Check my stuff

When my son first joined the hockey league this year I was fraught with worry about the sorts of things that go down in these organized activities. A small part of why we learn at home together is to avoid the sorts of behaviors that are a necessity for children trying to survive in a peer culture. So, when my son first hit the ice and I was sitting in the stands watching, I could have vomited. I saw him on the sidelines watching. I saw the other kids avoiding him. I saw them not pick him. I saw them buddy up and leave him out. I was texting my husband about my heart break for him. How I was certain this was destroying him inside. I was angry, I was sad, I was ready to pull him off the ice tell him how awesome he was, head home and never look back. My husband said “it might not be like that for him.” What? How dare he, he was all the way at the office, no where near seeing what I was seeing. I was right about this.

Practice ended and I had my pep talks ready. I wad rehearsed how I would explain to him about the need to fit in that sometimes drives others and about how it was more important to love yourself then have others like you blah blah blah. He took off his mask and smiled. “That was hard work but I had fun. When do I get to come back to the rink next?”

Reality check. All that fear was my own shit! And I came dangerously close to putting it on my son. If I had opened my mouth before my ears and poured out my own drama, I could have done some serious damage. Turns out he didn’t see any of what my mind saw. He was happy to be at the back of the line cause it gave him more time to figure out how to do the drill properly. He wasn’t looking to talk to anyone on the ice cause he was there to learn and practice not to chit chat. And his sense of self worth wasn’t even on the table.

Phew that was close. The majority of hockey season was a harsh reality check for me. Because my boys are learning in a less traditional way, I have not had to face some of my own school stuff head on. I knew from early on the learning path was the way for us and I cleared that with myself but I guess there was still some little bits of social anxiety lurking. Hockey brought it all to the surface full on.

I learned, literally at the first practice, to listen more and talk less. Sometimes he would come off the ice and have some steam to blow off. I didn’t need to fix it or change it or give it my spin, I just needed to sit with what he had to say. To hear it. And then ask if any input of mine was required. Mostly after that question I did a lot of tongue biting. But it was so worth it because it gave my son the room and the freedom to have his own unique to him experience without my lens distorting anything.

If I had to pick the most challenging part of parenting in a connected way with my children it would have to be the part of doing my own work. My children are rock stars at bringing up stuff in me that I had managed to keep dormant for years upon years. There it is green eyed and all staring me down, “what ya gonna do now?” I know, for me, the easier route always included stuffing that fool back down deeper and reacting in that old patterned sort of way. Though it quickly become obvious to me that shutting my own mouth, digging deep in to the issues and releasing them was the route that lead to the sort of relationship I wanted to have with my children. Yep, slogging through my own issues in hopes of not passing those stories on to my children. Hard, heart heavy work, indeed. But when my son can come off the ice happy with his progress, measuring himself only against yesterdays abilities, I know without a doubt it was worth every tear drop.

Stretching out and back in again

290_23529917463_6666_n-1 When my boys were younger, I easily remembered that often they would strike out boldly in to the world and then scurry back in to my arms. It was easy, as most often this was visible. Three steps out in to a busy room, followed by a return to my lap to watch from a safe space. As they grow older, I can forget that his very same thing will happen time and time again. Predictably, with the time between striking out and returning stretching longer and longer.

I wrote here, a while back, about how a child’s inner world shifts as their perspective of the wider world grows. I know both of my boys around age 8 and 9 have gone through this phase of being fearful of things they once were not. And I have come to know this as a reaction to understanding a wider world, to knowing more about what happens beyond the reaches of themselves and needing time and space for that to settle in to their understanding. They return to being secure again, time and space is needed though so the information truly can become a deeper part of their knowing about the world.


A few months back, both my boys wanted televisions in their rooms. Friends had them and there was great appeal to having all their favorite things with in a space that was their own. So we did some rearranging and made this a possibility for both of them. My husband and I joked that we would never see them again. While secretly knowing, we would simply be hanging out in their rooms more often. And there were days when doors where closed and I was only entering to deliver food and drink. They were in the thick of connecting with friends, exploring, discovering.

Something shifted though. It started with us all sharing in a game on “the big TV”. Which turned in to days of arguments over who would use the TV for what purpose, timers were put on, negotiating skills were truly tested. One heated night the oldest shouted “just go to your room to use your Xbox.” And the youngest proclaimed “I don’t want to be so far away.” He dug his heals in and once again we found ourselves re-arranging the house in order to meet his desire to be in the thick of things. To be closer to all of us and not so tucked away.

The following week, an Xbox returned to the “big TV” and a computer surfaced again. One night I was sitting back and could see, one husband racing in his simulator, one boy playing NHL 13, a boy in headphones on an Ipad watching videos, while I surfed the internet on an laptop. I said, “wow everyone is back in the shared space.”  My oldest said “Ya, I like it better down here where I can be close to you guys and what everyone is doing.”

Without noticing they had returned to my proverbial lap, to find whatever comfort they needed as they continued to explore their passions. A time came when being tucked away was what they needed. So that is what we made happen. Then when the time to be close arrived again we also embraced that. With the same inviting arms as the toddler who stepped too far out in to the activity. I am certain this pattern will repeat itself time and time again. And that it will stretch beyond the walls of our home, to friends houses, to other cities and eventually a home of their own. The constant will be our open arms, always waiting to invite them back in.


Knowing we are always behind them with open arms gives my boys the courage to step out boldly in to the world. I believe that it is our connected relationship that gives them the courage to take risks, for knowing you have someone to fall back on is a most awesome sort of cushioning. This place that we create for them at first is a physical one, a lap, a home yet over time it becomes a place deep with in themselves that they can always count on for support and love through the ups and downs of this business of being alive.

Believe in Magic

I believe in magic because I see it everyday. I knew from a young age that I wanted to, at that time, “work” with kids. They have a way in to the good things in life that I think adults have potentially lost contact with. I suspected keeping this alive in my own self would mean being close to the source. My youthful ignorance sent me to five years of University to obtain a Degree in Elementary Education. Shiny and new I struck out in to the world of education only to discover the magic wasn’t there. It was disillusioning. But there were moments that kept me walking forward. They were in the preschool classrooms and in the recreation settings where play was the goal. The magic lay in the play, something that quickly looses importance with in the high pressure setting of a classroom. Please don’t read this to mean teachers are without the desire to be light and joyful and create play based learning, I am certain many are. It’s the pressure of the system of adults that informs them that’s fractured and that’s the place where play falls through the cracks and clear out of the classroom.

Having my own children is where I learned magic can continue beyond the young years and clear through to adulthood. It is the play that keeps the magic alive. The play is the important piece of the puzzle. It is the serious work of being youthful. Surrounding myself with children through the years has not been about their youth necessarily, it’s been about their freedom to play. Play is how they bring a light, inquisitive nature to expanding their understanding of the world around them.

My oldest son, super in to hockey, asked me to build a fantasy hockey team with him. He had found out through playing video games, just how this process would unfold. We sat down together each building a team, while laughing, bartering and researching. His knowledge trumped mine in seriously ridiculous ways. Yet, through the magic of play I expanded quickly my understanding of the game of hockey, the importance of stats and who the characters where leading the way in this sport. It was light, it was fun and it was feeding my sense of curiosity in a way statistics never had before.

Later in the day, I was removing snap circuits from the carpet floor, placing them neatly back in to their box. Enter my youngest son, “oh good those are ready for me to play with.” He puts himself in front of the TV the instruction manual to his left and he begins to play. Within ten minutes enthusiastic shouts call me to his side. “I used part of the instructions and part of my own ideas to build this. It has a fan and two lights.” And then stumbles out an understanding of circuits, energy flow and design that is more accurate then I could teach in a well planned lesson. He is vibrating with excitement. He is in the magic as he plays his way in to a deeper understanding of science concepts. It’s contagious.

I have been know to admit to preferring the company of most children over their adult companions, simply because the conversation I can engage in capture this magic. They are rich in possibility, dripping with humor and most often reveling of unique personalities. So, I chat up the children in order to see them clearly in the world and understand how they keep tapped in to the magic some associate only with childhood.

I have a profound sense of gratitude for the fact that I can stay home and live each day alongside my children. I know this a gift that is not afforded to every family trying to make ends meet. What I do think is possible for every family, every parent and even every adult, is the ability to still believe in magic even when age defines you as an adult. And I am gonna give you some tips on how to do that.

First up, notice the children in the world around you. I don’t mean through adult trained eyes, I mean through your heart space. Notice how they travel from one location to the next, it’s likely not in a straight line and they likely seen something beautifully distracting. Pay attention to the details of how they interact with the entire world around them, all the bits and pieces. And once you think you have a sense of how this differs from your own travels, walk like a child.

Next up, talk to children in the same interested and engaging voice you would a co-worker giving you the details of your next important business thing a ma jig. Then listen. Not just with your ears with your open hearted genuinely interested self. Children are wildly willing to tell you about the most fascinating adventures they have been on recently and I bet many of them have just been to places you haven’t seen in a while. Then talk like a child, rich in detail, stretching possibility in all the right places.

Now you are ready to play with a child. Some may be able to jump in to this step without a child around. But many will need some serious instruction to remember how to do this task. The business of being an adult can strip of us this basic understanding. Abandon yourself to the play. Let the child be the director, the engineer, the true facilitator of your play session. Give yourself the time needed to fully fall in to the play, letting all your adult worries fall away.  Do this over and over again it might take some time to for your key to fit back in to the tickle trunk. And then make play a priority in your everyday way of being in the world.

I believe in magic cause I see it everyday. I promise you can too.



He stole my card!

The sun was warm but not too warm and an empty trail was all mine. I had forgotten about this close to me trail that was not littered with people. I crave wide open spaces here were I can smile at every passer by because there is a good ten minutes or more between encounters. The goal was 9 kilometers, this trail went beyond that. It was on of those awesome run days when more then half the kilometers feel good (and not like self inflicted torture).

I had just finished up. Was walking off the rapid breathing and celebrating my one sense of awesome when I noticed two texts.

“Mom r you at home?”


I responded quickly.


“Come home son” (which is meant to read soon)

I ask “What’s up?”

And get back “I’m (insert sad face emoticon, you know the heartbreaking one with the tear escaping from the left eye.”

Then I called to see what was up. My ten year old was sobbing in the background, daddy had found him by then.

Just that morning he had shared with me how he had finally reached his goal of having 55,000 pucks on NHL13 so he could purchase the card of a hockey star he has wanted. A quick explanation of this part of the game. You get to make your own team by purchasing hockey cards, much like the old school ones I used to trade on the playgrounds of my youth. Once you have purchased the card, with pucks you can add the player to your roster and build your team. You however, can not buy pucks, you have to purchase hockey card packs and then sell what you get in the pack to other folks in order to get the pucks to buy the specific players. It’s not easy to save up 55,000 pucks as most cards sell for around 1,000 pucks. No worries is your mind is bent at this point, it won’t break your ability to understand the story.

My son had indeed purchased the player he wanted after humming and hawing about the work he put in to saving up the pucks and how they would all be gone in an instant. He added him to the roster and played his first game. While in this game a fellow player invited him to chat. They were chatting about trading and the game. The other player said to my son, “You know I can duplicate cards. There is a glitch in the game and I found a way to get two copies of the same card.” My son was intrigued, let’s remember he is 10 and the person he was talking to was in his late teens early 20’s. To his credit the first thing my son said was, “you’re not trying to trick me are you?” Oh if only the world was so honest. The other player insisted this was a win win situation where my son would end up with his card returned to him and the bonus of a player he wanted from the other person’s roster. Sure enough the moment my son sent the card to the fellow he was booted from the call never to see his much anticipated saved up for card again.

I wanna throw up just typing all of this out. My boy had been conned on line. Hearing the story I poured my sweaty body in to the car and raced home. I can tell you my thoughts were not pleasant. I wanted to track that bastard down and beat the crap out of him. I also wanted to fix it as quickly as possible for my heart broken son. To get him his card back no matter what the costs was. I was in mama kick ass and then fix mode. When I got home, my son was just devastated. He wasn’t in kick ass mode and he wasn’t in fix mode. He was in I am crushed and embarrassed mode. So we spent the rest of the day very close to one another. He wanted me with him in whatever he was doing.

We talked a lot about what he would do if he ever met this guy. We talked about how hard he had worked. And as time passed he would get lost in a moment and then turn to me and say, “I just remembered I lost my Patrick Kane,” with tears behind his words. It was grief happening and I could feel the crushing waves as they beat upon him throughout his process.

The thing about raising these boys surrounded by tools that weren’t around in my youth is the learning curve is just as steep (okay maybe a bit steeper with my lack of gaming prowess) for me. There simply was no way around it. He was going to have to earn all the pucks back if he wanted the card again. I couldn’t just buy him the card, like my fixer self craved to do. But this is also where the magic happened.

We were able to give him a little cash toward a few new packs. At first look these packs did not hold the selling power that one would need in order to build up a serious puck value. This didn’t destroy my son though. By the end of the day he had a plan. He had searched through is game bin and came up with a pile of games he was done playing with. He chatted with me about whether or not I thought he would regret trading them in. We tossed the idea back and forth. And he decided it was worth trading in these games in order to get the points he needed to buy more hockey card packs. Off we were to the gamestop where he got twice the value he was expecting. Along with a ton of compassion from the gamestop employ who assured him most gamers are bound by the honor and integrity code (which was a truly beautiful moment to witness).

Next my son used all the knowledge he had gained when acquiring the previous puck value to sort and sell his wares. He was comparing market value, watching for lulls in the market in order to up the value of his cards, equipping special feature that would make his cards stand out on the market. And with in 24 hours my son proudly announced he again had his Patrick Kane card and that he would never consider doing a deal that sounded too good to be true.

I watched in total wonder at the entire process. I learned from him. I learned that he knows his family is behind him 100 percent and that we are the place he falls when his heart is breaking. We are the arms that will hold him while he heals. We are the place of support unconditionally. We are the place he heals in order to strengthen.  I also witnessed him apply, with brilliant success a can do attitude. He did not let the con man steal his sense of his own ability. Sure he made of his with hockey card. In the end though my son won because he believed in himself and his own ability to learn from a mistake, dust himself off and get back out there to achieve his goal. His out of the box thinking once again impressed the heck out of me.

In the world we live in it’s sometimes easy to get discouraged by the heart breaking stories that make the news more then the heart warming stories. It’s easy to believe that people suck and do horrible things. But as my son reminded me, the real strength lies in our willingness to believe in ourselves, especially through our mistakes, for that’s were we grow a stronger sense of our own capabilities.

Love bomb challenge

Thanks to the wonderful offerings of FreePlayLife (found here), I kicked it up a notch here on Valentines Day. I made sure I woke up before the rest of the house, which was filled with seven sleeping people cause we have visitors, more folks to share the love with. And I love bombed the house. Streamers spun around every available railing, table, chair, while hearts where stickered about and everyone had a love note at eye level upon waking and opening their door (even our house guests). I did turn the milk pink and the whipping cream and the pancakes and the lattes and pretty much anything else that folks put the milk in. The pancakes were heart shaped. There was a whole lot of love talk and extra cuddles.

Some may of considered this over doing it. But ya know what I really think, when it comes to loving people can you really over do it? Can you tell someone too much that you love them? Or that their smile makes your day brighter or that you are most certain that when they were born in to this world everything got infinitely better. This lady doesn’t think so. In fact, I am thinking of love bombing the shit out of this house on a more regular basis.

When we went to sleep last night, my littlest looked up at me and said “mom can you not clean up all the decorations, I like it like this.” Heart rewarded.

It’s easy to get lost, when bombarded by bills, messy houses, media messages of not enough, time constraints, financial burdens and all the other stuff out there in the world that sucks. But ya know what, that stuff is still gonna be there, waiting for you after a love bomb but I promise the heart you bring in to it will be lighter, happier and way more capable of seeing the silver linings.

What you gonna do to spread the love on the day after love day? Who you gonna love bomb? I would so LOVE (intentional overuse of the word) to hear your stories. Please share.

Witches brew




Right now, halloween is upon us. A time to costume our alter egos and hit the streets in search of treats. A time to wear outrageous gets up and ask folks to reward us with tasty morsels of food. A time for spooky tales and scary scenes. A time when the space between living and dead thins. So I share with you an ancient recipe of witches brew. Tell them what’s really inside or make up a list that will turn their stomachs while their intrigued nose begs them to take a bite.

Witches Brew 

3 TBSP olive oil                                     1 1/2 tsp seasoning salt

2 lb stewing beef cubed                         1 tsp salt

6 small onions                                       28 oz can tomatoes

2 cloves of garlic                                   1/2 cup fine parsley

5 1/2 ounces tomato paste                     1 cup water

1 TBSP flour (GF option works as well)    3 large carrots

1 tsp chili powder                                  1 cup cooked macaroni (GF works)

1 tsp dried oregano                               1/3 cup parmesan

1 tsp dried rosemary                             1 cup water


1) Heat olive oil in large sauce pan. Add beef and stir lightly until browned.

2) Add onions and garlic continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes

3) Combine tomato paste, flour, chili powder, oregano, rosemary and both salts. Stir into beef mixture and add water.

4) Bring to boil reduce heat and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes

5) Add carrots and continue simmer 45 minutes or until beef is tender.

6) Cook macaroni in a separate pot. Then stir in to stew.

7) Add parmesan garnish with parsley.


They don’t wanna trick or treat !

My ten year old a few weeks back announced he did not want to go trick or treating this year. Already my mind screamed! He is growing up too fast. Put the breaks on. Stop the train!

As we conversed further I came to learn he’s really never been that in to it. In fact, if I stretch my memory back we never have gone out for huge amounts of time or gathered buckets full of candy. His first year out he went to two houses. He was so excited that folks had given him candy at the door he rushed home to eat all of it in one go.

When I was a child, the challenge was to push yourself to hit as many houses as possible to hit the max candy load. This was the one and only time of year that we could collect ridiculous amounts of candy with our parents permission. Even if the eating of it afterwards was policed that night was a free for all candy gathering binge.

My son says, “will you just by me some candy I like? Then I don’t have to go to all those strangers houses and get candy I don’t like.”  Bam! Yes yes I can.

Then there is the costuming. I asked but don’t you want to dress up in a cool costume. One sideways glance at the overflowing dress up bins in the living room and an eyebrow lift were his response. We dress up in costumes all the time! He has been in costumed character for more years then not. Age 2-3 he was a firefighter, 3-4 Murray the Wiggle and 4-5 Mike Dirnt, bass guitar player for Green Day. And then after that the characters were shorter term but just as fully immersed.

So when I break it down I see a boy who is comfortable costuming whenever required to fully bring an experience to life for himself, who has access to his favorite candy whenever he wants. Knowing this I can see how the appeal for the trick or treat part of Halloween seems ridiculous. Why would he want to participate cause someone outside of himself deemed this the night he go door to door to gather candy in a costume.

He still wants to collect and carve pumpkins and eat Witches Brew (and if we were not living where we are there would be a bon fire going on.) And this is when I realize, this moment isn’t full of sadness or loss. This is a reflection of how our unique additions, as a family, to holiday celebrations are where the true magic lies. Halloween will forever be about bon fires, pumpkins and a hot pot of Witches brew.

Handle with love and respect

Yesterday, via Facebook, I became aware of this campaign. I don’t recommend watching the youtube video because it is awful. It’s shows a 63 year old bus monitor being horribly verbally abused by the middle school aged students on the bus. The positive side of the story is that well beyond the $5,000 fundraising goal has been met, last I was aware it was about $327,000.

Through comments on the fundraising page and various Facebook statuses I heard cries for this issue to be dealt with immediately by school officials and children’s parents. There was a lot of anger toward these children and their actions. Calls for punishment in a long list of shame creating ways. Heck one person even announced had these been her children they would not be able to sit down for a week.

It is in my opinion predictable that the children in this situation would be vilified. That there would be a whole lot of adults sitting around talking about how disrespectful youth today are and how these children should be punished to the fullest.  Whether it be through the removal of “privileges” or the application of physical violence. Either way, it would be set up to showcase the horrific behavior of these children by adults perched a top their high horses.

But wait just one goddamn minute here! Who is going to step up to the plate and take responsibility for these children? Who’s gonna take a long hard look at the world around them and own up to the fact that we are failing our children miserably if they are capable to this level of verbal abuse and bullying. This isn’t playground bullying, this is child to adult and this woman has no way out.

I understand why no one came to her defense. I will shamefully admit I was a silent voice in the crowd of bullying throughout my entire schooling. The social ramification for me would far out way any courage I could muster to defend the person who was being targeted. I would silently exhale a feeling of gratitude that it was not me receiving the assault. It was survival of the quietest and most conformed that won out in the ranks of the school hallways.

I’m not sure of the bus drivers location or awareness in this situation so have little to say about his or her ability to intervene and have the whole thing shut down. For all I know after the 9 minute video he/she did in fact come to the woman’s defense.

Non the less, it is such a wider issue here. It’s about finding our way to the heart of the matter. The understanding of how children could get to a point where a group verbal abuse upon an elderly woman, was sport or at the very least amusing.

I have to think it starts with the general disrespect that is placed on children from their very infancy. Think about it for just a moment. There are very few places where children in our world are welcomed as they are are, full of energy, mistakes, wobbly edges and unexplored areas. For the most part they are shushed, shunned and expected to for go the freedom of childhood in order to be quiet, line up and stay out of the way of these very important grow up things the world is busy doing.

So if you spend your days always having to mute who you are. Receiving constant reminders that you are not good enough, or quiet enough or worth the smallest amount of respect it becomes obvious that out of a sheer desire to survive you will pounce on the weakest in the tribe.

Since I have brought up the topic of respect I will toss out another bit of this that drives me to the brink of craziness regularly. The common theme that “children today have not respect for anyone.” I hear this, I read this and I am stunned. How the hell are children suppose to develop a sense of respect for others when they are never shown a simple ounce of respect themselves. They are told when to eat, when to sleep, when to learn, when to play, when to get outside for some exercise.  A child is every bit a human being and thus in my opinion worthy of the same amount of respect I would hand to my grandmother.

I have gone on a huge rant here. And I thank you for staying with the post to this point. You may have gathered children and their rights are a passion of mine. My heart breaks for every last child on that bus. For the moments in their lives when they have felt so weak and powerless that they had to completely disconnect from their sense of right and wrong in order to survive. I wish for them a lifetime of healing from the hands that were laid upon them simply for making a mistake. I want for a world that looks upon adult actions before they vilify the children who are simply modeling what they have seen happening in their lives.

A parent using power over their child to modify their behavior, can through a child eyes, be the same as a child using power over another to bully them. I believe if a child feels powerless in the places they are suppose to feel safest, they will indeed seek out power in other situations. A child who feels hopeless that they will ever be loved, will disconnect from the very heart of who they are. And when there is no connection to the feeling place, the ability to hurt others in heartbreaking ways becomes possible.

When I know these things I can see how a this entire bus incident could happen. I can have compassion and understanding for all the victims here. The woman, the children and those who silently watched. It breaks my heart to a million little pieces to know how this could happen. Yet, only through seeing the broken pieces of societal beliefs about the raising and respecting of children can we heal in to a framework of connection and support.

It would be my wish that this situation be an eye opener for every last person involved, from the school, to the parents, to the people donating on line. To take a look at the children in their lives. And ask this one important question, do your actions toward youth directly (not indirectly) translate to the way you wish for them to treat others?

SMK’s West Coast Adventure

My boys and I went on a road trip of epic proportions and along the way I kicked a few things off my before I turn 40 list!

First off, I drove across a border. I have never done that before. I was nervous for whatever reason. The questions threw me off and going in to Canada was a stranger experience then leaving which when we fly is generally not the case. But it wasn’t anything to get all nervous about. As I kept reminding the boys, we weren’t doing anything wrong. It’s just my concern about folks tossing about their power the gets me all worked up.

I drove the farthest I ever have in my life. In fact I was the solo driver for the entire trip back from Vancouver Island. In one day we logged ten hours in the car, of driving. I didn’t think I had it in me. I would have told you my boys could not pull it off either. But as we learned along the way we are some seriously crazy road warriors.

I shot a bow and arrow. Yep Yep I did. I didn’t hit a target but I came closer after a few tries then I did in my first chance which found the arrow literally at my feet.

I walked on stilts. That was unexpected and so much fun I just might need to get a pair for myself.

Oh yes and I tandem hooped. That’s right, I hooped continuously inside a hoop with another hot chick.

The theme of all these super cool first times, was Yes energy. I know I have spoken about this before. But it all went a bit deeper this time. I have a lifetime of memories of wanting desperately to join in. To get a chance. Followed up by sitting quietly and not saying anything. Or making up excuses in my head that I would get to it some other time. On this trip every time there was a chance, I just said yes. Or I even stepped up and said “hey I wanna try that”.

I pushed and pushed outside my edges and discovered I can do way more then I have been giving myself credit for. I can drive solo from Vancouver Island to Cali. with two kids in the car. And we laughed a lot. It was actually not torture it was wicked ridiculous fun.

Not sure where we are headed next but now that we know we have it in us, the world feels like a wide open playground full of adventure.

With privileged skin

I grew up in a town without race. Over the course of my four years in high school there were a total of two students who were not white. In my graduating class there were 120 students one of them was not white. The other not white student graduated years before me.

Race, difference and tolerance were never discussed at school. They were hardly touched on at home. Except for those times when my dad would lament “I’m not prejudice accept when it comes to Indians.” (A side note here, my dad did develop a deep regret for his ignorance of First Nations people in his later years. He expressed remorse and worked for forgiveness (which came easily from others but I don’t think so much from himself) for his prejudice. )

I grew up white. In a white town. With little exposure. Expect for the box in the living room that perpetuated racial myths and stereotypes with ridiculous inaccuracy.

This lack of exposure lead me to grow up rather naive. I actually believed we were all equal. I thought we had made progress. I thought for sure folks were not walking around judging others by their skin color. Cause in my brain this made absolutely no sense what so ever. I really could not wrap my mind around the idea that a persons intent, behavior, level of deviance or criminal intent could all be wrapped up in skin color.

In my naive mind it was like assuming cause someone had an apple they hated oranges. The leap was that hard for my small town mind.

Yet as my word expanded I was more and more shocked. My sheltered world began crumbling piece by piece. The first was with an Uncle who let me know I best buy a house quickly before “the Asians bought them all and made it impossible for me to get what was rightfully mine.”  I was stunned in to silence.  A silence I continued to witness around me whenever there was blatant disregard for the humanity of a race other then ones own. I was confused that such injustices (small or big) were silently being swept under the carpet with such apathy and disregard for the humanity in us all.

In my late twenties I moved to a foreign country. I will never forget the moment I stood in a busy marketplace and noticed I was the only white person around. Throughout my year, I was pointed at. I was cursed at. I was called a name or two.  It was humbling. I was never in danger. And truth be told my white privilege even followed me to this foreign country. My safety was never once jeopardized. In truth more of my interactions were in total fascination at my english and my white skin.

I now again live in a foreign to me country. The state I live in is by far the most colorful culture rich place I have lived. My boys hear a wide range of different languages and encounter a rainbow of skin colors. But with that has come the noticing as well that all is far from equal around us.  Along with the division of race, I see a stark division of class lines. Lines not visible to the eye but clearly noticeable to the heart, outline my every outing.

I mostly feel overwhelmed with confusion. I mostly feel small to issues bigger then my single self. Yet, as the case of Trayvon Martin spreads throughout my Facebook feed I am stunned out of any sort of silence. Friends I barely know such as Erika Davis – Pitre beg of me to examine once again what it means to be human. What it means to share humanity with others.  This was the beginning :

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses here about the Trayvon Martin case.
I just spent most of the night thinking about this case and wondering what I could do to help raise awareness of what I see as a serious problem across the nation, the assumed criminality of black males.
Granted, it doesn’t always end in physical death or physical incarceration but it does leave many of us in the black community in a psychological prison of self doubt, anxiety and I feel that it leads to a kind of spiritual death of personal freedom.
So you will have to forgive my impatience with my continual need to explain to folks who don’t have to think about this situation often, of how it feels to be Black in America.
It may not be as bad as it was 60 years ago but it is still bad.
Bad enough for a teenaged boy to wind up shot to death because he looked like a “criminal” and because it appears that he did what I taught my own children to do if they were confronted by a stranger that was following them: run, scream and fight like hell!
And to those of you that question the racial aspect of this story, I have a couple of questions for you:
What have you taught your own kids to do if they are being followed by a stranger?
What would have to happen for you to believe that this incident happened because Trayvon Martin was a black teenager at the “wrong” place at the “wrong” time?
What would acknowledging this as a racist incident do? Why the denial of that?
I really want to understand this.
I hope that you will answer my questions.
And please keep this story on your wall! Many things are happening in this case because of all of the media attention! –Erika Davis-Pitre

She asked me some hard questions and I don’t know that my answers are any where near complete yet. And then Jeff Sabo added his voice to it all with The White Man’s Burden, a deeply moving piece. Then Flo Glascon asked me so many more meaningful questions with her piece Shoot First, Apologize Later?

It is clear the issues this small town girl thought were long gone still fill large pieces of our world. It is clear there are many more questions to be asked more conversation to be had. What is clearest of it all though is that stunned silence and carpet sweeping apathy are not options. This is our shared humanity as living beings. This is not okay to ignore. It is not enough to hide with in feelings of smallness. One question, one answer, one conversation, one human being to another. It’s time to make real the feeling, the knowing that it is simply ridiculous to judge a person by their skin, race, gender, their sexual preference or any thing other then their shared humanity.

I beg of you to unfold your own knowledge and carefully examine it for the leaks that keep you silent. Ask yourself the questions Erika and Flo ask. Ask your neighbors. Talk to the store clerk. Only once we see through the sorts of eyes that only witness are shared humanity will the whole world be as safe of those of us born in to this privileged white skin.