Monday, April 20, 2015
One of the benefits of homeschooling that I really love is that we can often venture down rabbit trails. We were talking about farming and southern plantation life during the Civil War era, when one of my kids asked where we would fit into society if we had lived during that time. I easily answered that realistically we would most likely live in town and be a business owner. Maybe shopkeepers? Lawyers, coopers, or printers perhaps? We would absolutely be acceptable in our own social circle, but much to one of my daughter's chagrin, we would not likely ever be invited to any events held at the plantations. My eldest daughter grumbled, but I assured her that we would have made sure she married well. It got a good laugh from her siblings. As I surveyed the laughing faces, it struck me. Not all of us would fare quite as well.
Mr. Clean with his handsome Viking features and icy blue eyes would fit right in. Xena matches her father in looks and sports blonde locks. K.Z. has my father's native look and bone structure, but with his freckled skin still looks like he could walk right out of my mother's native Scotland. Carisa also matches my father, but if we keep her under a large brim hat and out of the sun, we can keep her light winter shade. But my youngest boys? Where would they fit in during the Antebellum years? My heart sunk.
I decided to get real with the kids and be honest about how our family would actually look. Eazy, my nine year old has the prominent look of Spanish aristocracy, but with an olive complexion. His dark hair and eyes help to give away his hispanic heritage. My baby, the seven year old Das, has the look of his Puerto Rican ancestors and more resembles the Taino tribe that historically inhabited the island. As a baby he was a paler version of himself, but as he has grown his melanin has found its perfect level, leaving his skin a gorgeous copper brown. That reality would have made my youngest boys very unequal in society in our imaginary Antebellum family scenario.
We talked for a while about the way just even by boys would have been treated differently from one another. Eazy would have faired much better, with his features looking more European, despite his Spanish complexion. Das would most likely have been treated much worse. More than likely they would have been free men, but certainly not held as part of "polite society".
I had never thought about how my boys would have been treated historically, but I have thought a lot about their futures. Right now I can protect my boys from the nonsense the world can throw out there because they are darker than their parents. I hope I can equip them to deal with any of it they may deal with as adults, out there on their own. I pray that by that time, it won't even be an issue.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Every Thursday morning, my husband takes my eldest child, KZ to breakfast before he attends classes for the day. They are usually up and gone by 06:30, which for me is a tad early. Last Thursday, Mr. Clean had to be at a client's site early and could not take KZ to school, so it was up to me. Initially I had planned to crawl out of bed, shower, dress, and drive KZ the fifteen minutes or so to school, simply making sure that my eyes, blurry from my permanent "night owl" status, stayed open. KZ had a different thought. He still wanted to go to breakfast.
Honestly, my first thought was, "ugh." Not only did I have to get up early to drive him, but he wanted me to get up even earlier to spend money on him and take him to breakfast? Cheeky kid. I agreed, because he really seemed like he still wanted to go, despite his dad not being able to take him. Seriously, who wouldn't want to hit Chick fil-A before hitting the books?
My alarm went off at 06:00 and I wearily got out of bed. Surely after a shower, I would be ready to face the day. It helped. Sort of. It wasn't until we got to the restaurant that It struck me that this was no obligation, this was a privilege. I got to spend thirty minutes or so just hanging out with my boy. Only my boy. Not five kids, a husband, two dogs, three gerbils, and the dust bunnies that live in my house.
We chatted as much as a sleepy mom and a fifteen year old can at 07:00, even laughing a bit. I enjoy my kids and love spending time with them. It amazes me how much more man-like my little boy is, and I am seriously proud of that man he seems to be morphing into.
Friday, April 17, 2015
I have never been a huge fan of tweens and teens. Until tonight.
Don't get me wrong. I like some teenagers, and I like some tweens. As a matter of fact I have some of both, and I adore them. However, I have never been drawn to that age group. Give me pukey babies, temper tantrum throwing toddlers, or the goofy young elementary sect, and I am good. Anybody older than that, under the age of 18 or so, no thanks. I'll pass on the drama, and raging hormones. Normally.
Tonight I got to spend the evening with over a dozen young teens while they held a dinner for local veterans. Any veteran was welcome, from Afghanistan to WWII, and we had a phenomenal span. I watched as these young men and ladies sat with, spoke to, served, listened to, and cleaned up after the men and women who had proudly served our country. And they were excited to do it.
I watched my own son and daugher carefully plan what they would wear for the event, to look their best. I watched my daughter plan and execute making part of the dinner and a dessert. I saw students prepare art work to decorate the venue. I listened as my kids excitedly talked about the blankets they were making with their classmates as gifts for each veteran that attended. I watched as these middle school kiddos helped set up and tear down the venue, making it as nice as possible for their guests. I listened to the conversations in my van on the way to and from the dinner with the teen friend that carpooled with us. I watched as they served and showed love to the ones who served us. I saw individual young people who cared.
I saw this age group with new eyes, and I enjoyed them. What a great honor it was for me to simply watch them at work. They are a great group.