Pretty Girl, Love Your Instagram Face!

This morning I was putting on makeup. I’ve always been bothered by my chin. When I smile,  my chin leans to the right.  My mom pointed this out to me lots of times when I was little so it always bugged me.

I yelled at my 17 year old son, Sandor, “Hey, have you ever noticed that my face is crooked when I smile?” He’s been looking at my face all my life.

“What are you talking about?” he asked

I walked into his room and grinned at him, hard. He was still in bed, not wanting to get up for school.
“Look! See how my chin goes to the right. And look at these lines. My face is jacked.”

Sandor studied my face for a long time. Maybe 30 seconds. He’s been looking at my face since the day he was born. I’m his mother. “I guess I can see it, but I never noticed. That’s weird.”

He had never noticed this thing, with my face. But I’ve been seeing it for 50 years, because my mom pointed it out when I was a little kid.

Oddly enough, my mom, who was a brilliant amazing women, also pointed out when I was seven or eight that my ears kind of poked out a lot and I had thin hair. Big ears and thin hair.  Mom was constantly trying to figure out how to cover up my ears for church.( I think that’s why I wasn’t in any of the fancy family photos back then.) One day she asked if I would would like to have a little surgery for ear pinning, so they wouldn’t stick out so much. Who asks an 8 year old about plastic surgery?

Lots of times as we ate dinner as a family when I was a little my dad would cheerfully say “Don’t make the girl clean her plate, the fat ones are hard to get married off.” It was a joke. But I still remember it, still quote him. It sank down into my brain, but he was just kidding.

I’ve always had a strong nose, It’s a family nose. Strong. When I was seven or nine my Grandmother, Bubba, who was born in 1895, suggested when we watched tv together I wrap my fist around my nose. So, it wouldn’t grow so much. She had been reading about the Chinese women who wrapped their feet to keep them from getting too big. It was logical. She was trying to help me be more beautiful.

So, I held my nose in my fist, as I watched the Brady Bunch and H.R. Puffinstuff. For 8 year old me, that made sense. My nose was too big and they were trying to help. They loved me.

Now, flash forward 50 years latter. I still kind of hate my face and avoid pictures. But I like my face too. I never knew why but yeah, it’s pretty obvious. But my family loved me and meant well, truly.

But the 60’s were hell, especially for an affluent little girl who was supposed to look “a certain way.”

Young women….you will never younger or prettier than you are right now. Stop hating on your self and your beautiful face. You are 35 right now and so gorgeous, still you think you are ugly, need more work. How will you survive when you are 50? Good God love yourself. Nobody notices your funny chin….except for you. Seriously.

 

Thankfully, my four children are fine and golden and beautiful. Yes, each have quirks and  unique physical features.  But they are all four are perfect.

Parents, please please be cautious. The comments you make now will haunt your children for years and years.

Middle School Mean Girls

Last week I accidentally bought a novel…written for children. I decided to read it anyway. Here’s the plot: a 12 year old girl is going into middle school and suddenly (well over the course of a couple of months), her very best friend in the world turns into a Middle School Mean Girl. She becomes popular with the “popular kids”. It’s a heartbreaking story with an uplifting end.

I knew my friend Amy, who is a DJ on one of the stations I work for, had daughters. So, I gave her the plot synopsis and asked if her girls would enjoy it.

“This must be a God thing,” Amy said. Then told me about her beautiful daughter who is going though almost the exact same situation.

Her story killed me because I remember so well, struggling though middle school with my oldest daughter. She had a few wonderful friends for several years, then they all turned on her. We never figured out why. But my girl spent a couple of years in my pocket and miserable. Her former friends were saying all kinds of stuff, about her. They said she was ugly, fat, gay, stupid, a slut and she wasn’t Christian. One of the reasons we took her out of that school was to get away from her old friends.

Every week in restaurants, at the pool, in Walmart I hear middle school girls talk to their parents in a way that is shockingly mean and hateful. The parents just laugh it off, they don’t think their girls are serious. They tell themselves “it’s just a game, or a phase she’ll grow out of”. But they know, in their hearts, they never spoke to their parents that way.

Boys are gross and annoying, they make fart jokes and fall out of booths at restaurants, but they don’t sigh and roll their eyes at their parents, as though warning them to keep their mouth shut. I swear sometimes it looks like the parents are hostages.

So what’s the deal with so many Middle School mean girls? Why do some turn cruel and ugly? Why do they quite caring about old friends and focus on popularity and good hair?

Boys  might get in a fight with their friend, they might even try to beat him up…but they generally don’t get catty, cruel and start spreading rumors.

I think parents might be part of the problem.
We tell our daughters they are beautiful and can be anything from an astrophysicist to pop star, we tell our daughters they are strong, not to be kept down by anyone. We tell our daughters they can accomplish anything. We put our daughters waaaay up on a pedestal, we buy them the very best “high horse” And they listen. they believe us, the believe they are better than other girls, that they are smarter and prettier. We drill this stuff into their heads CONSTANTLY, and so do tv stations, songs on the radio even public service announcements.

But do we ever tell them to be kind? Do we tell and teach them to empathize? Do we tell them to be sweet and nice. No, because those virtues are seen as weakness. I’m thinking back and I don’t think I ever had conversations like that with my girls. I’m sure I hoped they would see their family being nice to folks and get the idea…but I don’t think that’s enough. The truth is, some of our daughters are turning into bitches, right in front of us.

Moms, I’m putting this on your shoulders. I suspect most of us know when our daughters has turned that corner and become a mean girl. But very few of us are willing to own and correct the bad and hurtful behavior. We are too excited our daughter is “popular”. We can’t forsce them to be friends with another girl but we can absolutely demand and make sure they are kind. We need to tell our kids we disapprove of cruel behavior and then demonstrate kindness , everyday, in front of them.

And consider this, when we are all old and dealing with health issues and trying to stay in our own homes , when we need help with everyday life and desperately want someone to treat you kindly and with dignity, chances are our mean ass daughter will be in charge.

Sweetness, kindness and compassion are not weaknesses. They are virtues that make all of us stronger.

I Hate Baseball

I hate baseball. Ok, maybe ‘hate’ is to strong a term. But I don’t really like the game. I can watch completely random football or basketball games on tv or in person and get passionately involved…but baseball? Not so much. It’s boring.

Here’s my problem. My youngest son, Sandor, is in 9th grade and plays baseball for the Ft. Lake Cobras. Purple and white pine stripes all day long. There he is on third base, looking handsome.

I try to be a good mom so we try to make some games, to be supportive. But the games are soooo long, and there are soooo many games. Two or three a week! Typically nobody get’s hurt and it’s hot sitting in the bleachers. Still, we go to games and I yell like a maniac even though I don’t really know the right things to yell. “Take him out!” is one of the wrong things I’ve learned not to yell. Other parents give you stink eye.

Earlier this week Sandor was playing third base and missed a pop fly. Nothing terrible happened because of his bobble but he was really upset with himself.

I really like to fix problems. So, the next day, after work, I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods and bought five baseballs.

I put Sandor in the middle of the yard with his mitt and started hitting balls at him. I was doing ok but I kind of freak out when he throws the balls back to me. The kid throws pretty hard and I catch like a four year old. So, I recruited his dad to catch.

Things were going pretty well until our big dog Aries got involved. Every time I hit a grounder , Sandor had to out maneuver and fight her. If Aries won she trotted back to me with her fluffy tail raised high and gave me the slobber covered ball.

For thirty minutes the four of us played and laughed in the yard until the sun set and it was too dark to see the ball.

Sandor had a game last night and he took care of a grounder easily. He told me all about it at breakfast this morning.

There’s another home game tonight. I’m pretty excited.