Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Any Day Now - a review

I remember hearing a story about a child visiting grandparents – noticing that “grandma” is much taller than “grandpa”.  One day the child asks why grandma had married when there was such an obvious height difference.  The grandma responds with, “Your grandpa and I fell in love sitting down, and by the time we stood up, it was too late.”

Often there are people look for a partner in which to share a life.  Sometimes they base their interests on appearance or personality.  And then there are others who develop a love without even trying.  And sometimes the situation may seem challenging if acted upon – some may accept the challenges while others choose not to go there due to an orthodox view of race or religion.  Others may accept the challenges that they face and try to make a go at it.  Sometimes the constant battles will make a couple stronger.  Sometimes it ends up tearing them apart.

Recently I watched a movie called “Any Day Now” starring Alan Cumming as Rudy Donatello.  The movie is based upon a real situation that took place in the 70’s between a gay couple trying to win permanent custody of a teenager with down syndrome and a judicial system who seemed to focus more about principle than they cared about the youth – one of many who I’m certain has gotten lost in the system.

Rudy works as a drag queen performing at a bar and barely making ends meet.  He is comfortable in his skin, somewhat smart mouthed, but definitely NOT ashamed.  His love interest is Paul Figer, an attorney who struggles with his identity – not so much ashamed of his attraction to Rudy, but tries to remain “closeted” as he knows acting upon his attractions will jeopardize his career.

Rudy’s neighbor plays music extremely loud, against Rudy’s wishes.  He’s constantly asking her to turn it down.  One time he barges into the apartment to turn it down, he discovers Marco, who seems oblivious to his surroundings.  Rudy has compassion for this youth with down syndrome and takes it upon himself to take care of Marco – though it’s not really his place.  He does develop a love for the youth and really does try to due right by him.

Of course I bawled through so much of the movie.  I was actually surprised by the way the movie ended.  I can’t say more about it without spoiling the outcome.  Made me hate the judicial system.  Made me love and admire Rudy’s character – and the strength of the couple as they battled a system with prejudices. I felt so bad and sorry for Marco – who did not understand.  It was a bittersweet movie.

It’s rated R for language – and usually that word really does get through to me – but I was more accepting of it just because of the circumstances – and because of Marco – an innocent victim.  He didn’t deserve the abuse.  He deserved Rudy’s love. 

I need to stop writing.  Because now I’m crying again.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What Kind of Parents are You? - You Don’t Even Know Us

         About a year and a half after we moved in, Jenna was out in front playing with Wesley.  Wes introduced her to Blake, who lived around the corner.  Blake and Jenna decided to be friends and ditched Wesley who had decided to climb on the roof next door.  Both Blake and Jenna were mortified by his decision.

         The next day Blake came over to play with Jenna.  It just happened to be her birthday and she had turned seven.  I had a party planned with many of her friends from the old neighborhood.  Jenna asked if Blake could go with us.  I told them both that we would need permission from Blake’s parents – or parent rather.  Like many of the children over here, Blake came from a broken home.

         Blake left the house and made his way back in what felt like only two minutes.  He said it was all right for me to take him to another city.  I didn’t feel right about it unless I talked with an adult first.  And so I drove him home and talked with his dad.

         His dad, who doesn’t know me, who had never even met Jenna before, said that Blake was a good kid and it would be all right if I were to take him to Kearns.  Are you kidding me?  Yes.  Blake was a very good kid.  Out of all of Jenna’s West Valley friends, I think I have actually  liked Blake the most.  But just because he was a good kid didn’t make me a reliable person.  I am.  But he doesn’t know that.

         So I took Blake to Kearns with us – still in awe that he’d been allowed to go with a virtual stranger.  There is no way in the world I would be allowing Jenna to get in the car of the parent of a friend that she just met and I don’t know.  Blake was not only allowed to go to the party, but his sister had gone out and purchased a Barbie for him to give to Jenna.

         Then there was Sadie.  Cute little Sadie.  She showed up at our doorstep one day.  Jenna had met her through some of the other neighborhood kids – and actually spends more time with Sadie than anyone.  She happened to be here as we were getting ready to go to Anna’s 4th birthday party.  Jenna asked if Sadie could go with us.  So I put Sadie in the car and drove her to her house to get permission.  Unlike Blake’s father, who spoke English, Sadie’s father doesn’t speak any English, and so I had to take her word (and his nod) for it that he has given permission.

         We’ve taken Sadie on bus rides to Kearns a couple of times.  And last night she had her first sleep over at our house.  Why would a parent allow their child to sleep over at someone’s house they haven’t met?  Again, I am not comfortable with the idea of Jenna sleeping over night with strangers – though I suppose that slumber parties could be in the future and maybe I won’t know the parents – or even the children – as her classmates also live in another city.

         And then there’s Desiree across the street.  She has two children, ages 8 and 6.  I really like the 8 year old.  She has been taught values and respect.  I think she has been the most respectful of any of Jenna’s West Valley friends, and would like to see Jenna learn that same respect – except for Desiree seems to be overly cautious about letting her children go anywhere – which I fully understand.  She doesn’t know us either. 

Jenna and I were walking somewhere when she said “Hi” to us.  I asked Jenna if she wanted to invite Alisha to walk with us in which Jenna replied, “Her mom won’t even let her walk to the corner” which made me laugh.  But I’ve learned that she wasn’t joking.  Alisha and her brother have to be within eyesight at all times.  

I wonder if something tragic happened either in Desiree’s life or the lives of her two young children.  I would highly suspect that both have different fathers – and maybe there’s a custody battle going on and perhaps one or the other has been taken and that’s why Desiree doesn’t trust anyone.  But I actually understand her overprotectiveness more than the allowing your child to ride in the car with someone you don’t even know. 

I wish I were more casual and trusting of people.  I wish we lived in a world in which we wouldn’t question the motives of the adult but be happy to let our child go – knowing that he or she will have fun and nothing bad will happen and that suspicions would be non-existent.    But there is suspicion and bad intentions and caution.  And labeling on my part – as I’ve referred to them as West Valley friends, and school friends instead of just friends.  But then there’s a degree of friendship as well.

Tomorrow I will be going to Kearns to watch my youngest nephew.  I will be taking Jenna with me.  Her other two cousins have play dates set up, and I am hoping to have one for her as well. So far it is looking good that she will be spending time with her kindergarten buddy. I hope so.  It will be good for her to play with somebody her age on her same level.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Full Circle

          Moms have many roles – at least mine did.  Teacher, Nurse, Maid, Chauffer, Seamstress, Nurturer . . .

          My mom was raised in San Francisco.  She didn’t learn gardening, but I imagined she learned to cook and launder and “mother” at quite an early age.

          She has two brothers that are younger than she.  When her mom and dad divorced and her mom was forced to return to work, mom and her brother became latch key kids.

          I know my mom assisted her mom in looking after her brothers.  I believe she fixed meals.  I’m sure that she did some light housework.  And she used to iron for other people.  She found it to be fun and enjoyed the small amount of income.

          I don’t know for certain which skills she learned from her mom or if she had picked any of those up at the Sunrise ward she attended in San Francisco.  I know moving from San Francisco to the “outskirts” of Salt Lake City (her words, not mine) was a definite culture shock.

          She had worked for the FBI in San Francisco as a file clerk – and would make it her personal goal to have her desk cleared by the end of the day – knowing it would not last – for the crime rate was high and there was always cases to be pulled and filed away.

          Mom worked for the FBI in Salt Lake City.  So different from San Francisco.  She enjoyed being able to do several jobs and learn more tasks and utilize herself on more than just filing.

          She learned many domestic skills through the Relief Society  -  many of which were probably brand new to her.  She learned to knit, crochet, can and sew among others.  And she took these tasks to heart and really tried to perfect those things which she had learned.

          Mom gave birth to four of us.  She would teach us to learn and help us by introducing us to educational toys and assisting with helping our desires for wanting to learn.

          It seems that we were in the car often as she drove us to swim lessons, my dance and piano lessons, the dentist and the doctor.  It seems she was always driving someone to the doctor.  If it wasn’t one of her children, it was my paternal grandmother. 

          Often we’d rebel if we didn’t feel sick, we didn’t feel the need.  I took her on a follow-up visit with the doctor last week.  She sulked like a child. She didn’t quite throw a tantrum – though the feistiness was there.  She said she wasn’t sick and didn’t see the need.

          Mom had taken several of us to the hospital for one reason or another.  Patrick had a very high fever when he was four.  My dad had had a series of strokes.  She took Ellen to the hospital to see her baby sister born.  And mom drove me to the hospital when I had Jenna.  She also picked me up as I waited on the curb in a wheelchair – nearly nine years before I drove up to the curb to meet her in the wheelchair as mentioned here. 

          Corey made a comment on this post how my mom had cleaned up some of Ellen’s vomit.  Several years later full circle came into effect when Ellen and her husband found mom passed out in her own vomit – and Ellen’s husband cleaned it up.

          She’d driven daddy to the nursing home (found here) because we needed assistance and that is what the insurance would cover.  And Kayla drove her to an assisted living facility which is really a lot brighter and way more cheerful than where dad had to live – though he was not for long. 

         My dad hated where he was at. We did too.  We didn’t like the place at all.  Mom really had a hard time with it; it wasn’t something she wished to do. But it was necessary.   None of us wished to put mom in assisted living – to put her in a place where the doors would remain locked and she will never know the code – but it is necessary.

Some days mom is happy.  Sometimes she wanders around in hopes of escaping.  She clutches her purse full of “treasures” that will make some family members laugh.  And she remembers the laughter.  At least she did yesterday morning.  I would like to see her happy all the time.