Well, my bold Westworld binge-watching bonanza proclamation turned out to be nothing more than a bunch of ballyhooed BS…
I only got through the fourth episode before running out of time.
Consequently, I can’t provide anything much in the way of a review. But I can provide a bit of feedback that might mean something about its watchability…
Which is… I kept falling asleep while watching it.
Now, full disclosure, I’ve taken some of my best naps during what turned out to be some of my favorite shows so my inability to stay awake while watching Westworld in and of itself doesn’t mean that much.
As for what I was able to stay awake for… I really like what it is trying to do in concept; however, its execution…
I’m not the smartest or greatest dad there is. Not even close. I have many faults and made many mistakes over the years that I regret.
However, I do think I’m pretty good at understanding my faults and I work hard to minimize their impact to myself and others, especially to my family, as much as possible.
Even still… just because faults were minimized, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t impact from them from time to time. There was. I regret that.
But… we live and learn and live and relearn and one and on.
My daughter is my first child and when she was born I didn’t have a clue as to how to raise her.
I found out quickly though, that having children, and especially having the first child, is kind of like going to war.
No matter how much you plan for it, once the first shot is fired the best you can hope for is a campaign of organized chaos.
Fortunately, not long after she was born, I happened upon some useful information — probably from articles in a newspaper (remember those things?) — about the results of a couple of different studies.
I don’t remember the newspaper — probably the Stars & Stripes.
And I certainly don’t remember the studies or who conducted them so I cannot attest to the veracity of the reportage.
However, based upon my life experiences, what was reported seemed to speak the truth.
And from these apparent truths that I happened upon long ago, I was changed — or at least I sought to change — from their insights.
And from this change, I hope I became a better father to, not just my daughter, but to my sons as well. For I also hope that when my sons, too, have daughters– and based upon the make up of my lovely and loving wife’s family and mine, they probably will — they understand how their beliefs and, more importantly, their behavior can have such an impact on the outcome of their daughters’ lives.
The first thing I learned that changed my behavior as a father was…
The more education a father has the less the chance will be that his daughter will find herself in an abusive relationship as an adult.
The second was…
Girls with high self-esteem tend to have less sex during their middle and high school years and girls with low self-esteem tend to have more.
The inverse is true for boys.
It’s Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
DESPITE IT ALL, BECAUSE OF IT ALL
I grew up in a large family, the youngest girl and second youngest of six children, with two sisters and three brothers. Despite that, or perhaps because of that, I have always wanted to have a large family myself. My husband on the other hand, grew up with just one sister, so he was more skeptical of the prospect of a large family. Of course a large family today is probably only equivalent to half the size of a large family back then.
My ultimate goal was to have my children before the age of 30, so I could be a young mother and grandmother. After three-and-a-half years of marriage, I stopped using birth control so we could start a family. It didn’t take long for me to get pregnant, but it took determination and perseverance throughout nine pregnancies within the next ten years to successfully create our family.
I decided to write a book about my efforts to have children for many reasons; the most important one being that it was very therapeutic for me to jot down details of each of my pregnancies, successful or not, to keep them all sorted in my mind. Reading about them now, each one borne complete through words becoming sentences, and sentences becoming paragraphs and pages, is the most therapeutic of all. Of course it is easier to move on when things have ended on a positive note, and my family is complete.
My advice to others is simple:
Talk about your fears, disappointments and struggles to anyone who will listen. This can be a professional councilor or a friend or family member. On the flip side, listen to anyone that is trying to lean on you for support throughout their struggles. I remember a co-worker thanking me for “breaking the ice” as she called it, upon my return to work after a stillbirth. My co-workers were all very concerning and caring, but no one knew what to say or how to act, so when I started the conversation they were very grateful. It is always better to acknowledge someone’s pain rather than ignore or avoid it.
Do not wait too long to start your family. As my story shows you, things do not always go as planned. If you are in a healthy, financially stable relationship, and both of you want to have children, don’t procrastinate. That’s why humans have a nine-month gestation; it gives you time to get used to the idea of a baby in the family.
Work hard for what you believe in and want out of life. Do not let others tell you that you cannot do something that you believe you can. Do not believe that you cannot do something until you have tried your best to do it.
Do not take anything you have for granted, especially your health, but also your intelligence, athletic abilities, and anything else that makes you different from others.
Last, but not least, when you are feeling down, take a moment to realize that there is always someone worse off than you in any given situation. Think of the good and positive things in your life, (I do not mean materialistic things) and be sure to surround yourself with positive people that really care about you. Delete the negative things and people from your life. Make a written list of these things, referring to it often and adding to the list as you work through your struggles.
I can write this story now with humor, candor, wisdom and hindsight, all things I did not have much of when I was first starting out on my path to motherhood. Hopefully, this will provide inspiration and comfort to others that have or are going through the frustration and heartbreak of losing a child during pregnancy.
MARY OF THE SUN
by jonna ellis holston
From Lowell , Massachusetts
My Aunt Mary wrote for The Lowell Sun for seventy-six years. She started while still a high school girl… under pen names… looong before women commonly reported for newspapers. She and my Uncle Charles G Sampas, a mild mannered executive news editor from a great historic city’s newspaper, were my God Parents. Often glued to Mary’s side, I recall The Sun as a chaotic place full of screaming, sweaty reporters desperate to read the ribbons spewed forth from the wire services. I still smell the ink and burnt coffee, and hear the deafening noise of the printing machines. “It’s a lot of work to bring news to the people,” she told me.
And remember those phones that had wires attached to walls? Mary Sampas was attached to one of those… always tucked under an ear, scribbling notes and trading in gossip and fact as she covered the glamorous stars of old Hollywood, Lauren Bacall, Cary Grant, David Niven, many others. Mary and Charlie even accompanied the Kennedys on their Paris trip with Charles de Gaulle and then off to Vienna for the Khrushchev talks. Even Jackie called on Mary for the inside scoop.
She slept late… till the calls began… then the typing would start. Evenings were usually spent socializing with those who were known to be in the know. Hers was a world of endless working parties with artists, writers or prominent Democrats. With non-stop, indefatigable charm and the brain of a word processor she would pursue secrets, discover, verify. What was show and what remained hidden in the backroom smoke?
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