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Category Archives: Reflection

Hitting the Glass Ceiling While Wearing Glass Slippers

I was coloring with my favorite little girl one afternoon when she suddenly started asking me the origin stories of some of the better known superheroes. Personally, I love Batman and told her about Bruce Wayne’s tragic loss of his parents and his way cool butler.

She really wanted to know about Wonder Woman.  I only knew a little, but we happened to be going to a friend’s for dinner that night who is a big Wonder Woman fan, so I told her to ask that evening.

That night, she learned about Wonder Woman and watched the pilot episode of the Linda Carter show from the 70’s. By the end of the night she was wearing a replica tiara, bullet proof bracelets, and holding a golden lasso while spinning.

WonderWoman

And she hasn’t stopped since. My little girl IS Wonder Woman, and I’ve become a big fan too. A beautiful, smart, strong, courageous princess who fights for truth, justice, and love. What’s not to love? Or encourage? I could not ask for a better role model in a world saturated with everything I never want my princess to become.

She is a little girl who always favors the female characters, but in her eyes, even Leia couldn’t compete with her curious love of Darth Vader (though Leia has always been a hero to me), and she was still looking for the perfect hero.

But of course, she doesn’t just want to be strong; she wants to be pretty…and a princess. Naturally, she also still loves the Disney Princesses.  We very recently watched the 2015 live-action version of Cinderella, who happens to be one of her beloved princesses.

Now, I know there are arguments out there that these old fairy tale princesses teach young women to be weak and to depend on being saved by their “prince charming,” but I think that just shows a lack of responsibility in teaching our young girls the values and virtues of each of those princesses.  Is Cinderella weak because she has to be whisked away to the castle by her prince? I don’t think so. She was good, kind, and beautiful, and was in the end rewarded for it.

The historic context is the key to making excellent lessons out of these “helpless” princesses.  Our young ladies today need to understand what life was like for women once upon a time, that they were seen as unintelligent property good only for cleaning and having babies. But in these situations, these princesses were strong in the ways they were able to be strong. They were dignified in spite of it, and though women have not quite broken through that glass ceilings around the world, and not even always in the Land of the Free, they gave little girls hope. We cannot discount that today as weak. We should be proud of how far we’ve come. (and let’s not forget the B.A. Mulan, who is based off a Chinese legend)

Princess Diana lived in a land without men, and beyond learning to be strong and to defend herself and what is right physically, her virtues are the same as many of those fairy tale princesses. Many of those values of her femininity are what makes her such an amazing character.

Our little one is not quite old enough that we feel she should see the new Wonder Woman movie yet, but she will one day, and I wonder if she will get goosebumps and tear-filled eyes when Diana climbs up a ladder and rushes through No Man’s Land the way I did. Will she also get goosebumps and tear-filled eyes when Belle (Emma Watson) dances with the Beast in the grand ballroom brought to life…the way I did? I really hope she does.

Heroes don’t have to only be physically strong. A real hero is also emotionally strong, unafraid to show a tender side, and does right, even when it is hard. Mostly, heroes need to stand for something and reflect something we want in ourselves.

 

Today

I’m not really feeling IT today, whatever IT is. Creativity alludes me, but I promised myself I’d write something today, because I actually have a tiny porthole type window of time to do so today. It’s just a little round window that doesn’t even open to let in any fresh air. Maybe that’s why my creativity is stifled.

creepy road

Nevertheless, I was just able to work in the word nevertheless, so I guess I’m not completely mind numb today.

I had big plans. There were two ideas in my head fighting each other for my attention all day. Now that I’m spending time with my personal laptop, the ideas have vanished. Ok, not completely. I remember the concepts but not the wonderful way I was going to string my words together to make my points poignant. And really, if I cannot write either of these ideas to the best of my ability, I refuse to do it at all! Sometimes it’s ok to write fluff just to be writing; other times your topics require your utmost affections in molding them with your words. Masterpieces require love, time, and inspiration (just as lists require an Oxford comma).

It appears my ideas must wait for a better opportunity. Today is not the day.

 

Mawwage- Here’s to Another 17 Years

mawwage

This man knows me better than anyone, and he loves me anyway. I guess the same can be said the other way too.

Seventeen years is a long time, especially in modern marriages. But we’ve stuck with it. I’m sure we both have wondered why from time to time, but marriages aren’t perfect. None of them. You work at it. You give and receive considerable amounts of grace, and you grow together, even when it means suffering “growing pains.”

Sharing your life and becoming one with someone is bound to get complicated, but you do it together. While one is weak, hopefully the other is strong. Sometimes you are both weak and you just prop each other up and know it will get better because you have each other. The last few years have been the most challenging in our marriage, but we made it to seventeen. During the first ten years we were practically children. I feel like we’ve finally actually grown and matured over the last seven years. The biggest part has been finding God in our marriage and keeping Him at the center…no matter what.

So here’s to another 17 years…and another…and so on. There’s more adventure to come. I love you Robert. Happy Anniversary.

Home is Where the Heart Is

There she was, curled into a dot on the bed, wrapped in a furry dog. I hoped my instincts would kick in as the dog’s had. This was way out of my comfort zone and level of experience… yet here she was, left in my uncertain hands.

The phone call had come just nine days earlier, during a leisurely afternoon nap (I had a feeling naps would be scarce in my new life). My blurry brain was having a hard time comprehending the surreal conversation. Perhaps I was still asleep and this was a  dream.

“Jane took off today. Nobody knows where she is, but I had a feeling this was coming. The kids are both with your father and me, but…” my mother trailed off. “It’s just too much for us with both the kids.”

What was she saying? What was she about to say? I knew there was a reason she had called me, and I think even in that foggy moment, I knew what the question would be. I’d had this conversation with my sister only a few weeks earlier. At the same time as it was a shock Jane had actually left, there had been some signs and a deep feeling it would come.

“Lynn, would you and Michael please consider taking in Diana?” What did that mean, and for how long?

My simple reply was, “Give us a couple days to think this over.” I could have just answered then. I knew what the answer would be. How could we deny taking in an innocent little girl who needed a home? Yet, this was my family, not his blood, and I knew a life-altering decision had to be discussed. That initial discussion lasted about 45 seconds. We knew it was the right thing to do, even if we were both frightened. So frightened.

So we stood in the doorway of the now pink room we had spent days preparing for her, and we watched her sleep, enthralled by what was happening.

She had not gone to sleep peacefully. She had screamed and cried and when there was nothing left for us to do, we had put her to bed where she cried herself to sleep as we helplessly cringed and stared at each other. She was angry, confused, and absolutely inconsolable. Who could blame her? But a four year old doesn’t know how to voice what we knew she was feeling. She didn’t understand where her mother was, why she had just spent a week and a half at her Gran and Pop’s house, and why she was now in our home, her great aunt and uncle she mostly just saw on holidays.

Our hearts went out to her. We knew she was in a tender place, but we also had to set a certain tone of authority, because this could very well be a permanent situation for us and we needed to be the ones in charge. What a crazy balance we would have to learn when we had spent fourteen years avoiding parenting.

She sighed and rolled over, and the dog stirred. The other dog, as uncertain and scared as we were, stepped towards the bed and peered over the top at the tiny creature who had made so much noise earlier, but now only lightly snored. She was a curiosity. Something new to be discovered, for all of us. And she would change us.

**Just a little creative writing draft**

Terri Klaes Harper

Copyright 2017

We Are All Models

A man who does not know how to properly treat a lady has no business in raising one; nor does a woman who does not know how she should be treated.

The behaviors we exhibit for our children in our relationships are the ones they will develop in their own lives. That is a huge responsibility, not to be taken lightly. Parents, think about what you are modeling for your children. Is it what you want them to become?

Treat others as you want your children to be treated, and how you want your children to treat others.

wonderwoman

 

Dear Long Lost Friend

Dear Long Lost Friend & Those I Have Loved,

If I take the time to look back over my life, I see moments and people swirling, never stopping. It always keeps moving. Life doesn’t stop.

But I am sorry I haven’t paused to thank you for being one of those swirling faces. Each one is special. Each one helped make me who I am today. Some encouraged me and gave me hope. Some broke me down so I had to build myself back up, stronger. Some tested my moral fortitude. And some held me and let me cry.

I see pieces of laughter and inspirations to be better. There are adventures and quiet moments.  Fear. Wonder. Loyalty. Love.

Each person in my life helped mold or chisel a piece of me. All are part, though some more so than others, of the masterpiece that I am, or hope to be. Because that’s how it works. “We’re all in this together,” and wow, isn’t that the truth!

You never know the words you say that will forever stick with another, so please, choose them wisely.

 

Forever Yours,

Terri Klaes Harper

 

Throw Away Children

In the last couple months, I’ve been questioned as to why I haven’t been, and urged to begin again, to write. It is something I love to do, so why has it been so hard?

I finally figured it out. Writing is my release of feelings, and I’ve been keeping some in for far too long. The result, my constipated writing. Why should I hold back any longer? If I want to write again, I think I need to let this go.

Throw Away Children

I pray daily that I can forgive you for what you've done,
but so far that battle has not easily been won.
Did your advisors tell you a new one would "validate" tossing the others
 aside?
Are you hoping maybe you can actually do this one right? Yeah, right!
In raising your sweet little girl, according to her, I became her mother.
And with my parents raising your son, does that make him my brother?
The kids don't need or ask of you now and probably won't even past twenty,
So if you love them at all, leave them alone as the damage you've 
 inflicted is plenty
You should try to walk sometime in someone else's shoes,
though it's clear the only ones that concern you belong to you.
You affect concern and dole out unwarranted, nonsense advice,
but they haven't even seen you in Christmases thrice.
You thought they'd think your not wanting them, yet starting over with 
 another would be good news?
An obvious piece of evidence of the good your exit from their lives now
 proves.
Some things, believe it or not, are more important than eating bananas
Or the price of avocados in Florida.

dsc_0453Terri Klaes Harper 2017

Oh, and congratulations on being so tolerant, you know, except when it 
came to raising your own kids.