Monday, August 30, 2010

Dating Woe or Dating NO?

Today I find myself in a daydream of sorts. I was thinking about my children. Realizing just how old they are getting. It occurred to me in that space of wonderment where you are awake and conscious of reality but lost in your own thoughts, just what it means now that my daughter has entered high school. Sure I'm aware that we are indeed about half way into the first 9 weeks of school and that she has in fact been in high school the entire time. But the reality of everything that entails hit me like a blunt force object. The reality that she doesn't go to a private all girl school and that at some point boys will start noticing her whether or not she notices them makes my stomach churn. In my mind she is still four years old and while she understands that boys are not girls, she doesn't think they matter any more than she thinks it's important to watch anything that isn't on the Disney channel. While she still loves Disney, she is more interested in how she can grow up to work for Disney and the making of the shows, than perhaps a lot of the shows themselves. And while she knows the differences in boys and girls and has come to appreciate the way certain boys a.k.a. Taylor Lautner or Daniel Radcliffe look. She has seemingly not taken much notice of actual boys within her realm. She knows they are there, she just doesn't seem to acknowledge their worth. None of them can get her to her chosen future so they hold little appeal and as of yet she hasn't seen one that has that certain smile or the abs she likes. She is also so shy I'm quite certain if a boy took notice of her and tried to talk to her, she may just try to become one with the wall.

I take full responsibility for such behavior as I have trained her well. I have told her from the beginning that boys are not anything but a distraction at this point in her life. While I acknowledge the fact that it is perfectly normal to notice boys. I am also familiar with being a teenage boy crazy girl. I spent much of my youth while trying to blend in also hoping that a boy would take notice of me. Looking longingly across the lunch room at the one who had the right kind of smile. I also know that had I spent more time hitting the books and less time worrying if I would ever get a date, I would probably be more likely a candidate for something other than the garage sale queen of the year award. As parents we want to protect our children from anything and everything that may hurt them. There isn't much that can hurt a teenage girl more than a teenage boy. Which is why I established the "no boys allowed" rule years ago. While in the 4th grade her peers were "dating" and are still "dating" my child was focusing on grades and a means to an end. I make no apology for this fact, I relish it even. While countless other mothers are dealing with boyfriend woes and concerned with whether or not their kid will go to prom, mine is looking for prerequisites to get into Brown. After all, all the best go to Brown if you are interested in the film industry.

Today in my daymare? if that is what you call it. There came a time during her high school career that a boy wanted to call her. I saw it all very clearly. The boy came up to her and said he has noticed her and wondered if he might call her. I saw her look at him as though he had just caught on fire and turn and walk away. Then I saw another possible reality. She said sure and gave him her number. I have no idea how I would react to a boy calling my daughter. I see myself eating Tums like it's a lifeline I cannot do without. The first time one comes to the house? I may need to be hospitalized. I know how to instill fear in my own children. I have no idea how to instill fear into someone else's. And above all they SHOULD fear me. If a boy were to lay a finger on my child inappropriately. Let's just say, when I get angry my eyes turn red, my horns come out, and I turn green all over. It's not pretty. It's also non photographical (yeah I may have made that word up too), so there isn't any record of it actually happening, but it could. Think leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Think lifting cars like lifting sweat socks. See? It's crazy! I can't even get myself to consider the idea of it.

Honestly I have no idea how my mother did it. She was fierce! I didn't date until I was 16. I did get my first "real" kiss at the skating rink in 8th grade. Shh It's OK she doesn't mind anymore. I rode in cars with boys I met while working at the mall. I dated boys older and from other schools and not once did she meet their parents. HOW did she do it? I can't conceive of it! My mind refuses to wrap around the idea of any of it. I'm not old enough, I'm not ready. I may be old enough to not remember my hair color, but I do remember boys. Boys have hands and.. and... ideas. I need depends just thinking about it. When I was a little girl my mother told me that a little girl much like me was taken as she was walking home in the dark. So it was very important for me to be home BEFORE dark. To this day I'm still afraid to be out after dark alone. My kids? Never out after dark unless with me or another adult. Why? Because as my mother once said "kids get taken, it's a dark scary world." We don't take unnecessary risks. I'm not sure if boys qualify in that category or not but look around. Look at the number of teenage pregnancies. Look at the magazines that show all the teenage girls that have been killed by boyfriends. Do I want my daughters to one day find a boy, fall in love, get married and give me a house full of grandchildren? Of course! But later. Much much later. After high school, after college, after they are settled into their careers. I think part of the reason divorce rates are so high is people rush into a life they know nothing about. Before they have even discovered who they are and who they want to be. We have a why wait attitude when we should have a don't settle attitude. I met my husband my senior year in high school. We went to college THEN we got married. Of course then we figured out quickly where babies come from. But I didn't settle. I knew who he was, who he would be, and who I would be with him before we married. I knew how many cavities he had ever had, I knew every tiny detail I could think to ask. I saw the gene pool. I knew what I was working with here. I knew for certain that I could never get through this life without him and that no one else on the planet would ever make me happier. Ok I also knew that no one else on the planet would ever tolerate my antics but who better than the biggest instigator I knew to be my partner in life? I want that for them. LATER! MUCH Later!

I worry about my younger daughter too. I have a feeling I'm gonna be busy with her. I will of course go on my kids dates. I have it all planned out. I will have the boy come to the door. Interrogate them intently, find out where they are going, and then my covert operative training (OK I watch Psych that's my training but it's good and still counts) takes effect and I stealthily follow to make sure they are going where they say they are. Then I beat them home and nonchalantly read a magazine until he walks her to the door and she comes inside. But if they stay in the car too long, then I flash the outside lights, that's what my mom did. So you see I may have my ideals of what I would like to happen, but I am also realistic in the fact that they will probably date while in high school. I also have it planned out so it's good. Yes, I'm feeling much better about this. I may be able to get through this without the depends. The Tums I'll still need, but it's OK I know someone who can get them for me and he delivers.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

From Competition to the Finish Line

Competition. I'm curious, are you competitive? Personally I'm not sure I have a competitive bone in by body. I tend to clap for both teams of a sporting event when a good play happens. Although I want my children to succeed, I'm not sure it's best for them to always win, I think the learning happens in the losing. As a child I was not athletic in any way, shape, or form. This has in fact carried over into adulthood. I'm a klutz simple as that. I cannot count the number of times I've fallen down the stairs, I can't run from my drive way to the stop sign without thinking that the end of my life is surely near as I feel there is no way I'm making it around the block at that rate, so I walk, briskly and try not to trip over a pebble or my own two feet. You may find this hard to believe but I did have dance training for seven years of my childhood. You would think that this would have helped to make me graceful. Unfortunately the only thing I got out of it is the ability to stand with my feet in I believe what is called first position. What this amounts to is that I had a tendency to walk like a duck with my feet out. So no I'm not an athlete.

In what other ways do we tend to compete? At church today someone mentioned that they were competitive when it came to running but more so with themselves than with other people. This got me to thinking. I can think of no instance where I tend to get competitive unless it's when playing games with my family. If we are playing Scrabble, then yes I get competitive. As any mistake on my part will lead to 20 yrs of ridicule, and me waiting for 10 yrs for my husband to say or do something stupid so I can have a comeback. I don't play sports, I don't like to play cards, I don't have an attention span for half the board games we own.

In this world of haves and have nots do you compete or do you relish in other's successes and count the blessings that God has given you? As a child I had a friend who always seemed to need to "one up" me. This bothered me at the time because I couldn't understand the need. I grew up in a world of dysfunction, walking in a sea of sadness just trying to blend in to survive. There was nothing functional in the house I grew up in. I spent the majority of my childhood hoping that I could spend the weekends at friend's houses. In the dysfunction and the guilt I was given stuff to make it better. As a kid of course you like the "stuff" and gladly accept it even though what you long for is the love and acceptance you will never gain. Perhaps in my world I gave up any desire for competition because the only things I ever wanted I knew I would never gain. Back to my friend though, when I got a t.v. for Christmas, she would get a t.v. and v.c.r. If I got a commodore vic 20 computer, she'd get the equivalent of a mac. I didn't grow up with Nike, I never met Ralph Lauren. I thought I lived in a house only to grow up and discover I lived in a double wide. But I could take you through my room and tell you who gave me each thing I ever owned. I was thankful. Perhaps that's the difference in yesterday and today with children and some adults. Those who have grown up always having take for granted what they have and what they have been fortunate enough not to have had to deal with. Those who had nothing but grew up to have their dreams come true understand the gift.

I understand that the things of my childhood could have been worse. I understand that all the things I've seen and encountered and lived through have helped to create the person I'm still trying to become. Am I competitive? I don't think so. Am I blessed beyond measure? Absolutely! This weekend I watched a movie called "To Save A Life" if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend that you rent it. It takes place in a high school. I could see everyone I ever went to school with in that movie. No one knows what happens inside another person's mind. No one knows how people deal with despair. They can only know what's in their own heart. But tell me this, isn't it worth it to find out? What if that kid that gets picked on in school doesn't know the Lord, doesn't have a clue how to deal with the frustration and heartache that something like that leaves, doesn't know who to turn to, and thinks that just maybe they and the world would be better off without them. I have to admit I had every one of those thoughts at one time or another in my life. God however had another plan. I'm a sinner. I am a work in progress. I am the farthest thing from perfect you will ever see. BUT, I have felt the presence of God in my house. I have seen His miracles in my life. I have seen His miracles in the life of my mother. I lost my mother to cancer, but I got to see Him work in her and she was saved and baptized before she died. That my friends is a miracle. It is a miracle worth seeing and it's a miracle worth experiencing. I don't have to know the reasons for everything, I don't have to understand why I didn't grow up like the Brady Bunch, it is not for me to understand. I can tell you this, to feel the sunshine and feel the breeze and know the joy that unfolds when you walk in the light. There is nothing greater. Do I still mess up daily? Yes, but you don't walk into a college class and immediately know everything after the first session. It's a learning that takes time and effort and a willingness to admit fault. He already knows them all anyway. You may as well confess them and save some time. I also have to believe He has a sense of humor, otherwise what on earth would He want with me? There are people in this world who need someone to blame for the bad things that happen in the world. The target is usually God. Why does God not put an end to my pain. I have a question? Did you ask Him to? Why doesn't He stop things from happening? Free Will. He wants you to come to Him. He wants you help you, He loves you beyond anything you can even comprehend. You know I'm not a preacher, I couldn't lead a Sunday school class of 2 yr olds. The amount I don't know far surpasses what I do. I'm nobody, I always have been. You don't have to listen to me. You can say hey that lady has lost her mind. But let me ask you this...What if that kid who grew up in despair actually figured something out? What if there is a reason I'm so happy and actually grew the courage up to type all this out for the world to see? Those who know me know I like to write, but I tend not to lean to anything very serious. So call this my medium. I'm not likely to feel comfortable talking in groups of people. If you want my full story you are unlikely to get it in a crowd. Plus it's still being written. But I can tell you where I've been and how I got out of the pit. It surely wasn't anything I did. I'm a weakly. But my God is mighty. Think about it.