Posts tagged ‘family’
If we truly have multiple lives, I must have been a lizard at one point. I absolutely love the sun. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than sitting out in direct sunlight soaking in those damaging rays. I remember in high school spending every day laying out by the pool. Oh, how I miss summer vacation…three months of no responsibility and no thoughts of wrinkles, sun spots or skin cancer.
To kick off our summer this year, my little guy, my man and I ventured out to a local lake last weekend for a day of sun, sand and swimming. We live a short drive away from a man-made lake, made from an old rock quarry, filled with water and fish and surrounded by a sandy beach. There’s even a dock with canoes and paddle boats for rent. It’s a great family spot for days when you just don’t feel like driving an hour to the actual ocean.
As I watched the boys engineer an irrigation system to carry water from their hand crafted pool down to the shoreline, I looked around at all the other families enjoying the 90 degree day by the lake. Parents were relaxing in the sun, while the kids splashed in the water, barbeques smoked and umbrellas danced in the wind. What a beautiful display of family togetherness and summertime fun, I thought… That was until I noticed a sign propped up near the water’s edge.
Tent signs, printed in a bold black and white, lined the beach as if to guard the water line. These signs depicted two black figures holding hands, one significantly larger than the other. Next to this outline of parent and child, stood bold black wording, glaring out at all lake patrons, instructing parents to actively watch their children. These signs caught my attention and shifted my focus for a moment. Instead of watching the engineering feat taking place next to me, I began to think about these signs and what they represented.
At first glance, one might feel comforted by these caution signs, pleased that the community would go out of their way to protect children. One might think, ‘Wow, what a great Park and Rec Department we have!’ Unfortunately I see something else in these friendly reminders.
I see the deterioration of families and parenting.
Are we really at the point were we need signs and public service announcements to instruct us on how to be parents?
I was immediately saddened by the thought that we now need some form of government or authority to remind us to actively watch our children. I thought that trait was naturally ingrained in every parent from the moment their child was brought into this world. Apparently I was wrong. As I looked around I noticed, some people do need instruction.
If we’re going to have signs instructing us how to be a parent, we might as well line our parks and playgrounds with the following signs as well…
No Blackberry’s, iPhones or PDAs – Play with your Children, They’re Only Little Once
Manners Matter – Please and Thank You Go a Long Way!
Patience is a Virtue – Wait Your Turn on the Slide Politely
Name Calling, Swearing & Teasing Prohibited
Sharing Makes Everyone Feel Good
and last but not least….
If You Think Parenting is Easy, You’re Doing it Wrong
Strict or Overprotective?
I grew up in a pretty strict household. Unlike some of my friends, I had to be sure to tell my parents where I was going, who was going to be there and when I would be back. I had the earliest curfew of the group and was always grounded the longest when we got caught.
My dad was also pretty overprotective of me. Especially when it came to school, finances and car repairs. Anything within in those three categories, dad was there to take care of it, ultimately to ensure I was headed in the right direction in life.
That was all fine and dandy until I moved away to college and was left to fend for myself. I was undeclared my first two years, spent $1000 a month on an ‘emergency only’ credit card and still had dad take care of the car repairs during visits home.
During my year of couples therapy, trying to rebuild (actually more like build) my marriage, I learned that one of my big pieces of baggage is not feeling good enough or competent in life. Hmmm… wonder where that comes from? Strange.
We All Need to Fall Sometime
It’s interesting to look at the parents of today and see how overprotective most are in all aspects of their children’s lives.
At the start of the summer, my son and I spent a day together at a local park, one that I used to visit as a child. The park is perfect for hot summer days, as it has a man-made creek bed, lined with rocks and boulders, that carries water from the hilltop down to the duck pond below.
Now in my day, you couldn’t get us kids out of that water. We would be soaking wet, jumping from rock to rock in our bare feet, all day long.
When my son and I visited, I thought perhaps the water was contaminated, as there wasn’t a single soul in that creek…not even somewhat near by. I scoured the park looking for brazen signs of danger, but didn’t see a thing. I figured, if there was some sort of health hazard in the water, they would have some sort of notification….since they sure seemed to have enough signs warning of the great environmental dangers caused by feeding the ducks!
So in we went!
Our entry into the water caused quite a commotion with the other children at the park. Immediately little heads turned and large eyes watched intently. The braver, or perhaps more defiant, children came running over to join us.
Two mothers instantly grabbed their children from the water and instructed them to return to their previous location.
One child was able to stay and play in the water until he decided to start walking along the rocks in his wet shoes.
“Johnny, let’s not do that…it’s dangerous. You could slip and fall.”
She was right. I’ll give that to her. But really? If we had that perspective on life, we wouldn’t step out the front door or even get out of bed for that matter.
School of Hard Knocks
Unfortunately, it appears our children are missing out on some important life lessons, ones that you need to learn on your own. Due to our overprotective nature, the poor children of today are not learning how to live, to take chances, or to make decisions on their own – good or bad.
Just look at some of the devices we have nowadays that help us ’protect’ our children;
- GPS Tracking Software on cellphones
- filters and blocks on T.V. and the internet
- email notifications when kids make a purchase with their debt card
Things have gone way beyond yelling from the front door “Mom, I’m going to Jen’s house to play with Gem & Barbie. I’ll be back for dinner.” These devices are telling our kids “I don’t trust you…I don’t think your competent enough to make a good decision…”
I know we’re all just trying to look out for our children and help them along in life… but I see now, first hand, what that can do to them in adulthood.
It’s disheartening to think we may be creating an entire generation of individuals who don’t know how to do things for themselves and are scared to try.
photograph by Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
When I make plans to do something,
I know better than to
give my boyfriend weeks of warning.
Instead, I wait until the last minute to spring them on him.
This weekend was no different.
I think it was Thursday when I mentioned, “Oh by the way, we’re going to the Circus on Sunday. I bought three tickets, so you’re welcome to join us or I can have an extra seat for my mom bag.”
This time he did a pretty good job accepting the news, although since I’ve known him for 10 years, I knew what was really going on behind those eyes…
“Can’t I just stay home, play video games and watch the baseball game?”
As the days go by, he’s getting more and more comfortable with the idea of kids, even though he doesn’t want to admit it. My single mom status was a difficult factor, in the beginning, but we both decided to move forward from friendship to relationship and just take things day by day. I made sure to slowly introduce him into the world I share with my son and vice versa, since I wanted it to be a smooth transition for both my guys. It’s great to see that they really have a fun time with each other, probably since they’re both 4 years old at heart.
Now, the Circus seemed like a good idea when I bought the tickets. Looking over the brochure I received in the mail, I was taken back to my first Circus as a child. I remembered being mesmorized by the constant entertainment and the plethra of animals. Aw, what a great experience to pass on to my child…sure I’ll support your alleged animal cruelty.
Well, my little boy seemed to enjoy the Circus, overall, despite the brief moments of crankiness brought on by the lulls in entertainment. A few times during the show, he did turn to me with these big wide eyes and open mouth, and said “That’s amazing.”
I’m not sure if it was a decrease in budget or things just seeming bigger and better when you’re a child, but this Circus was not ‘the Greatest Show on Earth’ that it claims. Most of the show seemed to be filler, just fluff added in to waste time in between acts. I’m a pretty good sport when it comes to childrens’ entertainment, so you know it’s bad when I’m bored and can’t wait to leave. Thankfully I bought the cheap seats, which were only $15. The same price, coincidentally, as the snow cones. Yes, that’s right… $15 for a freakin snow cone in a cheap plastic cup.
At one point in the show, I looked over at my boyfriend and found him hunched over in his chair, eyes glazed over, staring off into space. I tried to catch a quick shot of this classic pose on my camera, but just like an animal in the wild he was too quick for the shutter. He quickly turned and painted on a smile. What a trooper.
Even though the show was a bit disappointing, the three of us still had a good time together…and I guess that is what it’s all about.
There are dishes in the sink.
Laundry is flowing over the baskets.
Pieces of paper have built a fortress around my computer.
The garbage is at the point where it should be taken out.. but it may have room for two or three more discarded items.
As I look around the house, I cringe at the housework I have been putting off lately. Who wants to do housework after bedtime, when you can do more exciting things like sleep, blog or veg out with a movie.
Glance into my world as the Single Soccer Mom and you will see, I am the Queen of Procrastination. Unfortunately, this is not a new thing for me. I have held that title for many, many years.
It’s a characteristic or trait that I would rather not have. I’ve always been envious of Type A personalities that get things done the second it crosses their mind. I’ve tried to change…but I just keep putting it off.
Now that I’m a mom, I’m a bit better. There are just some things in mom world that you can not postpone: dirty diapers, doctor visits, school registration…
As I sit here, staring at my ‘To Do List’ that never goes away, no matter how many items I check off, the Type A side of my brain suggests removing my hands from the keyboard. It’s tempting… but Queen Procrastination is quite the Master Debater.
I REALLY need to get the Queen to remember…
“Procrastination is like Masturbation,
it feels good while you are doing it,
but in the end, you’re just F’n yourself”
An Amazing Woman, in a Class of Her Own
Every year, around the first or second week of August, my family ventures from all areas of the West Coast, to celebrate the birthday of one amazing woman. This woman is a mother of two, Grandmother to seven, Great Grandmother to fourteen and Great, Great Grandmother to one -my son – and this year marks her birthday.
No doubt, there are many remarkable women in the world, but my Great Grandmother is definitely in a class of her own. This was the very first year that she couldn’t walk on her own from her room to the party and it was only a couple of years ago she started needing a cane. In her late 90′s, she would still walk two miles a day and would complain that her friends in their 80′s were too slow and a bother to walk with. Not only was she was the Head of the Computer Lab at her Community and send the family emails, but she also still enjoys her monthly glass of chardonnay at the homes’ Happy Hour. To top it all off, she holds a Guiness Book World Record for a woman her age throwing a frisbee 26 feet, 6 inches.
A Century of Memories
It boggles my mind to think about what my Great Grandmother has seen over the last Century. She saw the creation of the automobile, the Industrial Revolution, the (First) Great Depression, both World Wars, the Civil Rights Revolution and the beginnings of television, computers and cellphones. It amazes me to think that she was born before the Model T and she can send you an email telling you all about it.
Just like many years in the past, we all gather at her retirement community, where she still lives in her own apartment, to enjoy food, wine and great company under a big white tent.
This year, after lunch, each of us stood up and shared our favorite story or fondest memory of Grandma. As we all laughed, cried and showed our love, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is that going to be me someday?”
73 years from now
I then started thinking, if I was the one sitting at the head table, turning 104, listening to my family share their favorite moments of my life, who would be sitting around me?
My son and his children
My son’s grandchildren and their children
I came to the following conclusion….
I could not even fathom the possibility! I have a problem picturing my son’s children, let alone his children’s children.
It would be very interesting to live that long, to see the world change around you and to be able to meet the members located at the far reaches of your Family Tree….
Although, a little advice my Great Grandmother shared with me two years ago, at her birthday party, will stick with me forever. She said,
“Anything over 85 is highly
over-rated..and I don’t suggest
it for anybody”
Eh, maybe she’s got something there…