Time…

Time has been on my mind lately. How quickly it passes and it’s gone forever. On one end I have my mother who is in her eighties. With every passing year, she comments that she’s surprised that she’s still around to see this new year, surprised to make it yet another year as her birthday comes. On the other end I have my teenager who has her whole life in front of her. She’s not worried about running out of time, but she’s feeling anxious about becoming an adult and moving out of the cocoon -like protection of home. And as for me…I see my mother getting older and know that my time is limited with her and at the same time, I see my teenager getting closer and closer to graduation and know that she’ll be moving out of the nest to go to college soon. It’s sad and exciting at the same time.

There was a morning when I had to leave much earlier than normal and it was still dark when I arrived in the parking lot at work. As the sun came up I started snapping pictures of it. I realized just how quickly time is passing as I took pictures and saw the differences in the sunrise in just a matter of minutes.

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when I first got into the parking lot…

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just a moment later…

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not more than five minutes, in fact it was probably less…

it’s awesome when you sit back and think of how quickly the earth is spinning and how fast time is passing. It’s not something that I want to dwell on but I don’t want to forget just how precious each and every moment in life is.

Soak in the beauty around us, cherish the moments with our loved ones, and most of all never be afraid to try new experiences. Just live and live with happiness and joy in your hearts.

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The Suitcase and the Teenage Girl

Want a little chuckle in your day? Tell a teenage girl that she can only take a single, small, carryon size suitcase on a trip. Sit back and watch as she tries to pack. It’s quite amusing.

We had the opportunity to travel to NYC a few weeks ago with a school group and we were told that in order to accommodate such a large group traveling together each and every one of us needed to take nothing larger than an airline carry-on size suitcase in order to try and avoid having to spend time checking and picking up luggage. A collective moan went up around the classroom when the announcement was made. We were going to be up there for a total of four days, of course that size would be just fine. The older women, men and guys in the group had no problems with that restriction. BUT the teenage girls, that statement hit them hard. Along with the size of the luggage was the fact everyone also had to abide with the airline requirement of 3 oz. containers of liquids all contained in a small plastic bag. One could see their brains clicking along thinking of all the things that they just absolutely need and how they could possibly survive for four whole days without some of these things.

I’ve tried to get my daughter to pack light before without much success. She would always overpack and we would end up in a skirmish over how she just couldn’t possibly do without all of these items. And since these were supposed to be vacation moments for me, times to get away from the stress of work, life, bills and such… I would give in and let her take a bigger size. Stressing and arguing over the size of a suitcase just didn’t seem worth it if I wanted to enjoy my brief vacation times. Well, this time the command down to everyone so she couldn’t wheedle and plead her way out of that one. I figured I’d sit back and enjoy the show.

First of all, we were going to New York City, a place where style is first and foremost. Additionally, it was quite cold the weekend that we were there (it was in the 30’s) and we are Floridians. At home, the weather was already in the 70’s and 80’s at this point. Also, it’s kind of hard to imagine cold when our winters only drop down to the 50’s for the most part. My daughter kept trying to pick out stylish clothes that she would wear in warmer weather. I had to keep reining her in to remind her that she needed to focus on warmer clothes, on layering and staying warm. Of course selecting bulkier, warmer clothes tend to take up more space in an already small suitcase leaving very little room for additional clothes. Then she needed to be sure there was room for shoes, toiletries, and certain essentials. It took a while, days actually, she packed, repacked, dumped everything out, and packed yet again. Her room looked like a tornado whipped through it. Every drawer was agape, clothes draped and strewn about. Vials of shampoos, conditioners and makeup littered the dresser counter spaces. Her room literally had a little path leading from the door to the bed where she was packing. My suitcase on the other hand had already been packed and ready to go a week earlier, so I was able to sit back and watch. I think every mother enjoyed watching their daughters struggle with this knowing how many times we’ve tried to convince them that they only needed the bare necessities for a certain event only to be met with extreme resistance.

She did it though. She learned a few tricks along the way such as rolling things vs. folding and tucking items into others. She learned how to maximize the use of every possible space in that small, rectangular box. We even ended up coming home with a few unworn pieces AND was even able to pack in souvenirs that we picked up along the way.

Now that she’s accomplished this, there’s no way I’m allowing her to take a bigger suitcase than the one she used to NYC on a beach vacation. Who knows – I just may limit her to a backpack. That’s not an unreasonable request, I mean, we’re talking about the beach here. All one needs is a bikini, shorts, tank tops, flip-flops and some sunscreen. Should be interesting to see how that one turns out.

The Day Sex Became an Awkward Subject

As a teenager, sex was tempting – forbidden – enticing… The hormones start going wild in a teenager’s body causing them to make reckless choices. Throwing caution to the wind, we push the limits often crossing them. It’s usually a crazy times in our lives when we’re discovering certain erotic feelings and emotions all for the first time. It’s a rush. It’s crazy and breath-taking. Some of us resist while others let go of all caution and dive in body and soul.

Sex changes as we get older, wiser and often as part of a couple. While still exciting and fun, it also changes in a way. It becomes more stable and expected. It’s not “forbidden” anymore which added a huge element of excitement. In this stage, sometimes couples have to work at creating the excitement that they once had.

As a parent of a teenager…

All of a sudden SEX becomes a dreaded thing. Something to cringe from. A topic that most of us, as parents, want desperately to avoid.

Everywhere I turn I’m seeing teens the same age as my daughter having sex, talking about sex, switching sex partners casually, and getting pregnant.

I’m on the other side of the coin now. The side that my parents were on when I first discovered the awesome headiness of an intimate encounter with the opposite gender. I look at my teenager and I still see my baby, my little girl. Surely she can’t reach that same point that I remember way back when, but she is. Now SEX takes on a new meaning for me. I’m dealing with it though. Short of locking her up in a room and taking away all means of communication with the outside world, I just have to trust that I’ve taught her enough that she’ll make good choices.

Telling a teenager “NO,” really isn’t an option, it’ll only make them determined to prove you wrong. All I can do is try and keep the lines of communication open between us. Make sure that she always feels safe and comfortable coming to me about anything. So far it seems to have worked, she’s confided in me about things that have made both of us uncomfortable, some of it involving her friends and others involving herself, but we have been able to discuss the situation. It usually ends up with me shaking my head in disbelief or some awkward admission of fact. I’m a huge believer in being honest with answers when your teenager asks. My philosophy is that if they ask, they deserve the truth. If the truth is something that you regret then show that to them. Everyone makes mistakes and parents are no different.

We were having an uncomfortable (for me) question and answer session the other day. It started off with me finding out some things about her and her friends and segued into her asking me about my teen years.  She was asking me questions about when I first had sex, when I first experimented with pot, smoking, drinking, etc…  When she asked me about smoking, I hesitated but then I told her the truth. Thirteen.

“Wow, that’s really young.”

“Yea, I know. We didn’t have access to all the information that you guys have today.” I was trying hard to let her know that smoking really wasn’t a great idea. I’m not a smoker. I’ve smoked cigarettes at certain times in my life but they were brief and something always made me quit. To which I’m grateful for today.

“When did you first get drunk?”

Ugh. This isn’t getting any easier. “Um, probably about 15.”

“Hmm. I’m not going to drink.”

Wonderful, she’s showing her own mind here. We’ve had a lot of discussions regarding drinking, smoking and drugs. I’m really happy to hear her come to that kind of conclusion.

“When did you first have sex?”

Rolling my eyes to the heavens and heaving a huge sigh. Do I tell the truth or lie? Truth. “Sixteen.”

“With who?”

“Your dad, who else?”

She looked at me solemnly, “Thank you for telling me the truth, mom.”

The bad thing about these admissions was having to say I had my first with a lot of these things at a younger age than she is now. In my mind, she’s still a baby. In my teenage mind when I was 13, 15, 16… I was ready. I was old enough.

How screwed up is that??

NYC – continued…

No trip to NYC is complete without seeing the Statue of Liberty, right? Here we are on a frigid day made even colder by being on the river. It was quite awesome to see this famous statue in the flesh – er… stone?  Anyway, amazing ride around Ellis Island with a breathtaking view of NYC Skyline as well.

 

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Central Park, now that was another one of my favorites on the trip. The day we went there was apparently the first real “warm” day according to New Yorkers. It was actually the equivalent of a Florida winter day but okay, if you say so. The sun was out and the park was absolutely packed with street performers, vendors and people. Everyone just poured out of their homes to enjoy the sunshine and I guess to spend a day outdoors, Central Park is pretty much the only place to go since everything else is buildings and asphalt. Personally, I would have loved to be on my own time that day and do some jogging through the park and do some serious people watching. It WAS a beautiful day. The horse and carriages were out – I saw signs on them that said $3.75 a minute.  What?? Who charges by the minute. Anywhere else it would be something like $25.00 per half hour or something like that, but per minute?? I suppose I could hop on and right off 10 steps down the road. Seriously?! The street performers were fun to watch though, there was pretty much everything from singers to some guy twirling a ribbon. One of the interesting performer I saw was some girl playing a violin while twirling a hula hoop around her waist. Hey, it was entertaining. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of her.

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I would imagine it’s a beautiful place in the summer when everything turns green. In Florida, everything is green and blooming and has been for a good couple of months now. But we did see some signs of the coming Spring here…

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Lincoln Center aka The Met…

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I fell asleep during the opera. Rude, I know and I didn’t mean to but it had been an exhausting couple of days and that night was going to be my night for patrolling the halls in the hotel room to ensure everyone stayed in and asleep. The center was gorgeous though. We went straight there after a whole day of touring without any change of clothes and I definitely felt a bit grungy compared to some of the women I saw there.

One of my favorite theaters was The Amsterdam Theatre. Aladdin was playing, while the show was thoroughly entertaining, I was completely fascinated with the theatre itself. It had been built in the early 1900’s and the detailing that went into the walls and ceilings were amazing. We don’t see anything like that in the new buildings anymore.

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Is that not breathtaking. The detail that went into this theatre…

No trip to New York is complete without a visit to the 9/11 Memorial. I had tears in my eyes the whole time I was in there. I remember watching the whole horror unfold on television and remember how even in Florida, I got that call that the city was closing down and that I needed to come pick up my daughter who was in pre-school at the time. I cannot even begin to fathom how horrifying the whole experience had to have been for the people living and working right here. Seeing the memorial was special and I’m so grateful that the decision was made to turn this place into a memorial honoring those who lost their lives that day. They did a beautiful job honoring them. Each building has a pool where they once stood and all around the pool are the names of those people who died that day. Even the unborn babies (for the women who were pregnant) were mentioned and I loved that. Another special thing they do to honor these individuals is to place a white rose on the names when it falls on their birthdays.

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We whizzed down on Fifth Avenue. By whizzing, I mean the bus literally zoomed through there. I’m sitting there watching the people shopping and every fiber of my being was itching to yell at the bus driver to just stop and let me out here. You guys can come back for me later. I wanted to stroll and window shop at all these stores. Yes, window shop… somehow I get the feeling that things are just a wee bit out of my price range there. Okay, maybe a lot out of my range, but hey – window shopping is still free.

There was so much we saw and probably still so much more to see. Someday, I would really like to go back on my own time and explore. Another thing to add to my bucket list. Seems that every time I get to cross something off the bucket list, there’s more to add.

If you’re a New Yorker, I’d love to hear your version of how living in NYC is….