Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Am I so Victorian I need to wear a Brooch?

By: Samantha S. Daviss

I get it, the times are changing and I need to roll with the punches. But there are some rolls, hills, and valleys this ol’ gal just isn’t willing to take. Call me old fashioned, call me a stick in the mud, but Momma has rules and expects them to be obeyed regardless of what “all the other parents are doing”. Because my response to that is…”I don’t live with all the other parents”. I’m not some strict military mom, in fact I get run over too much…but I do have rules that need following.

My rules are pretty simple, they are two-fold, well three-fold I guess…I don’t want my kids hurt, I don’t want their “love” interests hurt, and I don’t want myself hurt.

Some of these rules don’t quite yet apply to my boys, just due to the fact that my kids are still too young (and scared of girls), but believe you me this momma is going to stick to her guns when the time comes. I feel like every time I lay down the law, not only do I get the biggest eye roll in the world, but I feel like I should be out on the Prairie, with a Little House, in my petticoat, milking the goats, and wearing a lace Victorian blouse topped off with my great-grandmother’s Cameo Brooch.

I don’t think the things I ask (or demand) are that far-fetched:

1.       If you are not in high school, then when you want to go on a “date” to the movies, you either have to be in a large group, or accompanied by an adult.
2.       If a girl is over…the door stays open. PERIOD! (again, doesn’t apply to us yet, but it will)
3.       TVs aren’t allowed in kids’ bedrooms, and that is mainly to draw them out of their rooms so that their family may see them once in a blue moon.
4.       If you are going to take a girl out, you must call her or ask her in person…no texting.
5.       Don’t even think of sneaking out…I will find you. And trust me, you don’t want me to find you.
6.       School comes first…everything else comes next.
7.       Keep your eye on the prize…and that prize is you and your self-respect.
8.       Don’t let others pick on you. Don’t start a fight, but stand up for yourself, no one is any better (or worse) than you are.
9.       If I set a curfew for you, you had better be in the house by curfew.
10.   If you screw up…you will lose all privileges. PERIOD!
11.   And if you talk back to me, your dad, or any adult for that matter…I will smack you upside the head, no questions asked.

My boys are sweet, kind, loving little gentlemen; and I expect the world of them. But what they don’t understand, is that Momma’s rules have a hidden agenda behind them…I don’t want to be a grandma before I have grey hair, and I certainly don’t want to be a grandma before my two youngest are out of Pull-Up diapers themselves (not that this is an issue AT ALL in our house, right now). Do you see the irony here? It’s not very humorous irony, but irony nonetheless.

I don’t feel like my rules are that crazy or far-fetched. But I certainly get to see lots of the whites of my 12-year-olds eyes from thinking I am some deranged lunatic that lives in the dinosaur era (any dinosaur era) for laying down the rules (as they apply to him today). My favorite is him not understanding the going to the movies in a group (or with an adult). But I am pretty sure when he grows up and has kids of his own, he’ll understand what good ol’ mom meant, just as we all do as kids.

It may just be me, but kids in my mind are being “forced” to grow up too fast these days. And if I can force protection on them a little longer then so help me. They may hate me for it now, but in the end I think deep down they will appreciate it. I always tell my boys to blame it on me, I’ll take the heat. If they aren’t allowed to go somewhere or don’t want to go somewhere, blame it on me. I don’t want them to feel like they have to grow up too fast to keep up with everyone around them. There are some days my oldest acts like a pre-teen, and some days when I still see the little boy in him fighting to get out.

It is such a hard age, and if my rules, although may be hated, can protect him a little longer…then so be it.

Maybe I am too rigid, and set in my ways. But I think it’s okay not to always “keep up with the changing times”. Some of those good old fashioned rules still hold a lot of value with me. Be it from my formative years, my parents’ formative years, or even my grandparents’ formative years…I feel that kids don’t have enough rules these days. Hence all the bullying, snarky attitudes, and disrespect for adults. They are not taught any more that adults are their superiors, they actually think adults are their equals and they can speak to them however they desire.

My whole point to rules is they will learn to respect others and themselves, and every child, whether they like it or not, needs boundaries.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Do you enjoy the holidays?

By: Samantha S. Daviss

I had a girlfriend ask me a very profound question the other day, which has actually never been asked of me before; yet it is something that has always rattled around in the back of my brain.

She asked me if I was looking forward to the holidays. I sat there, hesitated, and thought long and hard before I answered her. My answer was probably more than she wanted to hear, but it made me think. I felt like the biggest Scrooge/Ba-hum-bugger on the planet. She probably thought I was crazy. Because most people jump up and down with excitement over the thought of the holidays.

But, I answered her with a simple answer—

“Once I get in gear, get my decorations up, and the presents under the tree; I definitely love and enjoy the holidays.”

I love seeing the holidays through my kids’ eyes, and now that they are all a little bit older; they get it, so they are super excited for Santa and all the festivities.

I think I hesitated because I always feel like there is so much hype with the holidays, a lot of chaos, and piling up of bills. Sometimes I feel like the real reason for the season is forgotten and overlooked. I want my kids to understand that Christmas is about the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and about being with family and friends, and just spending time together and enjoying one another.

Another reason I hesitated is because over the years the dynamics of friends and family have changed in my life. I have lost loved ones and that makes a huge difference in how you celebrate the holidays. 
 I know that is life, I am getting older, and I will lose grandparents and loved ones along the way; but again, the holidays are all those I love coming together to enjoy one another, and when some of them aren’t there any more…it just lives that void that is unfillable.

But with all that being said, I really do love the holidays. Like I said, once I get my rear in gear and get my decorations up, get the presents bought and wrapped, and start celebrating with parties or “get togethers” with friends and family; then I am definitely a holiday junky.

But when my girlfriend asked that question such a weight of guilt has been heavy on my shoulders. Was I too honest with her? Did I tell her more than she really wanted to hear? Probably, but the fact of the matter is…I was honest. Maybe too honest, but honest nonetheless.

To be human is to feel and to love, right? So I guess I am human. I feel the loss of those from my past, I feel the anxiety of getting everything done in a timely manner, and I feel apprehensive about creating the perfect holiday memories for my kids—after all these are things they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

So, I think it is okay, if you have that deep down feeling of disquiet towards the holidays. Maybe an incident happened in your past, or you don’t have very good childhood memories, or you’ve lost someone that made your holidays worth celebrating; but regardless, just remember that the future is filled with sunshine and laughter, and the past is the past.

Some folks aren’t meant to be that jolly little elf, and some like myself, require a little motivation, like my house looking like the inside of a gingerbread house, to kick that true holiday spirit into another gear.

Being honest to yourself and others isn’t a bad thing. It may come as a surprise to yourself or others when spoken out loud…but I always say, laughter and honesty are the best medicine.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

They will always need you, Don’t let them stop Wanting you

Right now I am at a very pivotal point in my career (my non-writing career that is). I am in the midst of studying for the final examination for my appraisal career. It is four and a half years, 2,500 field hours, and over 200 education hours in the making. So for the past four months I have been diligently studying, reviewing, prepping, and doing anything and everything to prepare for this massive exam.

But it is not the only thing going on in my life. I still have a job, a side job, building a house, and most importantly three wonderful little boys to raise, love, and enjoy (especially over the holiday season). So even though there have been some evenings where my stress level is on full tilt, and I know I am under the gun on meeting my studying goals, I have noticed my patience are running a little more thin than usual. I am not upset with anyone, it is just the toll that stress takes on you physically and mentally.

I have tried really hard to keep my patience in check, and not get upset with the boys or my husband, but unfortunately the house, these last few weeks, hasn’t run as smoothly as they normally would. But Exam Day is noted by a huge red circle on my calendar, and that day is almost upon me; so at 2pm on that day,  I know that everything will be back to normal.

Even though this has been my primary focus, and all my extra energy, time and mental capacity has been devoted to preparing for this exam. I can’t forget the three little faces, eyes, arms that need hugs, and sweet thoughts and words need Mommy’s attention too.

I don’t want to brush off cuddle time at night, or book reading time, or “hey mom come outside and watch me shoot hoops”, or the “Momma, look at the wall I built out of my blocks”, or even the “Momma, come sit with me on the couch and watch TV”. I know they will always need me, but I don’t ever want them to stop wanting me because I brushed them off too many times. I don’t want my “I’ll be there in a minute” to turn into 15 minutes, and then it is a moot point; regardless of this exam or not, I have to remember that they have feelings too, and I need to muster up that last bit of energy at night to give them the attention they need. Even though I feel like flopping myself into my bed and not waking up for about six months.

I think it is good for my boys to see Mommy so devoted and concerned about something; it helps them realize that mommy is a real person with goals, dreams, and aspirations. But I don’t ever want them to think that anything in this entire world will ever come before them. I think this has had the biggest effect on my oldest. He keeps asking me when the test is…he tells me he is praying for me, but he has also realizes just how much mommy does for everyone around the house…and that right now, Mommy isn’t doing as much.

Don’t get me wrong, my house hasn’t turned to shambles, the laundry is getting done, the food is cooked every night, and the teeth are brushed. But it’s the little details that he is noticing, that I think are making him appreciate Mommy a little bit more lately. The laundry is done, maybe not as quickly as they would like; the food is cooked, maybe not as elaborately as it usually is; and the teeth are brushed, but the cuddle and reading time is definitely shorter.

Again though, this is temporary. But I don’t want the temporary to turn in to permanent, so I have had to be really careful that they know Mommy will always want to cuddle, to read, and to watch them shoot hoops. I don’t want them to stop wanting me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Some of the best are the Simplest

By: Samantha S. Daviss

Seems as of lately our lives have been super chaotic. Between school activities, after school obligations, my personal and professional responsibilities, not to mention that my family and I are building what we can only pray is our “Forever House”. It is all so exciting, but we have a lot on our plates right now.

We seem to go from appointment to appointment, job to job, and place to place with no rest for the weary. But this past Friday night, I was lucky enough to get to stay home with my boys and play on the floor with them, and watch them just be boys. Who would have thought that that young girl at Texas A&M University, or that young energetic 20-something would be excited and look forward to a Friday night at home? Funny how our priorities change.

The house pretty much looked like a hurricane blew through it, but at the end of the night I just stood there smiling at the mess I had to endure and put away. I am pretty sure every single toy was pulled out of our shelving system and utilized. We managed to build tent houses for everyone, all connected by tunnels; and every single stuffed animal in the house was lined up like a row of soldiers awaiting their orders.

We rounded our evening out with pancakes for dinner followed up by baking cookies together. I have never seen them more excited to be together, and the fact of the matter was it was just a nice quiet evening in our house.

We all seem to forget that it is the simplest things in life that make us all smile. I was the happiest I had been in a really long time. We were all home together, warm and cozy, playing simple mindless games, and just enjoying the fact that we were there together.

Kids are pretty resilient people; they will go and do just about anything you require of them, with very few complaints. At least that is how my kiddos are; but to see them at home playing, using their imaginations, and giggling over a few chocolate chip cookies that they intently watched baking the full 15 minutes was absolutely the most peaceful blessing I had received in a long, long time.

So from that moment on I made it my personal vow to take each one of my boys on a “date” at least once a month, individually. I have tried to do it in the past, but something always comes up; but no more…we are going to have special one-on-one mommy time. The years with all of them are slipping away too quickly and I need them to realize that the quiet, playful, at-home moments are the most important. Not the trips, the gifts, or the money spent on them, but the time spent on them.

I need them to realize that no matter what happens in their lives, where they go, what they do, or who they end up with … their mom and dad will always be there for them to share in the quiet moments. 

Whether or not they want to talk, or just sit in silence, we will be there no matter what.

So sometimes it’s better to just keep things simple, clean and to the point. Baking cookies, building blanket forts, or just dangling your feet into the side of a pool or over the edge of a dock. They just need to know that you are there. We think we are giving them attention by running them around from activity to activity, feeding them, clothing them; but they need more, they need to know that for a few solid hours they are the center of your attention, no outside distractions, or curiosities, just you and them. 

They need to know what you always tell them…that they are the center of your world.