Parenting: What I’d Do Differently

On June 2, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. in the morning my daughter graduates from High School. That more or less ends my role as a parent of school aged children.

When I look back at things I’d do different 95% of it has to do with my reactions to situations we’ve encountered at school. Let me rephrase that in a more realistic way. When I was a parent I had no idea I’d have to deal with so many assholes who were dead set on doing the wrong thing for/with/around my children, and other kids who are in my life.

I raise my children not to be bully bait. We’re Vampires so self confidence and fitting in is always a first priority. That said, we’re not any different from any other parents and kids.

So let’s just go down the list.

Why do schools always do their best to protect bullies and brats? That includes children who are sexual predators. Sometimes (most of the time) sitting down and talking to the parents of these children does no good – because the parents are usually the root of the problem.

I’ve seen good teachers fired or driven out of schools by whack job parents and their horrible children. These are people who are constantly complaining, while their kids bully, act out, distract other children, and do horrible things to and around other children.

For example there was a child at our school who decided she wanted to be friends with my daughter. My daughter realized this was a mistake. So then the trouble started. This child would run screaming down the hall. She would take off her clothing in the bathroom and expose herself to other children. By third grade she was telling other children sexually explicit things about sex (like how Gay men perform anal sex.) She would tattle on kids who wouldn’t play with her. She would stalk other kids on the phone and online.

She would tell other children that she wanted to grow up and be in Playboy Magazine, and be a stripper. Since she was a pretty child she would use her big sad eyes and lie to the office staff. Her parents would threaten to sue the school, and they would lie. They lied about my husband agreeing our kids should play. They never talked to my husband. He went up to the school. It wasn’t pretty.

The only administrator who listened left the school for another job. It got worse. A fantastic teacher left the school. The problem child stayed at school. We complained and complained and complained. Nothing happened. We documented the problems. Nothing happened. We were told that the Devil Child wanted to be like my daughter and admired my daughter. What the fuck?

In Middle School the girl developed quickly but refused to wear a bra. It wasn’t as if her family could’t afford it. Some other girls put a bra in her backpack and were suspended. She braless girl screamed and yelled about it as if someone had left a severed head in her backpack.

Something was not right at home – obviously, but nothing was ever done about it. Nobody sent CPS to the home. The child demanded her own way and told other kids that if their parents threatened to sue the school, they too would get to do whatever they wanted to.

With the help of her father the girl learned more complex online stalking. Parents spoke to each other about it, and warned each other so we could all tell our children to ignore her. So they ignored her and she went away.

So much time and effort was spent on this child. Nobody knew who was being blackmailed in the front office. When the children got to High School the girl faded into the background. Nobody in the office would listen to the parents anymore. The girl and her father had physical fights in the parking lot. Then the girl vanished. Then she came back. Then she vanished for good.

Had I been able to do this all over I would have put my foot down harder for the school to do something.

There was also a P.E. teacher I would have had fired because she was horrible to any girl who didn’t act like a boy, or want to be friends with her bully daughter. Nobody liked her, yet she had so much power.

In high school I would have spoken up about the three bad teachers. Luckily there were only three bad teachers. One, a science teacher, had a drug problem. Kids smoked pot in her class and jumped out of windows. Mentally ill druggies should not be in charge of a classroom full of teenagers. The other was a math teacher who was an asshole but protected by the school administration despite parent complaints. Kids who were not allowed to transfer out got bad grades and ended up not getting into the colleges they applied for. The third was an English teacher who I wrote about a few years ago. She couldn’t see talent or desire to learn in children, including mine. She was a jerk. She rushed to judge kids. She was a turtle who hid her head in her shell. If I could go back I would have been up in the school, meeting with administrators in person, and being that parent that all school principals dread.

Other things I would have done include:

  • Learning how to roller skate so I could have skated with my kids.
  • Had a really nice aquarium.
  • Insisted my children learn to garden.
  • Written that best selling novel so my kids could have a parent they could brag about. On the other hand they do brag about us. We’re just not famous. There are advantages to not being famous.
  • Trained the dogs earlier.
  • Traveled more with them.

We’ve never had to deal with teenage angst. Our kids have never told us that they hate us. They always talk to us about everything.

If anyone ever asks me what I am the most proud of I would have to say it is the way I’ve raised my children. They were kids. They’re great young adults. They’ll do fine. They’ll do great. 

So I guess it doesn’t matter about the jerks and assholes. Now they know how to deal with those kinds of people. It is a lesson learned. 

For those who are new here I’ll tell you again how I approach parenting. This is from 2012 but it still applies.

Parenting – Why it is important and what I believe and practice.

This is a thinly veiled parenting blog and a Vampire blog, but most of all it is a blog about relationships. That can be a lot of things including how we relate to our families, or kids, our friends, weird people and our lovers.

The main message is for parents to talk not just at or to their kids but WITH their kids. Also to give your children the safety to be their own little personalities (or big personalities) and to be kids, but also give them the freedom to grow and fly. I am a strong advocate against over protecting children. I’m a mother wolf and yes, I’ll protect to the death, but I don’t want to be responsible for an immature, over sensitive, ignorant adult one of these days. Children, in my opinion, need their parents forever, but they also need to know about the world they’ll live most of their lives in, especially teens. They also need to know the harsh facts about sex, drugs and the company they keep. Our reputations and the choices we make as teens can stay with us our entire lives. Teens need to know this.

I absolutely love teens. They’re funny and wise and silly and so loving in ways that most people don’t even see. Just talk to one, or better yet, try to remember a million years ago in another time, another world, another planet, when you were a teen.

But I’m not going to preach those ideas in every single blog post. Through my tales about my kids, my husband, my brothers and my friends, I try to get across my messages about relationships, love, consequences, and just life. And if I can get someone to think or laugh I feel like I’ve done something. If I can get anyone to laugh I’m happy.

When you bring a baby or child home, whether you give birth to it or adopt it or foster or live with any child, you bring home the entire universe in a kid sized package. And something you’re never told…You NEVER know who you’re bringing home with you.

Your child is not your clone. Your child is someone with their own will and their own view – right from the start.

Throw out the baby and child care books because this little person is going to prove they’re ALL WRONG. And you’ll have more fun than you EVER imagined.

So what does a woman who muses on mom stuff teach the children in her life?

  • Teach your children, no matter who your children are, or will become, to treasure acts of kindness.
  • Teach them that if they speak rudely to another child, they will forget it in a minute, and the other child will remember it for a lifetime.
  • Teach them the value of life and the value of love.
  • Teach them not to lie. Lies are worse than snakes – they always come back and bite you in the butt and they contain poison.
  • Teach them to learn from their mistakes.
  • Teach them to learn from the mistakes of others (if more people did that there WOULD be world peace).
  • Teach them that they ARE going to make mistakes – big ones – and that you’re always there for them (you’d better be there for them).
  • Teach them to be tough. Tough mentally and physically. We’re not living in la la land folks.
  • Tech them to love learning. Learning is a lifelong process. Like my dad used to say “If you stop learning you might as well be dead.”
  • Teach them to play, and to keep playing even as adults.
  • Teach them to love and respect nature for it will always be a joy and they will always be amazed.
  • Teach them that it is their responsibility to take care of their environment.
  • Teach them that ignorance is a vice and knowledge is a virtue. Knowledge is power.
  • Teach them the value of friendship. Friendship is not a contest. Friendship is a lazy ride on a raft down the river. You laugh, you rescue each other, you talk until the stars come out, and you remember that trip forever, not expecting anything but to be able to be yourself, without judgement, and to not have the pressure of judging your friend.
  • Teach them life without a sense of humor is, well, a humorless life. Who needs that?
  • Teach them to tell someone else something good about themselves every single day and MEAN IT. While your at it don’t forget hugs.
  • Teach them to smile (but don’t show your fangs). Smile a lot.
  • Teach them to pay if forward.
  • Teach them that their opinions are valued.
  • Teach them to have an active imagination – especially as they grow older.
  • Teach them that READING will take them everywhere. People who read are interesting. People who don’t…well, we won’t talk about them.
  • Teach them that people who aren’t like them are interesting. If we were all the same the world would be a very boring place.
  • And last of all teach them that they are ultimately responsible for their own actions and the consequences. Period. No exceptions. None. That’s it.

Parenting doesn’t end when they’re grown. We all know that. We’ll still be close. We’ll still be learning. Now I just have to figure out what it means to be a parent of adult children. Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t still be calling them to the window to see the cute squirrel on the deck, or looking up to the sky to see bats, or to talk for hours, and laugh just because we can. We’ll still be doing all that and more.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

What we talked about on the way to school this morning

The ride to school with my teenager always brings up school, current events, and everything else.

“We’re starting existentialism today. I don’t know what we’ll be reading. But the teacher already called out kids before they made complaints that it was against their religion.”

Some devoutly religious kids and their parents have complained in the past about these books and the ideas they write about. That bugs me is that ANY parent would want their child NOT to be exposed to other ideas, including religion, philosophy, and well, anything. Ignorance is not an option folks. It will not help your children. It will not make them better people. On the contrary, ignorance and extreme sheltering will make your child into the WORST kind of person – that is an ignorant closed minded person.

I asked my child what they were reading and she didn’t know. The class just finished 1984 and Brave New World, so now that they’re all throughly disturbed and depressed I imagine story stories or a play might be in order.

Who could it be? Kafka? Camus? Sartre? Beckett?

AP English Literature. No Exit. Bahahahaha. But seriously folks, I’m glad the students are being exposed to so many different ideas.

College applications are due today for University of California. Of course someone (my kid, my kid) waited until the very last day. She’ll be applying for two schools. We’ll see what happens.

We talked about the Supreme Court and what scary things might happen, which seems appropriate considering the discussion on existentialism. And no, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not 93 years old. She is 83 years old (or something like that.) We also talked about Clarence Thomas who is an odd waste of space. The guy does nothing. Says nothing. Votes on nothing. He is just weird. This isn’t political. Everybody else in those black robes works hard. This guy just takes up space.

Clara asked about Anita Hill. I told her that almost every woman I know has been sexually harassed, or bullied by males. Most of us, like Anita Hill, just go on with their lives, because we can’t do much about it. It isn’t like she just brushed it off, but (I speak from experience) if one makes a big deal about it there are consequences – unfortunately even now. But, that said, we need to keep speaking up and speaking out, and making sure there is equality for ALL – women, men, children, everyone.

Luckily in the Vampire world that isn’t an issue, at least when it comes to other Vampires. Sure some guys are jerks but they know what is right and wrong. Seriously, it would be a better world if we had a voice as who we are, but like other groups of the past we can’t speak up. That is one of the hardest lessons for us to teach our Vampire children.

We talked about the rain. We discussed our schedules. And we just talked, like all parents and their kids should do. Seriously, sometimes the talks serve no purpose, but you have to talk with your kids, not just when they’re young. Share ideas. They might not be your ideas, but that is why you have these discussions, and find out what makes your kids tick, and what is important to them.

It was a quick ride and there wasn’t much traffic today. Tonight I’ll find out what the next book or story is. I’ll find out if anything else interesting is going on at school. I’ll find out if weirdness abounds, or if all is well, at least in our little corner of the world.

Then she said, “Uncle Max said all of your boyfriends before dad were douches.” OK, I’ll have to have a talk with my brother, or just let it go. I had to laugh.

 

Hope your day is full of interesting thoughts, discussions, and loads of laughs. Just remember to keep your mind open and your temper in check.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Musings on Gassy Planets, High School and Uncle Max

Why yes, this is exactly what I wear when I pick the kids up from school.

Why yes, this is exactly what I wear when I pick the kids up from school.

I first published this post in 2013. My children are now older, but Uncle Max still has the same effect on, well, just read the post. It is just in time for the start of school.

Musings on Gassy Planets, High School and Uncle Max

I was taking Clara to school this morning and traffic was backup up for about a mile and there was no place to go. All the side streets were backed up with people trying to get out of the backup.

We speculated on the cause of the backup. I assumed it was an accident. Clara looked over and saw one of her teachers in the traffic with us. And much to her shock he was smoking. She said three of her teachers smoked.

I guess I could have acted shocked but let’s be real. I bet he was having one of his two cigarettes of the day. The first is on the way to school to take the edge off and calm his nerves before he faces two hundred students over a course of six periods. The second is after school to take off the edge and face whatever is at home. My husband is convinced that all high school teachers must drink a lot too.

After a conversation about smoking various tobacco products and other things we saw the blinking red lights up ahead. The traffic light was out. Ugh. Kids and teachers were going to be late. A 10 minute drive to school took about 35 minutes. I found out later that the faulty light was no excuse and a lot of kids were marked down as tardy. That is just plain stupid in my opinion but I don’t make the school rules.

I dropped Clara off and made it to my morning conference call but a few hours, mid-morning, I was back at school. They’d call to tell me that Garrett had almost passed out due to his sunlight sensitivity issues. This happens two or three times a year. I can lecture him forever on this but he still doesn’t always use precautions. The school wanted to send him to the hospital due to his cold skin and low heartbeat, not to mention a nasty looking rash, but I always take him home.

Anyway, he was fine, poor baby. But, my brother Max is still hanging out at my house until Friday, so I brought him with me to pick up Garrett’s car.

As Max and I walked into the school office I could hear the hush of female voices. Vampire men have that effect. Max smiled (minus fangs) then put on a serious look. I wanted to roll my eyes but was worried about my own young Vampire man, my seventeen year old Garrett.

Knees were going weak…not mine or Garrett’s, but those of the women in the school office. I had to get my son, and my brother out of there.

About four hours later school was out so I sent Max back up to school to get Clara.

Did my brother wait at the curb in the car like everyone else there to pick up kids? Of course not. He had to get out of the car and wait. The mothers at the school would never be the same. A tall man dressed in jeans and a tight black tee-shirt and dark glasses, cold to the touch but so smoking hot that it would take weeks for them to cool down.

Fourteen year old Clara told me all about it when they got home. She found it both amusing and annoying.

Clara said school was stupid as usual but admitted that science was good. They learned about how many planets might be able to support life. This was something all the kids seemed interested in, which is good since according to my daughter most of the kids don’t seem interested in anything during school.

For about twenty minutes she told us about the planets and theories and speculations about life. She talked of telescopes and exploration and the makeup of planets. It is good to hear the passion that is passed from teacher to student and then on to others.

Then the subject of Pluto came up again. Most kids are still upset that it is not a planet anymore (it even has moons.)

One of the reasons Pluto isn’t a planet is because it has an irregular orbit. But so does Uranus. (Click here for more on thoughts about Pluto)

Clara said that nobody even mentioned Uranus today but the boys in the class still had to snort and laugh about it. Yes, Uranus is a large gassy planet. Uranus has an irregular orbit. Uranus is huge. Pretty soon Clara and I were both laughing. Even Max had to laugh. I mean, you have to laugh.

Garrett was still asleep but the rash was gone. His friends Randy and Ione stopped by to see how he was doing and sat on the edge of his bed in the dark quietly talking with him. They’ve gone through this too, the sun sickness. We all have.

So that’s it… just musings on my day and a little bit of fun to take the edge off.

I’m still thinking about Max waiting on the curb. Oh my goodness.

And don’t forget to check out the night sky. The past few nights Venus has been HUGE and super bright and beautiful!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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School… Check list please.

This morning at the dog park I was talking to a teacher and the husband of a teacher.

Teachers don’t drop out of the profession because of the kids. It is the parents and administrators who make them sick and tired of the crap.

Most of my readers know what parents I’m talking about. It is the crazy ass mom who constantly complains that the teacher is unfair to her little darling (evil monster.) It is that mom who argues with the professor during a field trip to the planetarium saying there are aliens living on Mars. It is those parents who teach their kids to lie, cheat, stalk, and generally act like assholes, then complain loudly about their poor little darling being treated unfairly. It is that parent who thinks her child is the most brilliant child in the world and therefore the only one who matters. You know who this mom is. She is the one who stands up at the yearly parent information night in the school multipurpose room and states how her eight year child should be talking college level math, and she wants everyone to know how special she (the mom) is.  Once my kids moved onto high school I noticed the teachers and administrators shut these parents down – or at least it seemed that way. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… Really, those hyper crazy moms are the people who suck the joy out of elementary and middle school out of the rest of us. So many times I’ve just wanted to yell, “GO THE FUCK AWAY,” but school authorities don’t look too kindly upon that sort of behavior…but they put up with…oh never mind. Anyway…

School is starting again. Summer was way too short this year.

My kids are awesome. I’m going to assume if you’re reading this your kids are awesome too (even if they aren’t Vampires.)

One of mine is getting ready for her senior year of high school. The other is a junior in college and getting ready for his upper division courses.

One says she doesn’t have time for boys. The other can’t think of anything but girls.

So I made my official 2016 back-to-school check list.

  • School supplies (Target)
  • Tell Dad what day school starts.
  • Tell Dad again what day school starts.
  • Ask kids if there is anything else they need.
  • Ask kids again if there is anything else they need.
  • And for the third (but not the last time) ask the kids if there is anything else they need.
  • Check emails for last-minute information from the school.
  • Ask the college junior why he is packing up a chain saw, and a 1968 set of the Encyclopedia Britannica to bring back to school with him.
  • Ask the college junior to please return the two pairs of panties (different sizes) to their owners when he gets back to school.
  • Tell Dad what day school starts.
  • Get extra batteries for calculators and other small magic boxes.
  • Give them both Dutch Brothers cards just because you’re the best mom ever.
  • Remind them that there are clothes that are not band shirts.
  • And last of all remind them again that their white trash thermos is ok for summer, holidays, and weekends, but not in the classroom unless it has a lid, and maybe not even then because glass shatters if dropped (a WT thermos is a large mason jar containing morning coffee when one has lost his/her travel cup.) Also remind them that it is not Mom’s fault if she knocks over the damn thing in the car because it won’t fit in the cup holder and has no lid. It is the child’s responsibility to keep their own coffee safe.
  • Ask the kids if they need anything else.
  • Tell them not to stress out. Tell them they’ll do great – even with the hard classes.

I’ll be checking my email over the next week for more information from the school. This is our last year in high school so I’m going to savor it all. I’m going to try not to get sad because, well, you know.

As the school year starts the one thing that I can stress it to listen to your kids. Let them know that it is safe to talk to you, their parent. Talk with them. Don’t take shrugs and grunts for answers. Engage them. Listen, listen, listen to them. And let them talk. Really let them talk. They’ll tell you a lot. You’ll learn something too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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“Everything Was Easy For You” or “High School Sucks” – Musings from the Parenting Frontline

“Everything was easy for you.” I could hear Clara yelling at her brother.

He blew through AP classes with a smile. It was all fun and easy. His only problem in high school was the fact that he was always in love. Or he wasn’t watching where he was going (because he was looking at a girl.)

Clara said, “I’ve learned NOTHING since fifth grade.”

I look back and see that her Middle School was a bust. History was from the Age of Aquarius. Only a hand full (yes, about five) of kids were allowed to take algebra. That was sooooo wrong.

The school administrators listened to “Montessori experts” and reorganized the 8th grade like 6th grade. There was more or less no science, no useful math, a bit of English that was worth something, and not much else. By the time the 30 graduation kids graduated they were so sick of each other they could hardly stand it.

Yes, I loved the smaller K-8 Montessori Charter School, but in hindsight it sucked. No I would not have home schooled (I’m the parent, my child needs real trained teachers who are experts), and I would not have sent my kid to the local Middle School (mixed reviews.) Had I known I would have sent her to one of the expensive private schools – maybe.

But I sent her to a school that was safe, but the last two years the administrators were assholes and wouldn’t let the kids grow. Yes, I’m pissed off but there is NOTHING I can do about it now.

That said, life is like that. My child is brilliant so it is time to suck it up.

She gets pissed so pissed off with the feeling that half the kids in the AP classes are ahead of her. But half are below her – a fact that doesn’t matter.

The idea that people are smart in different ways came out of our conversations. The students who memorize without original thought are like the butter that comes to the top. The rest of the kids are just fed to the tigers.

But no, I say. You have to take the challenge, buck it up, deal with it, study hard, talk to your teachers after school, LET YOUR PARENTS HELP, and just do it.

By LET YOUR PARENTS HELP I mean letting them look over work and make suggestions. That is make suggestions without any eye rolling, sarcastic remarks, horrified looks, or invitations to go away. And never tell your parents that they don’t understand. They understand all too well.

By helping that means that you don’t do the work for your kid. You help, like a teacher or a study partner.

I asked Clara about forming a study with two other friends who are in one of her AP classes. She said, “I’d be studying with two kids who are as clueless as I am. We wouldn’t learn anything.”

This too shall pass. Last year she complained like this and ended up with a 3.8 GPA.

There is so much stress on teens due to the looming COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE rates. They fill up on statistics about acceptance rates and the spaces being purchased by wealthy foreign students. They are stressed to the max. Yes, they are learning valuable lessons, such as life isn’t fair no matter how hard you work, but that isn’t what I think they should be learning.

They should be learning to have passion for knowledge. They should be learning how to think. They should be learning how to have discussions. They should be discovering. Yes DISCOVERING.

This is only the first week of school so it will get better. Maybe not better, but at least more comfortable. Maybe not comfortable, but it will be fine.

The child got ALL of the classes she wanted with ALL of the teachers she wanted. They are damn good teachers too. They are the kind of teachers every high school student should have.

So what can a parent do? Just listen. Listen to the rants and raves. Don’t discount feelings that your teens have. Give them hugs. Know what is going on. Help them. If they turn away, gently turn them back. Talk to them and with them (not AT them.)

Yes, it is hard being a parent sometimes. And don’t beat yourself up. If you have a smart frustrated kid that is ok. You know you have done your best. At least your kid cares.

And not all kids have that three million word vocabulary, or can do Algebra in pre-school, or are accepted into every Ivy League College and UC.

Anyway, the sun is up and the cats want to go outside so I’m done.

Like Scarlett said, “tomorrow is another day.”

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman (who will have more Vampire and cat and other amusing stuff later – but this IS a parenting blog.)

A Vampire Roommate (Back to School)

Important Dates: August 13 & September 24.
That is when school starts. High school starts first, then college.

We completed back-to-school shopping day with a cart load of supplies, plus Feline Pine cat litter, from Target.

The girl child asked her dad (Teddy) for a pair of Doc Martens. Of course the short classic black boot. Her outfit of choice is a waist long blonde hair, boots, a short black skirt and a band shirt.

The man child said he needs a pair of Bucks and some sweaters. He tells me chicks dig sweaters and professors will take put together students more seriously. He has also been digging through his dad’s things for a “classic watch.” No Apple Watch for my son (I’m so proud of him.) I think Teddy has some nice watches from the 50’s and 60’s he could let go of. I just need to remind Garrett to wind them up.

And speaking of Teddy… Way back, a long time ago, before my husband Teddy was a Vampire, or even knew Vampires existed, he and my brother Max were college roommates. Max was a Vampire. He was, still is, well, an extreme Vampire. We, my Vampire siblings and I had grown up with Teddy. He and Max were (and still are) best friends.

Our parents had come out to California together during the Gold Rush. Teddy’s dad and our dad were business partners. So what if my family seemed a little odd sometimes, it was all good. And like I said, nobody knew we were Vampires. In 1866 the war was over so our parents decided Maxwell and Teddy would benefit from a university education. Nathaniel Chase, as usual, escorted the two seventeen year olds on their ocean voyage, their first trip to the Eastern United States. That is a whole other story.

But Max and Teddy never got into the kind of trouble your Uncle Val and I got into, at least not with Nathaniel Chase. Anyway, to make a short story long, Max and Teddy were roommates.

From here I’ll let Teddy take over the story.

 

Teddy tells it.

Max and I shared the upper floor of a three story house near the University. We had two bedrooms, a main living area and a small office. No bathroom – not in those days. No kitchen. We had our own entrance that we shared the other third floor resident. We didn’t have the entire floor. There was another room on our floor occupied by a law student called Pierce. We never saw him except at meals, and hardly heard him except when he was practicing speeches.

The second floor was occupied by four upper classmen. All male. There were no coed dorms at that time so women were rarely seen in our spaces.

Downstairs were a couple of rooms with another two law students. A large common room and a dining room occupied most of the bottom floor. Twice a day a middle-aged woman called Mrs. Harris would come with her crew and serve breakfast and dinner.

The dining room table was full at meal times, except for Max who’d usually be sleeping or gone. When he did show up he’d talk a lot but eat very little.

Max started to become more fastidious about his clothing. It became darker but more edgy. Facial hair was the rage among our peers but he was always clean shaven.

In the mornings I’d rise to find Max coming in through the door from his night out. He’d vanish for days, but would always show for classes. On Sundays I’d try to get to church, but never with Max. He’d always be gone or sleeping for a fourteen hour stretch.

Every once in a while he’d bring home a guest.

Usually it would be a woman, but rare occasions it would be a man. That was something I didn’t know about Max. I’d tell him to be careful. He’d shrug. He said he didn’t need to explain anything to me. It was his business. These people would shift in and out without a sound. I’d never know there were there unless I saw them.

On the other hand my friends, who stayed the night, would be hunting for coffee or tea in the morning or something stronger. They’d have messed up hair and sleep on our couch or on top of my covers with their clothes on. To put it bluntly they weren’t there for sex. They just crashed for the night.

One night, unknown to Max, I followed him on one of his trips out. He went down dark ways to bars and places a young man of our standing in society would never go. He went to whore houses and laughed with the madams.

Sometimes he’d go to nicer places. One was the lodgings of a girl I’d seen before. They didn’t seem to care that anyone could see them through the window in passionate embraces.

On his way home, he stopped and turned to face me. “I know you’ve been following me Teddy.”

I said, “Max what would your parent’s think?”

Max gave me on of those amused smiles, with his eyebrows lifted and said, “Dear Theodore, don’t worry about what my parents think. Let’s go home.”

Then Max put his arm around my shoulder and said, “Teddy, you are and always will be my best friend. But you have to understand, I am not like you.” He didn’t say anything else about it and he wouldn’t discuss it.

It was only years later that I understood.

——————————-

“Max has always been a little different,” said our son Garrett. “I won’t be prowling around bars and whore houses at night.”

“Thank goodness,” I said, then glanced over to Teddy.

“You’re doing fine. Your mom and I raised you to be smart,” said Teddy.

“Max made being a Vampire way too complicated,” said Garrett.

Maybe Max did make things more complicated but it seems to have worked out fine for him. As for the girl in the window, he still sees her sometimes. Pierce the law student is still a good friend. And both Max and Teddy graduated and returned to California.

In the meantime, high school has started for our youngest Clara. So far so good. She got all of her classes and great teachers. I’ll have more on her adventures later.

Tonight we’re meeting Max in San Francisco for a Giant’s game. It will be fun – another great night with a typical modern Vampire family.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman