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2003-10-06 - 11:22 a.m.

I just wrote a long entry and believe it got lost! WE area excited to have bought an old violin off e-bay for Katerina to use! I received a check for $100 for my birthday from my parents which was a nice surprise. They know I have no personal spending $ as I am not working. Westley agreed to pay for up to $100 toward a violin purchase with the agreement he has half ownership of it. So he and I have our new violin! I teased him I've never heard him sound so good on an instrument when he tried it out. I was so excited the day it came while waiting only about a half hour for Katerina to get home to try it. Of course Westley had to assert his ownership and control of it immediately. KAterina of couse failed to follow up on something he had told her to do so he decided as punishment she couldn't play the violin for a week. He did then later on have her try it out so we can see what it needs and get it off to a shop to be reconditioned as needed for her to play. (So he imposed the punishment with the parently knowledge that it really won't be ready to play for the week anyway!) SOmetimes I don't know if he is great at parenting or just plain cruel. Its so hard to tell!

We did see this Oprah episode by chance (as we are not generally daytime TV watchers.... other than CNBC) Oprah had on the 15 yr old writer of the movie "Thirteen" and an audience of teen girls and their moms who watched the movie together. What struck me was how misguided these women were who wanted to be their daughters friend! (to the detriment of parenting!) Westley and I loved how Oprah corrected the teen who said "All mothers struggle with the desire to be a friend to their daughter." Oprah immediately cut her off and said " NOT all" in a very strong manner. It was interesting. WEstely is always saying that he thinks the #1 mistake parents make is trying to be a kids friend instead of trying to TEACH them values and good habits and morals. Its hard to argue with that when all the successful, well adjusted and HAPPY adults we know had strict upbringings from parents who did not try to be friends with their kids- but rather parented, and all the people we know who are flailing adulthood and finding it difficult to be responsible seem to have parents who were and are great friends but not great parents to their kids.

So I have grown beyond being hurt when Westley parents Katerina, or Soren- the two children of my first marriage to a man who is a wonderful friend (to the kids, not a close friend to me anymore for obvious reasons!) Katerina and Soren are lucky in some ways- they have the Dad who is their friend, and the Dad who parents them. No inner conflict for either of them! No that's not true-- what is left I suppose is the envy of each of them of the relationship the other has with the kids.

It is a challenge as a parent. We truly do wish to love our children and be loved by them. Sometimes it is hard to truly love in the painful way of doing what is best- even when it pains us to do so.

However having enjoyed a walk home after accompanying my daughter to school on the day she missed the bus, I was contented and happy not only at the rare opportunity for me to enjoy a the leisure of exercise and ALONENESS with my thoughts while taking in sights at a slow pace, but was also content with the knowledge that Katerina will be on time for school each morning! How peaceful and organized our mornings have been and will continue to be!

Waht was most validating for me was that day Katerina came home from school in a remarkably good mood. I swear the exercise was good for her! We were both surprised, and actaully proud of our normally anthleticallly wimpy selves when Wesley told us he hadn't realized it is nearly 9 miles to her school! She only arrived an hour and a half late! Had I driven her after the morning responsibilitys of caring for all the little kids and packing them all in the car-- she likely would have been an hour late for school. Wesltey took care of all the little ones them packed them in the car to pick me up so I didn't have to walk back and it was already 11:30 am and I was getting somewhat close to home.

This morning Soren missed his bus because he has failed to listed the at least half dozen times I have told him these past weeks he is not to leave without a sweater or sweatshirt under his Spring jacket. He did oversleep to begin with- but he moved fast enough to make up for that. He also was delaying in getting into the bathroom as one of the little girls had a leaky diaper so I had to give her a bath- so the initial late start was not his fault. I did however get angry at him when he came down ready to leave in 40 degree weather with only a spring jacket on. At least he had a long sleeved shirt! I commended him for that and later found out it was becuse Westley took all the short sleeved shirts out of his room. I repremanded Soren for failing to put on a sweater AGAIN and sent him up to find it. He of course couldn't- as he put it in the laundry after wearing it only once yesterday! It was just washed on Sat!!! (An aside here: We need to get the winter clothes and coats from VA as its been unseasonably cold here in NY already!Westley is actually driving to the homestead in VA today to take care of things there and bring up the winter clothes. He had brought them back in early summer when we thought we'd be back to Va in Fall)

So Soren was afraid he'd have to walk to school! He was bawling when the bus went by and he was saying he couldn't find his sweater. I tried to calm him down when he said "I have to walk to school" and I only then realized his great worry and why he was so hysterical! He was much relieved to take Katerina's bus which arrives a half hour after his. But I don't think he'll wake up late again either, nor forget to get his sweater out the night before so he is prepared in the morning! And to think these are the same kids who were late seventeen times one of those marking periods in their early schooling! (That of course when I was the sole parent! My time management skills have much to be desired! But I too have improved!)

Off to the violin shop now! I am interested in their reaction to the so called 1739 (Or is it 1732- -there's a rounded loop at the top of the last digit and a faint line under it so I can't really tell which year- thought I think it looks more like a 9 with a line under it!) The label reads that old date with Anonius Stradiurius- so I am sure it is a Stradivarius copy made in Germany. (Because of the spelling with the U rather than V and marking on the neck that says "Conservatory violin") Some think those are cheesy imitations because there are many about. The problem is that the original labels were replicated so much that they are on violins made as early as the 1950s. I think it is a wonderful instument with character that sounds beautiful. Katerina is excited about it! It definatly is the best sounding instrument she's had to play on (next to her teachers!)

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