Sunday, September 25, 2016

Praying I'll Get This Right

There's a new documentary on Netflix called "Audrie and Daisy".  I love a good documentary, so I was delighted to be able to watch it tonight while I did the ironing (got some housework done this weekend!).  The internet even cooperated, which was a rare treat.

The story is about young girls who have been sexually assaulted by young men, mostly after becoming highly intoxicated.  One victim actually committed suicide.  Simply horrific and as a mom, impossible to imagine.

It's a tough world we live in now, run by the internet and social media.  It even rules our presidential elections.  It's a world we middle-aged parents can't possibly understand completely, and therefore it can be highly challenging to navigate with our kids.  I for one am terrified.  I'm raising two men.  Right now they are 13 and 14, one in his last year of middle school and one in his first year of high school.  The girls in this documentary were their ages.  13.  14.  My God.

When I was in 8th grade I had very few friends.  The way I communicated with them in school was to pass creatively folded notes that we had written on with an actual pen.  A colorful, glittery pen, maybe, but that was the most advanced technology we had.  One time a kid asked me if I wanted a joint on my way into school.  I ran away in tears.  I knew NOBODY who drank or did drugs.  A few smoked cigarettes, but I thought they were sort of scary and besides, they seemed to just do it to scare people like me.  I had a couple friends who had kissed, but it was closed mouth usually, and if there was tongue it was a big darn deal.  My biggest worries were wondering if I would ever grow boobs and wishing I had a boy to hold hands with in the hall.  With interlocking fingers.  You know, the cool way.  I'm sure some darker stuff was going on somewhere, but I promise you, it was not all that common.  Parties were still where you go to a friend's house, sleepover, eat popcorn and watch R rated horror movies and then have trouble sleeping because you're afraid someone will put your hand in warm water so you'll pee after you fall asleep.

Worrying that boys might draw obscene things on my genitals with sharpies after they sexually assault me while I'm passed out drunk was not something I could have even imagined.

But alas, here we are.  This is happening.  And I think it happens more often than we want to know.  Every single thing about it terrifies me.  The raping of these young girls is horrific.  And so is the drinking, drugging, and the posting all the evidence on social media.  The ghoulish bullying.  I can't even comprehend it, much less know how to avoid it.

So both the boys wandered in and out of the living room tonight while I was watching.  I paused the show and talked to them both individually about it.  The highschooler actually watched quite a bit of it with me first.  I told them that I certainly hope they would never consider asking a girl to text them a naked photo of herself.  They don't even have smartphones (yet) so it's not that big of a worry, but the highschooler is getting one for his birthday next month so this is sort of timely.  Now my boys have never had a girlfriend.  I know they have buddies who sort of have, but really, it's been very short and very innocent.  For now, they both seem mystified and a bit frightened of the fairer sex.  Which is fine by me.  But we talked about how these girls had their lives ruined after one night of some bad decision making, and how devastating the whole thing is.  How important it is to respect young women, have boundaries and self control, and not do anything that you know in your gut is the wrong thing.  And if they ever see anything inappropriate to stop it and to report it, to never be passive about it, since that is as bad as participating.

I know they're good boys.  But I bet the moms of these boys on this show thought they had good boys.  This is tricky.  I want my boys to be fine men.  To love women the right way.  To protect them and shield them and make them laugh.  To kiss them when the young lady waits for them to.  I think they will be that kind of men.  I pray they will.  And I guess that's all I can do--Pray, pray, pray, and talk to them about it pretty much all the time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Shaking the Dust Off.

WOW it has been over two years since I posted.

I think I had given it up.  My life has been bonkers for two years.  It's still bonkers, but I think I'm pretty used to the bonkers now.

For anyone out there who is either new to this little blog or who has simply forgotten who I am due to time or the fact that nothing I was writing about was earth-shattering anyway, a brief recap:  I was a stay-at-home mom to two darling boys, happily married to my man.  I call the kiddos A (the firstborn-now 14) and J (the baby-now 13) for really dumb reasons considering pretty much everyone who reads this knows me or will probably never meet me, and the hubby is called just hubby.  I started writing this blog as a form of therapy.  I had been doing my thing for several years, and I think I needed an outlet, a way to express myself and hopefully find some like-minded folk out there who would help me convince myself that I wasn't completely nuts.  That was the beginning.  And then I just started writing a LOT when my dad was really sick, and it grew from there.

People have been so kind who have read my posts, and have helped me through some tough situations.  It really did help me while I was writing to have that outlet, I felt like I had a little community, like not only was I not alone in my head, but almost everyone I know has very similar struggles.  So it grew, and I kept writing.  I'd have times when I wrote less and times when I wrote more.

But then I stopped.

I think I stopped for several reasons.  Time crunched as my kids were growing older and getting involved in more activities.  I thought I didn't have anything else important left to say.  I was annoying myself.  And there was a funny feeling when I'd talk to people who I knew were reading my posts that they knew so much more about me than I knew about them.  And it sort of freaked me out.

So here I am.  I have decided it's ok if you know me better than I know you, although I'd LOVE to get to know you better.  Back at my (new) computer with a glass of wine, typing again.  I don't have time to do this.  I am AT THIS SECOND feeling guilty that the kitchen is a mess, the laundry isn't caught up, there is dog hair EVERYWHERE and A is eating a tortilla and cheese roll up (that he made) up in his room for dinner as he watches probably episode 14,594 of The Office.  I'm splurging because I have a couple free hours where the hubby has taken J to football practice and I am--gasp--staying home.  Here's the thing:  I have missed this.  I think I have needed this.  SO much has happened since we were last together, dear readers, that I'm going to have to put it out there in chunks, or I fear I will lose you.  You are my community, we are each other's therapists.  So baby steps it shall be.

Let me just say that much has changed.  A is now a freshman in high school.  Gulp.  J is in his last year of middle school.  Parenting kids this age is a WHOLE NEW BALLGAME and there are barely any mommy blogs out there about it.  So sorry, folks, but if you're looking for one, you're stuck with me and very few others.  I'll do my best.  Hubby is still an air traffic controller, but will hopefully be retiring very soon.  We seriously don't have time for him to have a job right now.  Did I just say that? Oh and I HAVE A JOB!  I'm actually getting paid to do a job.  Not much, mind you, not nearly enough for what I do, but holy crap I cannot tell you how much it means to me.

I am a "Special Education Paraprofessional" in our school district.  Like lots of moms my age.  That's a fancy name for teacher's aide.  In many ways, it's a cake job that I'm unbelievably lucky to have landed.  School hours, off during the summers (unless you choose to work summer school which I have), off whenever school is off.  Seriously could not be better.  That's how they justify the horrible hourly wage, I'm sure.

But my position is especially special, in my humble opinion.  I was very honored to be selected to work in the elementary DCDS room in our district.  I work full time with kiddos who have severe developmental or cognitive delays.  Which means none of the students in my room are verbal and I deal with lots of wheelchairs and adaptive equipment along with their angel faces all day.  And people, WHO KNEW???  This is totally my calling.  I wish I could go back in time and tell a younger me that this is what I needed to do, because I should have started this years ago!  I am currently in my second full-time year after doing a full year of subbing for the room.  I'll go on and on about this gig, carefully, so I need you all to know this is what I'm referring to when I talk about my job.

Other than the new job, things are just busy and silly here at the Suburban Farmhouse.  A and J are still playing baseball in the summer, hubby is still coaching.  J is still playing football, and hubby is coaching that as well.  A is now on the high school Trapshooting team, which is super cool, and hubby is (phew!) not coaching that.  Happy the Dog is still happy, lazy, chasing the ever-evasive squirrels, and getting chubby.  I'm working, momming, wifing, laundrying (yikes spellcheck does not like my words), mowing, loving my dog, TRYING to get together occasionally with friends, and trying to figure out how to schedule a damn mammogram.  That's the Christmas Card summary.  I'll dive into WAY deeper stuff in coming posts.  My darlings, I have so much to share with you.  This first post back has been a boring one at best, but bear with me.  I'm rusty, but I am happy to be here, and I hope you're all happy to see me.  Please do stay tuned.  XOXO