Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Prejudice or Simple Disagreement?

We seem to have reached a point where we are incapable, as a culture, of differentiating between Prejudice (which is bad) and Differing Opinions (which is fine).

I do not have to agree with all the choices of those around me - how they raise, feed, clothe, or teach their children. The company they work for, their stance on the legalization of drugs, the AHA, gay rights, abortion, or Common Core.

Neither does anyone have to agree with me.

But I am getting worn out on all the outrage associated with topics too numerous to list here. And everyone calls Prejudice! Bigotry! Hatred! Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! Until the ability to live together and have civil discourse about our opinions, beliefs, and/or code is destroyed.

People have the habit of saying that history will sort it out. Maybe. It will certainly decide the "winners" and "losers" of any given argument. (Keep in mind that doesn't mean the winner is necessarily right.)

But the picture is only complete if ALL of the voices are heard.

I detest name calling. Hatred makes me cringe. I hurt when I hear people claim to believe in God and lash out at others in His name. That is prejudice.

But so is calling me a Bigot simply because I'm a Christian. So is deriding my choice to stay home with my children as backward or ignorant. Silencing me simply because you don't agree with me is prejudice. Attempting to discount my opinion because of where I'm from, my gender, my skin color, etc...that is prejudice. 

Don't like me? That's ok.

Don't agree with me? That's ok, too.

It should be fine for me to disagree with you as well.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One of Many

Little Bit,

I've waited for you....well, for a really long time. Sometimes it seemed like forever. And sometimes, while I was waiting, I lost hope. And faith.  But here you are. Right here next to me. Snuggled up to my side, having soundly kicked your Daddy out of bed. You are warm and soft. Your breath puffs gently against my skin. I can't help but stare at you. I trace your tiny ears and chubby cheeks with my eyes and my fingers itch to touch you - but I don't want to disturb such peaceful sleep.

Sometimes the miracle of healthy children is one we take for granted. We grow up, get married, and we think that the family we want will quite naturally follow. Sometimes they come unexpectedly, like your sister Dancer - but never unwelcome. And sometimes, the miracle is cut short and pieces of your heart are lost to children who will never walk this earth with you. 

I don't know how you are here. But I know to Thank God. Because there is no explanation, no medical intervention...there is nothing that explains how you are here when so many of our children aren't. You are my very own miracle.

There are times I fear that God will ask me to give you back. That he will give me you or your sisters for only a while. It is a fear that every parent knows in some measure, especially when they look out at the world. It is not always a safe place. 

But right now I hold you tight, storing up all the cuddles and kisses and songs I can get before you grow  out of them. Before you become one of the rough and tumble toddlers or the fearless climber - before my daily heart attacks or your first cast. And every time I hold you and sing to you and pray over you, my heart heals a little. I feel a little bit of light and hope creep in where darkness has had the upper hand. 

There is one more thing. I love you. Always. I want you to know that you were loved before you were born, and you will be loved always. Whether you are obedient or obstinate. Whatever you grow up to be, and whatever mistakes you make along the way. Whether I agree with your choices or not. You are mine, an incredible gift. 

Love,

Mommy

Friday, August 9, 2013

Raising People

I shook my head when I read yet another article that was so stinkin' heartfelt and lovey-dovey about being a mom that I wanted to gag.

I LOVE MY CHILDREN!


But....

I am not their friend.

I am not going to cater to their every whim.

I am not going to let them believe that the world revolves around them. Because (surprise!), it doesn't.

My general philosophy is that I need to raise my children to be people that others can stand to be around.

So....people who keep their commitments, people who are kind, and on time. People who are respectful and strong in their convictions.Who know how to conduct themselves with dignity and decorum in the public sphere. (That last one is courtesy of my Mom!)

That doesn't mean I crush what makes them special - it means that they understand there's a time and place for everything. There's opportunities to play and be as wild as kids can be. And there are times when they need to be helpful or quiet or attentive.

I don't need my children to like me. In fact, I'm pretty sure that in my role as their PARENT they will sometimes think they hate me. Shoot, they may actually hate me. But that doesn't relieve me of my God Given Responsibilities to them. I'm not going to pussyfoot around my own children.

(stepping off soapbox now)

Bye-bye!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

School Days

I have TWO KIDS IN SCHOOL!

How did this happen?! (Insert wail of despair and gnashing of teeth here.)

And while Dancer and Diva are off filling their heads with both the useful and infinitely useless - the baby and I are staring at one another warily. His gaze seems to say, "OK, mom....what you got up your sleeve now?"

Because, let's face it, I'm not as entertaining as his sisters.

But, regardless of whether or not I was ready (and I wasn't), school is here. The days have become filled with laying out our uniforms, and packing lunches. Checking homework folders, and rearranging nap schedules. It has been complete and utter chaos. Controlled chaos is still chaos and is still exhausting.

Diva's take on her very first day of school ever...."Well, I didn't bite anybody."

That's good, baby. Very good. Keep up the good work.

And Dancer seems relieved to be back in school. In fact, they both walked away without a single glance back. That is either an indictment of my mothering or an endorsement. I'm choosing to see it as the latter.

All in all, having them both in school is....OK. Not awesome, or any of the other adjectives I kind of thought would be appropriate if given significant blocks of time away from my children. But OK. I can live with it, I guess. I think the real crux of the problem is this...they are growing up. And I'm not ready for them to. I look at them and think about all the things I've seen them learn and do, and how much more I want to teach them before they go out into the world. And then I realize they are already out there. They are already making their way.

I look at them and know that they are making their way, steadily and far too fast, towards a time when their decisions and mistakes, and their lives will be all their own. I'm praying very hard that I'm making them ready.