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Friday, March 28, 2014

Good News Friday 3/28/14

I've missed a few weeks of Good News posts.  This has been a good week.  Welcome back, good news.

Let's see......what has happened this week:

1.  I (finally) got a washer!  This is more exciting than I ever imagined.  I washed just about everything that has been waiting for a washer.  All the clothes, linens and a comforter!!!  No flooding!  No thump, thump, thump as it tries to move into the middle of the room.  Nothing!  And it sings to me.  This is love.



2.  I remembered why I actually like being an interpreter this week.  Most of my work like is pretty routine.  I stepped outside of my familiar world and tried something different.  And I was able to work with another interpreter from another country.  That was so cool!  Fabulous exercise for my brain and confidence level.

3.  Without divulging specifics, I learned that the mommy network is strong and I'm happy to be part of it.  When I need just about anything (most recently a plumber), I go to the network and get the help I need.  I've used it for everything from services to medical recommendations.  This week, I made a comment to a friend (not a mom!) about an issue I'm dealing with and within 30 mins, another mom reached out to me with advice and support.  It's nice to know I'm not alone.

4.  My blog post last week was picked up my by ex-husband and his girlfriend and reached a lot of people!  It wasn't quite a record for this blog but it was close!  That was an exercise 

5.  I practiced letting go.  I let my kids go to the movies in downtown Silver Spring without me.  Without an adult (little did I know another mom didn't leave the theater!).  Then they went shopping and eating - all alone.  Anyone who knows me knows I have control issues.  But I also valued the freedom my mom gave me when I was young (I was riding the train to Philly alone by age 10).  I want them to experience that.  It all went well.  Whew!

It's been another crazy, busy week.  But I'm remembering to acknowledge the good when it comes, realize the bad doesn't last forever and be grateful for it all.


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Meaning of a Word

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.  There's a lot of stuff going around social media about the R word.  I have a long history with the R word.  I'm changing that history.

I admit it.  Calling someone retarded - even myself - made me laugh.  It was a word that held no meaning for me.  I didn't think about the history or the implications of using it.  I thought it was funny. Now I realized that it does indeed have implications and a lot of meaning.  Lesson learned.

I was guilty of this for years.  My ex and I even had a code word we used that meant "you're retarded" without actually saying that word, but the sentiment was the same.  We knew it was wrong to use, hence the slight change there.  We didn't want our girls learning it.  But we didn't really stop using it.

Then after our separation, he started dating a woman who has a daughter with Down Syndrome.  That girl will probably never understand how much she has changed our family - for the better.  I remember the first time I met her.  She wanted to meet me - I couldn't figure out why.  She adores my girls and wanted to meet their mom.  Makes sense.  Sammie is a sweet and fun kid - and I would never do anything to hurt her feelings.  So my vocabulary changed.



But really it's more than that.  It's changing how you look at people.  I would never use a racial slur so why would I use a word that is so mean and would hurt other people's feelings?  I wouldn't make fun of other disabilities so why is using that word okay?  My girls do a lot of  Down Syndrome (DS) activities with Sammie - the Buddy Walk, dances, all sorts of things.  They are part of that world.

My proud DS moment came last year when a teacher in one of my daughter's classes called a kid retarded in class.  A stood up and yelled "It's not okay to use that word!" Other kids joined in and corrected him.   I showed up a few days later to have a little chat with him about his vocabulary choices.  He apologized and I'm pretty sure he won't use that word again in class.  I hope he thinks about it before using it out of class.

It takes a while for words to enter or leave popular culture.  Hopefully this word will be gone for good.  Hopefully people will realize people with Down Syndrome are PEOPLE. It's an important thought.  They are people with senses of humor, feelings and a lot to contribute.  For me, Sammie has taught me a lesson I won't forget.


Learn more at http://www.r-word.org/

Friday, March 7, 2014

Good News Friday 3/7/14

This has been a challenging week.  I rarely drink and when I do it's very rarely wine.  I've had wine this week.  And beer.   And the week isn't over yet.

But a few good things did happen.  Let me see if I can remember them......  Oh yeah....

1.  I won a printer from one of my favorite bloggers, Jessica McFadden over at A Parent in Silver Spring and A Parent in America (http://aparentinamerica.com/).  And she brought it to me over at the skating rink.  That's a great (and understanding) mom!

2.  I am in my third week of not yelling at drivers.  Miracles do happen.

3.  I've been scouring craigslist for a year looking for a very particular dresser.  I found it at a fraction of the price I expected.  And it fit in my car!  Win, win and extra win!

4.  One of my girls broke her leg.  Or so we thought.  The urgent care place said it was broken.  The orthopedic specialist isn't so sure.  "Isn't so sure" is good enough for me!  So no cast (kid is not happy about that), funny looking boot (she'll still get attention so that's fine) and crutches (that were fun for the first two days and now she's over them).  Mostly what this means is a faster healing time and less worry once it's healed.  Whew!

5.  I started the week seeing a play (Tribes) and having a very grown up dinner with a friend.  That was nice.  I don't do that often enough.

6.  Oh!  I forgot!  It's the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!  Sing it with me!  It's daylight savings time.  More daylight.  More happy Judi.

So that's all my good news this Friday.  Feel free to share your good news in the comments!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Sending the wrong message

I am 47 years old.  I think this surprises some folks, probably not because of my youthful appearance but more of a maturity level thing.  I keep thinking one day CPS will realize I'm not really an adult and take my kids away.  Then I realize I do a good job of taking care of them and my mom and myself and it hits me:  I am indeed an adult.

This is the first year I feel older. This is also the first year I'm realizing the media is playing a part in this.  On a nearly daily basis, I am told to hide my fine lines, cover my grays, make my skin tone more even - change how I look.  It has made me look at myself and others differently.

I wasn't seeing the lines around my eyes - that tend to show more when I'm happy and laughing - as a good thing.  I wasn't seeing the scars I've gotten over the years as anything positive.  The occasional gray hairs were making me nuts.

But why?

The man I date doesn't care that I'm not perfect.  When we were talking about this topic the other day, he reminded me that he wanted us to grow old together.  He couldn't have said more perfect words.  When I said I wanted botox in front of my girls, A said "NO!  You are perfect the way you are!"  I tell them to love themselves yet here I was wanting to change myself.

I used to watch the Real Housewives and think I wanted to look like them - svelte, perfect with good noses and always perfect hair.  Then it happened.  They couldn't cry pretty.  Granted, most folks aren't pretty when they cry.  But their faces move.  I don't want to be plastic.

There are ads, magazine articles, talk show topics - you name it - showing how to have perfect (surgically altered) boobs, noses, faces, even vaginas.  If you shouldn't have lines on your face, you definitely shouldn't a 40 something year old vagina.  Great messages there.  I started to feel inadequate even though my children and the man who sees me at my best and worst tell me I'm beautiful.

Then I watched the Academy Awards last night.  Holy botox overdose!  There were lots of unnaturally shiny faces - male and female!  There were those with very even skin tones, even though they were orange.  I don't want shiny.  I certainly don't want orange.  Fuck that.  I like to laugh.  I don't want my face so frozen that I'm unable to cry.

I'll still probably continue to dye my hair.  I have been doing so since I was about 14 years old (with a few breaks in there).  My hair is naturally almost black so the few grays seem to glow. Besides, I like my hair with a tinge of purple.  I've just discovered life as a sort-of red head.  I like playing with it.   There's a difference in doing it because I like and doing it because I feel I'm supposed to do it.

This is probably the most recent picture of me.  No make up.  No hiding anything.  The lines are all there.  So is the uneven skin tone.  And the roots that needed to be touched up.  But at least I can smile and my face doesn't reflect the sun.