Category Archives: kids

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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Protection

We don’t want a baby and we don’t want a disease.

We don’t want to give up our freedom and we don’t want an STD.

Lovers come and lovers go,

It’s all fun and games until somebody leaves.

It was good and provided such a high,

It validates our person and gives us release.

How could it be wrong when it felt so right?

Then why do we feel this alone, this empty inside?

A crowd of faces, a sea of people,

Hollow ships sail these waters.

With priceless cargo they shove over board,

Never reaching the destination for which it had endeavored.

Wounded souls,

Sails with damaged holes.

As pirates plunder the booty,

We unwittingly sell ourselves short.

We set our standard low,

Believing no one will pay the cost.

We do not wait for the highest bidder,

As we see what we have as inferior.

The greatest gift we could ever give,

We place such little worth.

Protection is more than a condom or birth control.

It is about putting value on what we have over doing what we are told.

There is no medication that can cure it’s symptoms,

for it is not a physical condition.

It is not about just preventing a life,

It is about mending the one that is already living.

It is more than sexuality,

It is a heart.

 


Bullied!

Bully!
Gnashing their teeth to intimidate. Growling along the fence line with threatening barks. All with the intention of giving you the intended impression of fear. They are loud, out spoken, and aggressive.  They do not care what is in their path. Unsatisfied with wounding alone, they seek to utterly destroy. They have one mission: to shred you to pieces.

Like abused Pit Bulls who are trained and breed to be fighters, bullies appear to battle to the death. With suicide on the rampage, a simple “joke” turns a person into a “hypersensitive _______” (fill in the blank with any degrading remark). Not being pack dogs they look out for themselves. They thrive alone, in their own world. We are cautious of them in general. Like prey hunted by a predator, we seek to avoid them.

We all know of the bully on the play yard. We avoid eye contact and even walk the other direction. We have no recourse but to circumvent contact with them altogether. We do not know how to stand up to them without engaging. This only furthers their outbursts. Playing “I’m rubber, you’re glue” does not appear to work when you have to see them on any sort of regular basis.

Out of fear they tear us apart with their hurtful words, while we experience helplessness. We have nothing to offer besides blood to satisfy their incessant behavior. They use intimidation to manipulate. If that does not work, the bully uses their power to coerce others to rally around them and reject their opponent as an outcast. They find “grace” and “excuses” for their actions, while they shame and humiliate their target.

So many people are afraid of what others think of them. It feels as though you are naked in front of a crowd of people laughing and making fun of who you are.  In disgust, they point fingers at you as if to complain about your very being. We will go so far as to change ourselves so to avert the discomfort we are sensing. We hide ourselves to abstain from this type of ridicule. This does not just happen to children. Many adults are effected by bullying as well. Racism, agism, sexism, and much more stem from people’s disdain for those unlike themselves.

Others are made fun of, put down, or bashed on for something they did. Many people get stuck in the moment of their greatest failure, trapped by their past mistakes. They can be bullied, shamed, embarrassed, and gossiped about and now are “destined” to repeat future failures. Like the Amanda Todd’s, those who could not run from their past, resort to escaping from it, only to find hell was a place on earth.

Confidence is the only thing that can disarm a bully. It is so far from who they are, they have know idea what to do with a person who is secure. It confuses the crap out of them to find a person unaffected by their puffed up demeanor. Unwavering, “come-what-may”, bold truth stands in the face of anger and is humbly victorious. The battle is not won through blunt force. It is through the knowledge of no matter what, you can walk away with your head held high.

Do not sink to their level. You are not immature or  petty. Do not give into their drama or get sucked into their tornado of emotions. Take back your authority and don’t give them power over you by taking on their insecurities. Do not obsess over what they think about you. Their opinion is simply that… theirs. They do not respect you, so why give ear to their hate?

When people make fun of others it tells more about their internal condition than it does about the person they are making fun of. A person’s lack of self control will cause them to make digs, poke fun, mock, or even out and out slam others so they can feel better about themselves and their insecurities. Bullies are often jealous of their victims. They struggle with their own self-worth and lack of personal esteem.

People who become so introspective about who they really are become immobilized. When we focus on helpless, negative and depressing thoughts it leads to a dark place. Though bullying should stop and people should not cause others intentional harm with their words, we also need to cultivate confidence, self-esteem, and a healthy identity. If you want to succeed in life and you want your children to succeed, stop giving ear to the haters, stop fearing mistakes, and do not worry about perphectionism!

Acceptance and approval are important for all of us humans, it is where we are getting them from that matters the most. We may not be able to stop from being bullied, however, the worst thing we could do is agree with the bullies. Our biggest mistake is trying to please those who have know idea who we are or frankly, who they are. Like a black hole they suck the life from others and we can never fill their void. When we respond to their prideful ignorance, we fall into a pit that has no bottom.

The only power they have over us is the power we give them. When we try to please them it makes them feel justified in their actions. When we reject their remarks we may anger them more. However, we walk away in peace while they remain tormented.

May we forgive the bullies of the world, for they themselves are also hurting. May we gain confidence in who we are so we act accordingly. May we value others and treat them as the priceless creatures they are. May we live unafraid and let love be our compass.


Abort!

Abort!

Panic sets in. Fear takes control. Rational thought abandons ship and ‘ABORT MISSION’ becomes the primary goal. In crisis situations people tend not to think through their options. Emergency responses kick in: “Fight!”, “Flight!”, “Act now!”, “Run and hide!” Our greatest fears become the focus of our reality. Survival instincts can betray us when we’re in this mode. We get so caught up in the moment. We may solve an instantaneous problem; however, we may also cause long term issues we regret.

Unlike most teen pregnancies, I planned my daughter. I was 15 when I got “knocked-up.” I was not under duress. This was not an accident. Nor was I ignorant of the consequences of unprotected sex. With full understanding of my actions, I sought out becoming pregnant. It took me a whole three tries, and ‘voila!’ – I was with child.

My boyfriend of a couple years was also a willing participant. He and I were “in-love”. We were going to be the exception to the rule. We were going to stick in there, make this relationship last, and we were going to defy the odds. All this except…. we were not doing anything different than anyone else. We did not have some amazing skills and relationship tools. We did not listen to wisdom and healthy advice. We were independent.

We were arrogant, self-sufficient, and cut off from genuine accountability. Like most teenagers, we thought we “knew it all”. However, in our culture today, even adults act like this. We have become so good at telling others what to do, how they should live their life, and pointing out their shortcomings. Yet, we isolate ourselves. We walk in pride, thinking we do not need others who have knowledge, wisdom, and expertise in any area.

We then reproduce dysfunction. We cultivate and perpetuate the need for right and wrong, fear and punishment, living in secret and walking in ignorance. We demand respect, but do not give it. We want freedom and independence without responsibility and covenant relationships. We do not want to be bothered and burdened. Most certainly we do not want the stress of learning how to have self-control and deal with conflict.

We want all the pleasures and no difficulties. We act like self-centered toddlers demanding our way. We are perpetually in the “mine” stage. As essentially very large children ourselves, we consequently view having our own children as an inconvenience, as an annoyance, and as a noose around our neck, like some necessary evil. They get in the way of the “mine” and the “me time.”

Even those children who are wanted can be strenuous. They can (and will) expose our core beliefs, our insecurities, our unpreparedness, and our own immaturity. Why then are they called a blessing? Why then desire to have them? Why bring one into this horrific and broken world in the first place?

You see those cute little faces and your heart melts. Something inside softens. Most people want babies, and most people have an intense fear of teenagers. Yet, even with babies, we get afraid. What about the cost? What about “my dreams”? What if I suck at parenting and I ruin their life? The “What if’s…” screw us every-time!

We don’t think about solutions. We don’t problem solve. We simply respond to our fear and trample faith beneath our feet. We dig a hole deep down and we bury possibility. We cover it with the dust of the ground and live within the rot of hope and the loss of joy.

My high school sweet heart and I did not make it. After many years of a co-dependent relationship we separated. In our wake, two amazing, devastated children. It would be over a decade later their father would pass away, leaving more heartache and trauma. I learned, as most of us do, no matter how much as we plan life isn’t always smooth sailing. At times we have to batten the hatches, but no matter what storms we weather the most important thing is that we remain true to our destination.

My beautiful daughter grew up, and at the age of sixteen she surprised me. It was not exciting. It was not bliss. And it was not welcomed with happiness. As we stood together in the bathroom, her body fell to the floor. She began crying in emotional agony. She felt she had made the biggest mistake of her life. With two blues lines on a pee stick, I was now going to be a grandmother and she a mom to an unwanted, very unplanned pregnancy.

It was all I could do not to carry her shame. Riddled with guilt, she clung to my body all night long. Being passionate about life I encouraged her to believe in herself. I held her hand and whispered in her ear. Though I was disappointed, it was not in her. I felt I myself had failed as a parent. I came to terms with being a young grandmother, but she could not get over the fears of raising this child “alone.”

Her dreams were so big. Her imagination so wild. And her better judgement did not get control of her. She entertained all the truths that are subject to interpretation. “It’s going to be harder to date.” “It is going to be harder to finish school.” “It is going to be harder to pay for things.” Suddenly, all she could hear was, “Life is going to get really HARD!”

Several weeks into her pregnancy she made a decision. A decision she later regretted. A decision she can never take back. We had already been shopping, preparing, going to classes, etc. I was so proud of how she was handling herself and the predicament she was in. I had embraced becoming a grandma. I was even going to be known as Glam-ma. I had gone to all her doctors appointments and had even been talking to her belly.

All the while she was dying inside…

She never got past her fears. One mistake and everything changed. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

Quietly, she laid in a clinic convinced she was doing what was best. Behind my back she got rid of this ‘tissue’ as if was some cancer growing inside of her. She justified her actions as morally responsible. Knowing I would be grieved, she hid her secret from me. Trying to save me from pain, her from condemnation, and us from from conflict, she fabricated the loss of her child to my face.

Betrayal was beyond what I was feeling. My daughter was engrossed with sadness. She felt alone. She gave up her baby for the sake of the greater good. Why then did we both feel so bad? I bonded with my grandchild. I was mad at my daughter. I was trying to be sensitive to her pain without condoning her actions.

We sat in our driveway as she explained her heart the best she could, while I mourned the loss of my grand baby. It was such a helpless feeling. I wanted so badly to reach into her situation and change things. Her life was going up in flames. My power was in maintaining self-control and by not adding more fuel to her flaming, crumbling infrastructure.

I watched as my little girl drive off in my car. She had kicked me in the gut with her words and was now leaving because she did not know how to deal with the intense pain we were both enduring. I prayed for peace. I prayed for comfort. And I prayed for wisdom.

With the impression that the baby was going to be a girl, Trinity Honor was going to be her name. This precious human being that now resides in heaven with her grandfather has never left my heart. More-so, she has haunted her mother ever since she departed.

It took over a year for my daughter to attempt to get over what she had done. She turned to substance abuse to drowned out the noises in her head. She shut out everyone she loved and was close to. She abandoned the dreams she sacrificed her daughter for. And she herself no longer lived but simply existed waiting for time to pass her by…

I am not saying planning a child when you are a teenager is a good thing. I am not supporting nor am I condoning my own behavior in that area. I love being a mother and I adore all of my children. I also do not support or condone abortions. I know many people who have had one and I still love those people.

In life we make mistakes. Hopefully we learn and grow from them. I do not expect people to be perphect, nor do I demand perphection out myself. It is not my place to judge others actions. I do not have to, nor do I get to live their lives. What I can say is:

Most people’s consequences for their own actions condemn and shame them enough.

When we pull others from their self imposed guilt, we empower them to walk in their destiny. People are pretty amazing. Given the opportunity, most will choose to walk in the light.

How can we impose our values and beliefs on others when we ourselves do not view children as a blessing? How do we “make” them believe they should want their children when we do not “like” our own? How do we show people that generations are to be enjoyed when we ourselves avoid the vulnerability of messy relationships?

Today my remarkable daughter started beauty college. I am so proud of her. She has gotten healthy. She has forgiven herself and she is pursuing her dreams. Though she is learning how to let go and how to manage her emotional pain, she holds dear a little girl who is forever apart of this world.

May we never give up on our dreams, and may we never ABORT our blessings even if they do come by accident.

Resources:

CareNet Pregnancy Center

Moral Revolution

Loving Our Kids On Purpose


Rough & Tumble

Rough & Tumble

They play hard,
They hurt deep.
The fall down,
They love deeper.
These young men immersed in adventure and rage,
With their hearts committed, they engage.
These boys live life to the fullest, and put themselves in danger,
They have heroes such as their dads and the Lone Ranger.
The rush of adrenaline runs through their veins,
It has been passed down through generations with both pleasure and the pain.
Thrill seeking, hardcore fun,
Passion driven, devoted, free-spirits on the run.
They ride fast and push their limits.
To heal a wound takes time, but to realign their hearts, only mere minutes.
They crash big and break their bones.
But when all’s said and done they know they still have a safe place called home.
Fear is only a factor when they let it in.
They stare it in the face and laugh with a grin.
With hunger in their eyes,
And passion burning inside,
They grab their handle bars like a horse with reins,
They go full speed ahead and look back with no shame.
When they fall down, they get back up with support.
These are my nephews, of whom I adore.

Dedicated to: Lee’s Racing, Austin #454, Tyler#451, Joshua #455, & Bobby #452

I love you boys! You make me a proud aunt.

Lee’s Moving


Broken

Broken

We can play games of tug and war.
We can say things like who loves you more.
We can tell you vile truths that tear you apart.
We can comfort your bad dreams and still violate your heart.

We can make you hide behind close doors,
With all your dreams lying on the floor.
We can make you live in secret, full of fear.
We can make you so sad you cannot shed a tear.
We can kick you in the gut with our words.
We can make you sick, rest assured.

“You are just a dead beat dad, can’t you see…
You were never really there for me.”
“Mom plays the victim in every role,
She hasn’t figured out how to fill that hole.”
All the lies you were told,
All the lies you believe,
All the emptiness you must feel,
All the confusion with which you must deal.

What happened between us was not your fault.
You were just a child and we the adult.
For the “us” that once was will never again be the same.
That “us” gave us you…
Now you are caught in between.

You are a gift.
The light of our world.
The best of two, but a glorious you.
You are our much
And our affections are true.
Abandoned you may feel,
But the truth is far more real.

For your sake (not ours),
We will not enter in to more insecurities.
It is our desire for you to have sureties.
Often, it takes more courage to walk away,
Than it does to engage any day.

We can fight to the end,
And we can even win.
But sometimes to win is to lose,
And for that we must choose.
You are too important to put you through this.
It is for you that we must do this.

This does not mean you are not loved and adored.
Contrary, above our feelings, we care for yours more.
We are sorry for your pain and your loss.
We’re sorry our mistakes left you with the cost.

It is important for you to know,
We did not walk out on you or let you go.
Love prevails all of the time,
And even though you are theirs, you are also mine.
We are going to chose faith over fear.
We know in the end it will all work out, my dear.

May we offer you this token,
Though your family may be broken.
You may have two houses,
But with each of us, your heart always has a home.

Special Dedication: To all those who have grown up in broken homes.

Suggested Reading:

Good Parenting Through Your Divorce

Divorce Poison

Fathered By God

The Father’s Embrace


DisABLEd

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Disabled!!!

       That is what he is labeled… Dis-ABLEd!

In all actuality, there are so many terms they call it: “special needs”, “handicapped”, “mental retardation”, “physically impaired”, and a few other contrite names. All are accurate in description. This rhetoric is suppose to make us feel better. In essence, it is used so as not to offend. We even define legal language around it to become politically correct. However, no matter the label used, no one person can be defined by one simple term. For example, to simply call me “a mother” would be to oversimplify me. It only describes one facet of who I am. The same can be said of my son. He is so much more than his condition.

I was “saddled with this burden” (a term used by those outside my life to describe what happened) at the age of twenty. Having never been around someone disabled before, I was ill prepared. This did not stop me from trying. I loved him wholeheartedly, and wasn’t going to let his imperphections change that.

He was born with a rare genetic syndrome called De Barsy Syndrome: Cutis-laxa type. It is a rare connective tissue disorder and affects his collagen and elastin fibers. Even now there are only approximately sixty known cases of this syndrome on the planet. Doctors told me it was autosomal recessive, meaning he got this gene from both parents. We discovered we had a 1 in 4 chance of passing on the malfunctioned gene with each pregnancy. In the delivery room, they told us he had failure to thrive. More than likely he wouldn’t make it past his first night.

Fourteen years later he is still here, and he is growing strong.

Many call him “my angel from heaven”. Others sigh, expressing their sympathy as if they felt sorry for the both of us. Not knowing what to say, they often resort to well meaning, but empty platitudes such as “God knew I could handle this”, or  “It takes a special kind of person to care for him.”

We have gotten stares in the stores. People ogle over the mysterious distortion and deformities of his body. I must admit, I myself have been intrigued by his abnormalities. After a while though I became immune to the horrified looks. I tuned out the awkward comments. What many would label as abnormal, we have chosen to make our own version of normal.

He is my son. My snuggler. My friend. He is smart in his own way and brings love with a grin. He goes everywhere with us. He participates in as much activities as he is ABLE. He has given us favor with many and opened doors for our family to travel. He gives us VIP parking with his little blue pass. He allows us to cut to the front of the lines at Disneyland. He is a trooper when it comes to ailments. He does not feel sorry for himself, nor does he compare himself to others. He has the strength to live and the courage to laugh. He is my sunshine when my day is grey.

This little boy who has “nothing to offer” makes my world. Of course he is getting heavy. He is all dead weight because he has no head, neck or trunk control. He cries in the night. His body is twisted like ragged old towel. His bones are fragile and his fingers are distorted. His feet are bent like a steel pole under the pressure of a thousand pound weight.

But his smile...

His smile is the most powerful expression of love I have ever seen. It is contagious. It is infectious and piercing. His joy lights up all he comes in contact with. His laughter causes the grumpiest person to change their mood. He has a peace most people spend their entire lives seeking. This young man in all of his unproductivity produces more happiness than a crowd of hippies in a marijuana field.

He has nine regular doctors who have done their best, which sometimes includes doing nothing at all. His needs are based on life expectancy. The need to survive outweighs the need to be straight. The need to live is more vital than the need for many important surgeries. He lives with 2 inguinal hernias. Both of his hips are out of socket. His corneas are clouded. His chest caves in and his heart is displaced. He has scoliosis that is curving at a rapid rate. The list of aliments is longer than Santa Clause’s naughty or nice review.

Yet, through all of this he has not “ruined my life”. He has enriched it. God is not some sadistic manipulator and did not give my son to me to teach me some lesson. While I have gained an abundance of life skills from this experience, I would have learned other skills from a different experience. I am not special because I care for him. I simply chose to make the best out of our situation. Like I said: we’ve made the abnormal normal.

He who would be deemed a complication in life has given me great advantages. He has been an inspiration. If he can be happy by simply living, then I can no longer make excuses for my own distress. I figured if he did not feel sorry for himself then neither would I. Pulling up my boot straps, I changed my major in college from nutrition to communications. I finished with three kids in tow and taught my son everything I know as he listened while I read text book after text book aloud.

And while some call me strong. I consider myself privileged. I have seen places and met people I would have not met otherwise. People such as his amazing dentist, a woman who has no handicap children herself, yet volunteers her time and practice to meet the needs of children who’s are considered too severe for most dentists.

I do get frustrated, discouraged, and disappointed when life is not always smooth sailing. This is no different than any other person on this planet. Life is hard, but that is not my disabled child’s fault. He did not cause bad things to happen to me, and he is most certainly not a bad thing. If handicap people compensate their weaknesses with strength in another areas, just imagine how far people could go who have no crutch. Like them, to realize our full potential maybe we should learn to be free from the DIS and focus on our ABILITY.

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Special Thanks to:

Diana Zschachel 

Shriners Hospital

Far Northern Regional Center


Mommy, why does it hurt so bad?

I call it my mommy heart. My desire for all of my children to feel loved drives me. I want the best for each of them. I want them to feel special. I want them to know how important they are. I want to nourish and encourage their strengths. I want to guide them through their weaknesses. My mommy heart desires each child be free from the pressures of perphection. I want them to view mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. I earnestly seek ways to draw the best in each of them to the surface like a gold miner panning for gold. I want them to live life to the fullest, reach their destinies, and pursue their dreams.

It is when bad things happen that my mommy heart kicks in to overdrive. I want to stick my children in a bubble, and keep them from any and all pain. I see it in their eyes; the feeling of loss, a deep indescribable sadness, and a sense of helplessness. I wish to swoop in and save the day. I wish to comfort them and take all of their pain away. I wish to protect them and help them avoid hurt in every way. I learned years ago, this is not only impossible, it is unhealthy. It teaches our children bad coping mechanisms. It also sets them up for failure.

Unfortunately, in life bad things happen; some parents get divorced; some of our closest pets die; sometimes we move away from our friends and family… the list goes on and on. Bad things simply happen. When they do, the hurt can feel overwhelming. The pain can be intense. Our greatest fears can surface and the world can feel unsafe. So many of us have endured great hardships. To act as if we haven’t sets up a false reality for our children to live in. To dwell on our hardships causes us to live impaired. To walk out our hurt with our eyes focused in gratitude teaches victory.

Showing empathy in the middle of our child’s pain is vital. Being compassionate as we listen to them process their hurt will bring healing. Not always knowing the answers is okay. Often times sacrificing our desire to provide understanding can liberate us all from false perceptions and dogma. Allowing our children to walk through their pain leaves less emotional scars, like ointment on an open wound.

Medicating our children’s emotional pain covers it up. Things rarely get resolved like a broken bone that never got reset and cast properly. This often times leads to addictions whether it be shopping, eating disorders (including overeating), alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.. Teaching our children to avoid pain can lead to seclusion, isolation, and loneliness. Fretting about the unknown can lead to irrational fears, wild imaginations, and lofty thoughts. Things that don’t kill us can make us stronger. However, they can make us callus, bitter, angry, or passive as well.

We don’t have to be our children’s savior either. They already have one. He promised to send a comforter. He said, He will never leave us, nor forsake us. As we look to Him as our source, we show them how to do the same. By this we can give our children the tools to have more self-control so they will not try to constantly live on artificially stimulated emotional highs. It takes courage to hold our children’s hand, look them in the eye, and say you can do this; I will be right here with you; I will coach you through to manage your pain; I am sorry it hurts so bad, but you are not alone. I know, because I too have endured pain. Like the sunshine behind the clouds, joy will come in the morning.


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