Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hate is a strong word

There's a new television show premiering tonight, the title of which is "I Hate My Teenage Daughter."


I have three daughters, two of whom are teenagers. I've also been a teenage girl: granted, that was many moons ago, but I still remember what it was like.  The teenage years are a difficult time for parents and their kids. There's the old joke that once you have teenagers, you finally understand why some animals eat their young.  I get it--the hormones and mood swings and the constant battles as they struggle to assert their independence can be exhausting and emotionally draining.

But, c'mon. HATE?

There are times when my teenagers frustrate me, but even when they are fraying at my very last nerve, I still love them more than anything in this world. And, I make sure they know it, even as they're storming up to their rooms thinking I'm mean and unfair and way too strict.

I know, some will say, "Oh, where's the harm? It's just the title of a TV show. It's no big deal."  I disagree.

Being a teenager is incredibly difficult. You're at a stage of your life where you're just starting to discover who you really are and what you want out of life.  You're leaving behind old friendships and fostering new ones. You're learning to take responsibility for your actions, and accepting the consequences that go along with the decisions you make. You're growing, and maturing, and there's a lot that is expected of you.

The teenage years are a scary time, when the only thing you need more than wings to fly with is a soft place to land.  A parent's most important role is to be that soft place, no matter what.
What bothers me most is that putting out a show with a title like that implies that it's okay to hate your kids. It's not. Sure, you can hate the angst and the drama and the stress that comes along with having a teenager, but you always, always, ALWAYS love your child.  And you need to let them know that.

Especially when they're teenagers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving thanks

Last week was Thanksgiving, which has become a very bittersweet time for me. It's a time to reflect on all of the blessings in your life, and a time to appreciate the people and things and moments for which you are grateful.
This year, Thanksgiving fell on November 24th, the 5th anniversary of the day my father died. It's a sad time of year for me, and yet, I can't help but smile when I think of him. He was a wonderful, caring, loving man, and I was extremely lucky to have him in my life for as long as I did. I still feel the pain of his loss every single day, but I feel his presence with me every single day, too. That brings me some measure of comfort.

But still. I miss him.

There is a void in my life since his death that I haven't been able to fill. I don't know that I'm supposed to, really. It's like an immovable obstacle that suddenly appears in your path, one that you cannot change no matter how hard you try, so you eventually learn to just work around it and go about your business. It becomes part of the fabric of your everyday life. You don't like it, but you get used to it.

Today, I spoke with an acquaintance who shared some terrible news with me: her 22-year-old niece died in a car accident a week and a half ago,  and a few days later, her beloved dog of 16 years also died. All of this happened within days of Thanksgiving.

As a mother myself, it's nearly impossible to see anything positive or helpful spring forth from a tragedy like this.  No parent should ever have to cope with the unspeakable burden of burying their own child. But, I did find myself taking comfort in the fact that the dog died within a few days of the girl's if the dog sensed her owner's grief, and decided it was her time to go so that she could watch over the niece as she transitioned to the other side.

I know, it sounds hokey and spiritual and "out there," but I do believe that there is a life after this one. That who we are, our spirit, our essence, lives on.  I know, with certainty, that my father lives on. And that one day, I will see him again.

Until then, I will have to be content with the small, fleeting glimpses that keep hope alive in this world. The wonderful-but-all-too-rare visions of him, dreams of seeing him and talking with him and seeking his counsel. The unmistakable feeling that he is present, here with me now, as I type this, and at some future point in time, as you read this, watching over us both. 

Monday, November 21, 2011


One of my favorite websites:

They sell "demotivational" posters like this one:

If you have a sarcastic/ironic sense of humor, you'll love this site. If not...nevermind!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Natalie Wood's Death: Finally Some Answers?

Thirty years ago, on November 29, 1981, Natalie Wood drowned while on a boating trip with her husband, Robert Wagner,  and her movie co-star, Christopher Walken. I remember hearing about the murder, and feeling awful because she'd always talked about how fearful she was of the water. Drowning was one of her worst nightmares, and it's terrible that she had to die that way. There were rumors that she was drunk and fell overboard, but nothing was ever proven.

The circumstances surrounding her death always seem so hazy, with lots of unanswered questions as to exactly how it happened. Now, the Los Angeles sheriff's office says they have new information that has led them to re-open the investigation.

In 2009, Robert Wagner wrote about the events of that evening, and for me, they raised more questions than answers.  He talked about how they argued that night, and how much their entire party had been drinking. You can read his version of events HERE at the UK Daily Mail's website.

I hope this case is finally solved soon.

A Plastic Dragon!

This is very cool.

I love when art projects involve using ordinary, everyday items and transforming them to create something extraordinary.  Here, an artist creates a dragon sculpture using only plastic cups, spoons, and forks.

You can read the original post about it here:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Embrace Your Braces!

On Monday, my youngest daughter got her braces. She was a real trooper throughout the process, even though her teeth were very sore the next day.

The night before she had her braces put on, she hosted an "Embrace Your Braces" party.  She invited over a few close friends and served all of the things that she won't be able to eat for the next 12 to 18 months: fruit chews, popcorn, gummi gushers, fruit roll-ups, etc. 

Congratulations, this time next year, you'll have the nicest, most perfect teeth in the family!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baby #20 for 45-year-old Michelle Duggar

Duggar Family Announcement: Baby #20 on the way



It's Election Day 2011. Please take the time to get to your local polling place and vote.

I sincerely hope the protesters at Occupy Wall Street and similar demonstrations across the country will exercise their right to vote. Spending your days camped out in a public park, holding up a sign and shouting catchy phrases for the TV cameras about being the 99% or fighting corporate greed--that's your right as an American.

But all of the shouting and demands and shaking your fist at the sky don't have nearly the power that the simple act of casting your vote could have.  Don't tell me there aren't any good choices out there--if you don't like the representative from your area, then run for office yourself. Get involved and make a real difference.

It's easy to stand up and criticize and point out the problems that face our country. How about you try being a part of the solution?


Monday, November 7, 2011

The Hunger Games

My middle daughter loved this book, and can't wait until the movie comes out because she's in love with one of the stars (Josh Hutcherson).  I've heard great things about the book series, so I finally got around to picking it up.

I loved it. I finished it in a day, and blew through the sequel (Catching Fire) in half a day.  I'm waiting to start the third and final volume in the series, Mockingjay, because I know once I start I won't be able to put it down.

The Hunger Games: a futuristic, fast-paced adventure story, with a bit of teen angst and romance thrown in for good measure. Highly recommended!