Tag Archives: Children

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…

Christmas miracles are not wrapped…

Yesterday was Christmas. And it was awesome. Absolutely perfect. I usually hate Christmas, as I chronicled last year. But, this year, I felt different. I finally feel like my grandmother is giving me permission to enjoy things without her that I used to enjoy with her. And I know that she is with me every single day; I believe in her presence and goodness a lot more than I believe in any deity most days. This year, Christmas was just…good. Just really, really good.

We didn’t spend a lot of money ourselves, but the girls were spoiled rotten. Grammy and Poppi Claus and Mimi and Nikki Claus went pretty close to overboard, but they assure me that this is their job. My brother and his wife got them some amazing things, as did my aunt Pat. Shawn’s family showered them in goodness… it was goodness from all sides. And in the middle of the boxes and the wrapping, the boops from various toys and the laughter from my girls, it hit me. This is the last Christmas we will be spending as a family of four. Now, I am not a sentimental “things are going to be so different” type of person most days. But this pregnancy has made me into a lot of things that I swear I never am regularly. I am hormonal. I am nauseous a lot. I can’t sleep. I’m introspective…I’m all kinds of different. But as I sat back and watched the nonsense, I realized that this is it. Baby boy or girl FancyPants will be here in the summer, and nothing will be the same. We will have three children to bless every single day, and especially on the holidays when others can bless him/her as well. When you are surrounded by so much love, so much giving, and so much goodness, it’s hard not to get swept up in it. I was a little misty-eyed most of the night (or was that from constant yawning? I will never tell) because I am reminded of how blessed we are. I mean, we really are. We have family that loves us, and our children, everyday regardless. We have friends who lift us up when life gets us down. We have each other; though they say that you are more cruel to the ones you love the most, and we are guilty of that on occasion, we really have each others’ backs all the time. We are blessed. And THAT is what Christmas is about. However, I do know if I told my children they were getting “blessing reminders” for Christmas, they’d probably look at me, dial 911, and have me committed. Now, that is not to say that my children are greedy or materialistic; neither one of them even could tell us more than one thing they wanted even the day before Christmas. But kids know Santa brings presents. Jesus reminds us of our blessings. And though they work in tandem on Christmas, kids need spoiled and reminded of how loved they are every now and then. Jesus understands; it is His birthday party after all!

We were snowed in today, so we got a lot more together time (which you all know we love SO much) and play time with the new toys. And playing “Don’t Break The Ice” for the 1556th time, I realized once again that this is right where I am supposed to be. Sure, my professional life isn’t what I’d like it to be. But I can’t do much about that right now. I do what I can, I apply for jobs as I can, and I am always looking to better myself and further my own education and qualifications. But my good friend told me something, and I think it’s spot on for my life. Sometimes, you have to stop rowing so hard. You have to pull in the oars and let the Universe guide your ship where it needs to be. The Universe never lies. She always does what you need, brings what you need, and takes you where you need to go. This coming year, 2013, will be the Year I Pull In The Oars. I am exhausted from rowing, and I need the Universe to just take me. I believe that is why I got pregnant. This pregnancy is so different, it is so new, and it has really made me quite different all around. And it had to be this way. It had to slow me down, to make me look inside myself, to remind me of what is important. To remind myself that it isn’t about me. It isn’t about how much I work. How much I do. How many hoops I manage to jump through. How many hours I log. It’s about who these little people need me to be. It’s about being the right mommy for each of my kids, so that when they grow up they remember me for what we did, how we laughed, and who I was to them everyday. It isn’t about how many papers I grade; it’s about these three (!) little lives I hold in my hands and heart. And I have to do right by them first. And then right by myself, my husband, my family, my God….and then, only then, can I worry about anything else. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop giving it my all professionally; I don’t know how to not care as much as I do, and work as hard as I do. I just won’t worry about it so much. I will let it happen, as it will happen, as it is written in the Universe. It may not be now. It may not be tomorrow, but it will be. I trust in that. You have to give it up to the Universe sometimes; it’s too exhausting to put it on yourself for too long. You have to trust. I trust.

I have the rest of my life to work my ass off.

I do not have forever to see these moments

15676_10100520289547762_149551046_n 16674_10100520045382072_1325399942_n 734633_10100520289363132_951223349_nAnd these moments will not last forever…
They barely last a few seconds, but they are ever so precious…
How quickly they grow, we forget, we move on…
Life, so fleeting and delicate, will not slow down for us.
We must slow down for Life.

I am definitely not having a third child…

Today, we had our nephew with us for the late morning/early afternoon. And I didn’t mind it. His parents are good people, and he’s a good kid. We actually don’t get to see him much due to scheduling conflicts, etc, so it was nice to have him. It just was so obviously apparent that the dynamic in the house was swung ridiculously in the favor of the kids. There were three of them, and there were two of us. And that, my friends, should just not happen in these parts much.

While I respect those of you who have handfuls of children and do your thing, I do not want it for me. Oh no. I couldn’t hang. The kids were SO good and got along really well. We honestly had zero problems all day. But man, it felt like we were chasing one when we should have been chasing the other. Playing outside, we didn’t know who to look at and who to let go. It was very…new. And I don’t like new. I like old. Dependable. Two children. Two parents. That works for me. I suppose it all comes down to who can handle what. And I don’t really like disorganized chaos. And I liken having a four year old, a three year old and an 18 month old to very, very disorganized chaos. Even when they get along, there is some chaos to it. I don’t know how some of you do it. When he left, I was laying on the couch with my youngest and was falling asleep. I had had it. I was exhausted (not like I am not exhausted every other day), and I give you guys all the credit in the world. I couldn’t do it. I’d be a massive ball of dead.

I also don’t think it helped that he is ALL BOY and my girls are, well, not. He is like the run, jump, holler, truck, train, dirt, run, jump, laugh, dirt type of boy. And while I admire that in him, I am glad I do not have it in either of my girls. Honestly, those parents who have more than two kids, and different genders of kids… whoa. You all deserve a medal.

I like to believe you all look like her… which is incredible. Pun intended.

I cannot believe the dynamic that changes when a boy with trucks and laughter coming out of his ears meets with two little girls… it’s like a major movement of the stars. Something goes out of alignment, and I am not kidding you. It was so crazy. And again, they played great and probably didn’t notice the change in atmosphere. But boy, I did, and I was thrown into the zone. Kudos to you parents who do that everyday.. not for me, friends.

I am glad that I have my children that I have. And I would not trade them for the world. And I am even more glad for the daily reminders that God knows what I can handle, and only gives me what does not threaten to kill me. I truly believe a third child would set me over the edge of reason, and I would be certifiably committed to a home for wayward moms. Or something. I don’t know. But it wouldn’t be good. I will stay on this side of the craziness, and I will not add to this world, that is so dark and scary sometimes…

I would be irresponsible to not mention the terribly horrific tragedy that occurred in Colorado two days ago. A gunman entered a theatre and opened fire on a sold-out midnight showing of the latest Batman flick. He killed so many, wounded so many more. And this, my friends, sickens me. What leads a man to do this? Details come out in droves and I am not going to speculate. All I know is this: this world is scary, sad, and tragic. However, I choose to believe in and follow the Light. And I will always try to focus on the good and not the bad; to consider all the bad without the good would crush my soul into a powder to be blown by the wind. I also know that I do not want my girls to know such fear and darkness. I don’t want them to be afraid and paranoid by every person they meet, even though anymore, it feels they should be. I want them to know joy, peace, laughter, and happiness. I want them to know love over hate. Never hate. For any reason. There are some who don’t believe in God. There are some who don’t believe in the Devil. And let me tell you friends, they are both alive and real in my world. I know Satan shows his face sometimes, and I know some people choose to see it. I know that the evil that is done in this world is masterminded by something that we may never fully understand, and that is good because to understand that amount of evil and hate would destroy who we are. I don’t ever want to think that my children could succumb to such evil, and I do all I can to teach them compassion and caring, love and faith, purity and hope. The only way to cast out hate is to shine the Light on it. I know some who don’t believe, and that’s okay. That is their right. We may not agree, and we don’t have to. But know this:

Amen.

May God be with the families suffering in Aurora, CO tonight, and in the weeks, months, and years to come.

We pray for them…