Tuesday, May 22, 2012

19 and Counting

No, no, not nineteen children. Nineteen years. Of marriage. Today is our anniversary! We went for a Japanese dinner and ice cream for dessert. It is wonderful being married to my Freddy. I asked him at dinner if he ever thought we'd make it this far. His reply "Yes, but I thought it would be a lot harder. I didn't account for love being able to carry us through so much." I have to agree. It is sort of what we expected as young people looking forward, but we hadn't counted on it still being so good after a lot of time. The years did not diminish our capacity for one another, they actually multiplied our ability to share what we already liked to begin with. 
That is really a blessing!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rabid Raccoon

Interesting afternoon in our yard. We finished up our last tests for the year ( Joe still has a book report to complete) and were getting ready to head to Mass for Ascension Thursday. Fred and the older boys had been working on the foundation for a new project in town and had just rolled through the door also. Joe, Tom, Mike, and Mary were playing in the sand box while the little girls were napping, when Pete called out from the kitchen "Hey! look at that raccoon???"
The sound of his voice made our spidey senses tingle immediately. It took us about 2.5 seconds to both begin calling out to the kids. Fred yelled "there's something wrong with that animal- Elle get the kids" and lickety split I was on the screen porch to call them all in. The raccoon was mangy looking and walking towards them in the sandbox in broad daylight until Fred yelled out  while heading towards it and startled it.Thankfully the kids hadn't seen it and listened right away to me calling them firmly inside. It looked to both of us to be rabid.
Before I knew it Fred aka Atticus and the older 4 boys were striding across the yard to deal with it. It turned and retreated into the wooded area. And then they did too. It conjured a rather strange reaction from my heart. On the one hand I was genuinely frightened at how close it had come, and was coming, to my little ones and I could see it was a clear danger; on the other hand I watched 4 of my sons march like men into thickets following their father to remove that danger by confronting it head on. It crawled into a drainage ditch where they blocked it in. It hissed and growled and every hair on my arms stood up as I listened in from the distance keeping the kids safe and answering their questions. 

Tommy: "What is a rabbit raccoon?" 

"No Tommy its not a rabbit raccoon, its rabid- that means sick." 

Mary: "How do you know mom?"

 - "well raccoons are nocturnal and they are afraid of people and that raccoon is out in daylight and he was heading towards you!" 

Mike:"did he get real close to me????"

A few minutes and plinks later they had cornered it, put it out of its misery, and safety was restored. Goodness, could the same boys who had so recently been playing in that sand box now be really old enough to defend it for their younger siblings? What a strange sight to see them following Fred into the brush standing taller than him all the while. I sat at mass thinking on it. I know they have grown up. I watched it happen day after day. But even still it catches me off guard at times. Like today.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring Purging

We're putting the finishing touches on our school year this week and next. Andrew and Peters final work is graded and ready for submission. I will never have to grade another bit of work for either of them again! After they graduate, I'll be one-fifth through my family's excellent home-school adventure. The thought of 2 less people that I'll  have to manage school-wise is very welcome. I hope the last week of testing goes smoothly for the little ones. We are certainly ready to switch gears around this place. I also managed to rid the house of about 17 bags of extra clothing last weekend. Yes, I said seventeen. I turned into tornado mode and hit every possible nook and cranny clothes might have escaped my notice these past years.I would say it was Spring cleaning, but we didn't clean much yet, just purged ourselves of extras. We might even get a few more items knocked off our house to-do list, like the flooring in the basement and painting the living room. We'll see. A girl can hope, can't she?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I figured I’d just cut to the chase and entitle this post what it is about. A girlfriend wrote to me this morning and asked me to say something about the topic after encountering a fair bit of vitriol on the web for having a differing view than many others out there. Here's the scoop: North Carolina voted to ban gay marriage, the civil unions’ bill was dashed in the Colorado state house, and a short while later President Obama finished his evolutionary cycle and decided he is indeed for gay marriage.

It’s a heated debate and no doubt will continue to be. But I find myself fairly peaceful about it all. And it’s not because I don’t have an opinion on it that you likely already know if you read these posts even occasionally. It's because I am confident in who ultimately makes the decisions.

For a whole lot of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender people the President has just done something great. For others who support traditional marriage North Carolina has done something great.

Tell me, do you wonder who is right?

Do you wonder who is capable of really deciding who is right?

If the President says it’s OK, will that be good enough for you to think its now right? If he didn’t would it make it wrong?

How about the States? At least some of them voting for it? Maybe most? Would it have to be all?

Would the Supreme Court saying anyone can marry anyone  else ( same sex unions) or even several anyone’s ( polygamy, polyandry)  make it right? And why narrow the field down so much when we have even better choices among the animal kingdom if we wanted that sort of thing ( bestiality), or bar attraction between family members ( incest),and why should we have age limits  (statutory  rape, pedastry) on who can be sexual with whom-  I mean heck we all have different appetites so-  would that make it right?

Actually it wouldn’t.  These institutions and people could only make things legal. They can say things like: Abortion is legal. But despite its legality for the last 39 years, lots of people (including me) still think it’s wrong, and will not be convinced otherwise. That doesn’t make us simple , or bigoted, or prejudice, or close-minded. And it might just make sense to us in a different sort of way, with a different set of eyes, that don’t think all things begin and end on this earth, and that our actions or inactions have consequences that last beyond the confines of time and space. We might even feel we have an obligation to speak up based on our beliefs or we would be responsible for NOT acting when we believe something to be wrong. (If a child is running towards a hot fire and I do nothing- haven't I actually become partially responsible for the burn?)

So if it really is a matter of right and wrong (i.e morality) well then governments can’t really solve that one can they? It just isn’t their job. All any man can do when it comes to matters of rightness and wrongness is follow what he believes to be right before God and other men and then live what his informed conscience tells him to the best of his ability. And here is another catch- he may even think he is doing everything right- and still be wrong! (Remember those dudes who flew the planes into the Twin Towers in hopes of lots of virgins? Well, do you think they got the virgins or not? Who do you think decided things for them? Did they meet with fire instead? Did they find the  red guy with a pitchfork? Did they just disappear into ‘nothingness’ and all that was left of them was an awful legacy of destruction? )   

As part of this democracy I can tell what my vote would be on these issues. I can sign petitions and choose candidates. I can argue and debate. I have a responsibility to do so, even if you don’t like that opinion. But as for the rightness or wrongness of it all, well in those matters I humbly submit myself to a higher authority who is capable of really deciding, and I won't get a definitive answer until after I leave this world so I muddle along as best I am able until then. I can't simply listen to the president, or the courts, I have to listen to that little voice inside of me. I do not believe religion should be forced on anyone, but I also know it shouldn't be forced out of anyone.

For me this has never been about legal or illegal, it’s a moral choice, and I’m doing the best I can to live by the dictates of my own conscience. Hope that’s OK with you.