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We Need To Believe Women

This year I am sharing things about me that I never expected to share. I have family members who have not heard me talk about these things before. But sometimes current news topics prompt me to write about topics I never intended to share publicly. Today is one of those days. So here goes. I am going to share a painful and humiliating piece of personal history, because I feel that there is too much misconception about why women often wait before coming out with their story about sexual assault that I thought I needed to tell a little more about my personal story as a way to offer an explanation that may inform others as to why that happens.

I wrote a few weeks ago about the time I was date raped as a young woman (http://betharvin365.livejournal.com/2016/06/12/) and I will admit here that I never pressed charges, in part because it took me a ong time to call it what it was. Oddly enough, I can't even remember the man's last name, although if I ever saw his picture I am sure I would remember his face or if I heard his last name I would recall that it was his name. One would think that I could never forget that name, but it is not an event that occupies my mind any more, which is a great relief because it took a decade or more to stop beating myself up over it.

My new revealation is that I spent way too many years in an abusive relationship. I won't try to defend myself, although I know all too well the opinion of many about women wh live in abusive relationships. That knowledge only intensifies the guilt and shame from having been in the relationship. There are many reasons why women stay in such relationships, so I won't speak for anyone but myself, but there were reasons that made it difficult to leave. Fear being one of them. When I tried to talk to my partner about the abuse, his response was, "Well. I never put you in the hospital, so it could be worse." I suppose he meant that as a defense, but to me it was another way of making me feel diminished.

When Donald Trump offered as his defense that he had not done those terrible things that women have accused him of, all that I could hear was "blah, blah, blah, didn't put you in the hospital." He claims that this has been a coordinated effort to discredit him, but he was discredited him by hos own words. He tried to wash it away by saying that he had never really done those things that he had claimed to have done. So at best, he is saying that he  lied about doing something so vile. By the fact that he considered groping women because his celebrity satus gave him that right, it tells me that he had never considered the fact that what he claimed would somehow be construed as something not only vile, but also illeagal, speaks volumes about him as an individual. And then to say that one of the women who laimed to be one of his victims could not posibly be taken seriously because she wasn't pretty enough for him to consider assaulting heradds more fuel to the fire and he is so clueless as to not understand why people  believe that he is guilty of assaulting these women. Mr. Trump, the words from your mouth condemn you. And to blame the media for reporting these accusations is not only infantile rantings, but would be deriliction of their duty if they had ignored them.
I am writing this in defense of these women who have courageously come forward to report something that would have been difficult to admit. I remember when I told my best friend why I was ending my relationship with this man and she was shocked, first because she thought that his and my relationship ws solid, but also because I had never told her what had happened. We told each other everything, or so she thought, but I had been too embarassed and filled with shame to tell her that I was in such  relationship. If I was too embarassed to tell this person whom I confessed so much to, that I had for years been in a relationship in which I was hit, thrown aginst the wall, pushed down stairs, and rpeatedly belittled for years. She didn't understand why I had never told her. But I was too ashamed and embarrassed to admit that I had lived like that for years. I am not going to offer any defense here, the reasons were deeply personal and I am trying to reveal the most minimal information to make my point. Beides, I have finally, after many years of self-loathing, realised that I don't need to offer up my own defense.

Which is why I am writing this today. I am not at all surprised that these women did not come forward before now. I am certin that the reason they have come forward now is because the video of his confession of this behavior gave them both courage and incentive to come forward. Considering that we have a society that too often turns their heads away from women who have been harmed by the behavior of some men, particulaly ones considered to be in a position of power, and especially one who is known to be litigious.

I know by experience how infrequently justice is served in cases of rape or other sexul assault, or even in the rare times that there has been a guilty verdict, the sentence is so light and the victim so traumatized by the experience, that they often regret going through the experience. I have to admit that would not necessarily advise a friend who has admited to being sexually assailted to pursue the legal channels. Sad to admit, but I have seen too much blame put on the victim and too little consequence put on the guilty party, including a man who received a six-month of probation sentence for admiting to sexually assaulting his two daughters and another neighborhood child. He was even granted the right to keep his daughters for overnight visits of those two daughters after his wife divorced him. I still wonder about those girls to this day. How horrible that must have been. I could give too many other examples, but, frankly, I don't have the heart to go on. Our country needs to do a lot more work toward making our girls and women safe. It is up to us to make that happen. And one way to do that is to start believing when a woman comes forward to accuse. Especially when the accused is someone who admited to such behavior, then tried to dismiss it as locker-room talk. I don't care how many years ago that video was made. It lets us know the state of his heart. I can't dismiss their charges when Trump himself admitedly sees nothing wrong with this behavior.


This last week has been disturbing for several reasons. It was disturbing, although not surprising, to learn that Brock Turner, the former Stanford student who was convicted of raping an unconscience woman and received what many (myself included) a light six-month jail sentence for the attack, was released after serving half of his sentence. I guess compared to the news of North Korea's nuclear capabilities this may be considered not to be the biggest story of the week, but I am disturbed for two reasons. One, I continue to be amazed how little we concern ourselves with the rape of women, and secondly, because in this same week Donald Trump stood by an outrageous tweet of his that we should not be surprised that our service women are victims of sexual asault simply because they work with men. http://www.inquisitr.com/2733754/yes-donald-trumps-sexual-assault-in-the-military-tweet-is-real/ .Am I to gather from his tweet that all women who work with men should be expected to be victims of sexual assault? Because if a woman is willing to work in close proximity to a man she must be "asking for it?" The military is not the only place men and women work together. It should not be unexpected for a female soldier to expect to work in a safe invironment. I am no fan of Donald Trump and I am not going to deny it. But of the many things he has said that make me cringe, this is the one that I can't begin to understand. Why should male and female soldiers working together be any more dangerous than men and women in any other profession? It is almost as if women should always be on their guard when working with men because, you know, men are men and they just can't help themselves. This is outrageous. It is unfair and unkind to both women and men.

I don't know how we will ever work through the prevalence of the rape culture in our society if we continue believing the myth that men and women cannot work together without men becoming so sexually stimulated by the presence of a female that he just can't help himself. Men will be men. Women need to protect themselves from men. It is up to the woman to keep from being raped. It's absurd and disheartening.

For those of us who are survivors, ( my story:http://betharvin365.livejournal.com/2016/06/12/ ) it is disturbing to know that a presidential candidate can take such a casual approach to such a serious subject. Especially since most candidates want to paint themselves as being pro-military. But how can you be considered pro-military if it only includes male members of the military? And why would women outside of the military think that the candidate will be concerned with any woman's safety in the workplace? Should women need to accept that rape is part of the work experience? I have worked in male dominated fields for much of my life, and although there have been a few negative experiences, most males have been kind and helpful. Although I do remember a man making the comment that he would never hire an unattractive office worker, because "women should expect to be treated as a sexual being. And if they can also type, well that's a plus. No, really, he said that. Creepy. I did not work for him.

I don't want to get involved in one political party over another. Anyone who knows me, knows my leanings. My biggest concern is to encourage everyone to vote for their person of choice. Mr Trump will never be mine. I can have no faith in someone who does not understand that a working woman has the right to a safe enviornment. And that includes women in the military.

I Can No Longer Stay Silent

Life has been complicated for some time. I didn't realize until today, however, that I hadn't posted aything since February fourth. I apologize for being gone so long. I must admit this is a topic I never expected to write about, because it is very personal, a bit embarrasing, and also something that I feel needs to be discussed from a personal point of view. (Trigger warning: it is about a date rape situation, so it may cause stress to some.)

I know that many of you may be tired of hearing anything more about the so-called Stanford Rapist, Brock Turner. I am neither surprised by the lenient sentence the man receieved nor the outrage that came with it. Rape is actually a difficult thing to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, as many jurists are afraid of convicting a man of such a crime and "ruining his life," as so many people see it. I suspect that it also stems from our belief that the suspect may not look the way we think a rapist looks, or have the lifestyle consistent with what we think would be the lifestyle of a rapist. We especially don't want to think that a young college student who has never been in previous legal trouble can commit the despicable act of which Mr. Turner was convicted. The fact that he was convicted, and admitted to the act, although trying to convince the jury it was consentual, does not give me any doubt of his guilt. My sympathy is wholly with the victim, I do want to make clear one thing about the woman who underwent this ordeal: In spite of what some people think, the fact that she was unconscious during her attack will never negate the harm done to her. To those who blame her for becoming intoxicated in the first place, believe me, she has probably berated herself for that many times already, and may continue to do so for years. We can debate the dangers of being intoxicated for years, but it will never excuse Brock Turner for abusing this woman. And that is what this all comes down to. He took advantage of a woman who was unable to make a choice as whether or not she wanted to enter into a sexual relationship with him. He is gulity and by legal (and moral) definition he is a rapist. Plain and simple. It may (or may not) have been the first time he raped a woman (or been in trouble with the law,) but all it takes is one time to make him a rapist. Unless others come forward, we will never really know for sure that this was his first time, and it doesn't make a difference if it was. Personally, I hope it was, because then others may be saved from him.

I am going to share a story that I never expected to share. My children already know it, as do most, if not all of my siblings. Many years ago, while in my twenties, I was date raped. It was done by a man I had dated twice before telling him that I did not want to see him again, when he asked me out a third time. The first date went well, We enjoyed ourselves, there was some attraction, we kissed. He wanted to have sex and I turned him down. Oddly enough, that is usually enough for me to lose interest, because I am not a person who wants to move a relationship that quickly. But I did go out again with him the next day. I had agreed to run a couple of quick errands with him before we went to a movie, during which time I discovered something about him that disturbed me. He had gone into a friend's house to return something and I waited in the car. It was a hot day and the car windows were up. It was a car that did not have roll down windows and I searched for the button that would roll down the window. I had seen him roll down a window once before and pushed what I thought was the button that operated the window. He had left the key in the ignition, so the car did have power to do so. Instead of rolling down the window, however, it opened the glove box. Several pornographic magazines rolled out of the glove box and landed at my feet. I quickly shoved them back into the box and closed it. Then I opened the door a bit to get some fresh air. Now I am not going to go on a tirad about my opinion on pornography, I will just say that for me, it is not only a personal turn-off, but I don't want to become involved with a man who buys it. No judgment to you if you disagree, but not my thing. I later told him, when he asked to see me again, that I was not interested. There was not a lot of discussion, he didn't seem upset. We said our good nights and I never expected to see him again. A couple of days later he called and asked if he could see me. He said that he had had a bad day and didn't want to be alone. He had lost his job and a couple of other things that I can't recall.  I am a basically nice person, one that people call when they are suffering and want to have someone who is willing to listen to them. So I agreed to come over and listen. He then told me he would come over and get me. Now this is where my guilt and self-berating come in. I agreed. It never occurred to me to be afraid of him. He picked me up and took me to his house. He offered me a Coke and I accepted, I drank it rather quickly, as the heat wave was still upon us. Almost immediately I was so tired I couldn't stand up. I was never a person who experimented with drugs of any kind, and never suspected that I was under the influence of one at that moment. I asked him to take me home, but he suggested that I lay on the sofa and take a nap, which I did without hesitation because I was so terribly exhausted. I fell asleep, for how long I don't know, then after awhile he woke me and helped me to stand. I thought he was ready to take me home, but instead he led me to his bedroom. I could not walk without his help. My legs did not want to move. He laid me on the bed and then I went to sleep (or passed out, more likely.) When I awoke, I was naked and he was on top of me. I noticed a clock on the wall and realized I had been at his house for nearly ten hours. I was unconscious for most of it. I made him stop and take me home. As he dropped me off he thanked me for spending the evening with him. I don't remember how or if I responded. I went into my bedroom and went to bed, crying myself to sleep because I had just "given" myself to a man whom I neither cared for or wanted to see again, and couldn't understand why I had done it. Crying myself to sleep was a regular part of my nightly routine after that. My days were filled with self-loathing and shame. I couldn't believe I was that stupid.

Months later, I happened to meet a woman (friend of a friend) who had also dated this man. She began to ask me questions about my relationship with him, How long we had dated, etc., then asked me outright if he had ever drugged me and had sex with me. I stammered that we had sex, but that to my knowledge he had never drugged me. I also told her that I was surprised that I had done that with him. That is when she told me about her experience of being drugged and raped by him. She even knew the name of the drug he used. I was stunned, but it made sense. There was some relief for me that I had not voluntarily had sex with a man I had no feelings for and whom I never wanted to see again. I finally was able to go to sleep at night without tears. It was still hard to accept, at times, that I had been raped. I think that is probably because we never expect it to happen to us, and also I had the memory of walking into his bedroom, even though I had to be aided to do so. I have worked through the guilt and shame over the years, but there are two things that I have still been unable to regain: my sense of trust in both myself and men in general, but also in my ability to trust my instincts. Even when my gut reaction to something is strong, and eventually proves correct, I often ignore the feeling. Twenty minutes of action (that is borrowed from Brock Turner's father in his plea for clemmency for his son, as how he described the rape of his son's victim, and yet more than forty years later, I still have not recovered fully from being raped. Rape is more tha a physical assault to a person's body, it is a violation to their psyche, the core of who they are. I hope that it was a violation to Brock Turner's psyche as well, Not because I want to be cruel or wish terrible things upon him. I don't brlieve in revenge. But I do hope he comes to realize the consequences of his actions. His victim will be dealing with them for many years to come. I want him to be able to find empathy and to accept that what he did was not the result of college party culture or college hook-up culture. It was the result of his own lack of moral maturity.

Which brings up another topic that needs to be discussed. Turner's father pleaded for his son, which I can understand. As a mother, I would be crushed to see my son convicted of rape and to be sentenced to jail time, even the short sentence that his son received. What strikes me as odd, however, is the total lack of concern toward his son's victim. I have to guess that Mr Turner never had a discussion about this sort of thing with his son as he was growing up. As parents, we need to dicuss a lot of things that make us uncomfortable, including topics that we never expect our sons to even consider. But how can we assume they have these values if we never disuss it with them? It is part of our parental responsibilities to discuss these subjects. Our children will hear a lot of things that will influence their behavior, and not all of it will be accurate or encourage moral behavior. Even if you are a parent that wants to persuade your child to remain virgins until they are married, you can't assume that they will live by that standard. That is one choice you do not get to make for your child, so make sure that you discuss sex with them in such a way that you understand that they may make a different choice than the one you want them to make. I remember telling my son after he turned thirteen that if he ever fathered a child out of wedlock that he would be finacially and morally responsible for that child until they reached adulthood, and that I would be there to make sure that he was, It never happened, thankfully, but I meant ever word I said and he knew that. I also told him that it was unethical and illegal to take sexual advantage of a woman who was drunk or under the influence of anything that rendered her unable to fully understand and consent to have sex. I never thought he would do that in the first place, but I wasn't going to leave that to chance.

I had similar talks with my daughter, I think I even brought up my own assault, because I had looked back to it so many times and realized that I should have been suspicious when he offered to pick me up when I could have easily driven over there myself. Was it premeditated? I'll never know for sure, but I suspect he had planned it in advance. After all, he had the drug in his possession. Don't know why he would have had it if he hadn't a plan. But to those who think that a woman should always "look out for herself" I will say that, although I agree that we need to be cautious, it is much easier to see where we should have shown caution after the fact. Most of us don't expect to be raped. Blaming the victim is not only unkind, but unnecessary. We blame ourselves over and over again already, whether it is warranted or not. What we need is compassion and time to heal. And for our rapists and society at large, to understand that the aftermath of rape is not just a physical recovery of a few minutes of action. We want people to understand that we want to be who we were before the attack, but may never be again. And sometimes, we need to talk about it, even though it is embarassing, and some people will be unkind and not understand us. And we need to tell parents that sex education is more than the mechanics of the sexual act and to tell our children to wait until they are married. We need to raise our children to be respectful and empathetic, and to understand what consent truly means. We also need to stop thinking in terms of a boy "getting lucky" every time he has sex.
One man's lucky may be a woman's lifetime trauma. And we need to stop pretending that our beloved children could never be capable of rape, because they may be. Especially if they aren't raised to understand what consent really means.
When I graduated from high school my dad was all set to pay my college tuituion, but I never went to college. I have had many years to repent that decision. I eventually went for training for a profession at a trade school when I was married with two young children, I made enough to scrimp by when my marriage came apart, but I never had the job that I longed for, or anything like it. I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. When the time came to go to college, I was advised not to pursue my dream of being a teacher. "There is a glut of teachers on the market and it is difficult to find a job. You'll probably have to move away to get a job. I was living in the Seattle area at the time (still am) and was told that if I was lucky I might be able to get a job in eastern Washington, but not this side of the mountains. Or possibly in northern California. I am from California, San Diego, near the Mexican border. The family and friends I had in California were in the south.I didn't want to live so far away from family, so I gave up my dream of being a teacher and took a job that I didn't enjoy so I could support myself. That is what grown-ups do, isn't it?

I wanted to go to college, but I could not think of anything else I wanted to do. I had planned to be a teacher for years, but I didn't want to move away from my loved ones for the rest of my life. Evey year, as summer draws to a close and the back to school sales are in full swing, I get a pain in the pit of my stomach, a longing to do what I had always wanted to do, but didn't. It is easy to look back and realize I was foolish to not be willing to move a few hours from home to do the job I craved, or at least find another job that I would find fullfilling.Why did it never occur to me, an avid reader and a writer, to become a librarian? Ugh. That thought came to me about five years after my opportunity to go to college. Not that being a librarian is a hot commodity these days, unfortunately, as some cities are closing their public libraries, and even school libraries are being hit as unnecessary in some communities. It is defintely a different job than being a teacher, but if I could have had that opportunity, especially if I worked in a school, to feel like I had made a positive impact on children's lives. I won't pretend that I remember the name of even one school librarian when I was a student, but I remember their impact on me as a reader.

I read an article about a woman who is currently working toward the goal of being a librarian (http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2016/mar/05/librarian-professional-calling-priest-degree?CMP=share_btn_tw). I must admit to a bit of envy after reading the article. In more recent years I always advise high school seniors to go to college even if they don't know what they want to do. "Go to a community college and get a two year degree. Take a bunch of classes that sound interesting, If you don't like them, then don't pursue it further, but you will never know what will spark an interest and steer you in a direction that you will want to go. I have often wondered what I would have done, if I had been given that advise  Or if I had stepped out of my comfort zone and moved away from family. I would have made new friends, and friends become a family. I would have adapted. I would have been fine.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post. When challenged to put away your dreams, don't do it. Have faith that in pursing your dream, you will grow as a person and your journey may lead you to a different, but still wonderful place. I will never again let go of a dream because well-meaning people don't think it is something worth pursing. My life, my decision. And even if I don't land where I wanted, I have faith that I will end up somewhere worthwhile. I hope that the woman who wrote the article I linked to above will reach her dream, and I have to believe that enough people with a spirit like hers can turn the tide and be part of the solution to this ridiculous notion that public and school libraries are expendable. Whether she is able to work in her chosen field for the rest of her work life is unknown at this time, but I have no doubt but that she will be where she needs to be to affect the change she seeks.

February Can Be A Cruel Time

I know that spring is weeks away, but I'm not sure that the birds have received that notice. At first I thought it was only my imagination that there are more birds than usual for this time of year, but I have two friends who have watched the birds every morning from their breakfast table for several years, and they have made the same observation. We have not had a dry winter. In fact we just set a record for measuable rainfall for the early start of the year. The days are getting longer, the mornings full of birdsong, but I have yet to see green shoots from bulbs pierce the ground, or early blooms. But if the birds say that spring is on its way, who am I to argue.

February can be a cruel, dreary month in the northwest. The nip of winter chills the air, the ground is soggy and muddy. Spring feels far away, but I choose to believe that the birds know best. I long to see the daffodils nod their heads, and rows of tulips stand at attention. I wait for that first warm breeze, to put away the jacket and sweaters and reach for the tee shirts. I am one of those fools who wears sandals all winter, but I look forward to warm toes again. The rythmic knocking of the flickers on the tree is a welcome sound, for I know that warm weather will be here soon. February fades away and spring prepares for takeover. I am more than ready for it to begin its reign.  

What Kind Of Love Is Proved Most Worthy?

Valentine's Day. One of the most dredded days for some, the most anticipated by others, is also a day that many refuse to acknoweledge because they consider the day nothing more than a trumped up holiday designed to separate fools from their money, while disguised as a day to promote love and romance. There is probably a lot to support that belief, but I personally like a day set aside to show appreciation to those we love, whether the love is romantic in nature or not. As any other day, there is no obligation to spend money that strains your budget, but it is not a bad thing to spend some time with those we love and express our love and appreciation for the joy they bring to our life. As a person who has not had romantic love in her life for many years, I do not find the day depressing or feel that it highlights any lack in my life. My life is full of love of family, friends, which I don't consider to be less than any other love.

We can focus on romantic love as being more fulfillig than friendship or family, but you will have a hard time proving that to me. Late last year we received the sad news that a five year-old member of our family was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Her treatment requires long stays in a hospital away from home. She travels with her mother, leaving her daddy and brother at home and away from all of her friends. But the families of her friends have been holding fund raising drives to help ease the financial burden for her family, so that her daddy and brother can visit. That doesn't seem like an inferior type of love to me. In fact that seems the very definition of love, and something worthy of celebration.

This morning most of my family gathered for brunch at my sister's home. My daughter's family couldn't make it because they are fighting a flu bug. My son's family was there, with my grandson and other granddaughter, as well as most of my nieces and nephews and their children. When our children were young, the cousins loved our family gatherings because it gave them opportunity to play with their cousins. Their children are no different, The little cousins love to get together and play, even though it can get rather loud. Our kids agree that they are glad their children are of an age which they can enjoy each other's company. Another love worthy of celebration.

Romantic love can come into your life at any time, and I will not turn it away if it should come my way again. On the otherhand, it is not the only kind of love that uplifts and invigorates a life. We have the option of allowing Valentine's Day to be commercialized and think of it as a day of obligation, or embrace it as a day of love that can be displayed in many ways. I do not view it as a loss because I have no romantic partner, but as a gain, because I am reminded how varied and fortunate I am in how I am loved and appreciated. And no one has to spend a dollar. My grandson's hug and kiss are priceless. If I require it, I can go buy my own chocolate. No worries, no problems. I am well loved and that make my Valentine's Day very rich in deed. If you need further proof, I will tell you that my son once again saved me from an empty gas tank, for the third time in about as many weeks. No complaints, he just showed up and helped. Yep. I'm loved. No other proof needed.  

Painting A Rainbow All Around Her

My youngest granddaughter is one today. Her birthday party, which will be held this weekend, is rainbow themed, so we have been making rainbow decorations and are planning a rainbow cake for the girl. Rainbows are formed by sunshine on water. the sweet Boo has been a ray of sunshine for the past twelve months, the water must be from tears of joy. The year passed so quickly, I love to watch her changing and growing, although that growth does not yet include the word Grandma or Grammie, yet, but we are working on it. So far her vocabulary only includes, Momma, daddy, hi and meow (she has two kitties). But when I walk in the room and she points at me and smiles, I'm a happy grammie, all the same,

I remember the morning she was born. It was a scheduled affair, so there was no mystery about when she was coming, but it didn't make it less wonderful or lessen the anticipation of my daughter's first born. The birth of a grandchild is always a moment of joy and gratitude. The miracle is never diminished, no matter how many times I'm blessed. This little girl has certainly brought much joy into my world, as have her two cousins. I will always be grateful for my three sweeties. Raising my two children was a great joy, watching my babies raise their babies doubles that joy and provides me another chance to watch the miracle of childhood unfold. As well as more baby snuggles.

Alice's first year has been a wonder to behold, but the wonder is just beginning. The change from infant to toddler is a wonderful process to watch unfold, but each year brings new joys and insights into the people these precious little humans are becoming. They continue to amze and inspire me, and definitely bring a rainbow of colors into my life. Happy birthday, my little rainbow girl.
My granddaughter hates to go to bed. Whether it is for the night or simply a nap, she hates to be taken away from others and plunked down in her crib. No matter how sleepy she is, she would rather stay up with the rest of the family, and where she is the center of attention, than be placed in her warm, cozy crib all alone. She will often wail mournfully, often calling for her mother in agonizing sobs, hopping to be scooped up in loving arms and returned to the company of her adoring family. My daughter knows that she will soon settle down and get much needed rest, but there is usually twenty minutes or so of heart-breaking pleas for rescue. The main bathroom is just next to her bedroom door, and every time I have need of it during her tearful protest of being put to bed, there is a moment as I approach the bathroom door in which she hears a soft footstep, or perhaps the quiet turn of the doornob, and her crying stops. It is then that I know my sweet granddaughter is anticipating rescue from her crib. In my mind I can see her catch her breath, wait for her door to open, and then see her lovely face scrunch up in disappointment when she realizes that the rescue isn't coming. A few moments later the wail begins anew and both of our hearts are broken. The only thing that stops me from going in for one last kiss and cuddle is knowing that my daughter would come in with disapproval and put poor Alice back to bed. It is hard on a grandmother to dissappoint one of her darling little lambs.

Tucked among the great joys of parenting and grandparenting, there are the moments of helplessness when you want to soothe a child's tears but can't. I have learned that the worst of these moments is when you both want the same thing, but you know it is not in the child's best interest. These are the sucky moments of being an adult. Having to be responsible and adult when your feelings are childlike. I cannot rest easy until the sobbing stops and a check with the baby monitor proves that she has finally succumbed to sleep. She needs the sleep, and frankly by then I usually do as well. Guilt can be exhausting. So can behaving as a responsible adult. I will try to console myself that my granddaughter will grow up healthy, strong, and know how to behave responsibly herself. But I still want to rescue that sweet little girl and dry her tears. 

Tea With Me

There is a song lyric in Walt Disney's Alice In Wonderland, the song is Very Good Advice and the lyric goes: "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it." (Song is by Oliver Wallace.) The lyrics continue:"Tthat explains the trouble that I'm always in." This is a tune that often plays in my head, mostly because it describes me so well. I think it is the human condition, perhaps to alleviate some guilt, but I don't think I am the only one who ignores their inner voice, much to their regret. I do think sometimes life gets so loud that we can't hear our inner voice, but that is when we need to find a quiet space to reconnect. That is my new New Year's Resolution,

I am not a morning person. It makes no difference whether or not I am well rested, I just don't do mornings well. I usually set my alarm a little early, just to have a few moments of silence before beginning my day. On a good day I will make myself a cup of tea as soon as I get up, and then spend a little time reviewing my day and making a list of what I need to accomplish. I find my day goes better when I do this, even if something beyond my control prevents me from accomplishing everything on my list. Knowing that this works well for me, why haven't I made this a daily habit? I don't know, but I'm going to change that, I'm going to call it "Tea with Me."

I will plan my day, review my goals, and maybe even dream new dreams. I will make lists and plan. I will keep track of what inspires me and what concerns me. I will remind myself of all that is wonderful in my life. (LOTS) I am looking forward to see what changes this will bring. I will keep you posted. Making this plan gives me a sense of renewal and hope.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and for those back east, stay warm and safe.


Wonderful Girl

We are looking forward to my youngest granddaughter's first birthday in a couple of weeks. As she is gearing up for her party, she finally decided to be brave and take her first unassissted steps last Saturday. In the days since, she struts her stuff all of the time, unless of course she wants to hurry away, in which case she returns to her faster crawl. Especially when she wants to make a mad dash to the kitty food dishes and tries to grab a handful of kibble to put in her mouth. She knows she is doing wrong because she giggles the whole time I chase her. I wonder if it would be better to let her eat the vile smelling stuff. It may discourage her from future ventures into kitty cuisine. She takes her share of falls and bumps in the process, and then looks up at me as though I have betrayed her, either by pushing her or encourging her in this arduous pursuit.

Alice is my third grandchild, One of the wonderful things about being a parent or grandparent is watching the personality of each child unfold. The signs begin earlier than one might expect, Some of it is too vague to explain, perhaps a look in their eyes, their reaction to other children or adults. She is funny and beautiful, but then all grandmothers must see their granddaughters that way. She is going to be a fighter, a woman who will let her voice be heard. She is a sociable little girl, much like her only boy cousin, my first grandchild, Clyde. She can be playful and silly, sweet, yet able to let her desires be known, even with her limited vocabulary. Her dimpled smile can make one go weak in the knees.

My oldest sister once told me that grandchildren are so much fun that it is a shame we don't have them first. I'm happy to have started with my own children, but I do find that grandchildren are a lot of fun. If having children is a feast, grandchildren are a dessert buffet, providing a rich, sweet finish.  

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