I recently re-watched the Emmy-Award-Winning Ellen DeGeneres in her 2010 HBO special at the Beacon Theatre in NY. This special is hilarious, and also thought provoking in our (meaning society’s) attitudes towards others. At the time of the special, Ellen had only been ‘out’ for a few years and was truly a pioneer for the gay and lesbian community and their supporters.
I have always admired Ellen for so many reasons. Mostly, I love her uniqueness and the way she gives off such a strong sense of being comfortable with herself. Right down to being the voice of Dory, my favorite Nemo character, I think Ellen is really fabulous. The character Dory has an overwhelming number of special gifts including, intuitiveness, thoughtfulness and devotion. When Dory could easily have been labeled as ‘crazy’, by the end of the movie, you appreciate her for the unique fish she is!
If you think about what kids are like in school, often those who are considered ‘different’ can have it tough. Kids can be quite mean to each other sometimes. But, when that child that may have been considered ‘different’ or ‘weird’, grows and matures, she learns to appreciate that her uniqueness is what makes her special. When she learns to truly love herself, what other people think, may no longer matter.
If you have been a single parent, divorced, or re-married, then as Ellen states above, you haven’t necessarily taken the most comfortable path. Following your heart, and making choices that are best for you, might mean that your family is not necessarily that one that you ever planned or expected in life. As a young girl, you might have thought that someday you would marry and have children. What child thinks someday I will marry, have children, divorce and have more children?
Recently a friend was talking to me about her third grader and how she yearned to fit in with the “cool girls at school”. We talked about how a mother helps her child feel comfortable with who she is, instead of trying to be like the others. How do we do this as parents? How do we help our kids know that it’s O.K. to be different? This mom is helping her daughter by finding activities that she enjoys out side of school to boost her self esteem. Isn’t this what it’s all about? If you feel good about yourself, and the choices you’ve made, then you can accept being different.
How can we be role models to our children if we stay in a relationship that isn't right of us? How do we make those leaps of faith, no matter how frightening and even if it means a more difficult path? How do we move to the next chapter of our lives, knowing we are making ourselves vulnerable to criticism and judgement?
When I was pregnant with my fourth child, and had been divorced a couple years, I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen since my first marriage. She openly commented in front of my children, “How can you be pregnant? I thought you were divorced?” Like children, adults can say hurtful, stupid things too. (Good thing my 10 year old knew babies could be made without a marriage document!) But her comment bothered me because my son was there to hear it. Even if as adults we are comfortable with who we are, how have to help our children be comfortable with themselves and the choices we've made that effect them.
When it comes to my own feelings, I am not a third grade girl who can be easily broken, but even adults can hurt each other with words and actions. There will always be people who judge you and your family for the choices you've made, but unless they have walked in your shoes, only you can can be comfortable with what it has taken to be where you are now.
It is with incredible admiration that I share the words of my Uncle, Marcel Duclos, Clinical Director at Northland Family Help Center.
By: Marcel Duclos Some time ago, you (Nicole) invited me to add to your blog on the topic of Blended Families. Early on in my second marriage, after ten years as a single father who parented mostly from afar and only occasionally to a few of my children, my life under one roof consisted of my wife and I and two elementary school age children up until their graduation from high school. On two separate occasions, two young adult step-daughters did a stint with us in the hospitable farm house. Once, we had grandchildren filling the old house and the acreage with their spirit and sounds. When everyone went away on their individual journeys and left the eight rooms to the two dogs and the four cats to tend to mother/grandmother and pépère, this step-father felt the accumulated loss of his own children weighing heavier than before. Thus is the undercurrent of …
I thought I'd share a difficult morning. Because it's not easy, and some days are just plain tough. But every day, thank God, is a new day..
Surviving It's Wednesday at 12 am: I check my son, Ryan. I'm worried about his blood sugar being safe for him to sleep.
2 1/2 hours before, at bedtime, his blood sugar was HIGH (meaning over 500) due his insulin pump failure. So scary. I gave him insulin to treat, but it was so much insulin, that now an additional blood sugar check is required to be sure that he won't go dangerously low while sleeping. I prick his finger, draw a drop of blood by squeezing, then press it into the ready test strip.
His number is now in range, thank God, so I can rest. I'm tired.
2 am: My baby is crying. She makes her way into my room from next door where she has only started to sleep on her own. She stands next to the bed, on my side, screaming. Her father turns around and sighs.
"Do you need to pee?" I ask her.
Okay, so I think I have a pretty high level of patience. I know I can go a night with little sleep and function the next day (with an extra cup of coffee). But when life gets a little crazy and you're the only parent on duty for several days at a time, let's face it: the kids might start to drive you nuts!
So ... here are a few things that work for me:
1. Put on music and DANCE. I love dancing and it's fun for me to dance with my kids--gets me out of my funk and they get out lots of energy! We play Michael Franti's "Hello Bonjour" and various versions of Star Wars electronica. (The boys are Star Wars fanatics!) Sometimes we even get a little crazy and do limbo using the broomstick... Michael Franti!
2. Don't make dinner, take the kids OUT TO EAT, and be sure to order a drink. I know, sounds crazy to some people but I've been known to take 5 kids out by myself on numerous occasions. Lots of places have kids EAT FREE and my oldest is happy to …