Thursday, October 29, 2009

Page after page was turned

We tucked into the couch, he and I, for a good read. Go, Dog. Go! - by P.D. Eastman. And, the blond haired boy with big, blue eyes began to read. To me. Page after page was turned. Until the end.

This BOY who has had some challenges, is now in the advanced reading group in his Kindergarten class. He is being recognized for his strengths.

My BOY is reading. Let the fun begin!

Book cover photo courtesy of Google Images.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Let's turn things off once in a while, and tune in to our children

My daughter's preschool has a rule about cell phones. Don't use them on the school property. At the beginning of the year, they politely send out a reminder that although they recognize that some phone calls are important, there is nothing more important than focusing on your child at pick-up and drop-off. It's a great rule. Most parents comply, and it invites actual socializing between parents, before and after school. Unfortunately, the art of conversation with a person in person...appears to be on the wane.

Yesterday I realized that the ante must be upped, after witnessing a dad sucked into THE VORTEX ...quietly and furtively using his cell phone to check emails, and zipping off a few text messages. Meanwhile, his daughter was madly trying to get his attention while racing across the pavement on a firetruck tricycle.

Daddy! Daddy! Look at ME!

Mmm hmmmm. Yes, mmmm hmmm.

Never once did he look up, except to turn his body a bit, away from the morning sun, which apparently was causing a glare to his cell phone screen.

He won't get those five minutes back.

It is everywhere. This constant of chatting on the phone, or engaging in texting, while "being with your child." We, as women, the ultimate multi-taskers, are probably most at fault. How many times do you see a mom picking up her school age children, while waving them into the car and driving away, all while on the phone? What about that little conversation that was your day today, honey? Yes, what about THAT.

Get off the phone!

I'm sorry, people, it just doesn't fly. It's called NARCISSISM. Some might even call it ...masturbation. Because, at some point, that is what it IS. Really.

Hey, can you do that somewhere else? Somewhere...P.R.I.V.A.T.E.?!!

Sadly, it's not just the parents. Now, the nannies are doing it, too. Go to any playground and you'll see children playing. And adults talking... to someone else, who is not present.

I understand that going to the playground with your children can be tedious and boring. Yet... It's also such a delicious opportunity to see those magical moments. Your daughter making it across the monkey bars for the first time. Your son hugging a child who is hurt. The sudden realization that time is fleeting ...and somehow another year has passed, and your children are almost too big for this playground.

We have truly become an addicted society. We need to be tuned in. We need to have our phone on ...just in case. We need to check our email one last time, because ....well, you know. There might be something URGENT. This whole thing of constantly being available to the universe at large is disconcerting. Can we breathe without an electronic connection? Can we?

Let's turn things off once in a while, and tune in to our children. It will be a decision we will never regret.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

he didn't marry me with an out clause

My husband and I differ when it comes to our wedding anniversary. Each year I check off the year as if in wonderment that we have arrived here. It is both with gleeful surprise and satisfaction that I can say that we've scaled another year together as husband and wife. I feel victorious. As if we entered an obstacle course race 14 years ago, and we continue to be in it, not giving up on the hurdles.

E looks at things differently. He assumes that we have gotten through another year, and he assumes that we will get through all the years that lay ahead. Why? Because, of course we will. As he says, he didn't marry me with an out clause. I love this about E. It is what I need. He is the solid oak that I can lean against. It helps during the challenging times. Even when I can't see straight, I know that he is not going to sneak out the back door.

Actually...we're not a back door couple. Ahem...We lean toward the dramatic, both being very passionate people. If there is a door to go out of, it will be the front door and the exit will not be quiet. Fortunately, we do not fight often. However, the challenge for both of us is to remember that we have two small children listening to every word we say, and...perhaps most importantly, to communicate to our children that grown-ups do argue, but it doesn't mean that we don't love each other or that we are headed for divorce.

These days, 14 years is no small feat. Especially when there is the continual journey of discovering who we are as individuals - which can redefine how we are in our relationship to each other. As I look around and see so many of my friends' marriages in crisis, I know that these issues - of balancing children, careers, financial stability, and mid-life awakenings, are all valid reasons for dividing couples. Or opportunities for growth, if you're lucky enough to be with the right person. But, growth is hard. And, messy. No one gets out clean.

My parents divorced after 17 years. I never remember them fighting. Suddenly our family exploded, and life was never the same. Perhaps there were signs, but as a young teen, I didn't see them. Now, as an adult, I can understand much more of what challenges my parents faced. I will always be sad that they divorced. Yet...I think it was the right decision for them. And the richness that my step-parents have brought to my life is full and deep.

Some marriages make it and some don't. I haven't quite gotten to the place where my husband is. That assumption that we will be together for the duration - soaring and plummeting as the cycle of marriage always does. But, I like to think that I'm closer to being a solid oak for him. Because, every marriage needs two oaks - growing separately, yet letting their branches intertwine and soar toward the sky...

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Of life once lived without blogging...[a repeat]

Tonight I dream the dream
of innocence, of life
once lived without blogging.

The evenings in which
I spent, stretched out
with a book on my belly.

And now I sit in a chair
upright yet, somewhat slouched
immersed in words of my own making.

It is a new chapter
at best, challenging me
at worst, an addiction.

Sometimes the growth burns
an intensity, that glows
deep in my primal lava.

This writing life so
all consuming, myriad moments
fueling a rapturous thirst I cannot quench...


JCK is currently searching for her primal lava. Hence the repeat of the poem above. Lately she has been immersed in a..a....a..shhhhh...BOOK. Such decadence! Such deliciousness poised between pages! She hopes to create her own lush verbiage...soon.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am away from here

I want to be here in this space. I look at the gaps between my writings. They are large. Life is being lived in-between, yet I crave this space, and the time to write. My teeth are bared, and I ache to grab the time back...

I've been plagued with a ferocious headache for the last two days. Nothing seems to keep it at bay. The pain has transcended my head and burrowed downward into my spine and hips. Hello...fibromyalgia. I don't want you back... And, my sleep was perhaps disturbed upwards of 5 times last night, by both children who called out with bad dreams, or had kicked off covers. Then there was... the cat, and, of course, my own mind blazing away at 2am. No rest for the weary. Indeed...

I am away from here. And, I miss it.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

And saying YES to more than I can ACTUALLY DO is a disservice to everyone involved

Yes. I admit it. I am guilty. Of trying to do too much. So? Inevitably, what always happens is this... I've lost my balls. Perhaps not my sense of humor. Entirely. But, it has been close. And, when you are a juggler, losing your balls is...not too good. Once again, I have been feeling as if... I am running in a hamster wheel of my own design.

So, as I begin to say NO to things, after I already said YES... Now, that's always a delightful dance to wiggle through. You've said YES, YES. And, you go back...and say, but NO. Yes, Yes! it IS a slippery slope, of being a disapointment to someone. Anyone? When much of your existence, dammit!, is based on being a people pleaser. But, come ON, JCK! Tis' time to throw off the mantle of pleasing, and embrace what comes with age. The wisdom and freedom of saying NO. And, being O.K. with it. Ahem... Still working on that later piece...

Yet, I must. I must say NO. I must put up the boundaries to my own life, and refocus on what is truly doable. And, important. Why? Because I am not good to anyone when I don't do that. And saying YES to more than I can ACTUALLY DO is a disservice to everyone involved, and not the role modeling I wish to show my children. Most especially my daughter.

Because... I think we as women say YES far too much. Out of guilt. Out of fear of disapointing... And really, out of an illogical, perhaps overly smug, conceited sense of what we can handle. Because we can handle A LOT. After all, we are the ultimate Multi-Taskers, right? Yes. We are brilliant at multi-tasking! Look, look at me GOOOO.... See how much I CAN DOOOO..... True, life would be impossible without that skill. However, there is multi-tasking and there is...being blind to what is truly possible to achieve, with one's health intact. Yes! Health not limited to the body, but the mind and spirit. All intersect. Here.

I am sorting through right now. Because, that is what works best. For me. The sorting. Taking a small task, and accomplishing what I set out to do. Crossing things off lists. And, most of all, spending time with my children.

Tonight, once more transported on the imagination of Mary Pope Osborne, I read "Haunted Castle on All Hallows Eve," ,from the Magic Tree House series, to BOY & GIRL. Chapter after chapter, until the end, and I had been reading for an hour and ten minutes. All of us, captured by the tale. I lost track of time. But, my time was SO well spent. And I will go to bed, and sleep better. I think. No... I KNOW this.

Yes, there is STILL a list of all there is left yet for me to do. Yes, some things will have to wait. And, some things will not be done. Period. But, hopefully, hopefully I will not be awake at 3am again, unable to sleep, wrestling with my psyche. Berating myself for all that is out of my control. Because life is too short. And I'm in my second half of it. And I want to experience it fully. So, tonight, and on into tomorrow I will be saying NO. And breathing easier...


"Her trepidation diminished"- A Painting by Chuck Gumpert.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Apparently I say this. This...this... Buh-Bye, thing.

Every time I hang up on the telephone. I hear this...

Mommy, you said it... again.

I did?

Yes! It is bye-bye. Not Buh-Bye!

And so it goes... It appears that I cannot break this habit of Le Buh-Bye.

And then there was the recent discussion of the weight limit on the bunk beds in Boy's & Girl's room.

GIRL: We can go on the top bunk. But, Mommy is over the weight limit for the top bunk.

BOY is reading. Everywhere. Anything. It is very exciting. Yesterday, we were backing out of a parking lot and he suddenly said...

B**** S****!

BOY, that is a BAD WORD!

Mommy, I was just reading that license plate.

JCK: What!?

BOY: That license plate. Over there.

JCK: Oh...BOB SMITH. I thought you said something else...

GIRL: What, Mommy!? WHAT did you think BOY said? What was the BAD WORD?

JCK: Never mind....

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

And, is the "happy family" truly happy, or is it an illusion?

Perhaps we are all...but caged animals in the zoo. Listen... These are the rules. You are allowed to pace the length and breadth of the cage, but you are not allowed out into the world.

STAY ALERT! You must be ready to be viewed at any hour. Hold yourself well. People are watching. BE CAREFUL! The gorilla next door may suddenly want your cage. So, don't get comfortable on your shredded mat, reeking of feral spray. WAKE UP! Nothing is your own. Really. Nothing at all. Except your thoughts. And those, sometimes far, far too perilous to unravel.

How do we look to others? Perception. It is a funny thing. Does one family reflect happiness and another seem just ...ordinary? And, is the "happy family" truly happy, or is it an illusion? A painted picture labored over for hours to be held up as true. Is the ordinary family really the happy one? Can you quantify happiness? Rage...remorse ...revulsion?

What if you stretch yourself beyond what you thought possible? And there is no foothold when you reach the end. Suddenly... there YOU are. Dangling. Vulnerable. Raw. Tired. Your safety net no longer there.

Retreat. Reassess. Reveal. Then, reel yourself back in. Because, you must... It's time to clean out the cage.

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