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August 21, 2012

OK, the title of this post is kind of a play on Mohsin Hamid’s “the Reluctant fundamentalist,” (smile) But, I am exploring fundamentalism (in the context of both christianity and Islam) and giving a picture and nonprofessional psychological theories). All of these opinions and theories are directly related to my own experience, but “might” be able to be applied to the experiences of others. I’d love to hear your opinions and thoughtt on the matter.
There are at least four main schools of thought in Suni Islam (I don’t know how many different schools are in shia’ Islam) and hundreds of different strands of christianity. All have different rules and Holy reasons to support their beliefs. I don’t know enough about the other religions to include them in this post, so I won’t.
what makes a person gravitate to a specific type of religion? All would pronounce that “God/ Allah” led them to this particular religion, but I believe that it is more complex than this. We are all looking for “something.” God/Allah gives us that “something” in the form of the religion that we choose. Many people, including me, go through phases and stages of fundamentalism to liberalism. I am not immune from this unsettling practice and will recount my own experiences later in this and other successive posts. but, I do think that there are certain characteristics that make fundamentalism (whether in christianity or Islam) attractive, just as there are characteristics of more liberal approaches to religion which are also very appealing. I am not naive or arrogant enough to think that I am the first who has wondered about such a thing. so, my first thought is to search the internet. I found psychological articles, but forgot DH’s password to our local library, so I can’t read them. (I hate my memory). Many of the books cited, however, either focus on Islam, Violence or Homosexuals in the context of Christianity. I have found two interesting titles that are yet to be translated into formats that I can readily access. the two titles are:
Religious Fundamentalism and Social Identity
By Peter Herriot
Published January 25th 2007 by Routledge – 144 pages
The psychology of religious fundamentalism
RW Hood, PC Hill, WP Williamson – 2005 –
If anyone has read them, please give your comments and opinions.
I am a rules person. I have always been. I put on my seatbelt regularly, don’t litter, won’t purposefully Jay-walk (sometimes my dog and/or myself have a problem with walking straight) and generally feel guilty when I do break a law, even if I find it a bit mundain. DH is not necessarily a rules person. If he can get away with not obeying them, he will. But, maybe this is dependent on the specific authoritarian. He finds American Government a bit ambiguous (as he probably does Pakistani Government) and tends not to follow rules, if he can do this without serious consequence to himself. He doesn’t disobey rules as a result of some philosophical or hunamistic epiphany. He disobeys when he feels they are not necessary. Yes, this does make him a bit arrogant. As if, he always knows the best or right thing to do and he will never suffer consequences from not obeying the rule. There are also parts of Islam that he finds difficult to follow. I won’t elaborate here, but sufficed to say, he is the last person that needs to adopt a strict fundamentalist approach. Stop! when I say that he might be adopting a “fundamentalist approach,” don’t call the FBI. This has nothing to do with violence or AntiAmerican sentaments. Yet, there certainly are more strict segments of Islam and he seems to gravitate to them. He is from the Suni School of Hanifi, and although I will elaborate about the schools of Islam — at least, touch on some of the differences and leave the rest to other more knowledgeable people in a later post; just know that Hanifis are pretty strict about some things: the role of women seems to be one of them. but, I’m jumping the gun a bit. Let me go back to my own understanding and experiences.
I understand this draw to a fundamentalistic approach, somewhat. when I was raising my children, (those Adult ones that I talk about occasionally), I admit, I was quite the fundamentalist. Let me elaborate.
*We would do devotion at least once a day — many times twice.
*When my children got into trouble, part of their punishment always required them to read, write or explain passages in the bible which supported my reasoning for the punishment.
*Only christian music (and only certain kinds of christian music because much of it sounded much too secular for me) was to be played on Sunday… … and only positive uplifting music for the rest of the week.
*No drinking, smoking, tattoos, substance use, piercings or tabacco use and limited contact with those who do because we wouldn’t want them to influence you.
*no premarrital sex, (which included any contact with certain private body parts and intimate kissing) and only group dating when you are teens(fifteen and up).
* no celebration of Halloween.
* no movies over PG rating soon turned into — no TV.
* no swearing or saying some words that aren’t actually swear words, but have negative connotations.
*dressing modestly meant not showing cleveage; nothing above midcalf (including splits); no spaghetti strap or bear shoulder and no too tight clothing.
*no working on sunday.
*eat healthy, which means limited sugar and preservatives.
*The Parent’s decision is the final one: while you might try a good debate, there is no questioning.
Those are the only ones that I can think of at the moment, but I am sure that my family would say that I was quite conservative. We attended a baptist church which affiliated itself with Southern Baptist, but in some circumstances, made every attempt to be as conservative as posible. It was only recently that the church had supported interracial marriage, yet, I know that many – most – of the members would (outwardly support interracial marriage — but wouldn’t want their child to engage in such a practice).
So, I ask myself, “what drew me to this conservative / fundamentalist lifestyle? (I’ll get to the “How did it effect your children?” and “why did I leave” questions later). I have always been drawn to the “simple” lifestyle. I rarely go shopping, don’t eat out much and am not very materialistic. I enjoy the simple things like spending time with family, card and board games and believe that relationships and communication is the key to a happy life. I wanted my children, above all, to have a good strong character. I did not want them to be caught up in the glammor and glitz of the world or think that dishonesty, deception or jealousy/envy were “just normal.” I was looking for simplicity and peace. (In fact, I continue to look for such things and even dabbled in quakerism to find it). I was looking for order, security and absolutes. Absolutes are a good way TO ACHIEVE stability. In a world of ambiguity and “shades of grey,” many people search for a solid foundation to stand on: one that does not waffle or crumble. and, I felt that I had to give this to my children, also. My life was chaotic, understandably so, after a breakup with my current husband and a move to a very small town where resources and transportation was limited. My children felt insecure. I was looking for a set of guidelines inwhich I could use to help myself and my children adjust. My own family was kind of fragmented on their support and was still dealing with the consequences of my children’s skin color. That is to say, they were still adjusting to public scrutiny and formulating their own opinions about my children’s racial and cultural heritage. surely, Jesus wouldn’t support racism or ableism or discrimination or socioeconomic preferences or…. … —
so, I looked to christianity — fundamentalist christianity for the answers. After all, God Loves everyone and if Love was the central foundation, how could we actually go wrong?? Familial peace and justice was the goal(nevermind that peace and justice have a difficult time coexisting, sometimes), success was an extra perk. You also find that the more fundamentalist a group is, the more close-knit they are. I longed for a close-knit family. It is natural to want to be a respected member of a community. You want to be “part of the whole.” with my own family being so fragmented, I wanted a family that I could count on; a family that shared my concerns and values; a family that really cared for the well being of my children; and a famly that respected me as an individual and benefitted from my contributions. I don’t think that I ever achieved my goal for “family,” and there are many contributors to these ends. to summarize, my disability, my political ideology, my views on social issues such as poverty and racism and communal hipocrasy were the most dominant factors.
Here was another problem. While I whole-heartedly supported those individual rules, especially those spoke about in the “Sermon on the Mount,” and those that advocated for justice and social equality; I didn’t realize that there was a hierarchy. In many christian circles, conservative politics trumps any other conservative values. For example: Let’s say that to negate materialism and support a simple and honest living, you limit the amount of things that you buy your children. You teach them to work for things they want. But, because you supremely believe in the ideology of capitalism, you don’t begrudge businesses from “doing whatever they must,” to make their money. Personally, you talk about giving and charity, but politically, you support cutting social programs. While “Jesus loves the little children,” the unspoken community mindset was that he must love some children more than others because racism was summarily ignored(unless it was perpetrated with malice and visible contempt), socioeconomic disparages were minimized and international concerns were met with either pity, apathy or an opportunity to convert. There might even be a time, as there was for my own daughter, where you (as in the entire community/ church family that I allowed to help raise my children), supported her decision to get on Birth control between the ages of fifteen and sixteen (the support was secret and without my knowledge), but, “you” outwardly and politically spoke out against teens having premaritral sex and “planned Parenthood.” You advocated for abstenance and scorned those who supported birth control, yet, privately, —- Well, — just this once!!!! You, the community, talked about those lazy welfare people and how the bible looks down on laziness. Yet, You would hire an affluent college student from a socioeconomic background similar to your own, as opposed to a person you supposed was “on welfare.” — and, that included myself. I could never find employment in that small town. This Hierarchy of values actually meant that those who were most accepted in the group were those who first and foremost, held similar political views. the values concerning individual living was largely left to the “individual.” I was looking for an “Acts” community. And, while I admit that no community is perfect, I found that noone really wanted to change, even if they saw where the Bible might mandate such a change. The other part of this reason is that “noone,” (at least as far as I know — with the exception of christ) has or will live the religion as purely as it has been defined in a Holy text. But, I found that many people were politically right wing, yet personally (and quite privately) they desired the exceptions that a more liberal approach would afford them. I also realized, much to my dismay that the more close knit a community seems to be, the more exclusive it also is. You can’t be “close” and “inclusive” at the same time because this “bond” relies on a shared value set — one that you would not have if you included most everyone. So, (although sometimes unspoken) there were definitely qualifications to be met for inclusion. And, at one time, I was willing to pay that price for belonging. For that time in my life, I was willing to sacrifice some of my own personal beliefs so that our family would be accepted in such a community.

the freedom to have a past

August 8, 2012

Let’s be honest, I am 43 years old, an american and have been married once before with four beautiful children. No, I don’t have four different babies’ daddies running around, (only one besides my current husband), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have things in my past that are a bit embarrassing. does everyone have an embarrassing past???? Probably not. and, “embarrassing” is a bit subjective, isn’t it? But, the older we get, the more likely it is that we have made decisions that we are not proud of. some of the decisions can even effect the way we live currently. But, some have a very marginal effect on us. Yet, they might have a very different effect on our spouse.
Before DH and I married, I told him every conceivable thing that he might hear from other people about me. I also told him the gossip that he might hear, even if it was only a rumour. I told him about the relationship with my children’s father and expounded on the decisions that I have made: good and bad. Although, the good decisions actually never get gossiped about, do they? Anyway, I believe that women’s (especially in his culture) pasts are much more harmful to their current and future relationships. What might seem like a learning experience to us, might be major for them. And, what might seem “normal” for us, might be just “unforgiveable” for someone in his culture. So, I was brutally honest. OK, it sounds like I have a very colorful past and, actually, I don’t. But, to him, I certainly do. I made sure that he understood that I didn’t have the option (not that I wanted to) to “hide” my past. He would have rather it be hidden like a dirty little secret and I don’t operate that way. I should clarify that he doesn’t necessarily have a “problem with my past,” just with the knowledge that there are others who not only know that it exists, but were active participants of its making. I am not proud of some decisions that I have made, (and I don’t talk about them endlessly) but I am opposed to lying about such things, that honestly, shouldn’t have a bearing on the present and future. I say “shouldn’t” because I do understand that sometimes people get into patterns that need to be broken and these patterns can start from one’s past. Yes, yes, “if we don’t learn from our past, we are doomed to repeat it,” — I know. But, honestly, my character should be judged by my present decisions, not my past. How “past” is considered “past?” Well, while that might be relevant for some people, I can tell you that the part of my past that is difficult for DH to stomach the consequences to happened more than a decade ago. There’s not really hipocracy here, DH doesn’t have a colorful past at all. This is partly because he is quite a bit younger than I am and partly because he has not had the freedom to make bad decisions. He has not grown up in a society that tells him that these decisions (at least when it comes to alcohol and sex and gambling) are “ok” and he has never come to a crossroads where he has had to make a choice on the matter.
and, this is another point that I’d like to make clear. We will take the issue of alcohol for me to illustrate this point. DH has never drunk alcohol. Not only has it never been offered to him(at least, not until he got to America), but Pakistani society has such strict rammifications for alcohol that it was not appealing to him. I have drunk alcohol and even been drunk a few times. I don’t drink now. It is a choice I make … … not to drink. for DH, until he got to America, there virtually was no choice.Does that make him more virtuous than I (if we believe that not drinking is a good thing) because he has never drank alcohol before? I don’t think so. I believe that virtue comes from having the decision “not” to be virtuous and making the right choice. If you have never had the opportunity to make a decision, then, your character can’t be tested. I am not saying that every possible temptation should be thrown at you so that you can make the right decision. But, what I am saying is that Character can not be “mandated,” it has to be built by a series of choices.
Since coming to America, we know a female who has made some questionable decisions: which have been silently waved away by finding more than one scapegoat — just in case the first one didn’t work out or was questioned. She looks virtuous because noone knows about these decisions. But, it is hard to actually “learn” from something that you spend all day running from. You never ask yourself: why did I make that choice? Are the consequences that I am facing typical for people who have made my decision? What could I do differently next time? Yes, “freedom” means that you’ll probably make more bad decisions than someone who is restricted in the control they have over their own lives. But, “freedom” also means that “when” you make the right decision, you do so with the knowledge that you “could” choose differently. I’d like to have an interesting discussion about south Asian women and responsibility, but that is for a different blog post.
Taking responsibility for one’s past decisions does not mean being proud of them. It just means that you acknowledge that it was “you” who made them and you might reflect upon how not to make them again. If we never take responsibility for our decisions, then we never see how “we” can actually modify our actions so that we don’t make the same — or similar decisions. Your past, like your parents have the ability to shape who you become. You decide how much “shaping” it will do.
and, if you are always haunted by the skelitons of someone else’s past, find someone who either conceals their skelitons, or hasn’t had the opportunity to make any, yet. Because, although skelitons decay overtime, their odor and imprint lives eternally; not just for the person who has accumulated them, but for anyone who has or will open those doors.

South Asian alergies

August 3, 2012

I’ll have to cross post this with my parent blog and I am writing off the cuff, so excuse any mistakes.
But, I wanted information and I know that I could have went to fb and might, but thought I’d post here.

DH and all of his friends report that their parents have warned them about foods that have “hot properties.” No, we are not talking spicy… which is what I’d be talking about when I say “hot.” But, I have not figured out what “hot properties,” actually means. What I have is a list of foods that have these certain properties. The list includes: eggs, (foremost) nuts and mangos. No one can eat too many of these because they get nose bleeds and/or persistent boils.

My theory is that south Asian mothers feed their children/babies eggs too soon (less than a year) and this creates a food allergy to eggs and foods that have related proteins. This would not explain the “mangos” but would explain the nuts. My theory is not based in any Scientific data at all. It only comes from the fact that his family keeps wondering when I am actually going to feed the baby “real food,” and not steamed and strained fruits and vegetables — of which, actually, they don’t even e Just because eggs are soft does not mean that his digestion system can handle them … .. and, I’m the one who has to clean up after him. So, my feeding regiment stands.
Has anyone else heard of these allergies and might know what might be happening here?

It’s all part of family — paranoya, offense, parenting styles, etc

July 26, 2012

I always thought that Neokalypso’s posts were well written. she didn’t always tell you the exact specifics of the drama in her family, but she wrote in such a way that you understood her feelings completely. I am too lazy, too sleepy and probably not smart enough to pull it off. So, You’ll have to endure the narration of the entire situation and appreciate my openness over my wit.
I know that I haven’t written in a while — for a whole host of reasons, and I’ll apologize for that in a later post. But, I have to write this one while it is fresh.
My sister, T, the older one wants to take a small vacation with her husband. she has asked me to watch her twelve year old daughter, my niece, S. The plans were to bring S and her two younger brothers over Thursday afternoon. They would all stay until Friday afternoon when my daughter would pick up the boys and S and I would have the entire weekend. DH is gone to a beepball tournament (although they did not know this when they made the plans and would have been fine with him being home), so it will be just her and I and the baby. But, we also have a friend who is staying with us. He is DH’s friend and is on his last week of classes in this city. He goes back to his city on the weekends to work. He is a college boy. This week, since DH is out of town, he has been visiting as if he is DH’s little brother. I have had no problems. In fact, the baby enjoys him being around and honestly, I think that he enjoys the baby, also. He is kind of quiet and reserved and keeps to himself — which is what reserved means, I know. He eats whatever I make, even if it doesn’t taste very good: (which is much better than two years ago when he was quite picky and wouldn’t eat hardly anything). He has been willing to help out in whatever way I ask. And, he insists that I don’t have to get up to make him breakfast before the call to prayer. He makes his own breakfast and even puts his dishes in the sink. OK, I think that DH insisted on this one, but he is happy to comply; or at least it seems so. He took out our trash for me this morning. But, when my sister found out that he would also be at our house, she raised some concerns. When I told my mother, she raised concerns, also which was actually even more offensive since she lets her great granddaughter see her father (the grandson)) whenever he wants: despite the fact that he is addicted to meth and other drugs, steals, never has food, lets the children watch R rated movies and so on. ***anyway, At first it was: “Is he blind too?” “Is he from Pakistan??” I am not sure if one cancels out the other. I mean, Blindness might make him seem less frightening. I explained that he would not be staying the entire time and by Friday morning, he would be gone. At first, she was ok, but I think that her worries surfaced again after she told her husband. Yes, I am offended and told her so. First, do you not trust my judgement? Thursday night, all the children could sleep in my room with me, my niece could even be in the same bed as I am. I wanted to come back with a retort like:
1. Don’t worry, since the baby has been born, we have insisted that our friend keep his explosives at home and he has complied.
2. The punishment for rape in Sharia law is full castration, including part of the penus and lest you think that he is under the assumption that it doesn’t apply to him, his grandfather, uncle and cousin have already had said experience.
3. Muslims are only allowed one child bride and last year, he chose his religion professor’s daughter. so, S is safe. But, with my luck, someone would probably believe the part about his family members being convicted of rape and the whole thing would blow up in my face.
Honestly, I am a bit particular about the people I let into my house. I was tricked by the kirby saleswomen who asked to do a demonstration, then sent in a guy salesman who monopolized more than four hours of my time instead of the 30minutes promised. I drew the line at “Where’s the nearest bed, so I can show you how this thing cleans matresses?” I don’t want strange guys in my bedroom, thank you very much. Our friend doesn’t even come in our bedroom unless DH is home. That might seem silly to you and that is ok. It is just the way I am and have always been. I didn’t like my children’s guy friends in my bedroom either… … at least after they got a certain age.
Anyway, I wonder if she — or “they” (her husband and her) would have the same reservations if it was my daughter instead of “me” who was watching S? Does she not trust my judgement because I am blind? Would she feel differently if the friend was from America? .
the way it stands, The children’s grandmother, not my mother, will watch the children Thursday night and bring them over Friday morning (conveniently after friend is gone). I’ll watch the boys until my daughter can pick them up. And, S will stay the weekend.
I don’t know if it is her or her husband who is so skeptical. She texted me and even called me on the phone and did sound worried that I might be mad at her. Maybe she trusts me, but her husband doesn’t. She was afraid that I would be angry and I told her that I was offended. But, when it is all said and done, she has to do what she feels is best. I laid out good reasons why S will be safe in my home. But, if she is going to worry about it — or her husband is going to worry about it, then, it is not worth it. In the end, I told her that her convictions were more important than my feelings. Ultimately, she is responsible for putting her daughter in circumstances and if she really has a problem, then I would rather her do what makes her feel like the best parent, even if it does hurt my feelings.
How did I arrive at this conclusion? Well, I did not have to go far, actually. I was thinking about DH’s opposition to dogs. No matter what anyone says, he believes that dogs are dirty and he does not want the baby coming into contact with them. I understand it, but don’t always agree with his level of intensity. I have family members who would disrespect DH and say things like: “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” But, for DH, this is a big deal. I want family members to respect the fact that we don’t always make the same choices that they do, but they should support our choices. And, then, I think that maybe — “maybe” my sister is not nearly as worried as her husband. We don’t parent alone. I understand that “maybe” she doesn’t fully agree with her husband’s intensity, but, must respect his fear, all the same.
and, lest we think that the paranoia is all one-sided, DH says: “don’t let them tear up the house. Make sure they don’t run up and down the stairs. Don’t let them carry the baby around.” DH has gotten pretty good at giving orders and making laws since we bought the new house.(smile).
I think I’ll write my sister a letter (or a really long text) and tell her my feelings and how I arrived at my conclusion.
I’ll say it again, though. I have had more opposition from my own family. Not exactly overt, but their fears do come out.

communication issues within the family

June 13, 2012

Hmm, I seem to be posting now more than ever and I am so busy. But, I think it helps to post when I am thinking about things. then, I go back to packing.

this post has nothing to do with packing, however. It has to do with language and family.
I have a family reunion on Saturday. I’m bringing vegetarian baked beans and samosas (if I can get to the store in time). DH figured that we should not have to bring anything. after all, we have a little baby, we are coming from far away and… … yes, the most common excuse, “We are blind.” My mother told him that if he / we did not bring food for the pitch in, she would make sure that he would not get any of her strawberry banana dessert (which he loves enough to ask her to make him a bowl to take home). My SIL will also be down that day. She is coming on Friday and will stay until Tuesday. She, her driver friend and her little baby Ayaan will come with us to the event.
My mother rarely “makes a request,” she just “tells people what to do.” And, so, she told me (on several occasions) to tell DH and Sil that she did not want them to speak Urdu during the reunion. Often when she calls, DH is on the phone with SIL and she can hear him in the background. He always speaks to her in Urdu, even though both of them are very proficient in English. I have to admit that it bothers me, as well. when they are talking on the phone, I am not as annoyed, but when she comes to our house and they both talk in Urdu — Or Punjabi (which is why it would be pointless for me to learn Urdu, if my only aim was to understand what they were saying) it is annoying. I find it rude. It says to me:
We are “choosing” to leave you out of our conversation. This dialog is only between us two special people and we have a wonderful special bond that you can’t and won’t share with us, no matter how much you try. and, I have had more than one person ask DH when he and his sister are out: “are you husband and wife?” That is, they think that DH and his sister are married — not DH and me. /This special communication doesn’t help any. although my whole family knows that DH and I are married, it just proves how exclusive it makes DH and his sister look. They do have a very very very (can’t say “very” enough times) close relationship. It is somewhere between father/daughter and twin. “Twin” because they want to do everything together and have parallel lives. “Father/daughter” because many times, he will act like her father — taking responsibility for her and her decisions… … and before the feminists get all up in arms, know that it is “her choice.” Some women do feel better having a male figure be responsible for their well being and decisions. I can’t explain it.
OK, am I being a bit dramatic? Probably.But, I do think that it is rude when you are suppose to be socializing with others to exclude them from your conversation by “choosing” to speak in a language that they don’t understand. I keep emphasizing the word “choose,” because, it would be entirely different “if” they didn’t know English. But, they do.
and, if I am honest, some of these language Issues have stopped me from learning the language that I was so intrigued by from the start. I had good intensions to learn Urdu. I wanted to talk to my ILS and knew that they were not very proficient in English. I wanted to speak it to Azaan so that he would be bilingual. I had someone teaching me and we were making great progress. but:
DH would not talk with me on a daily regular basis so that I could get better. the rub is that: He’ll talk with his sister for at least two hours a day — mostly in Urdu. But, he can’t spend ten minutes helping me get better. I am not saying that he doesn’t want me to learn the language. I am saying that he doesn’t want to put any effort forth in helping me learn it, but he is perfectly fine sharing that lingual bond with his sister. Language is important enough for him to want to speak it on a daily basis — just not with a novice like me.
I could go on and on about my own feelings; but I am wondering (from you readers);
Is my family being too closminded? Are DH and my sil being rude? I’d love to ehar your opinions.

The air and the vent (and I’m not talking about the heating/cooling system)!!!

June 13, 2012

… …. just being honest and not objective at all!
When I moved in 2010, things were alot different. Here are some of the diffeences which are causing me a bit of anxiety (notice I am not using the word stress):
1. when I moved in 2010, I had a full ten weeks to pack. I packed slowly and methodically. I had decided to pack at least three boxes a day and I could quit when I got tired. I began packing December 1st of 2009 and finally moved February 27, 2010. I brailled each box with the contents and the date. (Ok, who really needs the date???? But, this is remnants of my navy influenced father). I wrapped each dish and secured each cord. My only helper was my then 14yo niece who (although she can be a bit lazy, was great at taking instructions and usually she respects and obeys me quite well). [Although she doesn’t read this blog, Cudos goes out to Darian]!!! She helped over the New Year’s. This time, my daughter “helped” — and by that I mean, she did most of the packing. Many times, when sighted people help blind people (and, I am almost certain that this applies to helpers across the board, but moreso when disabled people need help), they take over the process. Rarely to they ask: “What do you want me to do?” or “How do you want me to do it?” I admit that I could have done it all myself, but one of the reasons that I did not want to move is that I did not want the hastle of packing and unpacking. So, Dominika offered and I accepted her assistance. But, she is so busy and forgets to respect the person that she is helping. sometimes my daughter is great about understanding how to help constructively and how to respect the way a person wants things done: “now” is not one of those times. She packs quickly and there is braille on only half of the boxes. I can never find the tape, scissors and/or empty boxes so I can’t do any packing while she is gone. (No, she never remembers where she puts them). She throws away some things that I want to keep. Someone even threw away our taxi vouchers [Either dominika or my sister] because they thought that it was just “junk mail” and never bothered to ask. that is $60($6 per voucher) down the drain. and, now we have to pay full price for our taxi rides.. While it costs DH two vouchers (twelve dollars) to get to work, it will now cost him forty-five dollars, at the least. So, it will now cost him at least $57 just to get to work. They ar gone, we need to move on — so to speak. Yet, it won’t be forgotten.
I find some of these thrown out things in the trash( a twinsize reversable blanket, books and dishes) [Where is that beeping frisbie and the basketball with bells in it????] , but I know that I will feel the full extent when I can’t find something that I am looking for). She keeps changing the packing schedule which makes me nervous. She has to work, so the packing continues to be put off until the very last minute. She says “quit freaking out,” and tries to act like nothing is a big deal. But, I know how people act when they are rushed and it is a big deal for me. That kind of logic: “quit flipping out, it is not a big deal,” reminds me of when she was a teenager. (ugg). I think that when she gets in a hurry, she is either “trash happy” or “not careful about what is in each box.” As I was looking for cold medicine the other day, I found my writing utensils and “Free matter for the blind” stamp in the medicine box. I am not trying for perfection, so after telling my daughter how I felt, I had to let it go. I don’t want her feeling “guilty,” as if I am trying to manipulate her. I want her understanding and changing. But, maybe that will come with age…. … maybe.
2. I have a baby. this consumes most of my time and I am just too tired to pack. and, I have more to pack because I have to pack baby items.
3. Although DH will label boxes, he won’t pack them.Actually, when my daughter and sister came to help, he did more work than I thought he would do. He labeled and packed a couple of office boxes … … but more importantly, he did not get on his computer or IPhone while we were doing all of the work. But, he is not about to do anything on his own or because I ask. He use to say: “Don’t worry about the packing, it won’t be that bad. I’ll get plenty of Muslims to help.” It is kind of the philosophy he used when I was pregnant. He felt bad because I had to do housework and cooking on top of my regular job. But, not bad enough to “do it himself.” …… just bad enough to try to find someone else to do it for the both of us…. “Why doesn’t your daughter come over and help more? Why don’t you just relax and you can do the dishes tomorrow?” [I hated this because My daughter did “help” but not enough for his likeing and he, the husband and father did not want to even make dinner. … and, I couldn’t relax knowing that I would eventually have to tackle that mountain of dishes. So, he wanted me to have an easier time; he just didn’t want to put forth any effort of his own to make that happen. Selfish??? Yes. But, things are what they are! and…. … he is slowly changing a bit]. when thinking about friendly mosque attendees, … … A. they don’t even help when you need to get to the mosque; B. they aren’t even “friends” in the loosest sense[only one guy came over to congratulate us on our baby but he has two jobs and his wife is too busy]; and C. if someone is going to be touching my things, I’ll pay them so they can do it exactly how I want.
4. DH is quite particular about some of his things. don’t touch his documents or his electronics. But, he won’t pack them until the last minute.
5. His sister has decided to come down the exact day of our move. Honestly, she wanted to come down the week before, but I persuaded DH (At least I think that is how it went) to have her put it off because — well…. … we were packing. It will be her and her newborn baby and I just can’t play hostess and move; especially when she will need some help with the baby and orienting to new surroundings. Her baby was born April 29th and she only has so much time off from work. she could not have come before now because baby was a preemie and in the hospital. DH went down after the baby was born for a few days, but she wants to come here and take pics of the two babies together and see her brother, again. She has to go back to work on the 20th, and she wanted to visit before going back to work. We were suppose to get the UHaul on Thursday and she would arrive on Friday. That was going to be difficult, but not impossible. But, now, my daughter does not have thursday off, so we all have to do it on Friday. I can’t reschedule her trip again. She is already bummed that she only has until the 19th because she has to be at work on the 20th. My only saving grace is that I called a friend, J. who said that she would love to watch my baby and host his sister and her newborn for the day while we move. This gives my sil a place to go and lay down her baby and pump and she gets lots of attention in the process. And, it allows us to move without feeling guilty that we are not treating SIL with the proper respect and attention that a guest with a new baby wants/deserves.
Baby’s crying. Got to go./. Vent over.

*We’re on the move*

June 1, 2012

I am double posting this on both of my blogs:
I don’t have enough time to write in the HTML codes, so you will have to forgive me.

We will be closing on a new house (well, it is new to us) June 7th. We will be moving on that next week/weekend. This is the reason for my absence on the blogs. there was much to decide and discuss.
1. The price of the house had to be negotiated. We know that we are moving to a more expensive part of town, but DH wanted to make sure that he got the best price for the house. this included performing such actions as dressing down our realtor (at least twice) and almost pulling out of the deal (at least three times).
2. inspection and re-inspection; which includes showing all of the receipts concerning repairs both before and after the inspection and making sure that the repairs are done by a licensed professional. Although, these stupid receipts are hand written and can not be scanned.
3. debating home owner’s insurance: I told my mother about our misgivings and when I used the term “throwing money down a hole,” she got upset and DH told me that I should call and apologize… … for what, I am not sure, but appologize, nonetheless.
4. My sister who usually does not talk very much to me has become quite chatty and a bit close to our family since I had the baby. She and my daughter and whoever we can get will come to help me pack. OK, I am procrastinating about this part. That is because I am so overwhelmed with the task. Help help help!!! Where do I start. I think that my sister is more interested in helping me “purge” than “Pack.” but we will see, and you can’t be too picky about your help: esp when you procrastinate.
the house does not have everything we want. the roof is old which is DH’s worst complaint and will be until he realizes how hot the upstairs can get in the summer. It does meet our specifications: 3bdrm and a room for the office(dining room, but it is ok because it is not connected to the kitchen), close to the bus stop that we need, 1646 sqft and a fenced-in backyard. The office space is away from the bdrms, which I also like. I want to upgrade the livingroom carpet. I like the spacious garage and the patio.
DH liked house1, the “shottery house.” It was close to his boss, a ranch style 1story. It had a very large fenced-in yard, although DH does not care about a yard much. Only the very wealthy have “yards” (I can’t remember what he calls them) in Pakistan. There was also a side yard that formerly housed a pool, but was taken out. The office space was far from the 3bdrms. The owners had just updated it and all things were new: esp the furnace and roof. It had well water, but city septic system for the sewer. It was not on the right busline for work, but DH thought he might be able to carpool with his boss. Yes, it was quite nice. But, an offer was accepted before we were able to make one.
I liked the tri-level house, We’ll call it the Morning Dove house (that was the street it was on). This house was built in 2000, had the 3bdrms upstairs, kitchen and living room on the main floor and a kind of sub-basement downstairs with a nice “game room” kind of place and a room for the office. There were windows all around the sub-basement and even nice carpet. Yes, the furnace and hot water heater were gas and not electric. No, it was not as close (about one mile) from a bus stop. But, if DH could get there, it was the “right” bus stop. The large yard was fenced and had a couple of trees in it. There was a park in the neighborhood thanks to the association. It was on the market 12days when we made an offer. Yet, we were beaten, again.
This house is quite doable, though. We will have to upgrade the furnace and roof because The house was built in 1994. Amazingly enough, the other two houses were cheaper. This house, We’ll call it the Sycamore house, has a fireplace, also. There is a pond beyond our fenced-in yard. That doesn’t impress either of us, but obviously, it does someone, because all neighbors pay an annual $200 to an association for its upkeep.
We are actually excited about moving. And in the midst of all of this, Baby Azaan just turned six months on the 27th. He is not crawling yet, but is scooting lots. He can sit up much better and is even holding himself up more in a sitting position. He loves to jump, but is not sure that he likes that Johnny jumper thing. He likes “us” helping him jump more than anything else. I have to research baby gates and get one before we move. I have read good things about Cardinal gates. I also want to get that Munchkin Squeezy spoon because everyone is hastling me about feeding him — (actually, they hastled me at 4mo and 5mo and I can’t put it off much longer). Why does everyone have to be so mainstream????? I have to say: “no, it is not recommended — anymore — to do rice cereal first; no, no baby juice; he is still doing lots of tongue thrusts which indicates he is not ready… …” He seems fine, though. I mean, he is drinking … … about 32ounces of milk and seems to be happy and growing bigger and stronger… … it is just the old folks — mine and his. My mother and his mother agree on something: “when are you going to start feeding him real food?” (GRRRR). I say: “when that spoon comes in,” because it will be so much easier, as a blind mother, to feed him with that spoon. I could do it ahead of time: (DH says that his mother just fed him with a regular spoon, not even a baby spoon), but more food would get on the floor than anywhere else and I would just have a large mess to clean up. I will let DH do it, if he wants to venture out and feed him with a regular spoon. The baby spoons are just so much nicer. and the squeezy spoons will be a large help for me. I know from experience that if I feed with a regular spoon,Azaan wouldn’t actually get lots of “food” in his stomach. Sounds like a lot of work for me… … just to keep the older ones happy. I might let him lick some avacado and banana off my finger and call it “feeding.”
DH tried to play peek-a-boo with him yesterday and frightened him so much that he was at first shocked into a 5sec silence before really crying. It was horrible. DH was more impressed than Azaan. But, Azaan is laughing much more and moreso at DH than anyone else. I think the baby knows that when DH picks him up, it is time to play.
I’ll write a better post when I can. just updating any of you who might still be reading.

the saga of the hunt

May 8, 2012

In the post, title=”Gori desi rishta” href=””> “the Dinner, the dig and the discovery, ” I talked (at length) about this house that DH and I wanted to buy. It was uncharacteristically a “steal” for that neighborhood. The price fit DH’s budget and the sqft fit my liking. In that post, I describe the house in detail and list all the reasons why we liked it. So, we made an offer, April 29th, the exact day that his sister delivered her little baby boy. Our realtor drew up the papers, but we could not sign them until DH returned from Chicago: (after visiting his sister), which was on Friday. There were complications because the documents were photo image files which were very difficult to read. So, my daughter had to come over Sunday to read them and show us where to initial/sign. she dropped the papers off to the realtor first thing Monday morning. And, guess what????? The company reported to the realtor that the exact week that we made an offer, there were supposedly three other offers made on the property. They can’t tell us what the house went for or who bought it. the only thing that they can tell us is that “we don’t get the house.”
What is the proper amount of grieving time when you don’t get the house that you desire???? (still in mourning, and I don’t mean the A.M. — although it is 7:00 A.M. when I am writing this post).
Now, we are looking again. and, the difficult thing is that: I want a house with more than 1500sqft (the one we lost was 1600sqft), a fenced-in backyard and at least 3bdrms; and DH wants a house under $100k, quick and easy access to work and more than one bath. We don’t want a house built after 2000, only because we don’t like the factory builds. the wood seems flimsey and the walls seem thin. The tile is cheap and the paint is flat.
DH wanted to buy the house (the one we missed out on) as soon as we saw it. I languished because I wanted to make sure that it fit our needs. Honestly, it did not allow DH to take the public bus to work — which would have saved him money. But, as we do our search, we are finding out that none of the houses have “easy access” to that busline. Even when they are close in proximity, there are no sidewalks and no lights at the crossings. DH is one hundred times better than I am in mobility and was trained by a blind mobility instructor. He can walk anywhere downtown and he has completed drop-off lessons successfully. Besides, there are now accessible GPS systems from your IPhone. Yet, the City bus seems to elude us. My point is that it was “I” who dragged my feet: “What about the Well?” “what can we do with those little nooks?” “if it hasn’t sold in three months, we can take our time to be sure!” Now, I am kicking myself. DH has not blamed me. He has not said: “If you would have gotten on board sooner…..” And the house was listed (don’t know if they paid above listing price) at least twenty-seven thousand (and I am spelling it out in case anyone thinks that I made a type-o) les than bought in 2005 — and that did not take into consideration the new furnace, new hot water heater, fence around the backyard, fenced in area for an above-ground pool, newly built garage, additional back room, new carpet, all appliances (Washer, dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, built in microwave) included . The more I write about it, the sicker I become. Honestly, that house could have went for **at least** twice the asking price in a good market — or even “just ok” market. And, we could have had it.
Part of me does not want to even look for a house. After all, we will probably never find that good of a deal ever! ever! ever! again!! We are seeing houses for $90k and 1400sqft. Our realtor is telling us that this is actually a good buy and we will probably never find a house that meets both DH and my qualifications. One of us needs to compromise.It will probably be me …. … (esp since I was the one who dragged my feet on the last one) but:
I really wanted more than 1500sqft. The house I am renting now has 1500sqft. OK, there is 750sqft living space and 750sqft basement. But, we actually use our basement. DH points out that it is not a finished basement. You can’t have a game center down there or a bedroom and there is no bathroom. But, actually, we do have a bed down there and my children have come to stay a few times. There is a kitchen table, a microwave, a couch, small fridge, space to hang clothes, nightstand, rocking chair and lots of space. My children have brought their TVs and it was their own private space. the laundry room is down there and we do store lots of DH’s books. My daughter and her husband point out that the basement is not actual “living space,” so we would be getting more “living space.” DH says that although the basement did not flood, it was not finished — and by “finished” and “acceptable” he means, carpeted, plumming and a door to the place where the bed would be. He didn’t like our basement anyway. But, I just can’t wrap my head around the logic that the basement wasn’t good living space. I just don’t feel it! and, I feel like I am moving “backward,” if I move into a smaller house.
Yet, we can’t afford something larger — without compromising quality. Sure, I found a house for 2400sqft and only $92k, but it was in need of major repairs. DH is not a DIY kind of guy. And, I don’t know what I am doing. Remember, he has withdrawals when parting with cash, so misc repairs will be difficult for him. thus, (just being real) the repairs probably wouldn’t get done.
And, I can’t just “get over it.” It is amazing! You’d think that DH would be more angry about the house selling. It was such a great deal!!!!! But, he is so relaxed about the entire thing. I am the one who wakes him up in the middle of the night (even though he has to work the next morning) and say: “…. What is the likelyhood that there would be **three** — I mean, **THREE** offers during that same week we wanted to put in an offer?” “did the owner or your boss want someone else in the house and when they found out that we were going to make an offer, make sure that their preference was met?” “What kind of conspiracy is this?” “If I only had moved quicker…” “We will never find something that meets our needs like that house again …. and for such a deal…. the market is recovering and, well, we just lost— lost — I mean, really lost!!!” OK, I didn’t actually wake him up, he got up to go to the restroom and made the mistake of asking me why I wasn’t asleep. And, it is not like he hasn’t heard this at least twenty times before — and probably will hear it twenty more. Although, to him, it is over and time to move on. I just can’t let it go.
I am off to see more houses tomorrow, but this one will always be the comparison house and maybe none will actually match up.

The dinner, the dig and the discovery!

May 2, 2012

Dining In the Dark was a fund raising effort put on by DH’s work. This is the first time that I have attended. This is a moneymaking event in which sighted people purchase a ticket for dinner (in this case, $125 per plate) and eat the salad and main course in the dark. They wear sleepshades. The practice is suppose to simulate what it is like to eat your dinner as a blind person. this concept is not exactly new. supposedly, there was a restaurant in Europe that allowed patrons to eat their dinner in the dark and were served by blind employees. I can’t find a link for it, though. And, honestly, the fundraising event (although I would prefer it to be) was far from this concept. There are Dining in the Dark projects where there is not only dinner, but audio entertainment. And, a popular dining in the dark experience can be found dining in the Dark in California
There are serious flaws with this approach, however. Usually the patrons leave with an unrealistic approach: saying things like: “Wow, I have empathy for what you go through on a regular basis,” and “Oh, it is so difficult to do something that we take for granted.” and my view is that
if they think that it is such a challenge to just eat a meal while blind, why on Earth would they trust you with important business responsibilities???? Thus, any job offer that a blind person receives from people of said companies would be “simple” at best and “degrading” at worst.
Anyway, no one asked me and since DH went, I naturally went as his guest.
My daughter watched the baby. He enjoys her singing. Our new song to sing when she comes over is:
“Hey Little Mr.
Ain’t that your big sister
on the radio, the stereo, I think its time for us to go.
Hey little Mr.
You don’t want to miss her
when she sings to you tonight.”
Ok, that is a take off from a popular song: don’t know who sings it. But, it works. The baby enjoys my daughter. He usually smiles for her and she usually takes a couple of pics.
anyway, we got there on time. DH was an ambassador. that means that he was suppose to mingle with the crowd and tell them all about being blind and bosma. The alcohol line was longer than the auction line. There were a few appetizers being served and the smoked chicken was actually good. We met up with his friend Rasta (Yes, he is Rastafarian) and his fiancee. Rasta is a line supervisor in production. But, DH and he struck up a natural friendship when They realized that they both like technology, books (or at least acquiring them) and (the most important thing) **saving a buck or two. Rasta is from New York which means that he talks fast, and has a unique accent(his family is from Jamaica, even though he was born in the USA) and he also has this kind of stutter speech, which makes it even harder to follow him sometimes. but this does not detour DH in the least.
I guess the premise is to get the patrons “all liquored up” so they will spend more money. I think it worked. After a few informational videos about “bosma” and a speech from Brian Bosma, (the place was named after his father), we ate dinner. The lights went off and the sleepshades were given to sighted people to wear. Actually, some sighted people cheated and turned on their cell phones for light. (Can we say Losers?) We had a salad of greens, cherry tomatoes and candy/nut bits with a sweet dressing. the blind people gave the sighted people tips on how to spear their cherry tomatoes and how to make sure that their lettuce did not end up in their lap. the main course was a blueberry barbeeQ stuffed chicken with steamed vegetables. Actually, I liked the chicken verry much and so did DH. It was stuffed with Lentils and had a hint of spices in the stuffing. I have to get the recipe. Rasta was not at our table, but his fiancee did not like the food at all. Rasta does not eat meat. So, we discussed it on the way home. I remarked that it was much better than the award dinner that we attended in November. Rasta retorted that, although he had the stuffed mushrooms and not the chicken (his fiancee would agree and she had the chicken) it was certainly not worth $125 per plate. but, I pointed out that our plates were purchased by bosma, so, technically, we paid nothing for this meal.
Anyway, many of the sighted public had a difficult time cutting their stuffed chicken and knowing how big of a bite was on their fork. Frequently, they lifted their fork to their mouth with nothing on it. [Hey, it happens to the best of us — on a regular basis, sometimes]. But, I do have to ask: how much of this was due to their previous guzzlings. The alcohol was “free.”
the most interesting part of the evening was the occupants at our table. There were three ambassadors, DH, M (who I developed a good relationship with while working and who subsequently took over my job when I resigned) and her guest/sister, a guy from production and his sister. There were four sighted people at our table. Two women did not talk very much. But, there was a couple who sat by DH and I who were quite talkative. He is an artist and wants to make art accessible for blind and VI (visually impaired) people. He will be having an art show soon. they now live in Lafayette, but they use to live quite close to DH’s boss. Apparently, DH’s boss would go over to their house because the artist had a recording studio and the Boss plays a guitar and sings. The artist let him record and also showed his son the finer points of “beep baseball” — even though his son was not blind. Well, apparently, the artist — or artist’s wife got a job in another city, so had to leave the house behind to be sold by another company. Guess, what? We had looked at that very same house to buy. The price is very good — especially for that side of town. The sqft meet my requirements. There are some drawbacks, but this was one of the two houses that had survived our critique. Who would have thought that we would be sitting at a table with the former owners of a house that we were considering buying???? That coincidence was enough for DH. We put in an offer after returning home. My sister was also looking for homes for us in an adjoining county, where she lives. The houses are cheaper there, but there is way more driving and inconvenience. DH would have to take two busses to get to work and it would take him the better part of two hours. The costs outweighed the benefits. Yet, it was kind of exciting to fantasize about living near my older sister. she has four children at home: m13yo, f11yo, m9yo and m7yo.
Yet, our preferred home has a busline which is still difficult to get to. I am not sure that I’ll be able to do it with baby. We would have well water instead of city water. And, I am not sure if all of our stuff can fit into the 1600sqft home. but, it is a ranch style home, has three bdrms and 3baths and an extra room for the office. Yes, the extra room is built in an L shape with two cubby hole rooms (like recording knooks) at one end. that is kind of strange. There is a fenced in yard, a fenced off area where an above ground pool use to be, a long driveway, a basketball goal, lots of sidewalk(near the driveway, but not around the neighborhood), one garage and all appliances included(Washer, dryer [The electric element just went out on ours], dishwasher, garbage disposal, fridge/stove, built-in microwave, etc). . It was built in 1960, but has been rennevated. this means that it was not factory built. I like that aspect because it is built sturdy. The bathrooms are a bit small and the Master bath has only a walk in shower. And, it was built on a slab, so don’t know about flooding, yet. The septic is city sewer, but there is well water. The pipes are copper and the roof is relatively new. the furnace is gas (I’d rather electric). And, so is the 40gallon hotwater heater. I’d rather it be electric and 60gallon. But, I like the rooms and the floors. I like that there is a small place for a dining room table. I like the large kitchen. I like the fact that the office space is on the opposite side of the house as the bedrooms. so, we are going to try to buy it. I’d link to some pictures of the house, but I don’t want to give out my possible address. The asking price is under 100k, but, don’t think that we won’t bargain this down further. DH is Pakistani, after all.
Back on track:
After monopolizing the Artist’s time, we decided to do the “Diamond Dig.” There were games such as black jack and slot machines after the dinner. We did not play any of those. They didn’t even have “braille cards.” [but, I’ll get to the complaints in a minute]. After dinner activities consisted of various gambling options, a silent auction, a dance with a live band and the Diamond dig. we did spend $20 on a ticket for the “Diamond dig.” There was a large bin with shreds of paper or styrofoam or something similar. There were little pouches hidden in the paper. when we found a bag, we would take it to the person working the “dig” and would receive a prize which corresponded with the number that was written on a small piece of paper inside the little pouch. Basically, it is an updated version of “find the money in the haystack” carnival game. I dug and came out with this $3 piece of costume jewlry. Rasta bought 4 tickets and was rewarded with four pieces of the same type of jewlry. I was hoping to at least get a Starbucks certificate.
DH and Rasta didn’t like the music and Rasta’s fiancee said that there were only about six people on the dance floor at a given time. Granted, that would probably change as people’s alcohol consumption increased. Actually, I thought that the ban was rather good and tried to get their particulars to pass onto my daughter, in case they needed a backup female singer.
Last year everyone got a bottle of wine, but that was last year. this year, it was a chocolate bar — Can we say “downsizing?” The organization also did a better job at describing — or iluminating on the positives of blindness, last year…. at least that is what DH says. And, there were no braille programs and no braille cards. The auction items were not described for the blind people and were displayed visually, which means that they were not able to be touched… … although most of the items were certificates and such. there was no way to tell “what” exactly was in the auction. Although, if you knew and had the three digit number attached to the item, you could enteract with the auctioneers via your IPhone or smart phone. It would have been simple to make the auction accessible. There were limited braille menus (but I wondered why a menu at all since we wer all eating the same thing. And, Couldn’t they put the Braille menu into the entire program? And, to make matters worse, this year, Bosma Bacquired a Braille production department. The games were not blind friendly. There were only gambling games(they could have set up a few carnival type of games with a tactile theme or ringing/noisy balls, etc). Bosma could have done a better job at incorporating blind individuals into the planning process and putting on of the event. I know that a blind chef or a blind bartender was out… … not because blind people aren’t in these professions (See An article about Laura Martinez but, I am sure that the hotel has policies about contracting other professionals. Yet, only one (an Assistive Technology instructor — no, not DH),spoke out of six or seven speakers. Blind individuals could have helped with the roulette wheel, blackjack tables and diamond dig. Although I really enjoyed the band, for a better effect, they could have hired blind musicians. they could have had a couple of computers set up with some accessible computer games (like bowling or racing or shooting) and charged a small fee for the chance to try their luck.
There is an xbox game called “in the Pit,” which is quite accessible because you can’t see what is on the screen. Actually, “nothing” is on the screen and you must use your ears, only to navigate and find/kill the monster at the bottom of the pit — so “no one has a visual advantage. They could have also play some “blind Trivia,” for a prize. Bosma could have put together a “goodie bag” for each guest which would include pamphlets on blindness and interacting with blind people, an alphabet card and other miscelaneous items associated with blindness . It certainly was not blind friendly.
Yet, we still had a good time out.

Family matters

May 1, 2012

what makes a family bond tight? How do you keep that familial bond from loosening or breaking altogether?
Often DH will tell me that “his family is much more close than mine.” My children (the adult ones, obviously) don’t call me nearly as much as he calls his parents. He reports that they don’t give me the same level of “respect” that he gives his parents. Of course, he’ll never put his parents into an old folks home. He sends his family money from time to time out of gratitude. And, when an elder speaks, children obey…. well, kind of…. and this is where the rub comes in.

for all of DH’s “strong familial bonds,” his family knows very little about our “real life.” His family doesn’t know when we have an argument and what we fight about. His family doesn’t know when/if we have any financial problems. His family doesn’t know when we are frustrated by transportation, social issues, etc. If he feels belittled or disrespected by his family, he can’t approach the subject with them. Any disagreeable circumstance: an illness, a bad decision, encounters with a scammer, feelings of anger at someone in the family, a possible crisis, etc are all left out of their daily conversations. Now, of course, I can’t be for sure, I don’t speak Urdu enough or fluently enough to understand all that they are saying. But, I do believe DH when he says that he just doesn’t tell his family because …. (get this) “My mother would worry and get sick from all of the worry.” What? really????
In contrast, I talk to my mother about three times a week (and that is a serious upgrade from what it use to be). We don’t talk nearly as long as DH does to his own parents — “what are they talking about????? — who knows). But, I can tell my mother:
“Although it seems strange to us, I still shaved LO’s head.”
“yes, we argue about the lack of housework that he does.”
“OK, dh is a better saver than I am.”
“Last night we went to a Pakistani picnic and…..”
“No, DH has not changed another diaper yet.”
“Once I was careless and the baby fell and hit his head.”
“We’re discussing birth control, but don’t be surprised if Baby Boy has a brother or sister.”
“We had to pay taxes this year and the amount was ….”
“I love my daughter, but I worry about her spending so much time with that All-guy band.”
You get the picture. These are conversations that DH will not have with his family. So, I ask: how close are they really? It seems that they are “faking a strong family bond.” I have told DH, I want to know what my children are doing, even if I don’t agree with it. I’ll tell my son that I don’t agree with his loyalty to the military…. or my daughter for living together before marriage, or Mr. Basketball for sluffing off his classes and expecting to get a good grade by whatever means necessary … or the Drum Diddler (last son) for engaging in the consumption of illegal substances. I want to know the “real person,” not who they pretend to be for my benefit. I might not like their choices, but I at least know the truth. My mother asks my opinion: “Am I being selfish because I don’t want to bring one of my grandchildren along???” Now, I don’t use a “we are just friends” tone with my mother. I don’t chide her or berate her. But, I have a much more free conversation with her than DH does with his mother….. and I was just under the assumption that if he and his mother talked every day — sometimes for an hour or two — they must be bonded as mother and son. He must be able to share with her lots of things about his life and so on. …. … not true.
I think that our son will have the best of both worlds. We, … … or I, won’t shy away from him when discussions of social justice, sex, drugs, etc need to be had. Yet, we will raise him with enough respect not to use foul language when talking to us and never to think about putting us in a nursing home.
Still, just because a family talks on the phone two or three times a day does not automatically mean that they are actually “close.” There is so much more to discuss on this subject: levels of observing familial duties, familial roles, patterns of manipulation within families,and many more.