Except Pee Standing Up

I used to tell my little girls, “Girls can do anything boys can do except pee standing up.” (I’m sure they both tried to pee standing up.) My daughters were born in late 1977 and early 1980. I felt responsible for raising them to be fearless and strong.

I  was born in 1952. I was not raised to be fearless and strong.

Nancy Pelosi was born in 1940, 12 years before me. She graduated from Trinity College, a women’s college in DC. She became a member of Congress from San Francisco and the first female Speaker of the House. Who told her she could do all that?

Hillary Clinton graduated from Wellesley, a women’s college, went to Yale law school before I graduated from high school and then become a congressional legal council and a Senator from NY. She may be the next President of the United States. Who told her she could do all that?

Anna Quindlen, one of my favorite writers, graduated from high school the same year I did. She went to Barnard College, a women’s college affiliated with Columbia University. She became a reporter for the New York Times, then later a novelist and a columnist for Newsweek. Who told her she could do all that?

My younger daughter played more with stuffed animals than dolls. Before she went to kindergarten, she told us she’d work at the Natural Science Center in our town when she grew up. They had a small zoo then.

She started at a women’s college, transferred to Greensboro College and graduated with a minor in biology. While she was in college she worked part-time at the Natural Science Center and had a month-long summer internship  at one of the NC Aquariums at the coast.

She moved to full-time at the Natural Science Center after graduation. By  that time, the zoo had grown and become accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Now she takes her own children there to meet Ruby, the parrot she trained, and to see the Aquarium she helped design.

We (the retired man I live with and I) told her she could do all that.

My older daughter became interested in our political system early on. In high school she watched CNN and C-Span (really) and became involved with Young Democrats at the state level. She decided she needed to go to college in DC, investigated schools and learned about Trinity College, a small Catholic women’s college.

She pursued scholarship money that made her enrollment possible at Trinity, the same college Nancy Pelosi attended. She became active in College Democrats at the national level, completed a White House internship and another with the New Democrat Network. She has worked as a political fundraiser since her graduation. She was invited to Ms. Pelosi’s special Mass (worship service) at Trinity on the morning of her installation as Speaker of the House and has a picture of the two of them on that historic day. Now there’s a picture on her Facebook page of her daughter “working” at her campaign office.

We (the retired man I live with and I) told her she could do all that.

My daughters pursued their dreams and built interesting, exciting careers with confidence and competence. I didn’t know I could dream big, but I made sure they did. And now we can all send that message to their daughters, Adaline and Maggie. Except for the part about peeing standing up, I think.







Life Is Good?

My daughter had a baby–Margaret Jane–on January 11.  We call her Maggie.  The day after she was born, her parents were told she has a (fixable) heart problem.

We were stunned into stupidity.

And then prayer.

Maggie had surgery at 7 weeks and will need another surgery sometime this year.

I call her Baby Badass (sorry, Aunt Nadine).  She is a champion nurser and is growing well.  She sleeps as well as any other baby (so her parents are just starting to come out of the no-sleep fog).

I call my daughter Mommy Badass.  She has handled the fear and stress of the last few months beautifully.  Her husband is a magnificent dad.

Maggie is our 2nd grandchild.  Another is due April 2.  My daughters are good mothers and very different from each other.  They need different things from me each day right now.  My challenge is to listen more than I talk and not offer advice unless asked.

My mother was never really available emotionally.  I don’t think her mother was, either.  And Mom was 500 miles away when my girls were small.

I was determined to mother a different way.  Today it is called “attachment parenting” (click here for more about that).  We just did what felt right.  We ended up with independent, compassionate citizens of the world.

I will be 60 years old on March 15.  Sometime in the next few months, I want to have a party.  I have much to celebrate.

As I look back over the years I am grateful.  I have learned lessons, some the hard way, and known interesting, fun people.  I have some regrets (of course).  I am proud of the family we have created and I delight in watching my grandchildren.

Life can be hard.

Life is good.

I ponder (extra)ordinary things

1.  Baby legwarmers:  Easier than tights and cute. And they protect the knees of crawlers.  Click here for a picture.  And there are even directions for making them yourself from socks (click here).

2.  One of my ongoing prayers: 

May God give me the serenity I need to restore order and organization to my daily living.

I want order and structure in my life and in my house.  I can purge closets and piles of papers, if I’m in the right mood.  But I’ve decided in the last few years that I might have mild ADD.  It didn’t show up (or I didn’t notice) until I had to give up caffeine.  Caffeine works, apparently, like Ritalin in the brain.  Now I can have green and white tea, a very small hit of caffeine in a cup.  It helps a little.  (That’s my excuse.  What’s yours?)

3.  Ever heard of stink bugs?  They pushed bedbugs out of the news for a while (click here for NY Times article with a picture).  It was apparently accidentally introduced into eastern Pennsylvania from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan in 1998.  They’re not known to cause harm to humans. When stink bugs are crushed or become irritated, they emit a pungent odor that is sometimes described as skunk-like.

EEEWWWWW!!  I’ve seen one.  I carefully slid a piece of paper under it, talked nice so I didn’t irritate it and carried it outside.  Is this another sign of global warming?

4.  From a blog titled:  “Parenting Grown Children:  What Dr. Spock Forgot to Tell Us

  • It’s their life.
  • If they want advice, they’ll ask for it.
  • Keep up your own interests.
  • Be enthusiastic. It beats being critical.
  • It’s better to be liked than right.
  • Let them treat you to something.
  • Keep good-housekeeping tips to yourself.

Amma adds:  All we can really do is love them and pray for them.

Published in: on October 28, 2010 at 7:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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