Wednesday, July 18, 2012

For the Love of Animals

My son has a heart of gold, and I am not just saying that because I am his mom. 
He makes sure no one is left out, shares his goodies without anyone asking, and has been known to continuously donate the balance of his fun money to Toys for Tots during the Christmas season.
The compassion he feels for the living does not just concentrate on the human population either, it transcends to animal life as well.
Any television show or movie we watch where an animal is hurt, or God forbid DIES, he has been known to shed a tear (the younger he was he bawled his eyes out – but don’t tell him I told you so).  Not just the furry dogs either; he cares for chickens and frogs just the same.
So while driving this morning on our way to an appointment, it came as no surprise when my son jumped out of his seat at the sight of road kill and cried out, “What’s that?! A raccoon?”
I glanced at my rearview mirror and a saw some kind of flat, furry animal on the road.  My specialty is not zoology, so I supposed it could be a raccoon, but I was not sure.
Accepting my answer, my son sat watch to make sure no other car ran over the poor creature’s body, including “drunk drivers.”  As we drove off he turned and said, “I hope it gets medical attention.”
Ah, time for a mom moment.  I could let him go on believing that the blood and guts all over the street were invisible, but since his occupation of choice is currently a veterinarian, I decided it was time for a reality check. 
“Um, buddy, I hate to break it to you, but I’m pretty sure it’s dead.”
He was quiet for a moment, then looked back wistfully and said, “Well, I hope at least someone picks it up so it can be buried.”
See what I mean?  Heart of gold that kid.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Memories of a Childhood

As a child, all you want is to feel loved.  It's not just saying the words either, it is showing the child that you love them that makes them feel warm and secure.

In my sometimes dark childhood, there are a few bright spots that make me smile.  Like downing a cold glass of chocolate milk and devouring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my body sweaty and filthy after a day of hard-core playing in the dirt.
Or falling asleep sprawled on the living room floor after a late night of failing to pass level 1 playing Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo (and still feeling pissed that I was never able to).

Even helping my family with the laborious process of preparing tamales, posole, mole, and/or carne asada for family gatherings. 

These are all wonderful childhood memories floating in my head, and I want my children to have the same kind of fond memories that make them smile.

Summer is the perfect time to build these memories.  There is no school and plenty of time to have multiple adventures.  While we have a few lazy days, everything we do is all in the name of bonding.

Cannonball Training
The pool is obviously one of our favorite ways to spend a hot day, either tanning, swimming, or learning to make the biggest splash with a grade-A cannonball.

Water balloons anyone? There is no better way to release some agression than by pelting your enemy, I mean child, and laughing in triumph as the balloon drenches your foe - BWAHAHAHA! (Ok, a little overboard, but those rascals think the same thing - ask them.)   
Skipping rocks

Another favorite: the woods. We are lucky to have plenty of woodsy area and creeks nearby.  Who needs parks when you have nature?  Avoiding poison ivy, picking berries, wading for crayfish, skipping rocks, and going home with mosquito bites are all part of the fun. 

Rescuing turtles that end up on the roads is an old family past-time, even those scary snapping ones that I am sure will bit my fingers off. 

Hiking through Wildwood as we scour the area for all the animals we can find, declaring the one who finds the most or the most interesting the winner - fun stuff.

My husband, passing down his secret recipes to the children, as they cook dinners together.  It is adorable to hear your know-it-all little girl brag to others about the 'banging chicken wings daddy makes' and the 'mouth-watering chili you just have to try.'  If you have stepped foot in my home, you will have heard or tried something amazing my husband has perfected, courtesy of his proud daughter.

My husband's work schedule is erratic, so every little bit of time we have to devote to our family we take full advantage, even if it means midnight bedtimes and noon alarms.  Since I am a night owl this does not phase me. 

Our family movie nights are legendary (even if it is just in our head).  We sprawl out in the living room, laugh and giggle at whatever someone is sharing, and eventually quiet down in time to start a movie, and we finish strong with daddy snoring because he didn't make it until the end. 

There is crap everywhere in the morning, but you know what?  I don't care.  It is just like the morning after a wedding.  You are tired, but it was fun getting there.  There are plenty of things to do to clean up afterwards, but you can carry around the memories of that day with you forever.  And I'm sure my kids will.

Monday, July 9, 2012

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

When I first read the above blog title, I clicked on it figuring these would be quick fixes to clean up any unhappiness in my life, like giving up TV or electronics.

Um, no, these are much harder and soul searching types of removing the clutter. The first two hit me like a ton of bricks, as they are ones I ALWAYS struggle with: give up your need to always be right and give up your need for control. Grrr. As if!
 I won't give the whole list away, as I think it is a good post you should read and dissect on your own. You may not struggle with the same ones I do. The ones that don't affect me are 8-10 and 15.  These are no-brainers to me, however, I can see where others might find them difficult.

 Number 8, "Give up your need to impress others." Maybe this comes with age, but I could care less what others think of me. You either like me, or you don't. End of story.

Number 9, "Give up your resistance to change." My life has always been a whirlwind of change, and when I joined the military, the change kept coming.  And kids? They are the definition of change.  Time doesn't stop.  The change keeps coming, so I just go with the flow. This seems like an easier thing to do than freak out when things don't go my way.

Number 10, "Give up labels." Again, never meant much to me. People are people and we bleed the same. The differences in us is what I love learning about.  Call it what you want, but it doesn't need to have label.

Number 15, "Give up living your life to other people's expectations." Holy heck, if many more miserable people would just live for themselves and not need to please everyone, they would be so much more happier. I remember standing up to my grandmother and letting her know that I was living for me, not for her - she just about fainted. We only get one life (that I know of), so make the best of it.

This is only a list of 15, but a lot of these 'suggestions' are hard to combat when you are so used to living this way. I know because I always feel better after a good bitch session, though I'm a real downer during one.
I suppose the whole point of this post is to let go and truly be happy, not just pretend.  You can only play a part for so long.
As the Dalai Lama says, "Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."