Shifting Roles

February 8, 2011 at 7:34 am | Posted in Family Ties | 1 Comment
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As a caring parent, you understand that it is your responsibility to care for your children.  Parents are the greatest role models in their children’s lives and have the greatest influence over all that they do.  Of course, kids will disagree, argue, and even rebel, but this is the truth.  I know, because I always looked up to my parents and expected that they would take care of me.

What is unique about adulthood, beyond the fact that you have to take care of yourself is that at some point, you actually start taking care of your parents.  I watched my parents play the duel role of caring for my brother and me while also caring for my elderly grandparents.  I always imagined that this happened later on in your life, since that is what I witnessed in my childhood.  But I am now realizing that it is something that starts a lot earlier than that.

When I was 14, my father had a heart attack.  It didn’t happen the way you always imagine it to. It’s a lot less dramatic than that.  He had been running, and felt a heaviness on his chest. He thought it was pneumonia. When he went to the doctor, the doctor said it was a heart attack.  My dad went on to have septuple bi-pass surgery and recover to the point where he was able to squeeze in one last marathon before returning to a life of regular exercise and a new focus on healthier eating.  When my father fell ill, my mother was completely distraught.  I, too, was scared to death, but I had to be strong for my family.  It was at this point that I realized that my parents were not gods — they were not immune to the troubles that befall regular people.  But I still saw my parents as strong and never really thought they could make any serious mistakes.

But now that I am living on my own, paying my own bills, and living my own adult life, I constantly worry about my parents.  They have been hit hard by the recession and I worry about their stability and their health.  I try not to think about it too much as I know it could consume me, but it’s always lingering in my mind.  They are not as young as I like to convince myself they are, but they are not old enough to rely on me either.  Still, I do everything I can to be there for them and to support them without letting it get to me.

I know they may still worry about me a little, but I think they have learned to trust that I will be okay.  I think I now worry about them a whole lot more.  It is in this shifting of roles that I am really amazed.  It is what is meant by the phrase, “circle of life.”  They gave me everything growing up and I plan to return the favor.

Embracing Your Name

January 20, 2011 at 7:34 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | 12 Comments
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photo credit: exponentialprograms.com

I don’t know if there is something in the air or what, but I can name five women I know who are currently pregnant… and another two who just had babies… and several others who became moms in the past few years.  It’s just that stage in my life I guess.  Whatever it is, there is always several initial questions on the minds of the friends of the pregnant — one being what the child will be named. And with my first nephew just a couple of short months away from entering the world, I can’t wait to find out what we will call him!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have had a bit of an obsession with names.  I have a name book that interprets names that I used to create characters in my early short stories.  Like any writer, the characters are typically based on someone you know, but you don’t want to simply use that person, so you come up with a similar persona and a name to match.  I cast myself as “Molly” in my short stories.  I’m not quite sure why.  I think of Molly’s as sort of shy, deep thinkers, hidden beauties.  I am definitely not shy, though I do think of myself as a deep thinker.  Perhaps I just always felt like I was waiting for someone to discover something great in me, and this is the way it manifested.  Who knows? I was like, 13.

Whatever my thought process, the idea is the same when you name your child.  You are creating the character you hope your child will be.  The only difference is that this is a real person who has to make that name work for them for their whole lives.

I always liked my name.  There weren’t a lot of Dana’s in my school so I was able to feel fairly unique growing up, which was important to me.  I did not really like my middle name.  To me, Blair sounded very old.  It took me a long time to grow into that name.

We live in a time where people are becoming very… unique with their name choices.  As someone who is all for unique I am surprisingly not likely to follow this trend when I enter into mommyhood.  A person needs to be able to live with their name, and be able to make it their own.  Kids will always make fun of each other and giving a kid a tough name can make them an easy target.  I feel like there are so many beautiful names that have deep roots in history, names that aren’t always thought of and in that way can become unique.

But it’s all up to the parents to make that major decision about how their children will be first presented to the world, what every first impression they will make will be like.  And all parents want something different for their children.  I think the most important idea overall is to have a name that you can make your own.  Your name becomes part of your identity so you need to embrace your name to embrace your identity and come into your own.

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