the nest

the nest

Friday, June 19, 2015

an addendum...

My anger has passed and I really don't want to remember this day of celebration for so many with glimpses of the worst in ourselves.

I really do believe that humans by nature are good.
I believe that the country we live in is an amazing place.
I believe that we do have the power to change what isn't working.
I believe that we are only stronger when we have a higher power to call upon.
I believe that the children we raise will be the ones to restore what is good.
I believe they will find a way to raise their voices and drown out the messages of hate and violence.

I believe that the young ones graduating High School and College over the past month will change the world for the better.

Welcome to the world of crazy.

I want to write about all the High School and College Graduates we know who we are so proud of.  I want to send them out into the world with wishes for a long and amazing life.  Children, nieces, nephews, friends, a daughter from another mother.... On and on... They are AMAZING.  They are capable of great things.  They better be ready because we are launching them into a crazy world full of hate and violence, selfishness and pain.

This morning as I watched the news, the shooting in South Carolina is all over the place.  The emphasis of the story is on the vigils, and the community coming together to pray, the clear indication that this was a HATE crime.  A young man filled with so much hate that he sat with a group of people in a church for an hour and then slaughtered them.  So many prayers.  Some asking how can God let this happen.  God didn't let this happen.  I'm pretty certain SHE is weeping and despairing that we can't seem to get our act together.  We are responsible.  All of us.  We live in a world that separates us from each other by our differences.  Babies are born ready to love anyone.  We teach them who is the "other."

The attention is on the victims. The media is trying to take the focus away from the baby-faced killer and I think that's good.  We need to know the victims so we can truly mourn them.  Maybe then we will get off our fucking asses and CHANGE THINGS.  I know my parents read this and I apologize for my language, but I am so angry right now and no other words suffice.

There will be calls for more attention to mental health and to racism and hate and all this is good.  These are discussions that need to happen and changes need to be made.  Perhaps more attention will be on how children are loved and nurtured from day one.  Maybe there will be talk of communities pulling together to create stronger villages so children who are suffering, struggling, or being raised in hateful circumstances will be identified and supported before they become hateful killers.


What will be touched on and then swept away however, will be talk of guns. This is where I can't stand it anymore.  What the hell is wrong with this country that despite shooting after shooting, horror after horror, we STILL CAN'T ADDRESS THE OBSCENE NUMBER OF GUNS AVAILABLE IN THIS COUNTRY.  I'm not even talking about reasonable guns for hunting.  I'm talking about guns designed for the sole purpose of killing PEOPLE.  We've done this to ourselves and it will continue until those in positions of power at the local, state and federal level stop bowing down to the special interest groups and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.  There are weapons that simply shouldn't be available to anyone.  There are weapons that should be restricted.  IF GUNS ARE NOT AVAILABLE, THEY CAN'T BE USED TO KILL PEOPLE.

But wait, guns don't kill people, people kill people.  FUCK THAT.  In countries where guns are not available death rates are dramatically lower.  Look it up.  Any rational person looking at the rates of gun violence in the US vs any other 1st world country (and many 2nd and 3rd) can see that eliminating or even reducing access to guns significantly impacts on gun violence.  This is not rocket science.  But what about the second amendment you say??  What about it?  What part of anyone and their dog being able to have as many guns as they want, says anything about a "well-regulated militia."  Pretty sure the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) didn't have this insanity in mind.

So many of the discussions that need to be had around mental health, race, poverty etc., are so critically important, but perhaps if we could get our heads out of the sand and get the weapons out of the conversation, we would actually have time to have these conversations.  Instead we are spending more and more time, mourning, praying and cleaning up the blood of innocents.  I'm pretty sure God is saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.  When are we going to listen?

Perhaps the current crop of Graduates will be strong enough and smart enough to change things.  Right now I feel like we have failed them and left them with an awful mess to clean up.  If anyone can do it though, I bet they can.  I hope they can.

Friday, June 12, 2015

First one out of the nest!

Three baby birds hungry to grow....

Time has passed and #1 is ready to fly solo!

Today I'm thinking of all the ways my life has changed because of these little ones.  So funny to call them little ones as they have all passed me up, but in my heart they will always be my babies.

22 years ago today I became a Mama.  While I was more prepared than many, you are never really ready to meet the one who will transform you.  I had always loved babies and been good with them.  I had read every book under the sun and was surrounded by a support system to be envious of.

22 years ago this morning I had already been in labor for 16 hours.  Back labor in a hospital where my birth plan was being ignored, my wishes were being ignored, and my husband and best friend were doing their best to give me what I needed without getting themselves kicked out of the labor and delivery room.  I was so young, but had prepared myself to have this baby the way I wanted to. While I was struggling to keep it together, I was having to defend myself from hospital bullies.  NO, I don't want to breathe that way, I learned THIS WAY! NO, a resident cannot check my progress, only my Doctor.  NO, I don't want an epidural for the millionth time. NO, I don't want to lie on my back. NO my husband may not leave my side. NO I will not be quiet!  I'm in labor and will yell if I want! NO NO NO NO

After 20 or so hours where despite their best efforts to suggest otherwise, this little nugget was still doing fine and while he wasn't interested in joining the world just yet, was in no distress. I agreed to an epidural so I could sleep.  After a rest, the pace picked up and after 28 hours of back labor, I gave birth to my firstborn.  I was exhausted, starving and so happy to meet him.  I had also learned that I was a force to be reckoned with.  So many mama's were and are manipulated and bullied into procedures and medications that they don't want or need.  After my experience with Andrew, I became an advocate for INFORMATION.  If someone knows all the information and makes the educated decision to have this or that medication or procedure, good.  As long as they have the information.  This was my birth and my child. Given the facts it was my right to decide how to proceed.  Doctors are not God and I learned at that point not to treat them as such.

 Every step of the way with this guy taught me to question and challenge and inquire and keep seeking the answers.  When I had trouble nursing him, we kept working at it and found the support we needed.  When we were looking for the right daycare setting for him we listened and watched his reactions until we found the right fit.
In third grade our sunny, happy boy was becoming surly and withdrawn.  We listened to him, pulled him out of school and spent a year learning together until we found a new school that was a better fit.
For a while in Middle School and High School I stopped listening. I was busier with my work, he had two sisters who demanded my attention and he was moving into adolescence where kids need to figure it out on their own.  Sometimes I wish I had paid closer attention.  There were times when it might have been better to step in had I been "listening."

The path my compassionate, tie-dye loving, hula-hooping, long-boarding, forest loving boy has chosen is different than the one I might have imagined for him.  There are moments when I think "why can't he just wear khaki's and a button down shirt and be a professional of some sort or other."  Those moments pass quickly though because that's not who Jeff and I raised.  We raised a boy who is so kind and compassionate. We raised a boy who refuses to accept the status quo if he believes it is wrong. We raised a boy who does his research, gets the information and then makes his decisions based on that, not on what everyone else is doing. We raised a boy who has no patience for stupidity.  He has made choices we don't always agree with, but takes 100% responsibility for them all and respects us for the choices we make even when he disagrees with us.

I have no idea where his journey will take him.  I do know that I want to always be listening and paying attention, just in case he needs me.  Actually, I may have learned more from him, so perhaps just as he was my teacher 22 years ago, he will continue to teach me into the future.

Either way I know that I am so proud of the young man he has become and am looking forward to his visits home to the "nest".

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be"
                                   Robert Munsch

Monday, June 1, 2015

It will never be the same... and that's good.

I was so excited for Katy to get home last weekend after her first year at Luther College in Decorah, IA!  She has had such a great year and is turning into the confident, amazing young woman we always knew she would.
I forgot that when they come home they become their younger selves😏  I still do this when I return to my parents home in MN- while I'm 47, I find myself lounging on the couch and feeling a little like the teenager I was when I left home for college almost 30 years ago!  Andy did it when he came home after his first year.  Why did it surprise me this time?  I should have been more than ready!
We've shared texts, phone calls, messages of all sorts, and have increasingly become friends ~ this doesn't mean that I'm not still mom and she's still not my child though.

That first year out they stretch their legs and experience life without having to report in or follow someone else's rules and requests.  It's AWESOME!  They handle their own mistakes and figure out how to negotiate the world (at least a small piece of it!). Then, they come home.
There are house rules, there are shared chores, there are expectations and demands.  Ugh.  I wouldn't want to come home either!  It's not quite that bad, but there is negotiating that needs to happen and give and take on both sides.  Young people returning home need to realize that when you live with any group of people there are rules and norms and the ones at your family's home are different than those in a dorm.  Parents need to realize that their child is not a child any longer and to impose the rules and expectations of High School won't work.  Renegotiating how to live together is important and will help all members of the family enjoy the short time together.
Now if we figure all that out, I'll let you know!

We just celebrated her 19th birthday yesterday.  The weekend was super busy, so the best we could manage was a delicious dinner and cake with the family ~ Andy came home and our neighbors/family came to join us.  It was a day of up and down for my girl - she's excited and happy to be home, but misses her friends and "new" home terribly.  Along with that comes that angst that we will be hurt if she tells us that while she loves us more than anything, she'd really rather be with her friends.  Again, that's as it should be.
This whole process of growing up is about moving out and creating a life for yourself.  While I don't mean to imply that I don't want to see my children and have a connection to them while they create this life for themselves, I want them to know that I'll be fine.

When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with the "Little House On the Prairie" books.  One of my earliest memories as a reader was reading "Little House In the Big Woods" and trying to wrap my brain around the idea that when they left the big woods they would most likely never see their grandparents again.  When you moved away, you MOVED AWAY.
In today's world of transportation and communications, it is easy to stay connected and in someways too easy.  I look around and see a lot of pressure to BE TOGETHER.  Again, I hope that I will always be a part of my children's lives, but I want them to follow their path wherever it takes them.  They need to live THEIR life, not mine.  Was it strange last Christmas when Katy was away from us? YES! Was it fine? YES.  She was having an experience and that's awesome!  As Andy considers his options for the future now that college is finished, some of those options might take him far away from us.  Is that a little sad for us? YES! Is it fine though? YES!

I want our children to remain connected to us because they love us and want to have a relationship with us, NOT because they feel obligated or required to.  While I am sometimes nostalgic for the past and thoroughly enjoy loving up other people's babies, I'm excited for the future! My children will have interesting, wonderful lives and Jeff and I will move onto the next phase of ours ~ that's the piece that really makes it exciting!  After a lifetime together, we are really just getting started!  We like each other more than ever and dream of the adventures WE will have and the life that WE will live as our children pursue their life journey.