Friday, December 5, 2014

10 reasons why I couldn't write a Theory today. And a link to a popular Christmas post that working mothers loved last year!

December is just as tough as it is delightful. Take my word for it in Theory 26: In the Christmas season, men just need to do what they are told.

I could re-tell all my woes from 2013, but I'd rather you read Theory 26. Why? Because my computer is old and broken and it has taken me five minutes to type what you see up to this point! Argh.

Add to that the following:

1.  I started a new job four days ago and report to another county in two hours and both Sharky and Gnome are sawing logs in sweet childhood no-real-responsibility-it's-almost-Christmas slumber.

2. I have my LAST all day Saturday class for graduate school tomorrow and have to read an entire textbook, write a parody that includes at least ten classroom innovations, work out the parody skit with my group members, and organize a portfolio notebook for semester-end grading by my professor. Geez.

3. I have to wake up my dear mother-in-law Bop who spent the night last night so she can get back to Nashville for a luncheon on time.

4. Buzz just made a poopy mess right in front of Bop's bedroom door.

5. I took a melatonin at 3 a.m. so all this is extra difficult right now.

6. I gained three pounds YESTERDAY. Will someone please explain that to me? What was in that popcorn at Sharky's basketball game?

7. I have bought 3 Christmas gifts. That is it.

8. I have to figure out what "business casual" means in the next 45 minutes.

9. I have to find suitable "business casual" attire from my teacher fashion wardrobe in 45 minutes.

10. I am sad, excited, and completely preoccupied with my huge shift in careers. More on that when I get my computer fixed!

Okay, enjoy that list of excuses and have a GREAT Friday! I miss you, readers.

Bug

Share your holiday stress with humor on the Theories: Size 12 Facebook page!

Links are to the right of this post. I think. Out of time. Sorry. Must apply under-eye concealer asap.

Friday, November 21, 2014

I am thankful for the beautiful, burdensome, blessing of adoption. Read and share?

Today, I share


"10 Frequently Asked Questions About Our Open Adoption"

In 2002, when our son Houston was nine months old, my husband Jeff and I began trying to conceive a second child. After an arduous journey through failed infertility treatments and the domestic adoption process, we welcomed our son Scotty in May 2010. Jeff and I spent a total of eight years thinking, journaling, daydreaming, and asking questions. Now that our mystery is solved, we find ourselves answering questions. We’re in a unique position; we can compare Jeff’s 1963 closed adoption to Scotty’s 2010 “wide” open adoption. Many of today’s birthparents seek some form of open adoption. Many adoptive parents do too. So you may have questions.  These are the most frequently asked questions we hear regarding our relationship with our younger son’s birth parents, Kerri and Bryant. I hope they comfort and help you.

1.  What exactly is an “open” adoption? Open adoption means that there is some level of direct communication between the birth family and the child and his/her adoptive family. In other words, instead of sending communication through a third party (attorney, social worker, agency), you text, call, email, correspond, etc. directly with one another. The frequency and type of contact is determined by your and the birth parents’ comfort level. Jeff and I like to text pictures and funny things that Scotty does to Kerri and Bryant. We’ve met Bryant only once because he lives five hundred miles away. But Kerri lives only ten minutes away. So we see her four or five times a year. We usually go to her grandparents’ house so her extended family can enjoy Scotty, too.

2.  Can Kerri or Bryant ever come back and get him? No. Never. More importantly, they wouldn’t try. They love Scotty and respect Jeff and me as his parents and Houston as his brother. They chose us to be his family. Also, once the adoption was finalized in court, Scotty got a new birth certificate listing Jeff and me as his legal parents. The judge said, “He is as legally yours as he would be if you had given birth to him.”

3.  Does Scotty know who they are? What does he call them?Scotty is three-and-a-half years old as I write this. A few days ago, I asked him “Where were you born?” He said, “At the doctor’s.” I asked, “Where did you grow before you were born?” He said, “In Kerri’s tummy.” I asked, “Where did Houston grow?” He answered, “In your tummy.” Then, unprompted, he said, “Mama loves me and Kerri loves me.”

4.  Is it hard for Kerri to see him? I asked her this same question. She said that it is emotional but actually makes her feel really good about the decision she made to place him with us. She said she loves seeing him happy, growing, and learning. Instead of regret, she finds validation.

5.  Is it tough on you to visit with them? Yes, mostly because I dreamed eight years for a baby and cannot comprehend the sacrifices they’ve all made to make my dream come true. Plus, I always want my sweet toddler and my pre-teen son to behave and engage Scotty’s birth family with kindness and affection. My anxiety is based on my own emotional stress. Scotty’s birth family has always been very sweet to us. The experience, for me, is tiring but rewarding. And I’m always in awe of how much love they show toward both my children.

6.  When do you think Kerri will move on with her life?  Our open adoption relationship actually helps Kerri “move on” with her life. When I share Scotty news and pictures with her, she laughs and compliments him and me and brags about his genetics. She is an extremely well-adjusted birth mother (much thanks to counseling from our agency pre- and post-placement). Kerri is 25 and doing well.

7.  How long will you keep talking to them?  Kerri made me a mother again and made my son a brother. I will talk to her for the rest of our lives. She is my friend and she is Scotty’s birthmother.

8.  Won’t the relationship be confusing for Scotty?  Open adoption helps alleviate mystery and confusion for birth parents and adoptees. Scotty will know his birth family, genetic roots, the circumstances of his conception and birth, and, most importantly, that he is loved by those who created him and those who parent him. The truth is not confusing. The truth is liberating.

9.  What about when he’s a teenager? Do you think he’ll ever want to go live with Kerri or Bryant? No. In every essence of our beings, Jeff and I are his parents. In every essence of Scotty’s being and life experience, he will know he’s our son. Nature and nurture do not compete. They complement. Kerri, Bryan, Jeff, and I have the same goal: for Scotty to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually sound and happy.

10.  Do you wish you had a closed adoption? Honestly, sometimes I do envy my friends who simply “got their babies” and have no entanglements with the birth families of their children. Perhaps a closed adoption would be easier for me. But adoption isn’t just about me. It’s about everyone involved. Every time I speak to Scotty’s birth family, I am in awe of their strength, compassion, sacrifice, and love. I sincerely love Kerri and Bryant. Open adoption has taught me more about faith and love than any experience in my life. Plus, in my heart, I think open adoption suits our families’ personalities (adoptive and birth) and that, in the end, Scotty will benefit most of all. He will never question, never doubt that he was and is loved by his birth family. And, if he ever does, all he has to do is ask them.


Do you see the baby in the clouds? An ethereal ultrasound?


Several authors and I reduced our books' prices to $0.99 on Kindle for the entire month of November. As a sign of support and understanding, share this list with (or buy these books for) relatives and friends touched in some way by infertility, crisis pregnancy, or adoption. Readers who don't have Kindle devices can download the free Kindle app from the books' Amazon.com pages. 
The books' topics range from infertility to domestic to international to foster adoption. 

CLICK the covers to learn more.




                





  






Happy Friday!



Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy National Adoption Awareness Month! Share with someone you love.

Readers, November is National Adoption Awareness Month. In honor of this special recognition and all the families affected by infertility, adoption, and crisis pregnancy, I will post a relevant article in my blog each week.

Today, I share "Open Adoption: What it is not. What it is." I wrote this article for fellow adoption author Gayle Swift's blog. Gayle and her daughter wrote ABC, Adoption & ME, a delightful children's book.  Please read this article and share it with anyone you think it may help. 

Also:

Click the links at the bottom of my post today to read the first five chapters of The Eye of Adoption.

Click the link at the bottom of my post to see fantastic adoption-themed books that are on sale for 99 cents throughout the month of November!

Enjoy, and happy Friday!

Love,
Bug

I wrote this article for the wonderful organization Adoptimist.com, a company committed to help men and women realize the dream of becoming parents!


Open Adoption: What it is not. What it is.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 @ 06:10 PM
In this week’s blog, GIFT is pleased to feature a guest blogger.  Jody Cantrell Dyer, author  of Eye of AdoptionParents, Stop and Think and Field DayJody is a mom by both birth and open adoption, and a teacher; she blogs at Theories Size 12. Jody writes with honesty, wit, and wisdom and is a vibrant voice for adoption. We asked Jody to write about her open adoption experience. Enjoy her insights.

Open Adoption: What it is not. What it is.
Jody Cantrell Dyer, author of The Eye of Adoption

Eye of adoptionAs fascinating and difficult as six exhausting years of infertility treatments and two years of the arduous domestic adoption process were for me, almost all the inquisitive remarks I receive from other people these days surround one topic: my family’s open adoption with my son Scotty’s birth parents, Bryant and Kerri.
Only two days ago, a colleague asked me, “What exactly does ‘open adoption’ mean?”
I gave my usual response, saying, “Open adoption simply means that there is direct contact between a child’s birth family and adoptive family. The level of contact in each situation is as unique as the people involved.”
 I consider it a privilege to enlighten others and create kinship within and around the adoption community. Because each adoption is different, and I am an adoptive mother (not a lawyer or social worker) I only feel qualified to write about my family’s open adoption. After my inquisitive colleague’s question, I reflected on the most common misconceptions people have. Almost always, they mention what open adoption is NOT, perhaps out of ignorance, perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of worry on my behalf. Almost always, I end up improving their understanding.
Open adoption is not co-parenting. Scotty’s birth certificate reads “Jeff and Jody Dyer” as his legal parents from birth. We have an older, biological son, Houston (12). Our “rights” with both boys are identical. Kerry and Bryant make no decisions regarding Scotty. They do share, however, in the joys of watching him learn and develop.
Open adoption relationships are not legally binding. My and Jeff’s obligation to Kerri and Bryant is one of a moral promise, not a legal contract. Honestly, I do feel obligated to them. Why wouldn’t I? They made us parents again and made Houston a brother. Jeff and I genuinely respect and care for Kerri and Bryant and are honored to keep in touch with them. We consider them friends.
Open adoption relationships are not confusing. In fact, the situation is clear. We met Scotty’s birth parents about four months before he was born. In that time, we got to know each other and built a relationship of trust. We refer to Kerri as Scotty’s birth mother and Bryant as Scotty’s birth father. He calls them by their first names. Scotty is only four years old, so his understanding is basic and sweet.
A few months ago, I said to him (as I often do), “Houston grew in Mama’s tummy, right?”
Scotty said, “Right!”
I asked, “Where did you grow?”
He happily shouted, “In Kerri’s tummy!”
Then, unprovoked, he added, “Kerri loves me!”
Open adoption is not always simple for adults to understand, but Scotty seems to comprehend quite well. He knows he’s loved by his birth family and his adoptive family.
CLICK HERE to see the wonderful books on sale throughout November. (Once there, click on book cover images to visit the authors' Kindle pages).



Do you see the baby in the clouds? An ethereal ultrasound?


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Share with someone you know who is affected by infertility, adoption, or crisis pregnancy!

Readers, November is National Adoption Awareness Month. In honor of this special recognition and all the families affected by infertility, adoption, and crisis pregnancy, I will post a relevant article in my blog each week.

Today, I share "Don't Hate the Wait." The Wait for a child can be grueling for hopeful parents. Do not underestimate the weight of the wait! Please read this article and share it with anyone you think it may help. 

Also:

Click the links at the bottom of my post today to read the first five chapters of The Eye of Adoption.

Click the link at the bottom of my post to see fantastic adoption-themed books that are on sale for 99 cents throughout the month of November!

Enjoy, and happy Friday!

Love,
Bug

I wrote this article for the wonderful organization Adoptimist.com, a company committed to help men and women realize the dream of becoming parents!


May 11, 2013

Don’t Hate the Wait. Learn From It.


Adoptimist.com families, I congratulate you for having the heart to begin the adoption journey. One of my friends acknowledged, “Everything about adoption is hard, except loving the child.” I agree, and I think you are in the hardest part of the whole experience: the mysterious, incalculable WAIT. But, The Wait will strengthen you. The Wait will educate you. The Wait will make you better parents.
I hate to wait. If a restaurant hostess hands me a buzzer, I beg my family to eat in the bar. In the springtime, I purchase and plant all my annuals on the same day to rush the bloom of color in my yard. My computer often locks up because I open too many windows and the applications can’t match the speed of my commands.
My husband, Jeff, and I had our first child, Houston, in January 2002. That same year, we began trying to conceive a second child, and, for the next six years, endured costly, embarrassing infertility treatments with no success. From 2002 to 2008, life routinely schooled me on grief, prayer, tolerating thoughtless comments, and overcoming intense emotional pain. Then we began the domestic adoption process. You can imagine that the adoption route was a significant challenge for an impatient person like me, already weary and tired of waiting for a baby.
The next two years proved to be the greatest education of my life, and I would like to share a few of the lessons I learned.
Lesson #1: Ask for help. You need it, you deserve it, and people are happy help you. Who doesn’t want to be part of a sweet adoption story? The prayer committee at my church, our friends, our doctors, the copy shop down the street, and even our veterinarian played a part in bringing our son home, once I asked.
Lesson #2: Trust other people. My husband is a procrastinator, but he eventually did everything I asked of him, and did it beautifully. Family members, social workers, clergy, and physicians have the same goal you do: a healthy child in a healthy home, but not necessarily on your schedule. Give them time.
Lesson #3: When we become frustrated as we wait in lines, we are likely focused on ourselves. We think, “Hurry up! Now I’ll have to lug my groceries through the rain, or “Great, now I am going to be late for work.” Instead of obsessing over your goal (which is totally worth obsessing over), concentrate on serving other people, especially the birth family. After you meet your child’s birthparents, your mind may still wander in worry that they will change their minds. That is normal. But, instead of panicking for you, pray for them.
The Wait allows hopeful parents time to become just that — parents. When you welcome your baby, you will need help. Ask for it. When you have to work, get the flu, or just need a break, you will have to depend on other people. Trust them. Take time now to master the most important parenting skill of all — putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own. Focus on the birth family.
In May 2010, on Jeff’s birthday, we welcomed our second child, Scotty. I thank God, social workers, selfless birthparents, and The Wait, for preparing me, not only to have a baby, but also to be my baby’s mother.
In order to encourage, enlighten, and even entertain adoptive families, I narrate my family’s adoption journey in my book, The Eye of Adoption: the true story of my turbulent wait for a baby. I hope that, by reading my post and perhaps my book, the lessons I learned will help you as you endure The Wait.

CLICK HERE to see the wonderful books on sale throughout November. (Once there, click on book cover images to visit the authors' Kindle pages).
Need more help? Email me at jdyer415@yahoo.com. I love encouraging waiting parents.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Theory 53: This only child loves attention. And appreciates her readers.

I wore a bra for the first time today. Whoa, let me rephrase that. I wore a bra for the first time in 1984 at the ripe old age of 9. I wore a bra for the first time today since my surgery, October 1. Today is October 24. I’m not going to lie. I’m actually going to be cliché and say the same two sentences that EVERY woman I have EVER met who has had breast reduction has uttered with total certainty:

1. “It is the best decision I have ever made.”
2. “I should have done it ten years ago.”

In last week’s post, I stressfully summarized my state of mind/blog ability for the day by writing, “See Theory 52.” I literally (no pun intended) had time to type two words and one number. As I explained in Theory 52, I have BIG things happening now and in the near future. Let me recap and update you readers who are probably already sick of hearing me write about me (thanks, by the way, because your attention and comments and emails truly help me):

ISSUE 1:                Breast reduction surgery.
STATUS:               Completed! Whooooooooooooop!
That/they is/are out of the way. Yay! I honestly believe that getting Atlantic and Pacific reduced and out of my way has changed the speed at which I operate. Burdens were lifted. I can mop faster, reach higher, high five without bumping boobs with the other high-fiver, lie on my back and read. Heck, I can even cross my arms! My buddy Digits is working up the nerve. She took one look at me and emailed my surgeon. Go girl! Get rid of those girls!

My surgeon


ISSUE 2:               MASTER’S DEGREE
STATUS:               Lucky me!
I have earned the privilege of sitting in one spot for four straight hours tomorrow (Saturday) to take a comprehensive exam. I must articulate my teaching philosophy. That’ll be fun. Oh, and did you all know that tomorrow is game day, Tennessee vs. Alabama? Buck Fama. Sorry. Had to. #VolForLife#GBO

Pimp that ride

#VolsForLife

ISSUE 3:                STUDENT ANTHOLOGY PROJECT
STATUS:                Yee. Freakin. Haw.
Delicious, Red Hot Backspace, and I edited, formatted, proofed, and labored through the impossible: inserting footers to finish the manuscript. I uploaded the big         fancy final project to my publisher/distributor yesterday and ordered a hard copy proof. Even the cover looks good!  Next, I get students to collect orders from family and friends. We are planning a book launch with the Scone-Ad’s Teen Living and Family & Consumer Science classes. I can’t wait to launch this book with my students. I am unbelievably proud of my students. I can’t wait!!!



ISSUE 4:                FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT WITH BIRTH FAMILY
STATUS:                 I feel some major adoptive mother guilt here. 
While I barely have time to come up for air (though I am breathing more easily thanks to ISSUE 1), I still desire to do anything and everything Tinkerbelle (Gnome’s birthmother) desires. She is more than reasonable and very sweet and respectful. Even my subconscious is stressed about this issue. Two nights ago, I dreamed that she was pregnant again. We were at a party together and all my cousins were there to meet Tinkerbelle. (No one in my family has met Tinkerbelle). Anyway, she and I had on long, layered, neon dresses. The dresses were designed to burn one layer at a time, from the bottom up. HUH? Once our dresses were mini-skirts, we got tattoos together. Say what?!? Ideas? Suggested prescriptions for me?

MOST FAVORITE PICTURE EVER IN MY WORLD


ISSUE 5:                POTENTIAL CAREER CHANGE 
STATUS:                SAFE, BUT INSECURE, BUT SECURE, BUT UNSURE

I'll just say this. Look, insurance is the name of the game. The moment Tall Child and I left the safe harbor of my banking career and all its benefits, Sharky tripped and broke his two front teeth in half. Then, I had a female “issue”---nothing shameful, just aggravating. Then, we adopted Gnome. All under the fake-pathetic-rip-off whatever coverage of a BCBS (BS) self-employment policy. Needless to say, we paid premiums AND all medical expenses. As Tall Child put it, “The only way that insurance policy was going to pay off was if one of us got cancer.” Well, I guess that’s why they call it catastrophic coverage. It’s catastrophic alright. Let me think of all the C words that apply:

Catastrophic
Costly
Con
Credit goes to crap
Corrupt industry
Can’t go to the doctor when you are sick unless you won the TN State Lottery
Continuous anxiety and expense
Certainty that your “self-employed” rear will leave that comfy house-wife sofa to land on a teacher stool

Okay, I’m off the insurance soap box. Anyway, my job and health insurance status are safe, but I’ve gone and applied to a fantastic former employer. I am waiting to hear if they have an offer, and for how much. And then I’ll do the math. The mental math. 

Here are the variables in this equation:
Income
Time off
Stress level
Opportunities to be creative
Opportunities to make even more money
Opportunities to help my family and help others
Further education/training

Here are the constants:
Sharky
Gnome
Tall Child
Delicious
TIME I NEED to party in Townsend, which brings us to ISSUE 6



ISSUE 6:                RIVERDANCE
I told you that Delicious (a retired school teacher who knows exactly how much it costs in gas to get from Sevierville to Knoxville and back) and I, a fledgling school teacher/possibly banker/unsure really, are trying to buy a second home in Townsend, TN. Look. We dream big!!! We do not factor money into our dreams. Why would we? Sometimes we have it. Sometimes we don’t. We are still here. When we dream, we work. And, despite what we lack in the beginning, we usually see our dreams come to fruition.

When Pooh passed away, Delicious made about $25,000 a year and I was a freshman in                 college. I took my pitiful self to IHOP and worked. Hard. I helped her pay bills. I high school, I busted (burst) my behind to secure scholarships. I worked. Hard. I graduated early with no debt.

When I met Tall Child, I knew I wanted to marry him. I was a perfect girlfriend. No ultimatums. No pressure. I never did one stick of his laundry. We didn’t live together. Heck, I bought my own house when I was 25. I worked. Hard. Many years later, he fell               prey to my predatory ways. Happily ever after…sort of…you know the drill. Poor guy.

After Sharky, we wanted another baby. For the next eight years, Tall Child and I struggled through the misery of infertility and its treatments, then the   mental/financial/emotion test from Heaven and helk: the adoption process. I worked. Hard. When we applied for adoption, I had $100. Two years later, we brought home our Gnome. I worked hard and was blessed beyond measure to meet Tinkerbelle.

I dreamed of becoming a published author. I dreamed of writing something that would minister to the adoption community. Tall Child said I was crazy and didn’t have time. I woke up at 5 a.m. for a solid year. I worked. Hard. I published The Eye of Adoption in March 2013. Since then, I’ve published a small collection of essays, a short story, and I’ve written countless articles and blog posts.

So Delicious and I want a second home, a dumpy little cabin that’s more like a box-shaped tent, close to the Little River. Why? Because that was Delicious and Pooh’s dream. Just looking for a place has given her new life! We act in faith, ya’ll. So should you. I bought diapers and baby blankets in the eight years I waited for Gnome. Delicious and I scavenge through Goodwill and thrift shops for river house furniture. We aren’t greedy. We aren’t even materialistic. Once, I did a spreadsheet and showed Tall Child my figures. I spend around $1500 on myself per year. (That amount even included two Dollywood Gold Passes and two Knoxville zoo passes)! I’m frugal from day to day. I’m conservative.

In The Eye of Adoption, I quote an acquaintance who said, “If what you are doing is right with God, the money will show up.”

Delicious and I are dreamers. And, we share the spoils of our dreams with those we love. We don’t buy stuff. We buy experiences and memories!

Do I come across as self-involved lately? If so I apologize. And, at least I admit it. Hey, I’m a stereotypical only child. I like attention, I may communicate in an odd fashion from time to time, I need my mama, and I see the world through a focused view (from me outward). Not sure about all that grammar right there. I’ll get mama to proof. Anyway, thanks for listening/tolerating. Once I get all these big things wrapped up and finalized and over with, I’ll get back to being funny. I promise! I warned you, readers, waaaaaay back in Theory 1: People write diaries hoping someone else will read them.

Readers, what are your dreams? Do people laugh at them, only to respect you later for having the intestinal fortitude to bring those dreams into reality?

Hey, thanks for hanging with me and being this lonely only’s online friends. I value your insight and love you more than you’ll ever know. I wish I could hug you. Though I’m not sure the hug would be as enjoyable as it would have been a month ago.

If you need me, I'll be here (eventually):

Don't let people laugh at your dreams. If they do, don't invite them to the second home you can't afford.

  

See you next post. Until then, DREAM BIG and think outside the barn, no matter how big it is!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Busy Busy Busy

See Theory 52. Ha!

TGIF! (Except that I have class all day tomorrow). Ugh.

Happy weekend, readers!

Bug

Friday, October 10, 2014

Theory 52. Working mothers are “the man.”

Way back in Theory 4: Don’t judge a woman by her accent or breast size, I expounded on the myth that big breasted women are wild and loose. I further explained the burdensome load of being well-endowed in Theory 38: Orthopedic bras aren't sexy. Part DDDD, then H, then J. At the end of that post, I told you that I had scheduled breast reduction surgery. I planned to do it at Christmas time, for two reasons. 1. I’d have plenty of teacher time off to recover, and 2. Last Christmas break was marred by theft, exhausting work, annoying obligations, and, to be honest, grotesque, gag-me-with-a-dead-Smurf shopping that I dread and despise. I figured doing the surgery at Christmas would be par for the yucky pressure-filled seasonal course.

As all working mothers know, plans are pointless. Right? JUST when you think you have everything figured out, all helk breaks lose. And, doesn’t it seem like EVERYTHING happens at once? I am coping with so many “big” things right now, that I had to make a list and tape it to my computer so I wouldn’t neglect a life event. The bullet (not to be confused with bucket) list:

  • Breast reduction surgery (four hours “under” and 2-3 week recuperation time)
  • Finish master’s degree in curriculum and instruction (December comprehensive exams and graduation date)
  • HUGE student anthology project with 470 author-freshmen (Red Hot Backspace and I will edit, format, upload, proof, order, proof, revise, proof, order, ship, etc. by December 9)
  • Gnome’s birth mother wants to do a family photo shoot with ALL of us in October so she can take an album on her trip to visit Gnome’s birth father the first week of November.
  • My principal informed me that I may not have a teaching position at my (the best ever) junior high school next school year. I teach vocational courses and the district is changing the vocational offerings at the high school, which trickles down changes at the freshman level. I have no tenure. Last in, first out. So glad I took accounting so I’d understanding my situation. My dear principal, with whom I have a great relationship, promises to try to find me another position in my district, but she has little to no control over that. And, no one leaves M.C. Schools. I drive 40 minutes one way to work in that prestigious district because the students are ideal, my colleagues are outstanding, and the pay scale is one of the highest in the state. Why, even with a master’s degree (see bullet # 2), I’d take a $7,000 pay cut to work in the county where I live. I’m not sure my attitude would adjust. Plus, Sharky is in a new, pricey school and we still pay daycare. So, that settles that. My options are: get lucky and find some spot (any spot will do) in my perfect district or leave teaching.
  • WHICH MEANS I am job hunting. At the perfect age of 40.
  • The whole family must adjust. Not only may I end up changing jobs, I may end up changing industries, which affects Gnome and Sharky the most (think summer, Christmas, spring break, fall break --- what do I do with them?). And, quite honestly, leaving the education profession will break my heart because I love the creative, dynamic, fulfilling experience that teaching provides.
  • If I change jobs, my new employer may ask that I tone down my blog. I'll keep readers posted if the tone of Theories: Size 12 must change. We'll see. Oh, and, if I change industries, I'll have less time to write. So many goodbyes, potentially, coming my way. But, good things, too!
  • Did I tell ya’ll that Delicious and I are trying to buy an old house near the Little River in Townsend, TN. Sure, why the helk not? Subtract paycheck. Add mortgage. Makes sense to us. HA!
Or, as Gnome would ponder aloud, “Seriouslessness?”

But, I BOUNCE BACK! I've been through much tougher times. Haven’t we all?
Working mothers, these are the reasons I write so often about our toil and triumph! We are so strong! My sweet colleague, Tech Savvy, tried to make me feel better. She suggested, “Bug, why don’t you just hang in there with the district and do some interim work like cover maternity leave for other teachers until [so-and-so] retires at the high school?"

I appreciated her advice, and she is trying really hard to help me by asking around the area about potential openings as well as sincerely praying for me. But, unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of taking interim, short-term, mixed assignments because, as I told her, and as I told my principal, “I am basically the man.” Not “the man” as in a stud, but “the man” as in “the woman” whose job must not only provide a good income, but must also provide health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and retirement benefits.

Please note that I honor and respect my husband. Tall Child is the man, too. He works very hard, loves his job, employers, and clients. He is a good daddy and spends lots of time with Gnome and Sharky. Helk, he even went to the grocery store last week. But, the insurance burden is on me. Even though I sport a uterus, I provide for my family. Just like the traditional, proverbial, bread-winning man.

I figure I'll get some housewife panties in a wad over this post. Yes, it is tiring taking care of children all day. I know. I was a housewife for a bit. But, and I only speak from my personal experience, there is NO comparing the difficulty in being a working mother and being a stay-at-home mother.

Once, in an unwise moment when I was a full-time bank executive working from 8 to 5:30 Monday through Friday (Fridays til 6), with customer call nights every other Thursday til 8 and working every fourth Saturday, 49 weeks a year, Tall Child smarted off, "Wow, this house is a wreck. [Friend's stay-at-home wife] keeps her house clean and smelling good all the time." That was the time I threw my underwear drawer across the bedroom. It shattered. Of course, I had to buy wood glue and fix it.

Sorry, but this is my truth. As my hard-working, single-parenting, dynamo sister-in-law Dogwood Debutante recently said, "Wow, my house would be clean, too, if I had an extra 50 hours a week at home instead of work!"

We've/I've hustled at different levels. A was the hardest. E was the easiest.

Level A: Bank executive
Level B: Teacher and author running small publishing company
Level C: Teacher
Level D: Part-time worker (substitute teacher)
Level E: Housewife

I am not afraid to say that being a housewife (Level E for Excellent) was profoundly easier than being a working mother. Tall Child worked very hard to give me those years with Sharky and I will be forever grateful. Unfortunately, the recession changed things for us. BUT, but, but, I LIKE working, and don't think I'd go back to housewifery again, even if I had the choice. Who knows? And, I may be headed back to Level A, but I'm okay (actually a little excited) to do so. The important thing is that I adapt. That's what working mamas do, right? 

So, friends, forgive my woe-is-me diatribe, but I write from my core, and my core is sore. Oh, yes. Sore from stress, but also, ding!-ding!-ding!, sore from surgery!  Because of the possible mid-year job change, my surgeon agreed to move my surgery up to my fall break (last week). YEE-HAW!

On the morning of October 1, I checked into the hospital a whopping, strap-straining, back-aching size 34J. Late that night, I checked out of the hospital at least 2.7 lbs lighter in the bra and potentially (once the swelling subsides and I can take the bondage-bandages off) 8, yes, E-I-G-H-T cup sizes smaller. YAAAAAAAAAY!

If I weren't looking for a respectable job, I’d post pictures. This is the best I can do. And, it’s not too far off the real deals.

before

after


So, one bullet down (or should I say two bullets down?) and a few to go.

Friends, thanks for listening. I feel like I got a lot off my chest (sorry, couldn't resist). I appreciate you. 

Working mamas, this post is dedicated to you. Keep taking care of business!


Oh, and I DO have a funny post in progress. Stay tuned and think outside the barn!

Love,
Bug


Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!




Friday, September 26, 2014

Theory 51: Old age reveals the true you.

Most children love to have their parents read to them, right? Sharky is supposed to do charitable work, on behalf of his school, each month. The first idea that popped into my mind (because it's sweet, communicative, and inexpensive) was for him to read to an elderly person at a local nursing home. Why? Because many elderly folks (particularly shut-ins) love to have someone read to them.

The old saying, "Once a man, twice a child" is the root of my theory. Great thinkers from Shakespeare to Sophocles to Plato spun their own unique phrases based on this truth. I agree.  Not only do we return to childish ways, we also reveal our true selves.

I watched my precious father-in-law, a gentleman who served as banking commissioner for the state of Tennessee, a philanthropist who led fundraising efforts for an Appalachian community, a husband and father who loved his family with great passion, a “good man” in every sense of the word, become a child in his last years.

It was hard to watch.

It was also sweet to see. Why? Because, even though he was frustrated, tired, and sometimes impatient, he became even more tolerant, more gentle, and kinder with age. That's not always the case, folks.

That's why I am writing Theory 51: Old age reveals the true you.

You always hear that elderly people suffering from dementia can get combative. I am sure there are medical and psychological reasons for this. I am NOT criticizing the sick. Helk, when I’m preoccupied, confused, or under mental duress, my children and students notice. Nothing is more stressful that managing a roaming toddler (or 212 teenagers) when you are worried about your marriage, your job, a diagnosis, a sick relative, etc. Delicious had a rough week around the anniversary of Pooh's death and admitted, "I am not fit to be out in public right now. I'll just say something mean to somebody." 

Well, Delicious is 67 years old. She is not mean, though she does have a quick wit and could nail some folks if she wanted to. Luckily, she also has maturity and composure. For now. Hmmm….

When I was a baby Bug, maybe 4 years old, Delicious, Pooh, and I were at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area in the Great Smoky Mountains. Pooh was rock-hopping and fly-fishing his way through the Little River as Delicious and I enjoyed onion dip, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, Coca-Cola's, and playing at the river’s edge. A man walked through our site and chatted with Delicious. He noticed something, and said to me, "Come here. I want to show you something." I went to his side, where he pointed to a spot on a tree. He said, "Lean really close and look at this snail. He is climbing this tree." The old man and I, heads together, focused on the tiny creature, leaned within five inches of the hard-working snail. The man asked, "What do you think about that?" 

I replied, "He smells like onions!"

Think about all the humiliating phrases your toddlers have garbled out. Here are just a few I've heard from my own boys:

"Somebody in this car is F. A. T."
“Mama, where’d that man’s teeth go?”
And, for my twisted sisters, “#DTMFB!”

A few weeks ago, Delicious and I were cabin (more like dilapidated treehouse on the ground) window-shopping in Townsend, TN (The Peaceful Side of the Smokies).We dropped in to see our buddy-realtor. We walked into the office, and Delicious said, "Yay! I found the only person in Townsend bigger than I am!"

Geez. I tried to cover, but it was out there. Funny thing is, he just laughed and laughed. They are the same age. 

Roscoe's wife, a West Coast beauty with perfect skin and poise, often reminds her hot-headed husband, “Use your filters.”

Filters. That's what we lose!

We spend years 0-70 building and perfecting our filters at home, at work, in sports arenas, at parties with alcohol, and at church when people try to put us on committees. In our later years, our friends and family watch those decades of "personal improvement" disintegrate with one diagnosis or a couple of strong prescriptions. Ugh. 

I tell my smart-aleck students all the time, "You can think whatever you want. You just can’t say whatever you think."

I've read that a child's true personality develops by age 7. Suppose we all follow individual bell curves—child….up to man…back down to child again—does that mean we turn the impetuous 5-7 and reveal who we are and what we really think?

Evidence?

·         A man I knew, a successful farmer and businessman, was always well-behaved. However, when he got old, his doctor’s office asked him to use the back door because he talk-shouted offensive remarks at patients sitting around the waiting room.

·         One Christmas, my whole extended family was seated around Delicious’s dining room table enjoying chicken salad sandwiches, chili, and chocolate chip cookies when an aunt said, “You know, of all the grandchildren, BT has The. Best. In-laws. Hands down!” My whole extended family, including their spouses, were there.

·         A great aunt said to Delicious, back in an 80’s chubby spell, “Well, Delicious, you have gotten fat. And Bug is well on her way.”

·         In front of a crowd of men, women and children, an absent-minded in-law said, “Wow, Bug, I never realized how LARGE your breasts are!” (I was wearing a swimsuit.)

~ ~ ~ 

My grandmother, known here as “Buddy,” used to say, “Age is no excuse for rudeness.” Amen, Grandmama Buddy! Then again, if I can use senility as an excuse, I could really be free. FREE. Freeeeeeeeeeeee to say what I don’t have the guts to say these young days at 40  years old. Though I do, scarily, hear myself sentence-slipping now and then. I worry. If the real me is a tongue-lashing, lamp-throwing, waiting room harasser, will I even know? Heck, will I even care?

I’d like some fun feedback on this post, ya’ll. Here are some questions to ponder and answer:

1. When we age, we lose teeth, hair, flexibility, cartilage, elasticity, and filters. What else do we lose?

2. What has your child or an elderly relative said that humiliated you? How did you recover?

3. Do you think an old Tall Child will finally tell me to shut the helk up?

Sharky - Mouthy by Genetic Code
I CAN NOT WAIT to hear what the Twisted Sisters have to say in 20 years.

Help? Is anyone out there who can save me?


Ha!!! TGIF!!!

Comment here or on Facebook at Theories: Size 12!

See you next post! Until then, think outside the barn.

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website: www.jodydyer.com

Facebook: Theories: Size 12 (See each post, comment, share, and talk directly with others readers and me!) I'd LOVE to hear your theories!