Tag Archives: mom

If We Don’t……Then Who Will?

3 Dec

For nearly 40 years, I have watched the same holiday special on television—A Charlie Brown Christmas. As a child, I would rush to take my bath or shower and get into my pajamas so I could wrap myself in a blanket on the couch and watch it. As a teenager, I watched it with the small kids I babysat while their parents were out at holiday parties. And now, as a parent, I watch it with my own children, cuddled up with me in my bed in their pajamas.

My son kept saying that he didn’t like the show because everyone was always mean to Charlie Brown. Why is everyone so mean to Charlie Brown? Good question. (I love how sensitive he is). I told him he needed to watch it through to the end. I still well-up with tears when all the kids belt out (with their mouths open wider than soccer balls) “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” to Charlie Brown and wish him a Merry Christmas at the end after they fix up his sad little tree.

What struck me this year was the speech Linus gives on the stage explaining the true meaning of Christmas:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’
That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

I hate to say it, but I fear that it is only a matter of time before this show is pulled from network television because of this monologue and its mention of Christ the Lord and God. I know, the horror. That a children’s show, crammed in between commercials brainwashing them with all kinds of toys they should add to their Christmas lists, would dare incorporate a Christian message. It saddens me to say that I have become so disheartened by the “political correctness” of today’s society, that I now actually expect someone, or some group, to petition to ban such programs from broadcast television. A show that has been televised for every year since it was created in 1965 by a brilliant man named Charles Schulz.

Interestingly enough, it turns out that network executives were, in fact, reluctant to include the scene of Linus explaining the story of the birth of Christ. Apparently Charles Schulz was adamant that the scene remain, and said “if we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” Clearly he won out. The scene stayed.

These days, we worry so much about offending someone that we often compromise our beliefs and values. We are so hung up on being politically correct, we tend to even shy away from talking about, writing about, or creating anything that might be then slightest bit controversial.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a child was sent home (or expelled) from school if he or she showed up with a t-shirt featuring Linus and his Christmas monologue. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Hell no. Not acceptable. Too controversial. God. Peace. Good will. Men. I’m not sure we are still allowed to talk about these things today.

I have always loved Snoopy and the Peanuts gang. I have always had great admiration for Charles Schultz and his creative genius, as well as his humility. He had no qualms about explaining that Charlie Brown’s character was very much like himself—shy and awkward. But learning that he was adamant about keeping this scene in the Christmas special made me even more of a fan. I have a good friend who often says “if not me, then who….” for difficult situations that arise which most people wouldn’t want to deal with. Think, just for a second, about how often that saying taken to heart would be helpful. If I don’t volunteer to help, then who will? If I don’t talk to my kids about bullying, drugs, drinking, etc., then who will? If I don’t stand up for my convictions, then who will? And, in my case, if I don’t tell my story about how I deal with my alcoholism and try to help others, then who will? Would it be easier to keep it quiet and deal with it privately? Yes. Would it have been easier for Schulz to cave to the television executives and remove the scene? Yes.

Charles Schulz would have been 92 last week. When you get lost in the frenzy of the holidays, take a minute and look up the scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas and listen to Linus. It will help you remember what Christmas is really all about. And, I gotta say, watching the kids dance while Schroeder plays the piano, is pretty hilarious.
I never eat December snowflakes. I always wait until January.—Lucy Van Pelt

Extra! Extra! Drink All About It……

20 Sep

The news these days is nothing short of devastatingly depressing. The terror group ISIS is beheading innocent people and trying to instill fear and horror throughout the world. The deadly Ebola virus is spreading at an exponential rate. There is a terrible respiratory illness that is sending hundreds of children to emergency rooms nationwide. Nationally recognized and idolized sports figures are being exposed for brutally beating their partners and even their children. And, what hits closest to home, a local girl who is a sophomore at the University of Virginia has been missing for a week now and foul play is suspected. I cannot possibly begin to imagine what her family is going through and can only add my heartfelt prayers for her safe return.

So when we are bombarded from every direction with negativity, fear and sadness, what do we do? Everyone has their own way of dealing with difficult times — their own coping mechanisms. Some meditate, many pray, some repress it and continue on, some seek help, some shut down and, if you’re an alcoholic, chances are you drink. It’s usually the only coping mechanism you know. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, you may struggle to refrain from picking up a drink.

I can only speak about my own experiences and feelings as an alcoholic. Thank goodness I am an alcoholic in recovery who hasn’t had a drink in over 2 years (845 days to be exact). With each day that I am inundated with bad news, however, the brick wall that I have been building, one day at a time, to protect me and keep me away from the bottle, gets chipped away. It’s like a chisel is breaking out little holes through the wall that give me glimpses of past coping mechanisms in the form of liquid. There’s a tiny voice in the back of my head that tries to tell me that with all these horrible things that surround me, what the hell could be so bad about taking a drink? My brain still fights the many years of training that taught it that when things were tough, I could always pick up a drink and feel better. The insanity of the disease of alcoholism tries to tell me that a drink will wash all my cares away.

The reality, however, is quite harsh. A drink will not destroy ISIS, cure Ebola or deadly respiratory illnesses, stop domestic violence, or bring a missing girl home. A drink will do absolutely nothing to help make things better. Absolutely. Nothing. Not only will it do nothing to make things better, it will make things worse. Much worse.

I’ve had crappy days when I have wanted to have a drink. I’ve also had wonderful days, when all seems right with the world, or my little world anyway, when I have also wanted to pick up a drink. Good times, bad times, happy times, sad times, a drink seemed appropriate for all. But it was never “A” drink. It was a drink followed by another drink, and then another, and then another…..I like to explain my alcoholism to people as a broken switch in my brain wiring. I believe that “normal” people have a little light that comes on in their brain that tells them they have had enough to drink and need to stop. The little switch is flipped and they make the rational, prudent decision not to drink any more at that time. In my brain, the light, and the switch, are either broken or missing. As I approach too much to drink, instead of telling me to stop, my brain tells me to keep on going. More is better.

What scares the hell out of me now is that if I can crave a drink at times when things are going well, how in the world am I going to resist a drink when something really difficult happens? And not just out in the world, but to me, or in my immediate little world. An integral part of recovery is breaking down your ego and your self-centeredness. When I drank, it was all about me. First and foremost. Me, where my next drink was coming from, when I was getting my next drink, what was going to make ME happy, what I was dealing with in my life. Me.

But I’m not just me. I am a mother of three wonderful children. I am a wife. I am a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a godmother, and a friend. People count on me. With a clear brain, not all clouded up with alcohol, I know now that my children deserve a mother who is there for them. My husband deserves a wife who is present. And friends who have cared for me deserve the same in return. They will have their times when they need support, just as I have. My children will hear the news and be afraid, curious, worried, and confused. I am the one who is supposed to comfort them and protect them. I can only try to take that confusion and fear and try to turn it into solace and hopefully life lessons that will help them. There will always be bad news. Thanks to a wonderful friend, I am learning to look for the silver linings.

Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise—Victor Hugo

Coming soon…

1 Feb

Tune in again soon for a fun new blog about the adventures of a super, sober suburban mom.

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