Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Six Looks Like

jennifer rowe walters

What Six Looks Like 

By: Jennifer Rowe Walters with the Huffington Post 

However, since I first started to understand the magnitude of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday morning, I have cried a lot. I cried when I heard the terrible news. I cried when I went to pick my son up early from school. I cried when I told my husband what had happened. I cried when I talked to my girlfriends about it. I cried at church when we prayed for each victim by name. Off and on for going on three days now, I have cried. And this is despite going out of my way to not watch anything about it on TV or read too much about it online. I'm actively trying to avoid it, but I still find myself crying more than usual.

I mentioned this to a friend last night and she said that she couldn't seem to stop crying either. When I asked her why she thought that was, her answer was, for me, a revelation. She said, "I think it's because we know what six looks like. We see it every day... in all its glory." And she was right. Because, you see, this friend and I both have a six-year-old child. I, a six-year-old son. She, a six-year-old daughter. Both are in first grade. Both, I imagine, so heart-breakingly similar to those 20 kids who were so brutally and senselessly killed on Friday morning. And we do, indeed, know what six looks like. We do see it every day. In all its glory. We see the good, the bad and the ugly. The beautiful and the infuriating. It's in our face. We live it and breathe it.

We know what six looks like. We know what it smells like. How it can go from the fresh scent of shampoo and soap to the musky aroma of "dirty child" in what seems like minutes. How it resists getting in the bathtub... and then resists getting out half an hour later. How sweet its hair and skin and clean jammies smell when it sits on your lap and asks you to read it a bedtime story. We know the unmistakeable fragrance of the occasional accident in the middle of the night caused by too much milk and no last-thing-before-bed visit to the toilet.

We know what six looks like. We know what it sounds like. How it cries and whines. How it sings and laughs. How clever it is and how much more clever it grows every day. How it sounds out words on signs as we drive past in the car and how happy it is when it gets them right. How annoying it sounds when it teases its little sister and how kind it sounds when it soothes her when she falls down and hurts herself. We know how lovely the words "Mommy" and "Daddy" and "I Love You" sound in its six-year-old voice.

We know what six looks like. We know how it tastes. How picky it is. How it thinks chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese are gourmet foods. How much it loves candy and cookies. How it tolerates broccoli and carrots. How it absolutely abhors Brussels sprouts. How it thinks French fries are a vegetable. How it thinks chocolate milk was created by God himself. How it thinks pizza is its own food group. We know that six is happy when it finds "I love you!" written on a napkin in its lunch box at school.

We know what six looks like. We know how it feels. How big it's getting. How fast it outgrows its clothes and how it's no longer a baby, but not quite yet a big kid. We know the weight of six in our arms. How we can barely carry it anymore, but try anyway because we can't quite bring ourselves to accept the truth. We know how easily six gets its feelings hurt if someone says just the wrong thing or if this friend or that one doesn't want to play with it or it gets in trouble at school. We know the velvety softness of six's skin. We know the still-silkiness of its hair.

Yes, we know what six looks like. We know six's gap-toothed smile and its gangly arms and legs. We see how it jumps and dances. How it twirls and runs. We know how funny six is. How absolutely charming it can be. We know six's terrible jokes. We know how obsessed it is with "Minecraft." We know its crooked "S" and its backwards "3." We see how it teeters on the cusp of the world of books and all the joys of reading, but how it's not quite ready to fall in yet. We see how six can't decide if it wants us to stand beside it or not. We watch it take two steps towards independence and one step back towards us every day. We know how sturdy and strong six is... and yet how frail and fragile.

We know what six looks like. How beautiful it is. How precious. How brightly it shines with promise. How much it looks towards the future... toward 7,8,9... How much it looks like forever.

We know what six looks like and can only in our worst nightmares imagine how devastating its loss in this senseless and evil way would be. We can only barely imagine the wreckage and the despair and the utter hopelessness that would be left if six were brutally and suddenly taken from us. We know we couldn't bear life without it.

Yes, we know what six looks like. And we know that, to us -- like it must be for those other mothers and fathers in Connecticut -- six is the whole world.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thing I Like This Week

It's been awhile, so I thought I would once again share the most awesome thing to come out of the writer's strike in 2009. As Joss Whedon takes on new roles and Neil Patrick Harris continues to be the one good thing left about How I Met Your Mother, I like to remember the humble beginnings of awesome.

It's just a bit of fun........................

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Virgin Diaries

This morning I was doing my usual Facebook/ YouTube scroll for newsworthy topics and stumbled across TLC's latest contribution to reality TV called "Virgin Diaries". Before I get into why the idea behind this show and the show itself is so awful, let me start out by saying that reality TV has never made good television. While the ratings are usually pretty high, the standard for quality footage and well done acting is not.

In the show, Americans of all ages and genders are interviewed about their choice to wait for physical intimacy until marriage, ranging from sex to kissing. Some people on the show are in relationships, some are not. Some are virgins and some have made the choice to start over and try again.

While I certainly have issues with the theme of the show in general, what bothered me most was the way these people are portrayed on television. I felt that the cinematographer, director, and everyone else had set out on a mission to make virgins look stupid, as if somehow people reach a new level of intelligence when coitus is finally achieved.

The biggest example is the engaged couple waiting to share their first kiss at the altar. They share their values on the air and when the big moment finally comes, they try to swallow each others' heads! I'm sure that first kiss is public was awkward, but somehow it looked even worse on camera.

The theme continued when the director interviewed three roommates in their thirties. All of them sit on the couch or the bed doing massage lines in their braided, naturally blonde hair and minimal makeup. The TV crew had done their absolute best to make these women look uneducated and unattractive.

While I personally believe that waiting for marriage is well worth the effort, I'm not here to argue the point. My beef is with the goofy way these people are approached. Being a virgin doesn't make you any less intelligent or less equipped to live in the real world.

To state what should be obvious, virgins can dress well, climb the professional ladder, and somehow or another manage to not look like idiots.

PS: Would we ever see a show titles "Diary of a Slut"? ............oh, wait..............I forgot about Jersey Shore.

Monday, June 18, 2012

No Fear in Death

The Huffington Post recently published a story about a lion who tried to eat a little boy at the zoo last week. I dare you to watch this without laughing. Jack, a toddler in a striped hoodie, sits and giggles as the lioness on the other side of the glass tries to eat him for breakfast.

What struck me was how this 600 pound death machine was literally gnawing on the pane to get to Jack, and the kid just sat there and thought it was hilarious. To him, being inches from death was funny. Why? Because he somehow knew he was safe. His parents were there the whole time, making sure nothing happened and encouraging him to have fun. My point is that for children, nothing, including death, is scary until they are taught to fear it.

I saw another video of a different boy at the Colorado Springs Zoo, who was also "attacked" by a lion. He was smiling and enjoying himself until his mother tried to drag him to "safety" away from the glass panels.The kid immediately sensed that something was wrong and hesitated before approaching the cage again. His parents, through trying to keep him safe, had taught him to fear.

This is a problem I see in many families today. We put our children on leashes and tell them not to get too close. We hold them back and teach them to be afraid of everything, all in the name of "protection". We tell our kids it's "for their own good", and while that might be the case, too often is just another way to project our own fears onto our kids.

The real joy, however, comes in watching our sons and daughters grow into the people God created them to be, without fear or preconceived notions of the world. The key is set aside the fear we've grown into, step back, and let them play with the lions.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I love the summer. Everything magical tends to happen in the summer. Meg Ryan movies for example. Seriously though, summer is one of the best seasons of the year. The bikes come out of storage, the shorts come out of hiding and so do the bikinis.

It's a season of adventure, a turning point. All my new jobs come with the summer as did the most amazing romance that turned into a summer wedding. The best part though is the weather. I'm originally from Seattle, so super intense heat can make me grumpy, but the thunder storms and gorgeous sunsets make it bearable. I like getting up in the morning to play tennis and riding my bike on the trail.

It's just plain beauty.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Truth

It says in the Bible somewhere that those who have a relationship with God will be beaten and bruised for their love for Him. I've only just come to realize that the bruises we receive are not just physical. Here in America, we have the freedom of religion. We have the right to believe what we want and worship however we choose without fear of physical pain or death. This does not mean, however, that we won't face persecution.

Yes, people will pick on you for your confessed belief in God, and yes, you will be shamed for the way you live when it doesn't line up with modern secular humanism. But really, I'm talking about something a little different. I'm talking about persecution that is a little harder to see.

More often than not, religious persecution in America is not anywhere near what we see in other countries such as China or Korea. Here, we are ridiculed on a much more basic level. We are called out not for our Bible thumping or long skirts, but for our attitudes. The basic, unspoken attitude of Christian love offends people.

and you don't even have to say anything!

My favorite example here is the recent controversy over Invisible Children, a philanthropy that's done nothing more than to try and raises awareness. Any yet, the media, along with seemingly every liberal on the planet, has jumped to the offense, saying the video wasn't released soon enough or the founders are making too much money. Here again, I think we're missing the point.

People (and organizations) are constantly under attack simply for telling the truth.

We are told that "they will know we are Christians by our love." This is perhaps the truest statement I've heard in at least the last year. The truth, whether spoken out loud or just exemplified, will usually offend someone.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Special Anniversary

I have started and deleted this post several times over the last five years and decided that although it's technically it's April now, it high time I published it.

Today is January 23rd. Not much of a day to most people, but for me, it's always a little rough. Working in a newsroom with a diverse group of people has its advantages and disadvantages. I like getting a better understanding of the liberal perspective. On the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, however, things can get a little tense.

39 years ago, Texas went to the Supreme Court to challenge a ruling . They emerged with a new understanding of "personhood", and America was given the right to murder children.

The Court determined that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but stipulated that that right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests of protecting prenatal life and protecting a woman's health. The argument was that because these state interests become stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved to tie state regulation of abortion to the woman's current trimester of pregnancy.

When it comes to abortion, I will say this. Most mothers who get abortions do not understand what they are doing. Many are honestly ignorant of how this will change them and what their lives will be like afterwards.

Often, I am afraid to write this type of column because of the reactions I might receive. I am afraid that coworkers and friends will be offended. That said, this is one topic I feel I can speak to with honesty and experience. 

My mom was never supposed to have any children: she had six. 

I was never supposed to live through my first year: I am now 25 years old.

My mom has a kidney disease that denies her body most of the usual functions that allow women to deliver healthy babies. She spends alot of time in the hospital and often can't get through the day without being sick.

When she was 18, Tammy married my dad and three years later, a very very small little girl made her way into the world. I weighed less than two pounds, had small lungs, and survived a major brain bleed before going home five months later.

Since then, my mom has given birth to five more children despite two kidney transplants and a very serious disease that affects her daily life. I understand that this way of living is not for everyone. The decision to have a large family may not be the right choice for many people.

That doesn't make it right to cut short a life that could have been.
The picture to the left tells the story of a little boy who nearly died when his mother was 21 weeks pregnant, but due to the courage of some very skilled surgeons, is now 13 years old. During this dangerous surgery, the doctor watched as the unborn child wrapped his tiny finger around the surgeon's, an undeniable sign of life.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to Date Someone in Public Relations

With a nod to Tom Chambers’s post on five things to know before dating a journalist, here’s a similar guide to embarking on a relationship with a PR professional.

Here are four things you should know about dating a PR pro:

Our relationships are our top priority.

Because our job involves satisfying the needs of multiple people, we’re good at relationships. We’re good at mediating, moderating, and making things happen. “Fantastic,” you’re thinking, “this all sounds lovely.”

Oh, wait, did you think we meant our “relationship” with you? Oh, goodness, no. We have vast networks of contacts; we have more “relationships” than Richard Branson has islands. (Actually, that’s a rubbish comparison—he has only one.)

The fact is, we are people people, inherently social, and we will undoubtedly know at least three times more people in the bar than you do.

We’re very positive.

Come to us with a problem, and we will always give you a solution. We like turning situations around—so much so that sometimes you might forget how things actually were in the first place.

Some people call this spin, but we don’t. We prefer to think of ourselves as incredible storytellers; there will never be an awkward silence over dinner when we’re around, ever.

We know what’s hot and what’s not.

We are very much on the ball in terms of what’s hot or not. We work six months in advance, so we live that way. Early adopters, some might say.

When you think something’s cool, chances are we’ve been there and done that—most likely at an industry event. Some of these industry events require us to exist on a diet of champagne and the odd canapĂ©, normally handed out at the latest “unbookable” restaurant. We can be a little tricky to wow at dinner.

We’re incredibly efficient.

Returning to the “everybody” of my first point, we have a lot of people to stay in touch with, so we are rather good at organization.

However, this makes for an incredibly packed schedule, so you could find yourself being allocated a time in the ever-present BlackBerry calendar, possibly as a weekend or evening activity.

You could also find dinner interrupted by the red flash of the BlackBerry, alerting us to an essential social media checking appointment. Please just allow us to ensure each of our social networks is up to speed; it won’t take a minute. The world could end if you prevent us from doing this.

With that, you are fully briefed on what to expect from your other-half—the good, the bad, and the sometimes-baffling traits of PR people. Treat us well, and you’ll become like a favorite client: We’ll want to spend all our time with you.


Laetitia Redbond is an account executive at Flagship Consulting in London. A version of this story first appeared on the company’s blog.