i just finished a fantastic book last night called “what matters most” by james hollis. i’ve read a couple of his other books “finding meaning in the second half of life” and “why good people do bad things.” “what matters most” is a challenging read for many reasons, but worthwhile, especially for those of us over 40.
dr. hollis talks about how most of us are driven to action or retreat primarily by fear and the reasons we should overcome our fears to live more consciously. i like his concept of how all of us experience time sequentially, but living this way results in us looking around us in our mid-lives saying “where did all the time go?” Maybe there’s a way we can slow down the ticking clock – by focusing on experiencing our lives meaningfully and less sequentially (ie – not “it’s monday, may 18, 2009 – where has this year gone?” but instead “wow, look at what we’ve accomplished during this year – my son has almost completed second grade and will be entering a ‘talented youth’ program sponsored by johns hopkins this summer, my daughters have met new friends in their new preschool and have added hundreds of words, what a great time we all had together on our bahamian cruise, my husband has learned so much about public retirement funding in the last several months, i’ve learned so much through social networking since february, etc).
another concept of dr. hollis’ that i like is that we spend our first 40 or so years figuring out our “provisional” sense of self (he says provisional because through both triumph and tragedy we quickly learn that our self-concept is subject to change) and the next 40 years or more, if we’re lucky, figuring out how we can take the gifts of that self-concept and apply them in service to our fellow man. this is a place where i’m stuck right now. i serve my fellow man in the moment by spending 24/7 raising three beautiful, healthy, secure, happy children. fair enough, and a noble effort in and of itself. but…when i return to work on october 26, how will i serve my fellow man then? by writing reports, finding the right words to say in a council committee, entering information into a database, calling out a liaison department for not filling out a form correctly? how do i find self-expression and service in a job with such clear boundaries? haven’t figured that one out yet.
i’ll close with a few quotes from the chapter “shock and awe – that life not be governed by fear”:
* the fear that can be acknowledged, the fear that can be named, is no longer so monstrous.
* only boldness can deliver us from fear, and if the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is violated
* nothing in life is to be feared. it is only to be understood (madame curie)
* be kind, for everyone you meet has a really big problem! (philo of alexandria)
well, so much for trying to be diligent about posting every week…i can’t even pull off once a month at this point! i keep telling myself i’ll post when i have new pictures, then i have to order a usb cable for the camera, then i have to figure out how it works…then, i have no charge on the camera! so i’ll just update how everyone’s doing.
we traveled to palm springs over new year’s, as we have for the last several years. we had a blast with our friends scott, jen, john and tawyna and their four great kids. it’s great spending time with grandpa david, grandma dee dee and cousin morgan too! palm springs is truly god’s country in the winter – 75 degrees and flawless weather in january!
our next trip will come during e’s spring break in march – a disney cruise to the bahamas for 3 days. disney ran a ‘kids sail free’ special recently and since we’d been talking about it for a while, we decided to go for it. less than 2 months and counting!
just got word from work that i’ll be able to extend my leave through the end of october. that’s great news – i’ll be able to run the girls around to their lessons and classes and be here when e is out of school. the time goes by so fast, i’m glad i’ll be able to enjoy a little bit more of it at home.
that’s what’s going on…next time, with pictures, i hope!
Many of you know that Gia receives services through Lanterman Regional Center because of an oralmotor delay she was diagnosed with at 8 months. The oralmotor issue seems to have resolved itself (no problem getting that girl to eat anymore!), but she’s now being watched for speech problems, as 80% of children with oralmotor delay experience speech delays as well. She’s in speech 2 times a week – working on combining two-word phrases, but mostly playing games and having a ball.
When Holding Hands (Gia’s speech therapists) saw JJ’s interactions with them and her sister, they suggested that Lanterman evaluate her too. “We’d expect more two-word combinations from a child her age” they said. Plus, they said, we could schedule her at the same time as Gia and you could split your time monitoring their lessons. Okay…can’t hurt. I doubted JJ would get refered.
Well, what do you know…three evaluations later, Lanterman has decided that JJ not only needs speech therapy, but also “more structure” in her day so that she can increase her attention span when attending to teacher-initiated tasks, not just self-initiated tasks. Marta, the last evaluator JJ saw, was kind to me, saying “you’ve done a great job keeping her from drowning, scalding and starving. Don’t beat yourself up about not providing structure.” And yet…how can I not? I take off 2 1/2 years from my job, bypassing both salary and promotions, to care for my kids the way I think is best. Now here are the child assessment experts saying that “your girls would benefit from MORE time in a structured preschool environment (they’re already in school 2 days a week).” Wow…isn’t that another way of saying “you’re not giving them what they need?” Turn their care over to someone MORE often? I told Marta about arranging for family and friends to stay with us for several months during the year to try to meet their needs more quickly than I could on my own. “Ah” says Marta. “You’ve made it so easy for your girls to get their needs met that they haven’t needed to use their words to get what they want.” Sheesh…and here I thought I was doing the right thing by them.
Have you ever questioned whether your parenting is good enough? Feel free to comment!
Hi Everyone – I’m taking a shot at blogging to try to keep folks better informed of what’s going on with me and my family. Wow…signing up with Twitter and starting a blog in the same day…I may actually become technologically savvy someday!
Now, on to the family details:
Me. Still playing the stay-at-home mom, at least until April 2009. 80% of the time I love it, 15% of the time I wonder if I know what I’m doing, and 5% of the time I’m looking forward to actually making money for what I do (i.e. going back to my PAID job).
Tom. Tom is still working as an AGM at LACERS. He mostly enjoys his work, when he’s not running back and forth to meetings. He just finished playing softball with a local league and showed those younga playas he’s for real!
Ethan. E just finished up another season of chess and won first place in his division (intermediate) at the chess tournament. He tried joining a parochial T-ball league, but let’s just say the competition wasn’t there. He’s looking forward to T-ball starting up next March or April. Til then, I’m thinking about piano lessons…we’ll see.
Gianna. G started speech therapy last week. She’s enjoying her lessons – everything is like a game to her. She’s enjoying school too – attending two days a week. She still got her wild hair, of course! The latest additions to her phrase book are ‘thank you’ and Elmo.’
Jenna. JJ is getting evaluated for speech therapy this week. Both G and JJ have great receptive language and good enunciation of their words, but the speech therapist is concerned about both of them failing to combine words into phrases. JJ mastered ‘thank you’ a few months ago. Her new favorite stuffed animal is Ethan’s old sea otter. I’ve been hearing her in the morning lately just saying the phrase ‘sea otter!’ over and over.
You? Feel free to leave an update in the comments!
Will try to post as often as possible. We’ll see how often that turns out to be!