Mosby’s Midnight Raid

I am no history buff. I may say I love it but the truth is, what I really love is people standing around talking story in old places about our great history. Last night I happened to be standing in a restaurant that had once been an old stable standing next to a hospital in downtown D.C. Abraham Lincoln asked congress to construct the hospital. Construction was completed in 1866. It housed 50 patients, was built for roughly $115,ooo and had good ventilation and gas lighting. What this old building has seen. Last night I heard that years ago it was abandoned and homeless people lined the hallways. Today it’s a community center. 

We stood outside next to a civil war era anchor.

img_4769.jpg

Inside, Ray happened to notice an inscription inside a light fixture.

img_4770.jpg

It read, “I can make Generals. Horses cost money. ~ Abraham Lincoln

Someone there said, do you know the story? I am not a civil war buff and I had no idea. So I got to stand in this old stable and hear it.

There was a confederate colonel named John Singleton Mosby. He was known at the time as the Gray Ghost. I read that Abraham Lincoln gave him that nickname. He was in command of the 43rd battalion, 1st Virginia calvary. As our storyteller told us, he was sort of the confederate John Rambo. He lost no men. His battalion came to be known as Mosby’s raiders. 

Last night I heard the story of Mosby’s raid at the Fairfax County courthouse. He snuck 29 men into the city. They ended up at the Gunnel House where a Union general had his headquarters. They politely knocked on the door and made up some silly story to get into the building. Once inside Mosby walked right to the general’s sleeping quarters. General Stoughton was most likely sleeping off a drunken stupor in his bed after a night of carousing. Our story teller didn’t portray Stoughton in the best light. He was known as a womanizer and a bit of a party boy. Mosby walks into his room and slaps Soughton’s bare bum with his gloves to waken him. Stoughton rolls over mad as hell yelling, “Do you know who I am?” Mosby’s quick reply was “Do you know Mosby, general?” The general says, “Yes! Have you go the rascal?” “No, but he has you!” was Mosby’s quick retort. 

Mosby captured about 33 men including one brigadier general and one captain that night and 58 horses. He had 29 men with him and no one ever fired a shot. President Lincoln heard all about the raid. That’s when he said, “I can make Generals. Horses cost money.” 

The even more fascinating story about Mosby is that after the Civil War, he knew that we needed reconciliation. He became close friends with Ulyssess S. Grant and campaigned for him during Grant’s presidential bid. Eventually he wound up on the west coast where he would become a mentor to George Patton and was said to greatly influence Patton’s sense of bravery, duty, honor and even his war tactics. 

Obviously I enjoyed my evening. It’s even better that I got to hear my stories with this guy.

 

Read More

Just Keep Swimming 

So this kid…

decided swim team sounded like a lot of fun. She’s been swimming forever but she never had a formal lesson. When you’re the third kid it’s more of a jump in and see if you can keep up sort of thing. I’m not sure what sounded fun about waking up at 6:30 all through your summer to jump into a cold pool by 7:15 but I thought it sounded like a great way for her to learn her strokes. So we signed up.

There has been a learning curve for both of us. She’s also had a lot of fun.


Who can argue with ice cream for breakfast? 

She has managed to drop her time significantly in every stroke she swims. On Monday night she chose to swim butterfly for the first time. She qualified for this morning’s A meet on Monday night.

While she’s been swimming forever, this is first year of competitive swim and her first time listening to any sort of instruction. She was armed only with her mother’s love of the water and she killed it!


She’s so excited to get awards for her first time swims.


And the pep rally’s are pretty awesome too.


Her cheering section is not too shabby either. 

She has had a great season and I couldn’t be prouder. Did I mention she dropped 9 seconds off her freestyle time and 12 off her back stroke? Yeah. There’s that. Just keep swimming Bria. We can’t wait to see what you accomplish next year!

Read More

Seek The Peace

My son is autistic. My brother was a police officer. I’ve lived all over the world. I’ve lived with a group of people that are very proud of their genetic makeup. I’ve lived with a group of people that mostly embraced me in spite of mine. My children have been the minority in their school. At the time, my little people weren’t aware. My big kids were very aware, sometimes bullied not necessarily because they were white sometimes because they are military brats. The short point to my long sentence is our perspective may be different than yours.

I read the story yesterday. You know the one. An unarmed black man with his hands in the air trying to protect an autistic patient was shot. Thankfully he was only injured and not killed. You can read the story here.https://gma.yahoo.com/video-shows-unarmed-man-ground-hands-police-shoot-103603747–abc-news-topstories.html

Sigh… I read it and then read it again. My first thought was “what would Tye say?” My heart broke knowing that officer knew he made a horrific mistake. My heart broke for the man who was protecting a patient. My heart broke because he felt the great need to protect a patient from the police. My heart broke for the pain he will endure. My heart broke for the damage this will do to another community. It is still breaking as I scroll through the Facebook posts of my friends.

I am white. I don’t have the benefit of truly knowing the perspective of a black American. I do know a little about a police officer’s perspective. I do have a degree in criminal justice. My only brother was a police officer. While I wish I could ask Tye what he thought, I think I can speak a little to how he might respond.

The officer most likely reacted out of fear. I’m not in his head so I can’t say. He even said he wasn’t sure how he reacted that way. I hate that the fallen world we live in makes it so that the people we choose to protect us are worried about their own safety at a suicide call. 

I think Tye would say we expect too much from all of our first responders. They are expected to walk into volatile situations and  be psychiatrist, babysitters, field medics, family counsellors all while upholding our laws and in the back of their minds…now they have snipers to worry about. We are expecting them to do all that with little support from the community.

So what do I think about this situation? It’s a tragedy. It’s horrible. I wish I could walk back and change everything that happened and I’m probably not the only one. A few days ago, one of my children almost closed a door on Jack. She was excited, in a hurry, irresponsible but there was no real intention to hurt her brother. I was angry. I scolded her. I explained what might have happened and how awful things could have been.

Now, don’t get your panties in a twist. I know almost is only important when you play with horseshoes and hand grenades. There is very little about a slammed door that can compare with a gun shot. I’m sure this officer has a sick feeling like Bria had. He reacted. He reacted badly. He hurt someone else and an entire community and maybe even an entire country of people will have repercussions from that single millisecond reaction. I am so disappointed but I can’t revile him. I don’t know what happened to him that made him react that way. I don’t think he should be working as a police officer. I am sick for his family. I think he will be paying for this mistake for the rest of his life.

Why am I telling you all this? I don’t want my children growing up thinking police officers are inherently bad or judgemental or racist. I don’t know what it must be like to raise a young black man up and send him out in the world. I do have friends that have done it. They’ve raised these precious spirits to be kind, generous loving men. I can’t imagine a police officer being threatened by any one of them. I only hope we can all stop. Let’s talk about this in a reasonable manner. More than that, let’s pray.

My friend recently posted this.


I want one for D.C. Let’s all remember to pray for our communities so that we can all prosper together. 

Read More

Everything Is Overwhelming

So this morning I received a text that one of Arleigh’s friends had been missing for more than 24 hours. A missing persons report has been filed and her mom texted me the details.

This is Kayleigh.

She is 4’11” and weighs 130 pounds. Her eyes are blue. She has brown hair that she dyes red. She was last seen wearing orange shorts and a light blue tank top. Her mom has her phone. Anyone who sees her should immediately call the police. My heart hurts for her. She’s made some bad choices. She needs to know she’s loved. Kayleigh if you happen to see this, come home. There are lots of people who love and support you. There is nothing that you could do that would make your family turn their back on you. 

This afternoon we heard the dad of one of Arleigh’s friends had passed. He was only 49. He had pancreatic cancer but we thought treatments were working. His wife…his children…their grief is weighing on my heart. I know he’s been healed but I also know it doesn’t heal the earthly hurt the grieving family suffers through.

A good friend from home is raising money so she can fight melanoma. After suffering a stroke, the cancer was found. She didn’t have insurance at the time. 

I called our social worker today because of a child that’s on our hearts. Stop right there. We aren’t adopting a kid. We aren’t looking to adopt a child. The situation a child is in is breaking our hearts. Hands seem tied. It’s not my story to tell but I’d appreciate it if you’d pray for all the kids in tough situations. Maybe they’ve run away from home, just lost a parent or find themselves in horrible circumstances that is no fault of their own. 

Twenty four hours ago I was in a tizzy over Facebook posts about the convention. Today I realize there are real things happening in my own back yard that I need to take care of. Instead of worrying what someone else is praying for or not praying for; instead of wondering about emails; instead of wondering about speech writers and plagiarism; instead of worrying what is happening in our country right now… I’m worrying about the real kids that are hurting right in front of me. 

I would encourage you to look around. Don’t miss the forest for the trees. Pray. Help. Be the aloha instead of just ranting complaining posting about things you don’t have control over anyway. I’m stepping away from the screen. I hope you do too. 

Read More

Dear Mom of the Toddler

Dear Mom of the toddler,

I saw you at the pool today. I know you’re tired. I do still remember what it was like…that cleaning your house is like brushing your teeth while you’re eating oreos feeling. I remember nights when my waif of a child would scare the life out of me standing in front of me staring me awake with her big brown eyes until there was no point in going back to sleep. I remember the chubby feet. I remember the diapers that would make me gag and think potty training was a great idea until I tried to potty train. I know it is the best kind of exhausted you’ll be. I remember the cozy fitted pajamas curled in my lap with wet hair staining my shoulder and couch. I remember the “why” and the “how come” questions that were endless. I promise I remember. 

When I’m cooling off in a pool and the life guards are on break, I’m not trying to be creepy when I retrieve your child’s toy. I’m not exasperated at the pick up game. I don’t find their fits of giggles or splashes on my back annoying. I see your child and I remember what life was like when I balanced diaper bags at soccer games and sippy cups in airports. I remember being tired but knowing my kids still needed me, wanted to be with me wanted every moment of my attention.

Now my kids are with their friends. They are jumping off diving boards, going down slides, running off for games of tag in the grass during the life guard’s break. My kids are getting their own snack, potty breaks are accomplished without my help. Most of the time when I hear “Mom!” at the pool it’s because they want my wallet. Occasionally the littles still want me to play. Because my kids are mostly independent, I’m happy to retrieve your kid’s toy. I love holding their hand as they walk down the steps of the pool. Their playful splashing cools me off on a hot day. If you’re tired and need a break, I don’t mind. No one is judging you. We know just how hard that time was. 

Your time with your kids is also precious. I know everyone says it will fly right by. Before you know it, you aren’t helping push a bike, you’re teaching them how to drive. It happens so, so fast. Don’t miss a second. The next time you’re annoyed that an older mom is taking time to pay attention to your child, remember that time has passed for her. 

Sincerely,

Mom of 15, 14, 8 and 8

Spring Break 006Seriously… this was yesterday. 

Read More

Kendall Does D.C.

I may have mentioned that our schedule requires a master’s degree (which I don’t have) in business management or organization or I have no clue I just know my phone must truly be smarter than me to remember the babysitting jobs, camps, practices, swim meets, speech therapies and all that has to happen to keep this crazy crew where they need to be. Apparently it isn’t smart enough to stop me from the run-on sentence though…. ANYWAY, a few months ago Mom called with the bright idea to bring my nephew to D.C. It literally took weeks of back and forth phone calls to plan a week for him to come that would match his schedule with ours BUT WE DID IT!

Mom and Kendall arrived thick in the middle of Vacation Bible School. I seriously rolled in on the last day with this crew. 

IMG_4150

Mama needs her own church van! Notice the keiki visiting from Hawaii… I forgot to mention we had the pleasure of visiting with some of our island friends while they were passing through Virginia. (Another blog post…)

Kendall was an awesome VBS helper. He also finished out that week trying not to burst into flames at the pool with his light skin and red hair.

IMG_4127 IMG_4129

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We managed to do so much while he was here. 

  • Mount Vernon
  • Washington Monument
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Ford’s Theater
  • Tour of the Capitol
  • Supreme Court Justice Building
  • Swim meet
  • 5 Seconds of Summer Concert
  • Vietnam Memorial
  • WWII Memorial
  • A trip to Wegman’s (It was on his list.)
  • National Archives

And that was just some of it. I seriously have enough material for blog posts for a month. 

Can I just say, we aren’t around Kendall very often. You never really know what’s going to happen when you have an odd number of kids around. Kendall could move in with us and I wouldn’t bat an eye. He went to the pool with us. He had dinner and at our friends’ home and hung out with all the other teenagers. On at least two days that he was here my Garmin logged over 13 miles. He was always all smiles and encouraging everyone else to walk a little further to see something else. In short, he was a joy and I never thought I would say that about a fifteen year old boy! 

Once again, it’s time for summer school so individual posts about what we did will have to wait. I just want to say we love you Kendall and we can’t wait for your next visit!

Read More