Memories, Parenting, Shared Stories, and Growing Up

My daughter turned nineteen yesterday. That now means I’m officially a parent of those who are exclusively adults.

With the kids in my life getting older it beings back a flood of memories from the time I was a little bit older than two years, to my childhood, and somewhat embarrassing and adventure filled young adulthood.

I hope that all adults, especially those with children, and I mean children of any age, can remember way back when. I don’t mean like those memes you see on Facebook that say “When I was a kid we jumped off of cliffs, played with guns and live hand grenades, went swimming in snake infested rivers, stayed out until dark, exclusively dined on fried food and sugar, and put our hands into garbage disposals, used chain saws unattended, and we’re still alive. Kids these days are spoiled assholes.”

Having children brings up random memories. Sometimes these are fearful. Sometimes they bring a sigh of relief because your child is not doing the same thing as you did. Sometimes they are happy, or bittersweet because of a time you loved that will never be again.

Yesterday I thought about how I waited on the front porch of our house with my mother and my brother Valentine as we watched my three older brothers walking off to school. They were fourteen, thirteen, and nine. Val was almost five. I was almost four. I remember telling my mother that I wanted to go to school. Val was silent on the issue. He’d already started to read on his own and had no plans on going to school. Not ever. He never told my parents so he missed his opportunity to be an exclusive self learner. I didn’t learn to read until I was six and didn’t master it until I was about eight.

I thought about how much I like my daughter’s boyfriend, and my son’s girlfriend.

And the most random memory came into my head. I dated a guy named Orin once who was nice. He had a dog who was nice and a nice sense of humor. His home was nice. What wasn’t so nice was the fact that his sister lived with him. Gertrude seemed nice at first despite the fact that she was loud and exceptionally out spoken. But then it got weird.

Wherever I went with Orin Gertrude would be there. When Gertrude would talk Orin would stop whatever he was doing and give her a dreamy look. Gertrude was the expert in everything and he would defer to her on everything. She monopolized every conversation. Eventually everything we did was what Orin and Gertrude wanted to do. In fact that only reason I think I was around was because Orin didn’t want to have sex with his sister. She already had dibs on all of the other girlfriend functions. It was like dating married man who brought his wife along, only weirder. So the last time I saw him I invited him for cocktails. I said we could do something afterwords. A few nights before I told him that I was bothered that Gertrude, or Gertrude and her boyfriend were always along. I wanted some time with just him. He brought Gertrude along. As we sipped our drinks Gertrude talked and Owen gave her dreamy looks and said nothing out of his goofy love stuck smile. I left after I was finished with my drink and never saw him again.

I’ve told that story to my kids. They think it is exceptionally creepy. Siblings are great. Just not like Owen and Gertrude.

This morning my daughter Clara and her boyfriend left for a camping trip on the north coast. I thought of a camping trip long ago with my friend Amelia.

I was living in Sacramento. Amelia was living in Las Vegas. So we met half way in the southern part of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, where the highest mountains in the lower 48 are. We were at Devil’s Post Pile, an amazing geological formation. As we set up our tents I heard seals. This was great. Last time I went camping on the beach we heard seals too.

I said to Amelia, “Do you hear the seals?”

She said, “Those are mules.”

Then I remembered we were three hundred miles from the ocean, and in the mountains.

I’ll attribute my memory fade to a four-hour drive in my sports car with the top down. Brain bake. Or maybe it was just me, because sometimes I’m like that.

Amelia is still in Las Vegas being fabulous. I’m still living near Sacramento.

Amelia and I are still having adventures. I heard the seals, aka mules, years before I ever had children. Now Amelia and I have grown daughters. I think our hearing is a lot better now. Parenthood will do that to you.

By the way, I haven’t heard seals in the mountains since then.

I was also with Amelia on my 19th birthday one hundred and forty years ago, but I won’t tell that story today.

In both storytelling and parenting use what you know. Use the truths from you experiences to teach your children. Entertain them with your stupid stories so maybe their stupid stories won’t be so stupid.

We all connect through our stories. Our stories make us who we are. They are something we can share at no cost, except maybe a little embarrassment.

I love to listen to stories and memories others have to share. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting around a campfire, strolling through a museum, or hanging out at home. What matters is that we listen with open minds, open hearts, and a sense of humor. And add in some love.

Yes, even Vampires, despite the misinformation out there about us, know about love. We know a lot about love – and stories. So be like a Vampire and tell your story and collect stories from others. You’ll thank me for it later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vm darling girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night Belongs to Us

The night belongs to us. Of course it does. We’re Vampires. But we’re also parents, and this is a first and foremost a parenting blog.

My main message is to talk with your kids, share with them, listen to them, teach them, respect them, treasure them. Don’t spoil them except with love and knowledge. Open the world to them and they will explore on their own. They will bring their discoveries and knowledge back to you. The circle is complete.

This morning my 16-year-old Clara showed me a new cover by the band Night Riots.  Let me back up a little bit since some of you may have never heard of Night Riots. I feel like they are one of the best bands out in the past thirty years. Seriously, I like this band that much. My daughter started listening to them. Then I did. I was hooked. We saw them at Warped Tour this summer in Mountain View, CA.

Night Riots Vans Warped Tour 2015 Mountain View, CA

Night Riots, Vans Warped Tour 2015
Mountain View, CA

 

So this morning I received a text from Clara (while I was out on business) saying they’d done a cover of “Because the Night.”

When I arrived home I Clara was excited to share it with me. I listened to the Night Riots version. It was great. Wow.

I asked Clara if she’d heard the Patti Smith version. She said, “I didn’t know it was written by a woman.”

Of course it was. By Patti Smith, who is still singing. Patti Smith is, well, Patti Smith. Need I say more?

She loved the Patti Smith version too.

Her first comment was, “I love her voice. It isn’t whiney.”

Clara doesn’t listen to female pop stars for the most part. Neither do I. So many are breathy or have fake auto tuned voices. They don’t sound real. They sound childish. They sound annoying.

Patti Smith is none of that. She sings. She really sings.

So the guys in Night Riots do justice to her music by putting out a fantastic cover.

I’m not sharing this so much as a music post, but as a parenting post. We share with each other. We learn from each other.

We discussed musical influences from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Not disco crap or silly really bad pop music, but real music that lasts.

Just like real parenting lasts. Real communication lasts. Deliberate parenting lasts a lifetime. If you’re going to have kids then put in the effort. Make them yours. Let them make you theirs.

Yes, let your kids make you theirs. They learn from you and you mould them. In turn, you can learn from them. Let them make you a better person. Let them open your eyes to new things.

 

 

This Thanksgiving be thankful for the young people in your lives. Don’t spend your time judging or criticizing them. Don’t get after them about their hair, their clothing, their music or whatever stupid superficial thing that you think is important. Listen to them and let them tell you about what they think is important. Find out what their dreams are. Tell them about your dreams. Share your music. Share some turkey. Share some love.

Teens are as precious and important as babies or toddlers. Parenting doesn’t stop at elementary school. Now more than ever they need you. And now more than ever you need them. You might not know it but you need them too. They’ll keep you young. They’ll introduce you to music. They’ll be in awe of your shared knowledge. They respect you for respecting them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Night Riots: Contagious

Share a blog – there is always enough for everyone!

moth

I write an odd little blog. 

I also read blogs. Not because I’m obligated to but because I enjoy the blogs I read. In fact, I look forward to posts on my favorite blogs.

The subject matter varies from cats to cooking, Vampires to verse, politics to play, musings and music, fiction and fact, weirdness to wonder, squirrels to stars, from dogs to dreams. I could go through the entire alphabet quite a few times with this game. Some of the blogs are so unique that it still amazed me at how creative and wonderful it all is. Nobody else is doing what these bloggers are doing. Nobody. That, is why I like them. And other are doing something more mainstream but doing it in a wonderful way. So enough of this love letter…

Recently I went poking around my favorite WordPress bloggers and found out that a lot of them had rather modest followings.

That surprised me because I love those blogs. The authors are smart and funny. If they aren’t funny they’re still smart and thoughtful. Best of all these I learn things from these blogs, even if it just learning a bit about myself (from my reaction.)

Extra bonus: some of the bloggers I read are insanely talented.

There are THOUSANDS of people out there who would love these blogs and are missing out. We can’t let that happen anymore.

So what am I asking from you?

Support the blogs you read. It won’t cost you a penny. All I’m asking you to do is to spread the word.

If you enjoy a blog and want to be enjoying it a year from now please do one or more of the following items:

  • Tell your friends to read it. SHARE.
  • Share it on Facebook with a witty comment on why you’re sharing it.
  • Share it on Twitter.
  • Share on all blog sites (I have friends who have blogs on several different blog servers.)
  • Share it on all of your social media outlets.
  • Share it on WordPress (reblog or add a link to one of your posts)
  • Tell the nice folks at WordPress that you like the blog and suggest they highlight the author in one of their articles or put it on Freshly Pressed.
  • Tell your mom and she’ll tell her friends.
  • Tell the ex-boyfriend. You know the one who never got over you and still hangs on every word you say and everything you do. He’d do anything for you. Tell him.
  • Drop blog names at parties. You’ll sound so smart. Write it on a cocktail napkin.
  • Tell your friends.
  • Share posts you like with your reading and writing groups.
  • Share posts you like with all of your other online groups.
  • Just share. If you like it share it.
  • But never SPAM a blog. Be polite. Share nicely.
  • Tell your friends.

Unlike cake, chocolate and a nice bottle of wine – when you share a blog there is always enough for everyone.

Most of us bloggers aren’t getting paid for writing all of the unique content you expect from us. We’re doing it because we love to.  We have something to share.  And we’re happy if in turn you share what we’ve shared.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

We are "the guys" and we approve of this blog.

We are “the guys” and we approve of this blog.

Musings on Reading, Sharing and Not Much…

“For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.”
-Louis L’Amour

Musings on Reading, Sharing and Not Much

I once knew a guy who read everything written by Louis L’Amour. I read a few upon recommendation. Like Romances, I could see how the Westerns became addictive. It was a fun escape with strong tides of right and wrong with tension and adventure. Most of all it was an escape and a way to relax in another world. I haven’t read any Westerns since. But I’m glad I did, just to try it out.

We read to escape, to be inspired, to travel outside of our bodies, to share ideas and emotions. to solve mysteries and feel emotions that out busy lives might block out.

Yesterday I cleared my deck of acorns and pollen and dust. Now I have a perfect place to read in the warm soon-to-be-summer evenings.

I was repotting a plant, not thinking about reading at all, my mind on overtime with Vampire business and mom business.

The Vampire children are hunting on their own more and more. They’re doing great – undetected by their regular human friends. I’m proud of them. School is wrapping up with good grades and a little bit of bad attitude creeping in (the 8th grader is so tired of the kids in her small Middle School and can’t wait until the BIG high school starts). Plans for the summer are being made. Summer will be low key for us.

My Vampire brothers are hanging out more often. It is like grand central station with their visits. I make them bring books and take books with them.

I also make sure I lecture Andrew on how I hate his old friends and he needs to keep them away. He tends to be amused by what I call  trash Vampires. They are the ones who give us a bad name. They like me for some reason too. I get so tired of their sleazy compliments and nasty attitudes about everything. I get tired of the way they attempt to suck up to us (no pun intended). They call me a snob. Ugh. Andrew is so smart that is surprises me. Since he moved back to the US…anyway. Despite my annoyances at Andrew, I like the books he recommends. My brooding Vampire brother likes light and funny mysteries. Go figure.

Vampire guys seem to like action movies and romantic comedies too. No point to telling you that except next time you go see a movie with a Vampire and want him to watch the screen and not your neck you’ll know.

Summer is coming and I want to say I will never ever do any volunteer work again as long as I live. It is sports this weekend (yes, I am a self-respecting Vampire…but…). Thousands of hours of time for school. There are other groups I’m asked to help with. It isn’t as though I don’t like to help, but like all volunteers, we want to know that our time is well spent and actually doing good. Of course when I volunteer to sit at that raffle booth I always have a book with me. Bet you didn’t know how I was going to tie that one in.

I can see my deck from the window right now. The cat is in one of the chairs. The sun is just starting to come up so the shadows are still deep and cool.

The Ghost is out there mouthing the words “get out here right now Vampire.” I wonder what he wants. So time to turn off my computer and pick up my coffee and my book and go outside for just a bit.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman