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Posts Tagged ‘Children’

As a mom I am constantly hugging and kissing my son even though he already acts like a teenager and won’t allow me to kiss him very much.  There are still a few special times where he is really huggy like after a bath, early in the morning, or after he gets hurt, but he never wants me to kiss him very much anymore.  I was sad about this at first and as an alternative I usually make a game out of it where I tell him I’m gonna steal kisses or I tickle him and kiss him, but he recently taught me an important lesson regarding how we express love.  Kissing is one very important and popular way that we express love but not everyone is comfortable with it.  I know some people who don’t like kissing in public for instance.  I always knew that but one night, Griffin reminded me that there are other ways to express love.

About a year ago, I told him that when we are holding hands and I squeeze his hand 3 times it means that I love him.  So, for about  a year now we have this little thing where I squeeze his hand 3 times and then he squeezes mine back 3 times.  I love this of course but recently he took it to the next level and it melted my heart.  I was putting him to bed one night and he said, “Mommy, when I hold your hand hearts go from inside of me into you and to your heart”.  This was the sweetest thing he had ever said to me.  Now, sometimes he will remind me to hold his hand before bed so that I can get his hearts.  This made me realize that I don’t need to be upset that he won’t let me kiss him much anymore and reminded me that love can be expressed in any way you choose to express it.  In this case, Griffin was creative enough to assert that his hearts flowing into me show me the love that he feels for me.  I will take that any day over a kiss!

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Girls On the Run Logo

Girls on the Run Logo

Recently my friend Tara posted a blog article about coming out as a mother of an autistic child.  That idea inspired me to come out as well.  See, I was raised in California for the first quarter of my life until my mom wisely moved me to Florida at the age of 8.  My first 8 years in California were very traumatizing to say the least.  Most people know that I had an absent father who openly rejected me and that alone can be devastating to a little girl’s self-esteem, but not everyone knows that I was sexually abused by a “trusted” male babysitter from the age of 7 to 8 before I got up the courage to speak out so he would stop.  Phew, I said it.  It’s really hard to say and my heart is racing as I type this because I have never said this in such a public forum.  In fact, when I tell people today I usually just say “abused” and leave off the word “sexually” because of the negativity that surrounds it.  I know this isn’t really along the lines of the topics I post on here related to my son but of course I can relate everything back to being a mom so here it goes.

The effects of what happened to me didn’t really show up until way later in life.  I mean, they were there all through middle school and high school but never did I realize what this experience did to me until I started having real relationships with men and seeing a counselor in my mid-twenties.  It wasn’t until my brilliant counselor in Atlanta told me that I was lucky to be such a success that I realized how these two events (my father and the abuse) have shaped my life.  In a nutshell I experienced, and still struggle with to an extent, depression, anxiety, body image issues, troubled relationships with the opposite sex that were mostly defined by sex, and extreme insecurity beyond what the typical young girl experiences.  My counselor told me I was a rarity because most girls who are abandoned and abused like this end up as prostitutes or end up letting men treat them badly for their entire lives.  I did get lucky.  I haven’t always had the best relationships but in the end I did find my prince charming and realized that relationships are not defined by sex so for that I am grateful.

Why am I coming out about this?  I decided to write about this while I was out jogging today interestingly enough.  I love exercise and the way it makes me look and feel but mostly I love the mental health benefits it provides.  I often reflect on my life and challenging situations while exercising.  Also, when you come out about such issues, it inevitably helps others see they are not alone and encourages them to get help.  So, while I was jogging today I began to wonder, when and how did fitness and sports become such a huge part of my life?  I was wondering because I just started volunteering for an amazing organization called Girls on the Run because I can truly relate to this cause and wish something like that existed for me as I struggled with these issues as a young girl.  This organization speaks to everything I believe in.  It helps young girls with self-esteem and confidence through the use of fitness and competition.  I love it so I had to get involved of course!

Back to my jog today, I was jogging and wondering when sports and fitness became a huge part of my life.  Well, my mother was not only brilliant to move me away from California where I like to say all the “bad things” happened to us, but my first Summer here she started me in softball.  I grew to adore the sport and gained amazing amounts of confidence as I became one of the league’s best pitchers.  It made me feel a way that I had never felt before:  confident.  As an athlete, I never questioned myself or my abilities as I had done in every other facet of my life, and became somewhat proud of myself for the first time ever.  As an athlete I truly believed that I could do anything!

This is not to say that my mother didn’t tell me every second how awesome I was my entire life (she still does) but getting involved in sports taught me so much.  It taught me I could be good at something and that competing with myself and others felt great.  My love for softball only got bigger and I played in high school and would have competed in college had they not converted to a fast-pitch format.  Alternatively, I started my own intramural teams throughout college and graduate school.

Over the years I have tried several different fitness activities and continue to explore new and fun activities, but it all comes down to one thing.  I think that fitness and sports has helped to shape me and as I jogged today I realized that it may have saved my life.  My counselor was right, the statistics were stacked against me, and I think much of my success comes from a solid mother in my life, but there has to be more that contributes to a kid’s success right?  In my case, I think that softball is what helped me believe in myself after some extremely traumatizing events as a young girl.

I can relate this to being a mother, the overall purpose of this blog, for many reasons.  One, I will continue to encourage my son to compete athletically and help him to realize his full potential in whatever he is interested in.  Two, it doesn’t have to be sports for kids.  Many parents force sports on them and forget that kids may have other talents that help them to become who they are meant to be.  For instance, my son is very musically inclined and has told me he wants to sing so he can be a “rock star” with a band one day so of course I’m going to encourage this.  Lastly, don’t throw in the towel parents.  If bad things happen to your children work through them and be as involved as you possibly can, but also remember that it isn’t the end of the world.  As parents we can create experiences for our children and help them reach their full potential.  One day I will “come out” about this to Griffin when it is appropriate because, while this experience doesn’t define me, it has helped me become the person and mother that I am today and maybe it can help him help someone else to “come out”.

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Do YOU like the Magic School Bus?Everyday when Griffin goes to his summer camp at Open Arms preschool,
his teacher, who is also the incredible director of the school, asks
him to sign in. She is pretty creative so she doesn’t just ask the
kids to sign their names, but she has them answer a yes or no question
and sign either on the “No” sheet or the “Yes” sheet. Most days it is
something simple like, “did you brush your teeth” or “do you have any
pets” but this past week she was asking them if they liked the Magic
School Bus or if they wanted certain characters to teach class that
day. I really appreciate her creativity here but we all know that this
is just the beginning of the requirement to “sign in” or put yourself
into a category everywhere you go.  I’m not upset by her activity but
I’m just saying it made me think.

Now, I know my son, and I know he doesn’t dislike the Magic School Bus
but when asked if he liked it he signed “no”.  It’s not the fact that
he signed no that made me think, but more importantly it was HOW he
signed no.  He walked over to the sign in sheets, asked me which sheet
was the ‘no’ sheet, and while signing his name he giggled and gave me
his mischievous smile.  He and one other child signed “no”.  The “yes”
sheet was filled with names just like every other day. He did this a
few days in a row and it made me realize something. Even though I knew
Griffin was being somewhat rebellious by signing no to questions just
for the sake of signing no, I realized that he was trying to express
his individuality. He didn’t want to be like everyone else even though
his answer would typically be yes to most of those questions.

As parents who have been raised in a society that many times frowns
upon being different, our gut instinct is to encourage our kids to
follow the crowd. I even had to stop myself when I wanted to question
Griffin’s choice to sign no. Thankfully I didn’t discourage him and
his “rebellion” reminded me that it’s ok to choose the path less
traveled and it’s imperative that I foster his individuality and
creativity. Do YOU like the Magic School Bus?

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Eat Your Corn People!

Enjoying my Corn

As you can see I enjoy my corn!

My son is with his daddy in Virginia Beach visiting his grandma DeeDee and of course I miss him like crazy.  We talk almost every day and some days he is more in the mood to talk than others since he is so busy there.  The other day was my favorite phone call of this trip though and he managed to remind me of a very important life lesson all the way from Virginia.  He called me just to tell me that he now likes corn on the cob with those “thingies” (corn cob holders) on the end.  Not only did he call me to tell me this because I have tried to get him to eat corn before and he refused, but he called me because he was so proud of himself.  To adults, eating corn may not seem that exciting, but to me hearing the enthusiasm in his voice as he told me he “likes corn now” made me realize something.

First, everything my son does amazes me and is incredibly adorable but that’s a given.  Second, and most importantly, it’s the little achievements in life that make life so great.  And, embracing change is a huge part of that.  Children are often hard to please when it comes to eating and even though my son eats most other vegetables, I have struggled with corn for quite some time now and had figured he’d like it in time.  But Griffin wasn’t just proud that he likes corn now, it was more about the fact that he had faced a challenge in his eyes and conquered it.  We often look at small things and think they are impossible or too difficult.  To Griffin, the corn seemed impossible and he didn’t want to try it yet.  To him trying it was an accomplishment that he knew I’d be proud of, so he thought to call me and tell me.  Of course, I told him how excited I was for him as he reiterated that he only likes it with the “thingies” on the end.  LOL!  So, off to the store I go to get the “thingies” as I remember to embrace change and face my challenges by EATING MY CORN!

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Wedding Reception

I am starting this blog to help others.  I want to use the lessons I learn from my son and my daily life to inspire others, especially women.  I have had my share of challenges throughout my life and in time will share those experiences, but after having a son for the last 5 years, I believe that we can learn so much from the way that children see the world.  Not all of my posts will be about Griffin and his insights but what I plan to do is use some of his famous and funny quotes to teach an important or fun lesson that we can use as adults on our journey through life.  I hope to inspire others and help them through their lives with my stories.

We have a unique family life so I will also be expressing my thoughts and feelings about that.  My husband and I have two homes right now.  We have a home in Vero Beach, FL where he has a successful dental practice, and a home in Gainesville, FL where my son’s father lives.  In an effort to keep our family “intact” after my divorce and then re-marriage to my amazing husband Patrick, we negotiated with my ex-husband to practice rotating custody of our son.  So, one week, I live in Vero Beach with my husband and teach myself how to cook and aspire to become a domestic Goddess.  I plan to share some of that as I go as well.  The next week, I live in our Gainesville house with my son Griffin who attends school in Gainesville.  The week we I am with my son, Patrick comes to Gainesville from Thursday to Sunday and spends the weekend with us in Gainesville.  Why can’t Patrick just move to Gainesville you ask?  Well his practice is housed in a brand new building and it is not the right time for him to leave it, nor will it be in the next few years.  So, in four years, my ex-husband will move to our area and all of us will live in the Vero Beach area.  He is staying in Gainesville until his older son, Cooper graduates high school in 2014.  Sound complicated?  Well, we make it work, and we are happy!  And, my son has 3 parents who adore him and I pray every day that years from now he will understand why we did what we did for him.

Enjoy my journey!!!

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