It’s so wonderful taking a stroll down memory lane. Because I was always trying to hide my true feelings of anxiety and depression, I feel as if I missed quite of bit of my kid’s childhood. Purging the paper hoard our daughter left behind, I found little pieces of paper I had written clues for Christmas Eve scavenger hunts. At the end of the hunt, they would find a bag or bar of their favorite candy. I had forgotten I did that. I had also forgotten how difficult it was to outsmart them and make the clues challenging. The three of them worked together to solve the clues.

Our oldest two kids are nerds. They have always embraced their nerdiness and never gave a second thought to what others thought of them. Our oldest son grew his hair very long–a battle we chose not to fight. We moved to Georgia before he entered 11th grade, the label he was given was stoner (or whatever a teen who uses drugs is called these days). To those who didn’t grow up with him, a young man with long hair = no brains and a user of illegal substances.

He was a Mathlete, and competed in math competitions throughout our school district. We attended one once. Let’s just say the competitions didn’t have the same atmosphere of excitement as a football or basketball game does.

6K2A2369aThey both lettered in Academics, but rolled their eyes over this accomplishment. We were so proud of them. I offered to buy them Letterman jackets, and I received huge pffts in response.

Both were members of the Model United Nations, and joined the minuscule group of Young Democrats. It was hard for them to relate to most of their peers in the South, but they found ways to make it work–for the most part.

As I was placing the overwhelming pile of unwanted Model UN papers in the recycling bag, a piece of paper with a drawing on the back caught my attention. In the middle of the drawing, the words do you…care? were written in tiny letters.

Beneath the drawing, Food for Thought

She wrote….

If there was a grain of rice for every lie told, world famine would end. It is said that in a lifetime one person lies enough to feed thousands of people, repeatedly. Now stop. Think. Is this okay? What are you going to do about it? And don’t lie, for there will be no rice.

It made me laugh out loud. Since I was already on the floor, I suppose you could call it rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL). She doesn’t remember writing it, but to me it was all her–no doubt about it.

On the other side of the paper, were her existential thoughts. An entire page filled with questions regarding her/our purpose in this world. I wondered if it brought her as much unhappiness as the thoughts brought to our son at such an early age. In a way I felt as if I was invading her privacy. I have always respected her journals and never opened them. But this was different…it was a piece of paper among boring papers. She has assured me that she used to pretend to be more of an angsty-teen than she was.

I remember spouting off to my mom about all the pointlessness of life and injustices of the world, but I never wrote my thoughts on paper. After being grounded for an entire summer for sneaking out of the house during the night to smoke cigarettes, I recorded my activities on a calendar…in the ancient form of shorthand. I was a rebellious, self-loathing teen, I did what I wanted and hoped my parents wouldn’t find out.

I found that calendar about 10 years ago and I didn’t understand one word of it. My memory fails me and that’s probably a good thing.

I didn’t want anyone to ever come across my innermost thoughts. I am who I am and I don’t shy away from exposing myself, but even in this format I continue to keep quite a few thoughts to myself. I will most likely die with those thoughts locked in my mind–unless my husband finds it necessary to enlighten our kids with what is contained within. My sisters delighted in telling our daughter about all the rebellious things I did. My husband and I never shared our stories of rottenness with our kids, we didn’t want to give them any ideas that we would condone such behavior. You know….we matured.

Now they know.

Our youngest? A completely different book. His rookie actions to try and hide from us what he was up to were mostly thwarted. He finally understood after we took his driving privileges away that it wasn’t easy to fool two old borderline-ex-delinquents.


What a challenge.

Now I have the dilemma of what to do with several grossly thick yearbooks that are no longer wanted.




About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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34 Responses to Nerdfighters

  1. mewhoami says:

    Looking back on what we wrote as children can be highly interesting, sometimes unsettling and other times just down right confusing. Your kids sound like a smart bunch. I know that they make you very proud.

  2. aviets says:

    Two things:
    I think I’ve mentioned before that my husband also feels that he missed our kids’ growing up years because for the most part he was busy drowning in depression. I see it from a very different perspective; that he was always there with them, playing, caring for them. and being very present. Sounds to me from what you just wrote that the same is true of you. I bet you were a lot more present to them than you realize.

    I think I would enjoy your kids SO much. You obviously knew how to be a great parent because they sound awesome. 🙂

    • April says:

      When I came across those scavenger hunt clues, I seriously questioned my memory. I decided I need to make a scrapbook with all my pictures and notes with the stories that accompany them. Then when I can’t remember…I will have something to jog my memory.

      I never thought about hiding depression and being present. Actually, that is what I was probably doing and didn’t know it. I may not remember it, but I had to focus on what we were doing and how I was reacting to it. Hmmmm

  3. aviets says:

    Oh, and your title hooked me immediately. Are you familiar with Hank and John Green and the Nerdfighters? We LOVE them, and all our kids are Nerdfighters right along with them.

  4. I’d vote to keep the yearbooks, nostalgia tends to grow over time. Pack them away and show them to future grandkids if that day comes.
    It’s funny how differently each person (and even the same person at a different time in their life) can perceive an event, idea or interaction.
    I guess that’s part of what makes life so amazing and frustrating at the same time. We are each a separate entity with unique experiences woven together with countless others, all thinking our own thoughts and forming our individual opinions yet we somehow blend together and create the tapestry of humanity despite our eclectic combination of similarities and differences. Does anything else in the universe pose such a living contradiction as humans do?

  5. Elouise says:

    What a wonderful set of memories–even though your shorthand notes have ensured most of yours will go when you go! I’d love to have a bunch of my closely held memories do the same. Also, it’s fascinating to see what you (or any of us) remember and what you forget–especially when you/we forget the good stuff!

  6. reocochran says:

    I like how you have your children’s things and can walk down your own memory lane, while being a mother to fine and successful children, April. Parallels between the way you thought and dreamed are found in the writing of one of them. The depth of young people always strikes me as so wonderful. They wish the world to be a better (and in this case, more HONEST) place to live in! I like your laughing, this makes me feel so good and don’t try to analyze the past, we all have regrets, but you still did well. I am a keeper of yearbooks, recommend getting a big mold and dust free tub and store it somewhere. smiles!

  7. I say pack each child’s things in a tub. There will be a day when they will likely at least wish they had looked through the things themselves. I go back through some things now and laugh. And wonder what my kids will think when they go through them years from now even. 🙂

    • April says:

      I may have said this, but after clearing my husband’s father’s house after he passed, I’m going to mess with my kids. I’m going to find some of the strangest things for them to find so that they can wonder what the heck I was thinking. 😀

      • I THINK YOU ARE BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

        • April says:

          Haha! I’m twisted and have my dad’s sense of humor. I like to mess with them every now and then, I’m sure they would expect to find odd things after I’m gone. 🙂

          • Oh April, after we lost my father we kept joking about expecting to find some fun things he would have left for us. We hoped and hoped. I still have a piece of dry wall we took from his house where he had written a quip about how tall he was and none of his kids would be taller. We loved finding funny little things of his.

            • April says:

              My husband found Viagra among his dad’s stuff.

              We have an old sideboard that my mom’s mom had. She passed it down to her oldest daughter (my mom), and my mom passed it down to me. My grandma used to operate a restaurant in a tiny North Carolina town, and she used the sideboard to block patrons from coming behind the counter. On the back are her words—do not come behind the counter, and don’t make me tell you twice. She was a feisty short woman. I will pass the sideboard onto my daughter, along with all the stories I know about her great-grandmother.

  8. Glynis Jolly says:

    There’s a photo album in a drawer in the very room I’m sitting in right now that has pictures of a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Denver. It’s never ever been brought out to look at. There aren’t any people in the photos whom we know. Yet we keep the stupid thing. I know that a yearbook isn’t like that, but if you aren’t ever bringing it out to look at, maybe the purpose of it is gone like the photo album.

    • April says:

      Neither one of them felt like a true part of the high school. The school had over 2500 students, and my kids didn’t know any of them until they made friends. So really, other than possible a tiny photo of my daughter in in a Latin Club photo, and her regular photo, that is all the book has of them. They have no desire to travel down memory lane in the future because they didn’t know about 99% of the people.

  9. Two old borderline ex-delinquents. Is that what many of us have become? 🙂 Love the acknowledgment and story, April.

  10. Gallivanta says:

    I wish my children would come and sort out their own stuff. In the meantime I enjoy looking through their old artwork and yearbooks and school photos. I will not throw their things away but as for mine, much of it will go. Except my yearbooks. 🙂

  11. suzjones says:

    I cringe at some of the stuff I wrote when I was filled with teenage angst but if I had written it in shorthand, I’d be hardpressed to read it these days. Unless I began it “Dear Sir” anyway… lol
    Reading what you wrote about your older two reminded me of yesterday. The Teen said to me “Mum, there’s two high-schoolers about to knock on the front door. I think they’re collecting for something”. I answered the two to the two boys still in school uniform and found that they were collecting for the Luekaemia Foundation. As I was chatting with them I was holding in my laughter. They were lovely, lovely kids but our conversation was definitely only one that could be held with nerds! lol After they left, both the Teen and I collapsed in laughter when she said “Well they couldn’t be anything BUT geeks”! I might add, that they were proud of their nerdiness too! 🙂

    • April says:

      There were many conversations my son and daughter had and all I could do was smile because I had no clue what they were talking about. Our oldest still has facts stored in his mind about so many topics, I find him fascinating. What a lucky guy for remembering what he ate for breakfast! 😀

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