Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Closing Out the Notebooks...

I used to keep notebooks of daily activities, phone calls I needed to return, conversations with parents about kid activity, and schedules for myself, the kids, and Joe.

Whenever I completed an activity, I highlighted it or scribbled across the note.  Important stuff I left unmarked.  The notebooks are a really great record of the trials and triumphs of the last few years. 

I haven't used the notebooks in a long time.  Today, though, I spent some time paging through them.  I was making sure everything was closed out before throwing them in storage... or maybe the trash can.

Then again, maybe I'll keep them, so I can remember that often during my day, I think of Jesus.

In one notebook I found some notes I made while reading a book about daughters of alcoholics.  Boy, is this me.
  • She believes she can control chaotic situations.
  • She is always on guard for the worst to happen.
  • She gears actions in outward attempt to control her environment.
  • She is dependent and dutiful with little sense of her own identity.
  • She adapts to the needs of others, neglecting her own needs or she rebels against society.
  • She appears to be a strong, successful woman with a need for power, but feels success is meaningless.
  • She is exhausted and empty.
  • She feels isolated.
  • She becomes a people pleaser.
  • She has rage.
  • She understands personal criticism as a threat to her well-being.
  • She is a reactor  not an actor.
Perfect daughters of alcoholic parents, says Robert J Ackerman, cope in many ways, and "having learned that they must function perfectly in order to avoid unpleasant situations, these women often assume responsibility for the failures of others."

I did that in every arena of my life.  Even while playing the piano.  If a soloist or instrumentalist screwed up, I assumed it was my error that created the mistake.  I did it in much larger ways too - accepting full responsibility for problems at work, apologizing for disagreements with friends, feeling like a failure when my boys were  naughty...


At least that used to be me. 

I'm glad I'm learning a different way to live.  I particularly enjoy my rather spectacular failures.  And I'm thankful when I fail, Joe is there to grin and hug me and say, "Try again."  My boys are good at that too.

My notebooks were always a good place to vent too.  I made a list of "Snotty Little Bitch Persons" one day.  There's only one person on the list, and, boy, did she deserve to be on that list.  The one underneath is a list of My Favorite People in the Entire World.  There are more people on that list, some of whom are no longer my favorites.  Top honors that day went to a guy named Jim from the IRS.  How ironic. 
Come to think of it, I should probably resume my notebook habit.  There are so many benefits.  And didn't Flannery's notebooks get published?  Julia Child's?  Galileo's? 


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I've been keeping a journal. No time to blog since my main source of Internet connect is now via my non-gs iPad. It's good to write words no matter what medium. I hope by the time this post is in printed form that I've converted the written entries to the blog, but I guess it doesn't really matter. Writing is therapeutic and as long as I'm in write-mode, who cares how it's written?

I'm focused this week on pet peeves.  I have a small list. There's not a lot I can do to eliminate them, but it feels good to state them. Here goes.

I am sick (SICK SICK SICK) of nice people. Nice is for the shit heap. Nice is never, ever authentic. It's false. I once had a friend who was nice. Once real life confronted her - and our relationship - well, think of that song with the lyrics "I see your true colors shining..." and stop there. She can't even offer thanks when a courtesy has been extended. And yet she's lauded with the constant refrain of "nice."  A nice side effect of the end of that relationship is that I have been able to curtail the gossip infecting my life; still, the entire situation makes me feel like puking.

I am also tired of bad parents justifying their ineptitude with all manner of mumbo jumbo. Kids get in all sorts of messes caused by all sorts of situations. There are situations were a parent is not at fault because of circumstances beyond his or her control. However, there are many, many cases when poor parenting creates problems for kids. I'm guilty of my own. So are most of us. There are VERY few circumstances affecting a child that parental love and stability cannot cure. I believe that with my entire being and it's the one solid thing that has kept me committed to my marriage through the most difficult of times.

I have other random pet peeves.  Eighties hair.  Self-photos with cellcams.  Long toenails.  Most of them I can live with. 

But I am completely and totally disheartened by people who fail to live the Gospel with their children. I'm absolutely certain we haven't been perfect parents, but we try to share the Gospel and we talk about what's right and our own failures, and we apologize for them. And this week Joe found a slip of paper tucked in front of Jakob's driver license that reads, "turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel."

Somehow, that piece of paper makes the rest fade into the background.