Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Very Wordy Wordless Wednesday: Great Looks for...

True, this is photograph, but it's a photograph of words. So I bet this is probably the wordiest Wordless Wednesday post ever.

This is what happens when you raise aware kids.

This ad came today from the Children's Place. My kids LOVE the clothes and my oldest daughters plan to go there for their annual birthday clothing shopping spree.

They, however, were not pleased with the fact that the ad separated clothing into, "Great Looks For Him," and "Great Looks For Her."  One of their big concerns is that they liked the cut of the boys' shorts better than the teeny tiny girls' shorts.  My daughters didn't want to be told they couldn't have those simply because the circular declared them "for him."

They complained about that and we talked a bit about their preferences.  I thought we were done, but oh no, we were not.

They worked their editing magic and brought the ad in to me while I was on the computer.  I was thrilled to see what they had done.  They did this to both the girls' section and the boys'.

They did this all on their own with no prompting from me.  And for that, I'm so proud.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Make New Friends and Keep the Old
One Is Silver And the Other Gold

This post has been brewing in my mind for months.  I can never get it to stay on one straight trajectory, though.  I wanted to tackle the topic in this post, but then it took a walk through a completely different part of my brain.

So let's try this again.

I'll write a separate post about my kids and their friends.  That has been the biggest focus of our lives (and my mind) lately.  I'm doing my best to put all my stuff on hold so that my kids (most especially my oldest who are very much smack dab in the middle of the "Best friends" mindset) can spend as much time as possible with their very best friends.  That, however, is another post for another day.

Instead, I'll focus on my reaction and my friends.

Today, I drove through a part of town where some friends used to live when our kids were small.  I passed the restaurants were one friend and I often lined up our girls side-by-side in high chairs.  Just a few blocks from there, I passed the street where another friend once lived and remembered her son's second birthday, where my oldests (just shy of 2 at the time) were introduced to karaoke.  All those friends, while still in state, have long since moved away from that neighborhood.

I won't have those moments when I move.  I won't have those friends who sat alongside me on the park bench nursing our oldest babies.  There won't be anyone who knew my kids when they were smaller.  There will be no one who has any shared experiences with me at all.

Here, I venture out to Target and run into a friend I haven't seen in years, one who attended the same "Baby Basics" class with me when we were pregnant the first time.  When my big two ask who she is, I say, "You and her son played in playgroup together when you were babies."  I won't be able to say that about anyone in Washington.

My kids (and I) want to see the newly returned elephants at the zoo.  Here, I can text a friend and make plans for the next day.  While we're there (at the zoo my children know well enough to give tours because we've come frequently ever since they were 6 months old) thoroughly enjoying ourselves, I run into a number of people I know and stop to chat.  My kids say, "Hi," to a friend from Hebrew school who passes by.  When my son was a baby, I declared, "I never go to the zoo without running into someone I know."  That has held true for years.  That, however, won't be the case when we move.

A mom I really like, but don't spend nearly enough time with, walks along side me while our girls walk ahead discussing their favorite books and our boys run around and around AND AROUND us.  She tells me, "We're going to miss you."  She has no idea how mutual that feeling is.

I look at my friends' kids that I've know since they were newborns and I realize they'll be frozen in my mind at their current 4/6/8/10 years old.  I've been there for these kids' first steps, first karate classes, dance shows, first time they wrote their names, etc., but that ends now.  When they hit their next milestones, I won't be there in the audience to see it.  

A friend posts on Facebook, "I got a girl's number at beer fest. Sweet! (making friends post college is hard!)"  I nod quietly to myself and sigh thinking that it's not fair that I'm leaving these awesome friends behind for the huge abyss that is the friendless unknown.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Moving Right Along

We've spent years trying to move away.  We knew when our son was still an infant that we wanted to leave once my husband was no longer active duty.  The Air Force sent us here in the days after September 11th.  Coming from the North East, the South has been a bit of a culture shock in oh so many ways for these liberal Jews.  Oddly, we found we liked it here.  While the political climate and religious climate were very different from what we knew, the people were nice and the lifestyle was far more laid back than what we were used to.  We grew to love this place.  

When I spent a month back "home" during my husband's first deployment when the twins were toddlers, I realized it was no longer the place I needed to be.  Nearly the entire time I was there, I longed to come back.  I longed for my friends here, for my volunteer activities, for our day-to-day activities, for our zoo, our parks, our home.  

In the past few years, things here have changed.  His venture into the civilian life left my husband horribly frustrated with the jobs he held.  The political climate is far more volatile than ever.  More and more strip malls pop up left and right.  As a result, traffic is worse than ever.  Overall, people still smile and hold doors, but the racism and sexism and intolerance in general are no longer under the surface.  More people than ever here wear their hatred as a badge of honor.  

All that made us decide we needed to leave.  And so, we are.  Our house has sold.  A new one is purchased.  Closing dates are set.  Boxes are packed.  

We should be insanely excited to be moving on; everything we've worked for, hoped for, longed for, is happening.  After eight months apart, our family will be together again; this time, for good.  We'll have a home that fits us all.  My husband now works a job he actually likes.  

We absolutely are looking forward to all that.  Yet, at the same time, I listen as my daughters lament the fact that they can't pick a best friend among their top circle of friends because they're all "so cool," and I wince to think of my girls leaving them all behind.  My friends leave a party and say, "In case I don't see you before then, I hope you have an easy move."  On the swings, the six-year-old little girl who adores my toddler pushes her and I wonder,"How old will the baby be when they see each other again?"  My son tells me his plans for a friend's birthday gift only to realize that's a party we won't be here to attend.  

All this is another post for another day, but it's just hitting me now.  It's been creeping in in bits and pieces, but, with moving day approaching, I'm more and more aware of it.  As a child, I lived in the same house where four generations of my family lived.  I never moved away until I went to college and then got married.  Sure we've moved around a bit since then, but not with children.  We moved into this house a week before our twins were born and we've been here ever since.  This is a whole new experience for all of us.  At this point, it's one of those experiences I prefer, overall, not to think too deeply about (until, of course, I sit down and blog about it).  As the date moves closer, though, I find I don't have the luxury of ignorance (or at least avoidance).