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Entries in children (20)

Tuesday
Oct302018

Halloween. Meh. I mean... YAY! :D

I think holidays bother me because they have to do with high expectations. While I strive to be hopeful in life, the darkest part of my nature tends to remind me that people who have high expectations suffer the most crushing manner of disappointment. I have to be intentional about wanting specific outcomes but also remain open to the idea that things will be alright (maybe even great!!) if they turn out differently than planned.

Holidays test me hard in that respect. 

Now that we've dispensed with my attempt at depth on much less sleep than is remotely adequate, let me tell you about the real reason Halloween sucks.

I have two children. Between school, friends and extracurriculars, we have had to put together six different costumes. Wednesday Addams, the Weird Girl from the Scream, 70s Flower Girl, Pele, Crazy Hippie, and some character from some television show I don't even know about.

I will not sit here and bitch about how this was not a thing when I was their age. But.

This was not a thing when I was their age. You dressed up and got candy. Thee were no theme parties. No, there was a theme. It was "AREN'T I CUTE, GIVE ME CANDY."

The younger one let me know last week that my Amazon cart was full of stuff he needed for his costumes.

Costumes.

PLURAL.

Let's stop a second for my peeps that were born in the seventies.

Can you all even imagine going to K Mart or Pic N Save (!) with your moms and your mom tells you to watch the cart while she goes and talks to your neighbor who she sees everyday. She's gone for, like, thirty minutes because Adam Walsh hasn't been kidnapped yet, and when she comes back and you have $150 worth of accessories for your Halloween costumes (PLURAL) in the cart. At this point, she can't even find the "I Can't Beleive It's Not Butter!" anymore so she can't see the recipe on the side  and now cannot buy what she needs to make whatever cancerous treat she's going to send to school with you tomorrow. 

Then you say, "Mama, would you buy me that stuff when you get a chance?"

I don't want to divulge too much about my family secrets, but I will tell you that if I had done that our story would likely have made into the first season of Snapped.

I just told the boy that I would give him $25 and he could buy eighty two costumes for all I cared. 

The older one was chill about the ruling because she never spends money and probably because she has a small fortune that would rival a LDC in her sock drawer. The younger one was... upset... because he does things like send Andrew Jacksons to his friends so they can buy the same video games (apps?) he has on his iPad. 

I feel like in those moments when this boy is upset, I just have to remind him (and myself) that holidays aren't about having the perfect costumes (or decorations). Holidays are about that opportunity to fall deeply into creating an important shared history with our friends, family and communities.  I get why my son is upset. I do. But I have to be strong for him because shared values between children and their parents require a commitment to consistency and thoughtful intention. He'll be okay.

(Okay. I have to disclose something. I actually don't get why he's upset. Just put your grandparent money in your sock drawer, son, and you won't have these issues).

 

Saturday
Apr092016

Soccer Mom Stories, Ep.1 #SoccerMomStories

A photo posted by Faiqa Khan (@nativefaiqa) on Mar 7, 2014 at 8:40pm PST

"Good game, even though you LOST.
I heard a seven (eight?) year old sneer that at another child on the fields today.
I want you to know that this is not okay. And not because some children's feelings were hurt. That happens and should happen. Resilience and all that.
The statement was not okay because the thing that prompts a child to say something like that to someone is a full blown tragedy. It means that this sneering child has become so accustomed to seeing the world as a win-lose proposition that winning a game is not enough for them. It's an escalation on their part to feel something. Our world is teaching some of our children to live in the constant state of either being evaluated or evaluating others to the extent that it has disabled them from connecting compassionately on a human level. 
My son lost a soccer game today, but that other child has lost so much more than that already. 
Wednesday
Mar022016

The Ambivalence of Vulnerability.

There are a thousand different ways to express this, and they feel weak, shameful and pseudo-catastrophic. A few years ago, I read all of Brene Brown’s books, and they changed my life. I learned about the power and courage of vulnerability. I learned vulnerability is a magic key that opens you up to abundance and love in the universe in a way that holding your flaws, fears and mistakes too close will never allow. I came to love the idea of vulnerability – the delicate balance it requires in personal relationships or the way it can inspire friendships and cooperation in phenomenal ways.

Today, I loathe vulnerability. I hate how vulnerable I feel when I watch a man talk about killing the family members of terrorists. Or closing borders. Or requiring ID badges. Or, basically, any time he opens his idiotic, stupid-headed mouth.

I hate the total loss of words I had tonight when my emotionally rock solid daughter asked, “What is going to happen if Donald Trump wins? Are we going to be okay? Is he going to make us leave?”

I do not know the answer to this question.

This vulnerability? It’s victimhood. It’s the haunting sting of being bullied by someone so much more powerful than I am. It’s that familiar feeling of watching people who can do something, sit back and do nothing.  It’s the vulnerability you feel when you hear someone give you the backstory, the rationale, the reason why your abuser is who he is. You don’t care what those reasons are because it does not stop them. I do not give a damn why we are here. Stop telling me why why are here.

We are here. And I am very afraid.

This vulnerability is the finality of knowing you can never count on the people you thought you could count on again. People who love you, they are supposed to stick up for you. They are supposed to say, "You cannot talk about my friend like that." They are supposed to stop people from talking about you like that. They are supposed to effing do something besides make jokes or lament the journey to this place.

When you lose faith in the people who love you, you beleive you will never get it back. You are left with the realization that having faith in people is a precarious proposition at best. Let me tell you, there are very few points that are lower than this one, emotionally speaking.

Disconnected. Alone. Vulnerable... I listen.

He says what he thinks, so, you know, take the abuse. Let’s keep this family together. Don't forget, you're lucky to even be here. You thought you were big enough to sit at the table? Listen. We will make you leave if we want. There is nothing you can do. We were great before you came here. We want to be great again. You made us un-great. We're just trying to go back to what we were before you showed up and screwed everything up.

Also? Jesus. Guns. Racism.

I gasp for air under the weight of this vulnerability that leaves me weak, sad and scared.  I had no strength to loan my child when she showed me her vulnerability.

 “I don’t know if will he make us leave. I don’t know. I know that no matter what has happened to me in my life, Allah has provided me with the best of things in the end. This is something I know to be true because I have lived it. I don't know what's going to happen, bete. Some things, we have to just let Him sort out.”

I can say what I think, too.

Tuesday
Jun032014

School's Out (for the Children)

It’s a fascinating thing to experience a child as a student and not as a person you have to raise. 

As a mom, I fall into the routine of treating my own children in one of three ways:

(1) like they are the most brilliant humans on the planet

(2) like Smeagol treats his precious (as in, "we forgot the taste of bread... the softness of the wind. We even forgot our own name. My Preciousssses"

(3) like they’re trying to kill me

Being a child’s teacher, though, is different. It opens you up to a rich world where children are actual humans to be experienced in a multitude of contexts. Teachers see children for all the things they can be outside of belonging to an adult. There are the parts of them that their parents and their families have fashioned. There are idiosyncrasies they pick up from their favorite shows and games. Best of all, there are the parts of them that are just them.

You know that, right?

That there are parts of your child that you or society have nothing to do with?

That manifested from deep within them in a manner that they and only they chose to express?

I get to see that every single day. What we as adults have given them is beautiful, but what they do with that and produce on their own is truly magnificent. It was a good school year, and I hope the children have a blast this summer. As for myself, I'll be in Connecticut in a week playing student instead of teacher.  

 

Glue gun + Mardi Gras beads + Cardboard = South America.You want to teach them about polygons. They want to practice "concentric."

These children are some of the coolest people I know.

 

Thursday
May152014

An Old Box of Photos #throwbackThursday

I have a box of old photos that goes back almost seventy years. They are all so intentionally… intentional. Today, the intention is to not look intentional.

Don’t want to look like I care too much about what you think. But want to look like I care. See me in a way that makes you feel like I’m not hiding anything from you, but do hide enough to be interesting. Feel like you know me, but don’t know me too well.

The dance of the twenty first century photo swims in the struggle to appear vulnerable without actually being too vulnerable.  For some, that’s also flavored with little specks of intention that seek to elicit envy, as well. Don't like the photo? Simply delete and snap again. Life is one big Mulligan in the digital photo age. 

I have a box of old photos that were taken without the knowledge of how they would turn out. Isn’t this the ultimate act of hope? Stand here! You over there! Click. Wait until the roll finishes. Drop off the film. Wait a week. Pay for the photos. Sit together as a family and look at them. Did it work? Are we believable? Do you think the world really thinks we’re the people we look like in this photo? Yes. The photo turned out nice. This is how we will remember who we are. 

I cannot bear to look at old photos anymore. Our story was not that story. The truth lived behind layers of grown up lies so complex that the grown ups didn’t know they were lies. In the sepia toned grains of the photo live subtle warnings to the children in the photos to never expose those lies. Don’t ruin the picture. All will be lost. These photos were the stories of people that stood where they were supposed to while someone clicked.

In the moments between the clicks and the moment in the living room when we all looked at them together lived the belief that we children would look at those photos years from now and forget those secrets. Didn't they know, though, that secrets are unforgettable because they are secrets. Secrets must be held close to the heart and this ensures their eternal life. As long as the heart beats, the secrets it holds will live. Illusions require the utmost attention and care to be maintained, too. You cannot forget a secret until it is revealed. You cannot recognize an illusion until you let it go.

Our secrets may not have been as dark as the secrets that others have kept, but they were secret enough to destroy the realization of any hopes that our illusions would prevail.

I have a box full of old photos.

Point. Click. Forget.

Faiqa, Age 6