Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Saving Sharks, Saving Me

January 11th, 2011

Recently, Ro and I watched the documentary “Sharkwater“  (Must.  Watch.) and I think he MAY have blinked twice throughout the entire movie.  He was enthralled and asked 7,403,388 questions.  My ears are still recovering.

He immediately started thinking of ways to help the sharks and suggested a lemonade stand.  He hounded me for several weeks but, I am embarrassed to say, I just couldn’t get my act together enough to help him.  ( Yes, I SUCK.  Thanks.)

Neeraj lives downtown and Ro obviously stays with him often.  Recently, they were hanging out in his living room and Ro announced “I’m going to your office to get paper!”  (How Nee heard this while buried beneath his normal piles of laptops, iphones, ipads and flat screens is beyond me but anyhoo…)    He apparently was busy for a little while then came downstairs and asked Nee for a zip loc bag.

Ro: “Daddy, come outside with me.”

Nee: “Why?”

Ro: “Cause I am going to save the sharks!”

Then he went to the nearest street corner and held up his homemade signs: “SAVE THE SHARKS” and “I’ll tell you about them!” and asked everyone who passed for donations.  (I wasn’t there, otherwise this would be where I was a weepy, snotty mess watching with pride.)

Nee told me there were people who actually walked right by Rohan and totally ignored him.  Again, I wasn’t there but this would be part where I’d be screaming (with my bloodshot eyes from crying) “HAVE YOU NO SOUL?” and tackling people for their wallets.  It would’ve been subtle and effective, trust me.  Anyhow, Ro didn’t raise much and got frustrated:

In all seriousness, I am continually amazed by this little being (and my older one but more on that next time) who daily reminds me to be kinder and more compassionate.  When I grow up, I want to be as caring as my 7 year old son.

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Rednecks Need Love Too

September 17th, 2010

Yesterday, I was involved in a road rage incident with Rohan in the car.  It was one of those things that blew up from nothing and quickly turned a bit frightening.  I had the right of way, someone gunned it at the last second, cut me off and I almost hit him.  I quickly beeped my horn at him and, as a result, Bubba stopped his huge SVU in the MIDDLE of traffic.  Just stopped.  Since his car was 9 ft off the ground with his “I’M INSECURE” massive tires and his windows were black, I had no idea what he was doing so I waited a minute, backed up and then started to go around.  Well, of course, he gunned it to the other lane when I did that and almost hit me.  Again.

Did I mention how much I dislike rednecks?

I waited.  He stayed in that lane so I passed and, of course, we ended up at a red light right next to one another.  I heard him yelling and had a huge lapse in judgement and, for some reason, decided to try and reason with Bubba.  All I cared about was him screaming profanities that my son could hear, so I rolled my window a little and pointed at my son and said something along the lines of “Be quiet.  There is a child in this car” yada yada.  What I really wanted to do was offer him some free dental work after I punched him in the face.  I kid, I kid.  I would’ve kicked him.  He only had seven teeth left in his head anyway.

Anyhow, he did actually shut up for a sec when he saw who I was pointing at, but then he kept yelling so I rolled up my window, turned the radio up and instructed Rohan to look out the other window.  I’m a city girl so immediately assumed this stellar example of humanity was going to follow us and harm us so I was pretending to drive while singing loudly with Taio Cruz to distract Rohan…all the while checking my rearview mirror like a felon in a car chase.

Apparently, Bubba had a KKK rally to get to because he did not follow us but I was pretty shaken, as was Rohan.  I immediately explained to him that I was actually trying to talk to that man but, sometimes, people don’t want to talk and just want to yell and be right and you need to learn to just walk away, which is why I rolled the window up.

Ro:  Why was he so angry though?

Me:  Good question, buddy.  Sometimes people get angry over one thing, but it’s really over something else that happened at another time.  They are sad and don’t know how to deal with the feelings, so they get REALLY angry REALLY fast over something silly.  I am sorry you had to see that though.  I learned my lesson.  Next time I will not even roll the window down because the best thing to do in situations like that is to ignore them.

Ro:  *pause*  Maybe he didn’t get love from his mommy and daddy when he was little.  Maybe he had a really hard time when he was a kid so that’s why he’s so mean now.

Be still my heart.  I LOVE MY BOY.  He has the most tender heart (yes, I know what you are thinking…where did he get that?)  and I am so blessed by this little being who constantly gives me much needed perspective.  Who knew I could learn so much from a six year old?

Apparently, God did.

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Dela-Wha? (Pt.1)

July 30th, 2010

Ro and I were lucky enough to spend 2 1/2 weeks in Delaware on the beach.  Yes – Delaware. That name hadn’t passed my lips since high school geography and I could’ve sworn it had a “North” and “South” and was located in the middle of the country but when I heard it actually had coastline, I was in!

So my bestest buddy in the world, my soul sista, the woman I would marry if I swung “that” way… well, we had a beach house for a week. Which would’ve been amazing except we had to include our kids. *sigh* Anyhow, with enough wine and tequila shots, we managed to make it a week to remember.

I am ashamed to say that my son has never seen a sandy beach. He’s seen much of the Pacific Northwest beaches but he’s never seen the majesty of big waves crashing onto a lovely sandy beach. So when we first got to the beach, he promptly took his shoes off and ran through the surf:

At which point, he immediately got wiped out by a wave:

So I sent my Dad in to rescue him:

The first day we spent at the beach most of my photos involve my son  1) right BEFORE getting wiped out by a wave or   2) right AFTER getting wiped out by a wave. He gets his grace from his Dad.

Meghan, aka my beautiful best friend, has two equally beautiful daughters named Gabriella and Lilia. I am so glad we all got to spend time together even though they encroached on my beach swagger (** see note at bottom)  with all their loveliness.  All the chirrun’s had a blast:

That Gabriella game me a run for my fashion diva money with her fancy hat and scarves:

And yes, Auntie Meg joined in the fun:

Lilia (the wee one) melts me into a little puddle when I see her sweet face in this pic:

I can’t decide which was cooler: Ro’s mohawk or G bringin’ back the 80′s with her rockin’ side ponytail:

G: Seven going on 16:

** You won’t see any pics of me because, thanks to melanoma, I had the single dorkiest and most unattractive SPF 50 cover-up in the history of fashion.  Now usually I am one to rock something regardless of what it looks like, but there was no hope.  The below knee length coupled with the long sleeves and yes, even a BACK VENT made me look like a total tool.  Add the giant sunglasses and huuuuuuge hat and you get the total vomit-inducing picture.  What can I say?  Vain as I am I would rather look like a dork than die.  I figure if the melanoma doesn’t get me, I may just die of embarrassment. It’s a toss up at this point.

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(Not So) Veiled Abuse

July 8th, 2010

Taking a break from my regular snark-a-thon to blog about something important. It’s taxing, but I CAN be serious especially when it’s about something as substantial as this.

A lot of us have been touched by abuse in one form or another. There are many forms, all of them horrendous and damaging, but I have to say something today about emotional abuse.  Someone I love is going through this right now and it’s heartbreaking to see the destruction that words can cause not only to her but to her children. I feel I have to say something because maybe, just maybe, the abusive jackass will read this and it will make an iota of sense.

Emotional abuse is no different than using your fists to get your point across. Actually, it IS different because it is cowardly and more sinister. To even be emotionally abusive to someone you have to KNOW them. Know their joys, theirs strengths and their weaknesses. Know their sadness, know them well enough to choose that one spot where you can stab in that verbal knife and hurt the most. Yes CHOOSE because at one point that person saw the light and joy in the person they are hurting. At one point there was something that drew them together. That made them radiate together. The abuser uses that beautiful part of being a human, of being alive, that basic human element of being vulnerable and establishing a connection with another human and twists it so far that it becomes a destructive tool.

Our culture writes off emotional abuse because you can’t see the destruction. A black eye is easy to see. The destruction of your character, the very core of who you are? Well, not so easy to see but just as lethal and I would go so far as to say, more destructive.  It takes a lifetime of experiences to form one’s self esteem, one’s belief in their worth and their place in this world yet only a small amount of time to destroy it.

People who emotionally abuse were obviously raised around this behavior in some form. But the difference between them and us is that they are unable to make the mature choice of breaking the pattern. Did your Dad verbally break your Mom down until she was a shell of the vibrant woman she was before? Do you remember how little and scared you felt when you heard this happen? Do you want to do this to your children? Do you want to break someone down so far that their luster is gone forever? That they can’t get up and stand on their own because they have no more belief left? Remember when you were little and felt like you couldn’t save your mama? You want to make your own kids feel this way?

Imagine a little kid asking their mom almost daily why they are crying. Imagine a little kid feeling like THEY did something wrong because their mom, who is usually so fun and attentive, is staring at the wall in a daze, so far away that this child can’t reach them and they are left feeling sad and confused. Imagine the guilt that these children feel! Guilt that will form a life-long pattern of destruction in their psyche and possibly rob them of the chance to feel deep joy and internal peace.

Even worse, imagine if this little child came home and said that one parent was saying horrible things about the other parent  (and newsflash: passive aggressive comments are just as bad). Any child shrink will tell you that this makes the child feel responsible. They aren’t old enough to logically understand what is happening, so they take it in and form their own self around the belief that they are responsible for everything bad around them and they aren’t worth much.

Abusers will justify WHY they have a right to be angry, WHY they have been victimized and are justified in reacting like this, WHY this isn’t their fault. And you know what? History is full of stories of dictators, murderers and the worst of humanity who all hid behind these pathetic excuses.  A psychopath is a psychopath (“amoral behavior without sympathy or remorse”). It doesn’t matter whether your place of false power is a city, a country or your family.  You are choosing to destroy someone. You are CHOOSING to not look inside yourself and change your destructive behavior.

Your parents ruined this part of your life. Don’t do this to your family too.

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Just Be.

May 24th, 2010

My son’s teacher pulled me aside the other day to share a story about him. Recently, his class was outside during recess and they made up a racing game which involved running. One of the boys in the class isn’t as fast as everyone else and, when they were all getting ready to start the game and run, Rohan held the whole class back and let this boy start ahead of them. Then, while that boy was running, Rohan ran right along side him, cheering him and encouraging him to finish.

I, like all parents, want my children to do well academically.  And, with Neeraj as his father, the nerd genes are in full effect and there is no doubt Rohan is bright. But hearing his teacher tell me this story stopped me in my tracks and made me incredibly grateful. He may or may not be the best in his class all the time but he is kind hearted and compassionate and THAT makes me prouder than any A+.

It also reminded me to slow down and really be in the moment with him. These sweet moments can just whiz by when I’m all caught up in the day to day craziness of life. There really is nothing more important than giving my kids undivided attention and letting them know I am fully present and focused on them. I don’t want to miss these moments so I am grateful for one more reminder to just be. Just be.

On a lighter note, Rohan decided that he’s sick of this whole non-portable desktop computer thing so he made himself his own laptop and silently delivered this message by leaving it on my desk:

And speaking of grateful, I can’t believe this beautiful woman-looking human is my daughter! Here she is before her first prom a couple of weeks ago:

Today I am a grateful Mama.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes (or 6 yo’s)

March 25th, 2010

This morning on the way to school, our Car-versation (a term I coined for our daily morning conversations on the way to school) topic was Martin Luther King, Jr. A worthy topic, no?  Rohan is very intrigued with him and it makes my heart glad that he has the wherewithal to choose MLK Jr. over SpongeBob.  He loves talking about what kind of man he was, why he did what he did etc. And I means LOVES. As in hours and hours of chatter and noise and me blindly feeling around for some espresso.

Anyhow, this morning he said a particularly astute comment which I will share with you.

*Drumroll*

Me:  …So Martin Luther King Jr. tried to teach people to react to hate with love. Meaning that, when someone is mean to you, he saw that is was better to not be mean back, but rather remember to  love.

Ro:  So if someone is mean to me or doesn’t like me because I’m brown, I should try to be nice to them?

Me:  Yes, that is the idea. Love doesn’t mean you have to love them like you love Mommy and Daddy but treat them with all the things that ARE love, like kindness and respect..

Ro:  But what if they’re really REALLY mean?

Me:  If you react with meanness, it will only make them meaner.

Ro:  So he said to love them even when they’re mean?

Me:  Yes, buddy..

Ro:  Did he say I could use kung fu moves too?

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Little Moments

March 9th, 2010

I think one of the hardest things to do is to not react when someone is trying to hurt you with words. (At least for me since my old moniker was “Super Beeyatch”.) Until last September, I lived my life in a constant state of defensiveness which led me to act in a way that I now know was not my authentic self. I put on a very cold, domineering front which polarized my relationships and perpetuated the opposite of the very thing I deeply wanted; deep and meaningful relationships.

Right now there is someone in my life that is going through a rough time and, as a result, they are lashing out at me with the most hurtful words. The Ol’ Jess would react by biting back and trying to hurt them as much as they hurt me. And, while that tendency is still there a wee bit deep down, I am choosing to react with love. Literally as these awful words are hurled my way, in my head I say to myself “Cancel. Cancel. You are loved.” Or I just tell myself that I’m just a punching bag for the feelings they refuse to face. And here’s a tip: if someone is spewing anger at you, wrap your arms around them and hug. Even if they remain stiff and cold, the human spirit always reacts to love. Let them feel it.

Even though I know this is the right approach, it takes so much mental and emotional energy to not lash back and force my mind in a totally different direction than it’s been going for 33 years. It’s exhausting but I know that, not only am I supporting my friend through their rough time, I am also growing up in a profound way. (Cue my Mom saying “It’s ’bout dang time!”)

And speaking of growing up, a big moment happened in our household this weekend. Rohan lost his first tooth and apparently, he was so impressed he told me to call President Obama to share this delightful and earth shattering news with him.

I don’t know why the White House wouldn’t put me straight through to the Oval Office.

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1/2 Indian 6 yo male version of Beyonce?

March 5th, 2010

Ro Gettin’ Down from Jessica Thompson on Vimeo.

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Good Question

February 22nd, 2010

Rohan: “Mom, why do we HAVE to go to school?”

Me: “Because it’s very important that you learn..”

Rohan: “But can’t we just learn from Google?”

Good question, kid.  Too bad they don’t offer a degree from Google U.

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With Love

February 16th, 2010

My wee one decided to “detail” my car for Valentine’s Day and spent a good two hours cleaning the outside.  He did a great job and I was touched by the hard work but caught myself being the teeniest bit irritated at the 30 minutes I had to spend cleaning up afterward.  However, I used my qigong-learned shifting of perception and decided that hey, since he was covered from head to toe in soap and water, I actually got my son cleaned as well as my car.  Two for the price of one! Yee haw.

Rohan also received some candy from me and proceeded to spend the entire day asking me every 20 minutes if he could have some.  I thought about throwing all the candy down the toilet so he’d stop the incessant questioning but then realized I’d have to deal with tears.  It was a toss up but I remembered the day and chose to love the lil’ bugger through it.

Rohan:  “Mom, can I have some candy?”

Me: “Ro, what did I say when you asked 10 mins ago?”

Rohan: “Yeah but this time I am asking with LOVE!”

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