Monday, July 31, 2017

Comforting After Loss - Microblog Monday

I'm in California. Visiting my Aunt. It's so weird not to say "my aunt and uncle," but I lost my Uncle a few weeks ago.

It was a hard visit. The look in her eye was lost. They were married for 73 years and now he's not there. They had no children. If they were bitter--they never ever showed it. During the times of IF hell, they were my rocks. They refused to accept that life without children had no meaning. They also said that their nieces and nephews were more devoted to them than some of their friends children--and we were. We are. All of us offered to have Aunt Vivian come and stay with us, but since we are east coasters and my Aunt thinks of 85 degrees as comfortably cool she said no.

It is the third time I have had to comfort after such a loss. The first was my grandfather, when I was 15. My grandparents missed their 65th anniversary by 8 months.

The second was my father, after my mom passed. They missed their 65th anniversary by 1 month and 19 days.

People don't know what to do or say.
They don't.

People kept calling the loss "a blessing." My aunt, who never swears--I mean she thinks "hell" is bad language told someone that calling this a blessing was "bullshit." I stared at her for about two minutes totally speechless. I was stunned to learn she knew the word--much less could use it in a sentence.

I took Lotus to see her and help comfort. It was disquieting for everyone, but eventually I think this will be good for Lotus. She's going to need to do this--and she rose to the challenge. She drew a picture of her self with a heart and her name. My aunt said it was beautiful.

None of us get through life untouched by loss. Lotus had one early on. It helps to help others.

Now to address my own grief at some point. Probably I'll do what I normally do. Hold it in for a while and then totally lose it. Ah, something to look forward to.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday Thirteen - Thirteen that I'm doing right

I tend to get down on myself for how I parent.
I'm like most women, thinking that I am constantly f**king this parenting deal up.
This weekend friends came to visit us. Friends with kids adopted from foster care. I was able to see what I was doing right and what I haven't been doing right. I decided to make this list about what I am doing right since I am so often thinking about what I am doing wrong.

What I am doing right is right for myself, D, and Lotus. I do not presume that what has worked for us would work for anything else. Also this is right now when Lotus is five--when she turns six she might throw all of this out.

1)  Consistency
If I say, "Lotus if you do that thing one more time--Plan B is what will happen." Plan B is what will happen and Lotus knows this. Is this 100%? No. Is it better than 90%? Yes. I watched our friends threaten their two year old with everything under the sun and he would just smile and continue on his merry way.

2) Time In
I can't take too much credit for this. Two of the adoptive parenting books talked about it and when I put Lotus in Time Out she wigged. Not just the crying but a total freak out. When I put her in time in--which mean I held her close and immobile as a toddler, she'd fight but after the two minutes she'd calm down and let me in.

3) Listening to what she isn't saying
"Some of the kids were bad at school."
"Really? What did they do?"
I know by her tone whether she is talking about herself or whether she is really talking about the other kids and I react accordingly.

4) What happened at school stays there.
I hope I will be able to continue this when she starts Kindergarten but for now, if she misbehaved at school (rare though that was) whatever punishment was met out at school was sufficient. I want her to feel comfortable telling me about things that happen when I am not there. If I punish her for her misdeeds--that the teachers have already addressed--she won't talk to me.

5) Intervening when she can't.
When she came home and asked what was wrong with her eyes, I thought she might need glasses. Then she told me that a kid at school had been making fun of her eyes. When I took her to school the next day I was mama bear.

6) Intervening when she won't.
A teacher started to call Lotus a little pet name "Little Lotus" and she didn't like it. She told me she wanted it to stop. I told the teacher, and it stopped. I didn't ask her why. It didn't matter. She didn't like it and that was it.

7) "Stop"
A friend told us that we used this like a safe word for our preschooler. I don't like the sexual connotations of that. We are teaching Lotus that when she says stop, people will stop. If they don't, we will intervene and make it stop. When the friends were here, we heard Lotus' stop loud and clear and ran to intervene when she said it a second time.

8) Answering questions honestly.
From the funny and easy, "What's an asshole? Why do so many of them drive?"
To the heartbreaking, "Did China Mommy leave me to be found because I was bad." I answer them with as much honesty as I can. Lotus' memory is incredible and I don't want to be caught in a lie--even a small one.

9) Daddy is co-parent, not the enforcer.

10) Accompanying her to the bathroom when she "wants company."
Also self explanatory.

11) No Tech Table
One of our most hard and fast rules. No phone or tv or screen when we eat at the table as a family. Sometimes we have to take a call (illness), but we explain that is an exception.

12) Co-sleeping.
I credit our amazing pediatrician for this. When we brought her home she slept between us. As she grew older I was worried that we would be told to stop this. Our pediatrician, born in Taiwan, said that she and most of the kids she knew in kindergarten (the equivalent) slept in a family bed.
"I slept in my parents bed until I was 7 years old." She told me. "How my siblings happened--one who is 4 years younger than I  and the other who is 6 years younger than I--that's not something I like to think about." It put me at ease.
Now it is about 50/50 whether she will spend all night in her bed or climb between us at night but it works for us. Your milage may vary.

13) Reading
Our house is full of books and about a third of them are hers. We read all the time.

What are you doing right?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Microblog Monday - Allowing the asshole to come out.

So, a few days ago my Facebook feeds were covered with John Barrowman in a TARDIS dress.

This is not a bad sight to see, as I am a fan of John Barrowman and seeing him is a good thing.

He also said somethings that were taken as anti-trans and that is not a good thing.

To be honest, I don't know the whole story.

To be honest, I don't care.

I think that we need to take a breath and realize that the worst meaning of the sentence that someone typed in a fit of twitterpation is not exactly the worst thing that it could possibly mean. Not everyone hates everyone.

We have a president who fires off tweet storms so he can feel important. Many of these tweets should be ignored.

Why don't we just try to ignore some of the stuff that annoy us?

Hear me out. People are getting crazy about the little things and ignoring the big things.

John Barroman wore a dress to be in solidarity of a television show that is about a fiction character who will soon be played by a female actor.

This is worth analyzing every bit of every word he is saying?

If he said something that is offensive, yes, it is bothersome.
But it isn't the end of the world. If you know him personally--tell him that it bothered you. If you don't--move on with your life. Also, allow him the space to be an asshole--everyone is an asshole sometimes. Maybe this was just his turn.

We're really getting too distracted by the little shit and facing the big one.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Microblog Monday - What's been happening

So here is some of the stuff that's been happening.

1) We went on the first full family road trip vacation with my little family of three, my father, and my siblings and their families that we have done since my siblings and I were in the back seat of the station wagon.
"He touched me!!!"
"Stop hitting yourself!"

It was fun.
It was "interesting."

My sibs and I have different travel styles. Mine is somewhere between plan everything--even your bathroom trips and let's just wander and see what comes. It was...interesting.

2) My uncle passed away.
Since I wrote about how he was dying in January--I have to say that this has been incredible that he held out for so long. He was 96. How could I expect him to live more.

I know this. And I am grieving. Grieving for my aunt who is alone. Grieving because I'll never hear a piece of classical music and not think of him. It hurts.

3) D and I are getting better.

I wouldn't classify us as fixed, but we are touching each other. We are talking and not yelling. We are sending Lotus out to watch TV and talking out our differences instead of yelling or freezing each other out. There is ground to recover but I am smiling more. I am reaching out to touch him more.

And more to come.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thursday Thirteen --Lessons Learned from My Uncle, The teacher.

On Monday my Uncle passed away.

He was 96 years old.

He had been married to my aunt for 73 of those years.

No one needs to tell me that he lived a good life. No one needs to tell me that it was time for him to go. But hearing the loss in my aunt's voice is horrible. Feeling the loss of knowing I won't be able to pick up the phone and hear his voice is also horrible. I'm trying to concentrate on the years I had him. On what he taught me. So here is my Thursday 13.

1) Laugh when you get annoyed.
Watching my aunt and uncle pack was funny as hell. She'd pack everything and he'd stand at the door of their bedroom and laugh at her. Then she'd yell at him in french. Then they would laugh and laugh.

2) There's no cure like travel.
Go away from your base for a while. A Staycation means work--it really does.

3) Music can solve any problem

4) If your emotional state is still bad, you need to listen to more music.

5) Education can solve the world's problems. We should have continuing education for adults--especially civil education.

6) Listening is better with everything. Music, people, problems

7) Don't ask, how can you help--find something and do it.

8) Hand written cards are in fashion. They will always be in fashion.

9) If you dress up for dinner you are honoring your dinner companions

10) Love takes time and work.

11) Once you've reached your 70th anniversary, you can sit silently and hold hands and everyone will just think you are cute.

12) You're not smarter at 95 than you were at 45--you've just seen a lot more and know to keep your mouth shut until asked.

13) Slip from one world into the next holding your beloved's hand.

On Monday night, my uncle passed away. My Aunt was holding his hand.