Tag Archives: Lessons Learned

What Were They Thinking?

21 Jun

“You’re so ugly, your kid should kill themselves.” Klein said her son committed suicide 10 years ago. 

I sat down to eat my lunch today and thought I’d catch up on the news. I really hate reading the news because it gets my blood boiling. Especially today. I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the 68-year-old school bus monitor who was bullied by a bunch of middle-school kids on their bus ride home. If you haven’t, her name is Karen Huff Klein, and you can read all about it here. I was beyond disgusted and beyond angry when I saw this and heard the horrible things they were saying to this woman. I felt ashamed of kids I didn’t know and embarrassed for how she must have felt. The suicide comment above must have hit so close to home for her that it made me cry.

It is incidents like these that make me so worried my own daughter and school. Because this is happening. This bullying is real. The sheer fact that there are so many avenues to bully people now just overwhelms me. Four different kids took videos of what they did to this woman and then decided to share it with the world. As if being bullied wasn’t humiliating enough, now the whole world knows. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it will open the door for us, as parents, to talk to our children and reiterate what is appropriate behavior and what is not.

How this woman handled it with such dignity is beyond me. I felt rage and wanted to scream at them for her. I wanted to yank those kids off the bus and march them up to their homes and have a talk with their parents. This is a 68-year-old woman and I’m sure their words hurt very much. At 68 I think she possesses the maturity and understanding to know her life is worth living. That she shouldn’t kill herself. But what about a 10-year-old? This is what scares me.

I don’t know what I would do if Ava were on the receiving end of treatment like this. Lord knows I’ve bought a few books to try and learn how to raise a happy, confident girl. I hope that if that day ever comes where she’s bullied or sees someone being bullied, she stands up and stops it. I hope that she is always 100% certain that her life is worth living. I do know this, if she EVER treated an elderly person (or peer) the way the children in this video treated Ms. Klein, she better be prepared for eight hours a day, five days a week volunteering at the local nursing home over summer break. She better be prepared to change bedpans and get to know the people who have come before her; people who have shaped this world she lives in.

I don’t know the types of homes these children came from. For all I know, they have great parents who are really, really angry at them right now. I can only hope that’s the case. I hope that the parents make these children right what they’ve done wrong. I hope that these children are taught a lesson they will never forget. I hope we are all taught a lesson we will never forget. Treat people with respect.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” – Haile Selassie

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A Letter to My Daughter

4 Nov

There are so many things I would love to tell you about yourself. How could I ever possibly put into words all that I feel for you? Lately you are so inquisitive…always asking questions and always wanting to know more. What amazes me is that when you don’t understand something I’ve explained, you will ask me to explain each word you didn’t understand. Not the whole thing…just the words you didn’t understand and then you will try to comprehend it on your own. And sometimes when I’m not sure if you understood something fully you surprise me weeks later by repeating it with comprehension of what you’re saying. You, my little doodle-bug, amaze me.

Today you asked how we get goose bumps. I should have known that my response of, “We get them when we get cold,” wouldn’t work. You said you knew when we got them but you wanted to know how. You handed me my phone and said, “Here mom, look it up on your phone.” We were already running late but I could tell you weren’t going to let me get away with not doing it. Wikipedia says goose bumps form when tiny muscles at the base of the hair contact, the hair becomes erect and a goose bump forms. I asked if you understood and you said, “No…what does contract and erect me.” Once I explained those two words to you I saw a light bulb go off. I love those moments with you. You immediately wanted to call daddy and tell him how goose bumps form. I was so proud when you used contract and erect in your explanation to him.

This past weekend while we were in the dressing room at Old Navy, you were dancing and watching yourself in the mirror. You started singing, “I’m Justin Bieber’s girlfriend. I’m Justin Bieber’s girlfriend.” This made me laugh because you’re just barely five and where you get ideas about boyfriends I’ll never know. I have to think it’s from school. When I told you that I didn’t think Selena Gomez would be very happy that you were stealing her boyfriend you stopped, pondered this and then started singing, “I’m Taylor Swift’s girlfriend. I’m Taylor Swift’s girlfriend.” And then you stopped to inform me that it was okay if you wanted to be Taylor Swift’s girlfriend because it just mattered that you love someone. And I told you that was right. I’m amazed at how much sinks in when we talk.

I have always tried to be honest with you. To explain things the best I could in the best way for your little ears to understand. Right now there are all these anti-bullying campaigns going on. And I realized it’s never too early to start talking to you about treating people with kindness and understanding we are all different. So we got to talking about how people are different and that it’s okay for us not to all do things the same way or to like the same things. And you agreed that having friends who were different was good because it would be boring if everyone was the same. So I took this opportunity to talk to you about love. Because one day soon, you may have a school friend who has two moms or two dads and I wanted you to know that not everyone’s family looks like ours, but that just because it looks different doesn’t mean there is any less love in their home. You looked at me and matter-of-factly said, “I know mom. It’s like our family. You have two moms and two dads and you just love them all. Right, mom?” Yes, Ava. That’s right.

Last night in the kitchen we were listening to your favorite Selena Gomez song and I said, “Hey Ava, you know the girl singing this song? She’s Justin Bieber’s girlfriend!” And you ran up to the iPod, put your hands in prayer position and said, “Please Selena Gomez can I PLEASE just have your boyfriend for one day?” It’s moments like these that I wish I could bottle up and show you in 30 years because it’s moments like these that make my heart grow just a little bit bigger in my love for you. Moments where your complete innocence takes over and you really believe that Selena Gomez can hear you through the iPod AND will give up her boyfriend for you.

This morning while I’m brushing your hair you start singing,

“Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to my heart
Happy Birthday to you”

And I asked, “It’s your heart’s birthday, is it?” Without missing a beat you say, “Yeah mom. It’s November 3rd, so it’s my heart’s birthday. Tomorrow it’s my brain’s birthday and I’ll sing Happy Birthday to him tomorrow.” I said, “So your heart is a girl and your brain is a boy.” And you said, “Yep.” No elaboration…it made perfect sense to you. But I love that you sing your organs Happy Birthday…it’s almost like you’re thanking them or acknowledging them at the very least.

These moments are just a few from this week. Moments that make me smile, make me laugh but most of all, make me so proud to be your mama. Love you doodle-bug!

 Love,

 Mom

P.S. As of last night your favorite songs (in this order as stated by you) were: 1) Who Says by Selena Gomez 2) Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & the Waves and 3) Anything by Taylor Swift

What I Learned While Microwaving Dinner

20 Oct

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

I’ve seen this quote a thousand times. It’s always resonated with me. I’ve always liked it. I pretty much like anything that’s all, “Hey…be nice to people.” A funny thing though, every time I’ve read this quote, I’ve always thought of the people who have caused me to feel hurt. Because let’s be honest…it’s really hard to forget (and forgive)hurt and we hold onto the hurt for much longer than is healthy for anyone involved. As if holding the hurt creates a cloak that will prevent us from ever being hurt again.

Last night Ava and I went to the grocery store. It was late. She was asking to buy everything and I was too tired to say no. As we were checking out, our checker, Milton, was talking Ava up. And Ava was, of course, hamming it up. As we were finishing up he said, “You have a beautiful little girl there. You really should put her into acting. She’s full of personality.” I thanked him and went on my way. As we walked across the parking lot, a man sped by and came a little too close to Ava and I. In my anger I said, “What an idiot!” And Ava said, “I know. I stuck my tongue out at him!” And I quickly stopped, knelt down and explained to Ava why I shouldn’t have called someone a name and why she shouldn’t have stuck her tongue out at him. As I loaded the groceries in the car, I thought, “Man this compassion thing takes practice and so much work.” How quickly I had replaced my good feelings from Milton with negative feelings from a stranger.

We got home, unloaded the groceries and I threw my dinner in the microwave. I stood at the microwave and checked Facebook. I saw the following message posted on my wall from a great friend:

“I’ve had a REALLY trying week, and every time I’ve wanted to tell someone to “shut the hell up” (or at times WORSE…lol) I thought of you…and found my compassion. Thanks for always being the inspiration that you are! I love you dearly! MUAH!”

And you guys…I seriously did a little happy dance…I felt so surprised and grateful. And then I thought of the Maya Angelou quote up at the top of this post. I learned an important personal lesson yesterday. It’s more important to remember the good that people make me feel…I need to practice that more. It’s a burden to carry past hurts. And yet so uplifting to carry around all those good feelings.  

And I’ll end with this…do not let anyone, ever steal your joy. It’s never worth the energy it takes to get your joy back.