Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday blues

A job is usually something people get paid to do that they would otherwise NOT do.  The degree to which the task is involuntary and undesirable is directly in line with how much people get paid.  I do realize that is not a very positive outlook, but some days I just don't feel like being so positive.

One of my good friends (Michelle) was demoted today because she didn't pass a Series 6 or S or some other stupid insurance license.  It was one of 3 tests-she passed 2 of them.  The real irony is she was the top producer in her branch this month.  She is one of the brightest people I know, hard working and honest to a fault.  Unfortunately, she is not a suck-up, and does not have a fake bone in her body.  While I respect that about her, I suppose in the ugly,corporate landscape where most of live , it is something she probably needs in her arsenal at times.

I got the memo about life being unfair, and I suppose stories like hers can just be filed in the "reality" column.  Right next to my husband who is stuck in a job he cannot stand. By stuck, I mean, he does not want to leave, and he does not want to stay.  Somehow, his job went from something he did to subsidize playing to something that defines him.  As men get older, the rules change.  Now his boss expects him to eat, sleep, breathe Comcast.  When did that happen?  We all knew those guys earlier in our careers-that guy who brought his pager to social events; loved to name-drop, wore that stupid blue tooth just to look important.  I couldn't stand that guy.  And yet, now, on the back nine of life, it seems that guy will come out ahead.  Paul has always been so above that, like my friend Michelle.  I just can't make sense of it.

Another mystery to me is the whole "it's not you, it's me" line.  I was recently given that line by someone I thought was one of my closest friends.  It seems our sons seeing less of each other will benefit her family somehow.  By them seeing less of each other, I mean she requested a change of teacher for her son so they would not be in the same class.  As much as I want to believe and understand the reasons, I cannot escape the elephant in the room~what she wanted less of was me.  I don't know how else to interpret that.  Not only efforts to minimize our sons interactions, but also the unmistakable lack of interest in me has been very hard to overlook.  It's not business as usual, it feels completely different.  I don't feel welcome anymore; I don't feel close to her at all.  Her son's birthday party was the following week (naturally); and I noticed there was plenty of room in her car for such socioeconomic equals as the heirs of the Coors dynasty and fellow "village" residents.  But when I asked about my boys being able to ride from school to the party, I got the whole-"sorry, all full up".  That would have been true if they hadn't driven 2 cars.  And if the last two years hadn't almost always meant our kids would ride together.

Do I sound like a 3rd grade girl who got told she couldn't sit at the special table at lunch anymore?  Well hell yes I do.  And that's how I feel.  I'm not particularly proud of that.  And I have been here before, probably more than I want to remember.  I am too sensitive, and I know that.  And if I could flick a switch to change that, I certainly would.  But I am the way I am.-the good, the bad and the ugly. And if I am no longer supposed to be a part of that family I had come to love so much, then so be it.  I cannot control that.  I just don't want my kids to constantly be paying the price for my shortcomings and mistakes.  They are both such great kids-and they will be just fine.  I just keep hoping they don't figure out what failure I have turned out to be.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My little TC

This is Tyler at a private horseback riding lesson.  It is unmistakable how animals take to Tyler.  He just has an intrinsic ability to connect with them.  Jake is our black lab, but really, he is Tyler's buddy.  Tyler was only 2 when Jake joined us.  They have a unique bond.  Tyler is also the most accomplished horseback rider in our family-at the ripe age of 7.  He is still just learning, but honestly, his lack of fear and level of comfort just blow me away.

I am so proud of Tyler for the baby boy he used to be, the little boy he is today, and the big boy he is becoming.  He continues to amaze me everyday of my life.  His creativity, ingenuity and intelligence never stop growing.  He is curious and inspired.  He is a scientist and an explorer.  He has an endless imagination and an unparalleled memory.  He has been able to assemble Legos and transformers for as long as I can remember.  He loves the outdoors-swimming, fishing, crawdad hunting-you name it.  I just don't know how Paul and I are the parents of this precious little gem.

I remember being so worried about him.  He has such a non-conforming disposition.  He has no interest in being the center of attention, having an audience or making headlines.  He just wants to do his thing. As he grows and matures, so do I; and I am learning from him.  He walks to the path of his own beat, and I embrace it more each day.  What a ride it is to see him growing up-and it's only the start.  I know the best is yet to come.

It is all equal

Favoritism....the practice of giving unfair, preferencial treatment to a person or group at the expense of another.

In families, this term gets thrown around a lot.  In my family growing up with my siblings; and now in my own household with my two boys.  I worry about it so much.  My oldest is such a people pleaser.  He is very easy to get along with, has a very kind heart and a soul that is older than his years.  He understands compassion, empathy, integrity and honesty.  He is a stunning athlete, which, like it or not, in this world goes a long way.  Oh, he has his moments, and he can be a little handful, but all in all, he certainly has the ingredients for the child who gets favored.  Mostly, because he wants to  be.  My younger son is quite different.  He is not as concerned with pleasing people, he wants to do what he wants to do.  He is often oblivious to empathy or compassion.  His affection and emotions are only offered to a select few people.  He is shy which makes him hard to get to know, almost making him seem rude.  Introverts always stress me out because I cannot decide what to do with I try harder?  do I leave them alone?  am I annoying them?  am I excluding them?  am I over-thinking it?  He is also very prone to have nothing to do with things that his brother, father and I enjoy terribly-sports being the most notable.  He would much rather be alone than participate in most things we are doing.  His interests involve activities that do not always include people like playing with his toys by himself.  He can hang out in his room our outside by himself for hours.

But I love each of my boys just the same.  I would take a bullet for either one of them without even thinking.  It's possible favoritism is just wrapping paper for having more in common.  Having more in common does not have to mean anything more or less than that.  We weren't all meant to be exactly the same anyway-that's why God made us the way He did.

If in no other record than this one, I want my Tyler and Jackson to know how much I love and truly appreciate both of them.  I love each one of their unique and different talents and attributes.  They are God's perfect gifts to me; and I thank Him for them each and everyday of my life.

Road trips

The times have changed, and will continue to change.  But taking a trip with your family in a car for an extended period of time will transcend generations.  There is a picture that comes to mind for each person when you reminisce over those many hours spent getting from point A to point B.  It's no Norman Rockwell painting; and yet a milestone in the family album.

I do love to travel, well, actually, I love to be at the destination.  The getting there-not so much.  I know deep down that important bonding happens in those close quarters only a road trip can provide.  Some of the things that come to mind are sharing, comforting, entertaining, visiting, playing games, and compromising.  I also think about things like the foul smells, the constant getting lost, the incessant pleading "are we there yet?", the proverbial gas station bathrooms, the yoga-esque sleeping poses, and the complete lack of ability to distinguish night from day.

My 7 year old Tyler and took the road trip to Arizona, and met up with Paul and Jackson.  Then we all flew home.  Did I mention the driving part was with Paul's parents?  I love Paul's parents.  They have always been very good to me, treat me like their own daughter.  However, the older they get, the more their little quirks and idiosyncrasies start to wear on me.  For example, they might actually believe that Paul and I would be living in the streets without sense to get in from the rain without their constant direction.  In other words, it's possible they believe we are 12 years old.  The number of times both Tyler and I were instructed to put on our shoes, wash our hands, and put on our selt-belts was unbelievable. And then there was the constant bickering between the two of them over directions.  Traveling has a way of bringing out the worst in people at times.  And yet, as it gets further away in our memories, we tend to reflect upon the good parts.  Much like childbirth, the ability to forget the painful details is what makes it possible to do it again.

I don't know

It is such an uncomfortable feeling when you don't know the answers.  My kids think I know everything, but I feel like the meter is running until they figure out that I really don't know everything. My oldest is in the 5th grade, and I am already struggling to help him with homework.  Even if I can figure it out, I don't do it the RIGHT way.  You would think some things would never change-long division, fractions, etc.  Though the answers do, now the methods of getting there look different, therefor rendering me even more of a dinosaur.    

But that's just the beginning.  I cannot explain things like war, child abuse, birth defects, poverty or wealth, cruelty to animals, natural disasters, cancer and other diseases, etc.     

Sometimes I glad I don't know.  Maybe I just don't need to know.  An now it reminds me of a post I read on another blog a long time ago-before I started writing this one.  I do know one thing:  I know why people love babies so much.

You do not have to know the answers with babies.  Sure, you have no idea what you are doing most of the time, but the baby doesn't realize that. And sure, you are sleep deprived and smell like spit-up; but you do not have to explain why he/she was not invited to a birthday party, or why the other kids make fun of you, or why people get divorced, or what an alcoholic is, or why people are not always nice.  There are times you can just hold your baby; and it is as if time stands still.  I was a working mom when mine were little like that, so my most cherished moments were often in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning when I did not have to share.  Times when I felt like I knew all the answers-at least at that moment in time.  Watching my little boys sleep while I held them gave me a comfort that did not leave me questioning anything.

An naturally, as my two little boys grow up, that has gradually slipped away.  In its place is a whole lot of uncertainty and insecurity.  I wonder how I will manage some days.  Will they be okay?  Will they lead fulfilled lives?  Will my best efforts be enough?  Will my mistakes leave a mark?  Will Jackson grow eventually?  Will Tyler be comfortable around strangers?  I hate not knowing.