Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Politics of Kindergarten Valentines

"Which Valentine do you want to give Ally?"

"I want to give her Megatron." (for the un-childrened, Megatron is the uber-villain, bad Transformer)

"But he's not very nice."

"Ally always gives me 'mean-face'. I want to give her a Megatron valentimes card."

And thus I was initiated into the politics of kindergarten Valen-times (Ian's wording).

If you are nice, you get the nice robot valentimes card. If you aren't, and you know who you are, you get the mean ones who kill people in the blockbuster movie.

I had no idea of the complicated interpersonal relationships going on in Mrs. Regan's kindergarten class. For example, I didn't know that no matter what my Ian does that Ally always gives him mean face. A fact which completely baffles him.

I also have no idea where the rest of his valentimes went. Only his 'buddies' made it home in his heart adorned goodie bag. Everyone else was just tossed aside in the chaos I am sure is the back of his desk. After all, Reilly 'finks' Ian hurted him at recess and he didn't...really, Mommy.

I don't remember if relationships were this complicated when I was in kindergarten. If so, I remained blissfully unaware as I ate the paste. Now, it's a little like Survivor. Hopefully my Ian doesn't get voted off the playground!



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Monday, February 9, 2009

Rituals

I am utterly convinced my beloved Stillers (Steelers to those of you not from, descended from or transplanted from western PA), won because of three reasons.

#1: Grandma Lucille's ORIGINAL Myrone Cope Terrible Towel was draped across the t.v. set for the latter half of the season and the entire playoffs.

#2: We ate some type of tex-mex food around halftime or by the third quarter.

#3: I sat in the middle of the cozy couch wearing some type o' Stiller gear.

Stellar play, Troy's amazing defensive genius, Ben's golden arm, Tomlin's coaching, Harrison's sorta speed and Santonio's catching all were second place for the family Stiller rituals.

With the ever diminishing role of church and faith in our daily lives, there seems to be so few rituals upon which we mark our life's journey. It's now been placed into sports, shopping and cyber-living (e.g. facebook, Wii, etc.)

In the pre-Project Runway, 250+ channel cable, video/computer era, passages were marked by rituals everyone in some way of other engaged in. Births were marked by elaborate baptism or christening or Bris celebrations. Husbands stood by wives, tearfully rejoicing in the joining of this little, squishy and probably screaming creature into the human family. Now, there are entire t.v. shows dedicated to determining which fella is the "Baby Daddy" as there are too many candidates. "Baby Mama Drama" is the stuff of reality t.v. and movies. If one looks at the births in the paper the majority have parents with different last names.

The mark of maturity wasn't when you had to start buying them birth control pills or condoms, but a confirmation ceremony. A man wasn't a man when they slept with their first woman. Rather, a man was a man when he knew how to honor, respect and marry a woman. A woman wasn't a woman when she could buy her first transparent belly shirt, or get her first piercing. She was a woman when she could stand on her own and stand beside a man, equally respecting and honoring.

I read about middle schoolers who are engaging in oral sex parties. Don't blush, it happens even in the 'good neighborhoods'. I see parents who would rather the kids got drunk and had sex at their house so they can keep an eye on things. I see mothers in their 40s desperately holding onto puberty through botox, stretching skin to drum tautness just to be a MILF to their son's friends. Don't blush, you can all name 2 or 3.

I don't long for the days of yesteryear. There were definite drawbacks then too. What I long for is a better fence around our cultural playground. I want some things to be sacred and special again. I want some signposts along the way for my sons to understand how they are growing and what is now expected of them.

I just want a little more ritual, and not just for the football season.
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