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Friday, July 15, 2011

You Gotta Have Friends

Where would we be without our friends? I know my friends were and are an important life-blood to me, in school and once I ventured out into the grown-up world of working and marriage.  As my children have grown older, I feel a closeness with my friends that has grown deeper over time.  Of course there is my husband, but there is something about a girlfriend that can't be put into words.  I thank the social media outlets for bringing me back friends from my early childhood whom I had lost track of, and for finding me some new friends that I cannot live without now.  We have build a support network that spans distance; I know my friends are there for me, as I am for them.  I am so happy when I see that my children have made special friendships at this stage in their lives; in this age, there is no way to lose touch with each other if you don't want to.  Both my children have been at the same school with the same friends since they were 4; they have friends in the neighborhood they have known since they were 3.  These are the building blocks of the relationships they will make with the rest of the world as they grow older.  I wish them the same good fortune with their friends that I have had with mine.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Parent's Nightmare

I write this with tears in my eyes, as I read the story of a little boy, who begged to be allowed to walk home from camp on his own.  He was to meet his parents only 5 blocks away, in broad daylight, in one of the busiest neighborhoods.  He took a wrong turn and met pure evil. 
As parents, our first thuoghts are always with our children; their safety, well-being and happiness.  When we hear of another child, especially a little one, losing his life, we think of our own families, and how we would feel if this happened to us.  Now my children are older; one is 17 and one is 14.  The thoughts and fears don't disappear with age.  Maybe I am neurotic, but I still worry.  Yes, my daughter went to Europe for 3 weeks with 7 friends, but they knew what to do; always, always stay together, never let anyone buy you anything to eat or drink. Never leave one of your friends alone, even for a minute.
And now in a month and a half she will be off to college, on her own and making her own decisions.  I will still worry at night; is she walking by hereself when it's dark?  Will she meet someone at a party and "just this once" go alone with him or worse yet in a car?  But then I think-if there is one thing I raised both my children with, it is street smarts.   Maybe it means they trust people a little less.  But I know my daughter.  She knows the right thing to do  And I know that by letting her go, I amm giving her the greatest gift of all, which is the chance to grow up an independent, free-willed woman, who can make it on her own.
That is what those parents of the little 9 year boy, who begged his mommy to let him walk home for the first time were trying to do-give him the feeling of being grown up.  It was just a wrong turn, split second meeting that turned into disaster.  It could happen anywhere and to anyone.  We just have to hope and pray that we are lucky.  Hug your children a little tighter tonight.  I know I will.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harry Potter - The Wonder Years

 Did your teenagers literally grow up with Harry Potter, mine did, particularly my son. He was 7 years old when the first film debuted in 2001( the book was published in 1997). Harry was supposed to be 11 years old when the series began. In the final movie installment premiering this week-The Deathly Hallows: Part 2  his age is 17.  How many of you have wonderful memories of watching the movies as they came out one by one. Im sure like me, it began as a family outing- since the movies had something for everyone. Almost all of the movies premiered right around my son's birthday, making it extra special. Eventually, as both Harry and my son aged, the movie dynamic changed. I remember when I took my son and a few of his friends to one of the installments where I was politely informed that I should sit on the other side of the theatre at least 5 rows away--and then, finally, my son informed me there was no need for me to "go with" at all.--I could catch it on DVD. Harry and his friends Hermoine and Ron were not the only ones growing up. Beyond the movies and most importantly-there were the books. My son was not interested in reading until he read, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Like most of his friends, he could not put it down and anxiously awaited and devoured all of the sequels. . In between installments he read many other novels- because Harry had given him the taste for a really good book. Thank you Harry! ( and of course JK Rowling). A lot has happened to Harry and his Hogwart friends in the last 10 years. Likewise, I'm sure many of our children who are now solidly in their teen years have experienced trials and tribulations. Hopefully they have encountered way more Hagrids than Voldemorts in their lives.
One final note, My daughter who is 2 years younger than my son--wasn't as crazed with Harry and has found her addiction in the Twilight Series--personally--I like Harry!
Do you have a favorite Harry Potter moment in your teenagers life?

Teenage Boys- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Since sonny boy has yet to find a "summer" job, I've requested that he pitch in with the stuff that just needs to get done. He's vacuumed, done laundry, addressed the Cable TV issues. Last week, I asked him to please do a good deed and pick up his grandfather and bring him to our house for dinner. A 45 min. round trip journey. Ok- it was slightly raining, but he has had his license for quite some time. Did I mention-like many teenage boys--he's not the most cautious driver. He couldn't blast the radio on his way back home with Grandpa so they chatted. It was pretty much stop and go traffic on the highway, as it usually is. Well, I don't know about you, but I've told my kids since before they could even think about driving, that one of the most important rules of the road is to keep a reasonable distance from the car in front of you--give yourself room. Long story short, he didn't, and he rear ended the car in front of him. Grandpa had moments before told him he was following too closely, but I guess 65+ yrs. of driving experience had no influence. Thankfully, everyone was OK and the guy he hit wasn't much older than him and had no damage. The car my son was driving is 13 yrs. old and has 150K mileage.  Did I mention the bent hood, which would cost probably 3X more to fix than what the car is worth. It's really no wonder teenage boys' insurance costs are so high. Hey, anyone need a car for parts?