Monday, February 13, 2017

Loving you is easy cause you're beautiful

Love, love, love .. every year I find myself defending the St Valentine's Day holiday when all I want to do is expand it to a monthly event.  

Let's get the commercial aspect out of the way - cute, over priced for the most part, seems bit of a push if you haven't been all that great to think a card better written than any feelings you have will fix it, did I mention over priced?  Yet there are the occasional musings on a card that say just what you are thinking, there is something in getting a small token that makes the recipient smile and really save the cash on the flowers for much better quality ones throughout the year.   

Now that that's over - a random gift means a lot to me, price not even a thought, but one that says hey I walked by a place and you were with me in my thoughts.  

Aside from the cynics need to push back why are there so many people so annoyed with this holiday? Could the world really not use a more than one day to just stop and say you matter to someone?  A day where you send a note telling people those things you may have not, "well they know how I feel" so what if they do, think anyone tires of being told they are important?

If I had to get rid of a holiday I would say I would get rid of groundhog day - I mean seriously let the rodent alone and let's use something slightly more scientific than his shadow to worry about winter. 

What is wrong with a day dedicated to listening to the ridiculous songs that make you roll your eyes but you know every lyric to, to being grabbed for an impromptu spin while your partner croons in their best voice to you and off key or not it makes you smile, a hand held while you cross a street or just maybe something done for you that you normally do for yourself. 

You know what's wrong with all of this ? NOTHING.  The people who want to complain am sure can find something to complain about on any day.  There is nothing wrong with this and no every kiss does not begin with Kay's (actually let's face it, takes more than kissing usually to get the bling but am pretty sure that's not gonna fly as a commercial - often sex ends with Kay ??) but good kissing is as good as any gem.  

So on this day go out, write that bad Roses are Red poem, get a little naughty in the card, tell someone they mean something to you, say the love word to anyone you do and haven't told enough.  They may know how you feel but they may not always understand their importance to you. 

It is good to add a special holiday to a short month but maybe you add some special to every month... love should also start with you, love yourself first and expect only the best for you much like you give to everyone else. 

Happy ❤️  -- happy loving - happy kissing and most of all smile and put it out there, the world could sure use it seems.  

Monday, February 6, 2017

And then some days you are just not sure

Image result for parenting confusionIf you have read any of the blogs I have written in the past, if you have not you can from this link, I often use this space to process my own parenting skills.

There are days when I get the "you are the greatest mom ever" from my boys and then there are moments where I just know, sigh, that I have no real definitive clue on what I am doing but I do know I could have done it better.

You have to add in, if you are trying to be self-aware like I am, those things you carry from your own childhood, the projections you place on your child and admit there will be times when you do something exactly like your parents.  Both good things and yes some things you cringe and think f^&k why did I just do that when I hated it ?!

I am a person who struggles with weight.  I do not know when this struggle started because as a young child, could be living in a Communist bloc country and the lack of variety of food had a lot to do with it, I was not an overweight kid.  Actually I was an underweight kid for a long time because I suffered with tonsils until 3 and could eat very little.

I do not remember noticing my weight in first grade in Romania and it is not because we did not notice, as I also distinctly remember the mean jibes the three kids in my class got from other kids and worse from the teacher for being slightly more padded.  I do not recall them being severely overweight and the horror of these memories revolve around the teacher in particular that we had calling them out on it.  I am glad times have changed because that sucked for them and I am sure had some impact on the rest of us, knowing that it was not something you wanted to get attention for.

There are numerous pictures of me when I first arrived in the States and while I would have described myself a chubby if you asked, when I look at them I wonder why did I think that.  I am not a skinny kid but I am not overweight.

By high school it was something I hated and again I found my graduation picture and where is that heavy girl I swore I would see?  I did have friends who were teeny, tiny sizes but there were plenty of girls my size (and hey these size D boobs did nothing to help with the "skinny" look) or bigger who were not fat either.  Yet I know it was a big deal to be thin, to be a certain size - but I have also always liked good food and diet food has yet to seem appealing.

By college I lost weight on the I have money for cigarettes and going out diet, not much left for actual food  - not recommending.   You are thin but your health and your lungs are giving you the finger.

I have struggled with body image, with how much I weigh, lose, look like.  I have gotten to a better place with it in the last year, where I am looking to lose some weight but not obsessing about it.  I cannot tell you how often I have changed before I left the house because something showed more of fat area than I was comfortable with.  I cringe at the image of me without my clothes, I am glad I do not have to date new people and have that added burden to contend with (you know is he going to make a face when I take it off, mood lighting is code for I do not want you to see me).  The only way you know the number on my pants would be if I told you and who cares, better to be my size and fit than the smaller size and I look like they are a torturous device.  I am working on my own cringe.  

I who do not like classes, tolerate the gym in small doses and miss walking through the city because walking through the 'burbs is snoozville have found one activity I love - tennis.  Of note this city girl also finds empty streets and wooded areas much more frightening than anything the city has to offer.  Tennis I love, I found a coordination I would have sworn did not exist, I look forward to it - I actually make plans to play and miss it.  It could be the outfits, it could be the people I play with, it could be the fun times I associate with the times I get to play with a friend who coaches me.  It is awesome and yes it took being in my 40s to find it. 

Is it any wonder that I do not know how to approach my son who is gaining weight in a way that concerns me ?  Who has no affinity for the gym or exercise for the most part ?

I mean how do I do it without all the negative stigma I associate with the comments my own parents had for me.  My mother thought she was helpful, my father thought he could point out the shame and difficulty it would bring me.  I heard none of that - I heard you are fat.

So here we are, the long road to this blog topic, how do I parent a child who needs it in a way that it is at 80% well received?  I want him not to be the one laughing at his weight when others tease him because that is the way he can control the hurtful situation.  I want him to want to lose the excess weight because it is better for him.  I want to help him understand before his teens that changes that he makes do not mean deprivations.

He was not blessed with those metabolism genes, you know the ones that some people have where they eat and eat and oh yeah eat and I listen to them tell that story and gain weight.  

Some days I am the "greatest mom" but many others I am the I am trying my best mom.   I decided to approach it as a health and lifestyle choice.   I am hoping those who read this who know him understand that he would not want to hear "advice" on the subject unless he approached them for it.

I am going to work with him as I work with this for my own issues,  with getting into better shape.  He knows I started weight watchers and I love that he said he has no idea why I need it.  

The struggle with body image is real for boys and girls.  The struggle with parenting to make it better is real for all of us who want to do this parenting thing as well as possible.   I do not know if others have kids in this predicament but any ideas are welcome.  I have these amazingly confident kids who just seem to want to keep being great - I just want to give them the tools to do that.  I wish for my son not to have this be such a big part of his life, the way it was for mine, while never losing the fact that it is important to manage it well.  I guess I want him to manage his weight not have his weight manage him. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The pink coat

About 17 years ago I had a job at the Hospital for Special Surgery helping a new physician set up his practice.   He was a really nice guy and he understood that his expertise was in surgery and helping patients and the other "stuff", and there is lots of it, was mine.  

I had been there just setting up his insurance participation and starting a schedule for office visits when he came in and told me, on a Friday, that in a week a physician from Pakistan would be using the desk behind mine and he would be there during his time in the States.  

This is full confession time I was not thrilled, ok I was eye rolling.  Really it was a small space, the extra desk was perfect for all the insurance forms and xrays I needed to spread out and did I mention it was a small space?  I just pictured this middle aged guy, who would think I worked for him (which I was not asked to do), from a country not exactly known for it's women as equal stance sitting behind me.  My space on the desk was gone and so was my personal space.   I got over myself by the afternoon and cleaned up the area.  Maybe he would be cute, maybe I was wrong about him by the end of the day he was Omar Shariff to my Lara .. ok minus the part were Lara was a woman who slept with gross men to get things.   If you have no idea of the reference Google "Dr. Zhivago"... ahh now you get it.  

Monday I walked in and settled myself, it was cold as in New York cold.  That is the kind of cold that seeps through your jacket, that makes your face freeze as you run from subway to office.  We New Yorkers pretty much complain about the weather but the seriously cold and the seriously hot and humid bring out the New York angst that you picture from every bad movie about us that you have ever seen.  

There I was when a young man, glasses, smile plastered on walked in and I thought maybe he was a patient, it was the Pediatric surgical section which saw people in college even, but what struck me the most was his coat,   It was a pink woman's coat.   Now many places this may have raised an eyebrow but in New York hey one more gay guy in a pink coat gets no attention.   

He introduced himself - my Omar Shariff not so much maybe his grandson at best  - and with his smile I knew I liked this guy.   He is handsome don't get me wrong.  Though why he stood there in said pink coat was a bit baffling.  I asked him to hang it and I may have made him a little nervous since he could not master hanging it up on the hook.  Maybe a blonde woman, in a new culture was not exactly all he expected.  I was no Lara either. 

Everything I had thought was WRONG!!!  I had the pleasure of knowing him and then some of his friends.   He made me laugh and wanted to be a great office mate and even more than that he wanted to bring his intelligence and medical skills while getting what the US promised - opportunity.   I can think of many times when we laughed together, when he left me in the middle of sentence on a street while he followed a pretty girl never approaching her, when he and I chatted about what a Muslim was, where he shared his family's devotion to education ( PhDs for both parents - ehem not doctor doctors - yeah I gave him grief for that).   He and his friend Nabil taught me to appreciate their culture while being open to experiencing the many NY had to offer.   

No one who met Nabil and Saf could do anything but like them, my friends wanted to be their friends.   

I introduced them to the beach and was impressed that considering they had come from a culture that demands modesty in dress they never once said we should be like them.  I tried to teach Saf how to swim, I still am apologetic for almost drowning him.  We learned from each other because there is much to Pakistani culture to admire as well as I had to pepper them with Romanian drops.  After all we New Yorkers the tossed salad of the world, flavor in each individual ingredient but really best when tossed together. 

Saf and I have kept in touch all these years, via email, text, FaceBook and his multiple stops on his way to his current head of orthopedic surgery gig.  He is not in NY.  Along the way he found a great woman to marry and they have 4 amazingly cute boys.  

I am often tempted to send him a pink coat because it symbolizes not only his beginning here, or our meeting but rather who he is.   A young man who came a little ill prepared for the weather here whose landlady gave him a coat and he took it gratefully despite the fact that it was obviously a mismatch.  

I turn to Saf without any hesitation for medical advice in his field of expertise and I am humbled by how he will be there for anything I have ever needed.  He is my Pakistani brother and I would open a can of whoop ass on anyone who ever treated him with anything less than the respect he deserves. 

On 9/11 as the world fell apart for those of us in NY I worried for my friends' safety, for my city's future and I worried that maybe someone would look at Saf and Nabil and not see them but instead see a place to hurt someone who they connect with the terrorists.    I worried for them as New Yorkers who were experiencing the same pain.  I worried for them as doctors who express such compassion for human beings and to see this was devastating.  We all fell apart that day, some never came back and we mourn them, and others were the spirit and goodness that always are bigger than the hate in those planes. 

As immigrants we share a special gratitude for this new beginning we found in the US, where we worked hard to add to the country, where we had our children who we trust will do great things.   You cannot ban immigrants based on random, discriminatory criteria you should only ban those who want to spread their hate both native born and from other places.  A nation has to secure it's borders but it should never close it's heart.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

With a rebel yell...

Image result for women moving mountainsAs I learned history, which I love, or saw it on the big screen or maybe read it in a book I know I had often found myself wondering "what would I have done?".

My two favorite movies since I was a kid have revolutionary female characters and story lines. The first one is "Grease".  We think of the 50s as this time where everyone was all happy, going to the HS rally and virginity for women was a prize for a man's taking.   The "good girls" and the ones who followed the rules were the popular ones right?  "Grease" kicks that on it's ass - the girl gets the guy by being in control, by embracing her own sexuality. The side stories include premartial sex, talk of not keeping a possible pregnancy and healthy disregard for being the same as everyone else.  The movie ends with her singing "you better shape up .." to him so he could meet her needs.

The second is Dirty Dancing.  Besides the fact that we all learned nobody puts Baby in the corner, it is about the dangers of illegal abortions, about men not taking responsibility for getting someone pregnant, for the hypocrisy of judging by class instead of by character.

I mean really what are the chances that I could be a conformist?

Would I have marched and risked my life to ask for the right to vote that men had ?  Would I have succumbed to fascism or been a resistance fighter ?  

We all like to think that we would have been on the side of right but that is always looking at it from the comfort of learning about something rather than being in it.  All of the above required massive sacrifice.  Many of us think we would have fought against those obvious wrong things because of the progress those movements brought us to, it meant often going against everything and everyone that you held dear.  

So here we are at a time when for many, like millions many, of us the actions of a few scream that they want to drag us back, to infringe upon rights that we have taken for granted because we did not imagine they would still be an issue.  

How could I not be part of speaking up when one of my favorite quotes is a sad reminder of what could happen if we sit silent.

It is my mother's fault that I am such a rebel.   It is actually the fault of most of the women in my family and the mothers of my close friends as I grew up.  They are incredibly subversive.   They are the resistance.   My father also was a rebel he tried to leave Romania at 9 because he was against the government so seriously it's in my genes.

I think of the stories my friends tell of their mothers and they, just like me, may not always appreciate the small acts of rebellion and the underlying subversive nature of the impact these acts had on their children.   These women changed us so we could change the world in big and little ways.

Women have done small acts of revolt against the status quo for a long time, setting examples in their own homes to those impressionable children they raised.  I see this in the friends I have.

It is my friend the compassionate physician who treated all his patients with the same level of respect and care regardless of their gender, orientation, or race who was raised by woman who believed in the best in him so he lived as such.   Imagine at the time when "I Love Lucy" debuted, his mother decided for herself that she wanted red hair too and she did it.  Seems so small to so many of us but picture it then , this was money her husband earned and she did not go back when asked to change it. She showed her husband and her son that women do not have to shout to be heard.  That her opinion mattered in a time when too often the opinion of women was the echo of their husbands.  Her granddaughters are leaders who inspire because she inspired them.

I think of my other friend who took charge of her body and became a personal trainer in her 40s.  In the process getting into better shape than she was when we met in high school.   Her mother was always in charge at home, on the outside a traditional woman who is an amazing cook.  A Catholic woman.   She never let her older daughter feel alone, not when she got divorced, not when she changed her life, not ever.  She empowered her daughters to be who they want to be, to speak their minds and to know they cannot compete with her pizza making skills.   Their own children now are truly exceptional.

There is my own mother who left her life to go on journey with my father and start a new one.  She was often told no, discouraged, her kindness taken for granted.  My mom believes in people, is pro-choice and pretty much sees no reason a woman cannot do something a man already is.  She may not always like my opinion but she has never told me not to have one, though she is my mother and is known to give me the opinion I should have.  She is a revolutionary for saying hell no to a government that was a brutal dictatorship.  Her grandsons are often told they are kind and compassionate, they for sure got that from her.

There are my two friends, siblings, who are incredibly vocal and unrelenting in their pursuit of their passions which include law school, human rights, business careers, arts and most of all open hearts.   Their mother defied the odds and went back to school, got her dental degree, all while raising two girls as a single parent.  Role model whose grand-kids are being raised by those two daughters to think nothing is impossible.

My best friend's mother was always smiling when I saw her but boy if you ever got on her wrong side you better duck and roll.  She was someone who married a man many years her junior, something that is still given too much stank eye, back in the 60s.   She demanded a lot of her daughter but because she knew her daughter was meant for greater things.   She smiled and laughed a lot but was there for sure if you were about to have a good cry.  She called it like she saw it and she was a role model for what authentic looks like.  Her daughter is the one you want in your corner because she takes to causes and does not let go until an injustice has been corrected.

There is of course my tri-Athlon racing, help the kids of this town, go back to school after 40 to get a degree from Columbia University friend.   Her mother decided to follow her heart and leave her marriage for another woman back before these things were not news and get her law degree.  Her daughter learned from her that if you follow your heart you will be successful.

These seem small or maybe insignificant but they are not.  They are the glue of women who say we are worthy of our own opinions.  There are the big acts like Rosa Parks refusing to move her seat. These are the everyday struggles that still plague women globally.

It is not elitist to understand that those of us who have more of a voice have to speak up for those who do not.  That we appreciate the rights we have fought so hard for and won and are using them to do things like vote, protest, organize, donate and advocate.

I want to honor the women like my mother who got a divorce when enough was enough because she understood her self-worth.   These women who may have not always raised their voices raised children who are caring about themselves and others.   Who may not always agree but can align on the need for better things for the world not just themselves.

There are so many examples that I could go to but that would be a book not a blog.  You did not need to march, no one called anyone out for having a different belief because your choice not to march, not to have or to have children, to work or not, to marry who you love, to be able to be the CEO of a company or the CEO of your home is exactly what we marched for.

Even in our silence women have often moved mountains and at some point in every one of our lives we find we cannot be silent any longer.  Some of us love men, some women and we do not want to have more than the opportunity to show you what wondrous things we too can do.   We will not look back when we know the future is forward so if you cannot support us, encourage us, empower us to help others and add to the fabric of this world well then please just sit down and let us walk by. Remember we raise children and as you can see above we leave a lasting impression,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Teach kids to jump

These are tumultuous times we are living in.   The constant barrage of things being put forth that lead to shouts and protests.   "It's not fair .. person X is not fair.... person Y is mean".  I am talking of course about raising kids and particularly a boy throwing distance away from 13.

I listen to my son and his friends and the things they protest and find utterly against them seem so trivial and frankly ridiculous to me as an adult.   A teacher raising their voice but not really shouting. Practice that interferes with their ability to do nothing or hang out with friends.  The rules of the house around screen time and not eating sugary snacks as a meal.  These things are just NOT FAIR.

It is the age also were adversity in life is just all consuming, they discuss it with each other, a mini union that has yet to get up on a desk with a Norma Rae sign but getting there.  Discussing, organizing, rating those in their lives that are deemed tougher, work that is harder than the stuff that they can just easily learn - these are matters for full on kid union meetings that happen via group texts and angry emojis.

Of course adding fuel to this fire are the hormones.  You know those pesky things that are coming for your child so that there are tears in their eyes when they cannot find the shirt they wanted to wear today.  The ones that lead to walking away and mood swings that come fast and furious.  The sheer enormity of how difficult life is and how NO ONE understands, especially you the parent.  I mean you did not of course experience any of these things.

I recently dismissed one of these "it's not fair and this teacher" complaints from my son and then went to pick up his younger brother who was excited to tell me about his day.  At 10 angst is not yet on the defcon scale that it is for tweens and teens.   I left a very disgruntled child at home who had also rolled eyes and walked away pretty much as equally distraught at my lack of understanding as he was at the situation.  The drive is not long enough for reflection, it is done as a treat both boys get when I work from home, I got there a few minutes early and I sat in my car and thought about my reaction.

How could I expect a child to open up when his important, oh my god moments are not taken seriously?  These things are all to his world and I remembered they were all in mine at his age.  The drama I felt as a girl at that age, that awkward age about what I wore, what I looked like.  The vast hours spent with friends discussing these same topics and how I know we never really shared them with our parents.  We didn't because what could our parents add to the discussion and more so we had parents who tolerated this type of "non-issues" with strong words about how lucky we were.   We were lucky but it wasn't so to us then.  We were in pain, struggling and most of all the lack of fairness we talked of, the meanness of rules and teachers was about our growing up yet being given so little control.  We were angry because we wanted to fly and we were still not butterflies yet - just like our kids in a cocoon for a while longer.  As parents we hope that cocoon is made of reinforced cloth, as kids of gauze.

I thought of all of this and I also knew my reaction was also based on my person dislike of what I see as a trend in too many parents these days.  If there is something a kid dislikes, an obstacle, an inconvenience or any perceived challenge too often they step in and remove it.  I am not talking of legitimate situations were a kid is in harm's way or in an activity beyond their current capabilities which they would fail if we did not help them.  I am talking about complaining about a test grade and having a parent take it to the principal because their child said they should have done better.  The times kids are yanked out of a sport or an activity because though you committed and paid good money for it they "don't like it".  The times when a teacher or coach is tough on them, demanding but not demeaning and the parent addresses the adult rather than helping the child understand what the person is trying to help them accomplish, that they see more in them and that's why they are asking for it.

My son had felt the result of my pure annoyance with this parenting and it was not fair.  I went back and I apologized.  We had a good discussion where I shared my perspective on what I thought was just being blown out of proportion by he and his friends.   That at times a teacher in school or in an activity will push them, make them uncomfortable and that situations sometimes are unfair or harder than they need to be but they need to be conquered.  I told him I wanted him to learn when it was a hurdle like on a race track, that you can trip over so you need to learn to run and jump over to go over vs when it was a mountain and he needed the mom bulldozer to help.

I believe in teaching my sons that through life's difficult moments is when we learn of our own strengths and convictions.  I tell them that what they see as unfair is really the result of frustration on the part of teachers who are just done asking for the umpteenth time for the same thing to be done so they may be louder.  We talk about the difference between truly unacceptable behavior and just teacher's annoyance.  We talk about how good their lives are and what true obstacles look like.

All of that is good and we need to teach these things to kids how to deal with adversity because in life they will have it and it will either break them when we are not around to fix it or they will bounce back and jump over it.

I went back home and the other thing I told my son was that he was 100% right.  That these are big things and that his feelings were not wrong.  That teachers sometimes suck and so does being a kid with so little actual power.  I told him that I remembered those days and how much time was spent with friends doing everything he and his friends were doing only texts were notes left in lockers and the phone got your ear hot for being held there so long discussing and dissecting the events over and over and over and over again.  Those things that today most of us as adults no longer remember and some that we do.  I told him a few war stories and he laughed because hey maybe mom did sort of, kind of understand what was going on.

We talked a lot that day and we talked of ways to get over some of the things that were frustrating him and I told him it was ok to be annoyed, angry and hormonal.

We cannot fix it all for our kids nor should we.  It is good to learn from defeat and beat odds but mostly it is good to know I am here to listen, to commiserate, to be honest but never to dismiss that as the "my world will end"  literally but  that it is the end to them for that moment.

"It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine" R.E.M.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Image result for I hate youI remember being a kid and watching some show and the teen on screen shouted "I hate you" ran off, slammed door and the parent looked upset and then knocked to see if they could go in. 

What?????? This girl grew up with Eastern European parents "I hate you" would have led to serious repercussions, slamming doors - too scary to think about  and a parent knocking still chuckling, as if!.  Who were these people who parented this way ?  I mean for sure TV writers were way out there - not the experience of the mostly immigrant based parents I knew.  Hell doors meant nothing to them. 

I have never told my parents I hated them.  I know I thought I hated them at times.  I mean my mom I more "hated" her in typical angst "you just don't understand me" and the fact that she was a woman who was so different than the woman she was raising in terms of my independence.   My father I "hated" because he did not appreciate the fact that I was growing up and because his narcissism made him manipulative and mean.  Yet while thoughts with words that will not be repeated went through my head at various times and snarky attitude paired with classic passive aggressive teenage "whatevers" were said, the I hate you, run out slam door just did not happen in my house. 

In my own parenting I have come across the run out from my boys.  I struggle with it.  Do I let them have the time to cool down, do I go and let them work through whatever we are doing with me and not alone, are they entitled to that privacy that I too have asked them for? You know the one you as a mom have said "you need to leave me alone for a few minutes for your own good..." - trust me it is for their own good, 

The one rule I have asked to be followed is that they never shout "I hate you" at me.   I cannot control their thoughts (no you cannot though you can help form their thought process) and they will hate situations and when I help them make the right choices but they cannot say they "hate" me.  So far, and we are only at the 12 year old stage, hasn't happened.

Hate is such a harsh word and so overused because we feel it is ok to be that dismissive, that harsh, that frankly mean to another person from our parents to strangers.   Hate diminishes both the person who says it as well as the person who is the recipient of it because it takes energy, it is the word for hurt, anger, powerlessness.  Hate should be reserved for situations and for those who create those situations.   Maybe we use hate and it's energy to dis-empower them.  It is not ok to tell your parents you hate them even if you think well you saw others do it or you saw it on TV.  

We work really hard at being good parents, talk to one another on how to be better parents, are dedicated to making life better for, easier for, way more about the kids than previous generations because our parents did the same compared to their parents.  We are fallible and sometimes unreasonable but we are madly in love with our kids and deserve no part of the word "hate". 

Part of growing up means being against those things that keep you a child and being a parent means stepping back a little to appreciate that kids need to do this.   

I treat my children with respect and part of that respect is telling them that I love them especially when they least seem to deserve that moment of affection.   The sense of confidence, happiness is what kids that get praise (yes we love hearing praise) from other parents and teachers seems to be pretty tied to parents who have set boundaries that are not about being in control but about teaching these future adults how to be good people who add to the world.  One of those things is dealing with what kids don't like and as much as a part of me was fascinated by the storming off, door slamming, "I hate you" screaming tv characters the truth is teaching kids to deal with adversity and learning to make their case is more the reality I live in  Empowering them to be better than that is hard but hearing those words would break me and they know that and maybe the fact that they know that and don't use them so they don't break me means I am doing pretty damn good for now in this parenting gig. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

See ya 2016

I am having a hard time with knowing what direction to take this blog in as the year ends and a new one begins.   There is a part of me that is just so despondent on a political front, seeing the wars around the world, the general state of too many poor children who do not have basic necessities, the attack and continued rage people display at others differences.  It is hard to not want to write the blog as someplace to air these feelings - to share with others that feel the same - and maybe even to have it reach a place of dialogue with people who are on the other side of the spectrum.

I started this blog and I am still eternally grateful for the friend who started his, then stopped, who told me that there is never a reason not to try it.  It was a place for all those things that bind us, a place for shared experiences and most of all a place to add a little humor to day to day occurrences that are in many ways universal.  Motherhood, friendships, lovers, loves or just plain how the hell do you get through folding laundry fatigue - or is that just me ?

As I started to think of writing the last blog of the year I went back through the blogs I have written and with quite a bit of feather fluffing on my end (yes I made that expression up - yes you can use it even if it is in jest) I love that I have over 22, 000 reads.  I mean I never imagined that it would reach that.  Then I looked at who reads this thing anyway, besides my super awesome friends and especially a core group of loyalists that I never tire of hearing from when they tell me they liked one of them.   It is people from all over the world - I mean ALL over the world, beyond my circle of friends.  I have gotten the best notes from people who I never met who connected with something I wrote.  I have gotten a few less than loving notes too but to those I responded too and somehow we did not need to be uncivil, in fact they led to some good dialogue.

We accuse each other, rightfully so, in an age of fake news and memes as truth of also having a social media presence that is an echo chamber.   This is so true - after all how else can we feel as brilliant on some days as to see others cheer on our beliefs, because hell they believe them too.  The downfall to this is that we stop hearing from the other side,  we stop the dialogue and even stop - you know interacting except with people like ourselves.  What a miss this is - I live for learning different views, information, expanding my little corner of the world and even when I don't agree with someone I find a good, robust, heated discussion is great - the polar opposite of the advice on don't talk about politics, religion, sex, money.  Talk about all of it because if we cannot be civil with one another we are losing the opportunity to be more than we started out.

So where am I going with this blog in 2017?  I am going back to those things that unite us.  My most successful blogs, based on reads, seem to confirm that I am right to think we share so much more than we don't.  That the world has more in common than not.  That we all lose it, then breathe deep, when say a child leaves a pen in their pants and you get ink on clothes and have to wash them again.  That at that moment the idea of stabbing said child with said pen is a fleeting thought.  That you get most of it out with hairspray, dabbing (no not the kind all these kids are doing) and OxiClean.  That you tell said child he is lucky that you took the deep breath and that you wanted to stab them with said pen and boy aren't they lucky to have you for a mother who did not do that.

I am going to focus on things that may seem trivial but isn't it the day to day, more mundane things that most of us share and just want to survive?  Things like that most of us are sad at the death of celebrities that we like even though we know that well we do not really know them.  Maybe they are the soundtrack to a portion of our lives. An actress who rocked a gold bikini while chained to a lecherous blob and did not lose her sass.  We mourned the passing of a man who was a Prince then was a sign then was just simply a trouble person who happened to be a brilliant musician.  We mourned the passing a boxing legend who wasn't always a nice guy but was always willing to stand up for what he believed in, his strength in his convictions of fair play made him more a world champion than those gloved boxing hands.

We share sorrow at loses on a personal level.  Are touched by kindness from others and in the end are parents, lovers, spouses, friends, children and people who just want to laugh, scream, kiss, dance, sing and be present.

In 2017 I am going to take back my optimism and bring back the blog to being the place where a mom born in the 20th century is just trying to raise awesome kids for the 21st century.  Yeah I know I will have the occasional rant because hell it is who I am but I love the saying that you can change the world one random act of kindness at a time.  What could be more kind than welcoming 2017 with those things that bind us for the future ???

Thanks for reading and please keep doing it -- goodbye 2016 you sure have been memorable.

Happy New Year