Single Parent Faith

Monday, May 30, 2011

Quick Adolescent Quips

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I recall when my daughter was in the seventh grade, picking her up after school and noticing how it was common-place for her and her friends (including males) to hug good-bye.

“You know what I notice? When I was your age, I don’t remember routinely hugging kids good-bye. We probably were more likely to hug the last day of school before the summer break.”

She matter-of-factly listed, ”Well mom…back then, first of all, you were a nerd! Second, you were shy! And third, nobody would want to hug you!”  Of course, this was the age where I’m not cool.

She continued, “I wouldn’t want to hug you either. Just kidding. I couldn’t hug you because I couldn’t be born.”

With kids you can’t take anything personal. Being a parent has taught me to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously. For this I am grateful, because I used to be far too serious pre-kid.
Ella Venezia
Copyright © 2011 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.

Silent Treatment— Teen Moments




I’m getting the silent treatment again. I am referring to my fifteen year old daughter. Need I say more?

No matter how much time I spent attending to her needs as a baby, time I took off of work to attend her events at school, science projects I guided her through, soccer games I drove her to, talks we’ve had, I don’t get to bypass the alien stage.

There are moments when she’s my sweet girl most familiar to me, and moments where out of nowhere she’s giving me the cold shoulder. I once heard an educator refer to these teen years analogous to having ones child abducted by aliens. Truthfully, when he said that, I thought he was out of his gourd.

I thought, Hmm, maybe he doesn’t have my kid, or maybe he just isn’t as fortunate to have the close relationship my daughter and I have.

This judgment that I passed was of course based on my daughter not yet having entered this teen phase. Ah, ignorance is bliss. Now, I’m convinced they planted a chip in her, designed to test my faculties, my patience, and my sense of humor.

The thing about motherhood is not only the obvious missing manual, but also that as my child grows, so do I.  This is the stress and the joy of it. Of course being a single mom adds to the stress of it.

During these moments where her hormones are playing ping-pong, I try to remember that this is only a moment in time, and moments are fleeting. Nothing highlights this more than recently while cleaning out a doll basket, I found her bathing suit from when she was 3 years old. I lifted it up by my fingertips, trying to imagine the moment when she fit into it. It seemed like yesterday.

Wasn’t it yesterday when she kissed my cheek leaving behind the sticky trace of peanut butter? Wasn’t it just last week when she was four years old, and she asked me to lift her up so she could look into her day care cubby? She reached in with her rubber band wrists, pulling out something very special she picked up for me while on the playground. 

Copyright © 2011 Ella Venezia.
All Rights Reserved.
She sweetly said, “Take this to work with you Mamma, so when you miss me you can look at it and think of me.” Her tiny precious hand in mine, she unveiled a whole, unopened pecan shell.  

A few weeks earlier when she had a tough time at daycare with separation in the mornings as I dropped her off, I gave her a locket with a picture of me on one side and her dad on the other. The intent was for her to look at it when she missed us. She smiled and loved looking into it often. She wore it every day until she was ready to shed it.

Now fifteen, one day soon, I know she will be ready to shed another layer of her childhood, another stage, and she will one day become a grown woman. When I look back to this moment, I wont remember me asking, “What’s wrong?” and her pat answer, “Nothing.” Instead, I’ll recall the greatest ride of my life: Motherhood.

She is God’s blessing for my life, so that I can know what it is to love another, unconditionally.  No matter what the moment she’s in, sweet or alien, I have come to know that the good and the bad are here to make us better parents— better human beings. To guide a child through their anger, through their fears, through their selfishness, forces us to see a reflection of ourselves. Forces us to learn ways to still reach them through their difficult moments (and as a consequence, our difficult moments).

Like the shelled pecan, kids can go into their shells and need to know we are still there for them despite this act of alienation. It’s never personal. It’s about what’s happening inside their world, which often is more confusing to them than to us. I extend to her the life line, “When you’re ready to talk about it, I’m here, wanting to listen.”
Ella Venezia
Copyright © 2011 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.
Extracted from my older writing archives—Younger reflections of my child. 



Title Image Source: © All rights reserved by liveitupwithus


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Love Means Growth is Necessary

“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.” —Richard Bach (Quote from his book “A Bridge Across Forever”)

A former relationship showed me that there are people out there who are so paralyzed with fear, that they will avoid making active decisions at all costs. Even at the cost of losing someone who loves them, and who they love in turn. They sit on the fence until by virtue of time spent on the fence, the decision has been made for them. They are moved about in whatever direction they get pushed, because it is less frightening than grasping accountability and making some tough and necessary choices. To these people, the concept of changing themselves is more frightening than being tossed about through life.

Sometimes Beginnings are Best Interrupted

"I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't."

Below is an excerpt from my journal during a time when a guy I met on an Internet dating site engaged me in an email dialogue:

The fact that I am considering this is not judgment. It is just an observation. We already had been emailing back and forth for a few days, when I shared a personal experience related to a trip photo I posted on my profile site. I exposed my vulnerability through sharing this meaningful moment with him. His responses were “What kind of camera did you use. The pictures and the picture quality is beautiful!” and, “Wow you are beautiful.” To which I felt let down and disillusioned. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day at the Park— Amidst the Fun, A Questionable Moment

Copyright © 2011 Ella Venezia.
All Rights Reserved.


Yesterday morning in an attempt to finally “start” back exercising, I accompanied my daughter to our favorite park. It is quite large and has many fields and trails—so there’s a lot to choose from.

The irony didn’t miss me. Years prior “I” was the one giving her instruction on what exercises to perform. Today “she” was doing that very thing to me. She of course, being in her teens and active with cross country running, is in a lot better shape than sedentary mom whose been far too many hours sitting at a computer.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Text A Bouquet of Flowers

Copyright © 2011 Ella Venezia.
All Rights Reserved.
A few days ago as I passed by the kitchen table, I glanced at the fresh cut flowers my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day, and sadly most of them were wilted. I reflected on how many days I had rushed by them recently, only glancing briefly, if at all. I marvel how quickly I can take something so temporal for granted.

Of course when my daughter first gave them to me, I was elated and had to bring my nose close to inhale their perfume. The first couple of days I glanced at them often, and a smile automatically came over me. Then as the days progressed, I glanced at them less often, because I was usually in a rush or my mind was preoccupied.

A couple of days ago, I thought, I should stop and look at the  flowers, as I caught myself rushing by them yet again. “Now” that I wanted to linger longer on their beauty, they had indeed expired.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

NO ONE WILL BEGRUDGE ME

I talk about it sometimes with Him, all the suffering in the world.

“Dear God,” I have prayed, “how is it possible
all the horrors I have seen, all the atrocities you allow man
to commit when you—God—are ever standing
so near and could help us?
Could we not hear your voice say ‘No’
with such love and power
never again would
we harm?”

And my Lord replied, “Who would understand if I said that I
cannot bear
to confine a wing, and not let it learn from the course it chooses.”

But what of a man walking lost in a forest
weeping and calling your name for help, and unknown to him he
is heading for a covered pit with sharp spears in it
that will maim his flesh when he crashes
through the trap?

“Yes, why don’t I remove every object from this world that could
cause someone to weep? Yes, why don’t I speak in a way
that could save a life?

I opened up my hand and the Infinite ran to the edges of space—
and all possibilities are contained therein, all possibilities,
even sorrow.

In the end, nothing that ever caused one pain will exist.
No one will begrudge me.

The Absolute Innocence of all within my creation
takes a while to understand.”
—St. Catherine of Sienna (Born 1347, in Siena, Italy)




From: “Love poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West,” by Daniel Ladinsky, 2002. New York, NY: Penguin Compass.

                     ---------------------------------------------------                       
There is so much we do not understand.  In recent months, globally we’ve experienced tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, flooding…….
Many use the existence of tragedy, as a litmus test to assert that God doesn’t exist. That disasters and pain exist, they conclude that therefore, God must not exist because if He did, how could He let this happen?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Exercising When You Have Kids


When my daughter was a baby and up through her toddler years, I’d put her in a jogger stroller and head out with her. Since I had not exercised for months, I had to start small and it began as walks at first. When that was too easy, I sped up the pace, just enough so I felt like I was challenging my body. Then over time I began adding minutes (or seconds) of intermittent light jogs, during our walks. 

Taking Care of Ourselves

"Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."  ~Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby (Born 1799)

"It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor."  ~Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman Philosopher (Born 106 BC)  

"What fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?" ~Randy Glasbergen, Cartoonist
In today’s hustle and bustle, even if we are intentional not to over commit, there are still too many demands for our attention. The place we likely carve out time is from our own personal space. The place reserved for taking care of ourselves, and where we build our reserves. This is the case for many, but for single parents, the demands are multiplied.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."
—St. Catherine of Sienna

Catherine Benincasa— later known as St. Catherine of Sienna— was born in 1347 in Siena, Italy. At the age of six, at sunset, as she gazed upon a church on the hills of Campporeggi, she saw Jesus and three of His apostles. Jesus smiled at her and raised His hand in a blessing.

Human Trafficking— Closer Than We Think



While driving I was listening to a talk show where the topic was human trafficking, in particular, kids 18 and younger being exploited sexually.  I was shocked to hear that this is the nation’s 3rd largest criminal industry, with narcotics in first place, and firearm trafficking in second place.

I think we all conjure up images when we hear the term human trafficking, but it is essentially a slave trade which is occurring in present day America and across the globe. These children are snared and abducted, forced to become prostitutes. The radio guest gave one example how young adolescents and teens are unwittingly enticed. They are approached at malls, disguised as scouts for modeling agencies, or perhaps photographers who promise they can introduce them into the world of modeling.