Friday, October 23, 2015

Finding Your Own Voice

This summer, I was forced to confront the reality that one of my kids didn't like summer camp. When I was young, I lived for going to camp every summer. I continued to work there as a college student and eventually worked there professionally after I was married and even when I had 3 kids. For a variety of reasons, I left my job there and moved on to other things, although it was a hard decision to make, and now each summer, I miss it and am jealous of all of my friends, and even my father, who still get to go.

I cannot imagine what a kid would not like about summer camp, so each summer, I continued to cajole and bribe my youngest to go. Don't you want to be with your siblings, I'd ask? I'll buy an ipod touch, I said. Everyone really wants to see you, I added. She went for a few summers, stayed home for one very long summer, and went back.

This summer, she went, but after two weeks we brought her home. It was very surreal to be on the other side of the phone call as a parent and hearing that camp just wasn't the right place for her to be right now. She was very unhappy and both my husband and I knew that we needed to bring her home.

Looking back now with a few months perspective, it was the best thing we could have done for her, and for all of us. It reminded me that no matter how we try to box our children in, they will break out eventually into their own people. We don't do it on purpose, we do what we think is right for them, what will help them grow. The experiences we trust are the ones that we ourselves had, pushing on them the successful ones and trying to help them avoid our own failures. As a mother, it is sometimes hard to separate ourselves from them, to remember they are individuals. Each year as they grow, the virtual umbilical cord becomes longer and longer while we, the parents, only really want to keep pulling them back. We know it's futile and we fight our impulse, but we aren't always successful.

The truth is that we just wanted to help her find her way, coming to the understanding that her way was not necessarily ours. In fact, it allowed her to come to terms with some things that will help her to move forward in her life.

I continue to learn from each of my children how to parent them as they develop into individuals and young adults. I enjoy watching them find their own voice. I also enjoy embarrassing them as only parents of teenagers can. That way, they know I haven't lost my individual voice along the way, and neither, I hope will they.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fifty and More than Fine

Today is my sister's 50th Birthday. I don't think she would mind my telling you that, she's been hash tagging about it for a while now.

It is a tradition in our family to write a song or poem for special occasions and since, unfortunately, I won't be there to help her celebrate in person, I herewith submit my song/poem in honor of her special day.
Sgt. Peppers

It was 50 years ago today, Kim was born in a natural way
She never goes out of style
and she's guaranteed to walk a mile
so may I introduce to you
the one and only oldest who....
Our fifty year old sister Kimberly Anne....

[instrumental interlude]

Our oldest sister the awesome Kimberly Anne
We hope you will enjoy the snow
Born in Kentucky's own heartland
On her birthday we want you to know...

Stuart, Seth and Jeremy, Andrew Frankenthal
Long Knife, Dunvegan, Louisville and All
You're wonderful, we love you
it's certainly a thrill
you're house is always home to us
we wish you happy birthday
and many more to come!

I don't really want to stop this song
but we thought you might  like to know
that your aunts are gonna sing a song
and we thought you might sing along

so let me introduce to you
the one and only Kimberly Anne
Happy 50th birthday Kimberly Anne

[instrumental interlude]

My duty's done my song is almost through
I'm sorry I can't be with you

We're singing all your praises
eating all your food
rooting for the Packers
wanting all your shoes
Best daughter, mother, sister, wife in the laaaaaaaand

Happy Birthday once again
Kim Gordon's one and only WGN radio band
we're getting very near the end

You're 50 and you're fabulous
You're feeling more than fine
Our super one and only
Kimbeeeerly Annnnnnnnnne!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Birfurcation or can you have your Barbie, 50 Shades and Feminism too?

Bifurcation means the splitting of a main body into two parts. Think of it as a fork. Like a fork in the road. Not like the fork that my youngest never eats with.

I'm just going to come out and admit it. I have tickets to see the 50 Shades of Grey movie tonight. I have read the books, even reread them. I'll continue; I love Barbies and I have some "designer" ones in my house. 

Those of you who know me would probably be comfortable calling me a feminist and I am completely comfortable with being called that. But I am also a realistic feminist and a realistic person and therefore, I bifurcate. I am two people at the same time. I am sometimes more one and more the other. When I am both or only one, I make my own choices.

On Facebook this week and on Twitter, where I follow feminist leaning pages and people and magazines, there is a bit of a trend in using 50 Shades as a sound off for violence against women and even $50 for 50 Shades, meaning don't see the movie, give $50 bucks to some worthy charity instead. 

You see, this bothers my bifurcated self. What is wrong with a book that allows women, and lots of them apparently, to fantasize about sex and to get aroused? Does it really matter if it's well written? Have you ever watched a porn movie (geared towards men of course because they all are) for the plot? Or read Playboy for the articles. Be honest.

Ah, but that is the guys, this is women. Women should repress their sexuality or at least not bring up in public what turns them on. C'mon, how disingenuous can society be? Every movie in Hollywood made by a man objectifies women. All the Meghan Trainors and Melissa McCarthys and Plus Size models in SI aren't going to change that. (just as an aside, plus size bikini models are not progress, progress is the cancelling of the SI swimsuit issue, period.) Have you seen Game of Thrones? 

Let's talk about violence though. Is Christian Grey a stalker? Is he a control freak? Yes, he sort of is, but give us women some credit that we can tell fiction from reality. 

At the Thanksgiving table this year, there was alot of talk about the NFL and domestic violence. What should they do about it? I pissed my dad off by saying if they really wanted to do something about it then anyone charged or investigated for domestic violence charges should be banned from playing in the NFL. It's not that simple, Hillary, they said. Oh, yes, it is. 

And did you notice that during the Super Bowl, with that great pizza commercial everyone loved, there were no pictures of women who suffered from domestic violence. Put their beaten to a pulp faces on the screen, put their orphaned children, put their homeless families. I mean you can scare people about accidents in the home with a dead kid but not about this? Did they even post a hotline # for help if you need it? Nope, just a website to take a pledge, how white of them.

Do I even need to mention the amount of violence against women in video games? This is what impresses men of our generation. These aren't guys that are cracking open 50 Shades of Grey. 

What goes on between two consenting adults is their business. Whether they tie each other up, enjoy anal sex, are the same sex or whether there are more than two in the room. or even if, God forbid, the just really like the missionary position. I've read some stuff on the internet that is not fiction that I can honestly say these people are fucked up. I mean bizarro, really waaaaay out of the box.  

There are so many real problems in the world that need real attention and real solutions, not the least of is the real state of women in so many places. Speak out on Facebook and Twitter about that. Genital mutilation, child brides, rape, no voting rights, domestic violence, hell even the lack of a female viagra, pay equality. What is $50? Did you know in the USA, women have to work 14 months to make the same amount as men in 12 months? 

I am woman, hear me roar. Or hear me moan. Or come see my Barbies. Or see me in my egalitarian synagogue. Or see me read 50 Shades. Or see me read the Goldfinch (I'm also a very deep thinker..)

Don't be slut shamed because 50 Shades may turn you on. Embrace your inner goddess.