Thursday, December 24, 2009

Good will and good wishes

To every one of every faith, Happy Holidays, whatever you may celebrate. May next year be fruitful and good. Enjoy your families, revel in love and be merry for this is a season of joy. Let all matters go and love one another because love is a universal language. One that will never die.

Peace & Love, to every one...


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow falls and Good People...

It snowed here yesterday. I had an adventure. Busy stuff.

I went Christmas shopping, for though I am an Atheist, I still celebrate holidays for my own reasons. Christmas is, for me, a time of charity and being with family, for appreciation of the year passed by. My children and husband are not Atheists, I do not impose my belief systems on them, and this celebration of togetherness gives us good holidays. So anyway, I was in the middle of my final bits of Christmas shopping. It had started snowing a little when I got there, nothing big... what we folks in West Virginia call "a snowflake an acre".

I shopped for about an hour and was heading from one part of the store to the next, from toys to clothes as it were, and passed by the entry doors.

Holy sheep shit, there was three inches of snow out there! I hurried through the rest of my shopping and checked out. We headed home.

Now, I live a good 30-45 minutes from the nearest city. I live in the country and the small towns nearby are lucky to have a gas station. So shopping days are hours long trips. I left the store at about 4:00 p.m.

Our little car crept through the snow and slush covered roads, through bumper to bumper traffic, slipping this way and that. Between the city and my house, there are five mountains to crest. Oh yeah. Fun.

We start up the first mountain, and at the steepest part our little car started spinning. And not moving.

Now, I'm a strong willed, strong minded woman. But I'm not possessed of much physical strength. I can carry an arm load of wood or a fifty pound bag of potatoes, but beyond that... that's what guys are for.

We were stuck, with a line of traffic behind us. So, I got out and started pushing the car. My husband was with me and he got out to push too. We got to the top and hopped in the car.

Got stuck on the second mountain, we pushed it uphill again. We were barely getting the car to go. I'm pushing with all I have, cars trying to pass by us on roads now covered with six inches of snow. Snow and ice pelting into my face, me with no gloves and my jacket hood full of ice. My husband is to my left. I slide and hit my head and shoulder on the back hatch (the shoulder has a nicely sore bruise for my troubles). Then, someone is at my right and he says, "We'll get you up to the top. I'll help." I look over at him and a teenage boy, couldn't be more than 13-15 years old, in nothing but a sweatshirt hoodie, starts helping push the car. Once it got going good, I told him to go back to his car and get warm, with my thanks. He nodded and lagged behind. Crested the top, on we go.

Third one, stuck again. I got out and started pushing. (My brother was driving us in his car. I can't drive and my car needs an alternator. My husband's car needs a windshield and back glass, thanks to some vandalism. Doesn't something like that always happen near the holidays?) The car takes off faster than we expected and we couldn't catch up. Knowing my brother would wait at the top of the hill for us, we start walking.

An SUV stops in the middle of traffic and asks if we need a ride to catch up with our car. They saw us pushing it, knew we'd been left behind. The hill still had better than half a mile to the top and they say we'll freeze. We accept, more than grateful, because I was freezing, wet, my fingers and feet going numb. They drive us up to the top and offer to follow us through the next few mountains--they were going the same direction we are. We say thank you and go to our own vehicle with them following behind.

Ass holes abound and pass the people following us. With no four wheel drive, we have to keep moving just to keep moving. We start up the next mountain and get stuck, yet again. Damn it!

We get out, start pushing again. A man pulls to the side and helps my husband push from the back while I push from the open passenger door. A volunteer fire department worker turns on his emergency lights and also helps push from the back. This is the next to last hill. Only one to go; if we can just get over this one, we're home free. The snow is up to seven inches.

We get going again, and faster this time. My husband, the man helping him push and the fireman all fall back, but we can't stop. It's not too far from the top. I get in and at the little knoll just before the crest of the hill, we slide again. And I'm the only one to push the car.

Knowing it's a front wheel drive, I open the passenger door and start pushing. It was slow going, I'm only one small woman, but I got it up to the top. By this time, I'm shaking all over and even with the heater on full blast, I can't get warm. We wait for my husband to catch up and on we go. My brother says fuck this and takes the next hill, which has a nice flat and straight stretch before the ascent, at high speed for nearly eight inches of snow. This time, we don't have to push.

We finally get to our little one lane road and start in. But where we live, in a little valley between two huge mountains, we get drifts from both sides. There's over a foot of snow in front of us and it flies up over the windshield. We can't see. The little car won't make it. We can't get any further than maybe 50 feet from the turn off. We're stuck and no amount of pushing would make the car go.

Neighbors come by in their big truck and offer to help us get the car to the side where it wouldn't get hit by other drivers, and to take us and our things home.

What should have been a thirty to forty minute drive turned out to be more than 5 hours. We didn't get home until nearly ten o'clock. It was an adventure, but I don't want another like it in the near future.

But for those who helped us out, you have my gratitude. There are still good people in the world. I knew not a single one of those that helped us, but they helped anyway. They didn't have to. Four people who were strangers to me, thought enough of me and my family to help when they didn't have to. They deserve to be told about. These are a rare type of people in today's society. Out of hundreds of vehicles that passed us, only those four bothered. There should be more people like these in the world.

Hopefully, someone will read this and decide to be.

Peace & Love, y'all

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Children Are Marvels (A pondering of boys and their antics)

Trouble is unavoidable most times; it always seems to find one at some point or another.

What about my children? All we can do with our kids is hope they listen, but let me say I make it hard for them to avoid knowing what they do. I make a point to show my kids what they are doing to someone else when they act selfishly. I'll tell my sons to look at their sister, who is crying over some silly spat between them... and then I ask them how angry they would be if someone else made her cry that way. Then I ask them what gives them the right to make her cry that way. I'm not going to coddle my children into yet another bunch of self-indulgent nothings. I don't just require that they grow up. I require that they grow up right. It doesn't matter. Let them be hurt by their actions. Let them know the consequences. Point them right to it and say "Stand up and take what you get."

I'm not talking about punishments. Those are more for atonement than anything. They have to know what the hell it is that makes it wrong, not just that it is! I'm talking about teaching responsibility and a sense of right and wrong. And how my boys make me ponder how the hell I can make a lesson out of some of the fantastic crap they do.

As mothers, parents in general, it's so easy to say, "Not my child." Oh man, I've wanted to. I've wanted to not believe something my son has done at school, trust me. A food fight in the middle of the office, with another little girl's project (made out of cake!!) was something I'd have never dreamed I would be getting a call from the principal about. I was dumbfounded, I mean... I could see either of my boys getting into a fight. A fist-fight. But a food fight baffled me. I never thought my child, at the age of 10, would throw food when he was already in detention in the first place.

I wanted to say No way. I think I even asked the principal if she was kidding me.

So my son was suspended from school. He did chores throughout the day and made up his classwork. I made him write an essay about respecting others (destroying another kid's project, which counted as 5 grades, was unreal.). I wondered what made him think that would possibly be an okay thing to do.

Then I thought about it. It was fun at the time. Daring. He's 10. He could be doing worse things than throwing a cake.

But no matter how hard I tried to justify it, it came back to the same thing. My boy was out of line and I didn't go easy on him. I made his life miserable with grounding for two solid weeks and didn't let up. He didn't talk once on the phone, he didn't have his DS or his computer or his ipod shuffle. A 10 year old's version of hell, according to him.

Still, a week before Thanksgiving, the boy tries to piss on two other kids.

So am I doing something wrong? I start to doubt my methods.

But it's consistency. It's sticking to my guns. So, another grounding with extra chores for the entire week. Lecture... yawn. The kid ain't listening, y'all.

So I'm tripping. My son's behavior is progressively worse, I'm out of my head trying to find what will work for him.

But like my personality, my rules, and just good morals in general, are set in stone.

I fully believe in there being shame involved in consequences.

I hear people say, "You shouldn't shame your child, it'll damage their self image."

You got to be kidding me. If my child causes hurt in another, I am ashamed of them. So much used to depend on a good family name and now that it doesn't, what is it? What have we gained from cutting shame out of how we raise kids? They should be ashamed of themselves for even behaving that way.

A world without shame will be a scary motherfucking place. You watch and see.

I'd rather teach my child to be shameful of wrongs done and actually be sorry when they do so... than raise men and women that will never be sorry for anything they do in their whole lives. There is so much hurt going around already, I want my kids to be remorseful when they add more. I want them to give a damn about others. I do.

I dunno about other people, but I don't think compassion is a bad trait for anyone. If I can instill this in my kids, I'll die a happy woman someday. If I manage to make my three kids into caring, humble people, aware of their own self worth without giving up their sense of right and wrong... I'll even throw a party when I go.

So I ask my son, "What's going on with you? You're acting like a hellion."

His universal answer is always "I dunno."

Yay me. Another battle won, y'all! I'm getting somewhere--he's not shrugging and rolling his eyes anymore.

Me: Why are you trying to pee on people?

Him: I wasn't.

Me: You were caught with your doodle in your hand and aiming, son, I don't think it was a mistake.

Him: I was just goofing around.


Pause for reaction y'all. Epiphany forthcoming.

I'm over reacting, maybe. He was goofing around with a couple friends. He still shouldn't do it, but my kid isn't losing his mind. He's just getting into mischief.

Him: They put some on my shirt, Mom. It's gross.

And the boy opens his mouth!

See, he wasn't goofing around. He was actually going to urinate on those two boys. As if, by some mysterious thing, balance would be restored by him pissing on them.

For fuck's sake. How am I supposed to point out to him what pissing on someone would do to the ones on the receiving end? I mean, I'm not going to invite him to do so just to teach him what he needs to learn?

This is one of those wonderful times I just have to let it ride with punishment. You got to pick your battles too.

I totally got off track and have no idea what I was talking about, so I'm done. But yeah... there you go.

Peace & Love, y'all