Sunday, June 30, 2013
Last night, my children were on a roll with their antics. While I went to the store for their grandmother (my mother-in-law), Grandma kept the kids busy with some drawing paper, pens and pencils, and a pair of scissors.
A little while after I came home, I noticed a yellow piece of paper with writing on it. I tried to pick it up to look at it but Jackie grabbed it away. I didn't pursue it further as I got busy with something else. Later on, I saw the paper on the bedroom floor so I picked it up and looked at it. To my horror, this is what Jackie made:
I didn't know whether to laugh about it or be worried about Jackie's motivation. I posted it on Facebook asking my friends if I should be worried. I honestly wasn't sure. Some of my friends actually thought it was funny. I then shared it with my Mother-in-law. When she finished reading it, she couldn't help but bust out laughing. Watching my mother-in-law laugh near uncontrollably and then exclaim how Jackie says the craziest things made me start to laugh. Then Mother-in-law asked if Jackie was planning on killing Ben. I did ask Jackie about it later and she sheepishly said that she and Ben were "playing funeral". Being that Jackie has been in a cemetery just once during her life, Mother-in-law was quite impressed at how Jackie had the details just right for a tombstone.
The kids have been very wound up lately and have been difficult to get to bed and stay there. Last night was no exception. The last straw was when Ben came out one last time complaining of his fingernail hurting. So, I grabbed the fingernail clippers, sat Ben on the chair, and began to clip his fingernails. Once I finished the fingernails, I proceeded to start on his toenails. As I began to clip the toenails, Ben exclaimed loudly (and rather seriously), "Dear God, Please be with me and help me!" Now, I have NEVER caused any harm to any of his little digits so I don't know why he was so fervent with his little prayer. As serious as I tried to be (being that it was already well past a normal bedtime for children), it just wasn't happening. I could not hold in the laughter. Then, every time I accidentally tickled Ben's foot, he would tense up and giggle and then clap a few times.
As often as my children really challenge me, the innocent entertainment they provide makes it all worthwhile.
Monday, June 17, 2013
For some reason this year, I couldn't help but become a little teary and a little jealous as I read so many friends' sentiments about their fathers. Most of the status updates that I read on Facebook today were so sweet, loving, and just downright mushy. I was happy for those friends but it made me sad to realize what I missed during my own childhood.
As most of my friends know, my adopted father is the only father I've known as I have absolutely no knowledge about my biological father. It was very difficult during my childhood and even into my early adult years. He was an alcoholic and was very abusive toward not only me but my mother, too. I grew up terrified of him to the point that I often wondered if I would live to graduate from high school. Even as I became an adult and moved out onto my own, I was still intimidated by him. I also harbored a lot of anger during my early adult years which lead me to seek counseling. Anger toward both of my parents consumed me.
Eventually, I learned that the only way to let go of that anger was to forgive him. It really is by the grace of God that I was able to develop empathy for him which helped me to be able to more easily forgive him. Through his 2 older sisters, my aunts, I was able to learn more about him. I learned how severely abused he was by their father, a supposed man of God, an ordained Baptist preacher. It's no wonder he doesn't want anything to do with religion. After being kicked out of home by his father, he live with one of his sisters until he was old enough to enlist in the Marine Corps. He fought Vietnam on 3 different occasions. He became an alcoholic which only fueled his rage even more. Hence, the abuse he heaped on us, his family. Because of the little bit of information his sisters shared with me, I began to have empathy and compassion. I was still a bit intimidated by him, though, but over time, I was able to forgive him.
Over the years, as I proved to him that I was completely opposite from what he expected me to be (I was expected to be an unwed mother and collecting welfare), and that I was nothing like his son turned out to be, he began to have more respect for me. We have a good (not close but friendly) relationship today because I was the one to take that first step toward forgiveness. Yes, he's still a bit rough around the edges but I'm no longer afraid to approach him about most things. Now that I have children, I've even become bold enough to kindly tell him to please use caution with his language around my children (he's famous for the GD word).
It makes me happy that I have the relationship I have today with my step-dad, especially because he is the only grandfather my children will ever know. He is their Poppy. Tim's daddy died when Tim was a young boy. It makes me sad that I and my children will never meet the wonderful man, grandpa to my children, that I've heard so many wonderful things about. However, on this Father's Day, I am grateful for the ongoing restoration of the relationship between me and step-dad and that my children are able to have a grandpa experience with their Poppy.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Wow, what a week this has been. It started out last Sunday when I took my children to their first night of VBS where they attend church. I took my laptop and reading materials to keep myself busy while I waited 2 1/2 hours for it to be done. I had been sitting in the front lobby/cafe area when one of the volunteers, T, came around passing out snacks and offered me one. I turned it down but then she asked if I wanted to join her and the others in the kitchen instead of being bored while I waited for my kids. My immediate thought was "no way", but then before I knew it, I had agreed to join her in the kitchen. Little did I know the fun I was about to experience during the rest of the week and of course, learning a little more about myself.
That first night, I hung out with T and the other ladies and helped them put stuff away. I didn't plan on continuing to help for the remainder of the week but I found myself "recruited to do so" and gladly. (I'm glad it wasn't one of the craft workers who recruited me. Gag me, that area would have left me so frazzled.) After seeing how much work had been done before I was recruited and how much more work was left to do even after all the snacks were prepared and distributed, I was more than willing to return the next night (and beyond) to help.
Even though I don't warm up very easily to others, I quickly found myself becoming fast friends with these ladies. I felt like they liked me and they even found me humorous. I think I took them by surprise. I even scared one of the ladies, M, when I began to "argue" with J, an older lady friend. Now J is the kind of person with whom I feel very comfortable engaging in friendly squabble. I know J likes me and she knows that I really like her, too. M shared with me later how she was worried when she heard me and J "argue" but after a few moments, she realized that we were just playing around. She thought that was so funny. And that was just the first of many humor moments.
By the middle of that second night, one of the other ladies, D, began to share with me that she was liking what she saw from me and that I was fun to be around. That made me feel good. Then she began to share how, not too long ago, she went to another friend of hers in church, crying, because she felt like I hated her. I made her cry! How terrible! Apparently, I was snubbing her when she would say hello to me or try to talk to me. Thankfully, the other friend explained to her that she was also victim to this and that she finally realized that I was just shy and quiet, and very reserved. (I don't know about the shy part but if I don't feel like I belong somewhere, I do tend to keep quiet and reserved. I'm very cautious about people). As D told me this story, my heart sank and I felt so guilty about how I had hurt her feelings. It made me wonder how many other people I've done this to. I know it's too many. I'm so thankful that D finally felt comfortable enough to share this with me and I was able to apologize profusely to her. I need to do some more serious self-examining.
Throughout the week, I had fun humoring (albeit unintentionally sometimes; I just have a way with words, I guess) everyone working in the kitchen as well as working alongside them to make things run smoothly. And run smoothly it did. (Sorry T, for making you think I was about to drop your iPhone!). We all worked together very well as a team. Even though M was the one in charge of planning all the kitchen/snack details, she was not controlling and she listened to us and worked with us if any of us had other ideas in regard to kitchen/snack detail. I hope I can work with these ladies again in a volunteer capacity... as long as it isn't craft detail!
While I was having fun working with all those wonderful ladies, the kids were also having a blast throughout the week. Everything about this year's VBS was great; the music, the crafts, the lessons, the recreation, and of course, the snacks. (Can't forget the snacks!). This was a great week, overall.
A big thanks to T for
encouraging recruiting me to join her and the others in the kitchen and another big thanks to the others for being so welcoming and making me feel comfortable there. I truly enjoyed it this past week.
Friday, June 14, 2013
This past week, my son had a school physical performed. Vision was screened, ears and nose and throat were checked, heart sounds checked. blood pressure checked, just the routine stuff to make sure everything is well enough for Ben to safely attend school.
I was a bit surprised at the end of the exam when the doctor told Ben that he needed to check Ben's private parts, his penis (yes, the doctor used those terms which I was fine with). He told Ben to pull his pants down. The doctor felt the area for any masses (none detected, thankfully), Ben kept laughing because it tickled, Jackie (the future doctor) kept craning her neck around to watch the process, and then it was over. After I left there, I couldn't help but feel a little bit concerned that Ben might not realize that not just anybody can do an "exam" on him or on another person for no reason. And what really concerned me is that the doctor didn't even do his part by explaining that to Ben. I have a friend who is a nurse and her husband is a doctor and I asked her about that and she validated my concerns by saying that her doctor husband always explains to child patients who is allowed and who is not allowed to touch them in their private areas. I knew then just how important it was for me to explain this to Ben.
So, I took that opportunity this afternoon to have a little chat with Ben about bad touching and good touching. I explained to him that the only people who are allowed to touch him near or on his private area are doctors (and nurses), mommy, and daddy, and that's only if there is good reason for it. My sweet and funny Ben must have thought that he needed to confirm the area I was talking about and so he asked "you mean my penis?" Yes, Ben, your penis. Nobody is allowed to touch it.
His next question and response nearly sent me into hysterics:
Why is it called a penis?
I don't know why, Ben.
His response: "Is it because we pee in it?"
Another "joy of boys" moment for sure!