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Just a little white lie November 14, 2008

Filed under: Life — mrshappiness @ 7:13 pm
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The dictionary defines a white lie as: A minor, polite, or harmless lie. An often trivial, diplomatic or well-intentioned untruth. An unimportant lie (especially one told to be tactful or polite). And my favorite definition of all: An untruth told to spare feelings or from politeness.

No matter how it is said or what the definition, a white lie is simply what it says, it is a lie. What is it that throws us into that dark hole of denial that makes us believe to lie is better than enduring ones pain of hearing the truth? Is it really the pain of others that keeps us from the truth or is it our own discomfort?  Is it the thought of watching loved ones suffer, squirm, or anger due to something we have said? No matter the reason, truth be told a lie is a lie.

For many weeks now I have been telling a white lie.  Each time I did, it was minor, and well-intentioned; yet each time I did, it did not feel harmless or polite. Most would argue that my reasoning was good. That my well-intentioned, untruth, was necessary. But today something happened, something that left me feeling empty and disturbed.  Today in the midst of a trivial conversation, as these foreign words poured out of my mouth, each one filled with lies and untruths, each word to protect, to shield and to prevent harm. I realized how important my words truly were.

 For years I have taught my children about truth, honesty and facing consequences no matter the outcome. I have preached day in and day out about out how the very act of lying can break down trust. How what we say and what we do defines who we are as individuals, and that being true to ourselves and others is the greatest gift we can offer ourselves.

There is an ironic twist to my confession, the part of the story that cuts deep into my heart and makes my stomach ache and churn. The stories that I shared, the lies that I told, those simple and trivial tales that I spun in my web and tangled myself in. Each one with words carefully chosen, all in the name of love,  were told to my daughter. Yes this child that I have taught, preached and lectured to about the telling of truths, about it defining us as individuals, and being a sign of respect. All of my years of preaching and teaching I washed away with just a few words. 

I really think I should explain. Not that there is any explanation that justifies, or excuses a  lie, but in an attempt to save face, I will share with you just the same.

Eight years ago my husband and I adopted three children. There were two girls and a boy. They were  4months, 5 years and 8 years old and they were ours!

 The day they all came home was the beginning of a life I could never predict. It has taken many turns, traveled hills and valleys and survived many floods, but overall, we have made it. However along the way  there were casualties, our eldest became lost. Due to issues too horrible to discuss and too private to mention, she came to us with a broken heart, a wounded spirit and a hopeless soul. Her pain overwhelmed us and her. As she struggled to make sense of it in her young teenage mind, eventually her acts of self destruct and her outbursts of anger forced us to do the unthinkable. On March 30, 2006 she was placed in a lock down facility for minors.

I can not put into words what this does to a parent. Some day I will try for I think it is a story worthy of being told. But today I will hold those memories deep in my heart, waiting to see how it all will end. Which is where my white lie has begun. She is coming home! Yes, that’s right 2 years and 8 months and finally she will be coming home. Whether this is a good thing or not, we do not know. It feels right and that is all that matters. She needs a family and to be loved and we will take it from there. So where is the lie you ask? Well, she does not know. We have worked so long to try and get her to follow through at her school. (She is in no position to graduate or follow their program, she is really not capable). Her deepest desire is to be home. It is all she asks and all she hopes for.

Several times we have almost “made it”. Gotten to a point where she was stable enough to start planning her return home. Each and every time, her mind got the best of her and she would sabotage herself, leaving a young girl and her family devastated and a mother and father picking up the pieces.

Maybe this mother was too tired. Too tired to face the truth due to the aftermath that might come once it is told. Too sad for her daughter, knowing how much she needs her family and afraid in one quick second, she would throw it all away.

Today I have decided to tell my daughter. I can no longer talk with her about the future as if she were not “in” it. Today I will risk trusting her with the truth, knowing whatever that truth brings, is what life had intended. I am excited of the possibilities and afraid just the same but I am confident in my decision. For the truth no matter the risk, is, as it is defined; good, reality, actuality and a sign of integrity

 

A Dragon’s tale November 13, 2008

Filed under: Parenting — mrshappiness @ 6:24 pm
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Mornings are always a mix of emotions for me. It is my favorite time of day. As the sun rises I listen to the birds sing and squawk outside my window. When the wind moves just a bit, the leaves in the trees dance and the sound reminds me of the ocean coming up to the shore.  In the Fall, the air is crisp but the sun is warm making it the perfect temperature for a cozy robe, a good book and a big cup of Jo. And then, before my mind is ready to accept it, before my body is prepared for the task that is at hand, in an unfair moment of consciousness and reality, I hear it. The warning siren, as I refer to it. That small little box, with time and a buzzer. The box that never really stops until I hit that magical button. Yes, it is the waking  bell, the warning to all around, the signal for those most intelligent to move out and for me to move in. The “waking” of my seven year old, red headed, fiery dragon, Alissa, my daughter.

What is it about red heads anyway? What is that passion that lights their hair red and leaves the rest of us smoldering from the heat of their tempers?

I would not normally feel so informed to call out on red-heads, but I have done research. Personal research that is, for I have two. Yes that’s right two reds and one brown. My daughters both were born with red hair and my son with brown. Both girls are shall we say, a bit feisty in the morning and my son, well, he whistles, sings, chatters a good morning and a few “I love you mom” every now and again. He makes his own breakfast, gets dressed, and even helps with the dishes. Quite frankly, he has more pizazz in the morning than any one person could ever hope for. A little more than “this” one person is really ready for, but hey, no complaints from me. I’d rather whistle a little Dixie than slay a dragon any morning.

This morning was no different than any other, well, almost. Over the past three weeks all of our mornings have been “different”. For the first time in 8 years, I am currently not working. Due to a medical leave that is soon to be over, I have been at home recuperating from a surgery. So, much to my children’s delight, I have not been rushed in the mornings and have been home to greet them in the afternoons. I have been able to enjoy the special parts of motherhood that so often get overlooked when trying to juggle work, family and all of the extra activities that enter our lives. If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend you know what I mean. Our lives get busier and busier yet we have no idea what it is we are really doing. Which brings me to the point of my story. It is obvious that no one knows “what” I am doing.

As I woke the dragon she growled and snarled, hissed and spit and then she spoke. This small little body with the adorable trussled hair and sleepy eyes looked at her mother and with out a bit of hesitation said these few words. “It is not fare!” Not fare because You (me) get to stay home all day and do nothing but sleep and watch t.v. and play.” Yes the secret was out! I no longer could hide behind my facade of recovery. My playing days were over. It was time to send my magical fairy home, you know the one that made all of the dinners, mopped the floors, did the laundry, patched up torn dolls, cleaned the dishes, cleaned out closets and cupboards and straightened drawers. The one that woke at dawn to prepare for the waking of the dragon herself, made breakfast, arranged homework, picked out clothes and drove her to school. The same fairy  that took my pain pills in order to get all of these tasks accomplished, days after surgery and with little complaint, to the small child.  Yes it was time for the Fairy to leave because clearly I was having too much fun and life for some of us did not look fair.

It is such a tough lesson, the one we teach our kids. That lesson of fair and unfair and appreciation for one another. Yes life can be unfair. But more often than not, it is more fair than we think. That old cliche about the grass being greener….. There was never a saying more true.

So to all of you mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends, to the caregiviers of the world, the single dads, or you dads that stay home to care for your own little dragons,

Give your fairy and pat on the back, and feel the appreciation!