the Gift which keeps on Giving.

I will never forget the day he came into my life. I admit that when I discovered I was pregnant with another baby only 3 years after my first, I was more than a bit scared. I already loved one child with a love that knew no bounds, how would I ever find that much more for another one? How in the world can I do this twice? The questions swirled in my head…how,when, how, HOW!? I know now that every mom struggles with that from time to time, thank goodness– we need not be alone. I also know that with a child, love is a little like jello…there’s always room for more. The same applies for my sons–both of them.

So, in honor of my youngest…..I offer His Gifts which Keep on Giving:
(in no particular order)

1) I was able to nurse him for 10 months straight. What a bonding experience to provide something to my child and care for him in this way. There are times I hold him and remember a many a quiet night in a chair….precious, sleepless nights.

2) He did things in his own way, in his own time. People worried when he was quiet for the for year or so….when he started speaking, there was no stopping him–there still isn’t.

3) He possesses a calm peace about him which instantly puts others at ease–including his mother.

4) Ever since entering school, he has taken up his own posse’…he attracts the nice and kind children. I am so glad

5) His tender heart is on display when he interacts with animals and babies. What a sensitive little man.

6) He can and DOES imitate me with near perfect ability.

7) He creatively invents games on a moment’s notice…just give him a lazy susan and a candle.

8) His butt-chin. Nuf said.

9) Have you heard him laugh…once you do, you’ll want him to do it often. He is the only person who inspires me to Belly laugh with gusto simply because I hear him laughing. What a great soul gift.

10) Less vocal than other boys his age, he is a deep thinker, who chooses his comments carefully.

11) His jokes of his own creation are some of the most interesting things I’ve heard.

12) Crystal clear blue eyes that pierece right to the heart of a person….willing you to look deeper and talk with him–they make you smile instantly.

13) If I need frosting eaten, I can count on him–forget the cake, cookie, or brownie itself–just give him the frosting.

14) Doritoes and Hot dogs….sigh

15) Gold fish and star burst-bleh.

16) Somewhat reserved, when he feels comfortable the hugs abound from him

17) Fiercely independent, if he asks for your help, that is a huge compliment. Letting you help him means you have “arrived”

18) His dance remake of “Gangum Style” and “Donkey” from Shrek are priceless!

19) Careful about nature and creation, his love of art, color, beauty, and music he shares with his mother…YES!!!!

20) He knows what love is, knows how to show it, receive it, and give it. He is one of the 2 best moments in my life, I would not be near the mom I am without him. Both of my boys inspire me to do more, be more, and give more because I want more for their future.

There are many other highlights I could name, but some are just for a mom to know. In honor of this, his bday, I give thanks for him and know he will always remain my, Honeybear.

shalom,
cahl

boundaries that bind

 

There are times that the phrase “It is what it is”, angers me to no end.  True, there is an element of release and freedom in that, but there also remain a certain resignation to it.  Does something have to be what it is?    I realize this may be a way existential question for the early morning, but since I am still “Waiting for Godot”, I assume some will let me play with that pun.

I was in a situation recently where i watched an argument ensue over something petty and silly.  I watched and I listened and I recalled all the moments I might have engaged in a similar fashion.  Watching this from a removed position provided me a bit of clarity.  “This argument would be happening whether I was present or not.  These people would be tossing around angry words and frustration no matter the circumstance or who happened to be standing there.”  How liberating for me!  How sad for them.

I wanted to jump in and rescue the conversation, to somehow fix the situation and smooth over the tension.  It was not my place.  That is a difficult moment of understanding, it makes me think of why I would be motivated to fix it.  Are my motives pure?  Do I really want to ease the tension or do I simply want to feel better in this moment?  Would  my assistance make the situation better or worse, and for whom?  Again, these are hard questions with which I wrestle, and I am not sure to what end.

I will say that watching that interaction provided my first AHA moment in a long time.  I remembered thinking that if this would be happening with or without me, then maybe much of what I based my perceptions on were false.  Yowch.  Could it be that what I took on as blame had absolutely nothing to do with me?  If that is true, what do I do with my recent discovery?

A little over a year ago I sat with my full adoption report from the state where I was adopted.  I saw all the narratives about my early months, know all the information about my biological parents, saw the reports surrounding my birth, life, and placement in a foster family, and finally–my adoption.  To say that this was the hardest read in my life would be an understatement.  I looked at it in the first week that I had it and have not referred to it since then.  There is a section in it that describes what an adoptive family would want in a baby, more specifically, the baby they would want to adopt. I smile as I read the wishes and hopes…and then my smile faded as I realize the baby that was described was the opposite of me.  The traits and personalities desired did not match up with what I was told was true of me.  The wishes would never realized in and through me.  I was and am not a calm and quietly complacent person with a lily-white past from biological parents who were simply not able to care for a baby at the time.  In fact, the opposite is true.  I remember reading that description and feeling ashamed–feeling like I had let down the family who did decide to adopt me, guilty that I could never be a pocketful of wishes that any parent would want.  I am what I am, I was what I was, and I can’t change that.

Reading those words hurt like so many knives in my chest, knowing what parents wanted and what I was and the fact they would never match is quite burdensome.  the questions bombarded my head.  Did I waste 37 years trying  to be something or someone I could never be?  Probably.  Did I push and push and push myself to fit a mold that was never cut for me?  Definitely.  Would my adoptive family looked and treated one another differently had I been more of some and less of other?  More than likely.  Can I change it now?  Not for all the money in the world.  Would I change it if I could?  Quite possibly.  Does the answer to the last question hurt worse after admitting it?  Most assuredly.

The moment of that fight mentioned earlier and the descriptions I read a year ago play into each other.  They both could serve to further bind and weigh me down, or I could look at them from the inverse.  ( think all your training on inverse fractions here)  Could I turn the concept on its opposite end and embrace a different answer?  I admit, I loathe math with every fiber of my being….but once I learned inverse fractions and grasped the ease of flipping at least one element, it sure made solving the problem 100% easier.  I could actually solve the problem instead of banging my head against my math book.  Once I learned them, I got along  happily with them and enjoyed working the problems.  NOT that I would embrace pages of them today, however.

That long diatribe on inverse fractions is to say that I am beginning to toy with the inverse of reactions.  Do I need to continue to punish myself for what I could not be–do I ignore the fighting that had nothing to do with me?  Am I ready to consider new boundaries that allow me room to move without guilt and shame?  Am I ready to embrace a blanket of health that covers function rather than dysfunction?  Although the latter feels safer and more what I recall, the inverse provides more room.  Am i ready to clip the ties of bound guilt and fear?    Only my reactions will tell.

Shalom dear ones,

cahl.

 

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.

Go! Embrace your Liberty….

There is a scene in one of my favorite movies, ( yes it’s a chic flick–DEAL with it.)  Little Women.  In the scene with Susan Sarandon as Marmee and Winona Ryder as Jo, the two interact about a trip to Europe that Jo’s younger sister Amy, has just landed.  Keep in mind, Amy is the youngest, daintiest, blondest, and by Jo’s standards, prettiest…Brunette thinkers, you know what I mean.  Amy has just captured the dream Jo had for years and in a fit of remorse and anger she flops down on the bed to talk with Marmee….It’s a beautiful scene, and as I play it back in my head, I can see it clearly.

Marmee is absently stroking Jo’s hair while she cries a bit, lamenting the loss….”

“Well, of course Aunt March prefers Amy over me. Why shouldn’t she? I’m ugly and awkward and I always say the wrong things. I fly around throwing away perfectly good marriage proposals. I love our home, but I’m just so fitful and I can’t stand being here! I’m sorry, I’m sorry Marmee. There’s just something really wrong with me. I want to change, but I – I can’t. And I just know I’ll never fit in anywhere. “

Marmee:

Oh, Jo. Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life? You’re ready to go out and – and find a good use for your talent. Tho’ I don’t know what I shall do without my Jo. Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. 

If I could kiss Marmee in this moment, I would.  This interaction brings tears to my eyes each time I replay it…somehow it has ingrained itself in the midst of my soul, and try as I might, I cannot rid myself of this scene.

As a mother, I smile softly at this direction, knowing full well that my boys will want to fly away sometime soon.  I see it happening little by little already.  Gone are the days when they need me desperately, and while that feels good in the sense of freedom…my lower lip trembles a bit when I think of the years spinning away from us.  I want to call out to them to WAIT, stay here with me, let’s journey this together….But, I can’t.

On the flip side, I feel intimately Jo’s comment, I always have.  This need to fly, to bust out of the ordinary and DO something.  I write about it, talk about it, dream about it, and try to talk other people into experiencing it too.  Most people just nod and smile at me like I have lost my marbles.     Those are the times I feel like someone is patting me on my head and playing into my childish fantasies of adventure.  Other times people wonder why I can’t be content with what I have.

Well, I spose I could, but that would be antithetical to me, to the essence of who I am.  Therein lay the struggle.  I deeply resonate with Jo.  I love where I grew up and the people with whom I have related.  I love the rooted grounding I have received, the education, and the experiences of being in the Midwest and country life.  But, like Jo, I am restless….wandering aimlessly until that moment that feels like magic.  I try to fit the molds, and those that know me best have heard me speak of this till the mold is blue in the face!!!!  I have tried to chip away the restless and uneven parts of me…they still don’t fit a mold.  I have tried to envision a life that is quiet and certain and safe and controlled, it makes me feel like I am trapped.

I worked at a convenience gas station the last 2 days…yup.  Graduated from Seminary and I am working for minimum wage at a till—I am a certified teacher too….try that on for size.  ANYWAY!  I worked the last 2 days, about `18 hours (give or take)  I tried to think that I could do this day-in, day-out…I could be content to do this…to walk away at the end of the day and not think about anything and be quiet.  I could greet and smile and serve..I could.

But.  I. don’t. want. to.

That sounds selfish.  I hear myself type that and I think, oh hon, can you hear how trite you sound?  The thing is, if it were my children saying the same words, I would send them on their way…without remorse, without regret.  Marmee does just that with Jo.

Jo wants to change, to fit the mold, and Marmee gives her permission to break free…to GO!  Embrace your liberty!  I want this MARMEE!!!  Maybe I am looking for someone to give me permission…maybe I want someone to look me in the face and tell me it’s time to GO.  Maybe.  Maybe I want someone to tell me that being safe isn’t always right…that to live a life of purpose is to live dangerously….to love dangerously and to rebel against the social injustice and hatred that is prevalent.  Maybe I want a guarantee that there will be people there, ready to embrace me no matter where the road takes me.  Maybe.

Or, maybe I am scared.  Scared that a life of extraordinary means hard work and sacrifice and a constant feeling of wanting more.  Maybe I do not know if I am strong enough to handle it…that I never had it to begin with, or that I will let people down in the end.  Maybe I am scared of being able to do it…of feeling like it is time to Go and that means leaving the safety of the known…as cumbersome as it may appear sometimes.  Maybe I am terrified to Go.

I can’t imagine what Jo was thinking after her mother told her to embrace her liberty.  I have never heard someone say that to me, much less a parent.  Here is her mother, handing Jo her dreams on a silver platter….willing her to take the leap of faith-admitting her pain at her absence, yet tells her…GO!  How can you expect to live in the box when you have been otherwise gifted…..I yearn to hear that…maybe I have and I have been to deaf to hear.  It certainly wasn’t easy for Marmee to tell her, nor for Jo to act.  She had to, and her mother knew it.

I am not sure what my writing today is about…a jumbled jigsaw of thoughts.  I tried to sort them as I worked today, thinking back to my high school and college days at grocery store work.  I came by the interactions naturally, was a hard worker, and kept the position and grew into more leadership.  That often happens when I am somewhere.  It isn’t long before the “quick study” morphs into another position and usually one of leading or managing….so many instances of “could do”, so many “you should’s”  Most people will read that and think I am egomania personified.  It does not come from ego, it simply happens.  Try as I might, however, I just could not envision myself at a cash register for the next 30 years…and I am sorry that I can’t.  I want more than this provincial life (thanks belle)

Thoughts, questions, comments, rude remarks?  Please?

Shalom,

cahl.

B00005UL6A?tag=movitraifilmi-21&camp=1406&creative=6394&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=B00005UL6A&adid=1V63FK6ABCBJY4CNHGZ1&

Pride, it Goeth.

Pride, it Goeth..

When the screams give way to blood….

I spoke with another Gen Xer, father to 4 children, accomplished career man and husband the other day.  Aside from the stimulating and intellectual conversation was  the general banter of children and their antics.

I giggled when he mentioned the 3 boys in his house and the fact that his wife thinks their daughter is far more work than the other 3 combined.  I laughed as I contemplated my life with girls instead of boys in my house.  I have to confess that I have no clue what i would do.  I shake my head as I sit and hear my boys taking off after each other and screaming that they plan to maim the other one.  I cannot count how many times I have reprimanded either one or both for jumping off, on, and over the furniture.  Within minutes of a house or table being cleared, it is all a jumble again….the bumps, slugs, farts, belches, and all other manner of bodily functions get quite old, especially at the supper table.

There is never a day that I am not asked at least 10 times what my favorite Star Wars clone warrior is, or which of the Dark side characters is my all time favorite. I can name most of the X-men, in fact one of my children is named Xavier.  I know to wait to ask about a Lego ship before it is complete as to its purpose.

I think the most disturbing of the behavior is their propensity to strangle, beat, climb on, and basically wrestle one another to the ground at every possible moment.  I do not understand the need to turn every item in their hand into a gun, I do not know why they must terrorize the dog…This gentleman seemed quite  non perplexed by my quandary.  I have never taught them to fashion everything into warfare or a gun.  I truly felt like I have done something wrong as I watch these 2 boys try to kill each other on a daily basis.  He laughed at me.  May I repeat, he laughed.

He laughed and told me that it is something innate within the male nature.  WHAT!!!!!  You’re saying that for the next 10 years I will referee the bumps and clunks and navigate the ER doors as I bring in yet another broken bone?  You mean no new furniture or precious breakables to adorn my house?  Seriously???  Indeed.  As he mentioned that he has 3 boys, he listens to their screams and comments…once he can tell that the brawl gives way to really trying to hurt one another, he intervenes.  Wow.  So, men and boys need this type physical bopping each other alongside the head?  They need to wrestle each other to the ground in order to tell each other they love their sibling?  Really?  Do they outgrow this habit?  Rumors confirm that is not the case.

HHHHm,,,,. so what is the mom’s approach and solution?  I know not, but I guess for now I will keep a large bottle of Tylenol and ace bandages handy.  In the meantime, all you with girls, keep your flat irons and midol in easy reach…something tells me this parent thing is a bumpy ride.

Shalom Y’all

 

%d bloggers like this: