Friday, May 28, 2010

the future's so bright...

... I'm going blind.

I want to go back to school. I'm smart and talented, and mature enough to do well if I were able to do so. But, I don't have the time... or money really.

The money's not the biggest problem, I've never minded putting classes on credit or taking out loans for them. I believe that whatever I learn will repay me in ways far beyond money. I guess you could say that money is the least of my worries in going back to school this time.

It's the time involved that is the biggest concern now. It's the infrastructure and support system. It's that I have a young son who cannot be left alone. It's that I already work and have to spend time away from him and, though I need my space and adult activities to stay sane, and someone has to be the bread-winner in our dyad, I actually hate giving up any more of our awake time together than I am forced to.

This desire/ need to go back to school is just one of the many scenarios in which it would be good to have a parenting partner and why I'll tell anyone to go traditional with their child rearing practices if they can (or to plan ahead way better than me career-wise if they're going the single parent route). In a way, I have a few parenting partners. My friends have really come together to support me in many ways. Other parents at our daycare have stepped in every now and then to watch James so I could go do something for myself. However, the child's father is still the primary partner in this venture though he has limited his role through some of the personal choices he's made. The fact that I am the fierce guardian of our child's safety and well-being and will not allow some of the repercussions of his father's choices to have an influence on or any contact with our son also limits his involvement in some ways.

Anyway, I think going back to school will have to wait until James is a little more able to take care of himself, or I have a trustworthy partner whom I can trust to have James' and my best interests in mind. Whether this partner is another single mother or a couple with whom I can trade child rearing favors, a romantic partner who wants to make a family with James and I, or maybe his father decides to be honest and trustworthy, and seriously upgrade his priorities, it doesn't matter how it happens. I'm just going to have to wait for more auspicious circumstances to come along.

Going back to school and completing a degree in Nursing, which is what I'm thinking would be a great fit for me, would give James and I a better life. I'd be able to save more money for his college and my retirement, afford a better place for us to live, music and other kinds of lessons, summer camps, better toys and things for him. I'll be able to give him better opportunities. That's what I want. I want my child to have things I didn't. I want him to be able to go to Oxford, or Harvard, or Brown, or MIT, or Julliard, or wherever wants him or he wants to go... because even though some of those places wanted me and even offered me scholarships, I couldn't go... because we couldn't afford it... and I wasn't, now thinking back on it, wasn't really stable and secure enough to have handled it at 17... but I want James to have more and be more than I ever will be. I can't give him that as I am now... but I could, if I grew and changed and became more, myself.

I just don't want to compromise too much... I don't want the time we have now, while he is still so young, to be wasted or cheapened because I'm anxious about his future.

I love being able to come home and play with James for a while before dinner every day, I love playing with him during his baths, at breakfast, etc. I love the weekends when sometimes we get up, eat breakfast, and then go back to bed for a while. I love taking him with me to go do things in the city. I love giving him new foods to try, showing him things, and giving him new music to listen to. I love introducing him to new people.

You should've seen his face when we were at Pachanga Festival and he saw violinist Hadyn Vitera playing. He was mesmerized by the violin and his electric violin (Viper). After the mini-show was over, James ran right up to the stage and stood there watching the musician put away his gear, and bouncing to the music (Hearts on Fire by CutCopy) playing. I know he comes by his love of music naturally. I loved the looks on his face when he had his first mango paleta: COLD... SWEEEEET... MORE!... NOW! You could see all the feelings cross his face like clouds racing across the blue field of a summer sky.

I love snuggling with my child. He gives the best hugs. Unlike adults who guard themselves so closely sometimes and give awkward one-armed "hugs", James' whole being is involved. I love carrying his sleeping body up the stairs from the car. I love being the last person he sees before he sleeps and the first person he sees when he wakes up. I don't want to compromise and lose any of that because of dreams I have for him that may not be what he eventually wants. I mean, he hasn't even begun to dream for himself yet. But then, even if my dreams aren't his, if I do better by myself and for him, it'll give him more room to dream and give me more ability to help him achieve them.

We still have so far to go and I'm very excited about our journey... but I'm trying to be patient too... to plan better than I have before... and to love every minute I have with my son. I'm learning that it's okay to wait... while planning ahead so that when I finally don't have to, I can hit the ground running. :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

stealing from yourself

This is a touchy subject... how do you deal with a gift or an action that is inappropriate, or not 'right', poorly timed, or is otherwise unfortunate?

I don't consider myself to be a horribly picky person... but over the years, it's been pointed out to me that I am rather particular about some things. Like food... I don't care for lettuce and I really dislike melons in a mixed fruit cup/bowl... to me they're cheap and gross and a waste of space... if I'm going to pay for a fruit salad somewhere, I want fruit I enjoy and that's worth paying as much for as you have to pay for a fruit salad. So, I'll ask waiters and waitresses what fruits they have and if I can have no melon, just the other stuff instead, or just a cut up fruit... like a grapefruit half or a banana or something. Or I'll order something else as the side. I have been known to eat melons... but it's really rare.

I'm picky about fabric and color as well. I've relaxed quite a bit on the color issue since becoming a mother... beggars can't be choosers and James doesn't care what I wear. I'm Mommy and therefore beautiful in his eyes. :) I used to, however, never ever ever wear pink or salmon or peachy pink. Being a girl, that was a huge color problem while growing up... it was a cause for tears and screams and secret destruction or hiding of certain items of clothing. I do occasionally wear things in that color range now... but not much and it's still not a mainstay in my closet.

I'm seriously picky about a few things, but for the most part, am flexible. If something isn't right to a point where I feel like I have to say something about it, I'll raise my voice in protest... but then, more often than not, whoever I've complained to takes whatever it is away or just stops doing it entirely. So, I lose any chance of either getting the thing I wanted OR the sort of incorrect/uncomfortable (but sometimes mostly right) version of it. I feel like I'm being punished for being communicative about my needs/ wants, for trying to be understood better.

I know it's something to do with the way I do or say things. The way I say, "Thanks, but next time could you ___ instead?" or, "Thank you so much, but I prefer __ instead," whatever it is I'm doing. I guess I have some tact issues... and I'd like to fix them because the current results are, at best, annoying to everyone (me included). I think it's the "but" part... but how do you manage to thank someone for thinking of you, and at the same time express a preference for something similar but not what you have been given or what has been done to you... or let someone know what you really like or prefer without offending them?

I feel like I'm not unintelligent... it's just that there are different kinds of intelligence and this kind isn't my strong suit. I can read people really well in many ways, but when it comes to how I come off... I'm blind.

Some people's solution is to just say "thanks" and leave it at that, and yeah, I suppose that would work... but what if the other person just keeps giving you the wrong things or doing the wrong things to you or something? Won't it be worse later if you correct them after they've done it more often and believe that you really enjoy it or find it completely acceptable? Isn't it sort of like hiding something about yourself from them if you don't tell them what you actually want? Do people not actually want to know you better or give you things you like/ need/ want?

I just... I don't know. This is one of those areas in life where I feel like a Martian anthropologist.

Anyone have any ideas?