How do you let your teens know you understand the unique situations they find themselves in without confessing titillating details of your own past?
Saturday night. Our family was seated in the living room, my SO, daughter and the center of attention, my son. Our heads had swiveled in his direction and my other, the Otter, as I call him, had requested that Colton run upstairs and retrieve the real party invitation he had received from his friend Cat. Apparently, Cat’s parents were out of town (the child had at least been honest about that) and a big, ol’ bash was in the works. Colton, in his infinite 17-year old wisdom had decided to create a mock invitation, unaware the Otter had already spied the original floating around his room. Strangely, the details turned out differently between Cat’s invitation and Colton’s. So we were questioning him on it, as Lauren, 14 and a sponge, narrowed her gaze at her brother, secretly delighting he had been busted. Colton eventually fetched the fake invite and brought it downstairs, where it was proffered solemnly. What a surprise, he didn’t wind up attending the party, but he did get points taken off his discipline for disclosing there would have been drinking.
Some of us get to keep fathers and mothers all our lives, while others struggle with abandonment, wondering what went wrong. What makes a father leave his children?
It was dad’s birthday this past April. Even feels weird saying that name, that title. He’d turned 65, a banner day for any father. I tried to picture what he would be doing, as I do on Christmas and other holidays when I used to see him. But I know he’s different now.
A sliver of light filtered into the part of my brain I prefer to keep dark. Created a pull, almost magnetic, driving me to contact him. Thankfully, that urge stayed behind the wall I had built when he went to prison.
I thought about him, was sad, didn’t discuss it much. Mentioned it to the Otter, my other, whose father had died many years ago, so we know how to do the dad holidays. Honor each other, be gentler than the norm. In the evening, my phone beeped, a text. My younger sister chiming in, she was remembering the few dregs of him she could, too. Along with the older one. And apparently, he had thought of us all…enough to contact my tired, eldest sis, who always takes the brunt of his hits.
“You girls abandoned me,” he had stated, acid leeching into his voice, already choked from decades of cigarettes. “You’ll never know when I’ll die, except for weeks later, when something starts to smell.”
Pop. A bubble, a name, a memory. An honor. A tarnish. I swear this isn’t a stereotype of the father-gone-missing.
I was so glad I hadn’t reached out.
You’ve waited long enough to share your emotions. Spill it.
oo many times, you’ve condemned yourself to stay quiet, to sit and listen to your partner all while boiling inside with the urge to spew your thoughts. The message to be strong and silent is probably one you’ve received since you were a young adult, maybe even a child. Effortlessly, it’s become intermingled with stereotypical reinforcements to suck it up, to be a man, to not show any emotions, and certainly never to cry. Men, you are not the only ones suffering the cliché, your SOs are at the mercy of such stilted compartmentalizing, too. A lot of us have become unnaturally conditioned to expect you to deliver the appropriate gesture, or non-gesture.
Let’s break those early and archaic rules. It’s your turn, fellas. Let your partner know what’s on your mind. Your feelings, intuitions and needs are important. Your input is vital. It’s 2015, you’ve waited long enough. And I don’t really need to say this, but no matter if you’re gay, straight, whatever you happen to be, when you’re in a relationship, you have committed to living out the particular role to which you most readily identify.
In traditional couplings, women can be the transmitter of these clichés and often we do it without even knowing what we’re propagating, because we have also attached to a role, a place where we feel the most secure. Then we become destined to emulate it. For some women this might mean working outside the home while making sure every detail inside is attended to; for others it might be pitching in to help with mowing the lawn while our guy prepares the meal. We fall into reassuring roles best suited to our strengths and silently we carry out our responsibilities, usually without even thinking about it. This theory applies to our mental classifications as well, and it spills over into our communication styles.
Admit it, you read the Palm Beach Post article shaming bearded men everywhere, the one stating “Beards are filled with bacteria and ‘as dirty as toilets…’”
But have you gotten the real poop scoop? It appears an avid New Mexico reporter made a vigorous leap to his shitty conclusion after a microbiologist announced the presence of ‘enterics’ in swabbed samples from random men’s beards. To clarify, an enteric, according to the updated Palm Beach Post article, Is your beard really that dirty? Maybe not, is a “bacteria that normally live in the intestines.” So a jump to a wrong conclusion?
Ask yourself if the data is that far off when everything we touch is potentially contaminated with bacteria. Yes, wash your hands, Captain Obvious, but then go on and touch a restroom doorknob, hit the ATM, check yourself out at the grocery store using one of their maddening kiosks. Unless you don latex gloves as a habit, you will come into contact with all kinds of germs. Dated newsflash alert: it’s not the worst thing either, and is also immune-strengthening. Sorry if I grossed you out.
I am usually strong enough to resist reading about the state of our pigsty world: the horrors on desktops, the amoebas crawling on sponges, but here’s the big butt, or but, if you will … I broke my rule, the lure of the beard poop article was one I was just too weak to fight. After reading the comments of fellow GMP’ers—some of the cleverest folk on the planet—I’m so glad I caved. Read on for pure entertainment and an unadulterated dissection of the truth, the perusing of which, made my day. I hope it makes yours, too.
In the midst of levity and release, play reinforces teamwork.
It’s a typical, low-key Sunday. I’m reading GMP, checking out the articles, ingesting the various contents and my coffee. Two great components to a weekend day.
Then I read one word, which strikes me in the head like an anvil in a cartoon. Play.
I picked it up in Sex and Affection When Your Wife Has Cancer. Play and cancer sharing the same sentence. The juxtaposition sent my mind reeling. Can the two coexist? If play can live and breathe in a relationship where cancer is present, why the hell can‘t play exist in our most loving and romantic relationships every day?
The simple answer: it can.
The complex answer: it should. (more…)
One mother learns to celebrate the #GenderBlend trend as an expression of true love and freedom for her kids and the world.
Love is the new, great undefined.
My daughter, Lauren has two transgender friends, three lesbian friends, a smattering of gay acquaintances, three bisexual buds, one panromantic pal (a person romantically attracted to other people despite sexual or gender differences–even as they recognize a preferential sexual attraction to one gender or sex), one pansexual friend (a person open to all romantic interactions, who is not drawn to a preference or “type”) and one asexual ally (a person who is not attracted to other people in a sexual way.)
Oh, and my amazing daughter taught me about it all. Legs crossed, perched on the coffee table as if were discussing her latest favorite musician, she patiently explained these differences in terms of cookies, ice cream, cake and noodles. Lauren and her friends don’t need to be told that “Gender Blend” is a “trend” – for them it’s a natural extension of something they already know.
Gender Blending is not only showing up in stock images, it’s in demand. And it’s making over the face of the familiar, antiquated, and dare I say, secure. It’s becoming almost “mainstream” in advertising; Clean and Clear announced a new transgender spokesperson, Jazz Jennings, who also readying for her reality TV debut. I’ll always remember Honey Maid and their commercial featuring two dads and the company’s dignified, consistent stance against the haters. Thanks for getting the Gender Blend party started Honey Maid, and props to you also for showing the side of men, which had been a media mystery, he who is masculine and nurturing, he who makes the choice to be both gruff and tender. This is a juxtaposition that mothers of young boys know well, and it is why we adore our little men all the way to their hidden, snuggly hearts.