Category Archives: On Motherhood

The Family Unit

                What is a family? It means many things to many people. In my family, it meant a mom and a dad and some siblings. We all ate together, went camping together, attended each others functions like ball games, and parades. We were a unit. We were disciplined and sometimes told on each other when there was concern involved. We played together and knew all our siblings’ friends. We had to learn to get along as we lived in close quarters. We helped each other on paper routes in the middle of winter. We were probably each other’s best friends.
                 Maybe that is why I have been enjoying watching the family of Canadian Geese nearby growing up together. I have a collection of 55 photos since they were tiny. I watched the parents protect their young, teach them to fly and finally leave. I was a little sad I must admit when I drove by to see that they were really gone. It must have been at least ten days when finally I had given up hope of seeing them again. On the way home from work yesterday, I glanced again to the field where I had been observing them to see they had come back. Now, the little ones were matured. I pulled off to the side of the road and let my car idle. They would not come near me so I turned off my car. They immediately walked and flew towards me. I snapped as many pictures as I could. I hope you enjoy the few I have chosen.

4 tiny specks in the grass-the goslings

teach us to fly!!

the father always on guard watches his family

look closely in far right corner- a family swims together early morning

we are growing up but still need our parents

we are mature but our parents are nearby always

UPDATE-  [written July 20th,2008] The family of Canadien Geese were only there for that one day. I suppose they were showing their little ones where they were born so they can go back another year. I will be keeping my eyes open.

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Raising Boys

When I first found out I was going to be a mother, I never had any concept of what that meant, except that I would be responsible for another human being. I was 27 when I had my first child, a boy we named Michael. My mother never told me quite what to expect, and maybe that is best. Things were different when she had all of us. It ended up being emergency c-section. I have to laugh when I think of it, as I recall the doctor asking me how I felt afterwards. I told the truth. My regular doctor came in and apologized for not attending the birth as he heard it was a tough time. I told him I really did not care at the time, as I just wanted someone who knew what they were doing. He told me I was very open- minded. Now I look back and I am glad I felt that way. I guess it was a preparation for motherhood in many ways. Many things are completely out of our control. Acceptance is what I have learned on this path called life.
             Anyhow, I was unable to see my son for over 10 hours. I hounded the nurses to see my son, and they assured me it would be soon. Well, ‘soon’ meant after the doctors came to inform me that my son would be needing work on his feet as he was born with bilateral club feet. I was listening intently, but when alone, I faced uncertainty about what it all meant. In a room with a curtain dividing us, my roommate sensed my uncertainty and asked if I was okay. I assured her that I was okay. When I saw my son, it was instant adoration and I had an overwhelming sense to protect him. Two years of casting and 2 surgeries took care of most of the correction to his feet. Little did we know how insignificant that would be as we later found he would have Muscular Dystrophy. In time we learned how to live with that too.
             Then the birth of our second son occurred two years later. It was totally different as I was alert when he was born with a regular delivery. It was very long and I will never forget the experience at a military hospital. After complete exhaustion and my baby’s cry, applause erupted in the hallway amongst the staff. He was put up close to me and he looked right into my eyes. Complete silence fell over him and I said quietly, “Hello little baby, I am your mommy”. I started to cry and said to my husband, “Take your new baby son”. 
             So began the rollercoaster ride which made me crazy sometimes and certainly made me laugh. Being a parent has certainly allowed me growth in many ways, and sacrifice is our middle names. Our parents did it, and now we do it. It is my belief that not until I became a parent did I truly understand my parent’s sacrifices. I also learned to accept their shortcomings as well as my own. After all, there is no manual which tells us how to be good parents. I think if we spend more time than money on them, give them guidance without stunting their emotional growth, and finding some balance in their daily lives., we have done well. It is important to find balance as husband and wife as well. Your kids learn by what they see, not by what you say always. Motherhood has presented many challenges, some disappointments and many rewards. I will be posting some stories from time to time about raising boys. Though I am no authority on the matter, I have used humor and my own mother’s wisdom along the way to cope the challenges on being a mother.

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Multi-tasking : Has all this technology allowed us to accomplish any more in a day?

As we ring in the New Year, we are all thinking of certain goals we would like to reach. I believe multi-tasking and enjoying it, are the key to achieving your goals. A few examples come to mind, especially being a woman in my forties, I am trying to become more health conscious. My job consists of sitting at a desk on a switchboard.  I have often thought a stairmaster would be a great way to keep in shape as I took calls from customers, but that might be a little silly.  So I bought a giant Swiss therapeutic ball and I sit on it at work. I move from side to side, working on my waste, and I also do small crunches as I take phone calls. Then when I need more activity, I stand up and lean into the ball with one leg at a time, to stretch my legs and work the backs of my legs. I felt a little silly but everyone is quite accustomed to it now. Another woman brought hers to work also. We feel much better. A small change but I am doing a sort of multi-tasking. More water is also one of my little goals.

            Last evening I had a brainstorm. Our son uses an electric wheelchair, and this has taught us to find solutions. Prioritizing, and coordinating doctor appointments, and generally giving him the best possible care I can and also taking time for me and my husband…..well just lets say that many things get compromised because the day is still 24 hours long. Physical therapy is very important but I have not much time left for anyone near the end of the day. Someone comes to your home and trains you to do PT for your loved one. You will love this idea and I stumbled upon it quite by accident. I was whipping up dinner when I put on a Bruce Springsteen CD on my boom-box in the kitchen. I get a little wacky and start dancing. Well my son is annoyed with the music to begin with but I see him and decide to dance with him. He cannot lift his arms or legs so I grab his arms and then his legs and move to the music. I am getting exercise and he is getting his PT … and Dinner is getting cooked , but the best part is we are having fun… not like work. Of course he wouldn’t even look at me because he thinks I am a wack- job anyhow. That’s what I call Creative Problem Solving on a Daily Basis. We all do it from time to time.

            Now about all this multi-tasking, my advice is this: I don’t like to see folks brushing their teeth when they are driving or putting on make-up or even shaving. Get in the car and drive, and focus on being the best driver you can. A cousin of mine lost his life after living in a rehab hospital for a year with a serious brain injury as a result of someone changing a music CD when they were driving. All this technology is a huge distraction in our lives. Never ever would our ancestors have imagined that we would become part of the Machine. Each day we interact with machines, whether it involves a call to the bank, the operator, or ordering something online. The Industrial Revolution changed the world forever with the introduction of machinery replacing labor. I am amazed at the instant connections with people globally. I love to get mail 40x per day versus waiting for the mailman. I still love the handwritten letter though. Imagine how technology has changed our lives. Are our lives 100% better because of technology? Do we get any more done today than we did say 125 years ago?  I think we still work equally as hard to make ends meet as our ancestors did. The big difference was that the weather played a significant role in their livelihoods. They couldn’t get the hay ready until it was completely dry. Crops were bad some years because of the weather. I read a lifetime of diaries written by an ancestor dating 1867-1913. Each day, he wrote exactly what the temperature was and the even the type of snowfall. They had difficult lives filled with hard work as there was no wood fairy to chop their wood to keep their houses warm.  A trip to Raymond from Westbrook took 4 hours by wagon one way. The visit lasted 4 hours and then it was another 4 hours to get home. These trips were done on Sundays. Either a person stayed home on Sunday waiting for visitors or they visited relatives and sometimes friends. Survival depended on those connections to kinfolk. The wagon would leave with a cord of wood and come home with a barrel of apples, some barrels of flour or whatever supplies were needed at home. It was the same as today, no wasted trips but today it is because of gas prices. An empty wagon lost money. I think the quality of life was better in some ways. People are getting lazier with all this technology and we are for the most part not doing much physical work like our ancestors did, for the same reasons. We are all a product of out times. Still I love the distraction of writing this blog. Just a little food for thought… Best wishes on your New Year goals!

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