Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Living "Independently"

I have been asked on occassion if I am going to put Mary Kate in an assisted living home when she is an adult. The purpose of assisted living is to make an adult feel independent while still receiving personal care and support services. I have always said "no" to this service for a few different reasons. Reason number 3 relates to everyone, not just someone with special needs, and the real reason I wanted to write this blog.
One, What am I? Chopped liver?  I've been giving Mary Kate personal care and support services since birth. What would change? The only thing I can see changing is having less kids in the home so now I'm even more available to provide this care. A person with more severe needs may need this extra assistance but Mary Kate does not fall in that category.
Two, It takes a very special individual to care for a person with special needs and not one that has a degree. Degree's are nice but it is on the bottom of the list of importance. They truly need to have the patience of Job. I know very few people with that kind of patience. Very, very few.  I can not entrust my baby girl with anyone that I do not know as well as I know my own sister or best friend AND see that they have this quality.
Third, There is this notion that young adults need to live on their own for a time to learn responsibility. This is where I am in disagreement with many people.  I want all of my children to go straight from their home or dorm life to their new spouses home. No stops of aloneness and solitude to learn "responsibility". This is completely unnecessary and, too often, a failed attempt. It has always been my belief that "two heads are better than one." You learn responsibility 'better' when you have a partner to share in the responsibilities. This could be a parent or a spouse or a sibling. They are looking out for each other because they love each other. Each person can provide insight that the other one could not which leads to problem solving skills. Let's take a closer look.....
Budgeting. When you are alone, you have to budget your money and learn to do so. When you are living with your parents or your spouse, you still have to budget but this time, it has the added complication of adding more people to the budget and maybe, more money and more expense. Wouldn't the more challenging budget bring greater lessons?  Wouldn't the "two heads" bring greater results?
Car and home repairs. Ah, yes. The dreaded and expensive repairs. The garbage disposal has stopped working, the car shakes and die's at every red light, a ball got kicked through a window, another leak in the pool, the water is running down the basement walls! Yes, I am pulling these examples right out of my own life. A life where both my husband and I jumped from our safe and cozy home to married life in a cheap, run down home in Kansas City. This is an easy solution. I tell Roy about these things and he fixes them. lol. Actually, this is true BUT, how does he know how to do any of this if he never lived on his own? Living on his own doesn't TEACH him how to fix these problems any more then living with me does. This may come as a surprise, but I'm no help in this area. What if I were living on my own and I needed these things fixed? Well, there's this guy I know that lives up the street named Roy. I just call him down....and we live happily ever after. Kidding aside, I do not believe in only learning by trial and error. Whenever you can learn to do something the right way the first time, try that one on for size first. Learn from others... parents, siblings, spouses, family, etc. A person living in solitude will call on these people in the time of need so why bother being separated from them in the first place? How did this separation help?
I would much rather share my trials with a family member who has my best interest at heart then by myself or with a stranger I had to call to get something fixed.
I will not be encouraging my kids to live on their own for a time before getting married, most especially my girls who need that companionship and protection that can only be offered by a Daddy, brother or husband....or ME!! now that I have experience.  So, putting two and two together, you can see that I will not be putting Mary Kate in an assisted living home (as wonderful as they are).  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day

Finally! I now have an occasion to write about my mom. I suppose I can write about her anytime but what better time than Mother's Day? I can tell you now that I have written and rewritten this blog and can never get it right. It is so frustrating until I realized that it is impossible to really do my mom the justice she deserves in a blog. So, here is my 15th attempt! I listed 3 of my mom's title's that I have given her that represents my relationship with her.
Spiritual Advisor. ...
I consider my mom my personal spiritual advisor. Whenever I have a question about my faith or a question about principles or morals, I call her first. She gives me the correct answer whether I want to hear it or not. I have said on occasion, "Mom, I'm going to ignore you if you tell me anything I don't want to hear." LOL. I know she will always be truthful because her love for God and her Catholic Faith is far greater than any other love she has, including me. Whenever I am faced with a tempting moral decision (lying about my toddlers age to get a free meal...), I'm given gentle reminders or "the look". I don't like that look! I'd rather have the gentle reminders so she can "talk to the hand":)) But, "the look" is my gentle reminder that I need to reconsider my decision.
Best Friend...
Whenever I have a personal problem, she always gives me the objective answer with empathy and sensitivity. She does not hold back the truth to protect my feeling although she puts out every effort to be sensitive. Although I consider her my best friend, she is not the type to jump on my pity party band wagon. She has a love for me that does not provide the fueling of my fire when I have conflicts with people. She offers advice to help improve my relationships. I noticed that this quality is different than other families I have met. Moms and daughters and sisters tend to band together and stand arm and arm against the enemy. Although that may look like a strong family unit from a distance, all that really does is destroy a relationship between your sister and the friend she really had cared for. My mom helps solve and bring friendships back together.
 There was a clear split between being a friend and being a mother. She was ALL Mom until my wedding day. Overnight, she became my friend. As I grew up, she never once responded to the "all the other kids are wearing this....watching that movie...staying out this late...etc"  My most frequent complaint was the continuous pleading during every grocery store run to "PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE buy us the 'sugar' cereal" That is what my mom always called it. EVERY one of my friends had sugar cereal. She said "no" 100% of the time. She never gave in. My only hope of scooping up a spoonful of Coco Pebbles that turned my milk into chocolate milk was sleepovers and our yearly trip to see the McGreevy family in Ohio. As much as I love the McGreevy family, I think their sugar cereal took priority. Sorry McGreevy's!! Well, guess who won't buy sugar cereal for her own kids now?? LOL. Yep, ME! I'm not 100% though:( I can't resist the $2 sale with my $1 off coupon. I can't do it!
 She NEVER said a coarse word about how other parents raised their kids." No" meant "no" and she never criticized the decisions that other parents made.  I've been trying to carry that quality with my own kids but I have failed on several occasions.
As a Mom, she was required to bring me up in the faith. She tried her best. My father was raised Episcopalian, so she was on her own with teaching her girls the Catholic Faith. I know it was difficult for her. The Catholic schools were vastly different from when she had attended. Years and years went by and I had learned very little about the faith. Homeschooling was unheard of. Actually, homeschooling was just for the weirdo's. Still We said the rosary during every car trip to Ohio, which usually began in the middle of a fight my sister and I were having. I went to confession regularly and daily Mass whenever we could. Although I don't remember knowing very much about my faith, I remember having a strong relationship with God. Having that relationship got me through my teenage years with minimal scaring. I can thank my mom for giving me that strong foundation.  
She knew what the future was going to hold if she didn't nip it in the bud early. She made several things clear as I was growing up that she knew were necessary to have a happy and secure life.
     1. I can live at home after graduation if I'm going to college or I'm paying rent. I got my "Mrs" degree and off I went!
     2. We are never buying you a car. I don't think I would have like the car they would buy me anyway.
     3. If you come back home after you get married, your husband is coming too. When I made a comment last week that I was running away and moving in with her. She replied, "You can come by yourself now." I said..."Wait a minute. I thought you said I can't come without Roy?" She said, "That was true in the first few years of marriage when things are rough. Now, you would probably have a good reason." LOL. Wow. She has so much wisdom! All of a sudden, at least 5 or 6 memories came back of when I wanted to flee early in my marriage. I felt like I had no place to go so I was forced to stay work it out. How dare her make me work out my own problems! The nerve!!
     4. We are not going to be a daycare for your kids. We earned the right to be spoiling grandparents and that is what we are going to be...gosh darnit! Now I had to stay home because day care was too expensive and I was forced to see the joy in raising my kids. We all know where that led....7 more.
     5. We're not giving you any money unless your starving. So, guess who was forced to live within their means and eventually ended up debt free?? Yep, that would be us! And guess who now freely has their bank account open to us but we won't touch it? Yep, that would be my parents.
My mom's wisdom is phenomenal! Every child should be blessed with a mom with such wisdom. She knows...she really knows what people need to stay afloat and independent and HAPPY. It is so simple. She simply refused to enable me to be, dare I say, a wuss? ...a coward? ....a quiter? ...irresponsible?...dependent? ...all of the above? Best of all...I hope/plan/pray that I pass along all of these character traits and life lessons to my kids.
My mom was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. She went through the rigorous and painful tests and chemo treatments for months. She had to fast for days, drink liquids that tastes like acid, got stuck with needles repeatedly with some of the needles going to bed with her each night! ETC. ETC. ETCETERA!! She NEVER complained. She NEVER looked scared. She was always smiling and joking about her pain. Her attitude all came from her strong faith. This was her opportunity to offer up the most she has ever been able to offer up for the poor holy souls. She "gets to" carry her cross next to Jesus. This is her attitude. In spite of how her family (me, my sister and Dad) tried to bring her down (our pathetic looks and sad faces), she never succumbed. I need these memories to remind me how to treat my trials and suffering. I need them bad because I am a spoiled baby compared to her. I imagine I'm going to make a pathetic, whiny old person one day. Ho hum...

Thank you Mom. I love you and love you more and more every day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden's death has brought up so many different subjects that past few days. Sometimes, I'm not sure what to think. Should we be rejoicing or not? I am really struggling with that. Was there rejoicing when St. Michael the Archangel defeated Lucifer and thrust him into Hell? I think that if I knew that answer, I would know how I should feel about this. I would imagine that it was an exaggerated feeling of "bitter-sweet". It is "sweet" per se because the enemy was defeated. It was "bitter" because it appears that God has lost another soul that He loved as much as you and I. I feel robbed that I didn't get a chance to see Osama brought to justice. There was much gratification when Suddham Hussein was arrested and tried and found guilty. Both of them in prison for a lifetime would have brought me greater satisfaction. If the two of them were to have died a natural death, they both would have been gifted their entire life to repent and come into full communion with God. I know, I know, it sounds impossible. But, there is nothing impossible with God.
I can not tell you for sure that they should not have been executed. My Catholic faith tells me in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2267 that "the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor." I'm just a little ole housewife in the heart of America. Who am I to say that these two men's death has and will prevent the death of other human lives more so then if they were in prison? I have no idea. All I know is that I am saddened by their actions. I'm saddened by their deaths. I'm saddened that God most likely lost 2 more souls to Satan.  I am, however, feeling star struck by the Special Forces that took these cowardly men out. They did it with anonymity. We will never know who they are because they joined this division specifically to protect little ole me and little ole you. They did it with patience, clarity and stealth. I am so proud of them. I like to dream that one of them was a good Catholic that thought up the idea to take out Osama on Divine Mercy Sunday just to give him a chance. But, I'm just a dreamer. I will never know. Thank you whoever you are!
So you can see that I'm a little torn. On the one hand, I want to see justice here on Earth by the people he has pained. On the other hand, I'm thanking our soldiers for a job well done. Well? I guess I covered all the bases then? I'll just take 2 different sides. lol. I'll tell you one thing. I don't think St. Michael and his possy rejoiced over Lucifers suffering or mocked him so I won't be doing that either. I despise seeing pictures of their dead and broken bodies. I know people are rejoicing when they see those pictures which takes greater issue with me then just the grotesque image. I pray that we all can pray for peace and justice and especially for the repentance of our souls and the souls of our enemies.
I was watching the news yesterday where many American-Muslims were being interviewed. I kept hearing them say things like, "We finally got him, we can get out of there now..." and "Its nice to have closure". I was yelling at the TV! One man? Really? We got ONE man so now were all safe from terrorism? I was angry that those interviews made it on the news in the first place. How naive! President George Bush told us all on September 21st, 2001 that this was going to be a long fight against terrorism . There was plenty of agreement, cheering and support going on then but we have since lost our will to fight the good fight. The fight that protects my freedom to go to my church up the street day after day if I want.  And protects my freedom to homeschool and protest and pray at Planned Parenthood and blog:) I am not privy to the sensitive information that only the President knows so I can't make the judgment about where our troops need to be. All I know is that if the terrorists are conspiring, I want our troops over there and not fighting in my front yard. Sounds reasonable right? I think even the Democrats and Republicans can agree on that!