Keeping it Real (When you’re a Vampire and a Parent)

“You can hide yourself away. Wrap yourself in a cocoon of spider webs and blood, and let yourself fester and dry up for years and become a husk, or you can move forward. Hiding is easy. But Vampires who hide get lost, or never wake up, or, or, or, or, are so completely out of touch with what it is to be a real Vampire.” 

I could hear 2,200 year old (approximately, I’m not sure what his real age is. He isn’t even sure.) Tellias talking to my twenty-one year old son. Yes, Garrett turned twenty-one on April 1st. I didn’t have the heart to blog about it. My time as a mom of youngsters is quickly waning, and unlike the moon isn’t coming back.

I listen and wonder what it is like to be “real” anything.

Despite his age Tellias isn’t a dried up husk by any means. He looks like he is nineteen, or maybe twenty at the very most.

The two could be just best friends if one just looked at them. A dark haired young man with his perfect trendy hair (long on top, short on the sides), and one with his pale blonde hair brushing his shoulders, both wearing jeans and tee shirts.

I had to smile seeing them together. I look at Garrett with all the hope and wonder in his eyes and heart. Tellias looks at me and locks his eyes with mine for a fraction of a second. I see decades of joy and pain, love and loss that goes beyond any known grief, and unknown dark coordores, regrets, and a million songs, and memories of standing under the stars for a thousand years with the warm summer breeze on his face.

I know you Juliette he says without speaking. You’ve always taught them to fly, and now that they can fly on their own your heart is breaking. 

Luckily the 85 pound puppy came blasting through the room and demanded to go outside. I went out to the deck and stood in the drizzle of rain and took in the smell of orange blossoms and rosemary from my yard.

You have to raise your kids to be adults, but when they suddenly become adults… I had no idea it would be this hard. I can’t let them know how I feel. I just keep doing what I’ve been doing and smile and encourage them. I listen to their thoughts, dreams, monologues, and stories. I will forever be here for them. Even if for some reason I won’t be here physically, I will still always be with them.

I put my hands on the deck rail and looked down into the oak forest behind my house. There were no ghosts that night except my own. I felt an arm go around my shoulder. A cool finger wiped a tear from my cheek. Tellias stood with me, not saying a word. He didn’t have to.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Anger, Inspiration, Parenting, and Those WTF Days.

I write about parenting. I write about positive parenting. I write about how parents, through their choices, can raise well-rounded, grounded, smart, ready-for-adulthood, open-eyed, kind, and lovely children.

I have not been feeling like one of those people I want my children to be. I’ve more angry and out of sorts than anything lately. Sad too. As we said in the Victorian days, I’ve had a bit of melancholia. Fuck that.

Forget “nice songs”, I’ve got my radio tuned to the heavy metal and punk stations. I’m wearing black. I’m angry. About everything. OK almost everything. I’m also sad.

Which I guess some people think is normal for Vampires, but I’m not one of THOSE Vampires. But we’re not going there in this post.

On June 2 my daughter will graduate from high school. On July 5 she turns 18. In the fall she will go to college. On April 1 my son will turn 21. I’m done. No more kids. My heart is breaking.

I’ve been a wonderful, successful parent. All has gone well. We survived Middle School (no small task), and high school (without angst.) Now I’m done. I realize they’ll be around after they’re grown, but… it breaks my heart. Good job, now… it breaks my heart.

And as children leave, so do old ones. I worry that I’ll go visit the ancient ones, Eleora and Tellias, or my Great great great great grandmama Lola and find piles of dust. It is all happening so fast.

I’m also in a personal transition – which is rocky at best. My husband is cool. The cats are cool. The dog is silly, but cool.

This morning I forced myself to go to a dance class, which isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Nobody ever said all Vampires can dance. I can be stealth but I can’t dance. But I went anyway. It got my mind off of shit.

When I arrived home I was still angry so I took the 85 pound puppy for a walk out in the park, along the muddy trails that run through the oak forest and down the cliffs to the lake. The bald eagles sat in the tree by their nest (which won’t be empty for long). Hawks flew over the water. Buzzards circled in the distance. I closed my eyes for a second to reflect on whatever, then the dog pulled at the leash. I opened my eyes. Coming towards me where two middle-aged men, all fit and in their fancy bike gear coming towards me.

You know, I’m usually not the normal angry Vampire type, but I held out my hand, palm towards them and told them to stop. Of course they stopped. How dangerous could a five foot four woman in yoga pants and a sweat shirt be? Very dangerous if she happens to be a Vampire.

I locked eyes, put them in a trance, and hauled them off into the woods. When I’d had my fill, I stood on the edge of the bluff overlooking the water and tried to clear my head. The men, who didn’t remember anything of our encounter, came along walking their bikes along the trail. Blood loss will tire out even the most fit of men. I noticed a large bruise forming on the neck of one of them. Oh well.

I walked the dog back home in the rain, still thinking, and over thinking.

I’ve done a great job at being a parent. I have a great marriage. My kids are great. Yet, I close my eyes and the world spins out of control.

I have inspired others, many times over the years, over the centuries. Now I need to inspire myself.

I open my eyes again and a calico cat is sitting next to my computer on the table purring loudly for no other reason than she is happy that I’m here.

So forget my pity party and worm song…

My thought for today is to inspire yourself. It isn’t easy but try. Even if it hurts you have to try. But more than anything, even if they’re old, even if they’re grown, even if they have their own kids – inspire your children. Your job as a parent is NEVER over. It isn’t about babies, it is about the long haul – it is about forever.

I posted a photo of the park on one of my social media sites and titled it “Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.” I try to believe.

Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.

Cloudy with a chance of beauty and wonder.

Excuse me, I’m done. I have to go chase squirrels out of my bird feeders, and see what the dog is chewing up on my back deck.

Oh shit. This is why the bird feeder is always empty.

Oh shit. This is why the bird feeder is always empty.

Have a good rest of your week. And remember TALK TO YOUR KIDS. Stay positive. Don’t use as many bad words as I do.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

 

 

Crashing and Burning on the Road Less Traveled

It is never a dull moment around my house. I just received a call that my husband Teddy was in a car accident. He is ok. The other car is totaled. Someone pulled out in front of him on a busy street near his business. We don’t know the damage to his truck yet. The last truck was totaled the same way – someone pulled out in front of him. In fact, just about every car we’ve had in the past twenty years has been totaled in a car accident. It has never been our fault. It kind of makes you wonder. Shit happens, but not once every eighteen months. To be honest shit happens almost every single day, but this is big dog shit.

I’d written the title of this blog post before I got the call from Teddy. I was going to talk about being a parent, and how those tiny babies grow up and, well, grow up and go out into the world. I was going to talk about how that feels, and I will. Right now.

My husband Teddy and I have both crashed and burned so many times during our lives that I’m amazed we’re still even here. I’m amazed that we’ve done so well. Then again, we’ve both learned to learn from our mistakes.

I have to admit that his biggest crash and burn was becoming a Vampire, but like a lot of things it worked out great in the long run.

I might take another road. I can still take another road. In fact I am taking another road right now. The great road trip of life is like anything else. You have to plan, be prepared, sort of know when you are ready, be willing to take side trips, don’t go too far over the speed limit, don’t drive when your tired, and have fun.

Being a parent is sort of like an eighteen year-long road trip. My mom (mother of five) would say it is a road trip that never ends. Ever.

So what is the point of this post. I don’t know.

We all have our adventures, good or bad, we can pass on our experience and knowledge in a positive way to the next generation. Rather than giving young people negative input about what to do, or more often what not to do, we need to give them positive input about their dreams. We need to support them. We need to gently guide them. And when they really screw up and get into dangerous territory we can take action because we’ve earned their trust.

Yes, I’m having an opinionated parenting day, but this is a blog, and blogs are opinions for the most part, and you dropped by for some unknown reason. Glad you did.

A long time ago when I was a teen I was sitting outside on a hot summer night with my brother Val we talked about how one day we’d have telephones in our home. This was 1878. We did end up with telephones in our homes.  Just wanted to share that random memory. But there is a point to random memories.

I kept most of my random memories to myself this summer when my daughter Clara and I took a 3,600 mile road trip from California to Nebraska and back. We talked and listened to music. We met wonderful people (both Vampires and other.) We visited old friends and made new friends. And all the while the thought that she was going to soon start her senior year of high school never left my mind. Then the thought that my son Garrett would turn twenty-one in a few months.

As Clara talked I recalled in my head old adventures, old friends now gone, stupid things I’d done, fashions we’d never wear again, and plots to stories I’d write. Then I’d be back on her. Back listening to talk of politics, music, school, history, and talk of family and friends. It was a road we traveled together.

It was a road I was glad we were traveling. It is a road I think I’ll stay on for… well, I’d like to say forever.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

night drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghosts

Vampire Maman

Today I sit here and try to get my brain around what I’m going to do today.

Landscaping. I realize that isn’t typically what one thinks of when one thinks of Vampires, but it helps me clear my brain. I’m clearing out everything, which isn’t much right now, just weeds and rocks and old feral grass, to make a drought happy yard. I’ve already put in one daylily and iris bed. In the bed are also Asiatic lily bulbs and a few other odds and ends that will yield spring and summertime surprises. Today I made the second bed, a space of about 12 x 12 feet. I hoed out weeds and brought river rocks from the backyard to make a border. The puppy helped move sticks around and barked when I used the hoe and rake. It is great fun.

Yes, I could have done this at night but the neighbors already think we’re weird. I live my life during the day because I have kids in school.

I gave my neighbor a can of tuna so she could lure a sick cat out of her attic. She watched my puppy in the front yard while I dug through my pantry. My cat loves tuna too, almost as much as he loves whipped cream.

Then the wind kicked up and I got tired of dirt in my eyes.

So what will it be today? Writing?

Seriously, I’m writing a novel and Nigel the Ghost is the main character. Any takers? Could this be a best seller in the making?  I’m not in it. It is his story, not mine. I’m just the story teller.

I’m in major transition right now. Soon there will be no children in my house. I also need to figure to what I’m going to do next. Sure I can write, but do the masses want my tales? Any takers? God, I sound pathetic. This is what my brother Aaron calls the “worm song.”

I can help new Vampires, but that isn’t a full time job and it has trickled down lately to almost nothing.

I can draw. I need to draw more. I need to bring back my passion and see if my skills are still there. Yet, as much as my passion and identity lies in my art, it is painful. It is painful to start anything.

I started this blog writing about Middle School. That was nuts. College and High School are calm. The kids are calm. All is calm. All is wonderful. But that leaves me with a parenting blog about my perfect kids – and who wants to read about that? Oh crap, everyone would hate me. Give me a few days. I’ll think of something funny or inspiring or helpful. Maybe even later today.

So I watch the trees shake in the wind. I attempt to housebreak the puppy and take her for walks. I rub the cats on their necks and listen to them purr and complain about the puppy.

I check in on everyone.

Then I sit numb, sort of, and listen to the clock on the mantel and the soft snoring of a calico cat on a red couch.

The only ghost here today is me.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Teen

A look into the unknown

This morning as I drove my sixteen year old daughter to school I asked her to reschedule a meeting with her math tutor.

She said, “Mom, I’m an adult. I can take care of it. Well, almost an adult. You know what I mean.”

Being a parent is weird because if you do it right, you prepare your child for adulthood. Then when they become adults the bottom drops out of your universe, even if it is just a small drop, the reality is just so final.

Yesterday my brother Aaron asked me to come see something weird at his house, or the house he now uses as his law office. Weird was the key word. Anytime something weird happens he calls me, as if I’m supposed to take care of it, or know what it is, or have a profound thought on it.

When I got there Aaron took me down to the basement, which is really the first floor (it used to flood a lot so the first floors around here are really second floors.) The house in question is a charming 1885 Victorian complete with quaint gingerbread trim and ancient camellia bushes in the front yard. Anyway, down in corner of the lower floor, where the old heating unit used to be, was a hole.

This wasn’t a shallow hole. It was a pit. We both looked down into the darkness.

“What is it Aaron?”

“I don’t know,” said my brother. “I thought you’d know.”

I told him to wait and went out to my car to get a river rock I had in the trunk (don’t even ask.)

Without asking permission I dropped the five-pound rock into the pit. Nothing. Not a sound. Not an end. No thud. No splash. No scream. Nothing.

We looked at each other, Aaron and I.

Then we looked down at the pit.

“I can’t believe I’ll have two graduations this year. One from college and one from law school,” said Aaron.

My nephew and niece had done well. “I know you’re proud of them. I sure am. They grew up so fast.”

“Too fast,” said Aaron.

We talked for a while about our children, our parents, the elderly folks in our families, the big elections today in other states, our kids again, and our spouses. Before you know it a half hour had passed, then just as we were ready to go upstairs I heard a faint noise. It wasn’t a thud of a rock crashing on rock, or the sound of water. It was a faint growl, that sounded like  a small angry dog dropping an F bomb. Then a puff of yellow smoke, smelling of sulphur came up from the pit.

“I think you’d better cover that,” I said.

“Good idea,” said Aaron.

Over coffee we figured whatever was in that hole wasn’t any worse than anything above ground. I mean, I can’t imagine sitting quietly in my dark dank hole for a thousand years and suddenly having someone drop a river rock on my head for no reason. I wouldn’t blame it for being pissed off.

I drove home thinking about the pit, but mostly thinking about my almost grown children. Almost grown. Oh well, stranger things have happened.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Teen

 

A bit of housekeeping business:

The hit short story collection Morning at the Vineyard is free for one more day. Click here for more information.

Looking for a great new book to add to your reading list? Check out Exceptional Liars, by Marla Todd. Click here.

Every Thursday is the regular advice column Ask Juliette, where all your questions might be answered. And I mean all of your questions. Ask anything from Vampires, relationships, parenting, Zombies, cooking, pets, weird stuff… you name it and I’ll try to get an answer back at you. If you have a question email me at juliettevampiremom @ gmail.com

 

 

 

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