Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is The World Always Going To Be Messed Up?

A mom’s biggest fear? All together now: outliving our children.

Every once in a while, we get a jolt, a reminder of how precious life is. We get sad for other families, and secretly sigh in relief that our babies are okay. Reflection seems to be strongest at that time. We think of all the great things around us, how blessed we are and how any minute it could all be taken away. Someone sweet will remind us that we have no control anyway and to just be the best you can be and raise your kids the best you can.

Of course I fear the same thing. And just for good measure, true to “doom and gloom Rhonda” - that fear goes deeper.

I fear for my kid’s kids…and then their kids too. This mom person in me can’t handle knowing new babies could be born into a world that might not be what it is today and my own kids will have to see THEIR kids suffer. Knowing my children, as parents, will maybe see their own children suffer and really feel that much pain scares me most of all. The world is sketchy already, what is it going to be like in 50 years? A hundred years? I have little faith in it staying the same or getting better. I feel like the world will be a scary place with more bad people in it than good.

Are you already seeing my solution? That’s right, I am forbidding my kids from having children of their own…ever. Should work, right?

Ya, I didn’t think so. So instead I have to “do the best I can” and raise my children to be great people. I know, that is, really all I can do. Teach them everything I know, learn from them everything THEY know and live on this planet every day hoping it will stay the same forever and ever. If we are all living FOR our kids then it WILL get better and their futures will hopefully be free of any suffering. I see bad people every day, through my job and sometimes the scenarios in court are funny, but mostly I get scared. I get scared people like that exist and then I get scared that I am not doing enough to make sure my kids don’t end up with lives like that. Even if I do everything I possibly can, I know, bad things can happen. Even to the best people out there, young and old. I am learning to live for my son, and show him he can pick any opportunity he wants.

Living in that fear that we all have would get in the way of me enjoying everything he is showing me. Living in the extended fear that *I* have would get in the way of him enjoying everything HIS kids are going show him – and I know he is going to love it. Just like I do.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 11, 2001

“Nobody would EVER do that!!!” uttered this dumb American to anyone in my vicinity on September 11, 2001 as I was on board a jet flying over the Atlantic Ocean. Greenland to be exact.
I had lived in Switzerland for the past yearish, and was coming home for the first time since leaving. Switzerland was a blast and I met so many great people, one in particular who I married in 2005. It felt weird to leave him, but I think I knew that I would see him again so it didn’t really bother me. I just didn’t know when.
I had a sweet Swiss Air flight where each seat had its own video screen on the back of the seat in front of them to watch what we wanted. It was a packed flight with all different ethnicities. We were flying into what would be early morning in America so just as we were over Greenland the sky was nothing but blue and I had a window seat. The pilot came on the intercom and announced that we were flying over Greenland and you could see the mountain peaks perfectly. Since looking out the window to catch a glimpse of what could potentially be a crash landing sight is not my thing, I stayed seated. But other people were crowding every window they could to get a glimpse. 
Then the plane dropped. I mean it DROPPED and my stomach was in my mouth. It started to make a hard turn so much so that I felt I was sideways in my seat. If this were the new anxiety filled, control freak Rhonda, I would have screamed. I felt like screaming then. We straightened out and all of a sudden the little plane icon on my very own screen was pointing back to Europe. ‘Um, what about my other flights, I am gonna miss them.’ That was ALL I was thinking. What a tool I was, and I would have more of those moments as the day unfolds, selfish thoughts.
After feeling like I was going to plummet to my death subsided, I was calm and went back to my book. Pretty sure it was a Harry Potter book. It was hard to pay attention because people were in out of their seats, asking about flights, and wanting answers. All the flight attendants would say was that the air space in the USA was closed and we needed to return. Swiss people don’t like being late, and it is HILARIOUS to watch them pace, look nervous or get angry if their schedule is interrupted, so I was having a ball watching that since the majority of passengers were Swiss. Finally after about 2 hours some cranky lady, (probably me in 20 years) demanded answers. To the people that were still wanting answers standing around, in my space, she said, “We think someone bombed the Pentagon.”
Huge eye roll in Rhonda’s seat. And that is where I loudly proclaimed, in my best American voice, those amazing words: "NOBODY WOULD EVER DO THAT!!" and went back to my book. Dummies.
I promise you, I am not cold or unsympathetic, but I honestly did not think once that America or its people were hurt after hearing that. It did not cross my mind until I landed. I was worried about more selfish things.
So I sat there doing the math and realized we would land back in Zurich right when every living soul I knew in the area would be in German class. Dreaded German class where it is verboten to have your cell phone on, even just vibrate. Frick. I have no one to call, no way to get a hold of anyone to pick up poor Rhonda from the airport. Those were the kinds of thing crossing my mind. I was worried about me and knew I would have to use lots of money for a taxi because Zurich is crazy expensive.
Our plane landed and I took my time. Like really, really took my time. I was the last person to get off, last to get my bags, and last to walk through customs. I had nowhere to go so what was the rush?
If any of you know Gerard well, you know that he is the most easy-going guy you will meet. More importantly he is the type of guy to put his girlfriend on a plane, drive back home and fall asleep for the day. He balances my neurosis. So the chance of him knowing of the news, or double checking to see if my flight was following its path was slim. I underestimated him.
I came through customs and there was Gerard leaning against the huge wall of glass looking worried and looking for me! Weeeee! Looking for me! I don’t know why but right then, right where I stood when I saw him, I knew he loved me and I loved him and I was going to marry that guy. I was in real, honest and true love for the first time in my life. He told me he knew he was going to marry me long before that day ever happened.
He told me that 2 planes crashed into buildings in New York, 1 into the Pentagon and 1 that crashed somewhere else, he didn’t know. I was partially right…it wasn’t technically a bomb. (Those are the words I plan to say to redeem myself to those who heard this overly confident American say the other stupid words I said if I should ever see them again)
We got to Gerard’s place, flew in the door and watched on TV. The North and South towers had already fallen of course and I don’t remember seeing anything except debris and smoke on the screen. Gerard and I did not speak, we just sat there. I wonder what he thought?? Then around 1:15 am Zurich time the third building fell because of the damage the North and South towers had done to it (7 WTC). That was the only live crisis I saw. Up until then, I thought it was over and it was just rescue mission time. Stupid I know. Friends have told me they saw live footage of the 2nd plane hit, the towers fall and people injured. All I had seen was smoke. Seeing a building fall live, made everything VERY real for me all of a sudden.
Not one to sensor what I feel, usually, I will tell you what I felt. I remember thinking over and over again, ‘How could this happen? How could our government let this happen? This is their fault.’ I was so angry. And I felt that way for a few days. I just could not believe something like that would happen in America.
One week to the day I took the exact flight I had been on before. This time there were 16 of us. This time, the airport was bare in Zurich and guards had weapons held high across their chests. No one was chatty, no one was talking. Everyone walked with their heads down to their gates. This time, it didn’t feel weird to leave Gerard, it felt wrong.
I don’t claim to have THE story to tell about 9/11 but in a time of uncertainty for almost every American, I had clarity. And 10 years later, I still have Gerard.
This week, my default news pages are flooded with 9/11 news stories and pictures. It should be. The photos are so upsetting. People jumping from the buildings, people crying, fire, dust, people posting signs of someone they lost who has not been found, and then the services – where more people are crying. The photos of the planes heading towards the towers before impact haunt me.
Everything has changed.
I hope every single person who died or lost someone that day can someday find peace. And I thank every single person who has protected or continues to protect America.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Alone Time. Remember That Little Treasure??

When my husband opens the baby gate to go downstairs, I quickly ask, “where you going?” When he gets up from the sofa to leave the room, I give him a look that pleads, ‘come back soon.’ What is wrong with me? I am a tainted mom, that is what’s wrong with me!

My husband works long, hard hours and is gone a lot. That schedule is not so bad now. But I am still a little scarred from this schedule from when our son was a newborn. Anxiety became very real to me then - true anxiety.

There was once a time where my husband could leave the room and I would not bat an eye. Heck, he could have left town for a week and all would have been fine. Yay, alone time for me and a house that would have stayed clean for a few days! But alone time with a newborn?? That’s some scary business.

I had a vision of holding my baby, watching him sleep and waiting for daddy to get home so he could swoop him up and kiss on him. I also had the vision of never feeling alone again and that it could be a good thing. I had that vision because other lying moms told me motherhood was blissful!

I remember holding my newborn, seeing the clock said 5pm and bursting into tears. I cried because I knew I still had about 2 ½ more hours to go before husband got home. TWO HOURS! Gah, how was I going to make it? Strong independent Rhonda was no more. I cried, called my mom, cried some more.

So naturally, it is understandable to be a little anxious when husband wants to leave a room. How dare he do such a thing, right?

I used to crave alone time, I still do. But the fear of it keeps me away from it. The fear of no help, no support, and honestly, what does alone time even mean? I will never get it again…….ever.

As moms we go from thinking of one life to thinking of two. As a married mom, we think of three, and so on as we have more kids. We never get to think of just ourselves again…ever. We are never alone again….ever.

But that’s where our strongness kicks in. How amazing are we?!?! One of our most sacred feelings or craving is taken away from us as soon as we become a mom and we press on - keeping it all together.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tell Me Your Thoughts, Before I Give You Mine

Most of you know that my child intentionally ripped the legs off a grasshopper this week. As devastated as I was, I am over it. However, almost every single person who read or heard the story from my mouth said something along the lines of, "Boys will be boys."

I cannot tell you how annoyed I have become with this comment since I have worked in the field I am in now. The entitlement and excuse that flows with this comment raises a lot of concerns in my line of work. And wouldnt you know it..... I have a lot to say about it.

Before I do, what do you think. Even if you are not a mom today, what kinds of issues can you see surfacing with this comment? Do you even see any?

Also, I side note:
If you let your 2 1/2 year old watch a DVR'ed Caliou while you are in the shower, check to be sure that when it is over and normal TV resumes, your TV is not on the horror channel or you will come out dripping wet to your child screaming, "OH-NO MOM!" And that is because he or she is probably watching Jaws. Fail #574