He came home.

MonoBoy came home.  It’s been two weeks now and I haven’t wanted to jinx it by announcing it.  I have no idea what brought him home, and I don’t have the nerve to ask.  He came by one Friday night to get a tennis racket and stopped into his grandmother’s room to give her a hug and kiss.  She sleeps much of the time these days, so he woke her when he bent down to kiss her cheek.  He said that she jumped up, so excited to see him and threw her arms around his neck.  She told him that she hoped he knew how much she loved him and how proud she is of him.

He said to me, “She was so serious that it made me feel like she thinks she is dying and it scares me.”

I said, “No, she just never sees you and she misses you.”

It just slipped out.  Truth or not, I have been so very careful not to acknowledge his absence or make him feel guilty for it.  I panicked a bit, but he didn’t seem phased as he bee-bopped out to play tennis.  (No, I have no idea what the tennis thing was about.  Add it to the long list of things I don’t understand.)

The next day before the boys soccer game, MonoBoy showed up with his arms full of clothes and announced, “I’m home.”  LoverBoy and I were on the couch watching an international soccer game.  He looked at me with questioning eyes, and I just shrugged like, “How should I know?”

The first week was a bit of an adjustment.  There was some awkwardness.  He went to his dad’s house the first few evenings and I didn’t say a word.  I didn’t really feel like I could.  I’m sure that he’s confused and there’s guilt both ways.  This week has been much easier.  He seems happy and normal.  Okay, so normal is stretching it a bit.  The poor kid is just so lost.  He hasn’t finished the modeling classes.  He hasn’t touched the music thing I got him for his birthday that he just HAD to have.  He still goes to golf practice for the school, but he doesn’t play every day like he did or seem all that interested.  He’s picked up skateboarding and spends time at the local skate park in the evenings trying to teach himself tricks.  And today, he sent me a text from school asking if I could find him a voice teacher because he wants to learn how to sing.

It’ll keep your head spinning, but he brought his grades up to A/B status and he seems happy, so I’m trying to let it go.  Perhaps next week I will approach the subject of SAT/ACT tests.  My Type A Personality is currently at war with this new Laid-Back Mom persona.  Eventually, Type A will break free.  I just have to try to keep her on a leash when she escapes from the backyard of my brain.

On Friday night, the boys opted not to participate in the school homecoming festivities.  They wanted to branch out on their own and go to a rap concert in Houston instead.  (Can you hear Type A Mom barking her head off in the background?)  I was able to call in a favor for free tickets for them, and their friend has an aunt that works at a fairly close hotel, so they were able to stay in a hotel room for free.  It was definitely a first for all of us.  Laid-Back Mom had to practically bound and gag Type A Mom.  I was a nervous wreck.  Four boys (ages 17-18) heading to the big city on a first-time adventure solo.  I told myself over and over that next year, LoverBoy will be driving 3 hours away to College Station and living on his own.  He’s responsible and he knows how to use Google Maps.  This is no big deal.  Gulp.

I must have checked “Find my iPhone” about 400 times.  They were always where they were supposed to be.  There was one closed ramp that caused them to re-route and they did so successfully without my help.

My boys are growing up and they had a blast in the city.  They were responsible and relied on each other (great bonding experience) and they didn’t fight.  They were so proud and felt so independent.  And I didn’t even suffer that heart attack I felt coming on .

The next morning, they watched a soccer game on the tv at the hotel and drove back in town in time for their own soccer game.  It was the perfect thing to welcome MonoBoy back into the house and to get LoverBoy to accept his being there.

After their soccer game, though, MonoBoy had a fight with his dad.  He left the fields immediately after the game to go eat with friends from the team.  I guess he had previously committed to spending time with his dad’s new family.  Or so Dad thought.  According to MonoBoy, his dad had offered a trip to the deer lease (about a 30 minute drive away), which MonoBoy LOVES, but then texted to say that there was a change of plans.  Daddio was going to try out his new bow (that expensive thing he must have to hunt), so MonoBoy could go play golf with the step-brother.  MonoBoy said that he responded with, “Ok. We’ll see,” which he believed to be noncommittal.  Not so much to his dad.

MonoBoy texted me as soon as he got to the restaurant asking me to come and pick him up because “Dad is freaking out!”  When I picked him up, he asked me to drive through Taco Bell.  While we were waiting on our food, he was texting furiously back and forth with his dad, and then his phone rang.  I couldn’t hear what was said, just the loud booming voice through the phone that gives me nightmares and diarrhea.  MonoBoy promised him that he was hurrying, but he hadn’t eaten all day and was starving after soccer.

By the time we got to our house (a very short distance), MonoBoy had EIGHT missed calls from his father.  He’s nothing if not persistent.  And annoying.  MonoBoy flew into the house and changed into his golf attire and headed to his dad’s.  About thirty minutes later he returned home.

“Quick trip.  I’m guessing that you’re not going to play golf.”  No, instead his father ranted on for 30 minutes about how he had held up the whole family and ruined their plans and that he had “f%&ked them in the ass.”  Nice.

The next day, all was forgiven and he spent the entire day at the dear lease with Mr. Sore Ass.

Whatever.  He came home.

 

“We” did it!

I did it! I did it! I mean, he did it! He did it! LoverBoy has been accepted into the Fighting Texas Aggie Class of 2020. Whoop! 

After the roller coaster ride of college apps and resumes and shot records and ACT scores, it certainly feels like a joint accomplishment, so “we” did it!

You would think I’d be in a puddle of tears that my angel leaves next year, but instead I am so stinking excited for him. We found out right before we headed to College Station for the campus/residence hall tours back in September. Well, I found out. He was running behind and had just jumped in the shower. I was packed and ready to go (not anxious or anything) and decided to entertain myself by logging in and checking his application status.  I may, or may not have burst into the bathroom in tears screaming, “YOU’RE AN AGGIE! YOU’RE AN AGGIE!” I doubt that was me,  though, because I am generally so in control on my emotions. (Like when I chased my ex-husband’s mistress down the road in my Suburban. The epitome of calm, that’s me.)

The great thing about finding out that morning was that it allowed me to keep my sanity while I toured the campus alongside my ex. Okay, maybe “keep my sanity” is a bit of a stretch. Let’s just say there was no bloodshed and no one is walking with a permanent limp. I maintained composure. Even when he tried to tell me the history of the 12th Man tradition. I wanted to kick him.  It’s driving me crazy that he absolutely refuses to acknowledge that I went to school there. 

He also has amnesia about his wearing burnt orange, flashing the bull sign, and rooting for the Longhorns (the Aggies big rival for those not from Texas) during our entire marriage and then some.  He is 100% Aggie Fan now and, this might be rude and totally unappreciative, but I think the Aggies could stand to lose one particular fan. 

He worked his way into the tour by convincing my son that he’s going to pay for half of his college tuition. Yeah, it still makes me laugh too, since I’m still paying off MonoBoy’s wisdom teeth without his full half. And dare I even mention the child support arrears? These little facts aren’t stopping him from dangling the college-tuition-carrot to get in on all of the college decisions, like majors and living arrangements. On the Sunday after the tour, he scheduled a meeting at my house to discuss on campus vs off campus living.

I figured it would be a short discussion because LoverBoy wants to live on campus. He’s an introvert and he needs the draw of activity to pull him out of his shell and keep him from isolating himself and feeling lost and depressed. Plus, he’s all about convenience. Even so, I told him to keep an open mind and that his dad is just excited and wants to be involved in the decision-making (blah, blah, blah), but the decision is ultimately his to make.

Obviously, I forgot that my ex is like a dog with a bone and he will not let go of an idea or an argument. He was going to make every argument he could think of to beat that dead horse.

The Ex argued that LoverBoy should live off-campus to get away from “all that shit” on the weekends. He can have his own room and he can throw stuff in a crockpot and eat for a week. (Hahahahahaha!!!! He’s 18 and won’t even make a bowl of cereal. You think he’s going to cook and eat leftovers? C’mon y’all, The Ex didn’t discover a crockpot until he was 40, and that’s probably because his new wife uses it.)

He wasn’t done there. He went on and on about privacy and no where to go to get away and that if it were him, he couldn’t do it. (Hmmmm, eight thousand Aggies live on campus every year and survive it. And again, he’s 18 not 40 so all of that activity is exciting.)

But of course, he knows a guy at work whose daughter got stuck with a roommate that cried every day and she was miserable, so he moved her off campus and she’s completely happy now. 

I could see LoverBoy getting overwhelmed. I mentioned that my first roommate cried every day until she moved back home at Christmas break. My solution was to hang out with friends. (True story.)

“Well, I can see that I’m just pissing up a rope here,” exclaimed my ex with dang-near steam pouring out of his ears. That tends to happen when we don’t eagerly adopt his opinion. I suggested that we go ahead and make the residence hall deposit to guarantee a room, and if LoverBoy changes his mind before May 1st, we can get a refund and put him in an apartment.

That seemed to satisfy everyone. LoverBoy got to select his dorm preferences and The Ex got to postpone his argument. And we paid the deposit. (You do realize that by “we,” I mean me and the cat sitting on my lap when I typed in my credit card. It certainly wasn’t a shared expense. Why break tradition, right?)

Speaking of traditions, Texas A&M University is rich in tradition and I absolutely cannot wait for my son to experience everything it has to offer. I am so proud and so happy! Not even my ex can ruin it.

“What is you doin?”

After several days of depressing posts, I thought I would share a lighter story. Not a happy story by any means, but I’m able to laugh about it now. Mostly.

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from work on a Friday. It’s the same route I take every day and I could probably drive it in my sleep. I drive on one road for several miles through four red lights and over two sets of railroad tracks and past a small grocery store before I turn into my neighborhood. It’s easy. 

There must have been a train pass on one of the tracks because traffic was a little more congested than usual. As I passed through the final red light, I hit the home stretch, but because of the traffic congestion, there were several cars stopped, waiting to turn into the grocery store. Stopping for this is an every day occurance but on this particular day, we stopped a bit farther back than usual. 

Which was my exact thought: Hey, we’re back farther than usual. Hope the people behind me realize that.

I looked into my rear view mirror. Holy Crap! They don’t realize it. They are going to hit me.

I turned my steering wheel to the right. I had no where to go to avoid impact, but I thought it might keep my car from lunging straight forward into the next car.

I watched as the car behind me made impact. I saw their front windshield shatter. It took me a second to gather my thoughts, as I braced myself for a potentially second impact from vehicles behind the car that hit me. When no impact occurred, I put my car in park and got out of the car to check on the other driver.

She was out of the car and I could quickly assess that she was fine as she started screaming at me, “What is you doin? What is you doin?” over and over again while she clapped her hands. I was taken aback, so I responded, “I’m calling the police.” And I got in my car and did just that.

The dispatch lady asked me a few questions then asked if I was able to move my car out of the roadway. “Yes, except that I think her car might be currently attached to mine.” She explained that, by law, I was required to move out of the roadway. I paused to tell the other driver what I was doing, but she was too busy yelling, so I went ahead and put my car and drive and slowly headed toward the grocery store parking lot entrance. There were some unhappy car noises as my car attempted to take her bumper with us. Boy, that REALLY set her off. More yelling.

Dispatch stayed on he phone until the police were close and advised me not to talk to her, as the police would handle it. And they did. They got her license and insurance, issued her a ticket (or two), and gave me the police report number for insurance purposes. They asked if I needed medical attention but I refused. All I wanted to do was go home and cry to relieve stress.

About 10 days later, my insurance agent called to tell me that they got the police report, but the insurance she provided was false, BUT they were able to track down the proper insurance, BUUUUT it had been canceled due to nonpayment.

Of course it had.

So let’s combine the stress of the accident, the drama with the boys, the stress of putting my moms house on the market, the stress of back-to-school and college applications, snd you know, the normal stresses of life. To say that I’ve had neck/shoulder pain and a headache is an understatement. I decided to visit a chiropractor for the first time. I LOVE to have my back popped and I had some great excuses, I mean reasons to try it out.

Okay, so first off, it’s scary as heck when you have your head twisted that quickly, but the pops/cracks are amazing. But before the adjustment ever began, I had some concerns. First off, the doctor was examining my neck, from the front, and was standing with his legs between mine as I sat on the table. He paused inches from my face and said, “Wow. You have beautiful eyes.”

You know how nice it is to receive compliments? Yeah, this wasn’t like that. It was…ew. 

Then he proceeded to act shocked when he found out that I’m 44. Apparently, I have the bones and skin of a MUCH younger woman. Ummmm, dude, I already paid my money. You don’t have to court me. Besides, I own a mirror. I know I look 44.

He led me into the adjustment room, and I had a mild panic attack because we were in there ALONE and I was laying on a table at an awkward height. Let’s say, groin area height. 

After the adjustment, he had me loop my arm through his so he could escort me to the front. Like we were going to prom. 

It was icky and creepy and I soooooo just wanted to yell, “What is you doin? What is you doin?”

And now, the other one

The week before school started, The Ex took the boys and new family on a vacation. When LoverBoy returned, he reported that his dad is better. He drank, but only to excess one night and he kept his anger in check, even when MonoBoy pushed boundaries.

He said, “You must have said something to dad about something to dad about accepting the way MonoBoy dresses because he made a 30 minute speech about wearing whatever he wants.” In a roundabout way, yes I did. I had run into the new Stepmom during the week of school registration. She said, “The Ex is concerned because MonoBoy doesn’t bring any clothes to the house. I promise to wash them, so you’ll get them back.”

Give me a fresking break. Of course he’s making it sound like I’m some evil person that put a lock on the closet to guard the clothes. I explained that it wasn’t it at all, but that The Ex doesn’t approve of the clothes.

Yay me. Helping out dear-old-dad.

Because I like the Stepmom, we talked about the kids in general and having a senior and the college app process and college visits. It wants even 24 hours later that LoverBoy got a text from his dad asking when his college visit was and saying that he wanted to go. He didn’t wanted to pressure him, so they’d just talk about it during the vacation. (In person, with pressure.)

It’s no secret that I was lucky enough to attend Texas A&M University, and it shouldn’t be a shock that I have talked about to my kids adnauseum over the years and drug them to games there.  LoverBoy has always supported my Aggies, whereas for many of MonoBoy’s elementary school years, he sported those God-awful orange shirts for that other school in Texas. His daddy loved the Longhorns, although he has never stepped foot on that campus. He just liked their winning football team and made fun of my Aggies.

So here we are after the Aggies football program has shown promise and that other team can’t buy a touchdown, and LoverBoy tells me that his dad is encouraging him to go to A&M because “he heard it’s a good school.” You think? And who shared this knowledge with him? ESPN?

Last night, LoverBoy said that he thinks his dad should go on the college visit, since he’s going to be paying for half of it. He is? “Well that’s what he keeps saying.” (Yeah right, the man that doesn’t even pay half of the medical expenses as required by law.) 

I just said okay and that I would call to increase the number of people on the tour. He freaked out and started yelling that I was selfish for my reaction. What reaction? I said okay and that I’ll call.

“It’s not what you said, it’s how you looked. You looked down instead of looking at me, so I know how you feel. You should have done a better job of hiding it because it’s so selfish to do this to me!”

I was floored. He went on to say that it’s not fair that he has to worry about everyone’s feelings. He worries more about people like my mom and sister and his parents, than normal 18-year-olds should. He should be allowed to have his father be part of such a big event in his life without worrying about me.

Floored, I tell you. All I said was “okay, I’ll call to increase the number on the tour.” Did I jump up and down and clap? No. Did my face betray my words? Quite possibly. But I’m willing to DO the right thing.

I told him that he didn’t need to worry about my feelings. I’m a big girl and I can do that on my own. I suggested that it might be too much pressure, so perhaps I should bow out of the trip so that he can experience it with his dad. After all, I’ve been all over campus. I’ve lived in the dorms. 

Here’s the thing that sucks. We planned the trip with my best friend and her family. We planned to spend the night and eat at our favorite places from our school days and attend Yell Practice. We have been looking forward to this day since our boys became Freshman.

And now I am the odd man out. Worse yet, I’m more like a burden.

Okay guys, where did I screw up? How is this even my reality? I get that Daddio is doing better and it’s exciting, but why does it have to be to my detriment? Why do I have to be the bad guy just because he is doing good?

I’ve spent the past two weeks proofing essays and gathering information for his college apps, making sure all of his ducks are in a row. Hell, I’ve spent the last 12 years helping with homework assignments, devising course selection plans, and scheduling tutors to prepare him for THIS.

But somehow I’m selfish.  Oh my god, I’m now losing the other one.

Schedule and reschedule

I got to spend some time with MonoBoy over the weekend. I took him to the big city for modeling classss. It was something that he started asking for in the spring, so I scheduled them for the summer after basketball ended.

I had no idea at the time that summer basketball would never begin. After the wisdom teeth debacle, he started spending time with dad. He was the assistant coach, so I assumed that they were going to practice together. Until the day that the coach called and asked if we would be headed to the big city over the weekend for the tournament. Of course, why wouldn’t we be? And that’s when I learned that they hadn’t been to practice in two weeks. 

I texted MonoBoy and the response I got floored me. It was very carefully drafted without all of the teen slang and abbreviations. He said that he had come to realize that he lacked in skill in some areas and wasn’t willing to devote the time and effort necessary to improve at a sport that he no longer loved.

It all sounds very mature. If you are an adult, not the teenager I know. I just asked him to please notify his coach, preferably by phone, not text.

I asked him if he wanted to move up the modeling classes, and he said, “Let’s just let that sit for a while.” At the time, I figured that I should just go ahead and request a refund. I knew that my ex was against them, as he had told me that they were “gay as shit.” When the time came for the class, MonoBoy asked to reschedule them for during the school year when he was “coming home.”

As you all know, that didn’t happen, so I was surprised when MojoBoy actually called me to schedule them. So off we went over the weekend, and he actually spent the night here. It was awkward at first, but got back to normal by the second night. On Sunday, he announced that he was going to play golf.

And then he was gone again. 

The second set of courses is scheduled for this weekend, but it must be too much for dear-old-dad because MonoBoy texted last night and asked to reschedule them. It’s like the wisdom teeth all over again. 

And did I mention that he’s gone again? it was devastating all over again.