Tag Archives: caelan

30 Day Writing Challenge, Day Four

Someone who inspires me in 100 words (I set the word limit; it wasn’t prescribed)

Caelan inspires me to be a better person because she sees through the bullshit and tells it like it is. If she doesn’t like something, she says it. If she sees injustice, she speaks on it. She sees the world in a way I aspire to – not for how she WANTS it to be, but for how it is from her view. She is funny and real and honest and raw, and she doesn’t give shits. She has become such a strong little lady in the last few years, and I am in complete awe of her every single day.

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My history will not be HERstory…

It’s amazing what you remember when you realize you are raising a child that might as well be yourself. For me, it’s my oldest.

My oldest is funny. Like, really funny. And she’s sarcastic to a fault (I still have NO idea where that came from). And she’s brilliant, well-spoken, honest, and fun. I see so much of myself in her that I worry for her, and I want to protect her from all of the things.

Yesterday was a big day for us together, and it wasn’t one of those good, celebratory days. It was heartbreaking. To start, I almost broke down into tears when she told me about lockdown drills at her school, and she explained to me that there are bad guys with guns who can come into her school and shoot them. And they have to be quiet or else the bad guys will find them, but then at the drill three of the kids wouldn’t be quiet, and she was afraid if it were real, and not a practice drill, that they would be hurt. They were told they did not do well because a few kids were loud, and she knew what that meant; they failed at simply practicing to stay safe.I was stunned. My eyes burned with tears as I drove; my voice threatened to fail me as we discussed the rest of her day. I had no idea what to say, so I talked about how her teacher will do everything she can to make sure no one gets hurt, and the school has super protection in place to keep all bad guys out anyway. My heart sank into my socks as I realized she knows fears I never knew. We never had to worry about these things when I was in school. There were no shootings in schools. No bad guys with guns came anywhere near schools. No, for me, the bad guys were in school. And their weapon of choice wasn’t guns, it was their mouths lobbing their bullets at me in the form of words, teases, taunts. And I so don’t ever want her to feel like her bad guys are inside of her school, no matter what weapon we are talking about.

I was watching her yesterday at an event at her school. It was some big Fall party with inflatables and a magician and the like. I watched her interact with other students, some of them her friends, others not. And it hurt my heart. A lot. And not because there’s something wrong with her or anything. The interactions didn’t go poorly. But the fact that she has friends, and conversations with them, and this life I don’t know because she isn’t with me all day for me to protect her, broke my heart. I thought back to the conversation in the car on the way to the school, and I looked around. I do not want this school, with its amazing teachers and staff, its clean walls and shiny floors, to be a place where she isn’t safe. It made me ache to think back to my own school experiences, and Lord knows, so few of them were pleasant.

She stood in line waiting for a balloon animal, and she was eating her snack that they had given to the kids. And watching her standing there, alone in a line of children, just minding her own business and eating pretzels was one of the saddest things I have ever seen. And it’s not because she wasn’t talking with anyone. I was so sad because she’s me. She is who I was 20some years ago. And I remember how hard elementary school, middle school, and hell even high school were for me. I was not popular. I was a loner of sorts, but this was not because I wanted to be. I wanted friends, desperately. But socially, I was (and still am at times) totally awkward. People made fun of me, bullied me, because I was smart and had no problem showing off. I wasn’t super attractive, so I was called ugly. I was treated as if I were the plague. I didn’t know how to handle the bullying, so I cried a lot. I spent a lot of time alone by default. This was my entire school career, through 12th grade. There was no end; I knew no way out. I was bullied for the way I looked, talked, acted, was perceived, and I was even given a nickname as a senior in high school that accused me of being a male/female transgendered person. Words truly are like weapons that wound sometimes.

It was every single day. I did not go through one day without something being said to me. It started in Kindergarten with a child poking me in the eye with his pencil and whispering, “Ugly girl” and it went into my senior year of high school where I was voted Band Queen as a joke, and classmates laughed at me for weeks until I demanded my name be removed from the ballot, as everyone told me it was a joke, and I refused to partake. It escalated because I was laughed at even when I tried to stand up for myself; when I walked away I was taunted loudly, as if I was deaf just because I wasn’t facing them. Nothing hurt more than being inside those walls, and it hurt worse when so-called friends would join in, not defending me, but tormenting me as well. I had crushing social anxiety, but I told so few people. I didn’t need to tell anyone; oftentimes, my reputation proceeded me. And I had some good friends, but I had some not-so-good ones as well. I was so desperate for anyone to like me that I never really spoke up to them, never really demanded anything from them. And that was good; they gave me nothing in return. But we’d hang out still after; I just didn’t want to be alone anymore. There were so few I trusted, and the ones worth their salt are actually still in my life now. I could never figure out WHY I was so hated, but that didn’t matter. I was young. The fact that I was hated was all I needed to know.

Now, those trials defined me and made me who I am. And they make me want to ensure that my children never feel that way. But seeing my oldest last night, quietly chewing pretzels, looking around to see if a friend would come by, cleaning out her teeth with her tongue…it broke my heart to realize that she may feel like I did someday. I will not tell her to change who she is to fit in and to fit anyone else’s definition. I want her to be loud and proud and her goofy, smart, hilarious, beautiful self. I don’t want her to be so afraid of rejection, name calling, ridicule, and other kids’ reactions that she forgets who she is and that she matters. I did that, and it didn’t help me deal with the tormentors one bit. I was called every name you can imagine, and I can still hear some of those kids calling me names. And she has been called names already at the age of 6. It fucking pisses me off how cruel kids are, but I can only instill in her confidence (she says these kids don’t bother her because she knows she’s awesome, but I am sure the words hurt) and make sure she knows how amazing she is. Kids are so mean to each other, and I am tearing up writing this, but I can only hope to protect her in any way I can. I have lots of advice to give her, lots of words of encouragement, and I can only hope that my experiences help shape the way I parent her. She is my twin, through and through. She looks like me, acts like me, and sounds like me. I just hope she doesn’t go through her life as I did; I hope she stands tall in her own strength. I was never encouraged to stand in my own strength; I had no clue that I had anything at all worth standing in. But as her mother, it will be my job to remind her, and her sisters, everyday that they have strength that they can use, and the bullies will never win.

This is my job: to allow them to write their stories without the pain that mine was riddled with.
To remind them that they are better than what others deem them.
To ensure they are strong, and that they believe they matter.
To make sure my experiences are not theirs…
But, if they get hurt, to be there for them
To be their champion, comfort,
Shoulder, encourager,
Mother.

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And I pray they stand strong…

Now, the fight against the bully that is standardized testing is a whole other animal, and one that I am REALLY afraid of for all of my children. However, that’s a blog post for another day…

These two knuckleheads…

I can be that jackass mom who, when someone tells me my girls are “so cute” that I simply reply, “I know, right?!” I forget to say thanks sometimes. And I think that’s ok. I say “thank you” after I realize I was a huge douche canoe, but it’s never my first response. I can’t help it. They ARE so cute!! They have been growing and changing SO quickly lately, it feels I can’t keep up.

Ellery has been just growing up so fast lately. She plays with her sister, lets her sister do whatever she wants to her, and never really puts up a fight. Yesterday at my parents’ house, Caelan had convinced Ellery to play “baby and mommy” and Ellery was the baby. So, Caelan had “tucked her in for her nap” with a blanket on one of her little kiddie chairs and a green bowling pin as a bottle. I’ll be damned if Ellery didn’t sit in that chair, covered in that blanket, and pretend to drink her bowling pin bottle. After the appropriate length of drinking time, she gave the bottle to Caelan, told her it was “good” and then tapped her knees with her fingers like she was waiting for what to do next. It was hysterical. And priceless. It was a reminder that those two are thick as thieves, and we will have our hands FULL in the years to come.

And Caelan has just been a little rotten egg lately. She has been arguing with me and fighting me on everything. And it has been annoying. I admit it. But, she is her mother’s child. And she comes by it honest. SO even when I am so close to spanking her bottom (because I won’t actually do it, but know me when I say I have been close this week alone), I cannot be mad at her really. She has inherited her mother’s temper and headstrength (is that a word?). And I can’t blame her. She’s just like me. Poor kid. I hope she also inherits my fight and drive to change the world. Or at least the world around her.

I am so blessed to have the two kids I have. I am so blessed that every single day I get to be Mommy. Some days I don’t want to be Mommy. Some days I don’t want to be bothered. I admit it; I am not perfect. But I know that I am doing one hell of a good job with the girls. Shawn is doing his fair share, too. Sometimes I feel like he does more than I do. Some days I feel I am at work, with my students, with my peers, with my people so long that when I come home, they are huge and I have missed an entire week. I feel bad for those times, but I do not regret them because my work is an equal part of who I am and what I do. I want my girls to see that even mommies have to work hard and do great things because it isn’t only Daddy’s job to do. I want them to see that they are the reason I do what I do; I do not know who they will love when they get older, but I want to make sure there are people and systems that support them no matter what.

I will never give up my work. I will never give up my kids. I will never give up my husband or my family. Nothing in my life is negotiable at this point. I can’t let anyone down; it’s not in my nature to do so. I care and love with my whole heart and soul. And usually when I care about someone, it means they have fallen into the fold of loving them. I don’t blindly care. I want my girls to be the same way. I want them to know they matter, they are important, and that they are my reason for waking every day. I want them to love people like I do. I want them to give love without expecting it. I want them to always know that everything will be ok, as long as they have each other and love in their hearts and lives.

And I want them to know that no matter where life takes them, who life takes them to, Mommy will always be their biggest supporter and advocate.

Because these two faces are the reason there is a smile on mine…

My little pumpkins…

This was after their pretend “nap time”.

I love my little girls.

They are SO cute, right? 😉

Four.

The four it is upon us. Thursday will be Caelan’s fourth birthday, and to be honest, it doesn’t seem real. I’m not going to go on and on about how much she has changed. You all have seen that. Instead, I’m going to write a wish list for what I’d like her to accomplish at Four that she hasn’t quite mastered at Three.

Caelan’s Fourth Year Bucket List, per Mommy

1. Go to the bathroom, by herself, 95% of the time. Also? Wiping her own bottom all the time would be nice.

2. Play with other children consistently without needing to come see me every three minutes. I get it, she wants to know I’m there. She doesn’t quite get it that it is illegal for me to leave her somewhere.

3. Learn to read. (it’s lofty, I know, but she knows SO many sight words, I just want her to throw it all together into reading for real, not word for word on signs, etc.)

4. Enjoy childhood. I know this could be a stretch for my little RainMan, but she is getting better at being a kid. I’d like to see it continue.

5. Stop repeating everything anyone says. I know it won’t happen, but it would be nice.

6. Embrace your inner girlie girl and let me braid that hair on a regular basis.

7. Gain confidence from experiences, not praise.

8. Learn three new somethings everyday.

9. Continue to eat!! It looks good on you!!

10. Thrive. In all things.

I still cannot believe she will be four. Some days (ok, most) she seems so much older than that. And I know that’s because intellectually, she is. She’s so small and spritely, as her name describes.

Caelan \ ca(e)-lan\ as a girl’s name (also used as boy’s name Caelan), is a variant of Cailin (Gaelic) and Caoilainn (Irish), and the meaning of Caelan is “girl; slender and white, fair or pure”.

Her name also means “victorious people” in Ireland, and I suppose that makes sense as well. She is the palest, slenderest, fairest, and most victorious person I know. She has made some incredible leaps in her little life, and she has done it all with the fire and persistence of a soldier. She has done more in her almost four years than most, and has not given up. Even when it looked the worst, she always carried on despite her ailments and physical setbacks. I cannot express my gratitude for her attitude sometimes. Not all the time, mind you, but sometimes. That girl will move mountains. And it’s best just not to get in her way.

I like to say she is my mini-me, and that is true. I feel for her, I really do, when she struggles with social things or with acting her age. I had a hard time growing up with social skills (which I have overcome and know she will, too). I also had a hard time “being a kid.” I didn’t want to be a kid. I didn’t like kids. Neither does Caelan, really. She has overcome a lot of her issues with interaction with kids because we essentially have made her do so. I guess it is so important to me because I see how important interaction with other people is to success and just general well-being as citizens of the world. And I want to stress that to her: no one can do this all alone. But I think she’d be just as happy in her own little world. Which is why I want her to start reading so bad, so we can build her own little world and love for books and literature together. That won’t do much for her social life, but hey, I can’t MAKE her love kids…

It seems surreal that in less than 25 hours I will have a four year old. I am planning on soaking up every minute I can with her on her birthday. This day we celebrate her. We celebrate her life. We celebrate her spirit. And most of all, we celebrate the fact that she is our slender, white, pure and fair, victorious little warrior. And that, my friends, I hope never changes.

Happy Birthday, my little Nert. I love you more than life.

She will dance among the stars, and befriend the moon…

My silly little Nert…

These lips and eyes just kill me. They have been the exact same since she was born…

Could she be any more beautiful??