Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Glimpse Into Her Future

In April, Marcie received her First Eucharist.

I'll be honest - it didn't come without a few tears, some raw throats from shouting and some slammed doors. Our church does a homestudy for the second grade sacraments.  And I like that.  The books and activities are thoughtful.  The retreats are focused and age appropriate and entertaining.  And it leaves kids and their parents on the same page.

But the thing is that Marcie is a bit of a procrastinator.  I reminded her regularly that we should get started on the work, but Marcie always wanted to wait.  Until we didn't have much time left -- and then she would get frustrated.  And that's where the tears and shouting and door slamming came in.  But we made it.

And she was beautiful.

She picked the dress and the veil and the shoes herself.  We had a fun afternoon doing that together.  And she had her hair done at a local place:

After the ceremony, her best friend's family joined us at Benihana for dinner, along with one of her Godmothers (and her uncle and cousins) and her grandparents:

It was an exhausting day (did I mention there was a lacrosse game in between there?).  But she had a blast.

And I hope I've glimpsed -ever so slightly- her future.  I expect there will be tears and raw throats and door slamming over the coming years.  And afternoons out, just her and me.  I hope there will be plenty of family and good friends to help her celebrate her successes and victories as she grows into a woman.

And maybe I'll see her in another white dress someday.  That she's picked out, so it's perfect.  With shoes that she absolutely loves.  And her best friends by her side.  If I'm lucky.

But until then, I'm just going to try and savor all the in-between stuff on the way to her becoming a grown-up.  Even the tears and the shouting and the door slamming that we will laugh about one day when she has a daughter of her own.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

We've had a lovely Mother's Day here in the S home.

We started with breakfast out, where everyone got to try a little bit of everything from fried eggs over easy and chocolate chip pancakes to biscuits with gravy and cinnamon rolls.  Then we headed north to the Carlsbad Flower Fields, cooled off with some ice cream and lemonade, and headed back home to enjoy the cool air conditioning we recently had updated and upgraded.

Did I mention that Casey has a propensity for the dramatic when it comes to family photos?  It's really hard to get him not posing.

So we had fun.  The kids and Jason got me a thoughtful and original gift - which I absolutely love.  Check it out:

In case you can't tell what's in the frame, the girl on the left has a paint brush, goggles on her head and swim fins on her feet.  The next figure, a boy, is playing lacrosse and soccer in cleats.  The woman is running, with a cell phone in hand and a camera slung over her arm.  And the little guy chasing after is holding a Barbie doll with books flying out of his backpack.  Jason commissioned the work and told the artist what each of us is into.

It's really perfect for Mother's Day - though I'd love to see the rendition of Jason, too!

So they hit a home run with the gift.  But really, what makes me happiest of all is just enjoying the time with my family.  The day's not over yet, but it's already been one of the best Mother's Days I've ever had. . .

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Marcie and the God Squad - Breaking Free

My kids attend public school.  That's by choice.  So I was a little surprised to hear about this recent encounter Marcie had with some "friends" (and, yes, I guess I use that word lightly).  The interaction went something like this:

Marcie: "Church can be so boring sometimes."

Girl A: "That's not nice to say."

Marcie: "But it's the truth."  (in her head- "at least at my church.")

Girl B: "You should be grateful for all the things you have-- God has given us a lot. [and on and on and on about how great God is and how ungrateful Marcie must be if she thinks church is boring.]"

Marcie:  "It's my opinion.  I'm entitled to my opinion."

Girl A: "I can't believe you don't believe in God!"

Marcie: "I didn't say I don't believe in God!"

I'm not sure if the atheism allegation arose- in Marcie's original telling, it did.  In subsequent tellings she focused more on the first part of the interaction.  In every telling, though, Marcie decided to just walk away.

So she left the group of girls for a bit.  Then she decided she should go "talk it out."  (That's how she described it.)  And back she went.  And when she returned, the other girls told her that she wasn't really welcome.  You know, because of her beliefs. 

And then I showed up to take Marcie home.

It's been bothering me for a while now.  I'm not thrilled about the way I see this group of second grade girls treat each other.  They are not particularly kind.  There is, from my perspective, a ring leader-- though I admit I'm not there day in and day out to observe it.  And I don't know how to help Marcie just. walk. away.  And I mean permanently.  If you are spending your days with a group of girls who build themselves up by putting other people down, it will never be a healthy relationship.  So why does she keep going back?  How do I help her break away?

Any ideas?

[As a side note, why are second-graders engaging in such religious marginalization?] 

Saturday, May 04, 2013


Yesterday, we got an unusual phone call from one of Casey's friend's moms.  Her voicemail message was cryptic.  She made a comment about her child being called to the principal's office and there being an "issue."  The implication was that Casey also made a trip to the principal's office.

So I called the principal's secretary to figure out what happened.  Something was not adding up - Casey usually tells us if something happens at school.  He's never kept from us getting into trouble.  Then again, he's never been summoned to the principal's office either.

So the secretary tells me that Casey was called in.  She has his statement right there in front of her.

At this point, I am doing an internal happy dance because my Casey - my beautiful, funny, but not-so-verbally-advanced Casey - gave a statement.  And I got the impression it was in writing.  (Later, Jason and I joked that maybe we could use that as a writing sample for his portfolio- we were so happy he put something down on paper that was coherent.  And we figuratively high-fived ourselves for his fantastic tutor.)

Anyway, apparently boys at school are pantsing each other.  And one of Casey's friends did it to him.  I stifled my laughter when the principal's secretary told me this and simply said, "Wow.  I'm so glad Casey wore underwear yesterday.  He doesn't always."  I know she was thinking, "I know, right?"

The perpetrator's mom is someone we know.  And she felt terrible.

When I asked Casey about it later, he said he didn't want to talk about it because the whole thing was "inappropriate."  Casey was not mad at his friend for doing this-- he blamed the kid who incessantly pressured the pantser into acting.  He was slightly embarrassed but mostly just wanted to move past the incident.

So here's the thing.  Parenting is hard.  Sometimes our kids make poor choices-- even bad choices.  And as parents, it's not always easy to know how to handle it.  Do you defend your child - even if just publicly?  Do you reach out to the victims of your child's poor choices?  And if you do, what do you say?  -- especially when your child has already offered a heartfelt apology?  Well, this mom did reach out to me.  No excuses.  She offered a straight up apology to me and to Casey.  And I gotta say - I was impressed. So often now, I hear about why a person's failures and mistakes are not that person's fault.  I hear a lot of excuses and a lot of blame.

So a little bit of responsibility goes a loooong way with me.  And I'm glad Casey has chosen friends whose parents see the value in personal responsibility, even when it's embarrassing or awkward.  I hope this is a trend.  I hope our generation of kids accepts responsibility for their mistakes and poor choices so that they can actually learn from them and truly move forward.  I hope I'm always as strong and wise as Casey's friend's mom.