When I was a high school teacher, I tried to lead by example. So, if my students were doing something, I did the same activity. For example, if my students were watching a movie, I watched the movie (even if I’d seen it 100 times before). If my students were working on a class project, I was working with them on the group project (by going group to group and sitting with each group). And if they had silent reading, I read a book too. Never ever did I grade papers or do prep for another class while class was in session (as my mentor teacher said, if I am telling the students something is important but then not doing it myself, I’m sending the wrong message – so i tried to model the same behavior, and I feel like it helped me build bonds with my students). But I am thinking of one time in particular during silent reading, when I was reading along with my students but the book I was reading was hilarious (it might have been Confederacy of Dunces) so I kept chuckling; I noticed (out of the corner of my eye, since a teacher always tries to keep the peripheral vision going for obvious reasons 🙂 ) the students exchanging smiles then one finally said, not unkindly, “We can’t concentrate because you are laughing.” Then the entire class laughed. I loved that moment. It was a tender moment and thinking of it makes me miss my students. Those students were 16 at the time, and would all be in their 30s today. Wild to think about. But that moment is frozen in time in my memory.
I have not been watching college football this year, since I don’t like that the NCAA and TV networks get rich through unpaid college kids who are suffering lifelong brain injuries while less than half of them graduate and they spend more time on the football field than the classroom (exploitation). But I did watch the Pac 12 championship on Friday since daugther H is playing in the band. Every time they showed a close up we would crane to see if we could see her, and it was fun.
My sister had twins over the weekend, which means I am an uncle. I am very excited about this. The good news is we saw them the day they were born and they are beautiful (of course 🙂 ). The bad news is that my sister hasn’t wanted guests the past couple of days, which means we haven’t seen the babies since delivery… As someone who suffers from post-illness chronic fatigue, I’ve had to put a lot of thought into how I can be involved – I just don’t have the energy to make meals, run errands, etc. But I do love babies and kids, so have decided that I will be available to watch the kids as needed, which is less stressful for me than cooking, cleaning and running errands. Right now, she doesn’t want guests, but I know from experience that after the excitement (and nurses) dies down, people watching the kids is a god send :)… My family — starting with my grandma — is strange about guests. They just don’t like having them. My mom can’t relax when she has guests, and is a wreck before guests and exhausted after them, and I know that my grandma was the same way (I remember her complaining about my aunts and other guests when they’d stay with her). I too didn’t look having roommates or guests in my early adult years, but with my very-social wife’s influence plus having a cabin where guests like to stay was able/forced to learn to relax and take guests in stride. Also, there was a wonderful wonderful wonderful Dear Abbey letter where a woman wrote that she lived in a remote area with 4 kids and 2 dogs so loved having adult guests, and they were welcome to stay and make themselves comfortable but they would just have to deal with the mess and the dogs etc. I love that letter – it reminded me that what is important is not having a perfect house, it is the people, and if having a slightly dusty house is what is required to relax around guests, so be it. I am glad I’ve learned to accept (and embrace) having overnight guests. I used to want to spoil them with good meals and a perfect house, but now have just learned to spoil them with my interest in them and embracing them 🙂
My favorite Christmas seasons were in the early years of my marriage to Wife M. When we’d decorate our apartment and go to Christmas parties with friends and watch Xmas specials. The night before Xmas Eve we spent with friends attending The Nutcracker, Xmas Eve was with my family and Xmas at her grandma’s place. We loved those times, and they got even better when the kids were a few years old. But I will always remember those first Christmases with Wife M most fondly.
I am really very happy with how much our society has progressed in various transgender and sexual rights these past few years. But I am nervous about the number of doctors who are very quick to prescribe hormones to kids to change their sex without digging into what else might be behind what is going on and without fully consider the potential health consequences for trying homron therapy.
Time was, it was a serious matter to change your gender, one that people took seriously and sometimes took years to progress to. For example, Wife M had a friend whose roommate was a man turning into a woman, and she cross dressed for years before really making the change. ALthough she was not on hormones, everyone treated her like the woman that she was, and it was a big deal for her to make that change.
Now, I feel like a lot of kids are taking very serious hormones — which may have long term consequences to health — without really truly experimenting with what that means. We are experiencing this, in fact, with our son R, who is experimenting with hormones without any therapy and after only one doctor’s visit; we asked him to attend therapy to explore whether that was the right decision for him, and even told him to consider dressing and acting as the other sex for awhile so he was sure, but he has leapt right in with the doctor’s blessing. My concern is not someone’s right to experiment – but it’s the health consequences that may result long term if he changes his mind in a few months.
In the 1980s, a lot of therapists and doctors started prescribing prozac like candy as a first act – they literally prescribed it to 100% of their patients. It wasn’t all therapists, but it was enough of them to raise concerns. (Also, prozac was quite famous at the time, and I am sure a number of people went into the therapist and immediately requested prozac). It was only after some exposes discussed the concerns with this that this curtailed. Also, there were quite a few kids around 1990 on anabolic steroids, and it took social intervention (media, etc.) about the health consequences to end that fad.
I have this feeling that this may be true now, with hormones. Even a google search for me did not immediately find any discussions on whether it really and truly is the right case, but primarily how to provide/get emotional support during the transition. For me, the most telling statistic is that kids who are on the autistic/asberger’s spectrum are 25x more likely to experiment with hormone therapy than other kids – which might indicate they feel different, and think hormones are the secret. But, again, my concern is to the health effects.
I am biased on this. I myself took a very serious drug — prednisone — to save my life, and it worked but it had long-term consequences for me that I am still living with, and may always have. And I never took recreational drugs, and am going through a lot of pain right now because I am trying to stay off my pain meds. So I am a firm believer in drugs as a serious item that need to be carefully weighed before taking, whether it is IBProfen or Prednisone or hormones.
Anyway, my two cents. For better or worse, our son is 19 and has always been set in his ways when he makes up his mind, so we have virtually no say on this. The bitter irony is, for years we were pushed by schools to put him on various medications to improve attention span, etc. but we absolutely resisted since M and I did not want to put our son on drugs. He has also been diagnosed with anemia, but will not take medicine for that. In a word, argh. 🙂
WIfe M and I start attending a parent group in a couple of weeks for parents of transgender kids. We want to do the best we can to be supportive but also realistic, and this group will hopefully help.
Son R turned 19 yesterday. He insisted the past week he didn’t want to celebrate — didn’t want us to buy him dinner and didn’t want a cake. But Saturday I went and got a collection of 6 cupcakes anyway, deciding that even if he didn’t want to celebrate I’d at least offer cupcakes to whoever wanted one since the day he was born was an important day to me, too 🙂 Then last night after my inquiring and inquiring (not insisting, just asking) if he wasn’t sure that he didn’t want dinner, he requested Thai food take out. Mother-in-Law J was there too, so I walked down and got take out for Son R, Daughter L and Mother-in-Law J (I don’t like Thai Food so had leftover pizza) and the four of us had dinner and chatted. Then I brought out the cupcakes just as Wife M returned hom from her night out with the girls (Wife M doesn’t like drama — one of the many things I love about her — so she’d had enough asking R about his birthday so made other plans), and we sang happy birthday and had cupcakes. (I also got him a card that all of us had signed, with some cash and a gift card inside). I think it actually turned out to be an awesome birthday evening for him and us. He seemed happy. It was great.
Dad loved Christmas morning. He loved showering his kids with gifts and watching us revel in the thrill of Christmas morning. Mom was a saver (i.e. didn’t like to spend money), so we didn’t always get the most expensive gifts as kids when mom/dad were still a young couple trying to pay a mortgage, but dad definitely got an A for effort…
Every Christmas, dad would make a big show of having us wait outside the living room while he lit the fire, turned on the tree, got the camera ready and so on, then he’d give us the okay and we’d race in. He was always just as involved with our opening our presents as we were, sitting nearby, feeling as excited about us opening our gifts as we were getting them. It was like every gift and every Christmas was like The Old Man in A Christmas Story giving his son the air rifle. Wife M is that way, too – she loves giving gifts more than getting them (and she loves getting them).
Even as teens and then adults, dad ensured this still happened by upping the ante – buying us electronics, giving us cash, etc. One year, mom was recuperating from surgery so could not keep an eye on dad during Christmas season – that was the most amazing Christmas we ever had as far as gifts go 🙂 Later, when we had kids, the cycle started over again with his grandkids – when we arrive at the house he does everything he can to make it an awesome experience for all of us 🙂
But in 7th grade I had a paper route, Which means before we could start our Christmas morning, I’d have to spend an hour or two delivering 100 papers over a 6-block area. Dad couldn’t wait that long, and didn’t want my sister (in 4th grade) and I to wait that long, so after hosting his inlaws until 1 AM on Christmas Eve he got up at 5 AM that Christmas morning, pulled my sister and I out of bed, and the three of us piled in his van and delivered the papers together so we could have our CHristmas morning at 7 AM.
What a wonderful memory that is. I feel love when I think of that memory. 🙂
When I was a kid, my grandma loved spoiling her family. What I mean is, it gave her great pleasure to do the little things: make us wait in bed so she could warm up the house for us, wash our clothes for us, stop by with a little gift, make us dinner… She always loved doing that, and I always remember her doing that, and now that I am older and have autoimmune disease I am amazed that she could do that while battling Type I diabetes, which killed her (via stroke) at age 69.
My dad was like my grandma. My sister and I would often go to our rooms at night to find that our dad had turned down our bed, or he’d quietly slip us 20 bucks for a pizza, or he’d wash our car for us while we were sleeping. Little, forgettable things that expressed love.
When wife M and I were first married, and then when the kids were kids, I did a lot of those same things, I think. I’d light candles for M, put her PJs in the drier so they were toasty when she put them on, put a little extra treat in the kids’ lunch box, etc. Little things I don’t remember. Everyone does thos things I think, but I also am pretty certain that I did it more often than the average person. (Wife M does, too, which is probably another reason why we click so well, since we’re always spoiling each other 🙂 ).
But those things have evaporated since my illness in 2012. (I remember when M’s friend first commented to M about it in 2012, how there was a time when you didn’t have to worry about anything when I was in the room and now it was not like that at all, how it was like I was barely present. I remember how hurt at the time I was by that comment since I was in the throes of lung disease and prednisone at the time – but in retrospect, what she said is true, I am not the spoiler that I once was, and no longer can take pleasure from serving/spoiling people).
I miss doing those things for my family. And love those momentary bursts like last night where I was able to do that for my family. And really truly can’t believe my grandma was still able to spoil her famil when she was sooo sick with diabetes – I feel amazed and humbled by that.
Daughter L went with a fairly large group of friends to homecoming. They met early for pics (all of the parents were there to take photos: we stood along the outside edge smiling and taking photos while the kids clowned around in their moment 🙂 ). They were a nice group if kids and I am happy for them.
He is taking 19 credits, which seems pretty high, considering he spends 20 hours or more a week in band related activities. But he is taking drama, music, etc. and loved his first day of classes. “How was your first day?” I asked yesterday. “Great! I love my classes.” I reminded him he has a couple of extra hours a day in college versus high school that he is not spending in classes, and to use those to his advantage best he can (the wise kids use this time to further their academics, networking, etc. as opposed to hanging out; my first two years I spent that time writing for the local newspaper and editing the school newspaper, but my third year I lost focus and spent most of my time hanging out).