We're One!

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A year ago I started Posing as Parents. I have always had a family blog with my husband, but this was meant to be something a little different. This blog was a new project...personal, yes, but also more of a space for others as well.

In the last year, I have learned some things. I wish I would have blogged more regularly. I wish I would have used social media more for Posing as Parents. And I wish I wouldn't let this be one of the first things I neglect when life gets too busy. I love it here...I love it because of you. I started this blog to help create a sense of community. 

I have said it a million times...in a world that we are literally connected 24 hours a day, there is so much disconnect. Perhaps ironic that this a blog, but I can't invite you all over to sit for a spell. But YOU can invite others to be a part of your community. 

Why would you want to do that? You are busy, you don't have time for other people...people you don't know. That sounds like the worst. Can't someone else cultivate some community?

No. 

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.
— Mr. Fred Rogers

It all starts with us. Every one of us. We are in this together. In the immortal words of Eminem, "You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime." This is it kids. This is our time here and now, make the most of it and don't you want it better than you found it? Not worse?

I talk about community and ways to create community over and over again because I truly believe it is our salvation. If you feel responsible for your neighbor you will find ways to feed them, clothe them, educate them, keep them safe, and love them. 

We have also talked about parties here on the blog. While they may not save the world, they sure can make people feel happy and valued and that is a step in the right direction. So here is a Quick Tip on how to throw a party. 

5 Tips to Throwing a Quick Party

  1. Get some flowers. Flowers (or some type of greenery) makes it feel festive and steps it up a notch. 
  2. Get out something fancy. Whether it is a cake stand, real china, a teapot, whatever...at least have one "real" dish out. Yes, paper plates can be a lifesaver with a crowd, but have at least one piece that classes up the gathering.
  3. Get your treat on. Buy a cake, make some cookies, or even something savory. Who says you can't celebrate with fried chicken or a beautiful salad. Pick something special and unique to the person/thing you are celebrating. 
  4. Get up a decoration or two. Paper Chains, Paper Tassels, or Pendants...it makes no difference what it is. Just hang something up to show that the space is different and that you are ready to celebrate.
  5. Get your stress out. The number one thing in having a party is having fun. Don't worry about it not being perfect. It totally won't be perfect and that is okay. It is about loving the ones that you are with. Enjoy the party and the time with people you like (or maybe love). 

I will leave you with another Mr. Rogers quote. Really because I love him so much.  Mr Rogers and my Nana are who I strive to be every day. But I think this encapsulates what I hope to do here at Posing as Parents and in the world. Maybe this will speak to you too.

As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has—or ever will have—something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.
— Mr. Fred Rogers

Thanks for doing our human job with me. I hope that we can do even more for this next year. Thanks for being here and I will see you soon! 

The Skunk Outside

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I was volunteering in my daughter's preschool class the other day and they had a lock down drill. I don't know if you have ever been in a lock down drill or if you know what one is. Basically a lock down drill is when you practice what you would do if there was an intruder, a shooter, or some sort of criminal act. The drill is to go to a safe room and lock all doors and shut the windows tight as you darken the room. I didn't have these drills when I was a child in the 1980's. In Arkansas we had tornado drills and I am suspect that the folder I had to put over my head really would be helpful, but I digress.

We actually had to leave my daughter's classroom, because there are too many windows. The children are targets in this room. So as I walked into the dark room with my daughter and her class and one of the teachers in the "safe" room helped explain why we were there. She quieted her voice and told us to be silent...we didn't want the skunk outside to hear us. She gently told the children that there was a stinky skunk trying to get in and we didn't want him to know where we were so we had to be still and quiet. Some kids laughed, some kids cried, but mostly they were so very quiet. 

These are preschoolers.

A couple of days later there was another school shooting. Another one.

High school students and brave teachers and coaches are gone. They are dead. They went to school on VALENTINE'S DAY and were killed. 

There are no words...just action. I am amazed by the survivors who refuse to be quiet. They are children.  The survivors who will not back down about talking about change...it is not too soon for them...it is indeed too late. These survivors are already talking about gun control. These children are doing things that adults have been too afraid to do...these children have been victims of gun violence (this week mind you) and are currently undergoing a crazy traumatic event and they are already mobilizing and taking action. God bless them. 

No one should have guns that can kill that many people so quickly. No one. Yes, we do need gun control. And yes, we do need to focus on the heroes not the people who do these things. And yes, we do need to provide mental care for people who need it. And yes, we do need to build community. 

Personally, I have connected with my local chapter of Moms Demand Action. You don't need to be a mom to join the group and they don't want to take away your guns. They want common sense gun control. Sign me up! 

And for me, one of the most important things is for me to build community where ever I go. We are connected 24/7 and yet we don't have real connections in our neighborhoods or in our communities.

Honestly, I am just doing my damnedest to be more like Mr. Rogers every day. He had it right...he showed us why we should love our neighborhoods and how we are interconnected, he taught us to love one another, and he taught us that we were valuable...that we all had something to add to our community.  

Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.
— Mr. Fred Rogers

So we have some radical love to share and some major changes in our current legislation that need to happen. Oh, and a bunch of other work. But we have to make a change. We can't send our babies to get an education and have them fear for their lives. And we have learned there is no place safe...not concerts, not malls, not churches, and not at schools. There are too many skunks getting away with too many horrible things. We have to make a change.

Love one another...you know, the really hard ones to love...them too. 

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Oh, and I actaully love skunks...they are just serving as a metaphor today. 

Half Mast

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I came to pick up The Boy from school and the flags were at half mast. I just couldn't understand why the flag would be in that position.

Oh, because 26 people are dead from another mass shooting...this one happened in a church. In a place of worship. 

I can't keep up. I am numb to the numbers.

But these are not numbers. These are people. These are men, women, and children. 

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Half of those people who are dead in this latest shooting were children. They were children! Toddlers, preschoolers, school aged kids, teens...they are dead. 

We live in a country where we kill our children. It is horrible to say, but it is true.

Sandy Hook was 5 years ago this next month.

And don't get me started about how we fail our most vulnerable, our children, when we don't provide them healthcare. 

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
— Nelson Mandela

Look, I don't want to write about this stuff. I am planning parties right now and I want to focus on fun stuff like parties, but it doesn't seem right to pretend this isn't happening, because it is and it is horrific. 

This was a white man who had domestic violence issues.

And yes, there was a non-white man who drove a car into people in New York last week...and that is horrible and messed up. But if you look at our mass death numbers...it is overwhelmingly white men with guess what...domestic violence issues. 

I love white guys...I am married to one...I am raising one.

But how can I make sure the one I am raising doesn't loose his marbles one day, buy an AR-15, and take other people down with him? Seriously. Why do we have AR-15's. And how do I raise him to honor and respect his life and other people's lives? 

And how do we, as a society, help people feel like there are other options. This recent killer hurt his last wife and seriously harmed her baby. How do we help people like that? I do not know.

My initial response is to go away. I want to retreat. I want to hide with my kids and never go anywhere. I know this isn't rational or feasible. 

Since we had another mass shooting a month ago. I had some suggestions on what we can do next. Today I feel less motivated. I feel numb and anxious. I won't stay in this space, because this space is not where we make changes.

I don't know how to stop people killing other people, I don't know how to stop people hating other people, and I don't really know how to protect all of our babies. 

I do know that I love the United States. I do. I don't love where we are right this second. But I hope we can make some changes. 

In times like these I like to think about this prayer. 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.
— Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

I want to be an instrument of peace. I want to spread love. And I want to find the joy. I want to pray for a better for tomorrow. 

But as we know, we are past just thoughts and prayers.

We need action. 

 

 

Detour

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So there was no Fall Craft on Tuesday. I just couldn't. 

Monday morning we woke up to the news that 58 people were dead and 489 more were injured in a shooting in Las Vegas. 

Later in the day we found out that our beloved Tom Petty died. 

A Fall Craft seemed trite after all of that. 

Monday morning my son woke up to the radio that told the story of what happened in Las Vegas. My nine year old then gave me the details. I just cried. I cried because over 500 peoples lives will never be the same. I cried because I can't protect my son from knowing about the evils of the world. I cried because this is not okay. 

What kind of world is this? We are numb to the stories. It seems like each mass shooting is the "worst in US history"...the keep happening and they keep getting worse. Well, I guess that is a matter of opinion. It was pretty freaking horrible when children were gunned down at school. But nothing has changed...people worked for change and congress did nothing. 

Look, it doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican...or neither. It doesn't matter if you are a gun owner or not. I really feel like we should all agree that is not okay and something has to change. 

I have struggled this week trying to find the good because I am mad. I am mad that our government is beyond messed up. I am mad that we are so divisive as a country. I am mad that more and more people have to bury their loved ones because of something so senseless. 

And the truth is, I am mad because I have to ask my children questions like "what do you do if there is an active shooter." And I am devastated that they both said the right answer. You run. 

This is not okay. This is not normal.

And I can mark things with the angry or the sad icon on Facebook, but that changes zero. 

I don't know what makes someone (mainly white men) want to take down as many people as they can before they end their own life. I don't know what would change their minds so this shit doesn't happen over and over and over. 

All I know to do is I have to take action...the most immediate change I can do is the following:

  • Work to make sure my state has good gun laws. I don't want to take away your guns...we are a family of hunters. But it makes sense that we have good gun laws. 
  • Work to elect people who don't cater to the gun lobbies. Period...I don't want the NRA directing our politicians...we didn't vote for them to run our country. 
  • Work to create community...it sounds silly, but  you may not shoot your neighbor, the people in your community, etc if you are connected to those people. 
  • Work to do more good. I can't control the bad in this world. I can't change the fact that my babies know what to do if there is a gun event. What I can control is the good things I expose them to. This world is scary and can be dark. Be the light. Your kids need that from you. 

If you will notice, this all requires us to work. I know we are all busy and tired, but it is important. This is all we have...this one life so we have to do what is right, we have to do what we can to make this place better, and we have to love. 

Speaking of love, I haven't even been able to talk about Tom Petty yet. He was the music of my youth...every stage of my life. He was there when I was a baby, through my parents divorce, through high school, through my indecisive twenties and thirties, he was always singing the song track for my life.  It is one thing my dad and I share...our love for Tom Petty. His songs play through my mind all the time. I will always love him. 

Well, hopefully next week won't be such a bummer and we can do something fun together. Enjoy your Fall weekend. Love your people...and your neighbor. 

Welcome Back

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Welcome back! I'm back and your back...it is the best. 

Summer break has come to an end...we get out late and go back late here in the PNW. Holy moly what a summer break it was! Road trips, camping, adventures...it was the summer of "yes." My husband and I talked about it and we really feel like we really seized the summer and have no regrets. 

Since school and sports have started. I do have some regrets about the amount of activities we have signed up for. We have a bonkers schedule. The boy has school, Fall Ball (with two games a week), soccer (with two practices and one game a week). Little Miss has school, gymnastics, Speech Class, and soccer (one practice and one game a week). I feel a little overwhelmed.

But honestly I am also glad to have the comfort of a routine. I already miss having the kids with me, but am thankful we all get to have a little space. I just wish I didn't make it quite so complicated.

Clearly I have not mastered my schedule yet and here are the ways I am acting out, screwing up, and/or acting a fool. 

  • For preschool Meet and Greet I had a dried blob of yogurt on my cheek the entire time. I just chatted away and no one said a word...that is until I got to the car. Then my daughter, who kissed me with yogurt lips that morning informed me I had some crusted to my face.
  • That same week, I went to pick up the daughter at preschool and had a label stuck to my skirt...luckily a nice grandmother told me.
  • This weekend, I went to a birthday party and got a stick stuck in my pony tail. My husband half heartedly helped me, but parts of the stick were still in my hair when I got home...hours later. 
  • Unfortunately, I forgot about an appointment with my son's brand new teacher and his learning team. I was at Target when they called me. I was 25 minutes late for the appointment so the teacher had to return to class. 
  • Turns out we have a foreign exchange student coming to stay with us and I don't 100% remember signing up. It seems kind of familiar and I am super happy...I just didn't have a clue.
  • My texts and emails have been atrocious lately...I am typing too fast and not proofreading like I should. It is embarrassing, because I am a writer and it is frustrating when your errors take away from the message. You can't tell how very funny I am if there are typos. 
  • Today I let my  son walk to school because we had a scheduling conflict. I didn't see him when I drove by so I texted other parents and then finally called the school to ease my worries. Those poor school administrators...they are freaking angels.
  • And for my big finish tonight, I was talking to a soccer mom about a child who I thought was this one kid's sibling and turns out I was wrong about everything around the situation. I made it a big weird thing with this mom. The worst part is the child I was mixing up and the child who was really on the team are the children of one of my favorite neighbors and when I was texting her about the whole mess I was calling one of her children the wrong name. I have known these kids since they were babies. Ugh. Adding insult to injury over here, people.  

I am a hot mess. I know this helps you feel better about your own parenting paths. I get it. I am never going to be a cool mom who does everything right. I am never going to have it all together. Competent mom? Sure! Fun mom? Probably. Crazy mom? Definitely. I am doing my best...or my best on a very little amount of sleep and a whole lot of kooky.

And I am sure you are doing your best too. Let's celebrate the crap out of that. I even may make a damn cake (and I will probably forget some key ingredient...like how I forgot to add baking powder to my biscuits a couple of weeks ago...stupid flat biscuits). Celebrate what you can and forgive your mistakes...learn and move on people. 

Life is too short to not laugh at ourselves and we might as well pack it all in while we can. Yes, there a moments that we need to take time to slow down and take time to soak it all in. But there are other times that we just need to embrace the full calendar and experience as much as we can. Life is all about the ying and the yang. No balance...just back and forth...too much and too little. Aim for the middle, for balance, but enjoy the ride.

I know her name, most days.

I know her name, most days.

his too, sometimes.

his too, sometimes.

Now that we are back on schedule. Let's try our Tuesday and Thursday schedule and go from there. Have a wonderful weekend!

A Very Special Episode of Posing as Parents

If you grew up (or were alive) during the 1980's you may remember there were lots of "very special" episodes on your favorite tv shows. Those "special" episodes were to have commentary on some social issue or heavy topic. 

Well, I haven't posted on my regular schedule this week and I had a litany of excuses...summer...the littles are only little once...etc, etc, etc. And that is true. All of it. Summer is kicking my booty. I love being with the kids all the time, but we need a schedule AND we are kind of getting on each other's nerves. It happens...even to the best of us. The bottom line is I am knee deep in summer mayhem, bad attitudes, and sleep deprivation. 

Looking up in our front yard.

Looking up in our front yard.

Then the other night we got a call from our neighbor a little after 10pm. I won't share her name to protect the innocent (like the do on Law and Order). And if you know me and know the neighbor just keep it to yourself please.

So this neighbor and our family have been through a lot together. My husband was there (and performed CPR) when her husband died and we have experienced many medical related issues together...hers and ours...and we share all sorts of happy times too.  She is family. And she actually was very sick at the first of the year and we were quite worried, but she is better and her health has been amazing so we were surprised to get a phone call from her for help. 

My husband grabbed the first aid kit and ran next door. 

Then husband texted me to bring rubber gloves.

I walked in our neighbor's door and I cannot describe to you what I saw. It was like a scene out of Dexter. I am 100% not exaggerating. As I walked closer to my husband and our neighbor it got worse.  

She had a cut on her foot and she is on blood thinners and there was blood everywhere. My husband told me to apply pressure to her foot and he left to get the truck to take her to the hospital. She wasn't in any pain and we just chatted until my husband came back.

When he got back he checked her foot and there was no bleeding. Mind you the house looked like a crime scene, but she was no longer bleeding and was doing well.

The problem was that she was giving herself a pedicure and had knicked her foot...when she got up and walked around she bled...that combined with the blood thinners it brought it to the next level of gruesome. 

I made my husband call my mom who is a nurse and they all agreed that the neighbor didn't need to go to the hospital. She had stopped bleeding, there was nothing to stitch up, and she felt fine. She laid on the couch while my husband and I got to work.

Let me tell you a few things about me...I am not good in an immediate crisis...I cry, I freak out, etc. I am really good after something has happened...I can clean, I can bring food, and take care of you...those are my strengths. My husband is the EXACT opposite. He handled the first of this situation and now it was my turn. 

The blood was EVERYWHERE. In the utility room, the kitchen, the living room, and the foyer. It was all over walls, floors, everything. It was a stream so things were covered in blood splatters. My husband and I are not really suited for this kind of scene. We were both pretty woozy, but we couldn't just be like..."Oh you good? Peace out!" We had to clean up for her.

I went home and loaded up on cleaners. My husband went home and got the shampooer. If you would have seen us going back and forth in the night it would have looked quite suspicious. 

Well, we worked HARD cleaning. It was in every nook and cranny in all of those rooms. We had to use a variety of products trying to remove it all. We cleaned for two hours straight. We looked like the team they call in after a murder to clean up. I was soooooo sweaty. My husband looked at me at one point and said, "I have never seen you so sweaty and I saw you after you did a boxing class." It was serious cleaning.

However, we were all laughing so hard. It was so funny the absurdity of it all. We laughing because at first it looked like a murder scene and no one could figure out was happening so each of us had made up different stories...a crime, a poltergeist, a wild animal...I mean the possibilities were endless. 

At the end of the night, she was fine...her house was mostly clean (we aren't professionals) and we had been through something together. I felt like we had been through a war or at least I felt like we were living a part of Reservoir Dogs. 

So why tell you all of this (other than I have to share this, because I am in shock still)? Well, I have to solid takeaways from this ordeal.

  • Be a good neighbor. Being neighbors with someone can be hard. You don't get to choose who you are spending your property lines and basically your life with. But it can also be awesome. I have amazing neighbors and we have been through a lot together. Don't be a good neighbor because of what people might do for you, BUT it doesn't hurt. You never know when you may need an extra hand or a cleaning crew.
  • Don't kill anyone. Seriously there is no way you are getting away with it. Blood splatters everywhere and you can't possibly clean it all. I mean, for moral and legal reasons, also don't kill. But seriously, you won't get away with it.
  • Blood is hard to clean.  If there is blood on something try to clean it immediately, when it dries...you are in trouble. When you spray (or pour) cleaner on the blood it may turn black and make the scene even grosser. Forget sponges and magic erasers...rags are the way to go. 
  • Laugh when it is hard. Holy hell life is freaking hard and relentless and sometimes ugly. Laughter is the best thing you can do to help find the beauty in the situation and sometimes in humanity. Don't think something is funny? Find the funny. It is there. 
  • Have an emergency plan. We thought we had our kids sorted out if something happened, but turns out not all the way. I left my phone for my son, but my husband brought it back to me...there was a lot of confusion on what to do and what was happening. We are looking into getting an old school land line so we can ensure there is always a way to call and get help. Our kids were ready to go to our across the street neighbors. Also, I realized we haven't told our  neighbors our plans that our kids are to go their house...so they can be prepared if two kiddies show up at their doorstep they know why. Oh, make sure your first aid kit has a lot of rubber gloves...lots of them.
  • Be easy on yourself. Our neighbor was embarrassed about what happened? Why? For being human? We are gross and vulnerable creatures. FYI, my mom had to clean up amniotic fluid from our first kid...gross. I have had to clean up after lots of humans...we will make messes and we need to be okay with that. And don't feel bad if you need help. We all do. Be thankful you have someone to call upon. 

Let's look out for one another. Have a great weekend and I will see you back here on Tuesday.