Monthly Archives: May 2010

Yup, we killed an ocean

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This is just the beginning

This whole oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has really upset me. This is odd because I am not an exceptionally “green” person. I mean, I am not opposed to recycling or low emission cars, but occasionally I will still toss a recyclable item in with the regular garbage and I refuse to start a compost bin. So, to be having nightmares about this oil catastrophe is odd for me.

Last night I dreamt that the entire ocean floor blew up causing tidal waves to sink most of America and all of Mexico. All because of this top kill that BP had tried. There were whales and sharks and dolphins trying to flop into peoples pools and people were drowning in their homes and fish were attacking us whenever they had the chance. Terrifying.

Now, I know that was just a nightmare, but really, if me, a girl in upstate New York has a subconscious that is screaming this loud about what is going on, something has to be really, really wrong. I mean more wrong than just killing millions of animals and ruining the livelihood of all the people who rely on the ocean for income. Something irreversibly bad is happening. And it is our fault. Us, as the human race. All our fault. This is not a Katrina or a Haiti. This is all on us. We did this not just to ourselves but to the earth. We killed an entire ocean.

I do have a tie to the Gulf. When I lived in Houston as a teen, my friends and I would spend every weekend swimming and tanning  and surfing in Galveston. I got my second case or sun poisoning in Galveston. My best friend and I went, just the two of us, no surfer boys, to tan. This was not the best idea as I am a translucent white girl who only ever turns pink (see this https://sparklingbytheway.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/lucy-and-ethel-got-nuthin-on-us/ for an idea on how ,as I got older, I didn’t necessarily get any wiser when it comes to the color of my skin). So, I had on a string bikini and my best friend had on a bandu bikini. She had a brilliant idea that we should pull in the sides of our bottoms as we layed on our stomach so that more of our butt cheeks would tan there by making our butts look smaller. Brilliant!

We could hardly sit on the way home because our butts were so burned. We were in such pain all over and bright red. Her 1969 VW Bug didn’t have air conditioning but the wind from the windows was like sandpaper on our burned bodies. We were miserable. We got back to my apartment, stripped and about died laughing. I had three bright white triangles and a white stripe in the back and she had a white horizontal stripe in the front and a  triangle in the back. Oh the silliness of youth. We had to keep slathering ourselves with Noxema to keep our skin temperature down. But then the Noxema smell started to make us really sick. What a day. I will never forget how sick I was but how much fun I always had in the Gulf.

And now that is lost to any future generations who want to try surfing or burn their exceptionally white bodies to a crisp. I went crabbing there, I got hit in the head by a fish who jumped right out of the water, I stepped on a slow-moving turtle. I experienced nature, the life of the ocean. And to be totally honest, I don’t even like fish. Or the ocean really. I am not one of those people who feels drawn to the ocean or has any real connection to dolphins or whales. Again, this is why it is a bit strange to me that I would be so wound up over what is happening in the Gulf.

I guess it is the loss of life and the magnitude or what we, as keepers of the planet, have allowed to happen to our world. It is more than just the loss of life, it is bigger than the oil washed birds that are dying a slow and painful death (although that is totally enough). It is what we have done. And we are all responsible and we all will pay the price.

A friend from Texas  sent me the specifics of WHY it is taking BP so long to stop the flow of oil from the broken pipe. He has lived in the region his whole life and has known many oil people. I get it. I get that they are doing the best they can with what they have. What I don’t get is how what they have is not even close to being what they need to stop the oil. How did they not know that drilling a well that is inaccessible to humans was a disaster waiting to happen? And how were they not prepared for that disaster? How far our arrogance has taken us and how far we have fallen and how awful that the totally innocent have to pay the price.

It is just so sad, all this loss of life and the knowledge that lives will continue to be lost for years to come. We have made birds and fish and people suffer because of our senseless desires. I live a few miles from a wind farm. The wind turbines are awesome to see. Many people around here have solar panels on their houses. There are other sources for energy. There is no more reason for us to harm the earth just so we can live. Like I said, I am no tree hugger, but I am totally using this opportunity to scare my kids into shutting off the lights when they leave a room. Something’s gotta change.

God bless the Gulf and rest in peace to all the lives lost, human and animal alike.

Lead a snot into temptation but deliever us from weasles

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does not repell little sister vampires

Every Sunday I get they urge to expound on my spiritual beliefs. But I get over it and move on to Monday and the minutia of my everyday life. Yesterday, my oldest was confirmed in the same faith that my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and myself were confirmed into. She joined the church, reaffirming her baptism, committing to become an adult member of the church, all her own decision.

When I had her baptized in this faith, I was ambivalent. I was doing it mainly out of a sense of tradition and superstition…I wasn’t positive I believed in God, but what if I was wrong. I sure didn’t want my precious little baby to suffer because I wasn’t sure. So, just to be on the safe side, she was baptized. As she grew, so did my faith. My spirituality grew more outside of my religion. I was consistent in getting her to sunday school. I knew I wanted her to have the security that having a religion gives. But I wasn’t attending church. I was following a different spiritual path. I was exactly where I needed to be.

And then we had a series of deaths in the family which shook my faith and eventually destroyed it completely. In an effort to regain inner peace, I started attending what I lovingly called The Bible Banger Church. I was searching for answers and assurance. The religion of my upbringing was very structured and I felt so chaotic I couldn’t find sanctuary in the sweetness of the sameness. So, to the Bible Banger Church we went. I did find comfort there, in the early days. I enjoyed the rawness, the unabashed displays of joy and the message that no matter what Jesus loved us…with conditions….wait…what? Maybe I misunderstood. So, I kept going. The kids enjoyed the sunday school program. They always got candy and they had friends there. The youth group was always doing cool stuff like having dances and going on trips. No doubt there was lots of love there.

But the exclusion-ness of the message didn’t jive with the way I was brought up or what I believed. And my children were being taught a sort of elitist-ness that I could not honestly agree with. After two years of listening and learning, I was done with the Bible Banger Church. I was so very grateful for the experience and the love that I felt there. But the religion I was raised in was all inclusive, excluding no one regardless of sexual orientation, race, or current or former religion. I grew up secure in the idea that all people go to heaven. No matter what they believe. Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, even the Catholics!! everyone goes to heaven. Because God loves all people, even sinners, even people who don’t believe. Everyone goes into the afterlife, into a better place. There is no hell except that which we create for ourselves.

The God I know loves me unconditionally, loves all unconditionally. God is within me and everyone. I need look no further than myself to commune with God. The darkest days of my life were the days when I was certain there was no power greater than myself. When I had no God to speak with. When I was convinced that there was nothing more than me here, alone, with no  help, no great savior to step in and alter the course of life. I brought my pain to the groups where I learned a personal spirituality which is different from my religion. One very kind man told me after I shared on the death of my faith that I could borrow his faith until my own returned. And so I did. He also reminded me that God wants us to question, wants us to test because it gives God the opportunity to show us miracles and help us to believe. He told me that the faith that would return to me would be greater than it ever was before.

That man was correct. My faith has returned and it is not the same old faith I had before. It is greater, more powerful, and much more practical. I believe what I have always believed in regard to God, but now I know what I believe to be true. I guess I could name off the ways regaining faith has changed me, but I doubt it’s important for anyone else to hear. I bet you all have stories of faith lost and regained or have reasons that faith in a higher power is not what you believe. It takes all of us with our views and opinions and our love to make the world turn.

I tried to be a Bible Banger, I tried to be an Episcopalian, I tried to be a woman with no religion and none of it worked for me. I disagreed with the Bible Bangers, I wasn’t wealthy enough for the Episcopalians and I was too needy to not have a religion. So, here we are back to being what we have always been and content. I love the hymns and the organ, I love the structure and tradition and predictability, I love the message that God loves everyone and everyone is accepted, just as they are, believers or not. My God speaks to me through people, not just through my pastor or the bible. God is within everyone I see, everyone I hear and the most powerful messages I have ever received have been out of the mouths of the most unlikely sources.

My prayer for my daughter is that she continues to explore other religions and finds what she believes, what give her peace and fills her with faith. I was given that great gift by my mother to explore, unrestricted, any and all other religions, and I eventually came back to my church, with a wider view of life and a beautiful knowledge of why I personally chose to be a part of an organized religion. Let go and Let God….

Now that is not to say that when she opened her gift of a steel cross from the church I didn’t say “That’s to keep the vampires away.” and she replied with “Oh I thought we accepted vampires in our religion!” And then she  flashed at it at her little sister (whose dream currently is to become a Cullen) and said “I guess it doesn’t work.” Being funny is her other religion….

I once was LOST but now am found

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this is me on the plane flying to the island to make sure the smoke monster hasn't eaten the entire cast.

Tonight is the finale of the tv show Lost. It has been six years that I have been sharing the lives of Sun, Jin, Ben, Michael,Kate, Jack, Sawyer and all the rest. It is a well written show that always kept me guessing. And growing up watching 4 soap operas a day, religiously, I am well versed on all of the typical story line twists. Nothing much on tv dramas surprises me….but Lost always has. It has never gone for the easy way out, it has never given me the answer in a typical way. It really does make me suspend my disbelief because I want to rather than because I have to.

I began watching it when they replayed the entire first season in one summer. I was hooked. I was scared out of my mind, I made my husband get up in the middle of the night and go with me to the bathroom. It just had that effect on me (that I was going to pee the bed because I was too scared to move…) After that, I counted the days till season two began. And as the second season was ending, I was in the process of separating from my husband and moving into a new home and taking care of my father who was slowly dying from lung cancer. The only reprieve I was getting was my weekly episode of Lost. I would rush home from work, kick out the babysitter and sit on the floor of my new, unfurnished home and cry and wonder along with the cast of wanders on the island.

I felt connected to their struggles, I understood their loneliness, I felt their pain. Ofcourse, it was all mine, the struggle, loneliness and pain. I knew it was just a tv show. But what a tv show it was. I will miss all of the characters and most especially the stellar writing. I will never forget those dark nights, driving home alone, knowing that the next day would be nothing more than sorrow and grief yet feeling comforted by the fact that Lost would be on when I got there to help me escape for just a little while. Some find peace in the bottle, some find it in another’s bed, I found it on ABC Wednesdays at 9pm EST (and this season on Tuesdays 9pm EST which worked out much better for my schedule, thanks Jacob!)

Now, if this big ending is something stupid like the smoke monster eats everyone I will sell my house to make the pilgrimage to that tiny island between Australia and L.A. Ofcourse I know exactly where it is and how to get there, and so do you…..(eerie Lost music plays….)

AIDS

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because I figured I would have been censored if I put a picture of a naked man, but Terry would have LOVED these shoes 🙂

I remember exactly where I was when I first learned about AIDS. I was standing in my grandma’s kitchen and we were getting dinner on the table. I was maybe 8 years old…we had the evening new on the tv. The anchor was reporting that they had now named the virus that was linked to homosexual male cancer. It was called Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome. He went on to explain that they still were unsure how the virus was being transmitted, but it was most likely through blood, seamen, saliva, tears and mucus. The anchor was warning everyone that any exchange of these fluids with an infected person would lead to death.

The first thing I heard was AIDS causes death. I immediately burst into tears. My grandma had a box of “Aids” in her refrigerator. They were a dietary supplement she had been using to try to lose some weight. I insisted that she throw them out. She did. Wether to calm me down or because she hated the damn things anyway, I don’t know. The second thing I heard is that they weren’t sure exactly how the virus was being transmitted but it was probably through everything that comes out of our bodies. Oh and through kissing and using public toilets. My mother was a nurse, so I told her she had to quit because she came into contact with sick people everyday and now it was way to dangerous for her to go to work. She didn’t quit.

She didn’t do much to relieve my fears either. She simply said that they were doing all sorts of research and that sick people needed well people to take care of them and she was not sick so she would take care of those who were. I didn’t really care for her logic. My dad had to institute all sorts of new techniques when it came to the care and handling of the deceased. In my family, AIDS was a presence in our lives.

The first person I ever knew personally to have AIDS was a guy I met when I lived in Houston. I was 17 and living with my best friend in an apartment complex (think lower income level Melrose Place). Just below our apartment was Terry. He was a very stereotypical gay man who was very funny. He was dying. I got to be quite close to Terry in the 6 months that we lived there. He had TONS of house plants and his bathroom was collaged from ceiling to floor with pictures of naked men. Classic naked man pictures or funny naked man pictures….ceiling to floor. And it was a large bathroom!! Very creative, if you ask me.

Terry’s family had abandoned him when they found out he had AIDS. He would bounce between understanding, self loathing and anger in regards to his family and his diagnoses. He drank openly to try to escape, at least for a little while. He didn’t have much money, he couldn’t work. He had lost most of his friends and he had lost his lover to the disease the year before. He had more medications on his kitchen counter than he had food in his cupboard. But Lord was he funny!!! Towards the end he began giving away his “stuff”. His friend who was always (I am not exaggerating when I say always) in jean cut offs, a white tank and work boots came up to give us three of Terry’s bigger house plants that he had been growing for years. We all knew the end was near. I think after that, Terry and I made one final trip to the liquor store, vodka for him, Bailey’s for me. We went back to his place, changed into caftans and furry slippers and we got drunk and laughed, we hugged and cried, he got mad and stormed about. We sat on the bathroom floor and he told me the stories behind each picture on the wall.

Terry taught me that I did not have to fear a victim of AIDS. He taught me that facing death is partly brave and partly not brave. However fleeting life may be it holds significance, no matter the cause of death. I hope Terry knows how he changed my life.

After Terry, there was my old dance teacher Rinaldo. My mother was with Rinaldo as he took his final breath, holding his hand. His last words were “I am dancing again….” Another friend John was in end stage when he and I reconnected briefly. He held my eldest daughter when she was just 6 months old and he made her laugh, he gave her a kiss and told me she was beautiful. John really mellowed in the last few weeks of his life because I remembered him as the skin head mean guy who threatened to stab my best friend’s mother if she tried to drag me out of the bar we were in.

Because of these people I knew, because I got an upclose and intimate view of exactly what AIDS does to a person’s body and spirit, I was always scared of contracting it myself. Not through touch or tears or even a kiss. I was not scared to hold these dying people as they cried. But by the time I came “of age” we knew that AIDS did not discriminate and the incidence of women with HIV/AIDS was almost as high as gay men. I was a statistic waiting to happen. That I saw this disease in action was a very good thing. While my girlfriends were out having sex, unprotected with no care in the world, I insisted on testing before and protection. My girlfriends hadn’t lived through watching someone die from the disease. They had no clue. I was fearful for them. I tried to explain what I had experienced to them and they just did not believe it could happen to them. I knew it could happen to me.

Having children who are coming to age in this day, I have impressed upon them the fact that AIDS kills. Sure, with the drugs available, people with HIV (the pre-cursor to AIDS) are living longer, healthier lives. Regardless, living with HIV is no walk in the park. I have told them that getting pregnant is not the only consequence to having sex. Death is still a possibility. I know we are better educated today, I know that we have better medicines and better research but AIDS still kills. People are still contracting AIDS.

Not just in Africa, here in America. Our kids are not learning about AIDS the way we did. For my generation AIDS  was a lead story on the evening news 7 nights a week. We watched the progression of awareness from it being a “gay cancer” to being a “gay plague” to being a full blown, worldwide epidemic. It seems that the panic has taken a backseat as we have learned more about the disease, like it is only transmittable through blood and sexual fluids. As cancer has replaced AIDS in the epidemic category, I can’t help but worry that we are doing our children a disservice by not keeping AIDS education in the forefront of  our awareness. Kids are not catching cancer.

AIDS is still out there and no one is immune. The fight still continues against this horrible and sad disease. As a tribute to those who have fought and lost we all need to keep the fight going, we need to protect our kids with information and we need to find the cure. It’s out there, it can be done and in the meantime, I will put on my silk robe and furry slippers and drink a toast to Terry….I have to wait till the kids are grown to re-decorate the bathroom though…Love.

Little Miss Suzy Homemaker

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Yup, it usually ends with a visit from the fire department (picture courtsey of rhibowman.files.wordpress.com)

 I like to play Clean House. I LOVE that show (on Style network with Niecy Nash and her crew). I love to go through my kids toys and clothes and pile up all the stuff that they don’t play with or that doesn’t fit then tag it for a yard sale. I feel so accomplished when I do this. I actually pretend that Niecy is there and I am hanging on to a favorite item, like a stuffed animal or a bin full of VHS tapes of As The World Turns. I will actually cry and explain why I NEED to keep these useless items. Ofcourse, I am all alone and there is no camera crew, no Niecy to bargain with, no Matt to fix it, Trish to sell it or Mark to decorate it. I get to play all the parts. It’s fun really.

I should probably get out more, but whatever. It’s a grown up game…not like I am playing with the kid’s  barbies or something. I mean, sorting them, dressing them and then setting up the barbie house exactly like I like it is NOT really playing…it is more like organizing. But I have to be in the mood to do these chores. Yesterday was one of those days when I was in the mood. I tackled the 11 year old’s room. Good Lord, Niecey would have given it a “Mayhem and Foolishness”…I wound up with 4 full bags of garbage, 2 bags of clothes for donation and 2 bags for yard sale day. I was feeling so very free from clutter!!! I organized what she had left in her room just like Trish does, I fixed her dresser handles like Matt would and I made her bed which is my tribute to Mark.

I was feeling pretty good about my homemaking skills by that point so I decide that I will start on dinner. Spiedie chicken, salt potatoes and corn on the cob. That is what comfort food means to me. I slap some chicken in the pan with the spiedie sauce, turn the stove on high and proceed to chat with my 15 year old about her grades. I had to speak with her math teacher earlier in the day. I was giving the 15 year old a pretty good talking to, complete with “How do you expect to succeed in life” and ” You need to take this more seriously” and the history making “Shape up or it’s summer school for you!” I was purposely ignoring the food on the stove, giving the impression( I believe) that I am in total control of the situation (the situation being the 15 year old and her grades AND the food on the stove).Things started  bubbling and hissing …. on the stove…the 15 year old was just giving me The Look.

There is clouds of steam billowing and water splashing over the edges of pots and sizzling. I casually turn on the fan above the stove. I think at a level 1, and I go back to the “These grades go on your permanent record” part of my speech. All of the sudden, the fire alarm goes off. Now, to give you an idea of what happened the last time the fire alarm went off in my house please read http://ellie072.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/35/ Back already? Ok, so what do you think would be my first move when the smoke alarm goes off? Shut off the stove? No…YOU didn’t click the link!!

My first reaction is to grab the dog! I yell for the center child to run quick and get the dog out of the house!! Next, I head straight for the key pad and begin punching in every single combination of numbers that might possibly relate to me. I am yelling at the 15 year old to answer the phone. She yells back that it wasn’t ringing. I was just hoping it was ringing and that it was the securities lady who would tell me the code to shut off the damn alarm. And the littlest kid is standing there, in the middle of the kitchen with a look of pure terror. FINALLY the securities lady calls and gives me the code. She said she was going to try to cancel the fire department dispatch, but I can hear the horn, the fire department is only 2 blocks away from my house.

And have I shut off the stove yet? No. Is the chicken still burning away? Yes. Did the dog make it outside before he became literally  “sacred poopless?” why, yes, yes he did!! Score one for Suzy Homemaker!!! I finally remembered the stove, shut it off. The fireman came to the door and asked if I was trying to cook dinner again. To which I sheepishly replied “yes.”  And this, my oh so wise friends who think I am insane for always going to restaurants because it is so expensive, is why we eat out.

P.S. The dog pooped 6 times AS he was running up the block away from the house. The center child accidently slid in one pile of poop while chasing him to get him home. Luckily this did not result in a trip to the ER, only a trip to the shower. Just another day in the life of Me….

You Lucky Duck…I mean mole…

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my lucky weed whacker

My grandma always told me I was lucky. Like daily. So, I grew up believing I was a “very lucky little girl”. Turns out, grandma might have been wrong about my luck. Then again, I guess it depends on the perspective. I mean, I could view my being adopted rather than aborted as a lucky occurence or I could see the abandonment part of being given away. Luck or choice…who really knows.

But when it comes to everyday stuff, my luck seems to run short. I always, without fail, every single time, pick the wrong line. At the grocery store, at the movie theater, at the gas station…everywhere. It is a running joke between me and the kids. I will see the shortest line and head for it just to stand and wait for at least 20 minutes while the other very long lines that I did not pick flow like a river to the sea (you like that imagery, don’t ya). I tried to trick my luck and pick the longest line, but it didn’t work. I was still waiting 20 minutes later as every other line had been cleared.

Today, I was outside cleaning the patio, weeding and scraping moss off the bricks, ya know, making everything pretty. I was remembering the past few springs and the incidents that occured.The first year in this house was my first experience with a weed whacker. Surprisingly (or not), it took me all year to learn that wearing flip flops and shorts while weed whacking is a very, very painful idea, especially when the crushed stone driveway has a weed.  Last year I was weed whacking and accidently weed wacked a dead mole. Mole guts flying everywhere. Such a tiny creature created such a huge mess, all over my pants and shirt. I also weed wacked a pile of dog poop that was buried under some huge weed. Ok, I did that more than once. I am now very leery of huge weeds because they obviously excrete poop that is exactly like dog poop. Who knew. EIther that or my dogs are very careful about where they poop…maybe I am being paranoid….

Anyway, I was not weed whacking today, I was manually pulling weeds. Huge weeds. And as I am bent over just like a little old lady, butt in the air, chest hanging out, I grab a huge handful of weeds and yank with all my might. Out come the weeds along with a dead mole. The mole flew up from the ground, hit me on my forehead, bounced off my unintentionally exposed chest and landed right in front of me. I screamed louder than I did when I thought I had won the lottery and ran away into the back yard doing my “grossed out” dance. I shake it off and go back to the scene of the crime to check out the body. Yup, it a dead mole. I was hit by a flying dead mole. Is that bad luck or just a fluke? I don’t know, but it was really, really gross, that I do know. I am the only person I know that this type of stuff happens to.

Now, of all the places in my yard that my mother could have buried the dead mole that the cat left as a present for us, she chose the place where I happened to be weeding today. Who’s luck is that and is it good luck or bad? Not so good for the mole or me, but when I tell my mother she will probably laugh. I guess I was lucky that it wasn’t a dead skunk, or a rabid racoon. R.I.P. mole and thanks for the memories….

What is Wrong with the Youts Today?

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80's day at school...doing her best impression as me as a teen...she actually DOES those silly school days activities...weird

When I was pregnant with my first child, I remember being worried that I was going to give birth to a cheerleader. Not literally, I went to lamaze class, I sawthe videos of what babies looked like when they popped out. They were naked, not dressed up in clothes to give us parents an idea of who they would be come. But wouldn’t that be nice? If our babies came with a clue as to the kind of kid they would become? I was not a cheerleader as a kid. I was a freak, an “alternative”, a crazy punk. I was deep, I was an activist, my concerns were far bigger than the football team and if I had latest the Benetton sweatshirt.

So, if I gave birth to a kid who didn’t share my view of the world, a kid who was only concerned with how she looked or whose only “cause” was to campagne for universal boob jobs, what was I going to do? I knew that I would have some influence on the type of kid my kid would become. But I also knew that some of who she was destined to be was already programmed as soon as she was conceived. My mother was a normal teen. She had normal friends, her biggest “FTW” (contrary to popular belief that does not stand for For The Whales…) moment was when she and her friends hid a bottle of vodka in the toilet tank on her class trip to Washington DC. No, they didn’t get caught, no they didn’t get so drunk they almost died. But boy oh boy, did they believe they were totally bad ass for that one!

Me, on the other hand, well, let’s just say that I didn’t go on any stinkin class trip and I never hid my vodka. I went to marches on the President’s front lawn for animal rights, I protested wars, I hung out with skin heads (although I didn’t agree with their philosophies). I had ANGST. I listened to the Sex Pistols and the Descendents and the Ramones. You could find me  in seedy places just to hear bands. My life, as a teen, was about as different from my mother’s as it could be. So, different that she didn’t know where to begin when it came to setting limits or punishments. I think I confused her. If I had been a marching band kid, or involved in school government she would have probably been able to raise me with her eyes shut and one arm tied behind her back.

Now, back to my kid. She is beautiful, smart, funny, and kind. She is also 15 years old which means she is  a total teen sometimes. She watches Keeping Up With The Kardasians….seriously. She went through a stage where she was obsessed with Paris Hilton. She spray tanned herself orange in an effort to look more like a “star”. The people she aspires to are slackers who have billions to spend on being slackers. She is not a cheerleader, although sometimes I wish that she was. At least cheerleaders are cheering for SOMETHING!!! My kid seems to have all of my FTW attitude with none of the “Save the world” spirit. This is our biggest bone of contention.

How did I raise a kid who doesn’t know (or seem to care) what she believes in? Who doesn’t use her “cause” to get under my skin? How did I raise a kid who listens to rap (when she wants to piss me off)? Where did I go wrong? I have tried so very hard to give her my values and views on all things worldly and spiritual. Quite honestly, it wouldn’t even bother me if she had gone in the extreme opposite direction of what I have taught her. ANYTHING would be better than this lack of caring. What she does care about is  who won Next Top Model or who has the newest Abercrombie jeans. What did I do wrong?

When I went through confirmation class at church I argued and disagreed with what I was being taught. I went though confirmation because my mother said if I wanted to stop going to church, I had to be confirmed so that I was making a well-educated decision on exactly what I was rejecting. That sounded pretty fair to me. I did it. And promptly stopped going to church. I rejected my religion and began exploring “alternative” religions and concepts of faith. Partly to piss my mother off,  happy Lutheran church lady that she was, and partly because I was interested. I wasn’t one to be spoon fed anything and just believe it was right. I was one to test and re-test everything I was presented with and then decide if it was right for ME.  

My kid will be confirmed soon. She has to write a statement of faith. We worked on that yesterday. Or rather, I told her to write it, she claimed a case of the I-Don’t-Knows and that ended with me so frustrated I think my head spun around. I mean, come ON!! She’s a TEENAGER!!! She HAS to have an opinion, a view, an idea about what she believes? Nope. Why not? you might ask? Because she is MY teen. And the surest way to push my buttons is to act as if you just don’t care. She knows this. She installed my buttons so she knows exactly how to push them. And, after all, isn’t that her job as a teen, as MY kid? Is she not just carrying on the tradition of “pissing off your mother by being something she isn’t”?

She gets my sense of humor, she will support my causes, she loves much of what I love and she values much of what I value. But she is her own person. She is not a mini me and her path is not the same one I traveled. She has lived through just as much tragedy as I ever did and she is a pretty centered kid. I guess I have done something right. They say that the way your kid behaves as a toddler is a great indicator of how they will behave as a teen. And sure enough, she is using all the same stubborn tactics she used when she was 2. It is just way more frustrating now that she is 15.

She laughs at me when I yell at the Glenn Beck and Michael Savage on the radio. She really listens when I explain why I believe the things I believe. I know she is hearing me, I know somewhere inside of her is a person full of ideas to change the world. Just like my mother knew that someday I would be taking my own kids to confirmation class. I hate it when my mother  is right.

So, no, I didn’t get a cheerleader, I didn’t get a crazy punk, I got a kid who is brilliant in her own right and who knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt exactly how to make me go insane. After all, isn’t that what I wished for? No namby pamby mamma’s kid for me! A kid with an independence and attitude! Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!