Silly Threats

Just the other night, I attended a party for my granddaughter. As I sat back and watched her play, engaging all the guests, younger and older classmates, she was full of joy.  For her, it was not about just her upcoming birthday or the gifts; it was about the fun of having everyone there, spending time with kids and the fun activities planned with care.

Some of her dance team also attended. They twirled around in circles, all laughing, giggling and holding hands as only little girls can do without anyone thinking it is weird. Young enough to not be so harshly judged is a wonderful thing about youth.  Her face was lit up, full of hope and promise for the night and for the future. 

As I sat there, next to my son, we were both silently watching her engaged with
everyone. She was  just laughing and kind of admiring her birthday decorations and all the joy around her. I couldn’t help but comment to him what admiration he must feel for how she is growing into such a happy young confident little girl, looking some days like a young lady. 

During those few moments, we shared some of our fondest thoughts of her there, intimately.  It is as if she felt our loving eyes on her, as we chatted. Before too long, as if on cue, she broke that chatter up,  as  she skipped over to where we sat,  pouncing in her dad’s lap and arms for a barrel hug and a big kiss on the cheek and then ran off. Onward she ran to grab some more life moments, as I watched her, the similarity of her dad seemed to melt away, like it was yesterday, or today, as her dad still does that, minus the skip!  

Being positive is not always easy for parents.  When things are rough around the edges, especially on a harrowing day, parents let their guard down and their worst behavior comes out, just like with their kids. Too often things are said that are more harmful than good.  One of those comments are telling children that they hope they have a child just like they are when they are acting up at home, getting in trouble at school or not paying attention. This is said as if paybacks are a good thing, a way of furthering the punishment on your child.  In reality, this is not what any of us truly wants.

This came recently when I read of a parent that had said these words to her daughter when her child had been a teen.  The mom was dismayed when her daughter got exactly that with her own daughter years later.  She found herself, as a grandmother, on the end of a phone call, much like the ones she had made to close friends, with similar issues she had muddled through with difficulty During the call, grandma’s words played back in her mind, her threatening her daughter, shouting “I pray you get a daughter one day just like you and have to deal with things like this!” She felt a tremendous sense of guilt, wondering if, in the back of her mind, she had something destined this to happen or been responsible for it.    How she wished she could take it back and how sad it was that this was replaying.

I too am guilty of having said this a time or two but have lucked out that neither of my children have had problem children.   There are far more effective ways and things to say when behavior is unacceptable.  We are, too often, habits of our own upbringing repeating what was said to us, not bringing a chain but that doesn’t always make it right. 

This line had virtually no effect on getting my children in line.    Ironic, I spent more time telling my children how they could accomplish anything that wanted. Hence, they did and both have done extremely well. So what kind of threat is this anyways? And for the child that is troublesome it is far better to implement strategies that reinforce boundaries and find outside intervention if needed if a parent is unable to keep a child under control.  Some children simply do not want to be controlled at all.

Becoming grandparents changes your perspective even more.  Watching adult
children having babies of their own and seeing little ones develop and grow is eye-opening. The last thing on earth grandparents want is for their adult children to learn things in the parenting realm the hard way.  Thus, we want them to have easy children to raise, kids with no problems, no issues, no health concerns, all fingers and toes.  Parents want their children to enjoy the child-rearing years, even if they have a strong-willed child or one with some health or mental issues, to get through it without too many struggles. 

In the same vein, sitting back and hearing stories grandchildren excelling in school, moving new hurdles, and mastering accomplishments is delightful.  The furthest desire any grandparent has is wanting children in their bloodlines to fail, to be trouble-makers and not thrive. The opportunity to see improvements in future generations shows continued improvement in parenting skill sets, learned lessons put to work and drawing from the good. Anything but that is not as rewarding to a parent.

I have learned, as many of my friends have, that the last person who wants to take your advice is quite often your children and the spouse of your children. In children and in particular, adult children’s eyes, you know nothing and they are amazed they came out okay, inspite of the fact you raised them.

We discuss this as friends and couples as seldom do they truly know, behind the scenes the sacrifices you went through, all the teacher conferences, the financial woes, sleepless nights, etc so that they could have the best life you could provide. The measuring stick used to evaluate you as a parent is harsh often times, not nearly as soft as the one we use to look at them as parents of grandchildren. However, adult children will listen to other grandparents so consider this advice to those of you that read this! I would suggest the line you have probably heard wishing your children have children like them when they are acting up, take it out of your vocabulary. Or if you do use it, use it with a positive connotation.  For if indeed you recognize your child is a blessing, wish them a blessing also in their future!  For that blessing would be yours as well! Pray that you could be so lucky to be twice blessed! Teach Your Children Right 1st Time


Children in a Safe House, Their World Should be One

When I was a kid things were just as bad is a line I use to hear often. Then when I was a parent, I am certain I said it myself. Well, times they are a changing, as I heard on old reruns many times growing up. In this day and age, it is true. I am not 100% sure history completely repeats itself.  We did not initially inhabit this country we live in now called the United States so we should not take our freedom and civil rights liberties for granted.

Children these days face many challenges none of us have ever had to deal with. The reality of violence in schools is more real than ever. We may have had our share of bullying.  We may have been talked about at a party, or over the phone.  This day, due to the advent of the internet, being picked on and ridiculed happens 24/7. It has become the new norm.  It is inescapable to its victims.

Studies have shown time and time again that words are very harmful, mentally and verbally.  The abuse these young people suffer can lead to feelings of anger, depression, lack of confidence, withdrawal of feelings, even mental illness in extreme cases.  In some instances, it can lead to drug abuse, shootings, runaways, rebellion, and delinquent behavior that parents can’t control.  We did not have to deal with having our classmates ruin our entire lives 24/7.

The violence that is happening all over our country in schools is nothing less than unacceptable. Having teachers concerned when hateful students that are full of animosity threaten them is making it harder to recruit good teachers and students to be concentrating on what they are there for, to learn.  Worse yet, the elusive student who is aloof and seems disturbed and is being picked on can be the child that can turn on his classmates on a dime.  How do you safeguard your child from the possibility of this happening in school?  You can’t obviously so then what is the best way to instruct them what to do if it what seems utterly insane to me occurs, a mass shooting in their school, a place that should be safe?  Being a grandparent, I simply shake my head in shock that such a conversation would have to occur at all ever happen in America.

Watching my grandchildren this past weekend, I was even more so affected by hearing the news in Paris than I would have been sitting in my own home.  Something about this particular situation really hit a nerve in me. Here I was, in my son’s home, with darling innocent 5, 6 and 7 year old children that could be representative of children anywhere in the country.  They thrive on living, playing and learning.  They love smiling, laughing and living each and every day.

They had gone in the other room to play in their rooms abit and their grandpa turns on CNN to get the world news.  What we are met with is shocking images of Paris violence.  This is in sharp contract to the beautiful mantel below the tv screen all decked out for the holiday season, complete with angels in gold.  We are both spellbound watching the news and reading the tickertape line at the bottom of the screen. Then we snap into reality and flip the channel and within minutes the youngest grandson walks in the room with his armful of boxcars for his beloved train.  While are worrying about the safety of the world, he is gathering his train pieces so he can put his train together in the family room and begin his long journey around the countryside. 

Literally a minute later, in walks my grandson with an armload of trains in his hand, lining them up on the floor in front of the fireplace by his hand-made Santa to pretend he is the conductor.  His innocence of his face, his smile and his simple play in sharp contrast to the horror of the images that had just played out on the large screen television over his head just minutes before.  I had an urge to pick him up and wrap him in my arms to protect him from anyone evil out there hurting him.  I wanted to pick up the phone and call my son, his daddy, and say I love you quickly lest anything happen to him. 

I can only imagine how his parents must feel inside with all this violence in the world, balancing the need to protect your child with the knowledge that there is only so much you can do.  And so you pray, you vote and you stand up and make your voice count. And you live, live without living in fear for we all deserve that. 

One thing for certain there is to learn from all this chaos going on in the world that is truly inhumane and crossing borders of all countries, take time to love on those worth loving.  Recognize our world can be harsh and don’t be so quick to say we had it just as bad; we did not have some of these things hanging over our heads children have to deal with.  Older children have a sense of the world’s conditions too. How unfair to be raised in this environment for them.

 These images being shown of violence domestically and internationally are atrocious.  We never know, when we turn on television sets to local channels, what images we will be confronted with next and where it will be taking place.   But we know we can’t live our lives in fear, nor can or should our children.  They must and deserve a future, one full of hope, promise and not flooded with nothing but evil images of mankind. 

My grandsons love trains like all little boys.  My granddaughter loves dressing up like most little girl.  All children deserve adults fighting for a safer world for them to play in, learn and grow up so they can take over and be the parents and grandparents one day.   

This holiday season, let’s make a point of changing channels in our home and not feed the propaganda wagon.  Why create  additional PR for bad news bandits. I still believe in good over evil. I know everyone enjoys hearing happy-ever-after stories as it instills faith.  And yes, I still believe my grandchildren, and yours, will prevail and make a more peaceful beautiful future for our world.  Click Here


Lessons of Love

Writing about emotions is hard. It is allowing others to see inside of your heart. However, I have learned that the more confident you are as a person, the less you have to fear. Rejection can only hurt if you are not sure of yourself. You are only threatened by others if you have not accepted yourself, with all your blessings and short-comings. With age, this is a must if you are to find happiness and peace. 

And so, with that in mind, I have no misgivings with sharing with those that follow my blog what I am most pleased to celebrate tomorrow, my anniversary with my husband Jim. There is no other person in my life that has had a larger effect on me or impacted my journey to self-discovery, self-love and self-acceptance more than my husband.

I began my “adulthood” getting pregnant at age 17, still a child at heart, unsure what being a parent and a spouse even meant.  I immediately got married to a man I had only known since July of 1977, we wed Oct. 8th after learning I was pregnant. I had refused to get an abortion feeling the life inside of me was not going to be rejected by me no matter how hard it was to raise a baby on my own.  I felt inside a kinship with my baby, a love that was like nothing I had ever felt.  But it wasn’t really what I felt for the man I was marrying.  Nor did I have that in marriage number two. That story isn’t what this is about.

Fast-forward to my husband now. When I met him, I was down on marriage all together.  I met him through my younger sister and really thought of him as nothing more than a friend, and wanted simply that, a friendship.  He wanted nothing more than the same, neither of us needed a commitment or a relationship at the point in time. I suppose it is true that when you are aren’t looking, have no hidden agenda, God brings what you need in your life and not what you ask for.  And looking back, I suppose we both needed an unconditional loving support system, someone to hold hands with and build each other up and be lifelong friends, lovers and playmates.

That is what I got with my sister’s friend AND a man with character, humor and compassion.  I have had years of challenges, we have been through so much in the last 15 years.  Wow, have we had our share of ups and downs but through it all, we have never once questioned our love for each other.  This may not seem odd to anyone reading this but for someone twice divorced, I was not really sure this type of love existed, at least for me. 

I saw that the common denominator was me.  There always seem to be a provisional acceptance of me with every member in my family. My children seemed to always evaluate and judge me on my mothering skills, the type of person I am, even on my mental state as I got older just like my second husband. My daughter forever found fault in my as a parent.  In her eyes, I never measured up so I began to seriously doubt my abilities as a parent. If I couldn’t make her happy, what was wrong with me? When my husband met me, he recognized immediately as did his family the signs of someone who was beating their head against a brick wall much too quick to take blame for things they had no control over. 

 In my husband, I found someone who loved me unconditionally.  This made me really take a hard look at me and begin to see rays of sunshine in myself, that hey, I must not be such a bad person afterall.  I began seeing a counselor, who I still see to this day.  I did the down and dirty work of delving into all of my life and my thoughts and dreams of who I am and not who others want me to be or who I use to project to be. I have come to know me intimately and deeply and embrace that woman and love her.

In doing so, it has allowed me to love and embrace my husband more fully. I
owe this, in large part, to Jim, my husband. As I have traveled through this path, the last 15 years, going through cancer, side effects, chronic migraines and other health issues, he has remained steadfast in supporting me.  He has allowed me to be his confidant on all that he is and thinks without reservation showing me that I am worthy of being trusted, respected and loved unconditionally. 

Jim, my husband, has provided the missing pieces of my life and my heart. I don’t think I quite ever really saw myself as a whole person. Perhaps I felt like a broken puzzle with missing puzzle pieces. I came from a divorced home and felt like the outsider at times being raised by a step-mother and my dad. I felt like I never measured up to their blood children together.  It made me feel inadequate and hurt inside deeply.  It is irrelevant anymore whether it was right or wrong because feelings just are, our perception is our reality.  Children are very sensitive and I picked up on things that upset me.  I carried those around for a long time.

Through my marriage and my husband, I am the woman I am today, someone who has found their place in the world. I have become someone who is okay being rejected by others and recognizes I don’t need to be accepted by everyone anymore. We all have agendas and I do not need to focus moments in my life on issues I can’t solve. 
Meeting Jim and having him introduced to my family and to my children has allowed me to free myself from all those weights I had been carrying. I allowed
myself to be scrutinized by everyone. And accepted all the criticism and stressed about it too, willingly.  It took a man as strong as him, to love me perhaps more than I loved myself to make me realize I needed to love myself enough to let it go.  Allow others to continue judging me and doing things that were hurtful to me and not take it personally. 

I recently read a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  One of the main agreements is about this above, not taking things personally; everyone is coming at life according to their own interests, consciously or unconsciously. Therefore, we expend far too much energy on what others are thinking, feeling and saying.  Wasted life, wasted energy.

One of the greatest joys I get from writing my blogs is the comments I hear back from folks about how something in it touches them or makes them think about the topic. If this inspires any of you to reflect on your self-worth, even one of you, and learn to hug yourself a bit more, than it has done its job.

And for me, this was my long-winded way of saying, living a life with a lot of heart-ache was worth it if it meant having a man like Jim to call my husband. I dearly love him and am blessed beyond measure. He has made me closer to God’s image of me.    Video of some Images over the years, Click Here