in Facts, Featured

When a Tragedy Becomes a Teachable Moment

In an ideal world, I would stick my kids in a bubble.  They’d be surrounded by only lovable people who have their very best interests in mind; who would never hurt them or make them sad; who would treat them as if they were their own.  But, sadly, I know that this ideal world would not be good for them.  It’s not real-life, and the lessons they need to learn in order to become well-adjusted, kind adults will not fester in that bubble.

An innocent child in my state was killed today.

She was last seen riding her bike to a friends house in pure daylight over the weekend.  It’s all over the news–her community came out and searched for her, and today her body was found.  It’s absolutely disgusting to think that another human could do this, and to a child nonetheless.

At first, I prayed my children–my son in particular–would not hear about this tragedy.  How can you even begin to explain that someone killed a child to a child?  I didn’t want to scare him, but him and his sister truly need to understand the concept of stranger-danger.

Sometimes I think they “yes” me in order to get on with what they want to do–like riding their own bikes with their friends.  I’ve told them both many, many times that they can not speak to strangers.  I’ve given them the whole “hey-kid-I-have-some-candy-for-you” scenario to see how they would react (to which my daughter very innocently told me she would not go to the car for candy but if it was icing, well, maybe then she would!)

After thinking about whether or not to have the conversation with them, I decided that it came down to my own children’s characters.  My son is very trusting, and my daughter is very daring.  I decided to sit them both down tonight to tell them about this tragedy, and to use it as a teachable moment to reinforce how important it is to never be alone, to always be with a buddy, and to never. ever. EVER. talk to strangers.

It was a horribly tough conversation.

I told them that if someone they did not know was trying to get their attention and they were uncomfortable, that they had my permission to yell things like “Stranger!” or “Help!” or “No!”  I assured them both that they would not get in trouble for assuming someone was a stranger.

My kids were definitely both nervous going to bed tonight, which put a pit in my stomach wondering if I did the right thing by telling them.  But, I really do think it was important to reinforce this huge safety concern, and to then reinforce how they are surrounded by people who love and care for them deeply, and that they don’t need to be scared–they need to be safe.

Where do you stand on this?  Did you/would you tell your children about this tragedy?  If so, what did you tell them?  If not, what was your reasoning why? 

in Facts, Lifestyle

10 Most Inspirational People {in my life}

Another question from our drive to Vermont was to list 10 people who inspire us, and why.  At first I thought it was going to be hard to come up with ten people, but in the end, it was hard to come up with just ten people.  Here are the ten people who most inspire me and why:

My Son

The way my son handles the adversity he faces due to his food allergies is inspirational.  Each one of us faces challenges of our own, and could learn a lesson from him. Very, very rarely is it him who shows frustration when he gets left out of special treats at school, or can’t share the same meal as everyone at the table at family parties.  Usually it’s me. 

My Daughter

My daughter inspires me to be my best self, because after all, I am her biggest role model and she is watching me closely every day.  She inspires me to not look into the mirror and complain about my stomach or thighs, because I don’t want her to have poor body image.  She inspires me to be kind to people who aren’t kind, to show her that it’s far more important to love than to hate.  When I make poor choices, her presence inspires me to handle them in a way that shows her that everyone {even Mommy!} makes mistakes, and you should take responsibility for your actions and do the best you can in the future. 

My Mom

I could easily list a hundred reasons why my mom inspires me, and the list truly grows daily, but one thing that instantly sticks out in my mind is that my mom has the ability to cut people out of her life who aren’t adding anything positive to it.  She doesn’t allow negative people to drain her energy, and that is something I allow far too much.  I often ask myself WWTD {What Would Trish Do?} when I am feeling drained.  The way she cuts the negativity is never with drama or rudely, she just choose that they aren’t worth her energy and let’s it go. 

My Step-Dad

My step-dad has been in my life for longer than I can remember, and up until recently, I didn’t truly understand the depth of one of the things I’m most inspired by.  He has always, always treated me as his own, and loved me unconditionally–and as a divorced mom of two, this really strikes a chord with me.   Also, I’m not sure I can even count on one hand the number of times he has said something bad about another person.  He simply exudes so much love for the people around him that you can’t help but smile when you are with him.  He inspires me to be genuine in my relationships, and find the good in every person I meet.     

My Sisters

My sisters are both brilliant, and beautiful, and witty, and independent–and I do not think I am just biast. They are both such strong women, each with great heads on their shoulders filled with their own ideas on life.  They both inspire me to believe in myself, and my choices; to be a strong, independent woman like they are.  And it’s funny, I am the oldest and yet I look “up” to them both so much.   

My “Boyfriend”

Side Note:  Writing that just makes me giddy. I believe he came into my life for a reason, and there are many ways he inspires me.  But, most importantly, he gives me a reason to be motivated {or find motivation!} in everything that I do from mundane tasks to big decisions.  It’s very hard to find motivation when you are a single parent, working 2+ jobs, trying to stay a size 4, and trying to get eight hours of shut eye.  But, he believes in me, and that alone gives me the motivation I need when I truly can’t find it anywhere else. 

My Aunt Serena

Serena’s energy is contagious. And although if I had just a tenth of her energy, I’m sure I could move mountains, what inspires me the most about her is her spirtuality.  My fellow “black sheep” and monkey, Serena has been a buddist for longer than I can remember, and is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, the Chinese Astrological Calendar, and being a GOOD person, which is certain to have exponential paybacks.  Her intuitive spirituality inspires me to think outside the box as I struggle with finding my own faith-path. 

My Cousin Jessica

A spring-chicken “just” six months younger than me, my cousin Jessica has confidence that is contagious.  I used to be a snob.  I used to think my $hit didn’t stink.  “Used to” is the key phrase.  I’m not sure when my confidence level became a thing of the past, but when I am around Jessica, she inspires me to look deep inside myself and find it. 

My Cousin Laura

Laura is a single full-time working mom, and she takes on the world.  She is *SUCH* a good mom.  She inspires me to fight through the exhaustion I often feel in so many avenues in life, and inspires me to make every moment special for my kids because that is what is most important at the end of the day.

My Girlfriend Allison

Allison is remarkable.  Not only does she never sleep because two of her three young sons have Diabetes and she is usually up around the clock making sure they are ok and getting the medicine they need, but her family just lost almost every single thing they own in Hurricane Sandy.  Yet you can run into her any given day and she is full of positive spirit and sincerely happy.  She is also the only other person in my life who not only shares my addiction of selling things on craigslist and returning items previously used, but is better at it than me. That alone is inspirational enough

in Facts

Mom’s “WTF Facts”: An ongoing list…

I’ve been following “What the F*CK Facts” on twitter for a while now.  Every day, I’m humored, and even sometimes shocked, by several “facts” that are revealed, so much that I’ve found myself mentally compiling my own list of WTF Facts that only another mom could relate to.

So, I present to you…..“Mom’s WTF Facts: An Ongoing List”

* It takes HOURS to clean and organize a playroom, and less than 5 minutes for it to be utterly destroyed beyond recongition.  WTF!

* It’s inevitable that after you scrub your toilets and wipe the piss stains off the wall that someone will literally $hit on your work seconds later. WTF!

* When find yourself kid-less for the night, your sleeping hours will consist of heartburn, insomnia, or ridiculously loud snoring from your spouse as opposed to a night of uniterrupted sleep. WTF!

* No matter how many times you unload your kitchen sink, every time you walk by it new {& barely dirty} items will be in it. WTF!

* Same thing goes for the laundry basket. WTF!

* If your kids pick their nose & eat their findings, it may actually strengthen their immune system. WTF!

* The day you succumb to the stains on your kitchen floor and spend your only free time on your hands and knees making it shine is the day that juice will be split on it.  WTF!

* Kids will lie about the silliest things:  Yes, I pooped today–No, I’m not tired–Yes, I let the dog out.  By the end of the day, you’re left with a constipated, exhausted kid and a pile of dog shit in the playroom. WTF!

Got anything to add to my list?  Feel free to leave your mom-appreciated WTF Fact in the comments below & I’ll add it to my on-going list along with a link back to your blog or twitter handle.