"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day

Happy May Day! May Day coincides with the Pagan fertility festival of Beltane and is sort of the New Year easing us into the summer. In the old days, they’d light bonfires and cavort around being silly on the hillsides. Babies born nine months later were considered blessed. I think it was primarily an excuse to go off and smooch in the moonlight.

I turned in my notice to the Court, yesterday. I expected immediate buyer’s remorse but so far, it hasn’t hit. Honestly, I think it is time but ask me again when the bills come due. A large part of me is already starting to think about missing the interaction with the families. While stressful, I really do enjoy the work. Regardless, taking this step makes it easier to shift, mentally, into thinking about what I want to do, next. From a practical standpoint, now I know when my schedule will open up enough to devote significant time to something else. I love my flexible schedule but an open hour here and three hours there while great for part-time work, doesn’t lend itself to committing to a different job. I don’t plan to take on a regular nine to five. I want to continue to work from home.

A friend suggested I stitch up dog beds.

Pearl lost her last baby canine, this morning.

I made the mistake of not insisting that she sleep in her crate, last night. Turns out, she isn’t ready to be a free range dog so as of 2:00 a.m., she was back in her crate and will continue sleeping there for the time being.

I knew better than that.

GAL stuff: Perhaps it has always taken place, but I seem to have a lot of female wards whose parents allow them to move in with their high school boyfriend. Almost invariably, these girls don’t have a father living in the home. I suspect the wimpiest dad wouldn’t put up with that. The mothers invariably look me in the eye and insist that the kids aren’t sleeping together. I can’t decide if they are idiots or they think I am.

Anyway you look at it, rest assured that I think these parents are idiotic. It isn’t simply a moral question. By allowing their teenaged daughter to move in with her teenaged boyfriend (good god - who would want THAT burden?), they are shoving her down the road to a partnership that she (and he) isn’t mature enough to handle. When she lives under his roof, her “power” is diminished. If they have a disagreement, she can’t retreat. She has no safe place. She is, at an early age, dependant on him. If his parents take her side, the energy in that home is going to get pretty ugly. This has all kinds of alarming connotations and the uneven dynamic is likely to shape both their relationship and any subsequent relationships she may have.

Teen romances sometimes turn out like a happy fairy tale. But most don’t. Why parents (many of whom are divorced multiple times) think their kids are going to live happily ever after when they are taking on so much responsibility at such a tender age leaves me shaking my head.

A broken heart is a miserable, frequently life changing experience at any age. Depositing your teenaged daughter into the house (and bed) of a teenaged lover places her at high risk to not only end up pregnant, but be faced with the humiliation of living in her beau’s home if he decides Susie Q down the street looks pretty fetching. Teenaged boys are notoriously fickle. It is one thing for a teenager to find out her boyfriend is a cheater, slap his lying face, turn on her heel and refuse to accept his pathetic calls begging for forgiveness. That is practically a rite of passage and serves to steel her spine, deepen her character, and learn that she doesn’t have to put up with that nonsense – surrounded by supportive family who assure her that she is lovable, wonderful and that she will be better off without him because it wasn’t a good match.

Contrast that with the female who is living in the youthful cad’s home and dependant on his mom to feed her. Even if she gets the gumption to move out, she is more or less going with her tail between her legs. And frankly, the chances that his parents are going to pressure the two of them to kiss and make up is high. So you frequently end up with one of those volatile, angry relationships characterized by fighting and cheating and making up and staying together out of guilt and parental pressure when it would have been better to maintain their youthful dignity and walk away.

Alternatively, if daughter gets the itch, she has been set up to be dishonest and a cheater – a road fraught with all kinds of negative long term consequences. It is hard enough to do the right thing when you haven’t completely structured your life around your boyfriend with the blessing of his family. Not only would she be cheating on her boyfriend but, if discovered, she is going to enrage his parents who are her landlords and have probably been treating her like a member of the family and dreaming of grandbabies.

Parents who allow their teenager to live with her boyfriend set her up. This shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion, should it?


Stephanie D. said...

I wonder if maybe you could take some of these blog posts that we love to read and turn them into a parenting column or newsletter or something. It's information that all parents need, but haven't necessarily learned, due to lack of responsible parenting in their background or whatever.

They're all well-written, without being judgemental, based on years of experience and observations, and wouldn't take much editing to generalize some of your more individual cases.

Just a thought.

Janet said...

I suspect the parents who need the advice most wouldn't read the book, though. Some of this stuff just floors me...but I can't say much about it because I've never been a parent.

Pam said...

Would you want to longarm quilt other peoptle's quilts, part time? You are so talented! The work you posted after your classes with Karen McTavish is fantastic. Or, do you just want to keep that for something that you do for relaxation and your own interest? I do a little of both. I do a few quilts for charity each year, and a few for a couple of customers, and my own, just for fun.

Penny said...

Pam, I've thought about that but at this point, I'n not nearly good enough to work on someone else's treasure. I'm on the learning curve. You're right, I like it for relaxation. We'll see.

Nancy said...

Congratulations on making a big decision. It would seem to me your field lends itself to emotional burnout. While I can't know your heart, if you were uncomfortable with your reactions, you probably made the right decision. Stephanie had a good suggestion, your blog is very well-written. Janet's comment also has merit, but maybe the book(s) could be geared for social services people, trying to help these families or inexperienced GAL's. It does seem a shame to lose your years of experience. How about GAL training? What ever you choose Penny, good luck. Personally (at 51) I like an internet suggestions I read earlier today. Someone proposed instead of corporate bailouts being wasted on lavish parties and bonuses, the government give the 40 million citizens over 50 $1 million for mandatory early retirement with the stipulation they pay off their mortgages/buy a house, and buy a new american made car. Thus providing 40 million new jobs, boosting the mortgage industry, houseing industry and auto industry. And all quilters would be assisting the fabric industry too! It sounds excellent to me!

Nancy said...

I really need to proofread before I hit publish. sigh.