STEP UP!!

Originally posted July, 2010….

This blog entry is more of a venting session than anything else, and more of a serious tone than my usually posts.  I debated about writing any of this down but, I believe I will combust if I don’t get it out.  I’ve been a mom for the last nine years and have worked in the legal field for about ten.  As a mom, I have seen and been through a ton that has taught me, calmed me, panicked me and awed me, but never have I ever second-guessed my position as a mother.  I am by far not perfect, and not all my choices in life have been unselfish or wise, but I never regret the days my babies came into this world.  From the first moment I laid eyes on my daughter I understood I had a huge responsibility and I needed to step up.  I immediately accepted the fact that just a few of my duties would include protector, maid, taxi driver, boo-boo fixer, teddy bear, shoulder to cry on, ear to listen, but most of all ROLE MODEL.  I just wish that was the overall consensus in today’s day in age.

 While working, I’ve experienced a multitude of different cases/issues;  some interesting, some funny, some really stupid and some just plain infuriating.  I have learned in the last ten years that people (not all, but a lot) are so driven by the mighty dollar that they are blinded to the more important things in their lives.  This blindness not only unknowingly affects them individually, but the ones who love them the most – their children.  Their children…the sweet, loving, huggable, innocent children THEY brought into this world.  I underline innocent because if our children are not anything else that are that.  Children do not choose to be part of a family, they did not choose to be taken advantage of, they did not choose to grow up ten years too early for their age, nor do they choose to be used as a pawn in any of the ridiculous games that I’ve seen played!  The fact is, they do not CHOOSE any of it.  They come into their unwritten lives with a clean slate, not knowing what hope is, love is, pride is, what responsibility or nurturing means.   They also don’t come into this world knowing what hate, prejudice or arrogance is either.  They only learn by what WE teach them. We engrave our teachings and beliefs into their little minds as early as they can feel our presence.  As they grow, what is engraved is the only thing they know, understand or consider normal.  But who gets punished when something goes wrong?  Not the engraver, but the engraved—the innocent children.

 I was one of the lucky ones.  I had two parents who loved me beyond words, sometimes overprotective and not easy, but underneath the disagreements and disappointments, I always knew I could go to them, I always knew they loved me, I always knew I would be provided for, have a place to sleep and food in my stomach, because every day they worked hard for me and my brother — they stepped up.  When we were born, their lives were no longer lived just for themselves, they were living for us and their main priority was our safety, health and success.  THAT was all that mattered.  Sacrifice was a way of life, but it was a willing way of life.  A new TV was put on the back-burner, as was the new grill, new clothes, etc.  Their only real vacation was taken on their 26th wedding anniversary, because in the year of their 25th I decided to get married.  Raising us is what they lived for and I couldn’t be more grateful.

 But what about the unlucky ones, is it their fault that disruption and anger is all they are able to express?  Is it their fault that this behavior is the only way they know how to get someone/anyone’s attention?  Is it their fault that when the only relationship they have experienced is a competition in who can outdo the other, or a screaming/boxing match between the two people in their short little lives who are suppose to “love” each other?  This is all they’ve been taught.  This is what they witness and how they form their definitions of love, relationships, respect, pride and honor.  Our behavior, our actions are instructing our children how to feel and how to act.  How do we expect them to know any different?  If you recall, they had a clean slate before they came into OUR lives.  We, as parents are responsible to teach our children.  WE asked for the responsibility (intentionally or not), WE took on the responsibility and if WE are blessed enough to have the responsibility its time to STEP UP. 

 I have seen firsthand the emotion, the heartbreak, the financial struggle and incredible determination that unfolds when a couple who has so much love between them that all they want to do is share it with a child of their own and cannot.  To me, it is wholly unfair that these loving people are not graced with this blessing.  My heart aches for them because everyone deserves to love another’s life more than their own and unfortunately and disgustingly, some chose to take this blessing for granted.

My deep infuriation comes from watching grown people act like children themselves.  They pride themselves on their material things and insignificant accomplishments, or choose to allow others to support their bad habits or idiotic behavior.  They have children of their own and either parade them around like trophies or forget they’re human beings and treat them like a ticket for a hand out.   The children are the ones who pay for their immaturity; the children are the ones who absorb the lessons of the greedy or the cold-hearted, only to internalize it as normal practice.  The innocent children pay the price and, again, I stress innocent

 As a single mom, I appreciate that there are many, many things in this world that are unfair, but I also realize I chose my life path, and I have to take responsibility for it.  There have been plenty of sleepless nights wondering if the rent would get paid or if I’d be able to get books for school or afford daycare.  I am not ashamed to say that I’ve attempted to qualify for government benefits only to be denied.  I was barely able to provide for food, shelter or gas, but never able to qualify for help.  I’d be horribly angry at the system, but I never stopped striving to provide for my family with pride and honesty.  The chapters of my life were not always fun or easy and there were times I wanted to give up, even asking myself why bother? The answer always came back to my children.  I am their role model, I am their guide, and with the crappy role models they have in today’s society; wearing no clothes, cosmetically altered, overly drugged, sexed and immune from the law, I figure their parents are the best shot they have.

 I recently heard a quote from a young man who stated “It’s not our choice where we come from, but it’s our choice where we end up”.  I absolutely agree, but why is that the norm.   My heart hurts for the young children who are not given a choice and I applaud those who overcome and have done for themselves what they were not taught to do in their young lives.  I equally applaud the parents/guardians who struggle everyday to do what’s right by their children no matter how difficult. 

 So what is the point of this rant?  I have to admit it was selfishly driven…I’m tired.  I am so tired of hearing about the beaten, battered and murdered children.  Every morning I read the paper and I regret picking it up.  I am so tired of people not taking responsibility for such beautiful blessings.  I’m so tired of the selfish acts that are detrimental to our children and their future.  Treat others they way you would like to be treated —doesn’t that include our kids?  Step Up!  Biological or not, our children are a product of us, isn’t it our job to protect them, love them, and help them grow and succeed.  Let’s take responsibility for the innocence WE chose to bring into or bring up in this world.  Protect them and teach them by example, show them that life can be beautiful, and love them unconditionally so one day they too can be a role model.   STEP UP!

   Look to your children often for the answers you seek, and they will provide you with simplicity only innocence can.

                                                                                                                                                                                              ©2009