five things, september 13 edition

My river. Moon river.  

My river. Moon river. 

1. I think  we have a little bed issue that I'm trying to solve. That sounds fun! Cal has never, ever slept really, really well in his bedroom. Isn't that terrible? We've put it down to him being like his Mama, just a bad/light sleeper, but recently he's taken to sleeping in our guest room, and guess what! He's tucked in, cozy and happy and he's been sleeping without restlessness or waking up. It's a pretty cozy room, if I do say so myself.

We think it's part bed, part room, but mostly bed. So. Here we are. We have numerous beds that we're dealing with here. Our bed (a queen), the guest bed (a double) and three twins (two in Cal's room and one in the attic). That's a lot of beds. My back's been hurting lately (although better over the past few nights). Do we get a new bed? It's been a long time. We don't want anything bigger than our queen, so do we then move the queen into the guest room and the double into Cal's room (and the twins into the attic)? One possibility. Except, I don't really want to spend the money it's going to take to get us into a new bed. I'm trying not to spend.

I don't think two twins will fit in our guest room, but I'd really like to figure out a solution that meant no new beds. I mentally rearrange beds all the time these days. But I haven't been able to figure it out yet.

2. I think  I finally have my Pinterest page all cleaned up! I still have some things to pin, but overall I'm pretty happy with the organizing of it. I mean, duh. Of course I have things to pin. But, here's what's cracking me up. I've been getting tons of repins over the past days since I did cleared house, and the top candidate? Screen Porches. What the monkey? Seriously, I got four emails just on screened porch pins. After that: metal roofs. Go figure.

3. I think  I want to say a little say something about September 11. It was my Wednesday Walk day, and I had a migraine this week so we had another Wednesday Sit day. My friend Marianne and I talked about the fine line between a morbid enjoyment of our enmeshment in grief and honoring what happened. What a tricky tightrope we walk as a nation. Marianne put it best, I think. "The only appropriate response is gratitude."

At some point on the radio that day, I heard a speech (Maybe a senator? I need to do some research.) at the Shanksville, PA memorial. This is what Cal and I talked about on the way home from school, and I paraphrased the speaker's remarks. The people on that plane called a meeting, formed a government, took a vote and assembled an army. Such heroic acts. I reminded Cal of all the heroic acts, not just on that plane, but the people who slowed their walk down those tortuous flights of stairs in the two towers to help those less able. The people who offered rides to those (including to Neel's cousin) who needed to get home after the subways were shut down. The first responders who ran into the buildings. Oh, the first responders. So what I said to Callum, was that day, that awful day, so many of us chose love.

4. I think  I have one more teeny tiny little thing to say about September 11. This Wednesday was back to school night for the middle school, and Callum's headmaster said, rightly so, that he couldn't begin the evening without some mention of the day. He told the story of that day 12 years ago at Cal's school. Norfolk is home to this country's Atlantic Fleet, and the admiral of the fleet was on the executive board of the school at the time. A board meeting broke up around 8:45 AM, and the admiral later told our headmaster that he was walking out to his car when his cell phone rang with the news. It was in those moments, driving away from the school that he began to give his first orders to scramble planes and ships.

Our headmaster then said that later that week the lower school gathered for a small concert. The kids were learning sign language and they signed and sang "America the Beautiful." It was then, he said, as they made the motions for "amber waves of grain" (picture little fingers waving above seven year old heads) that he knew "we were going to be okay."  

5. I think  that was a really, really long Five Things, huh? I think I'll stop now, except to say thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you for your lovely comments on my posts this week. Meant the world. I carry your words around with me.

five things, birthday eve edition

The sun sets on Cal's 14th year.  

The sun sets on Cal's 14th year. 

1. I think  I kinda can't believe I'm going to wade into this one, but here goes. Have you seen the uproar surrounding this blog post over the past few days? If you're not raising a teen or friends with someone who is, let me fill you in. In it, the author pens a "letter" to teenage girls admonishing them to have a bit more care regarding the suggestive selfies that they're posting on their Facebook walls. She doesn't want her boys to see them, so she's going to block them. Go check it out; I'll wait.

What did you think? My reaction was interesting. Countless moms were linking to it on my own Facebook wall, and, considering that I do have concerns about the suggestive pictures that pop up from time to time (from seemingly younger and younger kids), initially I liked someone's share of the post. I don't like how sexualized our kids seem to be, and I have my concerns about navigating social media with our own son. But then I read the post again. And again. And here's what I decided. Her words, interspersed with photos of her own muscle-flexing, bathing-suit clad sons, were designed to shame those girls. And even if that wasn't her true design, the message she sends with this post is "How you dress and the photos you post is responsible for how my boys think and feel and react."

What a minute. Boys aren't responsible for how they think and feel and react? Hmmm.

Am I distressed to see so many kids (boys and girls) overtly sexualize themselves on social media? Of course I am. Am I foolish enough to think that teens (boys and girls) don't think about sex (even without photos staring them in the face)? Well, duh. What distresses me about this woman's post is that she's saying to these girls, shaming these girls, don't put those pictures out there so my boys can stay boys of integrity. I'm sorry, but I'm calling bullshit. Your son's integrity rests solely with him and his actions, and honestly? It has very little to do with whether or not he likes looking at pretty girls (or boys). Seems to me that she's skating awfully close to "Did you see what that girl was wearing? Well, she deserved what she got."

Now, let me be clear. Do I like what some of these girls are posting on their social media accounts? Hell to the no. And it's not just girls who can post pictures of suggestive body shots, so let's not discriminate. I may not personally like the way some girls (and boys) dress and post and act, but the truth is that sexual responsibility lies within, as does integrity and as does honor.

This is a tricky world to navigate, for sure. We monitor Callum's social media, more than he'd like and probably less than we should. I hope to raise a son with integrity too, but I hope to do it by saying, "You're going to see girls on your Facebook or your Instagram, but no matter how they're dressed or how it makes you feel, remember those girls are people first. Not just bodies, and you should always respect them as such."  

If you want to read a pretty funny parody of that original post, one that says this much better than I could, you can check it out here: The Iron Daisy Writes.  An even better, less satirical take on how to talk to our sons about stuff like this is here: NatePyle.

And now I'm done talking about sexuality and my kid in the same context. Forever and ever, amen. ;) 

2. I think  Neel's giving an important talk today in Washington DC, and I can't stop thinking about him! Please, if you can, spare a thought or two for him too!

3. I think  my butt gets kicked by the first weeks of school, every year. I never get used to it. I'm behind on comments, emails, and work. It can only get better from here, right?

4. I think  I can't believe that fifteen years ago today, I was laboring to bring forth my man child into the world. Holy moly. Callum was two weeks early (he's always in a hurry to get things done!), and I labored over most of Labor Day. Spent the first part watching a Law & Order marathon refusing to believe that I was even in labor. I think I can say that the one gift that a migraine-life has given me is an ability to manage an unmedicated labor. When he was finally born, and they placed him on my chest, he looked at me as if to say, "Oh yeah. There you are." It was one of the best days of my life.

5. I think  we'll have a great day tomorrow, because hello. FOURTEEN. I need to sit down. We won't be seeing Erin or watching the Phillies get rained out, but hopefully Violet won't eat his cupcake like she did last year (it was as big as her head!). We're going to Busch Gardens and then maybe out to dinner (if we're still standing). There will be presents. There will be mayhem. There will be happiness.