Monday, March 19, 2018

Our World. No One's Way.

I've gone back and forth and back and forth over whether or not I wanted to write anything about the topic I want to discuss in this blog.  Part of me says, "why bother?".  People are so hell-bent on being right these days and tearing others down, what's the point of even attempting to have an opinion?  My opinion will garner no respect.  My opinion won't make a difference.  My opinion essentially means nothing.  However, I still feel the need to get my opinion out of my system.

I am not going to talk about my stance on the incredibly large, difficult and emotionally charged discussion surrounding gun control.  I know better.  I do have a stance.  I'm just going to delicately place it in a shoebox and bury it in a hole in the backyard because it's not worth debating.  Well, I mean, if you want to call what people are doing actually debating.  It's more like hateful, name calling condescension.  I don't really learn much from those people or posts.  I just feel hopeless when I see it happening.

What am I going to talk about?  The way in which we deal with how teenagers are internalizing their life in this world today.  I saw someone share a post from an apparently proud parent.  It read, "From the lips of my son, 'What kind of retard marches to demand their rights be taken away?'".  Wow.  I'm going to start with this... if that phrase escaped any of my kids' mouths they'd be missing teeth.  What kind of parent allows their child to speak that way about others?

Let me go on record as saying that I am not the kind of person that is offended when someone uses the word "retard".  I don't love it.  I have two special needs children.  However, I've heard good people; those who wouldn't ever offend any purposely; use the word.  They may have said something like, "this is so retarded".  I do feel a jolt when I hear it, but I don't feel the need to get up in anyone's face and start talking down to them about their misuse of the word.  It is what it is.  I do, however, feel offended when the word is used in the way it was as in the post I stated above.  I don't blame the kid who said it.  I blame the parent who is cheering their kid on and sharing their bold statement like it's something to be proud of.  I would ask that parent what they are actually teaching their child.  Why the need to breed more hatred?  Why do you think sharing a status like that helps demand respect for your opinion or stance?  I sure as hell know that I am not going to listen to one damn idea from someone who thinks speaking like an ignorant and despicable person is the proper way to get their point across.

I always listen to the opinions of others.  Even if I do not agree.  I learn things from others.  I learn things I may not have know before.  I learn new ways of looking at things that I may not have recognized.  That's what should be great about a society where we are allowed to share what we think and feel.  It could be so productive.  I could be a tool to help find a meeting of the minds.  To find ideas that work for everyone.  Opinions don't do any of those things apparently.  They divide.  They shut people down.  They make people angry.  No one is compromising.  No one is listening.  No one is finding solutions to any problems.

These kids who were "marching"?  I neither agree nor disagree with them.  I feel like these kids have a right to explore their rights and their opinions.  I have a freshman in high school.  His school had a walk out, which ended up being more of a gym assembly to memorialize the kids who passed in Parkland, FL.  My son didn't want to participate.  He felt like if he did, he'd be agreeing with the statement that gun reform is needed.  He doesn't agree with that message.  This is a conclusion he came to from listening and learning from those around him.  His father and I don't necessarily agree on anything related to guns.  So his opinion is solely based on information he's gathered and how he personally feels about it.  I told him that he didn't have to participate if he didn't want to.  He made clear to me that honoring those that lost their lives was important to him but he couldn't take part in a message he didn't believe in.  I fully support that, regardless of whether or not I agree with him.

I feel like I'm doing my job as a parent.  I'm raising children that understand that not everyone has to agree.  I do my best to set a standard of respect and understanding.  My son just wanted to be able to believe what he believes.  He showed no disrespect for anyone else.  He listens to the opinions of others.  He's open minded.  He's a great kid and I'm proud of him.

For those that are saying the walk outs and the marching by teenagers isn't making a difference and it's stupid, you are all wrong.  Whether or not you agree or disagree with their message, they are making a difference.  Maybe they won't change gun laws.  Maybe absolutely nothing will happen at all from what they are doing.  But you know what they have done?  Those kids so many are calling retarded and stupid and morons and uneducated (and so on and son on)?  They have made people talk.  They have made the conversations happen.  I didn't have to grow up in a world where I had to worry about who may tote a gun into my school.  Our children do have to worry about it.  What's the harm in listening?  What's the harm in teaching our children that this is an opportunity to listen.  To come together and to find something that works for everyone?  To demand that something needs to be different.  We shouldn't be praising our children for calling their fellow students retards.  It's encouraging more hate.  We should be taking the lead of the kids speaking up and start working towards figuring out how to make our kids feel safe again.  It's not absurd.  Not at all.  We should be listening to each other.  We should be having productive conversations.  We should be alarmed at what is happening.  The solutions are always somewhere in the middle.  It is there somewhere.  I'm just as tired of turning on the news to hear of a new shooting as they are of hearing about kids their age being shot to death.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Snow Day!

Our household has been down for the count with the plague, or what feels like it, for the last ten days or so.  Quentin and Mallory have each missed a week of school as well as missing school yesterday.  I was sick from the same thing too.  I think it was likely because Mallory likes to pretend to be a cat and she licked me smack on the lips.  That, in addition to accepting many coughs and sneezes into my personal space, did me in.  Even though I'm finally just about over it, I have to say it was brutal.  I think Quentin, Mallory and I are probably immune to just about everything after this rollercoaster of a bug.  This bug is smart ass too.  A real jokester.  The second you think you're fever free and all better... BOOM... fever city.

Today was the day though.  The day they were all going to go back to school.  I went to bed on the early side (for me) so I could be up and ready to get kids out of bed, to help with lunches, make sure clothes were changed and to get them off to school.  The day had different ideas.

Somewhere between 5 and 5:30am my phone started blowing up.  No joke.  Text messages, voicemails, emails... all from the high school saying that school was canceled.  Then I could hear the plow truck on my street.  I knew it was supposed to snow, but school cancelation snow?  It actually didn't snow all that much (in my opinion) but with the rain all day yesterday and the temperature drop plus the snowfall it was sure to make for some slick driving conditions.  I'd rather keep my babies safe at home... and go back to bed, which I totally did.

When I got Mallory up this morning, I opened up her window shade and showed her the new snow.  She immediately said she wanted to build a snowman.  During breakfast, all she could talk about was how she had to get a big snowball and little snowballs to make a snowman.  It needed two eyes and an orange nose.  She was so excited to be able to go outside.  It came as no surprise that immediately following breakfast, Quentin and Nicholas were gearing up to go outside.  So I got Mallory ready too.

Once they were outside, I suited up and grabbed my camera so I could get some photos of them playing in the snow.  It's been a while since I've done that and part of my goal for 2018 is to take more photos of my own family.  I spend time photographing other families and children and tend not to take the time to capture our own family memories.  So, out I went!

There was sled fun...

Nicholas tried to help Mallory build a snowman, but they weren't able to get the snow to cooperate.  So there was a lot of scooping of snow to put in a big pile.

Andrew came out to play too!

The kids had a lot of fun being outside and when you have a snow day, being out in the snow is just a given!

My favorite part?  Getting back inside the warm house and indulging in a nice, cozy, warm mug of hot chocolate.

Stay warm everyone!

P.S.  Caption this photo 😂:

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