Tag Archives: father

A Bologna Sandwich

6 Jan

Sometimes, when you’re grieving, that’s all it takes.

Only a few days after my dad passed away, my mom made lunch for everyone. It just so happened that she was making fried bologna sandwiches, a childhood favorite of mine. If you haven’t had it, try it! It’s pretty damned good.

I put my sandwich together, held it in one hand and went to grab a plate. I looked down at it for a second, looked up at my mom and all I had to say was “This reminds me of Dad” to start to well up with tears. It’s true though, he was always the one who made them for lunch.

To stop myself from completely crying, I had to go so far as to set the sandwich down. I told me mom “The last thing I need to do is cry over a damn bologna sandwich”.

My father’s death was expected. And at least for me, it isn’t the day to day monotony that makes me sad or overwhelms me, or even talking about it – it’s the little things that unexpectedly pop up that you aren’t prepared for that upset me. A song, a trinket, a memory…a sandwich. That is really all it takes.

But I’m doing okay.

When “Alone” Doesn’t Begin to Cover It: Being the “Balanced” One

2 Dec

Over Thanksgiving, I was once again reminded of my role in the family: the balanced one. I don’t know how I got stuck with that title, but it appears I have no choice. My sister and my mother can’t seem to stand each other. One owes the other, and one can’t see that she’ll never be repaid. They are both anxious and nervous, and can’t seem to talk to one another even on the eve of my fathers death.

So Mom comes to me to cry about everything because my sister isn’t talking to her. My sister comes to me to cry about everything because she isn’t talking to my mom. No one seems to be able to remain calm but me.

Balance.

Being the balanced one means I don’t get a lot of time to be unbalanced, which sometimes I so desperately need. I have to be balanced, because if I become unhinged like everyone else, the world plummets into chaos. And I can’t handle chaos.

It’s lonely when you’re balanced.

My mother told me something on the phone the other day that I just can’t seem to shake. I know it’s true, and I know that means I’ll be alone. She told me, when talking about the grief counselor that hospice sends over once a week, that herself, my sister, and I will each need someone to be our rock on that day, and that my mom doesn’t think she will be able to do it.

I haven’t heard such a truthful statement.

And on that day, I will be the loneliest, most alone person on the planet. My mom has the grief counselor, my sister has her husband, and me…well…

I have no one.

But I’m the balanced one. And the balanced one must remain balanced, so naturally I will use logic to assess my emotions, that my emotions are valid, that death is necessary and predictable, and that having no one is a result of being balanced. Because only the balanced one can be okay without someone else to balance for them.

And on that day, I fear nothing more than my entire family becoming unhinged and estranged from one another, simply because the person who made the balanced person balance, is gone.

Faith: A Desperate Man’s Prayer

23 Aug

As I’ve grown older, I’ve almost completely stopped telling people about major events in my life that might garner some sort of sympathy. This is one of those times, but I find that it would be out of character if I didn’t make a point out of life events. It’s kind of my thing.

So, I regret to inform you that my dad has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer.

I don’t know the type or the prognosis or really much of anything, but my mom says that, while the doctor didn’t say much, it sounds like its terminal. If she is correct, she also didn’t give me a time frame to consider.

I’ve only actually disclosed this to 3 friends, and it was because I knew they wouldn’t have much to say on the matter. No amount of “I’m so sorry” will do anything. Nothing. My situation is not unique. And knowing that my friends are “there for me” doesn’t really do anything for me either (the only thing that might make me feel better is having a man in my life, but oh well).

Death is a fact of life, and I plan to treat is as thus.

It’s almost like a clean slate when you might be dying. You can do whatever you want. Even be reckless if you so desire. Maybe its even liberating.

But, of course, I don’t want to lose my father. I assumed I had at least 10 more years with him, but remarkably, I’ve been preparing myself for the loss of my parents since I was a small child. One night when I was probably 6, I woke up from a nightmare that both my parents had died. I told my mom, through tears, about the dream. She comforted me about this plan God had that one day, he will save the world and people will live forever again as they were once meant to.

I held onto that for years.

Unlike the rest of my family, I have not held onto that faith in a higher power. There are moments when I wish that if I prayed a miracle would happen, and being agnostic makes it even more difficult. And that is how I feel about faith in religion. Desperation. So I hold my faith in science and medicine, as I should. There have been remarkable advancements in cancer treatment, and I think that even if God did exist, he would have given us these tools for us to use.

While I hope that something amazing happens and his cancer goes into remission, I hope, too, that my father is proud of me. The two things I wanted my dad to still be here for were to walk me down the aisle of my wedding, and to see me graduate from vet school. Unfortunately, I’m not close to accomplishing either of those things and I do feel some degree of failure because of that, but deep down I know he is very proud of me (all I really have to do is ask and he’ll boast).

I love him very much, and I hope that if it’s time, I’ll at least be able to get the most knowledge I can out of him before then. Because goodness knows, I feel like I call him every other day asking him how to change or fix or make things.

That Time I Got a Purity Ring

22 Mar

Okay, so not really.

But, the purity ring thing has came full circle again, and is getting media attention as “sweeping the nation”. Well, news flash, news reporters: it’s been around for quite a while and is not nearly as new or spreading as dramatically as you’d like us to believe.

A friend of mine posted a link to an article about it, which you can find here.

If you don’t want to read the article, and have no idea what a purity ball is, then I’ll break it down for you.

A purity ball is a ceremony through a young girl’s (think 12) church, in which she pledges to abstain from any physical contact (I don’t know about hugging, but kissing, definitely) until after she is married. At least in some ceremonies, the girls wear white wedding-like dresses and they dance with their fathers. In the article, the father becomes the “boyfriend” and pledges to protect the girls virginity/purity until she is married.

Here is what I like about this idea:

1. Young girls are deciding that they are too young to engage in very mature physical relationships
2. Fathers are involved in their daughter’s lives
3. You get an awesome ring and get to wear a pretty dress
4. You get to dance with your dad, and dads are pretty awesome too
5. These families are maintaining innocence in a world that wants children to grow up really, really quickly

Here is what I find completely irrelevant:

1. Fathers are deemed their “boyfriends”
2. The ceremonies resemble marriage ceremonies in any way (including the white dress)

And here is what is wrong with this:

1. Many girls are likely not choosing that they wish to remain “pure” until marriage
2. Male purity ceremonies aren’t receiving as much attention (though they exist)
3. By abstaining from any form of physical contact, girls are missing out on very important social milestones in their lives

Now I’m going to break it down a little further for you, because depending on your views on this, you are probably outraged that I don’t find it creepy that fathers are called boyfriends and they go through marriage-like ceremonies. Actually, you probably find me creepy now. Oh well, read on.

The reason I consider the irrelevant things irrelevant, are because they are. Every little girl wants to marry her dad, because her dad is her world when she is little. And its sweet. We should hold onto that innocence, especially when children seem to be wanting to grow up younger and younger. As for the wedding-like ceremonies, all ceremonies in the church involve girls in pretty white dresses and boys in suits. I was baptized in a white dress. Girls wear white dresses at Quinceaneras. Get over it, it doesn’t matter – but it does go to show that even though we say we aren’t stuck in this rut of social norms that we areOf course…I do feel like most church ceremonies are cult-like, and that really freaks me out, but that’s a thought for another blog.

Maybe I’m a little less creepy now? Anyway, in any circle that has a lot of push and influence, you are often not provided the resources to make your own choices. You are given one decision, that everyone you know makes, and you can only assume that is the only way because you know nothing else. This means that, unfortunately, most of these girls are probably only told that there is one right way, and that this is it, so they aren’t making their own choices.

I also find it immensely entertaining hearing banter about this being yet another way to “control women”. Sure, it probably is, but I want you to consider why male purity ceremonies aren’t receiving as much attention. Is it because we say “good…those boys need to keep it in their pants!” because hello…double standard. We can’t be mad that we are trying to control women, and not be equally as mad that we are trying to control men. We should be mad that they exist, not that they exist for women. We should be mad that male purity ceremonies aren’t getting news coverage. I think that may be the reason that we aren’t giving male purity ceremonies the same attention…but that’s just speculation. I don’t actually know.

And finally, when you can’t kiss until you get married, this is what happens:

And nobody wants to be part of that. God, it’s like a car-wreck. Can’t. Look. Away. AH.

It’s also like saying that once you kiss someone, we are all just too heathen to abstain from having massive orgies…or even just normal, missionary sex with someone you really care about.

Those orgies. Whew.

What do you think of purity ceremonies? Do you find it creepy? Do you think the good outweigh the bad, or vice versa? 

What People Thought of Me

8 Sep

Over the past 10 years of my life, I’ve went from “everybody knew me and what I did” to “I was nobody” to “I’m important, enough”.

Going through ups and downs like that in a social perspective can be taxing, and it also puts perspective on how much people think matters: not at all. Generally, people seem to like me enough, and I don’t really think there is any reason not to like me. The people who don’t like me tend to feel that way because I’m not intimidated by them, or because of my confidence – simple things.  I also don’t usually put up with peoples crap, or kiss peoples asses justso they like me. That’s part of the “I don’t care if you like me or not” mindset.

I do have a story for you, though. Let me set the mood: I was in high school. Who was I in high school? I was involved in everything, from class President, to Student Council President, to manager of football, basketball, and track, to volunteering, to being Winter Sports Queen, and maintaining a 4.0 while taking college classes. I was that girl. I didn’t drink, I didn’t do or try drugs of any kind, and I didn’t smoke. I was a virgin then, and still am. I was pretty much the straightest arrow you could find. I was also not afraid to make a stand, though, which is usually the reason why people didn’t like me.

I dated this guy, “Dave”. His mother, for whatever reason, hated me. She really had it out for me. While I was dating Dave, my friend “Kelly” was dating Dave’s brother, “Richard”. Their mother loved this girl. Kelly and I weren’t complete opposites, but we were on different ends of the spectrum, for sure, and she had been in her share of trouble. If you talked to their mother about us, I’m sure I would sound like a trouble-making, sexual deviant and Kelly would be this sweet, innocent angel.

Although it bothered me, I got over it. I was just as nice to that woman as I was to everyone else, but it didn’t matter. Now, with Dave behind me, its amazing how I ended up way above his mothers thoughts of me. She thought I was a terrible influence, but I’m the one who is in college to become a veterinarian. I’m the one who is an independent woman, living on her own, with her life on the exact path she had planned. Richard and Kelly’s lives (although separate) definitely had huge speed bumps involving drugs, babies, and rehab.  Don’t get me wrong, Dave, Richard, and Kelly are all great people with what I can only hope are great things ahead of them, but I was always the bad one, and it was never for anything I actually did, only what they thought I was doing.

I also can’t lie: It feels great to know that I’ve proved her completely wrong, whether she is aware of the fact or not.

Have you ever risen up against what people have thought you were to prove them absolutely wrong? Ever had a significant other whose parents didn’t like you? What were their reasons?

The Pressure to Marry

19 Aug

 

My parents live 4 hours away from me, and because of college and working I rarely am able to see them. Yesterday, however, they came and visited me and left this evening.

At one point in a conversation with my mother, I mentioned someone’s husband. Bad choice. Her immediate response was “You need to start looking for one.”

*facepalm*

Of course, all the talk of getting a boyfriend and looking for one ensued. I really think expectations are highly influenced by her marriage to my father at age 19, and my sister’s marriage to her husband at 23. I turn 23 in November, with not a boyfriend in sight. I can’t say that I really am too effected by it, because many, many vet students get their spouses in vet school.

What kind of pressure do your parents put on you to get married? Do you get pressure from anywhere else? How do you handle it?

Pregnancy, Older or Younger?

20 May

First, let me tell you that I am never having children, so all of this information is irrelevant to me.

Now that thats out of the way…

People are getting pregnant at older ages. Historically, you could be married and pregnant by the ripe old age of 14 (not that the pregnant thing has really changed), but now it looks like the age for first time mothers is about 25. That’s 4 years older than 40 years ago. Its not too big of an issue if you have a child at age 25 – you are in the prime reproductive years – but because this is an average, it means the entire scale of women’s first pregnancies has shifted to higher ages. An example of this is that between the ages of 15 and 44, births have declined (births total have declined, so this is expected), but for women over 45, births have increased.

My reasoning behind this is that its taking people on average longer to finish school and settle down to a place which is conducive to having children. I also think that women don’t have to make as many attempts to have children who survive to adulthood, as they did centuries ago, so women don’t have to have children as early to maximize the number of years they can reproduce. There is also the increase in life expectancy; you have the option to have children later.

All of this brings me to my main point: having children at an older age can pose some serious problems, but it also has its benefits.

Benefits

  • You have more resources. Children are expensive, so its important to have plenty of money to pay for all of their needs like healthcare, food, clothing, and enrichment. Having a stable living situation is also important.
  • You’re more mature. Mentality is a big deal with anything – it can make or break you. As you get older, you’ve learned how to deal with stress better. You’re also more likely to be comfortable staying at home every night with your small child (instead of having that inner desire to party it up).
  • Personal lives are stable. As you get older, you are more likely to have a single, steady partner to help raise your child with. You are also more likely to understand that your child takes precedence over your love life (if you happen to not have a single steady partner).

Detriments

  • Less energy. As you grow older, you naturally have less energy than you do when you are younger – say your early 20’s. Babies and toddlers require a lot of keeping up with, and you might find yourself falling short.  You might also find yourself out of touch with whatever age your child might be as he/she grows older.
  • Higher health risks for you. Risk of things like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, miscarriage, and multiple babies all go up and the risk can even be twice as high as someone in their 20’s.
  • Higher health risks for your baby. With increase prevalence of mom’s health risks, cause an increase risk in problems for baby. For example, if mom gets diabetes while she is pregnant, baby is a lot more likely to get it too, or have a high birth weight. Chromosomal disorders, like Down’s Syndrome (and others), dramatically increase with age also. There may be other long-term consequences as well. If you are an older mother and are having trouble with fertility, its likely that your child with have problems with fertility also.

What age do you want to/did you get pregnant (for the first time) at? Which has more weight, the pros or the cons?