Tag Archives: family

Families Belong Together

I’ve spent the last few days arguing with assorted people on various social media platforms that children should not be separated from their parents and kept in cages.  That this is a thing people might support is grotesque.  That anyone I know, anyone I’ve ever known, could defend this policy is mind-boggling to me. 

For just thirty seconds, put yourself in the position of those parents fleeing violence and poverty.  What would you NOT do to keep your babies safe?  What law would you not ignore if it meant there was even a small chance that your children’s lives would be safe instead of threatened by violence or extreme poverty?  WHAT WOULD I NOT DO TO KEEP MY BABIES SAFE?  I can think of nothing.

Imagine YOUR child or grandchild in the position of those children currently living in cages in tent cities and abandoned box stores.  IMAGINE YOUR CHILD THERE.  Do it, I’ll wait.

Imagine that they don’t know where they are, they don’t know where YOU are, they don’t know how long you’ll be gone, they don’t know any of the people “caring” for them.  Imagine how scared they would be.  Imagine how you would feel in those moments and hours and days and weeks knowing your baby was somewhere, scared and alone, and you could not get to them and you could not help them.  I cannot honestly comprehend it.  It would break me.

Yesterday, Bridget asked me what would happen if they split our family up when we move back to the U.S. next month.  Gratefully, I was able to assure her that because we’re already citizens, we are safe.  But the fact that she even had to worry about that – that the thought crossed her mind and gave her an instant of fear – fills me with rage.

Find your empathy and compassion. Find your humanity.  Find your freaking soul.  Dig deep, it’s in there somewhere.

When the existing law was enacted is irrelevant. 

Whether this has been happening for 20 years or six weeks is not the point.

Whether the parents of these caged children broke a law by entering the U.S. is not important.  What’s happening right now, because of the “zero-tolerance” policy enacted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April of this year, is child abuse, cruel and unusual punishment, psychological warfare.  It is inhumane. 

If you defend it, I don’t know what to say to you other than you have lost your humanity.

People are people.  They deserve to be treated humanely, regardless of where they’re from and what they’ve done.

Children, most of all, deserve care and love. They deserve to be free of fear.

Here are some articles that explain some U.S. immigration laws and what’s happening right now if you feel like you need more information:

Are undocumented immigrants committing a crime? Not necessarily (CNN)

The facts about Trump’s policy of separating families at the border  (Washington Post)

Youngest migrants held in ‘tender age’ shelters (AP)

Here is a link to a petition you can sign demanding that the families split apart by the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy be kept together, and a link to where you can donate to help these families:

Keep them together! Stop separating children from their families at the U.S. border.  (change.org)

Families Belong Together: Help Fight the Separation of Children and Parents (crooked.com)

I feel like screaming and raging and crying with every additional thing I read on this, but that won’t help.  What can help is calling your senators and representatives (especially if you are represented by a Republican) and expressing to them that you want this policy stopped and that they are in a position to stop it.

Call this number – it’s the U.S. Capitol switchboard – and ask to speak to your representative or senator: (202) 224-3121

Don’t know who that is? Go here to find out:

House of Representatives

Senate

It doesn’t matter if you “don’t care” about politics.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never gotten involved with this sort of thing before.  Do it now, for the children and parents whose lives are being destroyed by an inhumane policy enacted by the U.S. government.

Do it because if it were you in that position, you’d hope someone would try to help you.

Winter Break Fun

There are really and truly few things I enjoy more than spending time with my children.  But they have been on school break since December 15th and we still have five days left before they go back and hoooo, boy am I ready for them to be at school all day for a few weeks.

My kids, at ages 13, 11, 9 & 7, are pretty self-sufficient in terms of entertaining themselves.  Because there are four of them, they always have someone to play with. But having four kids in the house all day, every day ALSO means they always have someone to annoy and argue with.  Always.  Like, every hour of the day.  Which makes me abso-freaking-lutely insane and despite the fact that I know I should let them solve their disputes themselves, I end up mediating and then losing my patience and shouting at them to stop bickering over and over.

The kids get up before me most days on school break and make their own breakfasts.  Five years ago I could only dream of the day that would happen, and make no mistake, I appreciate it.  But they eat like locusts.  We’re going through food at a rate so alarming, I am almost afraid someone is hoarding it in a cupboard upstairs somewhere.  And although they are reasonably okay at cleaning up after themselves after making a meal…actually, no.  Not true.  They’re generally rubbish at cleaning up and I end up reminding them kindly and patiently several times a day and then screaming and yelling like a lunatic to just put the bread away already, goddammit.

Luckily it’s not as cold here in England in winter as it was in D.C. (or is on most of the east coast of the U.S. right now) so the kids can still play outside for a few hours almost every day.  But it IS wet and rainy and that means it’s muddy and I don’t mind them playing in mud and getting dirty until it’s time to do laundry and I discover that they’ve actually worn three different pair of warm-ups and two different pair of socks each in a single day because they kept getting wet and dirty and then changing and leaving their dirty, wet clothes on the floor.  Then I give long lectures on making unnecessary work for other people when you could just wear one outfit a day or two AT MOST and not go back out once you’ve already changed into clean dry clothes.  And then I spend twenty minutes teaching people how to do their own laundry.  And then we all spend an hour every other day folding and putting away clean clothes while I threaten the lives of the children if they don’t stop changing outfits multiples times a day.

So.  Winter break has been fun.  Lots of fun.  Lots of movies and baking and cooking and board games and reading and laughing and good times. 

But my goodness, I’m ready for the fun to end.

Menorca, Spain

I had to turn the heat on in my house today because it was so cold I couldn’t feel the tip of my nose.  While I waited for the radiators to heat up so I could lean against them and get warm, I flipped through the photo album from our summer trip to Menorca. 

Beaches and sunshine — even just in photos  — made me warmer.

Menorca is an island off the coast of Spain, the less-well-known sister to Ibiza and Mallorca. 

Quaint and relaxed and pristine, this was one of the most ruggedly beautiful places we’ve been. 

With a pool in the back yard of our fantastic Airbnb and two beaches within a five-minute walk from our house, this quick 4-day trip was all about relaxation. 

But because we can’t sit still for four straight days, it was also about kayaking and snorkeling and catamaran trips.

We sailed around the island on a big catamaran, jumped off the boat and explored hidden coves, fed the seagulls and the fish. 

My children took turns steering the boat.

The kids had never been snorkeling before, but we bought everyone fins and masks before the trip and they took to it, well, like fish to water. 

Fearless and curious, they swam around the coves and beaches in shallow pools and in water 20+ feet deep, searching out cool fish and crazy rock formations. 

A little octopus, maybe a foot across stretched out tentacle-to-tentacle made an appearance at the beach one day, wrapping himself around Matt’s shin to announce his presence, and for twenty minutes we all followed him and his swirling progress across the ocean floor, just amazed and mesmerized.

White sandy beaches surrounded by rocky cliffs.  Crystal clear water and nothing but sunshine for days on end. 

All the seafood we could eat. 

We baked in the sunshine, read books on the beach, climbed the rocks, and swam in the sea.  

We threw ourselves into the Spanish lifestyle, eating dinner at 9PM. 

Not all of us made it to dessert every night.

Whenever it’s cold this winter, when it’s rainy and windy and raw and damp and the chill gets in my bones and I just can’t get warm, I’ll look back on this trip and remember the perfect sun and it will get me through.

Menorca was amazing.  You should go.

How Many Kids?

My babies_May 2010

I always wanted a lot of kids.  Before I HAD children, four was, in fact, my minimum number.  I really wanted five or six.

When Quinn was born though, my fourth baby in five and half years, I had been pregnant or nursing for what felt like forever.  I had had children every other year from 2004 through 2010.  And I just felt like that was it — I didn’t want to be pregnant or nursing anymore.  I wanted my body back.  I was done.  Matt agreed; I think he was even more done than I was.  We took care of things so that we wouldn’t get pregnant anymore.

age 6

Then Quinn turned one and my baby fever kicked back in and I decided we had made a terrible, terrible mistake.  We should definitely have had ONE MORE child.  And I was sure that this time, it would definitely be another girl.  Just as sure as I had been with my previous three pregnancies, all of which resulted in boys.  Matt had anticipated this, apparently, knowing that when each of our kids had hit their first birthday, I decided it was time for another one.  He knew my change of heart was coming, and he helped me work through it.  It wasn’t a fast process, though.  To be honest, it took me about a year and half to finally accept it and no longer feel a deep sense of regret.  It was about the time that Quinn was potty-trained when I felt, at last, like I was okay with really being done.

IMG_0026

I think it was the realization that after eight years and three months of diapers, I was finished.  A weight was lifted and we moved into new parenting territory; we had no more “babies” then.  After that, I was good with no more children and I haven’t looked back. 

Nov 084

I love having four kids.  I love the noise and the chaos, the million pairs of shoes by the door, the endless laundry and the never-ending cooking, and the giant cars we have to buy so we can all fit in.  I really do, even if I complain about it.

G sledding

I always knew I wanted a big family, but once I started having kids, I changed my mind about exactly HOW big. 

How many kids do you have?  Are you happy with your family size?  Are you done having kids? Did it turn out the way you expected?  I’d love to hear.

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