September 1, 2010

First Day Jitters

The excitement of school has been in the air for the past couple weeks.  We have gotten everything ready from school/homework supplies to backpacks and lunch boxes.  My kids were so ready to go back that they began counting down the days two and a half weeks before the start of school.  I thought I was ready too.

Turns out that I'm the one with the first day of school jitters.

I couldn't sleep the night before.  I kept running check lists through my head to make sure we really did have everything ready.  It got so late, that I became concerned I wouldn't wake up in the morning. 

Everybody woke up on time or early, including me.  I made a special first day of school breakfast, a tradition we started when my daughter was in first grade.  Of course everything was ready, it's been ready for days and we all followed the morning schedule perfectly.  Kisses, hugs, and reminders about good listening and sitting on the bus nice were given just as the bus pulled up.  Our morning couldn't have been any better.

So why then did I spend parts of the day wondering if they would be ok?

My daughters are in their second year of Middle School.  They have figured out how to survive.  I've watched them grow into young women over the summer.  One of them wants to dress and be like everyone else, so she can feel accepted.  The other wants to be as different as possible, so if she's not accepted "it's ok" because she's different.  I won't even start talking about the subject of boys.  It seems to be all about socializing and their peers.  I just hope they'll do well in school and have fun with their friends.  Why can't Middle School be more like kindergarten everyone mostly likes everyone else, unless you take their toy/crayon/book.

My older son is in his last year of Elementary school.  He's at the top and proud of it.  I just hope he will remember to be nice to his little brother.  He's excited his two best friends are in his class this year.  I hope the boys don't fool around in class too much.  He's ADHD and has been doing amazing lately with paying attention and trying to stay calm.  I hope that his teacher, himself, and I can work together and make this a good school year.

Oh the little guy, my baby, that right there is my problem.  I have to remember he's in first grade now and not a baby anymore.  I feel like I'm a new parent all over again.  He is super excited to be starting first grade, in a new school, with his big brother!  But I just sat at home wondering if he would be ok.  It's a new, bigger school.  He's a quiet guy and doesn't always speak up for himself.  I'm concerned he'll get "lost in the crowd".

This is why I have the First Day Jitters.

Thankfully I also have my fiancee, Glen.  He reminded me the girls are growing up and know how to take care of themselves.  And that we'll always be here for them when a "disaster" strikes.  The older son will watch out for his little brother.  He knows what he needs to do well in school and how to apply it.  The youngest is growing up and not a baby any more.  He will figure out how to speak up and his teacher will be there to help him out.  And before I know it the kids will be home with tales to tell us about their exciting first day of school!

Trish Hanson

This is the story of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago

This is an email I received from my aunt.  Although my posts are generally about family and being green, I thought it was important for us to remember what women have done to give us the freedoms we have today.

Another struggle we often forget about......

Never knew it was this terrible. Just to get the right to vote.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
(Lucy Burns)

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

(Dora Lewis)

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

(Alice Paul)
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because - why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.)

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown, New York)

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

(Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate)

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said. 'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'

HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

(Conferring over ratification [of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution] at [National Woman's Party] headquarters, Jackson Pl[ace] [Washington, D.C.]. L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.  The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.'

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

(Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk, Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, 'Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.')

History is being made.
As I said, this was passed on to me and I think it's important to share this story of these strong and courageous women.  I know a lot of my inner strength comes from my mother and grandmother.  These women were mothers and grandmothers too, perhaps they will inspire us not only to vote, but to stand up for a cause or belief that is important to us too.