Halloween Prep

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ah October… Halloween is new to me. I didn’t celebrate that day growing up in France and I didn’t care about Halloween until Leo was born. I still don’t care much for it, but Leo is hugely into costumes and candies –like all 4 year olds are- so this year we’re stepping up our game!

First stop: the pumpkin. Again, I didn’t grow up with the idea that decorating or even eating pumpkins was a bit deal. My taste buds still don’t appreciate the taste of pumpkin –but that can change, as it did for cheesecake! Last year we drew on a pumpkin, but this year we met with friends and carved a pumpkin.

 Captain America's shield. I mean… Pinterest-worthy or what?

Another improvement: we’re all going to wear costumes this year! We’re going to be Avengers. Leo has a few Avengers costumes he gets to choose from. The rest of us have yet to buy costumes -procrastinating is my MO.

 Sorry for the blur!
 HawkEye at his school's Halloween parade.

Thor at the mall's Trick or Treat event yesterday.

What about you? Are you into Halloween, pumpkins, costumes, and/or candies?

Glennon's Mob Flash

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

I have been thinking about ways to get involved in local or international efforts to alleviate some of the suffering I know is happening, well, pretty much all around. And this morning I found this on Instagram:

Bingo! I love love LOVE Glennon Doyle Melton. I love her blog and her book, her spirit and her story. She is inspiring and real. She is one of my favorite authors and person, period. A few times a year she has these Mob Flashes where people can donate to others in need. I missed the last one -thought about it and then didn't do anything about it. But tomorrow, I'm going to show up and participate!

I have no idea what's coming tomorrow or who we're going to help, but I know it will be beautiful. I encourage you to go to Glennon's site tomorrow and see what you can do to support and encourage another person!

Where is the rest of the world?

Monday, October 19, 2015

(New York Times article from 1943)

Yesterday I attended an event about the Shoah at a synagogue near our apartment. They showed a documentary about the experience of 6 members of the congregation during WWII in Europe. Some lived in hiding and some went to concentration camps. These stories were, as expected, heart wrenching. It was almost impossible to reconcile the 5 survivors in the room with the experiences they describes. They went through such horror, bestiality, and terror. All of them cried recounting what they went through. Can you imagine –seeing your mom shot in front of you, knowing that your little brother was being sent to death, seeing people beaten to death, living hungry and sick day after day for months on end. How could this happen? 

One of the survivors asked “where was the rest of the world?” 

That’s a question many (me included) have asked about that time period. Because people knew. Germans certainly knew, especially those living close to the camps. But American and British governments and citizens knew, too. So did, of course, all of the European governments that allowed transports of Jews and others to camps. Today we wonder why people stood by idly while this great catastrophe was going on. To be fair, many resisted and some hid Jews and others in their homes at great risks for their own life. And the others… well they waited. They had their own lives to deal with, their own issues, hunger, fears, and lack of power. Resisting could mean death. 

At the end of the war people claimed “never again!” Oh what a lovely sentiment! Yet genocide happened again (Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda) and government-sanctioned mass murders are still happening all over the world. Closer to home, refugees are trying to reach safe shores, to escape a life of fear or certain death. Maybe less tragic but equally perplexing, people in our own countries live in deplorable conditions –poverty, hunger, despair. We all know of it. Yet so few of us do anything. We have our lives to deal with, our own issues –and we don’t know what to do in the face of so much turmoil. Sounds familiar? But contrary to WWII, taking action will not condemn us to death.

Then and now the world stands idly by. I know and I stand idly by. I work for a humanitarian organization but I am not doing much otherwise to change inequalities and provide relief to those who need it. Oh I sign petitions, but don’t do anything that would cost me in time or energy –or money. 

This is a call to action. I know about people’s suffering. I can do something tangible. There is no excuse. I don’t mean to act as a hero –nor do I think that I alone can make a difference- but I cannot sit defeated because the issues are too big and the people too far away, culturally or geographically. I am thinking about what this action looks like for me and for my family. I’ll keep you updated!

Do you struggle with this –this knowing vs. doing dilemma? Have you taken steps to help those in need, whether at home or abroad?

What Léo says

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I said I’d talk about work on Wednesdays but I missed Monday and I really want to talk about Leo, so here goes. No work today –just plain parenthood!

Léo is 4 and a half years old and our conversations have been quite interesting lately. He’s into 2 big topics: love and death.

He listens very intently to songs on the radio and asks questions about lyrics –and these songs are often about breakups. So he asks “why do people not love each other sometimes? Will you always love me, mama?” That, the fact that sometimes people don’t love each other anymore boggles his mind. He just doesn’t get it, so we spend time talking about that –about divorce (I don’t name it but I explain that mommies and daddies live in separate houses) and breakups. I can tell he’s pausing to reflect on what we discuss. The he moves on to other topics –Avengers usually- and asks more questions another day after listening to yet another song about lost love.

The other big topic he’s into is death. He started asking about death a couple of months ago. I had read an excellent post on Cup of Jo about the way she talked to her children about death so I mirrored what she said. I explained in very simple terms that people stop breathing, stop walking, stop doing what people usually do. At first he cried and said he didn’t want to die, and he didn’t want us to die. But we said that everyone dies and it’s ok –but of course we said that he wouldn’t die for a long while. We got this book, which explains the cycle of life really well and simply. And because he has toys with batteries, I explained that the heart is like a battery that dies at one point –which he understood. He doesn’t really asks questions now –though the order of people’s death is still something he inquires about: “so will I die before Jude?” Now he says: “I’ll be sad when you die.” Once I told him I’d be sad, too, when he dies and he said “No mama, you’ll already be died.” Silly me, of course I will. 

I like talking to him about these big topics. It makes me feel that I am here for him and available for whatever question he has, however uncomfortable the topics are.

What about you. Do you have children and what are their main big topics of conversations right now?