It seems everyone has a blog these days. Not that I'm giving in to the "norm." I just want to have a place that is mine. These are my thoughts, my opinions, my hopes, my dreams, my fears. I am a Daughter. I am a Wife. I am a Mother. But above all, I am a WOMAN.

I enjoy feedback, so please select a reaction, or a leave a comment. I would love to know what you think about my post and how it affected you.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So Alone

I posted a blog earlier about "Betrayal" to which some of you really seem to relate.  But there is another consequence to Betrayal.  Solitude.  When betrayed badly enough, or often enough, I (and people like me) tend to retreat behind walls.

Walls.  That's really an understatement.  After 42 years on Earth, and I've long ago lost count, my walls more closely resemble the Great Wall of China -- just not as long.  Very tall, very thick, practically impenetrable unless I choose to let you in, or choose to come out.  I assure you, those are choices I don't make very often.

Because of my self-imposed exile, I am often very lonely.  Some of you would say that is my own fault, my own choice, and you have no sympathy for me.  You are the very people that make me retreat into the safety of my barriers.  With your lack of empathy, you make me realize once again that I can't risk showing you my scars, my pain, my soul with its black shadows.  I would only guarantee judgement against me again.  Condemnation.

I feel like no one else understand.  Logically, I realize that other people feel the same way that I do, but the odds of me finding those few in a world of people bred and trained to attack are slim, so I stay behind my walls.  Occasionally, I extend a hand in friendship and trust, but it's usually an offer of trust extended to THEM, not an offer of trust OF them.  Yes, now, I feel you must prove your trust in me for me to trust you.  If I know your secrets, you are less likely to reveal mine.  Not that I would, but you don't know that.  Paranoid?  Maybe, but just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean you won't broadcast my skeletons.

There is a part of me, hidden deeply inside my walls, surrounded by moats of alligators, behind thick stone tower walls that wishes for a friend.  Just one friend to whom I could tell everything,  Just one.  But it's not to be.  My husband tries, but I can't talk to him about some things -- not that he would judge or condemn (I know he wouldn't), but he just can't understand some things.  I have a childhood friend to whom I use to tell every secret, but we're grownups now, and I hesitate to shock her with parts of my past.  I have a few people in a chat room I visit that I think are friends, but they haven't proven themselves yet, and I've been attacked in their anonymously, so my trust is even more hesitant.

Distrust and Solitude.  Twin brothers of destruction and doom.  A self-fulfilling prophecy.  A self-continuing cycle.  Each feeding off of the other.  How do you break the cycle?

I sit in my bedroom, typing these questions to you, while my husband sleeps.  He's the closest thing I've had to a friend in decades.  Yet some things he just can't understand.  And I can't burden him with those sins that he can neither understand nor fix.  Bless him, he does try to heal my wounds.  But he is a carpenter, not a doctor of souls.  As much as I love him, as much as he is my soul-mate, I short-changed him.  I sold part of my soul a long time ago.  I will never get that piece back.

So I'm alone.  And distrustful.  And that makes me feel fearful and safe simultaneously.  Which just isolates me even more because I can't explain those two emotions living in accord together.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Stress

I know it's been a while since my last post.  In my defense, I have been very busy running here, there, and everywhere.  It's just that time of year.  Plus, I'm sure none of you reading this have been sitting on pins and needles anxiously awaiting my next blog as I'm sure you have been very busy yourselves (and that first part of the statement is probably truer than I really want to admit).  But I wanted to take a couple of minutes to talk about that very thing.

My family has had something every weekend since Thanksgiving.  Seriously.  We had Thanksgiving at my family's and at my in-laws.  The next weekend began the Christmas get-togethers.  We had one for my father-in-law's family the first weekend in December.  One for my mother-in-law's family the second weekend.  One for a branch further up the in-laws' tree this last weekend.  And, of course, this weekend is Christmas so I've been running and trying to finish up the shopping.  I've cooked (or thrown something edible together) for all of these gatherings.  And I've tried to work full-time in an accounting job where we are getting ready for the end of the year.  I don't feel like I've stopped for the last 5 weeks, and I have several more weeks to go.

See New Year's weekend is my baby son's 5th birthday so we have to have a party.  And take down the Christmas tree.  And clean for the party and after the party, and even during the party since we're talking about 5-year-olds.  I'm tired just thinking about it.  Then, very shortly after that, my oldest son will turn 8.  Another party.  Then Valentine's Day.  See?  My life is one chaotic sprint from one weekend to the next from Thanksgiving through the middle of February.  I look forward to church on Sunday just so I HAVE to sit down for 2 hours.  But, I must confess, even there I'm still thinking of all I have to do at home and at work.

It's hard to enjoy the holidays when you rush around that much.  Your details may be different, but I bet your holidays are just as hectic and stressful.  I think next year, I'm going to say, "No. I'm sorry, but this year I'm going to slow down and do more with my little family unit and cut back on the stress.  I want to ENJOY my kids while they're still little."

And when I think of other people, it makes me even more determined to do that.  Because as hectic and stressful and fast-paced and exhausting as everything is, I still have my family.  I have a friend going through a divorce right now.  Divorce is stressful enough, but during Christmas?  Wow!  She has two little girls.  I can only imagine how empty her new place is going to feel when they go to their dad's for the holiday.  How quiet it's going to be without their squeals of laughter (and bickering as sisters do).  How HUGE that little place is going to feel with just my friend at home.  It makes me want to hug her close and tell her, it WILL be alright.

And it makes me want to quit griping about everything I have to do.  As much as I want to hide in a corner away from my bickering, loud, whining boys, even more she is going to want to squeeze both of her little girls in her lap at once and not let go.

Perspective.  It's all about perspective.

So next year, I'm going to say, "NO."  We're going to do less running and more playing.  Less dread and more anticipation.  Less exasperation and more laughter.  We're going to sing carols and drink hot chocolate and decorate the tree.  We may even skip Christmas cards all together.  Who would really even notice that we didn't send one?  Do you go down your friends list and check off the people that sent you one?  I don't.  I'm going to embrace the Good points of not being noticed and take full advantage of it.  I going to listen to my husband tell my boys The Real Christmas story and help him answer hard questions about how that baby boy of Mary's managed to sleep with that prickly hay poking him in the backside.  I'm going to make up stories about flying reindeer (I certainly don't understand how they do it, do you?) and bluff my way through teleportation explanations of how Santa manages to be everywhere at once (after all, Santa is not God and so he has to travel).

I'm going to hug my boys more and try to remember how much I love them when they are whining about "He hit me!" and "He won't give me my toy!" and resist the urge to write Santa and tell him just how naughty my two have been for the last 51 weeks!

I'm going to embrace the Love that is supposed to be present in this Season and try to keep it from being buried under all of the hustle and bustle and commercialism we all get sucked into.

Or maybe I won't wait.  Maybe I'll quit answering the phone and just stay home all weekend with my husband and two boys and think about what Christmas Really Means.

Merry Christmas to all of you.  I hope you have a Really Good Holiday.  Think of those less fortunate than you -- not just the underprivileged and homeless, but the ones like my friend who are spending this weekend (or part of the weekend) alone for the first time whether from divorce or maybe a loss.  If nothing else, try to remember to say a prayer for them.  They need it.  I love you all.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On Divorce

I have a friend who is going through a divorce right now.  I won't say who because I think she deserves her privacy and it is her business to tell, not mine.  But I have few thoughts on what she is going through.

The first time I experienced divorce it was my parents.  Things had not been good for years.  Long years.  We all pretended things were okay, but we knew they weren't.  Cold silences.  Tense atmospheres.  Folded blankets and a pillow on the couch.  Broken doorknobs.  Evidence that things really were not "okay."  The divorce hurt us kids.  Dad was gone.  We moved from the home we had known for all our lives.  We changed school districts and lost all of our old friends.  New ones were hard to make.  And every other weekend with dad didn't always go well either.  Everything changed, and it was all painful.

Those last few of their marriage and the first few after the divorce -- until I could go to college and escape -- were HARD.  I coped by burying everything deep, deep inside and becoming an angry, sarcastic, "tough" kid.  I didn't need anyone.  It didn't help that my new schoolmates made it very apparent that I didn't belong and never would.  That just made the isolation and anger worse.

Fortunately, I had a teacher that got through to me.  Oh, he didn't turn me around and make me a loving, caring, wonderful altruistic member of society (I doubt anyone could have done that!), but he had a HUGE stabilizing effect on me.  I may not know which roads I would have chosen without him, but I know they would have been a lot bumpier than the ones I did choose.  Because of him, I didn't make as many bad choices as I know I would have without his guidance.  In a lot of ways, Danny Alexander saved me from myself.  I eventually turned out okay, but I know in my heart that could not and would not have happened without him in my life during those two and a half years in high school when I could have let my parents' divorce and my new culture change destroy all the good in me.

The second time I experienced divorce it was my own.  I knew the day after I married that I had made a mistake.  I've often wondered how different I would be, if I had never filed the marriage license and just walked away.  But I didn't.  I stayed and I tried.  I really tried.  I loved.  I begged.  I pleaded.  I talked rationally.  I yelled irrationally.  I cried.  I gave up.  I endured.  And then HE asked for the divorce.  I cried again.  Then I was relieved.  I should probably divulge the details of my marriage for you to understand just how bad it was for me, but I won't.  All I will say is that I did everything I could to save my marriage, and I failed.  However, I don't believe that I could have saved it.  I believe that it was doomed from the start.

But even after escaping what I have described as "Four Years of Hell," I had my weak moments.  I remember a week after I left.  I was sitting on my bed, tying my shoes, getting ready for work, when all of a sudden, I thought, "Holy Shit!  I've left my husband.  What have I done?  Am I going to make it?"  Then I looked around at my apartment.  It was clean.  The bed was made.  The dishes were washed.  There were no oily footprints on the carpet.  And I could not see daylight between the walls and the floor.  My next thought was, "You Idiot!  Of course you're going to be okay!"

What I mean by that is that no matter how bad a marriage is, it still hurts when it ends.  You still doubt you're self-worth.  You still wonder if you could have done "more" to save it.  You still feel as if part of you has been amputated.

Eventually, most of that goes away.  But, if I'm going to be honest, the scars still remain.  My husband now is a wonderful man and a fantastic father.  He has his moments when he irks me, and other moments he just plain infuriates me, but I would not change him at all.  I have something unbelievably good with him and I do not want to lose it under any circumstances.  However, when we have a . . . disagreement, shall we say, those old scars start to hurt a little.  Those self-doubts come back.  Echoes of the past bounce around in my memory.  Just because that first marriage is dead doesn't mean it's ghost doesn't still walk around.

Life does get better, but the past never goes away.  We have to reconcile ourselves with our past -- something with which I still struggle.  We have to make peace with it.

Divorce hurts.  But like any physical amputation, the pain does dissipate -- sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly -- but it DOES dissipate.  Just as the marriage ended, so will the pain.

So have hope, my friend.  And remember, some of us understand.  We will listen to you vent.  We will hold you when you cry.  We will rejoice when you smile again.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

As A Wife . . . Giving Thanks

This is going to be combination post.  You see, this is not only Thanksgiving week, but today is my  Anniversary.  My husband and I were married 11 years ago today, November 22nd.  11 Years.  Wow.  And I want to tell you how that came about.

My husband and I met when we were kids.  Well, I was a kid.  He was this weird teenage boy in the background that his sister and I ignored.  Boys? YUCK!

Fast forward ten years.  We meet again.  He's CUTE!  Tall, dark, handsome, with a little bit of bad-boy, and a whole lot of charm.  I fell in love.  Hard.  Fast.  Permanently.

We dated off and on for over ten years.  When we weren't dating, we were friends.  Best friends.  And, yes, now that we're married all of those secrets we shared as friends can sometimes be Too Much Information.  Lol.  But, in a way, that same sharing in friendship is the ONLY reason we're married.  And that is the story behind the story.

We've both been in other relationships, of course.  But in those ten years of off-an-on some of those other people weren't just "Other People."  They were Bad People.  Some times bad for us, sometimes just bad period.  In my case, they were both.  See, I'm not the best judge of character when it comes to men.  A couple of them (okay, most of them) were mean to me.  Not physically, because that I could have walked away from.  No, they were emotionally and mentally abusive.  Those types are more insidious.  They sneak up on you.  At first, you say, "He's just having a bad day."  Then, you start to believe him sometimes when he says, "It's your fault that I'm mad."  Then, you believe you just don't deserve anything better.  Then, you don't believe you deserve anything at all.

If you're lucky, you get out.  I was lucky.

Then, I hit the jackpot.  The Million Dollar, Once In A Lifetime, Jackpot.  My husband asked me out.  We dated.  He fell in love with me again.  I had never fallen OUT of love with him.  I had just repressed it to get on with my life.  When he asked me to marry him, I said "YES" and rushed him to the alter before he could change his mind.

But, there were still problems.  My problems that became his problems.  Those past relationships, the ones I mentioned above, well, they left scars.  Not healed little white scars you have to look for to find.  In fact, they weren't really even scars.  They were more like gaping, bloody, infected wounds that I had covered with band-aids and hoped would go away.  They didn't.

J. got to play doctor (and not the fun kind of "doctor" game girls and boys play).  He got to deal with all of those trust issues, and incompetency feelings, and depressive withdrawal from him.  Our first -- and worst -- fight was over Christmas lights.  Seriously, it was over Christmas lights.  He asked me what kind I wanted to buy for the house.  Icicle lights or colored lights or just plain white string lights?  I said I didn't care.  HE said (and I can still remember it to this day), "I asked you.  When I ask for your opinion on something I. Want.  Your.  Opinion.  I do NOT want to hear 'I don't care.'  Do you understand me."  And, no, that last was NOT a question.  All of this was said in a tone of voice barely above a whisper, so no one else in Wally World heard him.  And that made it even more . . . impressive.

And that friendship I told you helped?  Well, see, I had watched him go through other relationships, also.  Not only did I know what HE had been through, I had seen how he reacted to THEIR behavior.  I KNEW I could trust him.  Not an I-know-in-my-heart-I-can-trust-him type of trust.  I knew because I had SEEN him go through the worst and I had SEEN how he reacted.  I had proof.  I trusted because he had already proved I could trust him.

He saved me.  He saved me from myself.  He saved me from my past.  He saved me from my wounds.  I had loved him for years, I love him now, and I will love him forever.  He is my savior, my heart, my soul-mate, and my world.  Unless you have that, you can't understand that kind of love.

It's an old-fashioned, all-the-way-to-the-bone love.  If (God Forbid!) I lost him tomorrow, a very large part of me would die.  I know that.  When I even think about things like that, I feel part of my heart and part of my soul shrink backward in fear.  This is the fairy tale love that I believed in as a little girl and scoffed at as an young adult.  Real Love Does Exist.  I found it.

He's not perfect.  He snores.  He gets cranky.  He snores.  He misunderstands me sometimes.  He snores.  He drives like an old man sometimes -- sloooooowly.  And, did I mention he snores?  He's not perfect.  But he is Perfect For Me.

He is a wonderful husband.  He's an unbelievably good father.  He helps me clean house.  He vacuums and mops because it hurts my back.  He works long hours to make enough money to take care of me and the kids.  He is patient.  He is kind.  He has a great sense of humor.  He is a gentleman.

I don't deserve him.  I never have, and I never will.  I treat him badly sometimes.  But he makes me strive to be better, to be more deserving of him.

He is Mine.  And I give Thanks to God Every Day for my husband.

I Love You, J.  More than you know, more than you can imagine, and more than I ever thought I was capable of.  Happy Anniversary, Honey.  Eleven years......and hopefully, another fifty or sixty.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Betrayal

Why is betrayal so much a part of life?  Is there any among us who has not been betrayed?

I have been betrayed by men, by acquaintences, by friends, even by family.  Amazing. I never expect it, yet it happens. I will even say I am sure that I have betrayed someone. But this blog is a public forum, so please forgive me for not treating it as a Confessional.

I'm sure we have all been betrayed by a lover. What young girl has not had her heart broken by a boy? Why else is the divorce rate so high if not for betrayal?  Whether it is our heart that is betrayed, or our trust, it is still betrayal and it still hurts. Truth be told, I I have been accused of breaking a heart or two myself.  They trusted me with their heart, and I betrayed that trust.

Acquaintences, too, have betrayed me  sometimes.  Gossip is gossip is gossip.  Seriously, what else are you going to trust with someone you barely know?  Betrayal here is just proof that we should not spread stories about other people. And lest you think I am being sanctimonious, I willingly admit I have a lot of trouble with this. Sometimes I discuss people with other people out of concern, but (I have to confess) sometimes I do it out of malicious glee over some disliked person's misfortune. I am ashamed of it, but I am guilty of it.  

Friends......or people we thought were friends. To trust someone with our most intimate secrets and have that betrayed can be agony. We gave a shovel and a map of where all of our skeletons are buried to someone who went and put those dirty old bones on display for the world to see. Ouch. That forces us to cut off a friendship, and hurts as much as any physical amputation. The longer and deeper the friendship was before the betrayal, the worse the amputation and resulting phantom pain.

Family betrayals are worse than any other though.  "Blood is thicker than water." Except when isn't. These people are the ones we are supposed to be able to trust above all others. These are the people that are supposed to stand WITH us against all others, against the entire world if necessary.  When they betray us, it feels like an assassination.  They killed a piece of our heart.  That part of us will never trust again. It will never love again.  That piece is dead.

Betrayal. It can cause so much damage.  It has caused friendships to end.  It has caused feuds that have lasted from hours to generations.  It has caused families to disintegrate. It has caused marriages to end in divorce.  It has even caused suicides and murder. Betrayal has resulted in the death of so many things and so many people.

And all of it could be avoided. We all just need to stop and think before we speak.  We need to stop and think before we act.  We need to stop and think. STOP and THINK.  Would we want someone to say that to us?  Would we want someone to do that to us?

Several years ago, my husband and I went to a Marriage Retreat.  One of the things they taught us (or tried to) was, before we speak, ask ourselves, "Are the words I am about to speak Kind? Are they Necessary?  Are they True?" If the answer to ANY of those three questions is "No" then just don't say them.  Simple.

We should all try to think about that more often.  I know by my own scars that other people should.   I know by my own guilt that I definitely should.

What about you?  How many scars do you have?  How much guilt do you carry?

This blog is not an indictment of myself or of you, the reader. It is just my own thoughts and experiences mixed with inquiry. Did I make you think?  Yes?  Good. Self-reflection is good for the soul. I hope I made you think. I hope we all will stop and think more often.  If not, well, maybe next time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

As a Not-So-Strong Woman.....

My last post was about being "A Strong Woman." But this hasn't been the best month for me, so I thought I would talk about the flip side of the coin - being a "Not-So-Strong Woman.".

We have all had them. Days when nothing seemed to go right. Days that seemed to last foooooorrreveeeeeer with Nothing being accomplished. Days when the kids seemed to STAY on our last nerve, and then jump up and down on it. Days when we fought back tears all day for no apparent reason. I dare you to deny you had at least one of those days.

Sometimes there is a reason. Maybe we had a fight with our Significant Other. Maybe our child got in trouble at school. Maybe we had a car wreck. Maybe we burned supper.  Sometimes there is a reason.

But sometimes there isn't. For some reason, we just can't be cheerful. We can't laugh.  Everything seems to be going wrong. We snap at our Significant Other. We lose our patience with our kids. We lose our temper at work. And we don't know why.

Reason or no, we feel . . . Not-So-Strong. But we keep going. We may take a time-out for ourselves and try to get ourselves together, but we come back. We push on through even if there is no fight left in us. We are Not-So-Strong, but we keep on doing what has to be done.

We are Women. There is no other choice for us.

We are Women.  We keep going. Like the Energizer Bunny, we keep going.

We are Women. We ignore our weakness. No, we find Strength in our weakness.

We are Women. We are Strong even when we are Not-So-Strong.

We Are Women.

But Men, when you see your woman feeling Not-So-Strong (and you may really have to pay attention to tell because we're good at hiding those things), be there for us.  Don't try to "fix" us, for sometimes we can't be "fixed," we can only be mended with time.  Instead, Help us.  Hug us.  Hold us.  Appreciate us.  Love us.

Sometimes, a helping hand that we aren't expecting can do wonders.  Sometimes, a quick hug can energize us.  Sometimes, holding us for a few moments (and maybe let us shed a few silent tears) can mean the world to us.  Sometimes, a simple "Thank You" can revive us.  Sometimes, a heartfelt "I Love You" can work miracles.

We Are Women. . . . but we aren't always quite so strong.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

As a Strong Woman.......

We Women feel the need to be strong.  We have to be.  There is so much we must do, so much we are for which we are held responsible (by ourselves if no one else does), so little time for all we need to get done.  Sometimes it's too much.  Sometimes we would like to be weak, just for a moment....we want to give in to the pressure and collapse, just for a moment.......but then who would pick up our load and carry on?

So we're strong.  We do what must be done.  In some ways -- emotional ways, mental ways -- we can be as strong as men, stronger than some, because we must be.  Our loads force us to be.  We wake up in the morning; we do this here, and we go there, we take care of this, and we handle that, and finally we will go to sleep and dream of things yet to be done.  Like the old adage, "A woman's work is never done."  And it is true.  Whether you or young or not so young, a working woman or housewife, working mother or stay-at-home-mommy, whether your children are infants, toddlers, school-aged, teenagers, or grown and gone, the chores are endless.

The chores are endless.......and so is the worry about what has to be done, the stress of deciding how those chores will get done, the feelings of inadequacy when they don't get done.  A vicious cycle we women suffer every day.  Most days, however, we're fine.  This is our life and we are content with it; Happy even.  But occasionally......




To me, and to most women I believe, if someone takes to time to actually "see" us, and realize we're NOT okay, the support for that moment is overwhelming.....and it can give us the strength to go on, to continue doing what must be done.  It repletes what we have exhausted, the one resource we need above almost all others.

So the next time you see a woman working seemingly tirelessly, non-stop, whether she is getting a lot accomplished or appearing to go nowhere, stop and LOOK at her, "see" her, and if she needs a hug, give her one.  Sometimes a hug can do wonders.  An acknowledgement of how much she has accomplished can lift flagging spirits.  Words of appreciation and thanks spoken from the heart of a loved one can bring joy.  All three can work miracles.

Know that your women (daughter, wife, mother, friend) is STRONG.  She deals with things every day that you know nothing about.  She probably has scars she doesn't want to burden you with when they hurt her.  Believe in her.  Support her.  And when she feels weak, hold her.  Love her.  Let her be weak for a moment.  Tell her that it's Okay to let go.You will see a stronger woman emerge from your embrace.  And a greater bond will have developed between the two of you for sharing that moment.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Looking Back to Those I Lost

Tonight is a bad night.  Hormones stretch from extreme to extreme and I'm looking through old pictures (uploading to Shutterfly and saving to Flash Drive) and crying at all the people I see that are no longer here.  I seem to be partly in the past, partly in a world that could have been, and partly lost.

I see my Mamaw J that died last year.  She won't see her great-grandchildren grow up.  She won't meet the newest grandchild that is the only boy of the only grandson who will get to carry on the family name.  She would have been so happy to see this little boy.  And her husband who died over ten years ago would have been ecstatic to know the family name would carry on.  (Y'all know how men are about their legacies.)

I see my father-in-law that never met five of his grandchildren.  Two of which are my husband's and three of which are my brother-in-law's. If he had lived, he would have known about another grandson and a granddaughter by his oldest son (my husband), one granddaughter by blood and two more from the heart from my brother-in-law.

They missed so much.  My Mamaw J lived a long, full life.  She raised five kids, met eleven grandchildren, and so many great-grandchildren (I lost count a long time ago).  I can remember my kids going to her house and her giving them cookies.  I told her it was too close to supper time.  She looked at me (with that look that always scared me half to death) and informed me it was HER house and they would have whatever she gave them.  I laugh now.  That is a grandmother's perogative.

My father-in-law was taken so many years before his time.  He was a second father to me and died before I even admitted it to myself.  He never met my youngest son.  He never met my husband's daughter.  He never saw his middle child released from prison and become the man he was supposed to be.  He never saw that son marry a wonderful woman who already had two lovely daughters we all gladly accepted into the family.  He never met the newest granddaughter that they gave him.

So much loss.  I wish my Mamaw J had gotten to meet my children.  I wish my Papaw J had gotten to meet my children.  I wish my father-in-law had gotten to meet my second child.  I wish they had all seen that I made more of my life than what they saw before they passed.

My Granddaddy M died when I was young.  My Grandmother M died when I was divorcing my ex-husband (she had Alzheimer's and so didn't realize what was happening).  My Papaw died the year before I divorced (and thankfully never knew what I was going through).  So many people I loved, that never knew that I actually turned out okay.  Maybe not wonderfully, but okay.

I wish they had known my children.  I wish my children had known them.  But it was not to be.

I remember my Great-Grandmother -- my mother's mother's mother.  Grandma E gave me a love of poetry.  She still pulled water from a well she actually had on her back porch.  She outlived two husbands, a son, and a grandson.  She was an incredibly strong woman.

I remember my Great-grandfather -- my father's mother's father.  Papa W was a mean SOB. (I'm sorry for the language, but he was).  He scared me when I was little.  He helped me learn my times tables (how many of you remember them being called that!) because I was too scared of him to get them wrong.  He was mean to my Grandmother M, (his own daughter) who was one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known and welcomed him into her home to care for him.

But I am more like my Mamaw.  She was a STRONG woman (like her mother, Grandma E).  She was blunt, and honest.  She saw no point in being tactful.  She said what she meant, and she meant what she said.  She was a survivor and I envied her.  I still do in a lot of ways.  I wish I had her courage, her strength, her faith.

My Grandmother M was a Lady.  Not that my Mamaw J wasn't, but Grandmother M was a gentler creature.  Her strength was quiet, tactful.  She would shame us into behaving.  They both threatened to spank us when we misbehaved -- the difference is that I believed Mamaw J.  When I doubted Grandmother M, she proved me wrong and spanked me!  She hurt my pride more than my rear, but she actually SPANKED ME!!!!!!  Unbelievable.  I smile when I remember her.  I wish I were much more like her.  I wish I had her gentleness, her gift for laughter, her capacity for forgiveness.

My father-in-law, Papa B,  was a gentleman.  As is his son.  As I hope my boys will be.  He will never know how much he meant to me because I didn't know until it was too late.  I remember his ready laugh.  I remember how he welcomed me into his family like I was a foregone conclusion.  I remember his laugh; his smile; the way he called my son "Sport."  I remember how he said "It's a shame to spank a boy just 'cause he feels good," and he'd laugh.  I didn't know what he meant then (I didn't have any kids), but I do now.  Sometimes, my boys don't get spankings because I hear my father-in-law laughing those words in my ear.

I miss them all.  I miss being able to turn to any one of them.  My Grandmother M made me want to be as gentle-natured as her, getting my children to mind by shaming them into being better boys.  My Mamaw J made me want to be as strong as her and raise my boys to be "men."  My Papa B made me want to laugh at their antics while still teaching them right from wrong, to be gentlemen, but to be MEN.

I miss them all.  And my children miss them even if they don't know what they miss.  It is said that you are supposed to learn from the past.  I just wish I could really show my children the people they missed.  I really wish they could "know" them.  They don't know what they missed.  But I hope those that have passed on are proud of what my husband and I have created.........and are looking down from Heaven smiling, and protecting and guiding the next generation.

Who do you miss?  Why do you miss them?  Please comment and let me know I'm not alone.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Mini Man's Mercurial Moods!

Things have been a little serious on my blog lately, so this is one to lighten things up a bit.  You know how all parents (well, most) say "If I had had my second child FIRST, he/she would be an ONLY child!"  I have to admit that I have thought that on more than one occasion.  See it all began like this.

When my first child, Z, was born, he was a relatively easy baby.  We expected the normal sleep deprivation and strange feeding schedules.  We expected fussiness puzzles for us new parents to solve.  And we got all of that, of course, but he was still an easy baby.  His feeding schedule was almost regular.  (You could count on being up at 5 am to feed him.)  At six weeks EXACTLY, Z started sleeping through the night.  He ate whatever he was fed (then, not now), and played quite happily by himself or with others.  He had a very laid-back, middle-of-the road personality.  Easy baby.  This was much easier than we expected!  Let's have another!

This is where the word "sucker" was imprinted on my forehead I am convinced.

M. was anything but "easy."

He was colicky from the start.

He refused to be put on ANY feeding schedule.

He didn't consistently sleep through the night until he was close to six months old.    You never knew when he was going to wake up (and us, too, with his enthusiastic crying -- he completely skipped the polite "come-get-me-please-Mommy crying and went straight to the COME-GET-ME-NOW crying that would bring us straight up out of bed and halfway across the room before we realized our eyes were open).

"Fussy" doesn't begin to describe it.  Saying M was "fussy" is like saying the Grand Canyon is a "little hole."  It just doesn't come close to being accurate.  He would be happy and grinning and laughing one second, and exploding like an atom bomb the next.  Screaming, kicking, little eyes squinched shut, turning red, flailing arms -- full temper tantrum mode like I had never seen before! From one extreme to the opposite in .02 seconds flat.  (M's was the first case of Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome that we had seen in children.)

And he's still like this at 4.5 years old.  Oh, not the FULL temper tantrum mode, but whining, stubbornness, stop-in-his-tracks-not-go-anywhere-til-he-gets-his-way mode.  For instance, this is the conversation we had yesterday morning:

Me:  M, here you have to put a jacket on because it's cold outside.

M:  I don't want to wear a jacket.  I won't get cold.

Me:  It's cold outside, honey, you have to wear it.

M:  Well, I don't like that jacket.  (Whine begins here!)

Me:  It's the only jacket you have, put it on. (I'm getting a little forceful here)

M:  Fine!  (Yes, he got that from his mother, I admit it)
M:  I want it zipped up.

Me:  We're just going to the car, it's only 10 feet, you'll be okay.

M:  NO!  I want it zipped up!

Me:  Okay, fine!  (See?  I told you he got it from me)

So I stopped, put down my purse, my keys, my cell phone, his blanket and pillow for nap time, and zipped up his jacket.  Finally, we are out the door.  We're in the car.  He is buckled, I'm buckled, car is cranked and ready to go. (Yea!  Progress is being made!)

M:  Here, Mama.

I reach back to get whatever he's handing me..................it's his jacket.

Me:  Why did you take this off, M?

M:  I didn't want to wear it anymore.

Me:  *sigh*  Fine.  (yes, again)  Whatever.

Off we go.  He happily watches cartoons in the back seat while I try to get the car warm enough that he doesn't get a chill.  A half hour later, we get to his daycare.  I get out of the car, holding my car keys, his blanket and pillow for naptime, and say:

Me:  C'mon, M.  Let's go.  Put your jacket back on.  (which he DOES!  No argument?  Wow!!!)

M:  Zip it, Mama.

Me:  No, M.  I have my hands full.  We're just going up the stairs.  Come on.

M:  But I want it zipped!  (Here comes the whining again.*sigh*)

Me:  (quickly losing patience since this is Round 2)  No, M!  I don't have a two hands to zip it. You'll be fine, Now. Come.  On.

M:  But I'll get cold!!!!  (Remember this is the child that didn't want to wear a coat?)

Me:  NO! I do not have a hand to zip it.  We're going 10 feet.  You WILL be fine. Come on, NOW.

M:  Whine, pretend cry, whine, pretend cry

But he does get out of the car.  And starts up the stairs.  I give a sigh of relief/frustration.  He stops.  In the middle of the steps, he stops.

M:  (whinnnnnniiiiinnnnnggggg)  But I just want it zipped, Mama.

I give up.  I'm not fighting anymore.  I pick him up like a sack of taters with the one free hand I have and carry him up the steps.  Fortunately the door opens, and in we go.  Finally!  We are here!  I talk to the young man at the daycare and warn him about M's mood this morning.  I turn around to say "Good-bye" and get hugs and kisses (hopefully).  M is gone.  I look through the building.  No M. Huh?  Where did he go?  He didn't go outside.  The daycare worker and I both start looking again.  Behind doors, under desks, in closets......No M.  Finally, I give up and hope he will answer me when I call.

Me:  M?!?  Where are you?

M:  BOO!!!!!  You couldn't find me, could you, Mama?  (Grinning from ear to ear, giggling happily)

He pops out from BEHIND the piano!  How did he get back there?  How did he FIT back there? Where is his bad mood?  Never mind.  Forget I asked.  Let's not remind him.

He happily gives me bye hugs and kisses.  That's the thing about M.  He goes from mad to glad just as quickly as he goes from glad to mad.  It's amazing.  People don't believe me when I tell them M is moodier than any teenage female I have ever known (including myself as a teen).  But it is true!  Phenomenal really.

That night I marvel at my sleeping little boy tucked in bed.  This sweet little angel sleeping so peacefully is that same whining little demon I dealt with this morning.  And even though his sweet little hugs and kisses and unsolicited "I Love You, Mama" declarations make up for all sorts of misbehavior, I still maintain that M is my difficult child.  Lovable, sweet, tortuous, stress-inducing, mischievous, mercurial, mini-man M.

I wouldn't change him for anything.  He keeps things.........interesting, shall we say.  He keeps me on my toes.  I never know what he's going to say or do next.  And part of me loves him because of that very trait.

And in the end, I have to laugh at him and all of his quirks............because strangling is illegal, ha-ha.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Late Dad to a Daughter

My husband found out last year that he had a daughter from his previous wife, so he came late to being the dad of a daughter.  He met her shortly before her 11th birthday.  The bonded immediately, as she did with her two brothers her dad had with me.  Instantaneous, right down to the sibling fights, shouts of "Leave Me Alone!" and hugs and kisses.

But as wonderful as it is to get to know her, I can't help but think of all he (and she) missed.  Michael Mitchell has a wonderful blog called Life to Her Yeaars that is letters to his daughter that he started when she was born.  It's pretty awesome.  But he did a guest blog called 50 Rules for Dads of Daughters that just made me cry.  They are wonderful pieces of advice.  What made me cry was how many of these rules my husband can't obey with his daughter because he missed the first decade of her life.

He'll never get play peekaboo with her.  He'll never be able to sit her on his lap and let her drive his car.  He's already missed ten birthdays.  He'll never get to turn her down gently when she asks him as a young girl to marry her .  He's never going to see her get on the school bus.He'll never get to ride her on his shoulders.  These are "rites of passage" with daughters and dads.  And he has missed SO much not knowing about her.  They both have.

It makes me sad.

She lives so far away (about 8 hours) that he misses so much of her life.  Telephone calls, Facebook and texts only do so much.  He can't hug his daughter electronically.  He can't help her with her homework.  He can't tease her until she smiles.  He won't know IF she smiles.  He can't ruffle her hair with his hand.  He can't argue with her over bedtime.  He misses so much of her life.  He misses Her.

When she comes back at Christmas he will marvel over how tall she's gotten.  He'll give her Christmas presents, take her places, tease her, dote on her, and love her.  But all of that he will also do for the boys.  That's right of course, but they are still making up for lost time.  Lost time they will never get back.

All he can do from now on is his best.  We all try not to dwell on "what-if."  It is a senseless question and really does more harm than good when asked.  He forms the bonds of love with her now while he can, and tries to show her that he loves her.  But it's difficult when those years of her innocent, unconditional trust were missed.

That they are together makes me very happy.  That they missed ten years makes me sad.  I'm looking at the relationship from the outside, so how much more do they feel?

Hug your daughter(s).  Hug your son(s).  Love them.  Realize how precious they are.  Think how lucky you are to have had them this long, and remember that they can be taken from you in a blink.  In an instant everything can change.  Don't take this time for granted.  You can be there and still miss it if you aren't careful.

Be careful.

And comment if you have any special remembrances of your kids, of lack of them.  Tell me if this grabs your heart for any reason.  I'd like to know.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How to Read a Man

I know this sounds like an impossibility.  Men are incomprehensible.  Men only understand what women say about 60% of the time and sometimes less than that.  WAY less.  Men don't know how to talk to women without pushing the wrong buttons which then causes a fight or the silent treatment, and then men don't understand what they did to cause it!  But women can understand.

Some men are great at talking about how they feel, what they want.  Some men know how to listen to a woman and understand what she's saying.  But a lot of men don't.  WE are incomprehensible to them.  WE completely misunderstood what they said.  WE get mad or get our feelings hurt over nothing.  Most men will never understand.

Forget Mars and Venus.  Men and Women are not from different planets.  Men and Women aren't different species.  Men are not less -- or more -- evolved than Women.  We're just different.  Here is my theory on why, and what women can do to read men a little better.

Women are "emotional" creatures.  I don't mean we are completely illogical and let our emotions rule our every word and deed.  But you have to admit, a man gets through to us more quickly, more completely when he appeals to our emotions.  Flowers and other gifts appeal to our romantic emotions.  Affection appeals to our comforting emotions.  Listening to our problems (without trying to "fix" them) appeals to our need to rid ourselves of excess emotion.  And saying "I love you" appeals to our loving emotions.  We ARE emotional creatures.

Men aren't.  They are logical creatures.  That doesn't mean they are without emotions.  They feel just like we do, just maybe not as strongly in some situations.  But watch a dad at his kid's football game or other athletic event and see how UNemotional he stays!  Or watch his face when you present your child to him for the first time.  My husband, the typical stoic male, was completely overwhelmed at the birth of our sons.  I remember his face was filled with awe.  He actually could not speak.  He took one finger and ran it down our son's chest and you could see the amazement on his face that this little perfect baby had come from US.  He couldn't hide his emotions that day.  And I personally treasure that memory.

But men like logic.  If we tell them a problem, they are designed to want to fix it.  Flowers and other gifts are meaningless to them really.  Men are creatures of "action" so sitting and listening and talking just isn't in their makeup.  They like to DO.  They cut the grass.  They take out the garbage.  They go to work.  They don't do any of those things for themselves.  They do it for US.  They do things for us as their way of taking care of us, and to them, that is showing love.

So the next time you wonder if your husband really loves you, if he even "sees" you, look around.  Stop and think about everything he does.  I bet the list is longer than you think.  Don't think about the last time he "gazed lovingly into your eyes."  Think about when he worked extra hours to bring home a little more money.  Don't try to remember the last time he said, "I love you."  Remember the last time he gathered up the garbage without you asking.

That is how you read a man -- by his Actions.  When it comes to men, Actions really do speak louder than words.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Suicide: The Aftermath

I have lost several people in my life.  Family, friends, acquaintances.....death comes calling for us all.  Old age takes most as our bodies just wear out.  Accidents take some unexpectedly, giving us no chance to say good-bye. A few even have their lives taken deliberately by another, leaving us enraged and grief-stricken. And then there are the rare few who take their own lives, leaving us confused, angry, ashamed, and mourning.

Twice my life has been touched by suicide.  Once when I was in high school, when a dear classmate (DW) decided that his home life was so bad that he could no longer take it.  And once, this week when an old classmate (JH) chose for reasons no one knows to take that same path.  The second has brought back all of the feelings I felt the first time and once again I find myself lost in emotions I can't control.

Confusion.  Why did he do this?  What was SO bad that he felt he couldn't live any longer?  Why didn't he reach out to someone?  He loved and was loved.  He had family and friends.  He had a LIFE, not just an existence.  

Denial.  No, he wasn't the type.  He was happy.  He always had a smile and a laugh for everyone.  He really CARED about everyone.  DW was about to graduate high school and escape his abusive family.  JH just had a grandson that he called, "the light of my life."  With so much going right, he wouldn't possibly have done this.  He loved life too much.

Anger.  I am so angry that you did this to us!  You LEFT us!  You wantonly betrayed our trust.  You deliberately shut us out of what was hurting you and gave us no chance to help.  Did you even think about us?We had to bury you, DW, on your Birthday!  That was NOT a celebration.  JH, your son had to stand at the head of your casket on his 18th birthday!  Definitely not the memory he wanted for that special day.  You are selfish.  No, you WERE selfish when you made that choice.  Now.......you're just gone.

Ashamed.  Why didn't I see that something was wrong?  Why didn't I talk to you more about what was happening in your life?  Why didn't I visit?  If I had visited you, maybe I would have seen something was wrong.  Why wasn't I a better friend to you?  If I had shown you how much I cared, maybe you would have turned to me and let me help.  This is my fault.  I will carry this guilt for the rest of my life.

Grief.  I lost my friend.  He is gone now, and I will never see him again.  I will never see him smile.  I will never hear him laugh.  I will never feel his hugs.  I will never smell his cologne.  I feel numb, yet I can't stop crying.  I want to scream and cry and throw things, but nothing will ease this pain.  When I wasn't looking, you slipped away.  You left me.  I lost you.  And in losing you, I got a wound on my heart that will never completely heal.

It was 27 years ago last March 21 that I lost my friend, DW.  Earlier this week, my community lost another friend, JH.  Both lost by their own hands.  This hurts more than if I had lost you to old age or disease.  This hurts more than if I had lost you in an accident.  This hurts more than if I had lost you to murder.  This hurts more.......because YOU Chose This.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Memories Are All I Have Left

When I was little, my sister and I spent a LOT of time and my paternal grandparents house.  We only lived 100 yards away, and as they were so much more permissive than our parents, we loved it there.  After all, if they wanted to spoil us, who were we to stop them?  We would get off the school bus there every afternoon.  After my granddad died, we would spend every weekend with Grandmother from Friday night until as late as possible on Sunday.  We stayed there in the summer and other school holidays.  We practically lived there.  It really was a "second home" to us.

We moved into town after my parents divorce.  Instead of being just up the hill, we were now a half hour away, but that still remained home in my heart, especially since six months after the move, our house burned to the ground from an electrical fire.  But then, that house wasn't home.  The house where I grew up was filled with memories of my parents fighting -- heated voices and cold silences; tense meals where bedtime was an escape and not something to be fought by us kids.  Grandmother's house was home.

Laughter reigned supreme there.  Grandmother had one of those faces that always smiled.  She was an old-fashioned "lady" from the top of her silver hair to the nail of her pinky toe, which only made it funnier when she  would say something completely outrageous.

She never said a bad word about anyone (even when I thought they richly deserved it).  She always spoke well of everyone or said nothing at all.  Even when someone needed to be warned against another person, she managed to convey the warning without once speaking ill of the person.

She never raised a hand to us kids -- well, once, but that was only because I told her she wouldn't and she could NOT let me get away with that.  She shamed us into behaving, and let me tell you THAT is a lost art.  She could look so disappointed in us and say, "Now aren't you ashamed" and I swear I had to look UP to see the dirt.  I just felt that low.

There was a tree in her front yard that all of us grandkids climbed.  "You kids get out of that tree!  That limb is gonna break with you!" is a admonition we all heard for years.  It never did, but that comment gave all of us kids laughs over the years.  It seems that our parents had heard the same admonition.  And so did our kids.

Grandmother showed me how I should act. By her actions, she was an example.  She was a rare lady who lived what she preached....except she never preached, she just DID.  Of course, not all of her lessons took.  I still lick my fingers when eating fried chicken.  My elbows sometimes find there way onto the table.  And I still don't always remain quiet when I should.  In fact, that lesson never really took at all.

She'll be gone 13 years this Thanksgiving.  It seems like forever.  And yet it seems like I just talked to her this morning.  I saw her face flush with laughter, eyes crinkled shut, belly just a jiggling (she really looked like a Mrs. Clause when she laughed!).

And now I find out that some family members are tearing down the house.  I know, I know.  It's just a house. She's been gone almost 13 years.  It's in bad shape.  It has mold and termites.  It can't be saved.  But none of that is true to me.  It's NOT just a house.  It's my home and it always will be.  It may be in bad shape, but if it had been taken care of over the last years, it wouldn't be this bad and it might not have mold or termites.  It might could have been saved.

It feels like I am being cut into little pieces, that part of my heart is being carved out of my body.  This was my HOME.  No longer can I go sit on the porch and pretend she's still there.  No longer can I go inside and pretend she's still cooking some homemade apple tarts.  No longer can I deny for a time that she is gone.  It's like I'm losing her all over again.  I want to crawl into a hole somewhere and sob for hours.  I want to go to sleep and wake up pretending this was all a nightmare.  But I  can't.

I miss Grandmother like I would miss my own mother.  She was a gentle, compassionate lady that I have always wanted to emulate (but fail at miserably).  She helped raise me.  She gave me warmth when I felt the cold silences at my house.  She gave me peace when all I had was chaos in my mind.  She gave me some of my best childhood memories.  And now, after her house is gone...

                    .........Memories are all I will have left.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Escape into Books

When I was little, my greatest accomplishment was learning to read.  Nobody ever really knew just how much that ability really means to me.  I didn't have any friends really, just a cousin that I got to see at school, and maybe on the weekends if we went to visit.  During summer, I didn't get to see anyone other than family, so my life was a little lonely.  But learning to read......that changed EVERYTHING.

Suddenly, there were new worlds open to me, new languages to learn, new lands to explore, new people to meet.  I could go anywhere, see anything, be anybody.  I could solve mysteries.  I could work on a farm.  I could travel to Europe.  I could be a doctor.  I could BE.  But this is only a small part.  This was girlish adventures into Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Amelia Earhart.

Then I grew up.  And I found out what else I could be.  Books still take me different places.  They are still an escape into other lands, but now I get to BE those people.  The hunky guys in the love stories are not the important part.  Neither are the locales where these stories take place.  What is important are the women.  I get to be those women.  Not their careers or "getting the hunky guy," but The Woman.

I get to be strong and confident and not seem to be cold or unfeeling.  I get to be vulnerable and fragile and not appear weak.  I get to be passionate and uninhibited without being ashamed.  I get to be smart and knowledgeable without being perceived as a know-it-all.  I get to inspire passion and possessiveness in just the right amounts. I get to be perfectly imperfect.  I get to be all the things I WANT to be and aren't.

I get to tell people off and stand my ground (which I'm too afraid to do in real life). I get to be woman enough to push my man to the edges of his control and yet control that same passion in him (have you seen me lately?  Not an inspiration to unbridled passion).  I get to be soft and vulnerable without being walked on (too scared to cry in front of anyone).  I get to have all of my feelings -- even the unreasonable ones -- completely and instantly understood.  I always know exactly what to say, and exactly what to hear.  In Books.

In books I am someone else.  I don't have whiny children.  I don't have children getting in trouble at school.  I don't have a husband that sometimes doesn't know how to react to me.  I don't have a job working with people I don't always understand.  I don't have to cook or clean or balance the checkbook.  I look fabulous in anything.  Or nothing.  I don't lose my temper.  I never run out of patience.

But I also don't get hugs and kisses from MY boys.  I also don't get to be held at night by MY husband who knows me and understands me (most of the time) and loves me anyway.  I don't cook and clean in MY home (not just a house).  So even though I love my books, and love getting to be someone else (and even someone I like better than myself); my books don't have what I love most about MY life.

I don't mind visiting someone else's world for a little while, and being someone else.  Sometimes their adventures put my life into perspective.  They get shot at while I get hugs from my children.  They run from danger while I run from a spider.

So even if I lose my temper, run out of patience, never know what to say, and don't always know how to interact with people, I will keep my life, my kids, my husband.  I'll keep my hugs even with the spiders. That is MY world. THEY are my world.  And I love them most of all.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Event

It's been 10 years since The Event.  It's been 10 years since 9/11.  Ten years.  We say it affected us all.  We say it left scars on the soul of humanity. We say it destroyed innocence.  It did.  It changed everything.  And nothing.

I don't have to explain "It changed everything."  But I do feel like I should explain "And nothing" just in case you think me unfeeling and cold.  After everything calmed down, life got back to normal.  We all at three meals a day.  We go to sleep at night.  We clean our houses.  We bathe our children.  We buy cars, change jobs, make new friends.  It changed nothing.  

But it did change everything.  None of us take for granted some things anymore.  We don't think that we are invincible anymore.  We know now that we CAN be hurt.  We know now that some WILL attack us.  We realize that we ARE just as vulnerable as everyone else.  It changed everything.

The Event.  At least of my generation.  For my parents' generation it was Kennedy's assassination.  For my grandparents', it was World War II.  Every generation has an Event.  Think about that for a minute.  Every generation has an Event.  Every Generation.  Now think about the future.  What will be The Event for our kids?  Our Grandkids?  Does that scare the hell out of you like it does me?

M is 4.  Z is 7.  H is 12.  How do I protect their innocence?  I can't.  How do I prevent their scars.  I can't.  How do I stand by and let them be hurt?  I can't stop it.  How do I prepare myself to watch them be hurt?  I can't.

All I CAN do is try to teach them right from wrong; good from evil.  All I can do is teach them sympathy and empathy; how to help others; how to support others.  All I can do is teach them how to handle adversity, to stay calm in the face of chaos, how to be strong.  It's not enough.  I want to do more.

I want to PREVENT their Event.  But I can't.  I can try to show them how I handled mine.  And I can try to show them how to handle theirs better than I did.

I pray God protects us all, but even more, I pray God protects our children.  Especially when we can't.

Tell me what you think.  Tell me what you think about our Event.  About our childrens' Event.  Tell me whatever you want.  Please

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Body Images

I have been hanging out at a new website lately.  For you ladies that haven't visited, you should really check out Scary Mommy.  Not only are her blogs hilarious, she has an anonymous confession board where you can say ANYTHING (and I really do mean "Any Thing!), and message boards where you and other women (and a couple men) can discuss other subjects, solicit advice, cry on virtual shoulders, or laugh until you hurt!  It is really a great site.

One of the topics on the message boards is about body image.  How we women feel about our bodies, how they have changed since we got older, since we got married, since we had kids...you get the picture.  So, of course, I got to thinking about my body (AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!  Noooooooooooo!).  How I see it, how my husband sees it, how other women see it.

Now personally, I'm not really happy with my body.  But if I've learned nothing else on Scary Mommy (SM), I have learned that most women aren't.  I've put on quite a few pounds since I had kids.  I've gotten a few gray hairs (for which I blame the kids AND the husband).  I've gotten a couple of chin hairs (definitely the kids).  And my skin certainly doesn't have the "dewy glow" it had when I was 16 and we won't even discuss the stretchmarks.

My husband says I'm still beautiful to him.  He swears when he looks at me he sees the 19 yr old beautiful, skinny, sexy, fiery girl he fell in love with.  He doesn't see what I see when I look in the mirror.  He doesn't see the older, pudgy, tired woman who stares back from the mirror after working all day, helping with homework, cooking supper, cleaning up that still tries to dig deep enough into reserves to find a little energy to show her husband she does still care.  Do I believe him?  Honestly?  Sometimes.

How other people see me is another perspective.  I really don't care how other men see me.  I don't want them to run screaming in horror, mind you, and I do get a secret thrill when I get a second glance and smile from a man; but I am WAY past the days of wanting to be the center of men's attention.  I have my man.  And he's not going anywhere (even if I have to chain him up in the basement).  It's the women that get to me.  And let's be honest here.  We never dressed for the men anyway.  Not primarily.  We wanted them to notice us, of course; but what we REALLY wanted was to be prettier, sexier, than the other women we were around.  We HAD to be able to compete.  Seriously, if we weren't in the top 10 best looking women in the room, we might as well go home.  Now it's just easier for me to STAY home.  Why risk it?

I use to look at older women walking around with too much make up on, wearing short skirts that would have looked great on a teenager, and hairstyles that just didn't suit their faces all in an attempt to look younger.  I would snort derisively and think, "Lady, just give up!  Grow old gracefully. It's a natural part of life!"  Now that the "bloom of youth," so to speak, has left me, I'm rethinking those harsh, selfish words.  No, I don't think anyone should attempt to look SO much younger than they obviously are.....but I don't see any harm in trying to deny a decade few years.  Really, what is a little hair color and new make up between friends?

I'm working on my self-image.  I'm dieting to lose the extra pounds.  I colored my hair (for the very first time).  I shave the chin hairs.  And I use moisturizer religiously.  I will never be what I was.....but I'm beginning to think that is okay.  I'm working on believing my husband when he tells me I'm still beautiful to him, because he doesn't lie.  I'm working on my self-confidence, because self-confidence is really what makes a woman sexy.  So maybe I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world (Miss Universe certainly doesn't have to worry about me giving her any competition), but I'm working on it.

I'm working on.....Me.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Love & Romance: For Women

A few weeks ago, my friend Rosie blogged about the 5 Love Languages and this got me thinking (dangerous, I know).  For those of you that don't know, I will list the 5 Languages here, and I've embedded the link if you want more information.  Basically, it says that people don't always communicate the same, and to minimize misunderstandings, it helps if people can recognize the other languages in case that is what their partner is speaking.  The 5 Languages are:

1.  Words of Affirmation
2.  Quality Time
3.  Receiving Gifts
4.  Acts of Service
5.  Physical Touch

This really does help.  For instance, my languages are more 1, 2, and 5.  I need words of affirmation, encouragement, love.  Most women do.  We are vulnerable creatures and we need that positive reinforcement.  I need quality time.  My husband has an irregular work schedule, so quality time is important when he can't always devote the time.  And physical touch?  I love to hold hands.  I love for my husband to put his arm around me in public.  Just the little touches that can say to me, "You're special.  I want the world to know you belong to me."

Men (or at least MY husband - yours may be different) tend to speak more 3 and 4.  I get little cards, flowers for no reason, and sometimes maybe he'll buy me that book I've been wanting.  These are all special and the definitely make me smile.  This is the language that is easy to interpret, assuming the gifts are given with the appropriate attitude.  Throwing a jewelry box on the vanity as a man walks by a woman will not earn him very many brownie points.

But 4 is the language my husband really speaks.  And I have to constantly remind myself of that.  He cuts the grass, takes out the garbage, gets the boys ready for school in the morning, and a myriad of other little things. To him these are Acts of Service he does out of love for me and our family.  To me, these things are chores.  To him, they are the deepest expression of how important he thinks we are.

So this weekend, I think I'll try to speak HIS language.  I'll clean the house, wash the laundry, and I'll even dust (which is a chore I detest above all others).  I will scrub the bathroom fixtures and bleach the kitchen counter.  I will perform Acts of Service to show HIM that I love him.

And then, I will look out the window and see him cutting grass (with a sinus infection), and it will warm my heart that he is doing that just for me.

Remember, we not only have to speak the Language of Love, but we have to hear it when it is spoken to us.  Sometimes you hear the most in the silence.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Love & Romance: A Suggestion for Men

My husband wrote me a love letter.  He does that from time to time.  It's good that he doesn't too often, because it would not mean as much.  Usually, he is a man of few words.  Serious words anyway.  He's great at small talk, and he's a wonderful listener, but expressing his feelings isn't something he is apt to do very often.

It was a sweet letter.  I won't tell you the details because they are private.  But he made me cry.  Good tears.  The kind only women really understand.  The ones that stem from an overflow of love from the heart.  The ones that would say (if men could understand), "You have no idea how deeply you just touched me."  The ones that acknowledge that you just let us deep down inside you in that place you keep secret, and thank you for that gift.

Men should do this every so often to their lady love.  It doesn't have to be long, just heartfelt.  It doesn't have to be perfect, just perfectly yours.  Write letters to your wives, your girlfriends, your children -- daughters AND sons.  You never know when today might be your last day.  Give them words in print to let them know how much they mean to you.  On dark nights, those words will comfort.  When you have a fight (and you will) those letters will help ease the pain.

I had my husband write letters to our children for when they are grown.  Just in case we aren't here then.  They will have our hearts printed on paper.  They will have words to remind them of our love, our pride in them, our hopes for their future, our belief in them.

J. made me fall in love with him all over again.  Not that it is hard to do, but we both get so busy with Life, that sometimes we forget to remind the other just how special they are to us.  This reminder I can keep in my keepsake box (every girl has one, even if it's just a shoebox).  I can pull it out when he is traveling for business, or when we have a fight, and remember just what it is that I love about him and be reminded that he loves me, too.

It's easy to forget that.  Well, not so much forget as we need reassurance.  Women are very vulnerable creatures (or at least I am), and we need that reassurance.  We need to know that you still find us attractive (stretchmarks, extra pounds, and all); that you love us as much today as the day you married us; that you have no regrets; that you still want to be a part of our lives and have us a part of yours.

We aren't as tough as we would have you believe, or even as tough as we would like to believe.  Our hearts are still fragile.  We still need to be romanced.  We still need your attention.  We still need You.

So, when you have a few moments free, sit down and tell your lady love how you feel.  It's a little thing to do, but it will mean more than you can possibly know.  Be honest and open.  Write from the heart.  She will appreciate it, and love you even more.  Don't be scared off by the tears you may cause.  They really are good tears.  And I'm sure, after she has wiped her eyes, she'll tell you just how much you mean to her.

J. is my best friend and my lover.  He is my companion and my partner.  He is my husband and he means more to me than anyone else on earth other than our children.

I love him, too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Real Men

Maybe the media is right.  I've rarely ever considered that idea, but the old saying about 100 monkeys with 100 typewriters in 100 years could produce Shakespeare comes to mind.  Maybe television is right.

I watched one of my favorite shows last night, Drop Dead Diva.  On it, the main character tried to get one of her friends to take out her love interest to cheer him up, and in the process "learn how to be more of a guy."  Her examples were asking him if he had ever changed a tire, knew anything about sports, etc.  His answer was "No" which was funny, but it made me think.  Other shows have brought up the same question to my mind.  What DOES it mean to "be a guy."

My husband reads a blog called The Art of Manliness.  This is actually a really cool blog.  It talks about how to sharpen a tools, good sportsmanship, how a man should decorate a room (A room, not a house), and even love.  He actually gives good advice (in my opinion).  I couldn't find the writer's name, but he seems devoted to turning males into "men."  Practical applications such as sharpening tools my husband still does, but I don't know many other men who do.  And love.  This is not a topic for which most men will even stay in the room to listen!  But this writer gives a .... well, "manly" view of how to keep real romantic love alive in a relationship.  I like him.

I remember growing up, a real MAN was tall, dark, rugged.  He could hold his wife with one arm while lifting the bumper of a car off the ground with the other.  He was debonair like James Bond.  He was rugged like a lumberjack.  He was charming like Rhett Butler.  He was sweet like Clark Kent.  He was strong like Superman.  He was smart, elegant, dashing, handsome, powerful, larger than life.  He looked just as comfortable in a tuxedo as he did in bluejeans.  Do you ladies remember him?  He was Sean Connery, Tom Selleck, Christopher Reeve, John Schneider, Lee Horsley.....I could go on, but those were my picks.  Who were yours?

But then I grew up.  I looked for other qualities in a man.  Oh, I still wanted those, but I also wanted humor, sensitivity, compassion.  I wanted a friend to listen to me at night.  I wanted a lover to sweep me off my feet one night, and seduce me the next.  I wanted a REAL man, not a real MAN.  I still wanted him perfect, of course, but I wanted him perfect for me.  And some qualities can be given up for others.  A man doesn't have to be dashing or debonair, if he's compassionate and understanding.  He doesn't have to be a perfect physical specimen of man if he is attractive to me.  He doesn't have to be powerful if he's strong enough to lead my family.  He doesn't have to be genius, as long as he's smart enough to have a conversation with me.

I didn't want Tim Taylor saying, "Arrr, Arr, Arr." {shudder}
I didn't want Tarzan beating his chest. {eyes rolling}
I didn't want Anthony DiNozzo. {no time for aging frat boys}

All in all, I think I got the whole package.  My husband is stubborn, polite, willful, funny, compassionate, understanding, hard headed, smart, dashing, handsome, a little overweight, elegant, tall, dark, handsome,and.......mine.  He's perfect for me.  He is a REAL MAN.  He's a gentleman and a country boy.  He's at home in dress shoes, boots, or barefoot.  He's responsible and playful.  And he takes care of me and our kids.

And he can change a tire.  :-)

I want our boys to be just like him.  And that is really the point, isn't it.


Friday, August 19, 2011

As a Mother & Step-Mother

First, as a Step-Mother.......

H. went home last weekend.  We drove her the entire 7 hours home.  It was a long road trip.  But with her laughing in the back seat, telling us stories, clearly excited to be going home, it was rather short.  Bittersweet, but short.  Then we got close to home.  She got quiet.  Very quiet.  Sad.  So did we.  The 7 hours back home were much longer. And quieter.  And more bitter, than sweet.  Even if DH and I got to spend 7 hours without hearing, "Mommy, he touched me."  "Mommy, are we there yet?"  "Mommy, when are we going to be there?"

The house, too, is quiet.  It's amazing how one less child (with 2 still in attendance, and boys, at that), can make a house feel so empty.  There is no more giggling 12-year-old girl doing a funny walk across our living room.  There is no girl with puppy-dog eyes saying, "Daaaaad, may I pleeeeeeeeeeease stay up until 10:30?"  There is no girl asking me to play archery with her on the Wii and beat her dad.  There is no girl.  And I miss her.  There seems to be an empty place in my heart now.  Even though she is just a few hours away, she feels gone.  Even though I talk to her every night, she feels gone.  I feel her gone.  And I miss her.  I almost feel like a kid again wanting to know "When is Christmas going to be here?" because SHE will be back then.  And then I won't miss her.


Second, As a Mother.......

All of you parents are familiar with school color charts.  They all vary some, but in essence, Green is Good; Yellow, not-so-much (or "just a little bad" as M likes to say); and Red is REALLY going-to-get-a-spanking Bad.

Usually, M is my little Martian.  He stays on green.  He's sweet, lovable, mischievous, but he stays on green.  Not this week.  So far, we've had Red, Yellow, Green, Red/Green (Red in the morning, Green in the afternoon because his teacher is too sweet and took pity on him), and today.....well, today, I'm scared to ask.  All colors (other than green) are for being defiant and back talking his teacher.  He acts up, she calls him down, he say, "So?"  Why?  I asked him.  He said, "I like saying 'so.' " Huh?  Where did my little Green Martian go?  Could he be 7 hours North (see above) with H?  Is that what is prompting this bad behavior?  I hope so.  And I hope my little Green Martian will come home soon.  I miss him, too.  And I know his pre-school teacher misses him, too.

Z, is a different story.  He's more like Jekyll and Hyde lately.  And, no, it can't be teenage hormones because he's only 7.  We've seen Red, Orange, Yellow, Orange this week.  I cannot text his teacher and ask about his behavior.  Not that I really want to do that.  With his track record this week, I'm thinking I really don't want to know.  He has gotten spankings 4 days this week.  We took away all electronics -- Wii, DS, computer, everything except his TV which his little brother shares.  (It wouldn't have been fair to M to take away the TV.)  We've begged, pleaded, yelled (I regret the yelling), bribed, threatened......nothing is working.  I would say that his problems began with his sister's return home, but we had the same problems during the ENTIRE 1st GRADE.  Making noises (humming, tapping), not listening, consistent disobedience, playing in the bathroom (really? the bathroom?  can't you find a better place to play, son?), not following directions.  It's like Z is in his own little world, and will only open the door if he likes what his teacher is saying.  If not, oh, well.  Z seems to think if he ignores her long enough, she'll disappear.  Not happening.

Z is a smart kid.  I mean REALLY smart.  And usually well-mannered, polite, sweet.  A regular Dr. Jekyll.  Except at school.  Then Mr. Hyde comes out.  Loud, obnoxious, stubborn, rude, brat.  His dad and I are almost at our wit's end.  We hoped that the Talented & Gifted program he is in this year (see?  I told you he was smart!) would help with the behavior.  We hoped that Cub Scouts would help with the behavior.  We're still hoping.  And praying.  And begging, threatening, bribing, etc.  I don't like Mr. Hyde.  I want to evict him from my house.  Now.

So, that's my life lately.  Full little roller coaster, isn't it?  That's why this post is a day late (and I know you all waited anxiously with bated breath yesterday wondering why it wasn't appearing!  Yeah, right!).  We've had happiness, sadness, anxiety, anger, disappointment, confusion.  I'm tired of the roller coaster.  I WANT OFF!!!   I want my little Green Martian back.  I want Dr. Jekyll back.  I want H.  back.  I want all of my kids (even the one I just get to borrow) back at my house.  Under one roof.

So, if any of you wonderful friends and readers have any ideas on how to accomplish any / all of the above, then I await your suggestions, answers, and comments with hope and prayers.  Thank you all for listening to me rant.  Thank you for letting me borrow your shoulders on which to shed a few tears.  Thank you for just being there as once again, I lose my composure over my children.  Thank you for being my friends.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Teaching Children

As I'm sure I've posted before, manners are important to me.  I was raised to show respect and behave with manners in all situations.  You say "sir" and "ma'am" and "please," "thank you," and "excuse me."  You ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS address people with respect.  My husband and I are doing our best to instill this in our children.  They have lapses:  responding with "what?" when called; answering "yeah" when asked a question; but generally, they behave well -- especially when they are AWAY from us.

(Why do kids behave better away from parents?  But, if they are going to act up, I would rather it be with me, than with other people!  Anyway, I stray)

Which is why I was stunned when Z came home from school yesterday on Orange for being "disrespectful to another teacher."  What?  Z?  Oh, no!  I never did get the details, but I know he disobeyed a teacher, and continued to ignore instructions from said teacher.  Now I cannot allow this behavior.

Z got four licks with the paint stick.  Good licks.  Attention-getting licks.  I also made him write sentences since he said he didn't know the teacher's name and couldn't write an apology letter.  (He disrespected a teacher he doesn't even know?!?!?  The news just gets worse!)  I told him to write "I'm sorry I was disrespectful to you." on every other line of the front page of a piece of paper.  (The funny part is he evidently didn't know what "every other" meant, so he wrote the sentence down two-thirds of the page, but that's okay with me.  It helped send the message home. )  I also told him if he saw that teacher today, to apologize to her in person.  Maybe a little humility will help, too.

And then I wrote a note to his teacher detailing his punishment.  I want to make sure she know that this behavior will NOT be tolerated.  Not by me or my husband.  He is taught better.  He knows better.

All of the above was fine, right?  Necessary, right?  I am responsible for teaching my children right from wrong.  I am responsible for doling out punishment when they misbehave so that they know their actions have consequences.  Rewards and Punishments are part of teaching.  Right?

So why did I spend the next two hours trying not to cry because I had to spank my child?  Why did it upset me so much?  Part of it was disappointment, I know.  I thought we were past this part with Z.  I thought he had already learned this lesson.  Actually, I know he has.  So why did he behave so badly?  Why was he disrespectful toward an adult?  A teacher?  And why did I fight back tears?  I guess because I don't like punishing him.  He is a good boy.  He is a fine young man.  Most of the time.

Well, he got his reminder to behave himself, be polite, show respect.  And Mom got a reminder on what it's like to punish the kids since Dad's out of town and he normally does that.  I didn't much like it.  But I'm pretty sure Z didn't like it much either.  So we both learned something.  At least, I did.  I hope Z did, because I really don't want to do that again.

*sigh* Being a responsible parent really stinks sometimes!


Friday, August 5, 2011

As a Daughter.....

Family is important.  They are the first ones that love you, and the ones that stay beside you through life.  They're behind you when you need holding up, they're in front of you when you need to be led.  They are there at the beginning and at the end, though some faces might have changed through time.  Family is important.  At least they are supposed to be.

My mother isn't in the best of health.  Details are irrelevant, but it will suffice to say there is a lot she can no longer do.  She has to rely on others.  That should be me.  I help her change the sheets on her bed, I help her move furniture, I help her do anything she asks.  And therein lies the problem.  She shouldn't have to ask.  I should visit her more often and see what needs to be done.  I should do more than just call regularly.  She doesn't always like to admit when she needs help.  She doesn't always tell the truth when I ask her how she's feeling.  I should see for myself.

My father lives too far away.  His house is almost an hour from me.  We could meet in the middle.  But we don't.  We could get together for lunch more often.  But we don't.  We could make a point of visiting him more often.  But we don't.

Life gets in the way.  I work.  I have small children.  I have a never-ending list of chores to be done at home, such as laundry, dishes, etc.  I have to help with homework (and make sure it's even done).  Weekends are usually devoted to housecleaning and laundry that is let go during the week.  It's hard to visit.  It's hard to check on my parents.

I should do more, but I don't.  I feel guilty, but that doesn't help.  I make excuses to myself.  I'm too busy right now.  She could ask for help more.  He could come visit us.  But in the end, that's all they are:  Excuses.  I can't control them.  I can control me.  I can control my own decisions and my own priorities.  I need to change what I can.  I need to be a better daughter.  I will try.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SuperMom & SuperWife or SuperWoman

"A real woman always keeps her house clean & organized, the laundry basket is always empty. She's always well dressed, hair done. She never swears, she behaves gracefully in all situations & all circumstances. She has more than enough patience to take care of her family, always has a smile on her lips, & a kind word for everyone. Post this as your status if you, too, have just realized that you might be a man."


I saw this on FaceBook the other day and thought it was so funny (and true) that I put it as my status to give other ladies a few giggles, too.  And it worked GREAT!  Most women can really relate to this.  There is always SO MUCH to do that it rarely (if ever) actually is all completed at the same time.  Seriously, how many women have the housework all done, the house looking immaculate, dinner on the table, and a smile perpetually on their face?  Let's face it.  June Cleaver we are NOT.


Then my husband ruined all of our fun with one comment.  "Someone pointed out to me that this woman is straight out of Proverbs. Kinda puts a different light on it huh?"  


My first thought was, "Spoilsport!"  


My second thought was, "OH GREAT!  One more way I'm failing God."  


I don't know about y'all, but I constantly feel like a failure.  To my husband, to my kids, to my boss, to my self, and to God.  It's a rare day when I DON'T feel ineffectual, inadequate, unworthy, and/or like a major screw up.  We go to church, we believe (at least I hope you do), we have faith (even though we sometime struggle with this), but in the end, how many of us Really Believe we are succeeding at being what God wants us to be.


"I Know I'm SOMEBODY, 'cause God don't make no junk!"  Remember that?  I do.  It was great when I was a kid, but now as an adult, it's a little harder.  On the surface, I say, well of course He doesn't.  But then I apply that statement to myself, and .......Whoops!  What. Have.  I.  Done?!?  Anybody else ever feel that way?


I'm divided.  I want to be what God wants me to be, but I can't be.  I'm not perfect.  I'm so far away from perfect it's like a train wreck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean -- Impossible.  I could probably do a lot better on the housework and laundry.  Okay.  I DEFINITELY could do better on the housework and laundry.  But behaving "gracefully in all situations & circumstances" just isn't in me.  I have no tact.  No diplomacy.  Patience?  Not really.  I can work on that.  "A kind word for everyone" is sooooooo not me.  I admit it.  Some people just irritate me to the point that it's either walk away, or go to jail for assault.  I do NOT handle stupidity very well.  Okay. I do not handle stupidity with patience or kind words.  


Yes, I'm not the woman of the Bible.  I can aspire to be a better daughter, wife, mother, Woman.....and I will try.  But I'm also learning to be happy with who I am.  After all, God made me and "God don't make no junk."  So maybe He's okay with me being a sarcastic, pushy, occasionally overbearing, overprotective control-freak.  And maybe He will help me smooth out these rough edges on this old piece of coal.  I'm not expecting to turn into a diamond overnight -- or at all, really.  And I'm not expecting the laundry to miraculously be washed, dried, ironed, and folded.....but maybe He will help me find all the hours in the day I need, assistance to get it all done, and the ability to ask for and accept said assistance.


I'm not SuperMom.  I'm not SuperWife.  I'm certainly not SuperWoman.  But with God's help, maybe I can be good enough, even if I'm not perfect.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

‎"Heavens to Murgatroyd!"

Does anybody remember that?  Do you remember the cartoon character who said that?  He was one of my favorites.  Even if he was a pink mountain lion in a string tie!

What happened to those old cartoons?  Some I have seen on Boomerang TV like The Jetsons, The Flintstones, Looney Tunes.  But what about Snagglepuss?  Mighty Mouse?  Good old fashioned slapstick comedy, stupid jokes that still make you laugh, and scenarios that you can actually picturing happening now with our kids.  And most of them are just GONE.  Oh, sure, you can look them up on YouTube.  The Sesame Street Martians are still hilarious with their increasing speed of saying, "Yip. Yip.  Yip! Yip!" to communicate.

What happened to our kids?  I use to LOVE those old cartoons when I was growing up.  Now my kids are watching cartoons that I have to censor.  Who would have thought television would air cartoons that advocate lying (The Regular Show), or being a brat (The Simpsons), or aren't even fit for kids to watch At All (Family Guy)!  Okay, I admit, I got into Kim Possible for a little while, she was a cool teenage kid fighting crime.  And my seven-year-old has a penchant for redheads like his dad.  She was great!  But Adventure Time?  Really?  Resurrecting dead candy zombies?  Cat and Dog?  Obnoxious and stupid.

But what is this junk that is on Cartoon Network that manages to get by the Parental Controls by not being rated?  I thought Parental Controls were to help us parents so that we wouldn't have to watch EVERY show on the Cartoon Network, Boomerang, etc just to make sure it was age appropriate and inoffensive?  I'm just now discovering that Parental Controls don't always work.  But I just don't have time to censor everything my children watch.

Bring back Speedbuggy, Captain Caveman, Hong Kong Phooey.  Bring back the real non-animated shows for kids like Isis (my personal favorite), Shazam, and even The Afternoon Special (which is where I first watched a show based on an Edgar Allan Poe story and was hooked for life).  Bring back shows I don't have to worry about my kids watching.  Even Scooby-Doo has been updated to the point I'm not sure about him.  What do you tell your child's preschool teacher when he innocently bursts out with, "What the!" that he heard from Fred Jones.

I miss the innocence of childhood.  I miss not having to protect my children from television.  There is enough in this big, bad world that's going to hurt them soon enough from which I can't protect them.  I'm trying to put off their heartbreaks and loss of innocence as long as possible.  I thought living in a rural setting would help protect my children, but I can't protect them from technology.  As hard as I try, someone out there will figure out a way to expose them to things I don't want them to see yet.  Someone will figure out a way around my safeguards.

I wish I could shield my children, but even they struggle out from under my safeguards.  Reaching for knowledge, but not always knowing that knowledge isn't always good.  Not yet.  Trust me a little longer, children.  Trust me to know what's best.  And stop getting angry when I change the television channel or put in a dvd for your own good.  And my own peace of mind.  ‎"Heavens to Murgatroyd!" said Snagglepuss.  Things could be worse.  But let's try to make them better anyway.