Tag Archives: literature

Daughter Shopping

12 Sep

My title is deceiving.  It implies I am in the market for a new daughter.  This is not the case…I assure you.  And though this post has nothing to do with shopping for a child, it does involve the parent-child dynamic.  Are you surprised?  Have I not overused this topic already?  I will answer for you, “no to both questions.”  Of course none of us can be surprised; after all, the subject of inter-human relations is inexhaustible.  This subject has come up for me this week via two completely unrelated circumstances.  The first is through my daughter.  The second is through the relationship of a friend and her son…and me.  First I will tell you the story of my daughter.

As I have previously written, Esther is in college.  Her math professor happens to have also been my math professor.  He and I got to know each other on a personal level because I required much assistance to gain the “A” grade for all three of the math classes I took while under his tutelage.  In addition to him being an astute professor of mathematics, he is a kind man and our personal lives crossed at a couple of proverbial intersections (stated only to avert the perversion of thought that might try to infiltrate the connection).  At any rate, the point of the aforementioned rhetoric is to simply overstate that he and I gained a knowledge of each other and of our families.  In fact, he has known Esther since she was twelve…almost five years now.  So the other day, when upon my advice she met him at his office for his amazing tutorial guidance, it was no surprise that he suggested to her to ask me for assistance on any and all of the subject matter in which she struggled.  His statement, as retold to me by her, went like this:  “Why don’t you ask your mom for help.  She is a really good teacher and was an excellent student in Algebra.”  And to this piece of advice, or suggestion rather, she said (again as retold to me by her): “NO WAY!!  My mom and I don’t mix well together in math…no how, no way!”  And you know what?  She is telling the truth!  We most certainly do NOT mix well when it comes to mathematics.  We do, however, get along fine while shopping.  Shopping for clothes, shopping for shoes, shopping for accessories–just plain old shopping.

Now onto the second scenario…

I have a good friend, a few hundred miles away, who has an elementary aged son who struggles with literacy.  Well on Sunday he called me and asked if we could have a Skype session (internet video phone call, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Skype) for no other reason than it is something fun to do.  So while we were chatting away about nothing important, and mostly because I was trying to keep the interest flowing, I asked if he would like me to read a book to him.  With immediate reluctance he questioned, “What book?”  I suggested Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (because it was within a reasonable reach).  It just so happened to be a favorite of his, therefore he answered, “yes.”  I read the book to him and after I finished he tucked himself into bed and we signed off with a “goodnight”.  Monday night I had another Skype call from my young friend.  Only this time HE had something to read to me.  He read me two short stories and allowed me to read another from my shelf.  Our next “telephone” date is set for tomorrow night.  And it honestly cannot come too soon.

My girl friend and I spoke the next day and she said her son has, since our first reading, Skyped with an older cousin and read to her as well.  My friend tells me this interest in reading is something of a phenomenon for her son.  She even accused me of having used magic on him because she says he normally does not like to read out loud, nor does he like to be read to.  And now he is excited about both…via Skype.  And all of this praise comes simultaneous to my daughter balking at the suggestion of utilizing me as a mathematical resource.  Funny.  Ironic and funny.

Yet isn’t that just the way of life under “normal” familial conditions (I use quotes on normal as I’m not quite sure what normal truly means.  Normal in my life seems to equate with chaos.  Controlled chaos, but chaos just the same.)?   I mean here I am able to help my daughter with her difficulties in math, yet she is adamantly opposed to working with me.  And my girlfriend, more educated than I, is definitely capable of reading and being read to, though her young son is reluctant to utilize her literary skills.

Children, and the business of raising them, is funny stuff!  And I am thankful that we help each other along the way.  To invest, to the degree that is required, can be quite the daunting task when going at it alone.  Which is why we need to ‘pitch-hit’ for one another during the times our ‘ever so wise’ children foolishly reject our skill sets.  I actually think the Chilean poet, Gabriela Mistral, says it best in her poem titled, “Su nombre es hoy” (“His Name is Today”).  Written in Spanish, the writing implores its readers to comprehend that the child who is at the crux of growth and development is not to be neglected.  He or she is to be invested in.  She states that to abandon the child is akin to keeping from them the fountain of life.  She encourages us to know that the many material “needs” we have can wait, but the child cannot.  And she finishes the piece by rhetorically asking, “how can we tell him tomorrow, when his name is Today.”

I am thankful for my young Skyping friend.  He has helped me remember that though my daughter rejects my tutorial assistance, there is another whose investment in her life is of great value and importance within that realm.  Which is how I hope my friend feels about me and her son’s new passion to read.

Su nombre es hoy

Nosotros somos culpables
de muchos errores y muchas faltas,
pero nuestro peor crimen
es el abandono de los niños
negándoles la fuente de la vida.

Muchas de las cosas
que nosotros necesitamos
pueden esperar, los niños no pueden,
ahora es el momento,
sus huesos están en formación,
su sangre también lo está
y sus sentidos
se están desarrollando,
a él nosotros no podemos contestarle
su nombre es hoy.

-Gabriela Mistral


A Skype “goodnight”

The Little Things

2 Aug

I haven’t had time to write for pleasure this week.  And because I have only a few moments to post something before my eyelids bring my system to a close, and because it will be a few more days before I have the energy-opportunity convergence which will allow me to indulge my cathartic pen, I will share a few tidbits that have been mulling about in the vacant space of my mind (which doesn’t offer much room, though that point my siblings and good friends would argue).:

  • If you clean your ear with a dirty Q-tip, the result can be most alarming!
  • The blog, www.igamemom.com is a valuable “apps” resource.
  • Cleaning up after a dead rodent, in the kitchen, is nauseating.
  • I love my family.
  • Silver hair is beautiful, gray hairs are not.
  • This life is hard, yet full of fun adventures.
  • Math after 3:00p.m. should be against the law.
  • Speaking of law, traffic signals at freeway entrances are for everyone else; not me!
  • I am in love with the moon, with Moliere, with Voltaire; With Rousseau, Ibsen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle…with sleep.


P.s. Please check out the blog I mentioned, the information it provides is most valuable (and truly does not deserve to be categorized with the rest of my delirium).



Chewing by Choise

18 Oct

I enjoyed the good news of my last post so much that I wanted to let it sit a while before writing a new post.  I am currently chewing on the idea of ‘choice’.  I would like to think that I choose a good attitude in life.  But then I wonder, doesn’t everyone?  I mean, why choose to be hurt?  The very written implication of that last question makes it sound like a ridiculous notion…”choosing to be hurt”.  Of course one doesn’t “choose” to be hurt; one “gets” hurt.  The very word “gets” suggests hurt is imposed, not chosen.  We don’t run to our mother and say, “Johnny hit me and I choose to hurt!”  Of course not.  We say, “Johnny hurt me!”  So the idea that ‘hurt’ is thrust upon us is given to us early in our culture through our use of the English language.  Now that is the obvious, and the obvious is usually NOT what compels me.  Of course not, my nature forbids it (not true for I can override my nature should I choose).

Aaaaahhhh…it is the last statement, made in parenthesis, that furthers this discussion!  Now catch this with me if you can, hopefully I can make it come across in a comprehensible manner.  Consider that Johnny hit you.  In that moment, it was he who inflicted that which hurt.  However, consider that you tell the story of Johnny and his attack upon you several times.  Of course you run and tell your mother instantly (or whoever is available to console you in that moment), and sure enough, by the end of the day the incident becomes a ‘has been’.  But if you wake the next morning and retell the tale at breakfast, then again at lunch, then again at dinner, then again and again and again, does that mean that Johnny’s blow is continuous, therefore making his hurting you continuous also?

My opinion…No.

In my view individuals allow hurtful incidents to “hurt” them longer than should be allowed.  I’m really not excluded in this, though I write as though that is the case.  My being aware of it does help me to not live in constant pain, physical or emotional.  Again to state the obvious, humans hold onto emotional hurt long, long after the pain of the physical has subsided.  And in my deduction, it is the re-telling of the incident that keeps the emotional pain in its thriving state.  Then the “state of the pain”, for some people, becomes a part of their identity.  There is a trap that comes along with this practice.  The trap is, that as the pain is the identity of a person, that person begins to expect the pain.  For example (mind you I am being benign here so as none of you can read my writing and consider I am drawing from your personality), being the last person chosen for teams in grade school is hurtful.  As an adolescent the fear of the pain reminds one to either  ‘no-show’ on the team choosing day in P.E., or cop an excuse for why you should be chosen last.  Thus the original experience from grade school is being allowed to direct the actions in adolescence.  As an adult, those insecurities are in full bloom and thoughts of “no one ever calls me” or “I’m always the last resort with friends, family, co-workers, etc.” are allowed to flourish in the mature mind.

I bring this up because, bottom line, I want to.  That is the stripped down truth.  But the truth with clothes on is that I bring it up because I interact with people, whether strangers or not, who are bogged down by painful occurrences from their past.  Maybe not on a daily basis but consistent enough to be recognized.  It seems to me they are being robbed of the joy of today, and the potentiality that circumstances have changed, that they have become someone who is chosen first!

I remember exactly when and where the good Lord spoke to my heart and mind about this very thing.  Where he illuminated within me the idea of choice.  I will share it in my next post, for right now I would rather hear your opinion on “Chewing by Choise”; joyfully misspelled on purpose—take that ‘Auto Correct’!

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