Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sometimes food allergies and restrictions seem so much a part of my life, I'm surprised to remember that not everyone deals with them every single day.  Not everyone comprehends the reality of true allergies.  And some people still tend to shock and sadden me.  Stories like the Florida protesters, parents who don't want their children to spend time washing their hands and rinsing out their mouths at school to keep a fellow schoolchild safe. 
Some kids have mild allergies.  The symptoms are uncomfortable, and they avoid them to varying degrees...depending on the parent and their understanding and ability to conform.  Others have severe allergies.  Their parents have watched eyes and lips swell; held blue children in their arms and listened to sirens wailing, acknowledging deep inside that this time it might really by it...all the while hoping, praying, holding their own breath that the epi pen kicks in and they make it to the hospital.  And out again. 

Of course those parents would want to keep their child in a bubble.  Protect them, lock them up like Rapunzel in a tower.  But that isn't realistic.  We have to live with food allergies, our kids have to LIVE with food allergies.  And it gets easier as they get older and everyone under the sun doesn't try and offer treats to them.  Or treat them as rude and inconsiderate if they say "no thank you" to a cookie.  But in elementary school, kids are really at the mercy of the adults around them.  And sometimes, those adults need extreme measures to keep themselves on task.  "Our kids have rights, too!" the protest signs read. 

I've seen the case debated and both sides say "If you don't like it, homeschool!"  The difference is, the allergic child either needs the accommodations or can't safely attend school.  It's perfectly safe for the ones objecting to the rules to attend.  They just have to follow the necessary guidelines. 

I have to wonder what the kids are learning.  Respect for the needs of others, or resentment for those who are different? 
I'm grateful we aren't anaphylactic.  And saddened by the actions of those who don't want to accommodate someone who is. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fifteen Fictional Characters

This apparently started as a facebook status post; but it's hit various message boards, reading forums and now I'm probably not the first to take it to my blog.  :-) 
The idea is to list 15 fictional characters who are influential to your life.  They can be from books, movies, TV series (past and present) or plays.  They can be well known or obscure.  Just someone, anyone, who has made you go "hmmm," and somehow found a place in your life. 

You are not to think too long about this task.  They suggested 15 minutes, but when I first came across and was intrigued by the idea...I drew a blank.  Who has most influenced me?  Who has influenced me?  Er, um.  Hm.  What was her name again?  From...that movie...about...well, it was elusive. 

Anyways.  I have purposefully not concentrated or put too much thought into this, but I have tossed the idea around in my head for longer than 15 minutes. 
Fifteen Fictional Characters; in no particular order:
1. Sam Gribley.  Who didn't dream of living on a mountain in the middle of nowhere, or the catskills, or somewhere undiscovered after reading "My Side of the Mountain"? 
2. Anna.  I doubt very many people reading this blog have heard of Anna.  The book was "Mister God, This is Anna" and it was written by Fynn.  I'm not sure who had more influence, the girl Fynn described or the man whose life was changed by her, but the book kept me thinking for a long time.  It's time to return to it.  :-)
3. Laura Ingalls Wilder; book and TV series.  The characters blend in my mind at this point. 
4. Sally from When Harry Met Sally.  She taught me how to order in restaurants, and that it was okay to be weird long before food allergies entered the picture.  :-)
5. Molly Grue.  She's the one that follows Schmendrick in The Last Unicorn.  She walked away from everything for a dream; and then she mentored a hero. 
6. Gilbert Blythe.
7. Anne Shirley (Blythe)  Yeah, well...Like every other tweenager I fell in love with the story.  Even as an adult she was awesome; as was Gil. The perfect literary couple. 
8.  Lilly (of the Purple plastic purse)  She really demonstrates how kids think sometimes.  At least, my kids.
9. Annie Sullivan:  Although she's a historical character, she's also "The Miracle Worker" and I drank in everything I could read about her...or resembling the story.  i think of "The Miracle Worker" when Bumblebee melts down sometimes.  It gives me a weird sense of calm. 
10.  Elizabeth; the woman from "When breaks the Dawn"; a series I very much enjoyed as a tween.  My grandma introduced me to the world of Janette Oke, and although it's light Christian romance, the stories helped me to form and define my faith...encouraging me to look at what they looked up and consider thoughts the characters pondered.  Besides...I used to love the thought of living in the wilds.  Like Sam Gribley.  Only, with an awesome Mounty husband and a huge eskimo dog. 
11. Santa Clause.  In any incarnation, pretty much.  A mythical man who delivers presents in secret although many doubt his existence.  Awesome. 
12. The youngest Who.  Who believed in Christmas, not gifts. 
13. Jo in Little Women.  She did her own thing, which was right, and was an author.  Although I didn't think she should marry Bauer.  Until I read Little Men, anyway. 
14. Cinderella.  She was always cheerful, no matter what the others did, she was comfortable with who she was and accepted her lot in life. 
15. Merriweather.  She's a fairy in Sleeping Beauty and possibly my favorite Disney character.  She's always saying NO! and then cleaning up the mess when no one listens to her.  I can identify with that...

There was also Olivia Walton, and Ma and Pa Ingalls (more the TV show than the books), and Jonathon the leather-jacket-wearing-angel ("I turned the other cheek" now...*knockout*), and many others I can't quite think of right now.  Most things you read become a part of you whether you really want them to or not, sometimes in ways you can't quite explain.  I'm not sure why the above made my top 15.  Although I added a bit of an explanation, what makes them the top?  They just came to mind first.  And they're only the "fictional" characters.  I've noticed that almost all of these were characters I came to love somewhere between the ages of 12 and 18...which I found interesting.  I suppose that's when my identity was forming, solidifying. 

Anyways...enough of that.  There's my top 15.  I'm not sure if they have anything to do with stress, or food allergies, but I either identified with them on some level or they impacted me in some way. 

Who would you choose?