Friday, May 03, 2013
A message to young women
An older woman writes of a life filled with great challenges and great joy. She REALLY "had it all"
My house feels a little empty some days, now that my oldest has moved out. My youngest is a teenager now, and is mostly self-sufficient, and often I find myself remembering the joyously chaotic days when they were young. We spent our days adventuring, experimenting, discovering, and playing, and though I knew better, it really felt as though those days would last forever.
Last week, as I was washing dishes, I noticed that one of our sets of measuring spoons had come apart. It's a brightly colored set, held together with a red zip tie, and we have had it for so many years now, that I can no longer remember where we got it, or when. What I do remember, though, is that it was purchased as part of a children's cooking set; one of those primary colored things that are marketed for small children, along with a book of easy recipes that kids could cook with little parental assistance.
I'm not even sure we cooked anything from the book; neither one of my kids turned out to be much interested in culinary endeavors, but we always had shelves and shelves of equipment, tools, and books available, so that they were free to dabble at will in whatever might strike their fancy at any given time. The measuring spoons in question, though, were something I had used practically every day, as I prepared meals for my growing family, for what seemed like as long as I could remember. Seeing them broken apart brought on a wave of emotion, as I remembered many of the projects we had done together; the supplies bought, the messes made, even the things that sat on the shelf, unused, when the kids lost interest before they got around to using them.
I thought back to the hard times, too; the times I felt like I'd never get a full night's sleep again, or ever have the time to pursue my own interests (or even to remember what my interests used to be!). The days of meltdowns and tantrums and children fighting. The days of struggling to cook something, anything, with fussy kids pulling at my clothes, or hanging on my legs. The days the only thing I wanted in the whole world was to go to the bathroom alone, or take a shower or grocery shop without all hell breaking loose. Diapers that exploded, requiring a bath, no matter how inconvenient the timing. The years I spent, feeling like a human cow, confined most of the time to a rocking chair, nursing a babe for what seemed like most of my waking life.
And though some days I struggled to believe that I would indeed actually make it through, I never, ever actually believed people who told me that someday I'd miss it (in a period of desperation, I insisted that hubby get 'fixed'; I was convinced that I never wanted to go through it again). But the people who insisted that I would someday wish it hadn't gone by so fast were right; I miss it. I really, sorely do. All of it, and not just the easy, fun parts, either.
Today I was out grocery shopping again. I was alone, and I could take the time to leisurely examine items. I could scan the shelves, or the racks, just to see what might be new and interesting. It was peaceful, and I was unrushed. And then, as I turned a corner, I entered a freezer section, and was confronted with a bin of frozen pizzas. And I almost cried. My oldest never would eat much home-cooked food. She lived on frozen and boxed foods, at one point declaring that 'real food' actually came from a box. Just a few months ago, she would have been with me, and she would have, no doubt, gleefully filled the cart with those frozen pizzas. It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it, crying over frozen pizza? But I'd give all the peace and quiet back, just to have some more time to play with them, to admire their tiny faces, to kiss the boo-boos, and experience the world anew through their eyes again. Now I have all the time in the world, most days, to see to my own needs, to pursue the things that I need to or love to do, and sadly, to regret all the things I meant to do or wished to do and just wasn't able to manage, and the moments I wasn't able to muster the kindness and compassion I now desperately wish I'd been able to.
I'm extremely thankful, though, that we made some of the parenting decisions that we made. I feel blessed to have a husband who was willing to be the sole provider for all these years, so that I was able to stay home with the children full-time as they grew. I'm extremely glad that we decided relatively early to peacefully parent and unschool them, as well. Being able to be with them every single day, to guide them and to witness their achievements, to console them when they were disappointed, and to do my very best to answer their questions and facilitate their explorations is, I believe, the single best possible investment of my time, and the best gift I could give them; the gift of their childhoods, free from the controlling, authoritarian, over-scheduled and generally mean-spirited environments that children are usually relegated to. Connecting with love instead of disconnecting with control has proven miraculous as well. I believe it has made a huge difference in our lives thus far together, and I hope it has a positive impact on the whole course of their lives.
I cherished our time together, and though my parenting/unschooling years are not quite over yet, things are different now. As I have worked on this article, the other two members of the household are involved in their own projects; hubby is in the kitchen filming his YouTube show, and my son is firmly ensconced in front of his computer, where he spends much of his time, bug-testing a game. And while it's exciting to be able to use my time as I wish again, it's quite an adjustment, and I'm still adapting. I think I probably will be for some time.
I know that some days, every moment feels like an ordeal, and sometimes you just want them to grow up already, even if just a little bit. I know you probably won't believe me any more than I believed all the people that told me, but you will miss this. So hard though it may sometimes be, take that deep breath, count to ten, put yourself in time-out, rather than your kiddos, until you can respond with love, do whatever you have to do to keep on keepin' on. And enjoy it while you can. Take advantage of every opportunity that you are able to, and appreciate every precious moment, because it will never happen again, and you don't want to miss it.
The measuring spoons sat around for a few days, and I contemplated just throwing them out. We have another set, and since we'll be moving in a few months, we'll need to get rid of most of our possessions anyway. What's the use?, I thought. There aren't any children around these days to play with the brightly colored things anyway. But my hubby insisted we fix them. After all, we still use them every day. We found a new zip tie to hold them together. It's yellow this time, instead of red, but it still does the job. I imagine that we'll be using them through at least a few more adventures. Times, they are a-changin', but they're not over just yet.
J.C. Penney fires CEO after plummeting sales following gay ad campaign
Plenty of companies have argued that natural marriage is "bad for business"--but they'll have a tough time persuading J.C. Penney. After a series of radical decisions, the retailer is struggling to survive a 25 percent drop in sales.
It started in 2011 when the company hired Ellen DeGeneres, a vocal proponent of same-sex "marriage" as its spokesperson.
The choice drew fire from organizations like the American Family Association (AFA) because it was a departure from the store's longstanding values. When AFA's One Million Moms complained, J.C. Penney's new CEO, Ron Johnson, stubbornly dug in his heels.
Then, on Mothers' Day, the company shocked customers with a blatant endorsement of homosexuality in an ad that featured two moms--followed by a two-dads ad for Fathers' Day. Coupled with an overhaul of the stores' pricing system, the stock never recovered.
Now, months after the experiment failed, J.C. Penney has fired Johnson and replaced him with the former CEO, Myron Ullman.
Hinting that the problems are more political than the media is reporting, Ullman said bluntly,
Whether the retailer will learn from its mistakes is yet to be seen. But J.C. Penney's freefall should serve as a warning to other companies who are itching to jump on the same-sex bandwagon. Pandering to those who want to redefine marriage (and the rest of society with it) may earn you a pat on the back from the Human Rights Campaign, but in the long term, it's bad policy.
Americans want corporate neutrality in the culture wars, and when they don't find it, they will go elsewhere.
Open up secret courts demands British Justice Minister: Chris Grayling orders review of shadowy Court of Protection
Chris Grayling has ordered an urgent review of a controversial court that has the power to make life-or-death decisions – and even send people to jail – in secret.
The Justice Secretary last night asked one of the country’s most senior judges to consider steps to increase the transparency of the shadowy Court of Protection.
Set up in 2007 under Labour’s Mental Capacity Act, it gave the state draconian powers to intervene in the lives of those deemed unfit to look after their own affairs.
Controversy increased when the Daily Mail revealed last month that a woman had been jailed in secret after trying to remove her father from a care home where his family thought he was in danger of dying.
A judge ruled Wanda Maddocks, 50, should go to prison for five months for contempt of court even though she was not present or represented by a lawyer.
She is the first person known to have been imprisoned by the Court of Protection.
Several senior MPs expressed alarm at the case and suggested the Government should review its procedures.
Now the Justice Secretary has written to Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court of England and Wales, asking him to expand an existing review of the family courts to consider the use of secret hearings in the Court of Protection.
‘We have already agreed there is a need for greater openness in the family courts, with the intention that we make progress on this as soon as possible in order to ensure public confidence ... he wrote in a letter seen by the Daily Mail.
‘As you will be aware, the issue of transparency in the Court of Protection has also recently attracted media attention.
Set up in 2007 under Labour¿s Mental Capacity Act, it gave the state draconian powers to intervene in the lives of those deemed unfit to look after their own affairs
Set up in 2007 under Labour¿s Mental Capacity Act, the Court of Protection gave the state draconian powers to intervene in the lives of those deemed unfit to look after their own affairs
'While we want to ensure that we balance the interests of safeguarding vulnerable adults with those of increasing the transparency of proceedings, I would welcome your views on how we might best achieve this.
‘Therefore I would like to invite you to consider if you might extend the scope of your work on transparency in the family courts to include arrangements for the Court of Protection.’
Ministers are expected to hold a meeting in the next few weeks with Sir James on how the review will proceed.
A Ministry of Justice source said Mr Grayling had been ‘deeply concerned’ by the idea of people being jailed in their absence and without any public scrutiny and believed reforms must be considered.
MP John Hemming, chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Group on Family Law and the Court of Protection, said: ‘At last the Government has stopped being complacent and pretending there is no problem.
‘They have been ignoring this issue for years. The Wanda Maddocks case was one where she was imprisoned for taking her father to a solicitor to get legal advice to prove that the courts were wrong.
'That can’t be right. There is a general problem of secrecy right across the family courts. If the legal system won’t stand up to public scrutiny there is something wrong with the legal system – not with public scrutiny.’
Former Liberal Democrat care minister Paul Burstow, who has been critical of the court, welcomed the move.
‘I think a review is timely and should allow us to ensure justice is being seen to be done. We need to bring this more into the light so people understand how this court does its job.
‘It’s also vital that where decisions are being made that have a very direct and considerable impact on families’ lives, that every effort is made to ensure that they actually know what is going on.’
Miss Maddocks was jailed for taking her father John out of his care home against the instructions of a court order that he should not be moved.
She served six weeks of her sentence. A judge ruled Miss Maddocks was causing her father ‘very considerable grief’ and ‘it seems to be only right she should go to prison’.
The Court of Protection, which handles 24,540 cases a year of which 2,700 involve the Official Solicitor, is increasingly being asked to sanction key medical decisions that will either prolong a patient’s life or allow death to take its course.
It also intervenes in other business involving property, financial affairs, divorce and other civil disputes when a person is deemed unable to make decisions.
Set up by the last government, the court was given powers to sit in secret. In practice, it has never opened to the public and only its final judgments are occasionally made available beyond the courtroom.
Niri Shan, a contempt expert with the law firm Taylor Wessing, said: ‘This is in every practical way a secret court. This is troubling. Five months is a long sentence. It is rare that a court will sentence someone to five months for contempt.’
Teenage girls are jailed for falsely accusing British father of two of flashing at them in revenge for long-running family dispute
Women never make false accusations against men, according to feminists
An innocent man falsely accused of being a flasher by two vindictive girls spoke of his ‘living nightmare’ yesterday after the pair were jailed.
The two teenagers told police that they were in a car when Jason McCue, 34, approached them and exposed himself.
The father of two was arrested a couple of days after the alleged incident in June last year.
He was forced to give DNA samples, his fingerprints were taken along with intimate body samples before he was charged with indecent exposure.
Lucie Rhimes and Ella Cooper, both 18, backed up their allegations by making detailed statements to the police.
Facing two years in jail for indecent exposure, Mr McCue was hauled before magistrates three times. At the third hearing the distraught Mr McCue again maintained his innocence and was told he would face trial by jury at Crown court.
But just before the trial was set to begin in January, Rhimes confessed that the whole story had been made up. Rhimes of Chorley, Lancashire, admitted she had tried to frame Mr McCue after he had a disagreement with one of their families.
At Preston Crown Court, Rhimes, 18, and Cooper, 18, of Preston admitted perverting the course of justice and were each jailed for eight months.
After his name was finally cleared, Mr McCue revealed how the malicious allegations had turned his life upside down and that he had suffered a breakdown. He said: ‘I’ve been through months of pure hell. If they wanted to ruin me, it worked. ‘The false accusations have caused mayhem for me and my family, and the doctor has had to sign me off with depression.’
Mr McCue, a builder, said: ‘Things like this can ruin a man’s life, and people should know the massive impact it’s had. 'I’ve been feeling embarrassed and ashamed for something I’ve not even done, because it’s easy for people to jump to conclusions.
‘My mum [who lives in Australia] is ill with cancer and I had been planning to look after her, but I couldn’t leave the country until this was sorted out. Imagine how that felt.
‘These girls may have thought it was some kind of joke but it was not a joke for me – things got well and truly out of control.’
Mr McCue had been walking down a street in Ashton-on-Ribble, Lancashire, when he saw Cooper at the wheel of her car at traffic lights with Rhimes in the passenger seat. Later, Cooper told her mother that Mr McCue had approached their car and exposed himself, and police were called in.
Officers were eventually alerted to the lies just days before the Crown court trial was due to start. Prosecutors offered no evidence against Mr McCue and a formal not guilty verdict was recorded.
His partner Donna Masterson, 39, said: ‘There was never any doubt in my mind about Jay’s innocence, but people point the finger. 'It’s affected the whole family. It’s put a strain on our relationship.
‘Jay has been ill, and I have children who have to go to the same school as the girls’ families. I’d still have liked to have seen these girls get longer sentences. They didn’t show any remorse the whole time.
‘No matter what the vendetta someone has against a family, you cannot do that to someone. It’s the worst thing that someone can say about a man.’
She added: ‘When we found out that the case had been dropped just before it was meant to go to court, it was the best feeling ever.
‘It was great, knowing that the truth was out and the record had been set straight.’
Sentencing the pair, Judge Anthony Russell QC said: ‘In this case the most serious aspect is that an innocent man was wrongly charged with an unpleasant offence which has caused him distress and anguish, and affected his personal life and employment opportunities because, unfortunately, when mud is thrown it sticks.
‘This was an offence motivated by malice. You caused this man to suffer for a six-month period.’
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.