Category Archives: Big Kids

Where in the world is Waffles?

Once again, Waffles has crafted his own amazing purposeful experience.  After returning from Israel, Waffles traveled to Ethiopia with our family (Mr. SillyPants, me, Blueberry) to welcome our new son into our family.  He then stayed home for 6 months (6 fantastic and helpful months) — doing what awesome big brothers do — wrestling, playing soccer, playing circus, jumping on the trampoline, encouraging positive play…and more.

IMG_6296The awesomeness of his brother love is beyond my articulation. Let’s just say he may very well have been the energy that kept us all together and focused on the work of bonding and settling in.

After 6 months of family care, it was time to go, however —- for Waffles had more on his mind than little brothers, and the pull was great. At the start of July he bought an old truck IMG_7364and he headed off for Pine Ridge Reservation.   (Brothers wanted to go with him, of course!) Known as “The Rez”, it is his home and workspace for the next 4 months. Waffles hooked up with  Trees, Water, People and is running a model garden and working on a solar project with local Native leaders.  He lives in a small camper on a compound with a local native family, his best friend is a coyote/husky mix dog, he has learned how to dress a chicken, has been invited to a sweat lodge, been to Wounded Knee, learned history of native life through the lens of his mentor, Henry Red Cloud, and is gardening and building non-stop. There is more, but you get the picture?

Speaking of pictures …. there are these. 

TeaguePR4 TeaguePR3 TeaguePR2 teaguePR1

To say I am proud of my biggest son is to understate the great amount of admiration I have for him. He is a beautiful spirit. His kindness is amazing. Waffles, you are missed and in the same breath, you are admired for your willingness to walk the walk in your becoming. We love you — so very much.IMG_7211



Twentysomethings x3

Well it has happened. The biggies are ALL twentysomethings!  Fall birthdays have turned my beauties 20, 22, and 24.

We survived. In fact, we might claim that we triumphed. Yes, we have.

I know, I know, the respite will be short-lived. With our dear R arriving home at 8 years old, and sweet Blueberry cresting 5 years old — we’ll do it again — and sooner than Mr. SillyPants and I believe. But for now, no teens in the house!

Songbird and Twinkletoes were both here for dinner on Saturday night (we miss you Waffles!). They giggled, saying, “No more teenagers! Waffles is 20!”  I replied,  “You know, the teen years weren’t so bad. They were pretty darn easy. You know what the hardest part was? All the driving.”

3 kids making their way in 3 unique ways.  I spent those years as a single, working mom. My work schedule meant the driving during the week days was pretty much all on me. And so I drove. And I listened. And we talked. And I waited. Sometimes I was late. Sometimes they were late. Most of the time we stayed happy and kind.  We showed up. We lived it up. We loved and we laughed and when we shouted we remembered to apologize. We smiled.

Present tense — we SMILE!

We did it. You biggies are the light of my life. Here’s to my TWENTYSOMETHINGS!

Where in the World is Waffles?

On a kibbutz! Somewhere in the Arava Valley in southern Israel. He has a semester abroad sponsored by UMass Amherst – Peace Justice and Environment University Semester program. He’s studying building, composting, gardening, and Hebrew, to name a few. He’s in the desert. It’s hot. He’s happy. And I bet he has a helluva sandal tan.

He learned how to make sturdy bricks out of mud.

And if I know him, he’s happiest in a hammock. Who isn’t?

Waffles is enriching his life by seeking out extraordinary experiences to enrich his perspective and hone his skills. I heard a piece on NPR today about education and the importance of having a curriculum that values building character (and not just test scores). I think our beloved Waffles totally gets this; he is a lovely and amazing young man. And since when did his dimples become so darn carved into his kissable cheeks, huh? (Yes, moms can say that about their 19 year old kids!)

For both of my sons

“#truestory #trayvonmartin #unionsquare #millionhoodies”

I dont’ know how to credit twitter pics – but this was on my feed tonight.
This guy could be my biggie boy, Waffles. (OK, Waffles is only 19 – but have y’all seen Waffles lately? In a word, scruffy. Sorry pal, I know you’ll read this. And I love ya like crazy. You know I’m proud of  the man you are, in every way. Even if I wanna cut your hair and give you a razor. )
And yet, I don’t fret for Waffles safety.  I don’t NEED to advise him to walk with his hands visible, with his eyes alert and ahead of himself, with his head uncovered and his senses at calm attention. I don’t feel compelled to remind him to  always give off the air of being a ‘prospect, not a suspect.’ It’s ok if he runs across the neighborhood lawns or he and his pals ride bikes at 3 a.m. in the neighborhood because they are crazy boys trying to stay up for 48 hours. I don’t advise him about how to handle a traffic stop in his rusted out beast of a vehicle. I give him regular mom advice. (And plenty of it, rest assured) Let me restate: I give him regular WHITE MOM advice for her WHITE SON. This is our shared privilege. We haven’t earned this privilege, it is ours because we are white.
But this boy of mine, the little one, the one I call Blueberry, will need a different kind of regular ‘ol Mom advice. It will be infused with details I am still learning to provide — and with which I will need some help from those who live in skin like his.  He’ll need to know so much more. The “Kissing Hand”  his big brother gave him as he departed back to college from spring break won’t be enough to protect and inform my sweet youngest. Niether of us have that kissing magic.  We both wish we did. Our whole family wishes we did.
These are my sons. I love them. They are my heart. And I won’t be quiet about it.
Please, if you are not parenting children of color, read these and put an end to racial profiling, ingorance, and claims of colorblindness. If you are parenting children of color, read this to build your strategies and your resolve.
Help me change the world for my sons. Help me change the world for BOTH of them. Help me raise my voice for justice.
I have no more words, and mine pale in the company of those who know so much more than I do – – but I have love – – and that love is fierce for my sons.  I will not be silent.

Wordless Wednesday

Twinkletoes in Cape Town

In January, middle biggie left. Again. Another biggie gone. Another biggie stretching out her wings and naming another place ‘home.’ Another place that Blueberry can name on the world map because someone he loves is there.

Twinkletoes is spending the spring semester studying at University of Cape Town, South Africa.

 I’m not gonna lie, Twinkletoes in Cape Town is pretty much the coolest thing on this year’s busy calendar. My cool cat kid is doing cool cat stuff. Here’s the update!

She’s taking 3 classes: Global Change Ecology, Astronomy and Xhosa.

She’s got a few clubs she’s joined: Ballroom, mountain and ski, diving (that would be SCUBA – she’ll get her diver certification), and a volunteer program for the township debating league.

I have a few comments about the last 2 clubs. First, I can’t believe she is going to get SCUBA certified. One cherished memory I have of sweet Twinkletoes is on a boat on the gorgeous green waters of the Indian Ocean in Kenya. Twink was 5 years old. She feigned sleep on the boat to avoid an amazing snorkeling experience. I think this is her way of making up for that missed opportunity. And she wins.

Second, I am so proud of her sense of service. Twinkletoes writes, “Today I was at 8 hours of training for coaching a Township Debating League. The student organization “Ubunye” does the Township Debating League and it is really cool. Volunteers coach students in grade 8-12. Each pair of volunteers is assigned a school and coaches about 10 students. I’m excited!” If you have ever argued with Twinkletoes, or ‘debated’ a topic with her – – um, you know she is going to rock this club. She’s going to be a great student coach.

I’m so proud of my daughter. She’s curious, she’s generous, she’s compassionate, she’s responsible, she’s intelligent (underscore), she’s kind. Twinkletoes both knows who she is and is open to her own ‘becoming.’ As a parent, I raise my children to live in the world just as she does – fully, responsibly, and with passion and conviction. I ask my kids to be engaged as they experience.  To embrace as they endeavor. Twinkletoes does it with her own special flare – and it makes me smile from deep within my soul.

Plus, who doesn’t love penguins?

She ended a recent e-mail with ” I was accepted to the Uganda program that will take place next winter break.” (I left out the $ request…bwahahahaha).  I guess that means she’ll be leaving again. She’s getting a Global Health Certificate from UW – Uganda is part of the program.

I’ll miss her one more time. I can’t wait!

The Biggies Make it Better (especially at Christmas)

Our annual outing for our Christmas tree did not disappoint. I can’t remember a time in my adult life when we didn’t have “tree escapades” (maybe once when the kids were young and all sick at the same time with -25 degree weather?). This is one of our very beloved holiday traditions – – and I’m always surprised at how much the biggies INSIST we continue the “tree escapade”. They have so much fun together – all 4 of my kids – and add a fun loving husband and crazy dog and it’s happy mayhem on a Saturday morning.  The tradition commenced as we left the house at 9:30. Our first stop – coffee and hot chocolate. All 9 of us (because the biggies now travel with sweeties – and so we are a sight to see!) in our big boots and coats stuffed ourselves into the coffee shop. I’m pretty sure we spent as much on drinks as we paid for the tree. My life – welcome to a glimpse of my checkbook. We don’t think Blueberry really remembered the ‘event’ that finding a tree is for all of us – – but it took no time for him to enjoy the FIRST snow of the season and the wide open spaces filled with trees and his goofball family.  We had snowball fights, snow angels,  a very happy dog, ‘biggest tree we can get Mom to say ‘yes’ to’ competitions, freaky sightings of snowy eyebrows, sweetie threats with sharpened saws, and for Flower, who we miss like crazycakes,  “JUMP FOR JOY!” is just for you! 3 hours later we had the perfect tree (it’s a big one!) and happy hearts. The tree is up and the lights are on. However, we won’t be putting on the ornaments until next Saturday – our Twinkletoes had to get right back to campus for finals. Our next ‘all together’ day is next Saturday. And, like so many precious tradtions, there is NO decorating the tree without the whole crew here; there will be eggnog, music, and  giggling (and a bit of crying) as we pull out the ornaments and remember who we are. Together. That’s how we roll.