Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Uninvited

Last night I was sitting on the couch, snuggling Goblin as she finished her before-bed bottle. She was almost asleep, and I was playing words with friends on my phone. Bumblebee was in the living room with me, chattering away as she does.

When measuring on a scale of “quiet as a mouse” to “talks non-stop” Bumblebee’s needle is as far to the right as it can go. Technically, she measures in at “continuous audible stream of consciousness.” Last night was no exception, and she was chattering away. I’m fairly certain she had to ask me twice if I had gotten any emails for her.

Momentarily confused (I was trying to spell “brevity” but it wouldn’t fit into any triple letter or word spots) I looked up and said, “What?”

“Did you get an email for me?” She asked.

I had not. I told her so and turned my head back to my game, but something made me stop and set the phone down. “Why? What kind of email?” I narrowed my eyes, wondering if she was expecting one from her teacher.

She shrugged, got quiet, and fiddled with her toenails. (She was wearing a spaghetti strap tank top and gym shorts. In January. It was 65 degrees in the house. Freak.) It took her a second before she said, “Well, Jenny’s* birthday party invitations went out that way. I guess I wasn’t invited.”

“Oh.” I said, knowing the sting of not being included, and realizing that she is at the age where this painful drama with her friends begins. “Well. Maybe she could only invite a few people. It’s so hard to be able to include everyone.”

“But Mary overheard Jenny talking to Ruth and telling her the list. Pam, Marie, Carrie, Shelly, {and so on} are going. Oh and Abby too. Jenny doesn’t even really play with Abby.”

I looked at my daughter, and I saw the disappointment she felt in being left out. She was being strong, she wasn’t crying, but her chin was trembling a bit. I opened my mouth to give her some other excuse, desperately trying to make her feel better, but I just ended up saying, “Well, sweetie, it feels bad to be excluded from something fun like a party, and I’m sorry.”

She nodded and thought about that for a while, and asked if maybe she could invite Mary over for the night since she wasn’t invited either.

“If you keep your room clean.” I smiled.

This is a normal part of growing up. At this age, the kids will start to form their groups, and I know it’ll be a rocky few years for Bumblebee. Friendships will ebb and flow, groups will be formed and broken and formed again. She’ll come home sad with grievances (both real and imagined) about how people treated her.

Sigh. I’m not ready for this. Hollywood had a really hard time with the drama at this age. Perhaps it was worse for her because she moved to a new school in 4th grade, but it’s still something I’m not prepared for with Bumblebee. Boys are so much different than girls in this regard.

The Boy used to hang out with a couple of neighbor kids. They were inseparable for many years, but once they got into high school, they drifted apart without fanfare or drama. When asked about it, The Boy just shrugs and says they don't have much in common anymore.

It’s more complicated with pre-adolescent girls. There’s not much I can do to shield my daughter from this, other than buckle up, knowing it will be a bumpy ride. My own feelings were hurt last night as I looked at my little girl who was trying so hard to be strong and not let on about how hurt she was.

Her freckled face is just a little bit thinner nowadays; what little baby fat she had has left. It would be too generous to say that she’s beginning to develop curves, but they’ll be here soon enough. I wish I could keep her at the carefree age where she gets along with everybody and is the darling of the class, but that’s not realistic.

So I did what I could. I gave her a hug and told her I love her. What more was there to say?

*Not their real names, of course. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rewards

This, my friends, is the reward you get for not murdering (or maiming) your daughter when she's a mouthy 12-year-old.

tweet

Love. Love. Love.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Who's to say what's right or wrong?


Philosophy for the social media generation. Here's my take on it all.

I am stepping away from Facebook for a while. It’s just become too much of a minefield of explosive political bullshit. The hate and vitriol that is being tossed around so casually makes me cringe. It’s one thing to voice your disagreement with the president about politics, but it’s another thing entirely to post hateful things about him.

The very premise of the platform of many of these hate-spewers is that this country was founded upon and should be led with Christian principles. That’s what they say, anyway. And yet, without noticing the irony, these folks spread their hateful messages that attack the personal characteristics of our leader instead of the political decisions that they disagree with. Christ was all about love, not hate.

I would describe my political viewpoint to be a middle of the road, slightly right-leaning philosophy. I have conservative views on abortion, gun control, and government spending. So I actually agree with the underlying viewpoint that some of these posts are supporting. But just because I don’t agree that gun control is the answer, doesn’t mean I think we should be comparing Obama to Hitler. What a load of crap.

My political philosophy is very similar to my religious philosophy. I have very strong religious beliefs, and if someone wanted more information or was interested in my take on Catholicism, I’d be happy to share it with them. But I’m not one to go out and evangelize my religion. I hold my beliefs dear to me, but I also respect everyone’s right to believe differently. Not only do I respect it, but I’m truly interested in what other people believe. Learning about other religions doesn’t threaten my belief. It only enhances my overall view of my Creator.

I feel the same way about political beliefs. Why shouldn’t someone have the right to feel differently about how our nation is governed? Who is to say that my viewpoint is the end all/be all? It would be distasteful to post things on Facebook that denigrate the Methodists, for example, even though they may approach things differently from my Catholic teachings. Not only would it be unsavory to post something like that, it would be useless. I’m fairly certain that nobody ever saw a post on Facebook and shouted, “Eureka! I have seen the light! I will now radically change my position on this huge and complicated issue just because somebody I went to high school with and haven't talked to in 20 years shared a PhotoShopped photo that had some catchy words on it.”

That’s why posting these tirades on Facebook is so repugnant to me.  Thinking that those who disagree with you on political concepts are “wrong” or “stupid” is so frighteningly close-minded. It’s funny. Hitler denounced and killed people who disagreed with him and who were different from him. He thought that those who were different from him were an inferior race. Not so different from the hate-spewers who think that those who don’t see things their way are stupid. See how we can go full circle with that ridiculous comparison?

So, my friends, I can’t take it anymore. One of my very most favorite people in this world is a large contributor to this trend and I have to say that it baffles me, and I don't care to witness it any longer. If you care to find me, look to the instagram and twitter skies. I’ll be there enjoying social media without the hate.