Living with teens and ghosts of doubt

The constant complaining about school this year is something new for me. I’m not complaining. I’m pretty happy with the situation. It is the teens.

I’ve discovered that teachers who were called horrible at the first of the year are in reality hard working saints to fight battles even the most hardened Vampire can’t imagine. They fight these battles every single day.

Fortunately and amazingly today there was no drama. No tales of overdoses, fights or misunderstandings. No confusing homework. The only remotely bad thing was the fact that the girl who sits in front of my son in physiology has a crush on him. She keeps turning back and smiling. He also gets sweet text messages from him.

Another friend is in the school musical. We’ll be in the audience of Fiddler on the Roof in a few weeks. I’m sure it will be wonderful. My own two had never heard of it. That surprised me. I think they’ll like the story and understand the meaning. Yes, Fiddler on the Roof with Vampires, only the Vampires will be watching, not singing or dancing.

I learned a friend of theirs lives in a house with 7 cats, 2 dogs and a 50-year-old parrot. The parrot only likes their mom. It has a pretty large vocabulary but always yells “GO AWAY” when anyone except MOM comes near. Good parrot.

The weekend is already booking up with plans of having friends over. I love a house full of teens and their fun banter. They are so full of life.

I dread the day when they all go off to college. They’ll still come back to visit, but I’m almost in a panic. I knew I’d only have them so long but it all brings up so many feelings. Not just about motherhood but about everything.

They remind me of when I was young, full of so many hopes and dreams. So much stupidity. I’m trying to help these kids not be so stupid or ignorant, but they’ll make mistakes. I just hope that nothing messes with their dreams and goals or their friendships.

Just in passing I thought about what I need to do with my life outside of motherhood and felt that dull ache that stops me in my tracks. I stand on the shore and watch my ship sail away without me. I’m frozen. I can’t move at all. I feel sick. My heart stops. I don’t take a breath for the longest time.

Then someone calls my name or yell MOM. Yes it is a beautiful sound. But I’m not that kind of mommy blogger. I’m not a mommy blogger at all. I’m the one who is frozen at the chance for something that is completely mine. Pandora’s box is mine and I dare not open it. I know what is inside and I’m afraid. I’m a wife and a mother and a professional (no work talk tonight) but there are other dreams. Dreams and desires that tug at me and taunt me and call me a coward.

It makes my head spin.

Then I look up from my computer and there, sitting across the table is The Ghost, Nigel. He is leaning back in the chair shaking his head slightly in disapproval. He brushes his black hair out of his eyes and leans forward and whispers, “Why don’t you ever write about your parents?”

“I have. I do, every once in a while.” I guess I have, maybe half a dozen of the 700 give or take a few posts I’ve written.

He squinted his eyes at me. “Almost never. You’re like a teenager acting like they don’t exist.”

“I don’t want to invade their privacy.”

“You don’t mind invading my privacy.”

“You’re a ghost. Nobody believes in ghosts.”

“Nobody believes in Vampires either, much less ones with parents.”

I shrugged.

“Get your own blog.” I said, tired of his game.

“I can’t write. I mean I could when I was alive but I can’t now.”

“You can’t write? Why?”

“How should I know. There aren’t any books around here on being a ghost. No seminars. No workshops. Nothing. Nobody tells us anything.”

What a liar. I knew he could write. “Wait, you’ve hijacked my blog before. You’re such a liar. You know, you don’t have to lie to me.  You can’t just show up here and try to haunt your way through things. Were you this immature when you were alive?”

“Juliette, I can only write on your computer and it creeps me out. I can’t work on a Vampire’s computer.”

“Where are your parents? Are they still alive?”

“Either way they’re in Hell, or at least I can hope. I have no idea where they are. I haven’t seen either one of them since I was 15.”

I had no idea. “I’m sorry Nigel.”

He shrugged and gave me a half smile. “Don’t be. I did fine. Would have done better if I hadn’t died.  You’re not breathing.”

“Sorry. I forget sometimes.”

“You’re creeping me out Vampire.”

I just stared at him as he faded in and out, no doubt trying to come up with something to say.

“Listen Juliette, you have a lot going for you. I mean, I had a lot going for me too despite some bad luck when it came to family. I had a lot of fun when I was a teenager. You’re lucky to have such great kids with such great friends. It was my friends who got me through, who made me feel confident and comfortable in my own skin. Of course I don’t have skin anymore but I’m still pretty comfortable.”

“I’m glad you’re comfortable. I’d hate to be haunted by an uncomfortable ghost.”

Then he came around the table, very very very close to me and in almost a whisper said, “Just do it Juliette. Do what you need to do. No regrets. Just take that brass ring. Take the bull by the horns. Take a chance. Make your kids proud of you. Be a star.”

I took a deep breath.

He smiled. “Is your heart going to start beating again.”

“Um sure. i suppose that would be a good idea”.

“You creep me out Vampire.”

“You creep me out.”

“That’s why we’re friends.”

“Love you too Nigel.”

And he smiled and vanished leaving behind the faint outline of a heart that faded away after about a minute.

Parenting isn’t all about babies … It is about a love that will last forever if one takes it seriously. It is about new friends, new experiences and maybe a ghost or two along the way. Even if that is a ghost of your own past – or maybe just a ghost.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


6 thoughts on “Living with teens and ghosts of doubt

  1. This was a highly interesting and very special conversation. Sometimes it seems to me you and the ghost really can’t stand each other – but this time: I feel you got closer emotionally.
    On the other hand I’m not exactly sure why you seem to “creep out” each other… isn’t this a little “weird”?

    • We’re creatures of the dark. Ghosts can give off exceptionally bad vibes related to violence and other unsavory things that might have happened to them while they were in the world of the living. In turn, the very idea of a Vampire is insulting to a ghost. And you have to admit that Vampires gross out most things. We drink blood. We can go for hours without breathing or letting our hearts beat. We can be a bit callus about, well, things. A lot of things. Plus we live for a long long time and still have our bodies – that pisses Ghosts off to no end. It is a feeling. An aura sort of thing. A not quite trusting bad vibe thing between Nigel and me. Then again, we find common ground. It is what it is. Weird yes. Normal, sort of, at least for us.

  2. J, take that “ghost of a chance” and go for it – whatever “it” is so that when you’re sitting in a rocking chair somewhere years and years from now you don’t have that regretful thought “If only”, “I wish I had” . If it’s really in your heart, just go for it and never look back. 🙂 Hugs!


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