Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Your Child Is Spoiled But We Won't Say That Out Loud

I'm sure there are a lot of people that go through this around this time of year. Backhanded compliments are not my favourite. 

Instead of, "It's so hard to shop for her because she has everything," 

I wish the people in our lives would try, "Is there something special I can get her for Christmas?"

A little tact is important. These kinds of backhanded, laughingly played statements are not helping me warm up to people. They are meant to feel critical, and they do. Even with a chuckle added for effect, hearing someone accusing your child of being a brat hurts. 

It especially hurts when your child's behavior is pristine. In this modern age we expect our children and our animals to behave the same way - never a sign of aggression, frustration, or fear. We expect children to be articulated, happy, thoughtful, polite, and well-mannered in public. My child is all of those things.

I wish that people, instead of telling us, "She has too many toys," or "Well, your house looks like a daycare center and you've only got one child," would turn their thoughts to positive things instead. There are a thousand wonderful compliments they could make about my parenting, my child, my house, and our lifestyle. Instead, something triggers a defense mechanism and they launch into attack mode while trying to pass it off as being nice.

I just want to get them to think. Having toys, having things, earning them, and owning possessions does not make you a bad person. It does not make you a spoiled child or a bad child. I had every toy I ever wanted growing up. I cannot tell a lie. I am good to a fault, I guess. Being spoiled in that way did not spoil me. In fact, I appreciate everything I had because I helped work for it. My child works, too. She sees her parents work and at 4 she comprehends that money comes from working, and is required to purchase things. 90% of her toys and ALL of her clothes are thrift store or yard sale purchases. 

The next time you feel like swinging the hammer and taking her down a peg, check my child’s reading comprehension, note her vocabulary, see her smile, actually have a conversation with her, and by God, don’t get her a toy because we all know, “she has it all,” and she really does. She’s 100% the love of my life, and your petty comments last a day, while her smile and appreciation lasts forever. She’ll remember who said what. She’ll remember who spent time with her and who had to ask what she wanted for Christmas because they did not know her well enough to shop for her on their own. Mark my words. She knows now and she’ll remember in future. Next time? Just get her the gift card. It’s easier than making an effort, and you can also keep stum, it’d make the experience happier all-around. 

Not Looking For A BFF - Just A Playdate

Dear Potential Mom Friend,

I do not have the time to devote to your personal life.

I'm looking for the occasional play date.

We're not dating; our kids are friends.

I don't like to feel obligated and neither should you.

I am not your therapist.

I just want to be your friend, but I don't want to get too personal.

I'm sorry to hurt your feelings, but it is what it is.

I am who I am.


Your Possible Mom Friend

To Make A Better Tomorrow

I know you see them as numbers. Another amount of illegals coming to a border where they shouldn't be, trying to invade your country, but take a second to see the world through their eyes.

Feel the pain that is unimaginable. Imagine yourself surrounded by violence, but not by your choice. Simply because you were unlucky in life's lottery, born somewhere with a broken government, where drugs rule the world around you, where women are raped and children are sold, where the choices for your family are limited. There seems to be no hope and things are getting worse. You see them falling apart, but there's nothing you can do.

Imagine your child, the little person before you. Each day they wake up by your side. Each day you can lovingly stoke their hair, give them hugs, touch their face, love them, share a snack, a movie, a play session, shoo them away when you need space. You watch them grow, teach them, guide them, but the world around them is too harsh, too severe, and it's not something you want for them. You know they need something better.

Think for a moment that your child, so small and beautiful, has no hope for their future, but you hear of a better place, a better way, a better life for them. No more bullets, no more gangs, no more hate and violence. There is a risk, but a great reward. It's the "land of opportunity," the "home of the free," and lady liberty welcomes, "the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free." It is a nation of immigrants, a melting pot. A mixture so perfect that everyone is created equal, and all are given the opportunity to thrive.

So, you take your child and you travel for miles, sometimes only on foot. You travel through blisters, sunburns, sore feet and sore bottoms, through thirst, through hunger, and through fear. You spend every last dime you have because you KNOW it will make their life better. Anything must be better than what you've been facing. America is the only hope you seek.

When you get there, you're faced with something different than you've pictured, but it's still better than what you left behind. So, you take your chances. You roll the dice. The fates aren't in your favor today. You're taken, your child is taken, you're separated and you don't see your little one again.

You can't smell them, touch them, feel what they feel. You can't answer their questions, of even hear them when they cry out for you. Your child is now a number. This is a life you brought into the world. when you pictured freedom, you never pictured losing your child. You knew the risk was there, but surely that risk was for someone else.

Your child is alone, calling for you, scared, hungry, dirty, and soon they stop calling because you never come. They are broken, with no one to speak for them, no one to tell them they're loved, no one to comfort them, or answer simple little questions like, "why?" Imagine how many times your child says, "why?" every day. Imagine all the things they learn. You're not there to teach them. Imagine their fear.

The only thought in your mind is of your child, and there's nothing you can do. You are told your child has been "placed" with another family. Another what? You are their family. You are returned to your desperate situation, but time heals no wounds. You've lost the person most dear to you, and all because you wanted to better their future.

These are not animals in cages. They aren't numbers. These are people. They're you. They're me. They just didn't win the lottery of life, and we did. They want the same opportunities we got just by being born here, and they're willing to work for them. I'd say just getting here is a great proof of what they are willing to endure.

"But they broke the law." So did Rosa Parks. So did Mrs. Pankhurst. So did George Washington. So did the men and women who smuggled children out of Nazi-held territories. They saw children and not numbers. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Yes, there are legal ways to do things. No, not all of us have that opportunity, but we all want better for our children, so we do what we must. We'd steal if we had to feed them and had no money. We'd lay down our lives to protect them and ensure their future happiness and comfort. We are all human. Take time and have a little empathy.

If it cost $25,000 to better your child's life and you didn't have it, you'd break the law to do it.

We're all God's children. Stop the hate. Love. Begin again. See through a different pair of eyes. Walk in a different pair of shoes.

"Go home." You go home. When you get there, hug your babies tight. Thank God that you've been given the opportunities you have. That you or others have worked hard for your freedom. That you were blessed enough to be born an American citizen in a land of opportunities.

These are the thoughts in my head. I am not here for a debate or an argument. I'm not here to start a war in the comments. I'm here to say I empathize, I feel compassion, and I'm ashamed at our nation's continued enforcement of inhumane policies at our borders. I am not a number, and neither are "they."

Monday, January 7, 2019

Call me Mom.

After 3 and a half years, I still feel odd that I am someone’s mother. I look at her and think, “Where did you come from?” and then I correct myself and think, “From where did you come?” Lol.

It is an odd feeling being a parent. Knowing that you are now responsible for someone else’s well-being. I could always handle taking care of myself and if I couldn’t and slipped up, my husband took care of me, but now there’s a third being in the mix. 

At first my thoughts were consumed by all the bad that could befall her and now they are consumed by money, bills, budgets, hospital costs, dental care, school tuition, and how, just how did I not see this coming 10 years ago when I blew it all...but then, does anyone? Hindsight is 20/20 they say. Foresight sure would be nice. 

She wants to go, go, go, and do, do, do, and see, see, see, learning and taking it all in and all the while being this beautiful, masterful little thing that shocks me and delights me and comforts me and keeps me whole.

I want to give it all to her on a silver platter. If ever a child were deserving of all of it, it’s her, even if she did leave a trail of confetti through the house while my husband and I were gone. Even if she then blamed it on her invisible friend Fred, telling us Fred did it and her cousin was not her “accomplish.”

I see nostalgia everywhere and perhaps it is because I never grew up. I long for her to have all that I had but then reality steps in says, “If she has all that you had, when will her own memories be hers? How much can you really pass on to the child and how much does she need to create on her own?”

So where does this fine line end? How many books have been written about this struggle? Why do we continue to reproduce knowing that we cannot possibly provide a perfect amount of every ingredient and knowing that someday they’ll face rejection, happiness, criticism, duty, fear, love, and all those emotions that bind us up inside and stop us moving forward, momentarily.

How do I make this perfect for her? The answer is that I cannot. I do not have the power or the means. Someday we may be homeless, someday we may be dead, someday she may face the world alone, but now, today, this moment, I need to do better. I need to provide more, be more, give more to her. I need to mom. I have to mom. I am Mom.