Parenting in the Land of Monsters

As parents we all have those moments that we can’t get out of our minds. Now that my children are in college I’m cautiously walking down the memory lane of their childhood.

I was driving down the freeway this morning and saw some interesting things. The first was that Stormy Daniels is going to be performing at a local strip club. This is one of those large “Gentlemen’s Clubs” that is in an industrial area far away from homes or schools. I hear the place is popular with a certain groups in the local high tech companies but that is another blog post. That has nothing to do with this post except I thought it was interesting. Read on.

I also passed the sign to the Curragh Downs subdivision in Fair Oaks, California. This is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in my neck of the woods. The houses are large and often with a view. The community is exclusive and gated. But I pass no judgement. A lot of nice people live there.

Yes, this has to do with parenting and children.

In November 2016 ago my daughter and I volunteered to be Election Clerks for Sacramento County. The polling place was at the Curragh Downs club house. Everything went well with the polling, as it always does. Other than the crazy old guy with dementia who always yells at the poll workers, it was a positive day.

But at the end of the night, later at night after the polls had closed, when we were counting ballots, and putting away equipment, the woman who was responsible for the club house came by to lock up. As we, the six poll workers finished our work this woman started to spew her opinions.

She gladly spewed out racial slurs and political opinions. Most of the comments were racial. All of us poll workers were clearly uncomfortable but as poll workers we could not express our opinions. For about twenty minutes this woman reveled in her personal stand-up act of self congratulatory bigotry. She was white. Then she said what she was saying was ok because her husband was Asian. WTF?

I don’t have to words to describe how upset I was. This was one time I was with my child and I could not be my best Vampire Mom. At the car I was livid. My lovely child told me that the woman was wrong and a bad person but that I should have been so upset. But I was upset. I was extremely upset.

That woman was a monster in the body of a smug middle aged woman. I don’t care that our political opinions did not match. It was the fact that she gleefully was able to share her open hate and blind ignorance.

No parent wants a positive experience about how our society works to be tarnished by some flaming asshole jerk-off entitled nasty ignorant hateful bitch. That is why I’m calling her out here and now. I don’t know her name, but I can still tell my story.

There are other childhood stories in my folder today. There was time when another mom called me to say she thought my 8th grader was cutting herself (cat scratches.) There were a few girls I thought were Satan’s spawn. Yes, there are children who act that badly (and so do their parents.) There were other things so bizarre that I wasn’t sure what to think. I’ve posted a lot of those here. Do a search – you’ll find them.

My children have returned to college. One is far away. One is still at home. They are excited about life. They are excited about being part of the big wide world.

Their father and I have taught them that there is no room for hate, racism, or other bigotry in our world. They have learned to accept those who are different. They’ve also learned, in a lot of cases, to celebrate and appreciate those differences.

Like I’ve always told them, “The world would be a boring place if we were all the same.”

You can’t protect your children from everything, but you can talk to them about it. You can support them. You can teach them to stand up for their opinions and rights. You can teach them to defend those who cannot defend themselves.

I just wanted to call out that bitch.

That’s all.

Hug your kids. Talk with them. Love them. And if they’re 18 or older make sure they vote.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Love of a parent never wavers or dies – a story of a father and son

A story about a father and son as told to my children and me by my husband.

My Father

“I know your mother was surprised when she arrived in Heaven and found only two of her three deceased children waiting for her.” My father gave me a wink and his familiar smile.

“I’m sure someone filled her in on what happened to me,” I answered.

The old man just smiled. I saw my dad one last time in 1913. He was 89 years old and fragile. He’d been born in 1824, come to California in 1849 with a wife and two small children in tow. I’d been born on the way out in Panama. After they arrived in Sacramento  six more children were added to the family.

They’d come out with your parents, your grandparents, who were their closest friends. The men were business partners. Both of the wives were pregnant. My mother with me and your mother with your brother Maxwell. Max and I grew up together and were best friends. More children came for both families. Business thrived. The families thrived. All was good.

My father looked into my eyes and smiled sadly. “When you became ill it was different. They were different. There all the time. Max never left your side. He was in such grief. His father was so serious. He had been my closest friend for 30 years and I’d never seen him so angry and frustrated or concerned. I should have known they were different. They never aged. They never became ill. Their injuries healed five times faster than others. The two they called the Elders looked like they were barely adults. But I just thought it was their happiness and luck to stay so young. You don’t look a day over 26 and you’re 62. People die of old age when they’re 62.”

My heart broke when he said that to me. “Dad, I didn’t choose to go away. I thought I would go mad I missed you so much.”

Dad smiled trying to avoid anything too emotional. “You know that girl of yours got married 6 months after you died. She couldn’t wait to get hitched.”

“So I hear. She has had a joyful life without me.” She did indeed and I was glad for her.

“You’re better off with someone else Teddy. She would have bored you to death. How about Juliette? Is she still around.”

“On and off.” Well we were on and off. I wished it had been more on but you know how it was back then.

My dad gave me a grave look. “Make it on sooner or later or she’ll be gone. Give me your hand. You’re cold.”

“I’m alive, in my own way.”

“I read a story about a machine that could go through time. That is you, only you don’t have a machine and you can only go forward.”

“You know what I am.” I had to bring up the subject. I had to get it out in the open.

“You’re no Dracula. I’ve read that one too. Completely unlike the Vampires I know. Son, it was clear that my friends were not like me. They never aged. The avoidance of sun and other daylight activities. Their children grew up and took on an air about them. Finally one day I cornered them and asked. I suspected they’d been cursed or blessed or something in between, but then again that could describe most of us.”

He gave my hand a squeeze. “But you have to realize that at first I was in disbelief. I was horrified that my friends survived on the blood of others until I understood the complexities of their biology and culture.”

He continued to hold my hand as we sat for a few moments and watched the sun set over the oaks.

“That is a beautiful sight Teddy. I love those trees. Promise me Teddy that you’ll do good. Make a difference. You’re in good graces with the community of Vampires. I can’t see you as evil because my friends are the best people I’ve ever known. They’d do anything for my family. They kept you out of harms way. Those who changed you were evil and it still breaks my heart but you’re not a man of shadows.”

We saw each other for the following three weeks until one night the old man fell asleep peacefully in his sleep and went to be with my mother.

No matter what befalls a child the love of a parent never wavers or dies. The love of a child for his father will last longer than any lifetime. For all that is good in the world comes from the generations of love that lingers and lives on long after we are all gone.

butterfly

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Those hit-me-in-the-head-with-a-brick parenting moments

It is prom season – that magical time when kids dress up like grown-up. Aside from weddings it is the biggest dress up even any of them will ever attend. It is a passage. It is all blown out of preparation too. Too much time, money, emotional energy and expectations come out of these things.

But it was a lovely night for my son Garrett and his friend Ione. He was handsome in his dad’s exquisitely cut vintage tux. She was beautiful in a strapless blue gown. It was enchanting. I was so happy for them and all of their group of Vampire teens (and their other friends too).

And we had a warm and fuzzy glow all over for a while, until Garrett found himself alone with me. Nobody else was home. Leaned across the kitchen counter towards me, looking so much like his father.

“Mom? Do you have a minute to talk? I want to tell you something. Um, Ione and I, you know, since my birthday, um, we’re both 17. We’re more mature than most kids our age. So…I just wanted you to know…”

I froze. My entire body froze. My mind went numb. It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it was, and it is and I wished he’d never told me. I thought I was ready for this but I wasn’t.

“Ione and I have been…” He stopped.

I hoped he’d say something like we’ve been playing poker but I knew what was coming. He knew that I knew.

Garrett continued. “We’ve been…we’ve taken our relationship to the next level.”

To the next level. My 17-year-old son actually said that. “Are you being responsible?” I had to ask.

“Yes. Always.” He said that so matter of fact it.

“Your body might be ready but be careful with your heart. Be careful with your emotions,” I gently told him.

“I know mom. I just wanted you to know, I’m not with just anyone. We’re both Vampires. We go on hunts so we’re not little kids anymore. We know what we’re doing. And it wasn’t like it just happened. It was like time for Ione and me.”

I doubted that. I didn’t say anything.

“Mom. It’s ok mom.” He touched my arm as if to make sure I was ok with it too.

“What about Ione?” I had to ask.

“Ione is fine. She’s great. We’re great.”

We stood in silence for a bit. For the first time I was totally and completely caught off guard by my emotions and reaction. I’m a modern parent. I talk with my kids. We’re open and honest. I’ve raised my children to be responsible and mature. I haven’t sheltered them.  I should have been neutral on the situation but suddenly Garrett seemed different.

I still called him baby. He still sits on the couch and hold my hand and put his head on my shoulder just like when he was a tiny little Vampire boy. Logically it should all make sense and I should have been expecting this. But I don’t know.

I wasn’t going to congratulate him or tell him they could spend the night together.

My son put his hand on mine. “I love you mom. You’re not mad at me are you?”

“No. A little surprised. Just don’t get hurt. Be careful.”

“I am careful.” He shifted around, and fooled around with the zipper on his sweatshirt. Then he looked up at me and I know the gears in his brain were working overtime. “Mom?”

“Yes?”

“Who was your first prom date?”

Finally an easy answer for me. “We really didn’t have proms. We have fancy balls. But for my first ball it was your Uncle Val. I went to my first ball with my brother. It was 1876 or 77. A lot was going on so Val and I decided just to go together. It was fun. We had a good time, more so than if we’d gone with a date. Funny thing was that our clothes were a lot like yours. Still formal and fancy.”

Obviously that wasn’t the answer he was looking for. He shifted a bit again then fired the next question. “Who was your first? The first guy you slept with. I know it wasn’t dad.”

Another hit-me-in-the-head-with-a-brick moment. He totally caught me off guard.  “The first guy I slept with? He was another Vampire. He was older and attractive and…my parents never knew. My brother’s didn’t know. They still don’t know. None of them know. I’ll tell you another time. I was your age, and it was risky and stupid and…it doesn’t matter.” I told him, feeling like I’d said too much. Way too much.

“Who was it?”

“I can’t tell you, not right now.”

“Mom, why are you whispering?”

Memories flooded back from the dark dusty corners of those disorganized proverbial file cabinets in my brain. For the first time in my 153 years I felt old. Then my mind went back to my own son who was a lot more responsible and worldly and level headed than I ever was at 17 – even as a 17 year old Vampire.

Garrett didn’t ask me about my mystery man again, but that doesn’t mean he won’t ask about him in the future. Right now my mind is on my son’s future and not my own past.

This is why parenting isn’t for the faint of heart. It isn’t for the meek. It isn’t for the uncomfortable. It is for the long haul. The best we can do is to parent deliberately and educate or kids, so when they make those life choices we can’t control, we’ll be ready. Most of all, so they’ll be ready. Because like it or not…they grow up.

Later in the week Ione came by. I didn’t say a word to her about my conversation with Garrett. I did show her the 137 year old gown I’d worn to my first fancy ball. She smiled and asked if she could try it on. Of course it fit her as if it had been made for her. She is a darling girl and I know she’ll break my son’s heart. But I know they’ll stay friends. On the other hand, nobody knows anything really.

And I’ve talked myself into a corner…so that is it for today.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Advocate of deliberate parenting and talking with your kids (and being firm and teaching them about consequences and loving them with all your heart and soul.)

Vampire Prom