Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

I grew up with that mantra.
It is true, to an extent.

*disclaimer: I am about to rant on a touchy, touchy subject; Bullying. This may get long so stick with me. This is raw, this is real. I believe TRUE bullying, as in someone making a persons life so miserable that they chose to take their own life or someone elses is a terrible thing and it should be dealt with accordingly.*

This has been a long time coming, these are my own thoughts, my own opinions and I am entitled to them as much as you are, I understand that there may be some anger, some disagreement and that is ok,I understand I am publicly posting this which allows you to post/comment your own opinion, diversity is a good thing in many cases it causes people to work together and find common ground. This came about because of several situations with my daughter in which she has said "there are bullies at school" and when asked to define what a bully is giving answers like "people that hurt my feelings", "people that don't like me" "people that tease me", "People that don't invite me to their birthday party" etc... All things she is being taught in school. She cannot hide from mean people, different people, people that dislike her, her entire life. She must learn young how to properly deal with these people and the emotions that come with it, not hide behind a broad label such as "bullying".

I grew up in the 80's and 90's, I moved smack in the middle of my 4th grade year. Everything was awesome and exciting until my 5th grade year. I spoke fast with a unique southern drawl. I still lived in the south (Virginia) when I moved but my accent made my English almost foreign to the people here. I had to learn to slow down and enunciate. I made friends quickly my 5th grade year (another new school after our move, again) some of which I still talk to. I apparently made a lot of enemies, I was an easy target I suppose, tall and skinny frizzy overly permed hair freckles and skin a shade lighter than Casper the friendly ghost (I got called that often). I was a walking target. Sometimes it was hard all I wanted was to fit in, I just wanted everyone to be happy and like me. I didn't understand even in my fragile teenage years that it was just not possible to be truly liked by everyone. It was rough, I was called names, I was ridiculed and embarrassed in front of the entire class on several occasions. I wasn't a spoiled child, I had everything I needed and quickly learned you do not get everything you want, even if you work hard sometimes it just isn't possible (it isn't a bad thing). One day (I believe it may have been the turning point for me) I was riding the bus home. I had BEGGED for some timberland boots and my Father obliged. On this particular day I had to wear tennis shoes for P.E. and it was close to the end of the day so I wore my sneakers home and carried my boots. The bus went up a hill and my boots slid to the back of the bus, I was taunted by the kids in the back of the bus that they had my boots (I don't even recall their names) I asked for them back and then it happened, they threw them out the window. I was crushed for several reasons. For one I thought those boots would make me accepted, for two, I understood what getting those boots meant, it meant my parents took some of their hard earned money and bought something for me that was by no means a need and last but not least how on Earth could people be so mean? HOW!?????

Fast Forward from that very moment. I became a bully (not this petty picking crap that people cry bully about now, I am talking full fledged mean person, hateful, ugly, nasty person)

I began fighting, rebelling, being ugly, calling people names for no reason simply just anger.

My Senior Year of High School My Best Friend and I sat in her Mother's Van and I decided the next freshman to pull into the parking lot would be my target. Poor Girl. Her name was Brooke, I was so mean to her. I truly BULLIED her her life was probably a living hell day and night because this wasn't just at school this was in public no matter where I saw her. I chased her once on the Avenue, her eyes full of fear and ducked her pretty brown curly haired head down in the seat likely praying I would go away. I owe her an apology and even that will not give her what was supposed to be one of the best years of her life back. I regret it, I am a different person now.

When I was in school there were fights (it is bound to happen you have 400-1000 people with whacked out hormones and popularity on the line). When I say fights I mean vicious fights. One year one girl stomped another girls face with her cleats. (at least that is the story that went around). Can you even fathom what would happen if that happened in the schools today!????

Now- What I am about to say comes from me, I have been the Victim and the Bully I am the Mother of 3 children One of which has had moments of being what you would call a bully in todays world but has also had moments of being the victim, one that has had this picture of what bullies are embedded into her brain and cries bully in almost every scenario and then one that is likely going to be a victim of bullying simply because of his physical appearance ('handicap' though I don't really like to use that word with him, it is true).

WHY- why are we teaching our children to cry BULLYING constantly?

Let me explain:

From the governments bullying link: (here)

Types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
Inappropriate sexual comments
Threatening to cause harm
Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes:
Leaving someone out on purpose
Telling other children not to be friends with someone
Spreading rumors about someone
Embarrassing someone in public
Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
Taking or breaking someone’s things
Making mean or rude hand gestures

Those are all fairly broad and in a lot of those things listed I can honestly say they happen to me daily or at the very least monthly.
Teasing? Honestly? perhaps this is not the word they wanted to use?

the definition of Tease
gerund or present participle: teasing
make fun of or attempt to provoke (a person or animal) in a playful way.

The key word in the definition is playful. My family and I tease each other a lot I tease the kids my husband and I joke around with each other, it is playful interaction. The only time teasing could ever cross the line into "bullying" would be if it were to intentionally hurt someones feelings, and be repetitive.

Name calling. I agree, we shouldn't call each other derogatory names, it isn't nice, play nice. But this sort of ties in with teasing on this next example:
In the 6th grade (i think) We had D.A.R.E, we were given a white piece of paper to write our names on so our officer could address us by name. I scribbled mine out quickly H E A T E R. Heater. I freaking wrote Heater. It was quickly called out and for, well, forever people still pick and call me Heater. That teacher, to this day when he sees me calls me Heater. So fast forward a lot of years (more years than I care to count) and my middle child is in kindergarten. She is asked to write her name on something or another at school and she probably hastily writes it: A V E R. Aver, she forgot the Y (obviously it runs in the family) so for the better part of a week the children called her Aver, chanting Aver, Aver. She comes home and says "there are bullies at school, I don't want to go to school, they are mean." I ask why, she tells the story, I giggle a little because lo and behold I have a story to share with her. It didn't help, why didn't it help? Because she tells me that "that is bullying and her school had people teach her about bullies and she should not have to deal with bullies"

Leaving someone out on purpose.
I have a really hard time with this. It is ok not to get along with someone. Not everyone gets along, my daughter should not have to invite everyone in her kindergarten class to her birthday just so she "doesn't leave anyone out". Why are we teaching our children this? Why are we making them "hang out" with people that the mutual feeling is, we don't get along? You shouldn't hate that person, you shouldn't be ugly to that person you should be cordial and kind but if she wants to play with her best friend on the playground and doesn't ask billy bob to come play because they just clash, is that bullying?

The rest I can agree to as they should be general rules to follow in all walks of life but to classify ALL of them as bullying?????????

"Bully" the word is losing its meaning. It is becoming much broader than it should to appease a large quantity of people. Kind of like the word Love, I am guilty of it too, I love asparagus, I love photography, I love ... (I used to say I "love" something when I was a kid and my mom would say "are you going to marry it?" I get it now, we overuse a powerful word and it loses its luster)

We live and learn, our Youth is learning right now. I agree a child should not fear their safety at all, all children should be able to wake up and get ready to go to school without worrying about if they will be physically or truly emotionally harmed.
But here's the thing about emotions: As children and teenagers we are still figuring things out. People will dislike you, crushes will turn you down, boy/girlfriends will break up, people will let their mouths say things they think without thinking it through all of these things cause emotions. Our children need to learn how to deal with emotions. These are the same emotions they will deal with as adults and if we do not teach them now how to rise above these things they will never make it.

Our children have to be able to function in society. Can you imagine the police calls for bullying when this generation is of age? The current generation is being raised to become entitled, emotionally unstable, unable to function adults. Our children are our future.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

FIVE and possibly a picture overload.

I am writing this early because I know I will get busy and the emotion is already there so that is when I do my best writing. On Sunday Gavin will be 5.

I read a post recently about a father of 2. He talked about how the second child's firsts weren't as amazing as the first's because he had already seen that done and he decided to make a list of lasts because these were moments he would only experience one last time.

I think Moms and Dads are wired differently, in fact, I know they are. I was just as ecstatic for Walker's first steps as I was for Avery's and of course I was elated when Gavin took his . However, my LAST baby is turning 5...FIVE as in half a decade, where did the time go, kindergarten next year, holy cow slow down, FIVE. (Walker just turned 13, don't even get me started on the 13, thirteen as in holy cow 3 years and he will drive, 5 and he's an adult, stop growing you're already taller than me, 13.)

Five. In the past five years I've lived a lot of bittersweet lasts. I will never have them again, never. Why oh why does time go so very fast.

Gavin, 'white hawk of battle'. So he was. Born a toe head and battled his wars. He's still fighting and he's winning. His name fits.

It doesn't seem as though five years has passed. May 11th 2009 I certainly didn't see today as coming as fast as it has. But it's here, I cannot stop it. As much as I want to pause, I cannot. 

Gavin: Determined, strong, fighter, adorable, mischievous, flirt, happy, blue eyed, farmers tan, t-ball player, iPad guru, hard headed (wonder where he gets that), miracle, independent (I have to admit there was a lump in my throat when I typed that), five years old, FIVE.

You all know about Gavin. To sum it up without being completely redundant. Gavin was born with spina bifida, hydrocephalus and Arnold Chiari Malformation II. He spent almost 1 month in the NICU at chippenham and had 2 surgeries (on closure and one shunt placement). We were told Gavin would likely have a poor quality of life, that he probably wouldn't walk and the best option for the child was abortion.

May 2009

Finally home where he belongs!

This picture means so much to me. I don't know how many of you know this but Gavin literally cried all day (and a lot of nights) for the better part of 4-6 months. This chair he sat in I would put my foot on it and bounce him all day. It was the only way he would be happy unless he was eating. I look at this and see that smile and all those months of sobbing (he and I both) fade away. All it took was one picture, one moment to erase all of that.

boom boom fire power

I love this picture of him, however, that day I was thrust into the world of people not understanding 'special needs'. The photographer kept asking how old he was and wanted him to stand she didn't understand that he couldn't and was like I will put a block up there, lady.he.can.not.stand.yet. anyway the picture is adorable.

His first Birthday. He had serious texture issues and would not eat much of anything. I actually had to smash the cake into his face to even get a picture of him with icing on his face. He was less than thrilled.

his nemesis, the ice cream cone.

we should probably stick to a bowl and spoon.

photos he will hate me for one day.

Random photos in no particular order.

Just because this is so Gavin.

so happy birthday Gman. We love you so very much and are so VERY VERY proud of you.

Happy Anniversary!!!!

Today is my parents 36th anniversary. Their story is a story of true love. It started a little something like this:

Sometime in the mid 70's my Uncle Tim (Dad's older brother) turned 18 So Greg and Nancy (Nanny and Pawt) moved to N.C. I am guessing sort of like 'ok kid, you're 18 welcome to the real world'. Tim stayed in VA and Dad went to N.C. with his parents. I can only imagine how devastating it must have been to move in the peak of your teenage life leaving everything you know behind but Dad was no stranger to moving (I want to say he had moved 13 times but that could be wrong). So they settle in Conover N.C.. Little did Dad know what would happen. He would meet a gorgeous, flip flop wearing woman (apparently her flip flops made a clacking sound and he knew she was coming down the hall in school, at least that is what I remember of the story). Grandaddy called Dad bozo apparently he didn't appreciate Dad's coif *I wish I had a picture to insert here but I think Dad may have burned them all.* and I don't think Mamaw liked him very much but in her defense he was dating her baby (as in youngest) girl.

Dad Graduated (and I am almost positive Nanny and Pawt moved back to VA 'Good luck kid, happy 18th birthday' It may sound harsh to you but it's how we roll and honestly if we parented like that generation we would likely have a lot less problems in this world ) and Mom Graduated a year later. May 6th 1978 they were married. (I'm positive Dad picked the date because who could ever forget 5678!?)


I am sure that the photographer chose this pose but you can't help but wonder is he thinking of jumping? Is he watching over the car to scare away anyone with shaving cream? Is he just simply praying for it all to be over!? (of course he really is thinking this is the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!)

The look on my Mother's face in this picture makes me smile.

They went on their honeymoon in Myrtle Beach and mom got horrible sunburn on the back of her knees.

Let's fast forward to the best part. Just over one year later the most amazing little girl was born.... ME (duh!) I was so awesome that they wanted another one so three years later my sister.

How cute are we!?

I don't ever remember my parents fighting. Like seriously never. I am sure they did argue but it was never in front of us and you could never ever tell there was turmoil. We had a great life, we really did. In my 4th grade year something happened in the house and Dad said 'That is it, we are moving to VA'. Mom may have been sad and upset but if she was she never once disputed in front of us. She would follow Daddy wherever he went. Dad went ahead of us to VA I don't recall how long it was but it seemed like an eternity. He would land a job as the VP of Vector Industries in Waynesboro.

Handsome, huh!? That is the picture that ran in the paper (and that was like the one year my Dad forced his reluctant eyeballs to wear contacts.)

We (mom and us girls) packed up and moved to a 2 bedroom apartment in Waynesboro. We stayed there a short while and Dad bought a house in Staunton. Dad was excited but he obviously knew Mom was going to be less than thrilled because when he took us to see what he had bought he drove us by a 'mansion' first and all the nice houses on the street before parallel parking in front of a dingy yellowish tan falling down stucco house. I am positive Mom cried. She was happy just being his though so I don't recall any arguments over it. We entered the house to find that all the fireplaces were covered with drywall and the drywall was falling down. There was wall paper with presidents on it in one room and the kitchen was orange and by orange I mean BLAZE orange. My Dad worked all summer in that house so that we could move in and be comfortable. The house now is amazing, it was in a published book too!
In the early 90's Mom found out she was pregnant I was going to be 14 years OLDER than my youngest sibling. Along comes Ashton. I still call him Ashton but the rest of the world calls him Greg (and they have since like his 2nd grade year). The first boy born in the Humphries family in over 30 years. (talk about being born with a weight on your shoulders!)


I look at my parents, I see how they care for each other, how they truly love each other and think that everyone should have love like that. I am not saying it was all easy, I am sure it wasn't. I realize that love is a choice that you make every single day. I am sure there were times it would have been easy to throw in the towel, but they never did. I felt weird going through school because the majority of the kids in my school were of divorced families (not all but a lot).
My parents have been through so much together, they have laughed together and cried together. They have shared literally everything in their life. They make it look so easy. The combo of Mom being a God fearing, loving, caring (like literally 'give you whatever I have if you need it' type of caring), loyal woman and Dad being God fearing, compassionate, strong, loving man makes their marriage work.

I wish you both a very very happy anniversary and pray for many, many, many more. I hope you both know what an amazing inspiration you are to all 3 of your children. I hope you realize that you did the most amazing job of teaching us what a marriage is, what love looks like and how it can work as long as you work together and trust in God first and foremost.

Love you both so very, very much.