Friday, December 21, 2012

A Week Later

There were no words today at 8:30am CST when we collectively joined with Newtown, Connecticut in a moment in silence.

Our collective selves were shattered with the news of what happened there a week ago.

How do we go on, the question we have all asked.  How.

I was sitting in my bedroom, listening to my children get ready for the last day of school, today, and chattering away about the parties they will have, the gifts they will give their teachers, the fun they will have during winter break.  And I prayed.

The other mothers will not have that.  Their babies will not go to temple or church again, will not spin the dreidel, light the menorah, put the star on the tree, go to midnight mass, or recite the Nguzo Saba.  They will not have that. Ever.

We will go on, we always do.  We sit and talk about what happened and how it can make us different, and we go on.  We hope it never happens where we live.  But where is that?  Newtown was just as safe as Kirkwood.  Until tragedy struck.

I wrote yesterday about what it means and more importantly, how we can truly have a discussion about our collective humanity and place for each other.

My children are at school today, celebrating all they learned in this past semester and anticipating all they will do on winter break.  I smiled at them.  I still have them here to do that.

We must celebrate ALL the children and honor ALL their right to exist, and never let this happen again.

Do you have the courage to make that happen?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Couldn't Sleep

I honestly could not sleep last night.

My gigantic, solid wood, California King bed, was too vast for the emotions that kept me tossing and turning through the wee hours of silence and supposed rest.

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut is embedded in my heart, stitched in the sinews are the faces of the tiny ones who stared into the eyes of horror as their minuscule bodies were riddled with firepower too destructive for comprehension.

I only have one friend who grew up in Connecticut.  I really do not know much about the state, I've never visited.  But it is now in my life and can never be erased.

Babies, these were babies, the women were in a profession I deeply honor, for what?

The whys of what happened swirl around as the first of the young victims was laid to rest on Monday, in his Jewish tradition, three days after his death.  There was public mourning and a visibly shaken President who reached into his soul for the comfort of his own faith as he uttered words of scripture to the families assembled at a Methodist church, seeking, searching, and at times, screaming, when the names of each one was solemnly uttered.

I am a mother, thirty years so, and while I know the pain and anguish of the unexpected, tragic, and sudden shock of someone so young being killed, I can not imagine the confusion the mothers of the first graders are enduring.


We have no reasons, even as the journalists have scrambled for answers, getting the information wrong in the early reporting, still scrambling to understand the impossible to comprehend.

In the middle of my restless sleep, I turned on facebook and there was a post by my middle son.  He talked about the evil that held the guns and his emotions about his little sisters, both in elementary school in an idyllic community that supports the children.  He mentioned the guns not being the issue, and in some ways he is right and in many ways he is wrong.  He and I had just had a discussion earlier yesterday about guns and the rest of life.  My son is one of those trained to carry - he is a United States Navy Veteran - one of those well regulated militia members that the Second Amendment protects.

But the young man who destroyed the lives of so many and innocence of others was not one of those trained military veterans.  He was a deeply disturbed young man who took out his vengeance and confusion about life on the most innocent he could find, he was a bully.

I turned over and finally just got up at 5am, refusing today to turn on the news, like Morgan Freeman said, just turn it off.  I didn't want to give the next sicko a ratings boost to go and do something horrible with even more horrible weaponry.

My husband and I took our oldest daughter to her early morning violin lesson and on the drive to his midtown university, listened to our youngest daughter recite her spelling words.  Without saying it, I think we each felt how enormously normal this activity is and how this simply pleasure will not happen again for many parents on this Tuesday morning.

I don't have the answers to why.

But I do know that we will go on, this time differently, this time demanding, this time determined that it will never happen again.

I, like others, have demanded that there be a ban on assault weapons and gun control.  I am not advocating against the sportsmen and gamesmen, or heck, even the small caliber pistols for protection, but NO ONE needs a semi-automatic weapon with enough firepower to wipe out an entire town - or elementary school.  I believe the gunman was not going to stop at the one first grade class, his evil intent was the entire school, based on the amount of weaponry he carried in with him.  NO ONE needs that kind of firepower to be protected with second amendment rights.

My interrupted sleep also had me reading some of the articles and posts ranging from the wacko church who plans to protest the funerals to the deafening silence of the pro-gun lawmakers and the NRA who couldn't even muster the decency to offer public condolences to my surprise that even wally world and the big box sporting good store are pulling sales of the Burmeister assault rifle.

I am not sure what the days ahead will bring or even if the news rush for ratings will move away from the painful and simply report the fluff of after holiday sales, or keep the push for control and answers.

There will be a tomorrow and another mass shooting, as President Obama said, four that he has gone to, if we do not have the collective discussion of how this happened.  And, frankly, as one writer opined - perhaps a profiling of young white males who committed these atrocities - so they can get the help they need before the body public pays the price for their confusion.

As more of the babies are buried and the shock turns from confusion and grief to anger and action, I hope that the collective we will remember all of this and have an honest conversation of how we can change, we must.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why, Wondering About Ten Years of Demise

I was sipping my morning coffee and thinking about the events of Connecticut and what happened to our country in the last decade.  Why?

The unanswered questions behind why Michigan has worked overtime in a lame duck session to not only bust up unions but to also invade women's bodies, destroy civil rights, and condemn millions of their population to poverty.

Guns, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation - all weapons of fear used to control the population, either those in rural areas who are undereducated and tied to religious dogma or those in cities who are struggling to live full lives where employers (now considered "alive") work overtime to leave them penniless.

Is it just greed?  Is it just power?  Is it just control?


I remember a time when one could work and care for their family and not worry about having to work 60 hours a week just to make ends meet - and this on a full-time job.

When I graduated from the University of Iowa with my MBA, there were rumors about all the hours that brand managers had to work, but the perk was the pay and the benefits.  I didn't have to work those insane hours because I chose what I was informed was a family friendly company where the marketing manager himself left religiously at 5:30pm every day so he could be with his family.  It turned out this company also laid people off left and right.


Is power so much of an addiction that the corporations want to control everything.  What have unions done to take away their profit margins?  The black president did not take away their guns or their ability to make money, health care has not destroyed their ability to turn a profit.  They made themselves human through Citizens United and then worked overtime to buy elections, destroy homes, and demonize teachers.

What has happened to this country in this decade and what can we do to get back to normal?

A man or woman should be able to work at something that enlightens them and be able to provide for themselves without selling their soul to an entity.  The fast food workers in New  York stood up and demanded their right to humanity.  The right to collectively bargain and meet together is why the corpocracy kept slaves uneducated and frightened, what kept it going through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era and now with immigrants, fear used to control.

What can we do?

We can not turn back the clock, but surely there are enough of us that are more than the Koch Brothers who are destroying the nation.

We will not be slaves again.  To guns. To NRA. To Citizens United. To Fear. To The Koch Brothers. To the GOP. Never again.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thinking About Connecticut

I am not in Connecticut.  I am not in Chicago.  I am not in Colorado.

The places of unspeakable violence, horror, murder, destruction, and unspeakable numbness.

Yesterday, I, like the rest of the country, stared with disbelief, shock, and anger that someone would don military-like gear, storm an elementary school, and deliberately cut off the lives of 5 and 6 year olds because he is angry at his mother, who he already destroyed with firearms that are beyond the Second Amendment rights.  

How could this happen?  Why? 

These were babies in a community very much the same size as mine.  A community that takes pride in the children and providing opportunities for them to have a full life.  A community where a lot of the kids' friends and activities are centered around their elementary school, their safe place to learn and grow.  

This is not the case anymore.  

Was it ever for some children in places like Chicago who may not encounter disturbed gunmen storming the first grade classroom, but who have to dodge bullets and violence just to get to school.  Was it ever safe?


The guns used, a Glock?!?  What does anyone need with a gun like that?  Does the "right" to "own" it outweight the "right" to "life" that was robbed from these innocent babies?

I am numb, simply can not move, and I do not live in those places.  

The advocates will say guns don't kill people.  I'm sorry, but, yes they do.  The semi-automatic weapons are designed to take out large amounts of people in short periods of time.  The weapons used to kill these 20 babies and 6 adults were not simple handguns or hunting rifles. 

A tragedy such as this leaves the entire nation in a place of wondering what to do?  Is more security the answer?  

This never should have happened and I hope that the reasonable voices will not be held hostage to the NRA anymore and will wake up, speak up, or Connecticut can easily be again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

History Is Complicated

History is a complicated thing.

It is complicated because history is simply the lives of people lived out.  

What makes it complicated is when we peel back the onion, as my Princeton history teacher calls it, we find that it is a delicate balance of whose story gets told and through what lens that story is filtered.

Such is the case with Palestine.

We were recently discussing (MOOC-style,, History of the World Since 1300) WWII and all the events that led up to it, the things that happened during it, and the nation states that resulted.  

One can not talk about WWII without mention of the Nazi's regime building in Europe which resulted in the eradication of the Jews from Hungary, Germany, Poland, and all points surrounding the empire to the gypsies, disabled, and anyone else not Aryan.  

The lens since 1946 has been one of sympathy for the Jewish people who suffered during the Holocaust and the survivors who lived with the nightmares and the descendants who remember what happened in 1938 -  Kristallnacht  .  It was unspeakable.

History sometimes tells the convenient stories of the scribes who witness it or the propaganda of the governments that orchestrate the events.  

When the newly formed League of Nations carved out a spot to put the Jewish refugees who were now stateless during a time in history when lines were being drawn and states were being made - again - they forgot about the people who for centuries had already been in their state - the Arabs, the Palestinians.

I am a visual learner and as such, stumbled upon a Hulu exclusive drama entitled The Promise.  I decided to watch it since we had just finished the lectures about the British soldiers in places many Westerners know little about - Gaza, Hebron, the West Bank, Palestine.  

The drama depicted the other side of the page that is often left unsaid or unspoken - the atrocities committed by the Zionists, the settlers, in their quest for statehood against the peoples that were already there,.  The atrocities that continue to this day.

I watched and listened to the betrayals, the outright killings - British soldiers shot in broad daylight by Jewish men (not a military yet) to a Jewish orthodox woman calling an orthodox Arab woman a whore - both women were covered in headscarves, long dresses, modest - just to intimidate, Jewish schoolboys throwing rocks at Arab school girls.  The Jewish independence day is also the Arab day of mourning.  I watched entire homes blown up with memories and possessions inside so the Jewish settlers could build bigger and bigger estates, driving the Arabs further and further up into the mountains with less and less land.

My heart and head raced during the lectures and the six hours of the drama (four parts) that were based on a young British woman who took her gap year in Israel with her young British (and Jewish) friend who had to go back to Israel to do her two years of military service.  The British girl found her grandfather's diary and through his writings, traveled back in time to the mid 1940s. The show depicted Palestine then and now and the things that happened in establishing Israel, the things that displaced one people to help another people have a home.

The other day, while musing about the show and the place of history and the recent events in Palestine (UN granting statehood), I posted a status that essentially said History is complicated and involves humans. In one instance, a people are persecuted and in fear of it ever happening again, seek a homeland to no longer be persecuted, yet in seeking that homeland, displace those who have been there for centuries, and end up being the ones who do the persecuting. It is very, very complicated and muddied as the years go by. Is the killing that happened to one justification for the killing of many?

It bothers me because I have friends who are Jewish and friends who are Muslim.

I am a preacher's daughter so I, like many American Christians, was raised to have sympathy for the Jewish people, to remember the Holocaust, to be empathetic, to go to the Museum, to remember so it would never happen again.

History, as I stated, is complicated because people are complicated.  

What about the Holocaust of the slaves in the Triangular Slave Trade? Or the Serbs? or the Turks? Or the Armenians? or what is happening in Africa now or what about the atrocities of what happened to the Chinese at the hands of the Japanese during WWII?  The onion, is smelling and messy and more and more layers lead to more and more questions.

The movie, like the class, left me feeling a bit sad, yet hopeful.  Is it possible for people to put down a centuries old hatred to simply exist on this planet as human beings when the question of "why?" never seems to be adequately answered?


Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Latte Queen Approves!


This morning, Sunday, December 9, 2012, hundreds of couples are donning tuxedos and gowns, nervously getting their final preparations in place to step into an institution of public declaration - marriage.

I've been there - more than once - being uncertain, unsure and excited, certain, sure. Hands shaking as I pulled on the lacy undergarments and was helped into my wedding gown, checking the mirror one more time to make sure my hair and makeup was straight.  I was make a decision, a commitment, a hopefully lasting moment truly until death-do-us-part.  Marriage.

In Washington State, there are men and women preparing to stand before their family and friends, before a licensed and/or ordained official to declare legal the license they picked up on Friday.  They will recite vows - traditional with a twist or those they wrote themselves - and will seal the commitment with a public expression of affection.  They will keep names or change names and will walk back down the aisle for the first time as a married couple.  Marriage.

Washington joins Maine and California and the other states that make today's nuptuals just a bit different - these are same sex couples.

Does that make it any more exciting and the butterflies any less real? Is marriage just about sex?  What about the ones who are in sexless marriages? Is marriage just about kids? What about the ones unable to have kids - biological or adoptive?  Is marriage just about health care choices? Is marriage just about legitimacy? Is marriage just about business?  What is it?

Millions have asked that question through millenia.  At one point, it was so that starry eyed young virgins (and hopefully, young virgin males) could explore the Song of Solomon beauty of physical intimacy.  Many young people with raging hormones sat through sermons about the horrors of sex outside marriage and how they would essentially burn in the fiery pit if they gave in to the natural inclinations of their changing bodies.  Is it to have as many children as her womb can possibly hold, what is it?

Perhaps, ultimately, as we learn through the couples who are taking the leap into a commitment, marriage is just that - a commitment to love this person with all their faults, with all the loss, with all the gains, with all the hopes, with all the dashed dreams, with all the everything that comes when you share a life and space with another person.  And that is ok.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Art of Pooling Resources

The holiday season is upon us.  If we followed the big box stores and their calendar, it actually started on Thanksgiving day, but we don't follow them!  Yet, today being Hanukkah  the season has officially began.

My husband told the girls that they will each have a whopping $50 to spend for gifts.  They smiled and then wondered once they started ticking off the list of who they wanted to bless.  "and no dollar store" my husband reminded them and "no, you won't have anything left for yourself, if you do, you didn't do what you were supposed to do."

We told the girls to pool their resources and their eyes lit up!

They realized they could actually do a lot more if they planned out what gift would be most meaningful to each person and how they could find those gifts in a way that would stretch their money.

Listening to them made me think about us, the collective us.

If I have rice and you have tomatoes and our friend has beans and her friend has an onion and one more has oil - individually we do not have anything, but together, we have a wonderful meal.

The unemployment rate is dropping, but the reality is still that there are 3 people for every 1 job opportunity and the employers are compressing wages to the point of ridiculousness. Many of our collective friends and family are hurting during this holiday season.  More and more are reaching into their cabinets with nothing and aren't spending $100 on gifts.

We have to remember each other.  A little bit when put together with another little bit is a lot.  Let's do that.  And enjoy the holidays deliciously!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sacrifice Isn't Always Shared

Shared sacrifice is supposed to mean that everyone is involved, everyone gives a little, everyone gives up a little, all for the collective good.

It doesn’t always work.

Perhaps it is designed that it doesn’t always work.

Often, shared sacrifice means those with the least, the least power, the least resources, the least voice are often the ones left to make the largest sacrifice.  It is true for corporations (look at Hostess that simply closed down all the manufacturing plants and blamed the union workers who simply wanted a fair and living wage, only to turn around in bankruptcy court and give the CEO and upper management unprecedented wages); it is true for politics (President Obama won the election decidedly, yet the GOP is trying to strangle the necks of all the elderly, poor, working class, and people of color by willingly, again, allowing the nation to be destroyed financially so they can score political points with the 2% who refuse to pay their fair share); and finally, it is true in marriage (spouses who give up their careers and aspirations because the other spouse’s career and aspirations move them too many times). 

Shared sacrifice isn’t always shared.

I thought about this the other day when I was became very depressed while reading Ernest Gaines’ book, A Lesson B Dying.  In the book, the two central characters are faced with insurmountable emotional challenges.  One, Jefferson, was deemed a hog, much less than the man he is or even a dog, and sentenced to die.  The other, Grant, educated, young, and eyes wide open in 1946 Louisiana, facing the discrimination that his still yet position as a black man in the south renders him less than human in the eyes of the illiterate Sherriff.  The plantations in the Louisiana parish were the backbone of the wealth enjoyed by those in the Big House, built on the backs of the least.

 Sacrifice is not often shared equally.

What is to be done about the inequality?

It can sometimes we rectified with politics and business, enough consumer and voter backlash will bring those inequalities to light and force a change.  It takes longer and more to rectify it in families where sacrifice is part of the existence.

Parents sacrifice for the dreams of their children.  Spouses sacrifice for the dreams of each other. 

Sacrifice is not always shared. Simple. Necessary. True.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

TOO Powerful Not To Share

Jada Pinkett-Smith: “The War on Men Through the Degradation of Woman” - "How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes. 

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.

There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.

He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.

He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.

May we all find our way.

 ~ Jada Pinkett-Smith, Sinuous Magazine (
Jada Pinkett-Smith: “The War on Men Through the Degradation of Woman” - "How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplet
e woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.

There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.

He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.

He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him 4 four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.

May we all find our way.

~ Jada Pinkett-Smith, Sinuous Magazine (
Like ·  ·  · 7 hours ago via mobile · 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Maid Quit and The Housekeeper is on Strike

My youngest child just turned nine.  Nine years old.  My oldest child would be thirty years old.  Thirty.

I have put in my time of cleaning up after other people.  Picking up toys, picking up clothes, picking up picking up.  I have scrubbed, folded, washed, dried, and vacuumed enough.

The maid quit and the housekeeper is on strike!

My older son told the youngest daughter that she was spoiled.  He is right, the girls have it very easy compared to the boys.  For one, I've structured my professional life around the girls' schedules so that they really do not know about getting up at 5am to catch a 6am bus to make the 6:30am train out to the babysitters so mom can catch the 7:30am train (after walking 3 blocks each way) to the Loop for work by 8:30am.  They know nothing about that, my almost 26 year old and my 24 year old do.

The boys were cleaning toilets at 4 (actually, they started because the older boy was teaching the middle boy how to go like a boy and they decided to sword fight so what was a young, divorced mom to do but give them both sponges, a bucket, and told them to clean it!) Every since I figured out they liked suds and skating in the kitchen while they mopped, the chores were their's.  I still did my folding and ironing and cooking and cleaning, but three days a week, those boys cleaned their own bathrooms, took out the trash, and washed dished.

Somehow, the last three kids escaped much of the chore detail.  The youngest son, now a college freshman, was simply shoved out-of-the-way by his two older brothers who lacked the patience (really, the time it would take) to properly teach him when it was their week to train him on wets or drys.  He eventually learned, but didn't have the same fortitude of the older ones.  His performing and rehearsal schedule got him out of much of it during middle school.  I think I managed to get him to do one day a week as opposed to three.  He is in college now, responsible for everything, I hope I have equipped him to not be a messy husband when he gets married one day.

Now my girls!  Oh goodness.  I have one, my little shadow for five years, who would watch me during the day while her big brother and big sister were in school.  She was my little cleaning buddy and to this day cleans a bathroom almost better than I do.  I never have to get after her to clean up and she prefers the bathroom and is learning the kitchen over taking out the trash or vacuuming.  Now, that princess, my Meme is another story.  That girl better publish a best seller and hire someone that she better pay more than a living wage!  She does not like to do chores and you'd think I was asking her to solve world peace.

I had to get in their business and remind them that while my schedule affords me a lot more freedom than when I was raising the boys and going to school full-time or when I was in my corporate life full-time, I am not their personal maid.  They figured out after a few gentle reminders and acknowledgement that they are truly blessed.  I am sure we shell out close to $500 a month just on their activities from scouts to piano to guitar to choir to violin to basketball and never mind their little weekend outings with my husband!  They better get to scrubbing real quick.

Chore wars are always moments of angst in families.  Some, like the lady I overheard in the coffee shop this morning, hire someone (that speak Spanish? like she said) to clean up after them.  I live in the suburbs so I see the blue and pink maid service cars whizzing around the streets of the toney homes.  I have never been comfortable with that situation and think that with all the people in my house, someone can clean it up.

My husband, bless his soul, is not the neatest man around.  He has a tendency to just live out of a basket and I learned early in our marriage that if I wanted world peace, to just give him a space to keep his junk.  Every house we've lived in had space for him to be him, like his own closet, and just a place to shove his papers and books.  I gave up on trying to organize him because once I spent an entire day folding his mountain of t-shirts into those nice container-store-like-bins that I color coded and style sorted only to find that he had pulled them out trying to find one and never put them back.  I just shoved the closet door closed and walked away.  Sometimes, when I am feeling generous, I will wash and fold his clothes and bring the baskets upstairs, waiting for him to put them away, he lives out of it like a dude in a college dorm.  World peace, I just keep his stuff on his side and try not to look in that direction.  Saving my energy for those girls.

I told them I didn't have babies anymore, that meant, I didn't have to stand over and "supervise" anyone else to put away the toys, dolls, books, and crayons that they had enough smarts to take out and play with.  I've spent my meager coffee money on organizing bins and storage units and have helped them color-code to a teacher's delight.  Then I looked up and my girls were tweens with enough stuff for their own store.  I could not keep this up.

Transition year!  I told them I was going back-to-school for my doctorate and they have one year to step-it-up. I no longer put their clothes away.  They each have drawers with baskets inside for different sets of clothes, they each have hangers and a color coded closet.  I will still do their laundry, although I have started teaching the big girl how do do that, but I refused to put their clothes away.  My big girl likes fashions and I told her every good designer takes care of their clothes.

Toys and dolls have their place and I told them to just keep it in their room.  The sitting room is not the place for their stuff and their office/music room is for that and not arts and crafts.  It is their space and their responsibility.  I told them "I don't have babies anymore!"

They respond in unison "We know!"  My husband has learned to just sit back and be quiet.  He will chime in if they get a little mouthy about their chores and remind them of all they get to do because he works.  I just tell them that back in my day...and then they get going because they do not want to hear about the room inspections of 311 Gordon Street.

I live in the suburbs with a lot of Gen X moms who think they are supposed to be at the absolute disposal of their kids.  They barely reprimand them and most do not have chores.  I told my kids that I was born in a different generation and if they want to keep enjoying the privileges of their dad's salary and my time, they better step-to-the-plate.  Baby girl gets it right away, big girl is working on it.

My home is our refuge, our place of rest and respite.  It is not and never was meant to be a show piece, I never believed in those rooms that were never used.  We recently sold our 3500 square foot house and we lived in every room.  There were rooms the kids couldn't bring their toys - like the Great Room there or the Sitting Room and my office here, but we lived in our home.  I have learned to tolerate a certain amount of chaos, with five kids and a husband, it was to be expected a little, and have my must-haves.  The kids know I will not give in when it comes to the kitchen and the bathroom.  I do not like waking up in the morning and facing a dirty kitchen before I can make coffee.  The girls have escaped the 3 o'clock in the morning wake up call my middle son got one time when he forgot to do his chores, but they know I will make them drop and clean the hall bathroom in a minute.  Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, same schedule for 30 years, why stop now?

We have our children for only a moment, these lessons last a lifetime.  My 26 year old, he loves to cook and hates to do dishes (oh, the burdens of being the oldest) but hates a dirty kitchen so he just uses paper plates.  The 24 year old was in the Navy for four years so I'm sure those cleaning skills came in handy.  I am not sure what the 18 year old will do, but I'm pretty sure he passed room inspections and remembered what I told him about cleaning the bathroom that he shares with three other guys.  One day, they will be husbands and I told them I don't want their future wives screaming silently about what I didn't teach them!

I believe in chores, I am just finished doing them.  The maid quit and the housekeeper is on strike...well, actually...she is brushing up on her Latin and Greek root words in preparation for her GRE...she doesn't have time to clean up after anyone else anymore!

Is Race Still The Reason Educated, Professional, and Qualified Black Women are Unemployed/Underemployed?