When we first talked about bringing Pipo into our family, we talked about the possible ignorance we may face. Thankfully, there have been incredibly few instances over the last three years...but when it does come up, it is a terrible reminder to us that it is out there... it exists.
Today I had the kids at Fitz's big end of the year wrestling tournament. We go every year, so by this point, my kids know the building really well, and I am pretty comfortable to let them run loose there. So I was standing with another parent, watching a match when a woman walked up to me holding Emma's hand. She told me that Emma was alone on the first floor of the building and a group of boys were harassing her. I laughed a little and told her that they were probably her brothers. The woman was still upset, and told me they were 'threatening' Emma and telling her they would give her candy if she kissed someone. I asked Emma who, and she said Pipo, Charlie and Tommy. I told Emma to go get them, and again told the woman they were just her brothers, and I was sure they were just teasing her. The woman, looking very angry at this point, said "No... there was an African American boy there, and she looked scared!"
And there it goes... the bigger black boy with the smaller white girl. Obviously a little thug, obviously up to no good, obviously the poor little white girl was in danger from the black kid.
I told the woman a little more firmly this time... "Yes.. that is her brother," and I walked away. But I walked away fuming. If it had been Charlie or EJ teasing Emma, this would not have happened. But because it was Pipo, this woman assumed he was up to no good. The fact that she said Emma looked scared made me laugh... of course she was scared. A strange woman grabbed her by the hand and dragged her away!
I took all the kids aside and talked to them about teasing, but I also told them what this woman said. I have talked with all of the kids about this before. They need to know it's out there. They need to know that some people will see Pipo' skin color first. It makes me angry that a normal sibling moment turns into this, but it is part of our life. It is part of life that Pipo will always have to deal with, and moments like this are just part of the learning process for him.
The funny thing is that after it all, I was still fuming... I wanted to haul that mom outside and knock the ignorance out of her. (I know... very mature, but it's the mama bear thing I have going... don't threaten my cubs.) But Pipo was in a great mood afterwards. I couldn't understand at first, because it made me so mad. But then he said "Mom, you're really mad at that lady, huh?" and he smiled. And I knew then... he knows we've got his back. We've taught him that ignorance is out there, but we've taught him that we will do our best to stand up to it, to stand behind him.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Been away from the blog for a bit, but we are just finishing up vacation week and getting back a little normalcy here. If there is any such thing as normalcy here in Fitzville!
We had a fantastic few days down the Cape with Nana and Papa and some fun, fun cousins. Much swimming was done, and a short visit to a maritime museum where the kids got to try their hand at some scrimshaw. The pirate dress up area was the favorite by far though.
Mid week I had a situation come up where I needed to drive to NJ unexpectedly. With Fitz not being on vacation, this meant I needed to either take several kids with me on a 5 hour two way road trip, or find people to watch all the kids overnight. Most people who know me know that I have a very difficult time asking for help. Fitz reminds me constantly that people like to help... and that I have no problem offering to take other peoples kids at a moments notice. Well, I didn't have much choice here, so I started making phone calls. And this is where I love our little town. As much as I hated asking, I knew without a doubt that there were so many people I could call, and I knew they would help without hesitation.
An hour later, I had 5 kids distributed among 3 different houses. The kids were thrilled with the spur of the moment sleep over arrangements, and I was relieved to know they would all be in good hands.
The bonus of all this is that Margaret decided to come with me for company. This meant some unexpected one on one time (rare in our house) and a night at a hotel with a pool. As tough as the long drive was, we had a very fun night.
Friday, February 13, 2009
This morning Charlie was in a hurry to get to school, so he went out to sit in the van, which I had warming up in the driveway. I must have left the radio on, because when I got into the van (he had been in there no more than 5 minutes!) this is what I heard...
"Hey Mom, you know what? There was a bad fire in Plymouth last night, their smoke detectors weren't working. And a plane crashed in NY. The Celtics won last night, and the Bruins are on the road tonight. It's going to be 35 tomorrow, and the warm spell is over. Probably a few cold ones in store for us."
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I have posted about EJ in the past on by blog, though rarely. He is our quiet, sensitive sweetheart. He is also one not to jump in headfirst. He has always liked to take his time and assess the situation first. This is the boy who did not walk until 16 months, not because he couldn't, but because he just wasn't ready. He does things in his own time... and he does them when he knows for sure he will do them well. So yesterday shouldn't have surprised me.
When Pipo signed up for wrestling this winter, we had offered it to all the boys. EJ had no interest at all. Fitz tried to gently encourage him, mentioning friends that were doing it, but EJ wanted no part of it. All winter, however, EJ has been hanging out at practice with Fitz's varsity team. He often fully participates, but will also just sit doing his homework, occasionally looking up to watch a new move being taught.
Yesterday, I brought the rest of the kids to watch one of Fitz's team matches. When the other team arrived, they had a couple of smaller kids, and the coach asked Fitz if he had any smaller kids to give them matches. Fitz had no one that size, but told the coach that he had two sons there that might be willing to throw on a uniform and wrestle. Now Pipo has been wrestling all year with own team, so I was not worried a bit about that. But EJ had never wrestled a match in his life... I was sure he would say no. When he quietly went and changed into the uniform, I knew down deep that my boy must be ready. He would never jump in until he knew absolutely that he was ready. And he was.
In his first wrestling match of his life... a school varsity match no less... EJ went out and pinned his opponent in the first period.
I wish I had a camera to capture the moment, but I am pretty sure there is no camera lens wide enough to have captured his smile coming off that mat.
It seems we have a new wrestler in the family.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
... to have a 17 year old daughter. But there you have it, Kaleigh is 17 today. She had a great night, as it was "Pops Night" at her school. Kind of a highschool acoustic coffee house. It was awesome. Kaleigh played a song on her own, and then did a couple of other songs with friends, including an awesome cover of "Picture" by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock. I will try to get a video up later, but the videographer skills of 10yo E.J. made me a little dizzy.
But seriously, a very cool night. I was amazed at the talent at our tiny little high school. And the guts! I could never have gotten up like that at that age. Or now. Or ever.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Yesterday, I was picking Emma up from a birthday party. As we were leaving, I reminded her to say 'thank you' to the girl's parents. The dad smiled and said, "Oh, and thank you for being so, um, so... excitable!" "Excitable," I said? The mom must have seen the look of horror on my face, and she quickly said, "Oh, no, she's just... well, she's not shy at all is she?" I smiled weakly, and led Emma out the door.
On the way to the car, I asked Emma what she had done at the party. Skipping ahead of me, pigtails bouncing, she yelled over her shoulder "I had FUN!!!"
Well, there you have it. I can only hope she wasn't doing cartwheels through their living room like her brother would have.