Tough Love


My husband I have been blessed in so many ways. Most obvious is our gorgeous, amazing son C. Yes, every parent thinks their children are special, and yes, they are. But lately, we’ve had to practice tough love and deal with the fact that our son LOVES to read. Why is this a problem? Bc every night we read to him multiple books. I say goodnight moon at least two times a day, count dinosaurs, read about Milly and Tilly and can never remember which one is the country mouse and which one is the city one. And my son’s favorite book, When Will it Be Spring, asks the question from the perspective of a little bear bothering mama bear.

But now, when reading time is over, he does not want to stop. He throws a tantrum and screams. This is the only time we’ve ever encountered a tantrum and it’s hard knowing it’s not bc he is in pain, hungry, wet, tired (well sometimes he’s over tired) and we can’t make it better. But basically, it’s because he loves us and wants to play and be in our arms and hear our voices. How do you say no to that?

We know people who do not discipline their child and the kid walks all over them. We have seen people give in and I always said I would not be that person. I still stand by that, even though the screaming and wailing breaks my heart. Two nights ago it lasted 20 mins after we left him in the crib. Last night, it lasted five. I’m hoping tonight when my parents babysit, for their sake, it will be even shorter and he will fall asleep to them reading to him.

I’m sure this won’t be the first and last time we have to practice tough love. I wonder what other parents have done knowing it was for the good of the child but broke their heart at the same time. It’s so hard to say no to something that brings you so much joy! Doesn’t he know I want to stay up and read to him all night too?

Inspiration, Move Me Brightly

You never know where you’ll find inspiration. Sometimes it’s from something obvious, sometimes it’s from your child. Often it’s from your child. But other times it’s from a stranger’s story. Today was the latter. I read about a man whose daughter has CP and she can’t speak or walk. Her father isn’t even sure if she can see. She acts like a 3-month old and is a teen. Yet he loves her unconditionally, the way every parent does and should.

This man decided a few years ago to start competing in triathlons for his daughter’s sake. Since 2008 he has done over 70 races and swims pulling her in a kayak; bikes pulling her in a little trailer and runs pushing her wheelchair. As someone who has competed in triathlons, I know even doing one WITHOUT pulling or pushing someone else is a great feat. I could only ever imagine getting myself across the finish line, not another person. And yet, here is this man who said, “She is my heart. I am her legs.” That line moves me to tears. I feel that way sometimes about my own son, that he is at the heart of everything I do. But in this instance, this man literally is her legs and she provides the determination, or heart, for him to move. It’s amazing. I am inspired just reading his story and seeing his photos. I am inspired to be a better mother and wife and to never take my life for granted. Not because I don’t want to be in his situation or because like some might think, it could always be worse. But rather, to be able to live so openly and recognize what a joy and miracle life is, even for those who can’t talk., or walk, or see,. The father got involved in the race because he knew his daughter loved being outdoors and having the wind on her face. Knowing she probably can’t enjoy a good movie or song like you or I could, he does this to give her hours of wind in her face.

I wonder, what will I do to give others the wind in their face they so desire?

Team Maddy: Father and Daughter

Em Dashes do more than break up thoughts

I’ve been a freelance writer now for about 12 years. I’ve had the opportunity to work on quite a few neat projects: a wine magazine, some cd/concert reviews, writing about a swimming school, and lots of real estate writing. I choose my gigs very carefully and try to find something to suit my personal interests. But what I don’t understand is all these jobs out there on sites like odesk, craigslist and what not, that want to pay writers (and good writers at that) as little as $2 per hour. Today i saw a job for 80 cents for 300 words. Not 80 cents PER word (I’d take that in a heartbeat). But the entire 400 word blog post would be 80 cents.

Do people not understand the value in the written word? The need for being a good communicator? As the product of many lay offs, I often wonder why people take writers with such a give or take attitude. The creative groups I’ve been a part of are often the red-headed step children of a company. People think all we do is make things pretty or play games and juggle Squoosh balls. Guess what, there’s more to it than that.

Do you know how many times a day I try to explain to coworkers the difference between an EM dash and an EN dash? Do you know? I’m not writing to present myself as holier than thou, I just mean to illustrate that dissecting grammar to its core is not as colorful or “pretty” as one may think.

Alas, I sit here today, listening to my grammar girl podcast, researching some freelance jobs that hopefully will allow me to buy more than bread and water with the paycheck and hope that one day people out there will understand what we writers do. Thankfully, I love being able to communicate, love being able to choose one word over another and will not settle for 80 cents on the 400 word count.

Image At least he says, “if you don’t like my rate, don’t apply.”