Friday, April 27, 2012

Out in the World

My youngest son had a big field trip this week.  His class drove down to Springfield to tour the capital, Lincoln themed sites, and meet the governor(!).  This child is a wonder mix of 1/2 part goofball and 1/2 part conscientious, passionate advocate.  Some in our family think of him as an annoying eco-terrorist.  That's an extreme description but he definitely can get on a soapbox and argue fiercely for what he believes is important.  Using as little electricity as possible, not wasting food, water, and other resources, humane treatment of animals (like not eating them), and gardening are big topics for him.  He's also the boy who juggles and unicycles for exercise for hours at a time and is fond of using quirky catch phrases to communicate, often leaving the person that he's talking to confused and unsure if he is making fun of them or is a little "touched" himself.  He will greet you with, "Happy Birthday!", just because and respond to every other comment you make with, "Cool Beans!".
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn addresses attendee...
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn addresses attendees before the opening of the 2010 Chicago Green Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like I said, he's a wonder mix.  You can perhaps imagine my mild concern about him traveling to Springfield and being given an opportunity to speak to the Governor.  I trusted that his teachers were just as aware as I about his charming and disarming qualities and would do what they could to stand near him, perhaps keeping a chloroform drenched rag in their back pocket when they were visiting the Governor's mansion.

The day in Springfield started at 5am as the 7th  graders loaded onto the buses (with a bathroom and seats that reclined!) and they did not return until 11pm.  He burst through the door late that night and exploded with excited memories of the day.  Starting with food (always) and how great Subway is, transitioning to the great movie in the Lincoln museum and how it blew his mind with the funky 3-D effects, and how he sold his chips to a fellow student and found some coins on the street, turning the trip into a moneymaking endeavor.  Finally he started to talk about their time with the Governor.  I kept a calm, interested expression, trying to mask my anxiety about what he might soon be sharing.  He wasn't returned to us with a police escort so I had that fact to reassure me.

"Oh! I asked the Governor a question!"

I smiled.  Here it comes.  "What was that?"

High Resolution Image of Kidney Beans. Françai...
"I asked him if he had any new ideas about how to take care of all the people that couldn't afford housing any more and how to tax the 1% more.  He didn't even answer the question!(?).  He just talked about something else that he wanted to say.  It wasn't even about what I asked.  His assistant was cool though.  He told us fun things about the mansion.  I told him he was cool beans."  Whew.  He did it.  Completely himself - challenging, quirky, charming, funny, and completely "out there" and also respectful and appropriately deferential when necessary.  He backed off the Governor when he evaded his question, something he wouldn't have done at the dinner table with his family members.  He was out in the world, successfully synthesizing his values and personality traits with our lessons on "proper" public behavior and courtesy.  I was very proud of him.  He's going to be ok, I thought - Happy Birthday!
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Caring Enough to Take Care

Bowl of Chocolate Ice Cream!
Bowl of Chocolate Ice Cream! (Photo credit: StephenMitchell)
My morning meditation book talked about self-care today.  Hah!  How timely seeing how I spent the entire weekend in a bath of self-loathing and personal disappointment.  An internal message loop ran, "Stop eating junk.  Go to the gym, you're a slug."  A string of other negative assessments ran rampant. I would listen to the voice inside for a little while and then go to the kitchen for a bowl of ice cream.

On  days like that, where I just can't seem to muster enough energy to tackle my "to do" list or prepare any food that requires more creativity than the flip of my wrist as I open a prepared package, I start to think seriously about our primal nature.  Am I more than just a clump of cells interacting with the lunar cycles? I don't know.

Stuart Smalley
Stuart Smalley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In those moments it feels like I have very little control over myself, my surroundings, or my larger world.  I lose sight of my personal power.  A ton of things can be going wrong, I can be in a general malaise, or worse case scenario, the zombie apocalypse could finally arrive and I will still have the power to care for myself.  It may not be all the things that I need at the moment but I can do some thing.  Getting out of my head counts as a "thing".  Talking to a friend or doing something that I enjoy counts as a "thing".  Eating a bowl of ice cream can be a "thing", as long as you don't beat yourself up about it afterwards.  We all know the bottom line is that we have to care enough to take care of ourselves.  We have to care less about what we "should" be doing/feeling/accomplishing and care more about ourselves.  I know this is probably sounding more and more like a Stuart Smalley seminar ("I'm good enough.  I'm smart enough.  And gosh darn it, people like me!").  Well gosh darn it, people do like me and yet I still need the reminder to take care and be nice to myself.  It's as important as all the other things on my "to do" list.
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Friday, April 20, 2012


The rules, culture, and technology of blogging is still a bit of a mystery to me.  I don't really have a sense of how many people are checking in and reading.  I do love learning from other people and seeing the ideas that emerge when you all share your own reactions.  I try not to get too caught up in the reaction or non-reaction to various posts and focus on my original reasons for writing.  I wanted to do something different.  I wanted to be more thoughtful and intentional and I wanted to start a dialogue about family/parenting issues.  Mostly, I wanted to talk honestly about stuff and maybe help push back against all the lists of  "should and ought to" that end making me feel like crap as a mom, wife, and person.

A friend of mine started a blog around the same time as me and she has been a great source of support and encouragement.  She shared her own thoughts on this very topic today and I'd like to encourage you to check it out, Random Reflectionz .

Thanks for reading and encouraging my effort.  Share, link, follow, I appreciate it (in a detached, self-confident, non-needy way).
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Flashing Before My Eyes

Stop Sign
Stop Sign (Photo credit: ladybeames)
So in a very recent post, Time Flies, I commented about helping the new driver in my family log his supervised driving hours for his permit.  Since that time there have been two 30 minute sessions and both times I've had my life flash before my eyes.  The flashes are brief and both he and I return to calm quickly.  The experience reminds me of the announcers at the big, televised, golf tournaments.  They keep their voice two notches above a whisper while giving the play by play of the game.  I'm trying to do the same.  "Turn right at the stop sign. Move out of the lane for oncoming traffic.  Move out of the other lane (slightly louder).  Not that far, pull left (panicked voice). Stop! (still moving)! Stop! (still moving)!  Stop the #$%&! car!"  Car stops. 

We are learning how to communicate our wishes in a very direct way.

I am learning how to move quickly from frustration to praise.

He is learning to listen.

The hardest part of the lessons so far are the handful of moments when he seems to be heading straight towards another car.  It is hard to remain calm and communicate clearly when a hallucinatory bill from an auto body shop keeps blinding my vision.  I take a deep breath.  He takes a deep breath.  "OK. When I say stop.  Stop.  Immediately.  Let's go around again.  Move forward. Turn right at the stop sign.  Good, much smoother."  Flashing on my imminent death or not, we move forward.  We will keep practicing and keep talking and learning.  (A great metaphor that I won't force on you here.)
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Because I Said So

A game of tug of war
A game of tug of war (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We've all had those moments when our child wants one thing, we want a different or the very opposite thing and as a result, become locked into a back and forth tennis match of opinion, then debate, then argument, then emotional meltdown. They're the ones where the phrase from childhood comes close to the surface.  You know the one, "Because I said so!"  We had one of those recently in our home and it raised a whole other question for me.  When or how do we allow our children to have their own ideas and opinions and still have parental authority?  Who gets to make the final decision on home issues when there are competing wants or needs?  I work pretty hard to give my kids opportunities to practice their own problem solving.  Communicating their feelings and the desires that come from those feelings is a good thing to me.  Being challenged to let go of something I want starts to feel more difficult.

I'm trying to create a home where children can figure out who they are as an individual AND be a respectful part of the family collective.  So what do we do when it feels like there can only be one way and someone is about to feel disregarded?  It can be simple stuff, one person is hot and wants the thermostat set low, the other is cold all the time and wants to crank the heat.  Other differences are much more significant and can end up feeling like a personal attack or rejection.  Our child's wardrobe, hairstyles, and choices of friends are all areas where child and parent  both feel like they should be able to weigh in and assert their opinion.  As much as I strive to let my guys make their own choices, there are plenty of moments where I pull them back with a tone of, "Try again, I'm not okay with that."  (Most of these conversations seem to happen as my youngest is walking out the door for school.)  Whenever possible, I try to let them be in control of their own choices.  I do that because I know there are going to be just as many times when they will have to defer to their parents or teachers.  There are an awful lot of "Because I said so." interactions for our kids.  It can be easier for them to swallow those if we let their interests and priorities win out sometimes too.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Some of Us Have to Work

I was at a party yesterday and several of the guests had traveled from out of town.  I asked them if they were returning home later that day (Sunday) or staying through the week.  One of the women said that they were leaving on Monday but they couldn't stay much longer because, "Some of us have to work."  She said this as she looked over at her mother and sister (who has 7 children).  On the heels of  Anne Romney, current poster girl for stay at home moms, facing the media, I flinched a little.  I chose not to follow the story in the news this week of whether or not Anne Romney has ever worked a day in her life.  I chose to not listen to the political banter about what ends up being a huge personal struggle for many people. I chose not to listen to the defensiveness and forced expressions of empathy from both sides of the debate.  I've been there and it wasn't fun.  Thirteen years ago I decided to stay at home with my two sons.  My sister, my best friend, and hosts of other friends and family members pursued paid work and exemplary motherhood in tandem.  We spent lots of conversations reassuring the other person that their decision for their family was right for them.

Save them this fate. Don't stay home from Work...
Save them this fate. Don't stay home from Work^ - NARA - 534711 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What I know about this debate is that both sides are filled with self-doubt, feeling judged, worried about their children, lonely, misunderstood, and tired.  Hopefully, both moms at home or in the paid work force, also feel pride, accomplishment, and engagement. Many of my conversations with friends, during those early parenting years, were about whether we were making the right choice or not.  Would it be better for my kids if we had extra money for organic food or music lessons?  Was I really offering enough to them in my sleep deprived state?  Was I just tired or mildly depressed from limited interactions with other adults?  I would frequently come to a place where I was convinced that I should look for a paid job and then talk with one of my working mom friends and change my mind.  They would share the host of questions that they had.  Would the feelings of guilt ever lessen?  What was going to happen to their children from their limited contact?  Was the child care provider the right fit?  Were they going to be fired anyway because of the sleep deprived state they were in?  I'll insert here that these questions came up among men that I knew who were struggling with staying home or going back to work as well.

I think the stay at home vs. working parents debate heats up when people project their own internalized doubts onto others.  When I say, "My work is just as important as paid work.", I believe that part of the statement is coming from my own doubts about whether or not what I'm doing every day is making a difference or not.  The bottom line is that all the choices in our life, especially parenting choices require a delicate juggling of variables.  On the work decision, we're evaluating our child's specific needs, available child care resources, our own earning capacity, our own health, the family support system, and of course the little issue of our family budget.  We are the only ones that can judge all those elements and discern what will be sustainable for our unique family.  It would be great if our culture, our corporations, and our government actually offered programs and policies that made some of these decisions easier.  For now, I'd be happy if we could just all agree that families need more support, period.  Whenever possible, let's give each other encouragement instead of judgement, we're all being hard enough on ourselves most days anyway.
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Drugs and Alcohol - What Would You Do?

A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer.
A Kranz (wreath) of Kölsch beer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was visiting with another mom yesterday and she asked me about teenagers and drinking.  "You've got teenagers.  What are your rules about drinking?  I have a friend who tells her kids it's simple, 'You can't do anything in our house that is illegal in society.'  I don't know that it's that black and white for me."  As a parent with a 13 and 15 year old, I feel like I should have had  a ready answer for her.  As with most things though, I make things up as I go and so far legal or illegal altering substances have not been an issue with our kids.

As we talked further, I realized that I have shared some real life opinions on the topic of drugs and alcohol.  When the boys were very little and riding the bus with me, I would make sure that they understood the likely reason why someone was being so strange, rude, or scary.  I remember describing how using drugs and alcohol doesn't mean the person is bad but rather that we couldn't predict their behavior.  I detailed how one of my favorite uncles had a drinking problem and how different he was sober vs. drunk.  I've also come home and openly shared about my sadness for a resident at the shelter - a person who is funny and smart and kind but who can't get a decent job.  He got involved with drugs when he was young (19) and a felony charge has followed him ever since.  At age 48, a moment of poor judgement still defines his opportunities.  They also see a bottle of wine on our counter on a daily basis.  They know that there is a difference between drinking, being drunk, and being an alcoholic.

As I talked with my friend, I realized how I rarely (as in three times, at weddings) saw my parents drink.  Alcohol was never a part of meals or celebrations.  I saw abstinence as a model and I vaguely heard about alcoholics.  I don't know if I would have made better choices in my late teens if the model in my home had been different.  I do know that when I first started drinking, it was unhealthy.  There were moments where my life could have been permanently damaged because of the choices I made and the situations I put myself in while "altered".  It's not how I want things to be for my boys.  Is it possible to prepare our teens for drinking in a safer way?  Is there anything we can do to prevent the excess and experimentation and subsequent risk?

Is it enough to say, "It's illegal so I won't condone it in my house/presence?"  We spend so much time teaching our kids about life, sharing skills, imparting values, and guiding their choices.  It doesn't feel consistent to leave this part of their life to some fraternity or sports team.  And yet, am I sending a message that the rules should be ignored if I allow for a drink at the dinner table?  Am I assisting their entrance into adult activity before they are ready?  Help me out here.  What have you done?  What are you planning to do?  What do you wish someone had done for you?  HELP!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Time Flies

Yesterday I wrote about some thoughts I had while driving and how it connected to my feelings for my son's own driving future, in It's A Small World.  Linking to Facebook, I wrote, "In honor of my son receiving his driving permit today."  I  don't know how many people read the post but a lot of folks reacted to the Facebook teaser.  How could it be possible that he could be old enough to be in driver's ed?  Disbelief, sadness, and big blobs of denial filled the comment section.  If he was old enough to drive, what did it mean about us?

I do miss the little boy.  There are times when I wish it was possible to freeze the frame and keep my sons as they are.  I've thought that at most every age (although I considered farming them out to relatives between 10-11 yrs old).  Every year, sometimes every month, has brought a new skill, or interest, or quality that deepened who they are as people.  As much as I would like to keep my 15 yr old dependent on two wheel or chauffeured transportation, I'm just as curious to see what type of 16 yr. old he becomes. 

I'm confident that my son is going to be great and hopefully take the right amount of risks to be interesting and curious about life without getting hurt or put in jail.  What the Facebook comments triggered in me was an evaluation of my own growth.  How could my son be so much older?  I don't feel like I've changed much...ooooh, maybe that's a problem. As my children get older, I come closer to the age when parenting will not be a main focus for my energy.  The children in our life, whether they are our own or the nieces and nephews, neighbors, and friends, remind us that life is all about change and growth.  Kids shove it in our faces, "Look what I can do!  Look how much taller I am.  Look how I can figure things out without you.  Look how I have my own ideas and opinions."  More and more, I'm getting the itch to explore what I can do.  What would be a stretch for me?  What is something that would expand my interests and skills?

Don't get me wrong, I miss the lazy snuggling and the toothless, drooling grin.  I miss the courageous first steps and chasing after lightning bugs.  I miss the excited first hit at a baseball game and the proud completion of that first piano recital.  There's a lot of things that I miss but I don't think I want to keep my kids little as much as I want to be growing too.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's A Small World

My son is taking driver's ed right now so I am more aware of my own driving habits.  I'm also keenly aware of how many jerks are on the road.  This morning I noticed myself sliding through a stop sign (on a vacant side street) and twinged, knowing that my son was watching me.  Later, I waited to turn left as a group of 30 students finished crossing the street.  I was surprised when a car honked at me, urging me to move, even though the large group of students was clearly visible.  I was stunned when the same driver passed me, driving in the lanes for oncoming traffic and then inched their SUV within a foot of the student pedestrians.  I was outraged as I watched this impatient, rude, and unsafe PARENT drop of her own student in front of the school.

Globe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I watched a TV sitcom once which played out a very funny version of this story.  The driver does some impossibly obnoxious and insane thing from behind the wheel, gets honked at by the other driver, and then proceeds to flip off the offended party.  In TV land, the uber nasty driver goes to the parent-teacher conference or the job interview or whatever, to of course face the very individual whom they have just presented the "bird".  I frequently keep that little image in my head.  What if the person who I'm so annoyed with, was my neighbor?  My son's English teacher?  A coworker?  What if I had to face this person later in the day in a conversation or ask for their help on a project? 

Would you behave differently if you were going to have to answer for your behavior or words later in the day?  Alone in our cars or behind our computer screens we can forget about common decency, patience, civility, or empathy.  Interacting with clerks at the store or receptionists at the doctor's office it's the same thing.  Would you offer more respect and courtesy if you knew you were looking at the mom of  your child's new best friend?  We can be lured into thinking that it's all about us and our needs, our schedule, our emergencies.  It's not.  The parent that honked and then cut me off and sped ahead within inches of the student crosswalk, arrived in front of the school exactly 5 seconds ahead of me.  In those 5 seconds, she managed to scare and upset another driver, intimidate 30 students, and educate her child about how little other people are to be considered or respected.  Her world was very small indeed, it consisted of exactly one person.

I'm looking forward to my son's driving education.  It will be stressful for sure.  I also know that  it's going to help me refocus on what's important and require me to practice what I'm preaching to him.  Common decency, patience, civility, and empathy are all qualities that I need more of and that I want to offer to others - including the mystery driver who cut me off.
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Day Camp (registration) Drama

Summer camp final celebration. Donostia.
Summer camp final celebration. Donostia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today is the day that online registration for summer day camps opens.  Specifically, 9am.  Last night I finalized my wishlist (first, second, third, and "Hail Mary pass" choices).  I updated my husband's account and complemented his wishlist with mine.  I've arranged my work schedule so that the first 15 minutes of the day are free and clear.  At 8:50am, I will load up the park district site, pull out my credit card, and begin my prayers of supplication. In other years when I was attempting to register two children in various programs, I also enlisted a supportive friend in pursuit of a supervised summer.

Now, to be clear, we don't have to go through this online rush. You can register in person as well.  A couple of years, I enrolled the boys in a nature camp through the park district that only used in person registration.  It was to start at 9am.  I felt silly and a little high strung when I woke up early on a Saturday to be one of the first in line and arrive at 7am.  As I pulled into the parking lot, I realized that all the spots were full.  Looking up, I spotted the line of lawn chairs and parents wrapped in blankets sipping thermoses of "coffee".  It turned out that the first 20-30 people had actually arrived by 5am.  I frequently am in this position, where what feels extreme for me ends up being somewhere in the middle ground by other people's standards.

In lieu of  lawn chairs and camping out in the elements for a day camp slot, my husband and I  tackled the online system yet again.  We split the list of options since the gymnastics program that our son wanted to get into was broken down into 4 separate camps of two weeks each, hoping that he'd at least get some if not all of the offerings if we were on different computers and logging in separately.  It worked!  He's in the activities that he wanted and we have one more summer of at least semi-supervised fun for him.

Two thoughts came to me as I was waiting the 45 minutes for the computer to unfreeze (the site had a warning sign that a slow down would occur and if I budged from my seat, refreshed the browser, or logged out I would lose my queue in line).  The first thought, as I passed the time by working at my desk on other projects and compulsively looking up at the monitor was, "I'm really lucky that I am able to do this". How many parents went to work this morning as a laborer or saleswoman or nurse and couldn't take the time to watch for the clock to strike 9am and then obsessively stare at a crashed website?  I'm guessing that there is some strange disproportionate mix of children whose parents are office workers or unemployed who are making it into these summer programs. But then, if you're unemployed, you probably aren't prioritizing summer camp in your budget so it may very well just be a program for office workers' children. 

Anyway, my second thought was, "We do crazy things for our kids don't we?"  This morning was definitely in the category of,  Things I Do For Love or Things I Do To Keep My Sanity.  It's a hard call, giving my son a physical outlet this summer is as much about loving him as it is about my own mental health.  I probably would have even gotten up at the crack of dawn if I hadn't succeeded in the online system.  Sometimes we just know that doing a little bit of crazy is going to make all of the difference.  Today I'm grateful for the crazy things I do for my kids and the good fortune to be able to do them. 

What's the crazy that you're grateful for?
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Blessed Lamb Cake

In the midst of this Easter weekend, I'm reminded of the family rituals that linger in spite of significant changes in my life.  Since I am no longer a practicing Catholic, my Holy Week schedule is pretty light.  No Palm Sunday procession. No stations of the cross each day.  No Holy Thursday service where we imitate the washing of the disciples feet.  No Good Friday services with the passion play and the congregants reading the parts of the mob (shouting "crucify him").  No snuffing of candles and stripping the altar of all decoration to honor the time of Jesus laying in the tomb.  No Holy Saturday plans to go to church with our lamb cake and jelly beans, to be blessed by the priest, in preparation for our Easter celebration of Jesus' rising from the dead.  So many things that aren't a part of my life or my spiritual practice anymore.

And yet today, I am thinking about all of these things.  I am remembering the house rules of no electronics on Good Friday afternoon - my mother's way of observing the huge sacrifice that was done for us.  Our home was silent, dark, and without the comforting hum of most everything except our refrigerator.  I'm preparing for a big Easter dinner and gathering the ingredients for my lamb cake.  Why?  It's strange to me and also very comforting.  Every Easter since I left my parents' home I have had lamb cake.  A couple times it was mailed to me by my mom.  Other times the cake was purchased at a chain store bakery.  For the last decade, I have made my own, in my very own, lamb cake mold.

Anyone who has ever had Easter with me knows that eating the lamb cake is NOT my favorite thing.  It doesn't really rank very high on the yummy cake chart.  I make the cake and it sits on the table as a little Easter centerpiece, surrounded by jelly beans and green cellophane grass and I feel happy.  I've never been sure why but I think it's because it was always the one "nice" activity of the otherwise scary and confusing holy week.  All week long I would be told the litany of abuses and betrayals and outright torture that makes up the details of Jesus' last days.  It was vivid and brutal and seemingly without end.  On Saturday morning when we returned to church to have our cake blessed, there were no gruesome stories.  There were prayers and holy water sprinkled about and there were wonderful smells.  Other families brought their eggs, fancy breads, and even hams.  I was never sure how it related to Jesus' death and resurrection but I was grateful for the reprieve. 

Why have I let go of so much that was important to my family as a child and embrace other elements so fiercely?  As I've gotten older, I realize how few people there are that share these holy week/lamb cake memories with me.  Maybe the lamb cake is just one of the threads I'm not willing to cut -one of the threads that ties me to my unique family and keeps me a part of them no matter how much I change.

What's your lamb cake?
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Great Expectations

Eating together with my family, around a beautifully set table with flowers and cloth napkins (more ecofriendly), politely passing well-balanced dishes of organic, creatively and exquisitely seasoned fare, as we share the poignant moments of our lives mixed with humorous anecdotes about the day, and ending the meal with a heartfelt, soul sharing moment, as I wash dishes with my husband - has never happened a day in my life.  All those expectations have never been realized in the span of one meal.  I've occasionally served some good food.  Important conversations have happened and flowers have been placed in a vase.  But ALL of my expectations of what a happy, healthy, loving, deeply evolved family looks like have never been met completely.

Pizza, Frozen food
Pizza, Frozen food (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My reality this week (and many weeks) was more like non-organic, frozen pizza on a paper plate, sitting in front of a Netflix offering with each of us silently staring at the screen. 

I could bemoan this confession and even cite it as proof that I have in fact failed the non-existent parent test.  I choose instead to highlight the one super great fact of my special  frozen pizza dinner - we were all together.  My 13 and 15 year old sons were watching TV in the same room, with me.  You have to look for your victories sometimes.

I still have great expectations. Thankfully the one major expectation I have been able to honor is looking for the good in my kids - focusing on their good qualities, their strengths.  Now I just need to remember to do that for myself. 
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Behind the Curtain

Sinus pain, itchy throat and eyes, plugged ears, pre-menstrual funk, and fatigue - not a good weekend.  I really didn't feel like writing today.  A small voice inside called out though, urging me to be real.  One of the reasons I started writing was to be more honest and uncover some of the parenting and general life stuff that we all gloss over as we greet each other with, "I'm fine.  How are you?"

funk-o-mart (Photo credit: Digital Sextant)
I'm not fine today.  I don't have to be.  No one is fine all the time.  If they are, then they are lying or on serious medication.  Every once in awhile we need to show each other what's behind the curtain.  We need to share what lies deeper, beyond the surface.  My struggle sometimes is that I feel giving voice to my funk will make it grow.  If I tell you  how much my foot hurts, will that make it feel any better... no.  I go between feeling disingenuous or feeling like a Debbie downer.  Here's what I'm coming to this week - the more real I am with people, the more my friends and family can call me out on my $%#&.  If I only talk to people when life is good and manageable then I don't really have a source for being held accountable or receiving genuine concern.  And in terms of others, if I'm not real, than I just perpetuate the fallacy that being a good person or striving for good parenting means you're always good.  We all know that's not true. 

I feel crappy.  So, how are you?

p.s. Zemanta is the program I use to find legit photos for the blog.  It picks up on key words in the blog and makes suggestions for appropriate images.  The words, "pre-menstrual funk" inspired the pic above.  Smile.
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