Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tomato Tomahto

It all started Sunday at church with a sermon on Ecclesiastes and The Byrds' song "Turn! Turn! Turn!" The words jumped out at me among all the rest speaking about how there is a time for everything.  There is "a time to speak up and a time to be silent." "For everything, there is a season and a purpose..." 

Then, it weaved its way into my Monday. My mother called to tell me about a segment appearing on Anderson Cooper discussing attachment parenting.  This topic intrigues me even though I've chosen not to adopt any one parenting style.  On the segment, they merely shared different points of view.  Some people were all for the parenting style and others felt that it wouldn't work for them.  However, it sparked debate.  And after watching discussions of these types, I am starting to see past all of the flurry to what's really going on.  Moms are feeling judged and they are "fighting" mostly to be at peace with themselves and their choices.  Because there is somebody somewhere ready and willing to tell these women what they should and shouldn't be doing. I know because I recognized these feelings in myself. And I have come to terms with how I am parenting. I love my child and that is where I am settling it.  Any time I hear harsh words of criticism I remind myself that I love my child and he knows it.  So, I am fine with that.

Next, I remembered something I read last week about having a birth photographer.  People were arguing about whether birth was a beautiful experience worth photographing. On one side, people who did not see birth as a beautiful thing were speaking as if somebody who wanted a birth photographer was crazy.  To this, those in the other camp felt hurt and offended (understandably so) and rose up with harsh comments saying that those who do not see this beauty are "close-minded." To me, both sides were completely in the wrong for their statements. Everyone knows that all people have different personalities. We make our choices based on personality.  Some people are shy and some are outgoing.  Some like it quiet and some feel the need for noise.  And no pushing of your preferences on somebody else is going to change that person's preferences.  We need to be okay with that. For me, I wouldn't want a photographer during labor.  Yes, I see birth as a beautiful thing in its own way, but I remember it enough that I just don't want pictures.  BUT somebody else might and what business is it of mine if she does? None. 

I am seeing people work themselves up into a frenzy because somebody else sees things differently.  This is a complete waste of energy. And here, I am back to my introduction.  There is "a time to speak up and a time to be silent." If some mother is leaving her kids in a hot car with the window rolled up, there is a time to speak up. If somebody else is choosing to let her child sleep in her bed, there is a time to be silent. We do not all need to have the same preferences. Do we consider that some mothers feel better by being with their children?  And telling them that they are "not allowed" to is so silly.  Likewise, there are others who feel drained and need personal time. I am definitely in that camp.  They shouldn't be made to feel bad for wanting just 1-2 hours alone. Ultimately, both people are doing a fine job.  And I think in trying to justify ourselves we start attacking others. Because if everybody just does what we do, we won't ever feel judged or alienated.  Yet, this isn't going to happen and I'm noticing that trying to do it just leads to arguments over the most trivial things.

And for those of you familiar with "Gulliver's Travels," I am reminded of the "Big Endians" and "Little Endians" starting a war over which end of an egg to crack.

I can't help but think of the song "Let's Call the Whole thing Off"
Things have come to a pretty pass, 
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that.
Goodness knows what the end will be,
Oh, I don't know where I'm at...
It looks as if we two will never be one,
Something must be done.

You say eether and I say eyether,
You say neether and I say nyther,
Eether, eyether, neether, nyther,
Let's call the whole thing off!
You like potato and I like potahto,
You like tomato and I like tomahto,
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!
Let's call the whole thing off!
But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part,
Then that might break my heart!
So, if you like pajamas and I like pajahmas,
I'll wear pajamas and give up pajahmas.
For we know we need each other, 
So we better call the calling off off.
Let's call the whole thing off!

You say laughter and I say lawfter,
You say after and I say awfter,
Laughter, lawfter, after, awfter,
Let's call the whole thing off!
You like vanilla and I like vanella,
You, sa's'parilla and I sa's'parella,
Vanilla, vanella, Choc'late, strawb'ry!
Let's call the whole thing off!
But oh! If we call the whole thing off,
Then we must part.
And oh! If we ever part, 
Then that might break my heart!
So, if you go for oysters and I go for ersters
I'll order oysters and cancel the ersters.
For we know we need each other,
So we better call the calling off off!
Let's call the whole thing off!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grandma's House

Growing up, summertime for me always meant a trip to Grandma's house. I would stay for at least a week and savor days with cookies, ice cream, toys, and (most importantly) time alone with my grandmother.  No matter what we did, I was happy. We could watch the news together, and I would be just as engrossed in it as if I was watching cartoons. For me, going to Grandma's house was a time when I could just be. There were no worries about getting in trouble; I didn't even disobey or try to take advantage of my freedom.  I just truly enjoyed being there.

To this day, I dream about being in her house.  Countless dreams are filled with memories of a home that was never even my own.  Clearly, our special times have become so deeply ingrained in my memory and my heart, that I will forever treasure the times I had.

Last Thursday, Gordon Lee got to spend his first night at his Grandma's house without Mommy or Daddy.  We were told that after seeing a picture of Lee on the wall, he was in search of his daddy. And when I walked through the door the next day, he looked at me as if he could hardly believe that Mommy just appeared out of nowhere. But still, from the pictures we saw to the way he was contently playing when I arrived, I'd say that he had a BLAST! And I know that one day, when he is older, he will look at me (like I looked at my mom) and say, "Mama, when can I go and stay at Grandma's house?"
Plus, he gets WAY cooler toys at Grandma's house than at home. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who says you can't?

About four months ago, I started running again.  Unfortunately, joining a gym where we are is kind of difficult.  There are no good gyms anywhere near us.  So, do we drive 30 minutes just to go to the gym plus pay for the membership? It really isn't worth it.  So we decided we wouldn't join a gym.  We would get some home equipment for weight lifting and I'd run OUTSIDE.  *gasp* Oh goodness! Even in the days when I was in excellent shape and running races, I rarely ran outside.  Oh and we were coming up on the summer, so running outside was going to take extra discipline like getting up really early in the morning.  

But I said to myself one day, "What are you going to do? Just not do something because it is hard?" So I put G.Lee in the jogging stroller and I made myself go for a run around the neighborhood.  I know from my previous running experience that it is best to go for a minimum of 20 minutes.  So, that is what I did.  I ran for exactly 20 minutes.  Having that goal helped me push myself.  And when I finished, I said to myself, "What is stopping you from just walking for 20 more minutes?" I answered myself, "Nothing." So, I walked.  And I walked for more like 30 minutes.  It was great! I was getting a lot of exercise without having to push myself to a breaking point.

From then on, I started increasing my running and decreasing my walking until I was running for 45 minutes every other day.  Finally, at the end of May (Memorial Day, in fact), I ran a 10K! Running is an amazing thing (if you are a runner you probably know). When you are doing it, everything in you tells you to stop.  For me, it never changes.  The first 10 minutes while I am getting warmed up are always the same.  I want to just quit.  But when you cross that threshold and see that you just ran 20 minutes and you did NOT, in fact, die, the feeling of accomplishment is overwhelming.  After that, I start pushing myself just a little bit more each time.  Every time, I go a little bit further, I feel like I can overcome anything.  Likewise, when I set out to run for 30 minutes and I am even 5 minutes shy of that goal, I just don't feel as good.  Because there is something in me that KNOWS I can do it.

Isn't life that way? We really think we can't do things that we are so capable of doing. I just started a new venture as a freelance writer.  This job sort of happened upon me.  It works well for my life as a stay-at-home mom right now because there is flexibility for me to write when I get the chance.  And, with G. Lee running crazy around the house, I need that.  But it has been stretching me.  I often have to write about things that I have no knowledge-base for.  So, I have to do extensive research just to be able to know what I am writing.  Learning about something foreign is so intimidating.  But when I finish my articles, I feel AMAZING--just like with running! Sometimes, it's a headache. And when I read information laden with technological jargon, I'm thinking, "English, please?" But to be able to figure it out and synthesize it is so empowering. 

And from here, I have been brought to a point where I am asking myself, "Why haven't I...." Why haven't I tried taking risks in the writing world?
Why have I stuck to what's comfortable?
Why do I doubt myself?
Why am I so afraid of failure that I haven't even TRIED?

Because here I am now doing something I never thought I could do.  And I'm coming away from it realizing two things (that are also true of running).
1.) When I think I can't, I can.  And I need to tell myself that and believe it.
2.) The more I stick with it, the more "in-shape" I become and the better I actually get at it.  The seemingly insurmountable obstacles become smaller as you become more equipped.

So, I am thankful for this new journey of exercise of both mind and body.  And I have realized that too often we don't even try because don't believe we can from the start. For this reason, I'd like to encourage everyone to just try something.  If you fail, you fail.  But you might just surprise yourself.