Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Sunday, October 5, 2014

You know what's really interesting?

Some things defy logic.  Well, actually lots of things  do.  What I can't wrap my head around is why some one for the itty bitty North Dakota town of Wilton keeps visiting my blog.

Why on earth would someone from that ink-spot-on-a-map kind of town keep visiting my blog? 

Friday, September 26, 2014

a life that hung on a trigger

I can't share too much detail, or maybe any at all, but Marc came home the other day with a story to tell.  Our perception of how the incident played out is tainted especially in light of the recent police officer shooting in South Carolina.

Suffice it to say, Marc was on the scene of some search warrants being executed by his agency as well as several other agencies.  He was in his work vehicle which looks like every single other GMC you see on TV shows being driven by a fed.  The next thing he knows he had a large semi automatic weapon pointed at his face.  He identified himself and showed his badge and credentials and the day proceeded as normal.  He could have been killed by friendly fire in the blink of an eye.

We both wonder, without casting any prejudicial thoughts towards the other agent, if the outcome would have been the same had Marc been a black or Hispanic man?  Would they had given Marc the nano second to identify himself and produce his badge?  I am not blaming the other agent for his actions.....I have not nor will I be able to walk in his shoes.....but I do know that I was happy at that moment that Marc knew enough to only respond verbally and not make a movement.  What if Marc had been a black man?  Would he have been given the benefit of the doubt?

I am a mother to 3 young black men.  I worry especially for my 16 year old.  I worry if he wears a hoody into a store.  No one should have that fear.  Sadly it stays in my gut where I tell him to take the hoody off when in a store or in a crowd.  I hate living with doubt that someone will treat my boys fairly.  This should not be a fear of any parent in our country today.

I said something disgusting and vile yesterday.  When Marc told me about his encounter, I said, "Thank God you're white." I meant it!  It may, or may not have been what kept the other agent's finger from pulling the trigger.  I don't know the other agent.  I can't judge him or any prejudice he may have.  All I know is that Marc was at the other end of the gun and his life hung in the balance of his reactions and those of the man with his finger on the trigger.

I hate being afraid for my black boys to be out and about in this world without me, their white mom, there to mitigate any possible problems.  How can I simultaneously teach them to be proud of being themselves while teaching them how to behave if they encounter bigotry or police questioning?  I hate, hate, being afraid for them.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

High Gear, warp speed, and overdrive!

You know what?  I still cringe when people mention North Dakota.  I'm not sure if that reaction will ever leave any of us.  If your getting tired of hearing about it, rest assured we are tired of feeling this way.

I don't know if we'll ever fully put behind us the feeling of betrayal we felt when our  pastor turned his back on the racism our kids were experiencing at church and in the parsonage.  He heard our kids called the N word and yet he never, ever dealt with this.  Because of this we have yet to be able to return to a church....any church.

However this situation caused us to have a profound effect on our faith.  We know for certain that God looked out for us and got us away those who pretend to be one thing, yet quietly lack ANY moral backbone. 

In fact North Dakota is so negative to us that when we traveled out to Missoula to visit our friends in March, we drove the longer route and went across South Dakota and Wyoming solely to avoid having to set foot in N.D.  But we have all become stronger due to others' bigotry. 

We had a brief get-together with some of our Renegade friends in Montana and got to meet the newest Renegade.  He's a delightful, happy little baby and I'm so glad I got to smoosh on him when he was just an itty bitty newborn.  The kids had a rockin' good time as usual together and the grown ups learned how to drink banned beverages in Styrofoam coffee cups.....just to stay sane while supervising our kids at the Tribal YMCA. 

April came and went and saw Madison turn 17!  We now have 2 college visits scheduled; one at Grinnell College in 2 weeks and one at San Jose State University next month.  She also has Middlebury College and Sweet Briar College in the line up and somewhere down the list....Oregon State and Portland State.  She wants to double major in International Relations and Arabic with a minor in Spanish. Her career goals remain set on the CIA and I firmly believe this kid can do it.

Marc continues to love his DEA office here and enjoys that its a much larger office than the one in Bismarck.  He's busy, but being the boss allows him to be home with more consistency.  YEAH!

Richnigthder has made the travelling baseball team and the practices have already started.  It will be a very busy summer with his schedule alone.  Jerome remains happy...happy....happy!  He's doing a summer day camp for a couple weeks and is really excited about it.  Thomas is 6 months out now from his complete knee reconstruction surgery and you can't tell that he had a huge surgery.  Now we wait until next fall to have the other knee done.  He wants the summer to tear it up on his motorcycle....and I suppose have time to continue wrecking the bum knee even more.  As for me, I don't have any time for myself.  I am constantly on the move keeping kids in check.

I did squeeze in a quick trip to Oregon with the little boys.  They had never been there and had a great time with my 3 sisters, nieces and nephews.  We went to a psychic and Tarot Card reader and that was a blast and shockingly dead on the money accurate.  My sister Kathleen and her husband, Art just took a transfer to Little Rock and I am SO excited since it is the first time in 10 years that I have had family closer than 1500 miles.  For us it will be a straight shot down  I-35 and I can't wait to spend a holiday with them.

Now I'm off to order Madison's cheerleading outfit.  Yep.  In addition to Dressage, Speech Team, and
writing for the school paper, she's made the Varsity Cheerleader team.  Good God this house is in high gear and constantly moving.  And secretly, I love it!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

College visits, applesauce and fall foliage

The trees in Southern Minnesota are deliciously colorful right now.  The rolling hills and bluffs are swaddled in hues of gold, red, orange, brown and purple.  We have been deprived of the glory of the fall season having lived in North Dakota where our 80 acres had a total of ONE tree.  Sadly, that one tree would go from having some nice bright, green leaves to completely bare in about an hour and a half. 

Madison and I traveled 60 miles down Hwy 61 to Winona, Minnesota today.  It follows the Mississippi River and the bluffs that surround it on both the Minnesota side and the Wisconsin side.  It was a beautiful drive with the trees in full color.  Our journey to Winona was Madison's first college visit/tour.  Winona  State University is a pretty campus nestled at the bottom of the Mississippi bluffs, along the river and is resplendent in color right now.  The campus is about 10,000 students and seems to comprise a fair amount of diversity, which is important to Madison after having lived through the single ethnic lack-of-diversity experienced in North Dakota. 

We saw the important things on campus and culminated in the bookstore where she bought a sweatshirt.  I asked if she had chosen this as her one and only college and she informed me that she plans on getting a sweatshirt at every college we visit.  Whew!  That kid will have a lot of hoodies by the end of this Spring! 

She also took her PSAT yesterday which is another sign to me that I am indeed past my college fun-in-my-prime days.  I had to keep reminding her that the cute guys were checking me out and not her.  How silly could she be? 

I am now home, making applesauce with the abundance of apples that our trees gave us this year.  The smell in here is unbelievable!  So I'm pretty sure that my day today qualifies me for Mom-of-the-Year status.  I've watched my first born tour her first college, helped her prepare for her PSAT, marveled at the beauty of fall, and lamented her approaching college days while making applesauce.  If only all my days were this contemplative.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

All work and no pay equals our reality

Marc has the distinct pleasure of working every single day for our federal government without pay now.  He gets to go and put his life potentially in harms way all without the benefit of a pay check.  If I seem disgruntled, it's because I am.  Marc doesn't get bonuses, overtime pay, or comp. time.  He also hasn't had a pay raise in more than 3 years.  And now, he gets to go to work and not even have the promise of a paycheck.

I'm embarrassed to be an American right now.  Our Congressional members are punishing the citizens because they refuse to work towards a solution.  Why is the word 'compromise' viewed as a negative?  Why is compromise viewed as a weakness?  I do know that we would not be in this position if the members of congress were denied a paycheck until a resolution was found.  This is hard to believe.  Who are those elected officials working for?  Too bad we can't decide to vote for no pay for them! 

Rant over.  Now continue on!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What some failed to learn in Kindergarten

I won't dwell on the Paula Deen fiasco.  It's been hashed out and debated enough.  People from both sides of the camp have eloquently stated their beliefs, albeit, some with more credibility than others.

My take on this is simple.  The N word is never, ever acceptable.  It is a vile word that objectifies black people as objects and negates their humanism.  I know the arguments put forth by those that try to justify its usage:  the primary assertion is that since blacks use the N word amongst themselves, that fact alone lends itself to its acceptability in our language.  Do black people use that word...why yes they do.  Does that make it alright and an acceptable word in our vernacular?.....Why no it doesn't.  I believe that as the N word persisted throughout the generations, blacks used the words amongst themselves as a way of 'claiming' the word.  If they claimed the word and used it, then maybe it would diminish the sting felt when a white person would use it towards them.  Like I said, that's my personal belief of why some black people use the word.  Do I think it's right?  No I don't.

I think that any person using the word lowers themselves to that of a ignorant person who doesn't possess the knowledge to choose better words.  It really, really pisses me off to hear the N word uttered by anyone. 

My kids have heard this said to them in North Dakota.  They heard it directed towards them at the parsonage.  They heard the church council president tell us that he has used the N word and finds it acceptable.  Let me tell you that hearing that word directed at your children is so hurtful it's actually a physical pain.  I thought my heart with burst with sadness.  I don't know why or how some people can still justify its usage today.

For the love of God people.  It's 2013.  Did you not learn in Kindergarten that two wrongs do not make a right?  Just because someone else does something does not mean it's right or acceptable.  Why can't we go back to the golden days of Kindergarten where name calling is a no-no and treating others the way you want to be treated is the rule?  Now, everyone sit on your carpet square, criss-cross applesauce, and listen to the morning story about the brave new generation where regardless of skin color there is no name calling and everyone tries to get along.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Homesick at home

We had the best week ever with our friends here.  We had old friends and new friends.  We had 35 people and 15 kids.  It was a week full of laughter, good belly aching laughter, liquor and inside jokes.  18 of us stayed in this house for a week and we all got along without a hiccup.

The chaos that existed in this house earned the nick name of  the frat house.  In all honesty, it was like Animal House.  We had dishes in the flower pots out front, underwear in the driveway, a horse trough of water for water guns in the driveway, a broken window from a wayward baseball, red solo cups freaking everywhere, a recycling can full of liquor bottles, little boys peeing off the deck, a 24 pack of toilet paper by the front door.....that's a mystery to me....and a stampede thru the front yard of a herd of cows and last but not least, two emergency room visits.

The enclosed sun room/porch became the Renegade Lounge.  It's where we did the best story telling, drinking and laughing.  We laughed to the point that we kept the 12 children awake who pointed out that they couldn't sleep because of our loud laughter.  As a collective group, we told stories that are now legendary.  After all of our stories and laughter, we reached the unanimous conclusion that we are the normal families!  All of us passed extensive and thorough backgrounds to be given the privilege to parent our children through adoption.  We also realized we might just all be going straight to hell because of our humor.

Hell or not, I'll enjoy my company there.  Our friends are our family, the ones who will raise our children should we die, and I couldn't imagine them being raised by any other families more like us than the Watkins and Dorcheus's.  To all of our Renegade families, we anxiously await next year to see you all again and to share more fun and love.  We love you all and can't wait for next summer and a repeat of the intense fun.

Stories of adventures to follow. Stay tuned.