Archive

Archive for the ‘Teenagers’ Category

Letter to my 17 year old self

November 19, 2010 5 comments

Several years ago a few friends and I practiced an exercise where we each wrote a letter to our 17 year old selves, words of advice so to speak. It was awesome, very self-reflective, and showed us just how much we’d learned and been through in the previous decade. I encourage you to try this yourself. Here is my letter.

Dear Maria,

I know you feel alone, like you’ve just lost the rest of your life because you have this baby to raise, but I promise you – it will get better. Just ride this time out, it doesn’t seem like it, but this time will only equate to a very small portion of your life. And your life is far from over.

You will learn to be a good mom. It takes time and I know you are unsure of yourself right now but you will learn.

Finish school. Go straight to college, even if it’s only part time. If you fail a class because you’re having a hard time juggling work and your son, ask for help from the family and take the class again. Make it work this time. Just don’t stop going. You’ll regret it if you don’t.

Get a digital camera as soon as you can afford it. Take a lot of pictures. Those digital pictures are going to last a lot longer than the 35mm film. Honest.

You will find the love of your life.

You haven’t even met half of the people you are going to meet in your lifetime. Don’t worry.

You are going to make a million more GREAT memories that you don’t believe you can- but you will! Just be patient.

Save some money in a secret bank account. Make it an IRA plan that you can’t access so easily.

Save more money for AJ sooner, college will be around the corner before you know it.

Spend less time worrying about your weight. You’re not fat.

You are beautiful. You have great cheek bones, smooth skin, and a sweet smile. Enjoy your youthful beauty for as long as you can because when you get older you will regret that you never realized what you had.

Practice safe sex.

Don’t have sex with your girlfriends’ ex-boyfriends, it complicates things.

Cherish the group of friends you have in your 20’s. They will be the best you ever have.

Don’t drive drunk.

Accept your mom for who she is. She’s crazy but don’t ask her to change, don’t expect her to. She doesn’t have to and she won’t ever. The sooner you accept that the sooner you can make amends with who she is to you.

Don’t be sad  about Dad. I know you think he doesn’t love you, but he does. It’s not about you. You didn’t do anything wrong. Some people are just broken.

Hold onto every moment with your baby sister. Make every memory with her last longer. Love her. Take care of her for as long as you can. Forgive her.

Control your temper. Don’t get so angry. The world isn’t out to get you. Think before you react. THINK FIRST. Revenge doesn’t fix anything.

Don’t sweat the stuff people do to you, life really is a circle. You get what you give.

Get into jogging, or running, or walking in the mornings. Make it a habit.

Write it all down. All of it. Everything you feel. Everything you’re afraid of. All of your secret hopes you don’t want anyone to know about. Write it all down. Hide them if you have to but just write it all down. Your own words will serve as your record that you actually did it, you went through it, you got through it. I know you’re afraid people will read what you write but that’s okay. When you get older you will want them to.

When you are 22 you will go through some things that make you question yourself. You will ask this question everyday for several years. The answer is yes. Yes, the tears will stop. Be strong.

Throw less house parties. They are not worth the headache.

Buy a hybrid car as soon as they are available. I’m serious. Don’t worry about how they look. It won’t matter soon enough.

Go ahead and take those risks. They won’t always pay off, but when they do, they will pay off BIG.

Take care of your credit.

Don’t talk back to Grandma. Just listen to her. You don’t have to believe everything she says, you can pretend. She won’t be around forever and you will regret the times you fought with her.

You don’t know who I’m talking about yet but- he will come home. He will.

Don’t be angry when your kids act just like you, they are doing it because you are what they know.

Don’t get angry when your kids don’t act like you, they are their own people. They’re not you. Let them be who they want to be.

Last piece of advice. Remember this one because you will question this time and again for decades to come. Things are going to work out for you. You will be okay. Don’t let your fears stop you from trying or you’ll miss out on all the successess in store for you. Don’t stop trying. Your life is worth it. You are worth it.

Love,

30 year old Maria

P.S. Don’t overanalyze this letter. It’s not a map of your future. It’s just some advice from someone older and wiser.

Even his dog knows

November 16, 2010 3 comments

Recently my 18 year old son informed me that returning to the coming spring semester of college “did not fit into his current plans” to which I appropriately responded “and supporting your *ss until you figure out your life does not fit into mine!” Is he sh*tting me?

*Sigh* Honestly, I actually saw this coming. He’s never taken too well to academics and he struggled throughout high school, but still, I thought he knew better than to be a college dropout. This topic is still premature, so I’m hoping he changes his mind – before I wring his neck. If he doesn’t, well, I’m going to pray for the kid because if he thinks I’m going to let him lounge around the house until God knows when he’s got another think coming .

If he wants to live in the real world, I’m going to give it to him. Go to school, get a job, or get out. Other parents, be careful not to judge me or you could find yourselves in a similar situation several years from now.

I refuse to be the typical Asian parent who lets her children live at home rent free, usually encouraging little sense of responsibility, until they turn 35. That may work in some families, but it doesn’t work in mine. You can call it tough love, I call it a dose of reality.

I love my son, don’t even try to to accuse me of anything different, but if he’s going to take this path, inevitably limiting his choices without that college degree, I won’t knock him, but he’s going to get a taste of how hard it is without one early on. I’d be nothing short of a bad mom if I didn’t make sure he realized the full consequences of his actions before it was too late or too hard to rectify things. He can drop out, but he better have a good back up plan, because I won’t be it.

He’s spent the last week staying at friends’ houses, I’m sure in an effort to avoid discussing this further with me.  Following a four day absence, he came home and tried to play with his dog, Hyden, before dashing out the door again. Hyden refused to play with him. Instead Hyden walked over to him and started barking at him incessantly. Each time my son reached out to pet him, Hyden cringed backwards to avoid his hand.

It was as if Hyden was trying to tell him something. Maybe he was saying “C’mon kid, what are you doing? Get your head out of your *ss. Go back to school, or get a full time job, but do something. You’re driving your parents nuts. Ruff!” See, even his dog knows.

Why I write comical satire

Wouldn’t all the crap in my life be experienced in vain if I couldn’t share my family’s dysfunction with others so that they, in turn, might gain some consolation in knowing at least their lives don’t exceed the lunacy I encounter everyday?

Protected: Adventures at Six Flags

November 9, 2010 Enter your password to view comments.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Cruise Escapades

November 5, 2010 1 comment

First impression..why are there more Filipino workers on this boat than there are Filipinos in all of Austin? I kept expecting some guest to ask me for fresh towels or to take their order. And why does this ship resemble a 1970’s casino?

Gayribbean…no, I did not make that word up. While I was booking the cruise I was so concerned with affordability I didn’t realize I had booked us on a Gayribbean Cruise. That was the official name. A few hundred gay guys…I’m from San Francisco so it actually took me two days to notice. All good, it wasn’t a bad thing.

Eye candy…I seemed to serve as the eye candy for a lot of the black men on board and in some cruel circle of a joke many of the gay men served as my eye candy.

On using the bathroom…the first time we heard a ship toilet flush

one of the girls was supposed to be taking a shower. It’s a scary sound and we had no idea what it was. I had to send in my oldest son to make sure his sister didn’t get swallowed up by the ship.

Sail and Sign card…the ship ran cashless so you had to charge everything to your room key/Sail and Sign card which was linked to your credit card. My husband was so excited in the first 3o hours he spent $156.00 on drinks for himself. I took away his Sail and Sign card the second night and told him to find another way to be that happy.

Silly things we find amusing…while watching the girls swim on the boat my husband and I watched a four year old boy, who weighed an easy 70 plus pounds, go down the five foot tall mini waterslide at least three dozen times. Each time he slid down the entire front row of sunbathers would get drenched. His oblivious mother kept egging him on once more.

Hairy man contest…this was a real event. There’s nothing like watching heavy and hairy middle aged men, to be exact; a plumber, an A/C guy, an IT manager, and a UPS driver, gyrate shirtless to Dancing Queen by ABBA.

Hip hop dance class..throw on a jumpsuit, wear a pair of Adidas shoes with the fat laces, chew gum from the right side of your mouth, say you’re from Puerto Rico and voila! You have a certified cruise hip hop dance instructer.

Meeting people when you’re drunk…my husband’s first night on the boat he met a guy named Ted. They chatted it up, ran into one another several times, and we actually spent a day in Cozumel with him. It wasn’t until the third day he finally told my husband, “My name is actually Tay, not Ted. I didn’t realize I would end up hanging out with you so much so I didn’t bother correcting you, but I figured if you wanted to keep in touch you should probably know my real name.”

Catamaran sailing..on an excursion in Mexico we were provided with free unlimited margaritas, although they were completely watered down. Caught in the moment, I let my son have his first sip of alcohol. Just as he was taking a sip we passed another boat full of nude people. There was my fourteen year old sipping a margarita and looking at several sets of breasts and then some….talk about walking him into manhood. I tried to get him to close his eyes but he was not trying to hear me one bit.

Afterthought…being on a Carnival cruise line is a lot like being at a week long party on a vessel that resembles Circus Circus with lots of drunk people. We had a ton of fun, but next time around I’m saving up for a Disney cruise. It might be more family friendly.

How can you tell when your son is going through puberty?

October 28, 2010 1 comment

He starts taking showers two to three times a day. I’m not kidding. With our older son I thought he just started caring more about his hygiene, but my husband filled me in on the real deal. Initially I was too shocked and stunned to address the issue whereas my husband seemed more proud, in that ridiculous man kind of way. Of course, he didn’t find it so funny when our water bill increased 20%. That’s when he warned our son to “cut your showers down, I mean it, and you know what I’m talking about.” I did my part and started hiding my Victoria’s Secret catalogs.

A teenager’s camping checklist

My almost 19 year old son went camping with a large group of his friends this past weekend. Of course, it was only 10 minutes away up by Lake Travis but still. This was my nightly text checklist for him.

  • Did you pack enough clothes? Should Mommy bring you more clothes?
  • Keep your butt clean, did you grab toilet paper from the house? Better yet just drive home if you have to do a number two.
  • Are you drinking? Stupid question.  Don’t drink and swim. Promise me.
  • No cliff jumping at night!
  • Don’t start a forest fire. Don’t let Ethan and them start a forest fire either.
  • Don’t share your sleeping bag with anybody..no girls in your sleeping bag or I will be very mad at you. Don’t make Mommy go there and tell some girl to keep her hands to herself.
  • Who is feeding you? You come home if you’re hungry.

I love you. Be safe. Mom.

By the way, he did drive home everytime he had to do a number two.

%d bloggers like this: