Monday, January 17, 2011

Honoring a hero

Today is a day set aside to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the greatest heroes of our nation.

Daniel and I were planning to go to the Museum of African American History here in Detroit today for the special events they were holding, but some things came up and we weren't able to go. Instead we watched Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington online. I don't know how much Daniel understood, but I did tell him who he was watching and why he was so important.

We also listened to his speech from the Great March on Detroit a few months earlier on the radio. This speech had the first version of the famous "I Have a Dream" section. I didn't know that until today. That speech was particularly inspiring to me today (you can see the text here), especially hearing his challenges directly to the people of Detroit. In our city and in our country, we have come a long ways, but we still have so far left to go.

I don't have any insightful commentary to share, just my desire to see justice in our land. Please don't be complacent. So many people see a black president and think that everything is okay now. It is not. The longer I live as a white woman in this predominantly African-American community, the more I see lingering injustice, pervasive racism and realize just how deep the wounds go. And I can only see and understand a tiny bit of it. I've been confronted with my own prejudices that I didn't know were still there. But day by day, I seek to grow in truth and grace, to be transformed in my mind and heart.

Sometimes it's hard as a white person to know what to do, to know how to change yourself and this society. But I just want to encourage you today to do something. Talk to your children about the legacy of Dr. King. Help them to see where racism and injustice persist. Help them find ways to build bridges. Examine yourself, your thoughts and your interactions. What are you modeling for your children and others around you? What messages do you give them through your words and actions? What are you doing to overcome racism and injustice?

Friday, January 14, 2011

17 months

The months just keep flying by and Daniel is 17 months old now. Before I know it, he'll be 17 and I'll be wondering where the years went.

His favorite word lately is "hot." If the water he's playing in or the food he's eating is too warm, he'll tell me that it's hot. He even told me that when his bowl was a little warm. He likes to help blow off his food when it's still warm.

Daniel loves to play in the water. We pull up a chair and he "helps" me wash dishes. Usually that means he plays in the water, though sometimes it means he takes dishes from the drainer to scrub them himself with the soapy sponge. We've been changing his shirt several times a day lately since he keeps getting soaked! He also loves to help me cook. His favorite things are scooping out flour and stirring anything. He gets pretty indignant when I'm stirring something and don't let him have a turn.

About a month ago, Daniel went from being terrified of the vacuum to loving it. Now he wants to help vacuum all the time. Yesterday I was working in the kitchen and heard a noise. I poked my head around the corner and saw this:

Daniel had pulled the vacuum out of the closet and was all ready to go!

He loves to do whatever we're doing, whether it's drinking tea or coffee from a mug, wiping things up or spraying off diapers. I've learned that it's better to just find a way that he can help. He's been helping carry dishes from the table to the dishwasher. He's also started opening books and "reading" them out loud.

He's been enjoying playing in the snow this week. Dave's parents gave him a little sled for Christmas and he loves being pulled up and down the sidewalk in it.

Daniel can show us his belly button, hands, feet, nose, eyes and mouth. It's amazing to see all the things he understands! It's fun to see how proud he is of all the things he can do. It's also been interesting to see how much he's developing a mind of his own. He certainly knows what he wants.

Daniel is still very sweet and cuddly. He loves to laugh and play and has such a sweet giggle. It is an amazing journey and I'm still so glad I'm his mom and that I get to spend my days with him.