I’m About To Open A Can Of Whoop Ass On My Young Adult Son

This post originally appeared on BLUNTMoms.com

Let me start by saying I love him. I love my young adult son with everything I have and everything I am. But he has pushed me past my allotted amount of patience and I’m about to open a can of whoop ass on him.

I suppose I can blame the whole thing on a certain social media channel in which I don’t participate and that I’ll never fully understand. From what I hear, it’s all about short videos that disappear almost as soon as they’re posted. It’s about silly filters and facial and voice distortion. And here’s the thing about this technology that has pitched me over the proverbial edge: it’s also about kids (and apparently young adults) secretly taking pictures of or videoing their mothers, captioning these photos or videos, and sharing them with their friends. My son, who I am certain has done this to me, promises he’s only sharing the photos and videos with his brother, but I’m calling Pinocchio on that.

Allow me to defend myself for a moment. I love to laugh and I do love funny videos. I could watch “Heather Land—I Ain’t Doin’ It” all day long; I look forward to those bug eyes and that helium voice as much as anyone. But I’ll be honest, I prefer laughing at other people who are trying to be funny rather than being laughed at when I’m not.

I am not trying to be funny when I wear no makeup and my hair is a fright and my clothes are frumpy. I’m not going for a laugh when I’m sitting in a recliner with my laptop, my reading glasses pulled low on my nose, and my triple chin. I’m really not in the mood to be videoed from behind when I’m walking down the driveway or the aisle of the grocery store. Call me a prude if you want, but I’m just not into it.

I am, however, into having pictures taken when I’m ready. And by ready, I mean full makeup, cute clothes, a nice smile, and a good angle. I’m talking fake here. I want to look better in pictures than I look in real life, not worse thank you much. I want to look like everything about my life is perfect all the time. And what could be wrong with that?

Maybe this is nature’s way of getting us moms back for over sharing about our kids when they were younger. But here’s a little advice to the sons and daughters out there secretly filming their moms: don’t get caught. Because as for this scrappy mom, the next time I catch my son taking photos of me looking my worst…I might just have to reach over and open up a big ole can of whoop ass.

 

 

My College Kid Has Flu—WHAT DO I DO?

This post originally appeared on BLUNTMoms.com

 

My phone rang a few days ago and the scratchy, weak voice on the other end of the line told the story. My youngest son was sick. He felt terrible: tired, weak, achy. I thought for a minute, then I knew—it was the flu.

“How long have you felt bad? Have you taken any medicine? Do you have fever? DO YOU EVEN HAVE A THERMOMETER?” My voice, and my anxiety, rose as I spoke. I couldn’t remember if I’d bought him a thermometer two and a half years ago when we moved him into the freshman dorm.

Why didn’t I buy him a thermometer—WHAT KIND OF A MOTHER AM I?
“Yes, I have a thermometer,” the voice said. “I’ll take my temperature now.”
“Okay. Good. Go. Take your temp. Call me back in three minutes.”
Two minutes later the phone rang. “It says 97.”
“What? How can it be 97 degrees? That’s too low. Maybe you didn’t wait long enough.”
“Oh,” the voice said. “I think I put the wrong end in my mouth.”

I took a breath and chuckled a little. Men. “Okay. Try again. Right end, three minutes—CALL ME BACK.” I put the phone down and attempted to gather some composure. What should I do if he does have flu? Should I make the four-hour drive across the state line to take care of him? Would I stay in his apartment? What about his roommate? Should I rent a hotel room? WHERE IS THAT PARENTING MANUAL WHEN I NEED IT?
My phone rang again. “102.5.”

“Oh dear,” I said. “Yep, it’s probably flu.” Of course, it was Sunday and the University Health Center was closed because students don’t get sick on Sunday, so I had to figure out what to tell him to do and where to tell him to go. I took another breath or two and tried not to think about the graphic I’d seen on social media the day before. The word at the top read, “Influenza,” followed by an arrow pointing to the word, ”Pneumonia,” followed by an arrow pointing to the word, “Sepsis,” which, finally, was followed by an arrow pointing to the word, “Death.” Good grief. This was proof that I should spend less time on Twitter. But although that graphic illustrated an unlikely outcome, I knew this was serious and he needed my help.

Unfortunately, this was not my first time having a son away at college with the flu. Four years earlier, my middle son had gotten sick: different college, different state, same diagnosis, but still four hours away. That was my first out-of-state influenza rodeo, so I immediately rented a hotel room and took care of him until he was better. Around the third day, when I saw him taking pictures of the breakfast-in-bed I’d ordered and Snapchatting them to his friends, I knew he was well. It was time for me to go. But ironically, it snowed that night in the Deep South and everything, including the roads, had shut down. I had to wait another day for them to clear before trying to get home. However, when I’d headed home, I was only able to make it halfway. The interstate—still covered with ice and jackknifed eighteen-wheelers—had shut down. So I had to get another hotel room in a different city, and wait yet another day before completing the drive home. I finally made it back the next day on roads that were covered with snow and ice, slipping and sliding in my tiny car. We southerners called the storm “Snowpocalypse.” My husband called it the most expensive bout of flu ever. And yes, when we got the credit card bill, it seemed to be.

So this time, with this son, I would be smarter. I decided to wait a day before making a move. And I was glad I did. Although the physician thought my son probably had flu despite his negative test result, he didn’t. He already felt much better by the second day and was ready to go back to class.
So good for my son for getting himself to the doctor, and pushing fluids, and taking all the meds. And good for me for acting rational this time. But most of all, good for young men (and women) that become adults and take care of themselves. I’ve learned an important lesson over the years: be willing, be ready, but be rational. And I’ve also learned that we moms won’t get it right every time, of that we can be sure.

The G(inger) Word And What You Might Not Know

Nope, this is not my son. But I love the pic. KS

This post originally appeared on BLUNTMoms.com

 

Yep, she went there, and now I must speak. Fox News contributor Tomi Lahren called Congressman Joe Kennedy a “little ginger nerd” (among other things) after his State of the Union rebuttal on January 30. It was an interesting choice of insults, but not one that surprised me. You see I come from a family of “gingers.” I am the daughter of one, the granddaughter of one, the niece of one, the wife of one, the mother of two, and the cousin of too many to count. So when I heard Ms. Lahren hurl her insult regarding the color of Representative Kennedy’s hair, my heart sank. This insult was childish, this insult was petty, and this insult reminded me of a story.

When my youngest red haired son was in elementary school, he complained about being called a ginger. While there was nothing wrong with the word ginger, it was, to him, the way the word had been used. It was a weapon, an insult, a way to embarrass him and make him feel bad. And it had made him feel bad. So bad that he went through a phase of wanting to dye his hair brown, black, or anything other than the beautiful red that God had given him. I was both sad and disappointed that he had been bullied because of his hair color, and that he now wanted it to change.

As a blonde, I had no idea that calling a red head a “ginger” was an insult. I really didn’t. So I consulted my older teenage son who also has red hair and asked him if he felt the same.

“Yes. That’s right,” he said. “Being called a ‘ginger’ feels just like being called by any racial or bigoted slur.”
What? I was shocked. He couldn’t be serious.

But he was. He went on to explain that he’d been called a “ginger” on a regular basis, and it had always been hurled as an insult. It had never been a compliment, or even a term of endearment. It was always mean-spirited, always meant to be hurtful, always used to make fun of him. But over time he’d grown callous and let it bounce right off that thick skin he’d developed in response.

I know these days, everybody is offended by something and it’s sometimes too much. Often it feels like we can’t say anything without stepping on someone’s sensitive toes. But it’s really quite simple: if we say something meant to hurt someone else, then we’re wrong, regardless of what they, or anyone else has said. We alone are responsible for how we make people feel.

While this word and this example of an insult is not a matter of urgency or major importance, it speaks to a larger concern: respect. Respect and its absence in today’s society is a topic worth reassessing.

Forget the media; they are not our standard. Nor are the politicians, the celebrities, or the everyday people around us who fight their battles wielding word daggers and repugnant discourse. Insulting people and focusing on the negative is not only easy and commonplace and predictable, it’s ineffective. Showing respect to those around us who are different affects change. So do what you will: use the word, don’t use the word; just choose to be a person who shows respect to others.

Rise above the negative noise filling our world today. Be bold, be heard, but be respectful.

And you, Tomi Lahren, be better.