The last time I saw my father was in March 1991. In July 2016, after 25 years and many more questions, I finally saw him again.
Leading up to the day he was coming, I kept wondering what it would be like to see him after so long. Would we both cry? Would I be happy, or mad, or something I didn’t yet know? So it was fairly perplexing to discover that I’d react as if I had just seen him the previous week.
My older brothers, my husband, my oldest niece and I picked him up along with my youngest brother, whom I hadn’t yet met. The airport was busy with people and taxi drivers bustling about, which made the experience kind of surreal, as if experiencing it from outside of myself with ‘Café sounds’ playing as mood music in the background.
We all hugged, got in our cars and drove to my mom’s house. I was really curious to see what my parents’ first in-person interaction in 25 years would be like. There were no fireworks and no war-like explosions; just hugs and excited happy voices.
I pulled my husband to the side later that evening and explained how weird it was to not feel anything extreme. How could I not want to cry from seeing my father and my youngest brother? How could I not want to yell in frustration for having so many questions left unanswered? In the end, I theorized that because I already knew that I wouldn’t be getting any answers, I was mentally and emotionally prepared for this very special encounter.
Although we were around one another here and there for about two weeks, it was only toward the end of my stay that my father and I had ‘the’ conversation. We were at the beach, and he was by the water, standing alone. I walked over to take a food order from him, and he said: “Listen, I am really sorry for not being in your life, but all that is in the past, and I hope we can move forward with a new life. Okay?”
I could see it was a difficult sentiment for him to get out, as he could barely look at me as he spoke. It seemed that he wanted to let me know how bad he felt, but he wasn’t going to get into it, whatever his reasons were.
All I could do, given where we were, was say “okay”, smile, and take his food order. On my way back to the restaurant at the beach I couldn’t help but analyze my response. I was a bit incredulous at myself, but I also knew this wasn’t the place to have ‘the’ conversation with my dad.
The sum of the experience, for me, was to learn that life presents us with a myriad situations in which innumerable people are involved. Sometimes we find the strength to ask questions to find closure, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we ask the questions and we get answers, and other times we don’t. What do we do then, when there are no answers but the answer-bearers are alive?
We can come up with as many solutions for this as there are people, but I found that my lesson was to let it go and agree that it’s all in the past.
Finding closure for yourself can be difficult, but if you pretend that there is no other way (for instance, if you wanted to ask Michael Jackson how many times he rehearsed The Man in the Mirror, you couldn’t do so, and you’d have to be at peace with that), then I believe you can put your mind to accepting that you can move on, taking your brain and your heart with you and have closure regardless.
What are some of your experiences in which you wanted closure but couldn’t get it? What did you do about it? Does it affect your parenting in any way?
This is an original post to World Moms Network by Sophia of ThinkSayBe. Photo credit to the author.
In the beginning of June my husband, our two youngest children and I traveled to the United Republic of Tanzania. Aka: my birth home. As expected before international travel, we each took appropriate vaccines and malaria tablets.
We were in Tanzania for five weeks, and within that time both children got sick. It began with the 3 year old getting a viral and bacterial infection. One night we noticed that her temples were a bit hot, and then the heat transferred to her palms and soles and they were hot! I had personally never experienced this nor had I ever come across any such symptoms while doing other research online. So needless to say, it was a bit scary.
When we took her to the doctor, lab results showed that she had a viral infection resulting in a rash all over her body, and a bacterial infection which was likely caused by fecal-oral transmitted bacteria.
Nasty. I know. We are parents, however, and if we aren’t writing posts about fecal-oral bacteria, then why are we really here? (smile)
She was prescribed antibiotics, calamine lotion, an antihistamine cream, and antihistamine syrup. After a week, she was all done with her antibotics, which she finished entirely, even after she felt better (I mention this in jest, but I also want to reinforce the importance of ensuring that our kids finish the antibiotics they are on). Her rash went away after a couple more days and that was that (or maybe not).
As soon as she was fine again, her 1.5 year old brother became ill. Coughing, sneezing, hot temples then hot palms and soles including a 102 degree fever in the middle of the night.
The following day we took him to a doctor and his lab results thankfully showed he had not viral infection, but did have a bacterial infection, also brought on by…. You guessed it: a fecal-oral transmitted bacteria.
He was also prescribed antibiotics and probiotics, and began healing quickly.
Fast forward two weeks, to our second last night in Tanzania. My son had a restless night. I thought it was because he wanted his daddy. He was calling ‘Daddy! Daddy!” in the middle of the night and showed no other signs of illness. The next day we walked to pick up my emergency passport (that’s a story for another day) and it was the dustiest 15-minute walk on which he has ever been. Think country road meets busy city road.
I walked as fast as I could, even jogged a bit, but alas, the damage was done. That night he had a runny nose that went from clear to yellow overnight. He has been sick ever since.
When we returned to the States I took him to his pediatrician’s office and explained what had happened. The pediatrician on call prescribed an anti-allergy medication. Five days later he was no better. We went back and his usual pediatrician said to increase the dosage of that medicine and alternate it with another antihistamine.
We added the use of a humidifier, eucalyptus oil, and baby Vicks on the back, chest and feet. We also got a really cool contraption that allows parents to suck the snot out of the baby’s nose through a filtered hose that keeps parents mouths clean. Yay!
Nothing was better. He had that same palm and soles fever for two nights. We took him to the doctor for the third time and I explained our travel and illnesses to a third pediatrician. I explained how both kids were still feeling sick, one with crazy congestion, the other with a persistent upset tummy – something she never used to have.
I am not in the medical field and words in my vocabulary like to take abrupt leave of absence (my husband says it’s because I speak multiple languages. I go with that reasoning!). So sometimes it feels that what I have gathered about my children’s health and what I think should be checked based on how they are feeling, is something that their pediatrician doesn’t quite get. Sometimes it feels as if they dismiss the possibility of something worse until it becomes that very thing; only then is it treated. Again, I am not in the medical field, so maybe there is nothing they can do until the reddened ears become infected ears, and the heavy congestion becomes wheezing… I don’t know.
This third visit proved more fruitful. This pediatrician seemed to actually listen and I also knew to be firm in what I wanted done for my children. He acknowledged the possibility of them being exposed to something overseas that requires special attention; something no one else acknowledged until then.
We are going for a follow up visit tomorrow, but it will also be a second visit for our 3 year old, as she is now showing many of the same symptoms as her brother , plus a couple of her own.
If there was a point (or two) to this post, it would be to please follow your instincts when it comes to your children, if in no other area.
Doctors are now considered to be in position of prestige, but that shouldn’t deter you from doing your research and stating exactly what you would like to see happen with your children. Don’t be afraid to be mom.
When traveling try your best to keep your children’s hands clean, and the dishes they use clean and dry.
What tips do you have when it comes to traveling with small children? Have your children gotten sick while overseas?
Do you feel that your pediatrician is interested in what you have to say? Do you feel that he or she is really listening to you?
This is an original post to World Moms Network by Sophia of ThinkSayBe. Photo credit to the author.
If you’re a parent, or a child, or anyone, you may have heard the phrase. “It takes a village” (to raise a child). After reading a post written by a fellow contributor, KC, I remained in thought about this village that’s needed to raise our children.
KC is currently a stay-home-mum to a precious toddler, so you know she has one of the most rewarding and challenging positions in the universe; one weighted with a lot of responsibility, as well. Thankfully she takes the time to write about some of what’s going on in her world as a mum, a woman, and as a person, because out of her writing I found something I want to discuss, too. Check her out at http://www.mummyintransit.com. She is a really good writer, and she’s funny too.
In reading KC’s post I thought about my own experience as a child in Italy, a teenager in Tanzania, and an adult and parent in the United States. What was my village like? Who did my mum include in forming my personality and my worldview?
#Heartfulness Meditation Within Motherhood
Engaging in daily meditation is a thought I have had for many years. Fortunately I finally began practicing it a few months ago through Heartfulness Meditation. I choose the word ‘finally’ carefully because as much as it is true that I have used it in the past, it is also true that I don’t view life as things having ‘finally’ happened. Things like babies growing and learning how to talk or crawl or sleep through the night….. I used to never feel like I wanted them to ‘finally’ happen.
So when I say I finally began the practice of meditation, I really mean it. It is something I would have done well to have started a long time ago.
Within my role of being a parent I feel many emotions. With my 14 year old daughter I get to feel a love that one can only get from a close companion. I am her mother, but we also can hang out as friends. She can share things from her life that I can compare to my own memories from that age. With my 3 year old I get to answer the many questions she has; many of which are repetitive, but come only from a want and need to learn about the world around her. The one and a half year old doesn’t yet talk fully. He says some words and does express himself with sign language or by making particular sounds for certain things. So with him I get to watch a young human develop, as I did with the girls, but I also can see a young boy grow up. He is always ready to give kisses and bury his face into mine as he takes small, quick breaks from his activities.
So why the need to meditate?
Because life needs balance, and it doesn’t come from all things being fantastic and happy, easy and understood all the time. I believe the balance comes from all types of situations arising and being created and our ability to learn who we are and how we handle the different situations. You may have heard the saying, which loosely says ‘it’s not the situation, but what you do with it’.
Having said that, my life as a parent and specifically as a mother has had its challenges to go along with the myriad blessings. I am not implying that a father’s experience is easier or less test-filled. I am only speaking for my own experience as a mother.
I am not a question person. In high school it bothered me infinitely to be asked a redundant question.
When someone would see me coming back from the shops and asked me if I was back: “oh are you back from the shop?”
“Yes. Yes I am back from the shop.”
I worked on it. It still has been hard through the years, but not as much. Now being a mother brings and innumerable amount of questions. As I said above, many of them are repetitive, and the repetition happens within seconds. It’s like a cosmic joke. I try to stay calm and remember I am these children’s primary educator as I stay at home with them.
However, there are other factors too, that make the effort hard to maintain. Having to wake up when the little kids are awake, staying awake and aware the entire day, and sleeping with one eye open at night in case they wake up screaming, or crying, or simply calling your name; figuring out what to feed them, cook, clean, let them help you clean, coming up with school-like lessons, making sure you run the laundry machine while doing other chores or playing with them, making sure they get some time outside the house or otherwise use up their energy and yours, very frequently saying all of these – “stop hitting! Kiss your sister and say sorry! Don’t snatch that from your brother. Be nice. Stop yelling. Don’t jump on the couch, eat your food, don’t use it to practice your long throw!” The list goes on.
Sophia with her kids
In the midst of it all you try to maintain your individuality and you try to have a little side gig, a blog, a life on social media, go to school, do some art… Something or maybe just meditate…!
At the end of the day, or week, or even in the middle of the day, you’re exhausted. You are frustrated. You want to tell your three year old to play the quiet game and not ask you questions for 60 seconds.
So I ask my three year old to play the quiet game, as I get dinner on the table and just want a moment of silence. She seems to understand and want to play, but then she comes to me and whispers a question.
Cosmic jokes, I tell you.
I am not going to get into the role of wife, but it is a part of life that is different from when we were single and without children. Sometimes having a partner can feel like they are a haven, and sometimes they can’t help.
This and I mean all of this and many such “this” is why I choose to meditate.
Sometimes I am so done with the day that I don’t want to meditate. I want to watch last week’s episode of such & such on Hulu or some such service. When I tell myself to meditate, however, it is always exactly what I needed to do.
The 30 minutes to the hour I take to breathe in deeply and consciously, be aware of and absorbed in the Divine Light and Love of the Universe in my heart, remove negative energy from my body and mind, actually is the best thing I do for myself and for my family.
Heartfulness meditation has been helping me in being more patient. It has helped me in remembering my decided role to my children, to myself as an individual with my needs, and finding happiness within that role.
Meditation helps me be present and centered so that I can enjoy these times as I honestly want to; regardless of how tired or frustrated I may be.
My two younger kids sometimes watch me meditate, and I have told them, at separate times, to sit down and do the same. So now they both will do it when they feel like it.
My fourteen year old is currently living in another city. It often makes me feel an angst I can’t explain. While I meditate I am able to not think about it, or anything that is going on in my life. I can just reconnect with … life. After I meditate I feel a bit less like I did before in regards to my oldest child. Then I just meditate again when angst levels rise again (smile).
I strongly suggest Heartfulness meditation to all mothers and all parents. Even if you feel happy 99% of the time, I believe meditation can uplift you then too.
It is not something, I can explain in words, even after all these 1000 words of a blog post. It is something for you to experience for 20 minutes to feel it within you.
This Mother’s Day, give yourself the best gift, your soul would cherish! Visit your nearest Heartfulness Center.
Please join us, the Heartfulness Institute and World Moms Network this summer at the USA for the Heartfulness Conferences. Write to us at email@example.com for your free tickets.
Heartfulness Conference 2016
Follow @WorldMomsBlog on Instagram to check out all the Mother’s Day pictures from our contributors.
Picture Credits: Heartfulness conferences, www.artsfon.com, https://pixabay.com
I love post-prompts like this one, as they make me think about my everyday actions, especially the ones that come out of habits I created overtime, and no longer think about. Let’s get right to it and I’ll say that even though some of my dos and don’ts apply to varying types of relationships, I am focusing on romantic relationships like the one I have the pleasure of having with the man who is my husband. These are only a few of my favorites: (more…)