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collective success

I recently had a few conversations that left me reeling. They reflected visions of success that, I realized, I rejected completely and absolutely. Viscerally.

This left me with the questions: Why did I reject that vision of success? And given that I rejected it wholesale, what was my own vision of success?

The answer is tied, in part, to the 150 or so books I’ve read since August of last year. Somehow, I couldn’t find the answer to these questions in pages. I had to find it in conversation.

We live in a world of finite resources. Some people are granted access to those resources; others are deprived of them. Generally, those who have access have military or other kinds of power legitimating that access. In short, they retain access by force. Read more…

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cousins laughing

When I left my hometown, I was virtually certain I’d never return for more than a few days at a time.

When I left my hometown, I wasn’t a parent.

Now, I have two little ones.

Now, I watch them

play with their cousins

(some are cousins

by love and blood;

all are cousins by love

between once-famil-ies

now famil-y)

and hear their

peals of laughter

as they disappear

this way and that

and feel the joy

flowing out of them,

to be here with family,

and I wish

we did not

have to

leave.

This time, we’ll make the long drive back to Los Angeles.

But it may well be that there’ll be no drive back the next time we arrive, or the time after next.

That someday I’ll miss the SoCal sunshine … but that such missing will be a small trade to make to not-miss my siblings, or their kids, or the sounds of cousins laughing.

falling back

In my last post, I mentioned a few parenting-related matters I don’t enjoy. There’s another one, unlisted, that ranks right up there with those: helping my kids “fall back” for Daylight Savings Time.

(Even typing those words makes me grumpy.)

Usually, my husband and I endure two or three days of early rising each year. This year, however, both our kids had colds. We were thus awakened multiple times each night, and then greeted cheerfully at. three. in. the. morning: “It’s get-up time, right?!”

(Nooooooooooooooo!)

Doing this for two or three nights annually isn’t so bad. But doing it for eight nights? How’s a parent supposed to think straight?!

The good news is that my kids have just slept till 5 a.m. for their second night in a row.

Now, with any luck, my husband and I can get back to sleeping more than 45 minutes at a time.

Thank goodness!

Categories: Family, Parenting Tags: ,

when “we” isn’t

As I parent, I have to deal with lots of stuff I don’t enjoy: poop, vomit, pee on the toilet seat, regurgitated food hidden in odd corners by my toddler, and … tax news.

Thanks to my rocky childhood, I understood “forced teaming” long before I knew there were words to describe it.

Forced teaming is one tactic predators use to soften their targets’ defenses. Wrote Gavin de Becker in The Gift of Fear: Read more…

a bum tale

While prepping dinner yesterday evening, I heard my three-year-old mumble something to himself. I heard only the words “Mr. Finger” and “bum.”

I called from the kitchen, “Please tell me Mr. Finger and Mr. Bum aren’t visiting each other!”

He burst into laughter. “Silly Mommy,” he scolded, running to join me in the kitchen. “It’s not ‘Mr. Bum.’ It’s just ‘bum.'”

“Oh, okay,” I said, chuckling as he ran off again.

When I relayed the story to my husband later, he laughed, too. “Please tell me you’re writing this stuff down!” 

Our three-year-old joined us and began scratching himself. I seized the opportunity to see if his earlier comment was a fleeting notion or part of a framework. “Don’t scratch Mr. Bum!” I cautioned.

He laughed. “I already told you! It’s not Mr. Bum, just ‘bum.'” I’m not sure what all qualifies for the honorific “Mr.” in his world, but “bum” doesn’t meet the criteria.

I watched my husband stifle his giggles. Recalling his earlier statement, I thought, “I should be writing some of this down.” Which I am, starting now.

Categories: Family, Parenting Tags: ,

Save Now, Pay Later! — No, thanks.

Did you know Exxon knew about climate change 40 years ago?

That it then poured money into promoting misinformation about climate change?

If you hadn’t yet heard about this, that’s because a small group of heavily resourced people have worked long and hard to keep you misinformed. Indeed, searching for “scientific american climate change” (for this article) yields first and foremost a corporate.exxonmobile.com ad titled, “Don’t Be Misled – Get the Facts.”

‘Cause, see, folks: You should mistrust scientists, not those with enormous financial incentives to promote divergent outcomes!*

One of my favorite authors, Gavin de Becker, aptly calls denial a “save now, pay later” scheme. As a parent, I have sub-zero interest in pay-later schemes my children and their peers will be forced to endure for the rest of their days. I would rather face terrible probabilities now, plan now, and act now as I am able, knowing my kids and their companions will someday understand I did the very best I could to ease their lot.**

When adults dismiss climate change or think “some brilliant someone else will fix it, so I don’t have to think about it,” that denial isn’t cost-free. It’s a cost deferred–to those, I’d wager, most of us least want to suffer the consequences of adults’ studied refusal to see.

* “Cui bono?” is one of the most illuminating questions you can ask yourself: “As always, the answer is in the question, ‘Cui bono?’ Who benefited from this, and is therefor likely responsible?”

** I’m not only concerned with the younger generations, to be clear. Already, there are countless evident climate migrants (aka “climate refugees”) displaced by climate change, with more lined up, figuratively, for hundreds to thousands of miles behind them.

 

 

 

Reindeers & aliens

In first grade, my class dressed up as reindeers and did aerobics for the school’s Christmas show. Dressing up was bad enough for me; I did the bare minimum workout, and totally sat out the neck rolls, despite glares from the adults in my life. 

I’d decided that getting in trouble was better than doing all that ridiculousness.

Last night, at a weekend Cub Scout event, my eight-year-old was expected to don a costume with the other members of his pack. He wailed and railed against it. He said he’d rather not have candy than gain it by wearing “the stupid costume hat.”

Even when he did finally put it on, he sulked in our tent for a full ten minutes. After he emerged from the tent, he continued to sulk–mightily–straight through photos and the beginning of trick-or-treating. 

He eventually decided that candy was worth wearing the hat, but I’m kinda glad it took him a little while to get there. His obstinacy tickled me, bringing me to imagine my mom was right there with us. 

I envisioned her laughing with my husband and saying, “I didn’t hold it against her. I told her she’d get her own taste of it someday, and here she is! Here she is.”

Thus were Christmas then and Halloween now woven together … and my mom, gone in body for more than seven years now, no less powerful a presence in her reluctant reindeer’s heart.

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