8/3/2017

On Raising The Future, Or The Future Raising Me Parenting

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I found out a few months ago that my daughter identifies herself as bisexual, or more specifically, pansexual, but I had to look that up because I really don’t understand the difference. This information was secondary to the suicide threats and other information that flooded the front of the queue of New Things I’m Learning About My Daughter.

The beautiful thing about learning So Many New Things About My Daughter was that I could sit down with her at the table that day, iPad in hand, and look her in the eyes, all of her secrets now in my own mind and heart and still on the device between my hands and honestly tell her, “I’ve read everything you’ve said over the last few months and there is nothing here that makes me not love you. Now. Can we talk openly? Because I’m here and I’m not going anywhere and you’re not in trouble at all.”

That conversation took place on the Wednesday after we learned about her suicidal thoughts. That conversation took place on the day I will Never Regret My Words. That conversation took place on the day I started being a real parent, an honest mother, with a truthful relationship with one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever known.

Tonight as I watched In A Heart Beat she came down to give me a hug. Since The Day I Do Not Regret My Words, we have a mutual understanding; I know all of her shit and am here to give her a hug any time she need it. And she takes me up on this, knocking on the bathroom door when I’m trying to make-my-hair-pretend-to-be-young-again she will say shyly, “Oh, I just wanted a hug,” and I’ll tell her to hold on, one sec, and I’ll grab my robe and open the door because By God Woman, if you want a hug, a hug you get! It’s sort of a rule now. Sort of like how my mother said to never pass children selling lemonade without buying it, there are no hugs turned away when requested. Ever. Period. 

Tonight, though, she didn’t just need a hug. She was coming down because I was upset and she knew it. Like most children, my children don’t like to see their mother upset. This bothers me but I understand. I want to make it OK for any of us, all of us, at the same time or otherwise, to be upset. It’s OK to feel too much and to cry and to want to smash the living fuck out of the air because it’s suffocating your thoughts and sobs and stifling your spirit. But that wasn’t the lesson tonight. Tonight the lesson was more tender. 

8/3/2017

Animal Meditations Balance

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My son and I started this bedtime meditation together when he was in third grade. 

It was a day he said the whole class got in trouble. Apparently some of the boys were playing with the soap in the bathroom. My son is sensitive, and being the kid who hates to piss of anyone, felt targeted by this lecture. (Apples and Trees, y'all.) He said his teacher was angry and looking right at him but then, my young son explained in air quotes, “chuckled” and was a little nicer. 

This interaction seemed small to me but I don't dismiss his anxiety. As an adult I can see his teacher, a nice, gentle man, suddenly hearing himself lecture seven year olds about playing with the soap in the bathroom. That silly reality probably made him soften and suppress a chuckle. As an adult, and a parent, I understand suddenly hearing the ironic things that come out of your mouth as you yell at your children to stop yelling or please, jesus, don't bite the dog.

This was the first night we tried this new meditation I heard about. The meditation goes like this: Take three to five deep breaths, close your eyes and picture yourself in a nice, happy spot, seated and waiting. Wait there until an animal arrives to teach you something.

He chose to sit in tall grass under a tree. He sees a lion. It tells him he can stand up for himself. When he opens his eyes, "MAMMA! I GOT ONE!" and I open mine, no animal yet to share, I see his face as he explains this lesson to me. He is soft and excited. I explain that this is a fantastic lesson. There absolutely is a lion inside him and can be with him any time. He might be the one doing the work but inside him is a lion giving him confidence. He nods and we decide to try again.

6/7/2017

Three Weeks Later Parenting

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I don’t know about your children, but mine seem to have a very small memory for some things and an elephant-like memory for others. I look at them and wonder where this comes from but then I remember a conversation I had a few hours ago about something I’d completely forgotten while bitching about something I can’t let go of.

Let’s call this “Human.”

My children are quintessential human. Nobody tells you this when you’re pregnant and having dreams about birthing a taco. 

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They have their own emotions and perceptions and thoughts which are always wrong, and not looking at the bigger picture and so self focused, JEEZE, SERIOUSLY, like humans can be. Like I can be. So I try to empathize.

5/3/2017

Inside Voice Balance Parenting

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Teachers or parents who work with, or have, pre-schoolers and Kindergartners use the term “Inside Voice.” It’s a vocabulary word you don’t normally hear at a business meeting where other terms like “Synergy" or "Tech Disruption” get tossed out as if they had actual meaning. Nobody ever says, “Let’s use our Inside Voices.” Although I think they probably should.

Parents and Teachers use this word, ironically, loudly in order to tell the child to stop yelling in the store/house/meeting/car/market/coffee shop. “USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE,” I may or may not have been caught yelling at the three year old who was singing Baby Beluga at Top Volume. 

Now that I have a near teenager and near double-digit dude, “Inside Voice” doesn’t come up as often. Sure they might be loud and rambunctious but “Inside Voices” and “Outside Voices” aren’t a thing. Now I can yell, “SHUT THE FUCK UP FOR LIKE TEN MINUTES,” and they will listen and comply immediately. (I’m kidding. I never use the F word with them.)  (I’m kidding again. I don’t know why I’m lying to make friends, y’all already know me.) They just laugh at me if I yell to shut up and continue on. 

I’m the model mother.

Lately, though, “Inside Voice” is taking on a new meaning. In the silent bliss that is the three minutes after the youngest gets on the bus for school and the house is completely silent, I heard myself whisper to nobody at all, “Use your Inside Voice.” I nearly startled myself with this idea, looking around half expecting to find a kindergarten teacher standing over me. “Use your Inside Voice,” I thought again. Interesting.

4/2/2017

Becoming Unstuck Stories

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There’s a great quote about getting unstuck by Pema Chodron. “We don’t hear hear much about how painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality, like changing your DNA."

Or, as Tracy Jordan once said on 30Rock, "Stop eating people's old French fries, pigeon. Have some self respect! Don't you know you can fly?”

I think we frequently forget we can fly. HANG ON, I don’t mean literally fly, step back from the ledge there, mister. I mean we forget we’re heroes and souls and beautiful memories and inspired ideas and we’re not just this lump of collagen layered over calcium deposits holding in a bunch of water and other stuff. (I got a degree in the human body and paid a lot of money to know that level of detail so I don’t expect you to retain all of this.)

In These Great United States Of The Americas, we focus so much attention on the outsides. Flabby arms? We have a video of entertainingly fit people you can watch and hate yourself for that will surely fix that flabby arms if you could only just Do These Imposible Exercises Every Day! Baggy under eyeball puffiness? (How are these two things able to coexist, I’m not sure, but I tend to have both at the same time.) There’s a surgery for puffy, baggy eye skin! Want to lose that belly? Take this pill that makes you pee out your butthole and maybe stop wearing white and select dark pants for the duration of the program. Success Guaranteed!

We sell ourselves misery shaped items to fill all the misery shaped holes in our lives. They come in a lot of shapes and sizes but the misery shaped hole expands and grows and the misery-plugs stop working so we look for more Stuff.