Friday, July 8, 2016

Clearing the cobwebs...

Once again I sit at my computer as Americans wage war against each other.  I have written before about gun violence, and policing, and the unnecessary, tragic deaths of young black people due to fear and racism. I find I'm running out of words. Tears come easier.

My own black child is 10 now, and he knows. He knows without me even telling him, even though I turn off the news when he comes into the kitchen. He knows; he sees my face; he sees my fear.

Yesterday we were walking through a peaceful, multi-racial neighborhood on a very hot day, on our way to eat at a Senegalese restaurant (which had its windows and doors open, but its AC off, because it's always this hot in Senegal, what is everyone so stressed about a little heat!?) My child sees another black boy his age carrying a big plastic water gun, on his way to the park probably, to cool off. He says, "I hope the police don't kill him."

Gallows humor, from my 10 year old black son.  He knows enough now to joke.

I asked him if he was afraid. He said, "nope."

My son, my Ethiopian lion. Thank G-d for his strong spirit. Mine feels crushed under the weight of all this; mine feels hopeless. I grasp onto his strength today...

Maybe, maybe when he has reached my age he will not fear for his children. Maybe we will fix this.  Maybe we will not be killing each other 30 years from now.

500 people killed by officers already this year; how can this be happening!?!

I meant to write about other things today- I meant to try and clear the cobwebs off this blog and see if I can breath some life into it. It's been a while since I wrote about birthday parties and trips to Sesame Place and how much the end of the school year saps my strength (so much, so very much happening allatonce. This post says it all, perfectly.)

Those things are happening too- we fight over screen time and we celebrate milestones (we made it through a difficult school year, phew!) we bake cakes and we take our water guns to the park too. It happens, all of it- life in great piles - heaps of love and struggles and chores and homework and dishes to do. Sometimes it feels too difficult to sort it out into a short blog post- here is what happened, here is a cute photo to illustrate my point. It's all happening at once- the shootings and the election (Good G-d this election!) and the laundry and the work and the birthday cake.

Now it is summer. The great gift of my career as a teacher is that I get 2 months each year to breath. Really breath. Sit on my front step or my parents' porch at the beach and breath deeply. Slow it all down, try and sort it all out. See all the glory and G-d in the messy heap of our amazing lives.

(I wish everyone had this gift of time off- time is the most precious gift we can receive. Yes, I've been listening to Hamilton obsessively... haven't you?!)

So here we are. Here is a cute picture to illustrate my point- the kids are growing up, fast as rockets. I'm growing up to. I turned 40 this week. Phew. It was scary- like turning the page in a terrifying book - I'm not sure what will be on the next page. I'll see if I can write to keep up...

Monday, June 13, 2016

Gun Control, Nerf, and my son

first let me just blow some of the dust off this thing... 

okay, here we go. Obviously there are lots of cobwebs I need to clear out on this page, and I plan to (what HAVE we been doing for the last 3 months?!)... but not today.

Today I'm going to have a conversation with my son about guns. Our son is 10, a tall strapping African-American about to-be-teen-man. And he's been asking for a set of Nerf toy guns since his birthday. And we keep saying no, and not explaining why.

Because I didn't think I could have the conversation without crying.

Because I was scared of admitting to him how scared I am.

Because I don't want him to be scared to be who his is.

But this is America. And apparently, there are very few people who can feel safe here just being who they are. Trump does, and people who look and sound like him, but that's about it.

So tonight I'm going to put a little rainbow candle on our table, and light it, and tell them about what happened in Orlando, and how we feel about it, and how we feel about guns. Which is, we hate them. We hate them and we will not have them, even ones that shoot soft plastic pellets, in our house. I will show my son a photo of Tamir. And I will say this my child, this is why I get so upset. This is why you cannot play with those things, not here, not in the park, not at your friend's house.

I'm planning on laying it all out for him, as calmly and as not-crying-embarrassingly as I can.  I will tell them:

This family believes everyone is worthy of love and respect. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

This family believes guns should only be in the hands of the military and the police and maybe a hunter, far, far, far out in the woods. That it is never, ever okay to touch or play with a gun.

This family knows that there is much, much more work to be done to ensure the safety and respect of all people, and we are committed to being a part of that work.

Our family's faith is Unitarian-Universalist, and our faith calls for us to love and respect each other- no matter our race, our religion, our gender, or our abilities. Not everyone shares that idea. Some people hate others because of who they are. This is not okay. But in the face of hatred, we will express only love. (Yes, even to Trump, although that's hard, because I really, really would like to punch that guy.)

This is pretty heavy stuff for a 6 year old and a 10 year old to hear, I know. But we live in a heavy world. We live surrounded by screens that are constantly shouting bad news at us. And my faith calls for me to hold onto hope- even if it is just the thin scrap I am grasping at today. That thin hope is this- that my children, and their friends and their co-workers, will live in a safer world, and be kinder to each other, and generously give each other the space to be who they are. Every single one.

Because  love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Lily and I went shopping today. She's been asking for two years to go to this dress shop we pass by every day. 

Today we finally went in! It did not disappoint. Fabulous poofy sparkly dresses everywhere!

Lily had a lot of fun loving all the dresses, and finally picked out two "birthday" dresses, plus... Her flower girl dress!

Her aunt is getting married this summer, and Lily has the great honor of Flower Girl. She is SO EXCITED! 

 (I may be a teeny-tiny bit excited too!)

Before I took her picture she said, "Wait! I have to put on lipstick!" 

I may have a little fashionista on my hands....