotton ribbon.

Hope you enjoyed your visit here today.  Please let me know what you think of my creation…and my story if you like.  Thanks for visiting and until next time…

Happy Stamping!






Need My Head Examined

No, I didn’t bump it.  I think I am loosing it!!  I retired after 21 years of teaching  this past school year.  I knew that I would want something to keep me busy, as if I don’t have enough, so I applied for a few jobs as  a teacher assistant in one of our school districts.  I knew it would be a job easy to do and stress free.  That was my biggest thing…I wanted something stress free.  Being a substitute teacher for the district was also an option, but for some reason I chose to do this.  So, for the last 4 weeks I have been a Title 1 Educational Assistant in a Title 1 school.  All that means is that the school I work in gets extra federal dollars because it has the qualifying amount of low income students.  These dollars are to be used to help bridge the achievement gap between these students and others that are achieving at higher levels. Let me digress for a moment.

Although no one will ever officially say that higher income students perform better than lower income students, they usually do.  Why is that?  Maybe because the families of students that come from a higher socio-economic background can afford to do a lot of things that low income families can’t.  Things like, take your kids to see a play, the zoo, etc.  In other words, they can afford to  experience some of the  THINGS in life that you wouldn’t think would help a child achieve.  Maybe higher income families put more emphasis on education.  Maybe they can afford to have one parent stay home and help kids with their home work.  Maybe it is a lot of things.  Who knows?  Just know that no one will officially say the amount of money a family does or doesn’t have affects the achievement of its children even though in my experience it does.

Any way…I’ve been working as a part time 4th grade Title 1 Educational Assistant for two teachers.  Corralling a class of 35 fourth graders is like corralling bees.  They are everywhere and have something to say about everything!  They can be just as disruptive and disrespectful as some of the older kids I used to teach, but they got something going that the older kids don’t.  They are cute (most of the time), and they still like their teachers, and for the most part they still like school.

So why do I need my head checked?  Well you see…the school is about to hire another 4th grade teacher, because the two classrooms have too many kids in them.  I applied for the position, and I am scheduled to interview for it tomorrow.  My reasoning is, I know the kids already, they’ve already been disrupted by having a sub take over their class for the past week and a half, and I feel like I can do it.  Heck!  I KNOW I can do it.  But my stomach has been aching, and I’ve been dreading taking on that big of a responsibility again.  We’ll see…I will probably not even be offered the job.  Sometimes I hope that I am not because then I won’t have to decide and I can say, “Their loss!”  🙂

Here is my card for today.  I realized I got this stamp set for free at convention, and I haven’t even used it.

Bright & Beautiful - 1

I used two of my favorite colors on this one; Crushed Curry and Lost Lagoon.  Although, Stampin’ Up! hasn’t had a color I haven’t liked yet!

Hope you enjoyed your visit today.  As always, I enjoy hearing what you have to say either about what I’ve written or what I’ve created with my stamps.  Until next time…

Happy Stamping!