My Parent Wish List

 

August 24, 2010

My wish list

 

When I was expecting my son, Benjamin, I was unsure of a lot of aspects of parenting. I was apprehensive about being responsible for an actual human being. Beyond the basic nurturing responsibilities I was even more concerned with how I would teach him how to love. How to graciously accept love. There is no text book instructions on this matter, so therefore I simply jotted down the basic principles that mattered most to me:

I want my son to learn the fundamentals of love. That it is unconditional, forgiving, but not blind. I want him to love himself as much as I do if not more. It is that solid sense of self worth and self awareness that will help guide him through the foggy times in life. I want Benny to experience the peace and calm that is created when loving others and being loved in return. Whether he travels the World or decides to buy a home a block away from his parents, I want him to feel HOME. I want him to have self worth and a sense of purpose even if he doesn’t know what it is. I want him to value time. Time is priceless. It cannot be withdrawn from a bank. Once it is spent it does not return. I hope he understands that mistakes are made. Poor decisions can sometimes inexplicably lead you to a better place. I want him to learn the power of forgiveness; not just for others but also for himself. I don’t want him to ever feel lonely but I hope he can enjoy the freedom and peace of meditation and solitude. I want him to learn to be accountable for his words and his actions, and I want him to hold others to the same principles. I want him to have success. Maya Angelou had a great definition for success: “Success is doing something you love and doing it so well people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

I want his imagination to run free even when the gravity of reality weighs him down. I want him to know that life is only blurred beginnings. There are no ends; just twists in the plot. I want my son to enjoy the journey as much if not more than the destination. I want him to desire recording memories, and yet I also hope he has moments that are so breath-taking that he would rather store them with his own senses. For taking a picture does not always grasp the impact of the image. I hope my son is inspired by the good in the world. I would like him to smile at a stranger at least once a day; for that may be the only light in their darkness. I want him to laugh so hard it hurts. He can also cry when he needs to. (Men DO need to cry sometimes.) I would also like him to comfort some other hurting soul, even if he is himself is in turmoil. I want him to know all there is to know about our often goofy but always loving family. I want him to feel worthy when his bank account is low, and to know when to put some away for a rainy day. I want him to appreciate nature and how plants, animals, and even insects all seem to live symbiotically. I want him to get butterflies in his stomach during his first kiss. When he looks in the mirror on his ugliest of days, he should still have love for himself.

All of these wishes are not simple text book lessons. These are lessons he will learn from experience and from witnessing the above actions in his family. Even when my son was just a little “bean” with a heart beat I had the feeling that a.) he was a boy b.) he was healthy and strong c.)that he would teach ME more than I could probably teach him. A lot of these concepts I have mentioned are lessons that I am still learning myself. It is kind of like putting together a puzzle. There is no winner or MVP. No one rides the pine or gets traded. This relationship that my son and I have is a cooperative effort; a journey. For me, personally, I believe that there isn’t a puzzle out there more beautiful than the time spent with a child to piece it all together.

~Sheila L. Good

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Getting Older Is Easy; Maturing is not

          It has been over a year since I moved back to my “Itty Bitty” hometown in Beaver County, Pa.  Upon moving back I was smacked with many blasts from the past.  It was great seeing my old friends and going to our old hangouts.  Along with walking back into the comfort zone, I was also faced with some people that I didn’t see eye to eye with in my younger and wilder years.  Now I put that as pleasant as possible.  Hate is a strong word, I rarely use it now unless I am referring to ketchup stains in bens overalls or the million stink bugs swarming my house.  But when I lived here before I used the word Hate quite often and I meant it then. 

         I was not always the nicest person and there were many days when I walked the halls in high school with a target on my back.  In hind sight, I can see how ridiculous and petty most of the disputes were.  We were young kids.  We didn’t even know who WE were let alone our peers.  So if we didn’t know eachother, then how can we know we didn’t like each other?

    There are a handful of people that hurt me as I was younger; some with their fists and other with thier harsh and often untrue words.  Due to the wonders of Facebook and the unending gossip trend in this town, I have been made well aware of all the whereabouts of most of these people.  The younger and wilder Sheila would have gained a bit of humor and pleasure out of the downfall of some of my previous offenders.   However, I can honestly say that I don’t feel that way.  The girl that “stole” my boyfriend when I was 16….she is a struggling single mother.   I wouldn’t say that I am “struggling” but as another mother I can relate to how tough it is to raise a  child without appropriate participation from the child’s father.  I genuinely have compassion for her and her situation.  I am not just becoming some old softy.  True I do cry a lot watching A&E specials, but I think the suddenly warmer climate in my heart could be real maturity coming through.

          I am not proud of the way I treated all the people in my life.  Sometimes I swear that my freakishly sharp memory is more of a curse than a blessing.  I don’t enjoy the burden of regret that I have carried for this long.  Mama always told me to just let it go. Love my friends and let LIFE take care of the rest.  Eventually I learned  the hard way to heed her words of wisdom and in turn my life has a lot more peace.  However, I still do pray for those that didn’t get treated so well by LIFE.  I also pray that they can also find peace through the act of forgiveness.

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My Wish List For Benny

          Skies of Blue and Clouds of WhiteWhen I was expecting my son, Benjamin, I was unsure of a lot of aspects of parenting. I was apprehensive about being responsible for an actual human being. Beyond the basic nurturing responsibilities I was even more concerned with how I would teach him how to love. How to graciously recieve love. There is no text book instructions on this matter, so therefore I simply jotted down the basic principles that mattered most to me.

          I want my son to learn the fundamentals of love. That it is unconditional, forgiving, but not blind. I want him to love himself as much as I do if not more. It is that solid sense of self-worth and self-awareness that will help guide him through the foggy times in life. I want Benny to experience the peace and calm that is created when loving others and being loved in return. Whether he travels the World or decides to buy a home a block away from his parents, I want him to feel HOME. I want him to have self-worth and a sense of purpose even if he doesn’t know what it is. I want him to value time. Time is priceless. It cannot be withdrawn from a bank. Once it is spent it does not return. I hope he understands that mistakes are made. Poor decisions can sometimes inexplicably lead you to a better place. I want him to learn the power of forgiveness; not just for others but also for himself. I don’t want him to ever feel lonely but I hope he can enjoy the freedom and peace of meditation and solitude. I want him to learn to be accountable for his words and his actions, and I want him to hold others to the same principles. I want him to have success. Maya Angelou had a great definition for success: “Success is doing something you love and doing it so well people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

          I want his imagination to run free even when the gravity of reality weighs him down. I want him to know that life is only blurred beginnings. There are no ends; just twists in the plot. I want my son to enjoy the journey as much if not more than the destination. I want him to desire recording memories, and yet I also hope he has moments that are so breath-taking that he would rather store them with his own senses. For taking a picture does not always grasp the impact of the image. I hope my son is inspired by the good in the world. I would like him to smile at a stranger at least once a day; for that may be the only light in their darkness. I want him to laugh so hard it hurts. He can also cry when he needs to. (Men DO need to cry sometimes.) I would also like him to comfort some other hurting soul, even if he is himself is in turmoil. I want him to know all there is to know about our often goofy but always loving family. I want him to feel worthy when his bank account is low, and to know when to put some away for a rainy day. I want him to appreciate nature and how plants, animals, and even insects all seem to live symbiotically. I want him to get butterflies in his stomach during his first kiss. When he looks in the mirror on his ugliest of days, he should still have love for himself.

a.) he was a boy

b.) he was healthy and strong

c.)that he would teach ME more than I could probably teach him.

           A lot of these concepts I have mentioned are lessons that I am still learning myself. It is kind of like putting together a puzzle. There is no winner or MVP. No one rides the pine or gets traded. This relationship that my son and I have is a cooperative effort; a journey. For me, personally, I believe that there isn’t a puzzle out there more beautiful than the time spent with a child to piece it all together.

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Soundtrack For Life

So I was driving down 376 west to come home from David’s Bridal in Robinson.  I heard a beloved Eric Clapton song “Wonderful Tonight”  That song is a perfect example of the power of melody and songwriting.  That particular song as well as many others create a severe nostalgic moment for me.  I remembered being fresh out of high school and prancing up to the dj booth at Top O Mast on Ft. Myers Beach, Fl and requesting the DJ to play that song so my Dad and Stepmom would have something to slow dance to.  They were both like too teenagers themselves.  A little embarrassed and a little fuzzy (possibly due to the Rum Runner special drinks that include the souvenir glass).  Its such a serene and wonderful memory and the song alone can bring all those sights and feelings back.   When I hear Blind Melon I remember watching Woodstock ’94 on television and thinking, “Wow those people are naked and muddy on MTV! That girl is soooo grounded.” 

Some music and specific songs have overlapping memories. John Denver’s “Country Roads” initially made me think of my trip to WVU with Cheryl. When an entire bar full of young drunk co-eds roared the lyrics in what could of sounded like a harmony (I was also one of those drunk co-eds so anything could have sounded harmonious at that time.)  Years later, an older and more sober woman I got the pleasure of hearing “Country Roads” in heavy rotation working in blue jean overalls at The Rustic Peddler Country shop.  Sometimes even live fiddlers would be playing their version too!  Hearing that particular song makes my heart skip a beat.  The simplicity of the verses, the legacy of John Denver himself, and the places I have been in my life when the song came through are pretty awesome.

Being a self proclaimed “music nerd”  there isn’t a genre yet that I haven’t been able to draw at least one soul touching tune.  Sometimes I even enjoy an angry hip hop tune.  I am able to appreciate the lyrical poetry and mastery. It also is a great work out soundtrack or background noise when I am stuck in traffic.

Not to sound morbid, but I have often heard a song and thought that it has been prominent enough in my life to be played at my funeral.  Unfortunately I have been to quite a few funerals these past few years and I have seen the wonderful ways that the family and friends choose to display the lives of the loved ones they have lost.  Not that I would be in a state to actually hear or see the events of my funeral but perhaps I will start making a list of the songs that meant the most to me.  Eric Clapton, John Denver, Billy Joel, Neil Young…will all be featured of course.

If this was a formal piece of writing, then there would be a thesis statement.  It’s not formal, but if it were my statement would be that we all have a soundtrack to our lives.  We all have music that reminds us of the past, music that fits our current emotions, and music that helps us prepare for or question our future.  I have found it very therapeutic to listen to some music from my past.  Music from a simpler time when the middle school dance and the newest episode of Dawson’s Creek was the only important event in my calendar of things to do.

Perhaps someone will read this and they may smile thinking of particular memories attached to songs.  We have soundtracks for weddings, proms, and yes even funerals so we all have a soundtrack for our lives.  What would your soundtrack consist of?  Why do those particular artists, songs, albums mean so much to you? Do they make you dance like a fool, sing out of tune, shed a few tears, or sweat off a few pounds? 

Music has helped me through some of the most difficult times and has also been a great unknown guest through some of my fun adventures.

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