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Entries in birthday (4)

Tuesday
Aug212012

Parenthood: 7 Myths I've Let Go of on My Seventh Anniversary

Carriage Ride through Downtown Memphis: Happy Seventh Birthday to My PrincessYesterday was my seventh anniversary as a parent.

I was thirty when I became a mother. Thirty years old is that age where you know a lot of stuff. You're your own person. You know how the world works. You know the rules.

When I first met Tariq at nineteen, I told him I wanted to send my children to boarding school. I know. I KNOW.

My reason was that boarding school was prestigious. Also, it would make my children stronger and "networked". Shut up. I think I was coming out of of a period of time where I read a lot of early twentieth century English literature.

When I became a parent, I became the poster parent for attachment parenting, though. We co-slept, I nursed, no television before two, no stroller, baby sling only, no fast food before three, constant attention... preschool didn't start until four and that, too, because there was a new baby and I was really, really tired.

Prior to preschool, I couldn't leave my daughter with anyone besides my mother for more than a day, so, needless to say, boarding school was out.

Look, becoming a first time mother was absolutely incredible.

I was proud of myself. Within a few weeks of parenthood, I had been flexible enough to understand that there is a distinctness between the idea of how I envisioned parenthood and how I actually practiced parenthood. Some things, you have to do to know what you really think they're all about. This is absolutely applicable to someone not having children and being 36. I have no idea what that's like. I have very clear ideas of what I think that should be like. It involves Paris, Italy and Spain, waiting tables for food money but spending it on incredibly beautiful shoes instead.

Being a parent constantly pushes at my notions of the ideal parent-child relationship. I've come to realize that the most tension between children and their parents (even into adulthood) occurs as a result of someone clinging too tightly to the ideal and not making peace with the real. 

When my daughter was born, I thought it was my job to teach her about reality. The same was true for my son. I have come to realize, of course, that we teach each other. We have been placed in one another's lives for a reason and that, as it is in all things, there is a balance of what we can offer to one another. Some days, I nurture my children and teach them value of love and respect. More often than not, though, they teach me those things and so much more. Like, nothing... and I mean, nothing, gets purple permanent markers out of a cream colored sofa. 

1. When I became a mother, I thought it was my job to make sure my children were good, decent, people who were kind and compassionate. I now know that children are born kind, compassionate, good, wise and decent. They stay that way when I treat them that way. The trick is to be what you expect from others. Want nice? Be nice.

2. As a new mother, I thought that I had to do everything in my power to protect my children from any and all harm. I have learned that it is inevitable that my children will come to harm. Something bad will happen to them one day. I can be wary, I can be wise, but I cannot protect them forever. I can only remind them that they are powerful enough to survive harm and that when they feel they aren't -- I will hold them up. I will be there. I can spend my time constantly watching our backs or I can spend my time feeling the joy of being together. I can't do both.

3. I once thought that children are a reflection of their parent's behavior, values and actions. I think parents can exert great influence over their children's actions and choices to an extent. I beleive that my children's actions are a reflection of how they perceive my integrity, though. If I want them to emulate my behavior, I must make sure that my behavior is grounded in good intention, well thought out values and integrity. I also must ensure that I never expect from my children more than I expect of myself.

4. Children are the charges of their parents. I have learned that you are in charge of you. I am in charge of me. Our connection is not based on power or hierarchy, but upon mutual respect and trust. Children aren't different. In an ideal scenario, I trust that that my child will do the right thing when presented with the facts, and my child will trust that I am telling them the truth when I present them with what I believe is the truth. I may not be correct, but I am doing my best to be so. That matters more. The greatest punishment either one of us can undergo is to feel that we have lost the trust of the person we love.. even if for a moment. 

5. I used to believe that children crave discipline and consequences the way I crave a McFlurry on a 100F Memphis afternoon. Actually, children crave respect. It's not consequences that they need to thrive and grow, it's accountability. It's the knowledge that they matter, that what they do matters and when they don't do what they're supposed to do -- like any valuable member of a community -- everyone feels the consequences of that. Showing someone that what they do matters is respect. People who feel respected require little discipline from others.

6. The Chimpmunks are horrible and will completely destroy any hope that my child has good taste in music. I still think this might be true. Children will like what children like. We can fight it or we can try to see the value in what they like. Maybe if we do that, they'll make an effort to like what we like. I plan on trying to pitch Bob Dylan as an antidote to the Chipette's version of Bad Romance. Pray for me.

7. Parenthood is full of crazy opportunities to be sarcastic and funny about our kids. But I will not do this to their faces or in their hearing ranges one day longer. This is difficult. So.difficult. Because I'm horribly sarcastic. The thing is, I don't ever want my children to be someone's punchline. I don't want the responsibility of teaching them that it's okay for someone to make them a punchline. They're not punchlines to anyone's jokes. They are my most incredible treasures. Addendum: if you and me are on the phone and they can't hear us? I'm totally making fun of them.

 

What about you? Are there any myths you've had to let go of when it comes to children?

 

 

Thursday
Jan272011

Hmm... I Know I'm Supposed to Say *Something*...

Something... important... happened... yesterday.

I just can't figure out what.

I'm telling you... it's totally important.  And, I just can't seem to put my finger on it.  I was going to write an entire post about it, and now?  No idea.

It's so weird.  Apparently, I'm losing my memory in my old age.

OH.MY.GOOODNESSS...  NOW I REMEMBER.

...

IT WAS VINCE CARTER'S BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY!!!!


I am so incredibly embarrassed.  This is downright unforgivable, really.  Anyway.

Happy Birthday, Vince, thanks for always being there for me and all the people who are lucky enough to be your friend.

I just want you to know that even if you stopped playing professional ball, didn't win a gold medal in the Olympics, sold your restaurant, and stopped being famous altogether... the people that really care about you would care about you anyway.

Because, Vince, you are more than what you do for others, you are more than who you know, more than who knows you and  certainly more than what others think of you.

For your birthday, and for the rest of your life, it is my wish that you always remember that.

Also, I'm so glad that you aren't a whiny, little man-girl that tries to publicly shame me on your personal blog in front of the entire Internet for not writing a post devoted to you on your birthday.  Because, dude, you totally don't want to be that guy.
Sunday
Jan092011

Thirty-Five Years Old: A Manifesto

Faiqa birthdayI’m at this very moment sitting here thinking about when I was nineteen years old and I would say garbage like, “When I’m old... ya’ know, like, thirty-FIVE years old.”

Well, I’m here.  I’m... like, thirty-FIVE years old.

Most of what that nineteen year old girl imagined she’d be at thirty five existed as a construct of what others thought she would be.  She was an unpainted canvas with multiple artists just throwing paint at white space.

I?  Am the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that has summarily dismissed the boring sections painted by Michaelangelo with the strokes of her very own brush.

Cherubs?  Not a fan.  Unicorns and samurais, however?  Completely awesome.

So, today, here I am in all my Sistine Chapel Ceiling of Samurais and Unicorns glory arriving at a major decision: I’m done reading self improvement and personal development books.*

Because you know who is as personally developed as they get?  This old gal right here.

I have read about habits that will make you effective, thoughts that will make you rich, winning friends, waking inner giants, being compassionate, how a man is as he thinketh, of letting go and holding on, about Mars, Venus and other planetary allegories, about the power of yesterday, tomorrow, today, now and, of course, all about how making posters of you hugging Oprah will get you a spot on the New York Times’ Bestseller list.

I get it.  I know it.  I am done with it.

This is who I am.  It's not going to get much better than this.  Not much, anyway.  Love me, or risk eternal peril.

Anyway, as I was taking stock of my life this morning, I realized that I’ve done “well” for myself.

Great husband? Check.

Skin still looks reasonably great?  Check.

Two amazing children?  Check, check.

Getting paid money (though modestly) to pursue my passion?  Check.

Proud owner of the most true blue completely awesome friends any person could claim as their own?  Check to the exponential.


Do you know what I realized I do NOT have, though?

A manifesto.

I mean, here I am, all these years calling myself “awesome” and I don’t even have a manifesto?  That is a serious oversight.  Something which I plan to rectify, right now.

Also, I’m not sure if you know, but you can’t call it a manifesto unless you use “we.”




A Manifesto of Awesomeness


by Faiqa




  1. We live with conviction.  This is not limited to faith, politics or social cause.  It extends and specifically applies to one's self: we operate in all endeavors with the highest regard for our personal integrity, compassion for others and conscientiously chosen values.

  2. We will not be held responsible for people who have been sleeping during lectures.  The conveyance of our personal conviction to those who love us or those that we love is no longer our responsibility.  They have had ample time to learn this about us.

  3. The above is not an ultimatum.  It is simply a statement of belief, those who choose to ignore that will continue to be treated with the same appropriate mixture of compassion and condescension.

  4. We may not always be right, but our day to day living proves that we are always trying to do right.  This is enough for us.  It is enough for us and it will heretofore be enough for the people in our lives.

  5. That?  Was kind of an ultimatum.

  6. Conscientious, correct and passionate use of the word “heretofore” will be employed as many times as is humanly possible ... heretofore.

  7. We are in charge of how we feel.  Everyone else is in charge of how they feel.  We will only claim responsibility for our actions, not necessarily for how people feel about our actions.

  8. Our apologies will come quickly after wrongdoing has been established, but no offerings of flesh will be made.  Conversely, we will not assign responsibility for how we feel to others, and we will assume that persons of interests are sincere when apologizing for their actions.

  9. It should be noted the above applies only to those apologizing to us within the context of their knowing the detailed and exact nature of their slight.  Also, we will never apologize for listening to Michael Jackson, Madonna, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga or Katy Perry.  Never.

  10. We are not fixers.  We will not fix others, and we will not fix ourselves.  Because we are already fixed enough.  We would also like to point out that we are not using the word “fixed” in the veterinary sense.

  11. We reserve the right to amend, delete, or add items to this manifesto as we see fit.  But, we most likely will not, because we generally get it right the first time.




And, so there you go.


I have a manifesto, now.


You have heretofore been warned.


*I will, however, be reading everything written by this personal development author because she happens to be one of my best friends, and that’s the rules of friendship. Plus, it's good.  You should read it, too.  Even if you have a manifesto, too.


Photo Credit: www.twitter.com/jamietamm

Thursday
Jan082009

Capricorn in the Year of the Dragon

The earth laughs beneath my heavy feet,



At the blasphemy in my old jangly walk

- Smashing Pumpkins, “33”

January 9th.

It’s my birthday.  I’m 33.



I like the number 33.  Feels mystical.  Feels important.  We’ll see.

10 Interesting Facts About the Number 33

  • The atomic number of Arsenic



  • # of times in a day that I think people should stop fighting over ideas and soil all over the world and just stop to reflect on how maybe killing other people has never really solved much or made anyone’s life significantly better in the long run.



  • # of vertebrae when the bones that form the coccyx are counted individually



  • The age Jesus was the year of his Ascension.  Well, some people say 32.  But a lot of people say 33.



  • Alexander the Great died one month short of being 33 years old.



  • The age that some Islamic based folklore suggests that all inhabitants of heaven will remain for all eternity.  Huh.  So, if a woman is pregnant at 33, does that mean she’ll be pregnant for all eternity, provided that the woman in question actually gets into heaven?  Oh.  My.  God.



  • # of times I’ve agonized over comma placement in the past week.



  • # of times I start to say the “F” word on any given day, but stop myself before the whole word comes out.



  • # of friends I have who were born this month.  Like him and her.  And, seriously, 31 other people.  At least.



  • # that symbolizes truth in numerology


Oh, and I'm going to Epcot for my birthday. Because that's the day they let you in for free.


When is your birthday?