Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stranger Danger

I remember the night I lost Ton Ton for three minutes in a Vons in California.  He was maybe 3 years old and it was the first time in my life I felt like screaming, crying and passing out all at the same time.  I imagined the worst, my little boy in the back of a van on his way to Mexico, never to be seen again, and when he finally came running up behind me I wanted to drop to my knees and sob.  When I moved home I felt relieved to be in a place where kids could grow up freely and without fear. Raising a child on Saipan would  be safer, and stranger danger didn't exist here.  That's a myth we all perpetuated for decades and few of us dared to challenge.  Strangers are all around us, some we know, others we don't, many we can't ever be sure of.
If you hear or see anything, please call 911 or Crimestoppers at 234-7272
The recent happenings and the disappearance of two young girls who brought an island together to pray, stand and search has brought a new awareness to our small island community.  As we continue to hope for the return of these young children, taken in the wee hours of the morning, let us also band as one in the fight to keep our children safe by openly discussing the perils that lurk in our midst.

Tips for talking to your kids about strangers taken from, and

A stranger is anyone you don’t know. Even if someone is pretty or looks safe, that person is still a stranger.
Never go anywhere with a stranger or get in a stranger’s car.
Never take food, candy, or any other gifts from a stranger.
Do not pet a stranger’s animal, even if you are invited to pet it.
You are a kid. A stranger should not ask you for help. If a stranger asks you for help, get away from him as fast as possible.
Always stay away from the doors and windows when someone comes to visit and let an adult greet the visitor.
If anyone ever makes you uncomfortable in any way, tell your parent or another trusted adult immediately.
If a stranger tries to take you, yell “No!” and fight as hard as you can to get loose. Run to a public place and keep running until you find an adult who can help you.
When you are in a public place, always stay with your parents. Never wander off by yourself.   
 These tips are from,, and

You can't tell the good guys from the bad guys by how they look. You are responsible for keeping yourself safe when you're by yourself.
You are responsible for taking care of yourself, not for grownups. Adults who need help should go to another adult.
Instinct is nature's way of talking to you - listen to that inner voice.
If a stranger grabs you, do everything you can to stop him or her from pulling you away or dragging you into his or her car. Drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite, and scream. Do whatever it takes to attract the attention of others who can help you. If someone is dragging you away, scream, "this is not my dad," or "this is not my mom." 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Switch Weekends

Morning.  Slept in accidentally, but enjoyed it immensely.  The best part was having coffee on the patio with my husband and waking up to the day slowly, while the kids were still fast asleep.  Everything seemed light and fresh, happy and unhurried as if Sunday morning was dancing a waltz with us.  Even the oranges we laid out for breakfast tasted extra sweet.

Noon.  Laughter temporarily interrupted by a work text. It'll have to wait.  Tomorrow comes all too soon and the worries of Monday are inevitable, but not on our Sunday.  The children joke, laugh, sing and tease.  My husband squeezes my hand.  Wade reads the lunch menu to me.  I think about him and Sommer, barely out of diapers when we first met.  I squeeze back. 

Lemon meringue pie.  Nan and I carefully read the recipe, cutting the sugar in half, mixing, and measuring.  It's been measuring and mixing for a long time, but today things are smooth.  Maybe today she won't think of everything she's been told about me; I don't think about that standing shoulder to shoulder cooking with my daughter. 

"Good night, we love you" we say and turn the car around to fetch the girls.  "Hi girlies, we missed you" we say as hugs and kisses come flying.  It's not a typical family and it isn't always perfect, but it's ours and we wouldn't change a thing.

"When are you and Wayne having kids?"  It was asked of us just the other night and we smiled as we answered. I think about that question, posed all too often, innocent, but loaded.   Then I consider all the conversations we've had about the possibility.  But...we have kids, eight of them.  We may not be able to sit and share stories about labor, teething, or learning to ride a bike, but we have plenty of others.  Sharing a biological child is not validation for our marriage.  "Wayne and I have kids," I answer.  We know enough about growing up in blended families to be sure that good parents are not made of mutual DNA. 

Evening.  The girls want a sliver of pie before bed, but settle for sleep instead.  They had a great weekend, we did too.  Everyone's home now and settled in for the night.  "Would you have it any other way?" and we think of the struggles but agree, "No."  How else could we realize how lucky we are to have one another?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This Dance Ain't for Everyone

"Have you ever gone down a road, far down and wondered, maybe it wasn't what you want?" That came straight out of poor confused Dex's mouth in Something Borrowed.  "Um, you mean like marrying the best friend of the woman you really love, even though you don't love her, yet continuing to string the other woman along because you don't know who you want more?"  
And Darcy and Rachel. Tsk, tsk.  Don't know which of you I'd rather have as a BFF.  Center of attention Darcy who takes what she wants regardless of who it hurts, but is so transparent at least you don't have to second guess her or Goody Two Shoes Rachel who can't stand the thought of hurting her girlfriend, but not enough to stop sleeping with her fiance'.  I spent three quarters of this movie feeling sorry for poor Rachel with the flawless skin and luminous victimosity while wanting to scratch Darcy's eyes out for being so crass and selfish.  That's probably because people like Rachel get away with things solely on the basis of having big puppy dog eyes and looking deceivingly torn.  In the end, everybody thought they got what they wanted though.  I would have saved my friendship, but that's just me.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Know What I'm Gonna Look Like When I Grow Up Mommy

"Miss your bubby?" I asked the girls on the way to school today.  It had been a quiet ride and I wanted to break the silence.  In fact, the house was a bit quieter since Tonton left.  The two short weeks he spent at home prompted the sound of sisters giggling as they once again shared a room and laughter as kids jammed Rock Band each afternoon their brother picked them up from  school .

"Yeah" Sommer answered, "I miss him a lot."
"It's hard to imagine growing up and one day not living with each other, isn't it?"
"I'm going to visit Tony, Hope and Sommer all the time when I leave home" Peyton said.  "Ahem, what about us?" I joked, pretending to be crushed.  "I'll visit you every day" Sommer squealed.

What will it be like?  Will they come every weekend to play Scrabble and accuse us of cheating when we beat them? Will I bust out the good wine and ask them to help me learn how to use the latest technology because "I don't know why they have to make it so complicated nowadays!"  Will they sit at the table smiling at us bouncing babies on our knees cooing, "dance, dance, dance"?  Will they give us instructions on how to care for our grandkids, warning "whatever you do, DO NOT give them sugar!"

 Kids get older, but some things never change
  • Spontaneous hugs and kisses from sweet girls who want a hug back and even from 18 year old boys who just want you to know they love you "one more time"
  • Presents made by little hands that knock on your bedroom door too early in the morning, excited to see the excitement in your eyes.
  • The sound of anything followed by the word mommy. 
  • Hearing the words "I love you" before or after any other words are uttered, and sometimes when you least expect it.
I remember playing the "I love you" game with my dad growing up.  Me: I love you.  Dad: I love you more.  Me: I love you more because you only loved me for part of your life and I've loved you from the day I was born.  Dad: I love you more because you've only loved me for part of my life and I've loved you all of yours.  Now, we all do this with our children and with one another.  Text to my sister Bet: K, see you soon.  Love you.  Text from Bet: k, love you more.  

 Mother's Day 2011 with half of our children.  It was the beginning of a perfect day on a perfect weekend.  Or, as Hope put it, "some of the best weekends we've ever had."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hope Floats Poetic

Mom? You aren't listening.
"You said that you hope the teachers like this because you worked really hard on it and it makes you emotional thinking about it"
Wow, that makes me want to swing in a park eating strawberry ice cream.
"You're funny, Hope"
And I cut like a ninja.

Monday, May 2, 2011

You Too Can Have A Killer Prayer Life

Hey God, 
I just wanted to say, um, thank you. . . for all the silly prayers I made on my knees, begging and pleading, that you saw fit not to answer.  You're a pretty smart God, and for someone I've yet to meet face to face, you get me.  Sorry for the whining.  Next time I'm on my knees begging for some totally self destructive "whatever", could you just gimme a sign, like a flash of light or something so I don't have to wait too long?  Because I'm pretty impatient too.  But I guess that would sort of defeat the purpose of knocking some sense into me right?  And no, I'm not praying for patience, because I know that's easy yet not fun.  Anyway, thanks also for saying yes more than no.  Sorta means I'm praying for healthier things now right?  I know there's no guarantee you won't say no again, but I'm ok with it.  Really. 
Love, Bon