Monday, February 25, 2013

Renting Paradise

I came across some photos yesterday of a vacation we took a number of years ago when Tyler was a toddler. We rented a beautiful vacation home on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. I could tell a lot of love went into that house. It was stunningly beautiful and was obviously designed with a family in mind. That sent my mind down memory lane and other gorgeous places we'd rented on vacations in the past.

What goes through the mind of the people who own these homes and condos? With only one exception, I've fallen in love with each vacation rental in which we've had the privilege to spend our precious vacation times. I've often wondered about the people who own these places. What are they like? You can guess some things about their personality from the way they decorate, the books on the shelves, the style and feel of their vacation home, but I've often wondered what motivates a person to take their little slice of heaven and share it with total strangers.

Sure, there is the monetary issue. Renting a place out helps the owner pay the mortgage. But there has to be more to it. If I went to all the time and expense to build a little home away from home, I'd find it VERY difficult to rent that sacred space out to total strangers. If you own a little slice of paradise somewhere and you rent it out, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you wonder about the people who stay in your vacation home?

I've often wished the owners of some of these places would contact me. I've signed a few guest books in my time, but I've never heard from a single one. I hope they get to enjoy these places as much as the people who rent them do.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Parenting

A former Facebook gamer "friend" posted something on her status update a couple weeks ago that struck me viscerally. She put something in her status update that said, and I paraphrase, "You never get the children you want, you only get the children you deserve." She made that statement in conjunction with a series of posts about the shootings in CT and posts about people struggling with children with special needs (her kids are "perfect" according to her.) Her take was if your child isn't perfect, it's because you are being punished by God.

Oh yeah. That made me angry.

Children are not a punishment, they are a gift! Sure, our lives are just about equal with stress and joy, but there is a balance. I embrace those moments of joy because they help me through the stressful times. We all make mistakes and there are many who fail horribly with parenting. But I have seen kids from the most broken of homes rise above their damaged upbringing and become amazing adults (with not even a little thanks to their Mom and Dad. So what did THOSE parents do to deserve such gems? Hmm?)

I had some carefully worded comments for this mother. I trend toward the snarky side, so I have to throttle back on the sarcasm to make my message crystal clear. For myself and any other parent with a child who has special needs...God isn't punishing us. Instead, we have been entrusted with the greatest gift of all. A child who needs extra love, guidance, attention and effort. If we complete this life-long challenge, the rewards will not just be a well adjusted, self-sufficient and confident adult but the knowledge that we embraced our gifts and discovered that unconditional love is its own reward.

My kids know they don't have to be perfect, rich or successful. All I want is for them to be happy. (and no, Max. Happy doesn't mean I'm buying you more toys. ;)