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What Happens in Vegas Should Stay in Vegas

I haven’t ranted in a while, so I figure I’m due. The other night my family gathered in the den to watch a movie. My son is sixteen and he likes action/suspense movies that are typically rated R and not appropriate for our fourteen-year-old daughter. Case in point, we saw Captain Phillips (rated PG-13) in the theater and she got scared.dvds

After much debate, we found a PG-13 movie about four old men who go to Vegas. The movie seemed innocent enough for her and yet funny enough for him. Everybody was happy—until the movie started playing. Now, bear with me because I want you to imagine watching this with a fourteen-year-old girl. A somewhat naïve, very innocent fourteen-year-old girl. A girl I’d like to remain somewhat naïve and very innocent, at least for a little while longer.

At the beginning of the movie, a happily married man who is not so happy in his retirement is ambivalent about going to Vegas with his old buddies. His wife, sensing something’s off in their marriage, gives him a condom, a little blue pill, and permission to cheat on her in order for him to snap out of it so she can have her husband back. I kid you not. Not only did this probably confuse my daughter about what is and is not appropriate about marriage, but I had to tell my husband that at no time and under no circumstances would that scenario ever come to pass.

So this guy skips though Vegas searching for a young hottie to bed. It’s his entire mission despite the fact that his other friend is getting married that weekend and his friend is marrying the wrong woman. The only thing that matters is finding some booty since his wife has granted him a mulligan. When he finally stumbles across someone drunk enough to take him up on it, he realizes he can’t cheat on his wife, but suggests a blowjob instead. Nice. Very nice.

What is wrong with Hollywood? It was gross enough watching old men slobber after women young enough to be their granddaughters, but to suggest a movie all about sex is appropriate for a PG-13 audience is just sad. I feel sorry for today’s youth because the messages are so confusing and impossible to ignore. Needless to say, I’m done being as innocent and naïve as my daughter. From now on I’ll assume all movies rated PG-13 should be rated R. Or maybe I’ll cross movies off our list of things to do and suggest a board game instead.

Am I overreacting or just watching the wrong kind of movies?

photo credit: Frenkieb via photopin cc

Memories, Like the Corners of My Mind…

My daughter cried herself to sleep last night after thinking about how fast her childhood has gone by—and she’s twelve! Imagine how I feel, I wanted to tell her. I can still remember the wonder of her birth, her clumsy first steps, and her stubborn refusal to speak before she could form complete sentences.Happy Mother's Day

My little get-up-and-go girl wasn’t one for cuddling (like my pass-out-on-my-shoulder son). One of my fondest memories was when she was just shy of a year and had a hundred and four degree temperature. She felt so poorly, that she let me cuddle her for hours in the emergency room. If I close my eyes, I can still remember the feel of her breath on my neck and the soft cotton of her Onesie as I rubbed her back.

I remember when my son called me a “big, strong woman” when I lifted a box of kitchen pans from Costco into our cart. Now that he’s taller than me, I doubt I’ll hear those words again. This week, he’s studying to get his learner’s permit. How in the hell did this happen?

Time is going by faster than I can catalogue all the memories. One of my greatest fears is getting Alzheimer’s and not being able to remember even the smallest things about my life. But before I jump to a disease that wipes my memories away, I also fear that I may be living each day without truly soaking up all the ways I can spend with my loved ones.

For the last fifteen years, I’ve been blessed—blessed beyond compare—to be a stay at home mom. I wouldn’t trade the experience for all the money, success, or fame in the world. But even being at home with the kids, I still know there were times I was too busy with something else to listen intently, watch them closely, or appreciate the joy of being around them.

So this morning (I’m writing this post on Mother’s Day), while they sleep on the day meant to celebrate my contribution to their lives, I vow to spend the rest of my days doing a better job of being their mom. It’s been the greatest pleasure of my life.

If you get a chance, share a memory of your kids with us. Just thinking of them will make us better mothers.

My Parenting Fun Continues…

My fourteen-year-old son recently texted me while on a school trip with his classmates and asked me to stop texting him. He’d been gone for two days and I’d texted him a handful of times asking those probing questions that parents ask like, “Where are you now?” When I asked him why I should stop texting him, he answered that I was annoying him.

When he got home, his father and I took his phone away and I told him he’d get it back when he learned to treat me with respect. Oh, and I was done doing all the annoying things I do for him every day.

He now wakes up with an alarm instead of me rubbing his back. He makes his own breakfast (I do still slip a Power Bar into his book bag or else the kid would starve). I’ve stopped annoying him by doing his laundry. We had a lesson with both the washer and dryer that included many eye rolls and frustrated huffs of impatience. He even asked when he was getting his phone back and when he could stop doing laundry (his first load was still in the wash).

Needless to say, he still doesn’t have his phone and he’s still doing his laundry.

Never would I have treated my parents with the kind of disrespect that he treats me. My husband would never have been so bold with his parents, and he’s pretty darn bold. Somewhere along the line, our son has lost complete respect for us. My friends say it’s because he’s a teenager and he’ll grow out of it. Unfortunately for him, I’m not patient enough to wait until he grows out of it. As a matter of fact, he can do his laundry from now until he leaves for college if his attitude doesn’t improve.

The thing I don’t understand is that I don’t expect him to lavish me with praise for preparing his food, doing his laundry, and being at his beck and call 24/7. I never have. I’m simply trying to raise a self-sufficient, happy citizen who will contribute to society. If he does a few years of laundry along the way, his future wife can thank me with grandchildren I intend to spoil rotten and then return to his parents. Should he be scared that I’m already plotting revenge? Yes, he absolutely should.

So as Thanksgiving comes to an end and the kids head back to school with visions of Christmas break on their minds, I’m wondering what the rest of you who have raised teenagers recommend. Should I lighten up because he’s a teenager or give my wayward son more chores?

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