Adulting, military, money, mother love, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, Veterans Day

Lessons From A Veteran-You Can Never Go Home Again (Or Can You?)

waimea bay

Just 32 short years ago, I was finishing up my 6-year enlistment.  I couldn’t WAIT to get out!   I was ready to break out of my shackles and take on all the vast opportunities that this big world had to offer.  I thought I would never set foot on a military base again but it’s funny how life works.   As the mom of two young adult daughters, I have long had a dream of taking them back to the place where it all ended for me.  I wanted them to see the place ”that will live in infamy”…a place that became grander in my mind with each passing year that I didn’t return.  The very gates that I begrudgingly crossed each day for years had become inaccessible to me.  Finally, with the help of a friend and no less than a half dozen phone calls to coordinate, I was finally able to infiltrate the secure fortress where I had once roamed freely.  It was both magical and disappointing at the same time.   Magical because I got to relive a piece of my youth and disappointing because I had to face the fact that nothing stays the same.    Back then, I was a member of a team but now I was an outsider just trying to relive a part of her past.    On my stroll down memory lane, below is what I learned and hope to impart to my daughters:

Continue reading “Lessons From A Veteran-You Can Never Go Home Again (Or Can You?)”

Financial literacy, life skills, parenting

What Happened To My Little Girl?

Shanny

I loathe goodbyes.  It’s not like she had never been away from home.  For the last two years, she lived in an apartment at college.  But this was different.  She was packing EVERYTHING.  It was moving day and I thought I had everything under control.  Well, actually THEY had everything under control.  I wasn’t exactly sure of my role anymore.  I thought I would be part of a caravan helping to transport all of their collective “stuff” to a neighboring state…until I learned they wanted to do it all themselves.  Why should I have been surprised?  Every parenting decision I had made up until this point had been made with the end in mind.  My goal was to help create young ladies who could successfully navigate life without me.  I suspect his parents subscribed to some of my beliefs as well in order to have created a college-educated, card-carrying adult who assumed the role of husband just after he turned 22.  Continue reading “What Happened To My Little Girl?”

Adulting, life skills, military, mother love, motivation, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults

An Open Letter From Drill Sergeant Mom to Her Domestic Platoon

military-662863_1920
As I was sorting through some old papers today, I ran across this old gem. While I was in my active parenting phase, I took my job very seriously. It was very important to me that I raised my daughters to be responsible, contributing members of society. I spent a great deal of time and effort planning and thinking of parenting strategies. Given my military background, I am not quick to accept excuses. Though it may sound a bit harsh to some, here is what the letter said: Continue reading “An Open Letter From Drill Sergeant Mom to Her Domestic Platoon”

college, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, Veterans Day

Launch Lady Veteran’s Day Edition

flag (2)

Today is a special day, and for me, it is a day of introspection and gratitude.   It has been more than three decades since I last wore the uniform, but my time as an active duty military service member helped to shape me into the person that I am today.   When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to get out.  Now that I’m older, I feel more pride with each passing year.  I’m a huge proponent of raising independent young adults and my own experience assures me that it is possible.  Military service is a viable option for all healthy young adults, both male and female.   Today, I had an epiphany about my personal fears which led to deeper gratitude.  I wanted to go the Veteran’s Day ceremony today, but had decided not to because my husband was working and I didn’t want to go alone.  Then I remembered that when I went to boot camp, I didn’t have a husband.  Each time I checked into a new command (6 times), I did so without a husband or a parent. That realization was all I needed to spur me to action.  Within an hour, I was standing tall with my brothers and sisters.  I spent a good part of the rest of the day talking to people I didn’t know at the local American Legion post.  It was a very good day!  I’d like to talk a little about how you can encourage your kids to make the best of the opportunities that are presented to them.  Here are some of the things I learned from my personal experience: Continue reading “Launch Lady Veteran’s Day Edition”

Adulting, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

You’re Ready for Little Johnny to Move Out But He Can’t Find a Roommate?

Little Johnny

A few decades ago in a state far, far away there were two young ladies dispatched to the same military base at the same time.  Because they were coming from the same school, arriving at the new base within a short time AND they were both female, they were OBVIOUSLY meant to be roommates.  They accepted this belief without question.  The young sailors looked at a couple of apartments before they finally settled into a quiet, two bedroom, two bath, first floor unit.    The older and wiser of the two was a very sweet young lady with a thick Alabama accent which so intrigued the younger and far more obnoxious one of the mismatched duo.  The sweet one could scarcely utter a sentence without having a few of her southernisms regurgitated back to her with a poorly imitated accent.  The southern belle was far too kind to smack her roommate so she politely resigned herself to six months of dysfunctional living.   Continue reading “You’re Ready for Little Johnny to Move Out But He Can’t Find a Roommate?”

Adulting, life skills, mother love, parenting, parenting young adults, wedding

A Tale of Two Weddings- (But Mostly About One)

Kelsey and Matt

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  But this story is mostly about the best!  2018 was a pretty big year in Launch Lady Land.  For the second time in 85 days, there was another wedding.   The same week my youngest daughter got married in June, her older sister announced her engagement.  Being the frugal one that I am, I suggested that she just step right on up to the priest when her sister was done (don’t worry, my perfectionist younger one, I wasn’t serious).  It didn’t happen.

Just as in daily life, their wedding choices highlighted their extreme personality differences.  They both received the same wedding stipend but used it so differently.  My traditional youngest daughter spent all of hers, and then some, on a more formal event that took a whole year to plan.  She scoured the etiquette books to do everything “correctly” according to tradition.  Her very practical sister, who had just bought a new home, took the much more frugal route and chose her dad’s and stepmom’s back yard as the venue for the wedding and reception.  She couldn’t see the point of having a large, one-time party when she could buy a fence for her newly purchased back yard!  The thought of watching her wedding guests ingest surf and turf did not give her as much pleasure as imagining her two large dogs sprinting freely around her fenced back yard.   I suggested she treat her guests to a nice ramen noodle buffet or peanut butter and jelly bar, but in the end, the fajita bar was a tasty, yet non-traditional choice.   Gluten-free macaroons graced the dessert table which would normally contain a wickedly gluten filled wedding cake. Though it was a small afternoon affair, the tee totaling bride and groom did not deprive their guests of adult beverages. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Weddings- (But Mostly About One)”

Adulting, cats, college, earn money, Financial literacy, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, life skills, mother love, motivation, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

How This 19-Year-Old Found a Way to Conquer the World on Her Own Terms

Kelsey and her kitty

I grew up believing that 18 was a magical age.  I could not WAIT to turn 18 so I could be independent and do things my own way.  I was bred to be both independent and credit worthy.  I still have my original JCPenney credit card that I’ve had for well over 3 decades.  Filling out the application was probably how I celebrated my 18th!  I had a “soft launch” shortly after 18 when I moved in with a friend.  I paid a pittance for rent while I learned to navigate life totally independent of my parents.  Since I didn’t have a car at this point, my friend was gracious enough to shuttle my pathetic a$$ to the laundromat.  Getting to work required that I either negotiate with coworkers or walk.   After a few months of this, home started looking pretty appealing, so I went home long enough to buy a car. After I got my mobility machine, the independent streak really kicked in and I moved out again.  My early independence is what helped shape my views as a parent.

Thirty-one years later, I was the parent of a teenager who had been bred to be both independent and credit worthy.  We were both brand new graduates; college for me and high school for her.  She entered her first year of community college as she had been groomed to do.   Unfortunately, she hated it.  She hated everything including the town we lived in.  She felt trapped by expectation and didn’t want to waste the time or money to complete college when she had no particular aspirations.  I didn’t try to fight her.  My own experience had shown me that if you really want to accomplish a higher education, then you’ll make it happen when the time is right.  I simply told her that if she chose to end her education that it would be time to be an adult with grown-up responsibilities.

I must digress a bit and talk about what happened the year before.  Her senior year of high school was only one class, so she worked full time.  When I saw how she was spending her money, I brainstormed for a plan.  We sat down and calculated some numbers as though she were going to move out to give her an idea about what “life” costs.  We came up with a figure that she would need to pay her own way.  Then she was given the following two options:

  • Pay the agreed upon sum to me to contribute to household expenses
    • I never told her but I would have saved it and given it to her when she moved out
  • Put the money in her savings account each month with the stipulation that it could not be withdrawn and that I would look at the statement each month to hold her accountable

I persisted even though she thought I just wanted her money.  My true mission, in addition to inspiring her independence, was to minimize the cash that she had been handling so frivolously. I was glad that she chose what most would agree was the only intelligent choice.  My mission was accomplished when she was able to eventually leave home with several thousand dollars in the bank.  She also did a soft launch by moving in with a friend right after she turned 19, but came home a few months later.  What she did next floored even me!

Three months after her 19th birthday, she informed me that she had found a job on-line and was moving to Utah which was almost 1,400 miles from home.  She had gotten a phone interview at a popular ski resort and was hired, sight unseen.  I guess hospitality workers must be hard to find!  She bought an airplane ticket and made it happen.  I remember going with her when she closed her bank account.  The banker, a young man who appeared to be only slightly older than her, told her how lucky she was.  I reminded her that she wasn’t lucky; she had made the decision and she was making it happen.  I had a mixture of emotions which ranged from pride to fear.  When her dad decided to fly there with her, I cried.   With my independent streak, it had never even occurred to me to do so.  She was mortified, of course, but I was grateful that he had taken that extra step to help her ease into her transition given the sometimes sinister deceptions on the internet.

She met a lot of different people while working in Utah.  Many of them were college educated yet not ready to grow up.  She didn’t have the benefit of much college yet, but she was receiving a most valuable education!  The first place she lived was in the worker housing with two roommates that she had been placed with.  The room was not included in the employment offer; they had to pay out of each check.  For anyone who has done any time in a barracks or college dorm room, I think you get the idea.  You end up living with people you don’t know and you learn how to deal with all types.  I watched in awe as she took advantage of all the amenities Utah had to offer.   After a couple years, she moved with a friend to Texas.  Four years wiser and infinitely more street savvy, she returned to her roots bringing with her a sassy feline companion.  I was thrilled to have her back home with me for almost a year as she transitioned back to the area and continued to do amazing things.

Six years from the time she first moved out, I look at the things she has done and what she continues to do.  She is preparing to buy her first home and get married to a wonderful and ambitious young man.  She’s working her way through college and dabbling in different careers.   She’s learned that you can’t run away from yourself; unfortunately, your problems go with you.  She left home a surly teenager and came back a grateful, positive, street-wise and confident young lady.

My beautiful daughter is in transition so I sit here today with her cat, who I am fostering, until she gets settled into her new home.  I have not been able to instill the same independence in the cat.  Though it is a common perception that cats are independent creatures, just listen to the squalls when you fail to put kibbles in their dish at the appointed time!  I have found myself obsessing over the cat just a bit too often these days so I’m trying to focus on my writing instead.   I will miss them both as they get settled into their next phase (to see what happened to the cat, read Eviction Papers Served-Launch Lady Style ) I think my firstborn now understands that I didn’t want her money.  What I wanted was her happiness and her respect, and I’m very grateful to have experienced both.