Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dressing up Comp 101

Getting dressed and online college comp 101 wouldn’t seem to have much in common, but for me they are very similar. Both of them involve a lot of pulling stuff out, seeing what works together, and discarding many of the choices. There is also accessorizing involved with each of them. A good outfit needs just the “right” accessories to go with them and a good essay also needs the “write” accessories.

Prompt reactions correlate to getting dressed for work. Getting dressed for work is fairly easy as the outfit is there for me. I have choices, such as do I wear the long or short sleeve blue shirt today, but it will always be with blue pants. My hair has to be pulled up, but will I wear my hair in a ponytail or will I just throw it in a clip tonight? Prompts are similar in that the material is there; I just take it and make it my own. Which one strikes my fancy on the day I write compares to how I will wear my hair on any given night. What I put in the prompt is similar to picking the short sleeve or long sleeve shirt. It’s decided by what strikes my fancy at that given moment. Choices exist with both, but they are limited to what someone else has deemed.

Freestyles are similar to getting dressed on my day off. Both are determined my choice and mood. My day off attire can be dressy requiring a lot of effort, or sloppy with just enough effort to be presentable at the corner store. Hair can be up or down, maybe not even washed if I’m feeling really lazy. Freestyles can be dressed up on the days you want to really put the effort into it. They are also acceptable if made just presentable enough that they give the instructor something to comment on. Freestyles and day off clothing are both entirely at my whim.

Five graf essays equate to getting ready for a big night on the town or an important business meeting. First, with both there is a decision on what image I want to present for the given event, whether the essay or the outfit. For the outfit, I start by pulling half dozen possible outfits out of the closet. For the essay, I pick half dozen topics to start narrowing down from. I start narrowing down the outfit to the one that might most appropriate to the occasion I am attending. Narrowing down the topic for the essay depends on the type essay assigned. A lot of throwing things aside happens with each. Once I have picked out the outfit or the essay topic, both need to start with a good base. Proper undergarments are needed for the clothes, basic paragraphs for the essay. Then the meat of the outfit comes next whether it is a dress or nice suit. It compares to the essay in that next comes the meat of the topic. This is where you are going to grab the attention of the reader or people at the event. Accessories to the outfit are the finishing touch that will make my outfit uniquely mine. Accessories to the essay are the little phrases or twists of humor that give me ownership of it.

College comp 101 and getting dressed can be easy or complicated depending on what the assignment or occasion is. Freestyles and days off give me the most freedom while prompt reactions and getting dressed work are probably the least imaginative of tasks. Five graf essays and the getting dressed for the big occasion allow for the most planning and imagination.

I love my daughter but man can she drive me crazy. She has been a “difficult child” as long as I can remember. She can be the sweetest most loving daughter that a mother could ask for or she can drive me to the point of absolute despair. We will go for long periods at a time with the perfect mother daughter relationship, and then she will do something that hurts me so deeply that I don’t think I will recover from the pain. Always, in the end though my love for her outweighs the hurt she causes me.

At sixteen Amanda, like most teenage girls, was rebellious. She had a boyfriend that at first seemed like a nice guy, but as the relationship grew, they started to do things without my knowledge or permission. When called on this, her reaction was to run away with her boyfriend. For days, I had no knowledge of where she was or even if she was okay. I was a wreck not knowing if I would ever even see her again. They finally returned home, and she truly believed there would be no consequences. When I handed out punishment, her retaliation was to move out of my house and in with her boyfriend. She and her boyfriend came with the police to get her belongings. (Believe it or not at 16, she could not be forced to live at home) I was in tears begging her to stay. She was a typical cocky 16 year old teenager with no regards for anyone else’s feeling. For months we had no contact until I reached out and we resumed a tenuous relationship. Things were starting to get repaired and I was happy to have my baby girl back.

Amanda hadn’t moved home but at least we were in the process of having a relationship. Then Amanda knocked on the door one night and blurted out that she was pregnant. My baby was a junior in high school and pregnant. Guess who no longer had any interest in being involved? The boyfriend; shocker I know. Amanda moved home and the bond of having to struggle brought us closer than ever. We worked together to get things ready for the baby. I worked 70 to 80 hours a week so we could have all the things required for a baby. She went to school and worked a part time job. Times were tough but our relationship was solid. Stephen was born and we worked hard together to give him a good beginning. Amanda was still in school, so I assumed a lot of responsibilities of a mother not a grandmother. I was a proud mother the day of her high school graduation. I knew it hadn’t been easy for her to finish high school with a baby. Life was hard for us, but that was okay because I had a solid relationship with my daughter. Unfortunately, like many things in life, this too would pass. When Stephen was 18 months old, Amanda took him and left one day while I was at work and moved back in with her boyfriend. Amanda and I both knew as long as she was with her boyfriend there would be no relationship for us. I was devastated beyond belief. I thought I would never recover.

My baby and grandson were gone. I thought the pain would never end. Slowly though, I once again recovered. Amanda and I had no contact for a long time. It was a daily ache for me, as now I missed my grandson as much as I missed her. But time and a grandchild softened me. One more time Amanda and I slowly repaired our relationship. I did not approve of her boyfriend; however she was an adult, so he was her choice, not mine. We started doing adult things together and I got to be a grandmother. We seemed to be on solid footing, but then the other shoe dropped. Amanda called me at work in tears, from jail. She had been arrested for being with her boyfriend when he had sold some stolen guns. All the other hurts seemed small as I waited in the lobby of the jail to bail her out. I was angry, but I was also devastated at the thought of my baby girl going to jail. How could this be the same sweet child, I had brought home swaddled all in pink 24 years ago? I bailed her out, helped her find a lawyer, and stood by her during the process. She got off relatively light with minimal jail time, but before being arrested had gotten pregnant again, by the same boyfriend. She served her time; I visited every Sunday leaving in tears. Seeing her pregnant in jail was an emotional nightmare. Amanda was released and the boyfriend dumped her for good this time. She was now a single mother of 2 small boys, had a criminal conviction, no job prospects, and no home. She didn’t come home to me though. This time she wasn’t my baby anymore, she was my adult daughter with real adult problems. We worked together as adults, to help her turn things around.

So, we continue our mother daughter relationship. We have weathered many hard times. My love for her still knows no ends and she still has the ability to hurt me deeply. I will always be there for her, but have learned that I can recover from the pain she causes me at times. I also know that we have the ability to rebuild our relationship when it goes through tough times.

Before last week when I thought of a disaster, I thought of hurricanes, blizzards, or anything that could potentially destroy a physical thing. On Tuesday, April 21 disaster hit me face on. My Dad suffered a stroke, one that seems to be taking the very essence of the only stable man in the 46 years of my life. How can this be a disaster one may wonder? It would seem to be more of an emotional trial than a disaster, but as the days unfold disaster seems to be the only description that aptly fits.

My Dad is a self made man (I almost used was). He started his first business at the age of 12 and progressed from there. Now he isn’t a Fortune 500 guy by any stretch of the imagination. He sweat and toiled every day for what he has. As kids, we didn’t see much of him; he was always working to keep things going. He felt that to have it done right he had to be the one who did it. It is one trait I inherited from him good or bad. Over the years he built a piece of waterfront property into a well developed piece of commercial property. He built a business that included commercial fishing and property development. A great accomplishment it would seem, except for the fact he made no provisions for what to be done with it should he not be able to work it anymore. Now three children who love him very much are faced with what to do. So why is that a disaster? Like many families of today, to say we are not close would not even be an accurate description. We are the textbook definition of dysfunctional. My brother wants to continue to work it, it is the only thing he has known his whole life. My sister and I agree on that point, but how the end result will be accomplished is where all paths split. One of us wants things to remain status quo for a while to see what happens with Dad and the other thinks we need to look at the long term in the case Dad is unable to return. My brother just wants the stability to be assured a weekly income. Many arguments have ensued at a time when we should be focusing on uniting as a family for the benefit of Dad. A disaster in the making for a family that lost their mother a year ago and now is in imminent danger of losing their father. This family is being ripped apart at a time when we really need each other and we can’t seem to pull together at a time when we really need each other.

The financial end of my Dads’ stroke is not the only disaster to come from it. We have been told Dad will not be coming home from the hospital. He will have to go to a nursing home. My Dad would be mortified if he could assimilate what is going to happen to him. Dad is the epitome of the outdoorsman. He spent most every day on the ocean and if not there he was in a truck plowing snow. His life revolved around the outdoors. He was sick 2 years ago and miserable does not describe his mood. He was mean and nasty like a hurt caged animal. No one ever imagines they will end up in a facility such as a nursing home, but for him, torture is an appropriate word. He may not make the connection, but we can never by sure of the process of the mysterious mind. Once again at a time when we should be pulling together for his sake we are tearing apart. We all have our opinions on where we would like him to go and why we would like him there. My brother and I live close enough that we are concerned about the quality of the facility he goes to and my sister is in partial agreement, but has some reservations that are leading to a whole new set of disagreements. Every decision we have to make seems to make the disaster grow.

Just when it seemed that things couldn’t get worse we find out that in addition to not making financial arrangements in case he became ill, nor has he made any end of life arrangements. He has verbalized that he doesn’t want machines to keep him alive but has put nothing in writing to that effect. He has also done nothing about what will transpire with his properties. If things continue in the same manner they are now, I am afraid our very fragile family will be finished when those decisions come to pass. At least now we have the hope that Dad is going to recover and things will return to some sense of normalcy. If Dad dies, before he puts his wishes to a legal document, the disaster that is now will be of small scale compared to that.

Disaster seems like such a selfish word to describe what is happening, because it infers that the tragedy is happening to me. It is appropriate though, because in a disaster things that were once stable become destroyed with only remnants left. What remains to be seen now is whether this is a disaster from which something will be salvaged and rebuilt or will everything lie in rubble never to be repaired? Will the 3 of us pull together and build on this or will this be the end of us as a family? As with all disasters, only time will tell, if we are repairable or not.