Seeing Beyond Yourself

When your children go out into the world there are traits they’ll need to be successful, even if they’re Vampires.

Compassion and seeing beyond your own single mindedness is something that our world lacks. It is also something our children can make up for, and make their future brighter.

You can be the smartest person in the world but if you can’t see traits and qualities in other that you don’t have then you aren’t that smart.

You can be rich but if you don’t give back then you’re morally poor.

You can think you know what you like, but if you’re closed minded you’ll never really know what you like.

As our children become adults they must move from the sheltered world of their childhood, that of high school and their parent’s home, and see beyond themselves.

Your assignment for today, as a parent, grandparent, or anyone with a young person in your life: Talk with your young person about the big wide world. Talk to them about compassion and making a difference. It is a big world, but even a small bit of compassion will go a long way and make a big difference. How have you seen beyond your world? Share that. And with any luck, your young person, in the infinite wisdom of youth will share their visions with you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

The First Day of School Without Kids

This year, is the first year, in many many many years that I will not be there for the first day of school.

I have no idea what anyone is going to wear. I’m not even sure what day school will actually start.

Nobody will come home and tell me all about their classes.

Damn.

I am suddenly feeling all sort of nervous and kind of out of sorts, and a bit sad, and sort of excited, and I don’t quite know what.

When school starts there will no longer be any K-12 or college kids living in my house. Just my dog, my cats, the wild turkeys who hang out on the back fence, and my husband.

I guess I could also include the pair of bald eagles in my neighborhood who for the past three years have hatched and raised three sets of baby eagles (six eagle children) and seen them fly off. I’ve thought a lot about the eagle parents as I’ve watched the chicks grow from tiny fluffy head bobbers to large magnificent birds.

Since 2012 I’ve written parenting posts about raising children to be independent, strong, successful, questioning, compassionate, curious, smart, mature adults.

That is exactly what I did. AND I did it well. I did it exceedingly well.

So why do I feel like crying?

Yes, I’ve heard Werewolf parents howl at the moon when their pups take human form and go off to college.

I guess it is ok for all of us to howl at the moon in our own way when our children leave home.

I am happy and proud beyond words. No mom has ever been more proud. No mom has ever told her husband “we did a great job” more times than I have.

I never thought I could love this much, or this hard, or this good.

Even if they don’t turn into bats (you know, Vampires and all), I am glad to see them spread their proverbial wings and fly.

I’ll adjust. So will they.

Deep breath.

And so the adventure begins.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Empty Nest

At the end of my street is a bald eagle nest. The babies hatched this spring have learned to fly a few weeks ago and have now left the nest. We might see them around occasionally during the rest of the summer, but they’re more or less gone. This is the third year we’ve had eagle babies. This is the third year we’ve gone out to the nest and watched new hatchlings grow and leave mom and dad.

The nest is now empty.

Empty nest syndrome is a feeling of grief and loneliness parents may feel when their children leave home for the first time, such as to live on their own or to attend a college or university. It is not a clinical condition.

My daughter just turned twenty. She’ll be moving out in September to attend a prestigious university on the coast of Southern California. I am over the moon proud of her.

I have kept a safe and sound nest for my birdies. They have learned how to fly.

I’ve prepared my children to be adults. They have far exceeded my expectations. I am so proud. I think I said that already, but I am. I always will be.

I prepared my chicks but I didn’t think that I’d be so unprepared.

It isn’t as if I’m unprepared. It isn’t as if I don’t have anything to do. It isn’t as if I don’t have a dog who needs ALL of my attention, elders to take care of (that is another story that breaks my heart), cats to heard, and a husband who is going through his own transitions.

It has been years since I have felt my heart breaking like this. I had no idea.

Yet, I am filled with joy and excitement because my kids are adults and they’re going to make all kinds of awful mistakes, and have wonderful adventures, and be amazing, and successful, and they’ll change the world for the better. I know for a fact that they’ll change the world for the better. When I think about that I am less likely to start crying.

When you have a baby you know that in 18 or 20 years that… your baby will be an adult.

But you know what? Your babies will always be your babies.

Having kids is the best thing, the hardest thing, and the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do. At least it has been like that for me.

I finally found something I was good at. REALLY good at. Better than most at. The BEST at. And now I have to do something else that I can be the best at.

Just between us I’ll still be the best mom ever.

And if you’re reading this you can still be the best mom, or dad, ever too.

Just keep saying to yourself, “Don’t panic. They all grow up.”

You’ll be OK.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Just stuff – musings on life, kids, me, stuff

juliettepurpledress

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

I’ve been … things are changing quickly around here.

I’ve been spending time with the elders Eleora and Tellias. They’re extremely old. They’re forgetful and need time and care.

Clara is spending her last summer at home before going to the big prestigious difficult to get into university in Southern California (NO not any of the ones involved with the cheating scandals.) Unlike her brother who went off to college with his BFF, she is looking for housing and searching out potential roommates. She is also getting ready to go to the regional championships for her sport then on to the national championships. She is also working and spending a lot of time with her boyfriend, and with me.

Teddy, my husband is working a lot, and diving into a lot of new things. I don’t talk a lot about Teddy, other than his good looks and winning personality. Did I mention his good looks and winning personality.

The eldest child is home on and off after his first year in graduate school. His BFF Randy is still his BFF. They have girlfriends. That is plural girlfriends. I keep out of it.

My writing consortium WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants) is coming out with our THIRD horror anthology soon. I’ll keep you posted. I believe that will be our 12th book.
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Summer always brings mixed feelings for Vampires. The weather brings more people out, in fewer clothes. That makes meals easier. Then again, it is hot and bright and we need gallons of sunscreen and I’ve never liked the extreme heat. But with the heat comes flowers and I love my flowers.

So anyway, I am reorganizing my life along with everyone else so I hope to bring more news, stories, thoughts, and interesting blog posts this summer.

One thing I am doing is spending a lot of time at the art museum. Fun stuff. Vampires love art, so of course we support all of our local museums and art events.

In the mornings I love to sit on my deck before dawn with my coffee and listen to the birds. I feel, I KNOW, I’ve done a great job preparing my little birdies for the big outside world. My chicks have spread their wings and are now flying on their own.

Parenting, and writing about parenting has been such a huge part of my life for the past 23 years that I now find myself at a loss for words, as the last one finished up community college and is now leaving… moving 450 miles away. Hey, at least I know there are plenty of cheap flights down her way, and it isn’t really that far of a drive.

OK, I’m done. Time to go out and plant more sunflowers. Yes, it is an odd thing to think about – a Vampire planting sunflowers, but we do all kinds of unexpected things. If you’re a Vampire you’ll understand.

Have fun,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Always the Romantic…

A few days ago my 22 year old son Garrett called me. I know, I don’t write much about him now that he is off on his on in graduate school and working and doing grown-up stuff.

As a teen he wrote love letters which I’d find folded up in the dryer. Tiny little squares would fold out to a full sheet of legal paper written with a find point Sharpie. I’d fold them up and stick them back in his pocket, then call him to come fold his clothes.

I was never the kind of parent who would search their children’s rooms or go through their stuff, but a verses of love found among the dryer sheets is fair game.

This is the kid who broke his harm when he turned at the top of some stairs at the high school to blow a kiss at a girl and then tumbled head over heels down to the bottom.

My son isn’t a player, but he is always a charmer and a flirt. That’s fine. I have no problem with that. And now that he is older he doesn’t seem to allow his heart to be broken every three months or so.

So a few days ago Garrett called me. We talk almost every day but this conversation sort of stuck with me.

He’d met a girl. He liked her a lot. It wasn’t serious but she was fun to hang out with. Then she started asking him all kinds of questions about Vampires and paranormal things. Most of it was just silly popular culture type of stuff.

Then one evening she asked him why his diet was so limited. Then she asked him why his skin was cool. She nagged him about his sensitivity to the sun. Then finally she asked him if he was a Vampire.

“Mom,” he said, “the only reason she wanted to be with me is because she heard from someone that I was a Vampire.”

“What did you tell her?” I asked.

“I told her she was fucking crazy, excuse the language, and told her there were no such thing as Vampires.”

“How’d she react?”

“She called me an asshole and a freak and left.”

“So she wasn’t taken in by your good looks and charm?”

“No. But she should have been.” Then he laughed a little.

I have to admit my son is charming and good looking. Then again, most guys his age are, or at least they need to be told that every once in a while, even if the person telling them that is their mom.

“Garrett, do you ever tell anyone that you’re a Vampire?”

“No Mom. Absolutely not. If they already know, then they know. But not regular people. No way.”

“Good.”

My kids are still young at 19 and 22. They haven’t achieved enough in life to have people wanting to be around them for their fame, fortune, or some other unknown status. Actually that isn’t true. People do like to be around them, but it is because they’re just nice kids. That and the fact they have cool parents (just kidding but kind of not.)

I’m glad my kids can and do talk to me about anything and everything. I will always answer my phone, my texts, and keep my heart ready for them.

February is almost here. It is that time of the year when the traffic on this blog gets clogged with people looking for love letters, advice, and answers to those mysterious matters of the heart.

In the meantime, no matter how old your kids are, they still need their mom and dad. So keep listening. Keep talking. Keep loving. And yes, keep laughing – preferably with them and not at them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

White Noise

I missed Short Story Sunday yesterday. I used to write a story each Sunday while I was at my daughter’s skating practice. Maybe it was the white noise of the organ music that allowed me to block out everything except my child and my writing.

Needless to say, I was not at skate practice yesterday since my daughter is in Southern California with her boyfriend this week. I rarely go to Sunday skate practices because she has her own car now. Next year she’ll be in Southern California full time as a college student.

This is part of the whole Empty Nest discussion. Our routine is so keyed into our children that when they grow up we have to find new white noise. Seriously folks, putting our children in sports is just an excuse to have quiet time to read or work on writing during their practice time, or travel to interesting places during their competitions. None of the parenting books will tell you that.

Sunday is now filled with other activities including that man I seldom speak of – my husband. He’s great. We do things together. We even dressed up for a party this weekend. Good times.

Today I’m taking about twenty minutes to finally get out that missed story. I’m not sure where this will lead us but here we go…

White Noise

The radio was on but Elise wasn’t really listening. It was just white noise. When it got to quiet she’d have to listen to her own thoughts and question her actions. If the radio was on she’d feel more connected and it made work more productive.

Today she wished she could have taken the day off to paint but she wasn’t too unhappy. The unsolved crime blog was waiting.

Sixteen years ago her husband had been murdered. Even though he was a police detective his killer was never found. She’d cashed in the insurance policy, sold the house, packed up her three small children, and moved to a coastal city where she fixed up her Aunt Blinkey’s ramshackle beach house. There she taught economics and political science at the high school. Eventually the true crime community contacted her, and she shared her own research and theories into her husband’s death. Soon her grief became the passion of others. She was glad to hand it off. She was glad to help others. Research had always come easy to her.

Today she wrote about murder, with coffee and the radio.

Sometimes she just wanted to be. Not alone, but not really with anyone. She’d smile as her sons talked with their uncles about sports, and yelled at the TV when the score or a call wasn’t to their liking. She wasn’t listening to anything they said. It was just background noise as she painted, or wrote letters of recommendation to former students.

So she wrote about murder while listening to the radio and the rain pouring down on her roof and yard. The storm was so loud couldn’t even hear the waves coming into the nearby beach.

Today’s murder happened three years ago when a couple of twelve year old boys rode out on their bicycles one summer day. They told their parents they were going to the park. Instead they went another two miles down to the river. There they found the body of a young woman face up on the rocks, her arms and legs spread like someone making a snow angel. Her clothing was torn and mostly missing. Her throat was tied with a rope.

As a mother her heart broke for the boys and their parents. A few days later they found out the young woman was a kindergarten teacher who’d walked a few blocks the night before to visit a friend. Nobody even knew she was missing when the boys found her. Her killer was never found.

Elise had gathered clues from the readers of her blog. Someone had seen a woman wearing the teacher’s hand knit red sweater. Someone else had seen her with a tall blonde man. Someone else said it was her high school boyfriend who had kept a bulletin board covered in her photos. Elise was searching her email when she heard a knock on the door.

Standing at her door was her friend Bryan.

“You should have just come in,” she said.

“It was locked,” he answered.

“Where’s your key?”

“Home,” he said, then kissed her lightly and came inside.

She’d known Bryan for ten years. They’d met when their children were going to school together. Their daughter’s had become best friends forever and even gone to college together. He been a good male role model and a friend to her sons. And eight years ago Elise started being more than friends to Bryan.

He was never a boyfriend. They just spent time in bed together, or on the couch, or in the shower. They never told anyone, but eventually everyone figured it out, including their children.

Over the years they’d both dated other people, then ended up back together, or just cheated on the people they were dating. They never considered it cheating, especially when the other relationships weren’t serious. Nothing every got serious for Elise. It did once for Bryan, and Elise accepted it. But she was glad when it wasn’t serious anymore.

Elise turned off the radio and led Bryan to her bedroom. They spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying each other’s company as only two middle aged old friends can. He still dazzled her with his smile, and the way he moved, and the way he laughed, and of course the way he touched her.

As they lay in bed listening to the rain, he fell asleep with his head on her shoulder, his arms around her. Elise closed her eyes and thought about how she loved her time with him. He never told her that he loved her, but she knew he was tied to her with a bond he couldn’t find words for. She always loved him but she’d never tell him. He never wanted that, or at least he’d told her that years ago. Eventually she just didn’t think about it.

Listening to his quiet breathing she stroked his hair and though about her feelings for Bryan.  White noise. White noise.

~ end

 

Have a good week everyone. I’ll have more thoughts later this week. And don’t forget to stop by on Saturday for the 45th Burning Question.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman