Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Happy 12th birthday!

Wow. Twelve years have gone by.
Twelve long years have just vanished.
Whenever my daughter's birthday rolls around it makes me feel a little reflective. It forces me to take a moment to really consider the last several years. I try to remember what it was like before I was someone's mom. The more time that passes the less I remember about that time.
Now that she is getting older and is at an age where she is closer to being an independent adult than she is to being an infant I have noticed I've been experiencing a new and different fear than I did before. Before I would worry about making sure that I am being a good influence, that I am teaching her to walk, talk, use the bathroom, to dress herself, get along with kids at school, to share, to basically do all of the things we as adults do every day and take for granted that someone at some point taught us.
Now my worries have shifted. Now I worry about preparing her for life on a deeper level. I am always aware of the fact that every move I make is watched and recorded by her to draw on as an example of what to do or not to do when she is and adult. I have to ask her to speak up when ordering in restaurants to prepare her for being assertive in future office situations. I have her handle the debit machine in the store so she understands the basics of shopping. I teach her to look at labels of everything we purchase so she understands serving sizes and nutritious content. I have her look up her fast food meals on online menus so she really understands what she is putting in her body when she wants a second taco. I have to make sure to tell her "No." every once in a while, even if I know she will be mad at me, so she understands that in life we don't always get what we want.
And the hardest thing, the thing that a person could lose sleep over if they think too long and hard about it: I have to try really hard to be the kind of adult that I want her to be better than someday.

Live by example. Never be a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of parent. Those are the types that wonder why their kids never call after all they did for them as a child, they wonder where they went so wrong when their kids end up in bad situations married to abusers, or addicted to drugs.
The man who is holding his third beer after work waving his arm in his son's face saying, "I don't ever want to catch you drinking!"
The kind of mom who is lecturing her daughter on being promiscuous when her daughter has seen a revolving door of men come through the house.
The father who won't cry in front of his son or the mother who won't let go of a man even if he is hitting her in fear of being alone.

Kids can overcome difficult childhoods. We are not destined to become our parents, but it isn't the norm. My biggest fear is that my daughter will become a young mom just like I was, like my mother was and my grandmother before her. The last thing I want for my daughter is to give up on her youth so early. I want her to have it in her to chase her dreams with the freedom to make mistakes, and choices and to enjoy everything that youth has to offer. I want her to be secure in the fact that she is really loved for who she is and that she has a family who would do anything for her and support her in any way. I don't want her to be so lonely for a real family that she decides to throw her youth away to create one by having a child of her own.

I don't regret having a daughter when I did, I would not change it now because she is the love of my life. I only wish I would have waited until I had an identity of my own before I had a baby. Now I wonder what kind of adult I will be when she leaves me.
Will I regress and be a pathetic forty-something trying to pretend I am a twenty-something? I know women like that, and it is just sad. Old ladies hanging out at the rock clubs with the young kids trying to dress like them and hang with them and even -ugh- date them.
Will I try to be her friend more than her mother?
Will I fall into a deep depression when it hits me that being a mother has been the greatest thing I have ever done and it is over, and just look forward to maybe being a grandmother?
Or will I freak out and have another baby because that is all I know how to do? (Meaning I would be a mother for my entire adult life.)

I don't think people need to have a lot of money, live in a big house or drive a nice car to be good parents or to want to have children. But I think it should be a requirement that they know themselves, love themselves and know what they want/expect/deserve from life before they decide to become parents. I think where things get really bogged up in the parent/child relationship is when the child is looking for an example and the parent has no idea how to be one.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The days are getting shorter. Bring on the crazy.

The shorter days and cooler weather brings the crazy out in people.
Not only have I received a slew of phone calls at the office from random drunk/crazy/just generally scary people, but I have also received a few slightly frightening and harassing emails via all of the usual social networking outlets.

Maybe the hot sun keeps the crazies sluggish and unmotivated in the summer?
Maybe since Halloween is in the air people think that gives the crazies license to act like fools?
I don't know what it is, but I am just trying hard to remain level headed. I find myself looking over my shoulder a little more than usual and I clutch my pepper spay for dear life whenever venturing out in public. Otherwise it is business as usual.

I think it is universal. Crazy goes in waves. When I am finding myself feeling like it is coming from all directions, loads of my friends are feeling it in their lives as well.

This morning, in the early hours when I was heading into work, a rather ominous fellow sauntered up to me. He first asked me for change. I told him I didn't have any change and tried to step around him.
He stepped to the side blocking my path again, I nearly walked right into him.
He was peering at my coffee cup as though he were implying that I must have change due to the fact that I just purchased coffee. I muttered something about having purchased it with a credit card and tried to step around him again. Again he stepped in my way.
This time he posed the question, "What is your name?"
I answered, "No thank you." Just as I was taught in my etiquette classes.
(The rule is: No matter what the question, when you are getting unwanted male attention just answer "No thank you" and walk away. It is funny the things that stick with us from when we are kids.)

He stopped me again and said, "No, I want to introduce myself to you, maybe get to know you better."
I'm positive the look on my face said it all. If it were translated into words it probably would have been something along the lines of, "You have got to be f-ing kidding me?"

*Guys, a general rule of thumb: Don't try to ask a girl out whom you just tried to panhandle from.

I saw two of my co-workers heading to the front door so I jogged over to them leaving Mr Weirdo in the dust.

Everything comes and goes
Pleasure moves on too early
And trouble leaves too slow
Just when you're thinking
You've finally got it made
Bad news comes knocking
At your garden gate
Knocking for you

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