Punky Mama

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Things You Learn On A Road Trip

The boys and I took a road trip to Long Island to see my mom.  For the first time driving with then was less managing them in the car and more like a real road trip adventure that we were taking together. On the way they wanted to listen to music. I let them choose the music.  Of course, they made me listen to both Thorazine albums all the way through before we moved on to other music. We all sang along because after being at so many rehearsals they know the words and the back up parts. They had questions about what songs we wrote first and what songs we wrote later. It was really fun.  After the end of Vicious Cycle, Ryan grabbed my arm and said Mom, I have to tell you how proud I am of you and Dad.  You guys are in a really cool band and I am so glad you are doing this again.  I see how much you both like to do this and I am glad you guys are my parents. It meant a ton to me to know he is proud of what we do. In that moment I wanted him to stay exactly the way he is and on the cusp of eleven forever.

Aaron loves Long Island. He adores my sister and my mother.  All he talks about is moving to Long Island. I find that so funny. I fought so hard to get off Long Island and all Aaron wants to do is move back. He loves that my mother had a rabbit in her backyard that likes to sun himself in the afternoon.  He loves the old women who make a fuss over him at the retirement community. He loves that the local restaurant wants to feed him safely. He tells me that he loves the nature on Long Island and he hopes to grow up and live in suburbia one day. I told him he was welcome to live wherever he wanted as he grows up.  I don’t get it but then again he wants to grow up to be a miner.

As we waited for the children’s hours to begin at the pool of the retirement community where my mother lives, my mom and I sat on her porch. The houses all were built around the time I was born but they are all immaculately kept with lovely lawns, perfect landscaping, and really clean cars. My mother said the people across the way were new to the neighborhood and they just moved in. The man was 53, the wife, 46, and their kids had gone off to college. I bristled, your neighbor is younger than I am and I took a deep swallow. I faced myself and thought, I could move into a retirement community, and it made me feel a little sick.   I am so not ready to move to the land of rules about the rules and retired folks playing board and card games every night in the club house. Where everyone had way too much time on their hands and they want to spent time talking about everyone else. Later that night I called home and told my husband, who will be 50 next month, about the neighbors.  He was all HELL NO.  I never want to live somewhere with just one generation of people. Jo, we are far from ready for a place like that, we are not that slow. We are busy and still have years of adventures ahead of us. I was so glad to talk to him and I felt so relieved.


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This summer has been all about using coping skills.  It’s been about all of us having to dig deeper than normal to stay sane and functioning. Elliott has been working on a huge migration this summer. He comes home most nights at about 10 pm after leaving for work at 7am or earlier. He is cranky and some nights he comes in muttering and cursing.  He goes to bed and in the morning we see him for about maybe five minutes. That is a good day. Some days are like the above but he then answers calls all night about issues. Those are the worst. He has lost weight and I think his blood most days is 95% caffeine. This all has an end but really it can’t come soon enough.

For the beginning of the summer Ryan was off his game.  He abandoned all his coping mechanisms.  His transition to summer was awkward and hard. I swear he grew about three inches this summer. His brain chemistry was WAYYYY off and he gave up coping. Suddenly, the growing slowed and I have a very easy to manage almost eleven year old even though he has ADHD and is unmedicated.  He has his moments but he understanding I work some nights and sometimes I am loopy from lack of sleep.  For my part in this is I am trying to make sure we have balance.  We get out and move every single day which in turn makes it easier for him to use his coping skills.  With Ryan using his coping skills, Aaron is bugged less.  It’s all interrelated. What I think is interesting is he is seeking out more things to give him deep muscle pressure. This is one of his coping skills but it means I get a ton of tight hugs from him when we are in a crowd or other situation that makes him feel uneasy. I can’t say I hate it knowing the “don’t touch me” teen years are looming ahead.

Parenting alone most of the week and at times on the weekends too has not been easy.  I am a bit burned out. I have kids who don’t go to camp who are around all the time. Most days I go to bed with them to get up to try keeping up with them again the next day.  I have the bar which always holds a wonderful variety of people I like spending time conversing with.  Those people have become very important and they are part of my coping skills.

Now if I can get my car to pass inspection and if I could hit the gym a couple of times a week we will move past coping and I may actually thrive again.  That will happen in two weeks, when school starts. Although I am loving August I am ready for more of a routine and more money making opportunities. Till then I can cope.

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This week totally unprompted, my kids have separately asked, when does school start?  Both said that they are having a great summer but they miss school and they are eager to get back to it.  WHAT!!!  MY kids want to go back to school.  WOW.  I wouldn’t wish Ryan’s horrible experience at school on anyone but he really appreciates the small school he does have with loving educated staff, lack of bullies, and freedom of thought. Both boys are happy and learning. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids from school?

Today we went to the zoo and we bumped into M, Aaron’s classmate and his family outside the gates. We all traveled together for a bit. Ryan was getting overwhelmed with the crowds and he wanted to move faster than the crowds.  M’s Mom took Aaron with her so that M and Aaron could hang out. The school is tiny and I have talked to M’s Mom many time. I helped M often with his relationships at lunch time buddies. M’s Mom was so happy that Aaron wanted to stay with them they she shooed Ryan and I along. It was great to get an hour alone with Ryan, I get time with Aaron alone while Ryan goes to therapy and it rarely happens the other way around.

This saint of a woman comes to me via this tiny school.  As we got in the car both kids asked, how many days till school starts??  Nineteen days……



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Growing Growing Growing

This summer has been a summer of growing. I have a not quite 11 year old who is inches from looming taller than I am, and I am about 5ft 8inches.  He wears men’s sized clothing but he is a boy.  Still a young boy in many ways, just a big kid, but changes are coming. He is mistaken for an older kid and often says, but I am only 10! He acts younger than his years which is so hard for him because when people see his height they expect he is older.  It’s a hard awkward place to be and I fear there are more awkward places coming along sooner than I may be prepared for.

My other boy is nine but is still missing a front tooth. He desperately wishes to curl up in my lap but his lanky legs will no longer allow it. He also wants to sit in my lap but his 80 lbs make my legs go numb quickly. He has a few years before nature starts his journey to adulthood and he thinks he wants to grow up to be a miner. He wants to live with his brother and will help care for his kids because the thought of living with another adult closely grosses him out. He in ways is a little one but in other ways he is beyond his years.




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