Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gimme a Break


I am not good at getting the little stuff done.  It is a process throughout the day, that leads up to total mind numbness.  I start off good and with good intentions.  My plans are always: clean the house, put stuff away when I am done with it, leave the TV off and play more with my son, get off this godforsaken computer, do more laundry, clean out the family's clothes that no longer fit, and will never fit anyone in the house so I can donate them, make healthy meals, exercise, walk the dog more than once a day, organize, etc. This is all on top of the normal list of get the kids up and ready, go food shopping, pay bills, basic hygiene, etc. My mind starts off fresh and in complete gratitude for what I have and what I am to accomplish each day.  Then it starts.  The whining, complaining and frustration, oh and this is all coming from me.  I lay there in bed and after I think about all that I want to accomplish I instantly start sabotaging my list. I am queen of procrastination.  If there is a deadline, I will get it done right under the wire.  If it is an “open-ended” goal, just assume I will never get it done.  
I started this new workout program.  It is very basic and very attainable.  You just work out once a day and drink a shake once a day.  You are accountable (through facebook) to a group of friends who are doing the same thing.  I always like working out and always, always feel better after I do.  I also enjoy the shake.  It is very good.  But even with the ease and accessibility of this program, most days I am working out and downing a shake at 11pm!  WHY?  Who can tell me why I make the things that can be an enjoyable part of my day into a deadline stressor?  
Being a mom, I go through most days, especially since my kids are young, trying to plan out the next time I will get a break, either to sleep or just sit and stare into space. I spend a lot of time thinking, ‘Should I start that now, because if I do, I will never get it done and the kid’s movie is keeping them quiet right now? Maybe I should just take the opportunity to sit here and stare into space?’  Yes I have done that.  The moment only lasts minutes, but sometimes as many as 15 minutes and I then get snapped out of it by something or someone yelling for me. It is almost an obsession, of looking for opportunities to steal a break.  It is something I have become good at.  I am not proud of this.  I feel like a “break” junky.  If I don’t get a daily break, I get more and more agitated.   The days progress with me getting done about one tenth of my original list. The things I do get done every day seem to be the same, my boys are fed, the kitchen gets cleaned, I play with my 3yr old and read with my 8 yr old, every day.  These are the constants that seem to get done. There are even times that the other things get done!
Some days are better than others but they all seem to end the same way.  With me getting the kids to bed and then I don’t want to DO anything, I don’t want to THINK about anything or TALK about anything. All I want to do is get lost something like “True Blood,” “The Tudors,”  a good book, Ancestry.com or on facebook. Anywhere as long as it does not involve, laundry, cleaning, kids, cooking, folding, straightening or fixing.  The end of the day is my “super break” if you will.  It is an extended length of time to just be. There are times I am so tired that I should just go to sleep, but I stay awake just to have that time to myself.  
I know most of you are reading this thinking, ‘how sad.’  There are so many that seem to have it together, with extremely productive days and they get it all done with a smile.  I am not one of those people.  I don’t think it is what I was made to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot done, my boys want for nothing, including my time and attention.  My husband is my true partner and best friend.  I can cook like a mo’ fo’ and if you are in a crisis situation, I am your woman to take control and fix everything for you.  As a matter of fact I am good a taking control of most things and had to learn to hold back on that a bit.  So what if I am undisciplined in the minutia?  My house is a mess because my kids, dog, cat and a lot of other people's kids have fun in it.   The clothes are clean, just not put away.  I think we (meaning I) have to stop beating ourselves up for who we are not and start celebrating who we are.  Right?  or is that just a cop out?  My brain hurts, I need a break!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Child Sexual Abuse and the Sandusky Case


It’s an epidemic.  It is a cultural disease that needs to be eradicated.  I am so disgusted and appalled.  I am not only talking of child sexual abuse, but of the rampant coverup and protection of the perpetrators. 
Gerald Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach is currently indicted on 40 counts of sex crimes against young boys, following a three-year investigation.  It is all the news anyone is talking about.  I read the Grand Jury report. You can read it here: http://www.wgal.com/pdf/29737452/detail.html  It is disturbing to say the least.  Some parts I had to quickly skim over,  just to avoid vomiting.  I read it just to see if there were really people who could have known about what happened to these boys and stood by and did nothing.  There were so many people that could have stepped up for these children, that it is unfathomable to me.  
The question I have and many have been asking is; how can a grown man witness a 10 year old boy being raped by another grown man and simply walk away?  It would have taken such little effort, at the least, to pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1.  What stopped him from doing this?  I think that most of us would have done that and more.  I could not imagine seeing a child being brutalized and not do everything in my power to physically protect that child.  The perpetrator was in the most vulnerable position a person can be in.  He was naked.  So you knock him out, and if you can’t do that,  just take his clothes.  Then get the child away from him and wait for the police and ambulance.
This 10 year old little boy, only known as “Victim 2” in the Grand Jury report, has not been seen or heard from since.  No one knows who he is. He did not come forward.  This information about him was obtained while doing the investigation on the 7 other victims.  No one knows who this child was, because no one helped him.  No one cared, no one stopped his abuser and no one ever found out if he was alright.   If he is still alive he is a 19 year old now.   For some reason I can not stop thinking about this anonymous boy.
The man who witnessed this crime was Mike McQueary.  Instead of stopping the rape of this little boy Mr. McQueary left the locker room “distraught”  and called his father.  Upon getting the call, his father told him to come home!  Then they both decided to call Joe Paterno the next day!  WHAT?  Why would they call Joe Paterno?  Where is the rational?  OK so they did not handle this properly, certainly Mr. Paterno would call the police.  No, he called his boss, the Athletic Director. Well there has to be some protocol that he knows about that would tell HIM to call the police. No, they just tried to make it go away, by doing nothing.  I just can’t seem to get it.  These are good men with families, known for their upstanding character and not one of them did the right thing.  They all failed that 10 year old boy.  They then subsequently failed every other child who was raped and/or molested by Sandusky after that incident.  
It makes no sense to me that the reputation of a School or a football program is so sensitive that they could not have exposed Sandusky at the first inkling.   Wouldn’t you want to expel someone like this and have them removed completely from your organization... immediately?  Wouldn’t that hold up your reputation and support your motto, Success with Honor?   Not for nothin’ but Mike McQueary is still at Penn State, he is the the football team’s receivers coach.  
The epidemic of child molestation and rape is rampant.  I am not being melodramatic here.  The current statistics are that one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused.  (http://www.stopitnow.org/csa_fact_prevalence1) Think about that.  Go to your child’s classroom of 25 children and realize that  about 6 of them are being or will soon be sexually abused.  Then walk down the hall to the next classroom and do the same thing, then walk down to the next classroom.  The magnitude is staggering. It also must be known that for every brave soul who comes forward and reports being sexually abused there are at least 3 that remain silent.  
All of this was brought to light, for me, with the Catholic Church scandal.  I did not want to believe it, nor did I want to even acknowledge the accusations.  But I did wind up reading both Grand Jury reports that were done on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.   Again the most disturbing aspect of these very similar cases, of men in power abusing young children, is those that let it happen.  The men who witnessed questionable behavior, who were presented with corroborating facts of sexual abuse, who were told by the perpetrators that it would never happen again, chose to do nothing.  How?  Why?  What is holding them back? What are they afraid of?  
I tend to lean toward the theory that our society does not value the lives of women and children.  There are some men who do not view them as a complete person.  So their suffering and needs are beneath the needs of the male perpetrator.  Then I think that some men may still believe that they should not be a snitch.  Some may fear or have some displaced loyalty to those in power, especially those above them.  
I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I am just a mom, who had to have another talk with her children about being safe, good touch/bad touch and trusting their instincts. Telling them that ‘if something does not seem right, scream, yell and get away from the person who makes you feel uncomfortable. EVEN if you know them and they pretend to be your friend.  Then come and tell me or dad.’   It is scary and sad that there is a prevalence of sexual abuse by men in power.  It just make me question, where will the next scandal come from and how can we stop it?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Feast of All (those crazy) Souls


It is all Souls Day as I write this and I am feeling pensive and a bit solemn.  I look at my children and I see how fast time is going by. I look at my parents and feel the same way.  I look at myself and although I have physically changed, I feel like I have always felt.  The passage of time plays tricks on you.  The passage of people does the same. 
My grandfather, who passed last year, is still as present in my life has he was when he was alive.  I see him in my youngest son.  I have a vivid memory of my grandfather holding my youngest son when he was about 9 months old.  He said “You make sure he knows who his Poppie-Pop was, I want him to know me.”  I really think that my Pop, has made himself known not only to my son, but through my son.   My son will say something, make an expression or show a mannerism that IS my grandfather.  I know many will think this is nuts.  So be it.  
I also have had an ongoing relationship with my great-grandmother who passed in 2001.  She was 96.  We were close when she was alive and I feel her presence at times still. But not as much as I did years ago and when I was pregnant with my first born.  When I was pregnant I would actually smell her face powder, or her apartment and I was instantly comforted. I now have dreams where I talk to her and give her hugs and know that is really her.   A little crazy, maybe, but I don’t have a problem with it.
I do a lot of research on our family tree.  I get on ancestry.com and am lost for hours in my detective hunt of who is who, where they lived and what they did.  These were all my people who have gone before me and paved the way for the life I lead now.  I have discovered ship manifests of countless relatives that came here in search of..... who knows?  I would like to think it was a better life.  One relative came with her baby girl a year after her husband had established a residence and a job; coming here to start a life. They partially raised 4 children until she died in childbirth with the 5th, who also passed.  Was her life better or worse here?  Who is to know, but I am sure many in her village thought she was crazy for leaving. 
Another relative lied to her family telling them she was coming here to bring her brother back.  She had no intention of doing so.  Instead she came here following the love for her soon to be husband.  She left her family and the country she knew for a possibility.  This same woman was also a healer in her South Philadelphia neighborhood known for  “laying of hands.”  She wanted to pass this on to her daughter (my grandmother) but my grandmother thought she was nuts.  I sometimes think I might have been a good healer.  
They all came here almost penniless, they worked, raised their families, persevered and passed it all on to the next generation.  Some did this better than others.  I still feel some of them around me and mine.  It gives me hope and incentive to live up to their ideals and expectations.  So tonight I will toast my ancestors, and pray for their guidance.  You may think I am nuts.  It must run in the family.