Multifaceted Me

Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Harm Than Good?

I've been meaning to update my last blog post for a while but time has not permitted.  Now that I have a minute, I'll get you up to speed.

No less than an hour after I submitted my last post, my daughter came into the room and bursted into tears.  She sobbed and sobbed and when I asked her why, she finally told me she felt like a loser.  She was out shopping with friends and according to her they were buying whatever they wanted-not an option for her.  Partly my fault because I only gave her the cash I had which was less than $50.  Anyway, she had been saving her own money for an iTunes card and ended up spending what I gave her as well as what she had to "fit in."  As she cried in my arms my heart broke.

We talked about money and priorities, friends and peer pressure and feeling out of place.  In conclusion, I told her to take that frustration out on the court-which she did.

She loves volleyball and is getting better at it everyday.  Part of me wanted to end all the pain and discomfort by pulling her out.  What good would it do her to feel like a "loser"?  For those who don't have teenagers, you can probably remember being one-they're dealing with enough.  Who needs that?  No sooner than I could debate it in my head, she got out on that court and had a wonderful tournament.

I'm still left with the question, is it worth it?  Part of me says of course!  It's an investment in her future!  It's an outlet for an older sibling!  Then part of me asks at what point is it more harm than good?

For the time being, we have decided to keep her in club volleyball.  She is learning important life lessons and growing as a player.  Next year we may sit club out.  She'll be in high school and playing high school volleyball.  Hopefully that level of competition will be challenging enough while she gets a handle on getting good grades which is more important anyway.  I may be returning to school myself to get my RN degree and if so will have clinicals every other weekend making the travel to tournaments impossible.  But for 10th grade, she will more than likely return to club.  I think the good outweighs the bad.

It's good to be exposed to things that are different than what we're used to.  When we're not, we become closed-minded.  We don't stretch ourselves or look for possibilities outside of our box.  I want my daughter to know that whatever she desires in life, work and love is possible.  And I don't want her dreams to be limited to this little town we currently reside in.  Club takes her out of this little town and she gets to interact with people from all over.  That to me is more important than the pain of not fitting in.  At least for now it is.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Because It's Not About Me

I am passionate about my family.  My husband and children bring me more joy than anything else I've experienced or attained.  My daughter plays volleyball.  She's pretty good.  She has a lot of potential and in an effort to expose her to more hardcore volleyball, we allowed her to play club this year.

If you're not familiar with club sports, they are basically private/elite teams that are supposed to be composed of the best and most competitive players.  Truth is, they are composed of the wealthiest players.  The kids whose parents can afford the best coaches, the travel and other many expenses that come with being on one of these teams.

We are far from wealthy.  We decided to make a sacrifice for our daughter for several reasons:  She loves the sport; there is a 7-year gap between her and her next sibling so we did it for social interaction with her peers, to afford her better college opportunities and for leverage with her grades.  She has to keep a certain GPA to play.

I am reading a book called Successful Women Think Differently by Valorie Burton.  She mentions that people are happiest around other people who make the same or less than they do.  Perhaps that is why this club volleyball thing is so miserable for me.

Right now, I'm in a hotel that I would only book for a very special occasion like an anniversary or something.  The people are too much for me.  I'm hiding in my room with my sons while my daughter is off with her friends.  Not only do I feel completely out of place but we can't afford all the shopping, dining and extracurriculars that come with these trips.  But it's not about me or how I feel.  It's about my kid.

She is all smiles.  She is with her friends and playing her sport and her mother and brothers are here cheering her on.  My parents kept us in sports and band.  They insisted we all (five of us kids) played a sport and played an instrument.  My childhood was perfect.  I have nothing but happy memories.  I never stopped to think about what my parents were going through.  They too were the only black parents.  They're from DC and Atlanta so I know for a fact they were out of place in Coupeville.  They only had each other just like Nick and me.  We cleave to the unspoken innate understanding.  What our kids know as normal is rather uncomfortable for us at times, but we're trying to give them a better life right?  Isn't every parent?  Wanting more for their kids than they had for themselves?

In all of this unease, I hope my daughter is making happy memories.  I know the boys are.  I have gotten so many compliments on their behavior.  I can remember people complimenting my mother on our behavior and I remember thinking. "We have no choice!  She beats us!"  I'm sure they're thinking the same.  But they're having fun, playing with their action figures, swimming in pool and cheering their sister on for long stretches in the gym.

Bishop Jakes once said that Passion + Pain = Purpose.  That's what this is all about - happy, well-rounded kids.  So I'm going to put on my happy face and leave this room.  I will smile and be pleasant, cheer and politely turn down invitations to do more than we can afford.  I won't let my daughter see my that outside of watching her grow as a middle hitter, I'm not enjoying this.  I will make the small talk, go through the motions and hug her and tell her how proud of her I am which is 100% truth as is the fact that I can't wait to get home to my husband.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Working Mama!

I'm a week late checking in but the first two weeks of work have been AMAZING!!  First of all, I love my job.  Great group of people, exactly the work I wanted to be doing and my chosen speciality.  That makes the days fast and fun.  I got my first paycheck since August 2010 when I was laid off and I wanted to burst into tears.  Things have been tight for so long and school was so much work but it is finally paying off.

Now for the family.  I must say, I have the greatest husband in the world.  He didn't come out of a box that way (we're 9 years into our relationship) but neither did I.  We have completely shaped each other and he has been perfect.  His off days are during the week and he drops the kids off, picks them up and all the other things I would be doing if I were home.  He has made it so much easier for me knowing the children have him.

Second, we have the greatest babysitter in the world.  She picks the boys up and feeds them, makes them play outside, takes them other places if we ask her to and most of all loves them.  They love her too.  She communicates with the teachers and relays things to us.  She is just a huge blessing to us.

All my fears have been relieved.  Okay, maybe not all of them.  I want to go on in school but before I can I have to take statistics.  I was really hoping there would be an evening class that I could do after work but out of three college campuses I could go to, not a single one offers the course at night.  So online it is.  That makes me nervous because it's math and math is not historically my best subject.  But with an hour-long lunch everyday and a husband who is great at math, I'm hoping I can get it done.

When it comes to the mister and the children, I'm learning that quality time can mean just as much as quantity of time.  I may not be here for every bump, bruise or game, but when I am here-I'm present.  They have my undivided attention.  It could be the guilt of being away rearing it's ugly head but I'd like to think it's because I no longer take my time with them for granted.  Not that I ever was but I always knew we'd have time later and could procrastinate.

In conclusion, I'm a very goal-driven person.  I want to achieve this and when I get there, next that and so on and so forth.  As my pastor preached this morning, "tomorrow isn't promised and yesterday is gone so today is the best you got."  I'm pretty good and learning from yesterday and striving for tomorrow but I'm going to try to pay more attention to today.  Right now, right here.  Being present wherever I am with whoever I'm with.  I think it will make me a better wife, mother and nurse.  Goals are good to have but shouldn't prevent us from enjoying what we have already attained.

Have a wonderful week and Happy Valentine's Day.