Pamela Llano Zesty Mom
The days are winding down until my Eldest Girl Child heads out into the world for her 8 month adventure in Ecuador~ to live with an unknown host family in an unknown part of the country and work an unknown internship. I’m realizing as I type this just how many unknowns that is, and what a brave and amazing young woman I have been blessed with.
A number of our young family friends are also flying from their nests this fall, but most of them know exactly where they are heading, where they’ll live and who with and for the most part, how they will spend their days. Most could also drive home for holidays or even long weekends.
My Girl has none of these cushions. But even though it’s a lot of trust in the unknown, as her mama, I know in my heart she will do great.
At 18, my Girl Child has already been navigating young adulthood pretty darn well, but all of the prep work, paperwork, bureaucracy, and loose ends she has to deal with to make her upcoming adventure happen are like adulting on steroids. Understandably, there’s been a bit of stress and emotion permeating our happy home life lately.
On a recent random day, I noticed that she was terribly frustrated and annoyed ~ and if her burning glare and verbal barrage were any indicator, she was about to karate kick her brother in the throat. Around that time, something in my mama instincts revved up and told me that I needed to get my family out of the house and into some nature.
We have lots of nature, quite literally in our backyard, but there is also wifi and the view of the home and the impending feeling of all the things that need to be done.
I knew that wasn’t going to cut it this time. I needed to get her away from all of it, someplace where she literally couldn’t do anything about all the distractions and where she could sleep uninterrupted and under the stars. In my vision, we would preferably be next to running water.
So, I posed the idea of taking her and her brother camping~ just for a night to someplace nearby~ a little last rendezvous to the woods.
The three of us have had so many good times (and some not so great ones) adventuring near and far in a tent. We’ve dreamed and schemed, laughed and planned, philosophized and grown together, and seen so much of our beautiful country with our cheap fabric walls as shelter.
Taking one last trip before the Girl headed out sounded good in theory, but with all the to-do’s and life in general, we were were all a little wishy washy about my lukewarm presentation of the idea.
But as the stress and exhaustion wore on my kid, I knew I needed to do an intervention.
The Boy, had been busy most of the summer, and had just returned from several days of backpacking himself. He was tired and reluctant to pack a bag and leave the comfort of his bed again so soon. But I knew what we needed was to be together~ both kids and me.
So, I gave the Boy a hard stare and told him that we needed to go support his sister. He knows where my hard stares go, so he sighed and repacked his backpack.
I scrambled to finish my work for the day, threw together a random assortment of food, clothing and shelter and kidnapped them both.
Well, I couldn’t exactly kidnap them because they could easily overpower me, but I firmly told them to grab their bags because we were going. I took the dogs too, knowing that they are going to miss the Girl in her absence and that the Elder Dog doesn’t have as many adventures left in her.
We loaded the car, and hit the road~ And as with our 6 state Southwest adventure years ago, our destination was not exactly known~ except this time we’d only be gone one night and only traveling a few hours from home. But still, the feelings of freedom, exploration and escape with my chillens were there, and honestly, they were quite refreshing.
We drove about an hour into the mountains, watching the scenery change as rapidly as our moods. As our car went up in elevation, our stress levels went down.
The first two campgrounds we stopped at were fine, but there were people and other dogs, and realizing that we don’t always like people and our dogs are really rather ill behaved, we kept moving.
Thankfully, the third stop was a charm~ we found a spot along a huge and fast flowing creek and we were the only people in the whole campground.
Just me, my kids, my dogs and nature. Perfect.
We set up camp, hiked around and explored a bit, created a decent dinner from random ingredients, and hiked some more to watch the sunset. Then we roasted marshmallows over the fire and told stories and laughed under the dark starry sky.
The bickering floated away and we were all just happy and together and I was so, so, so very glad that I had followed my instincts on this one.
They were both glad too~ I could see it in their beings, but they said so as well. They exhaled, relaxed and smiled all the way from their inner souls.
We had all that I had wished for. Stars overhead, trees all around, clean water flowing and each other. As I looked at my offspring, I realized how very much things had changed since their younger days of tent life. Now, they could share in the driving and wander off as they pleased, But some things were also still the same. Goofy jokes and a whole lotta making fun of each other and life in general was still a prominent part of our time.
The next day, we ate breakfast and took a short walk along the creek before we packed up and headed down the hill towards home. As if on some GPS location activated system, when we rounded the corner a few blocks from where we live, the bickering started back up.
All I could muster was a sigh and weak request to please don’t. I still don’t know really what was up with this, but it wasn’t how I wanted to spend the last few days with my Girl Child in the nest.
Thankfully, they somehow must have realized they didn’t want to spend their time that way either, and we got back to the business of living, mostly happily.
I am ever so glad for that, but still, there’s a sadness in my heart. As we prep for her looming departure, I can’t really fathom her absence for such a long period of time. I don’t really want to.
I’ve spent her whole life encouraging her to spread her wings and know that she could fly. And she’s doing it. She’s doing exactly what I worked and hoped for, and I couldn’t be prouder of her than I am, but still my heart aches.
I know I have so much to do before I drive her to her pre-departure trainings, but my motivation is fairly non-existent, and a fairly big part of me just wants to stop time.
But I can’t stop time and I know it. I sort of feel like curling up in bed with an alcoholic beverage, but I realize that in the middle of a weekday afternoon, that would be both socially unacceptable, and a bad example for the kids.
Besides, that gives the impression that I’m all sad, and I’m not. I’m more like a big mixed up potion of emotions~ happy, sad, proud, excited~ it's fairly volatile and possibly explosive in what could just as likely be laughter or tears at any minute. The force of either would most likely frighten anyone who didn’t know me.
Anyhow, I realize that the thing I am sad about~ the thing that I’m grieving... it’s that my family will never ever be the same again. It will be beautiful and it will change and grow and do what living things do, but it will never ever be the same. And I will miss that.
My kids and I had a great run, and a whole lotta fun living and learning together. I hope they loved it as much as I did.
Have you ever had one of those days where it seems that just about every single thing that could possibly make your life annoying is happening on repeat?
You know, the kind of day where a dog throws up on the carpet and you spill your coffee on your new shirt and to top it all off, you give yourself a black eye from literally tripping and falling into a trash can?
Yes, that actually happened.
I fell into a friggen trash can.
Like with my head and upper body entirely inside of it. And it hurt. Like heck.
To be honest, it was a green waste can, but that’s only slightly better.
OK, maybe it’s a lot better. It was just dried leaves and twigs that got stuck in my hair and eyeballs rather than actual garbage, but it was still awfully unpleasant and humbling.
To be fair, the can does have a warning on the lid that specifically says not to pull or move it with the lid open. But, that’s the kind of cautionary labeling I normally make fun of~ like the infopic with the toddlers head stuck in a bucket, or the warning not to iron on a transfer while wearing the shirt.
Are we really such a mass collection of morons that we need all these warnings?
Well, apparently this one was there for a reason.
It seems it's not just other senseless fools, but me, myself and I that's the reason they need to put the warnings on products. But, unlike some people, I’m only going to laugh at myself about it, and not file a lawsuit because i was dumb enough to fall in a trash can~ because it’s my own ridiculous fault.
Anyhoo, I was simply trying to clean up some piles of leaves and debris around the yard. It was hot and I wasn’t in the best mood and it seemed unnecessary to close the lid to move the cart 5 feet.
But, when I rolled the can forward, the lid leaned back towards me creating a V shaped tripping hazard, which I neglected to see and promptly stuck my foot in, tumbled over, flipping the can on it’s side and toppling me head first into it.
Did I mention my cheekbone slamming into the top edge and my glasses flying off my head?
It was probably hilarious to witness, but I was living it, which is generally significantly less funny.
I found myself on the ground literally with my head and upper body inside the can~ like a cozy little nest of nature, except it wasn’t cozy at all, it was painful and disorienting.
Apparently, I also slammed my bicep into the can as well because I wound up with a big unsightly bruise, and since it’s too hot to wear long sleeves, I’ve been asked about it by approximately 12 million people in the last week.
And I really need a better story than “I fell in a trash can.”
That’s just plain embarrassing.
Anyway, the bad day mojo continued and leaked into some other days culminating on the morning that I was trying to get my booty dressed, ready and out of the house at an hour that is much earlier than I normally choose to make public appearances. (Don’t judge~ some people are night owls…)
This particular day, I am intentionally trying not to rush around like a chicken without a head because I’m going to be spending the day at a workshop full of smart and successful business women, and I don’t want to be that lady who runs in last minute with crumbs on her face, coffee on her shirt and crazy hair.
No, I’m moving along as calm & steady as I can when I realize that a little food would be a good plan so that I have more than caffeine in my system. No problem, I’ll just toast a bagel.
So, I toast it, forget about it until it’s cold and toast it again. Paying much more attention so as not to burn it, I re-warm it, only to find we have no butter, no cream cheese, no anything that sounds remotely good on this dry hunk of carbs.
Annoyed as heck that I’m going to be starve, I stomp my way around to finish packing my things for the day. Then at the last minute, I remember there is some butter in the freezer. I try to carve off frozen hunks, but they just lay there on my now cold bagel and refuse to spread, let alone melt. I wrap the unpleasant mess into a napkin and throw it into my purse, and jump in the car, now rushing for time.
Before I even get the car out of the garage, the friggen gas light comes on.
I'm not even kidding.
My eyeballs pretty much popped out of my head and thankfully the neighbors were not home because I literally screamed like a wild banshee or possibly an insane asylum patient~ definitely like a crazy lady anyway, and I did it all the way down the street until I reached the stop sign where I paused for breath.
It was a lovely example of composure and healthy emotional maturity.
Actually my throat hurt and I was exhausted. I wanted to gas up my car and just keep driving away from everything and towards an airport where I could fly away to someplace like Cancun or Australia.
But, then I realized that I'd still be making the house payments on the home I drove away from, and that would be really stupid if I wasn't even enjoying it. Then I remembered that I'd probably want to take the people who live there with me, because I actually do love them, and I also like them after all.
So, I used the pause as a cue to keep breathing. I didn't exactly calm down, but I didn't kill anyone either, so that was good. I got gas, and arrived at my destination. I wasn't too late and the rest of that day got better.
There have been some up days and some down days since then. There have been bickering children and foggy airport detours and more spilled coffee and smoke alarms and exceptionally overcooked and uncomfortably chewy corn on the cob.
But I've been trying to focus on the good stuff.
The bruises have healed (although my ego might be mildly scarred) and I'm moving on.
Since then, I've reminded myself a bazillion times that some days are like that. Even in Cancun or Australia.
Do you have a Bad Day(s) story? If so, please share it in the comments below. Laughter, after all, is the very best medicine, and it's so good to know we're not alone.
When my friend and super smart business lady Robin Fator invited me to a workshop for women in business, I wasn’t really sure it was something I could or should spend a whole day on.
Sure, I wanted to hear her speak, but since I’m not actually in business for myself at this point in my life, I filed it away in a rear burner of my mind, and got back to my day job.
But, every so often, Facebook would send me reminders prompting me think about the topics, which I actually did find interesting. Now, for most of my life, I considered the thought of learning about business to be something extremely boring that only old white men did. No offense to old white men, but I just didn’t think it was for me.
But, in the last few years, things like becoming a single mom head of household and buying a house on my own have required some serious figuring out of how to wear my own custom fitted Big Girl Pants, and I realized that learning about business and money really are a valuable part of learning about life~ for everyone.
Anyhoo, it wasn’t until the night before the event that I actually noticed the name of the event: “Women Thrive.”
Now it just so happens that my word for this year is….. Thrive!
And to be quite honest, I haven’t exactly felt like I’m thriving lately.
Life is good, and summer has included lots of the seasonally appropriate fun stuff, but my rhythm has been in a funk, and my atmosphere of my home / office / studio has not felt like the haven of inspiration and creativity that I want it to be.
I think the Lazy Days of Summer theme that has been present was beginning to feel like a way of life that I was terrified would suck the potential out of me and send my potential spiraling into a void of nothingness. Yes, I'm dramatic like that.
So, when I saw the word Thrive, I knew I had to go.
It was a work day, and I wasn’t registered, but once I have an idea in my head, I am pretty good about figuring out a way around the obstacles.
I’m blessed to be able to flex my work hours, so I planned to work Saturday instead. I wasn’t registered, and it was too late to get ahold of anyone. But my friend thought it would be fine to just show up, and she was right.
Actually, it was way better than fine.
Contrary to my initial reservations, it was by the far the best way for me to spend that day~ waaaaaay more productive than trying to work at home when I had been subconsciously feeling like my creative juices were being sucked dry by osmosis.
Being surrounded by a roomful of inspirational, successful and smart women who are out in the world doing things and making things happen~ that filled my empty bucket.
You really are who you are around, and boy did I need that dose of go getter energy.
There were women from all walks of life, and businesses that ran the gamut from traditional to woo-woo. I felt encouraged to refocus and reframe my own energy. There were bankers and metaphysical healers, women in engineering, construction, food service, crafts, publishing, planning, tourism, fashion and more industries that I can’t even think of. The thing they all had in common~ at least from what I could see~ was a ready to learn and put the education to work kind of attitude.
It was awesome. I felt encouraged and motivated to get busy in my current work as well as future projects that are in the dreaming and scheming phase and beyond.
Actually, I found it super interesting how many “business” tips and lessons were equally applicable to life. Seriously, I had at least 4 or 5 “Aha!” moments that apply more to my personal life than my professional one right now.
Since my family has morphed and changed a lot in the last few years, plus I work at home, and my home scene now includes people who are newer to the mix than the longtime tight trio of myself and my offspring, I’ll take all the “Aha” moments and lessons in communication and positive relationships I can get.
So, thanks to JEDI (that’s the Jefferson Economic Development Institute) for an amazing, well filling day. (My family should probably thank you as well since my attitude is a lot better than it was before I went, and I may even be a bit nicer.)
I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
For folks living and working in Far Northern California, check out the myriad of free resources available to help you succeed at the Women's Business Institute at JEDI. They have goodies galore and you'll be glad you did.
Where do you find support and inspiration to keep you going in business or in life? Please share your ideas in the comments below:
Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
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