Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A kiss is still a kiss

 I just finished a book, Eleanor and Park, which (full disclosure it was Young Adult - but hey I was once young and now I am supposed to be an adult .. but still feel more young than always adult) was just such a trip down memory lane.

This time of year with summer ending and school summer I remember those days of those first "I will die if I can't be with him ... I am dying he doesn't like ....Oh please I'd rather die than be with him" romances.

There was awkwardness in them and if you are me .. well there was sarcasm.  Nothing will keep you from getting a big heartbreak if you can crack a joke, pretend you don't care, laugh at your own unruly hair (this before the word frizz was commonplace it was just weird) that doesn't ever flip in a ponytail that every commercial told me it should in the 70s and 80s.  The 80s were a huge hit with this girl - that giant hair, made even bigger with Aqua Net was now in style - those flippy hair girls were getting perms and not even close to my natural needs it's own zip code do.

I have always liked boys, possibly one of the many reasons I have always understood homosexual is not a preference after all I did not know why I liked boys - but liked them I did.  I mean really liked them.  I liked being their buddy and I liked their boyness.  As I got older I realized I wanted to hold their hands and overlook their boyness.  You know their maybe a little late to the game of deodorant moments, their amusement with bodily functions and noises, their lack of focus ... those were not annoying it was what made them well boys.  The deodorant part was a deal breaker though - you can sweat but ya can't smell like you did.  I loved when their voices changed.  Most of all I wanted some of them to like me.

So we did all those things girls do - that in many conversations with men friends I have found that they 1) didn't always notice 2) didn't always get 3) wished we would not have been so elaborate just a smile and yes would have sufficed in most situations.  I, however, cannot help it but am all girl in that respect.  I filled journals with thoughts on a look, the way they didn't look, the oh he likes my friend tear stained ones and of course the ones that came, went, left a scar or barely a mark.   Then I remember when it actually happened .. beyond the stares, the awkward say what you want to put your tongue in my mouth ewww moments, the missed kisses on both sides ... the real deal.

Ahh a kiss is still a kiss like Bogie says - I still remember the best kisses ... the ones that could not end even though they had to .. the ones that made you silly prior to it actually happening ... where you were so nervous that you may have even giggled (or in my most embarassing moment I snorted, like Chrissy Snow snorted -- he laughed so hard it took us a while to get back to the moment).  In a world where sometimes all things are rushed to what some consider a main event - there is something to be thought of to stop and think about a kiss.  The anticipation as two people get closer and the moment it first starts as it builds up .. it is a main event in itself if it is done well.  

There is something so visceral and memorable about a good kiss that it made me smile just writing this. 
Smooches all!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Making time to be "the couple"

 Ok there is always at least one couple that while I may like them at times make me want to gag a little.  You know they never fight they argue, productively.  She never rolls her eyes at him and he never snaps at her.  They hold hands when they walk to the parking lot after you go to dinner with them, a dinner maybe when at least once wanted to or actully did eye roll at your spouse.  That couple where he comes home and they talk about his day, her day, their children's accomplishments, the answer to world peace and of course how they will together make every decision about their kids.  Once they are done with the organic (or maybe grown with compost in backyard) gourmet dinner they cooked together in their granite countertop, Wolf appliance stocked kitchen they lovingly retire with their cognac to discuss if Homer's Odyssey and going to the Greek islands.  Most of all they seem to make time and want to be part of this duo. 

Yeah - well from what I have seen most of us are not that couple.  My days run more like I run in - drop purse on handle of hall closet and then wrangle kids, if school night "did you do your homework?" "no you cannot play video games on a school night" if not a school night "did you put your swim trunks to dry in basement?" "where are your goggles" "no you cannot play video games on a school - yes, yes I know not a school night".  I spend time between the dinners, because yes we still often have a dinner for them and one for us, and listening to how school/camp went.  After dinner we are busy planning for next day, clothes or lunch ideas if a school night - theme day clothes if camp - mad search for instrument/goggles/where did youngest son hide socks tonight (ok detour why does my younger son insist on taking off socks everywhere but near hamper and rather than take to hamper decide to hide as if treasure?).  All this while catching up with snippets on social media or text with friends who are often doing same marathon of things.  Straighten up and then put kids to bed, yes you still have a bed time even if summer no I do not really care that you are not tired because you will be in the morning.  By now this woman, has wiped down non-granite countertops and perfectly nice non Wolf appliances, is tired because this marathon started at 545 am or so.  The only Homer is the one hit by a Yankee - to which husband has yelled so loud that I got so startled to drop something including the F bomb - the only Odyssey is mine through Siren call of the stuff my kids left on way to putting them in proper place.

How many people are "the couple" truly ?  Not for FB posts or pics but for real.   I think in our social media heavy world there are many times when there is some overcompensation on these sites.  The couples who over gush like "Thank you my goddess, my sunshine, the woman who nurtures my soul for getting me the corn flakes I so desired today" (she got groceries) or "To my husband, my rock, the knight in shining armor who never ceases to amaze me with his incredible skills" (he called AAA when they had a flat).  Maybe the over gushing is what makes me little cynical.  To me "the couple" posts on FB, happy moments but they save the actual feelings for the eye to eye conversations with each other.  

You do not need the nice appliances because "the couple" would enjoy sharing a paper napkin around a piece of KFC.  Whatever your ideal version of "the couple" is - everyone deserves it - that's right deserves it.   What is it for you ? Maybe just the guy you would buy a splitter for, hook it up to your playlist (laugh at the embarrassing Ace of Base songs) and walk around with.  It may take some effort but it should not be work, you and your partner both deserve that.  There are 2 people in every relationship, we will not speak of those were there are more, and they both need to want to be in it ... so go find your +1 and be that couple. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Eternal friendships through the ether

You can easily hear the many cynics and others poo poo the way relationships and communications have evolved.  Yes, evolved - they are not the same as when we were kids, definitely far cry from our parents were younger and before that it's like a different planet.  That does not make them wrong, or better, or worse - evolution means adaptation (seems to be a theory lost on the creationist fanatics in too many ways) not necessarily total change.

My parents generation talked to their friends when they were kids out a window, or outside, or in their houses. I talked to my friends from my apartment window too but it was mostly to just say "Coming right down" or up to the window to say "yes I saw the streetlight am coming back up" -- the inflection for each totally different.   I talked to them on the phone and pre-cell world via notes in lockers during school, or passed ones in class.  On the phone - had this crazy long cord that I dragged away from my kitchen where my mother was likely with bat worthy radar hearing to hear all the things I did not want her to.  I talked while she was at work where she would make "emergency interruptions" - life was tough no call waiting.  I talked on my phone in my room which I loved, where she could pick up another extension and say hi to whoever I was talking to before she told them I had to go.  It was live and long until my ear was hot.  Conversations happened in person, with ice cream or cigarettes and tissues if the boy trouble was at hand or just cigarettes if boy was just in sights.  My kids talk on apps and text they have no interest in talking on the phone.  Much like my parents probably saw the telephone as a more impersonal way to talk, many see texting this way.  The only thing that irks me is that they are in danger of losing their ability to write correctly - that is all I watch for.  Otherwise their social media, texting is just their evolution to communication - not better, not worse, just different.

So as an adult I am no longer that into talking on the phone for long periods at a time.  I will do it during needed times, the sound of a friend or hearing a friend has a different soothing appeal still for me, but overall I do text.   Into this odd social media and texting world where long time friends get reacquainted and families as well as current friends share moments it was inevitable that a friendship would be started this way.  Mine is with my friend Kris  - she is my virtual bestie.  I felt a connection with her pretty quickly and it evolved just as fast and now I consider her a great friend who I can talk to about everything from Scandal (K - that sooo needs to come back soon - Fritz and dare I say even a smidge of Jake longing) to things going in our lives.  She has great insights and is continuously looking to improve herself, though she is pretty perfect from the looks to the person she is. Somehow we have started having these Sunday texathons where we really get to talk about so many things -- I look forward to them.  I find myself texting her at times when I think she will be the one to get the joke or aggravation.

My other super good friend Charles moved far away a few years into our friendship - over 20 years later (wow) and most of it spent keeping touch via letters (still have all of the cards and mixed cds and letters cause they were awesome), email, phone when we could catch each other in time zones and life events, occasional visits and now texts -- he is always in my list of people I am grateful to have as friends even if this friendship was maintained mostly while miles separated us but various methods of communications kept us together.

I have some amazing, close friends who I keep in touch with during our incredibly overpacked but good lives through random " I love ya and am thinking of you" quick texts - planning and rescheduling multiple times the much needed in person times. Distance not an issue when they are always just a call or text away.

This is today's world - shouting out the window turned into a window on a phone where our words come out in text ...for someone like me who often expresses better in writing than in words this is a good thing.  It is not a replacement to old fashioned conversation just an extension through the ether.  Your friendships are as they always have been, some besties, some close ones, some social and some that you smile and nod or in this case "like" their pics or status.  The essence has not changed just the method to keep them has.  This has not replaced the wonder of face to face interactions it just keeps them going in between the times we have to actually see each other.  

See ya later -- or for you folks who mastered more than my limited texting shortcuts - SYL.... and yes once in a while I do miss that handwritten note in my mailbox. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

When Dad says no go ask Mom?

 I know that there are couples that seem to agree on everything - but most of us, well we are not that couple.  That couple I bet do not ever disagree on parenting.  This is one of those topics where people either sigh and nod or proclaim with slight annoyance that this never happens to them. Most of us who have children together have the same ideas about the big things in parenting - or so we think because most people probably do not have long discussions about this until they are in the midst of it.  In our lives where the time for sit down, lengthy communication now has being interrupted by busy schedules and actual parenting what happens when you and the other parent disagree?  I was always of the mantra of a united front - then we can discuss how my husband did something I disagreed with (yes that only works one way because I am a total geek when it comes to parenting too - I ask for advice from my fellow moms, read psych topics on it, books and listen to my inner gut on what I hated as a kid and what I may have not liked but was great to have - he flies by the seat of his pants - didn't say it was wrong just that I disagreed with it). However, the united front was easier as the kids were younger.  Recently I find myself harder to hold back as the boys edge toward become more independent and our rules are less about potty time and more about pre-teen discussions.  It is that I am working with their growth and new needs and like a lot of men he is working to be in control -- I said many, not all men.

Is it that like my own father the kids impending independence and coming teens are met with some unconscious dread so my husband is going to "set the law"?  Is it that he is establishing dominance as they get bigger because they question it?  It is hard, for myself too, to get questioned about so many things you ask from your kids or say no to them for but for me the constant negotiation is when to say yes to foster that independence and when to lead them like it or not to good choices and better decision making.  Kids have a way of getting, not the right choice always, what they want when they sense division in parents - I know from my own experiences, went to the one that was likely to say yes so they could help disarm the one that was going to say no.   So as my sons push those limits and become more of the people they want to be I figure I like what I see and for those things where I need to be the decision maker I will be.  It has to be right for them and not right for my own validation that I am "in charge".  I have told my sons that I am not their friend - yet - that I am their parent and that means that there are choices I will make for them that will make me unpopular now and if those choices will be appreciated later when they are adults and when we will be friends.

The goal we have as parents is to make the kids the best adults they can be, successful and happy in that success, financially independent to be able to have those things in life that balance the stress of working, and good people.  We also have to model for them - so as a woman I want them to see me as an equal decision maker in the house - a partner - for that is what I want them to be with women in their future.  I am not the one that is the afterthought or always the pushover --- but an equal partner.  Our decisions have to be joint and if one of us is not comfortable then that is up to us to let the kids know that we may need to discuss further.  The things we say and the way we say them are the foundations of those adults we want our kids to be and how they treat others and themselves.

So what's the answer?  What happens when you ask Mom and she wants to say yes and the other parent doesn't? What do you do if your partner yells or says something that makes you cringe ? Maybe the best way for us to teach our children how to handle that difference, for they will encounter this situation in many ways in life, is to take a deep breath and address it in a productive way.  I have apologized to my kids if I thought I lost it for something I should not have - how else will they learn to do that when they are wrong - most of all I have learned that their trust is really all both parents need and that is something we cannot disagree on ever.