From the Mommy Files…

Archive for the ‘childrearing’ Category

Hey there! How’s it going?

Yesterday was the last day of school. Like you, I’ve been mired in all the end-of-the-year events, shopping for teacher gifts, etc. Plus, I’ve been working on an exciting new project, which I will share with you soon. I didn’t want you to think I had succumbed to a new malady, so I thought I’d better check in! 😉

Boo and Bebs enjoying the beach on California's Central Coast.

Boo and Bebs enjoying the beach on California’s Central Coast.

 

Like you, I like to read blogs. (Thanks for reading this one!) Some posts really resonate with me, and I share them on Facebook or Twitter. I thought it would be fun to share them here with you.

Here are my 3 favorite posts from this past week.

1. Saying These 8 Things To Your Kid Every Day Could Change Their Life

I came across this on Facebook, from The Breast Cancer Site. It really hit home. Recently, I have experienced a mindshift in my parenting. I’d been reciting mantras, reading affirmations, trying to motivate, inspire, uplift myself — and boost my confidence. I realized my kids needed this too. These are some great tips to help your kids feel good about themselves, gain confidence, security, and courage.

2. To Build (or Break) a Child’s Spirit

This one comes from Huffington Post Love Matters, by Rachel Macy Stafford. This post reminds us that what we say and how we say it can have a profound impact on our kids. We do get frustrated. Absolutely. No one likes to be yelled at — not even us. We aren’t bad people. Sometimes we make bad choices, and make mistakes, but that doesn’t make us bad people. We have to find ways to turn these incidents into lessons of what not to do, and how to do better. Even something as simple as spilling milk — I know, even when it’s the 100th time — can get our goat. I’ve realized that we need to be positive and use these as teaching moments. We can make they feel awful, or we can teach them that mistakes happen, and remind them they are loved, and they can do better. Sometimes easier said than done, but we all need the reminder sometimes.

Now something just for fun! 😉

3. Bohemian Momsody

This one’s from Scary Mommy. If you don’t subscribe to Scary Mommy, go now and do it! There’s some great stuff there, and some chuckles too. I’m sure we have all felt like this at one time or another. Enjoy!

What are some of your favorite posts this week? What are some of the other blogs that you follow?
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Been away for a while dealing with my elderly parents. I’ll update you on their situation another time. So much has happened.

 

Let’s shift back to those small beings living in our home…our kids. 😉

 

Bebs is home sick today.

 

Again.

 

On Monday, I heard about this stomach bug that lasted a day, causing vomiting.

I thought, “Phew. Dodged that one!”

 

Spoke to soon.

 

We were up all  Tuesday night.sick_clipart

Just when you think you’re done changing the bed linens for the night…

You know what I’m talking about!

Bebs stayed home from school on Wednesday.

 

Uggh!  I had things to do!

 

 

I’ve got a very full schedule, and not including pick up/drop off, I have about 5 hours, 5 days a week without kids to accomplish it.

I’m singing your song, yes?

 

You’re worried, feel awful for your sick child, and you tend to him/her.

 

But what about the other stuff?

 

I began complaining about all the things that wouldn’t get done that day.

 

You too?

 

Well, there’s my trip to the gym.

I have health issues, and this helps me keep those in check, not to mention it curbs stress, improves my mood, and gives me a sense of “Yeah! I did this just for me!”

I also use that time to read.

Scratch that from the list.

 

Then there’s the grocery shopping, and errands.

 

Oh yeah, I was planning to write.

 

And there is, well, that part-time job.

The one that helps me to celebrate my Greek heritage and culture every day; keeps me involved in the community; gets me published regularly; has been responsible for great learning; offered me the opportunity to meet some really great people (including a mentor!); and, well, I’ve garnered some fans along the way, and their praise and encouragement feeds my ego, and eases my writer’s doubt. It’s more than a job to me.

 

Then there’s volunteering. These days, we must be involved in our kids’ schools.

We have to know who’s in the schools, what they’re doing, and well, if we want activities for our kids, we have to be there to organize and work them – you know. We must also be the teachers’ partners in our kids’ education.

My girls go to two different schools. And Boo attends Greek school on Saturdays.

That’s three schools/PTAs requesting my time.

And I serve on a school board.

You know those days when you have to call and cancel out on something because your child is sick, and it just happens to be the day that everyone else is canceling for the same reason? Yes. We feel guilty when that happens.

 

I’m doing a lot of things, but they’re all very important to me and I make the time for them.

Except on days when I have a sick child at home.

 

NOW WHAT?

 

Most of the to-do list doesn’t get done, and it makes me stressed, and I’ve lost my sense of accomplishment for the day.

Those little things like checking off parts of your to-do list go a long way.

 

I started to complain, and then I stopped myself.

 

I pulled out the to-do list.  to do list (4)

 

Time to re-work it.

 

What could I accomplish with my child home?

Is there anything on tomorrow’s list that I could do at home, and shift some of the other stuff to tomorrow?

 

As my daughter slept, I took the opportunity to write.

 

I made some phone calls, did some work.

 

CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.

 

Then I switched to some household tasks.

– Planned dinners, made the shopping list.

— Cleaned out a cabinet, then started to file some papers.

Those were much lower on the list, but I’m here, can’t go out, so might as well.

 

I couldn’t get to the store that day, so I had to plan something else for dinner with what we had.

 

No gym.

– Watched what and how much I ate that day.

–  Since I was stuck in the house, I made a few more trips up and down the stairs for good measure.

 

I moved my “outside” tasks to the next day.

 

When Thursday rolled around, I got up a little earlier.

– I took care of my writerly tasks before the family woke up.

– I took the kids to school, got that workout in right away – and did a little extra.

– Work

– Volunteered at Boo’s school

– Attacked those errands that I couldn’t do

 

Then it was time for pick up.

 

I actually thought I had caught up from the sick day, and was ready to attack today.

 

GUESS AGAIN!

 

I got up at 5 (These are Golden Hours. I do whatever I want!). Wrote. Answered emails.

 

Then it was time to get ready for school.

 

Boo went to school.

 

Bebs didn’t feel well. Slight fever, lethargic.

 

Staying home…again.

 

As I began stressing about all the things I’d have to give up today, I stopped.

 

Time to re-work the schedule…again!

 

– Fortunately, I checked several things off the list this am.

– Gym? Nope. Extended workout on Monday.

– Lunch with a friend? Raincheck.

– Grocery shopping? Will have to wait until the evening.

 

That frees up some time.

 

What’s on tomorrow’s list?

 

Oh yes.

Laundry. Cleaning.

Let’s go.

 

I’ll be so happy tomorrow. Then I can just play!

 

As winter approaches, we’re all going to have those days when our kids have to stay home from school, and it throws off our day(s).

Try to remember that it’s OK to re-work your schedule.

 

This is a great reminder to not put things off, because you don’t know what the rest of today – or tomorrow – will bring.

 

It’s a reminder to prioritize.

 

Remember that saying, “Man makes plans and God laughs?”

 

It’s so true.

 

Life is unpredictable.

 

We have enough stress. Don’t add to it.

 

Some ideas:

– Make sure you leave some flexibility in your day.

– Schedule the most important tasks early in the day so you’re sure to accomplish them.

– Don’t put off going to the gym until tomorrow, because who knows what the day will bring, and why feel awful that you let yourself down?

– Make that trip to the grocery store today, while you can.

– Don’t leave all the errands for one day a week. Do these throughout the week, when time presents itself.

 

Check these off the list!

 

Take a moment to remind yourself that you aren’t perfect, you are a mom (or a dad), and life is unpredictable.

 

You know what?

 

You’re a superhero already.

 

Know why?

 

Cause you are MOM. Or DAD.

 

Plain and simple.

 

Give yourself a break.

 

Don’t stress.

 

Now, back to my housecleaning.

Did you ever have one of those days – or weeks or even years – when you said to yourself, “I didn’t sign up for this crap!”

I think I’m the poster child!

Life seems to get more complicated by the day.

Can we start 2014 again?

I seem to have lost half a year!

Let me explain…

I started the year all fired up… hospital sign

I had a meeting with my editor to jump start the rewrite on my molar pregnancy book.

I had set some goals.

I was going to make things happen.

It was going to be my year.

Then reality set in.

My 5 year-old, who’d spent 3 days in the hospital in November for Encopresis, had begun seeing a psychologist to help her get over her refusal/fear/aversion to poop.

These sessions resulted in hours more work for me.

Driving an hour to the appointment, an hour there, an hour back.

Then there was the charts, and then coaching and cheering, and sourcing prizes and incentives.

I realized I was spending about 3 hours a day on this.

And I didn’t have 3 hours to spare.

I never thought I’d cheer for poop, sit so long in a bathroom trying to coax a poop out of my child.

It seemed we’d take one step forward, then five back.

Then I got a sinus infection.

My immune system has never been the same since chemo, and when I get sick, it knocks me on my rear, and for a long time.

There were days I could barely get out of bed.

To put breakfast on the table, make lunches and pack backpacks was a difficult thing.

My husband had to take the girls to school and pick them up – every day.

After three weeks, I went to the doctor. He decided it was something bacterial, and put me on pneumonia watch. Yikes.

Two different kinds of meds, and those ribs that I fractured a couple of years ago when I had a bad, enduring cough during chemo?

Those were sore again from the coughing.

It took about a month for me to recover.

Now you may know that my mother has had a lot of health issues, and we have been dealing with her refusing to take her meds, her growing meanness to my dad (the only reason she was not in a nursing home was because he put all his energies into caring for her, and waiting on her hand and foot, though it was never enough for her)

In the beginning of February, Mom was not feeling well.

We wondered if this was her way of bringing attention back to her (she’s done this before) following the death of my dad’s brother’s wife (my dad began calling Greece day and night, fearing his brother would soon follow his wife), and the issues with my little one.

I got a call from the nurse at her doctor’s office.

Mom had gone to see her.

I had no idea.

She had a UTI, and they were going to prescribe antibiotics.

I spoke to Mom, she said she didn’t go to the doctor because she thought she had a UTI, she just wanted to go.

OK, well, at least we found this infection.

She is a frequent flyer on the UTIs.

My guess was always poor hygiene, and a growing laziness to even get up out of her chair to use the bathroom.

Mom was always a difficult sort, and seemed to be her own worst enemy.

A few days into the antibiotic, she seemed to grow weaker.

My aunt—Mom’s sister—is a nurse, and lives a few minutes away from my parents.

She went to check on Mom and decided we should press the emergency alert button and summon an ambulance.

Mom couldn’t get up out of the chair.

She didn’t think she could make it to the door.

My mom seemed out of it.

When I got to the hospital, they were still running tests, working her up.

Finally, they told us her UTI had not responded to antibiotics.

Mom is allergic to many antibiotics and has grown resistant to others (since she takes them so much).

Her bladder was severely infected.

She’d have to be admitted, for some heavy duty antibiotics to be administered via IV.

We gathered her things to go up to her room.

As we got Mom out of bed, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before.

Mom had lost a ton of weight.

Now we thought she’d lost a little; we could tell in her face.

Mom was well over 200 lbs, and she’s only 5’3”.

She could stand to lose some weight, but wow, she had lost quite a bit.

Once in the room, the nurse brought in a scale.

Mom was 157 lbs.

Not two months earlier, she tipped the scales at 215.

What was going on?

She never got out of her chair, and never changed out of her huge nightgowns, so how would we know?

Mom was almost lifeless.

She was incredibly weak, and they started her IV antibiotics.

The next day, they told us the antibiotics weren’t working.

There was no change.

They’d have to increase the dose and the duration.

Hopefully that would do the trick.

In the meantime, she begged and pleaded with Dad not to leave her alone.

She was scared, thought she was dying.

Dad never left her room that week.

A psychologist took us out in the hall to speak to us briefly, and Mom freaked out.

Dad barely ate.

I took him home a couple of times to shower and change, and he wanted to go right back.

Mom expressed to him that she was afraid she’d die, and didn’t want to die alone.

And then of course she threatened that if she were to die alone, she’d haunt him forever.

So what’s a man to do?

So here we are, mid-February:

I’m not 100% well yet.

I’m dragging the Bebs to the psychologist, being a “poopy” cheerleader.

Boo is feeling a bit neglected, acts up. Rare for her.

Then one night, while sitting on the toilet, between poop cheers, Bebs blurts out,

“Is YiaYia going to die?”

I guess I hadn’t thought much about it to that point.

“Will you lose your Mommy?” Boo asked.

Honestly, I lost my mommy a long time ago…but that’s another story for another time.

I guess it was really possible that her body was finally giving up.

The phone rang.

It was the urologist who I’d been chasing for days to get more info on her test results.

 The news was worse than I anticipated.

 

MACA

Today, around the US is the Million March Against Child Abuse.

In cities across the country, people will gather to be a voice for children.

For years, I’ve been saying, who’s protecting the children?

I’d hear these awful stories and wonder why something more wasn’t being done.

Kids can’t protect themselves.

They look to adults for protection, for shelter, for everything.

Sure kids can be rambunctious.

Sure they can drive you nuts.

But to abuse them?

I’ve often said, anyone who abuses a child should be punished to the maximum penalty of the law.

And released to the masses to be tortured.

A child?

I look at my own kids and I know, if someone threatened or actually harmed them, I’d go crazy on them.

What about all those kids who don’t have anyone to protect them? To shelter them? To give them love?

As a community, as a society, as human beings, we have an obligation to be a voice for the children.

They need us.

We can’t allow anymore abuse to take place.

Today, we are asked
TO BE THERE, TO BE A VOICE.

TODAY
Americans across the nation in over 100 cities and 45 states will gather to raise awareness of child abuse and crimes against our children.

TODAY
We gather to put an end to the enormous amount of lenient sentencing passed down from judges.

TODAY
Please join children’s organizations, churches, all child advocates and groups in this never before history making event.

Our children are screaming out for help!

The peaceful walks will take place today, all over the US.

Who will protect the children?

Will you?

Join MACA even for one hour.

On Facebook, search “Million March Against Child Abuse.”

Info on Chicago event is here.

Boo has always been a very sensitive, very spiritual child.

She fully recognizes the role of God and saints and angels in her life, and she embraces them.

We’re starting to see this in Bebs as well, as evidenced the other day when she asked me for a meeting to discuss Jesus’ love for us.

This morning, Boo asked me if I knew what she did before she was my baby.

I didn’t.

Intrigued, I asked her to explain.

This was our conversation.

Boo: Mommy, do you know that before I was your baby I was a little angel? I lived in Heaven and had these teeny, tiny little wings.Image

Mommy: Really? What did you do in Heaven?

Boo: Mostly I flew around, but I got ready to be your baby.

Mommy: How?

Boo: Well, I got my wings and then I flew around, then I met my saint, St. Eleni.

Mommy: Did she talk to you?

Boo: Oh yes! She told me what my name was going to be, and that she was my saint and she’d watch over me too. She told me that Jesus was getting me ready to send to a mommy and daddy.

Mommy: What else did she say?

Boo: She told me that Jesus had been building me and getting me ready, because he chose the best mommy for me.

Mommy: Then what?

Boo: Then St. Eleni sent me off, and I flew over your wedding, and watched it.

Mommy: You did?

Boo: Yes. That was the first time I saw you. You looked so beautiful! St. Eleni told me you were going to be my mommy, and soon I would go down to Earth to grow in your belly.

(I got pregnant with her at the end of our month-long honeymoon)

Mommy: Then what happened?

Boo: Then I came into your belly. My little wings disappeared because I didn’t need them anymore.

Mommy: Did you see your sister in Heaven?

Boo: No, because Jesus was still building her. He was getting her ready so you could be her mommy too.

Mommy: Wow. Did you ever see her before you were born?

Boo: I did. But I just got a peek.

Mommy: Hey, Bebs, did you fly around in Heaven before you were my baby?

Bebs: Yes. But I will save that story for another day! (giggles)

Boo: Mommy, you see, Bebs loved to fly so much. She flew for long periods at a time. This is why it took so long for her to get in your belly.

(Hmmm. I never told the girls that it took me 8 months to get pregnant with Bebs.)

Mommy: I see.

Boo: Then when she got in your belly, her wings disappeared, because she didn’t need them anymore.

Mommy: OK. Anything else you want to tell me?

Boo: Well, we saw Baby Dimo flying around with his little wings. He came down to your belly, but his wings didn’t go away, because Jesus called him back up to Heaven. That’s why he isn’t here with us.

(I named our lost little one Dimosthenis, after my father-in-law, which would be his name even if he were here with us. It was a way to verify his existence, however short.)

Mommy: Do you see Baby Dimo anymore?

Boo: Sure. He checks up on us sometimes. I wish he was here with us. Then we’d have a little brother. But Jesus knows what he’s doing.

Mommy: He does.

Boo: Mommy, I think we should save some for another time. This is not stuff that mommies usually learn about.

Mommy: I’m so glad you told me. It’s a nice story.

Boo: Jesus made me just for you. He told me He chose a very special mommy for me and He did. I love you.

Mommy: I love you, too.

Bebs: I love you too! And my sister and little brother angel!

Mommy: I love you, too, Honey.

Interesting and revealing conversation.

It touched my heart in so many ways.

I do believe that things are predetermined by God.

Boo’s revelations are stunning.

Could that really have happened?

Lord only knows.

Many mysteries are revealed through the eyes of a child.

These stories are precious.

I’ve heard people say that children are innately spiritual, and somehow it gets “beaten” out of them as they grow older.

Some say that children regularly commune with angels and saints.

Their innocence, pure love and faith allow it.

I hope she will continue on her spiritual path.

It brings her such joy and it seems to ground her.

What amazing little girls I have and what a blessing to learn these things that most mommies “never do.”

On this blog, I’ve talked a lot about the importance of keeping traditions alive.

Family history goes hand-in-hand.

Many people don’t know how their family ended up in America, let alone when or where.

At our house, these traditions and history are part of our everyday.

My children know all the names and towns.

They’re fascinated by it, and ask questions.

This past Thanksgiving Eve, I had the pleasure of having my nephew/Godson come to stay with us.

My brother is a single dad.

Maybe he doesn’t have time – maybe he doesn’t know about family history.

He certainly doesn’t celebrate any traditions or customs, unless I do it and he joins in.

So here I was with my nephew, on Thanksgiving Eve.

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was making my maternal grandfather’s meat stuffing recipe.

It’s a lot of work, so my aunt didn’t want to take that on, along with everything else.

I totally get that, but it’s just not Thanksgiving without it.

The last few years I made it at home anyway, because, well, it’s just not Thanksgiving without it.

Sad thing, these days, only one of my cousins (of nearly 20) make it.

My aunts and uncles do not either, because it’s a lot of work.

This is why there used to be a party BEFORE Thanksgiving, when we all gathered to lend a hand in the stuffing preparation.

This party would include family, friends, some appetizers, wine—and lots of laughter and storytelling.

For a while, this actually became more fun than Thanksgiving, but I digress…

So here I am with the nephew – the kid is 9 and he’s one inch shorter than me. 😉

He offered to help.

The girls decided that if he wanted to help, that I should have that time with him.

They told me so.

So they stayed downstairs, while Nephew and I cooked.

He got a big kick out of the food processor! He’d never seen one before, let alone used one.

We took each ingredient, one by one. I cleaned, chopped, put things in bowls, etc., and he inquired about each and every one and why it was prepared that way.

Then I asked him if he knew whose recipe this was.

Holiday time is a great time to share family recipes, history and to keep traditions alive. This is my papou’s “famous” meat stuffing. It’s just not Thanksgiving without it.

The conversation went like this:

Nephew: You said it was Papou’s (grandfather).

Me: Yes, but it is MY papou’s recipe…my mother’s father.

Nephew: Really? It’s been around a long time then!

Me: Yes. It’s just not Thanksgiving without it!

Nephew: I promise I’ll try it this year, since I’m making it and all.

Me: Great. Do you know what my papou’s – your great papou’s – name was?

Nephew: No.

Me: His name was Jim.

Nephew: What?! That’s my dad’s name! Is that where my dad got his name, like I’m named after my papou?

Me: Yes!

Nephew: That is soooo cool!

Me: Do you know what my yiayia’s (grandmother) —your great yiayia’s – name was?

Nephew: No.

Me: Maria.

Nephew: Get out! How cool! Was that on purpose?

Me: Yes. This is our tradition. Auntie and Uncle were named after Papou’s parents.

Nephew: So is that how Boo and Bebs got their names?

Me: Absolutely!

Nephew: That is the coolest thing! Does everyone do that?

Me: Not anyone else in our family does that anymore. But many Greeks follow this tradition.

Nephew: I would really like to go to Greece someday. Would you take me?

Me: Sure. Do you want to learn Greek?

Nephew: I know about 10 words in Greek. Could you teach me some more?

So everything that we did, I described in Greek. He listened intently.

Nephew: So tell me about your grandfather Jim.

Me: He came to the US in 1906.

Nephew: You’ve got to be kidding! That was more than 100 years ago.

Me: Yes. He came here when he was a young man. He went to join his father and uncle who were working out West on the railroad.

Nephew: With trains?

Me: They helped to lay the tracks.

Nephew: Maybe that’s why I really liked trains.

Then I proceeded to give him the abridged history.

Papou eventually moved to Chicago and went to work with his uncle in the grocery business.

Later, he opened his own store, and also a restaurant and bar.

He married my yiayia and they had 7 kids.

My mother is the oldest.

My papou also imported cheese and olives from Greece, and became known around the country.

He also sponsored about 1000 Greeks from the area around Tripolis, Greece, near where he was from, to come to Chicago.

These people would come, and he’d help them start their new lives.

He’d either train them in his restaurant, got them jobs somewhere else, or help them start their own businesses.

He was well-respected.

Nephew: That’s amazing! Did you ever meet him?

Me: No. He died many years before I was born.

Nephew: How old would he be now?

Me: About 125.

Nephew: What?! Did my dad know him?

Me: Your dad was about 2 when he died.

Nephew: Oh. How come no one else talks about him?

Me: I don’t know. Maybe they don’t know about him. You should ask Yiayia to tell you stories about her dad.

Nephew: That would be so cool.

So the stuffing was complete, and Nephew actually tried it, and he liked it.

At Thanksgiving dinner, he proudly announced to everyone that he helped make it, and that it was his Great Papou Jim’s special recipe, and that’s who his dad is named after.

It was a really special time with him.

He asked me later that night if there were any special Christmas traditions.

I told him he’d have to come over again to find out.

As we left, I hugged him and he thanked me for telling him about the stuffing, and my grandfather.

Then he said, “I’m so happy to be Greek. There are so many awesome things to learn about being Greek.”

That totally made my night.

And made me proud.

Won’t he be surprised when I take him to the National Hellenic Museum over Christmas break and show him the photo of my papou that appears in their newest exhibit, “American Moments!”

I had no idea Boo was paying attention to the news.

In the evenings, we’d watch various news programs while the girls were playing, doing homework or other projects.

One day, Boo, now officially 5-3/4 (I have to include the 3/4 or I will be in trouble. LOL) shared her political insights.

Boo: Why is Barack Obama always yelling at everyone?

Mommy: What do you mean?

She’d seen clips of some of his campaign appearances when he’d spoken loudly and passionately.

Boo: He seems like he’s always yelling and pointing. I don’t like that.

Mommy: I think he’s just excited about something he believes in.

Boo: I don’t believe in yelling or any of that stuff. I like Mitt Romney.

Mommy: You do? Why?

Boo: Mitt Romney goes to church and he listens to God. This is very important in our lives. And he doesn’t yell and make fights.

Mommy: I had no idea you were paying attention to the news.

We may be on different sides of the political spectrum, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.

Boo:I listen to the news, and I listen to people talking. I don’t like all this fighting.

Mommy: Neither do I.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. We were driving in the car when Boo sprung this one on me.

Boo: How can Mary and I be friends if she likes Barack Obama and I like Mitt Romney?

Wow. I was really taken aback by this. I thought a minute and I knew it was time for us to have the talk.

Not that talk!

The talk about why we choose our friends, and about differences, respect, etc.

Mommy: We don’t choose our friends based on who they want to vote for.

Boo: Why not?

Mommy: We choose our friends based on their character, what kind of person they are. Does Mary treat you nice?

Boo: Yes.

Mommy: Is she a good girl?

Boo: Yes.

Mommy: Do you have fun with her?

Boo: Yes.

Mommy: Does she like a lot of the same things you do?

Boo: Yes.

Mommy: They you should absolutely be friends with Mary.

Boo: But what about politics?

She’s 5! Oh yeah, 5-3/4!

 Mommy: People have different experiences in life, things that happen to them, that make them believe a certain way. Did you ask Mary why she likes Barack Obama?

Boo: No. But I told her that I like Mitt Romney.

Mommy: Did you tell her why you like Mitt Romney? What did she say?

Boo: I didn’t tell her why. She didn’t say anything. I should tell her?

Mommy: It’s OK to talk about why we think differently or why we are different. We have to respect people’s beliefs and feelings. That means we don’t talk mean to people if they think differently. We can ask questions and try to understand why they think the way they do. You might learn something. If everyone were absolutely the same, things would be kind of boring, right?

Boo: I think so. So should I ask Mary why she likes Obama?

Mommy: If it’s important to you, then ask her. But you shouldn’t argue. Everyone gets to have their own opinion, whether you think it’s right or not.

Boo: You said that before.

Mommy: Because it’s true.

Boo: OK. I’ll let you know what she says.

After school, I met Boo at the school door.

Boo: Mom, we have to talk!

Mommy: What’s up?

Boo: I asked Mary why she likes Obama. She said she doesn’t know. How can she like him if she doesn’t know why?

Mommy: She can like whoever she wants. Maybe she doesn’t know how to explain why.

Boo: I told her why I like Mitt Romney.

Mommy: What did she say?

Boo: She said, “That’s nice. He sounds nice.” Then she said she still liked Obama. So how can we be friends?

Mommy: You can be friends if you have fun together and you think she is nice. Maybe you guys can talk about something that you both like, and not about politics. You are alike in many ways. You both are Greek, have January birthdays…

Boo: We both like princesses!

Mommy: Yes!

Boo: So, I can still talk to her if she doesn’t vote like me?

Mommy: Absolutely. Auntie is going to vote differently than you. Does that mean you’ll stop loving her?

Boo: No way!

Mommy: Does it make sense now?

Boo: So it’s OK to love someone who doesn’t think the same as you.

Mommy: You got it!

Boo: I’m 5-3/4 you know. I’m big!

Mommy: Yes. These are important things to remember.

Boo: OK.

The morning after the election, I had to break the news to Boo that her candidate didn’t win.

 Mommy: Honey, I’m sorry but Mitt Romney didn’t win last night.

Boo: I bet many of those people can’t tell me why they voted for Obama!

Mommy: Does it matter? And besides, he is President Obama, we should be respectful.

Boo: I get it. I just don’t know why Mitt Romney didn’t win.

Mommy: More people voted for President Obama, so he won.

Boo: I didn’t get to vote! If I would have voted, Mitt Romney would have won!

Mommy: I’m sorry, Honey. You can’t vote until you’re 18.

Boo: Oh. Not even a 5-3/4 year old girl?

Mommy: No.

Boo: Oh well. I’m not going to talk politics anymore. I just want to have fun. I’m glad I get to keep my friends.

Mommy: Politics isn’t everything, Honey. Just like people pray differently and go to different churches, they like different politicians.

Boo: Mommy, we talked about this already. I’m going to get ready for school. I have so much to learn!

And don’t we all. Seems this election cycle, many of us have forgotten some of these things.

We let politics get in the way of friendships.

Sometimes it takes a 5-3/4 year old to remind us why we chose our friends in the first place.

To remind us to be respectful of others and their opinions.

We don’t have to agree.

But we must respect people’s feelings and their right to their opinions.

You may think differently, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends or I can’t love you.

Things got very bitter this election cycle, but let’s not forget why we are friends—why we CHOSE to be friends.

Boo and Mary are little, but how many people are wondering the same things?

It’s OK that we think differently.

In fact, I think it’s good.

We can learn so much from each other.


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