Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Because you just never know what you might need....

As Caroline was leaving for school this morning, I picked up her backback to hand it to her. I noticed though that it seemed to weigh a ton. I asked her what was in it:

"Stuff I might need."

"For what?"

"Maybe an emergency. You never know when a natural disaster will happen, Mom!"

I told her that her teacher would take care of her in an emergency and that for now she ought to only take a drink, snack and her books to school. She sighed and reluctantly let me empty her backpack before we walked out the door.

When I got back I looked at the pile of dumped "emergency rations" on the foyer floor and what did I find?

--1 diary
--8 gel markers
--1 highlighter
--4 pencils
--22 scraps of paper with various unreadable markings
--a snail shell
--7 broken crayons
--1 drinking straw, apparently used
--1 ponytail holder
--1 reel of wedgewood blue embroidery string (I've been looking for that!)
--1 plastic toy zebra
--1 plastic toy elephant
--1 toy airplane
--1 tamagatchi
--1 2Euro coin
--1 dead earthworm
--1 plastic toy horse and...

..... no less than 9 large rocks.

Huh. ;o)


Monday, May 26, 2008

Caroline, Speed Queen

So Caroline has been learning to ride a bike lately. It didn't look so great the first day or two, of course, but it has been getting less and less injurious every day. With Calvin's patient instruction, Caroline is becoming less of a crash test dummy and more a little speed demon. He faithfully makes time every day and takes her down to our garage and lets her ride her little heart out, and he's always ready with snuggles and kisses when the inevitable cuts and bruises show up. Lucky us, so far, she hasn't made any bicycle-shaped dents in anyone else's car. She is also keeping a pretty good sense of humor about the whole thing. After one particularly ugly fall, when Calvin gasped she said, "Don't worry, Dad! That was just the gag reel!". Too many DVD Special features in this house? Nah!
Here she is riding while Calvin looks on:

A high-five after the session is up:

This is the helmet they picked out together for her. Check out the googly plastic eyes on the lady bug. This just tickles me. ;o)

Now she is anxious for her bike-riding lesson every day, though I daresay she won't need very many more. Go Caroline!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Where Have The Socially Acceptable Gone?

I wish this were going to be a happy post, but alas...not so much. I'm posting this for you, Caroline, so that when you are grown up, you will look back on this post and then look around you and be comforted (albeit barely) by the fact that some things never change.

Lately, you've been coming home from school and telling me about some disturbing happenings in your classroom. Namely, religious bullying. For example, several times this week and last you have recounted to me occurences of kids in your class asking eachother what church they each attend. Then, based on the answer, they decide for eachother who is going to hell and who isn't. The Protestants are doing this to the Catholics and the Catholics are doing this to the Protestants. And you are not spared. Indeed, since we don't attend a church at all, you are unequivocally going straight to hell, they say. That is clearly logical thinking. Of course, they have no idea what our family's religious beliefs are, but that doesn't put a damper on their making plenty of assumptions. A few of them have warned you that their mommies "said to tell you" that your soul is in jeopardy and that if your mother were any kind of mother at all, she would have you in a Sunday school program.


Caroline, it has been my experience in life that those who talk about God the most are the ones who keep Him in their hearts the least. They tend to be the mouthiest and the least sincere. They do not use religion to become closer to God. Instead, they use it to justify their vile thoughts, obsession with sex (meaning everyone else's sex), and their arrogance ("Christians aren't perfect, we're just saved!"). They remake God into their own image and then use Him to browbeat and condemn others.....rather like He's their own personal henchman. They almost always do this under the guise of "caring" about you and being concerned for your everlasting soul, and there is almost always a little gleam of glee in their eyes as they hope fervently that they're right about your future incineration. This helps them feel very pleased with themselves. But as you will have figured out completely one day, they are fooling no one but themselves. You have seen already how silly they look and how absurd they sound, strutting around like self-righteous peacocks.

That said, it has also been my experience that getting angry at these people does no good whatsoever. The only remedy is to feel sorry for them, for if anyone is deserving of your pity, it is these kids whose parents teach them to live on fear, both the feeling of it and the spreading of it. Those poor kids don't have a chance.

Bottom line is this: I'm dreadfully sorry you had to be introduced to this ugly side of humanity at such an innocent and happy time in your life. I'm also very sorry for those kids whose mothers train them to behave this way in school, and who apparently have no idea what religious tolerance means. Clearly, manners have escaped their notice. But I know you'll hang in there, my sweet Caroline, and I know you'll make intelligent and conscience-driven decisions about your own spirituality one day. After all, as Mother Theresa said, in the end it is between you and God and no one else.

I love you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Your Head Is My Head and My Heart Is Yours

It has been sunny here for about two weeks now. It is truly incredible, as we (your Dad and I) never thought we'd see the light of day again, considering what a dreary winter, fall and last summer we had. But we were wrong. The sun still exists, and you've been soaking it up as much as you can, basking in it and playing your little heart out while simultaneously making Vitamin D with all your mitochondria.

Last night, in fact, I took you with me to my own ball practice and let you run around with your friend Kylie, a daughter of one of my teammates, while I chased balls around like a golden retriever.

When I was on deck to bat though, the batter ahead of me hit a fly foul that headed straight for the area behind the dugout.....the area I knew you were playing in. I cannot even begin to tell you how close I came to a coronary as I ran around the corner to warn you. It happened in slow motion. I watched that ball go up and then come hurtling down, and I watched with heart-stopping horror as it headed straight for the top of your little head. It was too late for a good idea, and all I could do was yell your name as I ran. You turned around just as it landed a mere foot from you, slamming into the ground with what could have been fatal speed.

I simply stood there for a second, staring at your precious face and your big eyes as they seemed to question, "What's the matter with YOU, Mom?".

My teammates must have seen the terror in my face because one of them came across the field just to tell me "It's ok, Trin. Calm down." even though I hadn't said a word besides your name.

I appreciate her concern and her trying to help, but between me and you, Caroline, no one will ever be able to understand how that felt for a few minutes, and how it still feels when I think of it. How close you came to being injured, or worse, haunts me. I daresay it will for a long time. I admit, I may be weird and I may be over-protective, but the fact is I can't hide that you are everything important to me, and I'd take that ball in my own head if it meant saving you from even a bruise.

I love you.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Let Me Count the Ways.....

Dear Caroline,

Last night you were playing around the house when you came to me with an empty tic-tac box and asked me to breathe into it for you. I asked why and you told me you wanted a "sample" of my breath because "it smells good". Weird as that is, it might be the most sincere way anyone has ever told me they loved me. ;o)

The other day you bought a set of rubber animal noses in the party favors section of the BX. The kind that strap on your head by an elastic band....rather like Groucho Marx noses and moustaches. The animal noses included were an elephant's trunk, a parrot's beak, a pig's snout and a lions muzzle. You insisted the moment we stepped out of the BX that Daddy wear the lion, I wear the parrot and you wear the elephant. We did---we unwrapped that package right there and donned our new identities. And we wore them all the way home, braving the stares from people in other cars and on the sidewalks. It was particularly entertaining when we stopped at a crosswalk to let people walk across, and they all rubbernecked the whole way, laughing and pointing at us. You were having the time of your life making people laugh. You were in the backseat laughing so hard yourself that you could barely breathe and little giggle-tears slid down your trunk. And your Dad? That guy who's normally pretty shy and unlikely to draw attention to himself? He wore it proudly and enjoyed it like a champ!

THAT is how much we love you. And we'd do it again.