How I Learned To Stop Whining And Love My Mom

How I Learned To Stop Whining And Love My Mom

Or: that time a cartoon made me mature




I could hear her, and I had been dreading this day for weeks. It was December 1st, it was 9 p.m., and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" was just starting.

"Please God", I silently prayed from my bed in the back of the house, "if You're listening, please let her just give up. Let her change the channel and just forget the whole thing."


Well played, mom.

As a child, there was nothing I enjoyed more than watching Christmas movies with my mom. Then those inevitable teenage years hit and she suddenly became the last person I wanted to spend time with. After all, cartoons were for children, and I was a man. I would do anything I could to get out of that once-adored, now-despised tradition, but nothing ever seemed to do the trick.

I shuffled into the living room, determined not to enjoy myself. Being the mature, rational teenager I was, I gave my mom the evil eye, sat down, and started tweeting about "how much i h8 spending time with my mom" or whatever it was I was tweeting back in high school.

"Boy, don't you give me that look. This is your last year at home and you're watching this movie with me."

Always the rebel, I rolled my eyes and did my best to look at anything but the screen. I even tried sneaking back to my room, and I was halfway down the hall when my mom noticed and threatened to take away my car keys. I had no choice. I was watching this movie.

So I sat down, once again determined to make the worst of this half hour.

Then it happened. My mom started making her usual colorful commentary about the show. I turned and looked at her, wondering when my mom, the same woman I had been avoiding for the last few years, developed a sense of humor. She gave me a big grin then turned back to the TV to snort and mention how Cindy Lou Who's "ass should've been in bed instead of wandering around the house at midnight."

I actually started laughing.

Then it clicked, a combination of the finality of it all, of my life at home with my parents and the epiphany that this wasn't about cartoons or Christmas. It was about making memories with somebody who won't be around forever. Looking back, it's easy to laugh about how immature I was and how melodramatic kids are, but that honestly was a turning point for me. After those 30 minutes had flown by, I didn't even try to protest when Frosty the Snowman had started. I was laughing too hard to try to make a break for it, anyway.

I guess you could say my heart grew three sizes that day.

Now I'm in college, and while my family and I still watch those Christmas classics, it will never be the same as those days when I was living at home. And though I sometimes regret that I came to this realization later than I could and should have, I'm just happy that I did it before I had left home for good.

Now when my mom calls me in the days before break to talk about my coming home, and she mentions that she recorded everything for us to watch, I don't roll my eyes, I don't dread it, I just smile and thank the Lord that I'm not a teenager anymore I have another year to make memories with my loved ones.

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter

I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

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Doing Nothing All Summer Is Okay Too

It's okay to have no plans this summer.


Summer seems to roll around faster and faster every year and the question that's always asked is"what are you doing this summer?" Some people love to answer this question, maybe they have a trip planned to backpack across Europe or have a 2-week vacation in the Bahamas. My point is, everyone seems to have these big summer plans. Some people spend the whole summer traveling and are never even home, but there are always gonna be some people who, like me, have absolutely no plans this summer.

Do I wish I was traveling across Europe or spending a few weeks in the Bahamas? Sure. But in reality, my summer plans include working 5 or 6 days a week. I'm not ashamed of this and I wouldn't say I'm jealous of those traveling because I'm still determined to make the best of my summer.

There is so much pressure everywhere on Instagram and Snapchat to post all the fun things you're doing and to capture the moment. This creates the pressure that you always have to be doing something fun or spontaneous.

Summer should be whatever you want it to be. If you want to spend every day at the beach, do it. If you want to spend every day in bed or at home, that's good too. We all have different definitions of fun.

Summer has just started and everyone should make the most of their summer in their own way. My friends and I always make a bucket list of all the things we want to do by the end of the summer. None of it involves traveling or much planning, it's just little things we can do when we get bored.

Don't feel jealous when you see other people traveling this summer. Make your own fun plans, make a bucket list, and make the most of every day this summer.

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