Over the past four months I was blessed with having all three of my grown boys at home, even my oldest son whose twenty-five and has spent the last seven years traveling the world.
Below are a couple conversations we had about his next adventure.
Six Months Ago
Ronnie: I think I will stay in Croatia for a while.
Me: Croatia! Where is Croatia? I have never heard of it. It sounds like a communist country? Is it in Russia? You don’t want to go to Russia, it’s not safe.
Ronnie: Mom, it’s not in Russia and it’s not a communist country. It’s a beautiful oceanfront tourist destination in Europe. Besides, I lived in China for three months, remember my hostel in Beijing?
Me: That may be so, but you were under the care of a University in China. Who do you know in Croatia? What are you going to do there? It sounds sketchy.
Sam: Mom, you think everything sounds sketchy…
Me: Everything IS sketchy.
Fast forward to two weeks ago.
Ronnie: I have my ticket to Croatia. After I spend a few weeks there I’m going to Estonia.
Me: Astonia! Where is Astonia? It sounds like a make believe land in a movie. I can’t even find it on a map.
Ronnie: Look, it’s right here.
Me: Oh Estonia… I thought you said Astonia.
Cedrone: I thought he said Astonia too.
Ronnie: I said Estonia (sounds like Astonia).
Me: Whatever. Let me see that map. Ooohh it looks cold.
Ronnie: It is cold.
Me: I just thought I’d point that out in case you didn’t know.
Ronnie: I do know.
Me: Who do you know in “E” stonia? What are you going to do there.
Ronnie: I’m going to register my online business.
Me: What? You’re a drifter who’s going to let you register a business with no residential address? I’ve never heard of such a thing. What’s it in for them? How much money do they want? How long do you have to live there?
Ronnie: Mom, it’s really a thing. Estonia is the first country to offer programs for online entrepreneurs to register their business with no legal residency. Look, I can register as a Digital Nomad.
Me: Let me see that. Wow. “Digital Nomad” does sound better than drifter.
Ronnie: Thanks a lot.
Me: Just sayin…
Being a Mother is the hardest job in the world because it means the inevitable, saying goodbye.
As I pulled away from dropping him off at JFK for his flight to Croatia I got a little teary. But I was proud of the fact that he knows what he wants and how to go get it. I also felt like I must have had something to do with his adventurous spirit and resourceful attitude.
Being a mother also means saying and hearing things you never thought you’d say and hear, like “hostel in Beijing,” “I think I’ll stay in Croatia,” “I’m registering as a Digital Nomad in Estonia.” Or “Where is Croatia?” “Where is Estonia,” “You’re a drifter.” It also means putting aside your often misguided preconceived notions and keeping an open mind while allowing your children to think outside of the box.
I think you can officially say you have succeeded at your job as a mother when you have raised an independent individual who can function on their own among society and is ready to take on the world. I also think you’ve succeeded when your child is respectful enough to answer berating parental questions even though they’re grown and don’t actually have to.
My personal parenting belief is that a child should be allowed to express their individuality and assert their independence. I have started my own parenting book but in the meantime I love these ones below.
I have heard of these people who get up at 5am and sit on their front porches meditating, sipping tea or coffee, and watching the birds. I have always been envious of those people and even met a couple that told me how great it was to watch the sunrise every morning. Yet at 43 years old it was a pipe dream at best.
I have never been a morning person. In highschool I was late so often that after I got my driver’s license my best friend had to go back to taking the bus to school because her mother would not let her ride with me. I had so many detentions for tardiness that the office secretary and I came to an agreement that I would just serve one long Saturday detention instead of daily detentions.
During my path of self discovery I’ve come to realize that my natural sleeping rhythm is 11pm to 7am which was a vast improvement from my younger days and helped me greatly improve my concentration, productivity and energy throughout the day. However, I would still kind of lay around in bed reading or searching social media for another hour or two before I actually got started on my day.
I had been hearing all of these fabulous stories about how youtube influencers, health experts, and mindfulness coaches believed in getting up at 5 am, how much they could get done and how this book “The Miracle Morning” had changed their life. I put the book on my Wishlist but never got around to it.
During Quarantine I could feel myself relapsing into my late morning sleep fests and told my oldest son Ronnie about how I wanted to be one of those morning people. He told me he was one of those people before he was forcibly sent home from Crete in the middle of a Quarantine and that he would meditate on his balcony overlooking the Aegean Sea while drinking his Greek herbal tea (eye roll).
OK now I was just fed up. I’m going to be one of those people.
So one day I found myself awake at 7am. I fed the cats, laid back down and started my old routine of searching social media and reading. I realized it was 7:30am and I was wide awake. It was not 5am but it was something! If I got up I could have a miracle morning, or at least see what it would be like.
I made my tea, grabbed my granola bar, laptop, cell phone, and water bottle and headed to the front porch.
I had recently manifested a beautiful wicker set for my front porch, throw pillows and all, so it was quite lovely. Now from what I hear about these miracle mornings you should use this time to meditate and write because the best writing comes first thing in the morning. So I look over my vision board, listen to the birds singing in the breeze, then start writing. I’m off to a great start!
About 15 minutes in, my friend calls me. She lives in another state and I don’t get to talk to her often. Soon into our invigorating conversation about teenagers, husbands, diets, and the corona virus; my eighteen year old son Samuel, who slept until 3pm every day for the first two months of quarantine, shows up and sits on the porch. He says he’s getting picked up by one of our friends. “That’s great. Sounds like fun.” I return to talking to my friend and he continues to sit there for 20 minutes or so. I get up and walk around because sometimes girlfriends need to talk about things without eighteen year olds around to hear. When I come back he’s upstairs.
When our friend finally arrives to pick him up he is nowhere around. I am still trying to talk to my other friend on the phone. Finally I go upstairs to find him. He cannot hear a thing I am saying because, as usual, he has his headphones on. Naturally I get loud. Meanwhile Ronnie, a twenty-five year old Millennial who is trying to save the planet while working remotely, is on a business call with the European Union yelling at me to be quiet. I finally get Sam’s attention. Irritated, I go back to my porch and talk to my friend. Our other friend is still sitting in his van in our driveway waiting for Sam, and waiting, and waiting. He finally arrives downstairs saying he had decided to make himself a bagel. They take off together.
I get off the phone with my girlfriend and start to type again.
I suddenly hear a crinkling sound. I look up and there is a bird on a paper bag. Samuel had decided that in order to eliminate our plaguing wasp problem he was going to hang a paper bag on the porch in the shape of a beehive which would supposedly drive the wasps away because they would think they were in another bees territory… This little sparrow was completely confused by the paper bag contraption and was just sitting there while his weight caused it to swing around in circles. Maybe he thought he was landing on a bird feeder but now he was satisfied with his new porch swing.
I go back to typing.
My nineteen year old son, Cedrone, now appears on the front porch. He walks back and forth asking me if I need the car, he wants to go mountain biking with his friend. I tell him he can take the car and he settles on 2pm as the time he will go biking. OK.
I go back to typing.
Ronnie comes out the door “What is all the fuss about out here, and why are you up? Are you finally having your miracle morning?” I tell him I was trying but it’s just not working for me. He tells me Sam referred to my Miracle Morning idea as another one of my “stupid” books. He says he gave Sam a lecture about how that wasn’t nice. I thank him for lobbying on my behalf. Then he tells me Cedrone is hard at work cooking an elaborate lunch. He doesn’t know why or what’s happening but steak is involved. It is now 10:30 am. Apparently my “Miracle Morning” has passed and steak is calling my name.
I can quit now, I did succeed at watching a bird after all.
I didn’t give up on my miracle mornings. In fact, I ordered the book “Miracle Morning” and read the whole thing the next day. I have yet to see 5am but I am dedicated and now love my miracle mornings. Within one week of my new routine I wrote an entire book about traveling on a budget (stay tuned) and three travel essays.