Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Real Reality

Nothing like rising in the morning and encountering big pile of s____, as in the Newfie mother lode, on the indoor/outdoor runner. Fortunately our Newfs now overnight in the mudroom. I quickly tired of their heavy panting, nocturnal wanderings and occasional morning surprises—as in a pile of poop. One of them had a major case of diarrhea last night.

Of course it was I who cleaned it up. My 19-year-old son, you know, the one who is quite independent, passed through the mudroom just minutes before me. The evidence was present –> unlocked mudroom door by which he exited the house and the double–locked service door through which he didn’t. Yeah, yeah, yeah… He was on his way to work, likely rolling out of bed directly into the car. Yes, he left the dogs in. And, gosh, he left me that nice pile to deal with. I waved good-bye to him as he backed out of the driveway. No smile.

He and I will discuss this later…

This occurrence, like so many others in the daily fabric of our lives, underscores why I made my decision. I get a lot of requests—for interviews, to do book reviews, to be featured on this or that. But I was contacted about something else, so fascinating I had to read through the email several times and investigate the source, assess if it was the real deal before responding. It was.

Reality TV. As in a possible series. An offer to audition. The entire family. Can you imagine?!  “an outgoing, dynamic family comprised of interesting characters… this generation’s wilder, more entertaining Brady Bunch… all family members must have big personalities, be comfortable speaking on camera…” Trust me; we have this in spades.

I had a fleeting tug of  “Why not?” and experienced the thrill of  “fame” before true realization set in:

  • Reality TV exists for entertainment, ratings and consumption, all = money for the networks and mega-conglomerates.
  • Reality TV distorts “real” life, promotes moronic and negative societal expectations. Shows often feature the basest of human behavior. They fuel half-truths and risk.
  • One could argue that much of Reality TV perpetuates “dumbing down.” Dangerous stuff, folks. Think of your daughters and sons: education, critical thinking, taking responsibility for action, being held accountable, compassion for others, etc. The mind isn’t a terrible thing to use. Intelligence and values aren’t overrated.

Additionally:

  • My kids are not bridges, other than from their childhoods to their adulthoods.
  • Adoption continues to be misunderstood, and misrepresented, and  Reality TV is not the vehicle for “righting” the truths.

My kiddos and hubby we’re none too pleased with me, citing many weekend moments with, “See mom! This would make a great episode!”

I’ve emailed my response, and my counteroffer, back to the casting agent. While I eagerly wait in anticipation of hearing back (now I’m being snarky), I think we’ll focus on spending our summer together as we usually do—out of the glare of lights, camera and action—as a family.

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Filed under Family, Multicultural Families, Multiracial Families, Parenting, The International Mom

Tweaking Us

Holden successfully completed his first year of college and arrived home sicker than a dog. His temp spiking as his body sought to recover from the enormous lack of sleep, poor food choices and long hours of studying for finals. He looked haggard, and it was difficult to understand him because his voice was almost gone. As soon as Holden was in his own bed, the sleep that eluded him came fast. He slept like a baby and became healthy again.

He arrived home sans his vast collection of nasty looking high tops. Also missing were the all-too-low-riding jeans, shorts and pants (“saggers”). During his first year of college he morphed into a prepster and now wears items like whales on his ties, sailboat adorned red shorts, slim above-the-butt properly fitting brightly colored pants, polos, and Sperrys. My, my, my…

When we left him at college last August Holden was madly in love with rap and hip-hop. His musical tastes broadened; he became a raving country fan. He attended the Brad Paisley concert the other night.

It’s cool. We’ve been preppy. We enjoy country.

Holden has been fortunate to secure fulltime summer employment (achieved when home during spring break). The hours are long, but the pay is fair. With driving, he’s gone for twelve hours long, so I don’t see him much. The “missing” I felt while he was away at college hasn’t fully abated.

Warned, I was ready for his newly expanded independence. Well, I thought I was.

Really.

How wrong I was.

Having a child home after they’ve been away for an extended time is an adjustment, for everyone. We have to become used to being physically together again and work through and come to an agreement about the expectations, rules and checking-in that are part of being a cohesive, connected and thoughtful family unit.

We’re tweaking us as the family dynamics change. When to step up, when to step back. The “dance” has changed. I still get to do Holden’s laundry and make his lunch. So far, so good…

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Filed under Epiphiany, Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, Rite of Passage, The International Mom

Afterthoughts on Afterglow

Listen To Your Mother…  It’s a wrap. However, the experience has left me with deeper appreciation—new perspectives and lasting impressions about who I am and what I can be for myself and for others, of how the threads of love, loss, joy, and fear weave all of us together in this beautiful, complex mosaic of fabric we coin humanity. From the audition through rehearsals and the sold out show I spoke, shared, cried, laughed, listened, held my breath, exhaled, and learned. I connected.

We walk such unique paths on our journeys from birth until death, nevertheless we have so much in common, and we begin to understand this when we “stop” and listen and are present and open and non-judgmental of each other. We have the capability to help heal instead of inflict hurt.

I shouldn’t have been so surprised when one of my “sisters” that I first sponsored through Women For Women International over a decade ago ago sent me a friend request via Facebook and a beautiful Mother’s Day message. I was profoundly touched to hear from her again, and to know she is safe and doing so well.

Listen To Your Mother was the perfect entrée to celebrating Mother’s Day. A reminder that we women are so powerful and can affect positive change and growth. A reminder that:

  • We need to honor ourselves.
  • We need to honor the women who have raised, nurtured, taught, and mentored us.
  • By honoring ourselves we give to our children, spouses, loved ones, and to others in need.
  • By using our voices we empower ourselves and model the importance of being heard, especially for the next generation of upcoming women.

Sharing stories is important. They are gifts of wisdom, insight and the true nature of ourselves.

My profound thanks to the brave women who shared their vulnerability up on that stage: Stephanie Precourt,  Liz Chatwell, Brenda Magnetti Erickson, Beth Fletcher, Alice Harrington, Stephanie Hauser, Katy Hoagland, Julia Huisman, Jen Mitchell, Heather Curlee Novak, June Saavedra, Liz Self, Carrie Steinweg, and Megan Summers. I was proud to be in your company.

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Filed under Events, Parenting, The International Mom