So I've been threatening to send the kids to their great-grandmother's in Long Island for a week next summer when they're bratty. That sorts them out right quick as they know all the struggles she's facing trying to recover from Hurricane Joaquin earlier this year. Case in point, electricity has still not yet been restored on the island, which means no x-box, night light or air conditioning. The horror!
While playing together the other night, I overheard this:
Blinky: "Stinky, you know how Mom's been saying we have to go to Long Island?
Blinky: I'm really worried about that."
Stinky: "Don't worry, I'll take care of you."
My two may fight like cats and dogs but with that one exchange, I know they will always be there for each other. I am so grateful I got to witness that.
I honestly believe the world in which we live has gone mad. If you've watched the news lately, you'll understand why. #Paris, #Lebanon, #Kenya, #BlackLivesMatter, where does it end? As I pour over facebook news and opinions, hatred for our fellow man has never been more apparent, thus ensuring the continuation of the vicious cycle.
As foreign implants here, the DH and I see and understand both sides of the argument, but we are of the opinion that we are in no position to hate or judge anyone. Sound radical? Around here, you bet.
What I hope to teach my children in the midst of this storm comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
Rejoice always,pray continually,give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
It is a lesson I pray will stay with them as they grow older. That no matter what they are facing in life, they can face it head on with the knowledge that God is with them.
I pray for Paris, but I also pray for world; the inequity, the injustice and the hate that consumes it. May we leave this world a better place for our children.
It seem 7 1/2 year-old Stinky is going through a rebellious phase. If it doesn't involve play, he's going to damned sure put up a fight, back-talking and all. He is driving.me.crazy.
The DH and I have been trying to find an effective punishment for him. We pop the kids once and a while when they're really out of line, but find that it doesn't cub repeat behavior long-term. Recently, we've been taking away privileges (e.g. X-box time) and that seems to be working better, but not completely.
I've wondered if there is an underlying problem and I don't think so. He's doing well in school, has done a decent job of being sweet to his little sister (this is a work in progress) and is still engaged with his hobbies. For now, it boils down to Stinky being a strong-willed child who has always liked to push buttons. Some days we manage him pretty well (not as horrible as it sounds), but other days we fail miserably. In the words of my unsympathetic mom, "Honey, what do you expect, he's just like you." Thanks Mom.
Anyhoo, I have a plan. The weather has not been great, so Stinky has not had his usual one-hour of playtime in the sun every day. I try to make up for it with activities in the house, but his creative mind needs his overactive body to run! After school today, I think I will let the kiddos ride their scooters in the garage to work out the willies before homework. We'll see how that goes. Wish me luck.
Last Thursday, six year old Blinky decided it would be a good idea to crawl on the canvas covering over her swing set to dust off the sand she poured on it a few days earlier. As you can guess, her 55 lbs were too heavy for the covering and she fell through bruising her little body in an almost perfect straight line from thigh to forehead. It was not pretty. Thankfully it was all superficial.
The next morning, I gave Blinky's teacher a courtesy call to let her know what happened and that we would be checking Blinky out early as we were headed to the beach. (We were supposed to go for Fall Break but one kid was recovering from a stomach bug and one had just caught it.) Anyway, one of our rules for long drives is no TV for the first hour. That means we talk. I decided it was a good time to ask Blinky about her day.
Me: "Blinky, did Mrs. X ask what happened?"
Blinky: "Yes ma'am."
Me: "So what did you tell her."
Blinky: "I told her I fell through the roof while sweeping the porch."
DH: "Maybe you should ask your mom to watch the kids while we're in prison." [Stifled Laugh]
Every so often I find a passive-aggressive post is just the fix I need. And because I know that just the people I'm addressing will read this, that makes it even better.
Living in a small southern town is challenging all in itself. Add being a foreign transplant in an interracial family, and well, you can fill in the blank. While there are some perks, mainly personal safety, there is a growing list of items that have me second guessing whether raising my kids here is the best for them. I've thought about this topic and thought some more and I think I'm getting closer to narrowing down the root problem of it all. Jesus.
Living here the past ten years has made me realize there are two Jesuses. There is southern Jesus for the upper-middle class white Republicans. They belong to the good ole boys network who will help them secure well-paying jobs and avoid paying parking tickets, attend one of the big four churches, follow the old testament to the T, influence local politics to their benefit, have their kids' mates handpicked before inception, then when the kids arrive have them attend homogenous private schools because they don't want them mixing they'll get a better education, believe what they watch on Fox News, have a second home at the beach but have never left the tri-state area, and live in a bubble their entire lives.
Then there's Jesus for the rest of us. Those of us who work hard for what we have, believe that God is the God of all, know that there is a new testament past the Gospel of John, attend church because we are commanded to do so, help the less fortunate because it is the right thing to do, travel as much as we can afford to, can actually locate Israel on a map, and are friends with at least one person who is not our third cousin twice removed. Extra points if said friend speaks English as a second language.
Now don't get your panties in a twist! I know that not everyone falls neatly into one of the these two categories, but you get my point. There is such division here that some days it drives me crazy. I cry when I watch the news. I cry even harder when I read the comments under news articles. I find more often that I have to explain what should be big kid issues to my six and seven year olds, thereby robbing them of their childhood innocence, while Ashleigh and Camdyn will still believe in Santa when they're 10!
Yet there's hope that fills my soul. In fact, I attend one of the big four churches and have had a Minister say from the pulpit, "No matter what the law says, the Bible says we are to treat everyone like they are our brother." regarding the Mexican flight from Alabama. Every ball season I watch families from different backgrounds (and schools) come together to cheer each other on. I have also seen a older black woman and an older white woman (they must have been school-aged children when the Klan was alive and well here) hold hands during a cancer walk laughing and crying together. This is my Jesus. Sadly though, southern Jesus always returns.
Just typing this has been lethargic. And now that I've calmed down some, I can also admit this is not a problem just in the southern states. That in fact most of America, dare I say the world, is like this. So moving won't necessarily fix anything. I need to work on how I react to things and how I can prepare but not scare the hell out of my children. But most of all, I need to remember that my Jesus is Jesus. Period. And no matter how much division there is in this town or the world, my Jesus will help me to have unity in my heart and in my life.