Yesterday I did the smart thing and, instead of throwing my laptop through the window, I turned it upside down and shook out the junk that was hiding in the keyboard. Viola! half a dozen seed beads and two tons of crap came pouring out from between the keys and now, miraculously, both the "y" key AND the space bar work just like they should. Who'd have thought that a clean keyboard works better than a filthy one? Simply amazing, I tell you.
Know what else is amazing? My kids got to school on time, and I helped! (I feel like a Shake and Bake commercial now...) Before bed last night, I insisted that everything they needed for this morning was ready to go - shoes, clothes, school books...everything. So, even though I wasn't able to actually open my eyes until 7:15, they were ready to walk out the door (and eat breakfast at school) by 7:30. Thank you FLYLady, for convincing me that the Before Bed Routine was not just for special occasions!
Now, I am sitting in my office, dressed, and still thoroughly exhausted. Yesterday was one of those days where I, apparently, needed to get stuff done. I tried three times to take a nap and all three times, I ended up working on important things around the house, instead. It was like my brain switched to To Do List Autopilot and just kept on moving. I took care of a dozen little projects that I have needed to fix, and I still kept a happy mood and got the girls to all do their chores, too. At 5:45, I actually did manage to lie down for about an hour, but I was up and taking care of business again until bedtime.
The place was a pretty big wreck, because I was so very sick for almost a week followed by almost four days of being at home because of snow, so things weren't totally finished by bedtime. I relented and gave them each a "happy face" for their obvious hard work and sent them to bed on time. They were all snoring within five minutes of snuggling down in their nests of blankets. Frankly, it wasn't long after that when I took myself to bed, as well.
DH is staying in The City with his parents to save money on the commute, so I am alone for the rest of the week. Usually, I get a little more stressed without a back-up adult around the place, and normally that equates to less work, less organization, and taking the cheaters' way out for dinner (reheated left overs.) The past week has been far better than that, though. I've gone from needing 18 hours of sleep to only needing 8, and I'm able to use those "awake" hours with far more productivity than I am used to. Maybe it's because I was on the wrong meds and they were making everything worse. Maybe it's because I am just having a string of "better" days. Maybe I am actually learning how to control this little Monster. Who knows? What I do know is that I feel better than I have in YEARS (literally) and I am going to enjoy it as long as I can.
Last night, instead of letting the kids fend for themselves for dinner, or cooking a big meal and making a bigger mess, I had LH cook some frozen pizzas and we all sat down together to eat instead of letting them turn on the Evil Television (and leave a mess in the living room on top of the mess that is already there.) Most nights we do sit down to eat dinner together, even if it is just grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. It is the act of being together for at least a little while, that makes dinner time a routine for us and (I believe) has helped hold this family together in spite of the chaos that has surrounded us for the last several years.
Somehow, during dinner, one of the girls asked about something they heard and that started a nice little conversation. Just what is the big deal about "Gay" and what does it really mean anyway? Truly, I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk to all three girls about this. It is a subject tat has been in the news a lot lately and I know that they hear it at school being used derogatorily. As much as I needed to discuss this, just sitting them down to have a "Talk" was not what I really wanted. Something this important needs to be brought up, sure, but something this controversial to the rest of the world needs to be discussed openly, not behind closed doors or with a sense of fear.
So, what is Gay, and what is the big deal? Here is how I put it to them. Gay is a term that many people use when a boy loves a boy or a girl loves a girl the same way that Mommy and Daddy love each other - in the living together, supporting each other, acting as a couple way. (No, I didn't go THERE. It wasn't a conversation about the Birds and the Bees, people. Just about relationships.) I got three very different faces looking back at me, and that was pretty funny to me, but I managed to hold it together and kept this from being a "giggle" moment.
EG had a ton of questions, I could tell, but she usually chooses to sit tight and listen for awhile before actually asking what is on her mind (usually.) This is the one who decided to dress Ken up as Barbie, so I figured she would have something to say, but surprisingly, she just listened, soaking everything up like the sponge she is.
TD thought the idea was pretty weird, and a little funny, but once I informed her that many people are Gay and we know, very personally, lots of gay couples, she decided it wasn't so funny and started asking a lot more questions. Not everyone talks about whether they are Gay or not, just like not everyone talks about whether they are Straight or not. I don't walk around telling everyone that I kissed a man goodbye this morning. It isn't really appropriate for ANYONE to talk about it in social situations. It's called being polite and discrete. I also had to make the point that just because it doesn't need to be part of everyday conversation, doesn't mean it isn't a normal part of life. I reminded her about the female couple that are the parents of an awesome kid (Eagle Scout at 13, OA Officer for four years, all-around decent human being and really cool guy) who has been attending the Air Force Academy. Suddenly the light bulb went on. "OH! I wondered about his Moms, if they were just really good friends, or what?"
Yes, they are good friends. Best friends, like Mommy and Daddy are best friends. No, they aren't legally married because not all states are ok with that, yet, but yes, they live together and raise their kids together and support each other the way married couples do. Since they have known this couple for many years and we have never made a distinction between them and any other couple, all three girls realized at that point, that I didn't feel there was a real difference to be made. They were parents and they were together and that was that. Also, I mentioned a few other couples, as well as some single men and women I knew, and they seemed to understand that I felt it was only as important as you wanted it to be. If you are talking about who you want to spend the rest of your life with, then yes it DOES make a difference if you like opposites or equals. If you are deciding who to be friends with or who to share your school book with, it doesn't make any more difference than the color of their hair.
LH, really wanted to know, "What's the big deal? Why do people throw the word around and freak out about it?" That was a really hard question to answer. Partly because I don't understand it completely myself, but also because it meant that I had to try and explain intolerance to someone who is completely colorblind to the people around her. The only thing I had to say was that some people feel that it is a sin according to their religion and other people feel it is socially wrong. Because of that, some people are ashamed of their children or family members who are Gay. For the people who ARE Gay, it makes it difficult to tell people about it because they don't want to be made fun of or treated badly. This brought up a discussion about "The Closet" and "Coming Out" and I think they were all a little confused, but I did the best I could.
At this point, EG started to giggle. Mostly at thought of someone bursting out of a closet door looking "Fabulous!" As funny as her image was, I had to point out that you wouldn't laugh at someone for being in a wheel chair or having a different color hair, would you? (Of COURSE not! THAT would be rude!) So, you wouldn't laugh at a boy who likes other boys or a girl who likes other girls, then.
THAT made sense to them.
I love having the opportunity and the freedom to discuss these things with my girls. I'm sure a lot of parents feel that 7 years old is too young to talk about stuff like this. For some kids, it might be, but I found that if I choose to ignore a topic - no matter how insignificant or important - they will keep pushing and wondering WHY I didn't want to talk about it and suddenly the cartoon that I didn't want to watch because the voices are annoying becomes a full on battle about independence and freedom.
In our family, I like to take every chance I can to teach my kids about the Values I want them to have. Whether they are asking about gay couples, or why people who have been Americans for generations are called something different because of their skin color, or even why I choose to have reusable bags on hand for recycling, no time is a bad time to teach your children the way you want them to be. Maybe I am brainwashing them by taking them to church and telling them not to waste electricity or to be nice to everyone they meet regardless of how they look. Is all that a really bad thing?
Deb "The Mom" Lollar