To be the Queen of Chaos, you have to be a little warped.

Posts tagged ‘children’

How Did You Spend Your Last Day?

SO much going on in the past couple of weeks that I’ve had little time to sit down and type out my thoughts.  Not until I became a parent did I appreciate how completely insane the month of June can be!

Today was my older girls’ Last Day Of School.  (Capitalized because it might as well be a national holiday, judging by the number of times I’ve been asked, “When is it?” over the past two months.)  They had a great year with fabulous teachers, so we decided to join a group of parents who were picking up their kids and meeting downtown to get sugared up at a cupcake shop and an ice cream place.

Part of the fun was decorating our cars with window markers, streamers, and such so the kids could drive past the waiting school staff, parade style, hollering and waving and starting off the summer with a bang.  The girls loved driving past their teachers and into town in our SUV emblazoned with “Have A Great Summer!”, “Thanks Mrs. H!” etc.  We were certainly a spectacle as we drove through the main streets, one car behind the other, all decorated and beeping our horns, blasting tunes like “What Time Is It” from High School Musical 2.

If I had to guess, I’d say about 75% of the people we passed (whose reactions were visible to me) looked indifferent, sometimes irritated or scornful, and occasionally confused.  (Odd, considering that our purpose was basically written all over our cars…)

The other 25% smiled, laughed, waved, honked their horns – we even had a traffic cop do a little dance as we passed.  I couldn’t help but find that kind of disillusioning.  To think that the majority of people would react to a bunch of children and families sharing a joyful moment with apathy, even disdain… well, that’s just kind of sad to me.  What the hell is happening to us?

As someone who has been through depression and anxiety – had my body and brain create lousy feelings and reactions against my will – I cannot begin to understand why the average healthy person would choose negativity.  I would have given anything for the ability to turn off my blah switch and embrace all the good things in life when I was in my darkest days.  To think that there are people out there who have that amazing power and don’t use it… it boggles my mind.

Yes, life and the people in it suck sometimes.  A lot.  But there is so much beauty if you allow it to be your primary focus instead of the bullshit.  There is gorgeous weather and the natural wonders of the outdoors – birds, animals, flowers, water.  There are hobbies and interests that can bring fun, learning, and accomplishment.  There are amazing moments with the people we love; snuggling with our partners, laughing with friends, playing with our children, even cuddling with a pet.  There are new adventures to be had at the first opportunity, however simple or inexpensive they may have to be.  There is the incredible freedom you’ve been blessed with if your daily responsibilities still allow you the time and resources to enjoy anything I’ve just mentioned, or anything else that brings you happiness.

Choose joy.  Embrace it and savor it in each moment.  Honor your blessings by enjoying them, making them a priority.  Laugh at other people’s kids acting goofy on the last day of school.

If you can’t, try as you might, look within.  If changes need to be made, start making them.  If you need help, ask for it.  I know what it’s like to look back and realize that a chunk of my life was stolen from me, and that I can never get it back.  I am thankful that it only took me a couple of years to get to a place where I feel like the master of my life again.  Take back control as soon as you can.  You won’t regret it.

I used to listen to this a lot, and sing along good and loud.  Now I mean it.  I won’t worry my life away.

Mama Don’t Preach

I grew up largely in the 1980s, and was probably about Belle’s age when I really started to discover pop music.  One of my first loves was Madonna.  Her music, her style, her confidence – I thought it was, to use an authentic 80s era phrase, “totally awesome”.  I got her Like A Virgin cassette (!!) for my birthday around that time.

I know my mother absolutely cringed at most of Madonna’s work.  To her, Madonna’s aggressive sexuality was vulgar, her videos were inappropriate, and she wasn’t even that talented.  I’m sure she died a little inside knowing her oldest child was listening to song lyrics such as, “Like a virgin, touched for the very first time” before leaving elementary school.

You know that cliché that says you’ll have children someday and face the same problems you once created for your own mother?  What goes around does indeed come around – except Madonna has kind of slipped quietly into the background of the music business, to be replaced in my kids’ lives by Lady Gaga.

The twist, however, is that I actually like Lady Gaga.  For me, a lot of her music evokes nostalgic feelings about dancing in clubs in my early 20s, few responsibilities weighing on me and preventing me from downing another Technicolor shot served in a test tube.  Certainly not all of her music is lyrically profound, but I love the message in “Born This Way”, which is all about self-acceptance and tolerance.  “I’m beautiful in my way, ‘cause God makes no mistakes” – how many of us want our kids to internalize that message, right?

So I pick and choose my battles – they can listen to certain songs with lyrics that have passed my approval test.  I don’t let them watch the videos, because while I can appreciate Gaga’s desire to push the envelope and be creative, her videos are too sexual, and sometimes even a bit too scary, for my kids to see until they are MUCH older.  (We’ll see how long I can maintain control over that.)

It’s kind of neat to bond with my kids over pop culture.  My parents and I found occasional media to mutually appreciate, but music was almost never a place where we could connect.  They recoiled at the Metallica blasting from my bedroom while I rolled my eyes and sighed dramatically through long car rides spent serenaded by James Taylor.

Today, my girls and I form a bona fide trio in the car together, unashamedly singing about our “P-P-P-Poker Face” and rolling our Rs in “Alejandro”.  It’s really pretty cool – or, it will be until my singing starts to embarrass them and they tell me to shut it.  I am always on the lookout for popular songs with positive messages that I’m happy to share with my daughters.  (“Firework” by Katy Perry and “Fuckin’ Perfect by Pink – don’t worry, I have the clean version!! are other current faves.)

Now if I can just get little Jasmine in on the action… she has a speech delay, but I bet with patience I could teach her “Rah rah ah-ah-ah, Ro mah ro-mah-mah, Gaga ooh-la-la”.

It Was Only A Matter Of Time

So, yeah… I finally went ahead and created a blog.  I admit, I didn’t really understand the blogging thing at first.  Who would want to, essentially, read my diary?  And why would I need anyone to read it anyway?

However, having written a few things for other online writing forums recently, I now realize that there is a kind of therapy involved in writing stuff out and throwing it wide for all to see.  These days, I am NOT one to refuse free therapy!  Hence, here I am.

A few tidbits of info for you to consider before you read:

My biggest passion is kids and family, especially my own (obviously).  You’ll hear a lot about them, but because I am a huge proponent of protecting children’s privacy online and allowing them to choose their own level of internet exposure when they are old enough, it will be under the conditions of anonymity.  My husband and I are, effectively, the King and Queen of our household, and we have three princesses.  Being the Disney addict that I am, we’ll call them Belle (9), Ariel (7), and Jasmine (almost 2).

I’ve always been dedicated to children, having worked with them my entire adult life in various forms, and I’m fiercely insistent that society serve the best interests of kids with typical and special needs.  I hate it when money, politics, and numbers games mess with the well-being of our children.

I’m opinionated about self-image and body image issues, particularly as they affect young girls.  I’ll probably spout off my thoughts about health (physical and mental), weight, pop culture, politics, etc. as it relates to those subjects.

Also, I swear more in print than I do in real life, mostly because no one will overhear me and choose to share it with their entire class the next day.

Lastly, be warned – I am not a technically savvy person, so I will probably screw this up a lot.

Welcome – sweep the toys off the couch and have a seat.  I’ll see if I have enough coffee to make a pot.  Don’t be an asshole and make me go looking for artificial sweetener.   🙂