Monday, October 27, 2008

In a nutshell

"Don't speak unless you can improve on the silence." ~Spanish Proverb

I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. I wasn't always so quick to speak my mind. I grew up in a household where we were told that children should be seen and not heard and I took that to heart. It became how I lived my life--listening quietly and never daring to disagree. I think that is why I'm so insistent about saying the things I feel now. Thoughts and words were unspoken inside me, and it felt like I was living in a trap, like I was suffocating without anything or anyone blocking my airways. Now I can't seem to stop myself. Words fly out of my mouth like water gushing from a fire hydrant, and I honestly don't care at the time if I'm being hurtful because I think it's so important that I've finally found my voice in this world and I'll be damned if anyone tries to shut me up. Nice attitude, huh?

I like to think I'm a good mother and most days, I think that's entirely true. But I've found I'm the type of mother who wants things to go smoothly so that I don't have to deal with problems. I like routines to be followed and I do not welcome disruptions of those routines. Ridiculously, all I want to hear is good news. I know that wish isn't planted anywhere in reality but still, I wish for it anyway.

I never know if my expectations of others are too high or not. I don't even know if it's fair to expect things from other people or if I should simply take what's given to me and accept it for what it is without question. I do not think it's fair of me to expect other people to live their lives with my expectations looming overhead, potentially influencing what it is they want for themselves.

Intellectually, I know that I am wrong for having those thoughts, but my heart doesn't know how to stop. I look at the people that I love and I want things from them, but I get mad if they want too much from me. It makes no sense, but in a nutshell, I think that sums up a lot of who I am--a person who spends inordinate amounts of time contradicting every single thing I say and do.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

On Sunday...

I took my chair and faced the sun to watch my daughter play tennis this afternoon and now I am sitting here with the lovliest late October sunburn you've ever seen. I love where I live. I can explain it best this way--My heart beats happier here.

I've been doing lots of contemplating here lately--mostly internal stuff--like what I want from life besides what I have right here at my fingertips. I think it's middle age creeping up on me and whispering in my ear and suggesting that I need to be doing something more. The problem with me is this: I always know more about what I do not want than about what it is that I want. I keep thinking that a plan will become clear if I sit still and listen, but so far--nothing. I will be patient. I am good at waiting.

The election is consuming lots of my time. I have made it a point to try to educate myself on both candidates because I want to know everything. I have kept an open mind and have read everything I can on both of them. I worry so much about the future. Not so much for me but for the world my children will live in without me. We're fortunate in that we've made wise financial decisions (we've saved and scrimped and have lived a life with our eyes to the future), but so many people are hurting. But where do we draw a line in the sand and say--I will do my best to care for my family but I cannot take on the rest of the world as well.

I cannot condone a "spread the wealth" mentality, when the road for us to get here has been difficult and not without lots of sacrifice. I think it's easy to sit back and think we have more than enough but no one knows how we got here--what we have given up to get here--the things we did not have or did not do because we didn't have the money at the time. I hate to think that the government might step in and say--you have more than enough, so SPREAD it around. Huh? It makes me angry and sad. We outright own our in paid cash for in no mortgage. I don't know anyone else my age who can say that. But we got here by starting off small and by sacrificing and with lots of hard work. No one ever bailed us out. We lived within our means while dreaming of something more.

My personal opinion is that education needs to be made a priority again in all our lives. I think education is the way out of poverty but it must be taken seriously to have any real impact. Parents have to get involved again on a very HANDS ON LEVEL--like checking homework and backpacks and knowing what is going on. My daughter took the SAT's a couple of weeks ago and when she was finished, she got into the car and told me that she felt sorry for a lot of the kids who took the SAT that morning because she could tell that a lot of them did not have parents who cared for them. I asked her why and she said that MANY kids were unprepared--they did not bring their identification or their admittance ticket and most did not know that they could bring a calculator, not to mention most did not bring No. 2 pencils. These requirements were written on the ticket.

As a mother, I knew this and made sure my daughter went prepared. I consider it MY JOB to help my children succeed and I do this by knowing what is going on as much as possible. How can a parent allow their child to go to take the SAT's without pencils or a calculator? It's mindboggling to me. We must do a better job of telling our children that a good education is the way out and the way up. I know that education is not the key to success for everyone, but it makes the road easier--it gives you options and opportunities that a high school drop out will never have.

My parents always told me that God helps those who help themselves. I believe that. We shouldn't be waiting for someone to swoop in and save us. We need to save ourselves.

Monday, October 20, 2008


"Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company." ~Lord Byron

I've started writing letters to my children outlining what it is I expect from them. After using the spoken word for years with varying degrees of success, I've decided that if I put into writing what it is that I want from them and for them, then they will have something tangible to reflect back on should they need a reminder. Words tend to go in one ear and out the other. I'm hoping my letters will have a bigger impact. I know I do better when I have something concrete like directions to follow. Also, no one can claim afterwards that something hasn't been talked about if I have it in writing to prove otherwise. I think part of me is just tired of talking and talking and getting nowhere. I am hopeful that this will make a difference.

The weather has cooled down a bit and I put the screens back in our front windows so that I can create a cross breeze on wonderfully refreshing days. Not a week after I put those screens in did I receive a letter from our Homeowners about how we were breaking the covenants with our front-of-the-house-screens. Sigh. I really don't ask much from life. It's such a small thing to find happiness in having your windows open on a beautiful day but the screen police cannot have anyone be happy. I'll wait till they send me a registered letter again before I take them out because this is America and I want to open my windows when I want to open my windows. Hopefully it will be much colder by then and it won't matter. More and more I am thinking that a nice house in the mountains away from everyone might be the way to go.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

So hum hallelujah, just off the key of reason

I had a happy evening out shopping with my daughter. We ran some errands at Walmart, Target, Old Navy and we also went to Blockbuster. I've been renting season one of Mad Men but have only been able to get the first disc so far because the other three continue to be out. I'm kind of bummed because they were all there last week and I figured I'd be able to get them any time but I've checked back three times now and they're always out! I would have bought the set somewhere if I had known it was going to be so hard to get. I'm anxious to get through season one because I can see season two on demand and catch up as soon as I'm finished with the first one. I guess I have to be patient at this point.

It was a beautiful day here today. I've got all the windows open and I have a fan blowing the cool air in and it feels so good. The other night I was at the airport waiting for my husband to get home from a flight that was delayed a number of times due to the weather and I noticed how I was about the only one sitting there in shorts and a when people were coming off their planes, most of them had coats on and scarves and I had to remind myself that it's October now and probably pretty chilly in a lot of places even though most days are still very warm here. I don't like the cold much anymore now that I live in the south. I would just rather be hot than cold for some reason. I'm not sure why.

I've been writing here for over a year now and I'm happy I've been able to be consistent and not run away like I sometimes feel like doing. When I feel like things are getting too familiar, my first thought is to run away and start over somewhere else. It's hard for me to explain because it's so contradictory, but while I love getting to know others through reading their blogs, I don't really want other people to feel they know me because I don't think that my blog is a good representation of who I am. Everything that I write here is true, but it's just little bits of me and I know that I do not do a good job of showing the lighter side of me. When I write things that seem like downers, the following day I am tempted to delete my blog because I don't want the people that read here to think I'm a negative person. I don't even know why I care, but I do. It feels important to me that people know I am more than the words that I write here.

I have a sporting event to attend tomorrow and let me just say that I am going into this event already feeling like I will not be able to control myself amongst the parents. Earlier in the week the other team made a big to-do over NEEDING to play a match early. I swear I fielded over 10 phone calls trying to appease these people and when we finally agreed to a date and time (their choosing) about an hour before the girls were to play they called to say one of their girls was sick and that they couldn't play after all! OMG. Seriously, WTF, WTF, WTF? One of my biggest pet peeves is people who ask you to do a favor for them and then end up putting you out further with crap like this. This team has big time entitlement issues and HELLO, it's time someone tells them that our time is as important as theirs and I think I'm just the one to do it. I've said before that I'm nice until I get pushed too far, and then the nice me EXITS the building and the bitch takes over.

Ok...I'm off to do some reading.

Happy Saturday.

Monday, October 6, 2008

We'll love you just the way you are, if you're perfect

I keep thinking that I will wake up one day and know everything I need to know about life. I keep thinking if I get the answers that I'm searching for, I will officially be grown up and I can finally stop looking around corners and wishing on stars and questioning everything. When things are confusing for me, I want explanations that comfort me. When the explanations are at best unsatisfactory, I want to throw them back and ask for something more to my liking.

I have a very disconnected relationship with my family. We can go months without speaking to one another and then I'll crack because a voice in my head will tell me that the normal thing to do is call or email them because that's how I think it's done with most people. I see my husband calling his parents every week and there's a part of me that thinks it's foreign to want to talk to your parents that much. I never begrudge him those phone calls, but I do listen closely to his end of the conversation to get an idea of how it's done because that sort of easiness does not come naturally to me and I learn by watching and listening. Still, when I talk to anyone in my family, I need to shut myself off somewhere so that no one hears me. I have this forced friendliness with them that I don't want anyone to witness because I really hate phoneys and I feel like I'm being one.

I wonder a lot about unconditional love. I think it's a great idea, but I question how many of us truly love unconditionally or if we love hoping that we get something in return for our love. I think secretly we love hoping to get some of that love back. I think the hardest lesson I keep learning is that you cannot make people love you in the way you might need them to love you and so you settle for what they're willing to give because having a little of what you need seems better than having nothing at all.

When I first married my husband, my parents did something very hurtful to both of us. A couple of years ago (the last time we visited them), I guess my father took my husband aside and apologized for their behavior. My husband did not tell me this until just recently and my first reaction was..."Why didn't he apologize to ME???" but I know the answer to that already. It's because we cannot be real with one another. I am still indignant over this mostly because I carry around the way they've hurt me everywhere and it would be nice if I could hear those words so that I can chuck that sack of sorry's and be done with them for good. I am not ashamed to tell you that the messages they sometimes send me, sometimes break my heart.

There has never been a moment when I've doubted their love for me but love is a complicated thing. I've always feared that I would end up being like them, and there are times when I am certain I have. I catch myself saying things I know they've said to me and I catch myself wanting the love I give out to come back to me which means I am not giving it freely with no strings attached. I love with expectations and conditions and a scorecard that measures if I'm getting back what I put in.

I think I will always love imperfectly.

I think I will never know all there is to know about life.