helicopters…

WikiWorld comic based on the article "Hel...

What do those whirlybirds in the sky have to do with parenting? Well, according to those in the know…evidently self-proscribed experts on the matter…helicopter parenting applies to those of us who forever hover over our children seemingly to fashion all their decisions about…well…everything.

Some who know me, and some who don’t, might think I’m a helicopter parent. As they say…”sticks and stones…” Although I must confess…I’m not completely immune to hurtful words. However as I said to my daughter when some other child would say something unkind…”It’s her problem, not yours. She’s trying to put her unhappiness onto you.”

Folks insecure in themselves tend to insist that their’s is the only way.

I can only speak for myself and offer my experiences as guidelines that others might choose to utilize. But I’m no expert on someone else’s life, that’s for sure. I don’t know where they came from…and I don’t know where they’re going. I’m only a pit stop along the way. And as we all know, there are various and sundry other pit stops from which we can gain sustenance and momentary reprieve.

I’m not familiar with any helicopter parents, probably because my daughter has been living on the opposite side of the country from us the last 11 years. It’s rather difficult to hover from 3,000 miles. I’m sure I’d have crash landed by now. 

Yes, my husband and I have offered our daughter advice on a whole host of topics…from drinking and driving…to being aware of her surroundings when she’s out alone at night. No, we haven’t told her who she should befriend or how she should spend her free time. We figure she’s learned by our example…and from what we’ve been saying since the day she could understand the English language. In other words…we’ve laid the foundation for what we hope is an upstanding citizen. Someone who cares about herself and others, and who shares her talents and abilities with her community.

I believe parents need to know who their children are, and toward that end need not be afraid to ask.

Bubbles.

 Having given birth to my child, I feel a basic responsibility for her well-being. No one else, other than her father, has that physical connection. Others may choose to be responsible for my daughter, but the obligation is mine and my husband’s. We brought this human being into the world, so we are charged with making sure she has a fighting chance at survival.

I cannot imprison my daughter in a bubble. I kid you not. Sometimes I wish it were that easy. I cannot physically safeguard her from the crazies of the world…the rapists…the kidnappers…the drunk-drivers…the manipulators…the screamers…the stupid boyfriends…and married men who hit on her. I wish I could pistol whip some of them! Not that I’d know how to hold a gun were I to get my hands on one.

Thankfully my daughter has grown very comfortably into her own skin. She listens very respectfully to what I might have to say…and does what feels organic for her. And I’m so grateful she does. As she’s aged she’s become the teacher…and I’ve become an unwitting…student. Funny, how the roles are often reversed between parents and children.

It might be said that my daughter is beginning to exhibit signs of a helicopter. She worries that if I fall at home…no one will hear me. So she’s thinking of getting me that device advertised on TV where the old woman who falls tells the person on the other end of the call…”Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

…a little whirrring…and worrying…is a good thing…

………hugmamma.IMG_4648

self-nurturing…positive reinforcement

 

Something I’ve been practicing all my life, as I’m sure most of us do, either sporadically or consistently. I guess it depends on the need…and one’s personal baggage.

12 26 09 Bearman Cartoon Moms Christmas Gift My mom was a single parent who had her hands full with 9 children, so I think she’d run out of steam by the time I accidentally happened along a year before my father died. While she did the best she could looking after the family’s wants, at 30, my mom had barely seen her own needs met.

Get Away From My Mom

Image via Wikipedia

Because I was the last sibling under my mom’s care after the others left home, she and I seemed to have a “love ’em or leave ’em” relationship. We loved one another, out of necessity, but we both probably wished we could up and go…somewhere else…separately. But we were stuck like glue, and we made the best of it.

And so I learned to self-nurture. Or at least I tried. Growing up with low self-esteem, however confident I seemed outwardly, made it very difficult to care for myself emotionally. Without parents to show the way, children tend to wander like nomads in the desert. But the one legacy left me by my mom was the will to survive.

Survive I have. Fortunately I also became an expert at self-nurturing, however late in life. With the help of two very important people, my husband and my daughter, as well as others, I “turned the corner,” and gradually began to learn to love myself…

Mom

Image via Wikipedia

…warts…beauty spots…and all…

………hugmamma.  😉

365 photo challenge: pupil

my daughter as a pupil of ballet……………………………………………………………….

and as a professional………………. she continues to train……………….as a pupil

and i’m still learning all the intricacies of ballet………………………………………..

as a pupil of art appreciation…………………………………………………hugmamma.

god bless the children

god bless the children

for they know not what they do,

bouncing basketballs at 9 on a sunday morning

while i’m trying to sleep in,

bears no weight with them.

god bless the children

for their glorious shouts of joy,

with each “hallellujah”

my brain reaches out anew.

god bless the children

for disturbing the sabbath’s peace,

god created them

so he must’ve had a clue.

god bless the children

they’re just being the little buggers,

god always meant them to be.

god bless the children

now that i’ve dragged myself from bed,

they’ve decided to call it quits.

god bless the children

their antics can make me nuts,

but you know what?

gotta love those kids

…and i do…hugmamma.

siblings

Most of us are born into families with other children. Siblings are a complicated group. They needn’t be, but most often they are. Finding our niches within the hierarchical order is tricky business. There is usually a pecking order. And it normally runs oldest to youngest, with the latter having no one to peck on, so to speak.

Perceptions of life are affected by our own lives, so they’re necessarily skewed by what our brain interprets of the goings on around us. Obviously these interpretations are our truths, not necessarily lining up with those of others. This isn’t to say they’re not valid, for to us they are.

One of the truisms in life, I think, is that we should listen, really listen, to what someone is saying. We tend to hear what we want to hear. I wonder why that is? It’s almost as though we’re only using one ear. This is definitely the case in most marriages, mine included. But I guess when 2 strangers get together, there’s a lot to sort out, and for marriages to survive there needs to be give-and-take, a lot of it.

Give-and-take among siblings is another matter. When they live under the same roof it’s probably essential, to minimize the bloodshed. But when they’ve left the roost to find their own way in the world, coming together again can be, as I said, tricky.

I’m 61 and the youngest of 9. It’s not easy to throw off the mantel of “kid sister.” I don’t often see my siblings, so the issue rarely comes up. Nonetheless, it’s not an easy position to occupy, especially when I’ve successfully led my life outside the hierarchy. I’ve never been able to say to any of my siblings “I think you should do this.” Not that I would want to do so. I think they’re all just fine as they are. Just as I couldn’t tell a stranger how to live her life, I couldn’t do so with family. I could only offer advice and support, if asked.

I have great admiration for my husband and his siblings, always have. I’ve known them for nearly 41 years, having interacted with them  much more when he and I were dating. The last 30 years or so we’ve lived on the mainland, away from the rest of them. There was obviously a hierarchy among the 12 siblings, but it wasn’t overtly apparent to me. The camaraderie among them was palpable, still is. The banter back and forth among sisters and brothers is light, fun, loving. There’s no heavy talk about setting and achieving goals, working at better jobs, pressure to attend college. Not that these aren’t important. But I think my husband and his siblings set examples for one another. They led the way, they didn’t point in the direction and say “Go do it.” They just did it.

The pattern of showing by example has filtered down to all our nieces and nephews. Many have graduated from colleges on the mainland, and some have traveled outside the country, even as far away as Australia, one nephew living in Mongolia as a Mormon missionary for a couple of years. There is excitement within the family whenever we gather, catching up with one another, getting better acquainted with newborns, or children who’ve grown up in our absence. No matter the lives they lead, there is equality among my husband and his siblings, and their children and their cousins. And it’s for certain, they’ve all “got each other’s backs,” that’s OHANA, Hawaiian for family.

My mother-and-father-inlaw, and their marriage of 40 + years before he died, are to be credited for their successful, love-by-example raising of 12 children. A legacy they have surely left to all who come after. I’m very fortunate to have found love and comfort under the shelter of my in-laws welcoming “umbrella” these many years.

for everyone coming in out of the “rain”…hugs…hugmamma.  

the internet, friend or foe?

Among other books of lighter fare, I’m beginning to read “What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains – The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. On the inside jacket Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe, challenges, “Nicholas Carr has written an important and timely book. See if you can stay off the Web long enough to read it!” I have to admit now that blogging has become a “part-time job,” I may find it difficult to finish the 276 pages of technical information. I’m hoping it reads like a bio, the central character being the internet user, me and you. As with other revolutionary inventions of the industrial age, like TV, I will probably rationalize using the “beast” that threatens to take control of my life.

 But if it’s already been unleashed, like Pandora’s Box, can the internet be returned from whence it came? Probably not. But can this Frankenstein be controlled? Or is the monster free to do evil, along with the good it was intended for? Do inventors ever look past the perceived  immediate need, to what injurious consequences might be wrought upon humankind?

Again on the inside jacket of Carr’s book the question is posed “Is Google making us stupid?”  It’s followed by this paragraph “When Nicholas Carr posed that question, in a celebrated Atlantic cover story, he tapped into a well of anxiety about how the Internet is changing us. He also crystallized one of the most important debates of our time: As we enjoy the Net’s bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply?”

I have taken to blogging because of my passion for writing. I’ve tried, albeit half-heartedly, to get published in non-mainstream print media, as well as online, to no avail. Rightly or wrongly, my desire to have my voice “heard” motivated me to blog. Judging from my oft lengthy “dissertations,” you can see that my attention to detail involves more than superficial thinking. And so it begins, … my attempt to rationalize using the internet.

You, dear reader, have been with me since the start of my internet journey so, in a way, you are complicit in my “crime,” i.e. my use of the “beast.” What say you in our defense? It’s use for all the small things that give quality to our lives must count for something?! I’m certain you’ll agree that searching for medical answers, support comfort when a child dies, discounted products in the current economy, are viable reasons to keep the internet going. Or am I again trying to rationalize too much? But what else can we do?

Your opinions on the subject are appreciated. The internet has impacted our lives beyond imagination. But did we sacrifice too much in our rush to deify it? Your thoughts?

are we beyond deep thinking?…hugmamma.

a friendly place

Getting up for 8:15 Mass is a struggle. I’m not a morning person, as I’ve said in previous posts. So making it to exercise and church services is a labor of love, or else insanity, maybe both. The “drawing card” for me are the teachers, Kristina at the gym, and Father Brian at St. Joseph’s. Their common denominator is their compassionate, warm, “open” personalities. Neither basks in the limelight, rather they are humbly passionate about spreading their messages, Kristina “speaks” to exercise as essential for our well-being; Father Brian shares the gospel that God loves and cares for all of us.

Probably the youngest priest I’ve ever encountered as pastor of a parish, Father Brian, is a natural-born “shepherd.” He gathers his parishioners, his “sheep,” about him, with concern for our safe deliverance into the hands of God, our Maker. He doesn’t prod us with pokers, rather he relates stories, personal or biblical, which encourages us to think and to decide by what values we should live. The church fills with laughter when Father Brian tells a joke or humorous anecdote. He’s not even above pointing a finger at himself, whether in fun or to confirm that he too is human. His manner is easy, his smiles always forthcoming. He is accepting of ways that are different from his. If there are rules, and there must be, by which the parish operates, they do not seem “set in stone.” Perhaps his youthfulness and relative newness to pastoral duties has him proceeding with caution, allowing himself to blend into the congregation’s routine, to become one with, not one above, us.

Today my ears were extra perked when listening to Father’ sermon. He spoke of our need to focus upon the “small things” in our lives. These, he said, are the building blocks of the kingdom of Heaven. God does not reward us for “flash”, but rather for what we do “behind the scenes.” As stewards of God’s gifts, our services toward and on behalf of one another will be rewarded. Our faithfulness will be recognized. Romans 12:6-8 from The New Testament testifies to this:

“We each have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” 

As an introduction to his homily, Father Brian spoke of witnessing small, but meaningful, human gestures that “built up the Kingdom of God.” Friends from out-of-town were visiting with him. A couple and their 2 daughters visited the popular tourist attractions. In their comings and goings, Father witnessed the loving care bestowed upon the littlest child by her sister and her parents.

On a recent visit with his elderly grandparents at their assisted living facility, Father celebrated the Mass in their apartment, the 3 huddling together. At the “kiss of peace”, his grandparents turned and pecked each other on the cheek, mouthing the words “I love you” to one another. This demonstration of their affection spoke volumes of their 67 year-long marriage.

After weekday Mass one morning, Father Brian noticed a lone woman moving through the pews, collecting congregation booklets, which she would then return to their housing. On another occasion, a parishioner asked Father if she could bring flowers from her garden to place around the altar. Walking over to it, he fingered one of the daisies, lovingly displayed in a vase. Matching arrangements were staged prominently in other areas.

It is obvious that Father Brian is like family to his parishioners. He freely speaks to us of his mother, other relatives, his friends, his love of basketball, his personal impressions of a recent visit to the Vatican, and his own faith journey. And he eagerly awaits us outside after Mass, shaking hands and smiling broadly. He always remembers our daughter, though she’s not a regular. Because he attracts everyone with his charismatic style, I said to Father Brian one day “You could be a rock star!” To which he replied, after letting out a belly laugh, “Jesus is the rock star!”

no “Hell, fire and brimstone” here, only warmth…hugmamma