Thursday, April 27, 2017

Look Out, There’s Change Ahead. By Cari Lynn Webb:



I have two teenage daughters and haven’t made it my mission to live through them. We all know parents who are reliving their childhood dreams through their children. I’m not one of those parents. My oldest daughter is a swimmer and my youngest swims and plays soccer. As it happens, I played both of those sports and finally gave up soccer in middle school when my coaches told me I needed to make a choice. I chose the pool full time. My oldest daughter chose to swim full time in third grade after she decided she didn’t like the other soccer players stealing the ball from her. And my daughter had also been in the water since she was a one year old floating in the surf on Maui and napping under a palm tree (yes, she had the best babysitter ever). My youngest daughter enjoys the social aspect of both sports and is one of the best teammates I’ve known.

The only drawback my girls have encountered is that they can’t complain to me about swimming a mile in a swim meet or getting kicked in the shins on the soccer field. They both know I actually do know how that feels and I admit there might be a lack of sympathy on my part. (I’m not living through my children, but I’m competitive and there’s a certain thrill when your kids achieve their own goals. And achieving goals happens with hard work and less whining. I do earn an eye roll or two from my girls with that line.)

Well, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself reliving my past with my daughter beside me last week. We were touring the high school my daughter will attend next year. As the cute, petite sophomore raced us through the school, I wanted to stop and ask the men students loitering outside the classrooms for their hall passes. And then check my chin for any new acne.

In less than five minutes and two corridors into the inner sanctum of high school, I was once again that awkward, anxious teen with a crush on the junior water polo player and no date to the prom. Something about being inside the high school brought out old insecurities and reminders of those growing pains teens all over the world endure: first broken heart, bad hair days, missed curfews, procrastinating on studying for that final exam, final exams, SATs and ACTs, college applications, gossip and figuring out who you are in a sea of kids all trying to figure who they are.

I’m not ashamed to admit I ran back to my car after our tour and was more than happy to look in the rearview mirror and remind myself that I had survived. And so will my daughter. Her experience won’t be mine, she’ll have to carve her own path. But she’ll make it and I’ll be right there to hold her hand if she stumbles.

Still I can’t help, but long for those kindergarten days again. When I sat at the art station and helped squeeze out the glitter glue for the butterfly project or baked cookies for snack. And I keep looking around for that pause button – the one that pauses time-I just need to press it for a moment until I’m ready for my girl to go to high school.

Is it any wonder my characters resist change – it’s hard, it isn’t always comfortable or welcome and yet it happens anyway.

And on a side note, my husband later informed me that the 80’s called and wanted their hall passes back. Apparently, hall passes are old school and no longer the thing. Lesson learned. I do wonder if my daughter’s school will have that one Assistant Principal that all the kids fear running into in the halls like we all did. You know the one that still traipses through your dreams to bust you for a dress code violation.

Until next time, I hope all your change is easy and uncomplicated.

Happy Reading!
Cari

THE CHARM OFFENSIVE by Cari Lynn Webb will be out in July. Pre-Order today! https://www.amazon.com/dp/0373368461

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. 
https://twitter.com/carilynnwebb

22 comments:

  1. Cari, what a thought-provoking post this was. As you walked those halls, I was right there with you and boy, oh, boy, that first broken heart--hmm--probably what has spurred me to write romance all my life. I wonder if I'll ever get over it.

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    1. Thanks, Catherine. Those first broken hearts certainly are stingers and lasting. Sorry you had to go through it, but I'm glad you found your way to romance writing :)

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  2. Love the photo. Change is both a blessing and a stress factor. smile

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    1. Thanks, Sandra! That photo makes me smile - I think I might make it bigger and frame it for my desk. Enjoy your day!

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  3. Lol. I think we were all walking those halls with you. Just enjoy it all--it never slows down.

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    1. Liz - it definitely isn't slowing down. And I'm trying to enjoy it as I know it will be over in a blink and they'll be off to college.

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  4. Cari, great post! I was definitely, reluctantly wandering those halls with you. Ugh. I wouldn't go back for anything. I love the philosophy you're passing on to your girls about more hard work and less whining. My mom wasn't a very sympathetic parent when it came to whining either. And while I would have loved a little "babying" when I was that age, it was the last thing I needed. Her lack of coddling made her children independent, resilient, and (mostly) fearless. Your girls will be, too - just like their mom(:

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    1. Thanks, Carol. How I want them to be independent, resilient and fearless ... good to know I'm not the only unsympathetic parent out there. :)

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  5. The years go fast. The good news is when those pimples and broken hearts and snubs from friends happen, you know "this too shall pass." Not that it makes it any easier to convince your teenagers, but you survived and so will they.

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    1. It is going fast, Beth. And I know they will be better off for the years ahead ... it's going to be interesting :)

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  6. I can't believe she's almost in high school! Which means the changes are just starting. And LOL on your DH's comment on hall passes. Made my day. <3

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    1. As you know, I count on the DH's humor to keep me sane :)

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  7. Change is hard--being a teenager and the mother of one (or more) is hard, too. You're giving your daughter the gift of understanding. Remembering is sometimes more important than forgetting!

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    1. Thanks Virginia! What a lovely, powerful line: Remembering is sometimes more important than forgetting!

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  8. I smiled at your reaction to being back in a high school, Cari. I spent this morning at a university (not my alma matter) watching a team of engineering students I mentored for their Capstone project present their project--along with all the others--for final judging/scoring. I enjoyed being back on campus, even if these young men are so much smarter and more business savvy than I remember me and my classmates being. :)

    Best wishes to your daughters with sports and school!

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    1. Thanks, Kate! I hope your engineering students did well, but I'm sure they did with you as their mentor :) And I'm certain college visits will be in my future and bring back an entirely different set of memories :)

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  9. My eyes are watering. My son, just this past year, chose dive over soccer. He's like your oldest. He'll be in 7th grade next year. This morning he came to stand by me at the fridge while I was getting the milk for our cereal and I lost my breath for a moment. He's up to my chin. My chin!!!! All through his growing years I told myself, "Enjoy the moment..." And I did, but how did he get so tall? And this weekend he's going camping with a friend (and parent) and all I can think is "I need to go with him!!" But, I'm not. He has to fly without me holding on to a wing.

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    1. I'm right there with you, Pamela. It takes everything in me not to hold onto that wing :) It really is all about enjoying the moments and stopping to take each one in ... there is something about the growing that throws you off. My oldest is taller than me now and that first time she looked me right in the eye threw me off. Enjoy your weekend and know your son will be fine and enjoying his camping trip.

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  10. Great post, Cari! We should have been teenagers later in life. I'm much better equipped to handle those issues now. :)

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    1. Thanks, Jill. I agree about tackling the teen years after we've had some life experience :) Maybe those teen years simple prep us for handling life now.

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  11. So true Cari If only we knew then what we do now... Would we do it better? Great post

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  12. Tell your DH that in my small NE Mississippi town, hall passes are alive and well. :-) Love this post and I'm still reliving those horrible high school days.

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