mother and child

I have a collection of parent and children pictures and sculptures. This is one. A mother ox and her baby. I was born in the Chinese Year of the Ox and so was my daughter. This little sculpture is about 3 by 2 inches, but both my daughter and I love it.

I am so proud of everyone who stood up for children yesterday, and for everyone who is saying, if it was MY child, I would want someone to stand up for them and for me.

Blessing and bring the children back to their parents.

Daughters and dinosaurs

D for daughter and dinosaur. Here is a poem I wrote quite a while ago, though it is about my son rather than my daughter.

Dinosaur Dreams

The problem
With Intelligent Design
Is those old bones
Those dinosaurs

Also that of 10,000 dreams of creation
One would be right
And the followers of all the others
Consigned to hell
If so, I go gladly, clutching
Dinosaur bones to my chest
And will enjoy the diversity
Not the narrow heaven with a narrow
Small-minded deity

But is evolution right?

Well, I think it’s on the right track

But wholly done and all correct?

After all, think how often
Medicine has been wrong
Think of tobacco and vioxx
Think of Galen, over 2000 years ago
Thinking that evil humors built up in the uterus
Causing hysteria
External pelvic massage was the cure
For over 2000 years
For old maids, widows and nuns
Who had no male to cleave unto
Massage was a treatment into the early 1900s
And now we wonder about prozac too

Evolution is an evolving science

I think of when my son was four
And he watched “Jurassic Park”
Against my wishes
Because I thought it was too violent
He studied it carefully many times

One day he asked me, anxiously,
“Mom, is DNA real?”
To check that it wasn’t another of those Santa stories
I was able to reassure him
Yes, I think DNA is real
He was pleased

A few days later he announced
That when he grows up
He wants to be a plant and animal scientist
Extract DNA from amber
And grow those dinosaurs

A laudable ambition
For any four year old

If God left the dinosaur bones
Around to fool us
And they never lived
She has a nasty sense of humor
And my son and I will not forgive

I believe in evolution
And dream of dinosaurs

first published on everything2.com in 2005

Weathering emotions

Just before Christmas, I was describing the present I had gotten for a friend’s son.

“Wait,” she said, “I’m not sure he’ll like that. I want him to be happy.”

……

Oh, I thought. I reassured her, “I think that he will like this a lot.” and he did.

But… I don’t want my children to be happy.

WHAT! HORRIBLE MOM!

No, wait. Let’s play with the idea.

Say that your goal is for your child to be happy. You want them to be happy, as much of the time as possible.

Your child will pick up on what you want. Your child wants to interact. Your child loves you. So your child will try to make you happy. Even when they aren’t happy. Then you are in a vicious circle, with you wanting your child to be happy and your child valiantly attempting to be happy or at least act happy whenever you are around until finally they hit the teen years (or possibly age 3) and scream at you, “Go away and leave me alone!” Then they will be sullen and guarded and only show up when they want food, transportation and money.

My goal is NOT for my children to be happy.

Are adults happy all the time? Well, don’t be silly. Of course not.

So why do we want children to be happy all the time?

I want my children to be able to handle the full spectrum of emotions. Happy, sad, grumpy, confused, brave, scared, apathetic, all of them. I want them to be able to name each one and tolerate it. Because my children will be adults and they have to be able to handle all of those emotions. I strongly suspect that they will encounter each and every one….

How do I model this? I tell them how I am feeling AND they don’t have to fix me. My sister died in 2012. I was very sad. I cried a LOT. Sometimes I would be sitting in the kitchen crying and my daughter would wander through the room and stop and hug me. She is not a natural hugger but she knows that I am and that I find it very comforting. She wouldn’t cry with me. She had her own emotions.

I came home from work once and said that I was furious and hurt. Ok, more than once. But once I described a meeting which turned out to have me on the agenda. The other five people knew that and I didn’t. I felt jumped and attacked. It hurt.

My son said, “Five against one?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Then they didn’t have enough people, did they?” He grinned at me and I felt much better. Still mad and hurt, but he was so funny. We went out for pizza because I didn’t want to cook.

Our US Constitution includes the pursuit of happiness. We are free to pursue it all we want. But I don’t ever think we will catch it. We will and we should still have times when we are sad or afraid or feel confused or hurt. I would go to work and tell my nurse, “I am in a really bad mood because something in my family is a mess. My mood is not about anything at work.” She would nod and then through the day I would cheer up, because I had to think about work.

Emotions are like the weather. We don’t control them. My mother died fourteen years ago. I see an ornament on the tree that reminds me of her and I feel sad and miss her. Next morning I change from writing Christmas cards to writing Valentines and I am using a stamp set and stickers and it reminds me of her and I think it’s funny. I am happy then remembering her. Let the emotions come in like the weather: name them, acknowledge them, don’t try to control them, let other people know you are in a storm, accept help, and let them pass. And let your children have their full range of emotions as well.

The photo is me and my younger sister, in 1965.