Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Lighten up Francis"

I was rereading some of my recent blogs to get an idea for today's post and I thought to myself: "Lighten up, Francis!"

...and that quote got me thinking...

Does today's generation of teens have the same type of shared pop-culture references that mine does? If I say "lighten up Francis" to a peer, it is almost a certainty that they will know that I am quoting the movie Stripes. Or what about if I say "I feel the need...the need for speed?" If you are about my age you are going to know that came from Top Gun. We have a shared reference guide of movies that almost all of us watched repeatedly as kids. It's hard for me to imagine that today's tweens will be able to do this in about 20 years. Movies just aren't the same. Yes, there are amazing action films and romantic comedies, but when was the last time you saw a movie like Breakfast Club? Would today's teens even want to watch it? Maybe I'm just biased but I think the 80's produced some fantastic movies - maybe not by critics standards - but movies that we could relate to. Movies that we wanted to watch over and over again. So, today I am going to share Katie's list of most quotable 80's films...but I'm only going to give you the quote. How many of these can you get before you click on the link? Enjoy!

1. "Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?"
2. "Ooh. Sexy Girlfriend."
3. "Yeah and your looks are kind of pretty. When your face isn't screwing it up."
4. "I thought this was a party. LET'S DANCE!"
5. "Oh, he's very popular Ed. The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, d*ckheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude."
6. "Don't threaten me Al! You're out of shape, I'll kick your arse."
7. "So, why don't you make like a tree and get outta here?"
8. "I don't know why they call this stuff hamburger helper. It does just fine by itself, huh?"
9. "You're a sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot."
10. "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen."'d you do? Did I miss any of your favorites? Feel free to share others in the comments section!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not Funny

Brace yourselves! I am about to climb up onto my soap box and really rant!

...big inhale...

"You're such a retard."

"What, do you ride the short-bus or something?"

We've all heard these types of comments made in jest at the expense of someone who has done something stupid. Everyone laughs, usually even the recipient, like it's a hilarious jab. Our own president even joked on Leno that his bowling was like the special olympics. When did it become o.k. to make fun of those that can't defend themselves? I'll be the first to admit that as a child I probably made such thoughtless comments thinking that I was really dishing a good insult...but then I grew up.

These are real people with real struggles and yet somehow it has become witty for comedians like Bill Maher to make offensive comments like: "Sarah Palin agreed to do commentary at Fox News. Which is actually very similar to her day job - talking to a baby with Down Syndrome." Did I miss the joke? Who actually finds this funny?

Some of you might be reading this thinking - Lighten up's just a joke. Take a look at the picture above. That amazing little boy wants nothing more than to be loved. He loves unconditionally. I can't lighten up, because he is counting on me to fight his battles for him. So the next time you want to give someone a good a little more creative. Don't denigrate someone like my son just because you aren't clever enough to come up with anything original.

In other words, grow up.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Curve Balls

I was talking with a friend yesterday about life and how it doesn't seem to go the way we think it's going to. Most of us go through college and graduate with idealistic expectations. We can see our future...and it looks good. We honestly think we have it all figured out - that we can actually control our lives. If only it were that simple.

So then, we get pitched a curve ball by life. We swing and we miss. Now what? If you're anything like me, this makes you mad. This isn't the way things were supposed to go! I had a plan! I was supposed to be the stay-at-home Super Mom; taking the kids to the park and the pool; running around the backyard playing tag; & taking the kids for long bike rides. I wasn't supposed to be the Mom who can't keep up with her children. Having an artificial leg was not part of the plan. I was supposed to have these amazingly typical children that I would sit and do arts and crafts with and help practice T-Ball. I was not supposed to have children that scream and cry because they are frustrated that they can't talk. Autism was not a part of the plan either.

So the plan was shot to what? This is the point in life when we actually do regain control. We control how these curve balls are going to change us. First of all, let's all realize that NO ONE'S life goes exactly according to their plan. NO ONE is exempt from the curve balls of life. We are not alone in our struggles even if, at times, it feels like we are. We are all just trying to carve out the best life for ourselves that we can with what we've been given.

So the plan changes. Now the plan is to be the best Mom that I am capable of being. To make sure my children get the help they need to reach their individual potentials. To let these curve balls make me a better, stronger person than the person I was before. The new plan really isn't that bad - just different.

So yesterday was a huge victory for us. We had friends over for dinner. For most people this would be no big deal, but for us it was huge. How are the kids going to behave? Are we going to have meltdowns? Will we even be able to sit down and eat a normal meal with this couple or will it be a 3-ring circus all evening? We knew the risks but we gave it a shot and it paid off. The kids were fabulous - playing independently yet acknowledging that we had visitors. Bill and I were able to sit and eat while the kids played. The kids got peacefully tired and went right to sleep without a fight, allowing us to continue visiting until after 10 o'clock. When our guests left I looked at Bill and said: "that was perfect." I was so proud of the children. It was so nice to just sit and talk with other "grown-ups" for a change. In that instant I felt like we had a normal life, things actually resembled the original picture that I had in my head all those years ago. Maybe the plan had changed but maybe the outcome would be the same.

I know that today or tomorrow could throw me another curve ball. I could have another set-back with the children's progress or another in-your-face example of the limitations that my leg places on me, but I feel optimistic. I know that on those hard days I can stop and pull out the pictures in my mind from last night's victory when life seemed so normal. So the next time that I strike out, I will know to step right back into the batter's box.