Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Not Playing "the favorite child" game

This is my very favorite picture (to date) of my family. I heart them!
People say to me quite a bit, "You know you have a favorite child. Every parent does. I don't care what they say." I do have four children but I honestly can tell you that I don't feel that I favor one over the others. They may tell you differently, and if that's the case, I need to talk to them. I have always tried to see them all as individuals. None of them are the same at all. I don't even see them looking alike or favoring their dad or myself. I literally look at them and see individual people. I always have. The boys looked a lot alike as babies so thankfully they weren't all babies at the same time. I do have a hard time with the baby pictures, I admit that much.

Yesterday, as I'm sitting on the couch reiterating to my youngest why it's important to try your best in ALL subjects, not just the ones you like, he says something about his brother being a "prodigy". Yes, this is my youngest child, almost 14, who has always had a large vocabulary. I immediately went into defense mode because I never want any of them to feel like they have to "live up to" a sibling. I explained to him that they each have a special gift. The example I gave was "Ben couldn't draw a stick figure to save his life (he probably could but I was making a point) but he can play the trombone like no ones business. Alyssa can draw the most incredible things by hand, but couldn't begin play an instrument the way Ben does." Then I said how talented Michael is both in music AND art, which then led to the question, "what is my talent?"

This child I'm conversing with is one of those kids that you have a hard time pin pointing one specific talent. He has the most amazing personality and social skills, much better than my other kids. Is that a talent or a gift or what? I don't like labels so much but he seemed to need me to put a label on him. That's his label. He is so smart in the area of science and his personality is out of this world. I mean, I have gotten two phone calls from two different teachers this school year about what a great kid Jonathan is and how much they enjoy having him in their class. These are the two classes he is doing the best in, but still. Oh, and he has a 94 in Science for the first 6 weeks - just sayin.

That's not to say my other kids aren't smart or funny. They all are in their own way. (I feel like I'm digging a hole here....) My point is, not making your kids feel like you like one of them over the others is really difficult. Only have one kid so you don't have to worry about this!!

Not really. I love the fact that I had four kids. They have all been, and continue to be, such amazing human beings. My greatest pleasure has been to watch them grow up into adults, making their way through life, figuring out all the stuff we've all had to figure out along the way. I've had challenges with each one of them, but nothing they have done or could do would make me love them any less. If I thought you were interested, I would list out everything each of them has done that's incredible but I don't have the time or space here so I won't. I just wanted to say on this public forum, how incredibly proud I am of my kids. I don't have a favorite, really. I have a special, unique and different relationship with each of them - individually.

(I guess when I am old and dying I might have a favorite, depending on which on steps up to the plate to take care of Mommy Dearest!)
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Story of "Donna the Bear"

This is Donna the Bear. I've had her since I was probably 8 years old. I didn't get her when she was brand new. You might find it interesting how she became mine.

Growing up, we lived in a middle class neighborhood. My dad was a dentist. Our neighbors had various occupations - policeman, car salesman, airline employee, corporate something or other, but it was the family who lived across the street and one house to the left of ours that was "the mean neighbor".

Mr. Cole worked for General Dynamics. He and his wife had one daughter and we all knew she was spoiled. She was very girly and much older than the rest of the kids in the neighborhood. One day she moved out and went to college. The day her parents cleaned out her room and threw out all of her childhood toys was like Christmas for the rest of us. I'll never forget seeing the huge (in my 8 year old mind) pile of "trash" at the curb. There were so many toys. It was an incredible sight.

It was a boring Saturday, so we all sat across the street staring at the "trash". I'm pretty sure the law was the same then as it is now, "Once you put something out for trash, it's fair game", right? Therefore, we were figuring out what we were gonna take from the trash. Of course, as if on cue, Mr. Cole came out of his house and yelled at us, "Don't even think of taking anything from there!" As if we weren't scared enough, that just made this plan scarier. Once we had all staked our claim on what were were taking, we would make a run for it. Now, I didn't know Donna was a bear. Actually, I thought she was a poodle because just her legs were sticking out of the box and there was a lot of stuff around her. On the count of three, we made a run for it, grabbed our "treasure" and ran into our own houses.

Donna sat on my bed and became my "baby". My mom let me buy clothes for her from a garage sale. To this day she wears the same jumper I bought and its about a size 2T, if you wanted to know. She lost an eye and part of her nose when I was about 18 and got my first dog. I was horrified but would never consider throwing her away. It's just that now I don't really know what to do with her. One thing I can just about guarantee - I'm the only one that still has what they took from the pile that day.

I think I saved her to pass down to my kids but I had three boys who would never take her and a girl who doesn't have any interest in my memory, not that I blame her. Now it's just a good story to tell. It's not like she really takes up room. She lies on some boxes in the back of my closet. No one would know she's there unless I pulled her out. I have a few things like this from when I was young - ok more than a few. I'm trying to go through this stuff and decide what's really important to me. I'm sending anything ex husband related home with my daughter for her to decide what to do with. I only have it because she made a request nine years ago that I not throw anything away that had to do with my marriage. I did the same with my mom, but I was 23 when they got divorced. Everything else I have was from my kids and will go to them soon or from my parents or grandparents.
Clearing out one item at a time, but for now, I think Donna will keep her place in the back of my closet. For now.
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Alternative Cuss Words

This morning, as I was waiting for Jonathan to get ready for school, we got into an interesting conversation about cussing. I think I said, "Shozbot" instead of "the S word" and he laughed. Then he says, "I'm not old enough to cuss yet", which caused me to correct him and say, "It's really never ok to cuss, even when you feel like it. It just makes you look dumb, like you aren't smart enough to come up with a better word to say when you're angry or upset."
Now, for my friends reading this - I know I am the LAST person to say no one should cuss. I cuss a lot, which just makes me look stupid. Yes, I know that. I have recently decided that I wanted to work on my language. I don't want to look stupid, ignorant, whatever you want to call it. I need alternatives. Why? Because I get upset and there's such a relief when you say a word that starts with an F or an S that helps release the frustrations. I wonder why that is? Anyway, Jonathan and I started saying phrases or words that were good for getting the frustration out but that didn't offend anyone within ear shot.
Thinking this was fun/funny, I posted about it on Facebook and got some great suggestions from a couple of friends, James M and Ginger H. Then a request for a here it is.

1. Shozbot
2. Lint Licker
3. Frickin' frackin'
4. Shut the front door
5. Franklin Delanor (haha)
6. You son of a salad eater
7. Sugar
8. Oh snap!

I want to add to this list, so I will be listening intently to anyone around me that cusses without cussing.
This leads me to a thought I had. As I was typing this blog, I thought about growing up in the Baptist church and my Sunday school teacher saying, "Thinking the cuss word or saying something close to it is just as bad as saying it." Disagree! I mean, really. We all get frustrated and need to let that out, so why take away ANY form of release? Personally, I'd rather be caught saying "Shozbot" that S&*(^%&, wouldn't you?
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