Tag Archive | kids

Perchance to Dream

Many years ago, too many to count or even admit to, I used to listen to a radio show called America’s Top 40, hosted by Casey Kasem. His sign off phrase was, “Reach for the stars, but keep your feet on the ground.” This is good advice. Dream big, but stay somewhat practical.

Sadly, as children and even well into adulthood, we are often discouraged to dream at all. Sometimes we are discouraged by people who don’t support or believe in our dreams, and sometimes we’re knocked down just by pure circumstance. Perhaps, however, the reason we’re afraid to dream is because we are afraid to fail, or maybe, just maybe, we’re afraid to succeed. Whatever causes the death of our dreams, I just know it doesn’t have to be that way.

Balance is of course a healthy part of life. It’s good to be smart about life, to be grounded, and of course I always say to have a “Plan B.” And “C.” And even a “D.” Believe me, I’m not telling you to throw your life away in pursuit of foolishness. I’m not telling you to quit your job, sell your stuff, and backpack around Tibet. Unless of course, that’s something you really want to do. Then I’m all for it. Send me a postcard!

The young dream big, don’t they?  I mean, they can dream like we adults can’t even dream of dreaming. So who are we to snuff that out? Don’t we know that one of the cruelest things a person can endure is when someone they love can’t support their dreams? In a sense we’re saying we don’t believe in them. We don’t mean to. We’re just trying to protect them from the hurt we may have endured ourselves.

Plus, we think we know it all. We’re adults, right? We’re supposed to know it all. What we have to realize is that it’s better to let go and pursue our dreams rather than to always live with the ache of what could have been. I for one don’t want to be responsible for that in my life or the lives of my children.

What about us older folks? Those of middle-age and beyond. Do we think we’re too old good to dream? Our dreams are what move us to accomplish greatness and gift the universe with our brilliance… or maybe they just allow us to get through each day as we struggle with overwhelming mediocrity.  I will digress here for a moment to point out that Grandma Moses, pretty much a household name now, didn’t start painting until she was 78.  She painted right up until her death at 101. 101!  Her favorite quote, which indeed seems to tell her own personal tale, was “Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.” Words to live by indeed.

Bram Stoker didn’t create Dracula until he was 50 (Stoker, not Dracula). I mean, seriously, where would the vampire genre be without him?

Donald Ray Pollock received quite a bit of attention for his debut novel, The Devil All the Time, but did you know that he dropped out of high school to work at a meatpacking plant for many years before moving on to a paper mill where he worked for 32 years as a laborer and truck driver?  The same year he turned 55, he took the leap and published a book of short stories – just a year before graduating Ohio University by the way.  Three years later, in 2011, along came The Devil All the Time which won him the Guggenheim Fellowship.  Talk about following a dream.

To digress even further (thanks for your patience!), Laura Ingalls Wilder… well, there’s another one. Even though she was a columnist at the age of 44 and doing fairly well, her Little House books made her a household name, and she didn’t publish those until she was the ripe age of 64.

After the death of her second husband, Mary Delany began creating amazingly intricate paper cut-outs of flowers to help her deal with her grief. She was 68. She created more than 1,700 pieces of this unique form of art and continued with her artwork until she was 88. Her pieces were so delicate and so incredibly beautiful that they now reside in the British Museum’s collection.

My point is, dreams shouldn’t be snuffed out… not in children, and certainly not just because a person has mastered the aging process. If anything, aging gives our dreams greater meaning. Life may throw us curve-balls or set us on a different path than we ever expected to be on, but dreams…dreams can set us free and put a new life in motion.

Every Day Parenting

Actually from the time when they were still quite young, my go-to phrase would be “Do you need an ambulance?  Do we need to go to the hospital?”  And if the answer was (or is) no, well then, we’d just get on with the rest of our day. Oh you may think I have a lackadaisical approach to parenting, but I don’t really. I love my children more than life itself and would do anything for them. It’s just…well…I know my children you see.  While my kids are seven years apart in age, they are still, in many ways, very much like my brother and me growing up, thanks in large part to my mother’s well-timed curse.  And I’m determined to get out of this parenting gig alive – preferably with my sanity intact (what’s left of it anyway).

 

parenting style

Extra Income

Too bad it’s all in i.o.u.’s. Although they should come in handy if and when my kids become best-selling authors, popular video game creators, respected historians, or win the lotto. Believe me, I’ll be cashing those suckers in then! By the time they have their own families, I’ll be a gazillionaire, with accompanying royalties expected well into my golden years.

 

I saw this online (uncredited) and found out it was a blog right here on WordPress...check it out by clicking the pic!

I saw this online (uncredited) and found out it was a blog right here on WordPress…check it out by clicking the pic!

Kid in a Candy Store

Went to a very cool candy store the other day with my daughter…in addition to the upscale staples like Godiva and Lindor, this place had all sorts of “retro” candy. While it sent me into a vortex of memories and constant outbursts of “I remember those!” I was also left explaining to Sarah that yes, kids did in fact eat those sugary, often wax covered, messes that passed for candy in our day.  And with a smile to boot.  Oh, and if we didn’t have a smile for whatever reason, we always had wax lips to give others the impression we were smiling. Or vampires. Or old men. Or had some serious lip plumper surgery. Changing our identity through candy products was easy-peasy back in the day.

I was surprised to see candy cigarettes.  I thought those would’ve gone out the window when the powers that be stopped showing people smoking in movies and ads.  But nope.  They were there too.  Sarah actually remembers playing with and eating those.  Not sure what that says about me as a parent.

This fit of nostalgia was well-timed. I needed a little boost in my day and besides being surrounded by candy, which in itself is always uplifting, the trip down memory lane succeeded in making me smile.  When he was younger and through the teenage years, my brother played Little League baseball.  He was a pretty talented pitcher (don’t let him know I said that) and my Dad often coached. Not to be left behind in a boring house, my mother always attended the games which meant my attendance at these weekly games was forced as well.  A family affair.

Most of my time was spent with a friend who also had a brother on the team and if we weren’t at her house swimming in a green, stagnant pool or roaming the surrounding area for free puppies to bring home, we were at the concession stand.  I loved the concession stand. Hot dogs, cardboard pizza, snowballs. And candy.  Gigantic pixie sticks which I have no doubt had my mother shaking her head upon my return to our seats as she imagined the meltdown sure to come once the sugar rush wore off.  Wax lips?  Of course.  Wax soda bottles filled with some unknown liquid that tasted nothing like soda and I wouldn’t touch with a broom stick nowadays? Yep. Those too.

My favorite, which also happens to be Sarah’s favorite, were candy necklaces.  Although my friends and I had bracelets too.  I didn’t see those at the store Sarah and I recently visited. Ahhh, the memories. I tell you, there’s nothing like wearing bits of candy against your 10-year old naked neck or wrapped tightly around a filthy wrist in 90-degree weather as you run chaotically around a park that’s made up of busy, red-earth filled baseball fields and where even the parking lot was made of loose clay, thus having clouds of red dust and dirt continually blooming up into your face, on your hands from being an “active kid,” and every other exposed body part (and from the looks of my socks after a game, even some body parts that weren’t exposed) that mixed nicely with the inevitable sweat to create a thin (or not so thin) sheen of grime along your skin, then eating said candy.  Oh yeah.  Good times.

those were the gum chewing days

those were the gum chewing days

 

not even sure what the hell that liquid inside even is

not even sure what the hell that liquid inside even is

 

excuse me while I change my identity by gnawing on bits of colored wax

excuse me while I change my identity by gnawing on bits of colored wax

 

dots of ...sugar flavored sugar, always a good idea

dots of …sugar flavored sugar, always a good idea for small children

 

teaching bad habits early...that was apparently the idea

teaching bad habits early…that was apparently the idea

 

oh yes, always a yummy treat

oh yes, always a yummy treat

Day Late and a Dollar Short

When Mike Judge’s satire “Idiocracy” was released in 2006, it didn’t make much of a mark on the landscape of cinema. Possibly just a little more than a blip of actual recognition. The film was a fairly ludicrous tongue-in-cheek poke at where our society will end up in 500 years if ignorance prevails. It was worth a few chuckles. Sadly, with each new year, more and more signs that “Idiocracy” is actually a documentary rather than a work of fiction, creep up. The latest has me shaking my head not just at law enforcement, but the education system.

You’re probably not going to believe me when I tell you this, but there are people—MANY people apparently —that don’t know that a $2 bill is a real thing. They’ve never heard of it, never seen it, pretty much think it’s the same thing as bajillion dollar bill. Don’t believe me? Seem a bit too, dare I say, idiotic? Unfortunately, I am shamefully stating a fact and the link to the story is here.  Have at it.

To sum up, in case you can’t open the link for some reason (or don’t feel like reading about utter stupidity), this poor eighth grade student tried to pay for her school lunch with at $2 bill given to her by her grandmother and was denied. The people working in the school cafeteria (did you catch that key word “school”? You know, a place where kids go to learn) thought she was passing off a fake bill. That’s embarrassing enough, right? That in an environment of academics and scholastics, the people working as an appendage of an educational institute didn’t recognize United States currency. However, sadly, it doesn’t end there.

So appalled were the cafeteria workers that this conniving middle schooler was trying to put one over on them that the police, yes the POLICE, were called in to investigate. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Well, they’ll nip this problem in the bud right away and set everyone straight.” Well, you would be wrong. So wrong. They didn’t know what a $2 bill was either. To repeat, a police officer for the Fort Bend Independent School District did recognize what a $2 bill was. What did he do in the face of this brand new, obviously fabricated bill coming from the pockets of a charlatan-in-training? He threatened her by telling her she could be in “big trouble” for trying to use the fake bill.  Cause you know. Counterfeiting and such.

Where does the ridiculousness end, you may be asking yourself? Not much longer, but still a trail of bread crumbs far too long. First the student’s grandmother confirmed that she gave her granddaughter the bill. THEN the police went to the convenience store who supplied the grandmother with the bill in the first place to make sure they backed up her alibi. THEN, they took the bill to a bank where bank officials confirmed that, yes, $2 bills do exist and what they had in their hot little hands was one of them.

I’m sorry but as much as I would love to find a way to reason with the school workers and police department, I just can’t figure out how to give them the benefit of the doubt. Sure, it’s not like we see $2 bills every day, but it’s still in circulation and was even deemed somewhat popular up until 1966. It’s not like this kid was trying to pass off dinars. It was legal US currency being used in the US and it fooled multiple levels of “educated” professionals.

If this isn’t a harbinger that “Idiocracy” is getting closer, I don’t want to know what is.

here you go...you know, in case you're wondering what one looks like

here you go…you know, in case you’re wondering what one looks like

 

 

Simple Apologies Are Best

I’ve been told that simple yet heartfelt apologies are best. They should come from the heart without all the accompanying fanfare that might make them seem insincere, even though in all likelihood they’re well-meant.  So here I am…prepared to give a long overdue, much-needed apology to someone who deserves it most.

Mom, I’m sorry I tried to drive you insane while I was growing up.

You deserved better. But instead, you got us. So you hunkered down and did the best you could with what you had and hopefully you’re proud of your handiwork.  Love you — and Happy Mother’s Day!

Because Allergies are Contagious

I’m sorry I fell off the face of the Earth the past couple of days.  My computer died (may it rest in peace) and then I got sick, thanks so much to my daughter for that one.  I did take my daughter to the doctor to test for strep as she’s prone to that and it’s most likely what she had given the severity of her symptoms…at least so says her mother of 16 almost 17 years, said mom knowing what the girl looks like when she has strep among other illnesses she has had umpteen times in her life.

But the doctor knew better, as you’d think they would, and decided it had to be allergies. Really, really bad allergies. The rapid strep test came back negative as it does every single time Sarah has ever been tested in her life. But was it cultured to find out for sure? Why no, no it wasn’t. Why not? I’m glad you asked. It’s because she has allergies. Just ask the doctor.

Of course Sarah has never had allergies in her life, but sinus infections with accompanying strep throat…now that she’s had more times than I can count. But of course it’s not strep or a sinus infection. It’s allergies. You see the pollen has been so bad here of late that everyone, even people without known allergies, are being affected by it. The doctor said so.

So it’s been a few days now since my daughter first showed symptoms. And here I sit. Sick as a dog. Feeling like I have a thousand knives lining my throat among other, don’t want to talk about it symptoms.

My daughter’s nonexistent before now allergies must be contagious.