Category Archives: Family

Second Chances

I knew this day was coming.

Image credit: cloudfront.net

Image credit: cloudfront.net

I had already realized that nobody sits their children down in the living room anymore, signaling to them that something important is about to go down when the parent is ready to have “the talk”.

These days, the opportunities are numerous for a parent to be able to start the conversation about the facts of life – and the sooner the better. Despite knowing this however, I completely missed my chance to do so. That’s probably because when the occasion presented itself, it caught me a little off-guard.

My son, in his Social Studies class was discussing the different types of families and the problems that some of them can experience. We’d gone through some of the problems, solutions and the agencies or organizations that could help, for some homework questions.

When the test came, and I was reviewing the results, I saw that he had mentioned teenage pregnancy as one of the issues that young people can face. I guess he got that from the discussion in class, because it was the first time I was hearing about it.

He was asked to suggest a solution that would prevent teenage pregnancy, and his answer to that age-old concern was – well let’s just say it’s something that involved sports. And I blurted out that the best way I could see that teenage pregnancy could be avoided was to not have sex in the first place.

Eeew.

This was not exactly how I figured I would be having my first talk with my children about sex. Or maybe it was a tailor-made opportunity. However, I lobbed it back.

But not before my daughter asked me whether I had ever had sex. And I answered that “I had kids didn’t I?”

Image credit: wordpress.com

Image credit: wordpress.com

What should have followed was talk about penises and procreation, budding breasts and boys, and the fact that some things are a natural part of life, but that they shouldn’t take place before a certain time in life, that certain actions can limit your choices in life, and that I want to give them all the information to make proper decisions in life.

Instead, my son made a mental correction and we moved on to the next question.

And I breathed a sigh of relief, determined to be ready when my second chance came around.

Maternal Instincts – Movie Review

Image credit: hollywoodreporter.com

Image credit: hollywoodreporter.com

I’ve said before that the two occasions on which the main players look their best – at weddings and funerals – are the same occasions when the rest of us can look our worst. I guess there’s something about celebrating the beginning of a new life that a marriage is, or the ending of another through death, that causes some of us to act out.

That’s one of the impressions that I was left with after viewing the movie, “August: Osage County”. Secrets are uncovered, plain speech is discovered, and a daughter takes her mother down as she attempts to find the pills that she’s convinced are the cause of her mother’s mean-spiritedness. So no, it’s not the feel-good movie of the year.

The family members gather to attend the funeral of a man who committed suicide, it seems, because his life had become unbearable. Living with a wife who was suffering from mouth cancer but who still insisted on having her smokes, one wonders if her strong mouth and caustic speech was what drove him to take his life, because something else had already driven him to drink.

The three mothers in this film wouldn’t exactly be called nurturing, but that’s probably because each had her own demons to contend with.

The widow, thought that it was the perfect opportunity to tell her daughter that she broke her father’s heart when she moved away from home. But while she pushed the father out front, it was obvious that the daughter never showing up to give support to her, was only one of many hurts.

The widow’s sister-in-law considered her only son a disappointment to her and all concerned, but it was likely that since she’d been dancing with guilt for years concerning his paternity, she never really saw her son – only her mistake.

And the widow’s daughter, who was herself the mother of a teenaged girl, seemed unwilling to take any of the responsibility for the fact that her child was well on her way to disregarding her own mother, and continuing the cycle of blame.

The end of someone’s life causes most of us to reflect on our own lives, and the characters in this movie probably did this in spades – and none of them was happy with what they were seeing.

Unfortunately, when our lives that generally hold so much promise at the beginning, show no such sign of it at the end, we would probably agree with the main protagonist when she says, “Thank God we can’t tell the future – we’d never get out of bed”.

Property Rights

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You may have heard about a news item that went viral many months ago. The subject matter concerned a mother who gave her young teenage son a contract for an iPhone that he got for Christmas, after he had been begging for it all year.

His use of the phone depended on his acceptance of eighteen rules laid down by his mother. Among the caveats were admonishments against using the device to lie, fool or deceive another person; to remember his manners when using the phone, to turn it off in public, and not to use the camera feature as a memory keeper. But what tickled me the most was the first statement, which said, “It is my phone, I bought it… I am loaning it to you”.

That’s the way I feel about most of the things that I buy my children. Sure none of it can fit me and I won’t use any of the items, but they are still mine. So when my husband and I present our children with footwear for school, he tells them not to kick out “his” shoes. Even my daughter’s hair accessories belong to me – never mind that I don’t have much hair to put into them. When they lose an item, even if relatively cheap, we ask if they intend to buy it back. And they pull out the change from the piggy bank in response.

So my son has been counting the number of times that he has washed the dishes and rolled in the garbage bin and has been busy assigning a dollar value to this “work”. He didn’t tell me whether he was saving for anything in particular or just looking to pad his wallet, (or pay for lost items), but we had to inform him that since he was living rent free in the house, and had clothing, schooling and food provided gratis, we were in fact not going to pay him any money.

Rainbow colours

Rainbow colours

In the meantime, my daughter has been fantasizing about the colours that she would paint the rooms of the house when she gets older – “all the colours of the rainbow” she says. I told her that the only place that would happen is in her own house, where she could then do what she liked. She was shocked to realize that she was expected to move out when she got older, and I was thinking how sweet it was that she wanted to stay home with her Mommy even when she got older.

But that wasn’t it. She thought that when she got older, I would be moving out.