Posts Tagged With: selfish

directed by James Burrows

I just read a memoir, Directed by James Burrows.
You know his shows…
If you love (or like, or even just watched) any of them it’s an interesting read.
If you don’t it’s still an interesting read.

I remember my dad loving Taxi and Cheers.

I was seven when Taxi began and twelve when it ended. I remember being smart enough to understand how good it was, but young enough that most of it went over my head. I remember not getting Latka at all. I remember wondering why Louie was always so dang mad about stuff. I remember thinking there was something about Reverend Jim that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I remember being fascinated by Carol Kane’s voice. I remember not getting why it was funny but oh my goodness, did I love to sit with my dad and listen to him laugh.

By the time Cheers came on I was eleven so I was a teeny bit more savvy than I’d been at the start of Taxi. I remember feeling somewhat ambivalent to begin with. I remember wondering why Coach was so dumb. I remember wondering why we couldn’t see Sam play baseball instead of be in the bar. I remember liking Norm from the first episode. Carla was mean in a way I understood and could almost relate to. Diane was snooty and I didn’t like that. And I could not even with that damn mailman! Yet I continued watching. I grew up with the people in the place ‘where everybody knows your name’. That show helped shape my sense of humor through my teenage years and into my early twenties. I especially remember laughing with my dad as the jokes landed for both of us.

When Will and Grace premiered, I was a twenty-seven year old mom of two young daughters.
I didn’t watch this show with my dad.
But I did watch it religiously.
It remains one of my most favorite shows of all time.
Will, Grace, Karen, and Jack are selfish and flawed, but their love for each other is real. And because they love each other, we loved them too.
I didn’t love the three season reboot as much as I loved the original eight, but I gotta tell you I was so damn excited when it came back I could hardly contain myself!

Obviously Jimmy Burrows directed many more shows…but these are the three that are most special to me.

If you look at these shows you’ll find they all have the same underlying theme.
Your family is the people you choose.
Those people in that garage were a family.
Those people in that bar were a family.
Those people in 9C were a family.

Blood doesn’t make a family.
Acceptance makes a family.
A magical combination of compassion and selfishness makes a family.
Choice makes a family.
Love makes a family.

The ability to choose your family is one of the universe’s most precious gifts.
I encourage you to choose wisely.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

back to school rant

I find myself wondering why certain people simply cannot be positive.
I mean, sure we all have those moments when we feel negative. When we’re at the end of our ability to give one more teeny tiny damn about whatever it is.
But I’m talking about people who are actively negative. Do they lack hope? Are they not skilled in observing the positive in any thing?
Imagine what their inner speech sounds like! Imagine what they heard as children…what they continue to tell themselves as adults. Why, it breaks my heart! What is it like to be inside that head with no idea of how to hope?
Honestly, it breaks my heart.
But it also makes me angry.
It makes angry because these negative people inflict the same things on their own children. The first thing that comes to mind is negative. Hope is a foreign concept.
I’m talking big broad concepts this morning, I know…but I’m angry.

I checked social media this morning to see all the “back to school” posts and photos. Kids I taught when they toddlers are in high school now. Kids I taught when they were toddlers are in kindergarten now. Kids I’ve known since they were toddlers starting college now!
I have so much joy seeing these photos! I have so much hope for these children!

And then I come across a post that made me want to kick someone in the face.
A post of our own Thing G starting his junior year posted by his mother. Who couldn’t put a positive spin on anything if a gun was held to her head. She has a knack for posting things to get positive feedback. When I read her posts,I’m often thankful that I know I’m enough. That I know my own worth even on days when I don’t feel it. I don’t need people to boost my self confidence.
This morning, I saw a photo of YBW’s baby captioned with the saddest bunch of drama you’ve ever seen. Words written with designs on having comments to boost the mother’s confidence and nothing about the child. The words she wrote focused on his diagnosis. Focused on the most negative aspects of his personality. Under the guise of her “being hopeful” his teachers would see his good traits as apposed to these negative ones.

I was so angry. How dare she use him like that to get attention?
I just want to shake her and say:
How about YOU see your child for his good traits!?!
How about YOU focus on what he is capable of doing!?!
How about YOU have a little faith and trust!?!
How about YOU stop putting YOUR stuff on a child that has enough on him already!?!

I’ve posted stuff about my children on social media for years. First day of school pics included. I’m sure that I’ve posted things that may be questionable. But I guarantee I’ve not done it with negativity. I guarantee I’ve not done it to get more attention.
Parents are proud. We live in an age where it’s no longer photos in your wallet that you bring out and pass around. We’re posting on social media, we’re sharing photos online. I mean come on! We’re even creating hashtags for events! Parents are proud to share their accomplishments, and the accomplishments of their children. I love sharing things about my girls.
I worry about motivation. I worry about how what you say and post online will be forever out there. I worry that one day a child will read what a parent writes and hear nothing but negativity. I worry the child will further internalize that.

I’m angry because it’s so not fair!
Children deserve better.
Parents deserve better.
And people who are exposed to you on social media deserve better.
It’s the first day of school, for the love of all things holy! How about a little hope!?! I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Rant over. Please continue with your regularly scheduled reading.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My birthday is sacred, does that mean I’m selfish?

Tomorrow is my birthday!
IMG_20150412_112041

The forty fifth anniversary of the day I was born.
It is sacred.
But honestly, I think it’s only sacred to me.
The woman who taught me it was sacred is no longer here to celebrate.
The man who loved to join me in my countdown towards it is no longer here to celebrate.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 understand the sacredness of their own birthdays because I showed them how. But do they appreciate the sacredness of mine?
I guess if you break it down logically, they wouldn’t have birthdays to be sacred if I was never born…so they must somehow appreciate my birthday as sacred…?

YBW doesn’t feel as strongly about birthdays as I do.
And the fact that his firstborn son graduates from college tomorrow impacts what’s sacred about May 12, 2016. As it should! Thing C has worked hard to graduate with a double major. This is a “life token” event of high importance! I’m so proud of and for him and he’s not even mine.

Sundance and I talked about spending the day together tomorrow…but I’m not sure I’m actually feeling it. I guess we’ll see when I wake up tomorrow.

I did throw a party last weekend to celebrate both YBW’s and my birthday. We were absolutely celebrated by our friends and had a wonderful time!

But it’s the actual day that matters.
The actual day that one enters this world is what’s sacred.
I won’t be actively celebrated tomorrow. That feels strange to me. Partly because I don’t feel like I can actively celebrate myself.
I feel strongly about celebrating Thing C! He deserves to be loved and celebrated for his accomplishment. It’s not his fault the University decided to host the school of Humanities’ convocation on the day of my birthday.
I hate that I feel conflicted about it. I have the suspicion that it seems as though I’m begrudgingly choosing to attend his convocation. That is absolutely not the case! I want to celebrate this young man. I love him very much and have been through the ups and downs of life with him for the last six and a half years.

What it comes down to is sacrifice. Parents make sacrifices every single day for their kids. Some are teeny and can be made without thought, others are big and take a great deal of maturity to make.
I’m not his mom, but I am a mom. I can put my sacred day on the back burner to celebrate his achievement. I do it with honest intent, not because I “have to”.
I have never considered missing Thing C’s college graduation. I will be there no matter what. Because that’s what you do. That’s how you’re supposed to behave.
But that doesn’t mean I like the way it feels.

That’s been the tricky part.
Feeling like it’s OK to be conflicted. I don’t feel like I can talk about it too much because I don’t want to be hurtful. I would never ever hurt Thing C’s feelings!

Perhaps I place entirely too much importance on birthdays. Especially when I’ve had so many. Am I just that selfish? I’m not above considering that. Am I selfish that I want tomorrow to be all about me? Is that a bad thing? Even though I want it to be all about me, I’m celebrating graduation. Does that mean I’m not selfish?
I guess it doesn’t really matter.
I’ll be forty five tomorrow.
Thing C will graduate from college tomorrow.
I’ll end up being happy about and celebrating both.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

some words can never really be spoken

My child always moves me.
This may seem a ridiculously obvious thing to say, but I’m honestly not sure how else to say it.
I called Thing 2 this afternoon just to say, “You’ll be here in ten days!” and we have talked and talked and talked the deepest well of emotions and pain and love. She emailed me a couple of samples of what she’s been writing and the anguish I felt upon reading them borders on indescribable.

She has been emotionally crippled by a time in our family life much more severely than I ever realized. The pain I feel is overwhelming. (These words simply cannot convey the feeling behind them.)
I worry so that this moment in time has come to “define” her. That she doesn’t want that, that there is a part of her that knows it isn’t true, but it does indeed contribute.

This time in our life was excruciating. My Mommy pain stole the breath from my body. The only other time I felt as helpless was when I left Thing 2 in the NICU when they discharged me from the hospital.
I couldn’t protect either one of my girls and that was something I had no idea how to live with.

She wrote a “spoken word piece”. I adore the irony of this…writing the spoken word. But she said it’s all about the way she speaks and I agree. When I read it, I heard her voice saying the words.
To say it is powerful is an understatement.
I’ve asked her permission to share these words. I’m grateful she agreed. I feel so strongly that her words need to be “out there” if for no other reason than to get them out of her.

We were actually on the phone when I read it. I cried so much I could barely speak. All I could do was apologize to her. Tell her I was sorry I couldn’t protect her.
She has so much pain and anger inside of her. I still don’t know how to help her. Feeling helpless about my babies is truly the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve copied and pasted it exactly as she wrote it.

born second

Shave your head, slit your wrists,
In the middle of a teenage crisis,
Get out of your head, cause you’re making a mess,
I’m not just talking about the bathroom,
God, you’re so selfish,
Ruining my childhood innocence,
I was just a little kid, it doesn’t make sense,
I didn’t know any better than to keep your suicidal secrets,
Looking back I cant believe that you did that to me,
“Don’t tell mom”
What happened to the role model you were supposed to be?
Did you care when I was tiny and scared?
Praying I wouldn’t come home to find you dead,
I’m still freaked out by hospitals, makes my stomach flip,
Remembering the visits makes me fucking sick,
Throwing the blame of the disappointment you became on everyone else,
Yeah, fuck em, they can all go to hell,
Then you’ll be left with yourself,
And the hole in your heart where mom was supposed to fit.

And after you went back to school, it was all about attention,
Nobody seems to remember when I had to keep it secret,
Cause the rumor mill was churning, they already called you a lesbian,
What would they say about this?
I started failing history, couldn’t pay attention,
Barely talked to my friends for two months and when they questioned it,
“Oh, sorry, I don’t feel good, I’m sick.”
And that was it, we were eight graders, they just believed it,
Years passed, and when we talk about the past all my friends talk a big game,
“Yeah, I knew something was wrong then, I just didn’t say anything.”
It makes them feel better, like they’re being supportive,
I ignore it, none of them knew shit,
But I can’t hold a grudge because they couldn’t help,
What are they supposed to say?
“Sorry that your sister tried to take her life away.”

It was a very dark December, I’ll say that,
Since then it’s been a struggle to forget the fact,
Like how we waited for you, to come home to decorate the tree..
And you didn’t want to, don’t even get me started on “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

Thing 1 tried to take her life, was hospitalized for ten days and came home the week before Christmas. Our lives have never been the same. Their relationship has never been the same. Thing 2 had the harsh reality of the darkest part of life kick her little girl soul and hasn’t been able to heal…even after all these years.
My instinct is to hold her in my arms, that won’t take away her pain. It won’t help her heal. But it’s the only thing I can do to comfort either of us.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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