Friday, April 10, 2015

she is only 6.

eta: I didn't know I would have to add this disclaimer, but apparently, I do -  I in no way think we should be exempt from any rules or regulations. I just think we shouldn't even have to think about it at all, honestly. "We" being all inclusive, not just us. ;) I concede several times in this post that we are in the wrong, according to the rules, but that I just wish they were changed a bit, for all.

oh hey there. It is just me on my soapbox.


Another day, another dress code violation. My 6yo, yet again, is inappropriate because of the straps on her dress.

Her long dress.
That is high cut on the front.
That is cotton so she can play outside comfortably.

But none of that seems to matter because its "too skimpy".

A definition of skimpy = revealing, but I am confused as to *what* they think she is revealing.

because she is 6. 

The rule for school is "3 fingers" for straps. My kids' closets are filled with halters, spaghetti strap dresses, sundresses, etc... texas gets hot and these are the styles. Do we also have dresses that are "3 fingers"? yes.

Twice this week, sawyer has been in trouble for her dress.

Do they both break the rules? Yes.
I also want to point out that I know why rules are in place - because they want to make it a blanket statement for when girls in the older grades start to get boobs. I get it.

My daughters do not have boobs. My 6 year old is not distracting anyone with her shoulders.

and to be quite honest, the only thing that is distracting anyone from their work day and the process of learning (which, btw, is already hard for an ADHD 6yo to do) is sending her to the office for a cover up. Today, though, since she already was given a cover-up earlier in the week, they decided to call me instead ;) So while I was at my speech today, I had to send a friend to the school to cover up my daughter's distracting and skimpy shoulders.


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I am going to take the blame on both days and also give excuses. The first day was a day where they had to wear yellow - and honestly, the dress straps didn't cross my mind. Today, EJ was the one dressing them because I had already left and it would never have crossed his mind either. Also, I want to say that it is also not me being a lazy parent - this is a huge battle in our home, to get dressed in the morning - for many reasons that I don't have time to go into, but that battle is a sensory and anxiety overload for sawyer. Sometimes we are sitting on the clock of not even making it to school because of the problems - it is just not important. Because in the end we don't see that it is POSSIBLE for children to be sexual, skimpy, or distracting because of straps on a dress.

There are more than a few things wrong with this:

the handbook says - The District’s dress code is established to teach grooming and hygiene, prevent disruption, and minimize safety hazards. Any disruptive or distractive mode of clothing or appearance that adversely impacts the educational process is not permitted.

1. Who is so distracted at school that they cannot focus on their work? Is it other first graders? I mean, the pageant shoes she wears to school are largely more distracting - and they are not against dress code, so I digress that it must not be too much about distraction.

2. What happened to using discretion? At what point can an administrator not say "hey, that's against dress code, but since this child is 6, I am going to use my discretion to just not say anything"...

3. ...because pointing out to my daughter that she needs to COVER HER SHOULDERS in order to be within social boundaries is absolutely insane. Way to give females a complex, y'all.

Nothing she wears, at this age, falls into those categories.

This kind of mindset is the reason my child can't wear a bikini at the beach without other moms giving me the side-eye. Their son, however, has no shirt on, but somehow my 6yo would be "too sexy" and "revealing". Wearing a sports bra top to a sports practice is the same story. No one should be able to make my child feel ashamed of her body - especially a figure in power.

This is what society has done to us. Public school fears judgement from the outside so much that they stretch the bounds of their reach too far. There are obviously inappropriate clothes and situations for children when they reach a more pubescent age. I feel as if the educators are smart enough to know when that time is - and I feel as if parents are much more understanding at that age, as well - as they should be.

I don't want to send my child to school, covered head to toe, because the administrators worry that I am unable to teach my child how to dress appropriately for her age, as she gets older. That is not their job. We are the parents. And "no harm, no foul" apparently doesn't win against a possibility of my daughter's shoulders impacting the educational process for her class.

What power she must have to have that sort of hold on them ;)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

a lot of nothing.

I feel like we are in a holding point, right now. Which is fine, of course, that things seem to be going well in most areas. Softball, for sawyer has started. Aidan's dance competition season has ended, but now all except for corbin are learning their recital dances for the end of May.

We are still weekly vinblastine. Reese is just truckin' along, week by week, school every day, chemo on tuesdays, therapy... We had her transitional ARD meeting a little bit ago and we are all good to go for kindergarten next year. Her IEP is filled with ever so slight adjustments that will help her be the smallest, the kid in the boot, unable to write, still needing speech, but all the while, totally mainstream.

Reese had an appointment with her doctors, downtown, on tuesday and all is well. Her next MRI is May 5 - and we will go back up after to either 1. do chemo, like we are supposed to that day or 2. talk about a new protocol if the MRI isn't as good as expected. Have a stable tumor and being able to stay on vinblastine is obviously my prayer. I hope it can be yours, too.

I feel like the spring is filled with so much. I look at my planner, every week, and it is filled with appointments, shoots, practices and games, dress rehearsals and then vacation. The hospital has asked me to speak at a fundraising event in a couple weeks and while I am nervous, I will feel much better when I start immersing myself in the actual writing portion ;) Luckily, this is my jam and I am truly excited to get my thoughts and brainstorming on paper. I can't decide whether I want to read and re-read it to desensitize myself or just let the emotions go, as I need to. We will see how weepy I get and maybe that will lean me one way or another ;)

Corbs walks 100% of the time, but her knee fat is impeccable. Miller wears 2 different shoes most of the time and sunglasses to shade herself from the awesome. Sawyer is doing so much better in school, but will likely be known for her cheetah heels, forever. and Aidan is getting ready to try out for her school talent show, which hopefully will build some solo-type confidence.

I feel like there's always so much "hurry up and wait", but right now its more of a "hang out as is" and so I am going to relish in it.

IG: theskelteseven

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

hope spoken.

Here's the thing. I am sitting here, music in my ears, kitchen table spread. exhausted and fulfilled.

...but I have no idea where to start. I suppose the best way to do this is let it flow as I type and hope to heavens that it makes sense in the end.

I am at a place in my life, a season, that so many see. I do the same things day in and day out. Sometimes I am a rebel. Sometimes I sit at home and drink coffee and doodle in my planner or bible instead of go to the gym. Sometimes I pay bills when I should be doing laundry. Sometimes I have to take reese to chemo instead of swapping the dishes out. Yet, the point remains that so many of my days are generally repeats of the weeks before. My heart feels anxious, at times. I feel as if I ride the waves  of "too busy to do anything else, so be content" and "there's something more for me. more for us." so often that I don't know if I am just an infinite dreamer or someone who is ahead of her time in God's process - and that I just need to be still.

Since reese was dx, I have learned how necessary it is to live in the moment. I know how fleeting life can seem, but embracing the moment as a blessing and also, at the same time, as... important can sometimes be a struggle. I understand that what I do each day is impactful on my kids, my family. There is beauty all around me, constantly - tears from laughter, tight hugs around the next, messes that just seem to pile up even have some sort of unique spell on me at times - proof that we're just too busy doing other life that I can't put that way right now. Taking the time to open your eyes wide enough to see these things sometimes takes someone else to hold your hand and point. This weekend was filled w lots of hands squeezing mine saying "look. that. that is because you are you." Being pulled into a tight hugged prayer by someone who I'd just met, changes lives. I gripped her sweet neck as tears rolled down my cheek while she prayed for my sweet girl, for my whole family, for me. It just had to happen and those things are not directed by us. They are just God's way of proving that every day, something amazing can happen - even if you're just shopping (talented, funny, wonderful) vendors late at night carrying a coffee cup full of wine (lol).

I also have to remember that things that I blog can hinder or encourage people - yet I always struggled with my future course. I felt as if I should always be doing something more. Sometimes I have these conversations with my friends about what I will do later. I will teach, I will write, I will do nothing. It almost seems as if I am bouncing around towards different goals, or just giving up, but really, it's just that I want to do so much. These speaker sessions brought tears to my eyes as if I had never been told "what you're doing is where you are supposed to be right now" from God before, directly. I walk each day with a happy (enough) heart, but I always thought, even hoped, that I was meant for something more... and maybe I am. But being okay with the day to day feels like a weight was lifted. This platform, though it may be small, that I have on this blog, is filled with so many wonderful friends and readers who lift me up, lift my family up, that I walked away from this wkend being more grateful for them, you, as well. I stayed up late at night with my undoubtably incredible roommate spilling secrets and belly laughing and I remembered how purposeful every second is.

I know I am meant to be my children's mother. This I know for fact. I know that EJ and I are the only two people that can walk hand in hand next to reese and lift her up, protect her, love her the way we do. So many people love and pray for her - and for that we are eternally blessed, but we are meant to be her parents, her lifeline. Her sisters each have a purpose for each other, for us. I spent a lot of the weekend floating between knowing that what was being said was spot on, but undecided on if I already knew it or just was saying it for so long to help me believe it.

But now I know, for certain. This is it. And it's all I need.

A lot of the weekend was spent talking about God's grace. So appropriate for this time in our lives. For this time in my life. Jen Hatmaker said, night one, that grace is not ours to give, its God's. and "thank heavens that we are not the ones to judge who God gives grace to". She went on to say that it is easy to feel unworthy of grace - as if you've messed up too many times, made too many wrong decisions, but luckily the world does not get to decide how far is too far. Jen told us a few things - that one, there's God and there's THE REST OF US. Those are the only two divides. Everyone doesn't get divided into smaller groups based on if you're an insider or outsider in the church, who knows the lingo or reads more bible studies. It doesn't matter the types of choices you made in your life to land you where you are. It doesn't matter whether you are an "outcast" or "socially acceptable" because those are not God's groupings. He has none. We have two jobs - to love God and to love people. 

That seems a lot easier than deciding who is worthy of His love. He answered: everyone. And no one is too far away.

My first speaker session was with someone who I have followed for years - Joy Prouty. To be completely honest, I almost changed my mind at the last moment. I told my roommate that "I already know her story" and that it may be a "waste of my time" to hear the same things that I likely already had read on instagram, her blog...

...I could not have been more wrong.

The word she chose to sum up her session was brokenness. I stared at the signage at the door, before I went it, for a while, questioning whether or not it was for me. But so often I feel broken - in ways that people do and do not understand. It is hard being strong for my family, for others, and sometimes instead of strength, it's just bits of sadness that are stacked upon each other until finally it looks like a mountain instead of a valley. The love from others transform my worry, anxiety, into hope and peace, most of the time, and for that, I feel as if I am luckier than most. Still, I almost feel as if telling her story is an invasion of her privacy - that the 60-75 people that were blessed with her words, her tears, know a secret, but it ends so amazingly - with miracles, with salvation, that it also is something that should be shouted from the rooftops.

The entire weekend, people spoke of God's timing, so perfect each incident - even if it wasn't what they thought they wanted at first. Everyone surrendered to the fact that there is purpose in our days and how they are laid out before us. There were miracles, there were stories so perfectly wrapped up in so much amazing, that they almost seemed unreal, fabricated.  We felt the pain of a new friend as she spoke about her father's untimely death. The story was one that would be thought to end in a valley, but instead, we all just gasped, let out tears as Kristin gave slivers of sunshine in pain - something so necessary, and prayed for continued healing. Not everything can be fixed, not every prayer can be answered as you wish, but finding the blessing in a seemingly hopeless season is what can be the break between forever sadness and actually doing life.

We had small groups every day. Our sweet leader asking us to dig just a little deeper than our comfort level. Hopefully one day, I can be in her place... leading women at hope spoken into a bit of sunshine where there seems as if there is not. I want to be there to listen, to understand. Because I try to. I want to be a rock to those who are at the bottom - I do not in any way feel as if I am at the top, but I do think I know what the journey up and down looks like. But as all journeys, it is my own, only.  That is why I've blogged for so many years, I suppose - in hopes that someone sees light in the story.

Everyone has a story. If I had to use a word for the entire weekend it would be storytelling. Learning from each other, relying on each other, that is what life is about. Wise Jen Hatmaker reminded us that we need to act like family. We are called to love each other despite what we may think one another is doing incorrectly, unchristianly, things that don't deserve that grace that God extends to everyone - we are hear to tell our stories.

We wrapped up the weekend with so much hope. Stephanie wanted us to feel blessed, feel full, and I did. She gave me a new life mantra, almost - Romans 12. Things to remember day to day. Everything was so simple - just love. just... don't, when you feel like you need to do the negative. I walked away feeling as if Stephanie had challenged me until next year - until hope spoken 2016 gave me a new challenge.

I have less than 12 months until I get to hear many more stories. I have less than a year to think on the things that these women have given me to chew on, to dwell on, to write about - and to tell about.

I am speaking as an outsider who yearns to be an insider. I am speaking as an insider who is desperately seeking to be compassionate to all who are not. I am an outcast who is left to question why some think I am not worthy and to question if they are telling the truth.

I am worthy. I am where I am meant to be. This is what life is - and I am blessed to do this life with you. 

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