I can't nor do I ever WANT to be able to get my head around how a group of trusted, powerful adults could EVER turn their back on a person, let alone a child in their care. Choosing to turn their backs on those children is exactly what happened in Pennsylvania over the last several decades. When one refuses to tell the truth, or in this case, shout the truth, to put an end to treacherous hurt, pain, and injustice...then damn them! I don't want to be able to understand how a person can do that. Life is about making choices. They chose quite wrongly. Having a winning record over a lifetime does not erase that. It's always sad when a hero falls, but fallen they are.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
"Heather, do you want to be a big sister to a little brother or a little sister?"
"Neither. I want a Gonzo!!!"
Needless to say, the three and a half year old version of me wasn't exactly bursting at the seams with the thoughts of a baby coming into her life-- especially if the crying that was sure to accompany said baby was going to interrupt her Dukes of Hazzard or Muppet Show watching. That would surely cross the line!
When Ted, the neighbor, asked me if I wanted to be a big sister to a baby boy or baby girl, I wasn't lying. I didn't want either of them; both options sounded less than stellar. I truly, with everything in my being, wanted a Gonzo. I mean, who wouldn't, right? I wouldn't trade my eventual sister in for the world, but let's face it, a Gonzo would have been a super sweet runner up! The daredevil escapades that Gonzo The Great and Her Highness Heather could have attempted are, I mean...were, limitless! It's no wonder that I made my sister wear the t-shirt that Ted and his wife bought for YEARS. (That's the actual shirt today. Slightly stained, but I want to see my niece in it just ONCE.)
My love of the Muppets, as I'm sure this is true with most of us who were born in the 70's, was by no mistake. PBS had a huge surge and was on the fore front of every culturally and socially revolutionary parent during that time. Many of our first words were the names of a Sesame Street character. The muppets on Sesame Street taught us our fundamentals--counting, positive social behaviors, how to make friends, emotional appropriateness, SPANISH, how to care for our environment and our neighbors, reading, everything! So when The Muppet Show first aired it was a natural progression to also become one of the viewing audience members. And we did. Every week, the televisions were turned on to see if the gang and some LUCKY celebrity could pull off the variety show!
The great part about The Muppet Show is that it wasn't just children that were part of the viewing audience. People of all ages identified and felt comforted by those zany characters and the celebrities that made weekly appearances. I can't remember ever watching the show without BOTH of my parents watching and laughing along with me. For 30 minutes, one day a week, my family shared a common experience. We were lucky! It's no wonder that I waited to see the 2011 Muppet Movie until my mom and I were in the same city. Might I mention, that it felt like a homecoming and we both cried. Mahna mahna!
Jim Henson's Muppets are something that my generation carries with us. They don't just provide us with nostalgic memories of our childhood, but are also part of the woven fabric that ties us together. The Muppets are part of our cultural language. They are our teachers. They are our comfort. They are our lessons. We've watched every spin off show and danced with David Bowie to "Dance Magic Dance." We've pretended to sing Christmas carols with John Denver. We've visited the Borkifier site as adults just to play. "We-a'fe-a fisited zee-a Borkiffier site-a is idoolts joost to pley. Bork Bork Bork!" We've introduced our children to Kermit and the gang. We cried along with his characters the day that Jim Henson died. We stood in line in our 30s, 40s, and 50s this past November and December to be reunited with our friends on the big screen.
The Muppets have meant a lot to many of us over the years. I'd put money on the fact that they will continue to do just that in the future. So, can you REALLY blame me for maybe STILL wanting a Gonzo of my own?
Monday, January 9, 2012
I ran across this sign today when I was perusing Facebook. It really struck a chord with me. It is a very honest statement. However, even though it is one of the most OBVIOUS statements out there, for some reason it is the hardest one with which to follow through.
From spouses, significant others, family members, and friends, saying good bye and letting go of what is currently a toxic relationship is absolutely terrifying, difficult, and exhausting. Most of us were raised to forgive and to love in a great big, huge way. Many of us were raised on the false ideals that are presented in fairy tales, romance stories, and classical literature...to love is to suffer; to suffer is to love. The more you suffer, the more you are capable of loving and the more lovable you become. We tell ourselves that these are teenagers or twenty something year olds' problems. Or, only those involved in abusive relationships go through this type of sadistic journey. We become addicted to the drama that the toxicity creates. We justify ourselves and our actions into imaginary reason, and for what? It is easier to create the justification than to eliminate what is holding us back in our lives, and facing the real problems at hand.
To throw in the towel on someone that you love, but is making you miserable, feels like giving up, but in reality it is creating space for someone else worthwhile to fill. And sometimes, actually most of the time, the only person that you need to fill that space is yourself. If only we ALL loved ourselves as much as we try to love others. Oh what a difference that might make.
Friday, January 6, 2012
My grandmother turned 90 last May. For her birthday, she asked for a memory. This is the memory that I shared with my family on my grandmother's 90th birthday.
First of all, I would like to thank my grandmother. The only reason that I am here today to help her celebrate her 90th birthday is because she saved my life 30 years ago. Let’s just say if it wasn’t for the protective arms of my grandmother, my cousin, Jessica, and I would have been sent to the slaughter by our mothers at the age of 4. God hath no fury like two mothers glaring at the vasolined walls of a child’s bedroom. If it wasn’t for my grandmother grabbing her two greased watermelon granddaughters and throwing them in a bathtub far away from her daughters in law’s grasps, at least two of us might not have been here tonight.
With that said, let me move on to a fond memory that I have of my grandmother. If I had to decide on one memory of my grandmother that defines her role and importance in my life as well as the relationship that she and I have, it would have to be this…
It is night time; it is always night time for these moments. Three little girls and one little boy are curled up in two twin beds listening to their grandmother reading the stories of The Five Little Peppers and Heidi, of the quiet old lady whispering, “Hush,” the adventures of a curious monkey, the remarkable friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur, the escapades of Mole, Ratty, and Toad, the imaginative world of The Wild Things, or my personal favorite, getting lost in the Secret Garden of Misselthwaite Manor. My favorite memories are of those very precious moments when we would get lost in the worlds my grandmother would create when she read to us. We would transport ourselves into other places and experience moments unlike those of our daily routines. The stories she would pick out for us to explore together would stimulate our childhood imaginations and in turn, those imaginations have created and shaped our adult dreams.
The adventures that the five of us went on when she read to us have very much shaped who we are as individuals. Grammy, like the wizard in The Wizard of Oz, through reading to us has helped give us the tools to develop our dreams and get us where we needed to go. Bryn, like Louis in The Trumpet of the Swan, has found her voice and song and has used both resourcefully to find love and contentment. Adam, like The Giving Tree, has an unwavering sensitivity and whole heart-ed amount of unconditional love that pours from his soul when he looks at his family. Jessica, like Meg in A Wrinkle in Time, has a natural curiosity that she uses to search out scientific answers and solve mysteries of the universe while still maintaining her sense of fun and adventure. And me, like Mary in The Secret Garden, prefers the worlds outside of my own. Mary had her garden, I have my stories which I read, teach, and write. We have used these tools to be who we are today.
These are the memories of my grandmother that I luckily get to share with my cousins and sister. These are the memories that stand out the most. These are the moments that I look forward to telling the next generation about. I am excited for the time when I get to say, “Oh I love this story! I remember when my grandmother used to read this to us when we were little.” It is through these memories that tradition and love lives on, and for that I thank you. Happy Birthday, Grammy.