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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

As the new year begins, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the past year. I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, but I am one to reflect. 2009 was a hard year and I am optimistic that 2010 will be much better. I struggled with depression last year in degrees that I have not dealt with since I left my physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive marriage in 2000. I saw myself as worthless and wondered why, instead of being the “miracle” that survived my health, I didn’t just die. I felt that my children didn’t really need me, nor did my job, nor anyone nor anything for that matter. I am not writing in hopes of getting your sympathy, I don’t want it. My life is what it is, the past, the present the future. I strongly believe that all things happen for a reason although we often do not know what that reason is. I write because writing is healing and I am healing.

I could tell you of all of the ups and downs of the past year, the trials, the tribulations, but in the end, it does not matter. What matters is that we survived it. I found myself feeling thankful during this Christmas season. Money is tight, I have hospital bills that I can not pay, collectors calling, most of the gifts that I gave this year were used and did not cost me anything, yet they looked new and my son did not know the difference. I have a home, I have heat, I have a steady job, and I have family and friends that have blessed me. One of these days, I might be able to fully trust those in my life and lean on them as I once did. I wonder why it is that once trust has been broken, it is so hard to re-establish. I am hard pressed to name two people in my life that I fully trust and I find that to be a sad thing. There is no reason for me not to trust others in my life, they have done nothing to cause the lack of trust that I suffer from and I know that, yet I still am unable to trust them. I wait for the day that they will sabotage our friendship and I know this is a pathetic truth. I also know why my trust issues run so deep and where they stem from. Perhaps that is a good thing, but sadly, it makes no difference.

My motto in life has become, “Fake it until you make it.” I’ve told a few people this and they look at me with a puzzled, quizzical smile upon their face. I don’t think they know whether or I am jesting or being genuine. I am genuine. I find that I have “faked” it through most of my life. I’ve put on that mask to disguise the real me. The mask that smiles, is optimistic and generally finds the good in things. The real me is cynical, doubtful, and constantly waiting for the bad to happen. I do love to smile, laugh and joke around, so one of these days I hope that the “fake it me” becomes the real me. I guess she’s in there under all of the baggage.

I did not mean for this post to be a negative one, just a reflective one. If you have made it this far, thanks for “listening”. Here’s to a year of healing!

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There are many signs that stamp one’s daughter as a young woman – the first bra, the first date, the first boyfriend, makeup, shaving her legs. The list is endless, but perhaps the most significant is when she is on the pill. This is a hard time for the parents in so many ways.

I have never been a parent that is afraid or hesitant to talk to my children about anything. We have very open dialogues about vast subjects. Sex and drugs have always been two primary topics. I am still old fashioned in my beliefs about sex. I do not believe that teens should be having sex. I don’t feel that they are emotionally ready for this endeavor. Many teens enter sex for one of two reasons: their hormones are raging and they lose control, or they are looking for love and hoping to find it through sex.

Our sex conversations have always been on the lines of, “You know I don’t want you having sex (various reasons given), but inevitably, the choice is yours. You will find yourself in a situation where you will make the choice. Before you get there, it is far more important to me that you are protected so come to me and we will get you on the pill.”  Of course, there’s also the talk of needing to use condoms to prevent STDs, but being on the pill has been a huge one. If and when she becomes sexually active, I want her taken care of. A teen pregnancy will end her dreams.

My daughter has not decided to become sexually active at this point. For this, I am thankful. However, her hormones are simply out of control during her menstrual cycle. During her most recent flare up, she was sure that I absolutely hate her and brought me a large knife while suggesting that since I hate her so much, I should just kill her now. Yikes. These actions have made it apparent that it is time to put her on the pill.

This scares me. She has a boyfriend and I hope that this won’t be the key that tells them that it is ok to have sex. She has shared with me that they have talked about sex and both want to wait, but the day will come when the decision will be made. I guess it is a good thing that she is on the pill, but it is very hard to watch my daughter become such a young woman.

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I look at elderly people and I see their white hair, their bent backs, their limps, some of which are slight, others more distinguished. Often you can see the pain on their faces. They have lived full lives of which we can only imagine their stories.

Some people look at the elderly and feel a deep sense of compassion, perhaps even mustering up stories which the said person may or may not have lived. When I see the elderly, all I can think is, “I don’t want to live to be that old.”

I think this is sad and I feel guilty about it, yet it does not change. My great grandmother was 106 when she died. I remember her. I remember the special toilet that was assembled for her use. I remember that she could no longer see to do her precious embroidery. She could not boil water or even peel an orange. She couldn’t even make it to the restroom without assistance. I don’t want to be like this.

I had a very brief period in my life in which I was humbled enough to the extent that I was completely reliant on others. Like my great grandmother, I needed help just to make it into the restroom and to get on and off of the toilet. I could not bathe myself. Although I used a walker, I could not even manage it without assistance. I could not dress myself. If it involved my legs in any manner, no matter how slight, I was not able to do it. I was a self-sufficient, 36 year old single mother who lived in a town with some friends and absolutely no family. As was usual for my personality, when I realized that something was terribly wrong, rather than calling an ambulance as I should have, I drove myself to the hospital – the whole time trying to reach someone at work to let them know that I would not be in.

For three weeks, my parents moved in with me. They left their home, their friends, their jobs, to come and take care of my children and I. Once I was well enough that I could at least shower on my own (with the use of handicap contraptions), my mother returned to her job. My father stayed with me another three weeks and would have stayed longer, but I finally kicked him out.

I had to buy all new makeup for my new medicines caused problems with the old makeup. I had to buy a new car because I could no longer get in and out of my SUV. I had to buy new clothes to accommodate my ever swollen leg and the weight gain that would follow. It’s been over a year and I’m still in the recovery stages. I have permanent damage and will likely struggle for the rest of my life, but I can at least fool those who don’t know me into thinking all is well. In fact, I believe that most of my friends forget that there is anything wrong with me.

I take this relatively short period of time and remember with dread what it was like to rely fully on others and I am reminded again and again that I don’t want to live like that. My circumstances were temporary, but an elderly person only continues to get worse. I want to die while I’m still actually living. Is that really so horrible?

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My daughter has been texting D for quite sometime. I figured that there was something between them, but got tired of asking. The other day, she asked if she could hang at the mall with D and J. I had to go anyways, so I didn’t mind dropping her off. We looked at the makeup and after she picked out what she needed, she was off to meet her friends. Not long after, I text her to come back because I found a shade that I thought she might like. 

She came back walking hand in hand with D. 

I smiled and said, “Wait a minute. Boyfriend/girlfriend?”

Sheepish grin, “Yes.”

“When did this happen?”

“Last night.”

He was perfectly nice and insisted on shaking my hand even though it had make up all over it. Tonight he asked daughter if I like him. 

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t know him. I’d have to talk to him a lot more.”

Ha! How cute that he wants me to like him. He’s got a few things going for him:

1. He came to meet me when he didn’t have to.
2. He was a gentleman and insisted on shaking my make up covered hand.
3. He cares if I like him or not.

I will have to kick his ass if he hurts my girl, though. I must be perfectly clear about that.

😀

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Sometimes things in life flow and one breathes a sigh of relief while stating, “It was a good day.”

The day itself was uneventful except for the fact that the school year is winding down. Yay for that. I will only be taking two classes this summer, so I will actually have a break and hopefully enjoy the summer, finish the painting and get that new carpet installed. 

Tonight, my handy man, Kevin, came out to install the new garbage disposal. He was pleased with my replacement purchase, but suggested that he tinker with the old disposal first so that maybe, just maybe I could take the new one back and save myself some money. Indeed he was able to repair the old disposal. Yay! Total cost? $0. This is the reason that I call him for everything. His work is good and his prices are ALWAYS fair. He piped my home for my new gas stove, put in a water line for my new refrigerator which also had ice and water, installed a micro-hood (a hood for the stove which was also a microwave), fixed the dishwasher, replaced some piping under my home, and numerous other jobs. Total cost? About $300. Yeah, some things are good. I let him know that I’ll be needing him in a couple of weeks to install a fan, get two electrical outlets working, repair/replace a light fixture and install a new bathroom medicine cabinet/mirror. He suggested that I go ahead and get a nice one, we can cut a hole in the wall and place it. Total he’ll be charging me? About $100. What a steal of a deal! In addition to being a very reasonable price and certified, he also does a nice job. This is not simply a case of getting what you pay for. 

After he left, I ran to the local Grange Co-Op and purchased grass seed and mulch. I had sprayed the front yard with weed killer. As it turned out, the whole yard was mostly weeds and promptly died. LOL I then rushed home, raked the yard with the help of my daughter, spread the seed, spread the mulch, ran back to the store to get some more mulch, and finished the job. Now, the thunder is rolling in and the fresh seed should get some nice water. I can’t wait for it to start growing. I was hoping to have a sprinkler system installed, till the yard and then plant, but that simply won’t be happening this year, so I’ll be happy to have some decent looking grass. 

It’s 8:00, my daughter is making me a mocha, the kids are getting along, life is pretty good tonight. I need more nights like this one. I think they’re on the way!

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We began by talking about Martin Luther King, Jr. and how it appeared as if he knew he was going to die on the day that he actually did. We had an in-depth conversation about slavery, Washington DC, and President Lincoln. We talked about President Washington and even Obama. We talked about death and how it is ultimately inevitable that we all die. 

Somewhere in the midst of our deep conversation, my daughter paused to state, “You know, we don’t have your normal dinner conversations. We don’t talk about ‘how was your day’ and ‘did you stay out of trouble?’ We talk about this deep, random stuff.”

I’d never thought about it before, but she’s right. We aren’t your typical family by many standards. We don’t tend to piddle in the small talk which is somewhat ironic because I consider myself very involved in my children’s lives and my teen daughter is pretty open with me.

I have my children 24/7, for better or worst and as such we really are a close family. A typical day consists of the three of us sharing our one bathroom to get ready for school and work. All three of us then pile into the car and head off to begin our day. My son attends my school and spends the morning in my classroom with me until the bell rings and he leaves to begin his day. My daughter catches the bus at my school and takes it to her school. 

During the day, my daughter and I will text each other messages during recesses and lunch. I usually check in with her to see how her day is going. She often asks me to bring her a coffee knowing full well that not only is it not possible, but I wouldn’t anyways. We have segmented conversations in which I get a glimpse as to how things are going for her.

Having spent roughly half an hour with me before school, my son and I generally see each other once again at lunch time. Although he pretends horror at my appearance, I have been told on good authority that his face actually lights up when he sees me and that what we have is a little game. We have finally agreed that I will not kiss him and in exchange he will give me a side hug. At 8 years old and in second grade, he is too embarrassed to be seen with his mother. 🙂

After school, my son and I spend another approximately two hours together before we pick up sister. During this time, he and I have had our small talk. Once I pick up sister/daughter, she and I have some more small talk as we drive home. Once home (or out to eat), the dinner conversation begins. We have great conversations. I love how deep our conversations go, how anything is fair game, how both my 15 year old and my 8 year old are comfortable and capable in having these conversations. 

Life is good.

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It was a good day. I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t expecting much from today, but perhaps that is why it turned out to be a good one. There are actually many reasons why I wasn’t expecting much, but primarily because my birthday came and went with barely and utterance from my children. Throw on top of that the fact that I have been pretty sick the last few days and realistically, I didn’t expect to be up and about, let alone feeling appreciated. 

Today was the first day that I was able to eat and as such, my daughter ended up BBQing a steak dinner complete with chocolate cake for dessert. Prior to that, the kids and I spent time planting tomatoes and various plants. We got the computer up and running after a hiatus from which I needed to reformat it which, of course, means re-installing everything as well. 

I heard from friends that I haven’t heard from in quite some time wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. One friend and I reconnected and it simply felt wonderful. Seems we have both been going through similar stuff in this big bad world. 

My children actually fought very little as far as sibling rivalry goes. There was definitely more positive interaction than negative which is always a plus. 

All in all, it was simply a good day.

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