Monday, September 14, 2015

Matching My Kids

Sometimes, I wonder if I have such a fascination with color coordinating and matching my family because we don't match. 

Star Wars shirt day!

And, I do enjoy the fact that when we are in costumes, everyone knows that we are together.  When we are in matching costumes, it is convenient.  There is no getting separated in a crowd because it is obvious that the kids should be with me or Brian.

But, really, I don't care.  I honestly don't think about the fact that I'm white and they are black.  It seems so natural to me.  Almost more natural than families that are all one color.  Occasionally, I get a pang when I hear people gush about how other children look like their parents.  But, it passes quickly.  And, since I have a fairly low self image, I don't really think that I would want my kids to look like me.  haha. They are beautiful, so beautiful.  And, because I had nothing to do with that part, I can say it without sounding too conceited. haha.  Ok, maybe a little conceited. ;) 

But, you know, the interesting thing, the majority of the time, people (adults, at least) know right away that I am their mom.  There is rarely confusion about my role when they see us interacting.  Cashiers, for example, refer to me as mom without hesitation.  That makes my heart happy.  They might not look like me, but still they are clearly mine.  I don't know how they know, but they do.

I mean, sure, I have had to clarify it, on occasion.  It's confusing when we are not literally together.  Like, one time, when I went to a school event and encountered someone who actually didn't know me.  Or, one time, when I was waiting for Antwan outside during a kids' library program and the librarian came out and stared at the group of parents, looking for a black mom.  Or, one time, when I had to do a pick-up after a church youth night and the volunteers didn't know me.  I finally said the black kids were mine.  I don't like labeling them as the black kids, but we live in a very white area and if they are the only black kids in the room, it seems silly not to expedite the process by identifying them that way.  But, then, of course, everyone gets uncomfortable because you can't say that people are black.... 

But, back to my point!  When we are already together, it's usually pretty clear that we are a family.

Last weekend, at DragonCon, my belief was validated, in a weird way.

We were at a hotel.  A hotel that had terrible customer service, but that's a whole other story.  We were trying to take advantage of their complimentary breakfast, but Antwan and I were totally stumped by the waffle maker.  (Hey, we're smart people, but those waffle makers are TRICKY! haha).   It didn't want to flip over and because I was afraid to break it, I asked for help.

Me - "Ma'am, I'm sorry.  The waffle maker is too smart for us.  We can't get it to flip over."

Ma'am comes over, flips it over effortlessly, and walks away.  (Don't you love it when that happens?)

I ignored the fact that she was rude and laughed at my inability to flip a waffle maker.

Really, this has nothing to do with the story, I just want to complain about the crappy customer service at the Residence Inn.  But, we'll call it, setting the scene. ;)

So, Antwan and I sat down as a little girl (black) walked up to get some food.  The same employee turned to us and bellowed, "You have to watch your kids up here!"

I responded with clarification that I had my kids.  She was so rude (and the fact that she snapped at William, a few minutes later, for no good reason, suggested that this was her go-to tone).  But really, I was amused.  I had experienced explaining that my kids of another race are, in fact, mine, but never had it been assumed that all random black children were mine.  Especially since that particular part of Atlanta, Georgia is NOT a very white area and Brian and I were most likely the minority in that room (I didn't count.). 

You could make a case that it was a racist assumption, maybe.  I'm really not sure.  She was a black woman yelling at a white woman to watch a black child that wasn't in fact hers.  I don't know what you do with that. ;)  Either way, I do like the fact that someone else didn't think it was weird that my kids are black because, as we all know, it is getting more and more common. 

I also like the fact that I could say that I was watching my darn kids, lady.  They were with me, right where they belong. 

We ate our last breakfast there (settling for less confrontational pop-tarts in our room, after that) and went and put our Jedi attire on.  Because Jedi stick together, no matter what color they are.  And, they don't eat waffles, anyway. ;)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Turns Out That There Is Room For More In The Parker Academy.

So, after much deliberation and discussion, we have decided to homeschool Lizzie and Antwan, too!

I wrote a really long and wordy blog about how it all went down.  But, then I re-read it and realized that it was boring.  haha. So, here's the upshot.  Brian and I talked to each other.  And, we talked to Antwan, Lizzie, and William.  Lizzie and Antwan really wanted to home school.  Antwan's main reason were that he wanted to spend more time with his family.  Lizzie didn't have a specific reason and mostly parroted Antwan's reasons.  Although, I suspect her main reason is that she knows that William scored a lot of lunches with Grandma and Grandpa, last year. :)  And William was fine with it, but legitimately worried that it would be harder to focus.  (I assured him that they would be doing work, too.)  Then we promised that Daddy and I would think about it.

So, then, Brian and I went back to talking.  Then I took the kids to their orientation, then they stood firm that they wanted to home school.  Then Brian and I talked some more. 

There was a lot of whining and begging...mostly from me.  ;) And, a lot of valid and logical concerns and questions expressed...mostly from Brian.  But, in the end, I really, really wanted to try it and Brian and I have yet to talk to anyone who regretted home schooling.  So, on Saturday night with school starting on Monday, we decided to try it.

Cutting it as close as possible, I told Antwan and Lizzie on Sunday night.

And, when I went in the room and told them.  They smiled and cheered.  Antwan leaned over and gave me a big hug and said "Thank you, Mommy."  That's when I knew that it was the right thing.

Then there was Kaleb.  Initially, I wanted to home school him as I ran with my emotions and ABC Family vision of how wonderful it would be.  But, Brian made some valid points about Kaleb's need for structure and his apathy towards school work.  The concern that we would butt heads was a real one.  Or that I'd spend so much time trying to get him to do his work that I would neglect the others.  So, in the end, we agreed that Kaleb would go to public school (at least, for now).  My biggest concern was that he'd feel rejected.  So, as we explained the situation to him, I kept hugging and saying sentimental things.  That probably annoyed him more. ;)  But, he took it better than I thought he would.  He wasn't thrilled and delighted with the info.  But, there it was.

So, one awkward conversation with Kaleb later combined with a promise of monthly Mommy and Kaleb dates to offset and one happy conversation with Lizzie and Antwan, it was official.

I got up, the next morning, and only sent one kid off to school, took a "field trip" to the UPS store to fax in homeschooling paperwork, and got William started on his work. 

Faxing off letter of intent (to home school) forms!

A few days later, William is back in the groove with his classes and Lizzie and Antwan are enjoying another week of summer because their elementary virtual school program doesn't start until next week.  This means I am coming up with work for them.  Admittedly, sometimes, that work involves walking a dog. ;)  

But, after the first day, even though, we didn't really do anything, I felt happy.  Just happy.  I feel good about this and I think that they do too. :)

Antwan was ready to get started. :)

We scored desks from the thrift store for 2 bucks. Yay!

Just because you are staying home, you still have to pose for first(ish) day of school pictures!