Kristina Furey

"Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance"--Margaret Atwood

 

"Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it".--Margaret Atwood from The Handmaid's Tale.

A young man, age 30, was telling me about a memorial service he was at with his cousins.   He said, as people ate, drank and toasted the departed, he took his cousins aside and asked them, “What’s missing at this service”?  When no one was able to come up with an answer, he shared with them that there were no children. “Here we are ages 33 the oldest and 18 the youngest and none of the 9 of us, have any children.  Children represent hope and are a reminder at a funeral, of the continuity of life". He recounted how 13 years earlier, their youngest cousin, had humored the family the night before the great-grandmother's funeral, when the youngster asked if they too, were going to great-grandmother's graduation and some quick-witted adult chimed in, “Yes, you can call it a graduation of sorts".   Everyone laughed and the mood was lightened. I told this young man, I thought it was an astute observation on his part. I found his observation thought-provoking and unsettling at the same time and his words, “Children are our hope and reminder of the continuity of life” I feel should be shouted from every corner of the globe.


Have you noticed how children have been making headlines lately as shooters, as victims of gun violence, there was the soccer team trapped in the cave and there's the immigrant children, torn from their parents…  


Interesting to me, our country is once again revisiting Roe versus Wade these past weeks with the latest Supreme Court nomination.  Pro life... Pro choice... I don't really have a point to make, except, maybe we should put that on the back burner for now and do the best we can to protect the hope we have, in an effort to assist the continuity of life.

Ordinary People-by me

“Goodnight, Sweet Prince”, she whispered to the night.  She said,”I think I've been missing you through the hardest part of my life”.  “Goodnight, Sweet Prince”, she whispered like a prayer “and as I lay me down to sleep, I hope to find you there”.   “Because in my dreams, I can hold you. I can hold you through the night. And I long to be with you, come the mornings light”.  


Ordinary People, with extraordinary love, the kind that is stronger, than the romance books speak of.  Extraordinary love, to withstand the tests of time and a love made only stronger, by the challenges of life.


And they knew, of life's true gifts.  For their children, did their best, and they held on to, one another as each child left the nest.


Ordinary People, with extraordinary love, the kind that is stronger, than the fairy tales speak of.  Extraordinary love, to withstand the tests of time and a love made only stronger, by the challenges of life.


As I look, at my husband, I pray that we too shall know, that kind of love, that lasts forever.  The kind that always grows..


Ordinary People, with extraordinary love, the kind that is stronger, than most people, ever know.  Extraordinary love, to withstand all tests of time and a love made only stronger, by the challenges of life.


Good night, sweet prince. Good night, princess. Your love has been a testament and our legacy, was to have come from it.

 

 

"A Little More Like Me (The Crucifixion)"--Kenny Rogers

"I'm fixing a hole"--Lennon and McCartney

"Look Away"--Lemony Snicket

 
You have been warned! <--(Just substitute immigrant children for Baudelaire children.)

Living in DC I had a best friend whose Grandparents fled Czechoslovakia (from Nazis) with her mom, who was a baby at the time.  I had a handful of friends that came from other countries, including a friend in Middle School, (if memory serves me right it was a Vietnamese friend) that told me how her family came to America by boat.  I had the pleasure of having so many friends, with such interesting backgrounds and stories, who were either becoming American’s or were studying to become an American.  The DC area is really a delight of cultural diversity. I was fortunate to have grown up in that culture while young and developing my mind and beliefs. It encouraged in me a love of all people and a real interest in communication.  I can't stress enough, what a strength the ability to communicate with many people of many backgrounds has brought me. I believe my struggle to listen to and understand people who spoke different languages and those with thick accents has strengthened my communication skills and understanding of others the most. I have to believe it plays a big part in my songwriting. It also has played a part in my belief in happy resolutions and a win/win philosophy.

Growing up this way, I learned just how lucky I am to have been born here.  I grew up feeling proud of my country and this was enforced by the understanding that people from all over the world would want to live here and call themselves American.  My thought on this, was we needed to help other countries be as awesome as they believed we were, they would have their needs met in their own countries and instead of dreaming the American dream, we could all dream a universal dream, together.  One that is more proactive to all of life. I understood by those stories my friends and their families told, that it is the dehumanizing and disregard of people's needs that lead to discord. Lifting people's spirits with consideration and care is a gift America used to have and I found my place in that world, so of course, I made an effort to help others find their place.  

When I was 4 or 5 years old my parents started to take in foster kids.  When I was 5, Marie came into our lives. I remember very little about her and I'm not sure I ever knew the circumstances in regards to why she was in foster care.  I do know, eventually, she went to live with her Tia who lived in Miami Florida. She was Hispanic but I only really understand that in retrospect. When I was a child, she was just a child like me. I have pictures of us dressed alike which is something I guess parents did with their children in the early 70s.  She was, if only for a moment, my sister but the understanding of our sameness has lasted with me all these years.

 

One of my other foster siblings used to climb into my bed if she wet her own bed.  I understood she was extremely overwhelmed by sadness and anxiety. I never thought anything of scooting over and giving her space to sleep.  I only wanted her to feel and be okay. I often consoled her and my other foster siblings, when I could, if they needed it. It was emotionally traumatizing and devastating for them to be separated from their loved ones and not know when or if they would see them again or if they were okay.  I made it my job to advocate for them on the playground, in school and in my neighborhood.

 

I have seen the anger that arises in children when they are separated from those who are most invested in them.  I have seen the fear they carry, the lack of hope and lack of trust. I have seen the light leave their eyes. Thank goodness it only left for a bit.  I think our school shootings we have experienced here in the US, have something to do with the lights behind the eyes going out. I care deeply about this, as I am very aware of what the disregard and dehumanizing does to its victims. A full grown adult might have the reasoning skills to get past such a thing… maybe…  a child has neither the reasoning nor the experience to put these things in perspective. I experienced my own dose of this, when I was 11 and my mother left. I internalized it as I tend to do with things. It was toxic to my system. I ended up with a swollen spleen for about 6 months and a diagnosis of psychosomatic illnesses.  They said I was a healthy child prior to that and rarely ever missing a day of school. My health has been a challenge for me ever since.

 

Last week, as I heard for the first time about the children that have been separated from their parents and pretty much put in detention camps, I felt ill and tired all over.  I felt a sense of defeat. WTF. I mean seriously WTF? What have we become as a nation? As people? Where is our humanity? At what point did we sell it out? Last week, I believe it was Gayle on the CBS morning show that said, the people inside of the child facility she was at, had been instructed not to hug the children or touch them?  Another person said they were instructed not to make eye contact. WTF? This is so dehumanizing and it's abusive to treat children this way.

 

When did we make children the whipping boys and girls for the errors of their parents and their countries?  What now? We send them back broken and without hope? That is exactly what the gangs would want. Broken people and those that feel weak are so much easier to push the buttons of and take control of, they couldn't have hoped for better compliant subjects. These children deserve no less than what we would give our own children after they've been traumatized. At the very least they should get immediate psychological counseling and be reunited with their parents ASAP.  PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME, "That's Not How The Story Goes." Let's not look away until these families are reunited and Count Olaf can no longer do harm.

 

Can't put my finger on it but...

 

About blogging, I'm just not feeling it this week.  It's nothing really, except I have nothing to say.  Which is curious to me.  I've had a about 5 songs show up in my head this week and I only documented two.  I let the other ones go which is something I do often if I'm busy and can't get to it or if I'm tired.  You know, when I think about it the best way to describe it is like when you have a dream, wake up and it quickly starts to blur.  If you wrote it down immediately you might just get it all but forget about it if you don't. 

So the first, I think came about because recently I observed a conversation where a Swiss man asked a group of Americans I happened to be hanging with at the time, "Why did you elect Trump?"  Then a woman, who spoke up first and seemed to be speaking for everyone said, "He's not what you think and then started telling us what he was about and I realized, he was just a blank canvas for this woman to paint her own picture of what she thought he was.  Intrigued I just, sat back and watched and listened, a little in horror and a little in realization that I have done the same as she.  When someone's actions annoy or offend me, I tend to ask myself, "Do I do this?"  If the answer is "Yes" I try to make a note not to do it anymore, since I find it annoying.  She's a likable woman, though different from me, for sure.  So the basis of the song lies in the lyrics, "We don't talk anymore.  We only make insinuations.  And I don't trust anymore, in the words that you are not saying".   As i think about it, I realize the other one pretty much comes from the same place.  With it's opening of "Perception is nine tenths of the truth because people only see what they want to see".    It ends with, "Things they are a lot like that but there is a lot more too it. You know, there's a me and a you and we blew it.  We didn't open up our minds to try to see the other side.  We're getting taken for a ride". 

I find myself nostalgic for something that's missing.

 

Hanging on the couch, reflecting

 

Currently curled up on my couch with my puppy.  Earlier today had to get a biopsy of my uterus. Pretty barbaric the way they do it.  I got a shot of something like Motrin, only it was supposed to be stronger. Waited for it to take effect, which I'm really not sure it ever did.  Then, they just went up there and cut while I did my best not to curse at the top of my lungs. After that, l headed to a restaurant by the water, sat in the sun and did some day drinking, which is something I hardly ever do.  Weddings, I might day drink at a wedding. Saint Patrick's Day, yeah I've been known to do that. Cinco de Mayo, yes, but really otherwise, no, because unless there's a real party going on, it just makes me feel like going to sleep.  I have been known to fall asleep at parties too, even with no alcohol. So… ANYWAY, I came home and landed on the couch, did some sleeping but mostly watched Joanna and Chip create people's dream homes on HGTV. I can totally see why people like this show.  Chip and Joanna remind me of Dan and I. They work well together. They support each other and you can feel the love just coming through the TV screen.


Yesterday, I went to an RV show in Tampa.  I did some daydreaming there and sized up some of those RVs to see if they would fit what I want.  Tuesday, I actually sat down at the keyboard and messed around, which is something I haven't done since we got our puppy.  Truth be told a lot of things have been on the back burner since we got her but she's worth it. I'm patient when I can see that patience is necessary for me to piece together the bigger pictures I'm out to accomplish.  “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast” or so someone once said.

I'm still trying to get my routines and those of my puppy aligned and in place in such a way that they match the original intent I had prior to moving to Florida.  The idea was to have a playful little spirit to wake up to in the morning and walk with, come home have breakfast and spend time working on music stuff for a couple hours or run errands on those days it's necessary to run errands.  I seem to be at my most motivated in the morning when I've had a little sunlight, exercise and food in my system. It's when my thinking is most clear, passion and enthusiasm often make an appearance and I tend to get the most done.  My morning plan was to end by making a lunch, that I could eat outside, as I love the effects nature has on my mood. Then, if I should happen to feel sluggish I would plunge into the pool before sitting or lying in the sun to dry or I'd run on my elliptical, maybe lift some weights.  I would grab a cup of tea (probably matcha) and get back to work for an hour or so, followed by vocalizing and then making dinner. Of course there would be breaks to take my pooch for a walk or a romp in the yard. Dan and I would have dinner and we'd go for a walk. Then we'd practice music or go out and play, watch a little TV, wind down and go to bed.  Of course, it wouldn't be as regimented as that always but for the most part that was.the plan. Definitely, I need to schedule trips to the dog park as I am trying my best to raise a well rounded pooch.


I have had health challenges all my life and I kind of ignored them last year because they always seem to be prevalent and I really wanted to be with my mom.  She died last June of periurethral cancer and she had symptoms, she discussed with her doctors in 2013 but they did not pick up on. It wasn't until the summer of 2016, they really figured things out.  Mostly because both Gynecologists and Urologists don't normally have all the information needed to diagnose it. It's a very rare cancer and it takes someone with knowledge of gynecology and urology to put things together and diagnose it.  She knew something did not feel right and her body was not functioning the way she considered it to be normal. Like most of us she wanted to hear she was fine and so at first being told she was fine was comforting. Later, she questioned their ability to listen, hear what she said and she became distrustful of their conclusions, then there was fear.  She waited in silence until there was another reason, symptom or/and until things got worse. I tell you this because we really need to advocate as best as we can for ourselves and our loved ones. For our own sake and the sake of the doctors. No one wants to feel responsible for a misdiagnosis or lack of ability to diagnose.


As for me, I have pressed on with my own puzzling health challenges.  We don't expect to find anything more than endometriosis and fibroids but I've had strange symptoms that called for another biopsy and since my brother, my father and my mother died of cancer, we had a good reason to get another biopsy.  I look forward to getting past this concern and once again feel free to look forward to getting my routines in order so I can move forward.

 

Odes to my puppy Aja

 

My puppy Aja loves to gently bite at me and for me, it’s only natural that I should make a song up about it.  You can find it here, at the bottom of my share page.  It is the first, of the last four videos currently on the page.  You'll see, the one where she is biting my hand.  I would be completely at home in an operetta, where people sing instead of talk.  So it’s no surprise that I have been making up songs when playing with Aja.  I did the same thing with my kids when they were young. 

When I was a child my mom came into my bedroom each morning, throwing open the shades on my window, singing “Lazy Mary,” will you get up?  She was the first person I remember, who ever sang to me.  She had a song for everything and if there wasn't one already, she’d make it up.  She had a beautiful voice but she didn't like attention drawn to her so she never really got into singing for other people, besides us kids.  Her grandmother used to play for the silent pictures (movies).  I do remember her singing too, when my great-grandmother would play the piano, back when I was a child.  

This method my mom had of waking me up, helped me learn about waking up on the good side of the bed, as opposed to the wrong side of the bed.  My mom was all about having a cheerful attitude as she went about her day and each day starts in the morning, so she would do her best to set a positive tone.  She was also, seriously into her religion, so she really subscribed to the song, “This Is The Day, that the Lord hath made, we should rejoice and be glad in it”.  I was raised in that mode of belief.  So singing songs of praise was perhaps her legacy to me and probably why so much of my time is spent humming or singing.  

Back to Aja and my silly songs in her honor.  She has a serious case of separation anxiety that we have been working on and when I put her in her pen, as we are house training her and I can’t watch her like a hawk all day and get anything done at the same time, she cries and works me like those ASPCA commercials with Sarah Mclachlan, which is what she was doing yesterday when I came up with this idea of making a mock ASPCA commercial and then before I had the chance Dan freed her.  Neither of us have the heart to put her back in the pen today because yesterday was so nerve-racking.  Today, I have been a hostage to her and Dan’s and my overindulgence of her.  Pray for me!  Here is my silly ASPCA mock song, sorry I have no terribly sad Aja video to accompany it, you'll just have to use your imagination...  Interesting thing, I was relieved to learn while looking up the commercial information, Sarah Mclachlan does not want to be forever linked to those commercials with abused animals in them.  Seems like it bothers her as much as me.  I don’t want it in my memory bank and I change the channel or leave the room to escape the mental anguish I feel.  For now, I think I will leave the house when we put Aja in her pen, for the same reason.  Years ago, when we got our first dog, we were both working outside of our home and I would come home on my lunch breaks to take my puppy out of her pen for walks and playtime.  She seemed to do okay with that arrangement but with Aja, if she knows I’m home she gets so distressed at the thought she can’t be with me or Dan every moment and we get distressed over her being distressed...  Our other dog was completely potty trained by her 13th week.  (…Exhale…)
I'm a little distressed this is not the case with Aja but all in all, she is a wonderful, loving companion and a reminder to me to wake up joyfully and embrace the day!  Now if she can only learn to embrace her alone time….

 

"Thank God For Kids"--Oak Ridge Boys

 

What I wanted for myself was thrown out the window, the moment I decided to become a mother. No wait, on second thought, I looked into the eyes of this beautiful child and thought, "He gets better! He gets protected, nurtured, supported and the best shot I can possibly get him at a life that allows him to be all he can be for himself and others." I knew when I held him in my hands, he was life and I had an obligation, a contract between me and the universe that I entered into, the moment I became and it was my job to be a guardian of this sacred gift...

When I was a young mother, I developed a friendship with an older mother, who had left a prestigious job to be a stay at home mom.  She was the PTA president at the school our sons attended. Both of us had sons in the gifted, talented program and they both shared an unquenchable thirst for knowledge that became a bond for their friendship. She and I were maybe not so different from our boys in this way... While our children played, she and I discussed our strategies, hopes and the challenges, we felt we were faced with, both in the school and in our community.  We saw our children and their well being as our responsibility and we mentioned on more than one occasion, our number one job was to get our kids to age 18-and we took it seriously.  

 

For me, this included more than just the typical parent involvement, as I took on more than one abusive teacher, took on many volunteer positions and in the process took other students under my wing.  I made teachers aware of student’s needs through conversations I had with the teachers, as I volunteered to help them. I advocated for mine and other children as I worked alongside these teachers. I challenged teachers through very deliberate and sometimes very assertive actions   Oh and on one occasion I cried over the phone, in an effort to get a particular person, who had the ability to transfer my son to a school more fitting of his needs, to do exactly that. Well, I cried while explaining the many ways I had volunteered and things I had witnessed in the schools that I was certain the school system would not want me writing in a letter to “7 On Your Side”. Things I had put much time and attention into, in an effort to make sure that they did not escalate into bigger problems and things I had not been able to change, that I concerned over, thinking they could compound into something at some point if not addressed. All of this a reason to have my son moved to a school where I had faith in the principal, as his goals were in line with my own beliefs. I managed to get him into that school and it was as I believed it would be, a blessing to him!

In the end, my time, sacrifices and efforts, paid off and my goal of getting my children to age 18 was accomplished. I am aware of how fortunate I was to be able to play a proactive role in helping to have that goal realized. However, my family was on a strict budget, so that I could be at home with my kids.  Later, that strict budget along with random luck, afforded us the ability to move to a better neighborhood, with better schools. I realize it wasn't just our hard work and our sacrifices. Many parents are working hard and sacrificing and I wish they could also have the advantage of luck. I know, every parent that is advocating for students in our school systems, are a benefit not only to their own child but to the other children in the schools, to the staff of the schools and to their communities.  For all of us, I wish more parents had the ability to be in the schools participating in their children's school lives and education, while also advocating for other students. Honestly, I believe there should be some sort of tax credit given to parents who choose to be there volunteering for the sake of children, while putting their own desires to be a success, financially and otherwise, aside or on hold. Maybe one day...

I am disturbed by the violence children are experiencing in their schools.  I won't say I'm surprised by it. I will say, we individually and we as a society, make choices every day.  If our choices are not working for us, it may be time for us to start making different choices. I believe one of the best things a parent can do for their child is to have a presence in the school. There are all sorts of opportunities to volunteer and when you do that, the staff begins to see you as approachable and solution based. They also begin to connect your child/children with your efforts and even the most challenging children are seen in a more positive light, for the help, the available parent is willing to offer. ...hmmm... I think this acceptance and willingness to extend one's self, on the parts of the children, parents, teachers and staff, is called community. I believe a community is only as great as it's weakest link. If we strengthen those weaker links we strengthen our communities.

(It's been a hard week for me. We've had so much rain and getting sunlight for me is important to my mental state and energy levels. I'm also very aware of where I was last year at this time, in hospice with my Mom. My puppy Aja, while often a delightful little ball of energy, is also a stress, as we are still learning her routines, while trying to fit them into our own and yes, our sleep has been impacted for this. Still, I try to stay positive, as I prefer a positive life and realize all the little moments add up to what your life is and what your attitude about life is but I know too well how challenging that can be at times. I also know, "this too shall pass" and I know that from experience. When I was a kid, I did not have the experiences to understand that, which made the harder moments, harder in some ways. If you have the opportunity, share those difficult stories from your own youth with adolescents you are in communication with as they may need to know that life has hard moments and beautiful moments. I can assure you the beautiful moments become more intense when you learn to appreciate them, rather than expect them. They also multiply when you are generous and share them and your good fortunes with others. The hard moments become easier to go through as you focus on the beauty that continues to surround you as you muddle through. God bless and take it easy on yourself and others!)

 

"All Along The Watch Tower"-Bob Dylan

 

Have you ever met someone and just been totally enchanted by their presence?  It is such a delightful and unexpected experience, I wish everyone could have, at least a few times in their life! This particular experience was almost surreal, as I walked into her (the owner's) establishment for the very first time and felt such pure energy. Did it radiate from her or had I miraculously stumbled upon perhaps as many people as I had met with this kind of energy in my whole life, all in the same office? If I had to guess I would say she was the source and like strong negative energy does, so does strong positive energy, have the ability to change the tone of a room, the people that occupy that room and later those they come in contact with...

 

Now one day, I had an appointment with her, pretty early in the morning and I realized as I begun to get myself ready, I really needed to do laundry. And so it was, that I showed up for my appointment wearing this trendy article of clothing, I had bought on a whim, after convincing myself I had the shape to pull it off. Now it should be noted, I had this article of clothing for a couple of months and I hadn't chosen to wear it, wondering if I should, try to pull it off... but with no other options, on it went and off I went to my appointment. Did I mention the diversity of the women that worked in this office or that the beautiful woman I had the appointment with is Muslim?  Is there a reason I would bring that up? Christian, Jewish and Muslim women working so beautifully, harmoniously, together? The owner being Muslim? Okay well, on her being Muslim, probably because I believe they tend to dress a little more modestly than some of us... ahh-hem... me perhaps...

 

During this particular office visit she smiled all bright and warm upon me and I could feel that warmth as she began to discuss her daughter.  At some point it became evident to me, this conversation, had a particular point. Now I don't remember exactly how she said it but she used the term princess with her daughter and queen was the word she used for herself. In that moment, she shined so brilliantly, upon this seed she was carefully, kindly, respectfully planting, that something within me grew. I went home and put the outfit I had been wearing in the giveaway pile.

 

Now, If you happen to have seen the Easter episode (Season 3, episode 15) of "Life In Pieces" Samantha actually gives Sofia a similar yet much more direct speech that I absolutely loved. Check it out! This, just after Sophia foolishly tries to compete to be the cutest against her toddler cousin. Basically Samantha tells Sophia that when Sophia came along Samantha was no longer the cutest and she had to learn to find something else that she was good at or made her important and focus on that as a means of getting attention.  I did learn early on that I was no princess and needed to distract people from this by showcasing my positive attributes, which most often was just shining a light on other people. I will say some things I've learned, I have relearned, over and over again in my life. For me, some things just don't stick. Lucky for me, I am an enthusiastic student of life, definitely, maybe... hopefully, for sure!

 

Okay, huge jump here... I hope you are able to easily see the connection: Last year at this time, I was at my Mom's bedside, having just been made aware, that my mom was in fact, dying.  I don't know if you've ever experienced somebody looking you in the eye, pleading for something they never mention, as they cry, “I can't do this anymore!” over and over again.  That little 11 year-old girl inside of me, the one that was so heartbroken to learn her mother had left her and her family, was clawing inside me, trying to scramble to someplace safe and then the beautiful Muslim woman came to mind and guided me.  I was reminded that I am a queen and it is my duty to secure my people and rise above adversity. I'm not a princess or a lost little girl, though I may feel lost sometimes or wish for easier times, I may wish to be adored and catered to or I may find myself at times panicked over what may be... I am a Queen, which means I have a duty and must take a stand and secure my people and our future.

I can't tell you how much I miss my mother but I can tell you I am grateful for all the wonderful things she instilled and nurtured in me.  I am grateful that I was able to get her to a place where she would be taken care of by gentle, kind, loving people, until she passed. In the time it took her to pass, I did a lot of thinking about who I am and who I am not.  I'm not here to be a princess. I am here to help nurture and secure my people. My family first, which for me has always been the case because having experienced, while growing up, the breakdown of my own family, I understand the importance of family. So today, should you find me missing from certain places, it's because I'm trying to be careful, I'm trying to keep my own priorities straight and I'm trying to manage my own health, so that I can continue to secure my people.  In this regard, I am no different then who I have always been, the girl with the Foster siblings that watches over the other kids on the playground because she understands there's a lot of injustice going on and she's trying her best to shine a light on these things, so others may see, understand and be there, when she is not because she knows only too well that there is no promise of a tomorrow.  Now perhaps I am delusional but I have always seen all people as my people even when people tried so hard to convince me I needed to form a tribe. I needed to be against things and people. THAT, does not and has not ever fit me. I may be picky at times, critical, WRONG but I am not, against people. I am a person who believes in win/win and I believe when we don't incorporate win/win, everyone loses. Maybe not today but eventually it all comes back around.

 

Lastly, If you did not catch 60 minutes interview with Wim Wenders it is definitely worth checking out. He is the director for the movie, "A Man Of His Word" where he interviews Pope Francis. I bring this up because what the Pope addresses in this movie is much of what I contemplated as my mother lay dying.

"All Along The Watch Tower" --Jimi Hendrix

 

"Somewhere Out There" from "An American Tale"

 

Somewhere out there is a plaque that reads “Fathers, the most important thing that you can do for your children is to love their mothers”.  I agree, that definitely has got to be up there as one of the very best things that you can do for your children.


It was the summer of 79.  I sat on the floor of my family’s van between my father and my mother's seat.  We didn't wear seat belts or necessarily even sit in seats back then. There was a mixtape of music coming out of the speakers.  “The Game of Love” filled the van and I watched my father reach over and grab my mother's hand. I watched attentively, as this silent show of affection wasn't normal for them.  My father had instigated it. I looked at his face and saw a tear in his eye, then I slightly glanced over at my mother's face, stoic. I had just turned 11 about 2 months before, so my experience with what was going on here was ZERO but like a bird trapped in a cage during a fire, my heart trembled nervously. I think it was my very first panic attack but it might just be the first one I consciously remember. The rest of our vacation seemed to go without any other indicator that something was wrong.  When we got back home my siblings and I were sent off to camp. I believe my brothers went to Goshen for multiple weeks. I think I went to Wo-Me-To for one week and then to a cousin's house for another week and then with another cousin to the beach for a week. I knew my mother had left to visit her parents during this time and my subconscious mind knew and shared with me, in the form of dreams, nightmares, that she would not be coming back.  


My father was heartbroken.  His mother, who helped out with us, had too many negative comments in regards to my mother during that time.  Hers was not the only behavior that puzzled me, while you would think I would have seen the most gentle loving side of people around me during that time, that's not the case.  It was quite the opposite no REAL support to us as a family unit. It felt like my family and myself we're under some sort of strange attack. Everyone had an opinion and everyone's opinion seemed to devalue my family and its individual members.  If you ever heard someone say, “don't speak negatively about a child's parents in front of them” that is very good advice! One might think that a family would be safe from these behaviors when going to church and during a time like that, one might think a family would find comfort there.  Conversations there became odd, while fishing, leading questions, rumors and looks in my direction that made me feel extremely uncomfortable seemed to be the new norm. Funny how people think they are being clever when they are not, as even a child detects their true negative intentions, whether they fully understand or it just makes them nervous and preyed upon.


Perhaps, everyone has a moment in their life similar to this one I experienced when I was eleven. A moment where the idea of the world they grew up in, fragments into shards, that pave the only path for the barefooted traveler to make their way down.  For me it was traumatizing. For me, the best way to not feel the glass under my bare feet was to find ways to disassociate and disconnect in order to be okay. Pieces of my life became more like, just a matter of fact story I told. It felt like it was somebody else's story and one I didn't take personally, less I fall into the grief.  It was an experience, a lesson and if I could transcend it through problem solving, maybe it could be woven into a net to catch others from falling into that type of experience and the grief that could accompany it. I shared my story when I thought it would be helpful or healing to someone else. I share it now because I realize, so many kids are going through what I went through and worse... With Mother's Day approaching it seems important to note.  Also because this story on 60 Minutes this past Sunday got me reflecting.


For all my own sensitivities it might seem contradictory to hear this from me but taking things personally does not solve problems.  Understanding the problem, going in with the clarity and precision of a surgeon and the intent to tend to the needs of all involved is perhaps the better strategy.  I think it was Oprah Winfrey or one of her many wise guests that said, “When you let go of what you don't want your hand is free to grab what you do want” I guess that's the best way to say letting go of the past or a problem, is the first step to freeing yourself so that you can grab the solution or the future that you deserve.  I really hope those children in the 60 Minutes news story are able to go back and do exactly that!

 

I really want to thank 60 minutes for continuing to cover the real stories we need to be made aware of and using their time to educate their viewers, making us more aware of what is going on in OUR WORLD and how we may shape a better world for us all!!

Lastly, here is a link to my Mother's Day Vlog.

LINK: "China" by Tori Amos