Monday, November 24, 2008

"Parent Guilt" vs. "Enough"

I don't know about you, but I could really use the "redistribution of wealth" a particular political candidate used as a platform for his election campaign. Especially with Christmas just around the corner.
We seem to find ourselves in this situation every year: right before Thanksgiving we shift into panic mode, as we realize that Santa is a little lean on cash, and three little pairs of eyes will be bouncing down the stairs with no awareness of this fact. You would think we would learn...
This year we have decided at the outset of the mayhem to "celebrate lean." But the stupid toy and electronic advertisements are merciless. Every commercial sends my kids into a frenzy. Every trip to the store, we step haphazardly into an advertisement mine field, taunting me with all of the toys we can't buy.
Why did no one ever tell me about the "Parent Guilt" thing? It was most certainly not in the Parenting Brochure!
As a parent, nothing you ever do is "enough." Even spending billions of dollars on your child, is not "enough." Because, then you have not spent enough "time" with them. And was that "time" truly "quality" time? It goes on and on.
Christmas is the epicenter of the "Parent Guilt" storm. We compare gifts with our neighbors and friends. No matter how many, or how much, we don't feel we did "enough" for our kids.
I usually spend Christmas Eve stuffing stockings to over-flowing, and still think of several things that are "missing." As I help Santa arrange his offerings by the fireplace, I wonder if perhaps he has shorted them a little, too. At the end of the Christmas morning present-opening-bonanza, we look around at the wads of ripped paper and mounds of new, shiny things, and tally in our head all of the things we did NOT get/give.
Of course, my kids have always been a bigger fan of playing with the box that the toy came in, than actually playing with the toy. So, I really shouldn't assume the "Parent Guilt," since I know that they're pretty much happy with a coupon for the ice cream store and a new Webkins. But that doesn't stop me.
With the economy reeking havoc on all of our finances, this would be the perfect opportunity to adopt the "live lean" philosophy- not just for Christmas, but for all the time. But, that "Parent Guilt" won't let us allow our children to miss the new movie at the movie theater, eat home-cooked, simple meals instead of going out to a restaurant, or wear the same shirt more than once in a two-week period.
The "Parent Guilt" has made us gluttonous and gross. It has made our houses full of "stuff," our waistlines too big and our pockets empty. This year for Christmas, I want "enough." And I want my kids to have "enough." And I want us to continue to have "enough" throughout the year.
I want "enough" to mean "satsified with what we have" and "appreciative and thankful," instead of "making do," or "sacrificing." And I want the stupid "Parent Guilt" to attack my lazy butt that refuses to exercise- make that part feel guilty so I'll get out of bed earlier to use the Bo-Flex in our "exercise room." Or maybe my "Parent Guilt" could rear its ugly head at the housework, so that I get a little miffed and work on that for a while.
Either way, our lives are going to have to be "leaner" and more "simple." It would just be nice if "Parent Guilt" would give it a rest over Christmas so that I can enjoy being together instead of inventorying the gifts...
Here's hoping your Black Friday (the sale day after Thanksgiving) is lucrative for you and full of things that you need and will use-- instead of more junk thrown into your basket by "Parent Guilt."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hamster Heaven

Please extend prayers and sympathy to the family of Duchess the Hamster.

Duchess entered the Church Triumphant early in the morning hours, after having struggled with an undiagnosed debilitating illness for over a week.

She is survived by Keith, Emma, Amy, Dixie, Hubby and Mommy Barbie.

A private memorial service will be held by immediate family this evening in their home. There will be no visitation or grave-side service.

In leiu of flowers, donations to Keith's, Emma's and Amy's College Funds are requested by the family.

May Duchess' light shine eternal and her family know peace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fighters, To Your Corners...

We are sliding head-long into Christmas season with a mighty hope that there's something soft when we land. We, as are the rest of the world it seems, running seventy different directions with the time and capability of only running sixty. But, hey, what's ten more things to do?

School is at the fevered pitch it hits right before an extended break. The atmosphere is electric and the restlessness is palpable.

Teachers are trying to teach. But this is when it becomes necessary to rope the children back in a thousand times per class period; Projects are being assigned just to give the kids a different way to take in information.

We are all tired.

Cheerleading is still something Emma and Amy enjoy immensely. But we are all weary of the time away from home and any other activities we would like to enjoy in its place.

Dark comes sooner. Light comes later. Cold air makes beds cocoons from which we dare not emerge until the very last second necessary.

Last night all of this culminated into the biggest fight I have ever seen my daughters have with each other. It started as something as small as an accidental bump from one to the other. The fight gathered steam like a slow rolling wave. Until finally, it erupted into something along the lines of a category five storm.

Both were crying, hitting, kicking, clawing, pulling hair, screaming and generally looking like the stereotypical "cat fight." I was a little frightened to get involved for fear of my own safety.

However, Keith does not deter that easily, unfortunately for him. He tried to referee a little and found very quickly that it was in his best interest to stay completely clear of the area.

Amy is a very outwardly emotional person. She is completely transparent and doesn't even ever try to hide her feelings or what she is thinking. It is not uncommon for her to tell adults they are wrong (and they usually are, indeed, when she tells them), stomp her feet in anger, or shriek (literally) with laughter. She lives in the moment, and is able to get angry/sad and then simmer down quickly.

Emma is thoughtful, quiet and generally happy and optimistic. If you tell her what's wrong, she'll tell you what's right. She may get irritated at times, but she has one of the longest fuses I have ever seen a person have. She is polite and incredibly sensitive to the other person's feelings. She is usually the "peace keeper" between Keith and Amy, ensuring they don't kill each other during their famous fights.

Last night, Amy found the end of Emma's fuse. Emma was seething at her sister. Rage rolled off of her like hot rays from the sun.

Amy had pushed and pushed and pushed until Emma finally snapped. And, unbelievably, Amy never saw it coming.

When Emma came at Amy, Amy's first reaction was a light laughter. She thought it was a game. Then Amy registered shock. Emma was playing no game. Emma was mad.

Amy's a scrappy little thing. So after shaking off the initial shock, her fight or flight response was: fight!

Keith and I barely could register the chaos, noise and body parts in the fight that ensued. After a moment of stunned paralysis, I moved.

"Girls!" I shouted above their voices, "Stop right now! Emma over there. Amy over here."

The girls moved away from each other, never taking their eyes off one another. They moved over to the spots I had pointed out and glared at each other like boxers in the ring between the bells.

I herded them to the car, making sure not to allow them to get within reaching distance of each other. And got them settled in far away from each other.

The verbal bickering started as soon as I turned the engine over.

"Stop!" I demanded. "No talking."

The car ride to cheer was quiet, but you could still feel the anger in the air. All I kept thinking is, I am glad they are not on the same squad!

Finally, I heard Amy in the back say quietly, "I'm sorry, Emma."

Emma didn't even acknowledge Amy.

Amy tried again, "Emma, I said I'm sorry."

Still nothing from Emma.

"Emma!" Amy whined.

"Girls!" I said, while trying to watch the road. "Emma, I know you are very angry right now. It is okay to be angry. But you need to tell Amy you hear what she's saying. It doesn't mean you have to not be angry with her. But you need to tell her, 'Amy, thank you for your apology. I'm really mad right now. Please give me some time to cool down, then we'll talk.' Okay?"

"Okay," Emma replied.

"Amy, I understand you are sorry, but you need to give Emma a little space. You really hurt her feelings and made her mad. She still loves you, but she needs to cool off a little before she talks with you. Okay?"

"Yes, ma'am," Amy said.

We went back to being silent for the few minutes we had before we got to the gym. When we pulled up, the girls jumped out and picked up a chatty conversation that gave no hint that there had ever even been a disagreement just moments before.

I have never had a sister, so this dynamic is a little new for me. I'm grateful they have each other, and I know they will share that special bond that close sisters share.

But they are six and nine years old. I hope we can find a way for them to fight (as I know they will) that involves a little less blood, sweat and tears. I know we will have PLENTY of opportunities to "work on it-" particularly with those teenaged years looming largely ahead.

But my hope and prayer would be that, in spite of and because of, all that they will go through, that ultimately, they will be friends. And I do believe that will happen. I just hope we all live through it...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Give Me a "HUH"???

Last weekend my dear little girls glammed up in sparkles and spandex to compete in a cheer competition. It was quite fun. The girls did well. However, I don't think that up until that point I realized how horrific a southern accent can sound when screamed at the top of little girls' lungs. (The letter "I" is pronounced "A," totally ruining the word they are trying to spell.)

After each group competed, they were given a complimentary "goody" bag from some of the competition sponsors. My girls were thrilled to get the pink, draw-string bag, and tore it open with untempered enthusiasm.

My youngest, Amy, looked up at me with complete shock and dismay. "Mommy, they gave me a shaver!" She reported, holding up a packaged razor.

"And foamy shaver stuff, too!" my older , Emma, reported, waiving it madly in front of my face.

"Oh my. Well, I guess that is really meant for some of the older girls competing," I said while I calmly stuffed the offending merchandise far down into the recesses of our gym bag.

If only it had stopped there...

That night when we got home, the girls were putting away all of their "stuff" from the competition. Suddenly two little girls came to my room with very confused looks holding two boxes of tampons.

"What are these?" the elder asked.

"Where did you get them?" I asked, standing like a deer caught in headlights.

"They were in our pink bags," Emma replied.

"What are they for?" the younger asked.

"They're just something for mommies," I hedged while I snagged the boxes and looked helplessly for someplace to make them disappear.

"What do you do with them?" Amy pressed.

"Well, they're just something that grown up ladies use sometimes in the bathroom," I was dancing like mad.

"Like what?" Emma pushed.

"Oh, just... big girl... stuff..." I said, running out of steam.

"Will we have to use them someday?" Amy asked.


"How do you use them?" Emma looked up at me with her big brown eyes.

I was mentally socking the snot out of the marketing genius that put these handy cheer bags together to promote their products. I'm sure they had no idea that girls as young as three were receiving these "complimentary samples." But at that moment I wanted nothing more than to tar and feather them anyway.

"Well, maybe we should talk about this later," I tried.

"Why?" Amy asked.

Never have my children been so inquisitive about broccoli or how to clean a toilet or how the stock market works. But at that moment, they were completely obsessive/compulsive about the

"All New Comfort Plastic Glide Applicators" and the promise of "Super Absorbency- No Leaks Guaranteed." My only saving grace was that my son was nowhere around.


"When she says that, it means she thinks we're too young," Emma offered to her sister.

"I'm not a baby, mom!" Amy was offended.

"I know. Uhm, it's just that, well..."

I have always kept a strict policy that I tell my kids the truth in a way that is most age appropriate. I had been able to stay off this subject for years with a simple, nondescript explanation, and then a super-quick change of subject.

It was painfully obvious that my luck had run out.

So I began a very watered-down version of an explanation, which, of course, led to more questions. Until, finally, we had a mini "birds and bees" talk, which left me in knots and the girls with their faces scrunched up into an expression that plainly said, "GROSS!"
Hubby came in about that time and, naturally, asked what was going on. I could only reply with,

"Oh, you know. Cheer stuff."

He seemed satisfied to go with that answer and continued his trip through the room.
Finally, Amy broke the deafening silence by holding the box between her finger and thumb, as though she were holding a live spider by the leg, and saying, "Here. I don't think I'll need these for a while."

That made Emma laugh, and me choke, then laugh.

"So, do you have any other questions?" I asked hesitantly.

"Yeah," Amy said, hands on hips.

I held my breath.

"Why did they give those to us?" she demanded.

"I don't know," I said, feeling defeated.

"Well, they're stupid," Amy proclaimed.

"Yes. Yes, they are," I agreed.

Amy and Emma left the room and I plopped down on my bed. I can only imagine what the next competition will bring...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hat Head

I dropped the kids off this morning at school. As I was rounding the corner for the carpool lane, my cell phone rang.

"Hello?" I managed to squeak out. My voice has been gone for about four days, a fact which has been a dream of hubby's come true.

"Wow! It doesn't even sound like you!" my friend responded.

"Yeah, I know," I relented. I'm quite tired of having to "scream" to be heard, or flap around like a chicken, making wild hand motions to try to be understood. (Sometimes I think my kids just pretend not to know what I'm saying- but that's a whole nother story.)

"So, you aren't going to work?" she asked.


"I saw you with your baseball hat on and I figured you weren't going in."

Ah, the baseball cap: the international sign of mothers everywhere stating: I'm going to be as unproductive as possible today OR I have so much "dirty" stuff to do today, it wasn't worth fixing my hair. In my case, it was indeed the prior.

I laughed. "Guilty as charged. I'm waiting for my antibiotics to kick in."

"Oh," she replied. "I'm just taking the day off. I'm calling in for a 'mental health' day. I have my baseball cap on, too."

Mental Health Day: the day in which a mother says to herself and the world: I have done everything for everybody but me for such a long time, I don't remember the last time I ate a meal at the table and not in the car, I can't imagine reading more than two words in a book without falling asleep in bed and, I am unable to complete sentences without hissing, "Are you listening to me???" Today I am not "mommy," I am not "work force extraordinaire," I am simply "me." And me, myself and I are taking the day OFF!

Mommies only get about two "Mental Health Days" every four years or so. But when we get them, all mommies everywhere know that this is sacred, scant time, and should not be disturbed. So, I wished my friend a good day and then headed over to get more drugs.

The pharmacist greeted me with, "Nice hat."

"Thanks," I rasped. "Got anything to bring my voice back?"

"Didn't you start some antibiotics?"

"Yes, but I need something that will get me back to normal quick. I've got too much to do," I whined.

"I'm not a doctor, but my guess is, you need sleep and lots of fluids."

"Yes," I conceded, "the doctor did mention that."

"Maybe some hot tea?" the pharmacist suggested.

"Okay," I said as I wandered hazily over to the tea aisle.

My bff turned the corner and bounded over to me like Tigger.

"Hi!" she gushed. "One of the Christmas presents I'm looking for is on sale today, so I came to get it."

"Christmas?" I was confused.

"Duh. It's like just over a month away."

If I had felt better, I would have panicked. But seeing my state of exhaustion with a baseball cap, bff merely gave me the pity look.

"Why are you out?" she demanded.

"Drugs," I replied.

"Did you get some yet?"

"Yesterday. I came back for more. They said I just needed to go to bed."

"Then go!" she said, shooing me down the aisle. "I'll help you panic about Christmas when you feel better."

I smiled. What a great friend!

"Oh, and you'd better not be wearing that baseball cap the next time I see you," she called after me.

I turned around and stuck my tongue out at her.

"How do you know I'm not just being lazy today?" I asked.

"Because you have no voice and you're coughing like you're about to have one of your lungs land right here in the cereal aisle."

"Fine," I frumped and turned back to leave again.

"I'll call you" she sang out.

I went to the front and purchased the milk and bread my kids needed, while the cashier eyed my hat.

"Taking the day off?" she smiled.

"Yes. Sort of. I'm out sick," I croaked.

"Wow. You sound awful," she said, looking genuinely concerned.

"Yeah, I'm getting that a lot today," I replied. "Hope you have a good day."

"You, too. Feel better."


As I turned to go I noticed other mothers coming in to do some shopping after having dropped off their little ones, too. Some were headed to work, wearing work attire, pantyhose, heels and lipstick. Some were doing their "mom" thing, wearing jeans or some comfortable pants, a somewhat casual shirt and a pony tail and lip gloss.

Only one other mom had on a baseball cap. She looked like she felt awful, too. I overheard her on her cell phone, "...No, I'm not doing that today. I'll have to do it Thursday..."

She glanced up and our eyes locked for just a moment.

The mutual feeling of empathy was exchanged. Then I headed out the door and she continued to go in and begin her shopping.

When I got home, the baseball cap went on the table so that it could be collected quickly if the doorbell rang or I needed to take the dog outside. I'll probably put it back on when it's time to get the kids to disguise the wild hair I have going on without the hat.

But it's nice to know, no matter where we are in life, what social class we are in, or in what region of the country we live, mothers everywhere have ques to let each other know our status. And the baseball hat is possibly one of the most recognizable of all.

Friday, November 7, 2008


It has taken me a while to quit sputtering and form actual sentences to even approach this subject. And I hardly even know where to start.

I have had a struggle with the whole "turning 40" deal. Why? Probably because in my mind, I can still remember the 18-year-old me who thought 40 was seconds away from "dead." And, even though I realize how foolish and naive that was of me, I still built in certain expectations of what I "should" be and what I "should" have accomplished by 40.

As with any expectations set up by someone who doesn't have enough information about the subject matter, I set the bar too high, and I ultimately fell very short. That is not to say I am not happy at 40. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life.

But there has still been this nagging at the back of my mind that has made me restless and, quite frankly, a little cranky: At 40 my life should have been "set." I "should" have been financially secure, have a dream home, a dream career, perfect children, perfect discipline to maintain my schedule and fabulous body, and the ability to mentor other "young adults" to follow in my footsteps to attain their "set" life at 40, too.

Well, let's just say "HA" doesn't begin to cover it... Again, I am very happy. But my Utopia is light years away from where I'm actually standing.

That being said, hubby was spectacular for my 40th birthday. He had the day arranged to perfection, leaving me feeling happy, content and loved by my family and friends. I was feeling like maybe my original Utopia was a great "idea," but that my reality was far better. (Of course, there is always room for improvement on the the finances, career, etc.)

So, here's the rub: I opened my e-mail the day after my 40th and there was an invitation to join AARP.

I called my husband and my friend to yell at them for such a terrible joke. They both laughed and swore they didn't send it- which to them made it even funnier.

I was not laughing.. Not happy. Not even slightly amused.

Here I finally make peace with the Big 4-0, and AARP sends me an application so that I can get my Depends, wheel chair accessories and oxygen tanks at a discount...

...So, I'm thinking, well, if they sent me the app, I might as well join, right? That way I can at least order the blue plate specials, shop at Khol's on Tuesdays and get 10% off on wine at the liquor store on Mondays...

...Then I won't care how old I am... LOL

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Gone to the Dogs

A very tired Mommy Barbie poses the questions:

  • Why do dogs only get sick at 2:00 AM?

  • Why can they only barf and poop on carpeted areas?

  • What possesses them to want to 'kiss' you with their barf lips?

  • And why on earth do they try to eat their own barf and/or poop?"

All I know is it's a good thing God made dogs so darn cute (especially my little shih tsu/maltese mix) or else puppy would have gone to that great doggie play yard in the sky last night. She seems better this morning.

In fact, she was wiggling and wagging her tail like she had just had the best night of sleep ever. I swear she was laughing at me as I stumbled down the stairs to let her go outside to the bathroom.

And you know, while I'm at it, what's the deal with dogs going outside to the bathroom for, like, thirty minutes, and then coming in and peeing on the carpet in front of the door??? My vet said she was "passive/aggressive" and suggested Prozac (I promise I am not making this up). I politely declined.

After I had left I stopped to reconsider; Maybe the dog doesn't need the Prozac. Maybe I do! But really, how much good is a Prozac dosage for a six pound dog going to do me? It's like giving one mini M & M to a chocoholic: just enough to make us mad.

Puppy seemed much better this morning. I figure she probably ate some grass outside that didn't agree with her, or something equally intelligent like that. (Okay, who eats grass???-- Besides dogs who eat their own poop. And Martha Stewart, who I swear, uses it in various recipes. And I am not talking the slang term for marijuana, either. I'm talking Bermuda.)

Hopefully we'll all sleep better tonight. If puppy has another barf-fest I may have to resort to putting her outside (if it's not too cold).

I hate to do that, though, because by all definitions, puppy considers herself a human and she would be greatly offended to be tossed out like a commoner. Having to go to the bathroom outside in front of other people is embarrassing enough for her. Especially when one of the kids has "dressed" her in one of her doggie outfits. She just keeps her head down a little so she can't see the other dogs in the neighborhood laughing at her.

But if it comes down to me staying up all night another night for a dog, or me sleeping while said dog barfs in the back yard (and not my carpet)- let's just say puppy is in for a long night. Maybe it won't come to that, though. Maybe she's fine and she'll curl up next to me in the bed.

Either way, everyone in the household will benefit from me getting some sleep tonight. And that's exactly what I plan to do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Hubby is out of town again. That means that the entire time he is gone, I have three children and a dog in bed with me. For the past three nights, I have slept at the end of my bed, with a pillow and a blanket. Keith has snored and kicked me in the head. Emma has a cough that won't go away. Amy talks until she passes out, then grinds her teeth. And the dog feels the need to sleep as close to me as possible, on the side furthest away from the children (can't say I blame her...)

This morning I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a semi truck. My neck has a huge crick in it. All my joints hurt. After sitting down for any period of time, I look like a 90-year old woman trying to get up and hobble across the room. But I'm sure it will eventually pass (right?).

Because I am tired of begging, pleading, yelling and threatening, I have banned the kids from doing anything until their homework is done, piano is practiced and rooms are clean. They have been successful at two of the three. Their rooms still look like FEMA should be showing up with some assistance soon.

Surprisingly, I have had very little opposition on this ban. They have been completely content to hang out and play with each other.

Whenever they ask to watch television, play the computer or go play with a friend, I ask, "Is your room clean?"

"No," they say simply, and walk away.

"Are you going to clean it?" I call after them.

"Uhm... Not right now," they call back, as they go catch up with their siblings.


Usually they can't be in the same room together without World War III breaking out. But since none of them can go out or have other distractions, they are content to be with each other. So much so, that they curl up together like hot, sweaty puppies in my bed each night, leaving me and the dog to fend for ourselves at the end.

It's kind of nice, actually.

I know it won't last. It can't. Keith is bordering on "teenager" and has turned into a snarky, snide, wise-cracking big brother, who tortures his sisters in a soft voice so I can't hear.

Emma has had quite enough of Keith and his "brooding" and moodiness. She has learned how to get in her digs in such a way that they never see it coming, and they're not really sure what happened when it's all over.

Amy pulls no punches. She says what she means- loudly. And she's quick to let me, and anyone else within earshot, know a point by point list of all the things Keith and Emma are doing that is wrong. (Then she doesn't understand why they don't want to play with her much...)

But for now- for at least this one more night before hubby gets back home and the kids are regaled back to their respective sleeping arrangements- we will snuggle together again.
Keith will still snore and kick me. Emma is still coughing. Amy is still trying not to sleep by talking. And the dog is still playing opossum.

But we will snuggle. We will tell stories. We will say prayers. We will sing songs. And then we will sleep.

Until it's time to get up and get going in the morning and enjoy the new day.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

America's Tomorrow

Today was an historical day. All of my children can read and are tall enough to see over the voter box at the polls. And we have been discussing politics like you would not believe.

They are smart and they ask intelligent questions. It kind of leaves me wondering about the criteria put forth in order to vote. There are many people who I am sure cast their ballot today without even knowing so much as the candidates' first names.

The kids and I even held a sign for a friend of ours running for re-election. We stood out with throngs of other sign holders from various campaigns and waved and smiled like we were Miss America. After about ten minutes, the magic wore off for the kids and they were rolling down the hill in front of the school where the voting booths were.

As we were on our way to vote, a friend of ours crossed our path and asked Keith who he hoped would win.

Keith, without blinking, replied, "McCain."

Our friend probed further, "Why do you think McCain should win?"

Keith, again with passion and conviction, said, "Because Obama is for abortion and McCain is against it. And I don't think you should kill babies."

Our friend was impressed that an eleven year old would be so well-spoken, regardless of any personal agreement or disagreement with Keith's position. I was proud, but not surprised.

We have discussed "wealth distribution," abortion, taxes, education, health care, and many other topics that are usually reserved for of-age voters.

I give them as unbiased of a definition as I can, tell them the two opposing opinions, and let them know where I stand, and why. But I always follow up with, "Someday you will need to make your own decision about this."

Once the election results became very clear that Obama would win the election, the kids all climbed into bed with me (hubby is out of town) and worried aloud about what that would mean. I explained to them that there is a huge series of checks and balances that everything goes through in Washington before it's carved in stone. And I assured them that I had confidence in our government, as a whole, regardless of party affiliation, platform or anything else.

It is interesting to me that for a while now there has been such an even division between the parties. In all the polls and talking head interviews, the country is fairly evenly split, with the majority winning out by only a small edge.

The United States was founded on religious freedom and the opportunity to pursue personal dreams. We have always been an entrepreneurial society, back to the first settlers who claimed land and made their own way.

How we ended up in this political tug-of-war still stymies me. And each side is incredibly passionate and dedicated to their beliefs.

My hope and prayer is that when the "blue" and "red" come together, that we can become strong and beautiful, like our symbolic flag. We have red and blue with white space, giving each other the freedom to be who we are, without encroaching on one another's beliefs.

My fear is that the "red" and the "blue" will have people who feel they need to be "blended." However, when you blend red and blue, you get purple. In other countries, societies and kingdoms, purple is the color of royalty. But in America, we are all considered to be equal. So purple is more likely to be the color of a bruise from being forced into living under someone else's rule, without consideration or tolerance for differing views.

Keith, Emma and Amy will be far more affected by these next four years than I will. They will be the ones ultimately gleaning the rewards and/or bearing the burdens of this new administration. I pray that they will have a life filled with hope and joy. And, I pray our leaders will treat our children kindly and gently, so that their futures will remain bright.

I suspect we will have many future discussions in our home about politics and the goings on of the world. Keith will continue to ask provocative questions. Emma will continue to look for the good in everyone and everything. And Amy will continue to challenge our beliefs, thereby helping us all sharpen our view point and gain certainty of our personal platforms.

May God watch over us, guide us, lead us, and continue to reign supreme. Amen.