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Posts Tagged ‘Uvalde’

Goose!

Guess what? Bob and I celebrated 43 years of marriage this past weekend. We survived the stress of many moves, launching two children into adulthood, and actually building a house together with a gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge. We joke that we rarely agree on anything, except the big things in life, like religion and politics. Our old VA Senator Tim Kaine Tweeted this morning:

“Virginia requires magazine limitation for duck hunting—no more than 3 rounds in a shotgun. Why? It’s not fair to ducks. Yet when we try to limit magazines to 10 rounds in Congress, we’re blocked. If we can limit magazines to protect ducks, we must do the same to protect people.

This of course presumes that we want to protect our people, our children.

Bob and I agree on ONE thing for sure – that guns ARE the problem. The Republicans are trying to compromise on guns, but they are still blaming pure “evil,” and mental illness for our country’s outstanding deaths due to… Wait. For. It. GUNS. They would like to arm our teachers, the same teachers they don’t trust to pick out books for their own classrooms. I am trying to imagine my guidance counselor, Miss Toye, with a gun.

I wouldn’t call this compromise, I’d call it treachery.

It’s treating our kids like ducks in a pond, in a war zone. Early in our marriage, we agreed never to buy toy guns for our children, not even water pistols. My husband doesn’t like to play games because he didn’t grow up in a competitive Irish Catholic home and try to win best all around athlete at Camp St Joseph every summer. I OTOH love to play games of any sort!

But do you want to play Hunger Games with your children’s lives? Maybe they could outrun a madman with a rifle if he could only buy 10 rounds of ammunition? How many young lives are we willing to sacrifice for three rounds? I remember all my childhood games – duck, duck goose, hop scotch, red light green light, spin the bottle.

I remember being a young mom, moving back to NJ when the Rocker was two and the Bride was seven years old. I had wanted to stay in the Berkshires. Strangers would always ask me WHY we moved, implying that no one would want to actually move to the Garden State.

I was trying to bloom while my roots were being transplanted.

I resisted the new protocol of having to make a “play date” if my child wanted to play with someone on our street! A play date. That was the first sign that this move would be different, there was no going back. There were rules to these new suburban games. I volunteered to coach the Rocker’s little soccer team, and I drove the Bride to cheerleading practice. I tried to fit in, we all try our best to fit in, don’t we?

Unlike my generation, my children didn’t grow up with an internalized fear of nuclear war. There was no such thing as a cell phone, no social media. Bullies were confined to the school bus ride. No one had ever heard of an “active shooter drill.” Like my Catholic school in the 1950s, only the occasional fire drill could pierce the solemnity of the classroom.

When will the party of the right with blood on their hands, reinstate the assault weapon ban? Ban them for good! No time limits, no concessions. It’s puzzling why a leader on this front hasn’t emerged.

I brought a burnt orange jacket to our anniversary dinner, but it was too hot to wear on the patio. Bob didn’t have anything to wear in orange. Wearing orange is also a start, but we cannot stop the momentum. No one needs an AR-15. No. One.

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This past Memorial Day weekend we stayed home.

We trimmed back the lilacs, and watched the magnolia start to bloom. Bob painted the front porch. We watered the garden and walked the dogs – Ms Bean and her three cousins next door. We were settling into our new/old house. And best of all, we were on Grandparenting Duty (GD), which is very different from babysitting mind you.

Bob and I are under no obligation to “watch” our grandchildren, in fact we relish spending time with them. Our rising 2nd and 5th graders are curious and helpful. While the Groom started his MICU attending duties, and the Bride worked three days straight, the littles just skipped down the street to our house. Our only mission was to ‘feed and water’ them and have fun; to witness the wild creativity of childhood… again.

On our first neighborhood 4people/4dogs walk, I brought up something I heard the Pumpkin say a few times – “What are we going to do when…..” (insert) “… we get home,” “after lunch,” etc. This question always reminds me of the little animated fawn, Bambi, asking his mama what they were going to do today. Children like to know what’s next, they love ritual, but summer was about to begin. School was out! I started to talk to the Grands about “unstructured time.” The Love Bug was all in, the Pumpkin however, differentiated between things we “have” to do vs things we “want” to do.

I could see my little red headed perpetual motion machine was struggling with the concept of just chillin. But research has shown us that time to explore and create and simply PLAY is essential to a healthy childhood. The Bug said, “It’s kinda like recess!” YES

“It’s like we HAVE to walk the dogs, but we WANT to eat ice cream,” the Pumpkin added.

So I asked him, “What would you like to do today if you could do anything you want?” He stopped walking and looked thoughtfully at his older dog who was preparing to poop.

“I’d like to build something with Pop Bob.”

And so they did – they studied and designed a “Lending Library” for our fence – a place for neighbors to take a book and replace a book. They set up shop in our dilapidated garage surrounded by wood scraps and power tools. I made a note to myself to get a big fan for the garage, temperatures were rising toward 90 degrees. And I tried to stay out of their way, only delivering lemonade once. My heart was melting as I watched them work.

The Bug and I cooked a beautiful barbeque dinner for their parents one night. She cleaned and chopped fruits and vegetables, and we talked about random things like friendship and boys. There was a boy at her end of the year school party who wanted to give her a balloon shaped like a heart. But she didn’t want it, and the balloon flew away. I told her she would break a lot of hearts, and she laughed and said I sound like her Mother.

There are mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, brothers and sisters who will never get to have these conversations with their children in Uvalde, TX. They will never get to build something with them, or cook with them, or laugh with them again. I am sending them my heartfelt sympathy and reserving my anger for our legislators; the mostly Republican men and women who have so much blood on their hands.

If we cannot ban assault weapons, change the legal age to buy a gun to 21, and pass background checks and red flag laws with a Democratic President, House, Senate and nearly 80% of the people, then we are surely doomed. We have become a country willing to sacrifice our children for the almighty gun dollar.

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