I am here. It has been a fabulous time so far. Dorothy Roberts was the keynote this morning, brilliant as ever. And I've met some fabulous people, including a blog-reader who didn't realize she was until she went to the address I gave her and found it was just little ole here.
First, let me tell you that I'll leave the entries for the giveaways open until next Thursday. That's a long time, but then I'll be back in town, post-conference (leaving tomorrow) and settled and ready to make a trip to the UPS store, okay?
Now for the big question and call for your help.
I want to write an article about becoming a new mother at or over the age of fifty. By "new mother" I don't mean "first-time mother" though that's a possibility too. But what I mean is entering a new mother-child relationship at or after 50. For example:
-a biological mother via ART, whether IVF with donor gametes or through surrogacy
-an adoptive mother to a new child whether an infant or older
-a foster mother who has taken in new children (of any age) at or over 50
-a grandmother adopting/fostering her grandchildren
-a new stepmother, married to/moving in with a custodial parent
-anything else you know of that I haven't thought of
The mother relationship doesn't have to be legal, but should be daily or very nearly daily care of/responsibility for a child under 18. In other words, standing "in loco parentis" or being a "de facto" parent counts too.
And I want to focus on mothers, because it is less examined in our culture than men becoming fathers after 50, but if you are or know a father in an interesting new parent situation at or after age 50, I'm okay with throwing one in there for extra insight.
I developed an interest in this topic when Selina arrived about two months before Cole's 50th birthday and looked around and saw little but condemnation for women becoming mothers over age 50. If you are an "expert" in this area for whatever reason (you can define your credentials), I'd like to hear from you too.
I would love to get at least six strong interviews with women who fall into as wide a variety of situations possible. I plan to do long-form open-ended questions, rather than trying to accumulate any "statistics." I plan to pitch the story to a few major parenting magazines. I pitched it to the AARP magazine in the fall and they gave me the silent treatment, but my interest in the topic remains, so I figured I'd get started on it and find a publisher as I go.
Need to vent a little here in personal space. So I wrote this thing (you might have seen it) at Strollerderby about questioning the appropriateness of pirates as a theme of children's play. Mainly, it was supposed to be kind of funny, like "huh, yeah, never thought about it, but how DO you explain a plank to a 3-year old?" (I told my kids their Little People Pirate Ship plank was a diving board.)
Anyhow, now a few commenters are convinced my children are micro-managed and having their creativity and learning opportunities cramped debilitatingly.
It really never ceases to amaze me how much assumption people can load onto the smallest pieces of information. In another recent post, a woman said she was terribly worried about the children of anyone claiming to love their spouse more than said children and accused such people of having a sick "codependent" relationship. You know, just in general. Without knowing anything more than a silly comment on a blog about "love" which can interpreted in about a thousand different ways by a thousand different people.
For the record, my kids own about 300 books, buckets of blocks, a basket full of dress-up clothes (some girlie, some decidedly NOT girlie), baskets of dolls and stuffed animals, tea sets and play food, cars, trucks (and yes, even a pirate ship), a dollhouse and tons of furniture and dollhouse people, a miniature piano that has two and a half octaves of real keys, several drums and bells and other rhythm instruments, a real ukulele, blankets they use to build forts, a closet full of art supplies, more balls than I can count, scooters, tricycles, and yes, even videos (gasp!). Plus more free-play time than any kids their age I know.
I hardly think I'm cramping their style by thinking twice about certain toys or books or videos. I mean, ALL parents choose what they let their kids play with to at least some extent, right? (If they don't what's up with that?) My kids are still too little for peer influences, so I'm not exactly fighting them over their true passions. They don't even know pirates exist (in spite of the Little People). They don't miss them any more than they miss Hannah Montana, whom I sincerely hope they never discover (yeah, yeah, wishful thinking, I know).
I hardly deserve a single remaining reader, as negligent as I've been of this blog since I started the Strollerderby gig. And don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the job and the chance to make some money doing something I kind of do anyway, but I do miss the self-selecting nature of personal blog readers here at Peter's Cross Station.
Thanks too, for being so supportive of my work over there. I truly appreciate it.
As both an appreciative gesture for readers and a pay-it-forward gesture based on having received gifts and hand-me-downs from readers, I'd like to give some stuff away.
I have three Foogo sippy cups that my kids have outgrown. They are a little faded around the edges, but really, they are quite durable and should last twenty more years. Mostly. Selina chewed up the spouts, so you'll have to get some replacements for those, which you can get here. So it isn't like a bright and shiny new thing, but given that these cups are $15 new and last forever, it's not a terrible deal. If you'd like to be in a drawing to receive them, leave a comment below noting so, and I'll do a random draw and send them to the winner.
If you don't need or want any sippy cups, leave a comment below and note that you'd like $40 of credit at my jewelry site and I'll do a separate random draw for that.
You can be in both drawings if you like, but if the same person happens to win both, I'll redraw so two different people will get something.
Sorry I can't give everybody a car. But really, I do truly appreciate you!
Church tonight was really fun--which is pretty weird for Maundy Thursday, I know. But they cleared out the sanctuary and put in dinner tables and fed everybody right in there--a whole meal, featuring a few Passover standards among the dishes.
They were washing feet all around too, and when Nat saw that, she of course wanted to do it. So I helped her off with her tights and she took her turn. Except she was way too short for her feet to reach the basin from her chair, so they stood her up right in the bowl. Why oh why did I leave my phone with the camera in my coat pocket in the hallway? It was excruciatingly adorable to see a white man in a business suit bending over my daughter washing her feet in the middle of the church--and her grinning with getting away with something completely crazy.
Afterwards, Nat kept saying "I got my feet wet!" and "I got my feet wet in church!" Then when they cleared away the dinner things, Nat turned to Cole and said "do you like the church restaurant, Cole-mom?" It was Disney Land as far as she was concerned.
I put the kids in the play room after that and they did a Eucharist and stripped the church.
They do theatre really well at this place. I have to hand it to them.
Nat, by the way, barely touched the food. She has finally hit a picky stage. Selina, on the other hand inhaled humus, veggie salad, eggplant, couscous and lentils, apples and walnuts, matzoh, all with great relish and glee.
It's even in bloom. I was reading the literature that came with it (the brochure promising that I will "experience abundance and happiness") and it said to snip off the blooms in the first year to encourage growth and I was all sad. Then I remembered that I got a 2-3 year tree instead of a one-year tree, so I can leave the flowers. They smell delicious!