Moms · Personal Success · teens

Ease Up

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photo by Clem Onojeghuo

I’ve mentioned a tense relationship between my daughter and me on this blog. It has gotten pretty distressing at times and when I decided to push my ego aside, I realized I had to surrender. Pestering was not working. I had reflected on my intention. Was my primary motive to help her be “successful” in life? Was hounding her to do homework and practice her violin most important? No. But that was what I was practicing.

I set my priorities clearly. First of all, she must know I love her unconditionally. Secondly, this is her life. I trust her with it. She knows what to do and if she doesn’t do it, she will have to face the consequences. That’s how she will grow. Throughout it all, I will love her, absolutely.

What I DO owe her is a happy mother. Every time I start to resort to my habit of nagging, I redirect my energies to what I want to do: plant lantana in the backyard (even in 100 degree heat), exercise, write, cook and so on.

Since I’ve put this practice in place, a magnificent event has occurred. We’ve become closer than ever. She wanted to get into shape. I took her to a fitness club. We signed her up for a four week membership (realizing there will be NO time for the gym once school starts). The club gave me a 2 week free pass. Organically…naturally…completely unplanned…I’ve become her trainer. We work out together and laugh and (sometimes) partake in junk food afterwards. There is ease and love where angst and friction once were. And if I ask her to do something, she does it. Most of the time. And that’s OK.

The intention came first. Space (a lot of it) came next. And then complete awareness and unconditional love.  I’d say this works for all relationships.

fears · Health · Moms · Personal Success · teens

Eat Your Words

While pregnant with her, the most astounding thing happened! I would put food in my mouth and chew. She’d kick like mad before I even swallowed. This occurred every time. I was incredulous – what a baby! 

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Providence Doucet

When she was two, she had chocolate cake. She kicked her feet high in delight. The frosting was all over her face and her eyes shone with joy.

At four, she had pizza. How she held it in her tiny, pudgy hands!

She’s had many meals since then. With girlish abandon, she eats what she wants when she wants: warm bread with butter, garlic mashed potatoes, steak, ice cream sundaes and healthy food, too.

She. Loves. Food. She likes high quality food. She can discern whether ingredients are fresh and she doesn’t like gristle on her steak.

She also loves dance class. She loves to learn challenging moves and practice them over and over and get good at it. She’s made such progress! Her body is lithe, supple and strong.

She’s my baby. She’s 15, but she’s my baby and I want her to be happy and healthy. I want her to love eating, dancing, laughing and playing violin all the rest of her days. I want her to enjoy life!

But our culture wants to destroy her. American society wants her mind to be cloudy with insecurity and a bit of self-hatred. Air-brushed models are in magazines,  surgically modified celebrities are on TV, the Internet and film.

Even family members make comments. Grandparents plant seeds of doubt when they caution against weight gain. They compare sisters to each other, silently massacring dreams and self-confidence. They undermine the strong sisterly bond that exists. Well, they try anyway. These girls have each other’s backs, thank goodness.

If she were my son, would you tell him to watch what he eats? Would you scare him and tell him he might get fat if he “puts that” in his mouth? Would you comment on his figure as he stands in front of the fridge?

Please…I implore you…stop it. Stop with the comments and the body shaming. Stop trying to exert control through fear.

Let her enjoy all that life has to offer.

 

 

 

Grandmothers · Moms · relationships

Mom

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by Dakota Corbin

She used to treat us to McDonald’s every once in awhile, with money she earned selling Avon. We enjoyed sitting with her. My mom always beamed at us with love and pride.

I take my girls out for treats, too.  I hope they look back someday (as I do) and remember these good times.

Mom used to visit me in the middle of the night with medicine and a hug when I was sick.

I do the same for my daughters.

Mom used to drive us to violin, cello, piano and Tae Kwon Do lessons.

I drive my daughters to violin lessons, rehearsals, auditions and concerts, too.

Mom was always quick with words of encouragement, compassion and unconditional love.

I try to do the same, but she was (and is) better at it, definitely.

My mother taught me how to be a good parent and a good person. She’s still teaching me this.

Every nurturing mother in the world is the reason we have the compassion, love and support that we pass on.

 

education · Moms · Personal Success · relationships · talent

Teens and Talent

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“I’m procrastinating,” my daughter said. She was just hanging out with me. With all her chores done, the last item on her list of “to dos” was to practice her violin.

“I don’t get it. You are so good at violin. You seem to enjoy it. Why do you always put it off?”

“I love playing. I don’t like practicing. It’s hard and it’s boring.”

“Well, it’s the practicing that makes us like listening to the playing.”

“You’re so mean,” she says as she opens her case.

 

women · writers · writing

A “Fitting” End to the Day

Yesterday was a busy day. In addition to a full day at school, my daughters had an orchestra rehearsal which ran from 6:30 – 8:30pm an hour away from home. This requires planning of dinner, commute and homework.

Our two teenagers are more interested in snapping and editing selfies than looking out the window or talking to us, their parents. They read their instant messages and scroll Instragram. They laugh and trade one-liners that I don’t understand. I’m not privvy to their virtual world. When I try to understand and ask questions, I am met with sighs and sarcasm. I’ve learned how to adapt: I basically talk to myself every morning or sing to the radio as I drop one off to high school and take the other one to work/school.  At 13 and 14, my daughters are physically beautiful specimens – fortunate with the gene pool (1/2 Korean, 1/2 German-Scottish-French). They are blissfully ignorant of their luck in aesthetics and parents. Heck, they totally take it for granted. They take everything for granted.

I’m (nearly) 48. I take care of myself and exercise regularly. But my Morning Mirror Time is a fraction of theirs. I apply light makeup and give my hair a quick brush in a matter of 5 minutes. Literally. I just can’t be bothered. Yet, I consider myself above average in appearance. You can tell I was once very pretty, just by looking at me.

In any case, I’m a teacher and I dress for the job. I have a very comfortable dress, v-neck, that goes just below my knees. Here it is:

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It looks better on.

I bought it at a boutique shop near my house. The salesperson ooh’d and aah’d when I modeled it for her. I thought maybe I looked a little frumpy. No, she said, you look perfect. I have not had anyone ooh or aah in several years despite my augmentation following breast cancer surgery 6 years ago. Cancer gave me the chest of my dreams: from 34A to 34C.

Well, I wore this dress yesterday. All day. I’ve worn this dress at least 10 times before for various occasions. No one has complimented me, but that’s OK. I don’t need compliments. I’m almost 50 for Pete’s sake. I don’t dress for others, I dress for ME!

My daughters and I were eating dinner before their Phoenix Youth Symphony rehearsal. Food that I ordered by phone. Food that I ordered and picked up and brought to them, lovingly. As I got up to throw trash away, the 14 year old sighed heavily while eyeing my dress.

“What?” I looked to see if there were food stains on it.

Another sigh. Exceptionally heavy. “Mom, I just wish…I just wish you’d wear something….better.”

Suddenly, she gets all Tim Gunn on me. Really? I’ve worked all day with 90+ students. Attended an IEP meeting before school started. Ordered food with my bare hands…and now this?  I expect her to follow it with (in gay voice), “It doesn’t even work conceptually.

“Why do you say this to me AFTER I’ve worn it all day?”

She looks up at her father who has just entered the room. As usual, she completely disregards my question, my feelings.

“What’s going on?” He asks.

“Mom’s dress.”

All three give me a hard look. Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum and Michael Kors, all are staring at me. Judging me. I feel bloated.

Tim speaks.

“Her dress, it looks like a Powerpoint.”

All concur.

I drive home. My hands, gripping the wheel, smell like Greek chicken and tzaziki sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Gunn

 

Moms · Personal Success · women · writers · writing

Self-Publishing “Esther, Mia and the Stars”

 

I’m a newbie to self-publishing. I wrote about my children’s book a couple nights ago and I’m going to share my learning process with you in this blog. My hopes are two-fold:

  1. This will hold me accountable and make me DO IT; and
  2. You will follow along with me and get your book published too!

Coincidentally, (and doesn’t the universe provide when you with what you need when you express your desires out loud?), I was reading Choose Yourself by James Altucher and he has a chapter on self-publishing! He recommends using CreateSpace.com. I know there are a kajillion other sites and ways to do this. I’m going to try this first. They have a step-by-step process built in for you and you can then sell through Amazon.com.

Tonight, I signed up. Each night, I will do something to get closer to publishing and share it here. But for now, I have to make lesson plans for the week. I spent most of today cleaning and taking my daughters to the mall. One had Girls Day Out (she had a fantastic time with three friends) and the other needed to pick out a Homecoming dress. Done!

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My Beautiful Fresh(wo)man

I also made progress in re-typing a short story I wrote over 13 years ago (I lost the Word doc, but had a hard copy).

As long as I make consistent progress in these areas, I’m happy. As a wise woman once said:

You can have it all, just not at once.

Oprah Winfrey

Moms · poetry · relationships

Ode to Kerstin and Her Boys

 

Preparing for the dinner fete

Bought fish, veg, cake and wine

Suspense meets calm as time appears

At last our love combines

Your sons – maturing to great men

quickly they get settled

Our daughters  – browsing internet

join us for tete-a-tete.

Supper’s ready, we take a seat

Salmon is smoky yum

But wait, asks Nate, where’s the kimchi?

Just happen to have some!

More great conversation is had,

Boys give chase to the pooch,

While violins ser’nade,

Us three take sips of hooch.

 As all good things come to an end,

The boys get quite tired,

You gather kids and things, we hug,

I am left inspired.