December 16, 2009

Your Assignment, Should You Choose to Accept - 12/17/09

It's that time of week again for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. This week, I chose prompts #1, #2, #3, and #5 (ambitious, huh?).

1.) Summer’s recent post “I’m Sensitive And I Want To Stay That Way” talks about how her sensitivity works for her and against her, but that she embraces herself for the way she is. What is your cross to bear?

2.) What is one of your life mottos?

3.) How do you deal manage the “death” talk with your kids?

5.) Write a poem to the item your loved one is obsessing over.

My Cross to Bear
I am a worrier. A fretter. I cringe every time the phone rings during the school day, expecting it to be bad news about another incident with The Boy. Whenever a teacher calls me, my first response is: "What did he do now?" When I'm away from home, my first stop inside the house is the answering machine - I'm checking to see if the school called while I was out. I'm pathetic.

It is so hard for me to relax; I feel I have to be ever-vigilant. Sleep is often fleeting.

I'm trying really hard here to find a positive in my never-ending sense of impending doom.

Maybe it's the sense of joy I feel each day the phone DOESN'T ring.

Lately, it's been pretty joyous around here. Well done, man-child!

My Life Motto
I'm not sure this is a life motto, but it is a phrase I use whenever Life Loses its Logic (LLL). You know what I mean, when government officials say or do something that When celebrities behave badly on such a scale to approach unbelievability. When The Boy does something so off the wall that I wonder if he even has two adjacent functioning brain cells. When it's one of the "what the hell were they thinking?" things.

My phrase? BIGGER MINDS THAN MINE. I feel better just saying it. It lets me 'let go' of my feelings of not understanding anything at all.

Then I go about my day and just let the pundits sort it all out...after all, their brains are bigger than mine.

The Death Talk
My dad loved my girls. He'd call me and ask me when I was bringing them over. He'd make them snacks - one of his snack inventions was "bologna cups" - where he'd take a slice of bologna, fill it with American cheese and heat it in the microwave. The bologna would curl up like a bowl. He also let Shannon have a ham and jelly sandwich one time. His reasoning? "That's what she wanted".The kids loved the attention.

When my father was dying of lung cancer, my daughters were only seven and four years of age, respectively. It was hard. They knew he was very, very sick. They were sad. They were worried.

One complication about his health status came from the day care I used while I was attending classes at a local college.

The women who worked there were well-intentioned. I was NOT a member of the congregation. I had major problems with things they told my daughters about prayer and death.

They actually told them that if they prayed hard enough, their grandfather would not die. I was PISSED.

Oh, how they prayed. And they watched him slip further away, they saw his weight loss, his inability to speak as the cancer spread to his voice box.

They prayed some more. His name was even on the white board at the church; the white board that contained the prayer list.

I found myself having to constantly "de-program" what my children were being told. I had to talk serious theology here - they wanted to know why God was not listening to their fervent pleas.

I had to tell them that despite all the prayers, and all the hard work the doctors were doing, there were times when a person's body was unable to fight anymore; that their grandfather was going to die, and that, in Heaven, he would have no more pain. He would not be sick anymore. That we would miss him greatly, but we would have lots of memories and photos to remind us of him.

They saw me cry when my brother called from the hospital on the day my dad died. They didn't really understand the finality of death - heck, even I expected to see my dad sitting in his recliner when I walked in my parents' house.

We visited his grave often, the kids would read other gravestones and check if my dad had new "neighbors" at the cemetery. On one visit, not long after his death, Erin (the 4-year old) stood whispering near his headstone, looking up at the sky.

Here's what she told me about her conversation:

"I talked to Pap Pap about bologna cups. He said we have to use Oscar Mayer."

We bought that Oscar Mayer bologna and made the cups...but the girls wouldn't eat them.

I guess I didn't have my dad's flair for cooking.

The Boy's Obsession
Kermit, Miss Piggy, we sure have been blessed
The constant Muppet DVDs?
Please give it a rest!

Please be sure to stop by Mama Kat's for all the prompts and responses!


  1. I am a worrier too, always have been and I feel like its just the way I'm gonna stay. Sometimes its okay and other times, I know I am worrying way too much!

  2. Ohhh, I love the muppets! They are classic and one of the few movies that has some great humor for adults while keeping a 'g' rating. One of my favorites.

  3. I can be a worrier too and then I get stressed from all the worrying!

  4. I tend to be the opposite of a worrier. But I am a forgetter. So when the phone rings, I'm sure it is someone calling about something I forgot to do. I'll trade ya!

    Death is always hard. The Son lost both his grandpas between the ages of 5 and 8. I'm just glad there was no idiot saying odd things about prayer to him at the time.

  5. Wow, you were ambitious! I just chose one and I don't know if I did a particularly good job on it.

    I thought about the death one as my boys have been through that 5 times with people they loved, but honestly I don't remember what all I said to them. It just happened and we dealt with it each time as best we could.

    Hope your kids are doing well without their Pap Pap. It is hard, isn't it?

  6. How frustrating that those women told your girls that! I'm sorry about the loss of your father. Mine passed suddenly a few years ago and I know it's hard. It sounds like you did a great job explaining death and dying to your daughters though.

  7. You were ambitious. So much to say and I'm already so tired.

    First of all. Bologna cups = kind of cool idea. Ham & Jelly = not a cool idea.

    Second: That praying thing ... not good at all. They should know better than to promise something like that. "Bigger minds than mine."

    Third: I'm glad the boy hasn't been causing you too much heartache lately ... may it continue.

  8. My husband is the worrier in this household. It's kinda' nice ---for me, but terrible for him. I don't have to worry because he worries for me. I can't say I never worry, but it is rare.

    This hasn't worked for my husband, but I understand it works for some. Set aside one hour of the day to worry. Then you can be worry free the rest of the day.

  9. CJ,
    Before The Boy was born, I tried to worry only 20 minutes a day. Now, it's exponentially increased, due to his unpredictable nature.

  10. I think your motto is great...especially considering your cross to bear is that of a worrier. Bigger Minds...I like that. So true.

  11. Mom you need to check your math. I was 6, almost seven when Pap-pap died.


Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!