Sunday, January 27, 2013

Eighteen Equals.....

Isn't it silly? That we wait half of our teenage lives to become eighteen years old. We stand by, transfixed on that magical number as if it holds some secret of great things to come. We talk and talk of "when I turn 18 this", and "when I'm 18 that", so much so that almost everyone around us will be so glad when it finally happens. And then, just as it's about to finally be that day, the count down is on. One month, two weeks, three days. We are so anxious one would expect us to burst into flames at most any give time.

Then it's here. That day is finally here. Some have parties. Some don't. Some have build ups so mighty as if to replicate the first man walking on the moon. Reincarnations of  Fourth Of July's gone by. Coming out parties filled with wine, beer and booze, all of which they are still too young for, and certainly not legally ready.

And then, it's the same. Maybe not that day. That night. But the next day, it is exactly the same. The world didn't change overnight. There are still rules. There are still curfews. And for some, still high school English in fourth period the next day.

Only it's not the same. Not really.  With that age comes a modicum of difference. And those differences should be recognized and acknowledged. As the adults 'in charge', we should respectfully announce that we are aware that there is a difference and discuss just what the limits for those differences will be.

My oldest son moved out of our family home when he was 18 years + 3 months old. I was no longer 'in charge' of him, what he did, who he spent his time with, how late he stayed out, or if he even came home. All choices and decisions were his to make. Right or wrong.

And now in March my youngest son will be eighteen years old. He of course will still be high school. And he will still be living at home. After graduation, his plans are to go to college locally and still live at home for a period of time.  The combination of all those things change the rules somewhat. How much you ask? Well, that right there was a hard thing to decide.

There is a lot to think about. A lot of what ifs. What's fair to everyone involved. What works for everyone involved. And yes, all of those things matter. It is up to us as parents to decide what is fair for everyone, discuss it with and without our child, and then maybe re-group and discuss it again. After all, if he didn't live here, I would have no say so at all. And since he does, I think/believe the decisions should be made together.

So curfews have been altered, with guidelines that will alter them again upon graduation. Firm but fair stipulations set in place for each instance I thought needed discussing. All with the promise of "you do your part, and I will comply with mine".

I never cared for my parents using the "this is our house, not yours, we just let you live here" statements. So I refused to go that route. My statement stands as this : "This is the house of everyone who lives here at any given time. That being said, everyone will participate in it's upkeep and what it takes to keep a home running. And that simply means, if this is still where you live when you are twenty five years old, you will still be taking out the trash and making your bed."

There are few smooth roads to complete adulthood, if there even is any such thing. But I hope to have as many as possible and I especially hope that by loosening the rope, I give leeway for my son to make good, smart, and healthy choices. Because everybody knows; bad choices and foolish choices always result in repercussions, whether those repercussions are dealt by me, or life itself.

Off we go, into the wild blue yonder. Down roads yet untraveled, filled with pot holes and land mines. Roads just lying in wait for inexperienced travelers and new adults blinded by the light of "I'm eighteen now and invisible". Go forward, step lightly, tread gingerly, and think often and hard about every decision you make. Act with faith, hope and courage, using your heart as your compass, and your head and guts as your leader. You will need all three of those things for the rest of your natural born lives. Use them wisely and they will serve you well.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Who Will Be The Next To Fall?

Will there ever be anyone else we can believe in? Will there ever be anyone else who is really special? Whose talents are real? Whose efforts are honest? Whose best is really the best? Every single week that goes by anymore, someone falls. Someone fails to deliver, and someone has lied. Lied to the largest of proportions. Created stories with enough words and logic to fill a book. And they travel with these stories for months on end. And in some cases, for years and years and years. Long enough that they begin to believe in those stories and lies themselves. They are truly living the lie.

Do we allow ourselves to believe the super dynamic feats they say they can pull off? Without drugs and made up girlfriends? Do they all need a gimmick to perform?  Can none of them rely on their own strengths and God given talents?

And more importantly, who do we allow our children to look up to? Who do we allow them to plaster their walls with posters of? And who do we encourage them to follow the examples of, but not too close, just in case they fall? And how do we explain to them when for the first time in history, no one was chosen for the Baseball Hall of Fame, because the voters are just too disappointed in people in general to try and make a choice?

I say, we find our children and grandchildren new Hero's. Hero's that really exist. People they may even know. Not some strangers on television who could be ready to disappoint at any given minute.

How about the high school Football Coach who guides them in all the right directions, teaching them morals and life lessons as they go. Coaches who go above and beyond AFTER school to keep the interests of their athletes clean and good.

Or the English teacher who teaches a classroom full of boys that Shakespeare can be fun and interesting.

Or the Custodial Manager aka SO MUCH MORE.. who has taught more life lessons and preached more righteous sermons right on the back of a golf cart or sweeping a broom.

Or the Math teacher who never lets any of them down, shows up at every school function, every football, baseball, volleyball, softball and basketball game and loves all those kids as if they were his own.

Or the Music teacher who regardless of his own health issues, leads them with dignity and teaches them the lesson to preserver above all else.

Or the lady who helps them open up their first checking account at the bank, and guides them gently into adulthood by teaching them about money, responsibility and business.

Or the Pastor, who takes the Bible and it's truths and changes them into a language that attracts the minds and hearts of all ages, young and old. Because after all, isn't it the children we need to lead into a life of believing, a life of prayer, and a life of goodness. I would hope that by now, we as adults, are already there. 

Or here's a novel idea, what about us? Why can't we be their Hero's? We should still be the ones teaching all of life's lessons, morals, rights, wrongs, and the reality's of love, pain and hurt. Teach them that hard work gets you through life, problems and love. That the truth will always set you free, guide you in the right direction, and result in victory. That drugs and alcohol will never enhance your sports career or your life. And repeat, repeat, repeat, that old adage, a cheater never wins and a winner never cheats. Convince them of it, preach it, and mean it, like our lives depended upon it. Why would we ever turn those responsibilities over to less than perfect strangers?

It's time for us to take control of our children's dreams and help steer them in the right direction again. Stop the rage of rising disappointments and failures in people they don't even know. Let them find success around them instead of looking into a television screen for things that don't exist. I'm not saying there will never be Hero's of that kind anymore, but I am telling you that my faith has been diminished to the point, that somebody needs to show me something. Quick.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Letters Make Words and Words make Stories

My name is Michelle, and I'm an addict. Have been all of my life. And worse than that, I'm an enabler. I not only have my own demons to deal with, I am constantly pursuing any way, and every way I can think of, to enable someone else.  My goal is to have everyone I know to be addicted with me. To pull everyone into my world. My life. My heartaches. Disappointments. Victories. My heart.

So I tell stories. True stories. Stories that engage. Stories that pull people in and pull people together. Stories that will make you think, make you cry, and make you laugh. Stories that will make you question yourself, make you question others, and work hard to reach resolutions. Stories that make you want to pick up the phone and call your parents or send a card to a friend who is hurting. Stories that will take you back down the road of your own childhood and remind you why you need to share those stories with children and grandchildren of your own. Stories that will remind you that our children and our parents are people too, and maybe, just maybe, we forget that sometimes.

It began for me in high school. I was Chief Editor/Writer of our school newspaper. I had a wonderful Journalism teacher who allowed freedom of speech, thought and process. I wrote controversial editorials, heartfelt stories and funny antidotes. But I wrote, and wrote and wrote, all to bring attention to myself, what I had to say, and to command involvement of the readers. To bring them to my world, if only for the five minutes it took to read what I had to say.  

When I created my Face Book account it was for communication purposes. To see my children, to see my friends, to socialize once again with people that had long left my life for lack of more accurate words. And then I found it again. My old love for words. For story telling. For inviting people into my most private thoughts.  I began to share my life. My family life. And all that is inclined to represent. I invited you to interact with my family, in my house, on our boat, in our yard and described it the best I could, in hopes that you would believe and feel as if you were here.

But that wasn't enough. I had so much more to say. So I created a Blog post. To enable me to tell even bigger stories. With more detail, more animation, more color, and even more involved intricacies of my life.  My only regret is that I could never make it real enough. That I could not create video and sound to corroborate my words. The faces, the expressions, the funny voices, and the absolute uncanny comedic timing with which my family seems to be blessed. 

Unfortunately, with these stories, posts, and status's, also comes notoriety. Sounds a little dramatic I am sure, but it's pretty real. Both of my children and my husband have become people that everyone seems to think they know personally, some without having ever even met them at all. Because of me, they know them by name, nicknames, their likes and dislikes. Their hobbies, their humor, accomplishments, their downfalls and weaknesses. And in saying all of that, I fully realize that is what I created. A sense of familiarity and sense of belonging.

For some members of my family, this has become just too much of an insight into their lives.  And I get that. However much I don't mind sharing, or making myself look ridiculous (all in the name of a laugh or smile) others are not as willing to share the most intimate parts of their being.

I'm not sure how much I can "entertain" anymore. I will certainly continue to share my own stories, but also realizing I am not anyone's favorite thing to read about. It brings me great joy that you like my family enough to read what I have to say. It brings me great pride to know that my stories are read in vast ranges of age, and it gives me comfort that every now and again, I can help someone feel better about themselves, their own relationships, and their lives.

I've appreciated your loyalty, your comments and your opinions. Thanks for reading. And I thank you for those of you who will continue to read my words still.