Category Archives: Their World

Name change parties and a happy boy.

Kids are funny, yeah? Unless you teach them something isn’t quite right, they roll with it. Unless you teach them that one is better than another, they think everyone is equal. Unless you teach them that a little girl who never felt like a girl at all, but more like a boy who is now living his true self is sick and wrong, they’ll think it’s the most logical thing to do. Be who you are, don’t worry about what others think.

I asked Luke what he would say to someone who didn’t support him, who thought it wasn’t right for someone with girl parts to really be a boy and live like a boy. He said, “I would tell them that it’s okay to be who you are and you should just accept people for who they are.”

Kids get it.

So when I went to Luke’s school and spoke to the principal, the school psychologist, and his classroom teacher, we all pretty much agreed that this would be a smooth transition, that children would be accepting. Because that’s how things should be. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Call me crazy, but I think maybe that even includes transgender children and adults. So imagine my surprise when one of the teachers refused to be supportive (not Luke’s classroom teacher and not the school psychologist or principal…they were and are so amazing. My kids are so lucky to be at that school). She refused to take this as an opportunity to teach her students that Alice isn’t transforming into another person completely, she’s just changing her name to Luke and would like to live as a boy…that same friend is still there, just with shorter hair and a different spelling of the name. Imagine my surprise when she not only put his name change party invites into a sealed white envelope for her class, but also posted about it on Facebook, telling parents that the kids have no idea what’s in the envelope and she wanted them to see it before making a decision. The invite literally just said, “name change party.” I didn’t use words like transgender or queer or go into detail about our situation.  There wasn’t even a rainbow on the invite for God’s sake. It was a simple invitation to all of Luke’s friends to come and celebrate this huge change.

I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Some adults will make a big deal out of things no matter what. Even when it makes it harder for children, harder for families, adults still feel like they  need to insert themselves into every situation and try and take charge. This isn’t something that anyone can really take charge of. It’s not something that can change. This is just the way it is, and if you know Luke, you know it’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

This weekend was Luke’s name change party and how lucky are we that so many people came?

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All these people were here for Luke. Parents I had never met, close friends, kids from the other class, siblings…all of these friends were here to tell Luke that he’s great. That this change is one that will be met with love and support more often than judgment and hate. These are the people who will be his allies, his helpers, the people he can go to when things get hard.

Oh, these friends of ours (and so many that weren’t able to come and aren’t pictured, too!)

I think I took more Polaroid photos than I did normal ones, but this is a pretty good representation. Luke’s face never quit smiling.

We had food and goodies and such a great time.

Gifts. People brought Luke gifts.

What’s one way that someone can show you they love you? By traveling hours and hours for an event that they know is almost as important as a birth to you. (It was. That might sound crazy but this was so important.)

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These guys know life isn’t easy and they know it’s going to be even harder for Luke. They know that the one teacher who isn’t supportive is just a tiny taste of what we’ll be met with for years and years. They know that one thing that a child can never get enough of is love. My kids have no doubt about who they can turn to when they need it.

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These are my people. And all the ones on the other side of the camera. And all the ones to the side and behind us. All the people who see Luke for who he is, what his heart shows, how he treats others, how he loves and how we love him. These are our people, whether they were at the party or not, those who show us love and respect and compassion – those are our people.

 

There’s a song in Hamilton (I know, I know) and the lyrics make me tear up every time.

 

“…you will come of age with our young nation.

We’ll bleed and fight for you.

We’ll make it right for you.

If we lay a strong enough foundation,

We’ll pass it on to you,

We’ll give the world to you

And you’ll blow us all away

Someday, someday.”

Every time I sing this song, I think of what I’m doing for my kids. How hard I’m working, how hard my family is working, how hard my friends are working. It’s not always easy to speak out when you know something is wrong. It’s not always easy to be who you truly are, especially when so many people so loudly disagree. It’s heartbreaking to see someone hate your child when they don’t even know them.

But if we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll give the world to our children. And they’ll blow us all away. That, I know, and that’s why I’m willing to fight and make it right.

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L8er Sk8er

 

I used to type that to Danny in high school. “L8er Sk8er.”

Because I was cool.

But there’s a new cool kid in town and she goes by the name of Alice Maureen. And boy howdy is this kid cool.

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She hasn’t always been a skater. She was afraid for a long time and just this year it seemed to become her favorite thing and I must say, she’s a natural.

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She isn’t afraid to try any of the bigger things and she is learning more and more with each trip to the park. She falls but gets right back up. She gets scrapes and bruises but has decided that’s just part of the skate life.

This girl needs some sponsors.

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I predict that by the end of the summer, she’ll be dropping in off coping and will get her ollie perfected. I think she’s gonna be such a badass skater girl that boys will be asking for her autograph before she can drive.

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Boom.

Easter and Birthdays and Hot Springs

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but a bit of time has passed since my last post. It’s not my fault.

No, it definitely is, 100%. My camera cord decided not to work and then I get cranky when I don’t have pictures and then the kids were on Spring Break and I worked a lot and then I had surgery (no, that’s a lie, but it usually gets me some sympathy) and then I finally went to Staples and got a card reader.

Let’s start with Easter. The kids got roller blades and roller skates and candy. Easter egg hunting was dangerous.

But they managed.

Naturally, Franci Pants’ basket was my favorite.

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Those books. HEART EYES (I need an emoji keyboard).

But Franci Pants the baby? She was as quiet and sneaky as a fox…

While we were busy finding all the eggs (because finding all the real dyed eggs is extremely important) she didn’t make a peep and devoured approximately 5 mini reese’s cups, 1/2 a full size Hershey’s, 15 mini M&Ms and 1/3 giant bunny ears. It was a mess and a disaster. But I quickly forgot about it when I got this shot of the kittens:

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Just look at all of them. *sigh*

The rest of our Easter was lovely. We went to church (all of us…a miracle), went to hunt eggs at Grandma and Grandpa’s, ate breakfast, came home, hunted some more, then went to some of our very favorites — the Sanchirico’s. The kids ran wild with their best friends, we ate some really delicious food, we laughed and we drank and we just had a really solid time.

Then it was spring break.

I survived.

And yesterday it was my birthday. HOLLLLAAAAAAA 31. We didn’t do anything crazy, no huge parties. We had breakfast with my parents and then we drove up to Weir hot springs. It was pretty incredible. The hike wasn’t too bad – flat in some parts, really steep in others, but doable. The weather was perfect: 69 degrees. The kids were stoked and so were we. We thrive off of adventures like this.

We were there all afternoon and Danny and I were in heaven — watching the kids have such a blast and not having them glued to a screen was perfect. The Lochsa river is one of the most beautiful and little creeks and waterfalls along the way make it even better.

This week I’m awfully busy, too. I have Willow Center and I’m teaching a blogging class and co-hosting a baby shower and work and school volunteering and my besties Cleo and Stella are on vacation so I don’t even get to hang with them. But I’m lucky to be so busy.

Their World

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It’s so easy to just keep saying, “We’ll see.” I find myself saying that way more often than I should. It’s an easy response because they always accept it. But I’ve slowly come to realize that sometimes just saying, “Yes,” is as easy. 

“Can we go in the hot tub tonight before we put jammies on?”

“Yes.”

And they have the time of their lives. Together. Taking turns showing off their tricks. Holding their breath and plugging their noses for as long as they can and coming up after 3 seconds looking as proud as can be. Talking to Ollie in a baby voice, pouring water over her hands so she feels like she’s part of the gang — she squeals with delight each time. They play mermaids and ocean kings and do cannonballs and create tidal waves and it’s worth the fresh towels and clean up and wet floors and tangly hair. 

Their World: III

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March was full of birthdays.  Okay, that’s a lie.  It was full of birthday.  Maria’s.  Leading up to birthdays is always fun — where are we going to eat, what’s the party going to be like, what will the kids choose as gifts, etc.  My birthday was always on Spring Break so I never got to celebrate my birthday at school which I was always bummed about.  There’s something really special about being surrounded by all your friends on your actual birthday all day long.  I remember that birthdays gave you celebrity status in elementary school.  Dude, I was never a celebrity.

But Maria’s birthday this year fell on a school day and I think she had a pretty great day.  And after school, the kids’ excitement was overflowing as she tore through her gifts from each of them.  All of them were excited and it reminded me of why I adore our big family with all these kids.  As cheesy as it sounds, there is always joy.  Always excitement, always noise and always…

 

…always….

…there’s love.  

 

{Their World is a series I am a part of with a group of other fabulous photographers/bloggers.  To ride the carousel, start here.}

Their World: II

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At any given time, there could be seven different activities going on in our home. Each one of us doing our own thing. Video games, blogging, reading, fashion design, climbing up the stairs, so many different things. But then sometimes, there are these perfect moments: the kittens come together and have a tea party. It might only last three minutes before they scatter again, but perfection doesn’t need much time, does it?

{Their World is part of a blog circle… To take a ride, start here}

Their World : 1

The tv was off limits.  Video games were shut off.

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All 5 of my kittens were in the living room by the fire.  Playing alone but together.  Super aware of each other’s presence and loving it.

These moments are few and far between.  While Maria might be drawing her latest fashion in her room, there’s a chance Jamie is in the basement with his bin of Legos.  Charlotte and Alice will be on the main floor playing Mom and Honey while Olive is crawling around at my feet.  They love each other, there’s no doubt, but there’s just enough of an age difference between Maria and Alice and a difference in interests between Jamie and the girls that they aren’t always together playing.  When I catch it, it feels like gold.

[“Their World” is a project I’m working on with my friend Jude and several other photographers/bloggers.  Several times a month, I’ll post on the topic of “their world” and catch 3-5 of my kids together and candidly playing, reading, watching tv, whatever it is that is happening in their world.  I will always link up to someone else’s project, so be sure to check out their children’s world as well as mine.]

Check out Melinda’s post here.