Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Menopause and Hot Flashes - Part 2

my cashmere sweater
"Oh, I'm a little warm - must be a hot flash," as I laugh and say to my friend Renee. Husband is sitting with us, watching TV, as we catch up after not seeing each other for over a year.

In a surprised and hush-hush voice, she says, “You’re in menopause?”

“Yes. I AM fifty-two,” as I continue to smile.

“Really?” (not responding to my age, but to the menopause)

Now I’m feeling awkward. My smile is fading. Was I not supposed to say that? I’m lost in figuring out what the big deal is.

Husband doesn’t say a word – just keeps his eyes on the TV.

Seeing this, I assume he doesn’t want to get in the middle of this conversation, so I change the subject.

Our hour long visit goes well. We have fun talking about as many topics and people we can think of until she has to leave.

As we stand in my driveway saying our last good-byes, she says something about the current status of her life. Divorced a couple years ago, she’s still adjusting. I go into my encourager role, telling her to keep doing things that interest her. I bring up menopause again, saying one good this about it, is a renewed sense of freedom; an entry into another phase of life that solidifies you as a fully grown woman...blah, blah, blah

Quickly, she says, “Oh, I’m not in menopause.”

In my normal tone of voice, I say, “Oh, I know, but you’re almost forty-eight. You’re probably perimenopausal. That can go on for years.”

“No, I’m not. I don’t have any symptoms.

“Well, I hardly have ‘symptoms’ (sounds like we’re talking about a disease), but your body is preparing to stop having periods. Those eggs don’t last forever,” trying to bring in some humor.

“I think it’ll be a long time before I’m in menopause.”
“Oh, did your mom have a late menopause, or your sister?”
“They had surgery, so I don’t know.”
“Well, why do you think so about yourself?”

“I don’t know…I just know…I’ll be sixty!”

“You don’t want a period THAT long!”

And so on…until I say…

“Trust me, eventually you won’t miss your period.”
I don’t think she believed me.

Followers and readers of ALL ages…guys, too…
How do you feel about the menopause conversation? Does it make you uncomfortable?

Ps. Since my first Menopause and Hot Flashes post, the hot flashes have decreased considerably. I wore my cashmere sweater this past winter without having to strip it off in a panic because of a hot-flash. Yay!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Call Somebody versus I'll Fix It

“I don’t do electricity and I don’t do plumbing.” These are the words of my husband.

We’ve been married fifteen years. Our first home was an apartment; complete with a maintenance crew on the premises. Neither of us had to do anything beyond hammering nails or screws into the wall to hang pictures. The maintenance crew even came once or twice to plunge my overflowing defective toilet when I couldn’t get it to cooperate. Husband painted a room once, but I think that’s all we needed to do for the upkeep of our home.

The next home was a house…with a mortgage…ours. This is when the phrase “call maintenance” was replaced by “call somebody.” Husband loves gardening and keeping the yard looking lovely, and is outside whenever possible, but if the refrigerator malfunctions, he doesn’t touch it.

“Call somebody,” he says - meaning the warranty people, a plumber, or whatever repair person that can do the job.

Me…I go to my files to look for the instruction manual.

“I may be able to fix this.”

I’m thinking of saving us a few dollars.

The inspiration for this post came when having a conversation with two friends. Betsy was complaining about an incomplete job in her house that was started by her husband. “I’ll fix it,” her husband always says. And then he does, but it takes a month or more – a time of inconvenience, changing routines, and having to look at it day after day.

I told Betsy… “Oh, I have a ‘Call somebody’ husband,” and Robin chimed in with “Me too!” and says, “If it involves a ladder, my husband is NOT going to do it!

When it snowed over a foot, our husbands were wondering where the “college boys” were. The driveways needed shoveling. When the boys appeared, it was “mission accomplished” – somebody else’s back, their wallets.

Betsy then said, “Oh, I wish I had a ‘Call somebody’ husband.” I wasn’t surprised because she’s loves neatness and order in her house.

In fairness to my husband, he works hard, and I appreciate him. Like everyone else, he prioritizes, and it doesn’t always fit somebody else’s idea of how the “list of things to do” should be ordered.

Is your spouse a “Call Somebody” person, or an “I’ll Fix It” person? How about you?

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Do you wonder what your child will grow up to be; what job will be landed; or, what career, profession, or business will be established?

When I was a little girl growing up in the 1960s, it was expected that an educated black girl child would grow up to be a teacher, a nurse, or a secretary. When asked what I wanted to be, the slightest hesitation in answering would prompt the person to say, “Oh, I’ll bet you’re going to be a teacher!”

I actually had no idea what I’d do, and received no specific guidance, so I took the recommended shorthand class in ninth grade…just in case.

Fortunately, I stumbled upon the data processing class that ultimately led to a computer programming career…not that there’s anything wrong with being a secretary.

So now I’m a mother. I can look back on those days and try to improve the process for my children. Living in a community where a large percentage of the adults went to college, and their children are going to college, the discussion of the children’s future is a major conversation.

What activities are they involved in?
What camps are they attending this summer?
Where are they volunteering?
What are their grade point averages?
What colleges are they looking at?
How’d they do on the SAT?
Will the private school challenge them more?
Will they take IB or AP classes?
Should we take in the foreign exchange student?

And so on…

These are the parents striving for the best possible education, getting the kids involved in many activities, and exposing them to culture, with hopes of getting them into the best colleges that will open more doors of opportunity for employment; in addition to the pride that will be felt by all.

At the other end of the spectrum, is the parent who wants a good education for the child, but leans more towards letting the child decide what the future job will be. When engaged in this conversation, I hear more of a concern for contentment that doesn’t necessarily require a certain college or “the big bucks” after college.

I might send my son to community college first.
My child just takes standard classes and I’m okay with that. She’s not in that advanced league.
I just want him to be happy and fulfilled.

And there’s the sports parent:

He can’t afford any more injuries; we need that scholarship.
Sports are so good for kids. My kids must play a sport.

Of course, I’m generalizing. I can pull from all these areas when guiding my children.

But how much should we guide? I know of a family who has a son at a very reputable college who has become involved in the plight of the Haitians. They’ve been successful at educating him and getting him into "the good college," but will he follow what may be a philanthropic “calling” on his life instead of going to work in a corporation?

I know of another family who loves living a simple life, with lots of kids and surrounded by horses and chickens. Will any of the kids in that family grow up and wish Mom and Dad had prepared them more for life in the corporation by putting more emphasis on grades, colleges, and culture?

During this time of brainwashing my children…oops, did I say that…I meant nurturing and preparing them, I instill in them the advantages of a good education, but also, the need to do something that they will be passionate about, as well as providing them with the lifestyle they’d like to have. I tell them if they want to live as we are living now, a low to average income may not be enough. At this time, I don’t know if either of the children will want a large house, or conversely, not care about square footage at all. I just hope they’ll be wise and modest in progressing towards their goals, and that they'll live a good life.

I don’t know what my kids will be when they grow up. Based on their current interests, if they were stepping into the adult world right now, one would be an artist, one would be a musician, and the other would be working in advertising, probably writing TV commercials.

What I do know – is that there should be a place for all children to be educated and trained for the many skills required - including parenting - to keep the world moving forward.

How much input and influence should a parent have in directing the course of their child’s future?