Monday, February 27, 2017

We are not a nation of OR we are a nation of AND - Uniting the United States

Related imageThese days in the US it is near impossible not to be aware of and have an opinion on the current political climate. 

It is actually difficult these days to find ways to not be angry or dismayed on both sides of the aisle when you see how divided the country is.  

There is no blame in that statement for there are ways we can all do better to reach across the aisle and then there are people we have to let go of because longevity does not make a friendship if there is no shared moral compass, no shared vision of any kind, no shared goals.   

What I will not give up on though is my belief that we are a country as the US that is not made of "or" but we are made of "and".

We are the wealthiest nation on the planet by many standards.  We are the nation who was created by  people who left someplace to seek a better future or were dragged here via vile means and still believed that there is a place here for them.  A nation whose contributions and innovative spirit is oddly optimistic and has driven our success.  A nation that can be breached by the very thing it invented, technology, and saved by the thing that makes all feel the greatest parts of our humanity.  A nation that needs to rebuild or damns and walls and roads - without needing to damn ourselves with walls on the road to hate.  We are nation that has the right to secure our borders and ask for immigrants to bring with them their culture while asking them to accept the one we have built.  We are nation that can be mighty and fair.   We can ask for great trade deals and offer them in return without forgetting that our success and the success of nations who work with us are not two separate things.  We are nation that should help our hungry and lead to end world hunger. 

We have money to help veterans AND refugees.  We can screen people who apply to come to our nation for a visit, for residence, for a new life AND still welcome them to add to the fabric of this nation.

We have money to have a good military AND still have a lot of money to help our civilian population - isn't that what we protect and fight for?  We can fund social programs, healthcare benefits, arts AND expect that funding to be handled effectively and not squandered through bureaucracy. 

We have the ability to allow people to worship whatever deity they choose AND we do not have to pick one as better.  We do not have to pick a religion at all AND we can still work toward humanitarian goals of charity, kindness, caring, lawfulness.  

We can love and love and love and make that love legal AND we can choose who that is for ourselves because the OR to love is hate.  

We can teach all of our children in public schools AND demand those schools are funded and brought up to the standards all of our children deserve not just those in a certain zip code.  We can have private schools AND still improve our public ones. 

We can establish laws and jails AND make sure that is not to create a business for those who run the prisons instead of a place to truly protect us from those who mean to do all harm. 

We can have religious instruction in religious institutions AND we can laws made in courts and government offices.   Our laws mean you can practice your religion without fear AND we can practice our personal beliefs without imposing them on one another. 

We can have rules and laws that keep industries in line to protect our environment AND those companies can still make A LOT of profit.  OR they can choose to make it seem not so AND we can choose to not believe their greed. 

We can have people who hunt or want to own guns AND have common sense regulations that at least match those we ask of people to get a driving license.

We can rely on science and it's results AND we can say it is hard for us to understand scientists without saying we don't believe because of that. 

We can use birth control AND we can opt not to.  We can have an abortion AND we can choose not to.  We can adopt children AND we can choose place children up for adoption.

We can have equal rights for all AND embrace the differences in people.  

We have enough money for conflicts AND we should have enough for rebuilding in a Marshall plan way because without an after plan we will just have more conflicts.

We can streamline government and regulations that are redundant AND still have government and regulations. 

We can dislike a person AND not be prejudiced against the ethnicity, race, religion, sex, orientation they identify with. 

We can have voted for someone AND acknowledge what they do poorly just as easily as the things they do well without having to become oddly cultish about it the people we vote for.  

We can pee next to one another in different stalls in the same bathroom AND still enforce laws if anyone breaks them and tries to harm someone in those places. 

We can protest AND be patriotic. 

We can believe in each other and not hold our politicians accountable AND we do not have to like the same politicians to do so. 

We are a nation of ANDs - not ORs.  We want a better future for ourselves AND our children, we want fair play for ourselves AND others, we are fallible and flawed AND we balance each other and make those flaws into opportunities. 

If you are not on board with wanting all of these things AND more for each of us who are Americans by choice or by birth then really you have to decide if you are just not willing to imagine such greatness OR that you have embraced your prejudices instead of your possibilities. 

We really a small blue dot of a planet AND across it we all hope for these things regardless of where we live or what language we say it in.   The people who want to do us harm, who choose to make us feel divided, who foster hate can only win if we allow them to OR we could just stop listening to them AND start listening to each other. 



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.