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! 

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. 

 

Won't you be my Neighbor?

Mr. Rogers is my hero. Maybe it is because I grew up watching him (I am cool that dates me). I just love that man. He was kind and inclusive, he was gentle and strong, and most of all he built community with everyone he met...and oh so effortlessly. 

There are few things in this world that I am really sure of being true. (Honestly most of the time when I am REALLY sure about something I am totally in the wrong...it is an embarrassing trait). BUT one thing I believe in my core is that there is a crisis of community. We don't act as community. I am talking more than a political divide...I am talking about neighbors, coworkers, people you see every day...we aren't building the connections that we need as humans. Perhaps in other parts of the world this is not the case, but from my front porch I see the need for community. 

Part of it is that community looks different today. Perhaps we feel like we are really connected because we do Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/etc. We can see what other people are eating, where they are going, and what they are doing...but does it really mean we are building our tribe? What about talking to your neighbor? Or that stranger sitting next to you? Or the parents you see every day as you pick up your child?

I grew up in a smallish town in Arkansas, I remember being more connected...or at least that is my recollection. My grandparents lived on the same street. I had extended family around and friends we had known forever. I went and played with neighborhood kids who maybe weren't my best friends, but they were kids too and we had fun. I had a church community that we were actively involved. I felt loved and connected...even during the times that were hard. I always thought I had community because I was Southern or because it was a different time. But really, I had community because that is what my family, specifically my Nana, provided for me.

Listen, I am naturally an introvert...it kills me to talk to strangers...small talk is so painful for me. But I have been telling myself that community is important so I have push myself to put myself out there. I say "yes" to neighborhood activities, "yes" to bookclubs, "yes" to being involved. It isn't only good for me, but it is a behavior I feel like I need to model to our children. I want them to have a world that they feel seen, secure, and loved. 

A daily trek to visit the neighbor.

A daily trek to visit the neighbor.

So how can YOU build community? Today let's just start in our hoods. Here are a few ideas:

  • Bring your neighbor a gift. Like your actual neighbor...the people you live near. Bring them treats or flowers or whatever you want and be sure to include a card with your name, the names of the people (and animals) in your family, and your contact information. Your neighbors are the people who are literally the closest to you and you want to get in good with them, whether you just moved in or you have been in the same residence for decades. In my neighborhood we have experienced the joys of birth, the fears of illness, and sadness of death together...over and over again and all the things in between. Being in it together makes it easier. Your neighbors don't have to be your best friend, but the more you get to know them the better your community will be. I mean, unless they are just complete a-holes or weirdos then I am sorry...try further down the block.
  • Volunteer. If you have kids in school or in any kind of care see if you can volunteer. Maybe you work so you can't physically be there, but what can you do outside of school? Can you make play dough for the classroom, prep work for the teacher, or a special project that may need just your personal touch?  If you don't have kids or don't want to volunteer that way, you can volunteer at a local library, religious institution, or a nonprofit. What are the needs in your neighborhood? You are awesome and have talents that only you possess...don't be selfish...share the love.
  • Walk. That's right, get your bootie moving. Guess what? When you are out walking you meet people. When you see someone say "hi" or wave. My husband shared this saying that he heard at some event and I loved it so hard..."Even a dog can wag it's tail." Ain't that truth? So you greet the people you meet! And speaking of dogs...that is a great way to walk and to meet people. You don't have a dog? Borrow a neighbor's dog...help out a neighbor and walk their pooch. Ask them first, clearly, we don't want you to be the weirdo. 
  • Grab a Ball. Get your mind out of the gutter...you do NOT want to meet your neighbors that way...probably. Anywho, go shoot some hoops at the local court or in your driveway, play some soccer at the school yard (when kids are not in school), or grab a trac ball set and have some fun. (Sidenote...my son got a trac ball set for his birthday from a dear friend and he was showing my husband how to use it and my husband already thought he knew how play it so he lobbed the ball right in the nose of our son...it was so horrible/totally funny.) Listen, I am not Sporty Spice, but I can go hang out at the park or maybe play a game of low impact sport. Bottom line is to play a game with someone. Chess is a game and it is portable and you don't even need to be sporty...just do something you can invite someone to join in on. 
  • Lend a Hand. Sure this sounds like volunteering, but this is just helping out your neighbors. Take in trash cans, help them move heavy items, offer to pick something up when you run to the store, if your kids go to the same school offer to carpool, etc. Whatever makes sense for you situation and for your neighbors. Read the room, you have to consider what others want. Make an effort to make a connection. 

Creating a community, finding your tribe, or connecting with your neighbors is good for you, it is good for others, and seriously it makes our world better. So put yourself out there. It costs nothing for you to be kind and the rewards will be plentiful. (I mean, unless I am wrong, because I do feel pretty sure about this.) 

The connections we make in the course of a life—maybe that’s what heaven is.
— Mr. Rogers