World Adoption Day

I think a lot about adoption and I’m very pro-adoption. In the similar manner that I’m pro-adoption, I’m also pro-life. However, I saw a sign the other day that said, “Adoption is the loving choice to abortion” and I gotta admit, it really made me think. Not because I don’t think adoption is loving. But because I think this is one of those signs that make us feel good to proclaim, but we really don’t know what we’re saying.

Let me explain what I mean. Adoption can be a loving option if you’re pregnant and know you’re unable to parent. These adoptions are typically done privately and without any state involvement. There’s a plan in place, parents are chosen, and you begin to walk the journey together.

However, on the flip side, we tend to praise the birth moms represented in our house for choosing life, but they did more than that. They also wanted, and chose, to parent. Now granted, their parenting was sometimes dysfunctional and often dangerous, but they never went through 9 months of pregnancy with the intention of having their child call another woman mom. No matter how they showed it…..they wanted their children.

I think we have this fairytale idea of adoption that is just not there.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Adoption is necessary and can be amazing. But it will never be perfect. We are very open in our house about adoption and that means we are very open about the loss. The other day one of my kids made the comment about how it will be sad when Henry realizes he’s adopted. One of the older kids piped up and asked why and she simply said…..because he will miss his mom.

That is the reality of national adoption month.

The birth moms represented in our home chose life the same way my mom chose life. The same way I chose life with Trey and Addison. These moms were excited to be pregnant. They were excited to have a child. They didn’t choose adoption. There was nothing loving in their mind about their child being adopted.

Adoption is hard. Messy. Scary. Sad. Happy. Beautiful. Loving. All rolled into one. And typically adoption, much like abortion, is rooted in pain and hurt.

I’m pro-adoption. I’m pro-life. Let’s spend November celebrating these kids and raising the need for awareness. Especially for sibling groups and older teens. We should not live in a country where a child ever ages out of foster care. Period. We should not live in a country where sibling groups are split up and separated when they are adopted. Period. We should not live in a country where women can’t afford to feed their children so they have them removed. Period.

Let’s celebrate moms who chose to carry their baby for 9 months only to hand them off to another woman. I cannot imagine how that would feel. But, let’s also have some sympathy for the moms who chose life and desperately wanted to parent. A mom recently told me that when she was in the throes of addiction she couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed to parent her children. She told me she felt like they were kidnapped.

That probably didn’t feel too loving.

I’m convinced that if we work together to change the stigma and narrative of adoption, we can change the direction for adoptees. They can be open about their loss. Open about their pain. They can sit at the dinner table and talk about feeling sad. They can tell me they miss their mom but don’t really know why. They can be open about making sure we are never going to leave them. They can be angry and jealous without fear of judgement.

Adoption is amazing and can be a very loving choice. Children waiting for homes should know they are seen and heard. However, they should also know we see all of them. We see the pain, the hurt, and the ugly it brings. We should be willing to have the hard discussions and engage in hard talks about policy change.

Honestly, I’m thankful my girls didn’t read that sign when we drove past it. Not because I completely disagree. But because I don’t want them to ever feel like a project or simply a slogan on a sign. They are worth so much more.

COVID 2020

Well, I haven’t been blogging much in the past few months, so I figured what better post to bring me back than one about our experience with COVID. I’m a junky when it comes to posts about daily symptoms, so I thought I would jump in with my own. Who knew a post about COVID would be the safe bet over what I really want to blog about…..politics, religion, and adopted children on display…..kidding…..kinda.

Anyway, I digress…..

Two weeks ago, COVID started making its way through some of our families at the church and I was in close contact with someone who tested positive. Now, because the rules are so crazy, I wasn’t actually made to quarantine but started paying attention to every little symptom that might have been out of the ordinary. I even got tested to be safe and it was negative.

My exposure happened from someone who tested positive on a Thursday and last Sunday morning I woke up feeling super queasy and actually almost passed out. I stayed home from church (we were online but I was going early to help) just to be safe and cancelled my plans for the day. I assumed I had a stomach bug because my only symptom was nausea.

Monday, I woke up fine so figured it was a short lived bug. However, throughout the day I developed a cough and by 1:00 I could barely stay awake. I made an appointment to get a test again and this one was positive. By this point, my legs felt like they weighed 500 lbs. and simply walking was torture. Thankfully, the kids were out of school on fall break, so we gathered up the babies and started our quarantine.

Monday night, J.O. started feeling puny and by Tuesday the body aches were in full force. His back was the first thing to hurt him. He made an appointment that same day and also tested positive. On Tuesday night, Addison also started feeling badly and she stayed in bed for around 24 hours. It was very mild with only fatigue and leg aches.

Last week was full of body aches for J.O., headaches for both of us, extreme nausea for me, and fatigue for us both. We both ended last week by losing our sense of smell and J.O. lost all taste. Our days alternated between helping the kids with virtual school (4 of them), and keeping the babies occupied until nap time. Our routine consisted of lots of high chair time, outside time, and paying the older kids to watch the younger ones. There were days I really had no idea how I was going to survive until bedtime and it was only 9:30 am.

COVID is no fun. I can’t compare it to the flu because I’ve never had the flu but J.O. assured me they both stink terribly bad. I’m super thankful Henry has so far remained unscathed but it’s definately not for his lack of trying. That child is attached to my hip. There is a huge praise in the fact that for some reason kids seem to handle this with little to no symptoms. However, those little germ infested beings are great at passing it to us.

This is not a debate on the death rate, whether or not everyone will eventually get it, and so forth. This is truly just my experience. My family is not throwing big back yard barbecues although we are back at work and school. We wear masks, wash hands, and stay home if we are sick. It’s worth noting the people I saw on Saturday did not get sick and we wore our masks properly the entire time. And according to the timeline, Saturday would’ve been my most contagious day. My exposure came from a meeting where I drank coffee while sitting close to someone unknowingly infected….hence my mask was down. Rookie mistake that I won’t make again.

I’ll be honest….any virus you get as a parent stinks. But, I’ve never had something that left me wanting to sleep as much as this or made me feel as groggy as this. One night, J.O. got up to go to the restroom and just passed out cold. Why? Who knows. So, please don’t buy into the myth that it’s not that bad, unless you are truly able to sleep for 14 days and start your own home IV of fluids and meds. J.O. and I might have fared better under those circumstances too. But, that’s not reality. Our reality was both adults sick while keeping a 14, 11, 8, 7, 2, and 1 year old fed and alive. And 4 of them in school.

But, I digress again. I know better than anyone that life happens. We are a foster family for goodness sakes. We invite living cess pools of germs into our home and will continue to do so until the Lord releases us. Our reality is quite different than other families and I’m okay with that. We chose this life. So in the meantime, we will continue to wear masks diligently, wash hands, and line up for the vaccine.

It’s okay to not be okay.

I’ve started and stopped so many blog posts over the past few months. Some I have actually written but only sent to my spouse or a friend. They were some of my best posts if I do say so myself…..but I would’ve been in big trouble for posting them. Some I have written and completely deleted. Honestly, I’ve been in an odd place and haven’t been willing to keep putting my thoughts out there. So I haven’t.

But, I realized something. I love blogging. I love writing. In fact, I’ve actually completed a book about our fostering and adoption journey that I will probably never do anything with. Why? Because I’m so unsettled with things right now. My view of adoption is ever changing, Henry’s story is so raw and personal, and Anna and Grace are growing up without the privilege of their birth mom in their life. And all of that is tough. And ugly. And not wrapped up in a neat little bow.

And I thought I was okay with that. But I’m not.

I also realized I’m not okay with the criticism that comes with this journey or the opinions. I’m not okay with social media tearing families and churches apart. I’m not okay with seeing posts celebrating the termination of parental rights. I’m not okay hearing people tell me I’m special because we take kids in. I’m not okay with people acting like we are a one trick pony. I’m not okay seeing people tear each other apart over politics.

There’s just a lot happening that seems to not be okay.

Don’t get me wrong: This is not a post about longing for the Pre-Covid world. This is about longing for a world filled with Jesus. Period.

A world where we love unconditionally. Live together despite differences. Take care of people stuck in poverty because it’s our calling and not our obligation. We take people cookies instead of stealing their yard signs. We worry more about being like Christ and less about pleasing man. A world without abuse, neglect, poverty, racism, sexism, and so on and so on.

A world where it’s okay to not be okay and for that we are welcomed into loving arms. And not judged from arms length.

But we seem to be running in the opposite direction of that. So, instead of writing I feel like I’m constantly playing defense. And hopefully that will end soon. Because this mama is tired. And on top of that…..I really don’t like sports.

Be Like Mary…..

My kids often chat about what they will do when they graduate and enter the real world. A couple of them still claim they are never leaving, but for the most part they all have different dreams and ideas. We have everything from professional video game reviewer, lawyer, doctor, hairdresser, and artist. It changes on a dime and typically depends on what they’ve came across that day.

One of my kids is a natural caretaker. She runs towards blood and not away from it. If someone cuts themselves, she grabs her own homemade first aid kit and not only bandages them up, but checks on them daily. This is definitely not something she has seen come naturally from me. In fact, if I think someone might be hurt, I make J.O. go look first. I’m too scared…..

I often pray for my kids using different Scripture and examples in Scripture. However, when I’m praying for my kids I realized something. I never pray for my kids to be like Mary. You know Mary. The one chosen to be the mother of Jesus. The one who had no clue what was happening to her at first, but she remained faithful.

But why not? Why do I never look to her as an example for my 14 year old son? Why am I more likely to teach my girls about David than the character of Mary? I think it’s because we tend to minimize her significance in Scripture. Now, don’t get me wrong. Without Mary, there is no Jesus (I know, I know….God can do anything) but that’s a pretty big deal. But all my teachings on Mary surround this: She was young (teenage young), scared, timid, and afraid. But she was faithful to the Lord.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Addison to be a young, scared, teenage mom. The same way I don’t want Trey to be a young, murdering, adulterer.

So why do we so often study the traits of one over the other?

Scripture says Mary was favored, humble, trusted God, wise, discerning, obedient, faithful, follower of Jesus, brave, willing, reverent, relational, and so much more. Make no mistake…..Mary was a sinner just like you and me. Just like David. And Peter, Paul, John, etc. Yes, she was a teen mom who was probably scared to death. But, she was someone to be respected and studied. She was someone who continued to follow Jesus after He began His public ministry. And she did this as only a mom can do. She watched her son die in front of her and didn’t become bitter or angry. We don’t have record of her acting the way I would want to act. Crazy, delusional, outraged, etc. In fact, we know she devoted herself to prayer with the disciples in Acts after His crucifixion.

What kind of person could do that? Watch your son die and then worship and pray with others?

Someone like Mary. Like so many other strong people in Scripture. I wonder what it might look like to teach our daughters AND sons to follow the example of Mary. She is so much more than a scared teen mom. She’s a valiant warrior who followed Christ to the cross and beyond. And that’s what I want for my kids.

The Two Worlds of Covid

First of all, this is not a debate on the seriousness of the Coronavirus. I am assuming everyone reading this is educated. This is to simply offer insight to things we might not be considering.

Last week, I was talking to someone who recently started a new job waitressing. Soon after she began, she developed a low grade temp and had to stay home from work. When I talked to her Saturday she was ready to return to work because she’s desperate for money. No money coming in means rent can’t be paid. It doesn’t meant she dips into her “savings.” If rent isn’t paid, she loses her housing. If she loses her housing, she loses her child (because someone would for sure report her as homeless). If she loses her child, she slips back into drugs. See the cycle? You know what I gleaned from our short convo? She will never self report a fever again. Too much is on the line.

Still think this is no big deal?

I recently read something about the differences in families facing school decisions. One mom discussed the inconvenience of working from home and trying to do school online, but it was doable if necessary. Her husband could help and they had the resources available. Is it ideal? No. Doable. Yes. Another mom commented how she didn’t have that option. She was a single mom and her kids couldn’t stay home alone. School was the only option for her to work.

That led to the discussion of Corona Privilege and what that means.

For me, it meant the spring semester was no fun. 5 kids were home, 4 trying to be on ZOOM at one time, internet wouldn’t support it, 2 year old with tele-therapy, husband working from home, then laid off, etc. It was hard. But it was doable. And to be honest….my kids missed their friends but actually liked it. We had all the resources and necessary support to make it happen. We had Corona Privilege. My guess is, a lot of you do too.

So, what does this mean? Do we just ignore things and push for regular business as usual because the gap between the rich and poor is only growing wider? Do we just open schools like normal because parents have to work?

You can’t enter Children’s Hospital without answering questions, wearing a mask, having your temperature taken, and (typically) one adult per child. If you have a loved one in the hospital, you can’t just run up and visit. At my kids pediatric clinic, you can’t take your child to a check up in the afternoon because that’s now reserved for sick appointments. You can’t enter until you are escorted to a room.

We are delivering wine to your home to keep people from crowding liquor stores for goodness sakes.

But, we expect schools to somehow screen hundreds of kids daily all while being paid peanuts. And, we expect them to figure it out on their own. Each school is fending for themselves. And the only guidance is this: Schools need to re-open as normal.

To be clear….I think it’s best if schools re-open as well. It’s a safety net for so much of our society, but it shouldn’t re-open on the altar of the educator. Most of our educators are women. You know what that means historically? We are the caretakers. We care for our elderly parents, sick children at home, basically everyone. And I’ve yet to meet a snot nosed 5 year old that cared about social distancing.

What’s the answer? Well, if it were any other organization it would be funding and proper equipment. And educated people giving sensible guidelines that keep teachers and children safe. For some reason the idea and notion of that seems so foreign when dealing with education. We expect schools to function as parent, babysitter, and chef on a paupers budget. And we expect them to do it while literally sacrificing their life.

What’s happening now is tragic. Those of us with Corona Privilege will make decisions and do things others can only dream of. Our families in poverty will have to put their children on a bus and hope for the best. Teenagers who were already on the verge of dropping out will never go back to school again. This is the nudge they needed.

The gap is no longer a gap. It’s a chasm. And the people falling in the hole are people of color and those stuck in poverty. They won’t be able to get out of this one by, “pulling themselves up by their boot straps.” There are no boots available. Let alone boot straps.

Do what’s necessary to keep your family safe, but don’t just do it for your own family. Please. Do it for those who can’t make those same decisions. Wear a mask because the checker at Walmart may truly lose everything if he/she has to quarantine at home because of a low grade temp. Stay home if someone in your house has a fever, because someone up the road is deciding between paying rent and feeding their kids. Homeschool if you choose, but make some noise about the decisions other parents are being forced to make. Use that same privilege you used to call out racial injustice to call out this one.

And do me a favor: If you decide to sit on the sidelines and judge others for what they are doing while living life as normal, please remember this. When the number of kids entering the system due to poverty/neglect start to rise; call me. I can rush over the necessary paperwork to foster.

Besides….you may be the very reason they lost their job when you refused to take precautions and infected them. In all your Corona Privilege glory.

True Confessions….

In light of what’s happening in the world right now, here is a really dumb post to keep the mood breezy……

A few things you may not know about me:

Now that J.O. is working from home, I sometimes go to work even when I’m off and just read a book. Alone. In my office.

Sometimes I go for a “run” but really just go around the corner and sit on the trail behind our house and watch Netflix. I’ve never been more “healthy” than when I was trying to finish Grey’s Anatomy.

My son open hand slapped me this morning when my eyes were closed in bed because I wouldn’t look at him. So, I did what the therapist suggested and pivoted away from him. He then threw himself off the bed in anger so I told my 2 1/2 year old with global developmental delays, “That hurt no one but you bud. I’m headed to the shower.” He was fine FYI….me too for anyone concerned.

Our house has cameras in it for an old alarm system. The younger girls still think they work and I take risks on that one all the time. So far I am 10/10 on telling them to go ahead and confess because I saw it on camera. I’ve learned a lot of interesting things simply by bluffing. I’m getting very good. Sometimes they yell at me and ask me what they’re doing in front of the camera. I can usually guess or sneak around and peak.

If I’m in a bad mood, I grab my flower mask out of the car instead of my First Baptist one. That way I don’t have to worry if I’m not too friendly.

I realized several years ago spanking didn’t work for my kids. Plus, I only ever spanked out of anger. I also said dumb things like, “do you want a spanking?” My mom pointed out once that a child has never answered yes to that question. In the last 2 years my kids behavior has stayed the same. It’s no better or worse with lack of spanking. So has this worked? No clue. But we are all happier.

Having 5 kids gets me out of a lot. No one expects me to be really good at anything. It’s been awesome for someone who is happy being mediocre. When Henry is the only child at home, I will have to move.

I don’t have fear of missing out. I love chatting and keeping up with friends, but relaxing on the couch wins out every time.

Well, if you made it this far congrats. Hopefully I can create a more intelligent post soon.

Treating People like Humans

I’m obsessed with a new show on ABC called “For Life.” It follows a man wrongfully convicted of being a drug kingpin who receives life in prison on his first conviction. It’s based loosely on a true story and is easily one of my favorite dramas on tv.

My favorite part of the show is the female warden of the prison, because she is determined to completely change the way the prison is run. She allows longer visitations, more contact between inmates, and gives them a place to work out and play sports outside.

Basically, she treats them like humans.

I’ve only been inside a prison as a visitor twice and both times were within the last year. So, I will be the first to admit my experience is very limited. However, I noticed something the first time I visited. The mood in the visitation room was extremely subdued. The officer on duty was very stoic and had no visible personality. Now, I should be clear about something. The women in this facility are not on death row with shanks hidden in their pants pocket. Felons yes, but mostly due to a lifelong struggle with addiction.

Anyway, I was immediately told this guard wouldn’t let many things fly. The women were visibly nervous when I started letting Henry roam around the room. He started going towards the American flag and I could tell this was not okay. The guard was giving us the eye and Henry’s biological mom told me I should probably grab him. She told me she was nervous this guard would give her a strike and she was working so hard for no strikes. I just chalked it up to prison life and tried my best to keep Henry from running rampant. At one point, she asked the guard if we could take Henry in the play room and the answer was no. There seemed to be no apparent reason for this answer other than the fact that she could.

However, the next time I visited I noticed something different. There was a different guard on duty and the room was visibly more relaxed. Women were smiling and talking a bit louder and the guard even made an effort to engage in a bit of small talk. The play room was utilized and Henry was able to make his way over to the coveted flag. It was a better experience completely, but the reason didn’t hit me until one night when I was watching my beloved show.

The second guard treated these women like humans. She celebrated their families, smiled at their children, and allowed them to play together in the playroom. She still followed every single rule they had, but did it while remembering these were actual people. With real families. And real lives outside of these four walls.

We wonder why people are so often released from jail just to find themselves right back in. Have you ever been around a child who can do nothing right with their parents? Seriously. They wake up and screw up from the second their feet hit the floor. They are too loud, too rowdy, too rude, too messy, etc. etc. And after a while they just quit caring. They are going to stay in trouble no matter what so they might as well have fun while doing it.

Now, before you come at me with, “but kids are not hardened criminals” or “these people are terrible people.” Let me tell you something. I’ve heard about some kids doing some pretty sad things. Starting fires, offending against a younger child, and so forth. But make no mistake….if we tried to rehabilitate them by putting them in a metal cell in our closet, we would be the ones arrested. We don’t do that because it wouldn’t work. And because it’s extremely cruel. As parents, we may send our child somewhere for help, but it would look more like a therapeutic center and less like shackles and chains.

I’m not asking for a debate on whether adult criminals should be incarcerated. Of course someone who kills another person should be put away. Or someone who sex traffics young girls. And so on and so on. The day sin entered the world, there became a need for rules and regulations.

But I am saying this. As a society, we have to quit treating humans like caged animals and being shocked when they bite.

Same Blood

“Grace and I can share popsicles because we have the same blood.” Annalise made this comment a few weeks ago and though it made me laugh, it also made me think. What did that mean in her young mind? That Trey, Addison, and Henry weren’t her siblings? No. That’s not what she meant. That we weren’t her “real” family? Maybe on a subconscious level, but I don’t think she meant that either.

What I think she meant was exactly what she said. Her and Grace share DNA so they can share food. In her 8 year old mind their germs are the same. Now, you should know something. There was a time this would’ve offended me. Truly. That’s how fragile I was as an adoptive mom. I would’ve felt the need to stand up for whatever injustice I felt this did to Trey, Addie, and Henry and I would’ve needed to make this right. Lest they feel left out.

Not long ago, Annalise did something that was the spitting image of something J.O. would do. I jokingly said, “oh my goodness, you are so much like your daddy.” To which Anna quipped back and said, “which one?” Because again…she’s smart. She realizes that she shares DNA with another man so technically she doesn’t get innate traits from J.O. Now, ashamedly years ago I would have said something like: “What do you mean, which one? You only have one dad.” But, we all know that to be a lie.

I was talking to a therapist years ago and told her Annalise continually told us she would live with us for a bit, and then go back to her other parents. This was right after the adoption and it was devastating to me. I still had the mentality of wiping out her past and rewriting it with only us. Because, I had a God complex apparently. And I will never forget what the therapist said to me. She said, “And so what if she does? What if she leaves at 18 and does just that? Will you have the kind of relationship that can survive it?”

Ouch. The answer was no. Would that be a hard reality if it happened? Of course. But, does it keep me awake at night? No. The truth is, Annalise and Grace have traits that are clearly from someone else. Physical traits aside, those girls can bend in ways that would literally snap Addie right in half. Henry spends his days in the dirt making truck sounds while Trey hates to be dirty. All kids are different. Biological or not. Trey and Addison could not be more different if they tried, but they get certain undeniable traits from J.O. and I.

I suppose the point is this. When you know better you do better. I feel like our world needs to hear this now more than ever. Don’t live on traditions simply because they make you feel safe. Truthfully, the very things some of us hold near and dear are the very things that make others feel threatened. Addie and Trey were not threatened at all when Annalise wouldn’t share her popsicle. Other than simply wanting the rest of it, there was no injustice done. There was no oppression to them by missing out. There was nothing holding them back from their dreams of getting their own popsicle one day. It was a perceived injustice that truthfully just made them irritated.

Obviously this is an exaggerated and silly example, but hopefully you get the point. I could’ve silenced Annalise that day and she no doubt would’ve conformed to my desires. She would’ve learned to hide the hard things and not speak up about things that make us uncomfortable. I would “win” and she would lose. Until the day she had her own voice and freedom to talk. And would people see a bitter, ungrateful adoptee? Or would they listen? Would they care about the history? The backstory? The therapist who advised her adoptive mom all those years ago to make better decisions? Or would they think she was threatening the entire system of adoption and try to silence her? Would she become an “angry adoptee” or a voice of reason?

Maybe it’s time to listen to those traditionally silenced. Even if we don’t understand. Or like it. Or even agree. Will our relationships withstand this? Are they strong enough? If your answer is no, it may be time to figure out why.

What’s our role?

I’ve been struggling, like many of you, to know what part to play in everything that’s going on right now. I can’t fathom the fear of being pulled over, profiled in my neighborhood, or fearing for my son’s life.

However, we’ve recently had a small glimpse of what’s been happening for years. We’re hearing from our friends and family about things that should’ve never been allowed to happen. And although we can’t relate, we should be outraged. As long as our outrage on Facebook matches our everyday actions.

The truth is, we can’t be quiet any longer about racial injustice. We can’t allow bigotry and hate to drive violence. But, let’s be careful not to turn this into empty words with no action. If you’re posting on Facebook but still hoping your daughter never brings home a black man, don’t post. If you’re marching downtown but only doing it for a good selfie, stay home.

I have no idea how my friends raising black children must feel right now. Truly I don’t. My heart is absolutely breaking for them. But, I do know what’s it like to raise white kids. If you’re a mom raising white children you have an immense responsibility. I will be the first to admit, our small circle is not very diverse. So that means my children will learn about different races and religions from us and the people we do life with. Choose wisely. I’ve heard people say racist things my entire life, and I’ve made racist comments before. And for not speaking up, or shutting up, I’m sorry.

The day Addison figured out she was white, she was in the back of my car and in 1st grade. It was a very innocent moment and one I will never forget. She had never understood that people were referring to skin color when they said white, black, brown, etc. However, from that day forward her ideals and values started slowly being shaped. They are still being shaped by her surroundings and friend groups, but primarily by me and J.O.

Parents, make sure you’re not telling your kids that God loves everyone, but hiding your valuables when your son’s best friend comes over and he’s black. Parents, make sure you aren’t telling your kids that Jesus would condone racism, but then questioning why whites don’t get a white history month. Or saying things like, “well, we don’t know the real story.” Parents, make sure you aren’t telling your kids that Jesus hates injustice, but then using terms like thugs which has a negative racial undertone. Don’t believe me on that one? If you’re ever tempted to use it, think about who you’re referring to. If you’re saying thugs and meaning upper/middle class white kids, I stand corrected.

I can tell my kids one thing all day long, but the way I really act is what they will pick up on. Maybe one of the most important things for white people to do right now is ask God to reveal our own hidden predjudices and racism? Maybe you’re worried about what your friends will think if your child dates a black guy or girl? Ask God to call that out. Maybe you inadvertently clutch your purse tighter when a black man walks by. Ask God to reveal that. And then turn away. Repent. And do better.

March. Post. Speak up. But make sure you take that behavior home. Especially if you’re raising a house full of privileged white kids like me.

Your hair smells good….

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the chair with one of my kids and they commented on my hair smelling good. I didn’t think too much about it and just said thanks and moved on. Then, a few days later, I was laying in bed with another child and she commented on my face smelling great. She wanted to know what kind of lotion I had on. Fast forward to a third child commenting on my hair and I wondered what in the world had changed. I was using the same shampoo and in fact, actually showering less than before Covid hit.

Honestly, I was quite proud that I had trained my hair to go longer between washes by not washing it as often. It certainly couldn’t have been smelling good then. Had I changed dry shampoo? I didn’t think so. My face lotion was the same Mary Kay I had been using for months. Why were they suddenly enamored with my smell?

Then, it hit me. We’ve never had this much time together before. They had never spent this much time sitting beside me reading or watching tv. Or this much time laying with me in bed talking while I pretended to nap. Or stayed in my bathroom while I was getting ready and pilfered through my makeup and browsed my jewelry. Before we were all home together things looked very different. My mornings were spent getting ready in solitude before anyone was awake. My nights were spent running in the door from 15 different activities and shoveling whatever was in the crockpot onto their plates. Typically at this point I was yelling about homework that needed to be done, notebooks that needed signed, and pajamas that needed put on.

I doubt my mom even knows this, but one of my favorite memories is being in her bathroom while she got dressed. Being a mom myself now, I realize she probably didn’t love the lack of privacy but she never said a word. My memories of this time are very random. I remember her always putting on a robe and then the smell of the lotion she would put on. She always had new makeup I wanted to see and some new hair gadget I wanted to try. It was typically a new round brush, velcro rollers, sponge rollers, or something else of the sort. I would sit on the clothes hamper and watch her dry her hair and put on makeup.

It’s so sad to me that it has taken a pandemic for my kids to smell my hair.

Don’t get me wrong: I miss our activities. In fact, I’m so ready to head back to church, swim with friends, and go out to dinner on a whim. My kids are missing friends and are already looking forward to the fall. Especially Grace who needs interaction and face to face friendships. But, I hope I don’t miss the lesson in this time of stillness.

I tell my kids all the time not to qualify their apologies. Don’t say, “I’m sorry for yelling, but it’s because you’re mean.” Or, “I’m sorry for hitting you, but you made me.” I hope I don’t look back and qualify this time in our home. I hope we look back and the kids remember sitting on my tub while I put on makeup. Or sitting in the chair with me watching Shark Tank or Ninja Warrior. Or laying in my bed while I try to convince them I’m sleeping.

I hope they look back and remember what I smelled like. And it makes them smile the same way it makes me smile picturing my mom in her robe patiently listening to me talk.