A Protest Poem

Every year at Thanksgiving, the fifth graders at our school have to invent a turkey character (most boys do a spin on their favorite football player or superhero), dress it up as an art project, and write a poem about their turkey. So, in honor of the fifth grade tradition, I decided to have my fifth grader as my guest blogger.

Of course, he lost the cut-out of the turkey he’s supposed to use for the art part of the project, so he’ll be scrambling tomorrow night to cut out a tie-dye turkey shirt…..

…but given my teenager wants to register Republican, it’s kind of nice to have a hippy, social justice, protestor type in the family at the gates of the White House. Even if it is a turkey.

I’m a Protesting Turkey

I do not want to live in disguise

Or end up in somebody’s pies.

The Thanksgiving feast is like a beast

Devouring us.

So, I left the farm and traveled east.

I’m at the White House making a fuss.

To get here, I took a bus.

But people make fusses on busses.

So, I took a train

but it was a pain.

It took me nine hours to get this far

Not including my stop at the bar

Where they tried to bake me

But they couldn’t take me.

So here I am at the White House gates

Protesting turkeys’ fates.

Advertisements

A 16 Year Old Gets His Driver’s License

When most sixteen-year-old kids walk out of the driving test with their new license, they can’t stop smiling. They know that they just earned themselves a new level of freedom…. and for some, a car.

“You’re a good, safe driver. You passed!” said the nice lady with the clipboard at the DMV.

We both grinned.

But his smile was much bigger when she asked, “Would you like to preregister to vote?”

It was fun to see for a mom who used to love politics.

A week before, he hounded me to fill out my mail-in ballot and read out loud from various websites as I considered each candidate and ballot issue.

A few nights later, he stayed up late watching the mid-term election results slowly roll in. I was surprised by how much he knew about the candidates from each state (not just ours), and how, when he didn’t know, he looked them up.

“Do you know your Party affiliation?” the nice lady at the DMV asked.

It was fun to see for a mom who used to love politics… even though…

He couldn’t contain his glee, “Should I really pick my Party, Mom?”

I guess, at least for now, we’ll just cancel each other out.

“I get to vote in the next election!”

But he’s reminded me what it feels like to love politics.

Dinner with Teenagers

When you first have children, you look at them and think how absolutely beautiful they are. You want to hold them, smell them, make them laugh. But as they grow into teenagers, you start to see who they might become with their own set of passions and beliefs. And you see the day when you will learn from them.

They are suddenly interesting. Sometimes more interesting than your colleagues or friends because they are willing to talk about anything, pushing the envelope on your thinking without being afraid that they might offend you. Wondering about things you might not have thought to wonder about. Not knowing any better than to ask the questions you’re not supposed to ask “in good company.”

“Can I try a sip of that?”

Tonight, sitting around the fire pit, the conversation with our thirteen year old morphed from what happened at school today to whether a college education is important and if there is a difference is between Stanford or Harvard or Princeton and a school no one’s heard of. We discussed the education of the last few generations in our families. Left the old country before high school was done and worked as a bus driver. First to go to college. Focused on a premiere college because that was your guarantee of a better life. And now here we are, calling college an expensive IQ test and almost expecting it to implode before our children’s children think about applying.

A week or two ago, we talked about both sides of the abortion issue. Mom and dad, do you guys agree on this one? The black, white and gray of a complex, emotional issue.

And for the last two weeks, our fourteen year old lectured us at dinner on the complex and resilient history of Germany. We helped him strategize about how to win WWII in his-school assigned role as the leader of the evil Axis. How did you get Germany?

Then when we are tired of academic banter, the teens catch their breath, readying themselves for the next argument about the NFL Draft, because a night doesn’t go by in April without analyzing every move made by our favorite Packers, Falcons, Broncos and Chiefs this year and for the last ten years.

Because that’s fun at dinner too.

The Certainty of Youth

My sons have never:

  • Voted
  • Voted for a winning candidate and regretted it later
  • Voted for a losing candidate on principle
  • Voted for the lesser of evils
  • Aligned with a political party
  • Voted for the loser and the winner turned out to be outstanding

That’s why I miss half of what is said in this winter’s increasingly heated political debates – my kids won’t shut up. They opine through every minute of every debate.

At twelve and thirteen, they are the color commentary. Opinionated. Sarcastic. Utterly confident that they know best. Eager to comment on anything – the candidates’ ties, their hair, their intellect.

“He doesn’t know anything about the Klu Klux Klan?!”

They borrow catch-phrases from adults, other twelve year olds, ad campaigns on the side of a bus as if they were time-tested facts.

Sometimes I shush them, “I want to hear this.”

But most of the time, I like listening to them.

“He’s a crook.”

“She’s a liar.”

“He’s a socialist, and socialism never worked anywhere, any time.”

“I mean, mom, he’s going a build a wall?! He might as well take down the Statue of Liberty while he’s at it.”

Unable to hear what the candidates are saying above the din of my boys’ joyful, humorous political certainty, I remember a day when I was sure I had all the answers… and voting was easy.

 

Kids and the Big Debate

We have been watching a sampling of the debates for both Republicans and Democrats with our boys so they can learn the issues, how the process works, and who these characters are who want to run our country.

And the kids are talking about the issues: the wall, racism, Obamacare, socialism, taxes, North Korea, ISIS, the Supreme Court and more.

But last night, as if it were the most important lesson learned 45 minutes into the Republican debate, my 13 year old announced, “If I were running, I’d wear a white jacket, white pants, white shirt and a maroon flower and shiny maroon tie.”

Now, that’s how you stand out when you’re running for President.