Prompt 91: Pick an exotic celebration or holiday from some faraway place, Write about what happens when your family decides to observe that holiday.

Celebrating holidays and special celebrations from other cultures in “faraway” places is something I have done frequently as an adult.

When I met my now ex we did that often while we were dating and before we had children. When the Olympics were in Athens we went to a greek restaurant to watch. Some of the other things we did were making peanut noodles for the Beijing Olympics and celebrating St. Patrick’s day with the requisite Corned Beef and Soda Bread. I don’t like cabbage unless it’s shredded in a salad so we skipped that.

After she filed for divorce I still continued and even expanded on these “celebrations”. Celebrating other cultures and their holidays and celebrating their holidays is a good way for children to learn.

I incorporated as many of the Jewish Holidays as I could. We celebrated T’Bu Shevat and Sukkot at the Botanic Garden, made non-alcoholic mint juleps for the Kentucky Derby, had our own thanksgiving dinner when the kids when my ex would have thanksgiving.

We subsequently would honor many holidays and celebrations. Hanukkah and Fat Tuesday would see Sufganiyot and Paczkis (jelly donuts), when the Olympics were in London we went to Cost Plus and bought some British treats and we celebrated Purim at the temple my family belongs to.

The best way to learn is by traveling. If that’s difficult or impossible then the next best way is to celebrate other cultures and incorporate them into life as much as possible. Being able to celebrate these events from faraway places is something that I have enjoyed doing with my children. I also enjoyed doing them with my ex when we were together.

I am very fortunate that I have been able to celebrate events and holidays from all over the world. There are still many more I would like to learn about and be able to partake in.

I have celebrated Mardi Gras in St. Louis which has the second biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States. I would still like to celebrate that with my children and would also like to take them to the parade in Chinatown for the Chinese New Year and some of the Mexican celebrations as well.

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Prompt 71: Your Memoir is Becoming a Movie Who Should Play You? Desrcibe the Opening Shot

I currently have three chapters of a memoir written and this thought recently came to me. I would choose Ben Affleck.

I currently have three chapters of a memoir written and this thought recently came to me. I would choose Ben Affleck.

I began my memoir when my ex became ill. She is paralyzed from the neck down from an illness. I view the opening shot as Affleck playing me taking care of our four children and calling my mother who would have to be played by Linda Evans. In the 1980’s everyone would comment how my mom looked exactly like her then.

I called my mom when my ex was having what was thought to be a routine procedure. I asked her on the phone to come watch our four children so that I could be at the hospital for my ex. She refused so I was unable to be there.

About two hours later I received a call from the doctors that she woke up from her procedure. The pain she had been suffering from for a week had completely dissipated. This was because she had no feeling from the neck down.

Before this had occurred, the hospital had called me and asked them to get my sister in law and mother in law to stop badgering the doctors.  I had to call my mom again to appraise her of the situation and insist on her coming over to take care of the kids so I could go to the hospital as my ex was rushed from one hospital to another for emergency spinal surgery.

That would end the opening scene. Me, my brother (who is a Doctor), mother in law and sister in law stayed at the hospital all night while the surgery on my ex took place. The opening scene would end at the first hospital. I remember my ex being rolled out on a Gurnee to the ambulance and not being able to talk mouthed “What happened”. It was heartbreaking. The next scene would be at the new hospital.

Prompt 61: Are you Getting  Better or Worse? Evidence?

Wow! How do any of us answer this question? Is it simple? It is complex? Is this meant to be overall or a specific part of our life.

The answer and response to This question could depend on many factors. When is the writer answering it. What kind of day did they have? Where are they in their life?

When I think of this in relation to myself so many factors come in and what’s the broad scope of the question. If I had answered a few hours ago I likely would have said worse.

It’s so complex of a question. I am definitely in a worse place in my life. I’ve always struggled with depression in my anxiety throughout my entire life. Some understand that but most do not.

I’ve lost a lot in the last five and a half years. All my dreams and hopes have crumbled. The saying is what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Kelly Clarkson made it into a song.

Like all of us in many ways I am better and in many im worse. I hope I’ve grown as a writer and in my cooking. Judging ourselves is never easy. We are the most biased towards ourselves. Some of us are harder on ourselves,  some have inflated egos and think we can do no wrong.

I’ve done many things over the last few years to try to make myself a better person and to become more self-aware. Some have worked others have failed and some have been inconsequential.

I’ve always been better about living each day than long-range planing. Looking ahead doesn’t come easy for me. I’m much better at working with children, doing most domestic chores, cooking and seeing what’s right in front of me.

I wake up each morning and it’s a battle just to get out of bed. Some days are better and easier than others. Many days I wish I could stay in bed all day.

In many ways I see the world differently than I use to. When I would fall for someone I use to fall hard. It’s happened a couple of times in the last year that a woman I really liked and felt a connection with but for whatever reasons the connection fizzled.

In the past I’d be crushed, while it made me sad I wasn’t as devastated as I used to be. I long for that kind of connection again with the right woman. I’ve slowly had to learn that being rejected is often about the other person as it is about you. In this way I’m better.

I’ve also had to work hard on patience and anxiety. Seeing things for as they are and learning to accept things in life are often something we all struggle with. It’s something I am learning to get better at.

In the big picture I am probably about the same. I struggle with many of the same things I always have. No matter where and whatever help I get doesn’t seem to change me. Over the last two years I have probably sought out more different ways to change myself, my thought process and they the way I do things. Change needs to come from within but the hardest thing to do is to retrain our brains how to think.

I still hope to be able to do that and become a better person, whatever that means.

Prompt 58: Who was Your First Teacher that Wasn’t a Teacher

Almost everyone should answer this question being a parent or someone else close to them in the home. 

A parent, an older siblings, a nanny a caretaker, that’s who should be someone’s first teacher. In my case it was my parents and the housekeeper we grew up with.

My mom was always the one that took the most interest in our education. She helped us with homework, was our advocate with our teachers and made sure to educate us on things far beyond academic persuits.  

My mother came from a very academic family. She and my grandfather both loved to read. My grandfather was very into the stock market and my mom has an interest in politics and good murder mysteries.

On days off from school we were always doing things to make us better people and to learn. We went to museums, visited working farms and she would help me a lot through my difficulties with school. 

The one I remember getting the most help on was the odyssey. I had a ton of trouble understanding that book. I’ve never been a big reader of books and have difficult understanding longer form writing. I had a greater passion for current events, reading the newspaper and magazine articles. 

My father’s passion and knowledge was and is sports. He’s a big sports fan, a great athlete and has competed in sports at a high level. 

He took me to every imagineable sporting event except hockey. He’s doesn’t like hockey. I learned about hockey on my own. 

My parents housekeeper is a part of our family. She is the one that taught me how to be domestic. Doing laundry, taking care of children and learning how to cook all came from watching and talking to her and by asking questions. 

It might take a village, but it should almost always start in the home.