Thursday, August 29, 2013

As the World Turns: Why I'm Afraid for My Daughters, and Terrified of Having a Son

I will admit it. I don't watch a whole lot of TV. Anyway not for me. Mostly it's the news for an hour in the morning, thought I miss 90% of it getting breakfast for my girls and becoming slowly conscious as I finish my coffee. Any other television we do watch is cartoons, and I am very picky about which ones are allowed. Anything that shows underwear (I HATE SPONGEBOB SO MUCH!), has subtle messages that strike me as odd or inappropriate (which are sadly becoming more and more perverse and common), or goes against my distinctly conservative, Christian morals and Faith are not allowed. So, that leaves Oswald (anyone else love him, too?), Doc McStuffins, and Strawberry Shortcake.

They are so little. And so innocent. So precious. But, someday, my tiny souls will grow up like I did, and gradually become more and more aware of the world. The violence, the perverseness, the falling away from God. I work every day to make a home that is safe and warm and loving for them. But someday, they will have to leave. To school. To work. To live.

I told my girls the day they were born I would work my hardest to make sure that no one ever let them feel worthless. That they would never go to bed feeling like they didn't matter, or worse, were unimportant to someone else. Each of my girls are beautiful. They are special. Not because of their darling faces, or (someday) the shapes of their bodies. No. They are beautiful because they are fearfully and wonderfully made. They each have a soul and an identity that no one else has, and that is so valuable. Infinitely valuable.

I have not been blessed with a son here yet. I am terrified of having one. I have many friends who have little boys; I have seen their inexhaustible energy levels. I have seen how they never seem to never run out of energy. Much more physical than my emotional girls, I am astounded at the difference. But that is not what fills me with fear.

It's the ads. Of bras and underwear on TV during the day while innocent cartoons are on. It's walking through the malls filled mannequins and giant posters that are everywhere with inappropriately dressed women, or women standing in underwear. It's the women I see, walking about with underwear hanging out, body parts showing that should be hidden. It's the pornography and the sexuality that is readily available by the click of a mouse.

 Having a son terrifies me.

Because, at the end of it all, I cannot protect him. I cannot save him. He will make his own choices. And what if--what if--he makes the wrong ones? What if all this explicit sexuality crushes and destroys him? What if it ultimately controls him? What if I do not raise him right, because I do not know how to raise him?

Then it hits me, right between the eyes. Pains my heart. The same thing could happen to my precious girls. They start down that slippery slope. The one so very hard to turn around and reascend and heal from.  

What if I am not good enough? 

What if I am not pretty enough? 

 I am fat. 

I am dumb. 

 I am...worthless.

And just like that, they allow some perverse man to objectify them, to use them, to crush their precious spirits. Their beautiful souls.

Like this.

The lyrics, which I have decided not to print here, were horrendous. Referring to women literally as objects. On pop(ular) radio. A married father letting some 20-year old gyrate against him, while his song degraded women openly and disgustingly.

What if.

But, it's happening to other parents. Miley is a daughter. She once was a starry-eyed innocent preschooler. Toddler. She once ran about the house, calling for Mommy, Daddy. Thinking that was all there was to the world. To her world. And now she is broken. Shattered. Searching for affirmation and justification through objectification of herself. Her spirit is broken. Poor, sweet child. All 20 years of her.

Someday, I truly hope we are blessed with a son here on earth. Someday, I hope I can rest easy and night and know my girls will be alright. That I have shown them their inherent value, their wonderful beauty. That Someone created them beautifully, lovingly, and particularly. That they are so invaluable. So worthy. So wonderful. That they deserve to be treated respectfully, and will demand to be treated that way. Like their mother.

 And my son(s) will value that beauty. They will be raised to be awed by that beauty. Not to break it, but to build upon it. They will be encouraged to raise women up, not to tear them down. To serve women, not to expect them to serve them. They will be polite and courteous. Gentlemen. Like their father.

Because it does start at home. The safest, warmest place. The innocent world. That's where it starts. I plant the seeds. I foster the roots Inside these walls--this is my domain. My husband's domain. I can shield them, protect them, influence them. Pray for them. My responsibility lives now. To raise souls that glorify God, glorify their fellow people. Loves them, respects them, and raises them up. To teach them to love and respect themselves, and love and respect others.  

Because we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Autumn Dreams

I hate summer. I've never really been a huge fan of this particular season, anyway, except when I was school-age and it meant brief freedom. Then, I grew up. Now, I really hate it. I don't like sweat. I don't like heat. I don't like blinding, raging sunshine that seems to be slowly killing you, one UV ray at a time. Not a huge fan. Then, I moved to Texas. And hate moved up to despise. Really, there is nothing redeeming, to me, about the summer in Texas. And, conversely, nothing redeeming about Texas in the summer. I cannot go anywhere, do anything. Even five minutes' drive in the car, and I'm afraid I'm dying of heat stroke. My girls sweat profusely. They turn red. We cannot venture to the park, and even going swimming is rather miserable. The pool feels more like a lukewarm tub, and the sun is still trying to kill you one UV ray at a time. But, oh, Autumn. I went to school in Virginia, and come Fall, the landscape would suddenly explode in the most beautiful hues. We'd all load up in my tiny car and sit atop Skyline drive, and just...look. Drink it in.
Now, I just dream about then. What I would do if we lived somewhere a little north of Hades that had real seasons--real autumns and even winters. Pumpkins, caramel, cinnamon. If I lived somewhere that had that distinct smell of Fall in the mornings.
If I lived somewhere in which I could use all the recipes in the magazines I get from August until November, featuring warm, crock pot stews and delicious ciders for those extra-chilly nights. Where I could bake, without baking myself to death. Soups, warm bread, oatmeal for breakfast.
A place where the anticipation builds as the days grow shorter--the holidays are coming! Where the cardigans, thicker socks, and corduroy are pulled out. Blankets thrown about our shoulders as the first fire of the season is built. Where there comes a crispness to the air.
And then, it's time to go. And I open the front door and the blasts of the fires of Hades rip at my face. Welcome to Texas, they say. Yes. Where everything is bigger...even the heat.