Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who is that?

When I use to work as a server for a local restaurant a co-worker and I would often joke about our "multiple personalities". We even had names for them, mine was Katrina. The reason for this, well, for anyone who has never worked as a waitress or bartender I hate to break the news but those perky servers who seem all too happy to give you your soda without ice, salad with extra croutons and no onions or carrots, everything on the side of your plate, water with extra lemon every two minutes, aren't so happy to oblige. Actually, sometimes we were, but for the most part not really. So at the table it was "Oh, sure - what ever you want - that's no problem - of course we can do that" and  as soon as we walked in the kitchen it was a different story that went more like this " Oh, sure of course that's not a problem I am so busy I can't breath but I will take the time to pick your [curse]carrots out of the salad mix - of course I can [curse] do that unless you would like to do it since you are just sitting there and I am running my [curse] off ". And so the multiples were born. Maybe we used them as coping mechanisms to make it through the night and maybe they were just fun and funny to talk about it.

Recently a friend of mine asked me some questions about my blog. Which reminded me of my old friend Katrina. I have a crazy morbid sense of humor at times. In fact one of my favorite things in the world to do is laugh. And I especially like to laugh at myself, I do some crazy and stupid things from time to time. In this blog I have tried to spread some of the knowledge I have learned while working in my current field and my life experiences and as a mom. So while I like to laugh, I like to have fun and I especially like to look at the little mistakes in life and even some of the big ones as funny and a lesson learned, I also have a heart. I sort of like to think of it like this, constipation and hemorrhoids. Both I have heard are painful. Yet when people talk about either of them they somehow work in a joke or two, and it's funny. So, while not everyone may get my sense of humor, I think most people can relate to my sense of compliance to help others.

 I am compelled at this point in my life to make a difference. I actually want to help change how others view things. So I am not Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, my multiple Katrina is long gone and for now I am honestly just writing things that I think are important enough in life to mention and get the attention of anyone who will listen. I don't expect to change the world  but maybe my words will help a few people, and maybe they will change the world somehow.

Life is so difficult at times, it can be tragic and sad, it can make some of us want to give in and give up. There is one thing that we all have inside and it's free. A sense of humor. Why not use it? There is a television show where people send in home videos of people falling youngest son laughs the entire time it is on. The show has been on for years, people think it's funny when others fall. Laugh, but while you are laughing, reach out to help them up.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Second Glance

Three women walk into a coffee shop. One of the women is Jewish and the other two are catholic. The women sit at a table with 4 chairs. Trailing behind the women is a boy with a disability. Sitting at the table next to the women are two men. With the two men are two boys with disabilities. One of the boys is African American. Sitting at another table are three elderly men. The men can't seem to take their eyes off the show occurring around them. The boys are making loud noises, jumping, dancing, putting their legs up in the air (including the boy with the women). 

This scenario reminds me of the millions of jokes out there that begin with things like:

Three women walk into a coffee shop...

Two Irish guys walk into a bar and sit next to a rabbi...

A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Minister walk into a bar...

Three nuns in a church on a hot day...

A sailor and a priest were playing golf...

In the first scenario there isn't a punch line. Because it was an ordinary afternoon for some people. I wonder how many of the above jokes started out as an ordinary afternoon?  And unless you actually knew the women personally you would never know how to differentiate between them all. Unless of course the women were wearing symbols of their religion like a cross or the star of David. Just some people sitting in a coffee shop.

How many times have you been out somewhere in public and noticed someone different, someone of a different ethnicity or who was dressed differently, someone with a disability who looked/spoke/walked etc...differently, someone who was just plain different? Different? Isn't it funny that we are all so different in so many ways, yet some of us find it hard to accept these differences? Why is that we all want to conform to the ways of those around us [I admit, I do it] I even tell my children to do it.

Many people find it hard to accept something that is different to them. I can remember the first time I entered a classroom filled with physically and mentally impaired children. My heart raced. I couldn't imagine how I would ever be able to work there. In fact, I am sure I went home and announced that I couldn't do it.  After some time it was second nature. I guess my point here is that no matter how "different" others may appear there is usually something [even if it's small] that we have in common. These differences eventually become ordinary.

Next time you are out and you see someone who is different maybe it wouldn't hurt to look at what you may have in common instead. You might be amazed at how your perspectives change.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just Do It!!

Christmas parties, holiday joy, family, friends etc...It's that time of year. The time of year that should bring out the best in us. The time of year when we feel the spirit of the christian world coming together to celebrate a great day. Well, maybe...I am trying [really I am] to concentrate on the joy of it all. It is just so difficult with the demands that have been placed on us by society [especially for families with children].

So, my 7 year old's Christmas list has changed probably 20 times and he has included on it an ipod touch, a Nook, PSP, X-Box with Kinect and about 20 different games and various other toys. Then there is my 17 year old, a new laptop, and other very expensive gifts. I CAN'T afford to be the mom who gets it all. My children will return to school after break to find friends who actually do get it all. [curse those families]

Where do we draw the line? There has to be a line. [right? there should be a line if there isn't one!] So, once again here comes the Santa lies, here comes the pick and choose game, here comes the financial struggle, and there goes the spirit.

I will somehow afford to purchase some of the items. And will just explain that life isn't about getting everything we want. [not an easy concept for a 7 year old] I just wish I didn't have the pressure of it all.

My next thoughts are with the children whose families can't afford to make that one big purchase. And the children who return to school after break to hear of their friends who did get it all from Santa. Last year after Christmas I worked with a child who actually asked me why Santa didn't bring everything on the list. HOW THE [curse] do you explain that? This child got one toy. Not a big toy. A simple one toy. And guess what, the child was happy with that toy, until school.

 I can't let the holidays slip away without putting my thoughts out here. PLEASE DONATE!!! PLEASE!

 I can go on and on with very sad stories, but I won't. I am just going to simply ask that you look for a local organization and donate. And, both of my children will be donating as well. Maybe explaining the idea of not always getting what we want, will be a bit easier. [again the Santa idea pops into my mind and how to explain that to my son who still believes] Curse that jolly old man![ I have to think about this one some more].

Friday, December 2, 2011

Jingle all the way!

Many times in life I have been faced with some major moral dilemmas. I have once [ok, maybe twice, or more] used a little saying that guided me through some really difficult times, [I am a little embarrassed to say this but it's funny so I am saying it] "when in doubt-throw the truth out". Yes, I did... HOWEVER, as I have grown as a person and found that this little saying hasn't really helped much, in fact it made things much worst at times I have changed my motto. Now, I can honestly say [yes, honestly] that it is a lot easier just to tell the truth. No cover ups, no back tracking, no excuses, just plain and simple truth. It's easier. And, with the craziness of my life at times making things easier is just the way I need to go.

With the little exception of Santa and Jingle [our elf on the shelf] and well, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, The Birthday Fairy [that one I made up, she decorates our bedrooms on our birthday and leaves a small present--again, a lot of work], when someone asks "does this look ok" and I say "Yes" even if it doesn't, and well anytime I can spare someone’s feelings, I tell the truth even when it is hard to do. This brings me to my thoughts on Jingle. At first the concept seemed awesome. It was cute. It was a little incentive to get my son to follow some cardinal rules in life, however, I am questioning all of it now. I don't want to take the fun out of it, I just can't help but to think what did I do? Jingle is one more cover up, one more lie, one more thing that my son will eventually know I lied to him about. Will he grow to think "what else has this woman lied to me about"? Will he just think it was fun while it lasted? Will he appreciate the hard work I put into moving this thing around my house nightly for a month? And most of all I wonder why I decided to allow an elf to dictate the behaviors of my son? Really I have lost control that much? I need a pretend elf to hold over his head to tell him to behave? Same with Santa, same with the rest of the clan of pretend people who sneak into our home and leave gifts.

I have to put it out there that the little guy is also a creeper. Those eyes follow me! I made the mistake of telling my son that the second we took him out of the box and I had to take him out [not him because he can't touch him or he will loose his magic] that Jingle made a kissy face at me and winked. Yes, a "kissy face". So now every time I look at this baby faced little devil I envision him puckering up and and blowing kisses, not to mention the wink. What the [curse] have I done here? I am now paranoid, my son is paranoid and asking me to talk to this thing to tell him specifics about his life!!! If this all isn't the definition of insanity I don't know what is! HOLY [curse]!

After a restless night and exactly one week of little Jingle in our home, I have come to the conclusion that 1. I can't tell him it isn't true now because there goes the whole concept of every other magical creature in his world. 2. I can't stop moving him because he will think he did something wrong. So I am left with 3. While it can be fun [if I stop over analyzing it] I have to stop using these magical people to control behaviors. I HAVE TO CHANGE not Jingle, not Grant, and I don't have to ruin the innocent fun of it all. I just have to set boundaries as I have prior to Jingle and I have to stop reminding Grant to behave because Jingle, Santa, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and yes even the Birthday Fairy are watching. I have to explain that he needs to behave because it is the right thing to do. Just like I remind myself when I am faced with a moral dilemma, little lies to bring out some fun, little lies to make others feel better, little lies to protect the best interest of someone’s self-esteem.

With my new found outlook on Jingle, I will enjoy the fun of it. And it really can be that simple. As for him making those kissy faces, NO MORE!!!

The most important thing I have learned from my week of insanity is that when something doesn't feel right, change it. Change is the only certainty we have in life.