29 June 2006

Sense of direction

It's a given that men will not ask for directions regardless of how lost they are or have the potential to become; however, a few days ago while in conversation with a male friend, I heard him ask for directions. I couldn't help but laugh and of course comment on the anomaly.

I asked, "so, there are actually men who ask for directions?" Naturally, it was said in a mocking and shocked tone.

He promptly and without hestitation replied, "I'm not stupid! If I don't know where I'm going, I need to ask. Plus with the cost of gas, I'd be crazy to drive for no reason." I chuckled and then he went on. "I know a lot of things and there are a lot of things I don't know. So, if it means asking for directions or anything else, then that's what I'm gonna do." (I'm paraphrasing because I don't recall word for word what he said, but I do know I'm pretty damned close.) Anyhoo, Wise words, I thought.

As I recall what my friend said, it lead me to thinking about life in general. Why is it that when we're lost on life's road, we don't stop to ask for direction? Many of us would rather travel the road alone; embarassed that we couldn't make it. Yes, being lost litertally or metaphorically is a scary thing, but sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise. It can be an alternate route, a test of our wit and resolve, or it can be direction we were really supposed to go in. Think about a time when you got lost and realized it was actually a shorter better way? Or the time when being lost saved you from being stuck in traffic or an accident? Being lost can be the way back to yourself, your life, or a cry for help. Not all things in life are as negative as they're perceived to be.

I think if more of us stopped to ask for directions we'd find ourselves in a better place than the one we're in and the road less traveled is the road most enjoyed. Don't 'drive' around in circles my friends. Life is too short for redundancy!

Thanks my friend for asking for directions and in the process helping me to get myself back on track.

26 June 2006

The "cool mom"

Being the mother of a teen can be a harrowing, but with time and understanding it can be pretty neat and be downright hilarious experience. Being that I'm considered a "cool mom", makes my time spent with my daughter and her friends a lot of fun.

Since the start of eighth grade, (for my daughter not me...lol!) I've been spending more and more time in "teen land". I get included in their crazy conversations, their likes/dislikes of people, and getting to be a part of their lives and many other experiences. As I said, I'm considered a "cool mom" and my daughter's friends aren't shy around me. In fact, they're very vocal and tell me things they probably wouldn't tell their own parents. I don't mind because I think teens need to talk more and if I'm someone they're cool with, then I'm at least providing them the safety and security they need. No, I don't allow them to be disrespectful, I don't treat them like mini adults, and I certainly uphold certain codes of conduct while in my home or out with me. They also know, I will snatch them up when they're acting out and if necessary, take them home at whatever hour it is to their parents for unruly behavior. Basically, I treat them as I would my own...My house; my rules!

Anyhoo, in being around them, I started to notice that while they're growing up, some of them still have that infantile innocence where they react to things and people around them rather vocally. If they see someone who looks or is acting offensively, they immediately respond; in some instances, not so quietly. It's far from appropriate sometimes, but all in all they're being honest and we teach our children to be honest right? Right! There have been occasions, where I tried to chastise them, but then I think I could be sending mixed messages about honesty and expression. I'm learning that there's a truly fine line and I have to pick my battles carefully. I find myself teaching them that they have a right to express themselves, but they have to recognize that the person they see has a right to express themselves too. I also find that I have to censor they're reactions to a degree so they're not being too vocal or too opinionated. Again, that fine line, but respect for others is important to me and they need to have that.

I've just spent my entire weekend around 3 teenage girls and needless to say it's more than an amusing thing. They giggle, talk on the phone, listen to music, make fun of people, think they're the only beautiful girls in the world, do hair, play games, and whatever else teen girls do. In some ways they remind me of what I did when I was there age, save for all the extraneous niceties they have (iPods, cell phones, getting their nails done, etc.) these days.

In this crazy world in which we currently live, where parents are often absent even when they're home; or parents not taking the time out to spend getting to really know their kids friends, I'm finding it to be kind of neat. I think we need to revert back to some of the "ol school ways" of rearing kids, because in spite of what they or some of us might think, they do still need parents and not adult friends. I know there will be days when I won't like being around them, but at least for now, I continue to enjoy it.

Being a "cool mom" is a pretty nice title and I'll be the best parent or sub-parent I can be to the kids I'm around. Being a MILF is one I don't like, but that's a blog for another day.

20 June 2006

Growing Pains

Whenever I hear the expression "growing pains", I always think of it in terms of children. For the past couple months, I've realized that expression affects adults too. With graduation now over, many of us saw our sons and daughters graduate from their respective schools for their various age groups. While we all rejoiced in our children successes, I think we all secretly (some not so secretly) experienced some "growing pains" knowing that it was another chapter closed and our children are moving up and moving on. For me, I can no longer see the cherubic face that greeted me with warm hugs and big smiles. I see this blossoming teen who speaks, acts, and looks, anything but a 'baby'; though she'll always be my baby. I look at my daughter and am still awed that she's mine. I think how I went from not wanting children, to wanting her, and raising her. She's a mother's dream child (most of the time...lol), and I thank God for blessing me with her. I still wonder what I did that was so good to have her; not that I'm complaining though. Who wouldn't want a beautiful, intelligent, articulate, ambitious, friendly, and outgoing child?

It still seems hard to believe that 14 years have passed by. I look back on old photos and say, "wow, I remember this or that." I look at the photos of how she's changed visually and physically, and it confirms how much she's really grown and changed. I still have little notes that she's written me professings he love for me or how special I am and they make me smile and sometimes make me cry. I miss those things! A growing pain that's hard to deal with at times. As parents, we all want to know that we still mean something to our children and that they still think we're cool or special. Teens often forget about us in that way unless they're hurting and need something.

There is no formula any of us can use to get our children to do what we'd like them to do, but that's all a part of the growing process for us all. We weren't given manuals on how to raise them or what they'd turn out to be. All we can do is hope we're giving them the right foundation to live, learn, and grow.

In spite of the "growing pains" that my daughter is growing up, moving on, and will one day leave me, I'm still happy for her. The growing pains I feel are all a part of what makes me a parent. They are the highs and lows of what make life possible and life has way of surprising us when we least expect it. So, I'd rather focus on the blessings my daughter will bring me as she moves on to the next phase of her life. I'll get her through her growing pains, she'll get me through mine, and together we'll embark on another chapter of both our lives.

19 June 2006

Appearances

The expression, “you can’t just a book by its cover” doesn’t just refer to books. We look at people and, if you’re like me, you might conjure up an idea of who that person is by what they’re wearing, driving, or where they live. I don’t do it to be malicious, I’m a person with a creative mind and I’m a people watcher.

I watched an episode of Oprah where she was discussing the issue of appearances and it made me laugh hysterically because I know so many people live a pretentious life. I know many people who assume because you’re not blinged out, driving a fancy car, or living in a new built development, you’re not wealthy or you’re just average. How classless can people be? (rhetorical) In contrast, I know people who are blinged out, drive fancy cars, and live in newly built developments that are struggling to make it and are only living that lifestyle to mask their real problems. What a crying shame! It cost more to live up to unrealistic standards and ways of being than to simply be who you are. In addition, how can you truly enjoy what you have if you’re always wondering how long you’re going to be able to make the payments and enjoy it?

I look at women who marry for status, dress to impress, drive luxury cars, wear designer everything and feel sorry for them. No, at all; but many. I know for fact that they are hiding behind the fa├žade because they aren’t in touch with who they are. They buy and spend to impress others and to try to fill their empty existence with material things. Healing past hurts, finding out who you really are, and living a truly contented is far more satisfying and maintainable. But it seems like that makes too much sense and it’s easier to hide. Maybe we should start giving Oscars to those who can put this act off on a daily basis instead of to those who are paid to act a part. If we did that, those who are currently remained anonymous might have the money to maintain their superficial status. Hmm? Now that’s an interesting concept!

16 June 2006

It's been a long time

The title is coincidentally a line of a rap of one of my all time favortie rappers, Rakim. I had both the pleasure and misfortune of seeing him last night (June 15th) at the House of Blues in Atlantic City. I'll tell you the story of that in a minute.

Well, it's been a long time since I've blogged and I know some of you miss my almost daily rantings. Though some of you do not publish your comments (I secretly wish you would), I do hope that you find reading them interesting, amusing, and sometimes informative. Back to my point...I've been away for many reasons. I had foot surgery and while that afforded me time off from work, I didn't always feel like blogging. Believe me there was plently for me to talk about and maybe I'll get you up to date on what transpired during that time. But the point of this rather random blog was to inform you that I have made a committment to myself that I will, at least 3 times a week hit you off with a blog, so please don't give up on your girl okay? K!

So, back to Rakim. He's still got skills. His swagger, his lyrical flow, his demeanor, lest I not forget; his looks. Yeah, he's still got it. I was flustered at the sight of him last night as I was as a late teen when he first took the mic. The only drawback to seeing him was the brawl that I was almost a part of prevented me from maintaining my arms length reach of the stage position. I cussed in ways unimaginable at men who are apparently not used to showing respect to women and in addition who do not know how to conduct themselves publically. These so-called men ruined what began as a good night by being drunk, rude, and many other unsavory adjectives to describe their less than public worthy appearance. Why can't folk just go out and have a good time anymore? This question is both rhetorical and serious. Folk will never cease to amaze and disgust me.

Well, this blog has now served two purposes. 1) to explain my absense and 2) to be a blog that topics less that satisfactory public appearances. I guess I'm getting my mojo back and have been awarded my parole from writer's block.

Hang in there people...The gem with a pen (in this case a keyboard), is BAAAAACK!!!!!!!!