Monday, May 21, 2018

Parenting Friendships

     As I sat and read a blog that popped up on Facebook, (my children joke about that being the "old persons" SnapChat), I reminded myself how I was going to "write more often as it is a relaxing and liberating thing for me to do, whether or not anyone reads it." So here I am...again...TWO YEARS LATER! WOW! I am almost surprised that this account still exists and the old ones are still visible since it has been in-active for so long. Hold onto your seats as away we go.
     Obviously a lot has changed since my last post, the biggest change is my oldest started and has now finished her first year of college...1,800 miles away from home...in Florida! So, here is where those of us who are pilot-wives can say we are truly blessed to have a little different opportunity than some for our children to go that far away and not have it "seem" as far. Or so I thought. Having younger children to still parent, admittedly I didn't get to visit as much as I thought I would and or wanted to. There has been some guilt in I remember saying to her, as we are looking at schools, "we have the ability to travel like many others don't, take advantage of it and see where it takes you," "I don't want you to look back and say I wish I would have at least tried!" As parents we all can name several times in our past with a few I-wish-I-would-have moments as we grew up, and especially even now as parents. I like to call those the "yep, screwed-up-again" parenting moments.
     As the first year passed and I talk to her, other people who she has also talked to, I found that she wasn't always telling me the truth about how she was feeling and what was going on as she didn't want to disappoint me, make me upset and all those things that you DON'T want you child to feel. Ugh! Punch in the gut "yep, screwed-up-again" parenting moment! So how do we know when we are doing that? I like to think of myself as an intuitive person in a lot of ways but apparently missed the mark on this one. I know I have been one of those people who say "yeah, they are living vicariously through their child," usually with sports where you see that kid that you don't think really wants to play and that parent in the background screaming them on. So was I doing this to my beloved first born? Was I thinking how awesome of an opportunity she had to do something amazing and pushed her into it? Time for a reality chat with the girlfriends.
     Girlfriends...I love girlfriends! As we grow and blossom into parenthood, we will find there are different classifications of our friends now, just like back in school days.  There was your school friends, your sport/activity friends, your neighborhood friends. Sometimes these friends crossed over categories but all in all they were still friends.  The same happens in adulthood but it seems it ends up being a more narrow field, at least in my case. You have your work friends, and your kids' friends parents and neighbor friends. You will have those friends from childhood that you still talk to and connect with when you can, but if your life has taken you away from them at all geographically, you do drift apart. Especially when you hit that age of life I like to define as the "running my kids everywhere" stage.
     Back to girlfriends.  We have moved, yes mostly by choice around my husbands career, and so my friend base is literally in many states. Of course I cannot see those out-of-state friends as often as I would like to, even with my flight privileges that silly thing called parenting and time seem to get in the way.  With our last and current move, we have been here going on ten years now, my current friend base seems to have circled more around my middle child. 
     My oldest is socially quieter and more reserved so she wasn't one who wanted to do a lot of sports or activities outside of school. Not to mention my time overall was different as her brothers, being younger, needed more hands-on attention so I sadly didn't meet a lot of her "school friends" parents outside of the quick hi/bye at birthday parties or sleep over drop offs.  She was also more reserved in who she chose as friends. She was/is selective and had a smaller core of friends as she doesn't like drama, catty-ness and all those things girls can be famous for so once Middle School and High School came, her outside of school friend base got smaller. In many ways that did make me sad for her, mainly because I was so different and in sports year-round that I had a lot of friends. But looking back now and thinking about how we classify things in life, a lot of them in the early teen years were probably more acquaintances you hang with a lot more than true friends. So she is a lot more ahead of the game and more mature than I was at her age.
     My middle one is a typical middle child in that he always wants people to be happy so being a friend came easy to him.  Not to mention he is was and is in many sports so he is always around buddies.   Though there were many times I remember saying things like "don't let them do that" and "you don't always have to give in" and phrases like that.  I also have found myself telling him, after living through it with his older sister that as you age and go from Middle School to High School, your friends will greatly change. People will start to have different likes and passions that once tied you as friends. Now that doesn't mean you aren't still friends, but you won't be as close as you once were. The hardest thin he as found is when friends act differently depending on who they are around and which "group" they are hanging with at the time.  These things are hard to teach about and help them through so I find myself saying things like "well if you don't like it, make sure you are not one of those kids that does it," and "keep being who you are and your friends will remain." I also say you may be changing and acting differently than you realize as well so try to be subconsciously aware of how you are treating people. I know, easier said than done in the teen years, hell even in adulthood!
     Then there's my crazy youngest. He seems to be a combination of both my older kids. He is in a lot of sports and school activities so is around a ton a kids, but he does seem to keep circling around a smaller group for most of the time.  He is fun-loving, sweet and easy to be around. He can be that goofy joke-ster but then the serious intellect. He is so observant and pays attention to all the things his siblings do, and always has. He would sit and want to watch my oldest do homework and sometimes pretend to do it with her (there is a 6 year difference between them) and sometimes did. His brain is far beyond mine in what he can take in, learn and remember. I truly hope as he goes on through adolescences and into High School, he keeps all that makes him who he is.
     So now to my friends. Being the wife of a pilot makes life a little interesting. Having moved like we did and having younger children, I never really had that career that you think you will get as you dream of growing up. Each time we moved I had to try and find a job that either paid enough to make it worth having kids in day care or a job that I loved so much it didn't matter (which moving and switching jobs like I did made it harder).  But I found with our first move, I already had the job I wanted...mom.  This came as a bit of a shock to me once I hit that realization as I was always going to either be a vet, or have that "corner office with the view" in a high powered ad agency.  So once we figured out we could make it work with me staying home and being mom, then I could look for jobs that would work around his schedule and just give me some grown-up time, (Those that are are also stay-at-home parents understand that all too well).
     The weird thing is this is when my girlfriends started to take shape. My kids were too young (5 and 1 at the time) to be in too many things yet so I mainly talked and hung around my awesome neighbor (who we already knew as she was also a pilot-wife) and helped me constantly as they didn't have children at the time, or the ladies I worked with. But mainly I spent most of my time with my kids. We would drop my oldest off at Kindergarten and then my middle (youngest at the time) and I would either to right to the park and play, go for long walks or if weather was bad go to the mall and walk around. Which is also probably how I lost all that baby weight that seems to still haunt me now...lol. If the hubby was home, we would have things to do around the house or he would join us.  To this day even though I don't get to see my neighbor, as we are thousands of miles away, we know that we are always thinking of each other and know if needed, we would be there in a second for each other.  There has been a small handful of people where I would think of weird things like, if something happened and this friend couldn't have kids, would I be a surrogate? (yes my brain sometimes is odd that way), and she was one of those friends.  When it came to them finding out they couldn't have children, I would have had they asked, even though I tended to grow big babies!
     Our next move was in a lot of ways the same, except this time I was pregnant...surprise!  The funniest thing about life is the people you sometimes meet by chance turn out to be friends.  Case in point our realtor we hired to help with our relocation.  She was the neighbor of my step-sister so I knew she was good at her job, but she went above and beyond for me.  When we first decided to move, again, it was partly for my hubby's job but mainly as we were suddenly surprise with a third baby on the way. We weren't crazy about the schools where we were and I was hit with having to be a part-time single parent to three kids! I didn't know if I was up for it so I wanted to be back closer to family. My dad had just retired (which would end up being the first time of many...lol) so we thought perfect, he will have time to help if needed.  So when we started to look for houses we didn't at first fully tell my dad that we were expecting again, but it kind of slipped to our realtor and she graciously kept the secret, though she hated to, until we could tell everyone. Long story short she ended up being my first friend, even to the point of going to doctor's appointments with me (we were down one vehicle when we moved for a bit due to a car accident during the move, that story is a blog in itself) and one of the nurses assuming she was "grandma" even though she would have had to have me when she was like 12 for that to work. Then she helped us find a great house with awesome neighbors. Two families of which became and remain good friends. Each of us traveling to visit each other usually at least once a year.
     On to life now.  My youngest was young when we moved here so I couldn't jump into being the volunteer at school for my older two like I would have liked and getting used to a new community can be harder when you are a stay-at-home mom around a toddlers schedule so we spent many hours together.  Plus since we built our house a lot of my free time was getting that in order which took a lot of my spare time as well. Then my middle started having the sport bug and getting involved in many activities so that is where I started to meet other moms. Football and baseball being the main ones.  One may wonder how we start to make those types of friends. Do we gather around those that cheer similar to us, have the gift to gab and approached you first, was there one moment or several little ones that pulled you together.  I am sure there was some expensive study done somewhere on this but the bottom line is it truly doesn't matter how you found each other but THAT you found each other. I have looked to my friends for guidance, support and yes occasionally that ego boost that we all need from time to time. Friends are good for that!
    Friendship is a human need. As one definition of friendship states that there are "characteristics present in many types of such bonds. Such characteristics include affection, kindness, love, virtue, sympathy, empathy, honesty, loyalty, mutual understanding and compassion, enjoyment of each other's company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one's feelings to others, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend." Much like I tell my kids, I know my friendships will change and evolve over the years. Some you may keep close, others will become more of an acquaintance but they are all still friends.  I am truly blessed with the amazing friends I have had in my lifetime and I hope you all realize, whether we talk a lot or just occasionally, how much you have meant to me over my lifetime!   

Saturday, August 27, 2016

     There are so many sayings about time. Some days it flies by and we feel like we can't breathe, other days it's as slow as a snail and you can't wait for it to end. It has only been since April since the last time I was here, it feels like an eternity.  So much has happened in the last few months that we have been waiting for for what seems like forever, that is why time seems to have slowly crept by. We found out he was finally getting his break at big Delta in January, and then the other shoe fell and we realized they were not going to release him for a while because they were apparently "short-staffed." So as the months slowly past and he kept being delayed, it appeared as if we were going to have to wait the full year, which was the max they could "keep him." As we slowly crept closer to that time, he was finally released and started in November.
      So then starts the whirlwind of training and being back to low man on the seniority pole and having to commute, but I know the trade off in the end will be all worth it. This is what he's worked for for a very long time.  The best part for me is he was on reserve for such a short time compared to his previous career. To some that might not seem like a big deal, it's truly a huge deal. He spent the greater portion of his 12 years at his previous company on reserve, so those of us who live with that know we truly never know the schedule.  Most of us pilot wives know how to plan life, it still makes it easier. We know that our pilot may not get to go to the party, baseball game, or even the dinner with friends but it is so nice to also know when we can expect him at the dinner, the baseball tournament, or the family dinner. But truly the best part is actually getting to that point where we may be able to finally meet our pilot on a long overnight somewhere.  To see the full months schedule and be able to call grandma and say can you take the kids for the day, or weekend, and be able to hang with him for a while is truly a magical thing.
     I have heard many times recently how nice it must be to be to be able to fly off and meet him for a night. Most truly don't understand the reality of it all They don't take into account how we have spent the last decade, while they climb the flying ladder, to get to this point going solo. Then being a single parent post children.  And I say it that way to cover how in the beginning, before children, you would go to that party by yourself, that wedding by yourself, or that family dinner by yourself.   Then comes the children and you still go to the dinner by yourself, yet with your kids, the wedding by yourself yet with your kids, or the party by yourself, yet with your kids.  And it is always the same questions of where is he flying this time, where is he off to this time, when will he be home and you truly don't always know the where,  but you always know the when. You always anxiously await that return day knowing that you get a few precious days with them before they head off again.
 


Thursday, April 28, 2016

So the old saying of time flies when you're having fun isn't just a saying in my life apparently. It is literal in many ways. I see now that it has been over 3 years since I have written. And possibly why my stress level is also higher. I have found, much like Oprah told all years ago writing (or journal-ing) calm my nerves and let me "get it all out" so it doesn't fester and rot. Well guess what, been rotting a little and need to get it out before it rots and starts to sink up the joint.

So where to start. The past few years since my last entry have been kind of a blur. I ended up deciding to get my "quick" teaching license. Okay, so you are all like what the heck is a quick teaching licence. Well, since I have a 4-year degree, I was able to get a special license that allows me to teach, BUT only up to so many days in 1 classroom at a time, but I can float between different classes, schools, whatever, every day to my heart's content if I want. This is a plus in many ways. I can't commit to a longer assignment without a variance from the State of MN, but it is also a minus in that I cannot sub in one classroom for a long-term assignment without a variance from the State. Well I found out last year, after lots of kindly asking from Administration and soul searching if I wanted to take on a classroom during a maternity leave, that it isn't that hard to get a variance so it works out in the end.

The longer you are around a building and a group of teachers, the more they get to know you and how you work and then the more "jobs" you an get even before it goes into the computer automated substitute system (Aesop in the sub world). So there are many months that I can almost work full-time if I want. But you also have to gauge things like if you need a little extra income in September or June, they usually don't take time off in those months.

So that has been my "job" life the past few years, subbing in mainly elementary classes. I also tend to do a lot of Special Education settings, which I seem to have a knack for (or at least they think I do because they keep calling). I have found a new appreciation and admiration for Kindergarten teachers. That is a tough gig with a LOT of one-on-one attention needed ALL DAY from 18+ kids as once. I know now that I could not do that grade on a daily basis! My love has been in Special Ed and then like grades 4th and 5th.  Those older elementary grades are finally able to have expressions and be involved and engaged a lot more in the teaching activities and it is more of a back-and-forth then feel like you're just up there talking and lecturing like with the younger ages. And, they haven't quite got to the sassy self-expression part of more middle school ages seem to be. I haven't dabbled in high school age,...yet, a little afraid they they will know a heck of a lot more than me of whatever subject it is!

Then there's my kids. They are rowing faster than I want of course. And you hear that all the time about time flying and you blink and they're grown. Well, sadly it is all true! I can't believe that next year I will have a senior, 8th grader and 6th grader. Seems like yesterday I was trying to chase a toddler while holding a baby and trying to get a school-ager off and ready for her day! They have all grown into their own special and very unique people. Each very head-strong and determined (not sure where they get that, yes, that is sarcasm again), and of course every parent hope of high self-esteem continuing to blossom as well. I love running all-levers forward chasing them from sport to sport to school activity and back home to do it all over the next day. They all do so good in school that I can't believe how lucky I am! We rarely fight about homework or school and after some days where I have to struggle with students at work, I come home and thank God above at how lucky I am.

So enough about me, me. Now on to the other me, me. The Pilot's Wife me. The road has been a long and very up and down one the past 12 years of this life I have lived.  But the landing lights have finally brightened at the end of the runway (also know as the light at the end of the tunnel for you non-pilot people). My hubby FINALLY got the call to go up the the majors! Even though that in itself was a stressful and crazy wait, due to the "pilot shortage" at his now previous airline, and the fact the current airline "owns" the other, he had to wit almost a full year to go to class and switch companies! They kept saying they couldn't afford to let him go just yet, but luckily there was a contract in place that they could only keep him so long, but man did they wait until the last possible moment to release him! Having that said, it has so far been a crazy and sometimes very stressful ride,

Check back later for the next installment of "Finally at the Majors!"