Saturday, April 30, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 7

Day 7 - A picture of my most treasured item

A small framed photo of my grandpa and me. This is kind of close to how I picture him when I think of him.

Another hard one to decide on. I have lots of things - borderline hoarder in some ways, such as my art supplies (and working on that!). But they are just things. I know I treasure my cd collection, and cried at the thought of selling them all when I hit a huge financial bump in the road a few months ago. I want to share them with Agent M as he grows older, as he discovers music in a different way than just something to listen to. But, they are not my most treasured things. I just really enjoy having them. There's my laptop. My life line for school and work and "talking" to my friends who live overseas. But it is not a treasured item's more like a third arm, haha.

While unpacking and cleaning last week, I found the photo of my grandpa holding me. I've had the photo since I was a teen. It was one of the first photos I ever went out and bought a frame for, hunting the racks of thrift stores for just the right one. Something pretty but masculine, not too fancy but nicer than just a plain wood frame. He died when I was a freshman in high school and I miss him everyday. For this photo, I wanted something nice but sturdy so that no matter where I was, I could have it with me.

Not fancy, but not plain. Sturdy, but not overbearing. Nice, simple, and just about perfect. Just like him.

There are many things I treasure. Gifts from Agent M, many other photos (including one I took of my grandpa, giving me a huge goofy smile while standing in his kitchen making a sandwich.), my numerous art supplies. But they really are just things. I value more the memories they bring up, the creations they inspire.

But of all the memories, I treasure the ones of my grandpa the most. He laid the groundwork on showing me what a man is. Trustworthy, honest, strong, but still able to make apple dumplings from scratch. With hands that could build a dog house, rabbit hutches, and plant a garden but also carefully dust the smallest of ceramic figurines and help a little girl with getting her shoes on. He was a man who believed that if something was worth doing, you did it right.

He was a man who always kissed his wife hello and good bye. Always.

I miss him, and I treasure the things that help keep him in my life.

To give a better idea of the size of the photo - it's tiny!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where I Usually End Up.

I am so far behind on school work.

Spring Break, even though I hardly had Agent M, was not much help, much less than I had planned for it to be. I was sick for a couple days, but plowed through and cleaned house like a woman possessed. I unpacked boxes by the dozen, hung paper lanterns in my bedroom, wrapped cloth cherry blossoms around the iron scrolls of my headboard, vacuumed the entire house twice, sorted and moved bin after bin of just stuff, and dusted everything. I was so sick from allergies that I actually took medicine and spent part of Tuesday in a fog. Homework was completely forgotten at that point.

Wednesday, I got to meet family that was in town from Sweden. Amazing people, and so full of love that just being around them made me happy. Between Wednesday and Thursday, I stayed at my parent's house for hours longer than I had planned. I tried to work on an article I was writing at one point, but got distracted and could not focus enough to string a full sentence together. It hurt to see them leave, and I unexpectedly had to fight off tears as I hugged each of them good-bye. To be honest, I am still sad from it, in the way that you feel sad when you go to a party that you don't want to attend, only to have a great time right at the end and feel as if you haven't had enough time to enjoy yourself.

Friday, I finished the article and sent it in. I looked over my homework, but being sick still had me wiped. Plus, Agent M was home and keeping me busy. The weekend was the same. Monday came, I was still sick and my shoulder hurt too much to go to class - so I told myself I would catch up then. Instead, I slept in and ran an errand. Tuesday, I felt better but had more errands come up, and found myself working on homework at 1:47am, crouched near my laptop, with a notepad in my lap as I struggled to practice my Swedish, write answers to questions on a homework sheet, and stay awake.

So, now it is Wednesday. I am tired. I had a great night at my parent's house, celebrating "Easter Wednesday" and then left Agent M there for a sleep over. Plenty of time to work on a paper or two. I briefly worked on the mountain of art supplies that has been taking over my living room, and sat down to type this up - but I can barely keep my eyes open. If I wasn't chatting with a friend, I would already be in bed.

I need to get over this sense of blah. I know my mind is else where, I know it is partially because my grades, which were all A's three weeks ago, are beginning to slip. I am disappointed in a lot of things right now and feel uncertain about what will be happening in the next few weeks. My last day of physical therapy is tomorrow, and Friday I find out if I am going back to work or waiting six more weeks. I'm stressed and tired. I want all the puzzle pieces to come together, but just feel so unmotivated to put them in order. I hope this feeling passes soon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Silly, Silly Girlface.

I am an unpartnered mum, a college student, a 28-year-old woman, a soon-to-be-divorced former housewife, a daughter, an aunt, a cousin, and a friend. I have plates to keep spinning and a full life to keep maintained.

I am also a very, very silly girl. 

When I am thinking - no more want for something, no more hopes for something, focus on school, focus on work, focus on your health, focus on yourself...

Something unexpected comes up and says - are you sure? Is that all you really want? Because, there is this...

And even though I know the reality of things, the logistics, and there is a part of me saying "No, it could never, ever be true. It never turns out true, it is not what you think." there is a bigger part of me saying "Please let it be true, even in all it's foolishness. Please, let it be. I want this, please let this be for me too."

I deny it, even though it is plain as sunshine and can be seen by anyone. No, it is ridiculous. No, there's no logic to it.

Then something echoes back, says it is true. Says it is the same as what my inner most self  is hoping. Says the same hopes are out there, the same hopes about me. 

And I feel like a silly, silly girl. For blushing, and grinning, and wanting so badly just to be near that something. 

It's foolish, it's ridiculous, there is no logic to it. But it is sweet as blood oranges, and quiet, and very much there.

This is something I didn't think I had in me and thought I did not want in me. It scares me, because feeling like this is an opening to get hurt. And that fear, that hope, all mixed together, makes me feel all the more silly. 

Miles and miles of feeling silly. 

And I will keep feeling silly, even when I am told that it is cute. I will keep spinning my plates, more focused, more determined. With this little something, tucked quietly away, all my own to quietly smile at. 

Because even if it is silly, it makes me smile and shows me there is more. More hope than hurt, more gentleness than tears. And life is never, ever as expected.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Play Dates

To my delight, a neighbor kid came over and asked if Agent M could play today. With a deadline looming over my head like a rain cloud and my own homework piling up, I almost gleefully shoved Agent M out the door the moment he was done with his homework. Setting down at my computer, thoughts of getting caught up began to dance through my head, visions of going to bed at a decent hour filled me with joy, and...


I jumped, as Agent M yelled through our kitchen window. Getting up and walking to the window, I found out he wanted to go play at the friend's house. I know the friend's parents, have seen inside their house many times - yes, yes, make sure his mom is okay with playing hostess, go play, and remember to be polite.

Since I was in the kitchen, I got a glass of water and prepared myself for plunking out words as quickly as I could before he was sent home. I asked myself if I should start making dinner yet, but seeing that is was still early, I figured it'd be best to get work done first. After all, it wouldn't take much time - I just had to sit down and focus.

You'd think after 6 years, I would understand that as a parent, nothing about being able to sit down and focus is simple.

I get three sentences out. A small, but determined, pounding on the door breaks my typing. I had not locked the door, but Agent M is feeling a sudden need to knock before entering. Now, they want to play at our house. No, with boxes of my art supplies making a slight maze out of our living room, and the disaster area that is Agent M's room, and the work I am trying to get done, today is not a good day for them to be here. Go play on the grass, I tell them. Neighbor boy says the grass makes him itchy when it's windy out. They suggest playing in Agent M's room, neighbor boy going so far as to offer to help Agent M clean it up when I counter that it is too messy for guests. I suggest they ride their bikes. I am temporarily awesome...then remember the two flats Agent M has. Determined in my own way, I grab the bike pump from the closet and drag his bike to the front steps. Five minutes later, the tires are full, the seat height adjusted, and they are off to get the neighbor kid's bike.

I, again, sit down. Pausing for a moment and listening, it seems safe to try to work. Forget finishing a project - I just want to finish a paragraph of writing. Instead of going to bed early, I can live with just being up late.

The door knob rattles.


I run to the door, fearing some sort of accident in the 4.8 seconds I had to myself. A training wheel fell off of Agent M's bike. Neighbor boy tells me they don't want to ride bikes anymore anyways. Dragging his bike, Agent M comes over and tells me he wants to get a few toys. Fine, I pull the bike back inside. He goes in his room and says he doesn't know what to take. Given our apartment living, we don't have many "outside" toys. Spying a chalk set, I hand it to him and try to send him on his way. He wants more toys. I grab a nearby tow truck, that still has a toy boat attached from the last time he played wit hit, and shoo him back out side.

Twenty minutes of solitude later, I have been more productive than I was in the entire day. The front door bursts open. He's appearently remembered that he does not need to knock before entering his own home.


Through gritted teeth, I politely tell him to go. get. them. then. Take the whole box of the them. Go play. Don't lose any.

At this point, as I sit down again, I feel a twitch beginning to develop. I close out a project, get things opened to begin the next project.

The door knob rattles, and before he can even step inside, I am opening the door. Agent M has the box of toy cars in hand. They're done and going to go play at the neighbor boy's house again. I gladly tell them that I will put the toys away for them, take the box, the chalk set, and the toy tow truck in one swoop and send them off with a smile, telling Agent M to be home by 6pm. That should give me 15 mins.

I sit down. Again. I get a call from my doctor's office to reschedule an appointment. Once I am finally off the phone, I open up a few internet tabs for a research project and notice the time. It's 5:57pm.

The door bursts open again. Agent M is home on time, and hungry.

As I look in the pantry and try to figure out what I'll make, I wonder...maybe it would have been easier if they had just played over here. At least then I wouldn't have had to get up so much and maybe the room would have been cleaner afterwards.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 6

Day 6 - A person I'd love to trade places with for a day.

I have thought about this prompt quite a bit.

Would I want to be someone politically powerful, and make a change or plan to do something great in the lives of millions? 
Nope. I don't want that kind of responsibility over lives that are completely removed and unknown to my own. Plus, the stress of politics would probably kill me in a matter of hours.

Would I want to be a famous actress or singer?
Nope. Though being Shakira, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Ritchie, Rihanna, or Heidi Klum would be probably be rather interesting (especially Shakira!), I don't really want their busy schedules, paparazzi, or the expectations that they face everyday to be perfect.

Would I want to be a famous writer?
Well, yes...but from my own words, not someone else's. There are a couple of other bloggers/craftistas who have wonderful looking lives (Kandee Johnson, Vivien Hoffpauir, Lindsay Ferrier, and Ashley Lynn Stock all come to mind), but I'd rather join their ranks one day than be them for a day.

Would I want to be someone who is not publicly famous, but well known or talented within their own field?
Nope, can't think of any that inspire me that much, other than the performers for Cirque du Soleil, and their training would kick my bum.

I went through each profession I could think of - explorers, photographers, child care avengers, educators, local celebs and movers & shakers, designers, athletes, famous-for-the-sake-of-famers, models, performers, artists, musicians, cooks, CEOs, and so forth. But there's always more than what's seen and I don't want to find out the hidden away bits of someone else's life. As much as the experience or professions might interest me, I'd want to know them as my own.

That's when I finally was able to see who I'd want to be.


My life is not perfect, and not always happy. Yesterday alone was a difficult day for me and I was on the edge of tears for a good portion of the day. But I have people in my life who love me, people who tell me I am beautiful, who believe in me more than I believe in myself. I have an amazing son who loves me and calls me his "roses and blossoms". I have a funky little home that is coming together at last. I have friends who really have no blood relation to me, yet we are closer than blood could ever make us.

Yes, there are dark skeletons in my closet and monsters under my bed. Yes, I have a long list of faults and truly am no better than anyone else. But, I am a good person in many ways and strive to become better. And the monsters and skeletons are not as unfriendly as you'd think, once you get to know them.

Today and everyday, I will be me.

Last night, with Agent M, on the couch. No makeup, just being our goofy selves.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 5

Day 5 - A picture of my favorite memory. 

Unfortunately, I don't have photos of any of my favorite memories. 

The very first moment that I saw Agent M, and said to him, "There you are!"

The time I helped my Grandpa put together a deck cover, and he let me tighten the screws myself.

The time my Grandma Norma was teaching me to swim in a heated outdoor pool while we were on a family vacation in Tahoe, and it started to snow softly.

The first time Agent M and I had a good, fun, full day after getting into our new apartment and I fell asleep that night easily, telling myself that it was going to all be okay and really believing that I could do this single parent thing.

The time my mum and I had our dog Kelly in the car and she poo'd - but it was so cold out that all we could do was crack the windows and gasp for air. (Gross as anything, but funny and we still laugh over it.)

The time The Ex and I were laying in bed after his massive car accident, and he was finally home from the hospital, and it just felt so good to know he was safe next to me and that Agent M, still growing inside my womb, would not have to go through life without knowing his dad.

The time when I was a kid and my dad and I sat in his truck while he was working at a recycling center, and in between customers, he taught me how to do double digit multiplication. 

The first day after moving Agent M and I in with my parents, and waking up the next day and knowing I had their love to help me through the most horrible circumstance of my life so far. 

Waking up to Agent M climbing into my bed and snuggling with me. It was just an average morning but we spent who-knows-how-long just laying there, chatting and snuggling. It was simple, beautiful, and just a moment frozen in time for us.

So, while there are no photos that I can post, all the memories of love and happiness will forever be in my heart. And that's something I'll always treasure.

Monday, April 18, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 4

Day 4 - A picture of my night 
The picture taken is only for the involved parties to see :-)

(Sorry, Mom and Dad, that you had to read that!)

Normally, my nights involve me sitting in front of my laptop while Agent M is snoozing, and then me landing face first onto the laptop as I fall asleep. But the last few nights I'm actually been doing stuff and getting out of the house. Only one night included a photo being taken, and it's not being shared. At some point, a mama is a woman too, and a woman's got to have a bit of privacy sometimes. :-)

Moving on....

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Because Now I am Interesting

I really do not understand how nor why my son does it, but whenever I am on one of those super tight "If-I-don't-finish-this-NOW-my-head-is-gonna-roll" deadlines for something, he suddenly decides that I am not only the most interesting person in the world, but also that he is going to remain glued to my side and want nothing more than to bask in my presence. And whisper things under his breathe to break my focus. And knee me in the back, accidentally of course. And shoot laser sounds at me from across the room.

Yes, I am THAT mom - the type with a large gorilla in our living room.

Somehow, I do not think this will be an acceptable reason for my late papers though. Looks like another late night for me - off I go to play Transformers.

Pink is Not the Color of Confusion

I'll admit - I get a lot of my news bites from the Yahoo! front page. News blurbs at the click of a visually pleasing thumbnail. Though it wasn't on the top page at the time, one in particular caught my eye like a flashing hot pink strobe light.

Hot pink-toenailed boy in J. Crew ad sparks controversy


That's right - in a world where Japan is one month out from the worst tsunami of our time, our country's budget is barely determined and most of the nation is holding it's breathe while waiting to hear what cuts and hikes will take place....and people are getting unhinged because J. Crew's latest catalog includes a page showing president and creative director Jenna Lyons smiling with her son Beckett "off duty in style", which included painting his toe nails hot pink, which she says is his favorite color. 

On the forefront of the out cry is Erin Brown of the Media Research Center, who went so far as to say that this is a exploitation of a child by J. Crew to push "liberal, transgendered identity politics.", while also making mention that J. Crew is a favorite of Michelle Obama, which anyone can see is an attempt to connect the Obamas to this made-up conspiracy as well.  

But more than the conspiracy theories, the idea of the a "girly" pink nail polish effecting a male child's sexual identity is the real issue here. Dr. Keith Ablow from Fox News goes so far as to say that psychotherapy will be needed down the road for the boy, and this is an "example of the way our culture is being encouraged to abandon all trappings of gender identity." Erin Brown also says "Jenna's indulgence...could make like hard for the boy in the future" and claims that J. Crew is now targeting the demographic of mothers of gender-confused young boys. What I want to know is how one photo and caption could cause an entire culture to feel encouraged to abandon it's stereotypes of gender identity, and who in the world has decided that Beckett is a "gender-confused" young boy? The photo looks to me like a boy and his mom, genuinely smiling at each other and having fun. No confusion there and certainly nothing that looks suggestive of a difficult life ahead. 

On an segment for ABC News, Dr. Edward Hallowell, a child psychologist who urges parents "first and foremost to enjoy" their kids on his personal web site, explains that it is normal and common for little kids to cross-dress and play make-believe in other people's clothes. Children are naturally curious and don't assign gender to things until they are told so - trucks are not "boy's trucks" and pink is not a "girl's color" until someone has told them that they have to think that way. Obviously, Beckett is lucky enough to be being raised where he can express himself and his interests with out shame or being pushed into an expected role by his parents.

It makes you wonder if there would be the same type of out roar if the nail polish had been blue. From personal experience, I know how reactive people can become over boys in nail polish. One of Agent M's favorite things was once for me to paint his toe nails after I painted mine. I'd pull out the cigar-box sized basket of every color under the sun and just let him pick. Sometimes it was pink, sometimes black, sometimes it was two or three colors per foot, though mostly he favored the bottle of navy blue polish with silver glitter. He'd seriously hold as still as possible while I applied the tiniest of brush strokes, then would sit stiff as a post while we waited for our nails to dry. Those memories are more about the time we spent together though - not what color choice he was making. Never once did it cross my mind that I was endangering his gender identity, just in the same way that I don't worry that he'll grow up to be any less masculine just because he is primarily raised by his mother. To the people who would comment on it, most thought it was cute but a couple did remark that at least he was wearing "boy" colors (these were not the people who saw his toes in their red and pink phase). Agent M and his dad even sported matching colors for a while. It just was never a big deal. He asks every now and then for me to paint his nails, but mostly isn't as into it anymore. Does he seem confused over his gender? Not at all. Am I saving up money for future psychotherapy sessions? Nope. He's a happy, well-loved, healthy kid. Just like I am sure Beckett is. 

I do agree with Erin Brown on one point though - she states in her article "Not only is Beckett likely to change his favorite color as early as tomorrow...", which is completely true. And with that acknowledgement that he could change his own mind at anytime, no matter what color toe nail polish he wore that day, it also makes the issue that much more ridiculous. 

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 3

Day 3 - A picture of the cast of my favorite show.

NCIS - Love!

I can not express how much I love this show - no really, I can't. I'm on deadlines for homework, articles, and about to go play with Agent M before we have to leave for dinner with my parents.

Witty banter, a plot that keeps you on your toes, no dumbing down nor over-sexualized women, believable (for the most part) characters, Ducky has to be the sweetest old guy ever, and most of the cast is extremely drool-worthy. 

If I ever was to get all the seasons on DVD, I would hibernate and watch as many back-to-back as my eyes could stand.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 2

Day 2 - A picture of myself with someone I have been close with the longest.

Thanksgiving 2010 - both of us in our natural "texting" state.

This was actually a difficult photo for me to find - I just don't have that many photos of us together. I've known J for longer than I haven't - since the first day of Fifth Grade - and she is like a sister to me in many ways. But we are not close like you would expect from a friend like that. We rarely talk on the phone, have not gone out together to do anything in longer than I can remember, and we drive each other crazy half the time.

But I adore her and would do anything for her in a heart beat. She's Agent M's Godmother and I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. (She wasn't a bridesmaid for mine, but we were not close at that time for a variety of reasons and I mistakingly used that as my excuse to not ask her to be one. If I ever get married again, I'd be honored to have her right there with me.) We've know each other through being the new kids at school, siblings being born, Honors classes, failed classes, boyfriends, coming out, coming of age, a whole slew of firsts, heartbreaks, first serious loves, college, dropping out of college, marriages, births, and divorces. Even though our schedules are hard to coordinate, and we are not as close as we once were (daily phone calls that lasted for hours), I always feel her presence in the the peripheral of my day. 

Often, I feel like she's been there for me more than I have been there for her, and it bothers me to no end. I just don't know how to be there for her though. She is amazingly strong, and juggled raising her three sisters with being a student for most of our teen years, and even takes on that role often to this day. She has been through numerous surgeries, some more serious than others, and is the first person I think of when Agent M is sick and I don't know if I should call his doctor or not. She's damn smart and has a memory that doesn't stop. Watching her work a room or chat up strangers is like watching art being created - I have always admired her ability to make friends and be comfortable in situations that make me want to hide. She's a beautiful person, inside and out, and doesn't put as much value on herself as she should. In a lot of ways, not just because of how long we've known each other, she has been a sister to me also. I couldn't imagine a life with out her. 

I hope she knows how much she means to me. How much it meant to me to have a friend, that first day of school, in a new town where I didn't know anyone. How much I needed that strength from her during my labor, as we played the "Alphabet Game" as the nurses searched for a vein to put my IV in. How much I look at her path in life and think, "Maybe I'm strong enough to go down that way, too". How much I want things to work out for her, for her to have everything she wishes for because of all the people I know, she deserves it the most. I hope that I mean as much to her as she will always mean to me.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

100 Day Photo Challenge - Day 1

I will not lie - I used to love memes, photo challenges, write-a-longs, crochet-a-longs, etc. If I could jump on an online bandwagon, I would do it.

But that was before being a mum, when I had that thing called "more free-time".

Thinking about it more though, being a parent gives me even more reason to include myself and document this random bits of my life. Instead of a physical scrapbook, this blog is going to become one of the pieces that will help form our history for Agent M. My life is being a mom, a daughter, a student, a writer (though that title I still don't feel fully deserving of), and a woman. I have a blog, so obviously I want to document it - my little Who-like yelp to say, "I am here!". For the past two weeks, I have been following a relative's Facebook posts of a "100 Day Photo Challenge", where each day has a theme to which a photo is posted. As much as I liked the idea, for the past two weeks, I have been telling myself I will do it too, but will start it later.

Well, no more excuses!

Besides, this blog needs so photos. They will never be perfect, they will never be cool iPhone photos that have been edited with even cooler apps (sigh), but they will be photos of my life and that is good enough.

So - without any more procrastinating and with a bit more confidence...

Day 1 - A picture of myself with fifteen facts

With Agent M while at Apple Hill last year. My hair is a little longer and all brown right now, and Agent M's two missing teeth have come in. This is one of my favorite photos of us, and one of the few where I actually like how I look.

  1. I absolutely do not like my nose - it has a bump and I think it looks huge in photographs. But since my Mum has it too, I will NEVER get a nose job. (On my Mum, it is beautiful and she has a cute nose, so not sure why I have such issues with mine)
  2. I will do what I can to take spiders and most bugs outside instead of killing them, but ants are a whole other category in my opinion. If they are invading my home, I figure they've asked for it and are fair game.
  3. I love sushi with lots of fish - the first time I tasted sashimi I thought I had tasted heaven.
  4. Last year, my hair was almost waist-length and I was paid to cut it to a pixie cut. I think if paid enough, I would shave my head bald. It's just hair and will grow back. Though, I honestly love having super long hair and miss it considerably.
  5. I know less than five things about the male contributer to my DNA, and it bugs me only because I worry about what unknowns I might have lurking in some distant medical history.
  6. My Dad is the most awesome dad a girl could hope for and I everyday I feel really grateful that my Mum had the smarts and sass to fall in love with such a great guy. 
  7. My Mum pretty much had to re-evaluate herself and goals a few years back and I am constantly amazed with how well she did it. She's definitely my role-model for handling crappy situations with grace, wit, and a whole lot of style.
  8. My idea of the "perfect breakfast" is hash browns with a little ketchup, two eggs over-easy, two sausage links, and 2 slices of wheat toast, buttered and sliced into triangles. I will order this every time I go out to eat for breakfast, and yes - I will dip my toast corners in the eggs. 
  9. I once hated my body so much that I would lie, hide food, and do whatever I could to consume less then 800 calories a day. At the time, I liked being thin and was so messed up that I thought it was worth it, but the health problems and hypoglycemia I have now is so not worth the crap I put my body through.
  10. I only have two regrets in life, the rest I would not change for anything. I believe everything can be learned from, the good and the bad.
  11. I love being back in school - despite feeling way over my head most of the time. 
  12. I have 8 tattoos - seven of them mean something significant to me, one was a 50$ whim because my cousin was getting a tattoo and I wanted to get one with her.
  13. I love Tiki statues and have a 3.5 foot tall Tiki in my living room. 
  14. I stopped drinking caffeinated drinks after ending up in the ER on New Year's Eve 2009 with severe dehydration. I pretty much have only drank water since then and feel world's better for it.
  15. I love the ocean and would love to live closer to it, even though I do not know how to swim with my head under water and hate getting my face wet.
I was going to put something about Agent M being my reason for breathing and how much I absolutely love being his mum - but I'm sure from this blog you could already tell :-)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Food for Thought

It used to be next to impossible to get Agent M to tell me about his day. I'd pick him up from school, be careful to not be annoyingly over-excited (though I was) and would causally ask, "So, you have a good day?", only to be met with either a grunt or silence. On the particularly fussy days, I'd get a long, nasally-whine of "Dooooooon't aaaaask meeeeeeee! I doooooon't want to taaaaaaaaaaaaaalk!". 

Last week though, something suddenly changed. We were driving home and I had done the usual telling him about my day / asking him what he had for lunch. Instead of the silence I usually get as a reply, he actually told me - chicken drumsticks with sauce. Then he told me about what he had done in class, and which teacher he likes the most.

I was so surprised that when we got home, I didn't want to get out of the car, for fear that the spell would be broken and he wouldn't continue. So, we just sat in the car for a while and chit-chatted. It was a moment I've wished for and hoped for. Finally, we got out of the car and went on with our day, just like usual. 

I didn't expect it to happen again, and was just happy to have the memory. But to my surprise again, it keeps happening. Each day since he has been more chatty about his day, his thoughts on teachers, what his friends have been up to, etc. Instead of having to ask him questions and pulling conversation from him like teeth, he has been starting his own in-depth talks and asking me questions that lead to more talks. I don't know what has caused the shift, but it's been great! 

I know it's not necessarily going to always be like this, especially once those teen years come around, but I'm so happy to know that we at least have this foundation. He's at his dad's this weekend, and I can't wait for the conversations that are to come when I pick him up from school on Monday.

Friday, April 1, 2011


It's been gone over briefly in my Writing for Publication class, but it's the one thing that has stuck with me the most. 

We are all our own Gatekeepers. 

Gatekeepers control the flow of information - to the public, to reporters, to blogs, to companies. A Gatekeeper can be a PR person that sends out a bulletin to raise awareness, it can be an editor that slices an article, it can be a secretary that screens calls for an interview, the list goes on and on.

But what is hardest for me, is that I am my own worst Gatekeeper. Which is why I cut the last post I had written.

I had my hesitations about posting it, and then those hesitations were echoed back to me by a couple people, out of love and concern. Taken out of context, my words of concern as a mother could be seen as something else - neglect maybe? Inability perhaps? I don't like to put a concrete term to it honestly, because to me the post was meant as a confession that I always want to do the best for my son and feel "less than" when I am slapped with the reality that sometimes my best stumbles. It's sad to think that someone could try to use that against me, but it's an honest fact.

And that, my loyal readers (all 6 of you!), is what I consider the hardest part of my being a single parent. The threat and fear that someone is waiting for me to slip up so they can strike. I love that my son's dad, The Ex, wants to be involved in his son's life. I am happy that my son has a father who loves him. But there are reasons why The Ex is the ex, and it's those differences and disagreements that cause me to worry, edit myself, and silence myself. 

I can not write freely at times, because freely could be taken out of context and I would have to defend myself. Much like years ago, when not vaccinating was cause for an uproar and the debate was on the tip of every parent and health professional's tongue. The Ex and I stood by our decisions on the matter, but self-edited our reactions and responses whenever the subject came up with other people. Not because we felt we were doing something wrong, but because we knew that taken out of context our actions and beliefs could be used against us. So we stood solid and kept our opinions within each other, occasionally letting them surface when we felt we were in like-minded company. 

Unfortunately, that is how a lot of life becomes, not just as a single parent, but as we grow up. It's not just the single parents who are trying their hardest with little means. It's the same for anyone who has a voice against the "norm" or against someone else who could holds leverage over them. It's the same for the little girls who are told to quiet down and the little boys who are told to act tough. We all become personal gatekeepers to some extent. I hope though, that my son does not one day feel this same pressure to be his own biggest gatekeeper too.