As I write this blog, I am fighting the urge to run to my children's school and bring them home. Sometimes those Mama hormones work double time, particularly when we hear news of another deadly shooting at a high school. I know sitting here in Montana it can seem a world away. It wasn't that long ago when I lived with my small children in the town of Springfield Oregon, just minutes away from Thurston High School and hearing the news of the shooting. I remember fighting back the tears waiting for news of our lovely neighborhood babysitter, praying she was safe and unharmed. We watched in horror as the events unfolded for our small community. The candle light vigils, the media attention, and the aftermath. I remember even then there was vehement argument about the right to carry guns and making laws to prevent these types of things from occurring.
Right now, as I write parents, community, children and families are mourning this tragedy and are dealing with the first few hours of shock. Parents are holding tight to their children who just this morning they sent "safely" off to school. Already blogs, news coverage and TV shows are talking about this. Already the words are flying about gun rights and safety. I used to be firmly in the camp of believing anyone with a gun was an idiot and then I married a man from Montana.
Once of the first times I interacted with my mother in law when Seth and I were dating, I noticed she had a pistol strapped to her side and was marching with intent up to the barn. I remember asking him what she was doing and he replied putting a sick or injured animal down. I stated "Sure hope I don't get sick around here." Some of you may gasp at a farmer or rancher putting one of their own critters down, but out here sometimes a vet cannot get here quickly and you cannot allow an animal to suffer.
I remember hours and hours of heated discussion between Seth and I about having guns in our home, and when the kids were small he respected my discomfort enough to keep them across the driveway at his moms house. Eventually I took a gun safety class and became more familiar with them and gleaned a deeper respect and understanding of this tradition of guns.
As I see postings on the sites about this current tragedy in Chardon, Ohio, I am already struck with how this is rapidly becoming a gun argument. I've even discovered the favorite term for those who believe in the second amendment seems to be "Those Yahoos"
So, this YAHOO is going to weigh in just a little. Guns have to be carried by someone with intent or negligence to be dangerous (most accidents involve some sort of negligence such as not being stored properly or at the very least tragic human error ). The shootings at schools and other tragic situations are awful and just plain heart breaking. I just get plain tired of folks using it as an excuse to want to ban guns. Now granted in well populated areas I can understand the concern with guns, but still hold to the fact we have the right to legally own them and I equally respect your right not to!
In Montana law enforcement is anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours away.Just last week a wolf was seen running through a well populated city and I have neighbors who have had to protect their goats from a Mountain Lion. I have also had the unfortunate experience of pulling a gun out with the intent to defend my home and small children, in order to warn someone with ill intent not to enter my home. They thought better of coming in after hearing my verbal warning and the chickchick of the shotgun. To this day I would repeat the same course of action, and would not lose an ounce of sleep over it. Having grown up the way I did, I almost feel shocked writing that.
So in the event of these tragedies when one person uses something we all have the right to own, to cause harm, it is natural and normal to want to go over board and shout the evils of guns. Evils come in all sorts of packages. Let's lay the blame where it belongs and use some common sense. It's kind of like saying stop all sales of cars because so many people die in them. There are even people who intentionally hurt people with cars but you don't hear everyone shouting...stop the spread of car ownership. jeesh!
Let's keep this what it is about and that is a tragic situation which deserves attention.The focus should be on helping a small town in our country mourn and improving school safety. Keep the focus where it belongs...on the families and communities affected. Those with ill intent will always find a way to cause harm even if we lose our second amendment rights. I know tonight I will hold my kids just a little bit tighter...and I am really thinking I am going to go to the kitchen and do what I do best....makes something sweet and wonderful for them to come home to so we can celebrate what we have as another family far away in a little town in Ohio mourns the loss of a loved one.
My career of choice has been motherhood. In just a few short years the hands on ... day to day tasks of raising children will be behind me and Ill have to focus my energies on something different. It is the hardest and yet most rewarding job I have ever done. I'd like to think I have been fairly successful at it. I have well rounded, polite , adjusted kids who are rapidly becoming young adults. I have done some things in being a mom I am super proud of and others I think "yeah...don't try that again."
There are people who have encouraged and supported me every step of the way. They have challenged me in loving ways when they see me falter and encourage me to get up, dust myself off and try again. Last time I checked I was human and make a lot of errors. I am super thankful for the honest support I have been blessed with.
Then there are those people who think they know better than I how one should raise this brood of children. They interfere on every possible occasion, and act as if this hoard has somehow miraculously raised themselves to be polite well rounded people in spite of my craziness. I have discovered life is full of crabs in the bucket and it saddens me when someone I thought was a support turns out to be a crab in disguise.
Every now and again we have to say "You're fired" to people in our lives. Sometimes there is no way around repairing damage done, or allowing room for more damage to occur. I don't like firing people. It is uncomfortable but the older I get the shorter life seems and the less willing I am to allow hateful angry energy in my personal space. Part of being a parent is modeling how to do this in a healthy, non angry and "avenue of least damage" way as possible. It isn't easy.
I want my kids to learn how to recognize toxic relationships, how to avoid them in the first place when possible and dis-intangle when need be. I never imagined myself asking my child about questions about adults they interact with as I assumed adults would behave like...well adults. Communication is the most important key in raising kids. Do the adults your children are surrounded with support you as a parent? It doesn't mean they have to agree with everything, but do they encourage your children to listen to your instruction and heed it? Do they treat you respectfully or do they have a certain amount of disdain? Worse yet, are they negative about you to your children?
I've learned the lesson of assumption over the years...never assume anything! Never assume a person in a grownup body is mature. I have given a certain amount of benefit of the doubt even when I had a hunch something shady was occurring. I have pushed down my feelings and disregarded my intuition there were unhealthy interactions and in the end I usually find out my feelings were right on target.
Recently I had a pretty negative experience with a couple of people I had been intuitively knowing were being a negative influence in my children's life, however circumstances being as they were we had to keep a working relationship with those involved or risk my child losing an activity they loved. At first I was pretty wounded and taken aback by their behavior. I felt hurt, and humiliated as they chose a very shocking and public way to express their feelings. I had no inkling things had progressed to the point where they were done having polite interaction. In essence, I was fired.
The curious thing was the people involved felt our children should continue their involvement and relationship with them despite their very strong feelings toward us as parents. In short, if these people did not care enough about the children witnessing their public verbal dressing down of their parents, nor how the child they were involved in would feel having this occur to their parents...how would one go about trusting their most precious gifts under their care and supervision? As a mom, I spent the whole rest of the day wrapping my head around what the outcome of this meant for my kid.
I did what I always do...I called my Best Friend, Mama, and Sister and let them know what happened. This trio of women gives me honest answers and good solid support. They reminded me I had been feeling there was dishonesty involved for a long period of time and these people saved me a lot of continued stress and heart ache by ending our relationship. They encouraged me and let me cry. They also supported my feelings and beliefs it would be very toxic and maybe even damaging for my kids to continue their relationship particularly since the reason for continuing it is no longer relevant due to our upcoming move.
Sometimes being fired is the very best thing that can happen, even though it wounds our pride and hurts our feelings, it allows us the opportunity to heal, learn and move on in life. It gives me the chance to live my faith...to create action and learn more readily how to forgive. It allows us room for growth, and time to reflect on how we can become healthier, and kinder human beings.
I feel like as a southern woman I have spent my whole life apologizing for aspects of who I am...but there are 10 things I wont apologize for...ever :)
10. Being a lady
9. Being a Mama Bear
8. Being "southern"
7. Holding some 'good old fashioned values'
6. Having a large family
5. Still being head over heels in love with my husband
4. Being a Bleeding Heart (somewhat conservative) Liberal and
thinking Jesus was one too!
3. Having Manners
2. Being a Stay at Home Mama
1. Loving and Believing in God