Friday, February 15, 2013

To Kennedy and Mia: Let me tell you a little bit about your parents...

I felt compelled to write a letter to my nieces.

They won't understand the relevancy of my words until they're much older (they're four and one) but I have learned so much about my sister and brother-in-law since they became parents, I felt it important to share it with them.

Perhaps I am way off the mark, but thinking about myself as a kid, and seeing parenthood through my grownup set of eyes has been an extremely astonishing experience.

Dear Kennedy and Mia,

The thing about mom and dad is that they want what's best for you; their decisions for you don't always gain the popular vote, but they have a responsibility to you. Believe it or not, they'd probably prefer to be gain a few points in the popularity category, but responsibility and consequence for your well-being always win. Always.

You likely won't realize or appreciate this until you're older, because their unconditional love is probably lost on you (it is on all kids who have never known anything but unconditional love) But trust me when I tell you that you are the most important thing in their lives. They'd love for nothing more than to make you happy one hundred per cent of the time, but they can't sacrifice your safety or well-being just to make you happy. This is reality; if there was a way to get around that, I'm sure they'd try.

You'll get mad at them a lot in your life, and they will always love you. It's easy to take this kind of unconditional love for granted, since you've never known anything else.

The thing about mom and dad is that they'll always come second to themselves and each other, because you are always going to be first. The second you were born, you become the most important person in the world to them. While looking out for one's own best interests is a natural human function for all people, parents develop a sort of "selfless gene" when they have Children. Their children's needs outweigh theirs; their children's feelings outweigh theirs; their children's lives outweigh theirs...

You've likely heard this a million times before, and I don't expect you to fully grasp the entirety of this statement until you experience it for yourself, but your folks sacrificed a lot for you. Even their most fundamental basic human needs, like showering, eating and sleeping, have always come second to your needs.

Your parents don't expect anything in return for these sacrifies, except that you love and respect them.

The thing about mom and dad is that their concern for your well-being not only burdens you, it burdens them too. You may feel smothered by their rules, but rest assured your parents do too. When you scoff at their paranoia of the worst case scenario, they grapple with the very same thing. Your parents never used to be so cautious, but you getting hurt is their biggest, scariest, saddest fear in the world.

Every accident they hear about, every tragedy, every ill-fated situation that happens to another person, gets into their brain. You are the first thought that comes to their mind when they hear of these situations, and the utter fear of something like that happening to you becomes too much. Protecting you isn't just something they have to do out of obligation, it's something they need to do for you and for themselves.

While you may feel strangled by their concern, feel grateful that somebody loves you that much.

The thing about mom and dad is that they are flawed. Your parents are only human, from time to time they will make bad decisions and mistakes. They will have bouts of selfishness; they will sometimes be unfair; they'll get angry, be irrational, and they'll piss you off. Sometimes they will even be wrong.

Try and be understanding when this happens. It will be hard, but really, really try.

It'll be hard to go easy on them, since it seems like they're always on your case for the bad decisions and mistakes you make, but just remember that they expect great things from you because they think you're perfect, while you expect great things from them because you expect them to be perfect.

Trust me when I tell you that your parents are not perfect.

The thing about mom and dad is that you are the best thing that ever happened to them. Before you were born they didn't fully realize the meaning of life and love. To them you will always be their little girls, and they will always try to protect you. They love you unconditionally, and they want you to have a better life and future than they had.

You are two wonderful girls, full of potential and personality. You may not have everything in life you want, but you have parents who love you dearly. You are so very lucky, and so are your folks.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Four-Year-Old's Get Valentine's Day

My Valentine from the Kid. 2013

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

I think the kid’s excitement for “Valentimes Day” is rubbing off on me. She is so excited for this day that she has been counting down the sleeps till Love Day is finally here. 

For her, this day is about hearts and love. 

“Everybody get’s a Valentime,” she told me. “Everybody.”

It’s refreshing to look at this day through a four-year-old’s eyes. She’s too young to feel inadequate about not having a boyfriend to share it with, or to be let down by high expectations. She isn’t comparing herself to her friends, or feeling lonely. On the contrary, she is just so happy to celebrate love day with the people she loves. 

It’s kind of profound to realize that a four-year-old knows more about love than most adults I know. While many will spend the day showering their partners with gifts, and others will feel lonely or let down, this kid is just happy to cut out construction paper hearts and bask in the day.

Bravo kid.

I don’t have a boyfriend this year. I’m not bummed about it, because I’ve never really been big on this day; not in the last decade anyway. But this year, after seeing this day through the kid’s eyes, I am excited for Valentine’s Day too.

I don’t have elaborate plans, but I’ve planned a red-hot date with my gym tomorrow night. It’ll be like the red-hot date I have with my gym three to five times a week, except afterwards I might buy myself a latte.

Aside from my nieces, I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather spend this day with. 

I hope you all have a wonderful day with the people you love. Whether you show them with your actions, your words, or gifts, make sure you let them know just how much you love and appreciate them. If you don’t have anyone to shower with your affections, then show yourself just how much you love you. There is no shame in not having anybody but yourself to love. We should all be so lucky to love ourselves as much as we expect others to.

If you find yourself feeling sad or lonely, my best advice to you is to have a heart-to-heart with a kid in your life; they’ll set you straight on what this day really means.

Happy Love Day everyone!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Can't hold on to the past...

Me and Amma Selfie, Circa yesterday.

I went to visit my grandma yesterday. 

She recently moved into a nursing home; a necessary adjustment, but a hard transition for her and for some members of my family. Me for sure.

I’ve been taking this whole experience extremely hard. I know it’s a progression of life, and I know that what is happening is happening in the best interest of my grandma. Still, the feelings that come along with this type of change are difficult. It’s a sort of grieving process that I didn’t expect.

There are parts of this story that I am not going to tell; not because they are bad, but because I need to respect my family, namely my grandmother. Her privacy and dignity are of the utmost importance. In writing about this, I can and will only speak to my feelings and experiences. 

I knew this was coming. I’ve known for a long time, yet I’m trying my damndest to hold onto the past. Though I realize this is impossible, letting go doesn’t get easier with logic. 

Logic is meaningless when you love somebody.

My grandma and I are close; we have always had this special relationship that I can’t even explain, let alone compare to any I’ve ever had with anyone else. It’s like we are the same spirit, sixty years apart. It sounds whimsical, but that’s what it feels like.

She has always been a part of my life. To me, she is forever.

My grandma has never let me down, or hurt me. She has always believed that I could do anything, and has encouraged me in my endeavors no matter how foolish or ambitious they were. She is the type of person that has clipped every article I’ve ever written; meticulously saved every card or gift I’ve ever given her; Appreciated every visit I’ve ever paid to her...

She loves me and I love her.

As we sift through her things, the sentimental value of the entirety of her home has almost become too much. Her apartment, her things, her smell, that feeling of being home... It’s all being packed away, divided, and moved. It’s just stuff, but it’s her stuff. 

I can’t seem to get passed that. I don’t want to let it go.

This move, this change; it’s the best thing for her. Though she waivers in her feelings about it all, I know that she is being taken care of, and I know that there are aspects of this new life that she already prefers. 

Perhaps I am just being extremely selfish. I scold myself for that, knowing full well that this transition was overdue. I guess I just wish that time would just stop for a little while longer. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

For Amma

When your heart grows heavy and your memories fade, 
When simple becomes hard and you are afraid,

I will be there.

When hope is lost, and hurt intervenes,
When your whole life becomes a set of scattered scenes,

I will be there.

You can't escape this demon, it will eat you whole, 
but the ray of light inside you will encapsulate your soul.
Confusion has become a staple in your life,
With a hand upon your shoulder we will get you through this strife.

When your mind starts to vanish and you forget who we are,
When frustration gets the best of you, and reality seems too far, 

When your feelings make no sense, and you've had too much to take,
When your tears fall like bombs, and your heart begins to break,

When your day hands you nothing but forgetfulness and despair,

You are not alone.

I will be there.