Saturday, February 20, 2016

De Niro on Parenting

Before the flight to our last snow filled adventure, I downloaded a couple of movies to watch on the plane. One of the movies was, Everybody's Fine, starring Robert De Niro.  I was expecting a light, family dramedy. It was much more drama than comedy.  It really made me think, which is a sign of a good movie if you ask me!

Snow filled adventure!
The movie made me realize that as far as parenting goes, we don't know if we have done a good job raising our kids until they are grown and by then it's too late!  We go through the long days and fleeting years doing the best we can, using what tools we have available.  For me it was a lot of prayer and my best instincts.  There is no quarterly parental review by an objective party.  No one is there to tell us what we are doing well and where we are really missing the boat.  Unless you count the numerous  positive or negative progress reports from school and even those don't always mean you are raising a good or bad person, just take my word on this one.  I am talking more about the imprints we leave on our children's psyches, positive and negative.  We don't know the scars we leave until it's too late, if ever.  There are those who blame their parents for "messing them up" when the truth is, their parents were just doing what they thought was best.  When we reflect on our parenting years, we have more perspective...but in the moment we are just keeping it all together and hoping to make good people out of our children.

 In the movie, DeNiro's adult children have held things back from him to presumably shelter him from things they are sure will disappoint him.  None of us wants to disappoint our parents.  The real truth is, he doesn't need or want protecting, he just wants to spend time with them and have a relationship with them.  We project our feelings onto others and presume we know how they will react or feel, when the truth is, we can't know because we aren't them!

 I once heard a comedian do a skit on the six people in every 2 person conversation.  He was very entertaining but it has a ring of truth and explains why we have so much trouble communicating!
 I decided to google this, because Google is the authority on everything, and here is what I found...

The six people of a conversation – The renowned psychologist William James determined that there were actually six people involved in every two-person conversation:
  • Each of the conversationalists as they see themselves
  • Each of the conversationalists as they see each other
  • Each of the conversationalists as they really are
Think about that for a second!  When you talk to someone, you’re really only seeing the person you think the other is.  But that other person is projecting an image to you that he or she wants you to buy into and wondering if it’s working.  Did you think you were the only one that was obsessing about that?

It is a miracle we can communicate at all!
The movie ended up touching, surprising and inspiring me and in my book, that's a good movie!

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Joy of Naptime

Nap time is probably one of life's most luxurious and gratifying practices!  I am not a regular nap taker but I certainly appreciate the benefits of quiet time in the middle of the day.  My husband would take a nap every day if it was a socially acceptable practice for grown, working people!  We can all use a little down time in the middle of our day, it makes us much more productive overall and far less grumpy!  Yes, maybe we did learn everything we ever needed to know in kindergarten!

I remember when my children were young, I needed them to nap as much as they needed to nap.  A day could be made or broken based on whether nap time was successful.  Some days we all just needed a little solitary confinement to regroup and recharge!  I was usually very productive while the kids were resting.  I folded mountains of laundry, prepped many meals, sewed countless dresses for my girls and cleaned up the remains of the morning all while I watched one or more of my favorite soaps (remember soaps?) during rest time.  I gathered my thoughts and put things into perspective while the kids were napping.  All was well with our world if everyone took a good nap.  The days when there was no nap in nap time were the days Daddy came home to an unholy mess of cranky children and a crankier mommy.  Poor Daddy!

I was reminded of the sheer bliss of nap time today while I was taking care of one of my grandsons. He woke up at dark-thirty this morning and has been very cheerful all day.  Between the early wake up call, reading and listening to oodles of stories, staying afloat at swimming lessons, running several errands in sub freezing temperatures, lunch time followed by another of life's great pleasures...playing in and decorating a giant box....I think he and I are ready for a nap!  I will say, he is one of the best nap takers I've ever known!  He gives his Grampy a run for his money!  I would have been thrilled if any of my children went down for an afternoon rest with the ease and joy of this guy!  He makes me want to lay down covered with silky soft blankets too.  In the quiet afternoon sunlight I am reminded of how much I loved nap time and the peace...and opportunity it provided.

Recharging his cuteness!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Happy Lent Everyone

The partying is over, the pancakes have been eaten,  king cake is no longer king and Friday's are smelling a little fishy.  My weeknights will be sober and hopefully my blog will be more active.  As you all know I'm not big on New Year's resolutions but I do try to observe Lent in some way.  Being a good Catholic girl, the promise of eternal life or maybe it's the threat of eternal damnation seem to motivate me more than the commercial pressure to improve my health or become a better person every January.  This year is like any other and I will give something up and try to do something extra.

Lent just happens to coincide with my 6 week writing class, the first class was held on Mardi Gras, so by default I will be writing more during Lent. We have "homework" and what better place to throw out some of my ramblings/homework than the blog?
Some of our suggested practices are:
1-write 3 pages every morning, even before that cup of caffeine, (yeah, right... that will happen!)
2- find something each day that sparks us and write about it.
3- go on a personal adventure alone, be inspired and write.
 I think I'll try door number 2 or 3, morning time is taken by waking up and putting one foot in front of the other!  So six weeks of sober writing...should be interesting...or not!  Keep in mind... this is practice...not perfect!

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