Shout out to Brian from HotM and Writing from the Heart with Brian for a story Wednesday about the emotions of taking his youngest to college. It reminded me of a post I wrote about saying good-bye:
First I wrote about 7 tips for parents on Move-In Day. At the end I wrote: “I made it through the day without tears–mostly. It was a long, busy and tiring day. When my husband and I stopped for lunch — alone — and I realized that we were truly alone — the tears ran down my cheeks. I wiped them off and prepared myself for battle for the next stop at Target. When, it’s time to say good-bye — well, I’ll tell you how that goes another time.”
So, how did it go when we said good-bye?
We had planned to stay until Sunday. Move-In day had been Thursday. We wanted to be around for a few days in case she needed us. She wanted us there on Thursday, but by Friday — not so much. It began to make sense for us to leave. We didn’t want to hang out and wait to see if she wanted us around. It didn’t make us feel good and we weren’t enjoying ourselves exploring the city that much. We had a long drive ahead of us, too. So we went out for an early morning walk and talked about how we’d let her know that we felt it was time to leave.
She texted us at 7 a.m. Saturday.
It was time to say good-bye. We walked over to her dorm. I took a deep breath. I said a prayer to be strong.
“Do not cry. I can do this,” I repeated in my head.
She opened the door, I wanted to say something profound and loving. Something she’d remember — but I said nothing. My husband said a few things and I nodded my head.
I opened my mouth, my voice cracked and wavered. At this point I cannot remember what I was trying to say.
“Mom! Mom! Stop it!” she said. “Don’t!”
She held my face in her hands, like I was the child. “It’s going to be okay.”
Tip: Make it short and quick.
Bill and I walked out of her room into the bright cool air that is Utah. We walked all over campus for two hours and I felt much better — amazed at what a strong beautiful woman we had raised.
Here’s an update:
What tips do you have for saying good-bye to your loved ones — whether it’s college or pre-school?
My daughter shared an article with me that she thought I’d find interesting for my blog. It’s from Teen Vogue — which she said is not behind a paywall — and has more interesting articles than fashion like “What’s hot for summer.”
In “Influencer Parents and The Kids Who Had Their Childhood Made Into Content” by FORTESA LATIFI, I learned about parents who cashed in on their kids on social media.
Here’s an excerpt:
Claire, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, has never known a life that doesn’t include a camera being pointed in her direction. The first time she went viral, she was a toddler. When the family’s channel started to rake in the views, Claire says both her parents left their jobs because the revenue from the YouTube channel was enough to support the family and to land them a nicer house and new car. “That’s not fair that I have to support everyone,” she said. “I try not to be resentful but I kind of [am].” Once, she told her dad she didn’t want to do YouTube videos anymore and he told her they would have to move out of their house and her parents would have to go back to work, leaving no money for “nice things.”
When the family is together, the YouTube channel is what they talk about. Claire says her father has told her he may be her father, but he’s also her boss. “It’s a lot of pressure,” she said. When Claire turns 18 and can move out on her own, she’s considering going no-contact with her parents. Once she doesn’t live with them anymore, she plans to speak out publicly about being the star of a YouTube channel. She’ll even use her real name. Claire wants people to know how her childhood was overshadowed by social media stardom that she didn’t choose. And she wants her parents to know: “nothing they do now is going to take back the years of work I had to put in.”
It would be easy to judge these parents as monsters. But, I am thankful Instagram and TikTok did NOT exist when my kids were young. Wait, I’ll retract my statement and call it exploitation of children. I guess that’s being judgmental, right?
I had Facebook when my kids were growing up and my pages were an embarrassing brag-site of my amazing, marvelous kids! It’s nauseating to look back on.
As my daughter got older, her friends would bully or tease her about awkward tween years’ photos I posted. She asked me to NOT post anything about her without permission. I mostly followed her wishes. Maybe slipping up a few times.
Although I look negatively at parents who use their children as cash cows, like I said, I’m glad it wasn’t something I had an option to do. Unlike TV and movie parents, there are no protections for kids who are content on their parents’ social media sites. The article goes into detail about how contracts with TV and movies have protections for children and they get money put into a trust.
By the way, I also didn’t think it was right for swim parents to put pressure on their swim kids to earn college scholarships. I had a weekly column about swim parenting HERE. Too much pressure, period. However, if a scholarship did happen, that’s icing on the cake of all the valuable lessons and friendships gained through sports.
I look at the harm social media has done to our kids who grew up with it. Suicide, depression, anxiety and eating disorders are running rampant. I wonder how these teens are doing who were used as influencers since toddlerhood?
I have a weekly zoom call where we talk about all sorts of current subjects. We are a variety of ages, religions and a spectrum of political persuasions. One of the topics we’ll talk about next week is social media and our youth. Here’s A LINK to a Surgeon General’s Advisory from the Department of Health and Human Services that I received from the group yesterday. In the article is a pdf from the Surgeon General.
What thoughts do you have about parents using kids as influencers on social media? What thoughts do you have about the affects of social media on our youth?
That’s the first time I heard Ray Bradbury speak — and the first time I asked him to sign a book. My daughter was three months old, and my son was three years old. That’s a lot of years to have this book sitting on my bookshelf. It’s time for a reread.
His book of essays reminded me of how inspiring his talks were. I heard him speak at two writers’ conferences and at a small movie theater downtown Palm Springs. The first time I heard him speak, I saw him that same day in May 1996 at Las Casuelas the Original, a small Mexican restaurant. I introduced myself to him, as he ate alone, and said I couldn’t wait to hear his talk. He was happy I stopped by to say hello.
It was one of the first writer’s conferences I had attended, and I was kind of in a fog, having a newborn child and little sleep.
Ray Bradbury was amazing. He reminded me of a young child, finding wonder in the world. He had the ability to stay young at heart and observe the world as though seeing little things for the first time. I loved his story of how he wroteFahrenheit 451 in the basement of the UCLA library at a rental typewriter paying 10 cents a half hour. He said he was literally a “dime novelist.” It gave me courage and the belief that we can do anything — if you want it badly enough.
“Garbage in, garbage out,” he said. He advised us to turn off the TV. Don’t watch the news. He said they were selling soap and there was little or no good news and it would rot our minds. Instead, “Read the Bible, a poem and an essay every day.”
How I’d wish I’d listened more carefully and followed that advice . How different would my life be today? The good news is, it’s not too late to start.
My all-time favorite Ray Bradbury book is Fahrenheit 451. My son loves this book, too. I took my son to meet Ray Bradbury during another local speaking engagement years later. My son now has a signed copy of Farenheit 451 that he treasures. Ray Bradbury was a very accessible and kind man, willing to share with all of us enjoying his gift and genius — and striving to be 1/100th the writer that he was.
“What do you love most in the world? The big and little things, I mean. A trolley car, a pair of tennis shoes? These, at one time when we were children, were invested with magic for us.” — from Zen and the Art of Writing
Who are your all-time favorite authors? What are your favorite books?
I’ve been having a few quirky issues with WordPress.
I’ll comment on someone’s post and I can’t type the letter n. All the other letters work, but not n. It’s beyond frustrating.
My work around is to quit WordPress. Quit my browser and start over.
Another quirk is people I follow no longer show up in my “reader.” It may be weeks or days before I notice. It’s “out of sight, out of mind.” Then I’ll think to myself, whatever happened to that lovely blog I used to read? I type in the name and up it pops. I’m still following it, but it doesn’t always show up.
One day my stats disappeared. I don’t spend much time on stats, but from time to time I like to know if my engagement is up or my readership is growing. I reached out to WordPress and they were able to reload them for me. I will say that WordPress has a good support team.
Is anyone else having trouble with the letter “N?” What other quirky issues have you had? How often do you check your stats and insights?
A pool overlooking the Gulf of California in Puerto Penasco.
What was I thinking when I named my blog “Bleuwater” back in 2014? Today, I’m wondering why did I come up with such a difficult, hard to spell name?
I blame it on Mom, may she rest in peace.
Her favorite color was blue. She was intense about her likes and usually dressed in navy blue. Everyone who knew her also knew blue was her color. Her favorite restaurant, where my mom and dad went for special occasions, was called the Bleu Dolphin, with the French spelling of blue.
She took me there a couple times for a cup of chowder and Dungeness crab cocktail. I was wildly impressed as a child by the restaurant, the food and the name. My mom thought the name was “highbrow.” Her world was defined by things and people she’d call highbrow or lowbrow.
When I started by blog, I was living in a world of water. Summers at the beach and six days a week at the pool as a swim mom. I was so involved with my kids’ swim team that I earned a polo shirt embroidered with the team logo and “Extreme Swim Parent.” I loved to wear that shirt to parent teacher meetings at my kids’ school. The look on the teacher’s face was well worth it!
There’s the story of the name of my blog. Nine years later, perhaps I’d like to change it, but I’ll hang onto “Bleuwater” in memory of Mom and my love of the ocean, lakes and pools.
If you’re a blogger what’s the story behind your blog’s name?
Last week a thought occurred to me. I should get out my flute. Not only would it be nice to play again after a few years of not playing, it might give me a burst of creativity. I’m always looking for ways to encourage my creative spirit including walks, sketching or reading. However, in my advanced age, I promptly forgot about playing the flute.
Actually after moving, the flute got tucked away along with my music. At our former home, my flute was out on the piano and I’d walk by and stop to play. We donated our piano to our kids’ elementary school before we moved.
I was reading through blogs yesterday when I ran across a mouse playing a flute in a story on Nuggets of Gold called Moonlight Sonata. A note went off in my head. Yes, I want to get my flute out — and music.
I remembered where I squirreled away my music in the guest room dresser. My flute was hidden in my closet. My favorite flute music is falling apart, but still readable. I also found piano music for the Phantom of the Opera and Wizard of Oz. The good thing with the flute is that it’s in the key of C and I can play piano music easily — at least the melodies.
My mom played flute since she was a child and took me to lessons when I was around 10 years old. I played her beautiful silver flute at lessons and practiced with it. She got the flute from her high school flute teacher as a teen. When I was 11 years old, she gave me her flute. Her friends asked why she would give a child such a valuable instrument and she took it back. My parents bought me a flute appropriate to play at school when I joined Band.
When I turned 30, I asked my mom for the flute. She said no even though she hadn’t played it after taking it back from me two decades before. I was planning to make a leap and join our church choir. A friend of mine played flute in choir and suggested I give it a try. I could have played with my old band instrument, but it sounds tinny and is hard to play compared to the rich tone and ease of Mom’s silver flute.
Anyway, that was my excuse — also I was scared. Buying a flute at that time wasn’t even an idea we could consider.
I asked mom at age 40 and again at 50. The answer was always no. Sometime in my early 50s she told me she wanted me to have her flute. On one of my visits, she insisted I take it home on the plane. I held on to it for dear life on the flight back to Palm Springs.
My son and I practiced Christmas Carol duets each year, me on the flute and him on piano. I’d go through phases where I’d practice daily and then stop and start again.
Then the phone calls began. Mom had moved into assisted living. When she was in her 80s she wanted her flute back. I tried to explain that I was enjoying playing and I knew she wouldn’t play her flute or even open its case. She assured me she would and wanted to practice for a concert. Then she’d forget all about it and months later she’d call again about the flute.
I think in the back of my mind, I was hurt when she took the flute away from me as a child. I overheard her telling a friend that I was getting my sticky peanut butter and jelly fingers all over it — which was not true. I also felt that it was wrong to hang onto a possession for thirty or forty years and not let someone enjoy it.
My aunt, her little sister, had a similar story with china inherited from their family. My mom gave it to her little sister (my aunt) before she moved from her home, but once in assisted living kept calling to get her china back. There was obviously no room in the assisted living studio to display the china or store it.
Looking back, I wonder if I should have returned the flute for a few years to appease my mom. I think she was attached to these possessions because they reminded her of her earlier years and she saw them as her identity.
In any case, I have the flute and music out and it brings me joy to play and connects me to Mom in a good way, that I am able to enjoy her beautiful instrument and her musical talent. RIP.
Do you think people hold onto possessions because they see them as part of their identity or youth? If yes, what other things do people hang onto for that reason?
On Mother’s Day, I was feeling a little weepy since it was my first since I lost Mom. But I did have some pleasant moments, too. My kids called and I learned how to “merge” their calls so the three of us talked together. My husband and I went for an early morning walk before it was hot.
We went to our favorite Carefree Coffee Roastery for breakfast. We got there early, believing we’d beat the crowd. No, there was a line waiting for the cafe to open! We got a table and didn’t have to wait too long. I had an everything bagel with cream cheese and lox. It was delish!
We had a lap swimming reservation later in the day and we had the pool to ourselves. The hour was booked with six swimmers, but we were the only ones who showed up! That was a treat in itself!
With nothing planned the rest of Mother’s Day, I dove into “Remarkably Bright Creatures” which was recommended to me by no less than three bloggers I follow. THANK YOU for the recommendation!
WOW! I was reading stretched out on the sofa in the casita with Olive the cat purring on my tummy. At eight o’clock I finished the book and walked into our bedroom in tears.
“What’s wrong?” my husband asked.
I sobbed and said the book was so good.
I’ve read two debut novels in May that were excellent. The other was “Black Cake” that I wrote about HERE.
Of course, I also loved Cheryl Oreglia’s “Grow Damn It” weeks before. A debut book by blogger of Living in the Gap fame.
I’m looking forward to reading the debut novel by Eve Marie from the blog CupCakeCache called “The Bayou Heist,” available on Amazon.