May 28, 2011

Both Sides Now

 This will definitely date me ~ Do you remember the  Judy Collins song Both Sides Now (1967)   

Actually I was too young to remember this song as a hit (whoosh~ close one),anyway I have been thinking a lot about this song and how it applies to this current season of my life.  The song talks about how the things we view in life can be seen as glorious or horrendous.  The first verse is about clouds and we view them as angel hair then quickly fuss they're blocking the sun.  The next two verses are about love and life.  Each chorus is different but ends with how "I don't really know clouds (love, life) at all"
   Well I am proposing a new verse/chorus. It will be all about the first summer home from college.

        Living at school I'm far from home
        tests, wash and meals done on my own
        Beginning to find out who I'll become
        I've loved this time away
       Now I'm the Mom my child is home
       It seems they've changed; It seems they've grown
       They're used to living on their own
       How do we make this work?                

       I've lived this life from both sides now
       From student and parent
       And still somehow
       It's freshman summer here at home
       I really don't know life at all

OK so I won't be winning a Grammy anytime soon for lyrics LOL
IT really is hard that first summer home.  Add to it trying to find a job and not having a car of your own, no real public transportation and all those "best friends" are hours away it simply sucks.  I get I see it I lived it.  While I did have a job I either rode my bike or took a bus to work. 
     There were tons of summer jobs growing up.  Not in today's economy.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from last summer (2010) the employment for teenage summer jobs was down 17.5% from the year before.  With gas prices rising many summer travel spots will see decreased vacationers which in turn means less seasonal hires.  In fact the 960,000 summer jobs filled by teens represents the lowest level summer hiring since 1949! Additionally government statistics reveal that the 5,290,000 16-19 employed last July is the lowest July total since 1959*. (This number includes those who have jobs throughout the year as well). Due to the financial stress so many families are facing they are choosing to cut out extra items that could have put cash in a student's wallet.  Nannies, House cleaners, Yard Workers, and even Babysitters seem to be less on demand.
     Many kids were able to secure summer employment when home over Summer Break.  Sometimes it does seem that adage comes true~ No good deed goes unpunished.  Instead of relaxing Spring Break my college student spent her week on a Mission trip to Alaska.  She was "in the 904" for less than 72 hours and I think she slept more than half of that.  Now this isn't to say that she doesn't have any Summer Employment as she will be interning with our church's Youth Summer Program  While she'll be making some money it isn't really going to be as much as she needs to return to school. 
   I do remember those struggles that first summer home.  Being asked who are you talking to on the phone...and long distance charges (yikes).  My parents wanting to know what my plans were, what time I'd be home.  Well on the flip side it isn't as easy either.  Part of that admittedly is this limbo pattern we have right now before her job starts.  When I go out it's where are you going? When will you be back.  I get it she's bored.  It's weird when you're used to having your days all to yourself and then someone else plops into it.
I really am trying to bear in mind what that first summer home felt like and look at life from Both Sides.

Fun Fact:
This was the first song I learned to play on the guitar ~ Nope won't be a trivia question anywhere sorry :0)

* Few gains seen in weak Teen Job Market

May 21, 2011

Still here/God's Cake

Just a quick note to say sorry that I haven't posted in a bit... thank you for the many emails and encouragement.  Everything here is fine :0) I just can't seem to get those creative juices flowing but hope to have something soon>

I shared this on fb thought all of you may enjoy this as well:
I can't take credit for this.  We found it on the wall of the restroom at our new favorite bakery..... Cupcake Girls
God’s Cake
A daughter is telling her mother how everything is going wrong.
She’s failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her, and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack. The daughter looks at her mother and say, “You know it, Mom! I love your cake.”
“Here, have some cooking oil,” her mother offers.
“Yuck,” says her daughter.
“How about a couple of raw eggs?” the mother asks.
“Gross, Mom!”
“Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?”
“Mom, those are all nasty!”
At this point, the mother says to her daughter something that puts things in perspective:
“Yes, all those things seem bad by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!”
God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through bad or difficult times. God knows that when He puts these things — our life, the universe, or anything at all — in the order He knows is best, things always work for our good! We just have to trust Him, knowing that things will turn out fine.
When we’re going through troubled times, sometimes it seems to be an eternity before things get better, but when we’re in the middle of the fire — when things are at their absolute worst, we must simply know, in our heart, that God is there, totally in control of the situation (if we allow Him), and is working all things out for our good. When we try to keep things in our control, well, that’s when we knock things off-kilter with God’s plans for our lives. At that point, you see, God will have to work His plans for our life in a different way — and when He has to do that, sometimes the consequences of our actions have to play out, as severe as they may be — but in the end, His plan still comes shining through.
God really is focused on us — the creatures He calls people. We are supposedly civilized. If you stop and look around, many of the things we do to each other are anything but civil, but what’s He do for us every day? He sends us flowers every spring, a sunrise every morning, and birds to sing and serenade us each and every day.
Whenever you want to talk, He’s ready to listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, yet He chose your heart.
If you like this, share this page with other people you really care about.
My thoughts
As you head out into the world today — no matter if it is morning, noon, or night — reflect of this story and try to understand how life really can be a piece of cake.

May 6, 2011

Not all flowers and kisses

     I debated whether or not to write this blog.  How would it be received? Does it sound like a pity party?  Are there maybe others out there with similar situations that this might help?
     Simply put Mother's Day is two sided.  It is a day when we celebrate the woman who was a mother to us and if you're blessed you are being celebrated by those you are a mother to.   What side do you fall on?  What side is more important? 
     The baby boomer generation, of which I am ever so slightly too young to be a part of, was the first generation to have an ideal of motherhood for all to see.  Prior to everyone having a television in their homes our ideas of mothers beyond our personal experience were in literature and the bible.  Both of those sources allowed us to form mental pictures which could lead to millions of different "mothers".  With the introduction of television we now all had the same visions.  In the 50's we had June Cleaver, Harriet Nelson and others not only looking perfect but extending that to every area of their family.  The 60's we started to see Moms with career aspirations on TV falling in step with the equal rights movement the country was going through.  During that time we even started to see families without a father figure.  The 70's brought is a whole new onslaught of what motherhood looked like.  We saw divorced moms(Ann Romano), remarried moms (Carol Brady) and moms working hard just to keep their families together (Shirley Partridge).  The 80's were when we finally started to see strong successful moms(Claire Huxtable).  Their careers were in the focus and the families rallied around. 
     There were no TV shows were the families were miserable.  No one wants to watch a show were the Moms are abusive or negligent.  What company wants to sponsor a show where the Mom is screaming at the kids every week?    When we do see mothers portrayed like that in movies there always seems to be an aunt or teacher or simply a neighbor that comes in and rescues the children from that horrible situation.  Guess what?  That is the reality for many kids and they don't all have a rescuer. 
     I am one of those who fall into that category.  However I have learned to survive.  After many many times of hoping for a healthy relationship I realized things aren't going to change.  I believe the saying is: Insanity is doing the same thing expecting different results.  There comes a time as an adult when you have to say enough is enough. You have to be strong enough to say I can no longer continue this unhealthy relationship. I will not allow it to effect me or my children anymore.  I remember the pain in my heart as I came to that realization,  the day when I said enough is enough. Knowing I would have trouble with the conversation that needed to take place I wrote a letter.  A very long letter.  I had others read it to be sure not one word or even comma could be misconstrued.  It took me over a month to write that letter.  That was 11 years ago.  Unfortunately that letter came with collateral damage as my Dad was still alive and she forbade him contact with me.  Over 2 years later at my Dad's wake a neighbor pulled me aside and shared this~ Your father showed me the letter you sent to your Mother and he was never prouder of you.  He so wanted to move near you had he had the nerve.  I had an "Aunt" who was my Dad's childhood friend say almost the same thing. The release and blessing those two women bestowed on my was immense.  The reality is we have had absolutely no contact whatsoever with my mother for over 8 years and I do not feel any sense of loss.  I sincerely hope she is happy and healthy.

     I've been a little ashamed these last few days.  I'm watching everyone change their FB profile pic to their moms.  I wonder if they're thinking why haven't I done that~ as if anyone really gives a hoot but you know we all have those moments.
     I am living on the other side of Motherhood.  I chose to give up a career and stay home for my kids.  It hasn't always been easy or very pretty for that matter.  I knew I had to be better than what was modeled for me.  I hope and pray my girls are better Moms than I am.  I am a very firm believer that Children Learn What They Live.  My orthodontist had that poster in his office ~amazing I can remember that but not what I had or even did I have lunch yesterday.

     Am I a perfect Mom.... OMG NO!
But guess what.... they don't exist!!

May 3, 2011

AHH Mother Nature ~~~NOT !!!!!

     We love birds.  I don't think they should be pets~OK I'm afraid of them one to one (shame).  But truly I love to watch birds.  Years ago before it was the thing my Dad always had a bird feeder and we would be sure it was always filled.  Growing up I loved that I could count on a family of doves making a nest between my bedroom window and the chimney; I loved hearing their cooing.  Shortly after moving into our house here in FL we put up a bird feeding station.  I love learning which bird seed each species prefers.  We have different feeders so every one's happy.  I've trimmed branches and made it so the squirrels can't get to the food.  MaryEllen has done 2 different Science Fair projects on birds and their feeding habits.
    So all that to prove we really enjoy birds in our yards.  I think you'd have to agree we have made a welcoming and sustaining habitat for them~ I'm assuming you are nodding your head in agreement.
     The other day my status on FB was "It sounds as it Mother Nature is holding auditions the birds are all singing".  It was really glorious.  As part of my taking it easy routine I enjoy sitting outside in the morning listening to the birds.  It is a wonderful way to start the day and actually quite energizing. 

Before we go any further please click here and listen to this
Did you notice that there were 4 different options to listen to. The bird you listened to is the Northern Mockingbird.  If you type Mockingbird into YouTube you can find them imitating car alarms, cell phones, as well as other animals including a cat~ yes a bird meowing like a cat; I wonder what Freud would say about that.
     The Mocking Bird is the official state bird for Florida.  (Whoops that may change things).  Florida isn't all that original as the Mocking Bird is also the state bird of Arkansas Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.  They are known to have over 200 songs.  Not as a species but EACH bird.
   Why am I educating you about this sweet bird with all his songs?  BECAUSE he sings religiously outside my bedroom window from 12midnight to 2AM.  I at first thought someone had one of those singing bird feeders and it had gone haywire. Yes I was outside at 130 looking for it!  Who knew ONE BIRD could make so much noise.  IF he sang one song it would be relaxing but NO.  The one in my yard is an aficionado of all the birds I hear sing during the day as well as some other non-bird sounds as well.
     This has been going on for the last 4 nights and of course doesn't seem to bother anyone else in my family (like that's a surprise).  While I tried going to sleep last night at around 1:15 I came up with a couple of what I am going to call "Survival Plans".  However having found out that it is illegal to kill or even harass Mockingbirds in Florida, as they are our state birds, I can not follow through on any of those meticulously devised strategies. Just let me add this... after 1am I can become pretty devious. And would training a cat to hunt this bird be considered harassment or more importantly could they prove it in a court of law? 
     Researching these glorious songsters I learned that it is only the males that sing at night.  Bachelor males.  That's right it is only the single males looking for a mate who sing at night.  I'm sorry but really!!! Why would they be wired this way?? What are the female birds doing besides sleeping at this time of night.  Can't you just picture the new season females (think debutantes) sitting together judging the males and thier songs:   Johnny sings better.  Tommy has a better repertoire.  I just love the way Matty does that cell phone ring! Well Danny can't sing well but his is territory by the Smith house.    Talk about eHarmony.

     I did find suggestions from a birding website on what to do in the meantime *because we couldn't think of these ourselves LOL:

Steps You Can Take

  • First and foremost, close all windows including storm windows.
  • Use a fan to help drown out the mockingbirds singing.
  • Purchase soft foam earplugs
  • Use your CD player, purchase relaxation CDs, sounds of rain, rivers flowing, or pleasant music.
  • Move your sleeping quarters to another room in your house.

   So my sleep should not be bothered for too much longer.  Let's face it who has time to sing at 2am after they're setting up house and starting a family.