Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Mean Girls" grow up

This is a very difficult blog post to write. I am sure somehow that there is a lesson to be learned by this experience.

As I write, my daughter is in her room preparing for her first day of high school. A day that is clouded by emotional turmoil caused by a woman who believes it is her place to pass judgement on those she does not know. As if high school isn't hard enough for those poor kids actually going through it. It seems some never lose the mentality they developed there.

The baggage from these 4 years, stay with us forever. For me, there is a self consciousness about my nose brought on from comment by a boy that I didn't even like. There is also a feeling that people forget about me when I leave the room, because my soccer team 'forgot' to tell me about the team dinner (let's not analyze this episode and my tiara). ..Then there is a mistrust of women...yes... because of the snide comments and giggles directed at me ..not even behind my back.

Now, I don't pretend to think I was the only one to endure this rediculousness - Most of us have.

I have had more than one man ask me "why are women so mean to each other, you would think they would support each other." Why? because we learned not to trust them. It is a strange dicotomy, because we also learned to have deep and abiding friendships.

With the on set of social networking, I have reconnected with many people from HS. I have picked up with my best friend like no time has passed. I have developed a friendship with the woman that I always liked, but we were never in the same circles. I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with the boy that was voted most likely to succeed...this boy...if I thought I had it rough...My experience was NOTHING compared to what he had to have endured. I am thrilled whenever I read his posts..he is happy with great friends...and is still completely true to himself - I always hope that I was never on the hurting end of things with him.

It seems we don't outgrow it. Look around any organization - work, the PTA, the booster club, they are all there:
The golden boy who can do no wrong in the eyes of the boss, or we all agree with, stupid grins plastered on our faces.

The over achieving star of the show who appears to be screaming 'look at me' with every move.

The Nerd who we wonder how they every manage to NEVER learn social skills.

The Mean Girls who treat everyone like their assistant or like to point out your short-comings before anyone can notice theirs.

For me it is time to make it stop - Time to stop walking with my head down until they pass.

If we don't outgrow it...will we take it to the retirement home?...just in case, I'm going to save my pennies to buy a red scooter to drive to the bocci ball game.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Your Neighborhood Heroes

I have been thinking a lot about heroes lately. What defines a hero? For me and I am sure for you too it is someone who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of others. My heart still aches when I see something on TV about the NYC Fire Department or when I think of the passengers on Flight 93 laying down their lives in a Pennsylvania field. I think of my son and the other 550 young marines at their boot camp graduation last fall. All brave and ready to take on whatever life or the Corps hands them. But what about the heroes next door.

When my son was an adolescent, somewhere between 11 and 13, he came home one day, thrilled to have made a new friend. All evening, each statement started with the phrase “Mom, wait until you meet Steven!” I did eventually meet Steven. He was tall for his age, where my son was not so tall for his age. They looked like Mutt and Jeff, walking around the neighborhood getting into all sorts of mischief…doing things I am sure I do not want to know about.

As they grew up, they remained friends moving from bicycles & snakes to trucks & women.

These two boys grew into beautiful men. My son to the Marine Corps and Steven to the Texas Department of Prisons as a guard (despite a side trip into modeling that landed him in a Giorgio Armani magazine ad). These boys, these men…chose the road to give back to their community.

Ten days ago we buried Steven.

He lost his life, not while he was serving his state at work. He lost his life helping a friend. Pulling himself out of bed at 3am, while fighting some sort of illness, to help a friend…He ended up in the middle of a domestic dispute.

Please take time to thank those that are givers in your life. They may not have chosen to put on a uniform daily. But you know who I am talking about, the friend that you can always count on ….the one that would crawl out of a sick bed to help you. Hug them now. Love them now. Thank them now.

Acknowledge your neighborhood heroes.