Monday, July 18, 2016

Black and Blues

I have a heavy heart. I've had a heavy heart for a while now. You can't watch current events without becoming completely heartbroken. I can't watch current events without thinking. "what legacy are we leaving for the kids? How will they pick up the pieces?"

A few weeks ago, a man was shot by a cop in the front seat of his car while his child was in a car seat in the backseat. I shared something on Facebook from a friend and added my own thoughts. However, my words have since disappeared. (Side note: to the person who reported my words - thank you, this is a much better space to share this. It'll make it much easier to find.) This is my attempt to share them again. It's probably going to be longer though, I have more anger now.  

I was raised by a Police Officer. I understand the fear and stress that goes into the job. I understand the toll it takes on a person and their family. They go out every day and deal with people on their worst day. They meet people who are angry, disoriented, high, hateful, evil - every day. They put on their badge and head out to work, hoping and praying they make it back. This might seem dramatic to you, but this is fact. Any late night call was absolutely terrifying. Any report of 'Officer down' on the evening news meant my mom was staying up until she heard from my dad again. This was our reality. This is the reality of every police family every day. 

And yet, none of this gives any one of them the right to shoot a man sitting in the front seat of his car with his kid right behind him. Period. 

Do I believe every cop is bad? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! Some of my most favorite people wear or wore a badge. A badge they treated with respect, responsibility, honor, and duty. A badge they were proud to wear. They swore to protect and serve and they did so to the best of their ability.

Do I believe cops should be routinely evaluated for stress and retrained on issues that might come up? YES!! A MILLION TIMES YES! What they do is hard. What they do is dangerous. The amount of stress they face could cause anyone to break. This isn't a failure on their part. This is just consequences of the job. 

Do I believe the cop who shot Philandro Castile did the right thing? $#%% NO!! How he reacted was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. I do not care what the man said. I do not care what he did last week. Last month. Last year. Last night. I do not care. NOTHING he did led to him being killed in front of his child. And I am absolutely disgusted with the surrounding officers who stood around and failed to render aid. They took an oath to SERVE and PROTECT their community. And they all failed and should all be held accountable. 

You cannot watch the news and not understand that there IS a problem. And if you don't see it - you are probably white. One of my dearest friends is raising two young black men. What is she supposed to say to them? How do you raise a child to respect the police knowing that their respect might not be enough in the end? How must it feel to know that in a few years when her son is older, he might face scary situations from those sworn to protect him?

I know these situations were terrifying. I know there was fear on all parties. I know there was anger on all parties. I also know that probably they didn't all have to die. Seriously. 

I have never had any trouble any of the times I have been pulled over. I never feared that I could be or would be shot because I moved too fast or not fast enough. But I'm white, so.....

I spent an entire day crying for this family. Crying for a broken world. Crying for a broken child. Just crying.

And then the next day, 5 Dallas cops were killed doing what they signed up to do - protect. 

It wasn't revenge - these men did nothing wrong. These men were gunned down for simply putting on a badge and going to work. That's it.

And again, my heart broke. The same heart that broke for a man shot in his car, broke for families that would NEVER be the same. Families that would have a uniform officer show up to their door and life as they knew it would be over. 

They will spend the rest of their lives in mourning. Trust me. 

Now Baton Rouge. More families devastated. More children left without. More innocence lost.

All for nothing. 

This is not the answer.

Hate doesn't fix hate. 

Fear doesn't fix fear. 

Avoidance doesn't mean it isn't real. 

Saying "Black Lives Matter" doesn't mean you are saying "ONLY Black Lives Matter." It's saying, right now they need to know we love them. They need to see it. To feel it. To understand that to us, THEIR lives matter. We see you hurting. Tell us how to help. 

Saying "Blue Lives Matter" doesn't mean you are siding with all of the injustices that seem to be happening. It's saying that the men and women who swore to protect and serve my community should understand that we get it. We see you. We need you. We understand the stress and responsibility you carry with you every day. We see you hurting. Tell us how to help.

I see you hurting.

Tell me how to help. 

That's what they should see. 

Until next time.........


Monday, May 16, 2016

Backyard Shenanigans

You know, we do not live in a particularly rural area and we have a dog that spends quite a bit of time in our backyard. And YET our fenced in area seems to call to all the creatures in the area - "Come! Come and you will make her crazy!"

I do not do nature. And sometimes this house involves WAY TOO MUCH NATURE.

So far since living in this house:
* I have had to break up 3 cat fights (we do not have any cats).
* We've had to save cats from our dog 3 times. One of those times required a call to animal control.
* We have witnessed several birds get taken down by hawks. Several. One on our front porch. While we watched helplessly.
* We've had a turtle 'knock' on our front door. My Beloved relocated it to the bayou behind our house.
* We've had to run off opossums after they've been spotted by the dog.
* We've had a raccoon in our trees in the backyard. 
* There were the rats...
* I had to run a little yippy dog out of our backyard who spent the entire time barking at ME, the homeowner. 

And that brings us to this weekend. 

Friday while my Beloved is getting ready for work, Atticus starts barking at something with dedication. Daniel heads out to the fence line and discovers the offender.


A turtle.

Of all the fence lines in all the neighborhood, this turtle had to pick ours. We assumed with it digging a hole and planting it's back end in it, she was probably laying eggs. Alice was very excited about seeing the turtle. "He's soooo cute!! I wub him!"

We come back in and eat, which only takes 30 minutes, and when we go out to check on her again, she's gone! The hole is covered back up and the turtle has vanished. And it's all my fault because I made Alice go inside the first time. Obviously. 

Now what?! I feel like these potential eggs are our responsibility! Do they need a warming light? I'm googling gestation periods of turtles, which according to the Internet could be anywhere from 60 - 90 days. I can barely remember if I fed the dog. This is not going to work.....


Now let's talk about Saturday....

Daniel had graduation so he was out of the house early. I get up and let the dog out. As I'm looking over things, I notice a dead adolescent opossum on our porch. 

Sweet baby Jesus, why does this keep happening?!?? 

I keep my eye on the dog and as soon as he gets to the porch I open the door and rush him in. Luckily he isn't the most observant and didn't seem to notice it at all. I text my Beloved and send him a picture because it's one of those things that if there wasn't a picture you might be tempted to think it's made up.

Nope. 

From my vantage point (INSIDE), it doesn't look like it's hurt. It looks like it got a third of the way across our back porch, which is not easy for a little dude, and decided, "nope, that was just too much" and keeled over. 

I am positive it was not there the day before, however, it is already attracting flies. 

NOPE!! 

Daniel calls between ceremonies and as we're talking I mention it's hair looks funny. It's either wet or mangy, I can't tell. He suggests calling Animal Control to check to see if they want to handle it. So I call the weekend non-emergency number and explain what's going on. I ask if that's something they would prefer to handle and she says 'yes ma'am'. Hallelujah. I tell her exactly where it is and how he can get into the backyard. She says the guy has two previous stops and will hit ours last. 

Cool.

I open the front door to watch for him. I see his truck pull up and I go the bedroom to put on some shoes so I can go out to talk to him. The dog is barking at the truck. I look out and don't see him so I head to the back porch and the dead thing is gone!! I turn around to see the truck drive off. He was like a dead animal scooping Ninja. 

Side observation: This is yet another example of my doubt in Atticus's ability to be a beneficial guard dog. He spent the entire time barking at the set of tires he could see from the front door and completely ignored the shovel carrying man on our back porch. Seriously. 

I appreciate them coming so swiftly, however, I have some questions that would be nice to get answered. How did it die? Should we be concerned? 

What is it about our back porch that screams to the dying animals, "this. This is where I want to die." It's a lot of work to get on our porch!! The lady next door has no challenging obstacles!! Why can't they die there!?!? 

I just can't.

Until next time......

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Big Girl Room

She has been growing out of her toddler bed for a while now. It would probably work still if she didn't insist upon sleeping with 11 stuffed toys, her Elsa doll, a sippy cup of water, and a set of slippers. But nonetheless, her feet hang out of her baby bed. 

I was folding clothes on the bigger bed in her room and said, "when you're ready, you could move to this bed if you wanted to."

Her reply, "YAY!! I syeep in Aunt Tami's bed tonight!"

Hold up, kid!! I meant, like, in the future. Not like RIGHTNOW! 

But nope. I had said enough. This was happening. 

And that night, she slept in her big girl bed.
I got a little emotional. 

The next day I was trying to brainstorm how to rearrange her room to make it more accommodating. Moving furniture is how I cope. I moved the bed and planned on removing the glider in her room. 

This she would not agree to.

"That's mines rocker!!!!"

Instead she told me to remove the baby bed. 

This I did not handle well. 

I moved things around until it was obvious that the baby bed would have to go. Enter the feelings. ALL. OF. THEM.

Sadness that this is happening so soon. Didn't she just come home yesterday!?
Guilt that she will most likely be the only one to use it. 
Pride that she is growing. 
Sadness that she is growing so fast. 

Okay, mostly it was sadness. 

So when my Beloved got home, he took down a baby bed.
He got a little emotional too. That made me feel a bit better about him finding me ugly crying with her sheep the night before. 

So now she has a big girl room with no baby bed. 



But she's asked to be rocked for a few minutes every night since. So I guess there's still a little of the baby left. 

As emotional as I get that she's growing, we couldn't be more proud of her. But we wouldn't complain if she slowed down a bit either.....

Until next time....


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Welcome to 35

I turned 35 this past weekend. I thought about having a meltdown but I was so sick that I couldn't muster up the drama for an effective tantrum. I know, right. It was bad! Alice missed school the first week of April due to the plague (not really) and then proceeded to pass it to her parents because she's such a loving child and misery loves company. So last week I was absolutely miserable. I couldn't breathe through my nose at all no matter what I took and I still can't really taste anything. We had a wedding to go to on my birthday (the 16th) in Louisiana and I was still unsure by Thursday night if we were going. It was the worst birthday week ever. 

But we rallied and we went and it was fun! Before the wedding we toured the Tabasco factory on Avery Island. It was neat! I have a new found respect for the hot sauce. 

That night we attended my cousin's wedding. Alice was super cranky but we looked simply smashing!
Overall, it was a perfectly lovely birthday. It was no fuss, no pressure, and I discovered my cute new dress has pockets!!! Y'all!! It was like Christmas!! 

And I've thought a lot about being 35. 35 just seems so close to 40 and I cannot imagine 40. At all. There is NO WAY I can be close to 40 - I still don't know how to do my own makeup. But on the other hand, there are some things I do know:

1. I am much more committed to my own opinions and I am working on worrying less about meeting the approval of others. I'm grown. It's time.
2. I am not anywhere near where I thought I would be at 35 but I can't imagine being anywhere else. I am where I should be.
3. I can't blow my nose. It's just.....gross. Nope. 
4. I occasionally say 4-letter words. I didn't start this until much later in life, however breaking the habit has been challenging. 
5. I now have red lipstick! I'm not really sure how to apply it but I have it!! 
6. I will never be over my fear of roaches. Ever. And this is not a fear I have any desire to face or overcome. Period. 
7. I say "I'm sorry" a lot. Like, all the time. For everything. Lately Alice has started saying it too for reasons she has nothing to be sorry for. I do not want this for her. I have to adjust how I speak. 
8. I am 20 pounds lighter than I was last year. I am so very proud of us and how hard we are working to be healthier. 
9. I miss bread.
10. And buttered noodles.
11. I NEVER thought I would like gardening and yet our garden is just so neat! I cooked with basil out of our own garden last night. It was fun! 
12. If I don't want to do something, I just say 'no'. If it doesn't make my heart sing, I'm out. Ain't nobody got time for that. 
13. Friendships are easier now. We're grown and less worried about being better than the other one. Let's just talk and vent and reminisce and laugh. There is no need for added pressure.
14. I still call my mom every day. 
15. It doesn't matter how old I get, I want to see the magic Alice sees. I want her imagination to thrive and her sparkle to never dull. That is my ultimate goal.

And that's what I know for now. 

So I'm just going to pretend 35 is no different than 34 and I'll save the meltdown for next year.

Until then, this is 35.
Until next time......