Maybe It’s Just Me

Brad Paisley got it right. When he described his girl as “sunshine mixed with a little hurricane”, I’m pretty sure he was describing Sweetgirl. That kid is a whirlwind of toothless eight-going-on-eighteen.  Ahab and The Nana would surely describe me similarly… plus a few teeth. And pounds. And years.

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The times I have to watch my Sunshine hide behind clouds of doubt or insecurity, though, because of the way others treat her, it’s my own inner hurricane that starts brewing.

I can’t be the only one who identifies with the inner hurricanes I see within these tender-hearted girls. Self-doubt is a powerful ingredient in an emotional storm and it surely does seem like there are far too many of us huffing harsh words out onto others in hopes that we will feel smarter, prettier, more popular, and even seen. We whip our attitudes around and lash out at others in an effort to boost our own meager confidence. We think more highly of ourselves than we ought in hopes that we matter more than the next girl.

And none of it does a single thing to advance love, joy, peace, kindness or goodness.

No. In fact,  witnessing how hurtful and mean girls can be toward one another is distressing. Watching the devastation left in the hearts of the hurt is heartbreaking. Too often this meanness starts a vicious circle of behavior: Be hurt. Hurt another. Feel better. Be hurt again. Hurt another again. Feel better again. And on and on it goes.

And, I’m tired of hearing that this is just how girls are with one another. Responsibility gets to fly off on the shoulders of Blame, that way. And, assuming that girls will determine social hierarchy with little emotional fallout makes about as much sense to me as throwing a non-swimmer into a pool and saying, “Good luck with that swimming thing.”

Comments sharing how there will always be mean girls fall hard on my heart, too, because I’m a firm believer in doing what you can. Don’t we all remember the Starfish Story? We can throw one starfish starving for it’s watery habitat back, and it will make a difference for that one single starfish, won’t it?

Aren’t the hearts of girls worth just as much effort and attention?

With their increasingly younger noses perpetually pressed to their smart phones or tablets, and seeking social acceptance there, it seems obvious that guidance is needed. We adults need to be checking in often enough to know who and what these girls of ours are trying to get their self-worth from.

And, while we’re at it, where are we trying to get our own self-worth from?

As I’ve mentioned here and here, I do believe our worth is something a few of us adults need to be reminded of, too.

Or, maybe it’s just me.

What do you say we work on battening down those hurricane hatches together?

God knows Grace gushes in my general direction because I desperately need it.

Often.

Can we agree to work on showing, not telling, our girls how to treat themselves, first. Can we remind them again and again that they are created in the image of One who loves them more than any Facebook or Insta “like” ever will. And can we do that together, by caring more about the eyes watching us refresh our screens than those on our screens.

Sweetgirl needs some help learning how to combat The Mean with the truth that we are each a special God-designed mix of sunshine and hurricane. Especially as we boot up for a new school year.

And, quite frankly, her mama can always use some more work in that area, too.

Always.

Yes indeedy.

Who’s with me?

When to Turn the Other Cheek

One of the most helpful things I ever learned in counseling was to try to limit my use of “never” and “always” when thinking and speaking about feelings.

If you just broke into the theme song from the Broadway show “Cats”, I feel you.

If not, neither did I.

Sweetboy has a tendency to take his emotions to the extreme.  Words like always and never get lots of use. Sometimes, they are warranted. Most times, though, they’re just not.

We’ve had to work incredibly hard to curb his use of these words. It’s a tricky process.  When he’s in the throes of a meltdown, for instance, and ranting about how unlucky he always is, it’s a dicey proposition to step in and attempt to stem the tide of always or never.

He’s getting there.

Slowly, but surely.

Lately, we’ve had to work a lot more on the “why” behind his use of these polarizing words.  Why, as in, “Why do you feel like you are always a nobody?”

It turns out that there are some girls, some 4th grade girls, some not-even-in-his-class girls, who have been saying things to him on the playground.  Things like, “Your shirt and shorts don’t even match, you know!

For a kid who’s finally broken through to that dreaded other side of social understanding that now knows there is a social pecking order, those sorts of comments are devastating.

Especially when you are an always and never kind of kid.

Each time that Sweetboy encounters some slight at the hands of his classmates, (And it happens more and more, in these past few months of fourth grade.), he feels it very deeply.

His emotions run high, and that’s only somewhat because of his ASD.  It’s mostly because he’s my child.

Just keepin’ it real.

Honestly, though, I’d like to know who doesn’t go all Mama Bear when other kids pick on their children. Really! Show me a mom that exhibits loving-kindness in that kind of social situation, and I would like her to become my mentor.

Preferably, tonight.

Determining that turning the other cheek is the right course of action is generally not so hard for me.

Actually turning the other cheek?

That takes some prayerful effort.

Turning the other cheek when the circumstances involve my children?

Oh, jeepers…

I know what the right answer is… I do!

Thankfully, I didn’t have to give it.

“That’s not a nice thing to say,” he told them. “Besides, they’re just clothes.”

The boy up and turned his cheek all by himself.

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And, while I’d love to pick up the phone and ask these mothers, both of whom I am acquainted with around town, if they are aware that their girls are speaking to another child this way, I won’t.

Instead, I’ll turn the other cheek.

Because, God knew it would take my Sweetboy to plant that particular lesson a little more firmly in this thick head of mine.

I’m learning that the answer to the question of when to turn the other cheek, is one simple word.

Always.

Tonka Town Girl

Used With Permission

 

My Sweetgirl is so… me. She’s one of those play-rough-but-pretty-it-up kinda girls. She’ll gladly pull out the cars to “VROOM!” with the boys.  And Holy Moses, does she know how to wield a Pirate’s sword!  But, if left to her own devices for too long, she’ll have each and every dress-up dress pulled out and tried on, with different shoes for each. Mention that you’re going to paint your toes and she’s at the ready with the most sparkly pink polish she can find for her own piggies.  Jewelry?  Yes please!

 

Apprehension doesn’t quite capture my feeling for that moment when we found out we were having a girl.  “A girl!?  What in the world will I do with a girl?”, I said aloud. You see, I grew up hunting and fishing with Captain Ahab. It took me a good long while to start to appreciate my femininity.

 

Meanwhile,  The Nana swooned with relief. The grandchild count, so far, included only boys.  “No sweet little girls to dress up!”, she lamented on more than eleventy occasions.  “Who will I go shopping with?”, she was often caught whining asking. We all knew it wasn’t going to be me!

 

At the time, I had to set about rehashing all of the reasons why I was glad that God knit me together as a girl.  There were plenty, yes. But, I’ve had to learn a few of them along the way.  Haven’t we all?

 

So many prayers for this Sweet girl-child of mine… Not the least of which is that she’ll retain her sense of adventure while displaying her femininity proudly. Some of the things that I pray Sweetgirl will learn to appreciate, about being a girl, are things that I still pray for, for myself.

 

It should come as no surprise, then, that I found great joy when I found her playing with this:

 

Thank you, Grampy, for the nostalgia-inducing Tonka Tin!

 

I picked it up to put it away and heard a rattle inside.  I was curious.  Wouldn’t you be?  It’s always interesting to me to see what kind of “treasures” my kidlets like to stow away inside of things.  I opened it up and found this:

 

 

I couldn’t have planned that photo op better myself!

 

I do believe she’s going to turn out just fine and dandy.  Yes indeedy.

 

Scatterbrain Gets the Smush and Squish

I’m having one of those mornings where I have added a couple of sentences to no less than five posts that I’ve started over the last couple of weeks.  And I can’t seem to gain traction, for any long period of time, on any one of them.  Ever have one of those mornings?  It’s frustrating, to say the least.

Anyhoo, to add insult to injury this week, I had my yearly Mammogram appointment.  Joy of joys, it is not.  Necessary, though, it is.  I just went all Yoda on you.  I apologize…  I think the smushing of the girls also inadvertently did something to the brain.

I’ve been going for 10 years (as The Nana had some fun lumps – as in both of her girls removed, when she was 40).  And guess what? This is my 40-year-old Mammogram.  And I’m a bit more than nervous.  I keep repeating to myself that I’ve got a Faith bigger than my fear, no news is good news, early detection is key, and all them good thangs.

Here are a few things I’m going to try to remember for next year’s Annual Smush and Squish Appointment:

1. Don’t make appointment so early as to not even have time to grab a cup of coffee to see myself through the hour.

2. Don’t try out lame Tata jokes on the Mammographer.  She will. Not. Laugh. Even when I break out into a rendition of “Do your boobs hang low, do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie em’ in a knot?  Can you tie em’ in a bow?”.

3. Discomfort grows as does age.

3a.) Age grows as does discomfort.

4.) “I’ll position you.”  And, “Don’t help.”, are code phrases for “Keep your dern hands to yourself! I’ll be the one handling your Tatas this morning, thank-you-very-much!”  Whatevs…

And lastly,

5.)  Schedule Mammogram on Hump Day next year.  It’s far more appropriate.

Indeed.