Some days I just want to scream out that song from Jesus Christ Superstar, I don’t know how to love him, but the part I am referring to is when Mary Magdalene sings “What’s it all about?” I think that so often, but therein lies the dilemma, how do we really know where we are supposed to be and if we doing what it is we are supposed to do?! I sat with a good friend at the park yesterday and we contemplated these deep thoughts, lol. At times it was deep, at times we just laughed. She is in a lull, a quiet and almost boring time before a new chapter in her life begins in the fall, yet she is struggling with that emptiness she feels in her quiet time. I get that. I sat at the coffee-house today and it felt incredibly lonely, almost surreal, as the rain poured down & sad sort of jazz music played. I was by myself, intentionally, but didn’t expect the lonely feeling. It was a quiet time in my day and I should have cherished that quietness & felt peaceful. How do we lose those moments and have them turn into loneliness?! Yesterday I felt on top of the world – perhaps it was the change in weather as yesterday was hot & sunny, today was cloudy, rainy & stormy. Perhaps I just need to stop thinking for a bit, maybe ignorance really is bliss – and that’s what it’s all about!
Two funerals in a month. No one exceptionally close to me, but rather parents of extremely close friends. Life does not last forever. We all die. That is one thing that doesn’t change. So why are parents so afraid to speak about death to their kids? Often a distant family member or friend will die, yet, parents will “shelter” their kids from it and not even take them to the funeral, wake, or memorial service. What happens then when a close family member or friend dies – which will inevitably happen. I have a close friend who lost her husband and father on the same day. Her feelings on death before that were practically non-existent. Not that she didn’t think death would happen, she just never expected it to happen to her. It did and it rocked her world. My daughter was 3 months at the time. Although she doesn’t remember any of it, she went to the wake, she went to the funeral, we have spoken to her about it, she knows it happened and she knows she was part of it. We had another friend who lost their 10 year old daughter, lost her before we were even friends with them, yet my kids know Sarah as if they had played with her. We talk about how Sarah died, how she is now in heaven, how life does end (and I have chosen to teach my kids that when people die they go to heaven, you can choose your own “place” based on your own spiritual beliefs). My son once said he is excited to die so he can see heaven and all his friends and family who are in heaven. What a great attitude about death! It shouldn’t be scary for our kids. Why do we feel that they will not be able to handle it? They are probably more capable of processing it and handling it than adults. Don’t hide death from them, it is all around us. Trees die, flowers die, pets die, and people die – people who we know and love, they die. Embrace it, talk about it. Don’t put your head in the sand and never speak to your kids about it. Pretending it doesn’t exist or that they are just too young to “get it” is doing your children an incredible dis-service. God forbid you are the first one in their life to die – then what? You, the person they counted on for everything is now gone, and they have no idea what to think , feel or do with it. Give them the emotional tools to look death in the eye and know that it happens and it isn’t something to be afraid of, not talked about, or swept under the rug like it never happened.
I should be exercising. I should be cleaning. I should be doing anything but sitting on the computer (or watching Ally McBeal on Netflix – which is truly still calling my name). I have the house to myself and I could be getting a million things done but instead I am enjoying the silence (when the TV isn’t on) and solitude. I can leisurely sip my coffee, stay in my pajamas, and find a million reasons why I can’t make it to the gym. Yet, Jiminy Cricket will not leave my shoulder. Why do I feel so guilty taking this day to do nothing?! Kids are visiting grandparents. Husband is on business trip. I had such grand plans to have so much done – but here I sit, typing on my blog and feeling slightly less guilty than I did watching Damages on Netflix (trying to rationalize with Jiminy that the blog is like work so he can’t yell at me as much as when I was on the couch watching TV). In 48 hours, my house will be full again and this solitude will be gone. I need to let the guilt go and just enjoy…why is that so hard?!
So a friend of mine is getting married and doesn’t want kids at her wedding – not a problem, her wedding, her rules. However, her brother just had a baby and is insisting that he be allowed to bring her (one of the reasons being that people will want to see her). I have watched my friend go back and forth on this, yet happy that she is standing her ground. If her brother lived out of town, I could see wanting the child there as it would be harder to leave the baby and perhaps harder for family and friends to see her. But he lives in town with his sister and they have taken visitors to their house for infant viewings. The main issue with her brother though is a mistake so many parents make after having a child – and that is staying with that child. He and his wife are nervous about leaving the baby and don’t want to leave her with anyone!! People, you need to get out and get out quickly, LEAVE THAT CHILD ASAP!
I truly think the longer you wait to leave your child with a babysitter (or even your significant other) the harder it becomes for you. You will be more nervous the longer you wait and you will be more paranoid the longer you wait. You will start believing that you are the only person who is truly capable of watching your child & suddenly, you can’t leave them with anyone. The anxiety you feel over anyone else watching but you becomes all- consuming. You stop going out, you no longer see friends (unless they want to come over and watch you watch your child); essentially you miss out on being an adult. Now, I am hardly saying that we should shirk our duty as parents and spend all our time apart from our children but adults still need adult time. If you spend too much time with your child, they will develop an unhealthy dependence on you. Isn’t out job as parents to teach our children to be independent and self-sufficient so when the leave our house they are able to go into real world and are able to, not just cope, but take care of themselves? What a disservice we do if out child is dependent upon us for daily care – what happens when they go to college? Do they even go then? My daughter was skeptical about riding the bus at a new school when she started first grade. For awhile I debated just driving her every day, until a good friend looked at me and said “Are you crazy? What happens on a day then when you can’t drive her? Say you are sick? Or in the hospital? Or don’t have a car? How much harder is it going to be then for your daughter after you have fed into her fear of riding the bus by driving her daily. She made an excellent point. My daughter took the bus and her fears were dispelled after the first day. Our kids can, will and should survive without us. Start that independence quickly – get a babysitter!
~and let your sister have her day – no need to share the spotlight with an infant…in my opinion ; )
Half year gone! Where on earth did it go? Can 2011 really already be almost be over? I think I let my daughter down today. I screwed up on a time – she was supposed to be somewhere at 4:30, I thought it was 5:30. She still isn’t really speaking to me, lol. I apologized. So our night is half over and I can’t help but wonder if she will wake up happier in the morning. Since, despite being late, she arrived JUST in time for everything and anything she had to do tonight. Perhaps the second half of the year I should work on scheduling and organizing. Maybe time wouldn’t fly by so quickly if I was more aware. Ha, oh well – here’s to the 2nd half of 2011!
The Law of Averages
It is amazing how many children are talented and gifted these days…or let me put it another way, how many parents believe that their child is talented and gifted. Many parents not only overstate their child’s abilities but they truly believe they have begotten the next Albert Einstein or Jesus of Nazareth (–is that too much, lol) . It appears that the law of averages has been forgotten amongst a large portion of parents as 8 out of 10 parents will or would claim that their child is above average and is talented and gifted. Sorry, it is just not true. Your kid may read and write well for his age but that doesn’t qualify him as the next John Steinbeck. Sure he can throw a football, doesn’t mean he is Walter Payton. My daughter can act, doesn’t mean she is the next Katharine Hepburn – nor do I let her think she will be. It’s great to encourage our kids and watch them learn and excel but let’s not fill their head with hot air and over-inflate their abilities. We keep over inflating their abilities and suddenly we have a population that all thinks they are incredible when in fact they are just average and our nation suddenly comes to a standstill as none of these kids are actually as special as they have been lead to believe and really can’t come up with a creative thought, idea, artwork, performance, invention or analysis. They are now out into the real world facing the reality that they “aren’t all that” and their world will come crashing down and they will inevitably blame their parents (after all, it was the parents who spoon fed their children fallacies). So not only are we setting them up for failure, we are setting them up to dislike us. Let’s tell our children they are good at certain things and not good at other things. Be honest about their abilities – “yes, you can throw a football but your catching isn’t so great, how about we practice that. Oh and by the way little Jimmy, you need to do better in math as very few people ever get to the NFL. Your education is just as important as your sports. Your hard work in school and after-school activities will pay off”. Teach them to work hard with what they have, practice with them on what they are lacking – because every kid lacks something and most kids are just average.
My babies had their naming ceremony – now mind you, I don’t do baptisms. My husband is an atheist. I consider myself Christian but not practicing. I was raised in a Catholic house and my mother is still a staunch Catholic (and that is putting it lightly). So rather than a baptism, my husband and I agreed on a naming ceremony…and let me add that I had to fight for it. He really didn’t want anything that resembled baptism, initiation, dedication, or whatever you wanted to call it, he just didn’t want it. For me to get him to agree to the naming ceremony was monumental. But he finally agreed; I was happy, he was happy. It was going to be perfect.
3 days before the big day, my husband’s mother passes away after never completely recovering from a stroke. It was heartbreaking. Yet, we decide to have the naming ceremony still and have her memorial service the following week. Now we aren’t so happy but we still want to celebrate the birth of our two girls who are new to this world.
The big day arrives; family & friends come to our house to join us in the naming ceremony. The sun is out, the day is as perfect as it can be while we are missing one grandma. My mother still came, along with my siblings, their spouses & my nieces & nephews (my husband’s brother & his wife were there as well). All in all, we think it was a success. Even my mother seemed happy with the ceremony, despite it not being in the Catholic way. (I reflect on that thought quite often, as she truly did seem happy, yet as the events progressed I question if it was all fake or if she was simply happy with herself for what she did and it really had nothing to do with the naming ceremony…but I am getting ahead of myself). We eat, we open gifts, we say our goodbyes and the day is done. All that is left is the clean up.
We each take a girl to put into bed before we start to clean. We walk into their room & look at each crib – WWWWHHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTT?!? We are both standing, jaws dropped, shocked & not quite sure what to think or say. Above each crib is a cross nailed to the wall – and not just a colorful children’s cross, a cross with a body, the body of Jesus, nailed to the cross, it even had specs of blood on his hands & feet where the nails went in AND it is nailed to OUR wall – our girls wall – above their cribs!! I know who did this. My husband knows who did this. Yet we are still speechless & shocked that she would really do this! Two crosses, nailed to OUR walls – did I say that already, as I find myself repeating it over and over and each time the shock doesn’t get any less. My mother in her flawless Catholic ways came into our house, with a hammer, with two nails, with two crosses, and nailed them to my wall, above my children’s beds WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. And it was pre-meditated. She knows my husband is an atheist. She knows I fought for this naming ceremony. Yet she still did this…it’s one of those stories you hear and think -Wow, that woman is nuts, glad I don’t know her – Ha, and its my mother! How on earth can you think you have the right to nail anything to the wall in someone elses house, but to nail a religious artifact?! I was furious. My husband was hurt – and he was already dealing with his own mother’s death, now my mother has nailed a cross to the wall. INSANE, simply insane. She has crossed the line – pun intended. But is it worth my time to even explain to her how insulting and ludicrous her behavior is/was? I am at a loss.
Right now I need to plan my mother-in-laws memorial service and I truly don’t have the time or energy to deal with her. I will repeat. I am at a loss, a loss.