Right to Privacy

At what point are our children entitled to privacy?

 

I ask this question because earlier this week my five year old came home from school and pulled a note out of her bag.  I asked her what it was, and with wide, intent eyes she declared, “You can’t look at it.  It’s private”.  Next she hustled over to the table, keeping the note carefully folded, and pulled out a box of crayons.   With her hands shielding the paper from view, she wrote a response to whomever wrote her the note (though my assumptions are that it’s from her BFF and love of her life, Nolan).   I went about business as usual, trying to keep my cool and act like I wasn’t DYING to know what the note said.  I made her a snack and sidled up the table (I didn’t know that I could sidle, but apparently I can), trying to sneak a peek.  She threw her hands over the mystery paper and yelled with horror, “You can’t look! I said it’s PRIVATE!”

 

This is from the child whose tushie I still occasionally wipe (though it’s rare these days), whose closet I muck through once every few months, whose backpack I empty daily, whose entire existence I have, until this point, been privy to.  This is the child who still has a baby monitor in her room because I can’t bear the thought of not being able to hear her reassuring little snores while she sleeps at night.   And now at the grand age of five she’s demanding privacy? And writing notes? To BOYS?

 

Her orbit is slowly changing, and one day I will no longer be her sun.  As a mother it’s hard for me to fathom my girl having a world of which I am not the center, but with each milestone she’s moving further and further away.  So again, I ask you: is she entitled to her privacy? Is she allowed to write notes that I don’t read and sleep without me listening?

 

She forgot about the note soon after the finished writing it, and carelessly left it on the table for the world (or at the very least the two other members of the household who can read) to see.  I took the paper, still folded, and put it on the counter for her to get later.

 

And I didn’t even peek.*

 

 

*meaning I didn’t fully open it, but I did scrutinize every detail of the outside

Death and All His Friends

An old friend’s father died last week, and at the funeral I was surrounded by ghosts.  It’s a strange phenomenon when the ghosts of your past take shape, phantoms at first who morph into breathing flesh before your very eyes.  That which was firmly locked away has been thrown open, covered by a thick layer of dust but still present.  Those ghosts whispered bittersweet memories into my ear,  conjuring images of my old life and the person I used to be.  The familiarity of it all was a taunt  illustrating how much I belonged, yet didn’t.

I was swept from that old life without consent, forced to grow into a stronger and better person that I might have otherwise been.  And now that I am older (so much older), it is with greater ease that I firmly lock those ghosts away once more and let them remain only as quiet reminders of a much younger me.

I received a blessing this weekend: I had the opportunity to see my life as it might have been.  And I walked away knowing that my life has turned out infinitely better because I went down a different road.

Dreaming of Jane

Portrait of Jane Austen, from the memoir by J....

Today I have a cold.  And I am way worse than any man when I have a cold. I moan, I grunt, I demand copious amounts of attention.  Generally, I want to babied and cosseted the way that I was when I was a kid and didn’t feel well.   However, as an adult, this has proven to not be the case.  In fact, not only am I no longer babied and cosseted, I am expected to continue doing all of the things that I normally do during the day.  Because, like all moms, I no longer have the luxury of a “sick day”: young children don’t care if I feel like playing LaLaLoopsy for four hours or not.

So this afternoon, while suffering through my illness, I found myself fantasizing while folding the laundry (as one does).  Only instead of something hot and involving Jimmy Fallon (don’t judge – he is my number one Celebrity To Do), I fantasized about Jane Austen.  Or, more specifically, what it would be like to be one of Jane Austen’s heroines with a cold.

I know.  Just follow along.

See, in “Pride and Prejudice” when Jane Bennet takes ill (I love the phrase “takes ill”. I love any and all British expressions) while visiting the Bingleys, she doesn’t just tromp home and keep going about her day.  She doesn’t need to do laundry, cook meals, chase after small children like, ahem, some of us do when sick.  No, she gets to lay around in bed for a FULL WEEK while servants bring her trays of broth and her doting sister sits by her side, reading her books.  Not to mention the dashing man pacing the library floor anxiously until she’s fully restored.

That doesn’t sound too bad to me.  Frankly, it sounds pretty awesome.

Sure, if I lived in Regency England I’d probably have no property to my name, very little say in who I married, and essentially be dependent on either a husband or a male relative to provide for my financial needs.  Not to mention corsets – yuck.  And no epidurals, reality TV, Amazon.com, or iPhones.  And –gasp – no “Phineas and Ferb” to distract my children so that I can cook dinner in five minutes of relative peace (yes, I use the TV as a babysitter when I need to cook, go ahead and judge me).

I guess being a Jane Austen heroine wouldn’t be that fantastic, really, in the long run.  Oh well.  Doesn’t mean that I can’t still fantasize about Mr. Darcy while I do a load of whites……

40 Days of Kindness

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.  Though I’m a Methodist, I’m a full believer in Catholic guilt, so I typically give up something I love during Lent.   But this year, I decided to do something a little different.  Now that my oldest is five (which means that she is a woman of the world and ready to move out, in her opinion), I wanted to make it more meaningful for her.  She and I had a lengthy discussion about Lent on the way to school yesterday morning (while she was giggling over the words “Fat Tuesday”), and decided together that it might mean even more to God if we were do take up something, rather than give up something.   Our decision (inspired in part by Pinterest, because isn’t everything) was to embark on 40 Days of Kindness.

40 Days of Kindness means, for us, to do at least one random act of kindness for strangers each week during the season of Lent.  It has to be something that we can do as a family, and that will bring a simple joy to others.   Thanks once again to Pinterest and the giving heart of my oldest girl, here are the ideas that we have come up with so far:
-Bake cookies for the local firefighters and deliver them

-Write letters of thanks (with pictures from the girls) to soldiers stationed overseas

-Bring in the trash cans for our neighbors whenever possible

-Donate food to a food pantry (my version of inviting the homeless to dinner, which is what L originally suggested)

-Hide dollar bills in the toy section of the dollar store for kids to find

-Buy art supplies to donate to the children’s hospital nearby

-Bake cookies and draw pictures for the elderly people living in a nearby retirement home

-Go through a drive-thru and pay for the person’s order behind us in line

-Pick up litter in the park

We kicked it off this morning; after the little girls and I dropped L off at school, C and I took it upon ourselves to bring in our own trash cans (as a random act of kindness for my hubby) and those of our next door neighbor.  C really got a kick out of helping me push their trash can up to their covered area, and I tried not to think about the germs that were infiltrating her pudgy little hands.   And I almost succeeded.

This afternoon L and I researched where to send letters to soldiers, but haven’t found a good answer so far.  We’ll keep looking into it, and hopefully be able to get our letters and pictures out this week.

Stay tuned for updates over the coming weeks of our 40 Days of Kindness!

Hello, Interweb!

Yep, I’m back.  I’m going to try my hand at the ‘ol blogging business again, and this time actually keep up with it*.

(*meaning I will keep up with it if I can actually stay awake during my “free” time and be convinced to do something more intellectually stimulating that watching reality TV).  I’ve come to realize that in order for me to blog  “for fun”,  I need to accept the reality that blogging will probably not result in any of the following:

-Fame

-Fortune

-A seat at the Oscars

-Hounding by paparazzi

-The accolades of  my peers

-Did I already say fortune?

With that, I’ve decided to keep this blog as a source of entertainment for myself, my family,  and,  if you’re reading this, for you.   And if any of the above-mentioned items happen as a result, I’ll just consider that a bonus.

Especially the fame and/or fortune.  Well, actually not and/or.  I really don’t want to be famous without the fortune, because that kind of fame is what happens to serial killers.   So scrap that, let’s just say that I’ll take fame only if it’s coupled with the fortune and the accolades.  Oh, and let’s throw in that seat at the Oscars, too.

And obviously, this sort if triviality is EXACTLY what’s going to get me that seat!

I’m still trying to figure out what this blog will be about (parenting/cooking/reality TV/my attempts at craftiness), but do I promise that most of my posts will be slightly less banal*.  So if you’re out there, Interweb, please keep reading. 🙂

*By slightly less banal I mean EXACTLY this banal