Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Saturday Sharing: Martha Stewart, kitchen witchery, temporary marriage contracts, and more

Today’s Saturday Sharing almost became a Sunday Sharing! I’m exhausted. It’s 11 pm and I’ve been up since 2am . . . but once I start reading, I can’t stop! I swear I have this love/hate relationship with blogging! :-)

Have you ever felt like the little things were enough to drive you over the edge? I know I have . . . and so has Shawna!

How many outfits can you create from 13 articles of clothing? In a recent post, Paula showed how Banana Republic made 31 different outfits . . . If I ever get a real, grown-up wardrobe, I’m going to have to check this out!

Samantha’s recent post made me think about the events that have occurred in my life to make me realize just how short life is . . . and how it has affected the way that I live.

What are your feelings about Martha Stewart? Lisa thinks that there is just “something about her”! Read her post to find out why!

For my mommy and teacher readers, are you familiar with Todd Parr? Caroline recently reviewed one of Todd Parr’s books, “Reading Makes You Feel Good” – it just so happens that Abby checked that book out of the library a week and a half ago!

Nivedha, a magnificent poet and one of my more recent followees wrote this beautiful, though despairing poetic tale.

Does anyone remember good old-fashioned letter writing? And pen pals? And the joy in the anticipation? Well Anita does and she’s giving that gift to her daughter! (Who is hopefully going to become my daughter’s pen pal as well!)

I once had a friend refer to spell-casting as “prayer with oomph” – I think the same could be said for kitchen witchery, especially after reading Camylleon’s latest post!

Perspective is a funny thing. Alexandra beautifully demonstrates how the points of view of children and adults are often worlds apart, even when the experience is identical.

Where do you fit in? How do you learn? How do your children learn . . . and more importantly, did that influence your choice of schooling for your child? Read Jennifer’s post to discover one of the many reasons it is important to be active in your child’s education.

In this heartbreaking and incredible post, Jared explains that “AIDS is no joke” and how quickly perspectives can change.

If you had the option, would you choose a temporary marriage contract? Would you allow yourself an “out” just in case it doesn’t work? Do you think people should have the option? Sharon discussed all of that in a recent blog post.

Saturday Sharing: Raising talkers, dog camps, parenting poems, and more

Pagan Book Reviews discusses Secrets of the Lost Symbol, which is described as “an answer to Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol”.

Jennifer at Retrograde Learning writes about the importance of raising your kids to be readers and talkers.

Throughout Banned Books Week, Caroline at Children’s Books and More has been discussing various banned books. She also highlighted Place I Never Meant to Be, a collection of short stories written by censored writers.

Sandy at Cat Trees and Pet Supplies recently discovered dog camps – places for you to go on vacation with your canine buddy!

Have you ever had a pleasurable experience at the dentist? Alexandra at talleygilly has . . . and those experiences have led to a life lesson.

Samantha at What Little Things tells us exactly why we should visit Huancayo, Peru.

Shawna from I am that shares two contrasting poems of parenting.

Do you fit in? Paula at The Geeky Shopaholic doesn’t and she tells us why in this post.

Jared from Lick the Fridge explains that you should not do what he’s about to try to do – write a post a day for the month of October.

Need a few heartwarming life lessons? Check out The Real Sharon’s post about five very important ones.

Babette, The Passionate Librarian tells us how not to teach children to read – with boring, “bad” books.

Making every moment count: A motherless mother’s reflection

I’ve been sick all week and while I feel a million times better today than I did just a couple of days ago, I still want to stay curled up in my blankets. I woke up this morning with the plan of having a nice, relaxing night after picking Abby up from school. Then it hit me. The Home and School Association meeting that’s been cancelled twice because of snow was rescheduled for tonight. I wavered back and forth on going. It was something I was looking forward to and I had promised to go, but I was fairly certain that nobody would hold it against me if I stayed home because I didn’t feel well.

I decided to suck it up and go. I picked Abby up from school, stopped at the store for an economy sized back of throat lozenges, and took her to McDonald’s for dinner. We ate dinner and she did her homework before we hopped on a bus back up to school. Before we left the meeting another parent said to me, “we need more parents like you.” I thought about that on the way home. I throw myself into every school activity for my daughter that I am able to, and I enjoy it. The fact is that I’m the lucky one. I am grateful for so many opportunities to be a part of her education.

My mom was 33 years old when she died. The closer I get to that age, the more my own mortality stares me in the face. I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon, but the truth is that you never know when something will happen. The thought of not watching my daughter grow up terrifies me, but there is nothing I can do about what will happen tomorrow. Today I can make the most of every possible second. I am fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule and I use that to every advantage I can.

Ideally, I will see my daughter graduate from high school. I will listen to hysterical phone calls during finals week in college. I’ll be her shoulder to cry on when she has her first heart-break. I’ll help her with her hair and make-up on her wedding day and I’ll hold her hand as she gives birth to her first child. Ideally, I’ll grow old surrounded by grandkids. There is nothing I want more than all of those things and I still hold onto the hope that I will have them.

The reality is that my mom wasn’t there for any of those things with me. The reality is that my mom had to work so much when I was a kid that she wasn’t able get as involved as she would have liked to. So yes, I am going to be damn sure that I make the most of every moment I have with my daughter. I will chaperone field trips. I will make her hug and kiss me every morning before walking through the gate to school. I will volunteer to help set up for school events. We’ll bake cookies together for holiday parties. And I’ll be exhausted . . . and I’ll be happy, because no matter what happens tomorrow, my daughter will always remember me as a constant positive influence in her life. She’ll remember my love, my smiles, my hugs and kisses. And take it from someone who knows, those memories are so incredibly important!

A single mom’s dilemma

I had a conversation with my former sister-in-law the other day about how much it sucks to have to share that which is most important in our lives, our children. The conversation started a whole wave of thoughts. My daughter is of course my first priority and no matter how much it hurts, I will always put what is best for her ahead of what I want. But in the confines of my own mind, I am selfish and I am bitter.

I grew up for the most part without my father around, but I was blessed with an amazing mom. My father would show up every so often for holidays and birthdays and sometimes we would actually have stretches of time where I saw him every other weekend. But without fail, there would come a day when I sat by that window waiting for him to pick me up, only to not have him show. My mom would hold me and wipe my tears away and we would have special bonding time of our own. I know it broke her heart to see me in pain, but in a way, I almost feel as if it was easier for her than it is for me. My mom never really had to share.

My ex-husband genuinely seems to want to spend time with our daughter and for that, I really am grateful. I would never want my daughter to feel the pain I felt growing up. That is why every time he calls and asks to take her for an extra day, I say yes. I don’t want to. I don’t want to give up another day with the love of my life, but I know time with her dad makes her happy.

I get angry easily when things happen that I don’t feel are appropriate, like constant texting at her Pre-K Graduation or Kindergarten Back to School Night and a Happy Birthday text message instead of a phone call.  I need to learn to let it go. I can’t make him do the things that I would do. I can’t make him find importance in the things that I believe are important. All I can do is make sure that my daughter is as happy as she possibly can be.

I may have to miss out on a few firsts here and there. I’m going to have to give up holidays. And there are going to be plenty of I miss my daddy‘s. I’m going to get jealous when she wants to be there instead of here. I’m going to get angry when a holiday passes and he doesn’t call her. I’m going to feel selfish. And my boyfriend will have to listen to a rant or two or 50. But she will see me smile. She will feel my hugs and hear I love yous. And I will continue to do what is best for her, no matter how much it hurts sometimes.

That was then, this is now

I was looking through some boxes today and came across my Personal Memoirs book from high school. It’s been at least 5 years since I added to it, or even looked at it. I thought it would be fun to take a look and see what’s changed in the last 15 years. Unfortunately, I didn’t date my answers, but I do know about when I wrote them. Here’s a sampling:

If I could change places with someone, who would it be and why?

High school – My mom, so I can see what heaven is like

College – At this point, anyone who has enough money to pay off my creditors

Now – Nobody, I love my life!

My Dreams

College – To have children . . . I want to see their smiling faces. I want to comfort their tears. I want the good and the bad, but mostly the unconditional love. – - – - It’s been more amazing than I could possibly have imagined. I adore every moment with my daughter, even the not so fun ones!

College – I want to write professionally. – - – - I’m still working on this one!

College – To make a difference in the lives of those around me and to in some way affect the world in a positive way that will impact generations to come – - – - I still strive for this every day!

Things to Do (all listed in high school)

  •  Write a novel
  • Have children
  • Travel to Europe
  • Travel the country
  • Live in New York
  • Bungee Jump
  • Sky Dive
  • Publish a book of poetry
  • Live in Italy

The only one of these that I’ve accomplished is to have a child, but it was the most important one. Now here’s to doing the rest of them with her! Well, except maybe bungee jumping and sky diving!

What’s Keeping Me from Achieving What I Want

High School – Worrying too much about the consequences – - – -I’ve managed to cut down on this quite a bit. I certainly still weigh the pros and cons, but I’m not bogged down by all of the “what ifs”.

High School – Being overly influenced by the skepticism of others – - – - I took a huge step against this one when I quit my job in October. It feels wonderful to have faith in myself!

Mid-20′s – Money, or the lack thereof – - – - This can still be an issue at times, but I’ve gotten really good at bargaining my way around money issues.

Pledges to Myself

High School – Be a wonderful mom when the time comes – - – - Even though I have my moments of insecurities, I know I am a great mom . . . and I think my mom would be proud of me.

High School – Become closer to God – - – - This has certainly been an interesting one for me. My path has changed so much in the last 15 years. I have searched through so many different religions and have not found any that fully work for me. It took a long time, but I finally realized that that’s ok. I am now in an extremely happy and comfortable place with my spirituality. I don’t need a name for it.

College – Lose weight – - – - Still working on this one!

College – Always have fun – - – - Every day!

Now – Make a career of writing

Trips to Take

High School – Colorado when I’m 26 to look for Donna (she’ll be 18) – - – - My mom became a foster parent when I was a kid. Donna came into our lives when she was 10 months old and stayed with us for 10 months. I never considered her anything but a sister. She was adopted by a family who lived in Colorado and I was determined to find her when she became an adult. I know if my mom were alive she would have done the same thing. It turns out that I didn’t have to go to Colorado. I knew where her grandmother lived and so showed up at her door one day. I passed along my information and the next day Chris called me! (It took some getting used to, to not call her Donna!) She still lives states away and so I haven’t gotten to see her in person yet, but we stay in contact regularly and I am eternally grateful for that!

Adventures, ones I’ve taken, ones I want to take

High School – Bungee jump, sky dive, and hang glide

Now – Parenthood is by far the biggest adventure of my life!

I have a sister, there’s nothing half about her

I grew up an only child wanting nothing more than a brother or a sister. My parents were divorced so I used to beg them both separately. My mom had her tubes tied, so I’d beg her to adopt. Once as a teenager I even offered to be a surrogate. I was mostly joking! My dad and my step-mom tried to get pregnant, but after several miscarriages they stopped.

I didn’t give up hope. Even as I was graduating from college, I said to my dad, “You know? You’re still young enough to have another kid.” He just shook his head at me. A few years later, after I gave birth to my daughter, I told him, “Ok, I give up. I guess I’ll always be an only child.”

When my daughter was two months old I received the phone call I always wanted! I was 25 and finally going to be a big sister! I can’t even describe the excitement. The day my sister was born I walked around the hospital with a giant pink button that said, “I’m the big sister!” People in the elevator looked at me funny. I told them that I waited 25 years for this, and I was going to enjoy every second!

My sister is now five years old and I love her dearly. Our relationship may not be the typical sister relationship, but I would never consider her anything other than my sister. I hear people talk about their half-brothers and half-sisters and it just makes me cringe. It almost feels derogatory to me. I don’t understand the need to clarify with “half”, whether you live together or only see each other once in a while, a sibling is a sibling.

I see parents perpetuating this “half” thing a lot too, referring to their ex’s children as their child’s half-sibling. It beyond irritates me. Maybe I’m making too much out of it. Maybe I’m extra sensitive to it because I waited so long for my sister. I don’t know. I just think that family is family and should be accepted as such.

There’s a problem with free family planning?

Is it just me? Am I missing something? I cannot, for the life of me, understand where the problem is here. They’re proposing free family planning and contraceptives and people are against this?

My mouth hung open as I read this article in The New York Times online. I am all about respecting people’s religious views and I fully believe that everyone is entitled to their beliefs and opinions, but this is about trying to deny services that could greatly benefit the lives of women, children, and entire families.

I can’t speak for statistics, and I can’t quote specific case studies. What I can do is comment on what I see every day just by walking out my door. I used to work in retail. I can’t even tell you how many parents came in with Access cards (welfare cards) after unwanted pregnancies. I overheard a pregnant women talking to her friend not that long ago about how she “didn’t want this kid to begin with, but the insurance wouldn’t pay for an IUD”. It’s mentioned in the article that about half of all pregnancies were not planned. That number truly does not surprise me.

I certainly don’t take away from personal responsibility, and yes a lot of these women still could have prevented their unwanted pregnancies. But who is really suffering here? The innocent kids who had no say in being born. You add more children to a family that couldn’t even afford birth control and what do you think is going to happen? The health of each child is going to suffer.

And let’s not forget how much money will actually be saved in the long run. For the insurance company, compare the cost of contraceptives to the cost of prenatal care and childbirth. For the average taxpayer, compare the cost of contraceptives to the cost of more kids raised on welfare. Who is losing in this? Where the hell is the problem?

I read the religious arguments. I just don’t understand them. It “could violate the ‘rights of conscience’ of religious employers”? Really? What about the women who are physically unable to carry out a pregnancy? Their lives could be saved by free contraceptives. Where is the conscience in denying that?

All I can see are the positives to individual families, to society in general, to the taxpayers’ pockets, and to the health of women and children. Forgive me for not understanding the cons.

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