A couple months ago, I had dinner(ish) and drinks (more of this) with a friend, and in the course of our conversation we spoke of many things – “of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.” We talked of opportunities passed by and wasted potential – and ultimately, whether they mattered when considering one’s overall happiness. Read the rest of this entry
Divorce is a funny thing. Even in a case such as mine, where everything is amicable and hunky-dory, divorce by its nature represents change. It’s now been almost 14 months since my ex and I filed for divorce, and nearly three years since we officially separated. And not surprisingly, the impact of that action has continued to change, morph and mature as time has gone on.
Interludes from K this week:
1) K sees someone on the street and says, “I think that person is a witch” (woman is wearing all black with a black hoodie that’s up, kind of like the point of a hat).
We pass the woman, K glances back and says, “no she’s not a witch.” I say “what does a witch look like?”
Some things get clearer the older you get. Some people discover (at 30-something) what they want to be when they grow up or that they don’t really want to have children or that a midlife crisis may not come in the form of a car. Some journeys of self-discovery can take decades, some take years, months or just days.
With the passings of Ray Bradbury and Sally Ride, and the successful launch of Curiosity, I’ve been thinking a lot about space exploration and the importance of science and the drive to learn more, to ask why, to discover. As the mother of a three-year-old, I want desperately to bottle her sense of wonder and to do everything I can to prevent it from disappearing.
On Facebook today, I was pointed to a great article in a local blog about a high school commencement speech from Friday, which was, in a word, fantastic. But before I get into why, let’s take a step back.
I frequently have conversations with friends where we lament the inability of “the younger generation” (shudder. I can’t believe I just said that.) to fend for themselves. The sense of entitlement seems currently to be out of all proportion with reality. Virtually an entire generation has been raised to be praised, petted and catered upon. We give awards for showing up, and tell our children that they are smart, when they’re merely being average; that all that matters is that you tried your best even though we know that the wider world cares about results than it does about effort.
Even with my own generation, I’ve often commented (before the recession) that my generation seems to think that we’re entitled to be fulfilled by our job. That we deserve to find a job that not only pays us well, but that fulfills us as people and our desire to do good in the world (two things, sadly, that are usually mutually exclusive).
There are some moments where you can see a flash of the person you hope your child is becoming. It’s hard to know during those moments how much of it is brainwashing (admittedly by me), desire to please you, their own personality or good upbringing (:-)). But they sure do make you feel good inside.
K’s teachers are constantly telling me that she speaks her mind (loudly). One of her teachers calls her “fresh.” Which is probably more accurate than my preferred word of “sassy” since it communicates her tendency to defy authority from time to time.
At any rate – judge for yourself yesterday’s scenario:
Of the 200+ articles I found on the web, my trusty Google News search suggests that only eight actually named NF as the cause of the tumor. 8. Out of more than 220. The rest merely referred to a “rare genetic disorder.” What’s more concerning is this: the CEO of the hospital where the operation took place told CNN that it was the same disease as that of “The Elephant Man.” Except the latest research suggests that Joseph Merrick, popularly known as “The Elephant Man,” is suspected of having Proteus Syndrome – a completely unrelated disease. If the medical community doesn’t even understand NF, and the press doesn’t report on it when provided an opportunity to educate, it’s no wonder that so few people have ever heard of the condition.
For you news junkies out there, you may have heard about the 180-lb tumor that was removed from a 32-year-old Vietnamese man, Nguyen Duy Hai, in Ho Chi Minh City. If you saw it, you probably had an “oh my god,” “gross,” “wow that’s incredible” or a “can you imagine?” moment. I’ve had those moments too. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve also had the “I’m so glad it isn’t me” reaction. I think all these reactions are perfectly normal. It’s one way that we remind ourselves that despite all our complaints, there are still many, many people who have it worse than we do in some way, shape or form.
But for me, this story was an unpleasant reminder of what could happen to my little girl. Just six short weeks ago, I talked about the struggle for calm in the face of my daughter’s neurofibromatosis (NF type 1). Because it turns out that this Vietnamese man also has NF1.