there’s no quitting this job…

…full-time parent.

For those of you on the verge of diving into parenthood, be prepared to go the long haul. Once that little bundle of joy enters your life, there’s no chance for a do-over.

If all the stars in the universe are aligned in your favor then I say…go for it! However if you’re not in a secure frame of mind where you think you can do this job, then I’d say wait until you are. Another year or two can make a dramatic difference in how well you perform this lifelong task.

No joke! As a parent, you’re employment is guaranteed for life. There’s no retirement when you’re 65. There’s no “golden parachute” of benefits and monetary compensation for decades of stellar performance.

When I signed on as a parent, I was 36. In 1986, I was probably teetering on the brink of acceptance as an older mom. No one wagged a finger in my face as if to say “Well! It’s about time!” Although my younger sisters-in-law had broods of little ones long before me.

Married for 16 years, my husband and I had come to accept that we might never conceive. While I never discussed the possibility of adoption with him, it had entered my mind. I wasn’t prepared to jump through hoops to get pregnant. I would have been stressed, and my unborn child would have felt the impact of my being on an emotional roller coaster.

Jubilant when we got the news that I was finally “with child,” my mood eventually disintegrated into worry over my sanity at being home alone with a newborn. After all, I’d been on a career track for most of my adult life. I’d even contemplated entering law school since I enjoyed my job as a paralegal for a major airline in New York City.

Women are in a unique position when we find ourselves pregnant. We must decide the rest of OUR lives when a child enters the picture. We must incorporate a totally dependent creature into whatever it is we’ve been doing until that point.

It’s like trying to fit 500 extra pieces into a thousand-piece puzzle!

Somehow we manage to stretch ourselves to include more time, more energy, more mental capacity for juggling, more emotional stamina, more backbone for confrontation.

All this while bulking up our softer, gentler side.

We must strive for more patience, become skilled listeners, refrain from nagging, dispense appropriate portions of praise and criticism, appease the disgruntled, soothe the weary, uplift the downtrodden, heal the wounded.

Our call now and then to be the “hostess-with-the mostest” is super-sized to that of Social Coordinator-In-Charge-Of-Everything. Overnight we morph into taxi-drivers, sleep-over monitors, committee chairmen, teaching assistants, Brownie leaders, cheerleaders, snack-time volunteers, costume designers, seamstresses, referees, nurses. The list goes on.

If desired, you could be on-call 24 hours a day. Just don’t expect to be paid like a doctor.

Why in the heck, then, would any, fun-loving, devil-may-care, free-wheeling couple want to tie themselves down with kids?

Because the rewards are as overwhelming as the myriad of duties that go along with being a parent. That’s why!

Yes, there are the acclaims and congratulations when my daughter achieves what might seem impossible to others. And there are the compliments of a job well done from friends and strangers alike. However nothing compares with the love and admiration of the child you’ve nurtured from womb to adulthood.

When my daughter says “I love you,” there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s heartfelt. When we laugh until our sides ache and tears stream down our cheeks, we are bff’s…best friends forever. In that moment, the reward of being a mom is the greatest.

Who knew I would give birth to my very own best girlfriend?

The journey’s not easy. It’s laden with pitfalls, like broken hearts and car accidents. Worrying becomes second-nature. Sacrificing goes without saying. Relaxing is a thing of the past. Considered last is normal.

One day though our children become adults, and they turn to us for help in navigating the challenges of everyday life. It’s then that our validation as parents is complete, even though…

…our job isn’t.

………hugmamma.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/editing-challenge/

 

 

 

 

 

 

spanking…the case against

Pro football players are lightning rods these days for the physical abuse they are allegedly inflicting upon others. The latest case in the media spotlight is that of Adrian Peterson who spanked his 4 year-old son with a switch…”a slender, flexible shoot, rod, or twig.”

There’s much to be said about generational, as well as cultural, differences when it comes to discipline.

Spanking was the norm when I was a child growing up in the 50s and 60s. For my mom, it was probably all she knew to do as a native islander whose culture was founded upon force and brutality. That she was a young widow with children to raise could not have helped.

The same could be said for others who grew up…the way they grew up. Among them, Adrian Peterson.

I can’t judge my mom, Peterson, or anyone else.

What I can share are the scars left behind after the bruises have healed. Among them, a sense of disapproval that never diminishes.

How does a child who lacks the experience gained over time, ever explain why it is she was beaten by the one person whose love signifies the entire world? From that child’s perspective, she is to blame, she is unlovable, she is less than perfect.

Going through life as that individual is like piecing together a patchwork quilt. Gathering together bits and pieces of self esteem becomes a goal in itself. One which overshadows every other. One which dictates every relationship. One which begins and ends one’s life.

The seemingly simple act of spanking a child can evolve into an airing of parental grievances, if not reigned in quickly. Watching my mom beat a sibling once, I feared for his life. It was as though she was giving him the full measure of all that had gone wrong with her own life. Her subsequent tears and apologies did nothing to deflect the violent image which has remained with me forever.

I swore never to spank my own child knowing what I did…

…that it could become more about me than her…

………hugmamma.

 

dance…like nobody’s watching…

Ever since my daughter first stepped onto a stage at age 8, she had a presence that drew one’s eyes to her. Complete strangers, including a dad, told me they singled my daughter out as the one they watched throughout the recital. Of course, I wholeheartedly agreed that she was indeed the star of the show, even though she wasn’t. Surely, I’m no different from other moms.

As she has worked her way toward becoming a professional, my daughter has experienced a plethora of situations and people  in the dance world. Some good, some bad, some so-so.

There are directors who manage like mini-Napoleons; others who remember what it was like to be a dancer. There are dancers who lord it over others, and dancers who work as a team. There’s stress over roles, in part because dancers are clueless as to what the director and his staff are thinking. And then, of course, there’s always the audience to please.

Appearance is important, especially in ballet. Ever since Balanchine introduced spaghetti-thin ballerinas to the art form, directors have adopted the look as standard. Heaven help the dancer with shapely arms and legs and an ample bosom. Although a little wiggle room is beginning to loom on the horizon. Thanks to the efforts of American Ballet Theatre’s stunning soloist, Misty Copeland.

My daughter’s life as a ballet dancer was the best it could be, given what she brought to the table and the opportunities afforded her as a result. Her decision to switch to contemporary dance seemed a natural evolution, since that’s where she was featured the most.

In her current job, dance is the focus for my daughter and her coworkers. Not appearance. Not roles. Not the director. Learning the new movement is exhausting, painful, and enervating. At day’s end, she literally collapses on the sofa applying frozen vegetable bags to both knees. Later, as she crawls under the covers, her lips form a small smile. She can’t wait to be at it again…

…dancing…for the pure joy of…dancing…

………hugmamma.

 

 

nurturing thursdays: a simple ending…

There are moments…usually quiet ones…where I find myself contemplating life’s purpose.

While I may not practice my Catholic faith as religiously as I did in the past, I continue to believe in a benevolent God from whom I received the gift of my life. What I make of it will be to my credit or discredit. I will either return to His loving embrace, or turn my back on Him forever.

The talents with which I’ve been endowed don’t make the headlines. No one bears witness to them except those closest to me, and these I can count on one hand.

Having just returned from settling our daughter into her new home thousands of miles away, I’m comforted knowing that she is surrounded by furnishings that remind her of our cozy, little family. My husband and I poured our hearts into making every inch of our daughter’s apartment functional. She, meanwhile, went off to her new positions as a dancer with a small, contemporary company by day, and a teacher of energetic, young dancers by night. Returning to an apartment glowing with all the love two parents could instill in it, meant the world to our deeply appreciative daughter.

I admire and respect those whose talents bring them acclaim in their communities or throughout the world. How they manage to share themselves with so many is unfathomable to me. They deserve whatever accolades are sent their way, as well as our humble thanks and congratulations.

As we were en route back to our home, sitting side by side on a cramped airplane, I would intermittently reach for my husband’s hand. Attempting to slumber, I rubbed my thumb along the length of his, pleasantly contented in our synchronicity after all these years.

With eyes closed I reflected upon the end of life.

I thought of Robin Williams who had audiences in stitches with his genius for comedy.  Yet while his public adored him, Williams obviously didn’t think he was up to the task of continuing to live the life he’d carved out for himself. Learning that he had Parkinson’s Disease, as revealed by his girlfriend after Williams’ death,  probably brought down his “house of cards.”

Sad when life gets so out of hand that we forget the first substantive moment from which all others evolved.

It matters that our lives make an imprint, large or small. Just as in the film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” our existence is attested to by those whose lives we touch.

When my life ends, I would simply like to be caressing the hands of those I love…who have loved me in return…warts and all. I have made a difference in their lives…

…my existence matters.

………hugmamma.

BPD and parenting

hugmamma:

A writer whose hope soars heavenward, even as she stands in quicksand. Her life…a prayer.
………hugmamma.

Originally posted on kelzbelzphotography:

A while ago I was asked by a fellow blogger about parenting and bpd (boarderline personality disorder) and how it affects my parenting and children. Most of my mental illness is minimised for them. They don’t know about my attempts or self harm. They know mummy was very sick and sad and was in hospital a few times. They know I’ve been in therapy and group. I’ve discussed the ins and outs. Why I did it, basically what it involves. I’ve been honest now when mummy is sad. It’s ok mummy is allow to cry or get angry sometimes. But mummies skills will make it better. They have both seen how low I was, and now how stable I am. I’ve had to gain their trust again. They were both scared they would have to move out again. It’s ongoing with their trust. It can take something simple as me…

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On Meeting Robin Williams, Twice in a Lifetime

hugmamma:

A sweet story of Robin Williams in the part of…an ordinary man. Hugs to this generous soul for allowing us to see the humble side of a genius.
………hugmamma.

Originally posted on Obzervashunal:

Robin Williams memories

As a remembrance to one of the greatest comedic minds of our times… R.I.P., Robin W.

I only just learned he passed. I found the news on a blog post and instantly recalled the two times I met the incredibly gifted artist, named Robin Williams.

The first instance was a chance meeting, me walking down an unassuming sidewalk at dusk stuck in my thoughts when a puppy jumped on my leg. I didn’t do much thinking, I simply bend down and started playing with him. The voice offering an apology was one I knew also without the use of my thinking apparatus, Robin Williams was saying sorry for his puppy… who couldn’t talk (I think!).

We actually talked for a few minutes, mostly about the puppy. I remember having the feeling he needed not to be recognized, but to be treated like a regular guy walking a friendly, cool puppy. …

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three dimensional…

Just like my writing, I think of myself as a three-dimensional person. 

I’m compassionate and I’m edgy. Those who have followed along with my blog since its inception in 2010 have probably gathered as much.

Humor, of which mine is the tongue-in-cheek variety, lightens the stresses of everyday life.

To always dwell in the softness of clouds is not my life, and therefore not my writing.

I leave sweetness to those who handle it more deftly.

Others perceive what they will from what I write.

I myself tread lightly when looking into their souls.

For I know not from where they have evolved.

As they know not from whence I came.

Veils lift…shadows give way.

Accept what’s there,

…as it is offered.

………hugmamma.

goldilocks…who’s that sleeping in my bed?

Fellow blogger Following My Joy posted the youtube video at the bottom of this post to her site  at
http://followingmyjoy.com/2014/09/01/its-raining-cats-and-dogs/

Her post reminded me of my own pets Mocha and Sitka. I guess it’s true that when it comes to canines and felines…kitties have the upper hand…or so they like to think. Is it fearlessness, egoism, or…just plain ignorance?

 

Meanwhile, as my kitties demonstrate…blood is thicker than water. Brothers Sitka and Juneau have no problem sharing tight quarters. On the other hand, when Sunkist was still with us, she made no bones about her displeasure at sharing HER space with Sitka. 

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February 2011 00019

long gone…the wild, wild west…

Repeated several times on CNN news this morning were the compelling stories of American hostages being held by the government in North Korea, as well as by ISIS terrorists in Syria. Anyone listening to their pleas for release must feel compassion for them and for their loved ones back home. No one would want to trade places with either the captives or their families.

I must confess that while my immediate reaction is one of sympathy, there’s also a niggling feeling that Americans tend to take risks without sufficient thought as to the consequences. Yes, I’m sure they reflect upon the matter, but not enough to dissuade them from their course it seems. 

For better or worse, we Americans tend to think we can go anywhere, do anything. We rationalize our thinking by either following our God-given right to do so, or our sense of morality. Meanwhile, we don’t take into account that other cultures might feel the same way about their rights and moral obligations.

That I can understand the other side’s viewpoint is perhaps owing to the fact that the Hawaiian Islands, my birthplace, were annexed by the United States against the will of the reigning Monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, and the majority of natives. 

Of course the transaction was not a simple one. It never is. There was enough finger-pointing to go around. However, the Western businessmen who prodded the U.S. Congress and President Cleveland into making Hawaii a Republic had railed against the natives as being ignorant heathens unable to rule themselves. 

Of the 150,000 Hawaiian residents, fewer than 800 were allowed to vote for the ratification of the Republic of Hawaii.

“Why is that?” you ask.

King Kalakaua, the queen’s predecessor, was unable to secure the intervention of other foreign powers to help thwart the efforts of his opponents. He was forced to sign into law a constitution which required voters to own property. It became known as the Bayonet Constitution. According to the well-written book Princess Kaiulani, Hope of a Nation, Heart of a People by Sharon Linnea…

This effectively took the vote away from most native Hawaiians and gave it to virtually every Western businessman, even those who weren’t citizens. Why did so few Hawaiians own land? For centuries, Hawaiian land had been overseen by the alii and his people–the concept of owning land was completely foreign to Hawaiians. When Western businessmen had begun to want to own Hawaiian property (and reap Hawaiian sugar profits), land formerly governed by alii had been parceled out to the Hawaiian people. Native Hawaiians, often unable to read English, had had no understanding of how a piece of paper could mean that they “owned” mountains or lakes or coastland, and they had been happy to sell the deeds to Westerners for cash in hand. In this way, many Hawaiians had ended up homeless in their own country. Now, according to the new constitution, the Westerners had bought up votes along with the land. The running of the country would now be in their hands.

Yes. I have empathy for fellow Americans who find themselves in life or death situations. However my eyes are also open to those who might feel we are trespassing upon their territory, their religion, their culture. So the fact that our government must tread lightly when our citizens find themselves on hostile turf is not altogether unexpected. 

…the days of the wild, wild west…are no more.

………hugmamma.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

 

The Next Generation of Care Providers

hugmamma:

Bless medical providers like Dr. Washington who are helping provide us with the next generation of physicians. Fortunate we are when they are not only taught the necessary skills, but also the compassion and concern to help their patients through the medical process.

Hugs, Dr. Washington…for all you do.

………hugmamma.

Originally posted on A Family Doctor's Reflection:

Every month that I post the latest update from “The Ladder” I smile at the amount of fun the kids are having. They are being introduced to physical exam and radiological tests I did not see until  I went to medical school.  They are smiling and I was terrified. I can only hope that some of the kids go on to become health care professionals. They are the future doctor, nurse, physician’s assistant or radiology technician. Medical schools are expensive in the United States. So a physician’s assistant (PA) or a nurse practitioner can be a rewarding career with less long-term student loan debt. The first hurdle is to stay in school. They need the encouragement to struggle through math and science and not get discouraged.
Recently I had an opportunity to refer one of my patients to a former resident. He has a sports medicine practice. I remember the first and last day…

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unique is…as unique lives…

( Move your mouse over each photo, to read its caption.) 

To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour

-SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL -

I would like to credit the assembling of this post to another blogger from whom I borrowed SWC’s words. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to relocate the blog from whence it came. If you recognize this quote, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due. Without it, I would not have thought to post this homage to my UNIQUE AND BELOVED…DAUGHTER.

………HUGMAMMA.

“mahalo”…to my followers…

Hawaiian for…Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

It always amazes me when another “follower” hops aboard hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. 

No kidding! 

There are millions of awesome writers and photographers on WordPress. Capturing even a fraction of them with a post or two is mind-boggling. To have them sign up for more than that is beyond comprehension. Truly…beyond hugmamma’s comprehension.

I’m not sure how others with as many as a thousands followers…or more…even begin to repay all the visitors to their blogs. That alone could be a full-time job. When do they have time to live? 

I tip my hat in homage to those who can keep one hand permanently affixed to their keyboard, while fulfilling all their other obligations with the other hand. I’m not one of them. Never will be.

Taking time out every now and then to thank those who consider my writing worth reading is what I can manage without totally upsetting mine and my family’s pineapple cart. That and including as many as WordPress will allow in my community of photos in the left-hand margin of hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. BTW…if you click on a photo, you’ll be magically transported to that blog site…for more personal stories.

One other thing I try to do faithfully is repay visits to those who click “like” on my posts and/or leave comments. I figure if they take the time…so should I. It may take me a while, but I try very hard to keep this promise to myself. Even as family and pets call my name…”Mama! Mama!”

In further appreciation, I’ll remember all of you in a collective prayer. 

…for you…hope, joy, and peace…always!croppedphoto

………hugmamma.