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For the last eight years, the African American Student Alliance has collaborated with several Kennesaw State University student organizations to raise funds for the “Feed the Future” initiative which provides food and other resources for students who are experiencing financial difficulty.
The event will be held in tandem with the Giving Feast Fundraiser Luncheon on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 12:30PM in the University Rooms. The luncheon will be catered by KSU Catering and served by supervised, student volunteers. During this years event music will be rendered by the KSU Gospel Choir, as has been for the last eight years. Additionally, the KSU Brass Quartet, the KSU Dance Company and actors from the spring semester play, “Ruined,” will be performing during this event.
Because I am on the editorial board for the Kennesaw State University student art and literary magazine, Share, I was asked to compose a poem to perform at the luncheon. The following is the poem I wrote, and I will add video, music and photos to the final project for Thursday. Feel free to come out and support the charity, and me.
Feeding the Floor
I hear the Cheerios tumble, fall and roll away to where the vacuum can’t reach them.
Looking away from Facebook posts, where
friends share what they’re thankful for,
I watch my children waste food.
Thinking about thankfulness, I feel fortunate for my full belly
and guilty for not giving back; doubting the downtrodden.
My cynicism keeps quarters in my pocket as my mouth stretches truths into lies: “Sorry, I don’t have any change,” I say quieting my pocket, walking by homeless.
Like the lady begging outside Philips Arena, who sat on a crowded corner as concert goers passed by. She had three children with her, who tried to keep their dirty faces warm in shirt collars while the wind and I walked by.
Sometimes I feel like I’m feeding the floor.
We don’t have a dog, but the scraps still scurry out of sight
when my toddlers eat what they do and dump what they don’t like.
Feast your eyes at the food on the floor
Guilt mounts in my mind as I hear my mom’s voice,
“Children are starving in China, you know.”
And I reward my kids’ eating their fill with…more food.
I’m most thankful for my family,
Inside whose tiny eyes, I can see God’s grace.
He entrusted two souls into my care, believing I could afford to feed them.
So, though the food drops to the floor,
sometimes tossed but often dropped,
I appreciate my ability to sacrifice by staying home,
pinching pennies and choosing charities carefully.
I’m feeding the future every time I fill my kids’ plates,
teaching them to pick up where they left off
and always to clean up the food that they drop
that I may see healthy reflections from my satisfied floor.
I’m a well-meaning mother; most certainly not a perfect parent, but this is one of those blogs where I’m openly admitting my inexperience. I’ve labeled my Friday parenting blog “thoughts from ground zero” because that is the honest perspective from which I’m writing. I am not doling out advice here; I’m kinda begging for it.
My best of intentions involves making sure my babies always know if they ask for help, mommy and daddy will be there for them and help them the best way we know how. Can a two-year-old really manipulate that bond?
My daughter is 2 going on 12
My daughter has been toilet-trained successfully for the majority of her second year (she’ll be 3 in a few more weeks; actually only about two). She hasn’t had an overnight accident since summer, yet when I’m home quite often she begs me to help her go to the potty because she fears she’ll fall in. Now, this is only an issue when she decides it to be one. Most of the time she just goes and I only need to help her wash her hands afterward. She doesn’t seem to pull the ‘I’ll fall in’ act with her daddy. This morning, I had to just leave the house and my husband said she quit the act and used the toilet without help once I was gone.
She’s also in the cute ‘I need a Band-Aid’ phase that I’d seen plenty of time on television sitcoms and tear-jerking commercials. While it gets a bit annoying, I understand that part of her needs reassurance that we’ll take care of all her bumps and bruises–even the invisible ones. I guess she got a paper cut because I noticed the skin on her index finger wan broken, but not so much as a drop of blood squeezed out. All the same, I bandaged it.
The next morning, her foot magically hurt and had to be bandaged.
Can a toddler have depression?
The single most heart-breaking moment by far came this afternoon, though, when my daughter watched an old episode of Winnie the Pooh (one that comes from the very same book I’ve read to her at night). I knew the story well from reading it–Rabbit tires of Tigger’s incessant bouncing and convinces Pooh and Piglet to try to lose Tigger in the woods. Of course, Rabbit’s plan backfires and Rabbit gets lost. Later, when Tigger finds himself in the top tree branches and afraid to jump down, Rabbit forces him to promise to quit bouncing in exchange for help down. I looked away from my computer to see my teary-eyed daughter on the couch starting to sob.
“They won’t let Tigger bounce,” she sobbed and I ran to hold her like an understanding husband would console his pregnant or otherwise hormonal wife. I hugged her, assuring her that Tigger would be allowed to bounce again because Rabbit, Pooh, Piglet and Roo wanted him to be his happy old self.
My husband and I accepted long ago that our daughter is extremely sensitive and quite brilliant, but now I’m honestly wondering not only what is in store for us once she hits puberty but also whether or not she could have depression. I don’t know. I’m standing here consoling a moody toddler who has everything she needs. She has no idea how truly spoiled she is, but from ground zero I collect these heartbreaking moments and put them out to you, the experts.
As a relatively new parent, I think back to my childhood and try to decide what my parents did right and where I can improve, innovating my children’s lives if you will. My daughter didn’t have a single sweet until her first birthday. I remember nervously trying to take her cake from her because I didn’t want her to get sick, but my husband stopped me in the spirit of getting messy and letting her enjoy her icing.
Halloween is a great time for toddlers and I looked forward to yesterday’s festivities about as much as my daughter did. This year she turns 3, and this year she really got the idea of dressing up, pretending to be a scary dinosaur and have strangers give her candy. Now, my husband and I fully appreciate candy and we’ve seen what it can do even in moderation. Sugar is a drug to children; I have serious reservations when I hear about ADHD diagnoses because I believe at least some of these labels apply to kids who simply eat too much sugar and get too few laps around the track.
In thinking about what to write about my kids’ Halloween (my son’s first as he is 11 months old), I came across an article in Time Magazine that said only bad parents control their kids’ candy stash. I could not disagree more. Kids need limits and, more than anything, they need guidance from their parents and guardians. The proper way to parent is to lead by example, showing kids how to say please and thank you. Don’t cram rules down throats, but explain why things are the way they are. I was never a fan of “Do as I say not as I do,” as that seemed to fly in the face of integrity.
Not only did I take my daughter’s candy from her, I also took out all the candy I disapproved of including lollipops and gum. She ate no more than five pieces of candy yesterday. Today, the first thing I let her eat was one piece of candy of her choice from her bucket. She ate a mini Milky Way bar before breakfast, and then consumed two Tootsie Rolls before lunch and ate about 4 chocolate munchkins in the afternoon. She picked at her decent dinner of homemade noodles and cheese, and is actually still singing in bed while she should be sleeping. So, she is not missing out on any of the holiday sugar high, I assure you.
What she is missing out on is the stomach ache from too much garbage. She’s missing out on possible cavities and she’s learning that she simply cannot have what she wants when she wants it. My parents let me take my candy to bed with me. In all fairness, I doubt they did so when I was a toddler, but by middle school I remember Trick-Or-Treating on the way home from school; we didn’t wait until dark. My brother would even mark out the best houses that gave out full-sized chocolate bars, change costumes and return a second or even third time! Pillowcase hauls lasted weeks. And I remember the belly I had as a kid.
Children are not capable of making responsible choices; they are children. We shouldn’t expect our pre-teens to choose salad over French fries in the school cafeteria and we shouldn’t expect any child to know when enough is enough when it comes to candy. This carries over into alcohol and drug experimentation, which usually leads to addiction and death rather than responsible choices and a trustworthy self-image.
Children need a healthy self-image and they need to feel trusted. I am not saying to withhold all candy, and when my daughter is ready to date I don’t plan to tell her sex is out of the question (but her daddy might). I remember well the way my parents forbid me to see certain friends, and I remember exactly how that didn’t work. What did teach me responsibility wasn’t the ability to run wild. I wonder quite a bit about some of the things my parents let me get away with. But, the only point I mean to make now is that children need guidance, guidelines and parents who lead by example, explaining the reasoning behind rules and making sure that their children understand that actions have consequences.
No. We will not let our kids eat as much candy as they can carry home from Halloween. We won’t let them choose what to eat for lunch when the choices are fried foods or stale iceberg lettuce. We will encourage them to make choices and we will show them how we make choices as adults. It’s a good thing I’ve grown up a lot or I might find myself encouraging my kids to indulge like a frat boy would inspire his buddies to “chug, chug, chug.”
Price versus cost: a lesson in economics
When I first heard about the regional conference for the Society of Professional Journalists, of which I act as president for the Kennesaw State University chapter, I felt excited and inspired to be one of the first chapter presidents to put for the extra effort to get as many members as possible (and as of this moment Kennesaw SPJ has the highest number of enrolled members ever), then to head to New Orleans to practice interviewing skills on zombies.
Then the reality of the fact that I couldn’t go because I am a nontraditional student with a husband and two babies in tow at all times sunk in. Not because they cannot get by without me but because I made a commitment and a vow to continue experiencing life with them (which also meant accepting that I won’t be participating in any study abroad opportunities).
I did the math and decided the trip would be too expensive for all involved, mentally and financially; I should let my chapter officers represent us in New Orleans among zombies
Traveling with toddlers
Then, just when I accepted I wouldn’t be going, I randomly won $250 cash – no questions asked minus proof that I was going – to head to Zombie Stories. At that point, I frantically recalculated and thought I discovered gold when the total Greyhound bus fare for two adults and two children round trip was only $260.00. To make sure I wasn’t missing anything, I called the customer service line and asked about bringing my 10-month-old (he’ll be 11 months old Sunday October 27) and his car seat. The happy service person emphatically assured me that though it wasn’t guaranteed, I could get to the station early and if the bus didn’t have straps I could request a car seat from Greyhound, but she stressed verbally that 90 percent of the buses were “new buses” So, I felt confident in my decision to purchase a seat (after being told I could just hold my son since e was under age 2), because I’ve seen movies where a child was ripped from a mother’s arms as a plane went down. Wasn’t that in “Cast Away”?
Preparing for everything
The idea of enjoying life and children means preparing for as much as possible if not everything. I tried to think of everything, but sometimes you have to chock it up to life experience. We decided to rent a minivan on the way back from the conference; had we rented the minivan to start with and driven with four adults and two babies we would have saved money and aggravation. Lesson learned I suppose. Advice for the future? Double-check when you think you find a great deal. Consider the cost of comfort and the fact that time really is money. By driving home to Atlanta from New Orleans we were able to sleep in, while the bus left around 9 am. We took in the scenery and patronized a local diner in Mississippi that had been rebuilt after suffering devastation by Hurricane Katrina.
Traveling with children? Yeah, not ready to call myself a pro, but my nearly 3-year-old daughter and 11-month-old son have seen Georgia, Tennessee, driven through North Carolina briefly, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. I’m still here to talk about it. We will not be trusting Greyhound in the future.