Comment recycling, part 2

Here’s part of a comment I made on this post at Darlene’s blog:

The only love poems I’ve ever written were of the Roses-are-red- type. (Not that I’ve written more than one or two poems of any sort.) I had one high school boyfriend write a poem for me and it was further proof that we had nothing in common (not because he wrote a poem, but because of how dumb/sappy the poem was.) I didn’t break up with him on the spot when he gave me the poem — I waited a few weeks for a different excuse. Come to think of it, at least one other guy I dated and maybe two (I have a lousy memory) did write poems for me (but not love poems.) And Dean wrote a pretty decent love poem (much better than the one by my high school paramour) for another girl before he met me, and he says the reason he wrote her a poem and has never written me one is because she asked him to write a poem and I haven’t asked. Maybe I should ask. Or maybe I haven’t asked because I figure you need angst for good poems (but not necessarily for good marriages.)—–

From this post at Segullah about “playing big, or in other words allowing our talents to shine and ourselves to take up space in the world:

Zina :: 2 Jan 2009 @ 12:04 pm ::

I relate to this in so many ways that I’m afraid I’m about to write one of my far-too-long comments. Just one example of my tendency to keep myself closed in is that when my husband and I were dating, I would leave all my needs for later, after our dates — I would rarely-to-never, for example, ask him to stop at a grocery store while we were out so I could pick up something I needed. Then, when he and I were married and he was *always* around, I was so used to deferring to him that I found myself feeling like “When will I EVER get the chance to get MY needs met?!”

Twelve years later I am a very assertive wife, so I’m confident that I can overcome my self-annihilating tendencies when properly motivated. But the tendencies are always cropping up in fresh new settings — now, for example, I can tend to stress over how I’m going to get all the housework done by myself, forgetting that I have a husband and two of my children who are able to do a good portion of it. (This, too, I’m overcoming. The motivation is definitely not lacking.)

My oldest child nearly always prefers to stay very far from the limelight, but he will suddenly eagerly seek attention when he’s doing or demonstrating something he loves, so I try to notice those moments and nourish them — and let him do his own shy/quiet thing the rest of the time. My second and third children, both daughters, are both VERY “out there” — far more than either my husband or me — and watching them do their uninhibited thing brings me a lot of enjoyment, especially since I like to think it means I haven’t passed on my own handicaps to them. I do notice that the older daughter is starting to become more reserved in some contexts as she becomes more aware of social conventions, but so far this hasn’t seemed to happen to a crippling degree, so I see it more as a case of her maturing in positive ways and being sensitive to others than as a case of her being stifled.

I also think there’s a very fine line between letting our light shine and being narcissistic (a line best determined on a case-by-case basis.) I do think there’s room in the world for everyone to be “powerful beyond measure” as in the quote above, but there wouldn’t be much benefit to that unless we’re all also generous enough to take time out from being fabulous enough to appreciate others’ fabulousness (and again, we can err on either extreme — from having no time to appreciate others, or taking no time to develop our own greatness.)

Actually I’m now thinking that we shine best when we’re seeking God’s glory and not our own — which is a thought that the Williamson/Mandela quote implies but doesn’t quite put explicitly. Sometimes we shine best by casting our light on someone else; sometimes we have to give up our shyness or fears to let the light shine right on us.

Also: my patriarchal blessing says something about that there will be “more opportunity for progression and growth” in the Millenium than in our current mortal state, which has often been very comforting to me as I’ve encountered very debilitating challenges inhibiting my growth and others’. For many of us in this world, great triumphs over mortal weaknesses will be barely visible in contrast to what some others (who inherited different challenges) may be able to accomplish, and once our mortal constraints are removed, we’ll *all* be able to shine much more brightly. Or, in yet other words, for some in this life it’s a great triumph just to get out of bed in the morning.

—-

In this post, also at the Segullah blog, the author was complaining that the advice often given to parents considering having a third of fourth child that it “won’t make a difference” was very misleading.

Zina :: 5 Jan 2009 @ 1:52 am ::

I was one for whom adding baby #4 really was the easiest yet — and I think, as others have said, spacing played a role, since my older two were old enough to change diapers and help in other ways. (I didn’t know they were old enough to change diapers until I decided to give it a try, and it was a thrill that they turned out to be able!) But, while adding a *baby* was easy (relatively — the first few months are *always* grueling) now, as my older two are starting to have lots of homework and activities and school projects, I’m really relating to what Michelle said about enduring. While there are some things about parenting I love, being a chauffeur and keeping up with scheduling are something I’m always in a hurry to get DONE with, so it’s daunting to realize that with my younger two we haven’t even hit that stage yet, and meanwhile my older two still have all of junior high and high school ahead of them. I’m either going to have to learn to love being a chauffeur/scheduler, or put all my kids in an unschool-style homeschool and forbid them any activities. (That would be somewhat similar to how I grew up, and isn’t really what I want to do if I can help it.)

——

Zina :: 5 Jan 2009 @ 3:03 pm ::

J____, personally I think it’s very very very very good for older kids to get to care for littler ones — excellent for creating real self-confidence, as well as for developing love between kids and giving them a chance to “love one another, and serve one another” (that’s from Mosiah somewhere.) I think the idea of a carefree childhood is a fairly modern one and to me a little odd, and NOT good for kids’ self-esteem or development of life skills. That said, as a 2nd-of-nine first girl in a pretty dysfunctional family, I did WAY too much and it was pretty boundless; I rarely knew when I would have free time and had few outlets. Even so it was still better for me in the long run (I like to think) than having not had enough responsibility, but wasn’t what I’d want to do with my older ones. So I do try to set limits to what I ask of my older kids, and try to balance it against their still having free time. I’ve never ever had them take kids out of Sacrament Meeting (it wouldn’t even have occurred to me) (oh except I just remembered I do let my 8-year-old take the 4-year-old to the bathroom sometimes — 8-year-old is happy to get a break from the meeting and I wouldn’t be) and for the most part when I am around I don’t expect them to do any parenting — but I do still expect them to “help out” including doing some of the childcare. (I would call “parenting” things like making decisions about what’s needed to be done, or disciplining, and “childcare” more of routine things like helping a younger sibling get a coat on, or changing a diaper.) I’m always struggling to find a good balance, but, as I said, I don’t feel guilt about what I do ask of them.

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2 Responses to Comment recycling, part 2

  1. Mrs. Organic says:

    You just reminded me that I have a fairly good love poem tucked away somewhere (written for me, not by me). It’s a talent I really admire – how do people come up with such beauty?

    As to the comments about adding more to a large family, our 5th is 6 years younger than the sibling just above her. It has been a night and day difference. Because of the needs of my eldest son, it is much like having twins each time I have a baby, but this time, my daughters were no longer toddlers. They have been a wonderful source of help.

    I was the oldest of 6, so I’m careful not to abuse their willingness to help. I agree with you, it can do wonders for their self-confidence (and also in developing their compassion for others). Kids also need time to be kids, to imagine and play, to explore the great outdoors, and to learn what they are good at. I live in a neighborhood where kids are run about every day of the week for “finding out what they are good at” – in this way, I’m a bit of a stick in the mud. Each child gets to choose a maximum of two activites/lessons they’d like to participate in for the quarter and that keeps us plenty busy. After all, we need a moment or two to just chillax together, as a family.

    I love reading your long comments and also appreciate the links to new (to me) writers.

  2. American Yak says:

    Did you forget your poem you wrote during your mission, the one I set to song? I’ve always loved that poem.

    By the way, Zina, I am floored to see the difference in our upbringing. I mean, I’m sure probably much that is similar, but it never really occurred to me fully just how easy I had it compared to you and who else? I was lost in the middle, that shuffle. I’ve always told people that I had a relatively easy, happy childhood, which contrasted with the “elephant under the rug” syndrome of later years (dealing with divorce, etc.). I’m glad to know better now your experience. I’d heard you express snippets before, but I think it really just had never registered quite this way.

    The flip side of this is that I’ve had an extremely difficult era of 20s and early 30s. Sometimes I say that I went through my mid-life crisis about 15 years early, and I just don’t think I’ll have one later, at least not as other people do.

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