Since school began on August 25, I have sort of fallen from the blogging world. With 5 teenagers needing to be awakened multiple times before they finally get up off the bed and roll into the bathroom only to be tying shoes as they run for the bus, I’ve been a tad busy. Add to the fray my chronic volunteerism and joining the PTSA (that’s Parent Teacher Student Association, for you non-parental types) and you have a complex ball of reasons why dinner is late to the table EVERY  night.

SO….did I miss this? Yes. Enough to “just say NO?” No. I am involved in the schools because it is part of my chosen “career  path,” if you will. I left my job of 17 years to do this full time and I don’t want to miss out on any of it….even if it is exhausting and even if it is thankless. I get to be there for my teens when they come home from school and they need to just dump all of the “this is so unfair” or “OHMIGOSH! Guess what happened” conversations as soon as they get off the bus and toss that ever-lovin’ backpack onto the catch-all table that I still haven’t found time to sand and refinish in order to sell it on eBay. *sigh* And I dig the communication and the relationship and even the bitching and whining that they do.

I have that type of communication relationship that is almost Huxtable-esque since they come to me when they are worried, concerned, happy, angsty, and just sad. I love that my 14 year old daughter LIKES when I show up at her sports events and to go shopping with just me. I like that my 16 year old has developed the sense of respect for women that I’ve only dreamed of and that he shares things with me like, “This girl walked up to me in the hallway and tried to kiss me at school today.  And when I stepped back to keep her from doing it, my friends were like, ‘Dude! Why don’t you hit that?’ and I told them, ‘I don’t like that girl! Why do I want to do that?'”  And in my head I was just screaming, “YES!!!!! I am CLEARLY doing something right!”

Living in Texas where the state religion is FOOTBALL, my 13 year old came home from school last Monday with a sprained shoulder. He had been tackled in practice and landed with all of his weight on his shoulder and couldn’t lift his arm to even a 90 degree angle from his body. After an ER visit and prescription of sling, ibuprofen, and no football for the next 7 days, he announced to me, “Mom, I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve only played football for 1 full season and I’m only in 8th grade. I’ve twisted both ankles, sprained my shoulder, and had my nose broken (jumped by 3 teammates last year in the locker room.) If I play through  high school my body is going to be destroyed.”

“Are you going to quit football?” I asked, torn between the lessons of commitment and cost of those damn size 14 cleats that will go to waste and his permanent health.

“No,” he replied. “I will finish this season. But next year, I think instead of going to the regular high school with the rest of them (siblings,) I’m want to go to the Arlington Collegiate High School. They don’t have athletics but I’ll get to graduate with dual credits and I can go into college as a junior.”

And then my wallet and I did a happy dance with my husband’s paycheck in my head.

“If that’s what you want, we’ll support you 100%,” I told him and hugged him.

So, THAT’s what I’m doing when not blogging. I’ll probably still take the job that I applied for, if they offer it to me. I will still be able to be home with my kids when they get out since it will be with the school district. And dinner will still be late. But I won’t have to give up a thing when it comes to being there for them. And THAT is what this parenting thing is all about.

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