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Inherent dignity

Mythankfulboy got in the car yesterday after baseball practice and seemed reserved.  I asked how his day was.  He said, “Well, I got in trouble.”

It has always been true of B that he cannot have anything making him feel guilty hanging over his head.  When he was little he couldn’t even manage a “Hi” before he spilled the beans on whatever had happened.

So, yesterday I asked what happened and he said that he had had his iPod out in class when they were allowed to, but he hadn’t heard the teacher say to put it away when everyone else did, so it was taken until I go to the school to pick it up.  We had an incident a few months back when he had been showing a teacher a video on Youtube and allowed it to keep going as he walked away from her and into the hallway when an administrator took it from him.  At that point the administrator told him that if anything else happened he wouldn’t be allowed to go on the big class field trip for the year.  I reminded B of this yesterday, and he said that no one had said anything to him about that yet.  And this kid got to participate in a special dodgeball tournament for being a exemplary student a month ago – these are seriously mixed messages.

Part of me says, yes, the device should have been confiscated, but to ban him from going on the educational year-end field trip seems pretty silly.  Part of me says that he knew the consequences and now he needs to suffer them.  To add to this latter point, I told him I wouldn’t pick up the iPod until Monday, despite the fact that I could have gone today.  This isn’t really that big a deal because he has a computer and an Xbox through which he can communicate with friends, but I figured some minor inconvenience was worth it.  Of course, it also inconveniences me because he might have a baseball game this afternoon but it might get rained out, and he would usually text me to tell me what to do.  Oh well.

So, he was reserved all evening, except, of course, when yelling and laughing with friends while playing the latest iteration of Plants vs. Zombies (PVZ).  At our chalice lighting, he was thankful for PVZ as an alternative to Destiny, his usual game of choice, because he’s waiting for a new version of Destiny to come out to relieve his boredom with the current version.  I was thankful that Donald Trump was trounced in the Wisconsin primary, but, because that broke our gratitude rule that we’re not to be thankful for things that cause other people pain, I amended to say that I was grateful New York and Vermont were standing up to Mississippi’s law that discriminates against the LGBTQ community by banning non-essential travel to the state.  This led to a mention of Paypal’s decision to pull plans for a new facility in North Carolina following the state’s passage of a bill that keeps its cities from being able to write non-discrimination policies, a reaction to Charlotte’s city council passing an ordinance allowing people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.

I mention this in detail here, because I hope that someday, when B reads this as an adult, he will be flabbergasted that states ever behaved in this discriminatory way, and he will recognize the ways that corporations and governments can use their clout to try to shut it down.  I hope, should he have children, that he can be glad to pass along a country that made its way through and beyond hate based on gender identity and who we love.  This morning on the car radio, among the audio clips of people reacting to the Mississippi saga, someone made reference to the “inherent dignity” of all people, and B snapped his head around to grin at me, recognizing its similarity to Unitarian Universalism’s first principle: “The inherent worth and dignity of every person”.

Preach on.

 

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Def gratitude

Oh heavens.  I’m still laughing about our chalice lighting this evening.  B joined me in my room, where I’ve had 80’s radio playing fairly loudly all evening to keep me awake while I worked on a computer, seated at my desk.  Mythankfulboy plopped down on the bed beside my desk and proceeded to surf the web on his iPod while we talked about our days today and tomorrow.  He then asked me for what I was thankful.  I said I was thankful for times when I didn’t think I could do one more thing and then I pull it together and get a lot done.  He nodded, then went back to his iPod.  I asked him for what he was thankful and he commented, instead, on the game he was playing (Floppy Rocket or some such).  Then he got up to leave, absent-mindedly saying goodnight.  I told him to hang on – that he hadn’t told me what he was raising up tonight.  He leaned down and put his head on my shoulder, snuggling it back into my neck, and I rubbed his back as he said, “Oh.  Well, I’m thankful that you got a lot done, and I’m thankful that I figured out how to reset my router, and that you can take me to school tomorrow, and…”

Here he stopped because I had started giggling.  He stood up and said, “What?”  I choked out that I had just realized that we had Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me on as the backdrop to our chalice lighting.  I’m pretty sure that dropped tonight’s chalice lighting out of the “sacred” category!  We laughed and laughed, so much that the dog got excited and B dropped down to the floor to play with him.

I never did hear what he was going to say after that last “and…”

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Odds and ends of a weekend apart

It was a quiet, working, weekend here at the house (well, around town – I don’t get anything done at the house) because Mythankfulboy was at a friend’s house Thursday night (no school Friday) and at his dad’s for the weekend.  This did not keep me from sending him audio clips via text asking him to spell various words, but it did mean that I didn’t get my usual dose of him.  In some ways, the nights away from your kid/s, as a divorced parent, are really good breaks.  Of course, not so much when they are texting and begging to come back to your house.  Still, we worked through that, and I missed him thoroughly by the time he got home.

Today, while his dad took him for a snowboard lesson (awesome, right?), I went to the office and met my business partner and one of our precious staff, and we did some sprucing up.  This was much-needed, and I think we’ll all be happier this week for having done it.  Afterward, I had a quick, quiet dinner out and read (one of my favorite combinations of things to do), and headed over to pick up the boy.  He had so many things to tell me, he couldn’t complete a sentence.  These things ranged from what his step-brother had done when he (B) had friends over (followed them around), to his disappointment that he won something in a video game only to find he already had one, to how much his rear end hurt from falling while learning to snowboard.  We got the car washed, and the boy a milkshake.  I played (and sang) my new favorite song for him, much to his pretend chagrin (The Decemberists’ Better Not Wake the Baby).  We turned into the driveway laughing.

Once home, of course we spelled (hard words: samovar, paprika, and catkin, although the last one was easy once he heard the correct spelling…), and then the chalice lighting.  It took a little while to tear him away from his iPod, but once we got the dog on the bed and settled, he gushed that he was thankful for his new baseball bat and some Lindt chocolate he got for his birthday.  These days he also always says he’s thankful for me.  I said I was thankful for getting some things done around the office, and for the lightness and laughter there today.  And of course, for his coming home after being gone a few days.  About then, the dog knocked the boy’s iPod out of the windowsill in which he’d left it for the night, and things moved into the dull aspects of getting it back in place, blowing out the candle, turning on the lava lamp, and saying goodnight.

Except for the “I love you” part.  That’s always the best part.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Power of the chalice

Nothing gets you ready for a chalice lighting like having a shouting argument with a construction worker.

Yes, last night was a late night at work and a race to mythankfulboy’s dad’s house to retrieve him and get us both to bed. Almost home, and traffic was stopped for repaving. A construction worker waved a light stick to instruct our line of cars into which lane to go. We followed what we thought were her instructions. For some reason, the worker chose my car out of the group, walked over, knocked on the window, and when I rolled it down yelled at me for messing up the traffic pattern. Now, it takes a lot to make me raise my voice. It is not that I don’t get angry, it’s just that I tend not to be loud when I’m angry. Until tonight, when I yelled right back at this worker. It was an out of body experience.

So, when I got to B just a few minutes later to find he had dropped his iPod and cracked the screen badly, I wasn’t angry, just spent. He didn’t know what to make of my quietness around this very important issue.

Home, teeth brushed, tucked in, we lit the chalice and sat there quietly. After some time, I asked for what B was thankful. He didn’t answer right away. Eventually, he said, “Being home. And the pumpkin party.” He didn’t ask me tonight for what I was thankful, and I didn’t offer anything. This morning, though, I think I should have said, “I’m thankful for your love, and for the centering, joining power of this chalice.”

This morning B missed the bus. Prayers appreciated.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Temporary freedom

What a bouncy boy tonight!  He played very well in two ballgames this weekend (one won, one lost).  He was at his dad’s Friday night until the game today, then home with me by afternoon.  I missed one big diving play he made in today’s game, but he re-enacted it for me tonight, just before the chalice lighting, in his tighty-whities, diving onto the dog’s bed for effect.  The real reason for his jubilance, though, was that he finally got his iPod back tonight after a hiatus caused by a bad decision he made at school near the end of the year.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you may remember the incident at school last year which resulted in his having to do a project on bullying (A backwards kind of justice from 4/17/14).  Well, time dragged on and he wasn’t getting it done, so I took his iPod away.  Lately, he has suddenly been standing on his head to get the iPod back, asking to work on the project, but I haven’t had the time to commit to helping him with the parts with which he needs help.   Today I finally caved and let him have it temporarily until I can be helpful in a few weeks  Hence his buoyancy.  And tonight he was thankful for – yep – his iPod.  I was thankful for his Auntie J who came to a few innings of his game in between a crazy schedule of things she had going.  He said “Yeah!  I totally didn’t expect to see her!  That was so cool!”

But let me get a few things accomplished here in the next few weeks and then, if he isn’t working on that project, I’ll snatch up that iPod so fast it’ll make his head swim (channeling my mother, there)!  Stay tuned….

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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A job to look forward to

Oh, how B loves his new headphones!  I may have to teach him sign language in order to communicate with him effectively from now on!  Last evening I noticed he was sitting backwards on the couch, listening to music, which also happened to give him an occasional glimpse of himself wearing said headphones in the reflection of the window behind the couch.  Super cute.  I suspect that he will, like last night and tonight, be thankful for quite a while at our evening chalice lighting for those things.  

I started to say that I was thankful for an evening at home, but he quickly pointed out that I had said that the night before (there are clearly different standards for him and for me).  He then slipped into chatter about middle school: about how the day flies by now (as opposed to elementary school), about the great lunches, about how much easier it is to get up than he ever thought it would be.  That reminded him that the iPod he left in his locker (thank goodness it was in the locker) would sound an alarm every five minutes from 6 to 6:30 in the morning, which is the alarm that usually gets him up.  He wondered if we should call the school and warn them.  Well, a little too late for that, but it gave us a good laugh, and reminded me to say out loud how thankful I am that he is getting up so early on his own.  He said “Yeah, I remember for all of fourth and fifth grade you practically had to drag me out of bed.  Sorry about that.  Will you get me up in the morning?”  “Sure” I replied, “That’s my job!” and I was surprised to be glad to have to do it.  

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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