I was away for a few days in paradise with just my daughter, (read more about that here). We had morphed a family vacation into a girls getaway leaving our “boys” at home to bond over video games and baseball. I’ve already written about the adolescent dynamic that mystifies and terrifies and fully was prepared for its head to rear and to even enjoy some of its wrath as I sat down wind on the beach.
Disappointments from childhood are the most complicated to unpack. I say this without reservation and with total authority.
When I was twelve, my mother was diagnosed with a (then) rare but very treatable form of cancer. It shook us all to our core since she was the one who “lived clean”–juxtaposed against my Dad–she had no history of drinking, didn’t smoke, avoided the sun. We found out that it had also metastasized (spread) and she was going to have to have surgery to remove the cancer and aggressive treatments of iodine therapy to remove anything left. During iodine therapy she couldn’t have visitors and couldn’t touch certain types of people so I could not see her. The therapy coincided with a pre-planned annual vacation we were to take, so my father decided instead of being home and not visiting my mother we would go and I would bring a friend with me.
I’m getting ready to go on vacation for spring break and nothing is better than the anticipation of having free, uninterrupted family time to relax and enjoy each other. It’s times like this that I am reminded of the vacations I spent as a kid in the Caribbean with my parents, as they were probably the happiest of my entire childhood and because of that they leave me with a deep ache and a profound sorrow for the loss of my Dad.
Tomorrow we are having a birthday party for my littlest one. My baby. Although his birthday isn’t officially until Monday, this party is one of the “primary” celebrations we will have for him. See there are a few different kinds of parties. There are “school parties”–these happen at school, there are “family parties”–just family, and there are “kid parties”–kid only celebrations. Then there is the Mack-daddy party, the kid-family mash-up. That’s what we are doing tomorrow. Now you may think that based on how I’m talking about my little boy he must be a tiny tyke… Well you’d be wrong, in one way… ok in a major way. But I wouldn’t totally disagree either.
Adolescence has struck our home. And since we have two, the chances are lightening will strike twice. I’m new to this stage of motherhood and since I was the first of my friends to have kids and some of my buds have decided not to have them as of yet, aside from a kind ear and the fact that we went through adolescence there isn’t much advice based on experience in my close circle yet. I know what I know from growing up a female, and although I don’t want to discount that, my own childhood is a bit fraught ( I’m going to leave it at that) so I’m trying to be conscious of NOT projecting my experience on her.