October 2016 archive

Keep Smiling, Keep Shining.…..

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Since the dawn of social media the world has become obsessed with shar­ing. Our lives are open books of pho­tos and text writ­ten for every­one to see. Many of us have con­nect­ed our­selves with large groups of peo­ple, that if it weren’t for the­se sites, we may not have kept up with at all. On any given day I can tell you what peo­ple who I went to grade school with had for lunch. I can spot a friend’s hus­band, who I have nev­er met in my life, at a gas sta­tion but I won’t intro­duce myself because that would be weird. I can name hun­dreds of friends’ children’s names and tell you won­der­ful sto­ries about those chil­dren because I have read all about them, but they don’t even know I exist.

I, myself, tend to be an over shar­er. I like to think that my kids are fun­ny and so I write down their quips and I pub­lish them. I am lousy at baby books,. Those 0–12 months pic­tures always hap­pen a day, or a week late. And, shh, I total­ly throw away papers when my kids go to sleep at night. But, I will absolute­ly Insta­gram a quote about the time some­one told me they hoped they could throw up just to stay home and play with an iPad. That’s my life, day in and day out, and it’s the real life of so many par­ents.

When I was preg­nant with Dar­ling a few months ago, we decid­ed to keep the gen­der a secret until the end. We did this with all of our preg­nan­cies, so it was noth­ing new, but boy did the world want to weigh in on who was grow­ing in my womb. I thor­ough­ly doc­u­ment­ed my preg­nan­cy and the excite­ment that our entire fam­i­ly had dur­ing this spe­cial time.

When my Dar­ling was born, I proud­ly shared her birth sto­ry and the amaz­ing sur­prise that she was for all of us. I was so thrilled to announce my beau­ti­ful baby, I nev­er real­ly took the time to think about how my posts and pic­tures, so many sil­ly and often trite, could be affect­ing oth­ers.

And then this note appeared in my mail­box and stopped me in my tracks.

So I nev­er wrote you- I was going to but it seemed too strange, but you are a strange gal and will prob­a­bly appre­ci­ate this! I was due with a baby last March 2016… exact same time as you! I was busy hold­ing my breath hop­ing and pray­ing that this lit­tle one would stick when you announced #4. Of course I love your posts and was thrilled for you! My sweet lit­tle one was just pass­ing through and for some rea­son I had a REALLY hard time recov­er­ing emo­tion­al­ly from that loss. I sought out sup­port from all dif­fer­ent heal­ers — ther­a­pist, ener­gy work, etc. I KNEW it was a lit­tle girl!

I sort of lived vic­ar­i­ous­ly through your preg­nan­cy updates on Face­book! I just KNEW you were going to have a girl too!

I had a dream the night you went into labor that you had a lit­tle girl and woke up to the news on Face­book announc­ing the arrival of your Dar­ling! I cried. I was so emo­tion­al because I was so hap­py for you and so sad for me — it was real­ly cathar­tic for me to expe­ri­ence the joy you felt wel­com­ing your daugh­ter! Just so beau­ti­ful! So super dog ran­dom that you had NO IDEA that you and your preg­nan­cy played such a role in my heal­ing process!!!!! THANK YOU!

This mes­sage from a real-life friend from school, who lives a few states away and is a moth­er of three her­self, was an eye open­er for me. It made me real­ize that just being me, just being sil­ly and just shar­ing what hap­pens, made some­one else feel good. It made her smile dur­ing a real­ly hard time in her life. I find such plea­sure in read­ing oth­ers’ updates, too. There are a few select peo­ple whom I reli­gious­ly check on because they make me smile, laugh and real­ize that I am total­ly not as bad of a moth­er as they are. I kid, I kid. The real­i­ty is, we are all just try­ing to get through the day and we all serve as great bless­ings to one anoth­er. I am grate­ful to play that role for some of you and equal­ly thank­ful that you are there for me.

And while we may not always care about what that girl, who total­ly told a nun that she hat­ed her math class and walked out sopho­more year (this was absolute­ly a fever-induced demen­tia) did over the week­end, keep her on your friend’s list. She might be just what you need when you least expect it.

Tell ‘Em that it’s Human Nature

It's fine, I don't need sunglasses you all just protect your eyes. Let the child go blind.

It’s fine, I don’t need sun­glass­es you all just pro­tect your eyes. Let the child go blind.

If you can’t do it in front of me, you prob­a­bly shouldn’t be doing it. My moth­er spoke those words when I was a young girl and they stuck with me through very dif­fi­cult times. There were moments in my life when I was tempt­ed to do not so great things like smok­ing in a bath­room, under­age drink­ing in a field, or that time I was with friends lis­ten­ing to a bootleg copy of a 2Live­Crew tape and I was cer­tain that the neigh­bors could hear and would call the police because we were com­plete­ly and total­ly ignor­ing that parental advi­so­ry. But nev­er fear, my mother’s cau­tion­ary wis­dom was always with me.

I had a blog post all ready to go about a recent adven­ture with my boys and I let her pre­view it, as I always do, and she said, “I don’t like it. Sor­ry.” At first I thought, well for­get you, I don’t care what you think. But then I had to dig deep­er, because even at 37-years-old, I seek parental approval. She was con­cerned that I was cast­ing my Hand­somes in a neg­a­tive light. Part of my deci­sion not to use their real names on my blog is for that exact rea­son. I nev­er want what I believe to be fun­ny to be hurt­ful, shame­ful or embar­rass­ing to them years lat­er. I likened her dis­taste for my post to a pair of her jeg­gings that are on my own per­son­al worst dressed list. Her respon­se, “But I can defend myself.” Mic drop!

As they get old­er, I sup­pose that I will need to be a bit more dis­cre­tionary with what I choose to post. Not that I would ever pur­pose­ful­ly embar­rass my chil­dren, but they may not love every detail of their lives shared. Back when I was a kid, I didn’t have a clue about the world around me and had no idea if my moth­er was telling all of her friends about the sil­ly things that I did.

Since there was no Inter­net way back then, sto­ries were beloved because they were told over and over and over again. We have many tales from our own child­hood that my broth­ers and I love to recount. I am cer­tain that this will hap­pen with my own chil­dren as they get old­er as well. Some have been shared with the world, some have been untold for 27 years.……But who’s count­ing?

Once upon a time, I was in to Michael Jack­son. Not like I kind of liked him, more like I kissed the poster on my clos­et door good­night, obsessed.  I want­ed noth­ing more than to win tick­ets to see him when he per­formed in St. Louis. It was 1988, I was nine, and the only way to win any­thing back then was to call in to radio and TV sta­tions dur­ing var­i­ous con­tests. A local tele­vi­sion sta­tion was run­ning a pro­mo­tion that involved video clips of pop­u­lar Michael Jack­son songs. When the video ran, you were to call in and say the name of the song being per­formed and you won. This was a dream come true! I could total­ly do this.

For days, I watched and dialed in a futile attempt to spend an evening lis­ten­ing to the King of Pop live with thou­sands of oth­er scream­ing fans. I would hit the redi­al but­ton over and over and over, only to be met by the fast busy sig­nal, my arch­en­e­my. The clips played once per 30-min­ute show, so there was quite a bit of lag time, but I kept busy. And when there are six peo­ple liv­ing in your house, there is con­stant chaos. Sure­ly some­one was cry­ing, some­one was scream­ing and some­one was just try­ing to keep her san­i­ty. It was Girl Scout cook­ie time and my moth­er had been tak­ing last min­ute orders from fam­i­ly and friends through­out the day. The­se final addi­tions had to be called in by that evening. She was mak­ing din­ner, but had just enough time to make one quick call for Thin Mints.

The last pro­mo spot of the day aired and I was ready. Human Nature, one of my most favorite songs. It had to be a sign from God that this was my shot. I grabbed the phone, hit redi­al and it began to ring. The but­ter­flies in my stom­ach were in over­drive. The moment I heard a hel­lo on the oth­er end of the line, I couldn’t speak. I stood motion­less, my eyes and mouth open. My Nani, real­iz­ing what was hap­pen­ing, grabbed the phone and began to scream.

Human Nature! Human Nature! Michael Jackson’s Human Nature!”

I was in awe. She had done it. We had done it. All those hours of Diff’rent Strokes episodes had paid off! I was going to see Michael Jack­son. I began to pick out my out­fit for the evening and what auto­graphs I want­ed when the needle was ripped from the record.

Oh my God, mom! Who are you yelling at?” My moth­er asked.

She won the tick­ets. We got the tick­ets! I just redi­aled and I got the tick­ets. We’re going to see Michael Jackson,“I announced.

I said Human Nature! Michael Jackson’s Human Nature” she con­tin­ued to yell.

Hang up! Hang up! Hang up the phone! That’s not the TV sta­tion. That’s the Girl Scouts!”

The two of them pro­ceed­ed to laugh to to the point of no return, tears flow­ing down their cheeks and tin­kle down their legs. It was the 1980s. There was no caller ID, no *69, and absolute­ly no way for any­one to ever know that very strange phone call came from our house. The three of us swore to secre­cy that night, all for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. I was dev­as­tat­ed, they were embar­rassed and the poor per­son on the oth­er end of that call was con­fused.

My moth­er was look­ing out for my best inter­ests then, not want­i­ng me to be humil­i­at­ed or dis­ap­point­ed and she is still look­ing out for those inter­ests today. No mat­ter how old I am, I will hope that I am mak­ing her proud. As a moth­er, I can only pray to instill the same cau­tion and love in my own chil­dren. My biggest dream for them is to find laugh­ter in the lit­tle things. Every time Human Nature comes up on my iTunes I can smile know­ing that it brings such a won­der­ful mem­o­ry for me and a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent, and like­ly ter­ri­fy­ing, mem­o­ry for some­one else.

Mother's are always right...Ugh....

Mother’s are always right…Ugh.…