Why I’m Glad I’m not a Kid These Days: Part Three

Reading headlines and listening to newscasts has given me a revelation: Being a kid these days is confusing. And with technology and convenience, and easy access to information and answers, this shouldn’t be so.
It makes me glad I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Things were so much simpler back then.
Angst is nothing new. Having an identity crisis when you’re a young person is part of “coming of age.”
But back when I struggled through it, no one confused me with platitudes like, “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t be whatever you want.”
Because—the truth was—when I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a boy. And without a surgery and complexities I don’t want to imagine, I could never be that.

Why Did I Want it?

When I was in first through fourth grade, we lived on a farm. For four years. Those were the happiest days of my life.

Those were the most painful times of my life.

How can it be both? Because that’s the way the world works. Happiness is fleeting. When it’s gone, what follows is magnified by the lack of the blissful state it isn’t.
We had a section of land in Rainier. There were cows and apple trees and fences and a section of woods filled with creaking pines and aromatic cedars. I remember the warm scent of cow manure and the gentle hum of bees pollinating the flowers.
I tried to keep up with my over-six-feet-tall father, but my legs were stubs compared to his. I trailed him to the barn, the pasture, the pond and down the rutted track in the woods.
I might as well have been invisible. Because I wasn’t what he wanted. I was just another daughter.

So I spend many years of my life wanted to be his son. Trying to be his son.

Nothing Would Have Changed


Let’s say that happened these days. And a well-intentioned teacher told me that it sounded like I wanted to “identify as a boy.”
I’d wonder if that’s all it will take to get my dad to finally see me?

But, no. That wouldn’t have changed anything.

In his eyes, I would still have been a girl. And what memes now decry as sexist: a tomboy.
No matter what I wanted to think of myself, I would never be the son he wanted. What I thought didn’t matter. The truth was in the anatomy: I was a girl.

Why This Makes Me Sad

When I started thinking about this post a few weeks ago, I started to experience melancholy.
It was so easy to recall the yearning I had in those days. Why wasn’t I enough? Why couldn’t he love me? Because I was a girl?
In the years since, I’ve realized the lack is not within me. In fact, the truth is probably that he did love me and was dealing with his own disappointment in the only way he knew how.
Which meant shutting me out.

You see, I didn’t want to be a boy because it was who I was, but because of what I wanted. Acceptance. Love. Camaraderie.

And none of that would have happened just because I “identified” as male.

I wanted to be a boy so badly that I pretended to be one in many ways and at many times.
Because I was a kid. I was trying to win my father’s approval.
That’s what kids do.
And that’s why I’m thankful I’m not a kid these days. It wouldn’t have helped me in the least to have someone encouraging me to accept my maleness and become the boy I wanted to be.

It would have led to more angst and more disillusionment for me.

Because true acceptance means looking in the mirror and seeing what is really there. And being okay with it.

Even if it means you don’t have a great relationship with your father. Or you can’t play baseball with the boys. Or you have to sit down to pee (yes, I really did just say that).
Acceptance isn’t about trying to be something you are not because you’re uncomfortable with what you are. That’s pretense, and it’s the gateway to a Disappointment Road.
Thank the Lord no one tried to tell me that my desire to be a boy meant I was supposed to be one. That all I had to do was decide I was one, and everyone would have to accept me as male.
Think of everything I would have missed out on in my life: a 29-year marriage, two sons and now two daughters. Being a sister, a wife, a mother.
Self-acceptance is hard enough for kids. Why do people want to make it even more difficult?

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Forget Scrapbooking the Wedding- It’s Here!

Scrapbook your family’s memories. It’s a perfect way to re-live those moments while preparing a product you can share with others.

And I’ve been scrapbooking my youngest son’s wedding. For most of 2015 (although, I have to be honest, I really slacked off early in the year).

Now, it’s time to put the colored paper and thematic stickers away.

It’s time to live the day.

Yes, the wedding is nearly here. I will officially gain my second daughter.

And the amount of photographs that need to be cropped and glued will increase exponentially. (They’re not expecting this thing to be complete in 2016, are they?)

All the secrecy about what the dress looks like will finally end. And the joy of married life is about to begin.

The Schedule of Events

December 31st

Mother of the Groom gets her hair cut and colored (It’s about time!)

All ducks are in a row for the rehearsal, photographer and honeymoon

January 1st

  • 11AM – Rehearsal lunch at the Cultural Center (location of the reception)
  • Followed by: decorating for the reception
  • Followed by: the actual Wedding Rehearsal at the church
  • Driving over an hour home in hopes of getting restful sleep in my own bed

January 2nd

  • Early- Get up and don the lovely Mother of the Groom dress that’s been waiting in my closet for nearly a year
  • 8AM – leave for Newberg
  • 9AM – Arrive at church
  • 10AM – Pictures begin
  • 1PM – Wedding ceremony (time to smear my mascara with tears)
  • Followed by the reception at the Cultural Center
  • All afternoon – sharing laughter with well-wishers
  • 5PM – Clean up the reception hall
  • Followed by: Who’s taking care of all these gifts?
  • Followed by: Hugs and goodbyes
  • Later – arrive home and collapse into bed

Did I mention that I’m going on vacation in a week?

It’s a new tradition. The post-wedding honeymoon for parents of the bride or groom.

Scrapbooking a Wedding – Part 2 – The Engagement

In the wake of one whirlwind wedding, the memorabilia for another waxed and waned. Without an engagement, there would be no wedding. Right?

Engagements are epic. Entire movies have been plotted around popping the question.

Why was it so difficult to put this spread of pages together?

Call me creatively stifled. Or dumbfounded by the over-abundance of information.

The Plan

Never let it be said that my youngest son doesn’t have a plan.

It may look like haphazard meandering. Especially if you’ve seen how he keeps his clean clothes *frowns*

He had everything set up. Reservations at the restaurant he wanted, buddies lined up to set the proposal site in order.

Even video and photo equipment.

So – he was early for the reservations. Better than late though.

The dinner was excellent. The dessert a delicious “enjoy me later” delicacy from The Cheesecake Factory.

Flower petals were strewn with obvious care in the private glen on campus.

Perfect.

The Photos

Darkness curtained this romantic setting. And someone didn’t have a flash. Or something to add light for the video.

Pictures were taken. Filming progressed.

In the end, the Dark Side prevailed.

The only remaining proof lay in the minds of those in attendance.

It’s pretty hard to use that for scrapbook images.

And then there were two

The all-important question was posed. The lovely girl said, “Yes.”

So they are engaged.

Both of them blogged their side of the story. And posted pictures taken with their camera phones at the restaurant. (One of those moments when a phone that is also a camera is a wonderful thing.)

Those images and recollections are all the fodder I had to make a memorable page layout in their keepsake book.

Thankfully, the weather turned wet. The man worked late.

Messing up the table with all my paper paraphernalia seemed like a profitable use of time.

And the project continues. Now, my creative future daughter is planning on making 200 wedding invitations.

Talk about some scraps for the book…

There’s so much to be thankful for this year

Givethanks sunrise

If you had asked me in January if I thought 2014 was going to be a good year. My answer would have be a solid no.

After all, who wants to say goodbye to their mother? Watch so many in the family weep? Wake up in tears for weeks on end (if able to sleep at all)?

But God is faithful. He felt my wounds and wanted to comfort me.

This year, I have surged forward in my writing career. Am I published? Not yet. But I do have a publishing contract (more on that later).

I am also in the process of gaining a daughter (maybe two if my other son can figure out what he wants to do). I love my sons. I’m especially grateful not to have shared my home with hormonal teenage girls. I’m excited about getting a fully grown daughter!

There is so much to be thankful for – aside from the rudimentary things: life, air to breath, roof over my head, car to drive.

I know a few of my regular readers have had some struggles this year, too. I hope they’ll chime in and share a blessing or two in the comments.

What are you thankful for this year?