Monday, March 28, 2011

Nice


I consider myself a pretty nice person. I'm usually patient, and I don't sweat the small stuff. However, I also consider myself a bit of a wimp. After being ill for a couple of days, dealing with sick twins, and then having no sleep, I ran out of nice. I'm not sure if I would have run out so loudly if I also hadn't been wracked with guilt. There is something about guilt that makes every bad feeling worse.

So last night, I had one of those moments when you don't like yourself. When you are ashamed of yourself. When you cringe at this ugly moment you are indulging in. I stomped around and yelled while dealing with a sick toddler. Yeah. Terrible mommy moment. I have lots of great excuses, but it doesn't change the fact that I feel like a jerk. Luckily, my husband chose this time to step in. It was probably his turn anyway.

Of course, I've spent the morning making it up to him, despite little sleep, still feeling ill, and distressing dreams where my father has died. I held him while he screamed in my ear, wiped snot, administered baby motrin and rocked him while he finally calmed down. I cooed at him, and told him I loved him, and that I'm sorry I was such a mean mommy. He stroked my hair and leaned his tired head against my cheek.

He's sleeping now, as is his brother. His brother is mostly over the cold and has been a little ray of sunshine all morning. I could be napping too, but I'm not going to. I don't want any more nightmares today, and anyway, I'm dressed down to my lace-up shoes. Here's hoping we all get better soon, and our cup of nice is refilled.

Friday, March 25, 2011

HIstory


You know that old saying about forgetting history? Well, sometimes it seems like some people would dearly love for us to forget our history. People who forget are much easier to bamboozle. Today is that 100th anniversary of The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Many people are commemorating it. It is one of those tragedies than needs to be remembered, out of respect for those who died, and for the hard lessons it forced on our nation.

I love history. I am not great with names and dates, but I feel a great connection with the humans who have come before me. When I read history I learn about how they lived, and died. The people from our past had lives not so different from ours. Sure, they didn't have iPhones, or internet, but they worked, loved, laughed and suffered. They held their babies close and they stood in front of graves. It is easy to look at their stuffy clothes and consider how things have changed and feel that we have come a long, long way.

Well, we haven't. Sure, we have got it pretty good, in a lot of ways, compared to them. However, some things haven't changed, and some have worsened. It is important to remember that every single inch of improvement we as a people, as a society, have gotten has been fought for, tooth and nail. Also, that anything we stop fighting for will be taken away. The world at large does not care about us. Business does not care about human cost, only bottom lines. If we take something for granted, it will slip away from us and it will be just as hard a fight to get it back.

So today, we remember The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. We remember the workers who perished and the working conditions that made it happen. Also, think of the people of 1911 suddenly realizing that the business world does not value human life. Suddenly, they were forced to speak up and protest. Suddenly, they realized that to be treated as human being, they must demand it. Loudly. It would be nice to live in a world where being treated with basic human dignity and respect were a given, but let us not delude ourselves into believing that shining idea is a reality.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mortals


I have been thinking a lot lately about beauty. It is subjective and ephemeral. Part of the reason a rose is so achingly lovely is that it is temporary. Even as we bask in the color, scent, and silken texture of it, it is dying. Children are beautiful because this glowing moment of bright eyes, perfect skin, and rounded cheeks is a moment in time. Enjoyable as it is to look at something that is beautiful, I think it is important to be clear on something. Beauty has no intrinsic value.
I think it is important to state this because as I read articles, news stories, blogs and editorials that this absolute truth has been completely obscured. Plastic surgery, botox, little girls dressing like pop stars, pop stars dressing like strippers, and an entire culture of people whose self-worth is completely valued on what they perceive other people's opinions of their looks to be. Don't get me wrong. I am not immune. I have been dieting on and off since I was a teenager. I own make-up, and enjoy looking nice. What bothers me is the idea of passing these very skewed cultural values on to my children.
I have come to the conclusion that plastic surgery should be considered some kind of scam. Barring plastic surgery for people who are actually deformed through birth defect, illness or injury it is simply preying on vulnerable people. In what world do larger breasts make anyone truly happy? It just feeds into the idea that your body is the only thing you have of value. The money would be much better spent on therapy, while you volunteered to help the sick or poor and connected to what it really is like to be a human.
The body is a shell, a home if you will. Keep it healthy and in good repair, by all means. However, do not mutilate it into something inhuman. Would you risk your life for new curtains for your home? Then why take the genuine risk of death for a tummy tuck? I'm sorry to have to break the news, but humans are mortal. We age and die. It is a fact and always has been. There is nothing shameful about this. Let's stop being ashamed of aging. Age never stopped anyone from being amazing. Wrinkles do not prevent sexiness. Younth is nice, but it is not important and is not the only way to be beautiful. You can be lovely at 60 and make no attempt to look younger.
Okay, so you expect me to end with "True Beauty Come From Within". Well, no. Beauty is just one thing. Your worth and value come from within, and from what you create in the world. I know some will say that is just something unattractive people say. I have had my shining moments, and my husband still finds me very attractive. However, my self-worth is not based on my physical person. I love the body that carried twins, that kisses my husband, and that luxuriates on the clean sheets. It is only part of what my life is though, and most of the people who truly value you will not rank your appearance in your top ten traits.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Favorites


So today I was reading about moms having favorites. Not favorite pasta or shirts, but favorite kids. At face value it's pretty shocking. However, when you think about a favorite being a temporary preference based on behavior, mood, or even life stage it is so commonplace that one wonders why it is a topic at all. I was certainly not my parent's favorite when I was a sullen teen prone to emotional outbursts. I am not appalled by this knowledge. I have twins. People often ask me if I have a favorite, or if one is smarter, stronger, cuddlier, etc. In the case of favorites, I always say something silly.

"The one I'm holding is always my favorite."

"The one not screaming is my favorite."

"There aren't actually two of them, one is an imaginary friend."

I do get a little defensive when asked to say which one is more intelligent, or personable. I mean, they are not even two years old. It seems a bit early to pigeonhole them into specific types. So, I will begin extolling both their virtues. It is times like this that I do have a favorite. The one that is being compared unfavorably to the other. Mama tiger I suppose. One is being attacked and I must protect him.

Worrying about favorites in general seems a bit silly to me. As if one were in third grade and making a big production over who your best friend is this year. So, I'm not. I'm not going to worry. This concept is not a problem for me. I have plenty of stuff to worry about. I will just be thankful that favorite is not one of them.

Excuse me, I have to read this note, and pass it to Stinky by lunch.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Opening Lines...


Now comes the obligatory introduction to my Blog. Perhaps an explanation. I don't know. I'm not great at blogs. I've tried before. I'm a busy woman, and fairly introverted. However, it seems like a good idea, again. So here we go.
I will paraphrase a favorite author. Maira Kalman.

I want to say, before anything,
that love
is very important.

Call me Marj
Marj the dreamer
Marj the mother
Marj the lover.

My dream is to live a good life.
To live a good life and be a great mother.

As for paraphrasing, if you have not yet read it, treat yourself to Max Makes a Million. It's an amazing picture book with modern art styling, humor, heart and a beat vibe.

For the nitty gritty details, check out my About Me section. As for what's on my mind today, the great joy of grandparents. Not mine, as I have none. I lost my last one before Christmas. My children's grandparents. They are watching my boys today for a few hours. Normally I would try to get stuff done while they are gone. Today, I'm feeling a bit under the weather, so I'm sure I'll mostly sleep. Okay, to be honest, I often sleep and goof off on these amazing afternoons of freedom. I should get stuff done. So I plan to, and feel guilty when I don't. Ah well. Good intentions and all that.