Middle School Course Requisite: Locker Decorating 101

Well, Middle School has officially begun. The back-to-school shopping for school supplies included the standard Sharpies, highlighters, folders, notecards and three ring binders. What has become part of our more recently celebrated return-to-school ritual is the decoration of lockers. Oh my! Gone are the days of the peeling, drab khaki-colored yellowed-tape-covered, banged-up minuscule lockers that were so narrow that your books wouldn’t lie flat. To describe them as less-than-memorable would be an understatement. Actually, did I have a locker? I think so. Did I go to it often? See, not that memorable!

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These days, they are almost the size of a studio apartment with a loft. Oh, and those old Master Lock combination locks that we used to use if we were fortunate enough for our parents to spring for the extra $10.00???? Fugget about it!!!! So passe! Now, the built-in state-of-the-art locks take on-the-job training and a little extra finesse. So clever! It can’t be just any ordinary lock to protect those tomes that the kids are having to carry around these days! Oh no, one needs special security to guard the wall-papered, shag-carpeted, two-tiered space that is complete with a “crystal” chandelier (with a motion sensitive setting) that would have made even Leona Helmsley a little green with envy. After all, one never knows when one might need a little light in the deep recesses of the well-appointed book vault. During the last week prior to school starting, we visited that locker on four different occasions practicing and timing the ever tricky combination lock.

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On the first day of school, my daughter woke to her alarm that she had set the night before and had intentionally moved across the room so as not to potentially fall back to sleep after shutting it off. She got dressed and came downstairs for breakfast. She was so excited! Woohoo! Big middle schooler! Surprisingly, given this bladder-eye’s history, I wasn’t feeling overly sentimental. I was excited for her! Her fourth grade teacher had her so well prepared that she was feeling very confident for her next stage.

We drove to school and had sweet conversation imagining what it would be like changing classes and being in the same school with some kids that had facial hair. It was all a relatively light exchange until we had to stop for a school bus. Standing at the corner was a lovely little family eagerly awaiting the door to open to help their smiling little blonde, curly-headed daughter climb on board. She was dressed with the same little Mary Janes and lacey socks that my little girl wore on her first day to school. The sendoff party included the dad, dressed for work in his crisp shirt and tie, the little brother enthusiastically waving goodbye to his sister, and the tearful mom taking pictures and trying to muster her best smile while waving and walking with the yellow-orange school bus until it turned and motored out of sight. Uh-oh! I just felt my throat clench! My daughter, who knows me way too well, said, “Mom, don’t cry.” I said, “Oh honey, it goes way too fast. It feels like yesterday when I had to blindly rush out of your pre-school so as not to have a public meltdown.” When we pulled to the drop-off curb of her school, she unceremoniously hopped out of the car and bounded into the building wearing the same size 8 shoe that I now wear. I, too, watched her in my rear view mirror until she motored her way out of sight. Sniff…Where has the time gone?

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Give me Liberty, or Give Me More Candy Crush Tokens???

“Apathy is a sort of living oblivion.”- Horace Greely

Let’s face it. Anymore it appears that what was right is wrong and what was wrong is not only right, but even celebrated and revered. Our country is being led down a path of destruction and her citizens appear to continue with their fascination with Candy Crush (I admit I love Candy Mania), social media, or the latest post-apocalyptic drama that seems eerily possible in our current turbulent global affairs.

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Where is the fight in people? Those whose beliefs align with the Tea Party are melting the U.S. Capitol switchboard and getting the same interns that take your name and zip code with your complaint. We write impassioned letters to our state and U.S. Congressmen and get the appeasing form letter telling us that they are understanding our grievances. It is nothing more than wonk speech. They are clearly not hearing the message.

What does this have to do with the musings of motherhood? Well, I often try to instill trust in my daughter that her mom and dad truly have her best interest in mind. Until she is legally an adult and paying for her bills, we are the custodians of her innocence, guidance, etc. As a representative Republic, are those representatives that we elect truly representing the values that we hold dear? Do they truly have our best interests in mind? Do they live by the same standards that we are made to live by? The utter and casual recklessness of the power-hungry, career politicians in Washington D.C. has resulted in the futures of our children and grandchildren being swept down the proverbial drain.

Recently, my husband and I attended a party, and I got into a conversation with a dear friend regarding the state of our Union. Politically, we are on the same page, and I sometimes forward certain emails to him that I feel worthy of his time. From our conversation, I concluded that he is a relatively big contributor to the Republican Party. He told me that he believed in my message, but that he felt I was a little too passionate in my delivery. However, he suggested that I get together with another politically passionate acquaintance of his to come up with a list of six bullet points that he would present to the person he supports to ask for answers to legislation and policies that do not align with Conservative principles. After all, if the Republican Party would like to have its Conservative constituency showing up at election time, the Conservative base, that has otherwise been relatively absent in recent elections, would like some of these issues addressed.

My friend said that the Republican Leadership has no power; its hands are tied. That is incorrect. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the power of the purse and they are not using it to their advantage. Pressured by being portrayed by the bully pulpit of the President and the Main Stream Media as haters of all sorts, they feel compelled to do something, but sometimes doing nothing or keeping a President from doing something is the best plan. He said, “The Republican Party has to compromise.” Since when has the Democratic Party compromised? If a Republican compromises, the Democrats just move the goal post further Left. Again, sometimes the best strategy is to do NOTHING! It isn’t to give in to the opposition so they can further their agenda.

Admittedly, I can be a little too assertive in my opinions which are supported with dates, events, legislation, etc. I feel the average oblivious American needs to be brought up to speed whether they want to or not. I optimistically, and naively hope that it might spark an interest for them to become more engaged themselves.

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I pondered what my friend said about my brazen delivery and thought to myself, “Were the Founding Fathers dispassionate about this country and her freedoms?” The final sentence of the Declaration of Independence is an oath among the Signers to “mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor.” Is the tone of those words passive? ┬áThen, of course, there is Patrick Henry’s famous quote, “Give me Liberty, or give me death!” Do you think it was accompanied with a yawn or a blank expression? I think not on both accounts. The Signers of the Declaration of Independence lost everything including their families. The turnout at the Primaries has spoken to an apathy that has been like a cancer spreading throughout our land.

I have recently read a Bible verse that has truly resonated with me regarding the apathy in our country as our citizens passively stand by watching the decay of the greatest nation mankind has ever known. Interestingly enough, it is in the book of Revelation:

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich: I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:15-17 (NIV)

At the end of the day, without the freedoms that the Constitution guarantees and our elected have sworn to uphold against enemies of the United States of America, both foreign and domestic, will we not be “wretched, pitiful, poor…”? If you visit Ellis Island, you will find tomes filled with names of brave and courageous men, women, and children that had endured potentially life-threatening voyages to escape the horrors of nations where they had no freedoms and lived in “wretched, pitiful, poor” conditions.

In conclusion, I pray that we lock arms as a nation, regardless of political affiliation. I ask that God put passion for our country into our hearts and minds. What I have known of my country has been wonderful and she is certainly worth our efforts.

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“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.” -Ronald Reagan