Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This time of year I feel so abandoned by the sun. 

Dramatic.  I know.  It’s true though.  I take winter personally.

I hate to be cold.  Hate it.  And I know that I’m destined to feel like this until about mid May.  Maybe even June.  Bummer.

I am already planning my future as a snowbird.  It might happen sooner than later, because Sweet Pea informed me tonight that she’s going to go to college in Hawaii.  Smart girl.  Why didn’t I think of that?


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Forgiveness has been thematic in my life lately.  It’s been the subject of no fewer than three homilies at church over the last several weeks.  It’s on countless Facebook memes, and there’s a new Matthew West song that’s not so subtly titled, “Forgiveness” getting a lot of play on the radio right now.  (That song just started right now as I finish up posting this.)

I like that.  I am so on board with not carrying around anger and hatred in your heart.  Forgive!  Move on!  Choose Love!  Whooohooo.
Sooo easy for me to say.  I have never experienced the loss of a loved one through someone else’s negligence.  I’ve never experienced betrayal in my marriage.  I’ve never been abused by someone who was supposed to love me, or experienced violence at the hands of another.  When bad things happen to me it’s usually along the lines of rude driving or poor customer service.  Yup.  Super easy for me to forgive the transgressions that happen to your average…boring…suburban mom.  (Thank goodness!)

But then again this is my blog, so indulge me a little introspection. 
I got REALLY mad a few weeks ago. (Details not significant.) So super mad that I was crying and shaking - quite frankly I scared the crap out of myself.  Fast forward 12 hours to me swallowing my pride and sending a sincere note of apology to the person I was mad at. (Not gonna lie, it was kind of hard to do.  I was embarrassed.  And probably still a little mad.)  Immediate reply, they were sorry too.  The huge wave of relief that swept over me made me start thinking about the other times in my life that I have felt justifiably angry, and whether or not I have experienced that same release of anger and forgiveness that I forced myself to experience this time. 

I would love to say yes.  And in a lot of ways I think that’s totally true.  I don’t hold grudges.  I can’t think of a single person that I feel anger toward right at this moment. 
But here’s where I think I’ve created a little golden loophole for myself.  Forgive?  Yes.  Forget? Nope.

I firmly believe that if someone shows you who they really are, you should believe them.  We would never encourage a victim of sexual abuse to invite their abuser over for brunch.  Even if that person was rehabilitated and sorry for the horror and havoc they wrecked in the victims life.  Which, incidentally, isn’t really a requirement for forgiveness.  We’re called to forgive even those who don’t deserve it.
So it’s perfectly acceptable to forgive someone, let go of the anger, move on, and still have NOTHING to do with that person ever again.  It’s not only acceptable, sometimes that’s the smart and healthy way to approach things.  Maybe it's not that drastic.  Maybe you just keep that person at arms length.  Forgiveness doesn't have to come with a full access pass to your heart. 

What I’m wondering, is if maybe there are a couple of instances in my life where I’ve created this self preservation situation to get around the whole forgiveness thing. 
So what’s the litmus test?  I’ve tried to conjure up someone specific to be the poster child for my quest for true forgiveness.  So I’ve dredged up some painful adolescent memories.  Mean girl crap.  I’ve got a face I can put on all that.  (Unfortunately.)  When I picture this person I don’t feel anger or hatred, or even dislike.  I don’t feel like I want anything but the best for her.  I am absolutely focused on how everyone grows up and changes, and maybe that person had horrible things happening in her life that caused her to act like that, etc. etc. etc.  Or maybe not.  Maybe she grew up to be an angry, bitter, entitled, nasty human.  Either way, I carry no ill will.  She is forgiven.  And if we never ever ever ever ever run into each other on the street for as long as we live, that’s totally cool with me!  J

So.  Um.  What does that mean?
This is the Matthew West song, just in case you need to hear that right now.  :)


Friday, November 09, 2012

I totally get that this ranty post is going to make me sound like an old lady.  I have these moments where I think to myself, when did I get so conservative?  When did I get so prude?
And then I remember that it’s not that I’ve gotten conservative, it’s that pop culture has gotten super skanky.  S.U.P.E.R. skanky.  Ugh. 
So here goes…
I am sick to death of not being able to turn on the radio in my car without having to monitor every song for language and content.  At first I did this for my kids.  It’s pretty mortifying to hear your 8 year old daughter singing gleefully about brushing her teeth with a bottle of jack, sippin syzzurp in her ride, or her Friday night escapades including a ménage a trois.  Not just mortifying, sad.  Seriously sad.  I do not want my third grader thinking that adult life looks like an episode of Jersey Shore.  I don’t want her to approach relationships with as much respect as you’d give two humping dogs.
But now, even when I’m alone in the car I turn the radio off.  I can’t stand to listen to women, relationships, marriage, and sex being degraded and demoralized in song after song.   I am not a nameless conquest, or a brainless set of boobs.  My relationships involve more than dysfunction, alcoholism, and sex with virtual strangers.  Being told over and over by artists too crass/stupid/young to know better that my worth in the world is directly related to how well I can shake my ass makes me want to pack up and move far, far away from pop culture.
I’m NOT overly conservative.  I’m NOT a prude.  But what happened to subtlety?  Moderation?  And having a modicum of respect?  Case in point, there’s that new Maroon 5 song “One More Night.”  The lyrics are vague enough that I had myself convinced it was more about a tortured love affair than a booty call.  Ok, maybe I wasn’t convinced, but that’s how I was choosing to interpret it.  I’m driving home from school with both kids in the car and the new version “feat. Cee Lo” comes on.  Have you heard this?  Don’t bother.  It adds about 45 second to the middle song where Captain Obvious spells out in detail how the whole draw to this otherwise hateful beast of a woman is the ease at which he can get into her pants.  Sort of another rendition of, “The B!#$% is Crazy But I Like the Way She @#$%! Me.”  (Yup.  That’s a real song too.  Aren’t we so proud?)  Thanks Cee Lo.  No, really.  We needed that extra clarification to really understand the crux of the message.  It’s so. much. clearer. to me now: Instant gratification beats emotional stability and happiness every time.  It must be fun living in your world. 
I have spent the better part of my 38 years on this earth wishing that I had enough musical talent to write a song.  Or sing a song (who cares who wrote it!) well enough that other people wanted to hear me sing it.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Wouldn’t it be an amazing gift to bring something like a new song into the world?  So CONGRATULATIONS  Florida, for using your unique talent to give humanity the blowjob song.  I bet your grandma is so proud. 
That song might have been the nail in the coffin for me.  My radio if permanently OFF of secular music.  We have two great Christian music stations in town that play contemporary, pop, and alternative music with a good message.  It’s not like the slightly whiny, ballad-y Christian rock of the 1990’s.  (No offence Michael W. Smith.  But I can only tolerate “Friends are Friends Forever” at sorority reunions.)  So from now on, it’s Air 1, or CD’s approved by me.  Taylor Swift, you’re in.  Justin Bieber, so far you can stay too. Katy Perry, I’ve got my eye on you…

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A while back I was puttering around on Pinterest and daydreaming about my perfectly tidy, crafty, gourmet life, when I came across a list called, “How to Raise Independent Kids.” I smugly took the bait, figuring that there wouldn’t be a single thing on that list that my independent (and did I mention brilliant and adorable?) children had not already mastered, improved, and taught the vastly inferior neighborhood kids how to do. (Just joking neighbors. Just. Joking.)

That was supposed to be dripping with sarcasm, except that it’s partially true. The neighbor children are inferior. HA! I joke…I joke…No seriously though…my kids aren’t helpless. There is an expectation that they will be contributing members of our household. They have chores to do, homework to complete, manners they are expected to use on occasion…And I’m not a total pansy of a mom. Everyone is riding a bike without training wheels at this point. We hike and swim and…I dunno…but they can DO STUFF. It’s all good.

So I really was being pretty smug, and I was mostly entitled to my smugness. Ok, no…Will doesn’t make his bed every morning. I should make him do that. But again, they are helpful and can do tasks. Which is what I thought the whole thing was about. Until we get to the grouping of 8 year old independence measures and it says, “Have the sex talk.”

OHEMGEE. That is NOT EVEN CLOSE to being on par with “loads and unloads the dishwasher”, “folds laundry” and “can make own lunch.” That’s sex people…what the heck do 8 year olds need to know about that for?

So, of course, I run straight to 700 of my best and closest friends and ask Facebook their opinion on the whole matter…once again smugly anticipating a flurry of “kids don’t need to know about sex until graduate school” and “you’ve done the right thing by exposing her to the outside world through the filer of PBS kids and Christian Radio.” BECAUSE I AM AN AWESOME MOM.

But guess what, the interwebs doesn’t think I am an awesome mom. In fact, the interwebs told me that it’s likely some first grade tramp has already explained the whole birds and the bees thing to Sweet Pea, and if she’s teaching the neighbor kids anything it’s probably pole dancing. My friends were like, “GET ON THAT.”

Argh. But I’m still convinced that my darling daughter knows nothing of the mechanics of sex. She’s too horrid a bluffer to not have shown her cards on this one. There would have been embarrassed giggling, or at the very least some squirming during that episode of Friends that she conned me into letting her watch last week – “Grandma lets me watch Friends” – gee thanks Mom! I’m pretty sure I wasn’t allowed to watch friends until I was 27.

Doesn’t it seem likely (especially if you know how much that kid talks) that if she was ready to learn about sex, she would be asking questions? Or, making comments…or anything that showed some level of interest in how babies are made? Cause she’s not. And not because she’s not interested in babies. We’ve got an actual high chair sitting at the table right now for the army of plastic siblings who dine with us each evening. And we are expected to acknowledge our dinner guest and try to include her/him in mealtime conversation. She loooooves babies. She does not, however, seem to care one whip about how she might one day obtain one.

Either that, or she already has that figured out. Case in point, yesterday the kids were playing house, and Sweet Pea informed me that they were going to adopt some babies. She picked out “One white one, one brown one, and a kitten.” And then she gave me $100 of Monopoly money and went on her way. Which would be sort of alarming if not for a few things: 1) She witnessed an entire pregnancy that resulted in her brother, 2) that’s pretty much exactly how it went down with my brother and I, so you can’t really fault her . (We’re adopted. One white. One brown. Although we cost significantly more than $100.), and 3) she once pressed me for information about how the baby gets out of the mom's tummy, so I told her. Ironically, Will has never asked how the baby gets out. But like most things, he seems to have a very keen sense of how this all works. During the same baby-procurement-role-playing activity the other day, Will informed me that his sister was "totally not ready for what really happens when it's time for the baby to come out."

I didn't press him for further information. I think it's safe to say he gets it.

Alrighty then. So you can probably see my giant conundrum right now. Do you get the books and the videos and force "THE TALK" with a kid who doesn't seem particularly interested, or do you wait until she starts the conversation at the risk of someone beating you to the punch?

And what exactly does an eight year old need covered? She has boy girl anatomy down. She says vagina and penis with such confidence, the entire Michigan legislature is trying to have her censured. She knows that you need a boy + a girl to make a baby. She knows about menstruation and pregnancy, and she understands that the baby doesn't just magically fly out of your bellybutton at the hospital. I kinda felt like that was a pretty good arsenal of information for a second grader. No? Must we really go there?

Not exactly dreading this. Just hoping to hold on to some innocence I guess.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

I was just thinking about how this silly little pop song (Carly Rae Jepsen) reminds me of when I was first crushing on Mr. G. And then I remembered that today is the 16th anniversary of the night that I decided he was cute and then dropped hints and waited, and waited, and waited for him to kiss me.

 No such luck. So I kissed him instead.

 Best move I ever made. Where do you think you're going Baby?



Wednesday, May 02, 2012

We have a situation. It seems that young William is in love. Poor kid’s got it bad too. He fidgets. He swoons. He blushes. You can practically see his heart fluttering at the mere mention of his beloved’s name. It’s nothing short of total twitterpation.

She’s a lovely girl. But it’s definitely a doomed romance. She’s 3.5 years his senior. And if the December/May romance wasn’t complicated enough, she’s in the second grade for crying out loud. There’s just So. Much. More. that she has experienced in this world. I fear she has very little time nor patience for my pint sized Casanova.

Either he hasn’t notice or doesn’t care about all that. He’s too busy planning their future. Last night at dinner he mentioned her name. When Grandma asked if that was a friend from school he sighed and said, “No, that’s just the girl who is going to marry me.” Grandma, who is much better at hiding her amusement than I am, asked what made this girl so special. He told her exactly what he told me the night before…”She wears really soft clothes. Just like Mommy.”

Later he added that the really soft clothes make us good for snuggling. I am pretty sure that is about the highest compliment a four-year-old romantic can give.

Apparently it’s also the go-to pickup line. On Saturday he marched right up to her and asked if she would care for a snuggle. She didn’t say no…

She must also smell nice. Because there’s a shirt he keeps burying his nose into, and he won’t let me wash it. He tells me that her perfume must have rubbed onto him when they were snuggling at the movies on Friday night. (At Sweet Pea’s birthday party. Clearly I need to watch out for this snuggling obsession.) Or, later when they were playing tag and she tackled him.

Either or.

Usually on Wednesday afternoons I have to drag him out the door to go pick his sister up from school. This morning he woke up at 7AM and asked how much longer it would be.

Ahh...my sweet boy. Matters of the heart are complicated at best.


 (You'll have to forgive me. It appears that Google is bullying me into changing my browser by holding my blog functionality hostage. Things are kinda wonky...)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I feel like I’ve spent so much time and energy these last few weeks on things that could be categorized as trying to “fix” my little girl. Orthodontists. Eye doctors. Teachers. Reading Specialists. Psychologists. Ironically, I’ve never thought she was in need of fixing.

With the exception of some wickedly crowded teeth, that still holds true. She is smart. She is funny. She is beautiful. She is creative. She is athletic.

She is dyslexic.

I’m having a hard time this week separating that word from her. I think about it when I’m making her lunch or rubbing her back at bedtime. I thought about it when I scheduled a playdate for her tonight. I thought about it when I had lunch with her and her friends at school today. It’s a strange sort of obsession. Two parts worry. One part relief. She’s dyslexic. It’s a real thing. A thing with a name. A thing that won’t ever go away. A thing that will cause her anxiety and frustration. A thing that has already caused us both heartache. But it’s a thing that we can work on!

There have been many, many moments over the last two and a half years when the yet unnamed dyslexia has sucked big time. A few moments stand out pretty clearly for me in fact. I can already tell that those will be stories I tell to other mothers years from now when I’m reassuring the newly initiated that their membership in the club isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to them. And heaven knows that there are going to be more struggles, frustrations, offences taken, and battles over homework getting done. But today this diagnosis, this concept – it’s a thousand times better than the not knowing what the disconnect was and feeling helpless to help her.

I’d like to take a moment here and remind everyone in my not so subtle way that I TOTALLY called this in kindergarten. Not only that, I stated my firm belief that it was a shared family trait. And helloooo…right again. Damn I’m good. But anyway…

It’s overwhelming, to say the least. All this stuff I’m learning about how her brain may (or may not) work. It seems to be a slippery little thing, dyslexia. Even what most of us think we know about it isn’t accurate. And there are as many different iterations as there are people who have it.

Here’s what I know. She’s got it. And she’s got it good. (Damnit.)

I also know that educating our family, my daughter and her teachers about how to help her manage her dyslexia is going to take up a lot of my time over, say…the next 17 years.

See? Overwhelming.

Interestingly enough, here’s another thing I know. My girl will never step foot into a classroom and be a nameless face. She will not have the luxury of slipping through the cracks. For the next however many years until she finishes her education (probably a Post Doctoral degree) she will be requiring, and getting just a little bit more from her teachers. And I honestly believe that they will be happy to do it. Not only because she is a sweet, loving kid who people like to help, but because we have such great teachers here. So there’s a blessing, right? And another blessing is that we caught this in second grade, before she had a chance to decide she wasn’t very bright or that she didn’t like school. She loves school. She loves books. She certainly isn’t lacking in the self esteem department. My goal is to keep it that way. (Blessing number three…she’s got me. And you know how I just love to tackle a new challenge.)

I’ll let you know how it goes…