Friday, April 30, 2010
Many years ago, I went to a conference where the speaker related the following story:
One day, her high school aged daughter came home from school telling about how one of her best friends said something super insulting. The mother bear quickly jumped out. How could her daughter's "friend" say something so mean? She wanted to know what her daughter was going to do, how she was going to punish the friend for her thoughtless comment. The daughter was not upset. "Oh, you know, Mom. She's not usually like that. I'll give her one."
It has stuck with me all these years because we all say and do stupid things, now and then. Some of us (ME) do and stay stupid things often and I'm always hoping that people will give me one. In other words, if you know that a person isn't mean spirited or intentionally hurtful, forgive them. Figure that they are having a bad day, that they don't realize what they are saying, or that they simply had a slip of tongue. (Joette, I still feel bad about my major slip of tongue in the hall of our high school that one day!) We could be hurt or mad and fume or cry for days on end; or we could be understanding and let it roll off our backs.
A recent post apparently "shocked" at least two of my readers. I am sorry about those feelings. One of my personal traits is to torture myself over and over about the possibility of hurting someone. The purpose of this blog is NOT to hurt feelings.
I have the pulpit, here, and I am sorely tempted to call you repentance, like you tried to do for me (you said it was "enlighten" me, but really, you wanted me to repent). Since you already compared me to being one those in the great and spacious building and accused me of being gluttonous, a covenant breaker, an instigator of negativity, having behavior unbecoming a daughter of God, mocking, disappointing, and hypocritical, I am determined to prove you wrong. Your comments, which were three times as long as my original post, drew many false conclusions about the post and myself.
If you continue reading my blog, you will find that I am frank about being imperfect. I've posted pictures of my massive laundry pile, my children get cavities, my cabinets are full of high fructose corn syrup, some of the media I view has stronger language than Veggie Tales, I've read books that take the Lord's name in vain, and I can't catch a ball.
Please, give me one (and I'll do likewise).
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Enter the Truth-O-Meter.
PolitiFact is a project of the St. Petersburg Times to help you find the truth in American politics. Reporters and editors from the Times fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups and rate them on our Truth-O-Meter. We’re also tracking more than 500 of Barack Obama’s campaign promises and are rating their progress on our new Obameter.
This is a great website that seems to be non-partisan. I just thought you might want to be aware of this resource as well.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
"Oh, reawy? Th-thank you!" he exclaimed.
Filled with the satisfaction of helping one of God's most beloved children, they, of course, offered their hot dog, too. "Ohh, th-th-thanks, guys!"
Scooching down the bench, I could hear, "Dat for me?"
"Oh," looking longingly at the freshly salted pretzel, "Yeah, I guess."
On and on it went. Poor suckers who couldn't refuse someone so dang cute and so dang hungry and Danny who knew how to work the system. Normally I would have stopped such behavior, but that night, for whatever reason, I didn't. In fact, I hid. I kept a keen eye on the kid, but I slumped down behind the person in front of me. And, forgive me, I was giggling. A lot.
Friday, April 23, 2010
I'm totally going to complain in this post. Skip it if you feel that you only want sunshine and tulips.
My son was finally awarded his Arrow of Light from the Cub Scouts last night. This is quite the undertaking and is the only badge they earn while Cubs that they wear on the Boy Scout uniform. He had earned it months ago, but was assured that if he waited to receive it in April, the pack would make a big deal out of it. We waited and he kept going to cubs, even though he really wanted to start going to the Boy Scout troop.
The ceremony was lame. LAME. He may as well have been earning his Tiger badge. He was actually upstaged by the den mother's son who earned his Conservation badge. Parenthetically, once they are Webelo's, all of the pins and advancements are to be done as a den, rather than the family-heavy awards of the younger dens. Somehow, this son of the den mother earned a heck of a lot more awards than any of the other Webelo's. I, being mature like that, leaned over to my son and told him that if I was the den mother, he would have had a lot more crap on his uniform. He told me to be quiet. If they are supposed to earn awards as a den, wouldn't all of the kids have completed the same goals? Sheesh.
But, my kid didn't care at all. He was just glad that
I kept my cool last night as I didn't eat the dessert that wasn't provided and gave my obligatory thanks to those who didn't do much to help my son get those patches.
There now. I've shown my true colors by not only complaining, but doing it publicly. I am also ready to move on.
Way to go, son. We are proud of you, not only for achieving the highest honor a Cub can receive, but for being way more mature about being slighted than your grown-up mother. I love you.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
There is a fabulous book called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It is about a very poor immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1900's. This is a family that looks for the tin from cigar wrappers in the gutters so they can melt it down and sell it to the junk man. They buy the hard, week old bread and use the crusty chunks as a base for their meals for the week. They go without as a regular thing. However, coffee is an important part of their family culture and they cut corners in other places so they could buy it.
Neeley and Francie loved coffee, but seldom drank it. Mama poured Francie's coffee and put the milk in it even though she knew that the child wouldn't drink it. At the end of the meal, it went down the sink.
Mama had two sisters, Sissy and Evy, who came to the flat often. Every time they saw the coffee thrown away, they gave mama a lecture about wasting things.
Mama explained: "Francie is entitled to one cup each meal like the rest. If it makes her feel better to throw it away rather than to drink it, all right. I think it's good that people like us can waste something once in a while and get the feeling of how it would be to have lots of money and not have to worry about scrounging."
This queer point of view satisfied mam and pleased Francie. It was one of the links between the ground-down poor and the wasteful rich. The girl felt that even if she had less than anybody in Williamsburg, somehow she had more. She was richer because she had something to waste. She ate her sugar bun slowly, reluctant to have done with it's sweet taste, while the coffee got ice-cold. Regally, she poured it down the sink drain feeling casually extravagant.
Smith, Betty (1943). A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. New York. Harper & Brothers. pg 13.
I'm not nearly as destitute as this family, but I do make clothes out of old tablecloths, build my new deck from someone's old wood and feed my family a lot of beans. I will keep using Tide and Downy, however, drink out of glass glasses, and buy Kraft Macaroni and store-bought Popsicles.
Until our next money crisis, at least. Then, we can swap detergent recipes. K?
Saturday, April 17, 2010
"We were going to be on time, until we were stopped by a train with 189 cars (cross eyes)," for example.
How about, "I just sat in a high school gym, with dance music blaring, for six and a half hours watching a dance competition. Oh! and I had all of my children because my husband works on Saturdays (cross eyes and add an exaggerated head role)."
Thursday, April 15, 2010
The first day of spring and the first spring day are sometimes months
That is definitely true in my area.
Yesterday was certainly a first day of spring. We worked outside, played outside and got a healthy dose of vitamin D. After it all, we built a fire (we have this very cool, very old rock fireplace in our back yard) and roasted s'mores. I should have take fabulous pictures of children with burning marshmallow bombs, sticky fingers, people eating desserts that are too giant and awkward to fit in anyone's mouth with any kind of grace, but I didn't. I was too busy
We sat in the perfect evening cool, staring into the fire, letting it's hypnosis take us away. There are moments and sometimes whole days when I feel overwhelmed and unable to do it all. Then, there are those bits, like last night by the fire, when I can feel the peace creep back into my soul. I can take a breath, no one is fighting, everyone is happy and laughing.
Parenthood is hard--probably the hardest thing one could ever do. I think that is what makes the reward times so rewarding. And, even though I often think I can't do it, I'm glad that I somehow do, because then, I get the moments by the fire--marshmallow kisses and all.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Here's what happened. I had been hyper emotional for several days (I do this every once in a while) and it seemed to come to a head on Tuesday. I did some electrical work in the morning and, like all projects in this house, it took ten times longer than it should have. After a series of frustrations, I sat down at the computer to find this picture:
Tears instantly welled up in my eyes. A dear friend's father recently passed away. He wasn't much older than my dad and I keep finding myself calling my dad just to hear him. So that was part of the reason for my tears. But, look at this picture. My parents have been married for thirty-eight years and they just fit. Dad's posture shows that he has a claim on his good woman and the way Mom is tucked into his shoulder says that she is in the very place she most wants to be.
Then, I clicked on the next attachment to find this: "I need my Mom!" I wailed. This picture gives away the fact that she is wise. Her arms give me respite, her heart gives me understanding and her mind gives me direction.
But, I had commitments, it's a long drive, and we only have one car. The comfort of my parents' house could not be had.
All of Tuesday, I kept crying for no good reason. (Though one major reason was the negative pregnancy test that I was SURE would be positive.) When my husband came home, I sat on the couch and blubbered about all of my nothings that add up to something so huge.
"What do you need?" he asked.
"I just need my mom."
"Well, why don't you go?"
I explained why I couldn't. We finally determined for me to leave our oldest home with Dad, rely on the help of a friend and his car and take a girl's trip.
It's a fairly easy decision, but a huge undertaking. I rushed around catching up on laundry, cleaning out the van and checking it's vital signs. My son and I went to the grocery store at eleven o'clock at night in order to have the kinds of food that an eleven year old could prepare for he and his dad. After the house was in order, the giant task of moving my army of girls was next. Clothes for everyone, don't forget socks and shoes. The toddler is potty training so we'll need to bring every pair of underwear in the house. They will need hair ties, activities for the nine hour drive, individually packaged trail mix since there will be no other adult to pass out portion sizes to the impatient baby birds in the back seats. Make sure the ones staying home have all of the instructions they'll need during my absence then try to get a little sleep so I don't fall asleep driving my precious cargo.
And so, I dropped everything and went to my mom's arms. It was what I needed--it was what my girls needed. (More about that in another post.)
On Tuesday I was falling apart, by Wednesday morning I was driving. About 300 miles in to our journey, I started my first period since September 2007. Yes. 2007. It's arrival explained a lot.
We are home, now. It's a funny thing about running away from your problems; they wait for your return. Today I'll try to repair all that is broken, clean all that is dirty, organize all that is scattered, and not be frustrated with the lady who was trying to help when she brought my six and four year old home from the corner (50 feet away) because "I have small children, too, and it's just not safe for them to be that close to a busy street." I almost flipped her off.
Off to work. Catch y'alls latah!
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
One of the things I don't like is all the wondering. Is she a she? Is she healthy? Is she growing like she should? What does she look like? Is this insane heartburn really due to her full head of hair? After reaching high above my head, is she now breech? Are her fingernails long? 'Cause sometimes it feels like she is trying to claw her way out. Is that a foot or a hand or a tailbone that is permanently changing the shape of my ribs? Is she trying to stand up?
Think how nice it would be to just be able to open your pouch and take a peek. From the earliest days (after the insanely painful birth of your half inch newborn), you can simply check in now and then. You can begin discipline right away: "No, honey. You can't squeeze Mama's bladder in a vice grip. Let go, please." or "I asked you to try to hold still when I lay down to go to sleep. You need to obey, right away, without delay. Okay?"
You can check progress--when the gonads decide to be ovaries or testicles, when the club-like hand becomes separate fingers, when that crazy fur starts to grow (although, not being in amniotic fluid might de-necessitate that feature). You can allay fears or embrace a different life because you'll know right away if the spine is protected, if the chromosome count is off, or if the cleft isn't closing.
As you choose names, you can test them out on the baby you can see. "No matter how much I love the name Betty, that name does not fit you! What about Eowyn?" (In some future life I will name a baby after that incredible character, no matter how hard it may be to pronounce from reading. And that's all I have to say about that.)
And, in the quiet of the evening, after all of her siblings are sound asleep, you can do more than rub your belly to connect with your baby. You can open the pouch and have an eye-to-eye visit.
If she can open her eyelids, that is.