A Letter To My Kids After The Las Vegas Shooting

image

Dearest Zora and Felix,
I just tucked you into bed after hours of rocking on our front porch chairs and singing 13 verses of “the wheels on the bus” at the dinner table. In our sweet little nest, it seemed like an ordinary evening.

Zora-you showed off your cooing and kicking on the baby gym.

Felix-you splashed in the tub and practiced counting to 14.

We shared a few family hugs at Felix’s request.

Then, as we turned out the lights, I sang our usual night night songs.

We honored all of our family traditions at home and it seemed like any ordinary Monday. But, my darlings, inside- my heart was aching.

Because last night, other families were trying to have an ordinary evening of singing songs together and sharing food at a country music concert – but a gunman opened fire and hundreds were wounded, dozens lost their lives.

It feels like the ordinary has become unsafe in this broken world.

How can I let you go to school tomorrow? How can I let you out of my sight?

How can I sleep knowing other mothers, just like me, lost their children last night?

How can I rest when it seems the news is always reminding me to be afraid, to shield you from the outside world, to keep you all to myself – which is the only way to be sure you will never see terror like our country saw last night in Las Vegas?

But then, I remember the wonder that lives in your eyes.

You both carry such courage and such hope in your bright faces. You long to learn and grow. You have an openness to the world.

My job as your mom is to foster that courage. Because you, my dears, will be the change I wish to see in the world.

I promise you I will do my part as you are growing up.

I will vote for smart gun laws and I will pray for peace that passes all understanding. I will teach you to be leaders and bridgebuilders.

I will cling tightly to the good in the world, and I will make sure you have eyes to see it too.

On a night like tonight, as our community grieves the violence and terror we saw in Las Vegas, you remind me to help. You remind me to advocate for change.

I wish I could take away the threats of the world. I wish I could stop these horrible events from happening. But even though I can’t wipe away this sorrow and tragedy, being your mom reminds me that I’m obligated to do something.

So tomorrow, we will all get up and go to work and to school.

We will all show kindness to our neighbors and compassion to those who are different than us.

We will show patience and understanding when conflict arises, and we will offer forgiveness and gentleness in the midst of frustration.

This is how we shine a light when the darkness comes. This is what we can do in our own little neighborhood. This is how we stop fear from winning.

Tomorrow, we begin again. One step at a time, one spark of goodness in the world that needs it so desperately.

May it begin with us,

Love, Mom

 

 

 

Advertisements

Garbage, Clutter and Boxes

image

I’m posting on trash night, because this week, my Lenten purge is a bunch of garbage- literally.

I took a close look in the invisible places of my home. This led to some alarming discoveries:

-Expired hot sauce in the fridge
-Soy sauce packets
-Pantry items way past their shelf life
-medications from years ago
-too many hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles
-half a drawer full of orphan socks without a match
-cards from people I can’t even remember
-handouts from grad school that are no longer relevant
-coupons and junk mail from stores I will never go in
-cardboard boxes we’re hoarding for no reason
-Old crusty paint cans and paint brushes from previous owners of this home

This week’s purge does not serve anyone else or benefit any organization that we support.

But clearing out old drawers and cluttered corners of our house feels good.

It reminds me how important it is to create space in every aspect of my life. Instead of cramped cupboards and a full basement – I’m inching towards more simplicity. I’m longing for breathing room, and home seems like the best place to start.

By the time I leave the house tomorrow, our front curb will be empty again. Our old boxes and handouts and greeting cards will be recycled and transformed into new and useful items. The extra garbage that was hiding in the corners of our house will be picked up, giving us a new opportunity to start fresh, to limit the intake and outtake in our home.

These are the unglamorous parts of the Lenten purge, and yet, some of the most necessary.

Habitat for Humanity: Donations that Change Communities

40 bags week 4

I remember the first Habitat for Humanity home I worked on in high school. It was a hot day, and I felt tired in the first hour of painting and nailing siding… I took too many water breaks trying to rest. At the time, I could only think of my own discomfort as I trudged through the long day of physical labor with my classmates.

But in the 18 years since, I’ve participated in 10 other house building projects- and with each Habitat for Humanity Home I helped build, my appreciation and admiration for the work of this organization grew.

I love that the homeowners work beside us to build their own houses.

I love that Habitat for Humanity educates the homeowners on basic home repair skills.

I love that Habitat for Humanity partners with organizations like Financial Peace University to teach homeowners about financial responsibility and living within our means.

I love that Habitat for Humanity can offer interest free loans on these houses so that more and more families can plant roots and experience stable housing conditions.

I remember the Saturdays I spent building alongside homeowner Tracy this fall. As I got to know her, I started to imagine her son Zayden running down the hallway and decorating his own room once they moved in. At the home dedication ceremony- I watched as Tracy’s 3 year old son Zayden befriended my son Felix. The two boys took turns playing with a balloon and weaving in and out of the legs of all the Habitat for Humanity partners and builders that joined together to celebrate Tracy and Zayden’s new nest.

Habitat for Humanity has been such a meaningful organization in my life- teaching me about how to truly be a neighbor to others. Habitat taught me how to collaborate and how to drywall, as well as how to watch a community rise up.

This week, instead of bags in my Lenten purge, I called the Habitat Restore. They came to my home and picked up a variety of old doors, tables and housewares that we do not need. These items will be sold in their Restore and the funds with help more families like Tracy and Zayden become homeowners. The funds will also help more people like me open their eyes to the opportunities we all have participate in the building up of our neighborhoods and communities. What a blessing.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: