Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christian Values, Coping mechanisms, Kids, Oversharing, perspective, responsible adult, solving personal problems
I’ve probably written about this before, but it’s on my mind so here it goes again.
Mother’s Day…I like it. However, it brings up so many mixed feelings. You know how parenting magazines are all about taking care of little ones and keeping them safe? I want one that talks about taking care of teenagers and young adults, and what you’re supposed to do when a situation comes up. When they get that age, emotion has to be set aside and logic used. What you emotionally want to do sometimes is directly opposite of the logic. What you did for them as little kids, the protection, the coddling and organic foods and careful tending…that doesn’t work when they’re teens and young adults, and you never hear that. You never…well I never did, anyway…see a Parents of People With Minds Of Their Own magazine.
They get to this point where…you have to let go. you don’t want to. You want to keep them safe and fed and content,but doing that does not help them. It stifles them. Even when they don’t see it that way. You don’t want them to hate you so you do whatever you can so they won’t hate you but that isn’t what they NEED. I hate that. It hurts. I don’t like hurting. It’s also not easy. I hate that too. I like easy. But easy isn’t best, or good for you or them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my older sons. I don’t like calling them children or kids, because they aren’t. They are young men. Letting go is tough.
And where’s the rulebook? Where’s the guide that says “if this, then that?” How do you let your adult children be adults?
I think you just…let them be adults. Even when they don’t really want to. Give them the space to make decisions, good or bad. Put them out there,shove them out of the nest like a bird, and hope they fly? Boy that’s a tough one, but how would they ever figure out how to fly if you don’t?
Anyway…I am both amused and resentful that there’s no parenting support out there (that I can find…do you know of one) beyond the organic juice boxes and Dr. Seuss. It’s kind of like society says if you can keep them alive until they’re 10, you’re on your own. And frankly, I think parents of teens and young adults need MORE help than the ones of little kids. God know I did, and I didn’t have it beyond “Oh…you have teens? Make them memorize scripture and rebuke them when they’re bad.” Say what?
The best I can do is the best I have done, even though it hasn’t been that great. I love them,I feed them, and each morning is a new day where grudges and resentment are forgotten…sort of. There’s stress…oh my word there’s stress. I haven’t seen a magazine that tells you how to deal with that sort of stress that comes from your kid acting like he hates you one minute then needing you the next and you’re wondering when he’s going to hate you again. I have my own coping mechanisms that come in a big bottle of chilled white wine, a bit of talk therapy, and occasionally pharmaceuticals. Probably not the best way, but it’s how I roll. Do you know how hard it is to pray for someone when you’re so tense your ears are ringing? The only coherent prayer I can form is “God help me…”
I need a group. I need a group of women who’s children have broken their hearts and scared them and made them wonder what they did when the child was 4 that resulted in this. I want them to still be there, still wondering. And I want a couple or three women who’ve been there and survived,who can say it may or may not be ok, but it is possible to survive and not feel this tension and fear, to simply love them, those sons and daughters who have taken a path that I don’t understand.
I googled it, to see what’s said out there about mothers of adult children, and what I got was stuff about adults abusing their mothers, and about how to deal with a terrible mother when you’re an adult. Nothing about how to love your adult children, how to guide them when they don’t want your guidance, or how to show them you love them when they think you don’t.
I will always love them. Always. But I don’t always understand.
Lord,give me the wisdom to love my children the way You want me to, and the courage to do it.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christian Values, Oh for pete's sake, Who does that
I receive emails that say things like “blah de blah if you pass this on and send it back to me I’ll know you love Jesus. If you don’t, I’ll know you don’t love Jesus.” Stuff like that comes up on Facebook, too.
People. Seriously? The strength of my faith is dependent on that nonsense? Do you really think I have to forward such babble to 10 people in order for God to know where He stands in my priorities?
Don’t waste my time. Don’t tell me I’m a no-account heathen because I don’t rely on the magic of forwarding messages to determine the solidity of my convictions. Don’t even imply it.
Don’t try to convince me that sending pink messages flying all over the world will increase funding for breast cancer research. What about other cancers? Don’t they deserve to have rubber bracelets, too? How does announcing to the 145 people on my Facebook (yes, I know..that’s sad, right? I should have at least 500, most of whom I’ve never even met but since Facebook is an internet popularity contest, which I lost in high school so should be trying to make up for it now that I’m in my late 40′s) that I support research into The Cure (that’s the medical thing, not the band) for cancer/autism/medical cause du jour actually benefit these causes? I mean other than making people aware that I have fallen into the time-sucking trap of forwarding all these messages because God won’t know where He stands with me if I don’t?
I’m not going to go into my convictions here. If you want to know, ask and I will tell you all about it.
And I won’t even require you to forward it to 10 people so you’ll have God’s Blessings on you all day. Because God’s going to bless you however He sees fit, not because I told Him to.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Christian Values, Coping mechanisms, Oversharing, responsible adult
So I woke up this morning and was all “hey! I don’t feel so bad today! Like, nothing aches!”
Then I thought “Oh cool! No PMS this month!” and that was nice because typically I feel like driving over people who are dressed inappropriately for their age or body type. Unless they’re toddlers, then I want to drive over their mothers.
Only…(you knew that was coming)
Now I do. Now every single thing I look at is pissing me off and I want to eat all the salty things in the world and chase them down with an enormous bottle cheap pinot grigio (nicely chilled).
#4 asked how I was feeling today, just a few minutes ago, and I said “I am crabby as hell.” and he leaned away from me with a wary look in his eye.
“Am I the cause of this?” he asked. I had just kind of crawled all over him for the clothes on the floor and the undone math worksheets I found on his desk.
“No. you’re more of a symptom.” I answered.
“Don’t you mean a victim?” he said. I do not. He is not a victim. He’s not exactly a cause, either. But he is kind of funny over there, in a hat given to him by a Peruvian girl and his sports glasses (because the regular ones broke, while he was playing sports. I am sure there’s a logical explanation.) and slurping down ramen noodles.
He’s home from school today due to possibly the flu. Terry has it and #4 was complaining of the same symptoms, tho in the mood I’m in right now I am more inclined to call it malingering.
And WHY is he eating ramen at the coffee table, and not at the dinner table like a normal person?
I am going to take a deep cleansing breath and think happy thoughts and Calvinist thoughts like “God knew the dining room would become a garbage dump and it’s all in His Plan.” instead of disappointing Free Will Arminian thoughts like “They dumped all their shi..I mean…stuff there of their own free will and that’s more important than my personal mental well being.”
So I am going to think about Cheetoes On The Counter. And Mellow Mushroom pizza (the white kind). And pinot grigio.
I’ll be better tomorrow. Promise.
In 1927, The Family Letter was started. My grandmother’s mother’s family, the Cunninghams, started this letter so all the cousins and descendants could keep up with each other.
It is still going on! I received the letter on Saturday. When the person receives the letter, she/he removes the one she/he wrote last year and writes a new one, and puts it on the bottom of the pile. Then it is sent on to the next person on the list at the front of the letter. Also included are addresses and (now!) email addresses on everyone on the list. If someone wants to join the list, they simply write a letter, put their name on the bottom of the list, and send it on.
It is amazing to read. Our family has a very strong Presbyterian heritage, and the Christian faith runs through the family like lifeblood. Missionaries, pastors and pastor’s wives run through each generation. There are 3 generations of Cunninghams writing now, and I am trying to get #4 to join in as the first member of the 4th generation. It is encouraging to read what my grandmother’s generation has to say about politics and religion (essentially: not much has changed) and how they mourn their spouses and loved ones who’ve passed on, but are comfortable knowing they’ll be together again.
I really look forward to meeting them one day. I feel like I have gotten to know them through these letters.
What a treasure it is, this huge family. Grandmother loves to talk about the character of the Cunninghams, the qualities passed down through the generations. Generosity, a strong faith in God, a quirky sense of humor, and a love of practical jokes. Last time I saw her (in June) she told me how important it is to take lots of pictures of family, because one day someone will want to know what you look like. It’s interesting to look at pictures of her when she was young, because I look very much like her. One of the assistants at the home where she lives commented on how she and I have the same profile.
So now I have The Letter…or Letters, I suppose. It is about 50 pages long, with photographs and funeral announcements, graduation pictures. Most of them are typed and printed from a computer, some of them are handwritten by a shaky hand in what used to be a beautiful script. Some of them don’t have much to say beyond “I’m still alive” and some of them go into detail about daughters in Greece and sons getting married.
It is…I am not sure how to say it…honoring, I suppose…to be a part of a family that believes the past matters, but also that the future matters, and that no matter what happens, faith is strong, family is strong. I love that. It’s encouraging, like there’s this long line of people behind and beside me?, all sharing a heritage and a belief system…I reckon that’s what a family is, right?
Filed under: Sometimes she thinks too much | Tags: Christian Values, responsible adult
If you have ever read this blog at all, you can tell immediately that I am not a political or social commentator. This is not one of those clever blogs that calls people on their baloney or points out inconsistencies in news media coverage. Truth be told, I don’t think that much. Not all the time, anyway. It’s not because I don’t CARE about the rest of humanity and the nonsense they have to endure, but because I am a small scale thinker. I do not worry much about what injustices are being visited upon a demographic on a small Philipino island, or the pollution being caused by rampant industry in China. I can’t. If I worried about Every Evil Thing everywhere (or even in California)…I’d blow a fuse.
Like I said, I am a small scale thinker. Concerns don’t stretch much beyond my immediate community- the place where I can have the most influence.
Sometimes, tho, something will capture my attention and make me go WOAH.
A little while ago I read a book called Elephant Girl. That was a WOAH event. It caused thinking about stuff in a whole different way. Read the write-up about it. Having been raised in a solidly middle class white relatively well put together family, the story (autobiography) caused a shift in my thinking about people who don’t “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”- an ethic I was raised with, and I was also taught to feel contempt for people like that (the ones who didn’t pull themselves up). The book changed my thinking significantly.
Last weekend we watched the movie “Red Tails”, about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War 2. Now, I’d known the historical data of the TA, read a few books, etc. The movie, however, especially the opening sentence (that I cannot remember exactly, so I am paraphrasing) that said something like “Colored people are mentally inferior thus incapable of serving effectively in the armed forces” that came directly from the 1925 War College manual. At the opening of the movie I saw that and though “what? Oh, it was 1925.” Then the movie very effectively shows the frustrations that the TA had with being consistently underestimated and undervalued, and I felt very frustrated *for* them. I also came to understand WHY this entire demographic has a systemic mistrust of whites and an apparent undervaluing of themselves…I mean, why try when no one will accept them as equals anyway. And, also…who WOULDN’T be angry at a societal and cultural acceptance of this assumption of inferiority, especially when they know in their own hearts that it is patently false? Then, because this is how I roll (small scale), I thought about the Blacks (African-Americans? I never know exactly what to say there) that I know personally- all intelligent, well educated people with a solid work ethic who…due to physical characteristics like hair type and skin pigmentation, have to work harder for the same recognition…that’s nuts, people.
Ok…there is this one line in Red Tails that made me laugh. The TA pilots have just been recognized as excellent escorts for the bombers (flown by whites). Until then, they were refused entrance into the Officer’s Club, but now they are invited in and accepted. They are all standing around having drinks. One of the TA pilots said to a bomber pilot,”Ok. When you get mad, you turn red. When you’re sick or jealous you turn green. When you’re scared you turn yellow. And you have the nerve to call US colored!”
And honestly…humanity has issues, no matter what the ethnicity or upbringing or culture. White folks can look back at the 1940′s and ’50′s with this nostalgic fondness for housewives and pot roasts and The Good Old Days, while black folks look back and see separate lines and no choice in elected officials and extremely limited choices in careers and the constant systemic oppression…not exactly nostalgia inducing, y’know. It’s no small wonder the people who gave them hope are revered.
I also honestly believe that it is something that, unless you have actually lived it, you can only marginally understand it.
And another thing…Jesus Christ (my favorite!!) , (I know, we don’t have photos, but somewhere in there it says he looked like “an ordinary man”) probably looked much more like a black man than a white one. There weren’t that many fine featured blue eyed men with light brown hair in Galilee, back in the day. Time to get over it, White People.
Filed under: family, God Stuff, Grandparents, Memories, Sometimes she thinks too much, spouse, things that make you go hmmmmm | Tags: Christian Values, Coping mechanisms, Dealing with a grandparent, Spouse
Yesterday was rough, y’all. I got a call from my father, who asked me to call Grandmother and talk to her, assess her over the phone. Grandmother’s 100th birthday is in August, and she lives in a (very nice…REALLY REALLY NICE) nursing home in Texas. Lest you get all indignant about her living so far from family, it was her choice. Anyway,a couple of weeks ago, she was moved (not physically, but in her care) from standard care to Hospice.
On one hand, this alarmed me. “HOSPICE!?” I thought. But…but…she’s not *that sick!* And really, she is in pretty good health for a 100 year old. But, according to the care nurses, and they know these things (seriously, I’ve met with them. They know their stuff),she is reaching The End Of Life. She spends a lot of time in the past, reminiscing about her parents and siblings (all whom have passed on), and is getting kind of…groggy, I guess.
I called her yesterday, and she was thrilled, but there was definitely something “off”. She wasn’t completely there, and I had to repeat myself a couple of times. This is very unusual behavior for her. She seemed preoccupied, and that is unusual for her.
So, I decided I was going to fly out to see her in July. I have several obligations to meet before then, but I made plans. And attempted to buy a plane ticket.
Do you believe that God messes with things, so that we will do what REALLY needs to be done? I have always said I believe that, but yesterday, trying to get that plane ticket, it became abundantly clear that He was messing with things to get me to change the plans.
I got online with Expedia, to get a ticket and car rental. Fine, no problem, great flight out of Atlanta, etc, decent price blah blah. Then, my American Express card didn’t work. What? I’d never had trouble with it before. So I tried Terry’s. Same thing. So I called Expedia and went through the process with a real person. Same thing, neither card worked. So Terry called American Express and they were all OhSoSorry! Some Issue! We’ll get on that right away!
So…then Terry comes downstairs with a funny look on his face and says “Let’s drive to Amarillo instead. We can leave Sunday and be back Friday, and it will cost the same as your plane ticket. I think God messed with the AMEX on purpose. and I think you need to see your grandmother sooner than July 10.”
and so it is.
13 years ago, just days after #4 was born, Terry got a funny feeling about his own grandmother, and drove to see her. She passed on 2 weeks later.
Yesterday…was tough for me. I thought a lot about Grandmother. Not just the 100 years old part…she remembers WW1. She grew up with a horses and a buggy for transportation. She has seen the world change in ways that boggle the mind. Antibiotics, air travel, all the way to computers and people on the moon. Her world has changed more drastically than I can imagine. Uncommon for women of her generation, she has a college degree, and never stopped learning something new.
I look around my house and there are bits and pieces of her everywhere. She loved to do needlework- any sort. I have her quilts on my wall, a needlepoint firescreen, several pictures on the wall of my sewing room. I have her old cookbooks, too. A 1950 Betty Crocker, a Gnomes Gnotebook she wrote her favorite recipes in. I inherited her love of sewing and cooking, and her sense of adventure in those things. I am also cautious like she is, and stubborn too. I have this beautiful painted china doll she made when I was 7. It was an experiment in creativity for her, and she said she enjoyed making the one she gave me, but couldn’t see making a whole bunch of them. I get that from her, too. I will make one or two of something, then wonder why do need 100 (of whatever, silk neckties, dyed scarves, homemade soaps), and move on to something else.
Grandmother went deaf at the age of 3, from an illness. She doesn’t remember what music sounds like, or birds singing, or another person’s voice. This served her well in her 71 year marriage to Grandad. He was an irascible old goat (from the age of 5, according to his brother Walter) and frequently went on rants and tirades. She would just turn off her hearing aid and look at him seriously. One of the things that kept me so emotional yesterday was the realization that when she passes on, SHE WILL HEAR MUSIC FOR THE FIRST TIME!
I am so incredibly excited for her! Of course I will miss her, but she has said for the last 5 years or so that she is ready to go, ready to see her siblings and parents again, and tired of being the only one she knows who’s still alive. I get that, and respect it.
I have many very happy memories with her, most of them formed as an adult. We didn’t see our grandparents very much growing up. We always lived far away and only saw them once every 3 or 4 years. My very first memory- Mom says I was 2-1/2 when this happened-was of playing in Grandmother’s rock garden. I had casts on my legs and was unable to walk, so they sat me down in the rock garden with an old Welch’s grape juice can and a couple of kitchen spoons. There was a bird bath filled with small blue ceramic tiles, and I played with them, filling up the juice can and dumping it out, stirring them around, making stacks and knocking them over. I remember it very clearly.
Once Terry and I married, we started traveling to Texas to see them. We took the boys, because I wanted them to know each other. Then as the boys got older, I started flying out there, to stay for a long weekend. She and I would work on a project, cook something, and generally enjoy each other’s company. I kept this up even after she moved out of the house and into assisted living. A couple of years ago she moved into the nursing home where she’s at now. Dad asked me to fly out there and check the place out, to make sure it was nice enough for her. It is. The people who work there are very committed to the care of the residents, and take real time with them.
Now that she’s in Hospice, I need to see her. It might (and maybe even probably) be the last time I see her. Maybe not. It could be that her grogginess and general behavior is a result of a medication change. That is something that needs to be looked into. I hope it won’t be the last time I see her, but I am prepared for it either way.
100 is a long time to live. She has outlived all of her siblings, friends, and 5 doctors. I don’t want her to go, she is a part of my heritage, something that I am attached to, in a way. I have never had a close family member pass on. Grandad died 6 years ago, but I wasn’t attached to him the way I am to Grandmother. When he died, it was more…Something To Do, I was able to be useful and plan the funeral, clean up his house, and that sort of thing. I was there. I don’t know if I will be able to do that for her. I know she would like it if I could.
The idea of letting go is hard. It’s not that I am howling NOOOOO DON”T GOOOOO! because I believe in Heaven and I know that’s where she’ll be, and that isn’t a platitude of someone patting my shoulder and saying “oh she’s in a better place now” in some attempt to comfort me. I KNOW she will be there, when she goes, and she will be with the people who love her, and she won’t be lonely anymore. It’s more…overwhelming…than anything. The idea that someone I know and love is actually on the cusp of this massive transition is incredibly exciting..and overwhelming.
And so I cry…some grief, even though she’s not gone yet, but mostly out of a sense of ..I am not sure what it is. I’ve never felt like this before.
Filed under: Anger management, Good grief | Tags: birth control, catholic church, Christian Values, Rush Limbaugh
I reckon the whole pot of stew stirred up by the Rush Limbaugh/ Sandra Fluke controversy has me more upset than I realized at first.
First of all, I despise it when people resort to name calling. It pisses me off because it’s so cheap and petty and mindless. Anyone can call names. People who call Limbaugh a fat pig or whatever…are resorting to cheap. Limbaugh did it when he called Ms Fluke a slut. I resent all of that entirely and it dismisses the importance of the argument.
That is, that institutions shouldn’t be required to provide insurance coverage for something that they, as an institution, are morally opposed to.
Now, as I see it, the Catholic church was not wanting for their insurance to cover birth control. I get that. However, (as I see it) Ms. Fluke’s argument was that by denying coverage for birth control, hormone replacement therapy (often times medication that was also used as birth control) was being denied to people who needed it for reasons other than birth control, such as polycystic ovarian disease, endometriosis, and similar gynecological disorders. In other words, the insurance provider was second guessing the physician’s decision to use hormone therapy to treat very real and painful diseases because the treatment was also a birth control. thing is, someone with polycystic ovarian disease or endometriosis is pretty unlikely to get pregnant, as these disorders tend to be incompatible with pregnancy.
I do not agree that the Catholic Church should be required to provide contraceptives. (go ahead and throw something). I also do not agree that they should NOT provide medication that could be used as a contraceptive if the woman’s physician determines that she needs it for medical purposes. Does that make sense? The Catholic Church is not a gynecologist, and they should not tell a gynecologist or a woman that she cannot have the medication that will enable her to have a better quality of life. That is between the woman and her physician. If a woman wants contraception, there are many options that do not require a physicians prescription.
I know, A Woman’s Body Is Her Own…I get that. Let me ask you this, how many insurance companies cover the cost of abortions? As far as I know, most of the time if a woman wants one, she pays for it out-of-pocket. I honestly believe that contraception should also be paid for out-of-pocket. It is VOLUNTARY. Having sex is (or it should be) VOLUNTARY. Oral contraceptives are not the only option for contraception. If the man says “I don’t like the way condoms feel” and refuses to use them, then he is an asshole and the woman shouldn’t be having sex with him. If the woman has an uncomfortable reaction to contraceptive jellies or foams (which I totally understand, as I react to them), and the man refuses condoms…ok I know what some of you are thinking. That I am heartless and do not understand and “what about a woman’s sexual agency” and all that.
Thing is, I get it more than you think. I just don’t believe that any institution should be required by law to pay for something that is, for the recipient, A VOLUNTARY and not medically necessary service or product.
now, I do not agree with the Catholic Church on the birth control issue. I do not agree with the idea that women are vessels and should have as many babies as they can and have humongous families, IF THEY DON’T WANT TO. If they do want to, more power to them as long as they can pay for it. BUT I do believe the Catholic Church has a right to this. If you don’t agree with them, don’t go to a Catholic University and expect student insurance to cover birth control. Don’t work for a Catholic institution. If that’s the institution that gives you a scholarship, or that’s the place that hires you, go into it with the understanding that there are limitations to what the insurance will cover.
Y’know, my health insurance won’t cover anything involving teeth. If my son gets 4 teeth knocked out by a soccer ball, too bad. Any dental work has to be paid out of pocket. If he is in a car accident and hits a telephone pole and his face hits the steering wheel, insurance will cover the broken nose and cheekbone, but not the broken teeth and subsequent root canals. I knew this going into it. I am not happy about it, but that’s the way it is. I can lobby with the owners of the company about our insurance coverage, I can protest and make a lot of noise and *maybe* dental coverage will be added, but it won’t be free. I have to make a choice.
Likewise anyone going to work or school at a Catholic institution has to make a choice about birth control. Maybe if they make enough noise, the business about trusting a physician and being able to take medication (that is also used as birth control) for gynecological diseases will be resolved. That would be a very good change.
Ok, now…Here’s where I get REALLY pissed off. It’s the double standard. Women are supposed to be chaste, innocent and virginal. If they choose to be sexually active then they are Sluts. Men are supposed to be Experienced and if they are sexually active outside of marriage they they get the “nudge nudge, wink wink”. Only, with whom are they supposed to be sexually active,if women are supposed to be chaste and virginal?
In a perfect world according to Christian Values (bear with me here, you all know I am Christian), BOTH MEN AND WOMEN would remain chaste and virginal until marriage. There should exist NO DOUBLE STANDARD. However, as I said in a previous post, I know that not everyone in this country is Christian. HOWEVER, there should be NO DOUBLE STANDARD there, either. If men can have sex, so should women, without condemnation.
But (I know, there are 2 points in this post and probably should be written separately) the stupid double standard of sexual behavior MUST STOP. If men are going to call women sluts for being sexually active, then MEN must STOP HAVING SEX,TOO. That is, sex outside of marriage. If men aren’t willing to do that, then it MUST be acceptable for women to behave the same way. After all, with whom are those men going to have sex with, anyway? Each other? But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.
**edited to add: ” I honestly believe that contraception should also be paid for out-of-pocket. It is VOLUNTARY. Having sex is (or it should be) VOLUNTARY” I meant to say IF the insurance company will not pay for contraceptives on moral grounds (due to the beliefs of the company providing the insurance)…it should not be required to, and the individual should voluntarily pay for them. If there is no moral obligation against contraceptives, then by all means, let the insurance company pay for it! It would be far cheaper to pay for contraceptives than for babies being born. In that case, I think the companies ought to pay for them entirely, rather than with the copay….sorry for any confusion. I am not opposed to insurance paying for contraceptives, only for companies who are morally opposed to them being forced to provide them.