New Beginnings

If you have been following my smattering of blog postings, you know that I love my blog but don’t post.  And, if you have been following recently, you know that is because I am in the midst of multiple changes in my personal and professional life (such as it is) that make writing under the title of “Hiding From the Kids” seem irrelevant.

I have thought about changing the name…but I get a giggle remembering why I titled this blog in the first place.  As I sit here in a nest that gets emptier by the minute, it is fun to reminisce about a time when it was full of teenagers and when I spent my days working with teenagers.  Hiding from them all seemed to be the only solution.

I’m keeping the name, but the focus is changing.  Staying true to the blog’s initial purpose, I am using this blog to get away from what I do for others and focus on what I have to do for me.

Case in point, recently I was diagnosed with ADHD.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Within the last two months I was tested and diagnosed with ADHD.   Once I was diagnosed, I deliberated and decided that I would attempt to manage my “symptoms” with medication.

One of the side effects of my medication is loss of appetite.  Pre-medication, I might have been easily distracted but I NEVER forgot to eat.  However, now that I have minimal structure built into my days and no appetite, I find I can go all day and never really feel the need to eat.  Last night it occurred to me that I could blog my meals here.  

For those of you who hate food pics, I apologize.  But I am hoping that posting my meals here will encourage me to remember to eat three squares, get creative in the kitchen and bring my blog back to life.  I’ll be back later today with pics.  Hope you have a great day!



© Rcaucino | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock PhotosMy mother-in-law passed away yesterday.  Her passing was not a sudden surprise for she had been ill for some time and in a great deal of pain.  But as most people know, expecting is not experiencing and there is no preparation for the loss of someone who is so integral to the fabric of the family.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was not close to her.  Early on in my relationship with my husband, she and I forged an armistice that was adjusted and renewed when I married her son and over time had her grandchildren.  But whether or not I considered her my “mother” , she was a wonderful grandmother to my children and a doting mother to my husband (thus the source of much of our conflict).  And in our own way, we loved each other.

Her funeral will be held on the 7 year anniversary of my younger brother’s death.  A passing that did come as a sudden surprise and one that I am still trying to figure out how to grieve even 7 years later.  I mention this only because at this point in my life, I feel like managing loss is the name of the game.

As a young girl when I imagined family, I never considered raising adolescents or what happens afterward when they leave home and begin their own lives.  I am in the midst of these changes on multiple levels and it also feels like loss.

My oldest daughter is about to begin her last semester of undergraduate work and will hopefully begin her career (anyone looking for an amazing chemical engineer?).  She has warned that she does not expect to stay in Maine.

My son is beginning the semester that will represent half of his college career.  Because he is attending a university within a half hour’s drive from home, he has been living here.  He has told me he intends to move out this year and share a house with some of his schoolmates.

My youngest is still in high school.  However, this year she achieved that highly coveted symbol of freedom: her driver’s license, and is rarely home.

Because I am working part-time as a nanny and an adjunct instructor at our local community college, my husband has been very busy taking on overtime.   Our income took a huge hit when I left my full time job two years ago, reducing our income by half.  I sometimes view my leaving a job that was not good for me on so many levels but paid the bills as a loss even though no one else in my house will agree.

So this morning, I’m up way too early, thinking about loss.  The knot in my stomach reminds me it is very stressful and doesn’t feel good.  But somewhere in the back of my brain a small voice is trying to get my attention.  In my former life as a guidance counselor, I helped hundreds of kids and their parents manage change and their feelings around change.  That side of me is starting to ramp up again, begging me to see my losses as change.  Asking me to see this change as opportunity.  Begging me to seize the opportunity and do something.  The question I always come back to is where to begin?

So I ask you, dear reader, when you are faced with the loss/change/opportunity trifecta, where do you begin?

A Whole New World

When I started this blog, I was in the throes of “teenagerdom” in my home.  My three kids, Princess,  Stinky Boy and Diva ranged in age from high school to middle school and that combined with my full-time work as a high school guidance counselor had me on teenage overload, thus the name of the blog!

I can honestly say I had no idea how quickly those years would go by but this week I my youngest, Diva, reminded me that she was a junior in high school, not the sophomore I truly believed she was!  With their maturation comes my painful transition from “Mommy” to being “Mom”.  Diva got her driver’s license this year so I was “fired” from my last job in my “mommy” role.

It is a bittersweet thing to see your children grow up and become independent.  For twenty-one years, my days have revolved around the needs of my children and I have been very happy in that role.  These days, I am no longer “hiding from the kids” but I feel as though they are hiding from me!

Until yesterday…Stinky Boy is now a handsome young man.  A sophomore in college and a member of his school’s soccer team, he came home the other night and told me that his coach has requested Ben work toward a 20 lbs. muscle gain during off-season.  I have spent most of my life trying to drop 20 lbs. so I mentally groaned when he said it.  The day-to-day commitment to the goal can be pure drudgery.  My “mommy” brain kicked in and I came up with a brilliant idea that I hoped will help me connect with him in a significant non-nagging way.

I bet my son that I can lose 20 lbs. before he can gain 20 lbs.  I know how long it can take to gain muscle since I had a brief stint of serious weight training in the late 80’s, so I offered to make my total higher but he agreed to 20 all the way around.  The stakes are fun.  If he wins, I will get him a gift certificate to a restaurant of his choice.  If I win, he cleans his room.

This may not sound like even stakes for an even effort but it’s what we’ve negotiated.  Believe me to have his room clean and be 20 lbs. thinner is a win for me in every sense of the word!  And I DO intend to win!!!


Today, someone very important to my life passed away.  Faye was my former personal trainer and Pilates instructor.  She died too young from colon cancer. It was my understanding that the last few days were very uncomfortable painful.

I hope that she had the opportunity to be with her daughter and welcome her first grandchild into the world.  I hope that she was able to enjoy the trip she took with her family just two months ago.  I hope that she felt her life, cut short too soon, was fulfilling.

Please, please, please, in honor of Faye, a woman who never judged me by my physical appearance but encouraged me to challenge my mental appearance, get a colonoscopy where your doctor says you should. In honor of a woman who was so busy building a dream business where she helped others to be strong everyday that she forgot to take care of herself, don’t put off doing what you know you should do.  In honor, of a woman who had the courage in middle age to reinvent herself and attacked life without apology except for this “one little thing”, be honest with yourself. Please, please, please do the things you need to do to take care of your health.  No perception of discomfort is worth the actual pain of dying of cancer.  And please, please, please, keep Faye and her family in your thoughts and prayers as they say good-bye to someone near and dear to them.

Please go here for more information about colon cancer and of course, see your doctor on a regular basis.

What a Day!

So, yesterday I briefly mentioned that I left a job in June without a future plan. Not ideal but very necessary.  This fall, with no job prospects, I joined the ranks of the substitute teacher and while the pay is pathetic, the rewards have been many.

It did not take many days in the classroom to realize how much I enjoy teaching and how much I had missed the opportunity to be in the classroom.  I enjoy being in the classroom so much that I don’t mind the rude student, the chatty student, the tattling student and the angry student.

Half the fun of substitute teaching is teaching something different every day.  I have taught English, science (complete with experiment), math, art, PE and my favorite…wood shop!  The lesson for me is that it doesn’t matter what I teach, it is how I teach.  I enter the classroom with enthusiasm and confidence and the kids usually respond in kind.

Finally, you never know what wacky things you will be asked to deal with.  Today for example, I had a child who came back from lunch, crossed the classroom threshold and became violently ill.  It was epic!  I have also had students disappear (high school level of course) and a fire drill which effectively shut down the wood shop for the remainder of the day.

In many ways I am grateful for my current situation.  I am less stressed and enjoying family and friends again.  But more importantly, I am learning about myself.  What I enjoy and even what doesn’t excite me.  I am handling challenges with confidence again and appreciate each and every one of them.  And finally, I have had the chance to meet some pretty awesome people.

I’m curious, is anyone else going through something similar?  How are you choosing to deal with your personal rediscovery?


National Blog Writer’s Month…  Yikes!!!  I have promised to blog everyday for the entire month of November.  Just in case I don’t appear completely insane, I wanted to share that I have also joined NaNoWriMo…National Novel Writer’s Month.  This means that there will be many words in my near future.  Never mind that I have no novel in my brain that needs to be released, or that I have Christmas presents to make teachers to substitute and jewelry to make!  So much to do and so little time.

Oh and I have also decided that I need to work out, find a winter sport I like since the snow is already on the ground here, and find at least a part time job that I can use to organize my life around.

Why all these projects you may ask.  The answer is simple:  I’m trying to find myself.   For those of you who are just joining our program, I left a job of 9 years last June with no job in line.  I am trying to figure out what I want to do, who I really am (after telling myself I was a high school guidance counselor for 10 years).

So tally ho!  We are on our way!!!!

And all the spaces…

When my son was little, we often said our good-byes through an exchange of “I love you more.”  “No, I love YOU more.”  These days my son is a handsome, talented but most importantly kind man who stands between high school and college in a challenging way. My son lives at home and attends a university two towns over.  I am sure it is less and less uncommon but I see the special set of challenges presented to him.  We are still navigating the freedom of choice parameters and I probably check on his homework progress more than he would like.

A soccer player all his life, he chose to attend this school in large part because of all the schools he considered attending, he really wanted to play for this coach.  The fact that it is a great school and he received a wonderful financial aid package made any objections useless.  However, in order to do this, the compromise was he would have to live at home.  This saved $13,000.00 off a $40,000+ bill and with our oldest in her third year of school and my needing to change work situations, it was critical.

But this decision has presented an unexpected challenge.  A day prior to classes starting, on the way to a pre-season meeting at the coach’s house, his car died.  So not only is he living at home away from his friends, but now his mother or father is driving him to school everyday.  With our work schedules, that sometimes means, he will be dropped off on campus at 7 even though his first class is not until 11.   Some days his classes are over at 12 but he has to stay on campus until 4 because that is the only time available for pick-up.  He won’t stay on campus at night because he doesn’t want to ask us to go out late and pick him up.

When he and I used to banter our “I love you mores” back and forth, they eventually evolved into  “all the spaces in between”, short for “I love you all the bits and pieces and the moon and stars and all the spaces in between.”   My son’s grace under pressure is one of the things I admire most about him on the soccer field and off.  As he navigates this really tough life transition with the additional obstacles  put in his way, I hope he knows that while we don’t say it anymore (seriously, I have to leave him some swagger!) that it is for me, at least, about all the spaces in between.