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December 23rd

December 23rd

I told myself that I was not going to write this kind of post, but sometimes you just have to let things out before they come out on their own. December 23rd has been a somber day in my family. With all the Christmas festivities, you would think that it would be another day to get through before Christmas Day. On this day my father was born. Normally we would celebrate his birthday by giving him something small (since he didn’t do big parties) and let him have his time to himself. December 23, 2006 was the last birthday that he saw. He spent the time in the hospital. While we did what we could to pick his spirits up, we honestly knew that he wasn’t happy. That year my father made the eerie premonition that he wouldn’t live to see his next birthday–who knew he was right. So every year December 23rd comes and we try our best to celebrate my father. Appreciate him for what he was, and valued him for who he was. But every year is a hard reminder of who we lost and how much they are missed. It’s even harder when your daughter talks of her Grandpa as if they have been best friends. Deep down you wish that they have met–if only for a moment. Losing someone is hard. Mother, father, sister, brother, you name it. When we sit down at the table and eat dinner, we are reminded of exactly who is no longer sitting at the table. When visiting my parents house, I have to remind myself that its my...
Gutting and Rebuilding

Gutting and Rebuilding

Work has finally begun on my family’s home. It’s only in the beginning stages though, but work is work. Due to all the water damage, the whole first floor had to be gutted. I mean completely gutted I have lived in that house all my life before I was married, and I have never seen the house look like that before. The first time I saw the pictures I was in complete shock. My mother was told that she should have the wall cut above the water line then replace the walls, but when the demolition team came and started to take apart the walls, it turns out there was no insulation. Like what in the world?! We don’t live in the arctic but it does get cold here.  So needless to say, that is going to be taken care of. I know for my mom, it’s hard to look at her home and see the first floor bare to its beams and wires. Our family home was the last place my dad was awake before he passed away while heading to the hospital. What has me upset as well is that everything had to be thrown out, including my father’s music collection. We had similar taste in music, and I kept telling myself that I’ll bring the records home with me. That’s not even possible now. I guess what makes it really sad is the feeling that my father’s presence is no longer in the house, since it has been removed and everything that he bought is gone as well. I know thy are just things, but things...

Reaching A Conclusion: Fictional Characters

Back in June, I wrote a post about telling the truth about fictional characters: Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, and if I was seriously deciding to encourage the fictional characters. I think now I’ve come to a conclusion (which is subject to change as Zee gets older). I am not going to discourage her imagination. In this world, we choose to believe in something: actual justice, pursuit of happiness, trickle down effect, so who am I to take that away from her? Zee will have plenty of time in the future to learn how this wold really is. She’ll learn the great joy that this world can produce, and great sorrow that we inflict on others. I don’t feel that lesson has to start now. When I originally wrote about this, I didn’t know how much she’ll understand of Christmas. I didn’t want her to walk away with grand ideas that someone who she doesn’t know, will never disappoint her. That’s a tall order to live up to. I try to teach her that everyone is capable of mistakes and getting mad. No one is immune to getting hurt, and our actions will affect others (whether we realize it or not). But instead of looking back on my childhood and the many stories I was told about St. Nicholas (from he’ll sit on you if you wake up in the middle of night on Christmas all the way to when you get really hot at night, Santa’s mad). Harmless little lies that parents tell just to get their way for now may seem like you’re winning, but those are...

Acknowledging A Spouse’s Efforts

Being at home, you know you have a profound impact on those around you. Maybe you changed your family’s point of view of stay at home moms, or homemakers. Perhaps you realized that it’s okay for not doing it all–after all something will be lacking. But you do what you do for your family, because you love them. You want to make sure that everything is running smoothly so that everyone can do what they have to do. It may be hard sometimes, but which job isn’t? There are still many things that take my breath away, and I am still capable of being swept off my feet. This past Sunday, we were sitting in the kitchen eating dinner. My daughter was doing her usual, singing, and humming and eating, while my husband and I were talking. Out of the blue, my husband just thanked me. Just like that. He thanked me for everything that I do around here, and for having such a good attitude about it. He thanked me for making his breakfast at night so that he can eat it on the way to work in the morning. He thanked me for taking care of our daughter, and said he was proud of what I was doing with her. He thanked me for keeping the fort down, and thanked me for marrying him. Like I said, I can still be swept off my feet. I know that mothers and wives do what we need to do not because we want the fame and glory or we want our spouses in debt to us. We do it...

Forest of Family

When I was younger, I used to think of my family as a forest of trees. Always standing, always strong. It didn’t matter what happened, I knew I was protected by the vast numbers of my loved ones. But as I grew older, I noticed a shift, a change in my forest. No longer did I feel protected; I felt very vulnerable. My family slowly shifted, and instead of being in the background–protected from the winds and hardships of this world–I was projected to the front lines. I was now doing the protecting. Yesterday, we laid to rest another matriarch of my family: my Great Aunt Marjorie. She lived to be well into her 80s, and had 6 children. She was the wife of a World War II veteran, and she was the last living sibling of my Grandmother. Looking at my Grandmother, I can see the sadness in her eyes. She is now the only one left. Mother, father, husband, sisters, and brothers, and even son had passed away and laid to rest; all that’s keeping her here is my mother and her grandchildren as well as great-grand child. I cannot imagine what it’s like to be the last one standing in your family, the same very protection you felt slowly crumbles away, and you are left naked and alone once again. But I can imagine it, since it will be a fate that some of us will have in our futures. You always think that you have more time to get to know someone, that what ever you need to get done can wait until tomorrow. Sometimes...

Practicing the Golden Rule

I’ve struggled with this post for the longest. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tackle this book: Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. This is a topic that I started to discuss in an earlier post. After going through this book more than once I can finally sum it all up in one word–respect. For the most part, this book focuses on one of the two major parts of behavioral psychology: operant conditioning. “Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior.” (operant conditioning was coined by B.F. Skinner–a behaviorist). Most, if not all, parenting books will focus on operant conditioning; how to get our children to do what we want through punishments and rewards. Behaviorist believe that a person’s behavior is 100% caused by their environment. They don’t take into account feelings, or internal thought process–free will is irrelevant. So, in the spirit of operant behaviorism, our actions can cause or shape a person to behave in a way that is pleasing to us. This is usually done through rewards and punishments. What does this have to do with us? As it turns out, most of us usually rely on these principles to have our child do what we want. We learned this from how we were raised, and practices that were applied to us (getting rewarded for good grades, punished for speaking out of turn–through school and home). In a way, we were conditioned to be conditional. For now, it seems that these behavior modifications work. The problem that Kohn and other psychologist brings up is that does not work...
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