Raising boys is like raising gremlins—cute and sweet one minute, razor-sharp teeth monsters the next.
In the midst of submitting to Pitch Wars, my gremlins decided to be a wee bit more gremlinly than usual.
As I was spit shining my submission package, my youngest gremlin mentioned he had written an essay in one of his classes, and his teacher was happy the movie Freedom Writers changed his perspective. I stop typing, my head turns sideways, and I ask him to show me. He ran off to grab his Google Chromebook, and I had a million thoughts zigzagging through my mind.
This gremlin is rule-oriented. Everything is black and white. There is no gray area. So what did my gremlin write? Please, please…let it be nice.
He comes back with his laptop and hands it to me.
I wipe my sweaty palms on my pants, grab the gadget, and dive in. The words veer by as I skim to the meat of his essay. And then I see this:
What. The. What?!
I read the last sentence out loud to my husband, and he dips his head to hide his smile.
This isn’t how we roll. My husband and I help people, and we try to instill it into our kids. But, somehow, we missed the mark with the youngest gremlin.
This was me the rest of the evening:
On a brighter note, the eldest gremlin started working this week. Here’s a tidbit from our conversation last night:
Being an adult sounds like fun. Until you go to work.
Welcome to the real world, eldest Gremmy.
<-insert evil laugh here->
I hope everyone else has had a phenomenal week. And if you submitted to Pitch Wars, you, my friend, are a rock star. Go celebrate!
Green-blue eyes sparkle with mischievousness as freckled arms wrap around me, a wiry tawny beard jabs my hair, and my body stiffens.
“Hug me,” he demands.
I pat his arm with one hand.
“That’s not a hug,” he scoffs. “Both hands.”
My arms hang loosely around him as he declares, “You suck at giving hugs.”
I snorted. “I’d give better hugs if you didn’t shit yourself every time you hugged me.”
That’s just a snippet of one of the conversations my eighteen-year-old son and I have. He hugs at home, leaving silent-but-deadly presents that linger like a dead carcass on the side of the road on a mid-July afternoon. He thinks it’s hilarious. I don’t.
But to be fair – he gets it honest.
My dad’s the epitome of professionalism when he’s at work. The man is a hazard with any tools, can’t change a tire, struggles tying on a fishing lure. He can, however, leave a trail of deadly fumes in his wake. Something he enjoys doing in his own home as he passes by an unexpecting victim.
My son learned from the expert crop duster, dropping gas like farmers drop pesticides. But when you fight your way out of the fumes, the bearded man-child has a softer side.
He called me yesterday morning asking if I wanted anything to eat. I wasn’t even hungry, but I ordered a sausage biscuit. If my kid offers to pick me up something to eat, and he’s paying for it, I’m ordering something. I don’t care if I vomit afterward. He doesn’t usually buy me breakfast.
Maybe it’s because he walks across the stage this week. Maybe the spokes are turning in his brain, and he’s realizing life’s about to change. He’s no longer a toddler who can hold my hand as he stumbles through life. It’s his life. His choices. There will be mistakes. There will be failures. There will be disappointment. There will be tears. There will be storms. But in the midst of all that, he has an anchor. He has his family.
One thing I’ve tried to instill in my son is that family is forever. There will be people who walk into his life that he thinks will always be there, and they’ll eventually fade out of his life. But… he will always have a home to go to. He will always have an ear to listen to his woes. He will always have his family. When chaos ensues, we will be his anchor.
Today, I’ve been rambling around my house, straightening up, cleaning anything that catches my eye. Pictures hang on my walls. Pictures of my son as a toddler, as a child, as a teenager, as a bearded man-child. Tears prick the back of my eyelids. I scrub the granite countertop, avoiding his face smiling at me through the years.
He’ll walk across the stage tonight, grab the diploma held out to him, and he’ll slide the green-gold tassel dangling from his cap from one side to the other. I’ll paint my face, adding a dash of blush, eyeliner, mascara, knowing that I’ll not make it through the ceremony without crying.
I’ve barely avoided crying as I’ve walked around my home. The ghost of memories cling to every corner, hang from every wall.
Today… I’m a wreck. Tonight… I’ll still be a wreck.
Part of my heart, part of my hopes and dreams, part of my soul is venturing into the world. May he spread his wings and soar. May he fight for the impossible and make it possible. May he stand for what he believes in, even if it means standing alone. May he find joy, love, and peace as he branches off on his own.
More than anything, may he always find his way home.
It’s hard to believe it’s here already. Graduation. When I first held you, eighteen years seemed so far away. Then, I blinked and my baby boy turned into a full-bearded young man.
Parenting doesn’t mean perfect. I didn’t always get everything right. But one thing I did get right was you. Even at nineteen-years-old and scared out of my mind, I never regretted having you. I regretted my choices that would negatively impact you. My boy. My innocent child. I was young, dumb, and didn’t have a clue. Until you were placed into my arms.
I am the woman I am today because of you. One look into your eyes lit a fire inside my soul. I wanted more for you than I wanted for myself. I stopped walking down deadend streets. I reflected on my actions. On my life. And I changed. For you. Because of you.
Love doesn’t mean perfect, baby. It’s a flawed, beautiful thing wrapped in emotional highs and lows. But family is everything. When it feels like everything you’ve worked for is crashing down around you, your family will be there to hold you up. They will be your rock. Your encouragement. Family first. Always.
Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid to fail. But most of all, don’t be afraid to love. If I fail at everything else in life, I will take my last breath knowing that I never failed at loving you or your brother.
I have so many hopes for you. But no matter what path you take, no matter how many times you stumble, I will be here to cheer you on or pick you up. Love you. Always and forever.
My eighteen-year-old is exhausting. He was once the five-year-old who asked question after question after question. We would be stuck in the mother*ckn car for TEN hours, and he would ask a question. I would answer it. Then, I would hear this:
I would smile, take a deep breath, and answer his question.
I sigh with relief, open a book, and…
🤬 <- That’s what was going through my mind.
That cute, blonde-headed boy with blue-green eyes was exhausting. I should’ve realized it was a sign of what my future would look like. He’s the hugger who leaves a dust of shit clinging in the air, suffocating you as he walks away. He’s the person who clicks his pen the entire time you’re speaking with him. Annoying. As. F*ck.
Recently, I made the decision to get the Covid vaccination. I’ve heard all the conspiracy theories… I’m getting the devil’s mark injected into me… I’m going to die in six months… population control at its finest… Yada, yada, yada. Look, y’all, I don’t care if you choose not to get vaccinated. I follow the beat of my own drum, and I’m gonna do me. Period. Like it, or leave it. IDGAF.
Anyway, after I tell my eldest son… the annoying gremlin… that I’m getting the Covid vaccination, this is the text I get:
I had just taken a drink, and I splattered that sh*t all over my car. F******ck.
My kid’s annoying, but he’s funny… sometimes.
After a scheduling fiasco, I was eventually stabbed in my arm. Afterward, I sat in the chair, and I somehow managed not to pass out. #score
Later that night, my annoying gremlin wants me to pick him up from my sister’s after I explicitly told him earlier in the day I had homework, and I wasn’t going to pick him up hours later. He was either going home with me, or I’d pick him up tomorrow. And… this is the text I get:
I snorted. Rolled my eyes. Not today, glitter tits. Not today.
If you’ve been following my blog for a minute, you know I’m stuck in a house filled with testosterone. I’m flying solo. When you’re the only estrogen in the house, you have to do some dirty sh*t to survive. For example, when the eldest gremlin is annoying me and is being a straight up dick, I tell him I’m flowin’ hard as I shove my hand down my underwear, pull it out and attempt to wipe it on him. Sounds disgusting, right? It absofuckinglutely is. That’s the point. His @$$ got up and moved. He left me alone. My hand might’ve smelled a little fishy, might’ve been tinged pink, but I had peace and quiet. #winning
After the eldest gremlin’s shenanigan’s this past week, I’ve turned up my game. B*tch ain’t gonna know what hit him. I’m struttin’ around like, What? You wanna take a shitty picture of me and draw a motherf*ckn dick in front of my face? That’s cool. I got you.
After I came up with brilliant idea to shave my feminine area, keep whatever came off, and sprinkle that sh*t like fairy dust over him while he’s asleep, I’ve used that sh*t to mess with his head. Here’s a snippet of the first conversation:
In the last picture, he’s trying to figure out if I’m telling the truth or not. Doesn’t matter. It’s in his head, and every time he finds one of his wiry beard hairs in his bed, the thought’s gonna cross his mind that it might be from his momma’s nether regions. Bwah ha ha. Get some, punk.
This morning, I’ve been busy. I’ve been in meetings. I have a job. I don’t get to look at my cell phone every second of the day. This fool has been sending me text messages to call the school to let him check out.
This morning’s conversation for your reading pleasure:
Needless to say, I didn’t call the school.
The moral of this blog is… Don’t f*ck with your momma, bruh. She’s ruthless. #GremlinWars #MommasGotGame #FairyDust
Y’all… my son, eldest gremlin, might die before he graduates. I’m in the midst of one of the hardest weeks of my MBA, creating book pitches, finessing query letters, yada, yada… you get the point. And this fool straight up takes a pic of me in my shittiest form – no makeup, hair all f*cked up, double chin’s pronounced, and my face – IDK what that look is. To make matters worse, he doodles on it and sends it to my mother*ckn sister who shares it with my mom… and this is the text I receive:
Sexy, huh? Jerk.
Anyway, that was the gift I was given after taking time out of my busy day to move the savings account out of my name and solely into his, and getting a checking account opened in his name. He has checks and a debit card now… sh*t’s getting real up in here. On the ride home, I was telling him he needed to keep some of the money saved to where if his car needs tire or breaks down, he can cover it. Momma’s not paying for repairs. Momma’s not covering overdraft fees, either. Welcome to #adulting.
After seeing the picture, I’m tempted to shave my feminine area, keep whatever comes off, wait until he’s asleep, and sprinkle that sh*t like fairy dust. *Boom* He thinks he’s got jokes. Momma’s been around a minute, and that b*tch plays dirty.
Sometimes, I make really dumb decisions. I blame it on the optimism fairy that sits on my shoulder whispering about rainbows, sunshine, chocolate cake… you know, all the stuff you want to hear. So, I eat the freakin’ cake, which is delicious while I am eating the entire thing. Then, I walk into the bathroom, stare at the tiny black object that is going to flash red numbers at me, and I knew I shouldn’t have listened to her. Once again, she sucked me in, and I caved. #easilypersuadedwithchocolate
Most of the time, it’s just little things I can frown about, mumble a few choice words on, then press forward. Not this time. Nope.
The optimism fairy, that I’ve named Sharon, had the bright idea to let my eighteen-year-old son stay home alone at my house for three days. You won’t have to board the dogs, she said. He can take care of them, she said. Easy task, she said. He’s an adult, she said. And, what did I do? I listened to Sharon.
After being gone a few days, I opened my door, and the smell smacked me in the face. I gagged. Almost vomited. I dropped my bags on the porch, and tip-toed in, afraid of what I might step in. Sure enough… there’s dried puddles of piss on my dining room floor. A blanket with dog feces on it. A big red stain is smiling at me from my kitchen table. There are dried dog feces on my living room floor.
Sounds like a lovely way to arrive home after being on the road for over nine hours, right? Oh, it gets worse. I walk down the hall, peek my head in my youngest son’s room and there is dog shit on his motherf*n bed. Like, what, the what? Seriously? I lost my shit, which I thought went well with the theme of my new home design.
My eighteen-year-old arrived home a little while later, and my eyes were buggin’, y’all. My arms were flailing, I was stomping my feet to put emphasis on my words, and I saw red. My husband… he was the smartest one in the house. He kept his head down, avoided eye contact, and stayed quiet.
My child… this wannabe adult… made excuses.
“It must’ve happened within the last three hours,” he said. “It wasn’t like that when I left this morning.”
My head snapped, and a storm of words flew from my mouth, lashing at him. The dog piss was caked on my floor. That doesn’t happen in a few hours.
Well, fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck, Sharon, and her fairy optimism. If you have an optimism fairy, please be aware that the b*tch will burn you at times, and you will go down in flames… or you just might swim in the smell of dog urine and feces.
If someone would have told me a year ago that I would have my two gremlins at home, working on their schoolwork, and I’d be stuck re-learning some of my favorite subjects, I would have asked for something for the pain. A bottle of wine doesn’t. even. touch. it. Listen, to all the science teachers out there, I give you mad props, but this girl detest science. I want to cry, even kick, and scream a little, when my youngest gremlin comes to me needing help with it. I’ve been back through the periodic table, visited the world of neutrons, protons, and electrons, and guess what? I still detest science. No one in my family will be the ones to ever come up with a vaccine. We’re lucky if we know what H2O stands for. Seriously.
So, when the youngest gremlin comes to me needing help with his math work, I feel like I’m pretty decent at it, and I can be a shining light beaming down on him. This isn’t science. I so got this. I smile, and I motion him forward. Until … I see this:
Like, what am I supposed to do with this? My smile faltered, and I just stared at him with a dumb stricken look on my face. Like, what the what? Are you even my gremlin? Never have I produced such an atrocity as this unorganized vomit spewed across the page.
I literally sat down during my lunch break to try to decipher what my kid had written. Who writes like this? It was equivalent to trying to read an alien language no human being had ever mastered. Is this a male thing? Does it get better when they’re adults? I dunno. I’ve seen my husband’s chicken scratch, and I’m going to bet our gremlins are probably screwed.
What’s even sadder is that I even turned the freakin’ paper as if that somehow was going to magically make it make sense enough to read. Luckily, I received an email from his teacher that he did really well on the math test, which was what the paper I was trying to decipher was. I had literally just resigned myself to having him open the quiz back up as I stared over his shoulder to see what the problems were. She was, and is, a heroine in my book.
There was a time that being a teacher had crossed my mind. My gremlins have completely shattered that thought over the past year. I’m not fit to be a teacher. It makes me grumbly. I’m like a toddler sitting in a corner with their hands folded across their chest as they pout. Don’t look at me. Don’t talk to me. Don’t get near me. I might even bite anyone who gets close. All the parents out there who are a little balder and stay quite a bit drunker now, I completely understand. Cheers to you, and cheers to the teachers who teach our offspring day in and day out. Bless your beautiful souls.
The gremlins have been at home for a week as of Friday morning. I haven’t pulled my hair out … yet. I have another three weeks with them – two weeks that will consist of them doing schoolwork. The youngest is proactive and knocks out his work first thing in the morning. The eldest gremlin, well, he gets on my last nerve. He is the procrastinator. He wants to wait until the very last second, then rush to get it all done. Me? I cannot live my life like that. I like to be ahead of the game. I like to have room to breathe. I am a planner. I have learned over the past week that homeschooling gremlins can be maddening.
There were times in my life where the thought about being a teacher crossed my mind. Then I would think of the parents I would have to deal with and that was the end of that rambling idea. I think quite a few parents give teachers hell, but at what point do we look at our own home to see if the source of the problem isn’t the teacher, but us? There have been times when I had conversations with teachers about my eldest gremlin as he made his way through the school year. There was a point in time where he was goofing off all the time in class. I didn’t blame the teacher, y’all. Here’s what I did:
I found an old school desk.
Bought workbooks for his grade level – math, science, reading, etc.
Placed the desk at the end of the hallway, facing the wall.
When he get home, he soon learned that his spring break was consisting of schoolwork. I used this moment to teach him a life lesson. Wasting someone’s time and not respecting it when they are trying to make you better isn’t kosher. Needless to say, he stopped goofing off in class. He knew that if he wasted his teacher’s time, mom was going to eat away at his free time with more schoolwork to make up for it.
It is easy to focus on blaming everyone else, but I think it is good practice to look at all the factors, including ourselves. I know I am far from perfect, and I know my gremlins are far from perfect. We’re human, and we’re constantly learning and evolving. That’s life.
After the youngest gremlin finished his schoolwork last week, I was duped into playing a video game with him. In the course of a few minutes, I believe I was killed a hundred times. Every time I would see the enemy, I would have to look down at all of the buttons on the remote. My brain was like sludge as I tried to remember what my eleven-year-old said each one did. I would end up hitting the button to jump instead of shoot. Then … I died. I even tried to use the youngest gremlin’s guy as a shield. The jerks would come from behind, and … I still died. After only killing a handful of the enemy in thirty minutes, I plopped the remote down, ruffled my gremlin’s hair, turned and walked out with my head held high. I figured I’d stop while I was ahead. I killed a few. I thought I had done well.
Later that night, my youngest gremlin came into the living room chuckling. Merriment sparkled in his dark eyes as he said to my husband, “Mom’s really awful. She died all the time. You really suck at playing the game, mom.”
I really wanted to stick my tongue out at him, but I could see my husband’s slow smile cracking across his face out of my peripheral.
“That bad, huh?” asked my husband, smiling so hard his cheeks had to be hurting. In my mind, I flipped him off, but instead … I just sat there, ignoring them.
Y’all, I really need some estrogen in this house. Lord, save me from these gremlins.
I don’t always listen to my husband … ok, I almost never listen to my husband. He can preach about something for years before I decide he might actually be onto something. I usually nod my head, grunt once or twice, and pretend to be actively listening. Hey, stop judging me. Y’all know if your man starts spouting off about car parts or something else that isn’t revving your engine, your eyes glaze over and you stop listening. That’s just how it is.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah … he was definitely onto something this week. He had been saying it for months, but I just brushed it off … until I hit my limit with my gremlins. I work full-time, and I try to keep my house somewhat in order. After watching my kids come home from school and just loaf around, then pile dishes, laundry and junk all over the place – momma was d-o-n-e. Once the dishes were washed and put away, laundry was done, I had the discussion with said gremlins. They will wash any dish they dirty. If momma cooks, they get to wash the pans. They will each have a laundry basket in their room, and they will do their own laundry.
So far, it has worked beautifully. This is the best my sink has ever looked. Neither one of them thinks it will stick, but it doesn’t benefit for it not to. It definitely won’t benefit their future spouse if I revert back to the way it was. The last thing I want is for my gremlins to expect that a woman is supposed to take care of everything inside of the house. Women are in the workforce and bringing in the bacon as well, so our ‘job’ isn’t to take care of the house, bring the man a drink when his runs out, cook, clean and iron his clothes. No, sir. When part of the bills are paid for by the woman, the man should step up.
I can almost hear men fussing about the lawn and what they take care of outside. Listen, women aren’t too good to mow a lawn or spray the weeds. Especially, when their man is doing their part with the upkeep of the inside of their house. It should be a partnership.
I personally just think it’s BS when a woman is judged by what the inside of her house looks like when she is pulling in just as much or more than the man. No woman should feel guilty that she didn’t make supper after a long, hard day at work. That’s why I’m determined to have two self-sufficient gremlins.
Here’s a tip for fellow moms of gremlins. If you have a router, check into getting the app on your phone. I have a Nighthawk from Netgear, and I love the little Device Manager button that I can click into and shut off a specific device in my home.
What? You didn’t wash your plate? Good-bye internet for Desktop-XXXX. Bwah ha ha. Get some, fool. I probably shouldn’t get as much enjoyment from it as I do. I was literally popping a Dorito into my mouth as I clicked the button and watched my son’s bedroom door from my desk. It didn’t take long before he went and washed the dirty plate he left sitting on the table.