Tag Archive: graduation

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past week has been incredibly busy for our family.

Image by Mathew Hull

Image by Mathew Hull

There have been several ball games, graduation, 4H activities, the parade, town wide garage sale, two birthday parties, and various concerts. Other people I know had dance recitals and graduation parties to host.

While it is an incredible time, it is also incredibly tiring. A few times I wondered if I could fall asleep right where I was but knew I had to stay awake. In truth, I love these moments even during the most hectic moments. But when it is all over, I want nothing more than relax.

Once Sunday arrived, I was ready to do nothing. Which I did rather successfully beyond reading a book, planting a few new plants, and making stuffed shells for dinner. Later that night, the husband and I watched Parental Guidance starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler.

Midler and Crystal play grandparents who have been reluctantly asked to watch their only grandchildren. Once in the house, Midler realizes that they are the ‘other grandparents,’ the ones not seen as fun but as a burden. During this week, she wants to create memorable moments for the kids and asks her husband not to screw it up for them.

Image from IMDB.com

Image from IMDB.com

This might be hard because their daughter, Marisa Tomei, is a bit of a helicopter parent but she is aided by the rules of their school and social circles in which kids are told to use their blue voice and baseball games don’t count runs or strike pitches. Old school clashes with new school as grandparents try to figure out a smart house and a set of rules of life that do not always make sense.

This is not a deep movie, there are some moments that one might call cloying or manipulative. But it has nuggets of truth hidden in the biting or bitter remarks made by various characters.

As parents, we strive to do better than what we thought of our parents’ parenting styles. We try to eliminate bullying or unhappy feelings. We strive to make everyone feel good about their accomplishment.

I understand the daughter’s point of view of wanting to be different from her parents. I mean, how many of us have seen the saying “I opened my mouth and my mother’s voice came out” and giving a head-nod of agreement? How many of us vowed that while we love our parents, we were going to raise our kids differently which meant ‘better’ in our heads.

It is not always like that.

Some modern tricks have value as do some of the old ones. I think that not all modern tricks and tools work as well as some of the old ones. I think sometimes kids have to lose games and develop skills from that loss. I think kids need to be taught how to speak to others without being a manipulative bully – and when that happens call the kids for acting out in a manipulative manner.

In the end, parents have to be parents which means setting boundaries and consequences for inappropriate behavior while allowing kids to have fun. It also means that kids have to learn how to treat others in a respectful manner. And sometimes, you break every rule you ever set for a magical moment.

Would I watch this movie again?

I think I might. There is a sweetness as Grandpa learns to bond with his grandchildren. There is some honesty in one of the subplot’s involving careers. While this movie might be acceptable context-wise for those who are pre-teen, I think it is best for adults who get both worlds of parenting.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Pretty, Pretty

Betty Crocker Easy Writer food decoration
Last week I shared the product that made our Dress Cookies. But what I did not talk about was one of the products that we used to decorate those dresses.
With every birthday party, I have kids decorate cupcakes. This is a fun activity and I try to find a new decoration thingy to try out. Sometimes it is a Wilton’s mix of sprinkles or colored sugars. But a few years ago I tried these Betty Crocker Easy Writer food markers. I found them at Kroger or Ultra. This link will take you to Walmart.
My thinking was along the lines of “won’t it be fun to write messages or put little figures on the cupcakes, maybe draw faces. “
That is not what happens.
We have discovered that the tip is very sensitive and bleeds quite easily. But that can also make for some interesting creations.

Swirly dress

My six-year-old created this swirl-of-color dress. He used the green pen to create the swirls on the blue frosting.
This weekend we are having a graduation party for the boys who are done with eighth grade and kindergarten. I plan to let the frosting on the sheet cake dry a little before I use them to write on the cake. That is the advice I have seen from other people on websites and I am heeding it.
As for the cupcakes I plan to make as well, I think the graduates can take care of decorating those tasty delights.
Every Thursday, I review a product or service. If you have a suggestion or product you would like me to review, please contact me at bowmankaryn@sbcglobal.net.

The Last Drive

Today was the last time I will drive with my oldest son to high school.

Today is the last time we will listen to the Sherman and Tingle Show on Q101  on the way to school.

Picture by K. Conners

Today is the last day for seniors to show up to school. In two weeks we will gather together for graduation and it will be over.

I started having these feelings of grief strongly about a week ago when he was getting ready for prom.

Picture by Taliesin

I knew this was his last one as a high school student.  A few weeks before that, his girlfriend and I were talking about how in a few months he was moving out and we were going to have to get used to that.

Josh will be living in Chicago with his father while going to school, majoring in animation. He will not be around everyday. You can guarantee that when he does come to visit, there is not going to be a whole lot of time spent with mom. Our dog, Storm, is on track for more face time but that is only after the girlfriend.

I have never planned to fall into a weeping mass when this time arrived. I want to be strong for my son because I want him to have no regrets in starting anew somewhere else. I don’t want him to think “Oh my God, mom is freaking out.”

Needless to say I am not, NOT, listening to Suzy Bogguss sing Letting Go (http://www.last.fm/music/Suzy+Bogguss/_/Letting+Go) or the Dixie Chicks talk about Wide Open Spaces (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlDPPu53V80).

If I do, I will be crying my eyes out and there will be no amount of chocolate that can heal a broken heart. These are the warnings they do not give you in that non-existent handbook on parenting. The kid will leave your house and break your heart. It used to be all of your pretty things the kids would break, now it is the one part that cannot be fixed with a bottle of Gorilla Glue.

Luckily, I still have others at home. My girlfriend, Gigi, says they will blunt the force of the loss. But in the end, when that last one goes, it will hit harder than all of the rest. Seeing that she has a ten-year-old and I have a five-year-old at the end, we both still have some time.

When that last child leaves, breaking our hearts into a million pieces, we both agreed it will be time to do the one perfect thing.

Picture by Bad Robot

Get a puppy.

Karyn Bowman lives in Kankakee County with her outdoor writer husband and four children. Become friends with Karyn on Facebook.