Forgiveness

Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for………….

I have this vision of how my life should be.  I guess I have always had it.

My children always happy, never fighting with me.  Me, always patient, always understanding.  I handle the most difficult of situations with a smile, confidently moving briskly to the perfect solution.

My personal relationship, of course is one to be envied.  It is completely equal, and nurturing.  I never play those awful games that some people play.  That wanting the person to be closer, until the second they ARE closer, then pushing them away.  How gross!  How immature.  How WRONG!

I have a perfect career, where my talents are put to use, my ideas and opinions are valued, and my skills are challenged and honed daily.

Of course, eventually I have to wake up.  And while I know logically that no one actually has a perfect life, mine falls so far from the mark that it is completely off the grid.  And, sadly, there is no one to blame but myself.  And I do.  Well.  And often.

So, that is what I need to forgive myself for.  All of the choices I made, and decisions I allowed people to make for me, that made me who I am today.  My kids fight with me all the time.  My house looks like Tina Turner’s hair most days.  I have no personal relationship.  I have no career, I have a job, and not a very good one at that.

On good days, I tell myself that I can still change any or all of these things.  I can build better relationships with my kids, establish a loving, caring personal relationship, get a better job.  The question is, if I don’t do these things, can I forgive myself enough to be truly happy with the life I have?

I believe

I believe:
– We each are responsible for our own happiness, and that no one can make someone else happy.
– I was born to be a mother.
– We can learn a lot of valuable lessons from hard or painful situations.
– The most important things in life can not be bought, and have nothing to do with money.
– There is good in everyone.
– True beauty is found on the inside, not the outside of a person.
– I am a lot stronger than most people give me credit for.
– It is vitally important to laugh every day.
– That sometimes smart people make stupid choices.
– Mistakes are a part of living.
– When we know better, we do better.
– Starbucks coffee, when combined with best friends, has healing properties.
– Love never makes people sad.
– Tears are not a sign of weakness, but they do make you stronger.
– Some of the most unexpected events can bring life’s biggest blessings.
– Age is nothing but a number.
– Wisdom comes with maturity.
– If you don’t take control of your life, you are a spectator, not a participant, in life.

Nine years ago

Exactly 9 years ago today, a little baby boy was born. This was no ordinary little boy though, this baby was sent with a very important purpose. He was born into a family that had experienced heartache and loss, and had come to heal the family.

He was a tiny little guy, but had a huge spirit from the very first minute of life, and that spirit has grown along with him every day for the last 9 years. Today his family is complete, and he is the light of everyone’s eye. Without exception, everyone in the family lights up when he walks into a room.

He is sensitive beyond his years, this little man child. He has an understanding of human emotions that surpasses my own, and true compassion for all. He has a truly generous nature, rushing to share even brand new birthday toys with his brother and sisters. He is a natural comedian, his stories, though often a bit long, never fail to leave everyone in laughter.

This special child has been the most incredible gift any family could ever hope to receive, and I am proud and honored to call him my son. Happy birthday, Bug. You are loved more than you will ever know.

A Bad Mommy Day

Today was a bad mommy day.

My usually sweet, sensitive, caring Bug got in trouble in school today. Apparently, my 8 year old Mr. Sensitive called a little girl in his class a “fat slob”.

Oh. My. Hell.

Where to begin listing my problems with this? There is the fact that I make a very conscious effort to raise my children to be sensitive to others feelings, and until today, thought I had done the best with Bug. He really is an amazing kid most of the time. This is the child who, just 2 days ago made everyone in our house sign a peace treaty, promising not to yell or fight with anyone. He is always the most verbal when I ask how he feels about something. Actually, he is usually the only one that doesn’t run away when I ask about feelings.

Bug is, by far the most sensitive of all of my children, the most like me, and someone saying that to him would devastate him. He has been known to get teary eyed because of a dirty look. Honestly, I cannot imagine those words coming out of his mouth.

I have had a weight problem my entire life, a battle that has led to food disorders, body image issues, diet pill abuse, and terminally low self esteem. I have always tried to convey to my children how badly words like fat can hurt, how the damage done by those words never goes away completely. Coupled with the recent case of a sweet young girl killing herself because of the torment of constant bullying by classmates. No, I don’t think that this is on the same level, but could it be the beginning? I know that words hurt, and wounds from words don’t heal. It breaks my heart that my son has done that to another person.

So, as a punishment, Bug wrote a letter of apology. He told her he was sorry, that he thought he was joking. I felt better after he wrote the letter, and after a LONG talk from me. I thought we made headway, thought I had demonstrated good parenting. As I sat to write this, a disagreement escalated between Bug and his sister. As I listened, my hand frozen above my keyboard, I heard it. He called his sister a fat pig. It is definitely a bad mommy day.

Words

I love words.

If you happen to know me in “real life”, you can attest to this. Do I not talk more than anyone you know? Do I not start conversations with random strangers in grocery store lines? Do I not say goodbye at least three times before actually hanging up the phone? Send text messages that could be novellas? Would I not talk to a TREE if left with no other option? Yeah, that would be me. If you don’t know me in “real life”, the fact that I have a blog might be a clue. I love words.

This is why I was so upset today, when reading some amazing blogs that I have fallen behind on lately, I found out that a school board in California has banned the dictionary! Apparently, the dictionary has a definition for “oral sex” and cannot possibly be useful for a fourth and fifth grade research library.

I have a fourth grade student. I haven’t asked him, but I am reasonably sure that he has no idea what oral sex is. My roommate has a fourth grade student as well. Again, I have not asked, but I am reasonably sure she does know what oral sex is. I am equally sure neither of them have looked the term up in a dictionary.

I am not sure why one child most likely does know and one likely doesn’t. My son is rather immature for his age, as the youngest of five, I think that is common. Her daughter is the youngest of four, and very mature for her age. If my son were to ask me what it was, I would most likely tell him, because I believe in answering these types of questions honestly as they are asked.

Now, I should pause here and explain that my parenting style has been criticized more than once. Mostly by people who have no children, but occasionally by people who do. I don’t believe in bedtimes, I encourage my children to question authority. Respectfully, but question rather than blindly follow. I also don’t think the world is going to come to an end if my kids are really angry and use a “dirty” or “bad” word. When I was a little girl, my grandmother told me that words like fuck or shit weren’t bad words. They were ugly words, that shouldn’t be said, but words like hate and war are “bad” words. Perhaps that is why I feel the way I do. I have a tendency to let the words fly myself when I am angry. I don’t like my kids to say those words because I think it makes them sound rather stupid, and my children are all amazingly smart. They will get in trouble with me if they use words like gay, or fag, or queer as an insult. Luckily, that rarely if ever happens.

My point is this. We can ban books, we can make words taboo, we can shelter children to amazing lengths, but what are we accomplishing? Perhaps, instead of taking things away, instead of hiding the things that make us as parents uncomfortable, we should talk with our children. Maybe we should look up dirty words in the dictionary together, as we all did as children, and giggle with our children over the tantalizing definitions, then explain them, discuss their thoughts. Maybe then we will truly be acting with our kids best interest at heart, and we can make this world the kind of world we all keep saying we want.

The Group

I really don’t know how to write this post, tell this news that needs to be told. My writing skills are seriously lacking to convey the horror and grief that a family I don’t know is feeling today. I need to try though. I need to try my very best, because yesterday these parents became part of a group that no one ever wants to be a part of, a group that I am also an unwilling member of. It is the group of parents who had to bury a child.

I heard the news late last night. A friend of a friend was killed in a car accident. She was very young, only in her early twenties. She was just beginning her life, and now she is gone. I feel horrible for the tragic waste of such a young life, I am devastated for her friends, my heart breaks for her young boyfriend. I feel deeply for them all, but this post is not for them. This post is for her parents, because last night the world ended for them.

I don’t begin to say I know how they feel, because they are in a very personal, private hell right now, and I don’t believe it is ever the same for any parent facing this kind of horror. I do know that today, and the days that follow will pass in a painful blur. I know that they will notice that the sun still rises and sets, that cars still drive down the road, that their neighbors still go to work, and be amazed. They will be absolutely shocked that for everyone else on the planet, life still goes on. Perhaps that will anger them in the days to come. Maybe they will want to scream, like I once did, “how can you just keep going like nothing changed! Don’t you know NOTHING will EVER be the same?” The truth of those words pierce me still, because for me, and for them, nothing ever will be the same again.

In the days and weeks to come, these parents will have to make a new normal for themselves. They will have to re learn how to shower, eat, sleep. Much later they will re learn how to smile, later still, laugh. It will be different, forever.

I don’t know these people, and I have no reason to believe that they will ever read this blog. One day, though someone else might, someone who has become yet another member of the group no one wants to be in. For these parents, for every parent in the group, I wanted to write this today, just to say I understand.