Disney Princesses, Planting Hearts, and Fowl Language

>> Friday, September 12, 2008

Hi! I miss you guys!

It’s not that I haven’t been reading about your lives and commenting when I can. But I miss having a place to throw out my thoughts and get your reactions and support. It’s like journaling with a megaphone. So even though I'm over-the-top busy, I’m going to try writing again. Because I really, really have to.

I have SO MUCH ON MY MIND right now.

Last night I hit a physical and emotional wall. I went to bed at 9pm and didn’t wake up until 6am -- very unusual for me. My usual pattern over the last few weeks has been to toss and turn, mulling over the following:

Does Elizabeth really need to go to kindergarten? Wouldn’t it be much nicer if we just put her back in preschool where we all felt safe and comfortable and knew what we were doing?

Why do people think the way they do regarding the election, regarding each other, regarding themselves?

Am I involved enough in Elizabeth's school? Shouldn't I be attending meetings of some kind, volunteering, and making... thingies? Should I do more? I offered to update her school web site. Do I have time for that? Should I do less?

How can I change people’s minds? How can I spread the word of tolerance and hope and strength without getting pissed off or making a lot of cold-calls?

If it’s true that Elizabeth is going to kindergarten, is it also true about all the rest of it -- that she will keep growing up, have real problems, and then leave home one day? I mean, if this kindergarten thing is true, does that mean the rest of it is true, too?!

Am I courageous enough?

Why am I so ignorant? What don’t I have the facts I need, when I need them? What is fact and what is fear?

Should I quit my job and home-school the girls?

Am I doing enough about the election? Do I have time to do any more? Am I out of touch? Am I blinded by my own views? Am I becoming too angry? Is that good?

Why did that kid slap Elizabeth at aftercare? Why didn’t the teachers tell me? Why wasn’t Elizabeth signed in the other afternoon? Who’s watching my kid?!

Am I controlled by fear?

How can people understand what’s going on in the world when they’re struggling to make ends meet -- when they’re struggling with personal issues, abuse, and low self-esteem? How can I understand what is going on with the world when I struggle with personal issues of my own?

Am I strong enough?

Is Elizabeth learning enough in school? Why did we receive two fliers from her school with misspellings. What kind of school is this?

Where is my Obama yard sign and car magnet? Did the package come marked from Obama and some Republican neighbor stole it?

Am I becoming paranoid?

Have I neglected Samantha lately as I’ve tried to transition Elizabeth into kindergarten? Why is Samantha so intense? Why does she make scary faces at me one minute and then hug and kiss me the next?

Am I losing it?

How can good people -- creative, intelligent, thoughtful people -- think the way they do? Why don't I understand them? Why don't they understand me? How can I reconcile in my heart that just because someone believes differently than me, that we can still coexist in peace? And really, isn’t that the question the world faces right now? And if I can’t reconcile these differences in my heart, then how can I expect anyone to?

Am I tolerant enough?

Am I smart enough?

Can I love enough?


Sigh.

It feels good to get that off my chest. Thanks. I only tell you these things to give you a peak into my brain space -- no need to answer any of the above questions. I'll figure most of this out on my own as I usually do, but seeing it written down clears my head and shows me why I'm feeling overwhelmed. Maybe now I can give myself a little break.

This morning as we drove to work, Samantha wanted to listen to the CD of Disney Princess songs. It wasn’t long before those damned Disney Princesses had me crying. I heard Pocahontas singing:

“How high can the Sycamore grow?
If we cut it down, then we’ll never know...”


(Right. If we destroy our planet and the people in it, if we always put ourselves before the needs of others, how can we ever reach our full potential as humans?)

When Belle was discouraged and learned she must remain with the Beast, she sang:

“As my life has been altered once,
It can change again...
Nothing lasts, nothing holds all of me.
My heart’s far, far away
Home and free!”


(This world may be imperfect, but my heart is free.)

And finally Cinderella sang these immortal words:

“Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru.
No matter how your heart is grieving,
If you keep on believing,
The dream that you wish will come true.”


Then, as the clock tower rang and reminded her of her daily chores, Cinderella declared, “Well there’s one thing they can’t take from me. They can’t stop me from dreaming!”

(Tell it, sister.)

OK, pretty pathetic. I’m finding inspiration from a bunch of Disney Princesses (a bunch of corporate Disney Princesses, I might add). That’s how bad it’s become. Well, to hell with it. If today I need Disney Princesses to inspire me, then so be it. Tomorrow I may need some thrash metal, and the day after that a bumper sticker. Whatever it takes.

And maybe, when I’m lucky, I’ll get what I need. Like last night...

It was dark in the girls’ room as I sang them to sleep. I was tired and weary. In the middle of singing, Elizabeth said to me, “Mama.”

“Yes, sweetie.”

“I love you. You’re the very best mama in the whole world!”

“Thanks, sweetie.”

“Tomorrow I’m going to draw a picture for you -- a picture OF you -- planting hearts!”

“Yea?”

“Yes! And the hearts will grow and grow and then one day you can pick the hearts like flowers!”

“That’s a great idea, Elizabeth. I can't wait to see it. Thank you.”

It was just what I needed.

And then I went to bed and slept.

Clearly, Elizabeth is doing OK. She'll survive kindergarten, and I'll survive this election. And while I may not be able to change the world, or my neighbor, or keep bad things from happening, I can at least do that -- I can “plant hearts”. I can love my family and I can sew the seeds of tolerance within my children. I can “spread the love” wherever I can, wherever I go, to the best of my ability.

(Hey! This is like my very own Disney Princess song... "I can plant the hearts, wherever I goooo..." Then a bird flies down to sit on my shoulder...)

OK, I'll shut up. I know this is very sappy and corny -- a real Disney, Hallmark moment. But it’s either that or lose myself in anger and frustration, which comes way too easily for me as it is. Sure, I can get pissed off, too. A little anger is useful if it's quick and purposeful, like the strike of a match that ignites a lingering flame of change. That's the good part about all of this -- I've never read so much about the issues or been inspired to become involved. I feel as if a giant hand has suddenly pushed me out into the world... again.

But I must be careful -- too much anger and you end up blowing up the whole fucking building, if you know what I mean. It tends to dry out the "heart flowers". And lately I've been in danger of being consumed, which gets me nowhere and leads to all sorts of unkind hand gestures and fowl language.

Besides, the Disney Princesses would not approve of such behavior, anyway, and those chicks always come out ahead.

Right?

Here, have a heart.

9 comments:

Dating Trooper - Dating is Warfare September 12, 2008 at 3:08 PM  

Take away all the questions about kids and you could have been blogging my own internal dialogue lately. I wonder if anyone feels they are..enough.
But at least you know you are more than enough for your sweet little girls.

This has been a bleak year for so many of us, and this country. How can it not bear down on us after awhile? Just hang on....

Have you read anything by Anne Lamott? She speaks to all of these inner struggles, neuroses, desperation for meaning and faith. She's wonderful. If you haven't read her work - do. I'm reading "Plan B - Further Thoughts on Faith" right now and it's just one big exercise in "You are not the only one who is barely hanging on, but doing so with grace."
Signing off.
DT
(and don't you DARE quit your job! How would I survive???? Of course, I could be one of those people you are talking about driving you nuts...)

Bookdiva September 13, 2008 at 2:46 PM  

Welcome back, Melissa... not only are we enough for our girls, the scary part is that we are almost ALL THERE IS for them. That's why I think it's so important to try to fill the rest of their lives with people you trust who can enrich them and provide them knowledge and experience beyond your four walls. And that's why I, personally, don't believe in home schooling if there is any reasonable alternative!

It's been a crazy summer, and the election silly season is enough to make us all insane. Personally, when it all gets too much, I follow the advice of that great character of fiction, Candide, and just tend to my own garden... until I feel strong enough to take on the rest of the world again.

P.S. This year I am NOT volunteering to be Room Mom for Rory's class, and did NOT sign up for a single committee at Back to School Night. I'm going to spend that time writing and practicing Flamenco instead. Do I feel guilty? Do I hell.

Mumsydoodle September 13, 2008 at 5:32 PM  

Melissa,

I loved your post. The scariest thing a thoughtful parent can ever do is raise a child to adulthood. But I can guarantee you that everything will turn out great (and I should know...I raised you!)

Regarding this election year, if it helps, something that you told me about the election (and politics in general) has really, really helped me over the past few months. You said that things have a way of 'balancing themselves out over time', no matter who gets elected.

God, I hope so. I, too, am really worried about this election. I doubt if I will actually make up my mind for sure until I get in the voting booth. But one thing I can tell you for sure... if the Democrats had offered anyone, ANYONE else as a candidate but Obama (a guy who has a Muslim history and Muslim connections, no matter how you want to spin it!) I would probably be voting for a Democrat this year. But I honestly don't think I can bring myself to vote for someone who has such strong ties to a Muslim background, not this soon after 9-11. And it didn't help much that he visited Muslim countries earlier this year.

In my mind, the issues, though important, are not nearly as important as being loyal to our nation and all of the things it has stood for over the years (like freedom!) After thinking it over, and over, and OVER, voting for someone with such strong Muslim ties just feels way too much like being a traitor, at least right now.

I have confidence in your decisions and I respect your choices because I know that whatever you decide to do will be given a lot of thoughtful consideration. And whichever way the election goes, I will take comfort in your words, knowing that everything, does, indeed, have a way of "balancing itself out".

mimi of 'sexagenarian and the city',  September 14, 2008 at 7:31 AM  

first, to Mumsydoodle who wrote the third comment:
Obama has ** no ties ** to any Muslim country and *no* "Muslim connections." That is 100% false, a complete lie spread by the right-wing. Do not believe it.
go to
http://
www.barackobama.com/learn/meet_barack.php
the official biography on his campaign website.
His mother, who raised him, was a Christian, and lived in Indonesia working as an anthropologist. He lived there with her briefly and then returned to Hawaii to live with his Christian grandparents.

Please, do not believe these lies!
They are traps for the innocent.
*******
Melissa, welcome back! so happy to see you back in the blogosphere.

i have the answers to all your big questions: yes, i do!
1) do not quit your job
2) do not home-school your children
3)yes, do more for the Obama campaign. get that yard sign [call the Obama HQ near you if you need another one], buy more Obama buttons, give them what money you can, and canvass for him whenever you have a free moment. both my children, i'm so thankful to say, are politically active, and i took them canvassing for Gore when they were 12 and 14. i guess california will be blue, but there may be neighborhoods that need help, or perhaps you could take a weekend trip to Nevada, which really needs help. (isn't nevada near california? hey, well, i'm in new york, so what would i know?)

anyway,wonderful to hear your voice again. keep on writing and help Obama so we don't get four more years of the policies that have left us all in this dreadful condition.
xxx mimi

Mumsydoodle September 14, 2008 at 3:18 PM  

Right back at you, 'mimi of 'sexagenarian and the city''. YOU are the one who doesn't have her facts straight!!! Read the news (bipartisan, PLEEEZE!) and listen with your ears instead of your liberal bias and maybe you will learn something, too! Jeez! YES, YES, YES, Obama has Muslim ties!!! Where have you been, lady?

Mumsydoodle September 14, 2008 at 4:09 PM  

Since 'mimi' decided to not only leave a link about how much of a Christian Obama is but then went on to sarcastically attack my previous comment as a "right wing lie", I will also leave a link, one that has true merit and cannot be construed as anything other than what it is because it came from a Democrat:

CBS Katie Couric Blog

In this CBS article, Katie Couric wonders if Americans will hold Obama's Muslim ties against him. Of course they will! It has been less than 10 years since all those people died in the World Trade Center at the hands of Islamic radicals! Of course they will!

Couric went on to site a friend of Obama's who said, "We prayed in the mosque, but not seriously,". Give me a break!

I never said Obama is a Muslim and I don't care if he now declares himself to be a Christian. Just ask any criminal in prison if they are a Christian and they will say 'Yes!' because they know it is often an easy way to sway the opinion of narrow-minded people!

The truth is, Obama has, and still has, stong Islamic ties (through family, friends and education) and it is just too damn soon after 9-11 to make someone with that kind of background and history president of the United States!

As I stated in my previous post, I would probably be voting for a Democrat this year if anyone else were running, but not Obama! The issues are not nearly as important to me as my loyalty to my countrymen (and women) who died such horrible deaths in the World Trade Center. But some people have very short memories.

Now that is all I have to say on the matter. My intention was never to use Melissa's blog to educate people who apparently could not care less about our fallen Americans.

Melissa September 15, 2008 at 9:32 AM  

Well, hello! Nothing like a heated political debate to get the juices flowing!

There's a really good, nonpartisan site (FactCheck.org) that debunks myths from both sides about McCain and Obama:

About Fact Check.org:
http://www.factcheck.org/about/

Here’s an article from from them about the issues of Obama’s Muslim and Christian background:
http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/sliming_obama.html

I understand the fear -- this country is full of fear after 9-11. Obama's step-father was a Muslim and Obama lived in a country where there was a Muslim majority. However, we all come from diverse, often imperfect, and complicated childhoods. As an adult, Obama has chosen to become a Christian and any conversation he continues with the Muslim community is to bridge the gap of understanding and to foster peace.

Also, Islam is like any religion in that there are radical Christians, radical Jews, and radical Muslims. Even the Christian bible advocates pretty extreme behavior at times, and I’m certain taken out of context could cause fear among non Christians. Obama’s father was not extreme, however, nor did the school Obama attended preach radical Islam. It seems much of his past has been distorted and taken out of context.

Michele September 19, 2008 at 8:43 AM  

Ditto to just about everything on your list. I feel relieved just reading it and knowing others are worried about similar things : )

Dawn September 27, 2008 at 3:37 AM  

First of all, were you in my head or something? Because, seriously, you just echoed everything I think. Throw in some cancer and chemo worries and I would be scared crapless.

And for what it's worth, I think you are doing a spectacular job of parentng. Granted, I only see from far away, but the love is obvious. And that's your guiding light as a parent. Keep on rockin it.

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