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May 16 2016

Keepin’ it real as a 2e parent

17Admittedly, I got cocky.

Things were going so well. One kid rockin’ it as a homeschooler, the other rolling along in middle school (BRAG ALERT: honor roll every quarter so far, and it is within his grasp to get straight As this quarter). I wrote a love letter to giftedness, I acknowledged that G2e teens/tweens are a challenge but still awesome as hell, I thought I knew what I was doing and had a handle on our lives.

Commence hysterical laughing now. No, really, please go ahead. You have my full permission to engage in a dollop of schadenfreude. I’ll even join in.

I’m going to share a little secret with you. Please don’t spread this around, it’ll totes ruin my rep.

OH MY GOD I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA WHAT I AM DOING. At all. Ever. I barely know how to style my hair, much less guide my G2e sons into adulthood. (Note: My headshot is woefully out of date. I am no longer sporting the cute little pixie cut, but long waves to my shoulders. The plan is to go even longer and snag some highlights this summer. Because, by god, I may need to lose weight but gold and red highlights don’t care.)

There was no one event that smacked me upside the head and declared, “YO! You be an idjit, woman!!” Just a series of small, intimate panic attacks on my part as 1) I realized that Andy is finishing his first year of high school and I haven’t even started a portfolio or transcript for him, 2) Jack wants to be homeschooled and THAT is just not happening, 3) society is in a woven receptacle heading south and it’s getting warmer and warmer, and 4) I’d really like to no longer be responsible for anything, much less my sons’ education and general moral fiber. I thought I had the flaming batons under control, when in reality they were torching everything around me while I dealt with the spinning plates and glass balls. The temptation to stand in the middle of my life and scream STOP while I physically throw my arms into the air to attempt to halt the progression of time and responsibilities is nearly overwhelming. Unfortunately, it would accomplish nothing other than a scratchy throat and pitying looks from the people around me.

These two boys of mine, that I still see as mah baybees, will be out in the world in the next 3-8 years. I’ve been blogging about them for a decade, so that shortened timeline hits me hard in the feels. And the worry, oh my god the worry. It’s not even that they are two out of the box kids in a world that builds boxes, it’s that the world right now is terrifying. Regardless of your political leanings (and if you can’t tell, I lean so far to the left that sometimes things are at a 90 degree angle) or country of citizenship, you gotta admit that the world today is far more frightening than it was in our youth, and we lived through the Cold War. Think about that. The world today is more frightening than the specter of nuclear war.

How do we prepare our out of the box, creative, march to the beat of their own drummer G2e kids for a world that is changing daily? For a world that doesn’t want to acknowledge or accept them unless they provide high value? For a world that is so screwed up that even adults are left speechless and shaking their heads? My boys are coming of age in a time of great uncertainty, and I don’t know how to guide them to adulthood. I thought I did but I find myself paralyzed by the enormity of the task. Paralysis By Analysis. A decade ago I thought potty training was going to do me in, and truthfully it nearly did, but this is a job for SuperMom and she is long gone. She took one look at the job description, laughed, flipped me off, and flew off into the night, never to appear again. I heard a rumor that she was sighted on a small tropical island, gently swaying in a hammock and sipping on an umbrella drink. Smart woman. Lucky bitch.

Parenting is a hard, often thankless job, and parenting outliers even more so. We have to fight battles others won’t acknowledge, against adversaries others don’t even know exist, all on top of the usual parenting battles which, let’s be honest, are enhanced because of the aforementioned outlier-ness. All this in a world, in a society, that is vastly different and less stable than the one in which we were raised. The best we can do, the best I can do, is to keep it real about the challenges and ignore the outside world as best I can. Teach the Golden Rule (or, in our house, Wheaton’s Law). Teach my boys how to think. They’re already pretty good at questioning authority and persistence, so teach them to put that persistence and questioning to good use and investigate all sides of an issue. Teach them to leave everything better than they found it. Teach them that not replacing the toilet paper roll is going to get them in trouble some day.

I know that kinda sounds like I know what I’m doing but damn it doesn’t feel that way. I just hope SuperMom is keeping a hammock open for me because one of these days I may run off and join her. I’m in the mood for some umbrella drinks; I hear they really help with throats scratchy from screaming at life.

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Today’s post is part of GHF’s May blog hop, on preparing G2e teens and tweens for their futures. Go check out some of the other writers; maybe they have more of a clue than I.

Preparing for their future: Parenting gifted teens and tweens

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  1. Danielle

    You go girl! I have been following your blog for a very long time. I have boys similar ages, made a move from Colorado back to the Midwest at the same time you did. You speak my mind, in an almost freaky esp way. If we lived closer we’d be instant BFFs. Anyway…just wanted to say hang in there! And save me a hammock.

    1. Jen

      There are hammocks for everyone! And wine on tap. 🙂

  2. Lisa

    Hehehe…..umbrella drinks sound really good about now. I’ll drift in the same boat with you.

    1. Jen

      We can take turns bailing out the water. 😉

  3. Kathleen

    Gosh that hammock sounds good.
    Kathleen recently posted…Preparing for College; Preparing for CrazyMy Profile

    1. Jen

      Sounds like we all need a hammock!

      1. Kathleen

        Oh dear me, yes.
        Kathleen recently posted…Preparing for College; Preparing for CrazyMy Profile

  4. Lynn

    I can relate, when people say how amazing and brave I am for homeschooling my 2e boys, I smile and nod while the picture of me scrunched down in the corner of my mind, babbling to myself, tries to stay hidden from the world…

    1. Jen

      LOL! Babble and drool and clutching the wineglass.

  5. Cassandra Creighton

    Bravo Jen – just Bravo xx

  6. Paula Prober

    Hm….you do sound like you know what you’re doing Jen! And with a sense of humor to boot. Yes, ma’am.
    Paula Prober recently posted…Intense Kids, Intense Parents — Tips for Managing the MayhemMy Profile

    1. Jen

      Oh Glad I can keep up that appearance! 😉

  7. Lori Dunlap

    “The best we can do, the best I can do, is to keep it real about the challenges and ignore the outside world as best I can.” Well said! So simple, and yet so difficult.

    1. Jen

      The simplest things are the most difficult to implement. :p

  8. Kay

    Gosh, it would help just a little bit if someone would acknowledge that what were are doing raising our 2E kids is really, really hard. Like walking a slack rope with a charley horse while spectators throw things at you and heckle.

    So however your life is going know that your are at least doing that for the rest of us. Letting us know that it *is* hard and that feeling like you are getting it wrong is part of the package.

    I do think it’s going to get easier though, because once you get through school it’s much easier to build your own box, and it seems like your guys have a head start on that.

    1. Jen

      I know. My parents have acknowledged that we have it harder than they did, and that has helped immensely. IT IS HARD and we’re not imagining things. And we’re just a few short years from watching our kids nail the final flap of those boxes shut for good. Looking forward to watching that.

  9. Jamie

    “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

    1. Jen

      I is in tears now.

  10. Jo Freitag

    I do think the world feels much less safe and much less predictable than it was! Even time seems to be spinning at a faster rate! Thank you for your humorous posts, Jen!

  11. The Cardinal House

    Love this Jen: “Teach my boys how to think. They’re already pretty good at questioning authority and persistence, so teach them to put that persistence and questioning to good use and investigate all sides of an issue. Teach them to leave everything better than they found it. “

  12. The Manxome Foe

    Hi. I’m a 2e kid—yes I am aware that I probably shouldn’t linger too long on a parenting website—but it’s not like you expected me to play by the “ordinary rules” or abide by the global definition of “typicality”, so whatever. Anyway, I just want to say that you are obviously a kind, eccentric, and creative mom trying to figure stuff out, just like everyone else. So be kind to yourself (I am not hypocritical AT ALL!). Life is confusing, and so are YOU, and so am I, and the world is generally a perplexing place to be. THAT’S WHY IT’S OUR WORLD. So, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if your kids “forget” to thank you for fighting their battles or sacrificing your sanity for the sake of their education. You should thank yourself for being an awesome mom, willing to cherish their sanity (although maybe with a bit of mourning, here and there…).
    There have been times this year when I have cried myself to sleep thinking about school. And my mom has fought for me like the most beautiful warrior in the galaxy. Yeah…sometimes I forget to thank her for it (oops, that’s kind of awful). But in the end she knows that I love her and appreciate her more than anything (except maybe gnocchi and Oliver Sacks). I hope you know that your kids appreciate you, as well, even if they can’t always say it out loud. Hang in there!

    1. Jen

      Rock. On. And you can hang here any time. 🙂 Oh, and rules? Pfft…as long as we all follow Wheaton’s Law I’m good. 🙂

      1. The Manxome Foe

        Hahahah. Thanks. And by the way, your kids sound SO awesome, I wish I knew them. OH MY GOD I JUST HAD THE COOLEST IDEA!!!!! Imagine if I actually am best friends with them but have had no clue that I often read fragments about the same kids’ lives here. Wow. It’s nice to think about, but rather unlikely. Even despite my bubbling social sphere…. Ok, yes, I know it consists of three kids…and grandma….and my English, Special Ed, and art teachers…but STILL.

        By the way, I don’t know if your kids have ADHD, but my school insists that I do. I openly embrace peculiarity, but sometimes I wonder if ADHD is just a junk diagnosis used to shield them from any underlying explanation for my funky neuronal mess. Do you ever think the same thing? I feel like “ADHD”is just a broad umbrella term which covers numerous glitches. But once they have a simple label they don’t bother to question the memory, or the sensory processing, or the overall nitwittery. It just bothers me a little. So ends my rant!

        P.S: I couldn’t stop laughing after I saw the Slothstronaut!!!
        The Manxome Foe recently posted…Fifty and countingMy Profile

        1. Jen

          You know, we’re pretty sure they have ADHD but it’s well managed now. Didn’t used to be. I think it’s something they’ll both have to manage throughout their lives but as they get older and develop more coping skills they’ll get better at it. I think it’s just wiring that fires differently.

          And that Slothstronaut is still my desktop wallpaper. LOL!

  13. Kasi

    Now I’m having a panic attack. You know, these kids of ours will be game changers for the world. I believe it. Too bad we can’t just let them lead the way right now. More of us could learn from these outside the box, divergent thinkers. And, in 15 years, I’ll join you in the hammock.
    Ps- you don’t even want to see my hair.

    1. Jen

      Hang tight! I promise it’ll be worth it!

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