Thursday, May 22, 2008


A few of my friends are simultaneously going through some tough times. And...I think I suck at being a great support when things are rough. Maybe this is typical?

In my family, there's a lot of "things will be fine, we love you" response to general personal angst, but the underlying message usually seems to be "suck it up, whiner".
Also, I think Mormon culture, or just the general post-pioneer-post-Depression-era stoicism of where-and-how I was raised, religious culture aside, tends to want to paint a smiley face on pain. Preferably with lipstick.

See? Pain feels better post-lipstick, Mother T, no?

I find this in my parenting as well. It's taken (and will continue to take) some time and work to just...let the sadness happen with the kids. Let them be where they are, without trying to fix, coddle or cajole them. And know that sometimes, they just need to be sad...until they aren't, anymore.

With my friends, though, I'm not sure where or how to be.

Maybe it's because I've been on the wrong end of suicidally down, and so I take long-term depression really seriously. Or maybe it IS my desire to see everyone up and happy and all right with the world.

At any rate, I'm in the midst of trying to be loving and present, without being overbearing, overcheerful, over-fixit or over-serious. To several people at once. Sans lipstick. Plus love.

Ahhhh...what is there to scream about with lovely Farrah hair?

Clearly I'm awesome at it...(yikes!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Eating Nature...and Thank Yous

Zel is turning into a Nature-lover. Of sorts. All tantrums right now are overcome by the promise of outside.

Which I love and admire, in a way completely somewhat rooted in a fantasy that she'll grow up to be this amazing, rugged, outdoorsy kind of person I can only aspire to from my comfy couch and cup of tea. And if it only didn't mean following her everywhere while she forages amongst the plants, rocks, bugs and dirt and tastes it ALL. Which I think is normal-ish, just impractical from a management standpoint.

For example, on a trip to the Columbia Gorge last week, she must have tried to eat an entire beach full of rocks, totally daintily, one at a time.

I try very very hard not to imagine what else has been on those rocks (not dog poop.... not bird poop... not people poop... superfund...nope, not that), and am trying to let her meet and embrace the whole natural world without always grabbing everything out of her hands with a crazed, dog-whistle-pitched shriek. But it's challenging. And I recognize that buried (not very deeply) inside me is a hand-wringing, annoying little dirt-phobic fusspot.

Conversely, Milo lately only eats and drinks and breathes Lego Exo-Force Robots and wouldn't go outside, far away from his robots, for ANYTHING. He's collecting these kits and building (with a lot of help - mainly from Jamie) all these machines and playing battles and creating and acting out stories about robots, good guys, bad guys, robot parts, laser cannons, etc. It's maddening adorable. And totally unfamiliar.

This morning we sat down to write a letter to his teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. We chatted a bit about what that might sound like and about things he'd noticed about them and how other thank you letters sound. And I thought we had a pretty good handle on how to say Thank You.

This is his letter:

This is from Milo W. I like teacher R. She never pinches my cheeks or tells me my feet stink. She reads stories to me and G. G is my best friend.We play exo-force together. Sometimes we play that we are both Kakuta and bad guys who are twins, like two bad guys who look like each other like that. Then some other kids transform and they are bad guys. Then we are the good guys and blast them with our laser cannons. Or hot lava. Then we transform into a big bad guy who eats the other bad guys and then we are really scary guys. There are Toa too. They're Bionicle. And good guys. That's all.

I just took the dictation and sent it along. I figure they must know Milo by now...