What FOOLS we MORTALS be!

What FOOLS we MORTALS be!.

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What FOOLS we MORTALS be!

Thank you Shakespeare for providing part of the motivation for this blog….I am not as happy about the reason I am so inspired to write on this one.  Since April, there have been 11 deaths of wonderful and giving people, I have a relationship with each person affected by these deaths…to watch them journey through that has been a learning experience for me.  Last night, the last death came the closest to my own home and family.  Oddly enough, each person who has passed, has been male…weird.

The last person was a wonderful man….a director and artist, a mentor and teacher.  He gave me a safe place to wander during study halls and lunch, spewed sound advice and good humor, and challenged my voice my senior year.  I remember the moment he called me out specifically.  I was auditioning  for my last high school play and it was a musical…”The Cotton Patch Gospel”  I was terrified to sing, I loved to sing, but i had received such ridicule from my classmates early in my hs career that to open my mouth to sing for others inspired gut wrenching illness.  Comments of how bad I was banged through my mind as I recall classmates chanting how terrible I was and how I did not belong in choir..”who is the worst of them all, cindy is.”  I can still hear them.  I remember my choir teacher telling me I would never be a vocalist, never carry the beautiful tone that so many of my classmates did…I fulfilled her prophecy by scoring at 1+ on my senior solo at contest…BOO YAH!  The night that I auditioned, the vocal portion came and I simply opened my mouth and sang.  This man, a director I had known as a friend for years looked at me in amazement…and said “where has this voice been hiding all these years.  how come no one told me you could sing, with a natural vibrato most girls would kill to have.  you have a beautiful voice, cindy.”  He called me by name, he asked, and then he complimented.  He gave me the chance to sing my senior year…a soprano..a first soprano allowed to to sing in my last production.  I fought him and the rest of the cast who also had solos during that production.  I sang with his son….and my best friend and his son’s girlfriend.  I loved him for that compliment, and I have never forgotten it.  He was good to me.

His passing makes me think tonight.  I know each of his family members and they reflected his set of values and connections.  I watched and listened to him talk of his children and I was jealous of how he spoke of them with such pride.  Although his sons were vastly different people, he treated them with grace and compassion and let them be individuals.  I like that.    His sons remain connected today…that is the mark of a good father.  Well done, my friend,

This latest event has me thinking of my own family.  They are not without their shortcomings and assets.  I wish so much for them, so much that I will never be able to say to them.  Most of the time I wish I could zap them into something they can never be.  I wish we were so much more to one another….I am not sure we will ever be.  The last couple months I have watched the families wracked with loss pull together and support one another…I have also heard the heart cries over family dynamics.  I fear what will happen when one of my parents passes.

We are not connected…I know what it is like to go decades without speaking to a member of my family.  I know what it is to spew words of hate and anger and hurt and hear them spewed back at me.  I know what it feels like to have a connection with a member of the family and then to lose it and try even harder to repair the damage…to no avail.  I look at other families and hear of their escapades, their love for one another…it tears my heart out each time.  It has been years since I celebrated a holiday with my family, years since we have sat at one table and talked with one another.  Years since I have talked to my niece…years since I have looked in the face of brothers that I have and seen them as people, much less my brothers.  I want to scream at them….I want to rant and rail and wave my arms at them, to make them see.  I cannot.  I cannot force them into a mold in which they cannot conceive.  I cannot force them to like me, I cannot force them to love me.    I wish i could.

I wish I could tell them how much I miss them, how much I wish it were different, how sorry I am for what we have done to one another.  I can’t, the damage has been done.  Angry words, violent tempers, fear, and stubbornness have driven wedges between us that even close friends can’t overcome.  I wish I could tell them how much I need them.  I want a mother who is proud of me, who would hang with me even if she were not related to me.  I yearn for a dad…a daddy who would talk with me, tell me that no matter what, he is proud of the woman I have become and that there is a part of me that will always be his daughter.  I wish my brothers and I could talk to each other and knew what we were doing apart from the snippets of conversation we overhear.  I do not know them anymore, except what I may read on a blog, see on tv, or hear from someone else.  Likewise, they do not know me.    In my gut, I shoulder much of the blame, feel most responsible for the discord, this I must let go.  I fear the time we have to plan for a funeral, the thought keeps me awake at night–knowing we will likely tear each other apart–irreperably.  We have done a disservice to each other and our children.  Would that I could repair that.  I cannot.

So many people have told me to let them go, move on, get over what cannot be and be content with what is–to make my own family and my own traditions.  Would that I knew how to do that, I don’t.  What is more, I am terrified to try.  I do not know what it means to plan a vacation and go on it.  I do not know how to plan a family gathering and have people actually show up to it.  I do not know what it looks like to partner with my brothers and their families and do something together, or to take their kids with me and my boys to do something fun.  We are nothing more than strangers that happened to live under one roof at one time.  What have we done?  How do I fix this?  I don’t.

What’s more, I have no idea how to do it differently and it scares the dickens out of me.  What does that mean, anyway..to scare the Dickens?  I know I must do it differently, that I owe it to my children and their children, but at the end of the day, I owe it to myself.  I owe myself the chance to embrace an alternate reality–now how in the world do I do that?  I have no clue.  Family systems theory calls each person to a self-differentiation–an understanding of oneself apart from the system or the status quo.  I know in my mind and in my gut what needs to happen, I have no idea how to accomplish it.  I know I want something different and that may be the biggest admission of all.  For the first time in my life, I want something different–I want more than stunted conversation, past regrets, and anger.  I want a family.  I deserve a family and they deserve me–plain and simple.

This has gone on longer than I intended and I have a big day tomorrow…I have interviews and meetings and opportunities to expand my training and education.  I must needs be present to that.  My redefinition of family will have to wait another night….Unless of course, you have input….I welcome it, more than you know.

Shalom dear ones….

cahl.

What WOULD i say?

What WOULD i say?.

What WOULD i say?

After I posted my Father’s day message to my sons, my mother asked me via Facebook chat what I would say from a daughter to a father.  The question stumped me.  I have no idea what I would say.  As i worked yesterday, I wished each male a “happy man day” knowing that not everyone is a father, but we all came from one in some fashion.  It is the same with mothers.  Not everyone is a mother, yet we all came from a woman and were given life.  So, what WOULD I say to a father from a daughter….let me try my pen at that one….

 

1)  No hitting, kicking, screaming, clobbering, or taking any anger out on your little girl.  Reserve the physical and verbal displays of anger for working out or a good wood pile.–She will remember a lifetime the comments you make to her.

2)  She needs heroes and you are likely to be the first one she sets her sights on, let her down gently when she realizes you are not perfect–allow her not to be perfect too.

3)  Tell her every day that she is beautiful and smart and capable.  She will doubt this most every day the older she becomes.

4)  Treat her mother with all the love and care that you can, she is watching you for the example of the future mate she chooses.  Help her choose wisely.

5)  Teach her modesty in dress, make-up, and hair styles.  Remind her that her worth does not come from what she looks like, but the genuine nature of her heart.

6)  Show her it is ok to work hard and be strong–likewise allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to show your true emotions.

7)  Encourage her to ask tough questions of herself and those around her, encourage her even more to discover the answers.  Be there for her when the answers are not quite what she expects.

8)  Never take chocolate from a woman.

9)  Keep talking to her as she grows up, a time will come when you will feel awkward around her.  Remember this is a tougher time for her, she need not lose her childhood and her father all at once.

10)  Learn the difference to the names: Father, dad, and daddy.  If you are a daddy know why and count yourself amongst the luckiest men in the world.

11)  Become a daddy, she will need one her entire life and will be too scared to let you know that she yearns for one with her whole soul.

12)  Get in the dirt with her…show her it is right to get dirty and gross and smelly–remind her she is beautiful when she does.

13)  Compete with her in games…whether they be sports, mental, or otherwise…do not always let her win.

14)  Do NOT do NOT do NOT go out with her looking like a complete dork.  This will cause endless embarrassment and she will wonder what she did to make you do that to her.  REMEMBER, she is likely to take everything personally.

15)  Take her out on dates, nice ones.  Show her how to expect to be treated.  She will treasure the time to dress up and be treated like a young woman.

16)  Keep talking to her and making special efforts to connect with her as she ages.  She will fight with identity and her place and all the roles she feels she has to fill her whole life.  Remind her to breathe, often.

17)  Take her mother out and romance her…she will roll her eyes and then journal about it or text on the phone for days afterward.

18)  Let her see you cry, do not apologize when she does.

19)  Show her the appropriate way to be angry, keeping in mind controlled emotion is more powerful when coupled with logic, love, and grace.

20)  Teach her to build….campfires, bed frames, book shelves, make sure it is practical and that it can be decorated by her artful touch if she decides.

21)  Instruct her in changing a tire, pumping gas, changing oil, and basic maintenance.  This application will save her tons of fear when stranded on the road alone.  Take her call when she is out there alone and help calm her.

22) Do not tell her not to cry, be there when the tears have ended and she needs to talk it through, no matter how many times she chooses to “re-hash” the same conversation.

23)  She will love animals, foster this in her.

24)  Touch her in kind and daddy-like ways all her life…she will need that re-connection with you.

25)  Laugh with her, calling her that cute nickname from when she was tiny.

26)  Remember how it felt when she placed her little hand in yours, NEVER forget that…protect that image and that little girl as long as you can.

27)  Teach her to stand up for herself, to fight for what she believes in, and not back down from something she believes is right.

28)  Insects are freaky…take them out.

29)  Include yourself in the conversations even when it “appears” she is not talking to you.  She is watching and noting your reaction.

30)  Treat her brothers like the men you want them to be, instilling a strong sense of family and connectedness–support them when inclined to fight for their sister–bust them when they dishonor her.

31)  Do not let her become the “little princess”  boundaries and the word No have to come…gently and kindly with good reason applied.

32)  heartbreaks are real, hers will be no different.

33)  Show her the importance of faith, listen to her when hers crumbles and she knows not where to turn,

34)  Tell her that you were proud of her at every step and that you are even prouder of the woman and/or mother she has become.  Tell her WHY you are proud of her, and mean it.

35)  Offer to hang with her husband or life partner…connecting with her loved ones shows her you are interested in her life.

36)  Ice cream, dipped in chocolate…WITH SPRINKLES!!!!! Lots of em.

37)  Remind her she has a song in her soul that is uniquely hers…help her sing.

38)  Tell her OFTEN, “You are beautifully and wonderfully made.  And. I. Love You.”

 

that’s all she wrote,

from a daughter,

cahl

 

 

Someday you will BECOME…..

Someday you will BECOME…...

Someday you will BECOME…..

I think of my sons this Father’s day.  Let me say outright that I would rather this be MAN‘s day and Mother’s day celebrating Women as a whole gender.  I realize that this won’t happen, so I will advocate for it myself.  ANYWAY!!!!

I think of my son’s today.  I was able to catch up on an ongoing project…I have been writing to both of my children since I knew I was pregnant with them…each month I write to them and keep a running journal of what they are up to, thoughts I have, words from just mom.  My children have not seen the journals, it is my hope that I am able to give them to each of my sons on the day they graduate from high school.  I look back through some of the entries sometimes, I already know I will be a basket case on their graduation day…Ah, mom.  As I think of my boys, I often find myself wondering as to their future.  What will it look like?  What will these active and caring boys become?  Will they be proud of themselves, well-centered and caring men?  I would be lying if I did not say that I hope much for them, that I pray harder for their future than I do for anything else.

I think of the future wives or life partners they may have.  I have to say life partner here, because I cannot assume that either of them will choose one way or another.  I have discovered that despite my best efforts, my ability to control either of them amounts to NOTHING.  I can hope and direct and re-direct, but at the end of the day, what they do is their decision and their responsibility.  I will say that whether they marry or not, the people in their life had better treat them well, or this Mom will have some words.

I embark to impart a few words that I wish my boys to know as they continue to age toward manhood….

1)  You were born as babies, became toddlers, young boys, boys–you WILL become young men and men in the future.  You are not boys in men’s bodies–you will be a MAN someday–embrace that.

2)  Treat your mother with all the respect, kindness, honesty, love, and care that you can.  She will teach you many small and large graces you will need in the future.

3)  Do not shrink from emotion or displaying emotion, even if that means tears.  The mark of a mature adult is the person who can admit emotion and keep it from controlling you.  Face it, feel it, embrace it, and then let it go.  Many a life is ruined by those who cannot let something go.

4)  Understand what it means to work hard, to earn your way by honest work.  Whether the work be with your hands, body, mind, or other part, dedicate yourself to doing well each job you are given.

5)  Do not stop educating yourself–learning is lifelong.  It does not matter if this is in an academic or hands-on learning–do not think yourself so smart that you do not have something to learn.

6)  Remember to have fun…enjoy the outdoors and let it be part of you.  The wonder of creation can speak more to a soul than many a perfect word.

7)  Speak your mind with grace and love.  If you have found something worth fighting for, then do so with all your heart, soul, and mind.  I will back you all I can.

8)  Be kind to children, animals, and each person you encounter.  You have no idea what they may be experiencing at any moment.  Remember there are people who have shown you much grace at times, it is our privilege to give back.

9) FOLLOW through and HONOR your word.  If you say you are going to do something, DO IT.  If you cannot accomplish it on your own, be humble enough to ask for help and allow others to help if necessary.  True community comes when we join one another no matter the situation.

10)  PUT THE SEAT DOWN, and while you are at it, check the toilet paper roll–chances are it’s out.

11)  deodorant and showers were invented for a reason–realize that–often!

12)  Clothes hampers and baskets are there, that is where the dirty clothes go–not right beside it.

13)  If you are married to the person of your dreams, cherish them with everything that you have.  Be real, honest, approachable, and in touch with yourself enough to tell them what they mean to you.

14)  If you are blessed with children, be a better parent than your father and I were…improving by at least 50% over what you experienced.  When you are scared or have questions…ask.  There are people there to help you.

15)  Find someone older than you to be a mentor–preferably male who is not related to you.  In turn, find someone younger than you to mentor–preferably male who it not related to you.  We learn volumes from one another.

16)  Your partner will want surprise gifts, flowers, small moments that let them know you are thinking of them.

17)  Teach the little ones how to spit seeds, blow a bubble, whistle, bait a hook, and field a grounder.

18)  The arts have their place, return to them often and let them fill you.  Remember all those songs I sang to you and for you…there was always a reason.

19)  A handwritten thank you is a most valuable gift, write them.

20)  Give the gift of your time, it is the most precious thing you have to give.

21)  Being a man is not about brute strength, it is about your character and the heart you possess.

22)  Faith is vital.  Share the stories of your faith with your children, let them learn from you.  Likewise, listen to them…they have much to tell you.

23)  USE THE FORCE!  Yoda and the rest of the Jedi‘s were honorable because they depended on peace before violence.

24)  Keep your temper.

25)  Find a hobby, something that is all yours and make it part of you.

26)  The written word–its power is immeasureable–read them, let them wash over you, especially if it something that MOM has written 😉

27)  Family does not have to look the same.  If you are committed to the people you call family, love them, trust them, and would be willing to fight for and die for them….you have learned much.

28)  Do not forget you both have a brother out there–be good to each other.  Someday, you two will be all that remain.  No matter what, do not let arguments or personalities destroy who you are to each other.

29)  Black socks and shorts do not mix…In the same way, white socks and dress pants do not mix.

30)  Ice cream does cover a multitude of owies…keep some on hand.

31)  Learn to say, “I am sorry” and “Please forgive me.”  Allow others to tell you the same thing.

32)  Fresh breath is a part of life.

33)  Let your children see you in all facets of life with your loved one…they need to know you both are human and willing to do what it takes to be real and loving.

34)  Remember recreation is RE-creation for your soul.

35)  Have I mentioned to put the seat down?

36)  Take the shaving remains from the sink and the top back on the toothpaste tube–btw, squeeze said tube from the bottom flattening as you go.

37)  Insects and snakes freak out most girls and women…calmly deal with them, you’ll be their instant hero.

38)  Since I almost this age…I leave you with this one:  “You are beautifully and wonderfully made.  And.  I love you!”

love,

mom.

I Wish I May…

I Wish I May….

I Wish I May…

Not sure what kind of mood I am in tonight, so I will depart from usual ramblings to create an I WISH list….don’t even know what direction it will take, I just plan to write it and see where it takes me.

In no particular order….

I WISH….

Chocolate was declared a food group

Money grew on trees, and those trees grew in my backyard.

My children would stop destroying my house

Time did not seem to fly the older I become

We would understand the importance of family

I embraced more laughter

I could see an ocean

Wood ticks, snakes, and spiders were eliminated from existence

Fall weather and its colors lasted longer

Algebra did not elude me

Words like thong, pantyhose, panties, and jock straps were never uttered

I could hula hoop

All manner of hatred, cruelty, injustice, intolerance, and human and animal abuses would end

I were not afraid of heights, pizza cutters, or water chestnuts

My children understand the joy of sleeping in and taking naps

I did not think Freddy Krueger were not quite so funny.

Prayed more and fretted less

My children a safer and cleaner environment than the status quo

Strength was not measured in what we can accomplish on our own, but within the loving openness of community

Mullets were outlawed

I communicated truthfully without fear of retribution

Our young people loved learning for the sheer joy of adding to their knowledge base

They knew that knowledge is power

We realized we do not have to repeat cycles of dysfunction

Boys knew how to aim in the bathroom better

Said bathroom cleaned itself

I lived closer to the mountains

I had three more wishes………….

No Day REvisited

No Day REvisited.

No Day REvisited

Revisiting the RENT lyrics I spoke of a couple of weeks ago I sit in my quiet livingroom (for once) and aimlessly watch FRIENDS.  By the way, Bruce Willis is one of those men that age soooooo well.  WOW!  Richard Gere, Bruce Willis, and Johnny Depp.

ANYWAY!!! 

     “There’s only us.  There’s only this.”

This screams of community to me and in light of the social, political, and educational climate, I’d say that this is something that deserves some contemplation.  True, the lyrics are sung from one individual to another, but there is no “I” in this statement…it is not solitary…it is unified.  I think there is something to that.  I think we were made to be “in it” with one another.

It isn’t just me on this path, the decisions I make do not just affect me, there are others in the mix.  I know sometimes I forget that, I become focused on one road, one concept…one idea and neglect to realize that there are ramifications to the other people in my life.  Then again, sometimes I focus too much on what I think others would want and expect and end up not doing what I want because I am too busy trying to be everything to everybody.  That is so dang exhausting.  Now that the dust from education time is starting to settle I have a bit more time on my hands, but I have discovered I have forgotten how to do certain things…or maybe I never really learned how to do them.

I forgot to ask…for anything.  I forgot to distinguish my roles, not to wrap my identity in others, jobs, accomplishments, grades, papers, family, and others’ desires.  I forgot to breathe….I think I may have missed that from day 1.

Rather than dwell on that, I embrace some of the words I heard at a training I participated in yesterday

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42E2fAWM6rA&feature=em-share_video_user

There’s only this…only here, only now, only this moment and nothing is more important…figuring out what that means may be one of the most intriguing things I encounter…not on my own. 

will contemplate later.

Shalom

cahl

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