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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beauty Blog Review

Lately I have been talking and posting a lot about a beauty blogger/vlogger that has really inspired me. I want to talk about Emily Eddington and her Beauty Broadcast channel on YouTube.
Here is her intro, in her own words...

As you can see, she is a beautiful, young, friendly woman who cares about women and about beauty. I don't even remember what caught me about her videos but I was in a Fibromyalgia stupor when I started and spent pretty much the 2-3 day recovery time watching her videos. I think there are two that really inspired me and helped me feel beautiful.

Her reviews and tutorials have been invaluable to me as I am trying to feel beautiful even with weight gain and other BLAH crud from basically being sick for a year...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Once You Have Three

I have a theory that once you have three children it really doesn't matter how many more you have, your sanity is shot.

I have five.

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, I would not send any back (not today anyway) nor do I regret having any of my children. Also, they were all planned and wanted. They all have the same dad (and mom). I conceived and birthed all five kids with my husband, Superman. We wanted them all. What we didn't realize is the emotional and psychological toll they would have on both of us.

As I said, after three it really doesn't matter. I was still mostly sane after babies one and two (both girls, fairly easy pregnancies, & deliveries). Pregnancy #3 tried to kill me. Snap rocks now, but as a conceptualized, fertilized egg he started giving me problems. By baby #4 (tidbit here, I labeled all my medical "folders" as "Baby #1," "Baby #2," etc... much to the chagrin and amusement of my children) I was as crazy as the Mad Hatter (MOVE DOWN MOVE DOWN). I also couldn't go shopping, go to church or even go to the bathroom with ease or even alone. Those little fingers under the door? Yes, it's true.

When I was pregnant with Crackle I had severe sciatica and while shopping at Vons one day with Snap in the seat (he was big enough) and Sunshine & Princess hanging on the sides, Sunshine decides to "let go" and BOOM! The cart fell over (so yeah, Snap was dropped on his head as a baby... as the saying goes...), I leaped sideways to catch my baby and OUCH! Something went RIIIIIIIIP! and I was down for the count. I pretty much limped the rest of my pregnancy.

But that is all beside the point, the point is that once you have three you run out of hands and even when or if you have a partner, they outnumber you. The early years are hard because your most intelligent conversation has to do with whether or not to put the jelly on the peanut butter or on the other slice of bread (Do Not Do It Wrong!) or maybe, if you're lucky, you can find a Blue's Clue or give Dora directions. If you're lucky.

Then you get in the Elementary school years where, if you are uber-parent, like I wanted to be, you are involved in PTA, SSC, Dance, Soccer, Softball, Cub Scouts, etc. etc. etc. (yes, we did all those things...) and eventually something has to give.

For me, I suppose, it was Crackle. I knew immediately something was wrong but it took 9 months of convincing to get my Pediatrician to agree. Then it took another year to get a diagnosis--which actually didn't matter because we were already doing everything we could. For the last 14 years or so he has been a huge focus and distraction for me. I can't work, but I can (and do) go to school -- all online.

We did have another baby after that. We listened to a couple speak about their 14 children. I felt guilty and we both felt there was at least one more child, maybe two, that needed to come and join our family. Call it whatever you want but we felt that way and it took another year to get pregnant. My baby, Pop, is my blessing. He is smart (almost too smart, actually), sweet, cuddly and even now, makes me feel loved and complete. We weren't able to have another. The last pregnancy nearly did us all in as I was put on bedrest for five months before he was born. I don't recommend that. Especially when you have four other children under the age of eight as I did.

Just saying.

Anyway, so my sanity has been in question for some time and I suppose I will continue to talk about this since --on a serious note-- I have battled clinical depression most of my life and until recently have been on medication.  Since I only have three at home, and they are all pretty self-sufficient (even Crackle, to a certain extent), I guess I think I can handle it.

You can stop laughing now...

What I know is that I lost my mind around 1997 when number 3 child was born... And I'm still looking for it. I keep hoping that I might find it somewhere here, blogging and writing and doing and talking about what I love.

Wish me luck... Or send me meds.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lead Kindly Light

A few weeks ago we sung a hymn in church that made me mad. After talking to my partner in the nursery we decided that I needed to study it more so I could figure out what about it was making me mad.

In our hymnal it's #97, Lead Kindly Light

1. Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

2. I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

3. So long thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Text: John Henry Newman, 1801-1890
Music: John B. Dykes, 1823-1876

First, you should know that I am not  poetry fan, generally speaking. I like good poetry, which I believe is extremely difficult to write and even more difficult to understand. That being said, most hymns are poetry set to music and I love learning about and deciphering the meaning behind both the words and the author's intent. Sometimes the latter is irrelevant, as what I believe is more relevant is what YOU feel when you read or sing a hymn.

I read about this hymn in Wikipedia where I discovered that it was written by an Anglican turned Catholic priest (eventually Cardinal) as he traveled home from Europe. Stuck at sea, sick, homesick and filled with despair, the words came to him during an extremely isolated and vulnerable time. The music, however, was written later as the writer was wandering around in London and the tune just came to him. The tune name is Lux Beningna and is Latin for "Kindly Light." The original title to this piece was, "The Pillar of the Cloud," but is now more familiar as its first line, "Lead kindly light."

So, why did it make me mad?

I guess it made me mad because it made me cry. No, not cry, but sob. I don't like feeling that sad so to analyze those feelings I would have to say that it made me think of my family that I have lost in death and how much I miss them. I do not fear death. I look forward to it, yet, I know there are still those that need and want me here. I believe in a life hereafter and I believe that my family is there, working & waiting for me and for all of those they love. 

Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

This makes me think of the faith it takes every day just to wake up and function. Yes, some days are like that for me. I remember as a youth having a feeling of "homesickness" for an existence I did not comprehend or remember. I still have days like that.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

Many days I have to just turn myself over to God to lead me. I have to swallow my "pride" and let Him be my guide, even when I'm clueless where that might lead. I admit I am uncomfortable with that kind of vulnerability and uncertainty. (I'm Plan A.)

So long thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Another book I have that explains the meaning of the hymns says that the last two lines of this hymn are not about "angel faces" of our dead loved ones, but of hope to return to his home.  I don't know, I think it means what you want it to mean and if, for me, that means the "angel faces" of my brothers, my Granni, my husband's cousin, my father-in-law, my friend that died in high school, my friend that died last year, that young boy that died ... then that is who I want it to be. I suppose "the morn" could be when I arrive where they are, whenever that might be.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Healthy Behavior

In February I took a class on teaching Health, part of the class was creating a Behavior Change Contract then at the end of the course we reviewed our contracts and analyzed our progress.
The behavior I chose to "change" or work on was to de-stress and the tools I planned to use, or as noted, "mini-goals" were:
1. Set a time and space to sit, relax and meditate daily.
2. Keep a stress journal.
3. Create and stick to a time-management schedule.
4. Walk 30 minutes 3x/week.

The one I expected to use the most was to meditate more. I don't care if it's done via taking a walk, sitting & staring into space while burning incense, prayer; whatever works for you, or me as the case may be. What I did not count on during this time was the extreme drama from Crackle/DS#2. He kind of wiped me out and I admit my final report was kind of dismal.

Here are my final reflections on this "experiment":

What is working?
I started handwriting journaling and this works for managing stress and an overloaded mind. I also spent more time in meditation, however I would like to spend more time.

What challenges have you encountered that were already anticipated in your contract?
I knew that I would encounter unforeseen crises because I always do. This is distracting and makes me feel like I am just putting out fires rather than actually accomplishing my tasks. I knew this would happen and allotted for those crises in my plan. My hope is to be able to stick to the/a schedule (time management) as closely as possible in spite of the/a current crisis.

Did the strategies you wrote work to solve these challenges? Explain.
Yes, and no. Yes, I was conscious of my schedule (time management), however, I had difficulty refocusing and staying motivated. I did not feel that this was different than before the contract as staying on the schedule is always a challenge for me.

What new challenges did you encounter?
One of my children (my special needs son) had his spring break and a mental health emergency during this period. The added stress of his behavior and resulting hospitalization was extremely stressful on some levels, while having him out of the home relieved other stressors. Also, as a result of this added stress my body responded poorly and I was unable to continue the physical activity that I started (walking daily).

What other strategies might help you with these new challenges?
I have learned that I have to forgive myself for my shortcomings. This does not mean that I accept failure, but that I recognize something as being beyond my capability at that time and accept that. I can then re-adapt my schedule or requirements; such as delegating household chores because I am too stressed out or tired.

What, if anything, about your mini-goals do you want to change or alter?  Describe and explain..
I don’t know that I want to change any of my goals. I still want to stick to a schedule (although this is a work in progress), meditate and incorporate physical activity into my daily life. These are good goals for me in order to manage stress and stay focused on the things that are important (prioritize). When I am able to manage my stress my familial relationships thrive and the household runs more smoothly. It’s true that “When momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Movie Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

So I came up with a book review template I'm happy with so now I want to work on my movie reviews. I am very passionate about story, as you may or may not have noticed.
Yeah. I'm weird that way.

I love books and fiction because it gives us a way to study and comprehend human nature. Rather than just reading through a scientific paper with observations and commentary, we can actually experience the breakdown of human emotions from love to hate; agony to ecstasy; joy to despair... it's awesome. By relating to a fictional character we can develop compassion and understanding for real people. Have you ever wondered why so many people who read books are so well-adjusted, open-minded and ... Okay, got me, I'm just kidding. But generally speaking, Readers are a different breed and depending on your reading/viewing choices (much like music) it can say a lot about you.

I am a bit of a genre-whore. That's not a very flattering term but it's as close to the truth as anything. That being said, here is my review of an off-beat movie with Steve Carell & Jim Carrey.

Director: Don Scardino (known for a variety of TV projects from the Soap, Another World to hit comedy 30 Rock)

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein (known for a variety of TV comedies) and John Francis Daley (Dr. Sweets! from Bones, and also played the Young Tommy in the national and international tour of The Who's Tommy!, or you might know him from Freaks and Geeks)

Starring: Steve Carell, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey... also featuring James Gandolfini, Alan Arkin & a cameo by THE David Copperfield, himself.

When a street magician's stunts begins to make their show look stale, superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton look to salvage on their act - and their friendship - by staging their own daring stunt.

Review With Spoilers
I am just going to start off by saying I liked this movie. It is a Steve Carell show and that's okay with me. Jim Carrey is in it but his role is more of a foil to Steve Carell's Wonderstone character. I am a huge fan (fan-addict) of Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin and John Francis Daley. Olivia Wilde I can take or leave, she's a pretty redhead with a hot body... not exactly my motivator, IYKWIM... Anyway, the premise is two friends (by default) that learn magic together as youngsters and grow up to be the biggest show in Vegas (think Siegfried and Roy, minus the tigers--which is what you're supposed to think, right down to the spray-tans and fluffy hair).

Along comes Steve Gray, a street "performer" with a cable reality show (think Criss Angel) called Brain Rape (Mindfreak anyone?) that pretty much eliminates Burt & Anton's stale show. With declining audience attendance their show is threatened to be closed so they try to create a publicity stunt... that goes awry and Burt & Anton dissolve their partnership and friendship. Things don't get much better from there as Burt hits rock-bottom and eventually gets a gig at a nursing home where he meets his childhood idol, Alan Arkin! This is a turning point in the story and Burt's life and the rest is predictable but entertaining.

If you love Steve Carell then you will be entertained. If you tolerate him, then avoid this movie. Jim Carrey's character is neither likable nor entertaining, in my most humble opinion. And I love Jim Carrey. The parodies of Criss Angel, Siegfried & Roy, even Steve Wynn were semi-entertaining. If you're into that kind of thing. Overall, I liked the movie, as I said before, but I won't be buying it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Being Kind to Myself

I have chronic pain. Supposedly I have a chronic illness. They call it Fibromyalgia. Admittedly, I asked for the diagnosis, mostly so I would know what to do next. I still fight against it. The truth is that I had Shingles, for the third time, a little over a year ago, and due to several issues I was unable to get the anti-viral medication in time. What that means is that the virus which stems from chicken pox segues into a secondary virus called Shingles. This lovely virus attacks your nerves and makes you crazy. Basically.

So the last year has been a nightmare. Most days I can barely function. In that, lifting laundry baskets, making my bed, cleaning my bathroom, dusting and making dinner are about the extent of my abilities these days. Sometimes I can go for a walk to the park (about two blocks from my house) but not usually. It hurts so much I can barely move if I do.

We currently live in a two-story house and the stairs are a killer. I go down once, and up once (on bad days). My knees, my lower back, pins and needles down my right side along my shoulder blade. Fun.


They also call what I have post-herpetic neuralgia (literally "after chicken pox/shingles--a form of herpes--pain") and that's why I fight the Fibromyalgia diagnosis.

In the last year I have gained BACK 20+ lbs. It's killing me. I admit to abandoning my way of eating, my lifestyle, a little before and definitely after the latest (remember this is bout #3) Shingles attack. I comfort fed. I gave up trying and now, Now I am having an impossible time trying to get back into it. It sucks. Seriously.

There is a medication I can take that helps with the pain, it's called Gabapentin. I was on it for a bit, then I went off it because I didn't like the way it made me feel. Then I went back on it and it helped a lot, then I went off it again, when I went off all my medications. Ergo the last six weeks have been kind of bad. I am back on the Gabapentin as of two days ago. Yippee. I sure hope it puts me back in control of my abilities--let me emphasize ABLE-ness. I am hoping I can get back on my eating bandwagon and [cross-my-fingers] even exercising! That would be so awesome.

In the meantime, I am being kind to myself.

The things I am focusing on, for the most part, can be narrowed down to three areas:
1. Oxygen: getting exercise, moving, even if it's for 10 minutes. Put on my shoes and go outside. I have not been doing this and I need to do this.
2. My immunity: whether I believe I have Fibromyalgia or not is irrelevant to the fact that I do have a compromised immune system (which is evident by the fact that I got Shingles 3 times). It is imperative that I take my vitamins. & occasionally an immune boosting Airborne.
3. Calm: keeping calm through meditation (yes, I have incense), prayer, scripture study... it's all part of meditation for me. This helps me to focus on the important things in my life; family, writing and serving others. 

Every day is a struggle and I never know how I'm going to feel from one day to the next. I know there are others that struggle with similar (and worse) health issues and I know I am not alone (feels like it sometimes though). 

Right now, until I can predict and plan how I feel, I will continue to be kind to myself. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Your Wicked Ways

Published by Avon Books, 2004.

Paperback, 384 pages. 

Listed $7.99 (I borrowed it from the Library)

Book Description

Helene, the Countess Godwin, knows there is nothing more unbearably tedious than a virtuous woman. After all, she's been one for ten long years while her scoundrel of a husband lives with strumpets and causes scandal after scandal. So she decides it's time for a change -- she styles her hair in the newest, daring mode, puts on a shockingly transparent gown, and goes to a ball like Cinderella, hoping to find a prince charming to sweep her off her feet...and into his bed.
But instead of a prince, she finds only her own volatile, infuriatingly handsome...husband, Rees, the Earl Godwin. They'd eloped to Gretna Green in a fiery passion, but passion can sometimes burn too hot to last.
But now, Rees makes her a brazen offer, and Helene decides to become his wife again...but not in name only. No, this time she decides to be very, very wicked indeed.

Book Review

I read and reviewed the first three books in this series here, here and here, and it has taken me a while to get back and finish. This story was fun and I enjoyed meeting some new characters, particularly Earl Godwin's brother and also his "strumpet," who turned out to be a lovely character. Of course I enjoyed seeing almost all of our old characters again from the first three books. Helene's motivation seems legitimate as she has watched her friends become mothers and therefore she wants to become a mother too. The fact that she would go to nearly any length, and a almost any sacrifice, which is really about her social standing, to become pregnant is interesting. 

All of Ms. James characters are intriguing to me as they have depth of personality and individualism that sets them apart from other historical fiction. Other than Helene wanting to become pregnant and her obsession with social norms, all the women were modern in their thinking about relationships and even parenting. 

Earl Godwin was difficult for me to forgive. I realized in the first book when we are first introduced to the two that their falling out early in their marriage was due to lack of communication and immaturity (and pride) so overcoming those things AND forgiving each other for past grievances was vital to creating a believable relationship. Actually, that was one of the things I liked about this story. I enjoy Alpha males and Earl Godwin is most definitely Alpha. His horrible treatment of his wife is more about making statements about other things in his life than it was about mistreating her or even being unfaithful. While many of those behaviors would be unacceptable in our time, they were not necessarily viewed the same in the 18th & 19th Centuries. 

Great strides we've made ladies! 

The friendships portrayed in this and in the other books in the series made me happy. These women loved each other and took care of each other, even better than family, which is right. At the moment when Helene is nearly ruined socially, they come together and come up with a solution--with help from an unlikely source, but it works--and it was fun to see it all play out. 

I am now done with this series and am not sure when I will be coming back to Eloisa James. My TBR pile is enormous and I have a nice little stack by Charlaine Harris that I'd like to read. So far I have become addicted to her Sookie Stackhouse books and other series (somebody PLEASE make these into a movie!) so I am hoping that this set does not disappoint.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lip Service

Once again I have a guest poster, my friend Julie who has an Etsy boutique and is a Mary Kay Cosmetics consultant. This is good info... 

Don’t get me wrong; jewelry is nice and all. But “every kiss begins with Kay?” WRONG. Every kiss begins with lips. So you better make sure yours are nice before you go around planting those babies on people.

What’s the key to beautifully soft lips, you ask? (Okay, even if you didn’t ask that… pretend you did.) Well! That, my friend, is a simple two-step process.

Step 1: Get a good lip scrub. This is absolutely CRUCIAL. Lip balm is awesome (I don’t leave home without it!), but it’ll only get you so far. Eventually, you’re going to need to get rid of that dead skin that is bound to pop up no matter how naturally fantastic your lips are. Don’t worry… I have recommendations!

If you have a Mary Kay consultant, then you should already know about Satin Lips. The first step in the Satin Lips set is a lip scrub. It’s an excellent product; use it!

If you don’t have a Mary Kay consultant, get one. I’m not joking. Satin Lips is phenomenal; I can’t rave about this scrub enough!

If you’re a little on the crunchy side (like me), or a little on the broke side (also like me), there is a more affordable, natural alternative to Mary Kay. Me Time Boutique offers a sugar & honey lip scrub that works great. I should know; I make it. J  It’s also customizable; you can choose your sugar type (brown or white) and- if you’re feeling exceptionally choosy- I have it on good authority that the owner of the boutique will let you choose a different oil besides coconut, if you so desire.

Okay, so… you have your lip scrub. Now, what to do with it?

Gently scrub a small amount on your lips. Let stand for 1-2 minutes. Then rinse off and pat dry. Easy peasy.

Step 2: Apply your favorite lip balm.

Personally, I’m a lip balm fiend. You know that nightmare where you’re in school and you look down and realize you’re naked? Well, my nightmare is reaching into my pocket and realizing I forgot my Chap Stick. Yeah… that’s the kinda hell I’m living in over here, people.

But, like I said before, I’m also a teeny bit crunchy. So despite single-handedly supporting the lip balm industry with my purchasing volume, I also make my own lip balm when the mood strikes me. Oh, and I sell it, too. Have I mentioned Me Time Boutique? (Shameless plug alert)

Me Time Boutique (MTB, to all the cool people) offers lip balm made from natural ingredients. And, like most of their (my?) products, they are customizable. Go au natural with an unscented, uncolored balm made with beeswax and calendula oil… or spice it up a bit with an essential oil scent and some coloring. As of today, MTB lip balms come in a 2ml tub. But a little birdie told me that in about a week, lip balms will also be offered in a more typical, mainstream tube.
The frequency of this process is completely up to you and the needs of your lips- if your lips are dry and chapped pretty often, then you’ll need to scrub more often.

And there you have it! The key to soft lips. You can officially start your kiss now.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Adventures in Parenting: Oh SNAP! Crackle Popped!

It's been a week.
I had full intentions on restarting my Blog with a Bang last week but here we are and I haven't updated in over a week. So much for my Season of Sanctification and being better than ever. I'm lucky I have actually survived the last week. I'm still wondering if I have.

I almost drowned when I was six. I went to sleepover, my first ever, I think. We stayed up and watched "The Brady Bunch" and participated in whatever it is little six-year-old girls do on Friday night. I was a bed-wetter and I cannot remember if I wet that night but I do remember that I was one of the first asleep. I was like that back then. Maybe that's what triggered the inability to go to bed first later in my life, I don't know but back then I was not afraid to go to sleep when I was tired. I was sure whatever was going on without me certainly was not as interesting... I mean, I wasn't involved so how could it be interesting?

The next day was exciting. What I remember is getting to go swimming in my friend's pool. There had to have been 10-12 girls there and I myself would not do that. I did let my girls have a sleepover once where we had over 10 girls show up and it was a disaster. And we didn't have a pool, they were just rowdy girls who thought I would be a pushover... I wasn't. Anyway, I digress. The mother had forethought and hired a lifeguard which was a good thing, for me. Thinking I was a smarty-pants (and I think on a dare) I pushed myself into the deep end ... and proceeded to drown. What I remember is closing my eyes and when I opened them again the lifeguard was holding me. I passed out in the water. I have no idea if they did mouth-to-mouth on me or not. The first thing the mom asked me when I "woke up" was if I wanted a sucker. She meant candy but I had a baby brother and I knew a sucker was a pacifier so I responded just like I would by retorting,  "NO! I'm not a baby!" and proceeding to hop back into the pool for more. I think I did, but maybe I didn't.

I do not think they told my mother about this incident. That was the weirdest part. Wouldn't you? I mean She was obviously a good mother, she hosted this huge party and even hired a lifeguard but she didn't tell my mother that I almost drowned? That's just crazy. But I don't think she did, and actually I get that too. Who wants that kind of stigma? But what if I had drowned. Trauma & lifelong counseling to all around! Every little girl at that party would have been screwed up.

It happens.

Parents screw up their kids every day. It's inevitable. Maybe the kid is just difficult or maybe the mom is having a bad day one day and BAM! screwed up kids. Sometimes the kids screw each other up. That happens too. Some parents should not be parents and that I get as well. I also believe that people can change, people can break the cycle of bad parenting. I believe that.

And what is the point of all this? I worry all the time that I am a bad parent. I have three boys at home. I have two girls living away from home and thriving on their own so I know (because of them) that I can do some things right. The three boys? I don't know. I worry that I'm tired. I'm sick. I have trouble functioning (although I do better with Fibromyalgia or Post-herpetic neuralgia, or whatever it is I have--than I ever did with depression!).

Last week was a doozy. I am coping with a very difficult and volatile middle child who can only be held accountable to a certain extent--of which I am uncertain. Every single day is a challenge. Every. Single. Day. Decisions have to be made and sometimes those decisions can break your heart. The point is that a good parent makes decisions that are hard. Good parents do hard things. Good parents take their kids to the doctor, to school and to church. Good parents call the sheriff on their kids when they are threatening to hurt themselves or others. They let the sheriff take them when they cannot keep them safe. That's what a good parent does. Even when they don't want to do it, and it breaks their heart.

Ergo. I am a good parent. It's not really the adventure I would choose, but I am a good parent.