Being a Good Daughter

I will start this by saying, while overall I have always been a perfectionist, I have usually failed miserably.  I have gotten B’s on papers, disappointed people, made bad decisions, and otherwise “failed” at the whole perfection thing.  My view about myself changed dramatically when I accepted Christ at the age of 16, but the psychological drive to be perfect is much harder to let go.  But one area where I’ve always known I’ve done a pretty good job for most of my life is being a daughter.

I always followed the rules – I was a “good girl” who honored my parents.  I was respectful.  I was not promiscuous, I didn’t drink, and I certainly didn’t do drugs.  I did what they said and I didn’t ask WHY (at least not vocally) and believed the fact that they were my bosses.  I trusted their views in religion, politics, how family dynamics worked, and that their way of raising children was the norm.  And, truth be known, much of my childhood I look back on with fondness.  But it also is true that I was very much, by birth or otherwise, a child that wanted very much to please her parents.  I did whatever I could to make them proud of me, of the fact that I was their child and that they could know that I would do whatever I could to make THEM look good, as my parents.  And that worked for me well – I often heard they were proud of me, I was given what I perceived as more freedom and responsibility than my younger brother because of it.  And it made me want to work harder at conforming to the “image” that fed that acceptance and pride.

To be completely candid, I lived much of my life feeling as if I was the “favored child” in my family.

I also believed that my parents, especially my Dad, were the only people in the entire world that would love me NO MATTER WHAT.  I remember when I became a Christian and a few women shared that they had a hard time viewing Jesus as a loving God because they felt no love from their physical fathers, this thought was so foreign to me.  I mean, MY Dad loved me so so so much and so so so well that reaching out and accepting the love of Christ was very easy for me.  My Dad was the model for the love of Jesus in so many ways.

I don’t want to diminish that at all.  It was true and real and I am very thankful for the life I’ve been given.  And often these memories sustain me when all else looks bleak.

However, life is funny.  I am a grown woman now, and there are aspects of my life that are very different from that of my parents.  After years of being a diehard Republican, I am leaning (oh who am I kidding?  I’ve plunged in many ways) to a more liberal political agenda.  I am no longer living to please others with my life as much as I am being honest about my desires, views, feelings………not at the expense of others per se, but I am no longer a mirror to those around me as I agree with whatever so I can be “approved” or “accepted” by them.  I am honest about my sexuality and proclaim (or at least not deny) that I am in love with Deana and we are making a life together with our kids and our God and we are good people.  I am more honest now than I’ve ever been, even though that honesty has caused many around me to cut me out of their lives.

And yet, over the last two years especially, I’ve dealt with what I perceive to be the loss of a huge part of the love that has sustained me.  It was painful at first.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It’s still painful in many ways.  There are times when I say I understand and tell myself to just let it go, that it would be wrong for me to force key people in my life to love me – that my honesty about myself and my choices should not mean they have to accept them, although I had hoped they would continue to accept ME.  Then there are other times when I am angry – when I want to point out that I am the same person I’ve been for 43 years, the same honorable daughter, but that I happen to be a lesbian, and an honest one at that.  And then there are times when I want to say, like a little girl who used to be held in those arms that made me feel I was in the safest place in the world – I resent that you’ve taken this love from me and shattered my world.  I resent that you’ve broken this fairy tale for me in this way, and you haven’t even given me the opportunity of knowing WHY but instead cut me out of your life to the point where I no longer want to call and where even sending emails and texts are painful as I know you won’t return them.  But usually, I end up being angry at myself, because I let you control me even now, as a grown woman, and all really (as I perceive it) because I am the same person I have always been, but I no longer conform to what you expected of me.  Maybe I am wrong, but I have nothing else to base it on.

So, after analyzing this concept on and off for 24 or so months, I have come to the following conclusion – being a “good daughter” is not doing everything to please your parents, although there are times when you DO have to conform to household rules.  Being a good daughter is loving your parents, even when they do things you don’t agree with.  Being a good daughter is sharing memories with your own kids, and raising them with the qualities you appreciate and which you learned from your parents.  Being a good daughter is standing with pride knowing the heritage that is running through your veins, and which continues in your children as well.  Being a good daughter is loving your parents even when they have rejected you for whatever reason, and you don’t hold it against them anymore.  But it ALSO means letting go of the perceived guilt and no longer being held hostage to it. I am the same daughter I have always been, and I am proud of the person I am……..except I won’t let you treat me like I am 10 and no longer following your unspoken rules.

So, today I will feel the loss of you from my life – as I have pretty much everyday since this separation has happened – but I am no longer HELD by it.  Because today I will smile at the good times, be a little sad that you’ve chosen not to be involved in my life going forward, and will rest in the fact that I am loved AND accepted even now – by my wife, by my FIVE children, by my friends, and by my Jesus – NO MATTER WHAT.  And I am cool with that.  But I will always miss you.  And, if by chance someday you change your mind and want to interact with your daughter again, I will be here for you.

Could it be? Is it she?

It is with awe and amazement that I sit here early today, pondering the fact that my baby girl has turned 20 – and since she was born at 2:40am, she truly has!  I remember that day like yesterday, the fact that Kirstie made me a mom, and the wonder and joy I felt when I heard her cry for the first time.  Those feeling have only become stronger over the years as I watched that infant turn into the wonderful woman that she is today!

Kirstie has redish blonde hair when she was very young, as you can see from this picture that was taken when she was 18 months old.  You can also see that she inherited the curly hair Edgar and I both have (and which she’s very good at straightening out today!).  Even at a young age, Kirstie was extremely inquisitive and able to sit for HOURS pouring over pictures, books, magazine – ANYTHING that she could investigate.  And she ALWAYS loved to dance, even before she could walk!

As Kirstie grew older, her hair became VERY blonde, especially intriguing since she carries Mexican blood!  But her Grandma Jan’s genes are pretty strong!  🙂  I loved the fact that Kirstie was very attached to me her first 4 or 5 years; we were often inseperable.  She would sing, read, be goofy with me……..it was great.

We usually call this pic the “Josh with long hair” picture, but it’s Kirstie.  She was always making friends, talking up a storm, and loved doing doing doing.  I guess she’s still that way, huh?  I never really had to stay on top of her at school, either, because she did her work (remember the inquisitive nature?) and usually did well in school.  She also showed signed of musical talent at a young age – maybe it was all those years of being around the worship band?

Alas, despite my threats to beat her if she kept growing up, today she is twenty.  TWENTY.  I don’t know how that happened!  I look back with fondness at the years behind me and have so many clear images of this girl – ah, to imagine that they add up to two decades!  And yet, I would be remiss if I didn’t say those years have filled my soul with such love and joy!  I look at her, hear her share stories or vent or plan her life, and am continually blessed to know she is AMAZING!  She is real, she is smart, she is a doer…….but most of all, SHE IS MY DAUGHTER!  She is going to do MORE amazing things in her life, it’s really only the beginning, and yet I sit in wonder ponding this amazing woman who is also my beloved DAUGHTER.

So, while many of these ruminations are for me alone, please join me in celebrating a fantastic human life, twenty years of amazement – HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIRSTIE!  I love you VERY much!

And just in case you’ve not heard her sing, check this out:

Mom

P.S.  She is also VERY good on XBox 360 (those killing games, but hey, I don’t want to sound old) and can type nearly 80wpm using pretty much two fingers.  IMPRESSIVE if not trivial.

Inside Scoop on the State of Texas

Okay, so let me start by saying I don’t hate Texas.  In fact, I am loving that there is no freaking state income tax and that I haven’t paid above $2.60 a gallon for gasoline.  The fact that I love my job is cool, too.  So, first, let me share some more positives:

  • People are often more polite; when you talk to them, they are usually very kind and even gregarious.  Often, when you’re driving in neighborhoods, strangers wave to you as you pass by.
  • Parents have more say in regards to their children’s schooling.  And the schools overall are fantastically run.
  • Having gone to Zack’s school program last week, I am amazed at how proud Texans are of their state.  They pledge allegiance to the State Flag.  They even have a State Song that the kids know by heart!  Wow, that never happened in California!

But now, some insight that is a bit more negative.

  • Texas is weak in the whole “melting pot” arena.  I just don’t mean races (although, I have to admit, it is a LITTLE more diverse than I expected….), but more in other areas.  For example, in California you would see people wearing jerseys for all sorts of teams from all over the country.  Jets fan?  No problem.  Bears fan?  Bring it.  Here?  NO WAY!  You can’t even freaking BUY a jersey from a non-Texas team around here!  And let me tell you, being a Vikings fan can be dangerous in Cowboys territory!  It just was a little sad that there is SO MUCH tied around sports…..and I am not exaggerating – there is real hatred here towards anyone who doesn’t worship Dallas or Texas teams.
  • Texas drivers are MEAN!  Seriously.  And it’s not just because I have California plates – this happened when I was driving Mom’s car, too.  They make Valley and LA drivers look like wimps!  They tailgate, even when there is so much traffic you can’t do anything about it.  They cut you off.  They slam on their brakes.  They are just plain horribly mean!  Hard to align that with the happiness that is often shared when speaking with them in person.
  • I think there is a state law that you have to be republican to live here.  Not sure yet about that……

I have run out of time, but will try to add more details later.  And for those who are truly curious, I HAVE picked up a twang here and there, although I’ve been trying hard to avoid it!  The other day I was talking about work to Deana and I said something about missing milestones……she swears I said “milestones” like I’ve lived here my entire life!  I nearly spit my gum out!  Dang!

And, I would be remiss to not mention how wonderfully proud of the Vikings I am!  WHOOT WHOOT!  I sat here surrounded by Cowboys fans (although Deana was a Vikings fan, of course!) and was getting the trash talk thrown at me during the first 2 minutes of the game.  But, true to form, my team soon hushed that talk up with an outstanding performance!  I am so glad that I’ve stuck with them even through the lean years and I also appreciate Favre’s talent and strength – even for an old guy!

Next week will be tough – I have also enjoyed watching New Orleans’ year of success after a tough history.  I have rooted for them and hoped for the best.  But, I have to put my admiration aside – my love for the Vikings has been much deeper and longer and my loyalty lies with them!  I DO hope, however, that the game will be more enteraining than the stomping against Dallas!  Hee hee!

Okay, to those I haven’t mentioned by name, I miss you.  More later!  Gina OUT!

Pics and Other Boring Items

So I’ve gone back to uploading my pics to my Mac Site – it’s just so much easier than uploading here or trying to make Facebook work!  So my decision gives you the opportunity to laugh at my face more often!

To check out ALL of the pics from day 1 of my kidnap weekend spent at Bolsa Chica Beach, click here.

To check out all the pics from day 2 of my kidnap weekend spent and Disneyland, click here.

So yeah, got a little sunburnt on Saturday due, in large part, to my apparent inability to apply sunscreen in an even and appropriate manner!  I have GREAT coverage in some areas of my body, and I suck in the other areas!  Primarily are my arms and the part of my legs that bend.  OUCH!  It doesn’t help that there is a HUGE heat wave going on here, I work in the Valley, and the air doesn’t work in my office!  Today I might even wear flip flops and shorts to work!  (It was over 100 degrees in my office yesterday!)  (Oh, poor poor Gina!)

So, if you look at the Disneyland pics, I need to share a story.  Last time I went, Jenny Jen Jen KICKED MY BUTT on the Toy Story Ride.  It was embarrassing!  So this time, I made a wager with her and D, with the winner getting two home cooked meals (one from each of the losers).  It was a risk for me to do that, of course, because of my horrible loss last time.  But, if you know me, you know a good challenge brings out the best in me.  I was INTENSE in there (as a couple of the pics show) and after each session of shooting would call out my score and D and Jen would yell theirs back.  It was like a sea saw – I was up, Jen was up, etc.  BRING IT!  So I was so freaking focused and ended up winning the challenge!  NOT by as much as Jen killed me last time, but that is not important when food is in the mix!  LOL

Disclaimer – D would add that she was taking pics so of course she didn’t win.  But I would like to add, she knew the wager was on so that was her choice!

Okay, I must go get ready for work.  I could add lots of negative comments here, but found that doing so does not change that things suck.  So I will not…..

Have a great day peeps!

Gina OUT!

Yada Yada Yada and Real Pics of Easter

The subject line is in response to Martin, who used that phrase in an email to me (which, he pointed out, was NOT blank! I am not as lame as I thought!) Yes Martin, I am writing more now on the blog……it’s amazing what I can accomplish when I don’t have never-ending homework!

So, I am realizing that I am losing my Orange County “style”. Well, not that I HAVE much style, but when I lived in the valley, I still considered myself an OC Girl. But now that I am in the Santa Clarity Valley, I am allowing myself to feel like a valley girl…….and I recall my years in the OC (OMG, I said “the OC”…..more proof that what I am sharing is true!) are becoming a fond memory. Other than my daughter, who attends Cal State Fullerton, and Disneyland (where my love Goofy lives), I am not sure I would GO to the OC! Okay wait, there are myriad other reasons why I would go there……Mission Presbyterian Church, my other friends there, etc. So chill people! I am MAKING A POINT! lol

So anyway, I like my new digs. I stopped by Borders on the way home, which is close to my house, and it was SO NICE! My neighborhood is quiet and clean. I don’t have to drive that far to work. It feels so nice here. And that rocks.

I have heard from a couple peeps the link to the pics don’t work. Sorry about that. So I am uploading here until I remember my password to snapfish!

The better side for Kenny, Me, and Josh

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Kenny about to take a shot……

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Josh and Gracie being dramatic after receiving a shot

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Me and My Boys – Yes, I got dolled up!

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Semi-Deep Thoughts for a Sunday

So, I have posted pretty blah stuff lately. As such, I am feeling a bit pressured internally to take it a bit deeper. Not sure I will succeed, but I will try!

First of all, I’d like to talk about anger. As a Christian, and specifically a Christian Woman, I have been tacitly taught that anger is not a Christian trait. Anger is sin. Anger is BAD. And admittedly, I have done some of the dumbest things in my life when I was angry! Reacting in anger is uncool, attacking in anger is bad, and well…..anger sucks. So this generally validated the tacit encouragements of the Christian culture around me.

However, I find it interesting that the Bible does not call out ANGER, but calls out BEHAVIORS of us when we are angry! Here is what I am talking about:

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NIV): “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Notice that Paul does not write “you best not get angry – anger is sin” but rather, “hey, I know you’re bound to get angry. Fine. But don’t sin when you are there.”

Even more powerful in this enlightenment I am experiencing is Ephesians 4:29, which reads “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I can give you sob stories of how relatives tore me up when they were mad at me, or people who used to be close to me used their hurt and anger to justify ripping me apart. But more importantly, I have used “unwholesome talk” in my anger and pain to get some sort of “healing” or – more likely – revenge towards those that hurt me. And I am not even suggesting that the pain I went through was right, but two wrongs never make a right.

But the real kicker is at the end of this chapter in the Bible, verses 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

I believe, again, that it is not WRONG to be angry (hurt, resentful, crying out in pain, and acknowledging that another person has hurt you, etc.) What is WRONG is what we do with it. I, for one, have exploded with anger and regret it today. I, for one, have held onto bitterness against those who have hurt me, only to hurt myself in the process. I, for one, have asked for and expected forgiveness for my shortcomings, while denying the same to those who have wronged against me. I even felt justified in ripping apart these people, but have found it didn’t diminish the pain and/or bitterness I held. And I realize now that it didn’t bring me anywhere close to forgiving them…..in fact, it heightened my anger. So, maybe what Paul is saying here is that, to “get rid of bitterness and anger”, you truly have to put on the garment of Christ…..forgive where it seems impossible to forgive. For, let’s face it, do YOU and I DESERVE Christ’s forgiveness? Nope, we do not. So, maybe the way of getting rid of the anger and replacing it with kindness and compassion is to forgive…..even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if there is not retribution involved. Even if it doesn’t seem fair.

I must admit, there are big parts of me that is fighting against this premise! I want fairness! I want revenge…..

But again, if I did something wrong (and, believe me, I have) I would be more bent on wanting to be forgiven then wanting what I deserve……

Anyway, not sure if this makes sense. I feel better now that I am not such a failure because I get angry. I will now focus on what I DO with that anger, which is where the problem arises.

BUT, before I go, I wanted to share a few pics:

This pic cracks me up. It was taken in the Du-par’s Women’s employee bathroom. My, how times have changed!

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And this pic was taken yesterday and Zack’s baseball game. I don’t know what has happened to me…..I used to find these sort of rules important, but have loosened up a little I guess! (And, btw, I was told the sign didn’t apply on weekends!)

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Okay, well even though it’s Sunday, I am off for work! We sold one of our locations and I need to cut the employee’s final checks! Have a great day!

Gina OUT!